It’s been ages since I last wrote on this blog. It feels
like coming back to an “old friend of mine” who I haven’t seen in a while. I am
not even sure why I left this blog behind, abandoned in a corner of my mind. I
have been very busy recently, with so many things happening in my life, and
anything that felt not essential has been dumped behind in a “maybe another
time” drawer of my brain: it seems my blog slipped into this drawer too. I
profusely apologise for this.
I must admit, the less I wrote, the lazier I got, and I was quite happy at leaving things as they were, even though the “not finding anything good to write about” got me a bit annoyed at times. Then the other day I saw Britney Spears latest Insta: her message looked very inspiring and positive at first, and I have been really happy to hear from her after a long time (her dad is currently very sick).
It felt quite the shock when I then read on the newspaper that she checked in into a mental health facility as she wasn’t coping well with what was happening in her life. Of course, I’m so sad that her mental health dropped (again), but I’m so happy that she didn’t let this drag her down and that she actively sought help before things spiralled out of control. It is such a powerful example: if you are not coping, there is no shame in admitting it and in allowing yourself to be cared by expert hands. You know me, I have a very soft spot for her. She has been my guide during my darkest days and an inspirational figure of “you can be still successful and live your dreams despite your wonky mental health”.
Sometimes I hear people saying stupid stuff like “how can so
and so be “depressed” (said with quite the sarcastic and nasty tone) when they
are rich / beautiful / successful / they got it all?”. Well, my friends, the
reason is simple: aside from those who jumps on the “I’m depressed” bandwagon
because it’s trendy and they feel they can fill their attention needs with some
good old pity with it, anyone can be affected by this illness (cue is in the
word: illness). You could have all the conditions to be the happiest person on
planet earth and still not be able to be truly happy if your mental health is
not ok for whatever reason. This is something I always held against my mum, for
example: I spent so many years resenting her for being the way she was,
wondering why she just couldn’t be fucking happy and serene. Only when I ended
up experiencing the same, being eaten alive by panic attacks and anxiety,
thinking of the worst things during my post-natal depression, that I got loud
and clear why you can’t just “snap out of it” and “be normal”. You want to, but
you can’t. Yes, in fair honesty, there is a part of you that actually enjoys
the drama and marinating in your own self-pity, but the main part of you feel
like a spectator of a shitshow that cannot be controlled: you see all the
beautiful things from your window of despair, longing to be able to get out and
enjoy them, but unable to move or do anything about it because your brain
simply doesn’t work properly.
Speaking of mental health, I will soon approach my psychotherapy
anniversary. If I think of the person I was last year, compared to now… wow.
The difference. Last year this time my life was a full-blown drama of epic
proportions, I was sad, my self-esteem next to zero, my confidence was
non-existent, everything was just negative and upsetting. I was surrounded by very
negative people, I was living in a negative environment and, ultimately, I was
a negative person myself as well. I can’t believe how completely different my
life is now. The journey is still long, I still have issues to work on (my
panic attacks are not completely over and forgotten, for example), but I’m
confident that, with the help of my therapist, things will keep going better
And I promise my next blog entry won’t be in 3 months’ time!
I promised I’d do it, I feel ready for it, so here we go: this
is me, right now, no shame or hiding, two months and something without stepping
foot into the gym and one big surgery procedure to my shoulder later. There is
no sugar-coating the truth: I lost all my body definition, all the muscles I
had are practically gone, some of the weight I worked hard to gain is gone too,
I’m very far away from the body I would love to achieve and yes, even though I know
that everything is just dormant, ready to snap up back again as soon as I put
some work in it, I feel like a jelly who
has never set foot in a gym since the day she was born. I know, I’m so dramatic
Having said that, I’m ok with it. I really am. If this happened to me a year ago, I would have been on the brink of depression and I would have hated myself even more for “putting the effort and then look at you, you failed again, what’s the point of even trying if you are not capable of continuing, you stupid idiot”. I would have massively regretted the journey at the gym, treating myself like a deluded fool for even starting it in the first place, all because I didn’t manage to achieve (as usual, I would have specified) what I set myself to achieve so fuck this shit, let me go back at hiding under the covers to hide, let me get those black baggy hoodies and trousers so that nobody sees me ever again. I’m so glad that the music in my head is very, very different right now! Yes, I don’t look exactly like I want to look. Yes, I am not exactly a mega fan of my body right now. Of course, if instead of Christmas, New Year’s Eve and surgery I had other two months of training, right now I’d be very fit and happy, but you know what? It’s ok. I am really not (too) upset.
I have learned during these months of therapy and hard work on myself, physically and mentally, that it’s ok to not be ok, and that I have always two ways to see things happening in my life: a negative one, and a positive one. Now, if I were the old me, I’d see this situation I am in now as I explained above. The new me, right now, prefers to think “ok, it happened, it’s a bit upsetting, BUT: I had a massive thing happening (surgery), that I had to have it, because if I didn’t, my body would have stopped me anyway down the line, probably with a ruptured tendon, and the dream about deadlifting and shit? Oh, forget about that. I’d be in constant pain all my life and maybe, maybe, I would not be able to hit the gym period. Yes, it is a stop, but it’s only a pause on a bigger, more fulfilling journey”. It’s just that. There is no hating myself, no holding a grudge, no banging my head on a wall in total despair. I’m on a pause to recover and be better, and just like any pause, once you press “play” again, everything will go back to normal, even if in my “gym-body” situation it’s like I press “rewind” a bit and now I have to re-live the beginning of my journey to progress further.
Another very important factor that changed my mindset is that I learned to love and be more caring towards myself. It’s so weird how I’ve always been able to do so for everyone, but never for myself. I could have never had a down moment, I have never allowed myself to be sick, to be tired, to be unwell, and to “cuddle” myself to feel better. No: I was a failure, I was stupid, I was weak, I was useless, I was proving to the world I was fighting against that I was not worthy, that I couldn’t make it etc… Even when I had my post-natal depression hell, and I was suicidal, I didn’t think “I need caring, I need help, it’s a medical condition and I must help myself rather that fight against myself”. There was no empathy or anything. I’m so glad things changed in a very positive way for me, because now I’m here, staring at myself in the mirror thinking “oh well, next challenge is now officially on, let’s see what I can do now…. And what I will be able to do once my shoulder heals!”.
You know how much energy you waste when you hate yourself? Uuuuh, let me tell you, an awful lot. And you know what you gain out of that? Nothing. Actually, you only lose. You lose self-esteem, you lose self-respect, you lose confidence, you lose yourself. Yeah, ok, you (just like me) may not be the exact replica of Charlize Theron or Jason Momoa, but who cares? It’s what you have inside you that will beautify the way you look outside. Ohhhh, let me tell you this, because this has been the bane of my life for years and years.
You know that horrible, negative way of seeing the world and relationships like “I can’t believe that those ugly people there have beautiful relationships and me, meeeeeee (!!!!!) I am all alone, and nobody wants me (insert sad, grumpy face, and attitude like “I don’t get why the universe hates me so much”)”. I raise my hand in shame and include myself in the people who had that thought (more than once), and who have voiced it out loud too, only with the slight difference that I was sure I belonged with the “ugly people” and therefore why this miracle of “being loved” never happened to me? Boo-ooooh. You know why that “miracle” never happened? Because first, it is not a miracle and second, because I may have been average-looking on the outside, but I was such a negative, ugly person on the inside that, of course (duh!) I was not attracting positivity! Of course the “ugly people” were not at the receiving end of miracles, they were just smart, funny, loving, caring, beautiful people, no matter how they looked or I chose to look at them (with infinite jealousy), and they were shining so much of their positivity that they attracted exactly positive things and nothing less. It took me more years that
I’m happy to admit in realising this simple concept, and only after I experienced it myself I was able to see how truly important it is to focus first on what’s going on inside you, and then act on the outside, rather than doing the other way round. Because of this, I’m not too bothered about my body being a bit off at the moment, and being at the stage where I have to start again my quest on being “the Italian version of JLo”. I’m still the beautiful person I was two or three months ago, and with this positive, strong attitude, I’m sure I will quickly bring my body back to what I left it when I had to stop, and take it even further to achieve more and more. Negativity must not have a place in my life, I don’t want it to drag me down and cloud my head any longer. Besides, I LOVE a good challenge, I love when I test myself and I beat all my odds so…. Dear body, bring it on!!!
What happens when you mix a crazy woman like me,
hydrotherapy (which sounds like a spa treatment but, unfortunately for me, it
is just physiotherapy done in a swimming pool) and the funniest hospital staff
in the world? I tell you what happens: the most hilarious, hysterically comical
shoulder rehabilitation session in the world. I’m still laughing 24 hours
How on Earth I ended up floating in a swimming pool singing Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” (uuuuh I love Nicki Minaj), pretending to be in a beautiful beach at the Bahamas rather than at a therapy session?
My shoulder has been quite bad for a week up till last Tuesday, the kind of “forget about sleeping” and “it reminds me of all the championships Sebastian Vettel lost so far with Ferrari” that has seriously taken a massive toll on my physical and mental health. When I saw my physiotherapist on Tuesday, I almost begged her to rip my shoulder off for good – fuck it, let’s finish this torture right now! Luckily, she is not as drama queen as me, and after she did her massaging and stuff, she referred me to hydrotherapy to help me loosen my shoulder up and get a better range of movements in. I didn’t take the news gladly: physiotherapy is a pain in the ass as it stands, even though my physiotherapist is amazing, and I love her dearly, let alone having to do it in a swimming pool! Having sad that, at this point in time anything will do to speed up this bloody recovery, so I booked my appointment without moaning and there I was, bathing suit in my bag, ready for this new experience.
I woke up in quite the good mood yesterday and I decided to pretend I was heading to a 5-star resort at the Bahamas rather than at the hospital for physiotherapy. I arrived at the physiotherapy department with my sunglasses on and my scarf on my shoulder like if it was a beach towel, and I gave the receptionist a big, big smile; she knows how crazy I am, so she wasn’t surprised when I said to her “hi I’m here for my spa retreat at 11:00, I hope my pink flamingo is already inflated because I don’t like to wait”. My physiotherapist was there and she facepalmed herself, shaking her head. Then the receptionist asked me if I knew that the hydrotherapy sessions are open for both men and women, and whether I had a problem in case I had to be in the same pool with a man. What a stupid thing to ask, I thought: of course I don’t have a problem, I don’t give a remote fuck about who’s in the pool with me! Men, women, aliens, dogs, cats, zombies, Satan… I’m there to fix my shoulder, I don’t care who’s fixing their bits with me, I could be surrounded by a crowd the size of Queen Live at Wembley 1986 all staring at me whilst the physiotherapist makes me sing Radio Gaga and still, I would not care! There is nothing in a male or female body I haven’t seen by now and, since we will all be in bathing suits, there won’t be anything flashing anyway so come on guys!
Anyway, my turn came, and I strolled like a very happy child to the pool, annoying the hell out of the therapist about how disappointed I was about the absence of the very important inflatable pink flamingo that I was sure would have a negative impact on my recovery. I changed in my bathing suit and there I was, in a warm and super nice pool, thinking “actually, this is not that bad… not that bad at all!!!”. Do you think I stopped being silly just because I was loving it? Of course not! Every movement was a reason to say something humorous, such as: “ok now pretend that you are a ballerina, extend the arm and then bring it back close to your body” “mmm I have a better version: grab the prosecco – drink the prosecco – refill the prosecco – drink the prosecco” “…. (facepalm) ok… as long as you do it I suppose!”
The best bit of the session was the last movement, because the physiotherapist put inflatables everywhere on me so that I was lying on my back, blissfully floating and staring out of the windows. I kid you not, I really felt like at the Bahamas (that is, before I had to move my arm and then I felt less happy and relaxed). I told the physiotherapist “I am channelling my own inner pink inflatable flamingo here, don’t fish me out of this pool for the next hour or two” and yes , as I said at the beginning of this entry, I started singing Nicki Minaj’s “Starships”, without a single care in the world but to move my arm. Unfortunately, I had to eventually get out of there and finish the session, head for a shower and terminate the party I was having in my head.
Let me tell you something: as fun and hilarious my session was, I never felt so tired and drained in my entire life. I got out of the pool and my arm felt weighting 50kg all of the sudden. It was great and a wonderful confidence-boosting session, since I was able to move my arm in ways I have never been able to in a very long time, but fuck me, once I was out and about, I could hardly walk without feeling wobbly and dizzy. I had to spend more than half an hour at the hospital reception, sipping cups of teas with tons of sugar, to be just barely able to entertain the idea of heading back home. It felt like I just came out of an Iron Man Challenge training session, even my abs were hurting! Seriously, I was so fucked up I thought I was about to throw up my breakfast at each step I made towards the train station, and when I had to wait ten, eternal minutes for my train back home, I thought “if I close my eyes now, I’m doomed”.
I had to do something to recover enough to be able to get home without fainting on the street, and so I took the executive decision to have lunch at one of my favourite Italian restaurants near where I live. This place is a little gem, one of those places where, if you don’t know how good it is, you would never, ever dine there. From the outside it looks like one of those cheap, unappealing take-away places that don’t exactly scream “our food is healthy, cooked respecting all hygiene regulations and it tastes divine”. However, if you move past the exterior look, you are in for a very special treat: the food is out of this world, the service is just right and the whole place has a very family-like vibe to it. I had the most amazing pasta dish with homemade sausages, and suddenly all my energies came back at once (carb overload yeah!).
Today I woke up exactly like after one of my personal
training sessions at the gym: my shoulder was quite upset (“how dare you moved
me like that bitch!!!”), so I had to take few paracetamols to be able to
entertain the idea of getting out of bed and going to work. Next session will
be on Tuesday, and till then I will try to keep moving and take care of my
shoulder the best I can. I can’t wait to do it all over again!!!
After a month of nothingness and extreme low mood, finally I
had a tremendous news, the one I have been waiting for since the moment I
opened my eyes in the recovery room at the hospital: my physiotherapist agreed
for me to go back to the gym! No lifting weights, that will begin only after
recovery, but anything else I used to do before this terrible stop is a yes,
green lights, go go go go go. I almost cried of happiness and So, I decided
that in order to lift my spirit, I will record my journey “from zero to hero”: I
will take pictures of me as I am now and keep recording my progresses along the
way. My aim is that, by the end of this year, I’ll be able to deadlift weights,
have my amazing JLO bum again (and make it even better than what I had) and super
abs. I am so excited. It really changed my day this news. I will also try and do
some yoga or pilates as well (so long as there is no shoulder involvement) as I
feel my back has been as flexible as a concrete pillar lately, and I would
really like to be less stiff again: I’m sure my back would really appreciate
Today I woke up in a particularly irritable mood: the pain
kept me awake at night and this morning I was a total mess. I even curled up
and had a good cry on the sofa, with my poor boyfriend having to talk me out of
my dark cloud of negativity. I dragged myself to physiotherapy in a “dead man
walking” kind of feeling, and as soon as I saw my physiotherapist I told her
how sad and desperate I felt. My range of movements has noticeably decreased
(yey… not) so now I have been referred to hydrotherapy to try and get things
going again. I am weirdly excited about it: I don’t fancy being in a pool with
a physiotherapist pulling and prodding me, but hey, if that helps, bring it on,
right? I bet it’s going to be hilarious.
I will be very honest, this morning I felt like I hit a wall
in my recovery. I just passed the “week four” mark of my journey and I
seriously had enough of all of this. I’m trying hard to stay positive, to tell
myself “it’s only temporary, it is for the greater good, soon it will be over
and you’ll be stronger and pain free”, but reality is that I feel a prisoner of
my body: I’m fed up of being unable to do anything more than lifting a glass a
water, I’m done with the pain, I hate feeling weak and, most of all, I hate not
being able to live a normal life because pain (or extremely limited movements)
prevents me from doing so. On top of all of this, add that I lost my beautiful
gym body that I worked my ass off to achieve, and you have a recipe for total
mental and physical disaster.
I knew it would have been hard. As soon the surgeon said “it
will take four months for complete recovery and it’s not going to be easy” I
knew I was in for quite a frustrating ride, but one thing is knowing it’s going
to be difficult, another one being in the moment, facing the difficult times,
realising it’s only just month one out of four and thinking “fuck me, this is
hell”. My mood has been pretty low, I admit. I feel this kind of set me back a
bit. I do not regret the operation, let’s be clear, especially after I saw the
pictures of what I had inside (ewwww…. Gross). I am absolutely convinced it was
the right thing and I would do it again in a heartbeat, it had to be done to
prevent rupturing my tendon, I just cannot stand this recovery and this feeling
so useless: it seems never ending!
On another note, I have been talking a lot with my dear
friend Marge lately on all the talents that I have and that I’m not using to
the full potential (and she is damn right about it), so I decided to use these
three remaining months to find a way to become a freelance writer or something
like that. I would love to be paid to write, since it is something I absolutely
adore doing it, especially when it comes to corporate communications, customer service
emails, complaints etc. That is mainly why I started this blog: to fulfil my
love for writing and to be able to share my experience with people all over the
world, and maybe to help them too. Do you want to know what my secret writing dream
is? Becoming in charge of my very own “agony aunt” advice column: oh, I would answer
basically every letter or email coming my way, so much I love this stuff! I
know it won’t be easy, but hey, it is also not exactly open-heart surgery,
right? Besides, if you don’t try, you don’t get, and I learned my lesson when I
gave a go to writing my President’s Christmas corporate message and he loved it
so much it went global. Who knows what can happen from this? Maybe I will
change my life!
And then, suddenly, it finally happened: the crisis moment where I couldn’t stop crying my eyes out and feeling dreadful. Oh yes, there is no denying that. The big low, counteracting the massive (medicine-induced) high hit me like a truck on full speed, and there was nothing to do but just release all the emotions I was feeling.
I have a confession to make: since I was feeling absolutely
great, I didn’t exactly spend my days recovering, taking things slowly, resting
and just “go with the flow”. No no no.I have been out and about, I’ve been
working (yes…), I have been doing basically everything I was not exactly
supposed to even entertain the idea of doing. I was feeling great, so why
Well, I tell you why, because once all the medicines wore off, and all the “high” from the morphine etc left my poor body, I felt like dying. My brain and body clearly told me under no circumstances to attempt doing anything at all or face their wrath. I kept pushing myself, thinking “naaaa, it’s just momentarily, I’ll be fine” and guess what? Of course, I ended up not being fine. Actually, I ended up crying my eyes out, feeling dreadful, mentally and physically. I could barely speak (I’m bilingual, and I struggled with both Italian and English!), barely move, I felt like thinking and moving in slow motion compared to the rest of the world. I couldn’t do it. My boyfriend was trying to talk to me about work and important stuff, I could barely look at him and hearing his words, but not “listening” and understanding a single thing he was saying. I had to ultimately stop everything and confess I was too weak.
I said it millions of times how much I HATE to expose my
weaknesses: over years of depression, suicidal thoughts etc, I hid all my
troubles under a mask and pretended everything was ok with the rest of the
world, because I was surrounded by people who, for whatever reason, could not
handle by any stretch of imagination what was truly happening with me. It made
their life easier and my life easier too: no explanations to be given, no
dramas, no listening to stupid advices (“maybe you should get a walk and have
some fresh air” because of course, depression can be cured with air and trips
to the park, right?), no bullshit, just (fake, in my case) quietness all
I didn’t want this to happen this time. I didn’t want to hide again, pretend
all was ok and sulk in a corner full of negative thoughts, so I did the most
obvious thing to do: I told my boyfriend “I am too weak, I really need a break.
I need to stop thinking and doing, I need to just rest”. It was so hard to
admit it and ear my voice saying those words, but at the same, it was also the
most liberating thing ever. I started crying in his arms, feeling like I just
had a massive weight lifted from my shoulders. I couldn’t stop! And you know
what the best part of this was? Instead of all the past reactions I had from
various people from my past, I had a big hug, a kiss, and cuddles. Everything I
needed. No questions, no talk back, no lessons, no explanations. Bliss!
It took me years, but I finally managed to understand this
very simple concept: there is nothing wrong to be weak. Nothing. Zero. Nada. It
is absolutely ok. Of course, having zero self-esteem, I thought that if I
showed to the world my weaknesses, I would have been outcasted even more and “unloved”
because I couldn’t handle everyone’s shit as per my usual self. Now that my
self-esteem and self-care is high, well, I don’t care if people sees me not at
my best. For fuck sake, I just had a very complicated and problematic surgery
procedure, my body is all focussed on healing and recovering from this major
trauma, if someone has a problem with this they are more than happy to do one
and fuck off. Weakness is actually part of the healing process, it is a sign
from the body that needs you to just do as little as possible so all the
energies etc can be used solely to fix what has been “broken”, and believe me,
my shoulder has seen better days than these.
So yes, I am weak. Big time weak. I’m so weak I feel I can barely function above survival level at times. My brain is less foggy, yes, but still, I can’t really focus too much or dig deep into work matters because, when I do, the rest of my body shuts down to cope. To give you an (hilarious) idea of it, I have noticed that if I experience very strong emotions (be them anger, frustration, happiness…) I become so, so, so desperately tired that I can barely keep my eyes open. One evening my boyfriend and I were discussing stuff, and something upsetting from the past resurfaced which made me very annoyed and angry: well, as soon as these feelings took hold of me, I had to lie in bed unable to move, like I just got paralysed in order to process what was happening. Such a weird thing!
I owe my body respect and care. I beat it, disrespected it, hurt it and being careless with it for way too long. I don’t want to allow myself to slip back to the old ways, those days are long gone. Besides, should I be silly and disregard my body’s signals and all the medical adviced I got, I’ll fuck my shoulder up again and… put it this way, I am in no mood to piss my orthopaedic off or visit a surgery theathre anytime soon!
So, more resting and relaxing, no more superhero silliness!
I didn’t expect to be able to say it so soon after my
surgery, but I’m feeling and doing great. It’s only day five post-op but it
feels like day twenty. The pain is next to zero, I weaned myself out of
paracetamol, my range of movements is progressively improving, my brain is less
foggy and I’m mentally doing just fine. Yes, I tend to get tired quickly, I
feel like I’m running on battery saving mode, but to be honest, after what
happened on Monday, it is fair to say I better thank my lucky stars that this
is the only “annoying” thing I’m experiencing.
I told my therapist “this surgery will be a very good challenge for me to see at what stage I am with my mental work, what things I still have to work on and what progresses I made” and I was so, so right. I can’t help but keep referring to what happened with my previous surgery two years ago, because at that point in time I was in a very dark place mentally: I wasn’t suicidal anymore, grant you that, but still, I was a very damaged, depressed, self-hating woman with now an elbow sliced up and so much frustration that I could have exploded there and then. I was alone at the hospital, alone before the procedure, alone afterwards, alone during my endless recovery, I was negative, I was not making the progresses I wanted, I kept doing stuff I was not supposed to do with the passive-aggressive mindset of “See? I’m doing this shit even though I’m supposed to be in bed recovering” in the hope that, I don’t know, someone thinking “aww…..poor Silvia” would have helped me: of course, I would have never “lowered” myself to directly ask for help, and even in the remote chance I’d receive some, I would have never allowed the helper to do anything because “I am doing JUST FINE!”. I know, I know, what an absolutely stupid way of thinking. I worked during my medical leave with that same mentality and when I went back to work I felt like I was punished further for something that was not my fault. Oh, and should I mention that I ignored anything my then physiotherapist said to me? No wonder why recovering felt like a total burden instead of a chance to be physically better.
You cannot begin to imagine how grateful and happy I am that I had all that psychotherapy under my belt before this surgery. I am on a whole different planet this time round. I surrounded myself with love, affection and positivity, there is not a moment I am alone facing any difficulties by myself and, most importantly, I am allowing myself to be cared for, something that has never happened before; I’m trusting others to do the right thing for me, I’m not only letting them help me when they volunteer, but I also ask for help when I’m stuck. A year ago, all of this would have never, ever be even remotely possible, because I was the rescuer who helps others in order for them to love me, and who never, ever, EVER shows how weak she truly is, so she puts up with any shit with a fake smile on her face (and moaning up a storm). Now, not only I have accepted the fact that I can be helped, and it is just normal, but I went a step further: I let an extremely vulnerable and embarrassed me be lovingly bathed by my boyfriend after he took me home from hospital.
As I said in my previous entry, I fainted on the anaesthetist. Well, the truth is that during my first anaesthetic procedure (I had to have the nerve on my right shoulder blocked and my arm numbed before being put to sleep) I felt incredibly sick. Gosh, I thought I was about to vomit my stomach up. I was sitting on the bed, with a mega needle stuck in my shoulder, and the last thing I remember is my anaesthetist rushing up saying “don’t worry, is fine, now we’ll lay you down” whilst I moaned “gosh I want to vomit….”. When I opened my eyes, I was in the recovering room with a lovely nurse taking care of me. I felt great (good old morphine!) and, to be pretty honest with you, at that stage I didn’t give a remote fuck of what happened in between the moment I closed my eyes and the moment I re-opened them.
I discovered, later in the day, that they saw in the monitors that I was not doing great (hence why they swiftly made me lay down) and that I was about to pass out big time. Apparently, when that happened, I hardly bit my lip as well (funnily enough, it is still more painful than my shoulder!). The anaesthetist had to bring me back, stabilise me then put me to sleep again. In addition, my surgery lasted a bit longer than expected: once my surgeon got his needles inside, he discovered that my shoulder was actually waaaaay worse than expected, so yes, it didn’t go all roses and fairy tales as I hoped. Yet, despite all the scary things and issues, I looked at the physiotherapist telling me all this tale thinking “who cares! Am I fixed though? YEAH!”. Two years ago? I would have probably have freaked out and felt paralysed by fear.
When they rolled me back in my room, I looked myself in my phone’s camera and I realised that I looked like a vision from hell: my face (and lip!) was swollen and sticky, my hair was messy, I had my arm in a sling (what the fuck?), I smelled of sweat, medicines and… well.. pee. Soon enough I realised I was sitting in an absorbing pad, and by the, ehm, wet feeling on my poor bum, I think I may have had a moment or two of incontinence during my ordeal. Guess who was the first person who saw me like that? Yes, the last person on earth I wanted to ever see me in those conditions: my boyfriend. Thankfully I was still too high on morphine to cry and feel so embarrassed to call the nurse and beg her to put me to sleep for good. It felt so good (and funny) to see that he saw past my frightful state to only see the usual me in front of him. He cracked me up with few jokes, helped me getting dressed and took me back home like I was just “normal me”, and not a smelly zombie from a horror movie, and this caring, loving attitude is what made me confident and trusting enough to let him help me to wash myself.
I know, it sounds very stupid and basic, but I’m telling you, when you feel so vulnerable, sick, tired, unable to move properly, embarrassed etc one of the last things you’d like to do is to strip naked in a bath and let someone wash you, especially if, like me, you have a life history of being plagued by self-hate, zero self-esteem and a billion body-confidence issues. To me, it was a great big deal. I remember talking about it with my psychotherapist and how uneasy the thought of “having to surrender to someone else and be helped – including being bathed and fed” made me squirm and feel unease, at best of times. Yet, there I was, in all my extremely vulnerable glory, in the hands of my hilarious and caring boyfriend, who not only gently washed me head to toes with a warm wet towel, combed my hair, dressed me up in a clean pyjama and made me feel (and look) like my normal self again, but that also made me laugh till tears and feel just fine about whatever was happening, breaking my mental barrier of “this is so wrong, you are never supposed to see me like this, ever!!!”. What a weird thing to think: in reverse, I’d be doing exactly what my boyfriend did to me, without even blinking an eye, so why should I feel that being at the receiving end of some love and care in a difficult time is something that it’s not ok? You know when they say “in sickness or health”? Well, now I got the hang of what it really means and letting him help me without reserves not only allowed him to prove what a tremendous, incredible man he is, but also brought us to another, better relationship level, I feel. I would have never been able to see that before since I would have never allowed anyone to “be my hero” even if I wanted to: I would have rather spent my time smelling fowl, being miserable and nagging all the time at anyone who dared to listen to me.
Ok, ok, I have to admit, I had my rebellious moment when I
took advantage of one of his lazy mornings and I cleaned the kitchen top to
bottom, but then, once the “I’m a warrior yeah look at this” moment finished, I
had a laugh and went back at taking this recovery time as easy as possible.
There is nothing I have to prove, to anyone. It’s fine if I’m not ok for a
while, it is exactly as expected, so just chill dude, ok?
My next steps now are resuming psychotherapy on Monday (believe me, I cannot
wait to sit on my therapist’ sofa to tell her all about what happened so far)
and starting my shoulder rehabilitation on Tuesday. I can’t wait to be in a
condition where I can hit the gym again!
I am back at home as I write. My surgery went very well though I have been told I fainted on the anaesthetist after he gave me a nerve block for my shoulder: all I remember is feeling very sick and then, suddenly, I was with a nurse in the recovery room!
Anyway, all is ok, my recovery starts now. Thanks for all the kind messages, I truly appreciated them!