expect I am alone in that I have never longed more for a
winter to be over.
not just because of the snowfall, freezing rain and arctic
cold. You see, I had plans for January and February. I had
opted for an elective surgery that would improve my quality
of life and make it easier for me to be the hot shot “senior”
recreational runner I like to think of my-self as being.
I would be more than ready for my eighth Ottawa Race Weekend.
going to have quick day surgery in early January and proceed
to be super productive over the six-week recovery period.
While I couldn’t run, I would be an active volunteer at
the Orléans parkrun, my weekly go-to 5 km running event.
going to ruthlessly sort through banker boxes of family
photos: if I couldn’t remember where a picture was taken
or recognize who was in it, it was gone. I had a list of
books to read and a whole season of Madam Secretary
to watch. It was going to be “me time” to make up for October’s
canceled trip to Italy.
is a Yiddish proverb: Mann Tracht, un Gott Lacht – Man plans,
God laughs. People plan alright and sometimes it works out.
It didn’t for me this time. Surgery didn’t go exactly as
planned and I have had a catheter for the six weeks since.
This week, I am back in surgery, hopefully to resolve the
volunteering at parkrun was no longer an option, I was not
prepared for how bone-weary I was post-surgery or how long
it took to adjust to my new “fashion accessory.” I didn’t
sort any pictures and spent a lot more time playing games
on my phone than reading.
past weeks have given me time to think about how our attitude
impacts us and the people around us. While I didn’t accomplish
most of what I had intended to do, I tried hard not to feel
sorry for myself and focused on being grateful for the parts
of this adventure that went well: unlike so many, I am dealing
with an inconvenience, not a life-threatening condition
and I received the utmost support and compassion from the
healthcare professionals who have been part of this journey,
including a post-op nurse at the Civic who tried to encourage
my bladder with a solo performance of “Singing in the Rain”.
the horrific OC Transpo crash the afternoon before, I had
a miraculously swift visit to emergency in the early hours
of January 12 and was impressed by everyone during my weekly
visits to the gem that is the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s
Health Centre at the Riverside.
also eternally grateful for my husband, family and friends.
is not to say I haven’t missed driving, fresh air, my weekly
coffee Klatch and my old routine. But who can’t be cheered
up by the sight of your surgeon wearing a standout purple
scrub hat or by the red flowered oven mitts covering the
stirrups in her office’s examination room?
get some reading done and watched a few of the shows accumulated
on our PVR, but after too many reruns of The Big Bang
Theory, I needed to raise the bar on my television viewing
and watched the 2018 documentary Pope Francis – In His Own
not Catholic, but I have always been inspired by the wisdom,
compassion and humility of Pope Francis. In this 96-minute
documentary, he expresses his views on many of our world’s
challenges. At the end, he asks the rhetorical question:
what example would he give of simple, everyday beauty that
has the power to “make others feel better and be happier.”
His answer was unpretentious: a smile and a sense of humour.
admits that every day, after his Morning Prayer, he recites
Saint Thomas More’s Prayer for Good Humour, which reads
in part: “Grant me, O Lord, a sense of humour. Allow me
the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life
a bit of joy and to be able to share it with others.” Ultimately,
it was smiles and humour that has gotten me through this
interminable and challenging winter.