(Please read the previous posts related to heart surgery if you haven’t been here before, thank you)
On Sunday, I began a walking program, albeit brief and slow. Instructed by the physical therapist who visits, I began walking in 10 minute increments – outside. Not so exciting, you say? Let me tell you, this is exciting.
I have a new heartbeat. It isn’t the old one that skipped and rolled. I have a steady, ordinary beat. Nothing special. No more drum rolls. No more thoughts that it might permanently stop after each pause. Ordinary. Reliable. Consistent. Like an old metronome for music practice, my little piggy valve beats on. Walking is a gift. I had almost forgotten since prior to surgery I was only allowed to stroll, and strolling isn’t my style. People with heart valve issues often work much harder than the average person when they exercise. We use more energy to do ordinary things. Our blood doesn’t flow fully to the required parts of the body. The heart valve (in my case, it was the aortic valve) tries to do the job but it fails, with the interior portion of the valve being beaten up, thickening, narrowing, etc. Now, I have this beautiful and ordinary heart beat. So far, so good.
I’ve wandered all over the neighborhood wearing my white surgical support stockings beneath my clothes, my too long hair in a pony tail, and my darkest sunglasses. I’m quite the sight. This morning, I graduated to a full 20 minute walk. The photo above is the only one that has survived my unsteady hands and there is no connection between it and my text other than I have fallen madly in love with this leaf. I love the color, the shape, the “hope”. I love that I am walking slowly because I’m forced to stop and look at what is around me as opposed to spotting ahead for something of interest. It is a beautiful leaf. It was a beautiful day today.
My thoughts during this third week after heart valve surgery, most of them unrelated and random, none of them profound:
1. Nothing is ordinary. Our consciousness dictates what we pay attention to. You might see a dead leaf where I see the most beautiful orange and yellow I have ever seen.
2. Cats are the most amazing friends. However, they really want you to just get out of their chair.
3. Love is an act, not a word. Say what you want, but if you don’t “do” love, then it isn’t real and it certainly isn’t necessary.
4. Glitter never leaves your work space. It hides in every single corner to remind you of what you’ve done and inspire you to do more.
5. The people I saw when I first woke up in the hospital were not healthcare workers. They were angels. I will always believe this.
6. Your friends are not who you think they are. They might be thinking the same thing about you. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
7. I am still recovering from hospital food.
8. Your bones creak when they heal.
9. Healing is a miracle. We forget this.
10. We are worth everything.
“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.” Elizabeth Edwards