Ten Things of Thankful 144 (Expect the unexpected) #10Thankful

I have a friend who always tells me “Expect the unexpected!”, yet somehow I never do. I’m not prepared for things to shift under my feet like sliding sands, landing me on my ass in the middle of a mess. Expect the unexpected. Wise words for life, because life is in constant flux and though we might feel as though we’re in control at any one time, it’s a bit of an illusion – we never know what might happen next. 

This was brought home to me forcefully last weekend, when after a perfectly normal Saturday morning getting my hair cut and seeing my Grandad, I collapsed in sudden, blinding agony (scaring WonderAunty no end and causing her to show her superhero colours), was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, and ended up living squinched up in pain between doses of painkillers until having abdominal surgery on Monday because the doctors couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong.

The Ten Things of Thankful I had been going to write that afternoon, fell utterly by the wayside. I couldn’t even bear to write on Facebook that I was ill because the thought of trying to manage well-wishes and notifications and enquiries as to how I was doing, was just too much. I spent most of my time that weekend curled up into a tight prawn-shape, pressing my hands as hard as I could into whichever bits of me were unbearable. When the meds started running out, I ended up hanging off the bars of the bed rocking and crying in pain whilst mum looked on with such sadness in her eyes that she couldn’t do anything. That was the worst thing, because she was at an utter loss as to how to help, so she sat. I couldn’t do anything to stop her sadness – I could barely think. I just cried.

I lost four days to hazy, pain-fugged, medicated confusion – a maelstrom of nil-by-mouths and blood pressure checks and “PLEASE can I have more painkillers?” and waking up to find I’d fallen asleep again. In that time I was SO thankful to Mum and WonderAunty, who visited me each day and asked all the questions I hadn’t the presence of mind to, kept me company, held my hand, cheered me up, kept me sane. And brought me food (for the times when I *was* allowed to eat), because hospital catering for vegans is sketchy at best.

There are many ‘worst things’ about the occurrence of the Unexpected, and this experience covered (and is still covering) quite a lot of them, plumbing several depths with regard to pain, loss of dignity, loss of normal function, loss of health, attacks of depression…but there were SO many silver linings. I think I lived the entire weekend cocooned in them, and since now is the time to share them, I have an ENORMOUS list of probably many more than ten, but we’ll call it two week’s-worth and be satisfied, because I really have NOTHING else in my life right now.

Sometimes you have to make your own light - summat2thinkon.wordpress.com

1 – WonderAunty, for her care and patience and cool-headedness in the face of Sudden Awful Unexpectedness (i.e. discovering me on the floor upstairs, writhing in agony*, barely able to speak, and Dealing With It). She got the ambulance, and me into it. She brought me all my things from home, so I had everything I needed in hospital, and kept people up to date so I didn’t have to think about it. She visited me, cheered me, and brought me home on Tuesday evening when I was discharged. Since then she has been my constant companion and keeps me on track with my painkiller regime and lets me nap in her office (so she can keep me company) and looks after me supremely well.

2 – Ambulances, because bloody hellfire, there is NO way I could have gotten to hospital without one, without being very unsafely squished into the back of a car, and BETTER, they have gas-and-air, which made me feel far far away from the pain for long enough that they were able to strap me down for the journey (still yelling), before they took me out and I turned back into an upside-down bedrail-clinging, rocking-prawn.

3 – Mum, who took over from WonderAunty in the ambulance, came with me, kept straight on what the doctors were saying and helped me understand what was going on. She reorganised her life for four days so she could come and see me for all the visiting hours she could, so she could be around when feedback came from the surgeons on what they’d done and what they found (I was still too woozy to ask sensible questions or take much in), and she went to fetch people to help me when my ‘call the nurse’ button stopped working. She sat with me and kept me company a lot, and did as much cheering as she possibly could to someone rocking-prawned, in lots of pain, and largely uncheerable.

4 – Good hospitals – I’m so SO lucky to live near to a hospital (and luckier still to be under the care of the (I don’t care what people say about it, I think it’s bloody marvellous) NHS) and that there were first rate facilities in which to be assessed and cared for. Good grief, what people must go through where there’s a bad hospital. Or no hospital. Just…it doesn’t bear thinking about. At all (*sadface* because now I’m thinking about it and I know people DO go through this, and worse, with shoddy or no facilities and that’s why so many people die in poor places and it’s just not good enough).

5 – Nurses, who I think might be angels. They were kind and compassionate and veryverybusy but still had time for me and treated me like a human being, well, like an individual, rather than just ‘a patient’, and were just WONDERFUL in every way. Like, really wonderful. They encouraged and had all the answers and offered help and most importantly, had the painkillers.

6 – Painkillers. I’ve now inhaled them, ingested them, had them injected, and absorbed them from inside places stuff was only meant to go OUT of…but they’re ALL good. Especially morphine. I liked that one a LOT. (6a – being pain-free, when it happens, is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!)

7 – Walking, which is something I had largely taken entirely for granted until I couldn’t do it (because you can’t when you’re a rocking-prawn), but I had to uncurl and do it, agonisingly slowly, using a zimmer-frame because I couldn’t bear my own weight without help (because OWWWWCH!) up and down a loooooong corridor each time I needed to pee. Well. Each time after the nurses realised that I’d use the commode all weekend if they let me, and I’d be at worse risk of DVT, so they stopped letting me). (7a – now I’m home, the toilets are closer and don’t have cardboard pans full of other people’s piss in them. Nor do *I* have to pee in a cardboard pan so my ‘output’ can be measured.)

8 – Showers, because even if you have to cling to the disabled handrails to stop yourself falling down, and you have to try to keep a cannula covered in a tied-on plastic apron to stop it getting soggy, and you have to zimmer-frame yourself into and out of the shower…it’s SO MUCH BETTER TO FEEL CLEAN. It’s also nice to finally get the red dye off your hair, which was going to be the Next Thing On The List, right before you collapsed in agony…

9 – Friends, who have been ‘with’ me through the whole thing, either in my phone, over whatsapp, through Facebook, or in Real, coming to visit me and check on me and take me wobblingly out for my first ventures back into the world (I’m meant to keep moving to help the air (which they pump into you during a laproscopy) dissipate, because it’s damned uncomfortable to have it all still trapped inside me – apparently it might take a week or so to be gone). I have been SO lonely, especially since coming home, and little interventions and interactions and small visits have HUGELY helped.

#LoveWins

10 – Sleep because not only does it help with healing, it stops me being awake to feel the hurting, and it stops me being awake to feel the lonely or the sad or the hopeless or whatever stage of post-anaesthetic illness-induced badness I’m going through, and it means that I have enough energy to do the Next Thing. This week I’ve achieved big things like walking unaided, getting meals for myself, taking showers by myself, putting letters in the post-box, getting some groceries…all with much-needed naps in between because doing anything is completely exhausting. Sometimes even talking is exhausting.

11 – PEOPLE, who I miss terribly and think about lots, because I think there’s definitely something to ‘trauma bonding’ and I feel I made quite good friends (kind of) with the other women who were on my ward, and the nurses, and I miss them and hope they’re doing okay. That was another thing which was AWESOME about hospital – there was ALWAYS someone around. Lots of someones. All the time. It was LOVELY. I actually felt really upset about losing them when I heard I was being discharged. So I had a nap…

12 – Springtime, which has been merrily going on outside while I’ve been tucked away in blankets, slowly uncurling into a more personlike shape who groans and moans less when she moves. I was given a photography challenge to distract me and get me outdoors, and THAT has been fantastic and a small enough ‘ask’ that I’ve succeeded at it for the past two days.

Daffydowndillies

13 – Celebrating people, which I discovered the other day is a REALLY good antidote to feeling down and lonely and left-out and envious, because it brought me back into focussing on the good things which my friends are doing, and the wonderful aspects of how they are, and appreciating and acknowledging what they’ve done which is awesome, and sharing it with other people so that everyone can join in the happiness, and that worked really well for a day when I was pretty well in the dark. And it kept me distracted. And slightly forced people to talk to me because I’d tagged them in something. And they really liked it and it was just nice to do a nice thing which cheered them up. Sometimes you have to make your own light.

14 – Sleep, which I need to mention again if only to remind myself I need to go and do it NOW, because it’s late and I’ve rambled and I’d kind of forgotten how much I’ve missed this whole writing thing, and YOU ALL, and the interaction and connection of the Blogosphere, and I’m a little bit craving it and a lotta bit addicted to it and dammit I just have missed this, missed you, SO much, and I don’t want to stop but I need to because I need to keep healing and sleep will help with that.

15 – Love, because it’s held me and helped me SO MUCH, from whichever quarter it’s been shown, this past week or so.

16. This hop, which got me back to my laptop (which until this evening I had been hiding from, too skeert because of the sheer volume of what I’d missed and had to catch up with) and it’s SO good to be back. SO so so so so good.

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*I always thought it was a fanciful literary expression, an overexaggerated descriptor. I’ve now done enough of it to know it’s precisely what it says. It’s horrible. Utterly, utterly horrible. May you never experience it (or, as WonderAunty and Mum would also likely add, ever have to see someone else doing it).

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68 thoughts on “Ten Things of Thankful 144 (Expect the unexpected) #10Thankful

  1. I’m very late to the party on this one, but I am glad I have been able to be there for you (albeit to a limited extent) during your recovery. Please don’t do too much though, because otherwise I will have to put my Stern Parent Voice on and tell you off. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. 😛

    “Painkillers. I’ve now inhaled them, ingested them, had them injected, and absorbed them from inside places stuff was only meant to go OUT of…but they’re ALL good.” – Can I assume from this that you have had painkillers up the bum? And am I a terrible person for finding that kinda funny? Because if so, then I am a terrible person. Although please be assured that I do not find you having been a pain-filled prawn even remotely amusing. Poor Bezzie. *sends gentle hugs and healing vibes*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry you had to go through that! It sounds awful. I admire you for being able to find so many things for which to be thankful even in the middle of it. You are amazing. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Suheiry – I was VERY blessed, still am, to have had such wonderful people around me, and access to such incredible healthcare. Very very veryvery blessed. Thankful is all I CAN feel (apart from hope that I never again have to experience that pain) *hugs*

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  3. Hi Lizzi, So sorry to hear about the appendicitis and endometriosis. I have a friend who had appendicitis and she said it was the absolute worst pain she’s ever been in, and I have another friend who has endometriosis and she says it’s horribly painful, but YOU got double whammied! Poor thing, I am hoping you’re getting better slowly, but surely. And, I 100% agree with #5 above – Nurses are, in fact, angels! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Slowly slowly knitting back together and discovering how much I still CAN’T do, which is frustrating and exasperating and will require more patience (and sleep) and I’m thankful to have time allowed for both. Thank you, and YES SO MUCH to nurses being angels.

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  4. Lizzi… my goodness. I am sorry that you had to go through all of that. I am glad they were able to get it out of you before it got any worse. I hope that you are feeling better today. Please take good care of yourself. Sending you lots of healing energy and well wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh thanks Melissa – yes I’m doing better now (need to get myself to BED though, ack!) and am knitting slowly back together. It was a horrendous experience and one I’m glad I won’t have to repeat 🙂

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  5. What an adventure – and not of the sparkling variety. I hope you’re feeling better now. I have to tell you I had narration in my head for this, and visions too, and I shut off that feature just as the door was about to close for you to receive your pain killer supositorily, if that’s a word. Poor dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • HA! Well I’m glad you stopped your mind before it went there. I have to say, there is one thing which will make a person (me) eagerly divest herself of dignity, and that’s the chance to be pain-free! It bloomin’ worked though, and I was VERY thankful 😉

      I’m feeling a lot better now thanks, THANK GOODNESS, and am ambling around, knitting back together gradually, trying to keep up with life and failing, but cutting myself slack for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lizzie, your poor thing. I am so sorry that happened to you. I read it twice – I’m not sure if you told us the diagnosis? I pray you are well on you way to feeling great. Pain and fear aside, I loved reading about your gratitude and you are very lucky to have so many blessings. I am reading a book right now, The Gratitude Diaries, and it’s all about how gratitude quite literally changes your life! Your post validates that. xoxo, allie

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was appendicitis and endometriosis – they took out my appendix and I dunno what they did with the other, but it was all awful and I hope it’s over and done with.

      The Gratitude Diaries sounds awesome! I think it’s absolutely true that finding things to be thankful for can change your whole attitude to life and how you approach it. I’ve certainly found that. I’m (still) halfway through Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts, which is about gratitude too, and that’s very good, but a bit like a very rich chocolate cake – I can’t read too much of it in one sitting.

      And thank you – I’m in much less pain now, and knitting back together slowly 🙂

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  7. What an adventure. Hope you don’t have another like it any time soon! But what a blessing to have wonderful women to care for you. The best! Gentle-non-squeezy hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwh thanks so much, May. And yes – those women were WONDERS and looked after me so so well. I hope my next adventure is of the much more fun and exciting kind, not the kind which ends in hospital!

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  8. And you managed to come up with 15 thankfuls after a week like that! I do not like morphine; it makes me itch. Oxycodone is nice, however. I’m glad you got such wonderful care, from WonderAunty to the nursing staff. I always wanted to be a nurse, but my family says I’m not a good one with them when they’re sick, so maybe not…. When you have a c-section, you fill up with air, too, and it’s not very pleasant. I had pain in my shoulder, in the front, that was just awful. Get better, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • OHHHHH it made my skin itch EVERYWHERE but they gave me an antihistamine and that seemed to do the trick. I had forgotten that until you reminded me! Yeah that was less nice.

      I didn’t know they filled you up with air for a c-section! That rather adds insult to injury 😦 It’s horrible.

      Annnnd I have to say, I was thinking of you as I zimmered myself around, and as I’ve tottered around this week, still a bit like a bracket (which you described yourself as after your surgery), thinking my thankfuls that my surgery was nowhere NEAR the scale of yours, and how glad I am about that *HUGS*

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  9. I am so sorry! You are really a trooper to find so much gratitude in the midst of so much pain. Hope you are healed up soon and that the next “unexpected” in your life is a wonderful, sunshiny surprise!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhhh now THAT would be wonderful. I hope hope hope so! That would be perfect, but even in the midst of all the sad and upset and soreness, I got sent gorgeous get-well-soon cards, and two BEAUTIFUL baskets of fruit, and…it’s been mostly a time for me to sleep and apart from the pain has been rather soul-restoring.

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  10. Oh my goodness chuckles. I wondered where you were, I noticed you were missing. Did you find out what it was? So so so sorry you are having a super rough time, but you can, you will, persevere, because that’s what you do. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I seem to be un-keep-down-able, and thank goodness for that! It was horrible. Appendicitis (appendix now GONE) and endometriosis, and they’re not sure which of either or combination of the both was the thing which caused all the agony, but I’m SO glad they fixed what they did and made me better in whatever ways it was that worked. I’m busy resting and knitting back together and ambling around slowly, interspersed with lots of naps to keep me going.

      You TOO though, with the perseverance, you tough cookie. You’re going through the wringer a bit at the moment too. *hugs*

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  11. say what you will about morphine, but…. lol (my one encounter with it, in a similar scenario (yeah, I know does it ever stop!) involved having it for a post-operative pain management, which meant having a Morphine Dispenser in each reach! lol… (wiser heads were at work and the thing would not work, except at a certain interval :{ lol)) anyway the thing that is amazing (and scary) about it’s effects on me was that I still recall ‘waking up’ looking up and seeing it was 9am and proceeding to stare at the wall for 6 hours. lol not fall asleep just lay there, quite content to stare at the wall.
    er…maybe I should try to avoid the morphine whenever possible…lol
    glad that you are back among the ‘living’, the adventure continues.
    (In keeping with my sometimes view of the people I know through from the virtual being Books on my Shelf…. thank you for being an ever-interesting, no-end-to-surprising-plot-twists friend!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • HA! I think this is a plot twist I would far rather have avoided, but at least it makes for an interesting tale! Now it’s done. It was awful while it was going.

      I know that when I came round from surgery I woke up in screaming agony, causing the (very worried looking) nurse to return several times to inject me with more painkillers, before fetching an anaesthetist. I can only assume they sedated me because I woke up back on the ward, in far less pain, and REALLY grumpy.

      I like the idea of staring at the wall for six hours. Must have been really peaceful.

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  12. I LOVED your list here, despite the awful painful miserable mess you found yourself in… You see how strong you are to overcome such a horrific experience? Bless you, Lizzi. I’m especially amazed at your INCREDIBLE outpouring of love and acknowledgement for SO many people you touched and gifted with your encouraging words on FB. Now, THAT is surely a creation of light all your own.

    I’m always thinking about you, love. Praying for you and hoping this passes quickly…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so thankful for all the people around me, especially my family and the nurses and my friends, who made it all SO much more bearable. Good grief.

      And…that day I was down in the dark dark depths and needed light and celebration so I had to create some. But it was such a good thing I kept going and could have said more and more but I fell asleep because I was so exhausted from the morning. I missed a lot of people out!

      But thanks 🙂 And yay for light and love in all its ways. And thank you my Kitty – thinking about you too and holding you close in my heart ❤

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  13. Pingback: * TToT for me | Teachezwell Blog

  14. Oh my! I am so sorry to hear that you were in an agonizing prawn-shaped mess! I have been totally off-line and missed that you were missing! Your TToT is inspiring as always, but mostly, I am glad you are getting better. What an experience! Thank you for letting everyone know. How wonderful you are, dear Lizzi.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hm. The first indicator was no TToT from you last weekend.
    The absence thing though – as a clark, I know it is part of who we are to “go missing” every now and then for, well you know, clarklike reasons.
    Always, you are close to my heart, Lizzi. You may not hear from me, or “see” me but I’m always here 🙂
    Be well my friend. The rebound will make you stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s one of the first ones I’ve missed! So funny that I just got too tired to do it on Friday and then couldn’t possibly have done it the rest of the weekend anyway! Good grief!

      This wasn’t a clarklike reason though. I don’t like being ‘missing’, and I hated missing out. I’ve been FOMO’d something awful last week, and only since getting my laptop back do I feel remotely reconnected and okayish.

      And thank you, my sweet friend. You’re close to mine too, and I’m glad to be close to yours ❤ It matters. You matter. And thank you that I matter to you 🙂

      Here's to the rebound (and at least I can't get appendicitis again, right?)

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  16. I am so glad that you’re ok. And I’m thankful for Wonder Aunty and your mum too.

    And those were all things I was thankful for when I was in hospital too. Especially the walking when I got back to it.

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  17. First shingles pain and now sudden, onset, abdominal pain. You’re getting a lot of different kinds of pain thrown at you lately it seems.
    😦
    Glad someone was around to find you on the floor this time too. You are lucky that you had so many friends notice you were conspicuously missing from online and such last weekend, but seems we all can use at least a couple in person people nearby for just such emergencies as you just had.
    Yes, I just recently heard about someone who died in hospital from a usually treatable form of meningitis because it was somewhere where hospitals aren’t as well stocked as we in places like Canada or Britain are lucky to live.
    I know having such a scary experience with illness and pain makes nurses all the more valuable and appreciated. It was the same when my brother had his accidental fall last Decebmer. Nurses are doing all the front lines stuff, with so many to take care of at any given time, and most do it with care and compassion.
    I know recovery from abdominal surgery takes a lot out of you, but sounds like you are doing the right amount of resting and recuperating.
    In honour of tomorrow, do what only makes you happy right now. Should help feel better faster I’d think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What I did, in the end, was give myself a break and not kill myself trying to write a half-assed 1000Speak post when I was hurting and really had nothing to say. I’ve been a really rubbish blogger this week but a good patient, and I’ve been VERY thankful about the painkillers and resting and time to just knit back together and recuperate.

      I’m hoping to get all my illnesses and broken bits out of the way before coming to America…maybe THAT’S my strategy (or, what I can tell myself, at any rate).

      So sad that you know someone who died. A friend of mine in Belize died last year because the hospitals kept turning her away and nowhere would treat her. It was heartbreaking. I can’t stand that this kind of thing happens, yet…I can only do a tiny bit (comparatively) to help.

      Nurses are AMAZING though and I’m so glad your brother had good ones last year. So glad for every good nurse in the world.

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  18. Good for you for getting a TTOT done! That’s good on many levels. I’m sorry you’ve been lonely and feeling ICK. You’ve had such a complete rollercoaster ride this past couple of weeks, poor thing! I can’t imagine the emotional toll that piles atop the physical ones. 😦
    BUT you are crazy-resilient. You’re already doing this right – blues and all (cuz that’s part if it, yo). You have astronomical amounts of support and love and light around you. A couple weeks from now, this will looks like eons ago. *kisses your cheek* you got this, sistah. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwwwh my lovely BW, I would have been so so stuck without you and others helping me through it. I have SO valued your support and encouragement and THANK YOU for it.

      I’m glad you think I’m resilient though – that’s a good thing (and it was one of my ‘words’ for this year, so YAY!) and I need to keep in mind that I’m still healing and still weathering the after-effects and stop expecting everything to feel so normal.

      *sigh* I feel completely ‘Sunday Afternoonish’ at the moment, which is ridiculous, but the sun has JUST come out for the first time today and I’m going to put clothes on and go for my walk because it will help me and I need to.

      *kisses your cheek back* THANK YOU for you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. When life comes at us at full speed ahead and BAM!, we’re side-swiped, we know the people who really, really care. I’m infinitely glad you had people – very loving people – surrounding you in the hospital. I’m even more glad, still, that you’re recovering and that you’re not in that acute pain any more.
    I’m glad that you are such a light and that so many people care about your wellbeing: the lives we touch are an indicator of what a difference we each make.
    Sending you light, love and healing, my friend! xox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much – that pain was *awful* and I never want to experience anything like it ever again. It was horrific. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

      And I’m lucky because I knew the people who would care, did. And as one said, I was barely away long enough for most people to really notice, but lots of people still did, which was really sweet. I have felt very looked-after and cared about and that’s helped lots.

      I love what you say about the lives we touch being an indicator of the difference we make. That’s a beautiful thought. Thank you for that. And I’m glad to be whatever kind of light I can be 🙂

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  20. wow.. what a week you had … i am happy that you are on your way to feeling better and stronger each day and healing. take care and rest this weekend!!!!! Take care and hang in there! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to take a peek under the dressings. Two out of three ‘holes’ seem to be doing well and the third is troubling me. But the rest…I run out of energy very quickly so rest is mostly what’s happening 🙂 xo

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  21. I’m so glad you’re on the mend now, Lizzi… and glad (thankful) for all the people who’v helped you to get through the yuk and the ouch and the sad in one piece. Thinking of you x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks dear one ❤ It's been horrible and I'm so glad to be out of the worst of it and BACK TO MY LAPTOP (astonishing how much difference that's made) and more connected with my people online. I loved seeing your tweet this morning. Made me smile. Thank you 🙂

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  22. What crazy, foggy ride my dear Lizzi. So glad you’re steadily getting better and getting lots of rest. I truly loved (and appreciated) your FB call-out to your friends. Your resilience and positivity amaze and inspire me and I’m so happy we are friends.
    NOW…get some more rest..mmmkay????

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m wrapped in my fleecy, heart-covered blanket, in my pyjamas and slubby socks and it’s gone midday on Saturday and most of anything I’ve done today is sleep. I’m resting for sure! I do need to do some walking today, but I have a nature photography challenge I got tagged in (tagging you later) so I NEED to get myself up and out later.

      Thanks for your lovely messages of friendship and support and I’m so glad you liked the shout-out thread. That made such a difference to me 🙂

      Awful ride. Done with it. Want it to be over already!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m glad you’re feeling better (you ARE feeling better, right??) I hate abdominal pain — it’s the worst! I’m very glad you had a support system around you when you needed it!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m getting there. I’m in less pain every day and more able to do things without agony, which is great. But the loneliness is growing and I’m signed off for another week and a bit yet, so THAT is gonna be a challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

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