20 March 2013
Imagine if this was your day...
8am - You are gently woken by your husband. He makes you breakfast before taking the children to school. You sit at the kitchen table with your laptop, crochet, books, magazines and DVDs to hand.
9am - Your husband comes home from the school run, makes you another cup of tea and fills your glass with water before he starts work. He works from home and is in his office should you need him.
10am - Your husband makes sure you have everything you need. He passes you a banana to save you going to the fruit bowl. You think about having a shower.
11am - You shower and dress, taking your time. Afterwards you go back to the kitchen table.
12pm - Your husband makes you a cup of tea, before asking what you would like for lunch. He pops to the supermarket. You rest your head on your hands.
1pm - Your mum arrives. She asks if you need anything before starting on the housework. You explain exactly how you want the laundry done.
2pm - Your mum makes you a cup of tea, fills your water glass and then starts preparing the evening meal.
3pm - Your mum collects the children from school. You listen to them read for a little while. Your mum plays with them in the other room.
4pm - Your mum cooks. You explain exactly how you like your fish cooked, which wooden spoon for the sauce, how much pasta to put in the pan.
5pm - You eat while your mum loads the dishwasher and washes the pans.
6pm - Your husband baths the children. You sit and watch. He reads them a bedtime story. You sit and watch. Your children gently hug you goodnight. You kiss their heads.
7pm - Your husband makes you a cup of tea and makes sure you're comfortable. He spends the evening with you. You try to concentrate on a film.
8pm - You start to think about going to bed.
9pm - Your husband refreshes your water while you sort out your medication.
10pm - You go to bed.
Does that sound like fun to you? I mean, who wouldn't like to be waited on hand and foot? Me, that's who. It's horrendous. I've been out of hospital for nearly three weeks and this has been my life.
I always thought I was a stereotypical fatandlazy person, but now I realise that I hardly ever sat in one place for long. I was always doing at least three things at once. I never left a room, or walked up the stairs, empty handed. I was always busy. I rarely sat and watched television. I did everything at top speed.
On my discharge from hospital, after being treated for pneumonia, all the consultant said to me was 'You can go home now. Rest'. That was it.
I haven't sat at the kitchen table day in day out for weeks because I like to do as I'm told, or because I'm fatandlazy, but because I physically can not do anything else. I have no energy. It is difficult to describe exactly how that feels. You're not out of breath. You're not yawning. You just have to sit down. You have to rest.
The first week out of hospital I sat and willed myself to stay alive. That sounds dramatic, but I felt at death's door half the time. Last week I progressed to being able to make my own cups of tea, but had to sit down - exhausted - afterwards. This week I have forced myself to eat more in an attempt to generate some energy and it is working. I've read the children's bedtime stories, I've folded a bit of washing and I've chopped a bit of salad. After each tiny burst of activity I go back to my seat and sit for an hour, but I am improving.
I had no idea that recovery from pneumonia could be so slow, but I understand now that it could take 4-6 months before I'm back to normal. That's a awful lot of rest. I wish I could concentrate on my laptop, crochet, books, magazines and DVDs. Most of the time I just sit and rest.