I don’t like hospitals. And, I absolutely detest needles.
So, you can imagine my joy *insert patented eyeroll, here* when I was booked in for abdominal surgery recently. It was to be my first surgery; and my first experience with general anaesthetic.
My biggest fear was the unknown, and the loss of control. What would happen while I “slept?” I had a session with the brilliant Terry Dearling a day before, and she said something that flipped me upside the head: ‘Control is an illusion.’ Then, she asked me – rather logically – what I could possibly do if I were to control my surgery? Without a medical degree…didley squat, I sheepishly realised.
So, I kept choosing to ‘give everyone an A’: believing they would do their best for me (hello PfP!). It worked! Aside from the normal nerves before they put me under, I managed to stay totally calm. When I came to, the first thing I slurred was: “I diiiiiiiiiid it.” I kid you not – I got a round of applause from the theatre staff.
While they wheeled me back up to the ward, I felt the unexplainable urge to wiggle my toes and smack my hands against my thighs, giggling all the while. The nurses gave me a few worried glances, but I figured I just wanted to make sure all my appendages were still working. That I could still feel, move and smile.
For some reason, this experience seemed the perfect metaphor for this odd year.
We have all faced things we did not expect to: big, scary things all attached to the virus that governed our lives for much of the year. You may have felt like I did before my surgery: wary, frightened and scared of losing control. In many ways, COVID-19 wrenched the control we thought we had and forced us to adapt to all kinds of new normals.
But, I hope, as you stand on the cusp of a new, bright and shiny year that you can echo my garbled relief: “I diiiiiiid it.” That you – no matter how wobbly and groggy you might feel – are still able to wiggle your toes and smack your hands with a smile.
You may still be recovering, like I am while I write this. Some parts of you may be tender and sore, some may take a while to get going again and you may feel mildly nauseas if you move too quickly.
Keep being kind to yourself.
And, when you feel overwhelmed and sore and tired, stop for a moment and remind yourself how brave you’ve been this year. How you have survived every last one of your “bad” days, and how…
….you diiiiiiid it.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, and may 2021 bring you everything you desire.