Journey to the Center of My Mind

My six weeks of post-op are just about up. Actually, according to the calendar, I’ve passed the six-week mark, but I don’t see the doctor until Tuesday. It’s been an interesting journey.

Week 1 – kinda fuzzy thanks to oxycodone. I remember being particularly aware of the pleasant sensation of clean skin and fresh jammies after a shower. Strange how it became the bright spot of my day. I mean, I take a shower EVERY day, so why did it seem so much more pleasant this first week? I don’t know, but it did and I wish I could recapture the sensation. My showers have turned back into just normal showers. Oh well.

During this same week, we learned that our oldest daughter has MS. It came as a shock and I can only feel grateful that I was still on heavy drugs. She is facing it with courage and optimism, and I’m so proud of her attitude. Not surprised, but very proud.

Week 2 – a little less drugs this week, but my day still revolved around a schedule of medication, ice packs, and pendulum exercises. I found it difficult to concentrate on anything for long, and my TV watching was confined mostly to HGTV, which doesn’t require a lot of attention. During this week, we also celebrated my husband’s birthday and our 36th wedding anniversary. Can I just say right here how grateful I am for sharing my life with Matt? One piece of bad news, though, Honey. I’ve really learned to love my flannel jammies.

Week 3 – developed a nasty rash which got very ugly and required a trip to the emergency room. We did not realize at the time that it was a reaction to codeine, so I was still taking my oxycodone (although less and less as the days passed) and the rash lingered. Also this week, began making a few short trips away from home. One trip took us to Lowe’s Hardware, where one of the salesmen, noting my arm sling, asked if I’d had rotator cuff surgery. When I said yes, he shared the sad tale of his having had the same surgery, and six years later, he’s still sleeping in a recliner. I didn’t need to hear that!!!

Week 4 – began wading through the paperwork required to file an AFLAC claim. Pretty daunting. Otherwise, little ups and downs. Made a trip to the office to work for 2 hours. It was such a pleasure to be there and to see other people. On the other hand, I helped my two youngest kids do their taxes. 1040EZ is totally misnamed. It ain’t easy at all. My son finally figured it out. So glad to know that his 4 years of college count for something!! Our daughter’s puppy, Lola, went to the vet for spaying, and so we had the fun of trying to keep a puppy (5 months) from jumping around and playing. Yeah, right. She’s been good company for me, though, when everyone else is away from home.

Week 5 – the serious sleep problems worsened as I continued to ease off the oxycodone, but at least the rash finally started getting better. (this is when we put two and two together and figured out what caused the rash in the first place. Oh, the blessings of hindsight.) My husband got home from being away on a business trip, only to turn around and head right back out. His 99-year-old mother had taken a fall and had a hairline fracture in her hip. He flew up to Michigan to see her, and help his brothers. I’m glad to say she’s doing well. People visit the physical therapy room when she’s in there, just to see the 99-year-old working away. Now I’m really going to have to put good effort into my physical therapy when it starts. Can’t be outdone by Nonna!

Week 6 – the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan and make all my problems clearly insignificant. Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? I spent much of the week glued to the TV, as I know so many other people did, too. My husband had to leave almost immediately on another business trip when he returned from Michigan, so whenever I wasn’t watching the news, I tried to fill my brain with something to distract me. For some reason, don’t ask me why, I got fascinated reading about World War I and all the things that happened between 1914 and 1918, not only politics, but also the arts, science and technology, and miscellaneous tidbits. I had four sources of information – The Chronicles of the 20th Century, The Timetables of History, The Timetables of American History, and, of course, Wikipedia. Reading about the events year by year, I was struck by how something that seems completely unconnected still has its effects on something else. How events in the news related to silent films, how they related to art, how art reflected huge social changes, and on and on. I can’t help but see so many alarming similarities to today’s events, from the turmoil in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, to the effect that changes in social activities have on commerce and lifestyle.

Now that I’m halfway into Week 7, I’m finally completely off the codeine, my rash has disappeared, I’m able to actually sleep in a bed and get about 6 hours of rest a night, and my energy level has risen. I’m anxious to get started on the physical therapy, I’m anxious to be allowed to drive again, and I’m very anxious to get back to my real life. Normalcy is something that’s not very prized until you lose it. Then you can’t wait to get back to where you began, like Dorothy trying to return to Kansas in “The Wizard of Oz”. For the Japanese, ‘normal’ may never return, not as it was, but I hope and pray that with help arriving, they can begin the journey to a new ‘normal’, with a heightened awareness and the ability to see a new future for themselves. They are facing mind-boggling challenges. My sympathies and best wishes go to them.


“Journey to the Center of the Mind”, by the Amboy Dukes, on , still amazing after all these years.

“Chronicle of the Twentieth Century”, at

“The Timetables of History”, at

“The Timetables of American History”, at

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One Response to Journey to the Center of My Mind

  1. joelle says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey. It’s funny, we often don’t realize how far we’ve come until we look back, or like you said, look elsewhere and see how good we really have it. Best of luck to you on your continued recovery and hurray for sleep at last!!! Keep a visual of Nonna and the Japanese in your mind when you get to the physical terrorists to keep you going… All the best :)

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