Stamina: the hare and the tortoise

Six days on from surgery and all is progressing as hoped. Stopped taking pain killers on Sunday and the ‘out’ drain was removed yesterday. One down, one to go. 

There’s a moment of anticipation before the drain is pulled – a split second between the Consultant’s “do we have a stich cutter” statement and the patient’s “is this going to hurt?” thought. Quite irrational given the scale of previous procedures and no, it didn’t hurt. Co-amoxiclav will continue, to guard against infections while the outside world is closely coupled with the inner world through a green plastic tube and the remaining drain bottle. 

A bit of welly (stamina) is called for when it comes to surgery and recovery. The dictionary defines stamina as: endurance, the ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from and have immunity to trauma, wounds or fatigue.

Remaining active while shaking off the effects of anaesthetic and synthetic opiates is a little difficult, especially when it’s impossible to see straight. Once all those drugs have worn off getting up and about is an important step along the pathway to healing. Sitting/lying still for too long leads to bed sores or thrombosis, neither of which is a welcome addition in an already complex situation.  A bit of walking and gentle use of the surgery-side arm helps but running a marathon or digging the vegetable patch is out of the question for at least a few weeks. Aesop’s fable of the Hare and the Tortoise may well have been written for such occasions. Slow and steady is the way to go.

The same holds true for the dressings, the wound, the scars and the newly created breast itself. Initially there are all kinds of things holding everything together – steri strips, superglue, waterproof dressings and the industrial strength sports bra worn day and night to ensure nothing moves around. Underneath that there’s the creeping/tingling/pins and needles sensation of nerve regeneration (which is odd to say the least) and the natural swelling, bruising and scarring to get used to. So the requirement for stamina isn’t just physical, a bit of emotional welly is important too. Even with an eye for the avant-garde it’s difficult to describe a swollen, bruised and slightly distorted breast as aesthetically pleasing. These things all resolve in time too, slow and steady.

I was never a good sprinter but the 10k? Well that’s another story 🙂



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4 thoughts on “Stamina: the hare and the tortoise

  1. So true. On with the trip, wherever it may take us. I always remember a friend of mine describing how, when he went on holiday, he liked to get to his destination as fast as possible which often meant using the motorway ‘hell for leather.’ I was never able to understand his approach and still don’t. Enjoying the journey and taking it all in is still part of the joy I think.

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  2. Ahh – you’re up and about and that is a good sign. I always like it when I’m 14 days out of recovery. That’s when the spring always returned to my step. Sounds like you are almost there! Sending hugs and strength.

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  3. These days I seem to measure the passage of time from the rear-view mirror. Things seem not to change much–and they don’t. From time to time, though, the opportunity presents itself for a backward glance and in that fleeting moment the enormity of the distance traveled comes into clear view.
    Only for a moment, though. Little time exists for ruminating on the past and, for the most part, that’s a good thing. On with the trip.

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