Tag Archive for: quality of life


By AB Plum
“If you travel in space for three years and come back, four hundred years will have passed on Earth,” says Anna in Jodi Picoult’s wonderful novel, My Sister’s Keeper.

This quote reflects some of my feelings over the past five weeks as my husband recuperates from brain surgery. 

Specifically, he had a ventriculoperitoneal shunt implanted to relieve pressure in his brain caused by fluid build-up.

As surgeries go, the procedure took a little over sixty-minutes. Total prep time for the entry into the OR required 3 hours. Nurses monitored him every 15 minutes for another three hours following the procedure. The night quickly (slowly) got chewed up with checks of his vitals, inquiries for his well-being, and offers of pain meds. Pain, came the repeated warning, could make each second feel excruciating.

Time during that overnight-hospital stay collapsed, expanded, collapsed in a blur. The morning hours disappeared in consultations with a physical therapist, a social worker, and the surgeon’s assistant. A successful walk around the hospital wing provided proof he could go home. We arrived at our front step thirty hours after we left—though we both admitted to feeling as if we’d traveled in space for at least a year.

Pain management ate up the first couple of days. Sleep gobbled up much of the rest of “normal” awake-time. Night hours for sleeping fogged over as I helped him out of bed about every ninety minutes. A walker helped navigate the steps from bed to bathroom. Early-March nights felt as if we’d taken a detour to Juno.
Unlike with a baby, no need to feed or soothe back to sleep. Our consciousness crashed—until the next ninety-minute interval.

We returned to the surgeon at the end of the first week for a tweak to the shunt. This helped regulate gait and reduce the persistent headaches. Time became more defined, taking on a rhythm similar to the before-surgery pattern of our lives.

Today, exactly five weeks since I sat in the waiting room, my husband and I feel as if four hundred years have passed. Walking without a cane is no longer a challenge. Sleeping through the night is a given. All pain has disappeared. Dèjà vu—back on Planet Earth.

Looking forward—we have the insight to recognize the five weeks spent in ‘coming back’ pale compared to the several decades of quality life we hope lie ahead. I won’t claim we’ll never take time for granted again, but I will say we have a new appreciation for the minutes, hours, and weeks of each day. 

On Hold . . . for Unspecified Time

I’ve uploaded The Lost Days to Amazon, but need a bit more time to revisit my launch plan. First things, first. In the meantime, I’m hoping to carve out time to finish Book 3, The In-Between Years in the next month.