A year ago I was in St. Josef bei Hallein near Salzburg on a health cure having just retired from the IAEA. It was beautiful countryside and I was enjoying it through the window.
Now I am in convalescence (rehabilitation) following my knee surgery in the city of Vienna near the Vienna Woods. I look out the window and appreciate the sunshine.
My feelings of pain, weakness and vulnerability are very similar to that time last year. I think I should be moving and walking and enjoying the environment. I resign myself to appreciating what I can do and not comparing myself with others. Of course I’d like to be more mobile. Of course I’d love to walk in the park. And yes I’d love to sit in the sun.
I reflect on the past three weeks here with all the various treatments. I told Andi that I felt the treatments here are much more substantial than those a year ago at the health cure. He confirmed noting that this is a therapy and the other was considered a prevention measure.
I’m not sure whether it is standard procedure to offer an extra week – many other patients here have spoken of it. When the doctor offered it to me I said if it was considered worthwhile, then I would stay another week. My physiotherapist stressed how important it is for me to continue therapy, even after this rehabilitation session.
The first week I really had a lot of pain as I stopped using the crutches and got to walk to the seven to nine therapies a day.
The second week there were times when I thought I was pain free. The third week I realised I still needed drugs as I begun to juggle the periods of pain and learned to dose my medication. This is an ongoing process. I’ve met a number of patients who’ve had similar operations and were apparently pain free. Then after sharing the meal table together, I see them reach for their crutches as they stand up to leave.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is different.
I’ve read two novels and nearly finished the one book I started when? A year ago? I know I had planned to go through it at the health cure last year. My stumbling block and what I wanted to deal with is my big vision. Clare Josa, in Dare to Dream Bigger, gives guidance for passionate world-changers and entrepreneurs.
Before I worked for the IAEA I could have been an entrepreneur. I was a self-employed communications trainer. And that’s where I thought I would go after my life at the UN. My transit stop here now is to get my health in order. This is proving much more painful and harder than I had expected. My biggest challenge now is patience and consistent investment. Not only do I get up to walk at least 250 steps every hour, every day. I need to take lots of other tiny steps consistently and especially work on my attitude.
I decided to bow out of public office to focus on a speedy recovery. So you may have missed me at the VIC Toastmasters meetings, the Women in Nuclear sessions, the WFWP conferences. Of course occasionally I’ve attended. I was even Zoom master for a couple of meetings. But my priority is my health and these last three weeks I’ve even missed the zoom service because the lunch schedule here at the rehabilitation clinic is a fixed appointment time but varying from day to day. They have staggered the meals and allotted the times to enable the COVID19 required distancing. So sometimes my lunch is at eleven-fifteen, sometimes at twelve-forty-five.
So when I wonder why I spend so much time in my room here, I remember the times when I do go out and am obliged to wear a mask. I feel like I am suffocating. Even during the therapies I have occasionally tried to remove the mask to be told by the therapist that I must keep it on.
Did I tell you about the walk last week in the park when I saw the squirrels? I took a little video. But I really have not been out walking that much. And it’s a challenge not to beat myself up about it. My right knee is starting to really hurt now that the left one has been straightened.
I’m happy to say that I got myself an appointment with the surgeon once I finish here. I am looking forward to getting a perspective on the next operation. Of course that too is a challenge. I still have a time of pain and suffering ahead of me and look forward to the long-term benefits afterwards. It still feels like a long haul.
So my idea was to write my blog about it. I don’t want to bore you with my pain. However I’m aware that I am not alone and perhaps I can inform you or inspire you or comfort you in whatever you are going through.
I had no idea how long this was going to take before I had my first knee operation. There are people with all sorts of issues here at the rehab clinic, some haven’t even had operations. It’s fascinating for me to meet some people who have had multiple operations and are just doing fine.
No need for me to feel sorry for myself about my one knee. My room mate had her shoulder, both hips, one knee and her back operated a number of times. That was the room mate at the remobilization clinic. Despite a recent shoulder operation she was upset that her knee was taking so long to recover! I just had to be grateful and realize a knee operation is not the end of the world.
Josef has been coming to visit me nearly every day. They’ve tightened the security even more due to Covid. Today I took a photo as I let him in to my room holding the two cups of coffee he picked up on his way up.
It’s not the end of the world.