So here I am again. Back in the blogging hut. Well, it sounds better than “I’m sitting on my bed writing this with my laptop on my lap.” You can make it what you like actually. It could be a cave in a cliff overlooking the sea, or a mountain cabin with a stream picking its way round some choice boulders (mind how you go as you cross over!). I like sea better ‘cos this is where I live. And I’ve just walked down to the beach and taken this picture today.
For those of you who know, you’ll understand the significance of “just walking down to the beach”. It took me 10 minutes to get there. It was a leisurely pace. That’s how close it is.
I’ve just had open-heart surgery. Five days ago. I’m alive. And I’m walking. That calls for dusting the blogging hut. I can easily do that. Virtually I can do anything I like. That’s a good thing. Practically I can’t carry more than a kettle half filled with water, to make sure the wired sternum stays together. That’s the official advice.
Ok, what’s this little session going to lead to? I might not feel inspired by tomorrow to even write a single word more. It won’t really matter that much. Or will it? To me at least, it will.
Great! I’ve got at least 8 weeks of cardiac rehabilitation. That’s a journey, a Camino of sorts. I’ve got very distinct goals, set out for me by the physio on a neatly typed document. And walking is the backbone of this journey to recovery. Excellent!
I’m not really interested to write about the detail of my condition (mitral valve regurgitation), it’s probably boring in this context, and I’ve got to drag my own eyes away from the technicalities. So just this once, as I don’t really handle cliffhangers, what happened was this: A bit like a ship I went into dry dock and had a refit. Actually when the surgeon got there he was able to repair the valve and just to be proper belt and braces (since we’ve gone to the trouble of cracking open the chest) he did a single coronary bypass graft, pretty standard stuff. To the surgical team that is.
To me it’s a minor miracle.
My heart stopped. For quite some time. Ok, a heart-lung machine was involved, but all the same. They got on with fixing it, sewed it up, pressed the starter button, and.
My heart started again.
Think of it like this. In the regular soundtrack of my life there will forever be a long silence.
(Ref The long silence of Mario Salviati by Etienne Van Heerden)
So from day 2 when I got wheeled up from ICU, I GOT UP and took the first shaky steps to the bed. That was the beginning of my next Camino.
I’ve made remarkable progress. Perhaps walking fitness prior to the operation can explain this, or relative youth. Or a brilliant surgical and perioperative care team, doing their job with such skill, precision and compassion. But I would add another significant factor, since this blog is about pilgrimage after all, at its deepest a spiritual journey. I believe the prayers, best wishes, crossed fingers, cards with nice words, expressions of love, friends who visited, did the major lifting work here. But especially my God. Did this. My faith is a thin wire woven through in the fabric of my story, sometimes surfacing and glinting briefly in the sun. Such is my faith. That gave me hope. That sustained me.
Bottom line, to all of you who cheered from the pavilion, a heartfelt thanks. Boom boom. (reference Basil Brush). Yes I’ve acquired a new string to my bow, the dad joke. It’s only a good one if you get a loud groan from the audience. But I’m honing my craft – be afraid!
So here we are, trying to make sense of it all.
I can’t even begin to do that (make sense of it all). I think we can (at least) agree about the dust – goodness, I haven’t used WordPress in anger for more than 2 years! I hope this little spring clean will suffice.
But is blogging still a thing? I don’t know. I’ve always written for a very small audience, mainly me. It sort-of helps to blow out the cobwebs. You can’t really instagram this unprocessed, or pour it unfiltered into Facebook. But I feel, more than any other of the social networks, that this is my space. I can mess up here all I like.
I know, too many mangled metaphors, how very amateurish. Who’s going to read it anyway?
There is a story to tell, bones to unpick. It probably will fall back to the old pattern of occasional mad inspiration at midnight, with a smattering of random thoughts. Insomnia is my frequent companion.
And don’t worry, I’ve given up the morphine on day 1. We had a major disagreement. (Opioid induced nausea and severe itching). Tramadol left me zombified for 12 hours at a time. (Some would say that’s an improvement.)
So I’m writing here stone cold sober, with my laptop on my lap, running on pure paracetamol. Taking blame and credit where it’s due.
Will you come with me? There’ll be pictures! (At the moment just taken on my phone). But eventually I’ll be able to carry a camera again. Hold that thought! (reference Hugh Brownstone).
Ps. Full disclosure: OK I wasn’t entirely truthful when I said I didn’t like cliffhangers.