*This is one of those posts where I started writing it a few weeks ago, and I finished it today… sorry in advance for the possibly confusing timeline*
As I write this, my son is playing in his room right now, having no-so-quiet “quiet time.” He’s having a tea party with his stuffed animals, pretending to be their mother – I don’t want to forget these sweet times and memories.
It’s a Sunday afternoon, it’s been an interesting weekend that started out with my husband getting sick and potentially having the flu – so, most of our weekend has involved just staying at home.
At the initial time of writing this, I was almost 3 weeks post-surgery – I had surgery on my foot to reconstruct my fallen arch – it included 4 incisions (3 on my foot, one on my calf) and 2 bone grafts. I am not allowed to put weight on my foot for about 5-6 weeks after surgery, so needless to say it’s been a bit harder for me to do my typical activities.
Yesterday when my husband told me he was sick – initially my stomach dropped. He has been my rock while I’ve been recovering from surgery – he’s taken our son to and from daycare every day, he’s dropped me off at work (my first week back was last week), he’s done all the driving/errands… I quickly recovered from the shock and told myself that my time of rest and recovery was over – it really was a noticeable shift in my mind. I had been comparing my husband to my knight in shining armor the last few weeks, and now I was picking up my sword and shield, donning my own armor, for my family that needed me.
I had never actually gotten in and out of our car by myself yet post-surgery. My knee scooter presents a challenge, in that it’s hard for me to get it in and out of the car without help (especially when I can’t use one of my legs!) But, in the current desperate times, I decided it was time to figure it out. I did a test run – if I balanced my bad leg on the driver’s seat with the side door open, I could fold up my scooter and get it in the car without falling over. Success! I’ll admit, I was pretty proud of myself for my abilities and my level of self-sufficiency.
One of the many humbling lessons I’m learning from having surgery, is that just because you can do something by yourself, doesn’t mean you should, or that you can’t ask for help.
So, I did what any person (well, any over-achieving person struggling with pride) would do: I asked for help by not asking for help. I sent a message to a group of people from church and asked for prayers. I’m not implying that prayers were not appreciated or helpful – but secretly, what I really hoped was that someone would read between the lines of my request and say, “what can I do for you?”
And because I have some lovely and caring (and insightful) people in my life, that’s exactly what happened. And even then, it was still hard to voice what I needed. There’s vulnerability in asking – there’s a chance people will say no, and that it will hurt. Do people really want to spend their time and energy helping me? Am I worth it?
I more or less had to “let” my friends help me, after they insisted – and it was humbling and wonderful and extremely uncomfortable all at the same time. We had groceries delivered to us, my son and I were dropped off and picked up from daycare, and my husband got to focus on just resting and recovering from the flu.
This whole surgery thing has been so much more than a physical recovery process – it’s allowed me (well, forced me, I guess) to slow down and recognize my limits. I’ve gained more compassion for people who have to live their lives with a body that can’t do everything they want it to do. For the first time ever at work, I had to use the ramp to get inside the building, and I realized how deceptively steep it actually was (I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it that first time! And going down… a whole different kind of scary!)
I was reminded of how hard it is to ask for help, even when you know you need it, and even when people offer to help. I don’t want to forget that when things are back to “normal” again. I want to intentionally leave space in my life to offer help to those who need it – which is so hard when we’re constantly feeling pressured to fill every second of our time. (or is that just me?)
What situations in your life have caused you to ask for help? Did you feel comfortable asking? How did it go? I’m interested to hear how others experience this.
Thanks for reading.