Living with the knowledge that you are going to have open heart surgery is a strange experience. And nothing like I imagined. Not that I really sat around trying to imagine it. I have already learnt lessons about myself and how to deal with other people in difficult situations.
For example, how not to: (A replay of a conversation I had the other day with someone I know.)
Me: I am glad they found out about it and that I can have the surgery when I am fit and healthy
Person: Oh, I don't know. I think they find out too much nowadays. In the old days the first you would know about it was when you dropped down dead after a heart attack! That's right isn't' it? (Question referred to someone else).
Me: Well, I am glad they have found out.
Thankfully, at that point I had to be somewhere else and was able to leave before I received any more helpful advice and comfort. True story.
For example, how to help:
I have had a number of people genuinely offer help of any kind when I need it; looking after the children, cooking, shopping etc. I will take them up on these offers when I know how they can best help.
I am learning to use humour as a useful tool to help me. I discovered the other day that I will be part Cyberman when I have my new valve! "As fleshy parts wear out and are replaced with shiny metal, emotions drop out and land with a splat on the floor." And there is also something slightly amusing about being on the same medications as my parents.
Over the years I have been anxious about many things and could be classed as a worrier. I am learning to prioritise. A lot of things are just are not important. The Bible and prayer have become more important again. Unfortunately, it has taken a major health issue to show me these things.
Shush, do not tell anyone but I am learning how to use relaxation techniques in order to keep calm. (My Evangelical Christian radar sensors are still slightly twitchy at this thought.) I have a few CDs that were given to me by my Cardiac Nurse (well mine and all her other patients but it makes me feel special). I am to try them twice a day but once is more realistic. Whilst I certainly do not agree with the sentiments the lady on one CD expresses the music and the sound of her calm voice are helpful.