Over the last week I have learned a lot about recovery. I have learned my feelings toward it, the benefits of it, and how challenging it can actually be.
Last Monday I had a laparoscopic surgery, and honestly, before the procedure even started I was worn out emotionally, mentally, and physically. I hadn’t eaten for 22 hours and I was nervous about what the outcome of the procedure would tell me. Part of me hoped the doctors would find what they were looking for so that I finally had an answer to the health questions that have been present since last November. Another part of me didn’t want this condition at all. I was confused and exhausted.
So it is no surprise that once I had recovered for an hour and was brought back to my mom and fiancé in the hospital room that I was 98% unconscious and all I wanted was food. I had enough energy to eat a snack and then needed assistance getting to the car. The anesthesia was still doing its job; that’s for sure!
After the first night, I awoke a little more independent. I could walk to the bathroom if I held onto the walls, and I even worked myself up to a one-block walk on my street. This meant I could take off my cool-looking stockings the nurses had made me wear for the surgery. This sparkle of independence gave me the desire to get back to my typical routine. There was one problem: I still had a wound in my stomach and the pain was unexplainable. There was no way I would be back to my normal self.
It was in these moments that I realized how much I dislike recovery. I always have. I enjoy a few hours of relaxation, but if I am forced to sit around for more than two hours, I feel lazy and unproductive. I feel like I am wasting time. I can’t just sit and recover. It’s too challenging.
The next day, I was still in an incredible amount of pain and had nearly no appetite. However, a friend came to visit in the evening, so I felt more comfortable recovering with someone at my side. Something about not being alone made me feel like it was a hang-out, not a sentence to remain in bed or on the couch. This made recovery more fun.
I have no doubt I needed rest, and I most definitely know the doctors told me to limit my activities. However, I had no motivation to comply other than the fact that I literally couldn’t move my body to even be productive.
So what is the point of this post? Well, if you are recovering from a laparoscopic surgery, I feel your pain. Trust me. If you are just a regular reader and a little confused why I am rambling about my time in bed, here is my reason: We all need points of recovery in our lives. Whether we undergo a surgery, lose a loved one, experience major change, or finally attain a goal that has required all of our time and energy, there are a multitude of scenarios when our human bodies just need rest. Our minds may convince us that we really want to get going, to be productive, or to continue activities, but we can’t listen.
Sometimes we just need to turn our bodies off and allow them to restart.
I never realized how important recovery was. Nor did I realize how difficult it is to comply with, so here are my few tips for you:
- Accept recovery as a challenge you must overcome.
- Invite someone into the recovery process with you. If someone can sit by your side when you feel most alone and lazy, it will most definitely increase your mood and attitude toward the process.
- Embrace recovery. Rather than creating lists of things you should be doing or tasks you can complete once your rest is up, focus on positive things you can be doing to make yourself better now.
- Take plenty of naps. For me, I didn’t realize how worn out my body was until I started taking more and more naps and my body fully welcomed the sleep.
- Try to keep a positive mindset. For me, this was the most challenging. I was in pain, my stomach was bloated from the surgery even though I hardly ate anything, I spent most of my recovery alone in bed, and it was easy to get down on myself. Depressing thoughts entered my mind all too often, but I tried to combat them with positivity. Sometimes this worked 🙂
Recovery can be hard, but it is necessary. Once you get through it, you will be stronger on the other end. Good luck!