The surgery took place on the feast of Saint Mary, Saint Martha and Saint Lazarus.
Recovery is slow.
I hit walls and the walls hit back. Fatigue, anxiety and pain feel the same. I can never tell which is talking, only that they’re shouting at me. So I am learning to not be Martha, but it’s more than not doing, it’s not being anxious about not doing. It’s being Mary, being okay to listen, to learn, to sit, and to be. I am none of these things naturally.
My husband has been magnificent. So has my mom. My children rally to try and keep going. This is hard on them.
The good news, is most of the cancer is gone. The bad news is, we don’t know if more remains.
The good news is, Thursday was the start of less cancer and any less cancer is good.
The good news is, we are seeking to get better. We are no longer waiting to start.
All grace manifested, is invisible, because it reveals how things should be. Planes land safely, and it is wonderful. Children learn to read, and it is wonderful. People fall in love, and it is wonderous. These are things that do not have to happen, but when they do, it is wonderful, even if it is not observed. The nurses at the hospital, are as a profession, a manifestation of invisible grace –where everything that happens that should happen, happens because they do it. The baseline is better than the reality because of them. They are magnificent and in all things, underappreciated and underpaid however much we laud their work or compensate them for their efforts.
Every nurse I had, I knew threw their whole hearts into the care, every technician, every custodian, every food service person, every single person there, was seeking to ensure that every patient made it home safely given the limitations and parameters of their office and capacity. The nurses there did everything they could, but they were clearly down a third from what is needed, and had spent the last sixteen months, braving each day of exposure, and doing what they could with what they had.
Hard stuff: Being intubated when my airway is already compromised is awful and scary. The problem remained, I have two issues, breast cancer and the intubation issue. Both required surgery teams. Both did their jobs. Both then took their stuff and left me to recover on my own.
This is the result of Covid-19. I saw many patients waiting for surgery alone, not having a relative or advocate to help them. I saw the absence of people. Not having the extra people do do transitions and follow up in the hospital for leaving the hospital meant the patients were delivered to the front door with a pad of prescriptions and the bags of their belongings. There wasn’t a plan for post-op care that provided any parameters for the patient to follow. We just left.
Now, because I’ve researched several hospitals, I’ve collected a few things that allow me to do the exercises, to know what to look for, what to look out for, and what to expect. However, I have support systems in addition to these extra sources of information. Anyone else who left the hospital with the same problem, would not. This matters, because again, if one went through this alone, one would now face recovery alone.
I have children who research the medicine I take, and remind me that the stuff I take to keep the pain and swelling away, make me drift if I don’t anchor myself with a book or a hand or a face. The room moves without my consent and faces appear, none of them pleasant. Friends and family have sent meals and prayer cards, and my children have taken on each night, a dinner. Every task requires thought and effort, from someone else. That’s hard on me too, because I’m used to being the effort that lets someone else do. But for everyone who doesn’t have a family of mostly adult children, what do they do when the leave the hospital? With Covid, the opportunity to care for the sick gets restricted to the professionals in the professional building, and that means the ordinary care that people require to recover, gets to be wherever it happens when it happens. That means, some of the rest of us, need to be that third missing. How?
With masks, with care, with deliberateness, with asking to see who needs to be seen, to hear who needs to be heard, and to help who needs to be helped. So today, look to see all the invisible grace that makes every day less difficult, and look to infuse that grace where it isn’t.
Will write more soon. –Sherry