Recovery is Not a Science
It has been six months since that fateful day when my heart went into trauma. I can’t decide if it is the longest 6 months of my life or the shortest! Some days it seems like life is moving in slow motion. Yet more seems to happen in one day than it used to. Perhaps, I am just more introspective these days. I do know that I am not taking things for granted – Not even the simplest day-to-day events. I think that is a good outlook to have..
I have decided this is all part of recovery. My focus has changed. I no longer think about doing some well-intentioned tasks. I do them. I use to wake up in the morning and wonder “IF I should do some exercise.” Now I wake up and think “WHEN will I be doing my cardio exercise!” That has been a positive change in my outlook. It has propelled my recovery forward, helped me lose some weight and helped to strengthen heart.
My four-month follow up stress test was concluded recently and sadly my test was declared inconclusive. I was ready for “Way to go, John! You’re doing great… not sorry, but your test came back as borderline!” That was hard for me to hear because I had worked so hard. That was not my best day.
Recovery is not a steady pattern. Neither is life when you think about it. Some days are better than others…right! Why should recovery be any different? Most of my days are positive and moving forward but I also need to be prepared for disappointments and setbacks. So do you in whatever issue you might be dealing with. And you cannot allow those challenging days to derail the good energy you have created when you are making progress.
In my case, a key is not to compare myself to the expected results in the book I was given when I left the hospital and certainly not to compare myself to before my heart attack. I had significant damage done to my heart. It might never be as strong as before the attack. I need to compare my progress to last week or the start of my rehab. When you take that perspective, it is much easier to see how you are progressing and to remain positive.
I will never forget my first day at the cardiac re-hab program. I looked at the long stairwell that led to the workout area and it was a lot like looking at a mountain with a pot of gold on top. There was no way I was going to reach that gold unless there was an elevator to take me there. A lot of consistent work is now behind me and climbing those stairs is not even a fleeting thought anymore. I need to remind myself of that on my down days when I feel like I am not progressing fast enough.
The same attitude might help anyone who is dealing with a challenge in life. Every day is not better than the last. Recognize the growth you are making and stick with what is helping you move forward. Staying positive can only help you in the long run.
And by all means, reach out and connect with someone who can support you and your progress. That support is critical, especially when you are not having the best day.
John Hindle, The Contact Hitter