Sunday, January 22, 2012

Half-Way Through

Today I am half-way through my medical leave for my surgery back on December 29. That "anterior cervical corpectomy with fusion" that I have talked about. Four weeks from tomorrow I will be back at work. How time flies when you are having fun.

But I have learned a lot and am aware of how far I still need to go. While I feel like I am back to my old self (not necessarily a good thing), I find out in small ways that I am not yet. Since the major reason for such a long recuperation is the need to keep my cervical spine from too much stress and strain, that means that the rest of my body and soul seems to be doing just fine, thank you. But in full awareness of "holistic" views of health, and the bio-psycho-social aspect of life, I also know that to say I am fine is to be fooled by the surface.

[Start of whine.] There are, for example, the little things that still aren't "healed." I am still having problems swallowing and things can get stuck on the way down causing embarrassing coughing to keep it clear. I still have to do a "clearing the throat action" anytime I swallow any regular liquids. (Thick stuff like yogurt goes easier.) That makes eating a meal somewhat of a chore. Even taking a shower- switching to the waterproof collar, being cautious when I shave (electric razor) to keep my head steady, seeming to take longer than usual- is work.

I can get tired enough for a nap at a moment's notice, depending on how well I was able to sleep (and ignore) the hard collar I am still wearing. I am able, easily, to get out and walk, although I hit a wall more quickly than I used to. I need to work on that stamina issue.

Then there is the psycho-social of being obviously "handicapped" with the collar. People look at me with a sympathy that sometimes says, "I know your pain" and sometimes "Poor old guy." It helps in some situations, like at the airport, but generally puts an unwanted spotlight on me. Yes, people are nice and I like that, but it sure is not what I want for this reason.

So here I am, in recuperation. [End of whine.] That means I have to be willing to let other people support and help me. I have to be humble enough to admit that my timeline for healing is not my body's timeline or need. I need to learn to be a passenger at times, and not just when accepting the fact that my wife can drive quite well, thank you, without my passenger seat supervision. I am as much a passenger in recovery. What my body needs to bring about the healing of body, mind and soul after surgery is often beyond my ability to do anything but go along for the ride.

Why is it I have to keep learning this lesson? Why can't I do this more naturally?

Oh, yeah. I forgot.

I'm human.

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