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 ;)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

In My Dreams

Sleeping has become a bit of an issue lately. With so much going on, I can’t seem to switch my mind off. I have never really been the best at sleeping through the night, well not for the past couple of years at least. It always seem to be something, whether its pain, worries or sadness. At the moment I think it’s probably more of the sadness and worries.
I worry about my poor grandfather, who’s very sick in hospital at the moment and I pray that he will get better soon. That’s the one drawback of having such a close family I guess, it hurts so much when your loved ones are poorly or going through a hard time. I worry about my future, not sure which direction to head in next and with so many ideas I can’t seem to settle on anything, it just seems too overwhelming. I am sad about the loss of someone close, the breakdown of a long relationship. Every day I go through the motions of any break up situation, sadness, anger, fear, regret, guilt etc etc. It’s hard on you physically and emotionally to feel all these things at once and its taking its toll on my health, as expected.
The stress of everything has already caused my other hip to collapse, hence the emergency surgery I am having next week to replace it. But the most awful thing is the incredibly long days and nights with little sleep. I lie awake torturing myself about what I have done wrong or how things could have been different. I lie awake worried about my family and this awful situation. I lie awake not quite sure what the future holds and where to turn next.
I know it’s going to be like this for the foreseeable future, any combination of those things would be enough to affect anyone but throw in a broken body and it’s all just a little too much. I know, well I hope, that things will get better. After a rough time you have to experience some good things right? Well I am laying all my hopes on that anyway. I have to believe that there is something better, that all of this has a reason or purpose because if not what is the point? I wish that things could just be simple, in terms of my lost relationship anyway, but I guess life just gets in the way sometimes. I am lucky that I have my independence back, something I didn’t have the last time my heart was broken. It makes all the difference when you can actually get up in the morning and try to go about life as normal. But being able to cope on your own doesn’t mean you don’t miss someone being there. It’s normal to miss the person you shared your life with but it’s even harder when you know that person knew everything about you, RA included. I wonder if I will ever find someone who accepts me for who I am RA and all. I guess that is my biggest fear as I have spent the past few months ready to settle down and prepared for sharing my life with someone and even starting a family. Now all of that has unexpectedly been taken away, I wonder will it ever come back. Or was this supposed to happen because something better is going to come along.
Who knows? But all I really need right now is peace. A restful night of good dreams that make me hopeful about the situation. The prospect of sleeping on my sodding back for six weeks post op is not making me jump for joy let’s just say that. But the amount of drugs pumped into me for my op may at least make me so numb I forget about everything for a while and rest unaware. The one thing that I am grateful for is the amazing and continued support from family, friends and all of you! The lovely emails I receive give me strength and motivation to carry on, knowing I am at least making a difference to all your lives.
My sister is moving in for a bit to take care of me post op, and family and friends have all offered their services too so hopefully my fear of being alone whilst not so independent for the next few weeks is just that, fear not reality.