The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 15

Hard and Sacred
By Deborah Miller, MA, LPC - Clinical Therapist
I am writing this on the last day of several
weeks of recovery from surgery on my ankle to
remove a non-cancerous mass the size of my
surgeon's fist. (Ouch!) During this time, I have
met with a few clients virtually, kept my leg
elevated, and spent my days sequestered on the
2nd floor of my house where we have our singular bathroom.
This has given me ample time to wallow in loneliness, notice
all the dust and cobwebs in my study, and wish I had a bigger
house. It has also allowed me to be grateful for a new air
conditioning system, take naps, and mail cards of thanks to the
many who have brought meals or stopped to visit. Here are a
few other things I have noticed these past 16 days (but who's
counting?) ...
My surgery was two days after the funeral of my father
who had fallen in his home three weeks prior. The month
of July was a HARD and sacred time of trips to the hospital,
conversations about palliative and hospice care - and finally,
daily visits to a skilled care facility the last week of my father's
life. It was during this time that I said goodbye, practiced
forgiveness, and said prayers to " bless the dying. " Several
sessions with my clients were rescheduled during this time and
I was extended grace nearly daily as our roles shifted slightly.
For some of them, my foot in a boot became an object lesson
about our wounds. We may think we have external protection
but inside is where the healing needs to begin. And we
only unwrap the bandages when it is safe to do so (like your
therapist's office!). A big " scar " can also serve as a reminder of
what we have endured and conquered!
Two weeks before my surgery my husband also underwent
minor surgery (when it rains it pours!). I spent a solid 36
hours sitting in a waiting room or by his bedside imagining
what it must be like for those whose loved ones face more
serious health concerns. It's not a comfortable feeling when
your spouse of 35 years, donned in a bright blue surgical
hair net, is wheeled away from your sight. This became an
OPPORTUNITY to interrupt my negative thoughts and fears
with " What if it all works out? " -something I regularly suggest
to my clients. Fortunately, in our case, it did. And he has
recovered well and fully.
My adult son spent my first week home from surgery with
me. He brought fresh morning coffee to my bedside the first few
days, fixed me lunch, or worked on his computer in a chair in
the corner of my bedroom. Turns out he was more PATIENT
with me than I was able to be with myself during this time. I
wanted to walk, I couldn't accept my immobility, and I had to
use alternative muscles to accomplish tasks which caused new
pains. I also had to learn how to be a good patient and take
pain meds at the first notice of discomfort, and keep the left leg
iced and elevated. Now 16 days later (again, who's counting?),
I am glad I did.
For the month of July, I slept with my phone charging by
my bed, awaiting a call from the skilled care facility. After my
dad died, I still kept my phone charged, with the volume up,
but now I awaited the news that my daughter's labor had begun
and she was headed to the hospital to birth her firstborn son.
For her, after months of nausea and vomiting, stretched skin, a
sore back, and no ENERGY, there he was as the reward! This.
Felt. Like. Advent. At the end of this story, there was a baby!
As the poet Madeleine L'Engle has said, " Yet Love still takes
the risk of birth. "
And so, for the past two months, there has been death
and life, hardship and healing, worry and patience. I regularly
remind my clients we often have to hold opposing responses
to situations simultaneously throughout our lives. During this
time, I, too, have done this with them. Did I make good on my
promise to never complain again about having to walk upstairs
to get something I forgot? No. Did I remember to not take my
husband for granted as he completed yet another chore for
me? Not always. Did I look for hope in HARD times, see my
experiences as an OPPORTUNITY, and learn to be PATIENT
with myself and others, and spend the ENERGY to do so? You
bet I did!
And now? I get to hold a 13-day-old baby boy and-
simultaneously-elevate my left foot while singing my
grandmother's lullabies to him!
15

The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023

Contents
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - Contents
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The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 6
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The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 11
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 12
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 13
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 14
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 15
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 16
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