While I was in the hospital, the physiotherapists would come round at least twice a day to help me with my exercises and give me some new ones to do every now and then. As I’ve said before, I pretty much hated physio up until this point, but then everything changed.
If anything, I looked forward to them appearing at my bedside. It gave me something to do and someone new to talk to. It helped to break up the long days sitting in bed. I won’t lie. At first I was shocked by how hard I found it. Suddenly things that I’d been able to do just a matter of days ago seemed really, really hard. I remember one of the things that I had to do was slide each leg out to the side. Before the operation I’d been able to do around 10-15 of these before getting really tired. In hospital, I was struggling to get my count up to five. Instead of letting this get me down, I used this as a challenge to try and make myself go one better every time I tried. I didn’t always manage it, but the times that I did it made a massive difference to my self-esteem and helped me feel like I was doing something productive from my bed.
My family were a huge help during all of this. Without them, I don’t think I would have done it as often as I did, or pushed myself as hard. Mum was allowed to stay with me at the hospital so we’d try and do a set every hour or so. Dad would do them too sometimes, but often he’d be there, crossword puzzle in hand, shouting out the clues to distract me from the discomfort, or motivating me to finish them faster so I could concentrate more. I wasn’t very good at crosswords then, I’m still not now if I’m honest, but my Dad is a whizz at them, even the cryptic ones.
Mum even said that when the time came for me to try walking again, she’d dangle money in front of me as motivation to keep going if she had to. I never put that theory to the test in the end, I don’t think she was ever serious about it anyway, but it made me laugh all the same.
When the Monkey Pole bar was fitted to my bed to help me sit up, I would pull myself up on it a few times just to build my arm strength up to make using the sliding board easier. It probably wasn’t the best thing for me to do looking back on it, but it helped me get stronger and that was all I cared about. I hated the slide board so much in the early days. It should have been my best friend because it helped me get from my bed into a chair, but I found it really hard to use so it just made me feel weak and very frustrated. By the time finished using it though, I could even get on and off it without help, so I guess something paid off somewhere.
Now, when I don’t feel like putting the work in (which is more often than I would like to admit) I try and think back to what the post-surgery, sixteen year-old me, would say to that. I think she’d call me lazy, and I think she’d feel let down that I didn’t continue with the hard work. So, I still try and push myself to work hard, both for my family and for myself.