“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only things you can do is to enlarge your sense of things.... Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”
-from an aging Hindu master taken from Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
As I look at this pic of me, and I sit trying to cobble together some words, I think, how the heck was this just merely a week ago? I was all scrub-faced, cleansed, and ready to go into surgery. They'd be coming for the "walk" soon. You don't often see people walking to the OR by themselves. But as long as you can move under your own power, why not? So not only do you walk into the OR on your own, but you also place yourself on the table. I had to keep scootching myself down the table to get in just the right spot. Then they grabbed the line accessing my port and gave me a little "Mai Tai party concoction" to put me in twilight land... except my tolerance has grown... so we chatted a bit more before I clunked out.
Waking up is always a sketchy experience to me. I feel like I've gone somewhere, and I'm trying to "come back" but where the heck am I again? I just feel shooting pain, and my words will only come out, one at a time. So I say "Pain, pain, pain... there... as I poke the right side of my stomach." They ask what it is on the pain scale and I say, 9? 9? 9? My thoughts perseverate... until suddenly I start to relax into my recliner, and I calmly say, "8," just once, and slowly smile.
I hear someone say, "thank goodness, she got a lot of fentanyl, and should be good for quite awhile."
I smile again and shake my head up and down, "7," I say and smile.
But just as suddenly my stomach churns and my eyes grow big as I say,
"Vomit....ohhhh vomit, quick."
My nurse, thankfully is more than quick! She grabs the plastic green bag, and just as quickly cracks open a vial of peppermint oil with jojoba. She runs it past my nose a couple of times, and then lays in on my chest, so that I continue to breathe it in. And it works!! Slowly my stomach calms and as I feel like I'm drifting off to sleep, they say. "So are you ready for toast? If you can eat, you'll be able to go home soon!"
But the thought of the nausea has stayed with me, and an emphatic "no," comes out. Yet barely a few minutes pass, and she mentions toast with jelly, or peanut butter, or honey... and she has me at honey.
Best toast I've tasted in awhile.
Not long after that, I'm off to the restroom with help from my nurse. I'm definitely sore. And the color is tinged with blood, but I otherwise feel ok. Sleepy, and ready for a nap, but doing ok.
I sit again, and my blood pressure reading sets the monitor off. Its low, very low. I'll be sitting awhile longer and getting some fluids in.
But its really just a few hours and suddenly I'm given the ok to go home!
Is it a little sad to say, going to DQ after surgery has become a tradition? Hehe. Well, then so be it. I just wanted a vanilla malt. I could hardly keep my eyes open, but I could drink, and the sweet and sticky ice cream put me right in touch with joy again. The blue sky, with the sunshine peeking through the clouds didn't hurt either. I think of the quote- and the sky has me visualizing waves of a lake.
I arrived home around dinner time and my friend Sue brings dinner all ready to eat. Thank you, Sue! The boys ate, and I crashed. I slept deep. I slept long. I shut out the world, despite the dings from my phone. Everyone offered to silence my phone. But those dings? Are music to my ears. Each one a prayer, a hopeful message, love coming through, so many words, from so many people, and it makes me feel less broken somehow. Its like dipping my toes into the cool water of the lake.
Later that night, my friend Anne brings these beautiful pink flowers to set on my chair on my front porch. I do it every year, and when it sat empty for awhile, she thought of the nicest thing to brighten my day. She stays a good hour or so, and I am still pain free and doing pretty well.
A few days after that, these arrived! Another planter, perfect for my deck in the back. Thank you to the Cheney family! And yes... I found the...
Inchworm! Isn't he cute- so fun to turn the pot around and suddenly see these two big eyes on an inch worm staring up at you!
We're simply blessed, and abundance pours through our door. When your church friends, make a hot dish and bake brownies and just bring it humbly to your door- I can't say thank you enough. Its comfort food, that nourishes our bellies and again, glues a few more bits of those broken places together. Its also expanding the lake. Thank you to the Narum family- you blessed us more than I can possibly say.
My thinking starts to change, I notice. Because I'm human, and I wonder how much more I can do sometimes? I'm hunched over, gripping my sides as I try to walk before I run out of breath. I have just little tufts of hair sticking up everywhere- more white than golden brown. Oh how I've aged. I feel it everywhere in my body- I'm uncomfortable at times, and pain-filled at others.
But He calls me to do, and go through, and then He shows up- in the food, and the gifts, and the people who call or leave messages, or give our son a ride. How can I NOT do this?
And this last card, was just the word I needed to grip. Plus the scripture inside?
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Thank you to the Weiss family who brought the most soft hat to wear from an Etsy site called Hoodawear. Hooda is soft, cute, and so comfortable to wear.
I haven't gotten photos of everything. My auntie made food that reminded me so much of my Grandma- as much as I miss my mom, Marny and Carol, my mom's sisters have both come for an afternoon of visits. The facial expressions, the mannerisms, the words, the laughs- it brings my mother to me and I feel so comforted by just that.
So I'm going to a graduation party or two tonight. I'm going to try to get out a bit, and enjoy seeing friends, and having some yummy food. Then we'll be gone for a few days- while Grandpa comes to stay with Crosby we hope.
In another week I'll see Dr. Panwalkar and we'll see how I am doing. I had no symptoms before I had surgery, and I don't have any now. I have no way to gauge how I am doing? So I'll just go along with good. I'm good, and that's all that really matters. My "sense of things" sure has grown, and I am trying to be the best lake I can be.
So grateful you all have become my tribe- and help me warrior on- in more ways than you could possibly know!