DPchallenge – perspective/aging

January 2013, I had an emergency operation to save my life, after my bowel ruptured. I had no idea I had been ill, after a more than a week of sedation in intensive care, I woke up to find, as I thought, my daughter and husband sitting in my bedroom laughing at me. I snarled at them for interrupting my sleep.

My daughter explained I was not at home, but in hospital, where I had been for ten days. I couldn’t understand it, she said I should feel my tummy, which was well padded over a large area. I had to accept what they were telling me was true. I had had a life threatening and life changing scenario.

I was in hospital six weeks, the time in intensive care had taking away my memory, I had to learn to sit up, to eat, the ‘physio terrorists’ taught me to get out of bed, to walk, to get up and down steps. They couldn’t give me my memories back.

I went back to hospital eight weeks later to see the surgeon, he was quite shocked to see me, he explained I had been so ill, he had not expected me to survive! He said there was nothing more he could do for me, I had to ‘go home and enjoy my life’.

Over the year, I have recovered so much of my abilities, gradually things are coming into my mind. I can drive, but I cannot remember my earlier ‘rabbit run’ journey’s. I know, I know the road well, but cannot think what is the road at the next junction, or where towns and villages are to each other.Everything is a learning curve.

I have picked up my previous hobbies of reading groups, my poetry group and writing group. I am ‘up to speed’ with leading them and remembering book titles and authors. I am grateful to the people who kept these groups going in my absence. I hate having to say ‘I’m sorry I cannot remember that… or I’m sorry I have no memory of that’ 

Previously I was confident of my ability, unafraid of going to places unaccompanied, now everywhere I go I have to consider what obstacles I may meet. Am I able to just use my walking stick, or do I need to take my walking frame? Is there somewhere where I can rest, toilets, Cafe to sit and have a drink whileI get a rest before continuing. I can walk for about two miles max, but it is slow.

My life has really changed, I can do most things now, but it is so unbelievably slow. I feel gratitude that I can still function as an independent person, there are close people who will help me if necessary. I can no longer get affordable insurance to travel abroad, but there is a lot of the United Kingdom I have not seen, so that is what we are doing, going to places in England that we have not seen before, either driving ourselves, but if too far away, going on Coach holidays. So yes, I am enjoying my life, and will do for as long as I can.

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