Saturday, 18 February 2012

Onwards and Upwards

So once again I have spent the past few weeks preparing for and then recovering from surgery. I had my left hip replaced last week and the experience was far different from my previous one with the right hip. I went into hospital more fearful of being alone post op than the actual operation itself, so I was quite surprised and distressed to wake up in the recovery room in absolute agony. Now, I don’t want to put anyone off having replacements at all because it’s different for everyone and my other hip was not painful at all after the operation.
I am not sure if different anaesthesia was used in this operation but it’s hard to describe the sheer pain and discomfort I woke with which then lasted several days. I was pumped full of morphine to try and get the pain under control which eventually took effect. I had very little sleep for the first few days, and even now actually as sleeping on your back like a beached whale is no bloody fun. I forgot how much the nurses pester you following an operation, I was woken throughout the night for observations and tests (which don’t get me wrong I am grateful for) but it doesn’t let you get much well needed rest.
Knowing I had the support of family and friends was reassuring and I had visits from them all in the short time I was actually on the ward.  But I couldn’t help feeling that dread of going home to an empty house. Obviously, with my last op I was in a relationship which reassured me I wouldn’t be alone every day whilst I recovered. It’s not just the practical side of having help at home (as you can barely do anything alone post op) but having company and the love of someone you know will take care of you. I really miss that, but on the upside my guardian angel of a sister has come to stay with me to nurse me all better. She has attended to my every need and I couldn’t be more grateful or proud of her, she’s going to make a wonderful mum one day!
It’s been lovely having her here and spending time with her and my fear was unfounded because I have never felt less alone. I have had my moments of sadness and loss, as expected, because the reality of a relationship ending really does hit home after a major operation, combined with loads of drugs which make you confused anyway. But I am feeling really happy and confident, more each day, because there is some pride in knowing you can be alone and that your own company isn’t so bad after all. My friends and family have rallied round, as always, checking on me and cheering me up so I am in a really good place right now which I didn’t expect. I guess I have just realised the selfishness of some people and take pride in knowing that there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for someone I loved. It’s obviously not the right person to be with if they can’t support you through the roughest times and feel there is always something better. Well I couldn’t be better thank you very much and knowing that I am a good person makes me hold my head up high, which is more than I can say for those who haven’t been there.
Having a long term disease like RA is hard. Hard for you, hard for those around you, but it shouldn’t change the way you feel about someone and it should definitely not make you feel like there is probably something better. I have changed as a person, but in a wonderful way, over the years since my diagnosis. I am more independent, I am strong and I am compassionate (more so than I have ever been) so if that’s not good enough I don’t know what is.
On the upside, I have good news. Some lovely fella may have noticed all this and is actually taking me on a date, in fact the prospect of a few dates when I am back on my feet. All with people who know and understand my condition and don’t give a damn. Good people I like to think. So after all the hurt and pain, my feelings that no one would be interested in someone like me and all my RA baggage are ridiculous. Because I am not RA. RA is not me. I am still a person and I like to think a great one at that who has lots to offer so it is stupid to think there isn’t someone out there for everyone who will accept you for just who you are. This is just some advice to those who might be in the same situation where relationships have ended because someone can’t see past what you have, and focus on who you are and what you have to offer. Someone will come along and sweep you off your feet I promise. Because everyone has something, whether its illness, money issues, family problems, confidence issues or whatever... we are all going through something so why is having RA any different. It’s just something you have and a part of life, it doesn’t define you. If you were filling out a questionnaire on a dating site or something it isn’t, well it shouldn’t be, the first thing you say about yourself because you are more than that.
Anyway, best get some beauty sleep for my hot date, I’ve only got a couple of weeks to prepare and this post op look is so not working for me ;)

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