Earrings as Rehab and why to dye your Anti Embolism Elastic Stockings

Recently I had surgery – 12 hours – as a result of a cancer diagnosis. I researched my  options*, read endlessly and participated in forums. There was  advice, gory pictures and what they can do would have been FASCINATING if it wasn’t being done to me!

Once I made my decision I researched what to take into hospital etc. There was lots of great advice but no-one mentioned earrings. Can you believe this? No-one! I’d been told that my hospital stay would be 7-10 days so I packed the 9 pairs of earrings pictured.  As it turned out I should have packed 3 more pairs but we aren’t to know these things.  You will notice that these aren’t all made by me. My selection included my beloved Heidi Helyard and Genevieve Williamson earrings  and some I made using turquoise from Nepal. I didn’t worry about matching those appalling hospital gowns of baby blue or white but chose what felt fun.

On the first day post surgery even I was not thinking about earrings but I began wearing my earrings on day 2. Wearing some pairs required more chutzpah than I could muster in hospital so, when you are wondering about which earrings to take into hospital after huge surgery my advice would be to remember that you may not feel oomphy enough to wear the big face ones.

What are the advantages of post operative earrings?

  1. Nursing/ medical staff have something to talk with you about apart from your bodily functions. They are reminded that beneath this sutured, anxious, shuffling exterior is a woman who loves her earrings and doesn’t really feel awake until she is earringed up!
  2. Physiotherapists can distract you from the discomfort of movement by asking you how you made your earrings;
  3. You can distract your self from the discomfort of movement by telling them;
  4. Your family, who know that if you’re not wearing  lipstick or earrings they should be worried, don’t have to worry;
  5. Hospital staff can be astonished that one woman owns so many pairs of earrings (if only they knew);
  6. Prolonged hospital stays can make you a bit blasé about hiding parts of your body that are normally hidden. Earrings provide somewhere for people to look if you’ve forgotten to pop the cotton gown over the normally hidden bit. And finally
  7. Wearing earrings reminded ME that I was not just the mightily sutured, anxious, shuffling, barely competent woman I felt like for a while there. I may not have been able to get out of bed independently but by golly I once made nice earrings and would again!  I may not have been able to make a heap of decisions or choices but I could choose my earrings for the day! 

    My thank you present to the staff many weeks later was a big box of Wendy-made earrings and I hope they each found a pair they loved.

    I’ve been surrounded by the love of so many throughout this whole thing. I visualised myself floating on a cloud of this love even as I was being wheeled into theatre. The love took so many forms: special cushions, flowers, nighties, books and puzzles, lucky undies, messages, phone calls, snacks, essential oils, visits, games, jigsaws, regular check-ins, patience with my appalling communication…the list goes on. My friend Libby, seeing the damage that a month of wearing TED stocking (anti embolism compression stockings) might do to me, came around and dyed one pair a deep magenta and one pair a practical but less institutionalised black!  I am deeply grateful to be at this side of my experience and profoundly aware of how different my experience has been to that of women in Nepal for whom diagnosis is made much later and treatment options often very limited.  This has made me more determined that ever to do whatever I can to make some sort of difference over there.

*and clearly my first response was not calmly researching options. I began with a somewhat head-in-the-sand approach which I think is pretty common. Everyone will make different decisions and mine won’t be right for everyone but was right for me. I just needed to take time to make a decision based on what was best for me in the long term instead of what meant I could get back to doing everything I always did ASAP.

24 thoughts on “Earrings as Rehab and why to dye your Anti Embolism Elastic Stockings

    1. wendy Post author

      Thank you darling Dayle. I could also have written about how making MORE earrings was an essential part of creative recovery! Something about the scale and doable-ness! Thanks for being part of the cloud!

      Reply
  1. Deb Hunt

    Dearest Wendy, what an inspiring post. Why is this not compulsory reading for every woman (and some men) about to undergo surgery? Beauty is truth. Keats. And beauty is power. Wendy Moore!! I love love LOVE all your earrings and especially love the fact that you wore them in hospital. I now want to get my ears pierced so I can wear ‘Wendy Moore’. Hope your recovery is going well. Much love 💕

    Reply
    1. wendy Post author

      Thank you for these lovely words darling Deb. Let me know the second those piercings have been done and we can work on a range! The precursors are on their way. Two of those designs pictured were made by two other FABULOUS artists: Genevieve Williamson and Heidi Helyard. It was a bit like putting on armour or protective talismans. (Talismen?!) xxx

      Reply
  2. Jennifer Louden, Inc.

    oh you are such a wonderful ALIVE soul! I’m so thankful you are out the other side and so thankful you are thriving!

    Reply
    1. wendy Post author

      Thanks gorgeous Jen. It is such a relief to be on the other side (one of the nurses actually said that!) and feeling more like the new/ old me. Alive has always been precious and never taken for granted but even more so now. I am sure it will have an impact on bothering!

      Reply
  3. Libby

    What can i say….humbled to be a friend, Wen. Knockout writing…..should be published all over the place. You’re like sun on your face in winter, a cool shady tree in Spring. Write on, sister!

    Reply
    1. wendy Post author

      Oh ya dag Lib! I blush. You have no idea what a difference magenta TED stockings made!!! To even think of it. Mwah.

      Reply
    1. wendy Post author

      Dear generous Averyll, thank you for your comment about this being a letter of love. You reminded me that this is what my blog, and my art, is at its heart. I think creating is one of the best ways to foster healing.

      Reply
  4. Sage Bray

    Lovely! And you’re right. Such occasions should not have us forsake what we love even for a little while. It is always about control, all our trama, all our wrestling with circumstance … and so when not in control of ANYTHING and not by our choice (giving up control willingly is a form of control, right?), we feel awful. How insightful you are to have thought of bringing those earrings, claiming your bit of control and what you wanted your interaction with people to be about, at least in part. You’ve handled this all quite wonderfully! xoxo

    Reply
    1. wendy Post author

      Good morning and thank you dear Sage. So much in one comment! That’s why your blogs are always so good! Mwah and thank you.

      Reply
  5. Barb Alexander

    My dear Wendy. I’m trying to think of something clever to say when what really impressed me is how bravely you faced this health challenge. You found a way to show you are human and in need of a distraction from your reality. And in typical Wendy-fashion you also considered your therapists and found a way to lighten their role… You’re something else!

    Sending warm hugs in your recovery…..

    Barb

    Reply
    1. wendy Post author

      Oh Barb, you darling thing. I didn’t really feel brave. It was kind of like what else can you do? I was lucky(not quite the word) in that my darling mum has been through two mastectomies and shown us how to do it! We talked about being part of a sisterhood you never wanted to join! Feeling those warm hugs. Thank you.

      Reply
  6. Kathy Hepburn

    Hi Wendy, I’ve wondered where your lovely posts were during the latest Dan Cormier class – but perhaps you were in the first class of SSMG. Best wishes on your recovery!!!

    Reply
    1. wendy Post author

      Darling Kathy, how sweet that you missed my ramblings! You would be loving this latest class. I was diagnosed when I was thinking about going and knew it would not be wise!!! I hear how good it is via Sue and feel very wistful! Hoping to be in the global classroom again soon! Mwah.

      Reply
  7. Deirdre Hill

    Hi Wendy,
    Pfaffing about online, decided to pop in and check out your blog. So sorry to hear about your surgery, but loved your approach to brightening up a dark time. And the earrings are awesome! Hope you make a speedy recovery, much love D

    Reply
    1. wendy Post author

      Thanks so much Deidre and I do love a woman who uses pfaffing in a sentence!! Hope you and Mike are well and enjoying life in your usual energetic way!! You will realise you haven’t missed many entires! My blogging has been rather intermittent! W xx

      Reply
    1. wendy Post author

      Dear Jeannie, thank you so very much. As i sit here typing it is REALLY REALLY hot and I have been good girl resting for the past half hour!! I really appreciate your comment. Thank you so much!!

      Reply

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