Goals for my convalescence
|[Image description: A sleepy koala. Did you know? Koalas rest 19 hours per day, like me for the next three weeks. Photo by Cris Saur on Unsplash]|
I have surgery tomorrow, bringing a natural end to my q1 workout goal (even though I fell short: I did only 18 instead of 24 workouts in the first 8 weeks of 2018). I'm not supposed to exercise for 6 weeks, and I'll be taking three weeks off from everything, including work.
Some people have asked me, "Whoa! What are you going to do for three weeks at home?" Or more pointedly, "What do you plan to get done in your time off?" I admit I've sometimes thought of it that way myself: "Wow, three weeks off! I could draft a novel! I could get weeks and weeks ahead in Frugal Bagel posts! I could draw a comic! I could write an app! I could do so much!" And I could - if I had three random weeks off of sound body and mind. But this isn't a staycation. I'll be recovering from major surgery, and even though it's hard for me to imagine now, while I'm feeling well, healing is hard work.
Well people tend to underestimate the effects of pain or illness. We imagine life with pain as pretty much the same as ordinary life, but with some physical discomfort layered on top. In reality, life with pain is qualitatively different. If nothing else, the years I spent taming my chronic medical problems have taught me that. When you are in pain, sick, or wounded, it's difficult to think clearly, even if the problem doesn't directly affect your mind. Trying to work with long-term pain is like trying to work in a room with a fire alarm endlessly going off. Maybe you eventually kind of get used to it, but not really? Then there's the emotional effects. Pain, especially wounds, make me feel primally vulnerable and exposed. I feel the need to retreat to comfort in all its forms: blanket nests, food from childhood, reruns.
So, I'm not expecting my best work. Or any work, at least not in the first three weeks. Even fun, "non-work" work. Expecting myself to accomplish anything more than self-care is unrealistic, and it sets me up for guilt and failure - feelings which aren't conducive to healing! My #1 and only goal is to heal.
So, my plans for the next three weeks are simple:
- Sleep as much as I can stand.
- Stay hydrated.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Carefully follow doctor's orders.
- Rest my body.
- Be kind and gentle to myself.
- Read books.
- Study plants and birds for the upcoming spring outdoors season.
- Play Life Is Strange: Before the Storm.
- Start a new farm on Stardew Valley.
- Watch that show about time travelers.
- Figure out how to watch the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and then listen to the new Gilmore Guys podcast on it.