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  • Writer's pictureA. Murphy

The Recovery

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

I can't remember how long I was in that particular ward for, one day, maybe two. Then I was moved again. This time I stayed put, for a whole two weeks, which was actually a fairly quick recovery time. Still had the catheter, still couldn't walk, and I missed home terribly. But I was okay, I was recovering. There was a lovely woman opposite me. Once again I was the youngest person there so she looked after me. She made sure I ordered food, that I did well throughout the day, making sure to talk to me if I wanted to talk. Not that I needed it, I had a constant stream of visitors, including my parents who came up everyday. She was a wonderful person, made sure she was a shoulder to lean on for the other patients too, especially if they received bad news which, most unfortunately, happened on at least one occasion.

Learning to walk again was by far the hardest part of my recovery. Once they had removed the catheter (utter relief) I needed help from my parents and nurses just to go to the loo. A source of great annoyance for me as the toilet was directly beside my ward, mere metres away. I had this sort of shuffle, couldn't get my feet off the floor, and my lack of balance meant if I even tried to stand on my own I would go careening off to the side.

Yet this was something I had to accept was just a part of my recovery. It is important during these times to realise that you cannot do this alone. Control has been a big part of my life, I don't intoxicate myself in any way because I can't stand the idea of not being in control of myself. But...when it came to this I had no choice. Relinquishing control is just something I had to do, otherwise I would never get better. Again it was my mother that provided everything for me. It was easier being vulnerable with her, I had to be, she was the one that helped me wash when I could finally make it into the shower. She helped me brush my teeth, get changed into pajamas, brush my hair. The fact that she was there and so ready to help me probably led to me recovering quicker.

It's also important to mention that I had an eyepatch. A proper pirate's eyepatch that I had to switch from eye to eye. As I mentioned before my symptoms included double vision, a problem I'd sincerely hoped would go away after my surgery. Alas, it was not to be. The double vision persisted and the only solution was to wear an eyepatch because when only using one eye everything was fine. My surgeons told me to switch from eye to eye every so often and the issue would resolve itself. I still ended up going home with it though.

I still saw the surgeons almost everyday. They went around the ward checking on patients. They told me as much about my tumour as they could, but a proper biopsy had not yet been done so it's true nature was not yet determined. However, one of them did say it was a foetal tumour. While I was surprised to hear that I had actually had this all my life it did not stop me turning to my mum and joking "I could have been twins!"

Finally, after I could walk, dress myself, and generally care for myself the time came to tackle stairs. My father liked to help me walk and was with me when I first tried steps. They would not let me home until I could manage them. Much to my surprise I could do it, although only one step at a time and very, very slowly.

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Again, beautifully written, cool, objective but somehow also able to evoke an emotional response from the reader. This reader, anyway. Just relieved , cowardly I know, that I didn’t know about this at the time. I’d have been hopeless, probably rushed down to see your parents, then visited you if I could ... and possibly hindered your amazing recovery

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