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!