Rehab suits me. My spirits are unaccountably calm and cheerful. I have a smile for everyone. I am grateful for everything.
It began, of course, with the discovery, on waking dreamily from the anaesthetic, that I am still alive. The world continues, and I am part of it still. Nurses clattering about their business, machines pinging and beeping, voices and footsteps.
The old pain has gone. There is a new pain, more an aching discomfort, a stiffness, that I somehow know is temporary. It's the feel of the wound in my hip. I can't walk without crutches, two at first, now one, but the limp has gone.
I need a lot of help with things at first, but quickly regain control with essentials. After three showers, I can shower myself. I can dress myself with the help of a long pick up tool. I can get in and out of bed, and go for walks up and down the corridors with my one crutch.
I have a room to myself at the end of a long corridor. It quickly becomes my world. Intrusions are mostly perfunctory and rare - tablets, fresh towel delivery, floor cleaner, nurse to do observations. Someone tried to get me to go down to the communal dining room for my meals, but I resisted and they didn't try again. I eat alone, watch the television sometimes, do my exercises, receive my visitors, and read. In less than a week, I have read three novels, (John Boyne, The Heart's Invisible Furies, Bill Clegg, Did You Ever Have Family? and Noah Hawley, After the Fall.) I had a slight anxiety that I would run out of reading material, and organised visitors to bring me more books, and spent my 'day leave' going to the Portrait Gallery, not to look at the portraits, but to browse the lovely bookshop and buy two more books, (and scoff one of the wonderful Eccles cakes in the café.)
On my phone I follow the political shenanigans in the US and the UK, which absorb me like a long running soap opera. In my little rehab world, it all seems remote, and I am less dismayed. Political fortunes rise and fall, one drama gives way to another, people everywhere beaver away finding solutions to problems, continually carried forward by tides of optimism and hope, only to be left beached and despairing, and then picked up again by the bubbling tide for more.
The quiet winter sky outside my window lightens, darkens again. Patients in other rooms go home; new ones arrive, struggling with their walkers, telling their anxious stories. I am calm and at peace. Doing nothing is a prescription rather than a choice, and in this small space, I happily surrender control.