I'd nearly missed watching trees coming to life this year. I'd not seen any flowers blooming. For the last twelve days, my view has mostly been limited to what I saw outside the windows of my house. Things still looked mostly bleak, dry, and brown. Inside my mind and body, I've been fighting to get well. I've exhausted, ill, and uncomfortable. Fear kept knocking at my door. Was I ever going to feel well again?
Today, my dear and patient, but also very weary, husband drove me to Denver to see the surgeon. The word is: I am healing very well on the outside, but the inside is taking longer than it takes most folks after gallbladder surgery. The doctor spoke of the abscess and assured me it would dissolve. He told me he had been confident all would be fine last week when he saw the labs and CT scan because all bile ducts were fine and other complications that could occur were not present. He spoke of the bell curve of healing. The teacher in me identified with that analogy well. He said a few are out skiing in four days, others are doing very well after four or five days, and a few are having problems after a week. "Where am I on the bell curve?" I asked as I reminded him that I was a retired teacher. I was thinking I must be in 70 IQ range of the curve if we were using the bell curve for healing. "Oh, you are definitely in the "A" range of the curve. You have an "A," he said. "That's good," I replied, "because I only do "A's." In truth I thought he was only trying to make me feel better. I am just glad we are not graded on how quickly we heal, or why we heal one way or the other.
He said I looked so much better than I had in the ER last week. I mentioned that make-up helped. He had seen me sans make-up the last time we met. He said, make-up had nothing to do with it. "It was in the eyes," he said. He said he couldn't decide if I was showing exhaustion, pain, or worry in what he saw in my eyes. "All of the above," I said.
As I look back on the twelve days it has been since my surgery, I can't help but reflect on the experience. Perhaps, I needed this time to grow in my own determination to work towards good health. Perhaps, I needed this time to grow in faith. Perhaps, I needed this time to feel deeper compassion for those who are very ill and suffer more than I will ever imagine possible. Perhaps, I needed this time to gain a new admiration for those in the medical field that I have the good fortune to have on my team.
Today, as we left the doctor's office, I felt a new awakening. My confidence in the process of healing was strengthened. To celebrate, given the fact that I had not eaten a decent meal in at least five days and had not eaten a decent meal for about seven days before that, I asked my husband to take me to my favorite lunch spot in Denver: The Bistro at Nordstrom at Cherry Creek Mall. We sat in our favorite booth. We even were served by our favorite server. We savored the club sandwich. I ate as many French fries as I dared to eat, dipping them in the wonderful Kalamata Olive Aioli Dip that Nordstrom Bistro makes. I love that dip!
My husband drove down University Boulevard to get to I25 from Cherry Creek Mall. He said he did not want to deal with Colorado Boulevard again today. The first thing that jumped into my mind, was Bonnie Brae Ice Cream. "Since we are going down University, could we stop into Bonnie Brae?" I asked. I figured that since I'd risked eating French fries, I might as well add a little ice cream to my sensitive, anti-biotic filled digestive system. It had been a very long time since I'd had any fat in my diet. Ice cream really sounded good.
On our way to my favorite ice cream shop, I drank in the beauty of the soft green petal like growth of new leaves on the trees. We drove around the block near the ice cream shop. I always love the flower filled yards in that area. The tulips and daffodils in the area seemed to bloom just for me. I realized I'd nearly missed seeing forsythia bushes blooming this year while I've been cooped up inside my house.
Isn't funny how just going to a favorite place can lift your spirits? Who couldn't be happy here?
As I ate my small serving of my favorite flavor of ice cream, peppermint from Bonnie Brae, I looked out of the window at the scene that promised the hope of many fun summer evening visits for many during the months ahead and felt more of the load of winter and illness and worry lift off my shoulders.
I saw the potted geraniums that were boldly placed on the table just outside from where I was sitting. Just seeing these red summery looking blossoms made think of warmer days that will soon be here. I love those optimists that set out potted geraniums on an April day in Colorado when snow is in the forecast for later in the day. These people know that we must capture sunshine while we can. Geraniums can always be moved indoors later in the day, but it is a sign of a good gardener and positive person to move plants outside while the sun was shining.
Too soon, our time in the ice cream shop was over. As y husband and I drove north towards home, we watched clouds, heavily pregnant with moisture, drift down the sides of the mountains. We knew that snow would soon be falling. In fewer than forty minutes after we left our sunny ice cream eating spot, we were in a springtime snow storm.
The snow can fall. It won't last long. The flowers are beginning to bloom. I will soon be outside digging in the dirt. Yes, I am feeling a bit of a spring in my step.