A Blessing In Disguise | Motley Monday

Sometimes even the most annoying situations can turn out to be blessings in disguise. 

Since my surgery two weeks ago, I’ve had a nurse come to my house every day to check on things and change my dressing. Before the nurse comes, I have to be showered and dressed. Which means I have to get up. 

I’ve mentioned on here before that I have very poor sleeping habits. I stay up far too late and sleep in far too late. But with the nurses coming, I’ve had to sleep at normal human times rather than ridiculous times, because they often come quite early in the day. Because of this, my internal body clock has slowly shifted, and I’m now at the stage that I wake up properly with my alarm, and I’m up in time to have breakfast and not have it technically be lunch. 

On Wednesday, Orientation Week starts at the university I’m starting at next week. I have to leave home at 8:30 to get there on time. If I hadn’t had surgery, I would still be sleeping at strange hours, and getting up that early would be a real struggle. But now I’m almost looking forward to it. If I hadn’t had surgery, my first year of university would likely have started very poorly, with me struggling to drag myself out of bed. 

So that’s my blessing in disguise. How have you been blessed in a surprising way lately? 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann 

Whoops I Had Surgery | Motley Monday

I apologize for not posting last Monday, but it was kinda understandable. 

Why is it understandable? Let me tell you a story. 

Last June, I went to the doctor exactly two weeks before I was supposed to go to Fiji and learned that I had a semi serious (mostly just painful) medical condition. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because of the nature of it. Let’s just say that it is something that needs to heal over time and is quite painful. 

Anyway, the doctor said that if I took my antibiotics and had it treated, I should be able to go to Fiji, but it would probably come back. He also mentioned that if it came back, I would very likely need surgery. 

Over the next two weeks, I used all my willpower and received lots of prayers, and two days before the trip, I got the all clear to go. When I came back, everything seemed fine. 

Fast forward to late January sometime. 25th, I think. A Wednesday. I realized that it had come back, so I went to the doctor the next day. He put me back on antibiotics, sent a referral to the hospital for surgery (which they never responded to), and started treating it again. After a few days, one of the nurses said that it was healing fine, and as long as I finished my antibiotics, I wouldn’t have to go back. 

She was wrong. 

So back we were on the next Thursday, a week after I first went to the doctor. On Friday, I was told that if there were any issues over the long weekend (Monday was a public holiday), I should go to the local after hours doctors thing. 

On Friday night, there was an issue. 

So bright and early Saturday morning, I went to the doctor, optimistically thinking that I’d be home in time to eat a more substantial breakfast than a muesli bar. 

Nope. The doctor sent me straight to the emergency room with a referral for surgery that day. 

If you’ve never had surgery before, there is one important thing to be grateful for. You can’t eat less than six hours before surgery. I’d already eaten that morning (but just a muesli bar!) so we had to wait until at least 2pm.

So we waited. 

Thing is, there’s only one operating theatre on weekends. And while mine was painful and important, it was not serious or urgent. So I kept getting bumped down the list. There was an accident, then an emergency cesarean, and goodness knows what else. Finally, at 10pm (remember that all I’d eaten was a muesli bar 14 hours earlier), they admitted that I wouldn’t be getting surgery that day. So they gave me dinner and sent me off to bed (actually I’d been in the hospital bed all afternoon, but whatever). 

Then Sunday roles around. The night before, they’d said that I would be first in the morning, so no breakfast. Then at 8, they told me it would be at 9:30. At 9:30, they said it would be at 2:30 (FIVE HOURS. YOU CAN’T EAT IF IT’S LESS THAN SIX). Then at 2:30, I was told 3:30. At around 4, I was called. I sat in the pre-op room, signed all the paperwork, and was about to go in, when there was another emergency cesarean. 

So I waited for another two hours, and finally got in at 6pm on Sunday. And then I had to spend a second night in hospital, because they had to check my blood pressure and all that every few hours. 

So that’s why I didn’t post on Monday. I was still kinda dead from having surgery the night before, and I didn’t get home until lunchtime on Monday. 

My ninth surgery. Done.

And you know what the best part is? This doesn’t even fully fix the problem. This just helps with the one I have at the moment. I’m probably going to have another surgery once I’m fully better to try and fix it completely. 

But I’m grateful that the health care system in New Zealand is good enough that I can be admitted to hospital for surgery and not have to worry about getting diseases from other patients, or have to worry about how on earth I’m going to pay for it all. I’m grateful that we have the equipment here, and that it’s all relatively safe. Even if the situation was way less than ideal, I’m still grateful. 

So that’s what’s been going on with me lately. Anyone else have an exciting story to share? 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann

Progress

Yesterday, I made progress. 

I finally sorted out paperwork for my potential job and for university that had been sitting around for weeks. I ordered my textbooks and sent away a photo for my ID card. I called someone about my student loan and did other various tasks in preparation for uni starting in a couple of weeks. I made something that I’d never made before to take to the picnic I’m having with friends today. 

I also wasted heaps of time. I didn’t read, or work on my Queen’s Award, or tidy my room, and I still stayed up far too late (current time: 1:34am). 

But I made progress. I ticked off heaps of simple tasks that I’d been putting off for weeks for no reason. And that’s good. That’s progress. Maybe tomorrow I’ll finish a book for the first time in a week and put my piles of washing away. But for now, I’ve made progress. And that’s wonderful. 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann

Monday

From the perspective of the strangers that I passed on Monday, you would think that Monday was a great day for me. 

And it was. I hung out with a friend in town all afternoon, and we had a great time. We watched the new film Ballerina, which we both loved. We went window shopping and actual shopping. There was a lot of smiling and laughing. People walking past probably thought, if they cared enough, that Monday was a great day for us. 

And it was. 

But for me, it also wasn’t. 

That Monday is going to go down in the history books as a strange day. Years from now, I don’t know if I’ll remember the good times I had, or the two lots of bad news that I received. 

You see, the doctor called on Monday. He told me that my blood tests indicate that I probably (more tests will confirm) have yet another serious medical condition, on top of my heart problem and eye problems and all my other problems. It’s not serious in a way that will kill me, but serious in a way that my life may be greatly affected. 

That was the first lot of bad news. I barely had time to process it before I had to meet my friend in town. 

The second lot of bad news came when I was waiting to be picked up from town after all the fun that we had. I was sitting and thinking about this new condition that I likely have, when I decided to turn my data on. I then found out that a primary school friend of mine, who was in a car accident three weeks ago, in which her mother died at the scene, had died. She was 18. I knew that it was coming, because her chances of recovery had been slim, but I just about burst into tears in the middle of town. 

How is this fair? How is any of it fair? 

How is it fair that some people are healthy and never have anything wrong, while there are people like me who have countless medical issues that change everything? 

But how is it fair that I get to live, while my friend and her mum don’t? How is it fair that lives are just taken like that? 

But that’s the point. 

Life’s not fair. No one ever said that it is. It’s a fact of life that some people will be more burdened by health than others, and it’s a fact of life that people die, often much before their time. 

So what should we do about it all, when there’s nothing that we can do to change how fair things are? 

We should live. 

I may not have the health that I wish I have. But I have life, which is something to be so grateful for. Monday might have been a stereotypical bad day, as Mondays often are, but it was also a great day. A fun day. An enjoyable day, and I feel so blessed that I was alive to enjoy it. 

Despite the Mondays, life goes on. You can still enjoy life, despite the unfairness of it all. In fact, it is basically our duty to do so, because one day, there will be no days left to enjoy, and it may be sooner than you think (although I seriously hope not). 

Mondays happen. They are hard and terrible and change everything. But it’s important to still find reasons to smile and laugh. I can’t change the two lots of bad news that I received on Monday. I can’t improve my health (in this situation), and I can’t bring back my friend. But I can still have a good day and be happy. 

I hope you can find the happiness and the blessings in the midst of the Mondays. 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann 

Time Wasting | Motley Monday

My name is Tessa and I am a time waster. 

For the last two months, I have had no regular commitments. I’ve had plenty of time to read, work on my Queen’s Award, and fill out all the paperwork that seems to appear now that I’m enrolled in university. 

Yet I’ve done barely any of that. 

I’ve read six books so far this year. For most people, this would be reasonable. But for me, someone who loves reading and reads very fast, this is terrible. I could understand it if I had heaps of commitments, but other than being away for a week, I’ve had nothing on. 

I’ve barely touched my Queen’s Award, which is a terrible decision, considering how much work I still have to do, and considering that I’m just going to get busier later in the year. 

As for the paperwork, I have deadlines. And I’m barely meeting them. Not good. 

So what have I been doing with this time? 

Absolutely nothing. 

I spend most of my time on my phone, doing nothing. Scrolling through social media that I really don’t care about. Watching pointless YouTube videos. Playing games that don’t matter. Sometimes I’ll watch TV at the same time, but most of the time, it’s rubbish shows that I don’t care about. Basically just a bunch of distractions. Distractions from the Queen’s Award and the paperwork and the thoughts that are spinning round and round in my head. 

I stay up ridiculously late (it’s currently 1:40am) and get up ridiculously late. I stay up until I can barely hold my eyes open, so that there’s no time for thinking when I finally go to bed. 

But this all needs to stop. It’s unhealthy, creating bad habits for when uni starts, and just plain stupid. 

So this is my pledge. I promise that I will waste less time from now on. I will sleep at more normal hours. I will read or do my Queen’s Award or fill out paperwork instead of aimlessly scrolling. Maybe I’ll even exercise once in a while. Because I’m not happy at the moment, and I’m hopeful that a lifestyle change might make things just a little bit better. 

So. That’s off my chest. Now it’s your turn. Any advice for me on wasting less time? Or maybe you want to join me in making a change. I don’t know. Feel free to take this opportunity to change something. 

And thank you for reading all that. I appreciate it. 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann

Am I A Failure? | Motley Monday

I was on camp for nine days, ending yesterday, so the fact that I’m awake enough to write a post is wonderful. 

On Tuesday last week, it was the day that high school students in New Zealand both long for and dread. It was the day that exam results came out. 

For those who aren’t familiar with the NCEA system, let’s give you a brief summary. In NCEA (last three years of high school), you get credits from internals, which are the in class assignments, marked by your teachers, and externals, which are the exams sat at the same time for everyone in the country, and marked by some mysterious people. For each assignment/exam, credits are given at the level of achievement that you did, and for most assignments/exams, you can get not achieved, achieved, merit, or excellence. 

For the three years of NCEA, I didn’t fail anything, aside from a mock exam or two. My pie chart showing my credits had no red in it. In fact, I passed each year with excellence without needing to sit exams (although I did anyway).

After exams this year, I was nervous. I was pretty sure that I’d failed both of my chemistry papers, but I was fairly confident about everything else. 

So when I checked my results on Tuesday, having waited all day for my phone plan to renew so that I had data, I got the shock of my life. 

Let’s go from worst to best. 

In Chemistry, I failed both mock exams. I also failed both real exams (honestly not surprising). 

In English, I got excellence in all three mock exams. I wrote basically the same essay for one of them in the real exam, and I failed that paper. (How???) I got achieved on the other two.  

In Classics, I got merit on both mock exams. In the real exam, I failed one paper and got merit on the other. 

In Maths, I got achieved on the mock exam. I got excellence in the real exam. 

I failed half of my papers. 

Not just the two chemistry ones. I failed papers in subjects that I thought I was good at. 

Having never failed anything other than PE before (which is understandable, considering my health issues), this has made me seriously question myself. Does failing these papers make me a failure? 

I’m divided on this. Part of me is completely devastated. I can’t believe that I failed these papers. I just want to cry and scream and pretend that it never happened. 

But there is a much bigger part of me that is saying that yes, I screwed up. Maybe I should have studied more. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect anything. I still got runner up dux. I still passed the year with excellence. I was still accepted into university. And in one, two, five, ten years, I won’t even care. On my deathbed, I won’t be looking back at these exams and sobbing over the fact that I failed them. There are much more important things in life, like all of the amazing times I had and awesome friends I made at the camp I just went on. 

So. Am I a failure? Going by the definition of the word, I am. But more importantly, does it matter that I failed those exams? Only if I use this as a chance to learn from my mistakes. 

Maybe I am a failure. But I can learn and grow from this experience. I don’t have to dwell on it and hate myself because of a couple of exams. There are much more important things, and that’s what I plan to focus on. 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann 

A Little Bit Of Rebellion | Motley Monday

In general, I am not a rebellious person. In fact, most people would probably say that I’m a bit of a goody two shoes. I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs. I’ve never snuck out of the house or anything like that. Sure, I don’t always see eye to eye with my parents, but I’ve never really done anything that completely goes against them. 

I’m also not really a fan of change. If things are good, then I’m a bit weary about change. Why try to fix something that isn’t broken? 

But lately, I’d been feeling a bit stagnant, boring, and predictable. I felt like I needed to do something that was a little bit rebellious and unexpected. Otherwise, I was scared that I would fad into the background while everyone around me lived exciting lives. 

So on Tuesday, without consulting anyone except a couple of friends, I dyed some of my hair pink. 

It really doesn’t seem like a big deal. I mean, it’s not very bright or obvious, and it can be easily hidden. But to me, it was a very significant decision. I made a choice without asking the advice of those older and wiser than me. I showed my independence by doing something that my mum wouldn’t necessarily approve of (I’m pretty sure she likes it though), but wouldn’t have the power to say no to. 

I start university this year. Most people leave home at this stage, and can drive, and are quite independent. I’m none of those things. I still live at home. I don’t drive. My mum still does all of the cooking and washing for me. I’m essentially still a high school student, whereas most people my age are growing much more independent. 

I would be perfectly happy for everything to stay as it is, and to continue being a high school student. But since everyone around me is becoming more independent, I must find my own way to do the same. At the moment, that looks like me dyeing my hair spontaneously. In the future, I’ll begin to do things more like those around me. 

But for now, dyeing my hair is enough independence to keep me sane. 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann