Since surgery, I've had a semi-comprehensive mental checklist of things I needed to be able to do again in order to be "recovered". It looks something like this:
Wake-up after surgery. Check.
Be able to wiggle all body parts. Check.
Be able to stay awake for 1 hour. Check.
Be able to walk with a walker. Check.
Be able to take a shower, sitting down. Check.
Be able to stay awake 2 hours. Check.
Be able to walk without a walker. Check.
Be finished with all medications. Check.
Be able to take a shower, standing up. Check.
Be able to cook dinner for my family. Check.
Be able to stay awake for 4 hours. Check.
Be able to attend all 3 hours of church (nap needed afterward). Check.
Be able to complete a grocery shopping trip on my own (nap needed afterward). Check.
Be able to make it a whole day without requiring a nap. Check.
Be able to drive my children to and from school. Check.
Be able to drive anywhere in the city (daytime). Check.
Be able to drive anywhere in the city (daytime and nighttime). Check.
Be able to complete a grocery shopping trip on my own (no nap needed afterward).
Be able to attend all 3 hours of church (no nap needed afterward).
Have hair long enough to be seen in public.
Be able to drive long distances.
Be able to run.
I cannot express the satisfaction and gratitude I feel when put a big fat black check mark next to each of these things on the list. And I'm getting closer to having them all checked.
My two biggest lingering problems are my lack of stamina and my funky left leg. I fatigue much faster than I used to; I'm at the point where I can get through my regular day, but if I add in to many extra activities, I am wiped out. And my left leg still just feels...odd. For the most part, I've gotten used to my new-odd-normal; I really only notice it when I think about it or when I've done too much. In those moments, I have to consciously tell my left leg to move.
For example, I've been itching to get back to running--the cold weather and inactivity of the last few months have left me feeling sluggish. And being able to run consistently is the last thing on my checklist that will make me feel like I am me.
I hopped on the treadmill the other morning for a 30 minute slow run...thinking that would be a baby-step to get back into running. And at first, as expected, my body complained at the activity, but then it seemed to remember what to do and worked in harmony.
All of my body except my left leg, that is.
That darn left leg made me feel like I was running with one right leg and one left block of wood.
Step. Thud. Step. Thud. Step. Thud. Step. Thud. Step. Thud. Step. Thud.
Only through some serious mental exertion was I able to force my left leg to keep up. By the time I was finished, my body felt that good exhaustion that comes from making it work...but my brain was completely worn out from convincing my left leg to join in the party. Only after an intense 3 hour nap did I feel like I could face the day again.
Can't check off those last few things yet. Someday I will, but for now, it's still just one foot in front of the other.