rest & recovery

Marian Parsonsa slice of life61 Comments

Two weeks ago, I had surgery on my right shoulder and bicep.  Since then, I’ve spent the better part of my time in a recliner with a twin-sized, 3-inch-thick piece of memory foam on top.  Rest isn’t easy for me.  I sit in this chair with ice on my shoulder and feel like I can be doing more.  But this needs to be a time of rest.  I have to patiently wait for my body to heal.  And I have to stifle a strong sense of independence and ask for help.

The recovery has been so much easier and more difficult then I expected it to be all at the same time.  I haven’t had as much pain and discomfort as I expected and was prepared for.  I think a big part of that is I’ve followed my pain management schedule faithfully.  The thing that’s been hard is being so much more helpless than I expected.  I try to do something myself and realize that I just can’t.  I can’t write, I can’t type, I can’t open bottles or jars, I can’t cut my food, I can’t change my shirt, I can’t take a shower, I can’t pick things up off of the floor without getting on my knees, I can’t drive, I can’t vacuum, and I can’t walk Sebastian because the leash might get tangled or he might pull me off balance.  These were all things I could do by myself, and now I have to ask for help.

The good news is that all of this is temporary.  I have thought a lot about people I know and have read about who live with permanent limitations.  Their limitations don’t make my temporary ones any less inconvenient or frustrating, but it does help me have some perspective.  I just need to be patient and lean into this time of forced rest.

The other thing I wasn’t expecting was how difficult it would be to do the things that don’t have anything to do with my arm.  Since I have to write e-mails and blog posts by dictation, it feels like I’m having to learn a whole new way to write.  My creativity and energy also feel muffled.  I am sure that has to do with the medication that I’m taking.

At the end of last week, there was a knock at the door.   I heard the rumble of a truck and I knew it was a package delivery.  I got out of my recliner and went to check on the packages stacked at the front door.  There were a couple of boxes from Amazon and a box from Farm Girl Flowers.  I got down on my knees and pushed the packages inside the house.  I put the Farm Girl Flowers box on the bench, so I could pick it up once I was standing again.

I took the box over to the kitchen counter and opened it up.  Two bundles of flowers were swaddled in burlap in the box.  I clumsily unwrapped them with one arm and began picking the flowers apart.  I knew that arranging these flowers was going to be a frustrating task, but I also knew that for the first time in two weeks my creativity was sparked.  I’ve learned to follow that spark.  It took me twice as long as it normally would, but I got the flowers arranged in an ironstone pitcher and I got out my tripod and camera to take a picture of it.

As soon as I started working with the camera, I knew this is going to be tricky.  First of all, I couldn’t change the lens on the camera with just one hand.  I ended up just shooting with the 60mm lens that was already on the camera.  Because I tried to take the lens off of the camera, it disengaged the autofocus.  This meant I needed to manually focus the camera.  It was also quite a precarious task to adjust the tripod to the right height.

It was all a lengthy production and it gave me a preview of some of the difficulties I will have while doing my job over the next four weeks, but I was able to successfully complete my first photoshoot.

On this blog, I have often talked about working with what you have.  We all go through seasons when we have to make do.  We don’t have the time we want, we don’t have the space we want, we don’t have the money we want, or we don’t have the energy we want.  When I started to sulk about my arm, I couldn’t help but check myself.

This is a time of rest and recovery, yes.  But it’s also a time of being humbled, of being quiet, of listening, and of growing.  And that kind of time is very valuable.

My mom is coming tomorrow to help us out, which will be awesome!

PS – If there are any crazy words or misspellings, just know that I am writing my blog posts via dictation for the next month!

rest & recovery

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61 Comments on “rest & recovery”

  1. I broke my left thumb 6 wks ago. It’s been in a cast and will be for another 4 weeks. Fortunately, I’m right-handed, but I know some of what you are talking about. Even trying to hold an onion with my left hand and slice with the right is hard. But, like you said, it’s temporary and could be so much worse. Maybe we just find good things in each day, knowing it will end sometime. Good luck with your recovery.

    1. Put a nail thru a wood cutting board and push the onion down onto the nail so you can cut one-handed. If the cutting board slips, buy some Dycem to put underneath it.

      1. Good to know. Hopefully I can find enough to eat without having to cook. It’s so funny, all these things we take for granted every day. Who knew how much we rely on our thumbs!

  2. Marian,
    Praying for your healing and recovery. Sometimes, these “seasons” are important and it gives us time to reflect, rest and renew our minds and bodies. It also makes us appreciate the little things more that we often take for granted until we have something like a injury or surgery. I know your Mom will be a welcome help until you get back to your old self.

  3. It will be great to have your mom for awhile! This season is only temporary, enjoy the time of rest and healing!

    1. I had to have an emergency spinal fusion in my neck at age 39. Six weeks of recovery. The first outing I took, the person I was visiting said my face looked green. Needed to go home and rest. Rest is hard for us do-ers. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I had a completely torn rotator cuff and biceps on the right side last November. I’m right handed. It was a pretty brutal recovery. The worst was having to wipe myself left handed……a ridiculously difficult task.

    p.s. I tore it picking up a 50 lb. white pumpkin. Hubby still teases me about it…LOL!

  5. Could never tell without reading your post that the flower shot was so challenging – it is as lovely as normal! And you will be too soon! But I understand how hard it is to just be made to stop; glad you understand how important it is to do that so you can heal – also how important proper pain management is for your best recovery. Continuing in prayers for your recovery!

  6. Don’t underestimate what your boys can do to help out too. My mom sprained her foot badly when we were kids (aged 12, 11, 10 and 7) and she was on crutches for an entire summer. My brother learned to do laundry that summer and we all pitched in to help, never thinking it was a bad thing. By high school we were all sharing in household tasks, like laundry, so we were just fine when we went off to college.

    I imagine your boys will be very proud of their contribution to keeping things going and taking care of you while you’re recovering.

  7. Take it easy Marian. Recovery takes time, and I know if you’re like me, sitting still doing nothing is one of the hardest things to do. Still wondering how you’re going to teach that class this morning for the mentor group on how to use your camera. Thinking maybe we’ll get to meet your Mom.

  8. My husband went through this surgery four years ago and I know how difficult the recovery can be.😔

    Every day will get a little bit better

  9. I am an Occupational Therapist and we teach people how to do tasks independently after surgery or illness. A reacher will help you pick things up. You can cut your food with a rotary cutter like they use for cutting fabric. You can change your shirt independently by wearing stretchy fabric or a size too big and dressing the surgical arm first. There are solutions to most of your ‘I can’t’ problems. A lot of hospitals have a therapist see patients before discharge to teach this information!

    1. Those are some good ideas, thanks! The issue with putting on a shirt, is that I can’t take off and put on my sling by myself. It’s only for four more weeks, though, so we can do it. 🙂

  10. So encouraging!! I’ve been feeling like my creativity is at a stand still. Between school drop offs, pick-ups, soccer, swimming lessons, homework and meals I have had very little time to work on the projects collecting dust around our house. It is was helpful to read through this post today and be reminded that this is a season. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Marian, I know it’s hard but take good care of yourself. My husband slipped on an untreated icy parking lot and tore 3 of 4 tendons. It was a long haul after surgery. Like you he followed the regiment set by the orthopedic surgeon . He’s back to having the use of his arm but when he overdos he is reminded. I’m not a recliner person but all I can say is thank God for them. Best wishes.

  12. A shoulder is one of those body parts that demands time and patience for complete recovery so I’m glad you’re taking the time needed. So hard for an active person to be idle! Keep up the good work 🙂
    Flowers are beautiful and the shot is great.

    1. I cried when I read your post. I am like you, independent and don’t rest easy knowing the the things I want to be doing but can’t because of health issues. Depression can then be really hard to fight due to this, especially when there isn’t an end in sight. Thankfully, you’ll be recovered pretty soon!

  13. As we say down south, bless your heart. You are mindful of those less fortunate than you. You are mindful of us, knowing we care and are anxious to hear. That shows your lovely and kind heart. I’m glad we are friends.
    Take care my friend. Let those around you love you

  14. Praying for a speedy recovery…I know this time seems like f-o-r-e-v-e-r, but knowing you, you’re busy reading or browsing websites and nourishing your creative taste buds. Our message this past Sunday was on ‘rest’… Previous, Current and Future “Rest” from Hebrews 4 & 5. This is your time to rest and heal, my sister in Christ, so it’s okay to putter around and asking others to help – especially having your Mom there, makes it even better. Have her make you some homemade soup and enjoy the colors (and temperatures!) of the season…blow some cooler weather our way to Georgia! 🙂 xoxo

  15. Hello Marian-
    I have such appreciation for this post. I admire your gumption and patience and humility.
    Most of all, I admire your willingness to share it with the rest of us. May you feel comfort and companionship as you recover. We are all eager to have you back and running on 6 cylinders but we all want you to take the time you need to get there. I am cheering for you Marian!!!

  16. DIL,

    Time for a left-handed llama painted by a left-handed mama!!
    On pain meds too, start PT tomorrow.
    Say hi to your mom. A great lady!

  17. I broke my right arm in 5 places about 3 years ago and spent the better part of 2 months sleeping in a recliner in the living room. I made my husband sleep on the couch so I didn’t get lonely. I had to continue working so hired someone to drive me to the office and take notes at meetings and type for me, take me for walks and be sure I didn’t walk into the path of any bicycles as I also had a concussion and was prone to wander about. Once the drugs wore off and my wits sharpened, I was filled with gratitude for the people who had helped me through that ordeal. I am a different person now and a better one as my capacity for compassion grew and my perspective on the importance of real friends and true family came into focus. Stay the course and may peace be with you.

  18. Wise advise in this blog. In my case it means accepting some limitations that come along with age.
    Heal soon.

  19. Yes rest and recovery are important. Have just spent five weeks doing very little after knee replacement surgery and may need shoulder surgery as well. It is trying but can be done. You will soon be back to normal and we will be enjoying your blogs.

  20. I’m glad you’re on the mend!!!!! I can relate to a small degree: I did something to my right shoulder and woke up on Saturday in the worst pain ever! Went to urgent care and was told it was tendinitis… which I’m grateful it’s only a week to ten days of meds and a sling. And because it’s in the shoulder, I can barely left to do anything as I’m right handed as well. Brushing my teeth, taking a proper shower…. Wishing you a speedy recovery!!!!!!!!

  21. Being unwell is awful, so many restrictions and so much that we want to do. Those hard times remind me that when life is “normal” we don’t even know it and take it for granted.
    The flowers are beautifully arranged with one left arm! Wow.
    Patience and courage.
    My husband and I got the flu and unluckily are in Sweden visiting his family, this time in a air b&b, spacious and comfortable. There are hundreds of art books, landscaping books and others on architecture, design. But we had to stay indoors mostly, cancelling visits to friends and museums. The family was brave enough to have us over for supper after lots of hand sanitizing gel and keeping distance at the long table. On week of feeling utterly miserable and SO frustrated. So, I feel for you, just not being able to brush hair and doing so many gestures that our days are made of…not fun, it will pass as you said. Good luck!

  22. Bless your heart…. I am so sorry for this major inconvenience but you sound like you are taking it in stride and working one day at a time. I am so happy your Mom is arriving to help you; there is nothing better than Mom being there at such a time, and what a blessing that you have her! Feel better, and know you are loved, prayed for and cared about. Be well.

  23. Love you Marian. Reading this was a very could reminder of how we really should appreciate and promote our able body. I’m 71 and still feel strong and fit. My “I am” statement is, I am strong. You’ll be back to a stronger better self soon.

  24. Sometimes we all need to take what is handed to us. Take a minute to refocus on what you have at hand. With time and purposeful moves it comes together. Rest breathe heal. Take your meds ice and watch the world since normally would fly by. Get well and better soon.

  25. I feel your pain! I had to have a complete shoulder replacement on my right shoulder. Prayers for a speedy recovery but don’t push yourself. It takes time.

  26. Hope the 4 weeks passes quickly for you, might be a time to listen to some audio books. Rest and take good care of yourself.

  27. I feel your pain. I had hand surgery on my right hand last November and was in a cast for six weeks. So glad that is behind me. Be patient. It will get better.

  28. I am made of the same cloth as you! I too am very independent & don’t like to ask for help. In one year I had 2 knee replacements. I went through the same feelings & trials. My last surgery was in June. I am beginning to feel more energy & inspiration day by day. It’s a long road to recovery & you have the right mindset! Good luck & prayers! 🧡💛❤️

  29. Two years ago I broke my wrist (while exercising!) My poor hubby had to help me shower and get dressed for about a month before I could manage it myself. And then my father in law passed away just a couple of days after I broke it and my poor husband had to drive all the way to his funeral (13 hours away) with no help from me. I actually felt worse for my husband than for myself. He had to do everything I couldn’t. But I do know how hard it is to let go of everything and allow others to pick it up for you. Hang in there, like you said it should only be about a month.

  30. You are always inspiring … even when struggling. Take time for yourself. Time to heal. Time to think. Time to BE.

    You are in my thoughts!

  31. Ditto …don’t rush and take time to heal. I had two hip replacements which were nothing compared to what you are going through but I understand the feeling of temporary helplessness.

  32. I have multiple sclerosis. I have weeks just like yours, and days here and there where I can do nothing but watch the world go by, thinking of all the things I need to be doing, and want to do. Cooking for my kids, finishing a piece of furniture, vacuuming, painting my dining room wall.
    I came across your blog recently to discover we have so much in common!
    I started collecting antiques when I was about 12. I grew up on a farm where my grandmother, great grandmother kept everything, so I had lots to choose from. Old bed pillars in the barn from what must have been a magnificent four poster – I had my dad cut a base for them and I painted them. My mom thought I was nuts, playing around with junk from the barn. She now has one that I made in her house, and loves it.
    I studied music at university. I sang in a choral group for many years, but my principal instrument is piano. I also studied fine art as a minor. My favourite subject? Landscapes!
    I am renovating and designing a 1860’s farmhouse. I literally came across your blog the day I was arranging my ironstone collection (mostly blue, not just white like yours) into an early 19th century cupboard I bought at an auction.
    When I got MS, I started a creative business, so we have that in common also.
    I’m a redhead, you are blonde. I live in Canada with a cat, you in the US with a dog.
    There you go.
    I appreciated your words of acknowledgment in regard to those of us that struggle with what you are handling now on a daily basis, with no cure.
    You still get to complain, though! 🙂 It’s tough!
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery from your Canadian almost-twin, Stacy

  33. Praying for a speedy recovery. Having had a stroke 15 years ago leaving my left side uncooperative. You learn to adapt plus learn to ask for help when needed. My outlook is to play the hand you are dealt.

  34. Well done – on many levels! Had surgery on my foot years ago… but I still managed to get some furniture painted… by sitting on the floor and scooting around the table on my b-hind.
    It worked tho!! Even used the lawnmore to chop up leaves without getting that boot too dirty. Ha! We’re such indecent people aren’t we? And impatient too!
    Wishing you a s-l-o-w and complete recovery!!

  35. Marian,

    Heal quickly and your post is a reminder that it is okay to slow down, rest, ask for help and be humble. What I enjoyed too, was reading all the wonderful comments from your subscribers. Isn’t it amazing how those that we don’t know can lift our spirits or shed a different light on a topic?
    I, too, had major shoulder surgery and understand the recovery process. I can tell you that my operated shoulder is stronger than ever and thank goodness for modern medicine that we have these options. Be well.

  36. Saw the subject of the post, Rest & Recovery, and boy did you trick me, I never could have imagined what this post was about. I imagined that you had just completed a long, wonderful overseas vacation and now needed to rest and recover from all of the travel and jet lag. I often need a vacation after my vacation to rest and recover.

    As you can see, just by sharing this with all of us (thank you), there are so many of us who thought back to past injuries and/or surgeries and were reminded that the recovery was not pleasant but it passes. It sucks for a while, but it passes. Sorry that you are in the “it sucks for a while” stage. But it shall pass, I promise.

    I had four major surgeries in one year for a benign brain tumor and was not allowed to strain or exert myself at all or it could cause the incisions to burst open. I couldn’t drive for nearly a year but had so many doctors’ appointments and tests. I am fine now by the way. My biggest lesson was to ACCEPT help. Say YES when people offer to help. Don’t assume that the offers of help are people “just being nice.” Say yes to vacuuming, to changing your shirt, to cutting flowers etc. No need for modesty about getting help changing your shirt, just think of it as a volunteer nurse. I know that the many friends and family who helped me were actually grateful for something to do to help because they felt so helpless just sitting with me.

    I hope and pray that your recovery goes well. We will be patient in looking for future posts so no pressure here.

  37. Marian, we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers! So nice that your Mom is coming to help with things.

  38. As the mother of a child who fought childhood leukemia for six years…I know it can be hard to even ask for help…let alone, take it! One of the greatest gifts we were given as a family was the gift of a local “Merry Maids” to come and clean our home before we drove home from the only children’s hospital in Oregon (we live 14 miles from the California border and Doernbecher Children’s is in Portland, 300+miles to the North). The same cleaners came a few times through those years and during the week of our son’s Celebration of Life.
    Your amazing mother, Marian, sets a bright and wonderful example for any of us to emulate. What a blessing!
    Much love and care…

  39. Marian, my husband just had shoulder surgery in July, torn rotator cuff with 2 torn retracted tendons.
    Recovery has been slow. So far he has completed 6 weeks of passive physical therapy and is in his second week of strength training. 4 more weeks to go. Because of his age (68) and the extensive surgery, he had not pt for the first 6 weeks. His pain was not as bad as he expected, but the lust if things he could not do floored him. Be patient, do exactly what your doctor tells you, and rest! I am so glad your Mama will be there soon. Let her help you! I know that is a hard thing to do

    1. I hope your husband’s shoulder continues to heal. I am not doing physical therapy for six weeks, either. I am doing a few passive movements out of my sling couple of times a day and then will start PT at the six-week mark if the x-rays and exam look good.

  40. I shall be praying for your fast recovery, Marian.

    Glad your mom is coming – what a blessing. My mom died over 20 years ago, much too young. I have needed her so many times since then. Guess that was one of the things I had to overcome. We all have our crosses to bear, I guess.

    Take care and do rest – body AND mind.

  41. It’s good to know you are following doctor’s orders as you heal from surgery. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. The flower arrangement is beautiful, by the way… very olde world.

  42. Thank you, Marian, for sharing with us your situation. It is a gentle, loving reminder to me that my time will come, one way or another. When you talked about ” working with what you have. We all go through seasons when we have to make do. We don’t have the time we want, we don’t have the space we want, we don’t have the money we want, or we don’t have the energy we want.” I have been in a long ten year season of difficulty. Sometimes I think I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, then it turns into another oncoming freight train. I have been comforted by your words and they’ve made me know I’m loved by God and He will bring me peace in the middle of my storms. Sometimes he calms those storms, and sometimes he calms the sailors.

  43. I’ve had the surgery 10 yrs. ago and it is very frustrating, praying for you and a fast and good recovery.

  44. May God grant you a full recovery. May you receive the lessons He wants you to learn during this time. May you savor each day as a temporary phase with hope for a better future. Thank you for your inspiring work, attitude and honesty. It grounds the rest of us, encourages and spurs us on.

  45. I know an oral surgeon whose one nurse said he never missed a beat! But another nurse told me he was going to have to have surgery repeated for same as yours and mine. Please, do what the doctor recommends! I have been in physical therapy for six weeks and have 5 more weeks to go. It is more painful than after surgery, but I am doing so great. I pray yours will heal quickly!

  46. Glad you are healing and using this time to reflect on how fortunate we are who have our limbs and fingers and toes. I’m 64 and sometimes look at my short stocky legs and wish for old times and skinny legs; then remember how lucky I am to have those short legs! BTW: when I was working I was experiencing some carpal tunnel tendencies on my right hand due to using the computer mouse; I taught myself how to use my left hand and now can use it just as well as my right hand. I just mentally remember the buttons are used by different fingers on L hand. And the younger people laughed asking why I did this; I said “one never knows when you might loose a dominant hand/arm; therefore instead of letting that left arm dangle, I taught it some useful skills”. Party on!!

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