Something that struck me, as I lay awake at 5am this morning having woken up for the third time in one night, is how dependant I am on a variety of external things to see me through difficult times. My three biggest vices – smoking, eating and booze – have always played a large part in my life’s celebrations or commiserations. Good news? Crack open the wine. Bad news? A cigarette and big piece of cake will help. This was by no means a revelation for me. I’ve known for years that I’ve got a fairly addictive personality. But now, as day 11 post-op rolls around and I’m still unable to talk properly, let alone eat or drink without screaming the house down, I’m more aware of it than ever. In all honesty, I’m quite miserable and my usual go-to remedies are definite no-nos.
However, I’m able to get out of bed now, and cutting back on the pain meds a bit means I can at least go up and down the stairs without a chaperone waiting to catch me (codeine turns me into a bit of a space cadet). So, I’m getting there. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey and all that. A couple of things I wish I’d known before/have learnt since, though:
* Ice packs are a brilliant help. I’ve only been using them for the last two nights but wish I’d had them at the beginning.
* Despite the myths, ice cream is arguably the most painful thing I’ve eaten so far. It burns. But that didn’t stop me chaving my housemate’s Cornetto last night. I suspect that harks back to the food = happiness thing, though.
* People telling you ‘It’ll get better soon’ is both reassuring and infuriating. So if you can afford to, hire a nurse to look after you for the first week or so, because you will get grumpy, and your loved ones won’t have the foggiest idea of how to deal with you. Everyone ends up frustrated. Trust me.
* Tell the hospital, upon your departure, that there’s no point calling you to find out how you’re doing, because you can’t talk. You’d hope that they might look at their notes, see that you’ve had throat surgery and realise that telecommunications are a bit beyond your current remit, but they won’t. So you’ll end up answering the call thinking it might be important, and end up grunting at a non-English speaking person who makes no sense and keeps asking you to repeat everything, and you’ll get so frustrated that all you want to do is throw a bottle of wine down your neck and chain smoke between eating huge mouthfuls of gooey cake, just to cope with the idiocy. But you won’t be able to. All you’ll be able to do is drool into a tissue, look angrily at your nicotine patch and punch the next person that cheerfully points out that ‘It’ll get better soon’, as they tuck into their dinner with a beer in hand.