Life through my myopic eyes.

Why the Hell is this Taking so Long?


It has now been exactly one month to the day that I experienced my ‘life changing’ day of pain and two (count em, two!) surgeries. One which  is often referred to as the ‘lunch hour op’ and the second which was emergency surgery and pretty damned serious.

*Although to be honest, the seriousness of the second surgery still has not really kicked in. I still keep looking around to see who the doctor is talking about when they get to the serious part. In my mind if it was that serious, I’d still be bed-ridden and hooked up to about a trillion tubes.*

I do have to keep reminding myself that is has been just one month since my ‘new life’ started. The parting words of my cardiologist were, “Get ready for your new life.” I still cannot figure out if she was being facetious or not. But new it most certainly is.

2012 has been a year of recovery for me. An accident in February caused so much nerve damage to my lower back that I still had not returned to work full-time when the heart attack decided to ‘kick me while I was already down.’  Of course the recovery for a heart attack and two surgeries is a lot different from recovering from lower back nerve damage.

As frustrating and painful as the nerve damage was, it was never going to kill me. Oh it might aggravate the living hell out of me but it definitely would not put my life directly in danger.

*Unless of course, my back decided to freeze while I was crossing a busy motorway. In that case I think all bets would be off.*

The other parting words from the cardiologist was that, “You need to completely rethink your life style and your attitude.” I was a little insulted. While in the hospital, I was so grateful to everyone who had made the galvanizing pain disappear that I had a permanent grin pasted on my face. Of course they may have misconstrued that as a grimace which, in all fairness, does look an awful lot like a grin.

But I got her point. I am by very nature, a little grumpy (A little grumpy?? I hear some of my colleagues say. That’s like saying Hitler is a little dead! I maintain, in my defense, that applies only to work. Not all the time.) and very impatient. Living in England I have always been able to pass this off as a less than attractive American trait. But to be completely honest, I am so impatient that even my fellow Americans disown me.

Mr Fredrickson from Pixar’s Up…Even he’s not as grumpy as I am.

I know that I have to slow down, chill out and be more cheerful. Unfortunately, knowing that I have to do this does not make it happen spontaneously. I still get impatient at the amount of time everything takes.

For example: I will walk to the post box, which is about 100 yards from my back door. I take my time and still have to stop halfway there. Not because I am winded or tired. No the reason I stop is because of my damned back! This pain in the buttocks ailment that I have been recovering from since February this year! It seizes up and I have to stop and stretch and rest it for ten minutes before I can resume my slow snail-like crawl to the post box.

Then, because of the seizure, I have to stop several times on the way back. Embarrassingly, the first stop is after I have posted what I needed posted and I limp slowly  to the fence right by the post box. I always wear a floppy hat and sunglasses in case someone I know is driving by.

I know that I am getting better though. Yesterday I cut the grass in my back garden. Now before you get too excited, I need to explain that my back garden is not that big and my mower is not that heavy. I also really took my time and besides dragging my right leg a bit, finished pretty much pain-free. I am having to wait to cut the grass in my front garden, which is considerably smaller than the back garden. I’m waiting because I don’t want to over do it.

I have gotten used to my right calf looking like an over-ripe banana and finding the odd bruise in places that don’t make sense. *The oddest one is right in the middle of my right foot’s instep.* I am also learning to walk that very fine line between hypochondriac and really knowing when something isn’t right.

I have learned not to panic when I get pains in my hands or forearms (both of which hurt beyond belief during the heart attack) and I’ve learned to stop worrying about getting fit for work, although that one is a bit harder.

We run a fitness test for my job. It is called a ‘bleep test‘ and it was obviously invented by a sadist. I have never really had too much of a problem passing it in the past. Not too shabby for a smoker of too many years to count. But now? I’ve quit the nasty weed and I am on the mend, but, the idea of running that test makes me feel nauseous.

Invented by the Marquis De Sade

Buzz Lightyear and Meg. My two guardians.

But the one thing I have learned from my recent ‘life changing’ experience is this: While I sit here and roll my eyes to the heavens and shout, “Why the hell is this taking so long!” I am, mentally at least, accepting that this is going to take a while and that I’m pretty damn lucky to still be here and if I ever forget this fact, my daughter will remind me.

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Categorised in: Autobiography, Health, Humour, Personal, Philosophical, Reflective, Social

21 Responses »

  1. You have friend pulling for you, Mike. Still, it looks like you’re in good hands. Take care.

  2. Good to hear you’re feeling better, Mike. Or at least getting there bit by bit. A little surprised you’re mowing the lawn (or garden?) already, though! Guess it would drive me nuts having to lie around all the time and ‘recover’ too. :) Stir crazy much? You’ve had a couple of Rebirthdays now, huh? Maybe we all need them though, from time to time. Not the heart troubles — just the fresh slate! You just have to remind yourself that it could have been so much worse. Medically, they call it the John Hurt Condition. We everyday guys call it the ‘Chestburster’. :) Good luck, pal!

  3. When I lost my job about a year ago I came back to my hometown just in time for my father to require 24-hour care. His was partly due to old age but mainly due to what the doctors think were a series of undetected strokes he suffered after a major stroke some years back. He would often express frustration at the fact that he could not even go to the bathroom without me or my brother helping him get there. I can only imagine how tough it is for him. I’m glad my brother and I have been able to help him in his time of need. In fact, it turned an otherwise ugly period of unemployment in my life into a triumph as I made a significant difference in my father’s life.

    Getting upset at serious life crises is normal. Hell, I get upset all the time when my life takes a downturn, and I’m not even close to having it bad. I think the fact that you can be introspective about it is the most important part. We all get grumpy – the trick is to turn our focus to the big picture.

    • Introspection and a huge dose of humour helps to make the slow days pass with a little less friction. I’m having a premonition of what life will be like when I am really old and I have to honestly say, I don’t like it. But… But… I’ve quit the cig’s and I am changing my eating habits (but not a lot, I’m not dead yet dammit) so hopefully when I do get there, it won’t be too bad.
      I’m sure your dad appreciated the help and the new closeness that you and your brother brought to his life. Thanks for taking the time to share and comment. Cheers mate!! :-)

  4. I wrote about this exact thing a few days ago because this is the 2-year anniversary of my parting of the ways with both my breasts. Losing significant body parts has a special zing all its own. Impatience with the healing process, both physical psychological, is normal and probably inevitable. Yelling at your body parts does not actually help, but may make you feel better. Time works miracles, whether you accept the pace graciously or rail at fate. It’s probably easier on your nervous system if you stop harrassing yourself, but we each have our own process. It will take whatever time it takes no matter how you deal with it. My last surgery knocked the bottom out of my life, but I did come back. I didn’t think I could, but I did. So will you. You will be back and you will be better. Not unchanged by the experience, but you will be back.

    • I am always amazed at the resiliency of the human body and spirit to overcome pain and loss. My little journey pales in comparison to your journey. I try to interject a little (or a lot) of humour to ease the frustration and irritation of healing. I’ve accepted that it’s going to take time…I just don’t like it! lol Thank you for the kind words of support. I feel, like right now for instance, that I’m going to be in this ‘in-between’ state forever. I know it’s not true though and it does help to be reminded by someone who’s been there before. Cheers mate!! :-)

  5. If liking this post is going to make you even grumpier then you can just forget it.
    Just kidding! Get well soon, grumpy!

  6. Do feel better sometime soon…

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