In some ways everything has changed; in other ways, nothing has.
Knowing that the safety net of the hospital is no longer there somehow brings a gravity, yet also a freedom. Gravity, in the sense that it is now largely down to me to get on with my exercises and to take charge of my progress. Freedom, in the more obvious sense of not having health professionals (though heroes they may be) breathing down my neck at every hour of the day.
With their last words of advice to me heard and digested (ranging from lectures about the virtues of exercising and the perils of socialising, to encouragements to do ‘nothing’ for a fortnight), I am hoping to tread a careful, balanced path. Our experience so far would indicate that it is impossible to get it ‘right’, but that it is often possible to do a good job.
After the busy social calendar I had developed as an in-patient, it feels odd to have space just to ‘be’, and I think that this is what the more conservative of my hospital advisors had intended me to have during this period.
Having said that, I remain convinced that there is something even more pivotal to my recovery: specifically targeted prayer. For those of you that pray, here are the headlines:
- Pain management. As most of you are already aware, my pain is good pain. Whenever and wherever I experience it (usually from the shins, down, but sometimes in the hands) it is a sign not only that stiffness is easing after months of inactivity, but that my nerves are repairing to complete muscle activity and sensation. Please pray that, one way or another, via painkillers or otherwise, I would remain pain-free.
- Exercise. I am now aiming to get my heart pumping a few times a week as well as re-strengthening my joints. I cannot tolerate more than 10 minutes of CV work at a time; at the moment I am using a rowing machine at home, but as things improve I will have prescription access to the local gym and pool, so please pray for my tolerance, stamina and strength to increase.
|With 5 mins on the rower wearing me out, running a 5k again seems a long way off!|
The enormity of what has happened to me seems to be producing an emotional response, which makes the newfound space in daily life so useful. It is becoming apparent that it may take longer than I had hoped to become physically fit enough to resume life as normal; I am wondering whether the same will be true emotionally. It is impossible to know the timings, so I am trying to focus on living each day walking with Jesus.
God has certainly been faithful to my family and I throughout this experience. My Mum reminded me of the line from the hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness:
“Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow”
The picture of manna in the desert from Exodus 16 also feels pertinent:
“Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat.”
None of us can know how much pain or energy I will have morning by morning, let alone when I will be able to resume my PGCE course, for example. But thankfully, because we have a faithful God, I don’t need answers or strength for the long term future, today. All I need today, is strength for today, knowing that, with God, my future is bright. As much as is my need today, He will supply.
Thank you so much for persisting in prayer for me. Having an army of pray-ers who have prayed strategically all the way through this illness has made such a difference, and I know the same will be true for the rest of the journey.