Chapter 18 – A Snail’s Pace

Chapter 18 – A Snail’s Pace

May 28

On my way to the mailbox yesterday, it occurred to me that the phrase “snail’s pace” has real meaning. After all these weeks of being completely inert, they tell me to start walking!

Well … What a clever idea, walking.  Good for the heart. Keeps the blood flowing. Makes the bad karma go bye-bye. Nothing like a good walk to cure what ails you. And, I mean, after all, it is just one foot in front of the other … Step one, step two … Like that … I mean even babies can do the walk thing!

So here goes!

Step one … Huff Puff

Step two … Pant Gasp

Left right left … Argh! Yoicks, that hurts!!!

Hold on … Just take a moment to look at the garden which is looking quite spectacular.

No hurry. Lap two right after I take a break … Give those groin muscles a chance to calm down. Maybe a nap before I go to the recycle bin. My mother always told me procrastination is an art form.

In fact, it occurred to me I might be overtaken on my right by Monsieur Escargot, as he made for some choice green shoot from my garden and I procrastinated my way down the sidewalk They really know how to enjoy life, those French …

Take it easy.

Don’t rush.

Enjoy the journey.

… and always eat the best food.

So maybe that is not the worst advice for those of us recovering from the bad juju of surgery. Viva la France and all things good to eat. In fact, once I have enough strength to open the freezer, there is some exceptional ice cream that needs to be savored. It is made using a French Pot method … must be good

Ironic, no?


Pain in the groin area continued to be a problem. The operation had been ten hours long, and for the entire ten hours I had been upside down with my legs clamped open so that the muscles had become overextended. Long after other muscles began to respond to rest and light exercise, my groin muscles refused to relax.

Along with the groin, my abdomen was far too compromised to be of any use. The incisions that had been made to enable those high tech robotic instruments to go through the stomach wall had cut through the abdominal muscles. Those poor abused and insulted muscles had a long way to go before they could function normally once again. Hence my inability to lift or pull or carry anything much. Other muscles might be loath to function, and reluctant to respond, but were eventually able to respond on command.  That meant I could walk … very slowly … but could not bend over. I could sit but not stand up without a push from my arms. I could push and lift, close doors and open cupboards, But, any like picking up or pulling out a lower drawer was not in my repertoire of activities.

So, I spent a long time working my way to the mailbox and back. I carried my phone with me wherever I went, as it was not possible to get up and answer it before the caller gave up and assumed I had left town or died.

I was able to put laundry into the washer, but could not empty the dryer, so I mostly air-dried things, or my friend Nancy took the sheets and towels to be dried at her house. I could use chair arms to lift myself from any seated position, and used the door knob to help me off the commode when I needed it. And my helper army had left all of my pots and pans and plates and bowls and silverware and glasses and napkins and dishwashing liquid, and bread and crackers and anything else I might need … it was all left on my counter so I could use it and not have to bend over or reach up to retrieve anything. I could open the fridge, but couldn’t open the bottom freezer, so I asked anyone who came to visit to get out some ice and fill the bucket for the day. This was because I continued to drink ice water through a straw, as the flavor was still a bit off from the chemo month.

I became aware that my life had taken on the texture and pace of an independent elderly person, at the mercy of any sudden moves or changes. It was a real revelation to actually be that person for the duration of my recovery. No longer would I look at some slow-moving, little gray-haired munchkin … moving with deliberate speed, oblivious to my hurry and impatience … and not remember what it is like to be incapable of speed.

I was happy to be moving at all … so, DO NOT hassle me … I can’t go any faster.

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