Comfort Comes in All Sizes

As I am recovering from *surgery, I have good days and not-so-good days, the same as anyone else after a surgery. There are days when I almost feel like my old self, that at last I am back to normal–then I have a day where all I can do is drag myself around the house to do a few things, then doze most of the day.

I having been cutting down on pain meds and only use a half pill every four or five hours, but by night I need the whole pill. The pain isn’t horrible, just on-going. It goes from a deep throbbing to a surface tightness; the pain feels like a sharp bite. Again, this isn’t anything I didn’t expect, but it does get wearing.

I will see my doctor next week and get an idea of when I can return to work and so on. It’s the fatigue more than anything that does me in. Also, since my right breast is still tender, I’m wearing what I call my “flooby booby” bra (no wires, no support, just kind of a ‘boob hammock’), underwear, pajama bottoms and a loose t-shirt. That’s been my wardrobe du jour for days now. And makeup? Forget it! I’m happy if I’m just clean. If I really want to go all out, I put on skin lotion and a smear of lip balm. Glamorous, I ain’t.

Even our cats seem to notice that I’m not myself. If I lie down on the bed, one by one all three cats will come up and join me. Nala, our one female, and Plumpy-Nut, our newest boy whom we adopted last year, prefer the Crankee Yankee to me. Pookie, our other male, is my boy. However, when I’ve felt well enough to sit in my chair to watch a little TV, Nala has climbed up on my lap and let me cuddle her–three times. (I can count the times she’s done that on one hand in the five years we’ve had her.)

Plumpy-Nut likes me well enough, but as soon as he hears the Pied Piper’s voice (the Crankee Yankee), he is off to see him. But he too has stayed near me these past days. Usually once or twice during the past blessedly sunny days, I’ll take him outside with me, and sit on the steps while he enjoys the garden. He loves lying in the warm soil, and rolls back and forth in it, grinning, as my Texas friends would say, ‘like a possum in a cow plop.’ But he has been staying near me, and even comes in when I do. And Pookie, bless his little heart, will lay himself down on my feet, tummy and feet up in the air for me to pat and scratch him.

Those are little miracles of comfort that make all the difference these days. My mom and I talk every evening, which I love. My friends keep in touch via emails, and constantly send notes of encouragement. The Crankee Yankee will do whatever I want or need, such as running out to get me a pint of that wonderful butternut squash soup I love for lunch. In short, I feel spoiled beyond belief. I am learning to listen to my body when it needs rest, and stop worrying about things I can’t do right now, like drive, go to work or clean the house.

It has taken me years to even consider accepting help and comfort from those around me (I am much too quick to say, ‘oh, I’m fine, don’t worry about me,’ when I’m actually not fine), but circumstances now force me to just give in. And that’s ok. I am overwhelmed (and get a little teary) when those I love are so kind to me, and then when my two more aloof cats come willingly to me–well, it’s just the kind of comfort that both soothes and rejuvenates.

And you know what? Comfort is comfort, no matter what size and shape it comes in. This is a time of rest and recuperation, as well as appreciation for so many kindnesses and comforts, not to mention the huge relief of having the surgery behind me.

Sometimes comfort comes in the size and shape of a cat purring in my ear, a hot bowl of soup, a phone call, an email, a hug, a kiss, a whispered ‘are you ok?’ in the night–and I am grateful.

*See “A Surprise, Parts 1-6” for more information.


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