In the wake of the holiday season, this surgery couldn't have come at a more timely time. Not only will it push you physically and mentally to your max, but it will also identify -- wait -- "friendships"???
And here's where the truthful sailor girl in me comes out... the elephant in the closet no one like to talk about-- look at your friends as ships passing in the night.
The hardest part on you will be your kids. You will have to reach out for play dates. For some odd reason people assume because you can't walk, that your kids can't play either - GASP... I could of sworn in my drug induced haze they were still running around stealing my crutches and using my rolling walker as an indoor surf board.
Assumptions! I love them. They get you so far in life... because assumptions always lead to your next promotion, right? The biggest after surgery assumption that people make for you is to to never bother you again. For the love of honey loaves, that might have been true the first 2 weeks, but 5 weeks out most of us are able to get around with crutches and in most cases a good percentage of us PAO (ers) start part time work at +/- the 8 week mark.
The bottom line is YOU make people 40 and under uncomfortable whether they are conscious of it or not. Perhaps it's an unsettling reminder of how earth shattering life can be. Perhaps its a reminder of how quickly they could loose everything they have worked so hard for. Perhaps they just have a fear of illness and injury. And let's not forget that people are just plain busy- it's the American way to live life to the max.
While I realize this post may be ill humored to some, it's by no means meant to be facetious. As mentioned in my previous blog "The awkward silence of chronic pain", not everyone is natural at empathy. Try and have sympathy as it's an adjustment on their part too. People are doing the best with what God has given them through their experiences in life.
Why hold back on this "elephant in the closet" when almost EVERY SINGLE PERSON on the PAO board has gone through this as well. This isn't just an isolated 1% incident... it has affected 99% of us. So, if you're not wanting to be normal, sadly enough, if the ghost of friendships past happen to you - you are the NORM.
Now that I have busted down the elephant and closet doors, what does one do?
1. Expectations- don't expect or define how a person may respond. This is just the same as "expecting" your husband to do something? The ultimate fail.... communicate your needs.
2. Pick up the phone- technology is great isn't it? Well, use it to reach out to schedule play dates, lunches, or a quick trip for coffee. Everyone has an electronic leash.
3. Self- DON'T expect people to fill in your free time. Find a way to creatively pass your time. Learn something new, blog, reach out to others, join groups. You are in charge of your life and your time. Fill it with productive things and in turn you will feel productive.
4. Set boundaries. We do it at work all the time. It needs to be done at home also. Hold yourself accountable to something. You won't feel as lost and/or isolated.
5. Kids. If you have kids, don't make a big deal out of it. You are the parent- come up with things to do with your kids. Kids watch our reactions closely. This is a great time to also teach them about empathy and compassion.
6. You are in charge of your happiness. Set Your path, RAISE the sail, and DEFINE your course. You won't be like this forever. Healing will occur and before you know it, life will go back to normal for you and your family. Until then, use this extra time as a way to reflect, relax, and recharge.
7. Grudges. Don't hold grudges. That is so high school.... accept a persons reaction for what it is, put your grown up panties on, and CRUTCH ON.