To my surprise, and something of a blessing, throughout my recovery I haven’t lost my appetite, nor mostly my sense of humour. I was therefore unexpectedly tucking into a meal whilst on HDU which certainly helped in regaining strength and normality.
On being transferred to the cardiac ward there was something of the apprehension of the new boy at school, but with added vulnerability.
I was however delighted the next day to be reunited with my “ heart buddy” John, who I had bonded with at the base camp of the adventure in the pre theatre wards.
Another great comfort in those early days post surgery was my travelling companion Eeyore.
Now you may laugh and look on disapprovingly – many have – but I acquired Eeyore some 15 years ago when I was in one of life’s lonely places and he’s been a great companion ever since. So much so, that on realising last year that this surgery was happening I decided to take him to my church’s animal blessing service.
Again there were a few raised eyebrows, but in my defence – if I need one – the minister Devin was very generous in his invitation to all animals significant in people’s lives. The church was full mostly of the wagging variety, but Eeyore wasn’t the only less animated creature going up to be blessed. I reasoned that he would be helpful in the difficult journey that lay ahead. I was deeply touched that the priest got this and showed him just the same level of pastoral care as he did to the more vocal animals.
However, I hadn’t realised how significant his role would turn out to be.
Whilst I thought it would be good for Eeyore to be blessed, it didn’t occur to me to ask for a blessing for myself, nearer the time. Thankfully my dear friend and priest, Peter did. That moment was made all the more significant that my political group leader also was present.
So months later on that first night on the cardiac ward, feeling bruised, tired, disoriented and in considerable pain I was so grateful to be reunited with my grey companion. However, what I never envisaged is the conversations that would come from his presence. I had three chats with different people in three days about why an AA Milne / Disney character was sitting on my bed. Perhaps, I mused as I stroked his ear, he wasn’t just accompanying me.