Confirmations, Lessons Learned, Reflections, Resolutions
In my feeble attempts to make productive use of the much longer than expected downtime I’ve had in recovering from my Halloween hip replacement, I had an “aha” moment and figured that this would be a good time to write something about what I’ve learned from this experience. Given the timing, I decided to extend the subject matter to include some other thoughts that have gelled in my mind over the last few years. I hope to use this mental (and I still can’t do much physical) exercise to do what most people do at the turn of the new year and make a stab at setting out some directions I might follow in 2018.
I am more like my mother than I would have wanted to admit.
I could go into a LOT more detail about this revelation, but suffice to say that this experience has made it easier to order my husband around. I prefer to think of it as asking him to do things for me that I cannot easily or safely (in his eyes) do for myself. Both of us recall that Mom treated Dad the same way.
I am not as patient as I thought I was.
We have often accused Mom of having “instantitis.” When she would ask for something or think of something she wanted to do, she always had to get it or do it right at that same time. Spouse likes to say that I suffer from this condition, too, though when I find myself in the same situation, I generally don’t have to have it right then. I think he just does it right then so he doesn’t forget, though there have been more occasions where I have repeated a request because I wanted something done (that I can’t at the moment do for myself) pretty much instantly!
I can eat like a “normal” person
I have always been a slave to my scale, and more often than not skipped breakfast, which is really my favorite meal of the day. One of the steps that I have removed from my usual morning ritual since my surgery is the dreaded obligatory stop at the scale. The result, up or down from the prior day’s number, used to set the tone for the rest of my day. It hasn’t for the last two months and now I am enjoying my favorite meal every morning!
As long as I have something with which to entertain myself, I can just about live in the recliner in my “woman cave
This is what I call the room added to the back of our home before we bought it. It gets the morning light and overlooks the lake across the street. It has a separate HVAC system from the rest of the house so I can set and maintain the temp at a level that is comfortable for just me. My desks and computers and bookshelves and magazine rack have their places in this room, organized and maintained to my satisfaction alone. My bathroom, bedroom and kitchen are only steps away. Spouse has his similarly configured “man cave” on the basement level of our split-level retirement home, where he does the things that make him happy while I do the same over his head.
There is a tray next to my comfy seat for my food and recycled napkins and tissues, since I hate to throw any paper goods out before I get maximum use out of them. The tray also holds my oldest most comfy pair of glasses and the TV and satellite dish remote controls. I can easily reach a nearby desktop where I stack my current reading materials plus fresh napkins and tissues, because my recycled paper goods still have a limited life.
Before my current confinement, I often spent days at a time in this spot, where I could feel the warmth of the sun, read and write and learn, all in the comfort of my seasonally adjusted sleepwear, braless. I cannot, however, continue to confine my living to just this very small and limited comfort zone. I have essentially been forced to do for the last two months since I have not been able to drive in that period, or even steep comfortably in a bed (instead of the recliner) and I’m still not sure when I will regain those most essential of capabilities. I can only read so many books and magazines and watch only so many TV programs. I have to get out of the “woman cave” and DO SOMETHING/BE SOMEWHERE ELSE!
I cannot live without live and in person human interaction
I love my husband and I love my family but I have to be around other people to whom I am not related by blood or marriage. The visits I had from my sister and her daughter gave me more of a mental and emotional lift than I’d expected, but I really miss seeing my friends, anywhere and everywhere around town, in encounters planned or unplanned. I even miss just having the option of reading a book or writing something in someplace other than the woman cave. I miss “retail therapy” even if I don’t buy anything but just cruise up and down the aisles in any type of retail establishment whatsoever. I didn’t know how much I missed just being exposed to others of my fellow human beings, even if the only thing I do is make contact with someone else standing in front of a shelf or behind a counter, shopping alongside me, looking for a book in the library, or taking my order in any of those places that I still can’t get to on my own!
I need some external affirmation
I used to think that, no matter what, as long as I enjoyed whatever I might be doing, whatever contribution I might be making to my fellow man, I could continue to do it without knowing that it was appreciated by others. I loved I writing and sending messages of encouragement to the students I mentored last year (2016) and what kept me going this year (2017) was receiving replies from last year’s students when I sent them something. I have not heard a peep from this year’s students so have not been inspired to continue to reach out to them for the remainder of this school year or to continue with a new set next year. My own forgetfulness in missing the online training for repeat mentors may have contributed to this decision, but still… I will also admit that I like hearing from my fellow Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning (ORICL) members when they have enjoyed a discussion that I led, a trip I organized, or a class from an instructor I recruited.
I spend too much time on details and peripherals and don’t pay attention to the bigger picture right in front of me
This is true with my writing, my research, my politics, my sporadic cleaning and organizing, even my attempts to get around places that I know well without injuring myself for the time being. Over these past two months I haven’t been able to sit at my desk comfortably for long periods due to the continued swelling which gets worse if I don’t have it elevated. I’ve also fallen way too many times when I was thinking about where I was going and what I would do when I got there when I should have been concentrating on stepping up with my good leg! I couldn’t even begin to count the numerous pieces of writing I’ve done which could and should have been only a page or two, and often less than that, but ended up being much much much longer. I guess I think anyone who reads them wants to know all the background and ins and outs and possibilities like I do. Or the number of people I’ve reached out to for advice in writing my first grant proposals for the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association (ORHPA). All of them have told me it’s not that difficult. Or the hours I’ve spent on several occasions over the last few years, trying to improve the appearance of this blog although, come to think of it, most of the blogs that I follow have kept the same look over all that time. Maybe this will be one instance where I stop wasting time on details!