The one piece of advice that I have for other hippies facing PAO surgery is that it is critical to have a good caretaker and support team, at least for the first two weeks following surgery. I feel very fortunate that I am able to recover at my sister’s house in the Bay Area for several weeks before I fly home to Colorado. She was able to arrange to work from home, which turned out to be necessary given that I needed assistance initially with not only getting in and out of bed, but also being able to safely sit on the raised toilet seat, shower, and provide meals. ( I still need help showering and with meals, but at least I can get in and out of bed and go to the bathroom by myself). A lot of demands are placed on the caretaker, so to help ease the stress, even when I just feel like crying, I try to put on my brave face, be cheerful and polite, and always grateful.
I have to admit, I am spoiled here. You couldn’t ask for a better climate to recover: every day its been sunny and at least in the high 60’s or low 70’s. I love the fresh air with a slight breeze gently flowing into my room. She has a ranch style home so its very easy to walker around. She has a beautiful back yard with a deck, pool and flower garden that I can enjoy on the days I feel energetic enough to go outside. My niece and nephew are adorable, so its nice to be able to see them every day. My brother in law is understanding and provides additional help when necessary. My sister is an incredible, strong soul who never complains about helping me. My family has certainly raised the standard on care-taking and I am the lucky recipient. And I am forever grateful.
The other bonus about being in CA to recover these initial weeks is I get to see my other California “team members” who provide comic relief and moral support. A special thank you must go out to my friend and PAO-buddy, Jessica, who visited me pretty much every day in the hospital and cooked dinner my family and me last week. It is so nice to be able to talk (and vent) to another hippie because she understands PAO life from personal experience.
Tuesday I will be 2 weeks post-op. I will be flying home 18 days post-op. My goal for this week is to get my stamina and energy back so that I can make the 2.5 hour flight home with ease and make it up my 39 stairs by crutch walking!