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What I Learned as I Recovered from Surgery

Most kids hated the predictable first day of school essay assignment, “What I did on my Summer Vacation.” I was the exception. I suppose it was my first clue that writing was going to be my thing, even though it took me decades to actually try my hand at it. I have figured out that putting pen to paper can sometimes help me make sense of situations, So this will be my “what I did (and learned) as I recovered from surgery” blog. I am always eager to pass along miscellaneous tidbits of wisdom., even the foolish ones.

1. In a world adjusting to new normal, a hospital stay can be challenging and lonely. Visitors are not permitted in most medical facilities due to the 'rona, and that includes family. Of course, it certainly makes being able finally to go home even sweeter. The nurses and techs who work on those surgical wards are angels, incidentally. Their compassion makes a difference, especially now. I can't say the same about the vampires who magically appear at 2 a.m. to steal your blood. The one suited up with a black protective helmet, scared me to death. I thought he was Darth Vader. No joke.

Incidentally, If I never consume another bowl of chicken broth ever that will be fine with me. And hospital “soup” tastes like unseasoned swill. (That’s being polite.) You have been duly warned.

2. Mindless TV is indeed mindless. I can't help but wonder how those “real housewives” get their false eyelashes to stay on like that? There must be a trick to it. I also don’t get the incessant whining among these rich pampered women. It is like a train wreck, but I can’t stop watching. And then, there is "90 Day Fiancé." I am fascinated by the choices some folks make.

3. HGTV can give you a contagious disease called “redecorating fever.” And nothing happens in an hour like it does on those makeover shows, nor is it free, but change can be good for the soul. Just be sure you have fully recovered before you tackle a big project. Trust me on this.

4. The Hallmark Christmas movies start in October, which makes you want to deck the halls before Halloween. After the year we have all had, you are entitled to do as if you please, regardless of what the neighbors think.

5. Do NOT order anything from a Facebook ad, no matter how tempting it might be. Most of those positive reviews are fabricated. In a moment of temporary insanity, I fell for that cute animated toy puppy that is so life-like you would swear it was real. What I got was a flat partially-stuffed animal that might be worth a buck or two. He sits on the shelf in my laundry room to remind me not to be so gullible

And no, you can’t get a Louis Vuitton handbag bag for $29.95 either. Fortunately, I didn't fall for that.

Still, I am better at filtering these things than someone I know (cough, cough), who ordered a Gibson guitar and got a little girl's hair bow instead. I am sure the folks at the credit card company are still laughing over that one.

6. However, Amazon and Ebay sell some good stuff. And you can order at 3 a.m. if you can’t sleep. The jury is still out on Wayfair.

7. Everything tastes better when somebody else has cooked it, especially after a week with no solid food. I am so grateful for my casserole-bearing friends. And then, there are the specially-delivered bakery treats. Chocolate croissants are amazing.

8. And by the way, all the weight you quickly lost from being sick will return within three hours of eating your celebratory burger and fries. That perfect number on your scale was just an illusion, but then, it could be attributed to those chocolate croissants.

9. Murphy's Law is real. Your NEW dishwasher is most likely to break when you need it most. Oh and the replacement parts come from China, which means you wait and wait and wait. Thank goodness for paper plates.

10. The dust bunnies duplicate like, well, rabbits when you are too sick to clean, and a dirty window can taunt you as you lie in bed staring at it. Try not to look.

11. If insurance denies your pricey medication, appeal it, even if it means talking on the phone with Miguel from Miami for two hours. He’s actually a pretty nice guy.

12. A B12 shot is a miracle drug. I highly recommend it.

13. Drink as much water as is humanly possible. Dehydration is the source of 75% of your ailments.

14. Clean sheets are heaven. You especially appreciate them when you are too weak to change them on your own. Bonus points if they were washed with fabric softener.

15. People can be incredibly kind. Cards and flowers and texts mean so much when you are confined to your bedroom. Thoughtfulness is a lovely gift and so appreciated.

16. Don’t believe the many phone calls and printed literature about the dreaded side effects of your treatment prescriptions, even if there is a skull and crossbones on the bottle. Consider yourself made of Teflon and don’t let that stick. You are unique and so is your body.

17. Recovery is a process. Be patient. Give yourself some grace. And when you rejoin the living, everything will be elevated to special, even a trip to Kroger.

18. Attitude is everything; so is faith. Both will see you through most of life’s trials.

The universe is always going to teach us lessons. Some may be ridiculous, while others are profound. The key is to remain open to the possibilities, even as we stand in the storm. But don't forget your umbrella.

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