Thank you all who’ve read and commented on previous posts or those who have written to me personally. As I’ve said before, I’ve learned much from your insightful comments, and for this I am very grateful. I am also enormously grateful for your empathy.

I am grateful to friends who have visited and phoned, checking up on me and willing to help. This has been a learning curve for me, knowing that people care. I have often felt that it is easier to give than it is to receive; I am learning that it is equally important to receive. People do like to help and I need to learn to accept their help and not be so ridiculously feeble about accepting their generous being.

We are still settling in, albeit rather slowly. The garden is looking especially pretty and I can’t wait for Spring which is just around the corner. Already buds are appearing although it seems too soon. We’ve barely experienced a ‘proper’ highveld winter where the temperatures drop below zero at night. The days continue to be warm, bright and sunny and our azure blue, cloudless skies are to be seen to be believed. But where are our winter frosts that, although damaging to plants, are so necessary to spurt new growth? Where is the ice on the ground in the morning? Where is the biting cold?

Well, we’ll see what happens. Maybe the winter is still to arrive with a vengeance.

I go in for surgery under anesthetic this coming Thursday morning for removal of pins from two fingers on my right hand. These were very badly damaged in the car accident. The hand therapy three times a week has been extremely valuable in that the dense scabbing has been delicately removed from the top of my hand as well as on all of my fingers especially on the top of them. The removal of thick scabs has allowed for the growth of new skin underneath. The scars on top are pretty knotted at this stage; they are massaged religiously by the therapists as well as by me during the day so that they do not become fixed and overly restrictive in the use of my hand. I am a long way off from making a fist. My fingers can now almost make a right angle to my palm.

 For a long while now my right hand has been like a foreign part of me. A few days back, the therapists said I was to start using my right hand so as to become familiar with it. It was amazing to me how foreign it felt and how anxious I was about using it. Wash your hands normally I was told. Use the soap in your right hand. Use it in the bath. Just use it and become familiar with it. Try to use a knife and fork. Pick up a cup, move things around, use your right hand.

I am trying. Practice makes perfect. If I go out, I use the splints on my fingers and bandage my hand with a light cotton bandage as a protection usually keeping it close to me across my middle. Or, if not the splints, then a padded winter glove. I am wearing a glove as I write, occasionally using my well padded forefinger to type, giving my thumb and baby finger a break. I am not using my middle finger, the one that was almost chopped off.

I am using the same picture I have used before at the top of this post, with good reason. Perhaps when the winter has passed, and spring is in the air, and my hand is healed and functional, I will be able to bring both hands together so that the left may know the right and vice versa.

42 Comments on moving – settling – part 5

  1. I was informed of your blog through a comment you made to Sherrey Meyer, whom I follow. After I read that your interests include both the psychological and literary, I had to check it out. In my perusal, I notice that you have been through some trials both physically and emotionally. As writers, we know that the struggle becomes the story. I invite you to check out my blog, which chronicles my girlhood as a Mennonite girl growing up in Lancaster County, PA.

    • Hello Marian and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I love what you say about the struggle becoming the story. It is a universal theme isn’t it and this is the value in the sharing of stories.
      I’m going to hop over to your blog right now, thank you for the invitation.

  2. Hi,
    I can so relate to this post. Getting back into the swing of things take time and I’ve learned that it also takes an adjustment to change. I used to think everything had to be done perfectly at once or that I had to do things the same way that I used to do them. Since my surgery in April, I’ve learned that there are more than one way to accomplish those things that I want to accomplish during a day and building periods of rest into my daytime schedule doesn’t slow down what I accomplish. In fact, it brings an increase.
    So as you start moving back into your normal routine, don’t forget to put some of those awakening moments that you have had into your schedule.
    All the best and you’re in my prayers.

    • Patricia thank you so much. I needed to hear these words from you. It seemed to me as if I was going backwards these last few days after having surgery on Thursday to have the pins removed. It was all so sore over the weekend. So I am still doing things differently -because I have to. But funnily enough I do rest a bit, which I have never in my life ever done …and there ARE other ways of doing things, which work.
      Thank you Patricia.
      The other day I looked you up and so enjoyed your blog on being blindsided. I wanted to comment on this brilliant post but was unable to ..

  3. Thanks so much for stopping by Ida!

    I so want to be ‘clutter-free’… smooth, clean, minimalistic is what I am striving for. For the last while now I will give a book as a present, or some lovely bath soaps, or a small basket made up of special cookies, small bottle of olive oil, dark chocolate, unusual herbs, or some ginger tea or an unusual tea; maybe some almonds or walnuts, jar of honey – you can see how there are so many things that can be used and enjoyed! Or a special stone or crystal even if it does need the occasional dusting ..

    All best to you Ida,


  4. I love that the last time I visited you was the last time you used the same picture. A lot of people, in hindsight, seem to be able to share the benefits of enduring tragedies and accidents but I understand your existential questions too. I used to be a hoarder, and still have a tendency to do so, but moving to the other side of the world and being without my ‘stuff’ for months made me realise how so much of it is unnecessary, just before delivery date I even began hoping my ‘treasures’ would get lost. I cherish how easy it is to dust a clutter free environment. When people ask me what I would like for birthday or christmas gifts I usually say nothing or something that doesn’t require dusting… I hope your hand recoveries beautifully it sounds like you are receiving the best care and look forward to the reading about the insights the answers to your questions provide. All the best. Ida

  5. Thank you so much Doreen for your good wishes, much appreciated. And for your compliment – I say the same about yours.

  6. Oh Susan I am so sorry to read about your accident. I hope you continue to heal physically and emotionally.
    Your blog is lovely. I will keep in my prayers.

  7. Hey Susan ! I am happy for you that some of your organs have improved after that severe car accident. Still you need to take proper care and immunizations to recover properly. Moreover I am waiting to see your new activity very soon. Get well soon !!

  8. Oh, Susan, what a challenging time this has been for you. I hope the surgery went without a hitch, and the same with your recovery.

    It’s interesting, I find, that the first people to leap in to help are invariably the most reluctant to accept it–except when there’s no choice. One of the things I’ve said to caregivers (who are notoriously averse to reaching out for assistance) is that accepting help is the gift we can give those who care about us. It isn’t simply that our friends and family want to help–they *need* to help as they struggle along with us to adjust to the new normal. But it sounds like you’re getting that one down pat, so I won’t nag. 🙂

    Take care of your wonderful self.

    • Thank you so much Sylvia, I appreciate this very much. As things stand at the moment, I need even MORE patience and love as hand is now unworkable for the next several days as it is bandaged post surgery yesterday morning. But this too will pass! I have to use this as a mantra. It is all part of the journey..

    • Hello Kern and thanks so much for stopping by!

      Yours is a pretty acute observation about those who offer help are often those most likely reluctant to accept it; as well as about accepting help as a gift to the giver … and not one that I have yet got down pat but your reminder helps me to get it into my head – and heart (as I note as I write this). This is spot on and I thank you for this. I will reflect on all this …

    • Hello Kern and thanks so much for stopping by!

      Yours is a pretty acute observation about those who offer help are often those most likely reluctant to accept it; as well as about accepting help as a gift to the giver … and not one that I have yet got down pat but your reminder helps me to get it into my head – and heart (as I note as I write this). This is spot on and I thank you for this. I will reflect on all this …

      Reply ↓

  9. You’ll get there, Susan. Not easy, I know, but with patience and love, you’ll get there. Thank you for sharing your journey. Love blogs inspired by real life.

    • Thank you so much Sylvia, I appreciate this very much. As things stand at the moment, I need even MORE patience and love as hand is now unworkable for the next several days as it is bandaged post surgery yesterday morning. But this too will pass! I have to use this as a mantra. It is all part of the journey..

  10. And we have had a strange summer here — so much rain. As I write this, I sit here at my open window looking out at the dogwood whose leaves are starting to tinge red with the look a autumn, I listen to Philip Glass’s Tirol concerto, the luxurious middle movement, and it’s raining.

    I have read most of your readers’ comments here, Susan. They are so wise and insightful; it’s hard for me to say more. They say it all. I will add, though, that when I was caregiving for my mother who had dementia, I had to learn to accept help. I learned to adapt to this new experience quite readily, I must say, and now I miss it. Life is about the exchange of information, ideas, help and support, I believe. And you give so much to others; now it’s your turn to receive, achieving the balance, I would think.

    You are doing so well in your recovery, Susan, I trust your hand will soon be good as new. I put my hands together for you, light a candle, and my thoughts will be with you tomorrow when you go in for surgery.

    Lots of love, Samantha

    • Thank you so much Samantha for your comment. The lesson of learning to accept others’ help is such an important one and thank you for saying about that!

      I am writing post surgery… Back home a half hour ago. We were due to go to the bush today, but Neil is very unwell with flu, so we cancelled. Will both be taking it very easy at home. I am quite sure that your hands together, candle and thoughts is/will be hugely beneficial, so thank you Samantha, so so much.

    • Thank you Christine. Am home now post surgery, hand and fingers are very numb, fingers are bandaged. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

  11. My thoughts are with you, Susan, and will be on Thursday morning. I’m so glad you are healing, but was saddened by the description of your injury. Keep using your hand and writing more of your wonderful words. Time will take you through this. Ironically it’s a special time of year where you live, just before the spring with all it’s expectancy of new growth, but you’ll have a beautiful garden to walk in soon, to discover. Look forward to this. Bless you.

    • Thank you so much Sharon, and bless YOU for your kind thoughts! My garden is an ‘nth of the size of our old home but so manageable! And full of colour as I look out to it. Winter has JUST arrived – I spoke far too soon, and the clouds look as if they could hold snow! So much for cloudless skies as per my blog! I think we are about to be ‘hit’ with proper winter ..

  12. Glad you’re healing.

    Something I heard once that’s always stuck with me–practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes better. Perhaps not worrying about making the hand perfect, just better, might help.

    Just a thought.

    • So true Liz, thank you, an excellent thought! Better and better! Who needs perfection anyway?
      I appreciate your stopping by thank you muchly!

  13. Hello Sis. The picture up there is just perfect at this time.. when I opened your page it hit me rather hard – the light and beauty of the hands and the faces. Together and sharing. I love your friends’ insights. I love learning from them and from you.
    There is something eerie about this South African Winter this year. Here in the Wilderness where it ought to be the coldest and wettest time of the year I have been on the beach with my poodle Gypsy and both of us have submerged ourselves in the ocean many times in the past 4 days. So refreshing and healing.
    In my mind’s eye I visualise your fingers and send them love

    • Thank you dear Sis. Of course, YOU have been so kind looking after me when Neil was away and I will always be grateful for you. I am truly blessed. Thank you for your visualisation.

  14. Oh my Susan, what you have endured! I have read the other posts and you definitely have some insightful friends. This truly is like a winter for you. You may be lucky that you don’t have ice to skate across so there is no risk of you falling on your hand. I have had some horrific surgeries so I know what it is like to be incapacitated. You will recover.

    This is your personal winter, but as in your area, you physically are moving into spring with new growth and beginnings. I have my hands “together” for you that you gain the flexibility you desire in rapid fire time.

    Plus, Congratulations on accepting help. Like you, I find it hard to ask for or accept help, but I LOVE to help others. Maybe this is a gift in disguise. Know that I’m out here cheering for you. Sadly, I’m a world away, as otherwise I would love to help you. Take Good Care of yourself!

    • What a lovely comment Gwynn thank you so much! There may not be ‘thin ice’ now, but at times we do skate on thin ice – metaphorically.
      It is time for me to be a little cautious to ensure as much as possible that I don’t fall over …
      Thank you for saying about putting your hands together, as well as about the ‘gift in disguise’. I had sort of thought that but you articulate it so well, thank you. And for your good wishes, Gwynn, thank you so much!

  15. Your healing journey sounds like the seasons that are needed for the new growth to occur. I often wonder about the pain the plants have to endure to get through the earth and bloom. Your hand as well, your brain and your being have to endure so much as they all get on board to push through. We are all rooting for the push and the post Thursday results that emerge in time.

    • Thank you Susan – I like that you got the seasonal image as this is how I see it. Even if fire destroys fields and wild plants, they do bloom again. Destruction gives way to creation.
      I am very curious as to how it will be post op. I was brave enough to ask at the hand therapists this afternoon whether or not I may lose my finger nails .. she wasn’t sure, but they DO grow back again she assures me. Crooked to begin with …

  16. Susan, your mid-winter is my mid-summer, so we can keep the wanting for the healing to go on year ’round. It’s good that the therapy for your hand is working. They come in so handy for swatting flies and mosquitos. A horse has a tail to swat with, but hands are much better in a polite society, and can be used for that purpose without having to get out of your chair. Ritual dances to conjure the healing spirits continue in hopes that you’ll soon be able to make a fist. A thing like that can be helpful in case of a brawl, and a brawl is hardly worth attending without one. Take care,

    • Thank you so much Van! Your wise thoughts about the value of the fist in a brawl will hasten my healing – a timely reminder! And there’s nothing more satisfying than catching the blighter of a mozzie using both hands!
      Thank you for the ritual dances thought – with feet and hands? Why not?
      And thank you for the smile!

  17. Susan, I saw that you had 40 comments on your other post about what to keep and what to let go! It is a challenging thing! Discernment is a skill I am trying to cultivate.
    My mother’s stuff – I am slowly going through it, researched places to donate her uniforms, I still have service records and bit by bit, it will go where it needs to. I think it is hard to simply let go. Any WWII records could be donated to a museum or organization – in your place, I would not simply chuck those… You may want to take pictures of things too, so that you can remember them even if you don’t want to keep the actual item. May you have clarity.

    • Thank you so much Courtney! I appreciate your stopping by. I wish you luck in finding the right homes for your mother’s valuable belongings and records. I too will do this … time consuming but necessary as a way of honouring our parents I realise as I write this to you.

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