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Getting better, doing less.



After six weeks of convalescence, seven weeks  since the operation I am finally out and about again. As the surgeon said might happen I do have some swelling in my left leg if I stay on it too long but at least I can drive somewhere, walk around for a while and then rest, which means I can do my own shopping, meet a friend for coffee or go to church again. I really do empathise now with people who do not have that ability to get around. It is not a good life for someone who has been active, I guess I could live that way if I had to. I have greater empathy for all those I meet in nursing homes with restricted mobility too.


Do you have “Piecrust friends”? I now know I do. I adopted this expression for those friends who ring me and say “We must do lunch.” or “ I'll come and get you one of these days and we'll go for a drive” or “How would you like to go out one day soon?” and then never follow up on it. That has happened to me quite a bit during my convalescence. I use the term piecrust from an old saying of my Dad's: “Promises are like piecrusts, made to be broken.” Maybe they didn't think of what they said as a promise just some happy thought? But for me isolated at home they seemed like a ray of hope and then turned into broken promises.


I have just sent out 18 thank you cards, to the people who did contact me by phone or email, those who sent me cards and letters, brought flowers or meals and supported me in my time of need. I had a lot of texts on my mobile (cell) even when I was in hospital and it made a lot of difference to the way I felt about life. I don't have Facebook on my phone but found a lot of wishes for my recovery on Facebook when I got home. I do so appreciate the thoughtfulness of those who express care and support when I really feel alone, one of the downsides of being a widow. And even now I still have those fair weather friends who assume all is well and never bother to get in touch except for a Christmas card.


I don't get a lot of letters now, letter writing seems to have gone out of fashion but I usually write some letters this time of the year updating our family news rather than send off a Christmas card with sad news. And there is always some bad news, we all suffer the loss of old friends, people no longer the couple as we used to know through ill health and other sad events. September/October here is the peak time for deaths and for births, I always enjoy seeing my friends post pictures of their latest grandchild or in some cases great grandchildren. My good news is that my grandson Christopher has just been elected school Captain for his final year of high school. We do five years of high school here and then it is work or University the following year. And I have just had a visit from my Adelaide grandchildren for a day so that is good too.


I have been signed off by the community nurses now. They have been wonderful coming three times a week to dress the wound. My graft is solid and although it will take many more months to look or feel anything like flesh it is considered “healed”. So I can walk about and drive and all would be well except I am so darned tired. I would say that the four weeks I sat down with my leg up contributed to that as I surely lost muscle in that time. Now I have to do a lot of upper body exercise as I am still in some pain and cannot really exercise my legs that much. I am hopeful of being allowed to swim when summer comes. I did have some help with housework during my convalescence which has been handy but I feel now it is time for me to get back to whatever the new normal turns out to be.


The weather has been changeable, most of last month was very cold at night but some days recently have been hot and humid already. It was wonderful that some of those were in the school's Spring break. My Adelaide grandchildren have been able to swim in the local pool, walking distance from the apartment their mother lives in now. The state of my garden is precarious as we haven't had much rain this Spring. There has been no sudden rush of Spring flowers unfortunately and although the orange tree blossomed it did not set fruit. The more common garden plants like geraniums seem to be flourishing but the ferns hate the dry and even the bromiliads are showing signs of stress with many trumpets browning off. I love my garden so hate to see this happening. It is a disaster for local farmers of course,while just a minor nuisance for me.


So now I need to slowly get back into life, for a while it may be a little restricted and probably less exciting than before. I am 70 so have lived a good long life, with many happy memories I just need to maybe slow down a bit. Everybody says they are pleased to see me back attending the organisations I belong to. But I do hope no-one is too disappointed if I do less in the church now.  I really need to pace myself more but have no intention of putting everything aside as I love to be out among my pleasant acquaintances and friends again.  I will just be less of a social butterfly. Of course our lives get busier from now on  as we do the run down towards Christmas and there is much to do.  I just need to remind myself that it isn't me who has to do it all.


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