The immediate post-op period was for me an odd one, which I devoted completely to healing up. I wanted no dire complications - such as popped stitches, bleeding, or prolapsing - and it seemed vital to let the body recover in its own good time, with as little strain as possible placed on it. So I lived in a nightdress and dressing gown; I walked very slowly and very carefully about my home; I cooked as usual, but they were easy-to-prepare meals that didn't keep me on my feet for too long. I spent my days reclining in comfortable positions, usually dozing, because I felt tired and worn out. I knew the wish to sleep so much was my body telling me to rest, rest, rest. I obeyed. I did not go out for three weeks, and wasn't driving anywhere for four. I had my groceries - ordered online - delivered to my door from the supermarket, and every driver obligingly carried the bags into my kitchen. I was determined not to lift anything heavy.
It was a type of life that sounds wonderfully lazy, but I was glad to get active again, and out and about - although I hasten to add that what passes as 'active' for me might seem a very languid lifestyle to some others!
I am definitely not one of the world's hard workers. For a whole summer my post-op convalescence was a grand excuse for not overdoing things, and generally letting things slide a bit. After that, I thought it best not to charge at life like the proverbial bull at a gate. Not that I could be any kind of bull after the op, if you understand what I mean!
That said, there are jobs that have to be done, and can't be put off. Anything to do with the fabric of the home, for example. The big stuff like plumbing, unblocking drains, hedge trimming, mowing, and erecting new fences needs a Man Who Can. And that just needs money. Personal effort doesn't come into it. I know there are some in my position who get up on scaffolding and paint their house, or disinter an unavoidably neglected vegetable patch. (Nods to Caroline in both cases!) Their industry shames me. I can make no claim whatever to be an inspiring role model where 'jobs around the home' are concerned.
But there are a host of lesser tasks that I can tackle, and do. And although I still need to be nudged into action, the sharp spurs of inconvenience, unsightliness or irritation will get me into my working togs and onto a job soon enough.
Yesterday I dealt with a vast accumulation of leaves at the front of my house - a rake and sweeping-brush job. The even more vast accumulation of leaves at the back of the house (there are lots of nearby trees) is a job for later in the week.
Today, in fact as soon as I have finished this post, I am going to scoop all the leaves out of my gutters. I must do this before it rains again in the night, because if the rain can't run off freely I get a sleep-denying trickling noise right outside my bedroom window. I can't abide that. Hang on, you might say. How will you clear your gutters if you don't like getting up on high ladders? Answer: I live in a bungalow, and my gutters need only a low set of steps. In fact, I get up higher when washing the caravan roof. Anyway, by lunchtime I will have gutters to be proud of. Gutters I could show the Queen. And my neighbours will be saying things like:
Lucy's up a ladder again!
She's a worker, that one. Did you see her yesterday, sweeping all those leaves up?
And then she washed her lovely car for an encore.
She's so house proud. Prepared to spend money on a cleaner - that's the young lady in the red car, you know.
And that mower man. Those lawns always look immaculate!
Look, she's weeding now. Where does she get such energy?
Her parents would be so pleased to see that she's kept their house looking nice.
And she does it all so cheerfully!
Always got a nice word to say.
Likes a chat and no mistake!
Hope she doesn't move away. She's a nice neighbour to have. So quiet, and always so pleasant.
I don't think she will. Where would she find a nicer place than this?
It's the Garden of Eden.
And so on. I hope I've conveyed the rustic Mid-Sussex dialect accurately enough. I'd better get out there now, and maintain my spurious reputation for being a model neighbour. Before I lose the plot for the day, and decide instead to practice my Spanish (with words like mañana).