Today I have been out of hospital for as long as I was in hospital, a total of 12 weeks. Feeling somewhat dazed and confused. Life wanted me alive but has me checked out and yet it is just a blip on the journey of life.
Outward Bound sent me my watch photo after surgery which was quite serendipitous because the full medical that was required revealed my high blood pressure and subsequently, high cholesterol.
It was one of life’s pivotal moments. 10th of July 2011 (11 years ago) I finally made it to Outward Bound. What stopped me going before then was the power I gave to sticks of dried burning leaves (cigarettes) and the coffee that lubricated the throat. The opportunity to attend Outward Bound came six months after quitting and ironically, while I was completing an ‘Adventure Based Learning’ paper for my diploma.
However, there is always a challenge one must face if we want something. I wanted to go to Outward Bound more than I hated running. The fear of being kicked off the course for lying about my ability to run 3km in under 25 mins had me up and semi running around the block in the dark cold winter morning. On the last day we had to run 12kms. (Now they have my permission to kick me off the course.) I call it resistance training. I am resisting the urge to run. Fastish walk it is. One of my teammates finished his run and ran back to support me to the finish line while others waited to fully submerge in the sea one last time together. I’m sure I was loved but it could have been because no one eats lunch until we are all finished.
While waiting five weeks for surgery. I did consider running down the stairs screaming to try to bump myself up the list but feared after five weeks my legs would give out before my heart did.
Bringing the outdoors indoors definitely helped. Many indigenous people believe that stones have energy or a life force. Mᾱori call this ‘mauri’. My son gave me a small rock which I used for grounding and connecting with the outdoors. Fortunately, I was also able to open the windows and inhale the outside air when needed. From the 6th floor I had a clear view of the valley and the hills. I received my rongoā (Mᾱori medicine) certificate while in a hospital. Life's ironies. It appears that it is a little-known fact that you shouldn't take kawakawa if you are on blood thinners.
What is incredible is that 1 day after 3 hour surgery with my heart on the table (why they opened my chest when it sits on my sleeve I’ll never know). They had me get up from the bed and onto a chair for two hours. By day 3 I was walking to the toilet in the corridor unaided. Five days is the standard discharge time. My discharge form said it was an unremarkable recovery. They are so flattering.
And now the physical, emotional and spiritual journey continues with a new scar that will soon become an invisible scar. The only thing I do know is that being amongst the trees feels like coming home. On one bush walk I took a breather on Katy’s seat. Her plague reads “Great things happen when women and mountains meet”.
What Outward Bound and being in hospital both taught me. I still hate running lol. Life is full of ironies and serendipity. Power of love and good intentions. It really is the simple things in life that matter. Don’t ignore the warning signs. There are always two hungry wolves. Gratitude and lastly that feeling that others also want you to succeed/survive is truly humbling and motivating. Imagine if love was the energy we shared all the time.
I'm going to heed the recovery advice. Walk don't run! 😂