Life on the outside

I’ve made it out!!! After two and half weeks, I’ve left hospital.

It should have been a wonderful moment.

After intensive care, the only thing I was focused on was getting well enough to escape. My plan has always been to get through this cancer treatment as quickly as possible.

But I was very tired and just a little bit scared.

Being stuck inside hospital felt as if I was in some kind of ghost like prison. Most of my fellow inmates wore identical white hospital gowns and we all moved so slowly.

At night we shared each other’s pain. With bleeps and screams and emergency visits from doctors.

Early the next morning the nurses would wake us. They would tell us that it was going to be a lovely day. Inwardly we’d all sigh. It was going to be another day stuck on the ward staring at a bright blue sky.

I don’t think it helped that the building was right next to a jail.

I thought that once I left hospital, everything would be back to normal. But I wasn’t ready for normal and it came as quite a shock.

It was the first time since the day of the operation that I’d properly been outside. Just walking the short distance to the car, it seemed like everyone around me was in such a rush.

A week on from getting out of hospital I’m still totally and utterly exhausted.

My days go something like this. Breakfast, then sleep. Shower, sleep. Lunch, sleep. And so on.

But I do have glimpses of ordinary life.

It’s amazing to go into the garden and actually feel that sun on my skin after being trapped inside for so long.

In these brief moments, I feel well. Really well.

These glimpses are getting longer. And I can’t wait for them all to join up so I can have a whole day out of bed.

11 thoughts on “Life on the outside

  1. Good news to hear that you’re out, Helen, and ‘on the outside’. I went to visit a good friend of mine today who is two weeks on from her surgery: like you, he routine is something, then sleep. It will improve, and the inter-sleep gaps will lengthen. Enjoy the sunshine while it;s here!

  2. Dear Helen, the shock to your body of the drastic treatment is dreadful. But it is for the better… although it doesn’t seem like it right now. Can’t imagine just what you have been thru’ but desperately want to hold out my hand to support you – however little I can. The description of your day is very sad, however you do need to rebuild your strength both physically mentally and emotionally. Stay strong and BIG HUG Phil x

  3. Every day those glimpses will get a bit longer and just try to remind yourself that your body needs the sleep to help it recover. You’re on the right road and already over the awkward bridge and unexpected corner! Wishing you a steady and long-lasting recovery, x

  4. So glad you’re out of hospital and being looked after at home. I’m toasting you with a Filling Station cuppa in TVC at 7am on a Saturday morning. Soon you will be back and I will buy you one. Stay strong and hope you keep up this moving blog. Maddy xx

  5. Dear Helen, my grandmother used to say that sleep is the best doctor. I can only imagine how shocking this change of pace is for you. Be patient and persistant, look forward to little things that will make you happy (a minute more of sunshine, getting your hair and nails done, a drop or two of your favourite perfume, cat purring somwhere close by…). Love!

  6. Congratulations on getting out! – it’s such a paradox, isn’t it? Even the nicest hospital eventually feels like a prison; maybe it’s a necessary part of the recovery process. One thing I know for sure: surgery itself takes a lot of energy to recover from, and the longer the op, the more energy it takes. Anaesthetics are amazing these days, their after-effects are less obvious, but they do still affect the body a lot, and the basic physical healing process simply takes a huge amount of energy, so do eat as well as you can, your need for essential nutrients is going to be high for weeks. In my opinion, our health system doesn’t pay enough attention to this, we have brilliant surgeons but doctors in general tend to assume recovery will a) happen and b) be ‘uneventful’. So eat, drink and sleep to your heart’s content – and your body’s! Normal ‘rules’ don’t apply; loads of energy is being devoted to repair and if your system needs sleep to effect those repairs, so be it. Get well slowly; ‘normality’ will just have to wait for you to rejoin it when you’re good and ready!

  7. Nothing to add to the above just wanted to say hi, it was lovely to read your blog. They all say that sleep’s the best medicine, so fill your boots :) and keep getting better.

  8. Oh, and while I’m wagging my finger at you, no heavy lifting! In fact, light lifting only. After abdominal surgery, the potential for a hernia to develop is increased; that’s what happened to me after a simple gall-badder op, and I went back in 4 times!! A nurse friend of mine says she wouldn’t even lift a full kettle for the first three months. Which all tends to run counter to your plans for a quick recovery, I know; maybe the Beeb could assign you a laptop-carrier when you come back. I might apply!

  9. good to hear you are on the way back, but dont rush.. take your time and enjoy each positive step in the recover and particularly those momments when the sun is on your face and the daffodils are perfectly yellow and the grass a lush green. best wishes Jock

  10. Helen, only just found out. So glad you are on the road to recovery. Wonderful blog – very inspiring. Hope to see u back at tvc v soon x

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