Friday, May 20, 2016

Thoughts on my return to Joplin

When the nurse from Freeman Home Health asked me if I had been depressed since my heart surgery, it caught me off guard.

There has not been one moment when I was depressed. Don't get me wrong- I wasn't overjoyed about having a third operation in a year's time dealing with my heart. The first two, stents that were placed in April 2015 and on New Year's Eve, were unsuccessful in preventing the third one- my triple bypass on April 22.

Still, it was something that had to be done. I did not sit around cursing my fate. My only chance to be around for a while was to have the surgery and then do what I was told to hasten my recovery.

So when the nurse asked me about depression, I caught her totally off guard with my answer. I said I had not been depressed. "I looked at the scars and now I have a body that matches my face."

It was her first exposure to my sense of humor. It took her a couple of minutes to realize that I was making fun of myself. She did not think it was particularly funny and it probably wasn't, but her expression was priceless.

For the past three weeks and two days, my recovery has been taking place in the house and the town in which I grew up, Newtonia, 30 miles from Joplin. As part of doctor's orders, my travel is restricted. I am only allowed to be in a car to go to medical appointments, so I was excited about my first visit to the cardiologist Thursday. I had been confined for far too long.

My younger sister Kelly had to serve as my chauffeur, since she also had to take my dad to a doctor's appointment a few blocks away from the Freeman Heart Institute where I was headed. Mom does not do much driving any more.

At the Heart Institute, I ran into two old friends and my brief conversations with them made me realize how fortunate I was. One had lost his son a few months back, while the other had a brother who was about to undergo open heart surgery.

I had already made it through my surgery. That family still had a major ordeal ahead of it.

Everything went well with my appointment. My recovery appears to be progressing nicely. After the doctor's appointment, Kelly drove me to my apartment- the first time I had been there since the day I was released from the hospital.

Even with three weeks of exercises behind me, primarily walking to build my strength, I discovered that I was still not quite ready for the 14 steep steps to my apartment. I had to sit down for a few minutes on my bed before I was ready to get the items I had come for.

As much as I am ready to be back in Joplin and feel like I am more a part of what is going on than I do now, it was obvious that I was not quite ready, plus I still have not been given the go-ahead to begin driving.

So after my brief return to Joplin, I am back in Newtonia, eating what I am supposed to eat, doing the exercises that I am supposed to do, and working toward a full-time return to Joplin in the near future.

My next appointment is Wednesday with the doctor who performed the surgery. I am hoping I will receive clearance to resume some of the activities I have missed these past few weeks. I plan to stop by my apartment again and this time, I will take a different approach to climbing those 14 steep steps.

I don't plan to hurry myself. I will take it one step at a time and I will get to where I need to go.

It is a good plan for climbing stairs and it also seems to work pretty well in dealing with whatever life throws at you.


Mary Cummins said...

So glad you are feeling better, healing and progressing.

Anonymous said...

I'm so thankful that you are obeying the doctors and taking it one step at a time. I have no doubt that God has a plan for your life. In fact, I just read about it in Jeremiah 29:11-14.
Blessings, Randy.