The first couple of days at ‘home’ were quiet. Well, as quiet as life could be with an energetic four and a half year old in the house. I desperately needed to catch up on some sleep. That was the easy part. Getting into a routine though was plain hard work. The tasks had not increased in difficulty and neither were they different. What was new was my room. I had to make sure I didn’t lose focus, trip, and fall. I learnt after my first full day ‘home’ that just doing basic things like getting up, having a shower, and getting dressed were going to be tiring, and take much longer than the habits I had mastered in hospital. I found that I could transfer how to do the basic things, but not the order in which they were done. I had to work out a new pattern. I was making my own breakfast, something I hadn’t done in over four weeks. What was usually a five minute job was now taking about fifteen. I found that I was always thinking about the next thing and how to do it. There wasn’t much room in my head for much else. I started to get worried about how I would manage when other things like work will start to compete for my mental space, but I tried to ignore that problem for the moment and to concentrate only on that day.
On the second day, I started to go wider afield than home. The morning was quiet because my brother had taken the two little people swimming. Getting ready to go out took me the entire morning. My brother came back for me before going to Bonython Park. We made a stopover at St Peter’s Bakehouse for a sandwich and a pie. We didn’t expect the bakery to be so packed, full of hungry consumers. There wasn’t much standing room whatsoever. We arrived before the queue was out the door, luckily. But I was constantly on the alert knowing that I could easily be knocked over. I was like a standing statue because my muscles had tensed up tight and stiff because of the growing fear that someone might push past harder than they meant to. Causing me to fall would not have taken much; just a careless shove from an impatient customer. When someone wanted to push through the queues, I couldn’t really move. The only thing I could do was stand still. Being in a confined and crowded space was quite a shock. Until now, the space I had inhabited was set up to help me and was always secure. A busy bakery was no longer a safe space, but an aggressive place helping those who had full use of both legs. Finally though, with a baguette and a coffee in hand, we stepped out of the over-crowded and stuffy bakery, walked carefully back to the ute, and made our way to the park.
The day was cool but not overly cold. We sat on a picnic bench munching our way through our sandwiches and pies. The sun was shining and the warmth was enough to stave off the cool from the wind. The two little people were soon running towards the playground. There was something cathartic about just sitting, watching the two play. I went for a ten minute walk along the river, stopping to sit at a bench when my legs tired. I was enjoying doing something and being out of doors. The briskness of the air, the sound of the birds, and the water slowly flowing by, revived me. I walked back, matching the pace of the river, and I found myself back with my brother and my family.
Those couple of days were a well needed break. A break from the hospital and being reintroduced back into life slowly, without pressure, without demands on my time. But those two days were also a taste of the holiday I didn’t have; down time without work, resting and frolicking. But at least I had those two days; two days were better than none.