Bright Spots and Recovery

Bright Spots and Recovery

First of all, thank you for your good wishes for my misbehaving left kidney. I’m happy to report the surgery went well!

Recovery, however, has been much like this fickle spring weather—up and down.

Although the incision in my back was the diameter of a pencil eraser, the kidney stone was the size of a golf ball! Equipped with a camera and a dual-energy lithotripter, my surgeon crushed and sucked out that uninvited guest.

“You did great, Sissy,” Rachel told me as I was waking up in recovery. “The surgeon explained everything to me. She said you did really, really well!”

I smiled at my sister’s dancing eyes peeking out from her mask. Her excitement buoyed my groggy haze. I was glad to finally have the ordeal done. I felt no pain, no discomfort at all. Just incredible thirst.

“Maybe she’ll let me go home today,” I said, sipping my Ginger Ale.

When the surgeon returned, she agreed. Since there were no complications and my vitals were stable, staying overnight was optional. Armed with instructions and prescriptions, Rachel and I made it home. We updated the family, ate dinner, and then I settled in for an early bedtime. I was confident I would enjoy a post-anesthesia deep sleep.


My brain would not stop that night. My eyelids behaved like they were spring-loaded, popping open as soon as I shut them. I felt like I’d entered the twilight zone, disoriented but still strangely real. I flipped on the TV to try to find focus.

But my mind still darted. While watching a hockey game, I cleared 250 emails, checked and responded to 100 column comments, and rifled through three magazines. And yet, I couldn’t remember what I’d done. The discharge paperwork warned about making decisions within 24 – 48 hours post-op due to the anesthesia affects. Now I knew why.

I finally fell asleep around 2:30 am, but was up at 6:30 am, refreshed and energized. No pain. This surgery was a piece of cake, I thought to myself. And it was—that first day.

But the next day was tough. Tons of pain. Lethargy. So was the following day. I was too tired to even get out of bed so Rachel waited on me hand and foot.

“It’s part of the process,” the nurse told us when we asked about the roller coaster I’d been on post-surgery. “Anesthesia can distort your progress. Full recovery from this procedure can be two to three weeks.”

I felt better on the day Rachel had to leave, thank goodness. But the ups and downs continued in the coming days. So, as instructed, I monitored and tracked my pain, my fluctuating temperature, and the confusing signals from my paralyzed parts. Increased tone and leg sweats could mean anything from infection to an upset stomach to a hang nail. Observation and annotation became my friends as the medical professionals continued to guide me.

Gradually, as predicted, the ups and downs flattened out. Through it all, I searched for the bright spots in each day and made a point to celebrate them:

Easter flowers, cards, and gifts from family and friends:

Easter flowers, cards, and gifts from family and friends

The start of spring in my yard:

The start of spring in my yard.

Most importantly, I kept closest to me a sense of gratitude, reminding myself of what I’d learned during other bouts of uncertainty:

Gratitude, the evidence of what is still good in life, can become the fuel that keeps us strong and determined.

Gratitude, the evidence of what is still good in life, can become the fuel that keeps us strong and determined.

Once again, I had so much to be grateful for—excellent nursing care, responsive doctors, the support of family and friends like you.

And especially the steadfast care from my Sissy, whose ten-day stay included pre-surgery fun times and a special visit with Madison:

Steadfast care from my Sissy.

Rachel was with me before, during, and after surgery. She served me hot grits every morning (my go-to comfort food—note the smiley face!). She even figured out how we could dye our Easter eggs bedside:

Rachel was with me before, during, and after surgery.

So many brights spots. So much to be thankful for. So grateful to be fueled by a strength beyond my own.

And on we go…

How about you? Are you navigating some ups and downs? What are some bright spots that could strengthen you today?

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Another bright spot! Pathfinders for Autism included Madison in their “Voices of Autism” campaign. She is thriving!

“Voices of Autism” campaign.

P.P.S. And one more cherished bright spot memory: My son, Peter, and his wife Meredith were able to join us for a pre-surgery visit.

My son, Peter, and his wife Meredith