Living the Dream – 81. A month in bed

Our personal lockdown has now been a full month.

On March 3rd, Mags went to bed, still in agony with a bad back. On the 4th, she couldn’t get up.

Since then she’s been to a couple of hospitals, had three rides in an ambulance and almost had an operation several times. The surgeons were resolved to operate on Friday the 13th until a possible throat infection intervened. With Covid 19 sweeping across the world, they discharged her on the 14th, no better than when she had gone in, a week before.

There was vague talk of an operation in a week, but we knew that was unlikely.

Discharged

Put starkly, Mags was safer bedridden at home with only me to care for her than she was in a private hospital with an excellent rota of medical professionals.

It seems odd in retrospect, but before we got Mags admitted, she was in bed, while our bathrooms were being refurbished. I made coffees for the patient and the builder. Once admitted, I spent the day at the hospital before coming home to sleep. Then, visitors were prohibited for Covid concerns and I had a day or two to bring some order to the house.

Progress

We were able to be more organised for Mag’s return, and set up our ward in the spare room. Here I monitor blood pressure, blood sugar and try to make her as comfortable as possible. On the 18th, her fifth day back home, she sat. Then, on the 19th, she walked a pace or two. On the 20th, she managed a lap of the house with a walker. The 26th, she took a shower!

Mags has to balance pain with movement. She wants to move more and more, but the pain roars back with rapidity and ferocity. She still cannot sit or stand for extended periods – but we’ll get there. Mags has spent a full month in bed.

Perspective

This private drama of a month in bed has overridden the worldwide one, for us. Were Covid not tearing across the planet, I’d still be effectively locked down. I guess I might shop more frequently, but Mags needs a hand around the clock, so not much would be different.

Mags believes that everything happens for a reason. Was that possible throat infection a sign? I don’t know.

From my side, I’m thankful that I stopped drinking this year. Old me would be draining a bottle of wine a night on top of a couple of cold beers in the afternoon, all the while claiming that the drink was getting me through the crisis. By now, I’d be on my knees, beaten down by a persistent hangover.

I might have an alcolohol free beer to celebrate.

Cheers!

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Members 60. Quit Lit. A genre.

I had no idea such a genre existed. Stupid of me, there’s a genre for everything.

Update

As I type, I’m 45 days dry. I’m getting used to ordering alcohol-free drinks and people around me are more settled about it too. In a couple of days, I’m heading off to Rome with Mrs L, to do a bit of work, writing research, tourism and a Six Nations Rugby match.

So, as a non-drinker, first holiday, first business lunch and first rugby match. All three of those events would ordinarily have involved a fair amount of drinking, probably too much, actually. I’ll cope, I’m sure.

Support

One Year No Beer (OYNB) send me an e-mail each day, linking to a short video. They also maintain a library of extensive resources on their website. I find the Slack workspace the most useful. Here, are several channels, where “The Tribe” (I know…) help and support each other. One channel is called blogs and reading.

Reading List

This Naked Mind by Annie Grace.
The Sober Survival Guide by Simon Chapple
The Easy Way to control alcohol by Allen Carr
Blackout by Sarah Hepola
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray

I’ve read three and a half of these so far.

I know at least two fellow tribe-members, (look, it’s what we call each other, don’t mock) who are writing their own quit lit accounts. I write a separate OYNB journal, as do many. It’s easy to see why there is so much “quit lit” out there.

Content

The books come from a variety of starting points. Some are self help manuals, some science-based, some pseudo-science based and most are a blend, incorporating personal experience.

Purpose

Alcohol is embedded in our culture. Particularly for my generation. Children of the 90s seem less bewitched by the idea of getting hammered. I take comfort reading that people can, and do find life more rewarding with no alcohol. Confirmation bias aside, it’s reassuring that social events don’t suddenly become impossible to cope with, that holidays are still fun.

Will I write one?

Perhaps. Writing my journal, I recall drunken exploits that apart from illustrating an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, are pretty damned funny.

For the moment, I will focus on keeping the streak going, and perhaps drafting out some of those anecdotes…where’s the harm?