This morning’s forecast says rain all day. Yesterday was sunny with the high near 70 degrees Fahrenheit; a very pleasant surprise for a very challenging day. Our friend survived his open heart surgery; only a double versus the quadruple bypass surgery the heart surgeon said could be possible. What began at 8:30am was completed by 12:30 pm and the awakened patient’s nodding recognition at 8:30pm. Many good signs in one 12-hour period.
But today is another day, and if the weather is a predictor, this day will not be as bright and shiny. Today, the forecasted temperatures will be in the low 60s and wet, not bad for this early Spring period. Accordingly, a rainy day is a predictable Spring occurrence just like the slow but sure rehabilitation required from major surgery.
We are told that our friend is likely to experience the following progression:
- 7 days in the hospital before release;
- Release to either home, or maybe a few days in a convalescent facility to transition with the aid of close medical assistance; and then
- Two to three months of slow healing before full strength returns
If there are no complications, no unwanted infections, and he is diligent in his aftercare compliance, our friend will be able to transition from gentle walking to full movement by July 4th, Independence Day; to celebrate our country’s independence, his independence and renewed independence for the family and friends caring for him.
However, like weather forecasting, there are a few challenges to keep in mind. Climate change has “broken” the jet stream leading to unpredictable temperature and precipitation patterns. Bad weather can stall over geographies not normally expecting it. There can even be harsh weather, like more hurricanes and tornadoes, bringing high winds and flash flooding, and wreaking more havoc along the way.
In our friend’s case, he may feel ready to do more than recommended and his energy could lead to excessive effort in his desire to rehab faster than he should. He may try to do too much work around his home, try to prove he is back to normal far before he’s ready. There might be antibodies that attack his recovering wounds. There might be outside work demands he normally stresses over, having even more of an impact this year.
As part of a large group of caregivers, each of us must be careful not to expect too much too soon from him. We need to encourage a slow and safe recovery regardless of how much we would like a faster rebound for his and our own release. We must look at Independence Day as the “earliest” possible celebration date and be prepared for a Labor Day back-up plan if any forecasting surprises occur.
May we be calm, be patient, and be compassionate with our friend and ourselves. Less stress and more understanding will help all of us find the joy in each present moment to come.