Poof! Here we are again, at the start of another month. I understand it’s a cliché to complain about how fast time goes, but seriously. And when you add in short-term memory issues that are starting to look like a permanent change, it’s just that much crazier… I literally cannot remember the date, or even the day of the week, without checking my phone, I have forgotten what I was about to say while in the middle of a sentence, and I am just generally spending a lot of time confused and surprised that yet another day has escaped. Ah, well.
The good news is, my wounds continue to heal and I might actually be done receiving VNA home care, and actually be done with this latest round of healing soon… I’ll believe it when I see it, but right now all signs point to yes. The abdominal wound – you know, the one that started out as a 3-centimeter incision over a 6.5-centimeter interior cavern (a.k.a. seroma) back in July – has very slowly but steadily shrunk, to the point that it is now a 1-centimeter incision over a 1-centimeter seroma. It’s near enough to the end that the wound care doctor told me to make an appointment in three weeks but to cancel it if it heals up before then. (By the way, this doctor is infinitely better than the so-called specialists at MGH, and I plan to share his name here after I’m done receiving care there. I am interested in maintaining some semblance of confidentiality while I’m still a patient, but would like to share his information for others to use down the road, if they are unlucky enough to need it.)
The other good news is that my overall mood and emotional well-being has remained relatively stable. I have bad days, of course… sometimes several in a row. And it doesn’t take much to shake my tree; the other day Willem and I took the kids out to dinner and he started feeding a desperately-starving Isaac a bottle in a sitting position, while Isaac was still in his high chair… and just watching this, knowing that my older two were never, ever fed at arm’s length like that, was enough to send me sprinting for the bathroom to lean against the stall door and sob.
That sort of misery is never very far away, but all in all I’m less broken-and-miserable than I had thought I would be. I’ll accept that as a victory.
This is, of course, due completely to the support and help of those around me. Willem has been endlessly patient and supportive, and my family – those related by blood and marriage, and those related by heart – has held my hand and kept my head above water, even when I know I’m being angst-filled and miserable and rambling on and on. I’m so deeply grateful for you all… I might say that I don’t know what I would do without you, but the truth is, I do know exactly what I would do, and it would be both unhealthy and unsafe. I also might say that I would do the same for you, if the tables were turned, but the truth is, I would be completely devastated if anything remotely similar happened to any one of you. I would find a way to pull my chin up and bully my way past the doctors and hold your hand… but I’m really not ready to be the strong, competent version of me quite yet. So, if you all would just stay healthy and intact for a bit longer, I would really, really appreciate it.
One of the things that has been particularly special for me has been my weekly Katesitting session. Several of my closest local friends have worked out a routine so that someone comes and spends one day a week with me. There are five or six of them, so by rotating the schedule around each person is here one day a month, give or take. I think – and I hope – that it’s not too disruptive and intense a commitment for them. Anything from an hourlong meeting for tea to an all-day sort of event works for me… I really can’t overstate just how much it helps my mental health. I spend all week looking forward to whatever-day with whichever-person, with a couple hours of post-visit “Aww, now I miss her” in the evening but mostly just a happy I-needed-that glow, and then I figure out who’s next and start looking forward to that.
It’s not easy, this survival-and-recovery thing. It’s a long, slow process, full of potholes and speed bumps and unexpected blowouts, and I’m relying on jump-starts and navigation from others. But I’m still here, and I’m moving in the right direction.