Lessons from the heart

I’ve had nothing but time on my hands since I was wheeled out of surgery last Thursday. 

Here are some things I’ve been pondering.

Hearts are amazing. 

Really, that should say hearts and heart surgeons are amazing. 

Last Thursday at 10am I lay in the catheter lab, on a bed/slab whatsit which I’m sure has a fancy medical name I don’t know, and two surgeons guided three teensy wires into my heart, and the process didn’t kill me. 

Not only that, they attached those wires to a little electrical box that is now controlling the beating of my heart. 

I mean, wowee kazowee I’ve got my very own internal beatbox!! 

And I was awake while all this happened; though I will say the sedatives they gave me were excellent and I wasn’t really *there* for a lot of the procedure. I would dearly like to pash whoever invented those drugs. 

Nurses are incredible. 

All nurses deserve to be applauded each and every day as they arrive at hospitals and clinics the world over. If you are a nurse or a midwife reading this, I want to say thank you. 
Thank you from the bottom of my beatbox heart. 
What a magnificent job nurses do, caring for people on their most vulnerable days. 
As my procedure wound down last week, the only place I was feeling any pain was my lower back. I was on that whatsit slab for three hours, and my back was not happy about it. 
I was crying under the surgical drape, knowing I had to stay still and let the doctors finish their work, and I asked one of the nurses if she would hold my hand. Without hesitation she grabbed my hand and held it for what I think was about 20 minutes, until I was stitched up and patched up and wheeled back to the ward. I love that nurse! 

Family matters.

Team Hill has been sensationally present and supportive throughout this whole process.
My awesome sisters tag-teamed taking me to and from hospital on surgery day, and my parents have been wonderful in making sure I’ve got everything I need as I recuperate. From having enough fruit at home to coming over to cook for me, to spontaneous pharmacy runs and putting the bins out, they’ve been so helpful. Thank you family! 
A special shout-out goes to my niece Matilda, who let me sleep in her bed that first night after surgery. Her room used to be my room when I was a kid, and there was something wonderfully comforting about peeking out at the night sky from the exact same spot I did that 30+ years ago. 
I reckon the familiarity of home has healing power. 

You got to have friends…

This one’s a biggie. It’s one I’m lucky and grateful to say I’m bigly blessed in. 
I have outstanding friends. Outstanding! 
I’ve had friends rallying and sending me sweet words, and utterly delightful cards and gifts; beautiful art, home made tea bags, care packages bursting with chocolate, flowers, some beautiful soft tees, journals, and magazines. (I hope I didn’t forget anyone or anything!) My workmates even bought me some super cute recovery pjs! 
I am absolutely convinced that all the positive energy that came my way prior to surgery helped me to stay calm on the day. 
I’ve had lots of super uplifting messages from friends old and new, and offers of help, and I’m proud to say I’ve allowed myself to be helped, without worrying about whether it’s an imposition. Pro-tip: when someone offers help and you accept it, you’re not imposing on them. 
Also, when someone else makes you a chicken sandwich, it always tastes at least 84% more delicious. Fact. 
Being stuck at home (I still can’t drive until the end of next week) I’ve been hanging out online a lot and posting a lot of #recoveryselfie photos. It’s great to still be able to connect with people, even if I can’t get out and about. 
On that note, a friend saw a post of mine on Facebook last night, where I was fretting about my wound, and she called to check on me, then turned up on my doorstep after midnight with supplies from the chemist! We gasbagged and laughed for a few hours, so I got to use up some of my words, and even better, I was distracted from worrying about my wound. 
Another beautiful friend offered to cook for me, and arrived earlier in the week with a gigantic basket filled with home-baked, and low sodium, meals. They’ve all been delicious! 
Like I said, bigly blessed. 

Wounds, and hearts, know how to heal. 

it’s extraordinary how the body is built to heal. 
Each day since the surgery, I’ve felt better and better. 
Sleeping has been a massive part of that incremental improvement. 
I’m convinced that the vast majority of us underestimate the power of sleep, not just for post-operative healing, but for daily rejuvenation. We need more sleep. Do whatever you can to get it. 
Generally, I’m not much of a rule follower (you’re shocked, aren’t you?!) but I have been extra diligent about not moving my left arm much, not trying to do all the usual things myself, and it is paying off. 
Yes, I’m bored, and I’ve got cabin fever; but I’d much rather be bored now than land myself back in hospital, or worse, because I didn’t follow doctor’s orders. 
My heart muscle is still damaged, but it is working more efficiently. My pacemaker sees to that. 
My body is wounded, but it’s healing. 
That’s how it’s designed.
Pretty awe-inspiring isn’t it? 
From the couch, 
Annette xxx