Life These Days

Thursday, April 26, 2018


Life has taken on a slower rhythm since Mark had his surgery. Sometimes I think back to the number of things that he used to do in a day  — leaving the house in the wee hours of the morning, working all day and then coming home to work endlessly on the house. You don't think about it when you're in it, but looking back now I can see what a crazy pace it was. Sometimes his pain would get so bad, he'd have to lay down with an ice pack for a few minutes and would get so frustrated that he wasn't "doing anything". Funny how our bodies have a way of forcing us to slow down when they desperately need it.

The not-doing-anything feeling still frustrates him, I can tell, but there's also a healthy fear of re-rupturing that disc and so we take it slow, going through our daily rhythm and trying to think about the things that we don't normally think about. No bending, lifting, or twisting sounds easy enough until you do something out of habit — roll the wrong way in bed, twist to pick up your phone or grab something that's falling. It's been a daily adjustment in slowing down and thinking before doing.

These days, we get up and start the day together. It's a pretty foreign concept for us since he has always left for work hours before I wake up. We eat our breakfast together at an actual table instead of nuking a frozen burrito on the way out the door. We watch the deer take their morning march through the woods and have become acquainted with a family of red-headed woodpeckers that live in the hollow tree behind our house. It's amazing what you start to notice when life slows down.

After breakfast, I head to my office to start work and Mark's dad typically comes over to work on our house while Mark supervises. They've finished installing all of the window trim and baseboards and are now working on hanging shiplap on the fireplace. Thankfully, our house is in the best condition it's ever been in — which is a blessing right now while Mark is mostly housebound. The floors aren't finished and the walls aren't painted, but at least it's not torn apart. We've had several people ask us why we don't just hire someone to quickly finish the remodel for us. It would be faster, true, but it's not the smartest move financially. Plus, there's really no reason to rush. We've lived through worst conditions than this for twelve months, so what's a few more? At this point, all the rooms are functional except for the kitchen. Our little camping kitchen in the basement is still going strong, so we're resisting the urge to rush.

In the evenings, I cook dinner downstairs or we'll grill something outside. We've talked about getting a picnic table since we spend so much time outside now. Mark wanders around our property a lot, partly for a change of scenery and partly on the advice of the hospital physical therapist to keep moving. We're getting lots of use out of the basket of board games that someone gifted us for our wedding five years ago. We've played our way through multiple rounds of Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, Skip-Bo, and Battleship (which I haven't played since I was a kid!). Suduko puzzles, books, and online classes are also regular staples.

In a month, he will start physical therapy to hopefully strengthen the weakness caused by the nerve and prevent any relapses. As with every effort to heal, there are ups and downs but there's also an underlying current of thankfulness to each day when we remember where we were and where we are now. This slow pace is a good thing and for an incredibly worthy cause.

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