Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective. – Doe Zantamata
… So does a trip to the emergency room, or three trips to the emergency room within a week. The past two weeks have been much different than what I had imagined. I spent this past week on prescribed bed rest, which meant I had ample time to Slow Down and Be Still.
What began as an unexpected, important, routine outpatient surgery turned into a first trip to the emergency room a week later, a second trip two days after that, and a third thirty-six hours after that, along with another surgery. Once I left the hospital for the fourth time on the last day of 2017, I rolled out with orders for a week of bed rest.
The truth is I’m no stranger to bed rest. About twenty years ago, when pregnant with my oldest, I was put on bed rest for fifteen weeks for a myriad of reasons. In my twenty-something self, with no children to chase after yet at that point, I didn’t have many other things I had to do besides rest in bed. I spent days reading, writing, and planning for the baby to come. That said, fifteen weeks was a very long period of time, but I made it and my oldest was born at full-term. A blessing.
At this point in my life, I have three teenage sons who need rides to activities and food in large quantities, a house to care for, animals to tend, and a job to do as a marketing director every day. Bed rest had a completely different meaning for me this time.
3 Unexpected Joys of Bed Rest
Be still. – Psalm 46:10
I rarely have time. Minutes on the clock often feel like sand in a sandstorm, gone before I even sense it is there. It turns out the long stretches of silence and stillness were therapy. The year was busy. To be still for days in a row was an improbable and unexpected gift, a time for my soul to stretch and soothe and enjoy being slow and still.
I don’t have a television in my room, nor do I watch many movies or shows. Instead, I prefer books. Luckily, I had stocked up on great books. Or, looked at another way, I hadn’t read many books in the last few months of 2017. Bed rest was a perfect time to prop back with a great book. I read 4 in 4 days. 3 of them were excellent:
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
An excellent novel set in 1980s Cleveland, Ohio, about families, the quest for perfection, and the way art impacts our lives, by a writing acquaintance I met at Muse in Boston a few years ago. I loved her first novel Everything I Never Told You, and knew I would love Little Fires. I did.
Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
An incredible multi-generational saga about a family who emigrated from Ireland and settled in Dorcester, Massachusetts. The layers upon layers of story in this novel and the real-to-life characters will stay with me for years to come. I loved this novel.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Highly anticipated, from the author of The Fault in Our Stars, and creator of Crash Course, which my kids all love. Turtles All the Way Down is set in Indianapolis, and is the story of Aza, who suffers from debilitating anxiety / obsessive disorder. Turtles is my favorite of Green’s work so far, and I have already loaned my copy out. Definitely recommend — the voice is unforgettable.
Family and Friends
To say that I tried to manage everything alone is completely incorrect. My family and friends helped with everything. They brought flowers and meals and hugs. They sent gift cards for meals, took down Christmas decor and stowed it for next year, fed the animals and cleaned up messes, shoveled snow, and picnicked with me on the bed. We played board games and watched old home movies. We talked and shared and slowed down together. It was one of the biggest gifts I have ever received — the gift of time and care and love. I especially owe a huge thank you to my oldest son, who managed pretty much everything. I am blessed.
Now, the week has passed and I am released to begin normal-ish life. I am moving slower than I have in twenty years. And that is okay by me. The time has restored me to what is most important.
I hope I don’t speed up, in a way. Slower living is a gift, one which I am very grateful to have had. I am thankful for the wonderful people in my life, and I am thankful to be alive.
Have you ever been on bed rest? What did you do to pass the time?