3 Weeks post-op: Broken and delicate and growing stronger

3 weeks. I can’t believe it’s 3 weeks already. And to be honest I don’t have much to tell.

I have been doing… nothing really. Apart from growing bones and letting my wounds heal.  But maybe that is not “nothing”.

2 weeks ago I came home to my parents place. I have a hospital bed in their living room, a recliner from my great aunt who died last September, as well as her wheelchair, and my grandma’s walker. I love it how my aunt seems to help me, reaching across the border of life and death.

My days are… boring really. I spend the mornings in the recliner, pushing the backward- and forward-button a thousand times as I can’t sit in the same position for more that 10 minutes. My butt hurts. Yes sitting on broken bones hurts. And it freaks me out thinking of what my pelvis looks like under my skin. A puzzle of fractures and screws trying to settle and grow back together. Around noon a nurse comes to give me my daily shot of blood thinner. It’s hard to find much fat on my stomac (see it’s not always good to be skinny) to put the needle in and so these shots aren’t the most pleasant to me. After lunch I move to my bed cause I can no longer sit. And then I nap, watch Netflix (I’m still too exhausted to start reading, even though a bunch of wonderful books is waiting for me), nap some more and ask Daniel to help me out of bed to get to the bathroom. O my days are so exciting :cP

My morning routine

Every damn day for a long time to come

Cat medicine is the best kind of medicine!

After 2 weeks I decided to stop taking the heavier pain meds, cause my stomac hates them and I had to befriend a vomit bucket. I hate vomiting. And I hate vomit buckets. More than pain. So all I take now is tylenol (paracetamol) 2 or 3 times a day and I live with the pain. You can’t have it all right?!

Me and my vomit bucket. Smiling but not really.

Moving around with my walker has gotten a bit easier. I am not allowed any weight bearing on my left leg (so I can’t really “walk”, but I’m trying to imitate a “walking movement”), and it’s funny what not putting weight on a leg does to it: It turns purple and it get swollen if I keep it down for too long. Also after 3 weeks of mainly laying down, my heel is starting to develop a bedsore (ow damn that word just sounds disgusting) because I can’t move at night, so before it gets worse, I have to start putting something under my ankle so my heel no longer touches the bed. I tell you… the problems of a 34 year old!

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My 85 year old grandma is faster than me. She rocks!

It’s frustrating to see how little I can do at 3 weeks post op. I started reading blogs of other PAO warriors and I probably shouldn’t have done that. I’m so damn slow. I can’t put on my underwear, pants, socks or shoes by myself. I hardly get in and out of bed by myself (and if I make it I look like a  stranded whale on the beach). I still don’t make it into the shower, not even with help. I can’t turn over to my non-op side yet, so I’m still laying on my back like a brick most hours of the day,…

Trying to get into bed. Very elegant!

When I want to lay on my side Daniel has to push me over and roll me back. Kinda feels like torture, but not laying on my back for a few minutes is also a bit of heaven too.

O well. I’ll make it into the shower some day.

My scar seems to be healing pretty well :c)

No don’t worry I’m not pitying myself. I’m just not sure whether I should push myself more or not. Somehow I really wanna be careful, not take any risks. This whole procedure feels so delicate. I feel delicate. Both my body and my soul.

Apart from all the frustration and all the questions whether I’m doing this right or not, I am actually feeling hopeful and I am surprised by my own patience. I don’t give much of a fuck that I can’t sleep at night and I know that eventually all will get better. So I’m just sitting (laying) this shit out. 3 more weeks till my control appointment with my surgeon. Let’s hope my bones are growing well.

Also (hm seems like I got stuff to tell anyway) I can feel this whole process is working on me, is changing me. Apart from feeling “delicate” I feel my heart growing even softer than it already was (not in a “weak” way but in a strong compassionate way). This indeed is a Rite of Passage, as I can feel the transformation going on. Incorporation is literally happening in my broken and new growing bones, and it is reflecting in my soul. I remember saying before the surgery “I’m sure this will somehow someway make me a ‘better’ person,” and I could imagine how this would work on me and try to picture myself in the future. But right now right here I can really feel something is happening inside of me, it is moving me and working on me. I cannot really grab it yet, but it’s there, and it’s delicate, yet growing stronger just like my broken bones.

Damn, this must be the most boring blog post since the (almost) 4 year existence of my blog. O well. There are worse things than that. Plus: This too shall pass.

Much love,

a still incredibly humble and very grateful Cat xxx

No big tree this year cause the bed and recliner and walker and stuff take up all the space. Presents on the floor it is.

My brother Ruben, his wife Frankie and their dog Bandit keeping me entertained.

Christmas dessert and I’m not hungry :c(

Ruben doing the best he can :c)

Never been more grateful for my family taking good care of me! Also I crave sushi (been having sushi 4 times since surgery), so we had a pre-christmas sushi dinner mmmm!

14 thoughts on “3 Weeks post-op: Broken and delicate and growing stronger

  1. Helen, all the best in your recovery, but take it easy.
    I’ve read your blogs for ~2 years and they have inspired me hike the JMT/PCT in 2017. Your 168 reasons to hike the JMT is outstanding.
    Thank you.
    Have a Speedy recovery ’cause the JMT wants you back.
    Dave

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dave! I’ll do my best to take it easy ;c) I’m really happy to hear I could inspire you to get out on the JMT/PCT. It is so so beautiful out there. And I can’t wait to get back on the trail myself. I hope to be able to hike a few miles in the Sierra next summer. It won’t be much, but that really doesn’t matter, as long as I’m there ;c) Cheers, Cat

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  2. This is such a sweet post! You are so amazing to be patient with yourself and soft/delicate way you are progressing– really incredible to listen to your body like that and let it heal without worrying about a schedule or comparing yourself to others.

    Wishing you well in the next few weeks/ months!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Helen
    I am amazed at the progress you are making. You have had major surgery, you know. I think you are doing incredibly well, and behind all the frustration and pain I can see a lot of humour and your beautiful smile coming through. Remember that poem I sent you :-

    For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
    Seem here no painful inch to gain,
    Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
    Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

    And not by eastern windows only,
    When daylight comes, comes in the light,
    In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
    But westward, look, the land is bright.

    this is true in all things in life and also in recuperating from major surgery. Another metaphor might be the coming of night. It creeps up on one. You cannot tell the time it becomes night, you only know when it is there.

    I think your recovery is quite miraculous, as are your good spirits and lovely smile.

    May I recommend a book just published? You can get it on abebooks.com. It is called THE BOND, and is by Simon McCartney. It is about 2 first ascents in Alaska that Simon did with his friend Jack, on the north face of Mt Huntington in 1978 and the South West Face of Denali in 1980. How they survived either climb is a miracle. On Denali, towards the top, they had not eaten for 6 days, it was -30*f, they were at 19,000 feet, Jack had frostbite and McCartney had cerebral oedema. That they survived was only partly due to stamina, courage, climbing skill and Providence, but also due to self sacrifice, love for others regardless of ones self, the decision that to leave would mean the death of the one, to stay would probably mean ones own death. In this incredible human story there was no “cutting of the rope” . somehow they all survived.

    Disasters, pain, tragedy, trauma all test us. It all depends on how we allow ourselves to react. We can let them pull us down, turn our spirits into miserable beings, or we can allow ourselves to react so that we come out of the experiences better, stronger, lovelier people. I know you will be in the latter group.

    Love
    Barrie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ow thanks Barrie. I always appreciate what you share and I love that poem!!! So much mirroring to be found in nature and in the natural cycle, it really helps me to keep “going”! I have a very strong faith in the returning of spring and I believe there is gold to be found in the darkness.
      I will check out that book too! Thanks for the recommendation!
      Hope you’re doing well! Cat

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  4. 6 weeks is a tiny fragment of your life. I know it feels like forever right now. The best treatment for a fracture is healing that’s why those parts are usually cast. So you shouldn’t be trying to get better faster. It’s the inside healing those things you can’t see.

    You’ll come away from this with change in the form of patience and gratitude for helpful and loving family.

    Recovery sucks! No way around it. Great post. Glad for the update. Sleep lots, enjoy eating, and I think you’ll be surprised at quickly recovery will be once the fracture is healed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true Jan. I’ve never been good at being patient but I’m learning haha. The knowing that I’ll be in the Sierra next summer really helps me. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to hike really, but just knowing that I’ll be close to my favorite place after all that I am going through right now, helps me to take it easy and be patient :c)

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  5. Fairly new to your blog and Instagram page so I’ve been catching up. But you should know how inspirational you are and how many lives you are obviously touching. You have an incredible story! From the rainy southern coast of Oregon, I send you my prayers and good juju for healing, patience, and no dang bedsores!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hola Helen, I hope you continue to recover and do recover quickly. I can relate to your operation even though my operation was not as serious as yours. I have recovered and a hiking again in South America.

    Before you know it you will be hitting the trails again and enjoying the outdoors. Please keep us informed via your blog & FB. Danke, Art

    Liked by 1 person

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