It’s now day six post-op, and I’ve been blogging retrospectively to catch up, since I could only experience it and recollect, scrawl notes most of which I couldn’t read, and try to remember the key points of how I felt, the surreality. Once I start, it pours.
This is my primary means of communicating with most people, and consequently I’ve grown a rather weird disconnect with the world, because my head is in a completely different place over the past three days from my blog posts. I’m being supported from so many quarters, but I had asked not to be messaged directly for a while, though some people have done it anyway, and I appreciate that. It was the volume that I couldn’t deal with. I love the Facebook and text messages, but there is a pressure to respond, regardless of peoples’ assurances they don’t want a reply that doesn’t exist in the same way as if you receive a card through snail mail; it’s one of those social media things that can become quite a negative if you don’t control it. When you send messages rather than talking in person or on the phone, it’s a two-way communication and you don’t know the state of that person’s head. You know they’ve seen the message, and they know you chose not to answer or to call back later. I’ve come a cropper on Facebook posts several times, where I’ve meant something to be humorous and it’s been taken the wrong way. It happens in real life too of course, can be misconstrued so much more easily in the absence of physical or verbal cues. I still like getting messages, and I have replied to some, but forgive if I ignore or just do an xx.
There’s also a pressure in that I feel bad if I don’t ‘like’ every social media comment on a blog post, and soon with those mawkish Facebook and Twitter like-escalations into ‘loves’ that fire off smaller hearts, nothing less than physically appearing in the poster’s house and snogging them will do. Yet it’s social media that built many of my friendships and connections, often with people I’d never have met otherwise, through two Facebook groups in particular; the Outdoor Swimming Society in the UK and Did You Swim Today from the US. It’s mushroomed into a vast, informal international network of swimmers whom I now ‘know’. Many have appeared in Devon asking to go on swims, and through shared adventures have become true friends of the type who are there for you when you realise you have a brain tumour. We’ve travelled and met with other swimmers who share so much of our own world view that we can’t help but become friends. That shared interest in living life, in exploration and adventure soon branched off into art and writing, and craft projects. How would I know these lovely people without Facebook?
I haven’t seen anyone bar family since the op, with the exception of one of my swimming friends, Fi, who dropped in on Sunday as she lives in London and had made the trip to swim and to see me and I while she had a work gap. She negotiated down to 10 minutes, but of course stayed an hour. It was so lovely to see her, and she brought spring hedgerow flowers that smelled divine and some of her famous kombucha. We talked about lots, and in particular, death, which is something I need to do. I’m tired, sleeping when I can (mostly in the day) but still in need of human contact. So the balance between social media, iPhone, and actual people is quite hard to manage. The less I see people the more I need to check Facebook which quickly becomes a compulsion. Mum finds visitors stressful because she’s of the generation where her house must always look perfect, and I find her hoovering and polishing at all hours (which she does anyway, but she thinks she needs to do more each time someone appearas). I genuinely don’t care if my house is a bit of a mess. All extra things to negotiate.
Today I washed my hair…