Two steps forward, one step back

As a patient, or someone recently out of hospital, your wants and needs shrink amazingly.

The comfort of familiar things, freedom from pain, a small measure of independence, sleep, and a body that appears to be co-operating in achieving these things. Those who know me even a little will know that I have been pushing the boundaries, in some cases a bit too hard. Yesterday, I tottered along, (with the Husband in full hover-mode beside me) up and down the BIL’s street in the sun. I made 400m/ 430+ yards before I called it a day. Later in the day, it became apparent this had been 200m too much. I have trouble applying the brakes, in almost everything I do. The result was an evening of strong pain and fatigue, and all the elation of the morning evaporated. Lesson learned. For now, anyway.

Bruising to match my back jewellery. Why can't they get a needle in without leaking all over the place?

Bruising to match my back jewellery. Why can’t they get a needle in without leaking all over the place? It doesn’t hurt, but it’s not pretty.

Today, we are doing laundry, packing suitcases and acquiring travel necessities such as chocolate… I will be doing a lot of the packing, but from a firmly seated position. Tonight we have dinner with a few friends from our motorbike club (so I can torment myself a little more with how long it’s going to be till I can get back on the bike, you understand), and then on Friday morning, we’re OFF! I could easily have left it another day, but the siren call of my own bed, and things being where they should be, and close at hand, is irresistible. It’s undoubtedly true that being at home will possibly make me take on too much again, but at least my large and flawlessly comfortable bed will be there to fall into. I will have help and support from the Dowager while I’m not allowed to drive (another 2Β½ weeks, eek!).

And then, of course, there’s the sewing room…. I feel the irresistible pull of unstarted and unfinished blocks, of projects on hold but due in a few months, the wheeled chair for zooming around the floor from machine to ironing board. I’ll definitely have to ration my time in there, but it will be therapeutic to be making again, so the rationing won’t be too strict.

Lots of time in the kitchen will have to wait till I can stand for longer periods. I had a call while in hospital from one of my GF Bakery customers, rattling off an order “for Monday, yes?”. Well, er, no, actually. Silence. I explained. They hadn’t ordered from me for about 6 weeks, so were unaware of the issue. I’ll give them a call when I get home and give them an ETA for the resumption of normal service πŸ™‚

And finally, the β™₯Β thanksΒ β™₯. I owe you all a huge debt of thanks for the kindness, care, compassion, support and strength you’ve sent me. It has hauled me by my scruff through some quite dark and lonely moments and brought me out the other side to the realisation that yes, the pain will stop, the back will get better, and in six weeks all this will be behind me (geddit?). Sorry, couldn’t resist. You know me and puns.

Love you all.



91 thoughts on “Two steps forward, one step back

  1. claire93 says:

    there is nothing like being in your own home for convalescing, so great to hear you’ll soon be home. However (and this in a very stern voice) make sure you let the Dowager run around a little for you, making lovely cups of tea etc, and don’t go throwing yourself (either literally or figuratively) into too much crafting or any other kind of thing too soon!
    Listen to your body, and take lots of naps/rests . . . nothing (in crafts) is that urgent that it can’t wait.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s just a pity that the Dowager’s tea is of the variety my father used to call ‘Maiden’s Piss’…pale, mild and inoffensive! I like a good strong brew and not too much milk, but most Chiconis like their beverages a lot more blonde! I promise not to try and finish Time for Teal in the first week I’m home…

  2. craftycreeky says:

    Take care and look after yourself, hope the journey home goes ok.

  3. Ah, yet another similarity-I also look like a badly used pincushion when people take blood from me! I’m always astonished when they get it right the first time (but usually they end up using a butterfly needle in the back of my hand after turning my arm(s) unpleasant colours).
    Glad you get to go home soon. And fer crissakes, take it easier!
    Do you ever do iced tea there? I bet that Lipton Intense would be great for that.

  4. Grannymar says:

    Great news that you are preparing to come home. Please be careful and not try to do too much to soon. None of us want you back in the hell-hole of pain and you do not want to undo all the good work of the surgeon.

    My parents liked strong tea. So strong that the spoon would stand up in it! I gave up drinking tea in my teens and moved to coffee.

    It is past glass slipper time here, so I should put my head down for a few hours. I need the beauty sleep!

    • katechiconi says:

      We had a similar discussion over at Celi’s, I recall. My favourite expression is “tea you can trot a mouse on”! Sleep well, Cinderella, but I don’t see how you can possibly be improved πŸ™‚

      • Grannymar says:

        You got it in one, dear girl. I am a hopeless case. Back in my late teens, I was checking my make-up in the mirror over the fireplace. Youngest brother pipes up from across the room: “You look like the back of a bus!” Now we all know that the back of a Dublin bus on a wet November afternoon is NOT a pretty sight! πŸ˜† Brothers! How did I manage to survive living in the middle of four of them?

      • katechiconi says:

        In our house, that would have provoked a response of “well, it’s the same face as looks back at you in the morning, so suck it up, buster”. We were free-spoken, opinionated and all very alike! I have an embarrassment of sisters and only two boys amongst the 7 of us…

      • Grannymar says:

        I have one sister, she was the tail ender and missed out on the rough and tumble that I enjoyed.

      • katechiconi says:

        Rather like my own youngest sib…

      • katechiconi says:

        Oh, and by the way, my comment was intended to mean that your beauty was sufficient for all eternity and needed no help πŸ™‚

      • Grannymar says:

        I know that Kate, but the other option is more fun. I seldom take myself seriously.

      • katechiconi says:

        Personally, I think your looks have lasted exceptionally well. I should be so fortunate!

      • Grannymar says:

        πŸ˜† Who said the camera never lies? Distance blurs the edges nicely!!

  5. mlwilkie says:

    That bruising looks awful. I hope your recovery is quick

    • katechiconi says:

      You should see the back! I thought it was perhaps a bit much for most people :-). Recovery’s expected to take about 6 weeks or so. Time will drag a bit, I expect!

  6. So good to hear your sense of humor has stood up to the rigors of the hospital stay. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Take care.

  7. dayphoto says:

    Oh, the bruising! Shudder! Randomly there is a person who can put in the needles and you never know…then there are all the others.


    • katechiconi says:

      I did present an unusually tricky problem. They needed to get a large multi-port cannula into virtually non-existent veins. I have barely any useful veins after chemo. Fortunately, most of the more brutal tinkering was done after I was nicely asleep…

  8. Lynda says:

    We always want to be Wonder Woman after a surgery and then we hurt ourselves. I did too much after my knee surgery and paid. I also pulled something loose after my hysterectomy too… I REALLY paid! Oddly, it didn’t hurt when I did it, but I ended up back in the hospital for repairs.

    So, Kate, why do we think we are invincible even when our surgeon’s (who know better) tell us we aren’t?

    • katechiconi says:

      Because we KNOW we can do all that stuff, and find it hard to be told we can’t! I’m getting really, really good at picking things up with my toes. My hips are still very flexible, so it saves the long descent through the knees to the floor and a crabwise sideways reach for whatever it is. Monkeywoman Rules! Three weeks of enforced carefulness grates, though…

      • Lynda says:

        All hail the Monkeywoman! πŸ˜€

      • Kate, please copy me and become a coward. I’m so afraid of the prolonged pain that I do nothing that’s going to aggravate it, which leaves me in a comfy chair watching rubbish television with a bit of gentle hand sewing to hand. I have a useful thingy for picking up stuff from the floor: It’s like a walking stick with sprung grab claws on the end. I do hope you have help in the house.
        Take the journey in easy stages…

        But enough of the advice you don’t need: …
        ViV x

      • katechiconi says:

        Oh, don’t worry, I shall be pretty lazy the first few weeks. The grabber is already at hand, the sofa will be loaded with pillows, TV drives me bonkers, so there will be a lot of reading and blog reading and embroidery and hand sewing, and as my strength grows, perhaps a cake or biscuits will happen. Tomorrow’s leg is only a 3 hour drive. The day after, a little longer, and the last day a little longer still, and then I’ll be home.

      • May your journey be restful and trouble-free.

  9. I’m glad you are getting to go home to your own bed. But…The body only heals when you are asleep. How fast do you want to heal? Sleep more, heal faster. Take a pill to sleep if you feel the pull to do something you know will push your limits. Save the pushing the limits for, oh, say, week five. You really do want a full and complete recovery. I know you do. REST MORE THAN YOU WANT TO!!! :))) Giant gentle hugs.

    • katechiconi says:

      I am utterly shameless about heading upstairs for a snooze at the smallest provocation. Actually, of course, fatigue rolls over me like a train, and I simply *have* to lie down, and then sleep follows very quickly if I can get comfortable. I’m guessing that will change as I get stronger and the anaesthetics pass out of my system. For now, though, I’m taking full advantage πŸ™‚

  10. So happy for you. There is truly no place like home. Hope your husband is doing as well as you are. He’s certainly been a very great source of support. We’re all happy that your pain will be gone and things will soon be much better and normal for you. Thanks

    • katechiconi says:

      The Husband is pure gold. He’s thoughtful, always there with a strong arm to help me stand, and is taking on ‘my’ jobs without a murmur. I’d like to relieve him of them, but it’s still a bit too soon. Give me a few weeks, and things will be a bit more normal, if still very slow-paced πŸ™‚

  11. You’re going home on a plane, right? Not on the back of a bike? Your mention of having dinner with motorbike buddies threw me a bit there! You will heal soon, because you are so positive, but you have to let your body do its thing. When they say Rest, you must rest πŸ™‚ xxx Thinking of you.

    • katechiconi says:

      Snort-mwahahahaah! If you saw me toiling along like a weary snail, the idea would never have crossed your mind! No, my lovely, not the bike. We’re just meeting all the bike club peeps who live locally. Tomorrow, the Husband will pack the back of the car with rugs, quilts, cushions and pillows and I shall travel home in sumptuous comfort beyond the reach of any mere nasty plane, stopping where and whenever I like. Since our first stop is only 3 hours away, I don’t expect to find the journey too trying. A spot of embroidery, a spot of snoozing… you get the idea!

  12. tialys says:

    So pleased to hear it’s all going as it should be – despite the scary arm but, as it doesn’t hurt, it’s a fun trophy to freak people out with πŸ˜‰
    I am off on my travels tomorrow but I hope you heed everybody’s advice about taking it easy. If it were me I would catch up with box sets I’ve missed, hand sew all the hexies that are waiting for me in my ‘hexie box’, read lots, learn to crochet again, talk lots on the phone and recline graciously on my chaise longue dictating my memoirs to a doting secretary. That would be the first week taken care of;)

  13. katechiconi says:

    My first week, on the other hand, goes:
    Week 1: make Tialys’ June blocks and get the Dowager to mail them for me. Make my hatbox block for last month. Try and get my ScrapHappy block made in time for this month’s due date. Open any T4T squishies and acknowledge. Press, photograph and post about them.
    Week 2: spend the week recovering. Do some embroidery, eat cake, drink tea, read, snooze.
    Week 3: makes a couple of Time for Teal Blocks. Behave a bit more normally and less like a headless chicken, take it easy but build up my strength a bit.

  14. Safe journey but give yourself time to heal…it will be worth the wait.

  15. nanacathy2 says:

    My Dad loved gnats pee tea too. He was known to use one tea bag for two mugs and then add a gallon of milk. That may be an exaggeration! Anyway adding my good wishes for a speedy recovery which means doing exactly what your doctors told you to do. No being super woman! The best advice I can pass on comes from an elderly woman I visited as part of my job. You does a bit, then you rests a bit then you does a bit more. Take care. Xx

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve been working by the Rule of 5. Walk for 5, sit for 5. Stand for 5, sit for 5, cook for 5, sit for 5. Well, you get the idea. It’s limiting, but it works!

  16. Robin Murphy says:

    I hope the journey home is not too painful, a quilt always adds comfort and a feeling of home. I am sure the chauffeur will be taking heed of all your requests. Don’t try to be too much of the wonder woman, slow and steady wins this race to recovery. take care xx

    • katechiconi says:

      Hospital Blankie (aka my Amistad quilt) was there with me, and will provide comfort on the way home too. So much nicer and more comfortable than the heavy and not very warm cotton cellular blankets they provide. I’ll be careful, I promise!

  17. Debbierose says:

    It took me years to make a decent strong cuppa. My brother refused to drink my tea. Happy your nearly home, and little comfort of your own shower, toilet is what I miss most, even when on holiday. Little things make life worthwhile. Take it easy easing into sewing, less us more when it comes to healing.

  18. Chas Spain says:

    Great to hear you’re up to heading home Kate – hope you keep getting a bit better each day. Try to take it easy.

    • katechiconi says:

      Things are already getting better! This morning, I reached sideways to pick up my cup of coffee, a motion that pulled me up sharp with pain yesterday. Today, I could do it! Small, small steps, but all heading the same way πŸ™‚

  19. Jule says:

    What a nice little tattoo – at no extra cost, I hope. πŸ˜‰ I enjoyed reading the previous comments and can only second. Take it easy, just a bit. πŸ™‚

    • katechiconi says:

      The surgeon commented that the scar will last a lot less time than a tattoo. Eventually there will just be a thin white line. All the stitches are internal, and soluble, so no train-tracks, either. Not that I’m bothered. It’s on my back, so I don’t have to see it, and under my clothes, so nor will anyone else!

      • Jule says:

        I was referring to the ‘tattoo’ on your wrist πŸ˜€

      • katechiconi says:

        That’s definitely of the ‘fades over time’ type! Currently it’s much darker than it was before, which is a little surprising… But there was no extra charge for the ‘decorations’ πŸ™‚

  20. Magpie Sue says:

    I’m glad to learn that you’re traveling home in brief stages. The real challenge will be in week 5 when you can no longer control your desire to be up and doing. Maybe the rest of us will have to make a note on our calendars to jump online and give you a stern lecture! Somehow I knew you’d be wanting to fulfill your F2F and ScrapHappy obligations in spite of all the trauma to your body.
    ;- )

    • katechiconi says:

      Not a bad idea, actually! At the beginning of week three, a mass blast from everyone to the effect that I should chill OUT…. But as I said in an earlier email to you, the body actually dictates the terms in a fairly unavoidable way, so I’ll probably be forced to listen…

  21. glad to hear all went well and that you are back home !!! it can only get better at home ! but I can imagine your fingers are itching …..:D

    • katechiconi says:

      Not back home yet, but we start the journey today. I’ve been out of hospital for 4 days, and now I’m ready for my own bed πŸ™‚

      • As you were out of hospital I thought you were home, were you in a hotel then ??? I guess you are home now, there is no place like home and comming home from a holiday or a hospital stay, your own bed is bliss however comfortable that other bed was ! How are you ?

      • katechiconi says:

        No, we were staying with my Husband’s brother, who lives in the same city as the hospital. I was not allowed to travel home yet, it was a journey of nearly 1,000km. I’m home now, though! I’m getting better, there’s still pain from my back, but that’s to be expected when you think what they’ve done to it!

      • I was amazed you could travel 1000 km so soon after that operation. But the healing after an operation takes time but I hope it will get better by the day and that it made you a new person, free of pain and able to do whatever you want to do !

      • katechiconi says:

        I probably shouldn’t have done it, but I wanted to be home so badly! It’s now 2 weeks since surgery, and I can walk pretty well and sleep without pain. I still get very tired and sore if I do too much, though!

      • well, listen to your body, it gives you good advise πŸ˜€ I understand why you wanted to be home though ! and I think you get better sooner at home too. Take care !

  22. M. L. Kappa says:

    Kate, I’m so glad the whole thing is behind you at last! It will be wonderful to be home. Have a safe journey, and take care. Hugs🌹🌹🌹

    • katechiconi says:

      Day one is done. It didn’t start well; you don’t realise how firm car seats are compared with mattresses, and that the seats tip backwards, till you try lying on them! But with the aid of about a hundred pillows, I did manage to get comfortable, and the first 300km leg of the trip is done.

  23. Do NOT push yourself. Let yourself heal! (Stern finger wagging going on here.)

  24. I’m so far behind in my blog reading that I’ve missed all of this – I hope your recovery goes smoothly and that you’ve managed to get a decent brew by now! Maybe you could have a stash of teabags by your bed and could pop one in when The Dowager brings you a cup of gnat’s pee? ;o)

    • katechiconi says:

      I think the best thing is to get her to come round at times when she won’t be wanting to make tea… To be honest, so long as I pace myself and move slowly and don’t bend, I can get most things done, and I wouldn’t ask her to do any lifting anyway – she’s 78!

  25. Get home and get well soon Kate. You know how best to do it πŸ˜‰

    • katechiconi says:

      I do know; the burning question is whether I’ll actually do it. Patience not being my strong suit, and all that. The theory involves lots of lolling around watching the dust thicken and a laundry mountain grow.

  26. So glad that you are probably home by now. All the best for a quick recovery, you need to get back to your quilting!

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