“People who want a cure, provided they can have it without pain, are like those who favour progress, provided they can have it without change.”
~ Anthony de Mello
So, here I am, still in hospital.
There have been a few little bumps in the road, including a massive resurgence of lyme symptoms and herxing, post-operation, as I was filled with what seemed like enough antibiotics and other drugs to treat an entire small pox-ridden and hurting country. My poor body has endured a bit of a rough ride. I’m bruised and bloated and scarred and bandaged. Wings of my hair have literally gone white overnight. It’s oddly fascinating.
As well as my four-hour surgery, I have needed to deal with unexpected bladder problems and surgery, lyme-induced loss of vision in my left eye, loss of balance, light sensitivity, bone and nerve pain, raging insomnia and terrible constipation and nausea from my pain meds.
And still, my doctors are pleased with my progress and I am healing well.
Between the pain, the constant intrusion of nurses doing observations, and the insomnia, that’s a lot of time awake. That’s a lot of time unable to be filled with television or books or iPad games or writing thanks to my dodgy eye. (I am writing this with a 200% screen magnification and one eye resolutely screwed closed. It’s taken me about fifteen spurts of energy and then rests to get all of this written; not my usual efficiency – but these are unusual circumstances.)
What can you do when you are in pain and unable to use external distractions? When you want to be able to work on your book but you can’t see to read the words?
I can happily report that I have spent most of the past eight days back in the Kimberley, with my Aboriginal Aunties. Using my imagination and memories as a portal I have returned again and again to the places and people so dear to me, and that form the backbone of my memoir.
I have sat with the late night silence and the loneliness, and spun them into a ladder to elevate me beyond my pain.
I have practiced deep listening.
I have meditated, and I have prayed.
I’ve also time-travelled back into myself. The hours between eleven pm and four am seem well-suited to reflection and analysis of my life. I’ve dug deep into places I had long covered over. What did I really feel? Why did I really make one choice over another? What emotions were in my body? Where was my head? I’ve strung the answers like beads on a mala, knowing that as I hold each one when I am able to come back to my writing I will remember, and that this new understanding will better inform my work. I’ve come to a more honest place. A kinder place. There has been much forgiveness this past week, of myself and others. My stay in hospital has gifted me clarity, and a way forward, finally, to be able to finish this book of mine, and get it ready to send out into the world.
The other thing I have done is gather life stories and vignettes; stories about the nurses and their lives, stories from cleaners and room service tray attendants, from the other patients who are limping slow laps of the ward as they push their drip stands or lug their wound drainage bags and catheter bags, tales from ward orderlies and the lady who brings the morning newspapers. People are endlessly fascinating to me, and their shared stories remind me that we are so alike in our differing journeys and struggles.
For we all face struggles. That is the nature of life. If it’s not one thing, it’s something else.
Even so, it’s a beautiful journey, life. I’m very grateful for mine.
Things will be back to normal, little by little, here on the blog and in my everyday world. I’m okay with things needing to be slow. Slow is all I can do for now.
I’ll swing by here again just as soon as I’m able.
Hugs and love, Nicole <3 xx