Yes, Thank You

handsFirst things first: Let’s just dispel of any notions of “minor” surgery, shall we? Yes, there is no question a long spectrum of surgeries and respective recovery periods, but slicing through muscle – not matter how small the incision – is simply not something the body responds to favorably.

And another thing: I would like to personally thank every scalpel-wielder who has ever put a hand on a patient’s shoulder, or responded to a Sunday-morning page with the words, “How are you feeling?”

To all of my friends who have had C-sections: I now have the slightest inkling of what you went through. I hope I was attentive, compassionate, and helpful – and if I wasn’t, I wish I had been and I’m sorry. I hereby make a vow to bring food and/or call and/or send sweet messages to any friend or neighbor who has *any* kind of surgical procedure. Or needs anything for that matter, surgery or not. Call on me, people.

To anyone who has ever nursed someone through illness, whether back to health or lovingly towards a peaceful passage: I bow to you, to how you put your own needs aside time and again, to the complexity of emotions you managed and moved through, to your recognition that shit and piss and puss and blood and rashes and sweat and bile and tears are what we all share, what make us so vulnerable and human.

To the body itself: I marvel at your extraordinary ability to adapt and heal. I will do what I can to contribute to the cause.

To my girls, my beautiful, strong, healthy daughters: Thank you for making your own mac & cheese for lunch today while I supervised from a kitchen chair. Thank you for helping Dada clean up after dinner. Thank you for washing each other’s bodies since I couldn’t bend over the tub. Thank you for the hugs you gave me throughout the day, carefully avoiding my wound. Thank you for being you.

To you, reading this: Thank you for your kindness and presence. If you need healing, please ask for help. If someone asks you for help, please say yes. For whatever reason, receiving is something many of us find difficult. We don’t want to put anyone out, be a burden.

Finally, a request: Think about someone in your world who could use some help. Offer it. Think about something you need help with. Ask for it.

Say yes. Say thank you.

7 thoughts on “Yes, Thank You

  1. Karen Maezen Miller says:

    I’ve asked for help recently, thank you, and it’s arriving. As for you, I had abdominal surgery many years ago and when they say six weeks, they really mean it. And I really mean when I say you have it to spare. Take good care.


  2. deb says:

    I’m only now learning to ask for help. I think I was always afraid of rejection, sad to say.

    I’m helping out a friend right now who is dying of cancer. I was nervous about interfering, pushing myself into her family and her path, but I’m glad I did. She and her husband were grateful and I helped. And I’m thankful she let me help.


  3. GailNHB says:

    Yes, I agree with the folks above – ask for help and accept it. When my daughter was sick at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, I accepted help in the form of free meals, prayer, hugs, emails, letters and cards in the mail, and quiet time to get away and cry. It made a huge difference.

    Peace and rest and full recovery be yours, dear Jena.


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  5. Victoria says:

    This post has touched me deeply. I have always found it difficult to ask for help but two years ago when my husband was diagnosed with ALS, for which there is no cure and no treatment (other than an expensive drug that may prolong life by a month) I had help in all kinds of ways from so many good and caring people. I took care of him as well as worked a full time job (and no, I am not patting myself on the back) and for a little over a year watched him waste away and become totally dependent on me for everything. It was the most emotionally and physically difficult and heartbreaking thing I have ever gone through. After he passed away a year ago all of the people who had helped during his illness were still there for me and they still are today. What really touched me was I rarely ever had to ask for any help – it was just given. I will be forever grateful and humbled by the goodness and unselfish giving of all of these people



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