Since I am still in recovery on week 8 of what I expected to be a 6-week recovery, said recovery is still very much on my mind. Here are some things people said to me that encouraged me and made me feel better. (And let me tell you, this experience has been humbling. I can think of few times when I have needed encouragement more.)
1. I was talking to my friend Jane about operating from a place of fear. Like me, Jane has knee issues and has a serious knee surgery or two under her belt. I am generally not a fearful person, so I’ve been frustrated with myself for being so fearful, as well as puzzled by why this experience has been so different. Jane said, “It’s because we are older and we’ve been through a few things. We know how much time it takes to heal and we just don’t have time to go through it again.”
One, it felt good to know I was not alone. Two, coming to an understanding of something feels better, even when it doesn’t change things.
2. I did not bounce back from this as quickly as I expected and found my strength and my stamina nowhere what it was during my ACL surgery 14 years ago. My friend Cyndi and I were discussing the humbling effects of aging and the experience of finding yourself physically weak, when you are generally accustomed to being strong. Cyndi just finished training for occupational therapy, and has a lot of experience rehabbing people in a facility. She reassured me I was strong enough. “You’re stronger than you think. I’ve had a number of patients your age who were not strong enough to be released to recover at home.”
A perspective from someone with a broader experience than my limited one helped me be more grateful for the strength I did have.
3. Strength and stamina round 2. Still frustrated, I was lamenting over the effects of my desk job to my brother. (Again, comparing myself now to myself 14 years ago.) He too had another perspective. “I do physical labor.” (He is an electrician, but also now runs a small ranch primarily by himself.) “I have noticed a difference in my muscle mass just in the last 5 years.”
Hearing understanding and empathy was just what I needed to not feel this was somehow my fault.
4. My friend Vonda Gren told me emphatically in church on the first Sunday I was able to return, “I pray for you every day!”
And so it was when a physical therapist came knocking at my door later that evening and I heard a voice in my head say, “This is a direct answer to a prayer,” I knew exactly whose prayer it was.
The gist of it is this.
Listen. Connect. Love.
Help, plain and simple.
[Day 156 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]