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My recovery is going well, I've been out walking every day and walked half the small by-pass today.  I'll try all of it tomorrow.  The entire by-pass is almost 6 miles but you can break it up into 3 different walks so I'll keep going with the aim of doing the entire thing within 2 to 3 weeks.  The only thing about walking is that I can't walk at my usual pace, if I try to speed up I feel the muscles around the wound tighten and I don't want to push myself to the point where I might rupture something on the inside and end up back in hospital.  It's a strange feeling, it feels sometimes as if a muscle has got caught on my lower rib, not a pleasant feeling by any means but it slows me down and stops me from overdoing it. 

I also drove today for the first time since the operation too.  I didn't receive much advice on leaving hospital other than to take it easy so I've been checking online for advice and tips.  One site advised that if I could stamp my braking foot hard on the ground then I should be ok to drive.  I was able to do that ok and felt strong enough to drive so I gave it a go and it was fine.  The wound itself has healed really well so things are steadily improving and I hope to be back at work before Christmas.  

Before the gallbladder operation, I would have considered myself to be fairly tough.  I have come through some fairly traumatic events in my time, after all, I grew up in a war zone and then the ‘Troubles’ started!!  Seriously, though, I’ve had a fair share of trauma and emotional pain but when faced with the hard reality of actual physical pain, I realised I wasn’t anywhere near as tough as I thought I was. I actually have quite a high pain threshold but there was one day in particular when I was in extreme pain and unable to take any more pain relief as I had reached my limit and most of it wasn’t working anyway.  There was nothing I could do but just sit there and endure it, which I did for 10 hours and in enduring it, I was humbled, and to be honest, I think something in me did break.  

Being confronted with the reality of my own human weakness has certainly brought about some profound changes.   Whether the changes will be temporary or permanent will remain to be seen but one of the positives I’ve taken from it is that I have definitely become more patient, not just with others but more importantly, with myself.  I realise that in the past, I have been far too hard on myself and tried to take on and do too much. There have been many times when I have driven myself to the point of physical and mental exhaustion.  Not only that but I would also have considered it a personal failure if I had ever fallen ill with flu or something, or worse,  ever had to ask anyone for help. 

Well, those days are certainly over and I will now happily accept all offers of help…well, maybe not all, just the useful ones or the ones I need!  I will also give myself time to recover.  I’m cutting back on the work front too and giving up the second job.  Time is more important to me than money and I want to enjoy as much of my life as possible, after all, no one knows what tomorrow may bring. 

Funnily enough, on the Sunday the pain started, I had changed my mind about the Robert Plant/Van Morrison concert.  Standing at An Grianan Aligh admiring the view, I had thought, ‘to hell with the cost, it’s a once in a lifetime event with 2 musical legends, I’m going!’  But by the time I got home, the pain had overtaken me and all thoughts of the concert were forgotten.  So, even if I had got a ticket, I still would have missed it.  My sister and her husband did go, she said it was brilliant.  She’s not a Van Morrison fan but she said he was amazing.  Of course, Robert Plant was amazing, that goes without saying! I was really sorry I missed it but c’est la vie!  I also missed out on my trip to England for bonfire night.  Ah well, there’s always next year – I hope!

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