surgery recovery

First Day Back at Work

Today I returned to work. I felt nothing changed and everything changed. My team moved offices, my bosses and the work I do are the same. I spent the day catching up on email. Reached inbox zero. Not as hard to do as work queue zero. Also put my desk together. Facilities was sufficiently busy that I asked for the tools instead of the work and got to play with small power tools. Had lunch with my coworkers, caught up, again not much has changed. Two months is both eternity and no time at all.

One coworker was surprised to see me taking the stairs, another that I really am not bothered by noises that would send me into fits before the surgery. Everyone was happy to see me. I was happy to see everyone.

I finish the day not tired so much as excited and a little confused. I will be tired shortly. I know I’ve said it before but it felt like I wasn’t gone at all and yet I missed some things but I was missing things before because I wasn’t thinking clearly and now I’m thinking clearly and it’s all so clear and I’m so there, here, where I am when I am yet there’s this gap.

Tomorrow when I go in my desk will be ready, everything I need ready at hand, a ticket already pulled from the queue, inbox will be slim and I will engineer. It will be good. Today was good too. It’s all good.

Categories: geeky, SCDS, surgery recovery | Leave a comment

Hanging with Babies

Sitting around in a cafe hanging out holding a friend’s babies (he has twins) is a huge drain on my vestibular (balance) system. Who knew that trying to compensate for wobbly, bouncing creature holding would be so tiring?

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Know Your Seasons

Imagine needing a surgery like mine but not having to get it done ASAP to ensure job security. Check your inner clock and ask yourself “when are the big cold seasons in the area?” In Oregon January is the month of the miserable head cold. Sinus pressure and recovering from ear related brain surgery sucks. If I could have chosen a date based on nicest post-surgery healing I think I would have gone with June or July.

Also I have little pity for the other people saying “Day 12 of stupid head cold” on my social networks. I may instead be overdoing the self pity.

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Head Colds Suck

That blown up feeling in my head never felt so bad as now in my right ear after having had ear surgery. (Yeah, I call it brain surgery because they cut into my skull and touched my brain to move it out of the way to get to my innermost ear but right now with my head cold I choose to call it ear surgery.)  Ow.

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Capabilities and Activities

The other night I chose to see a dance performance instead of playing D&D.

The other night I was invited to go to a dance performance with a friend who offered me a ride in contrast going to play D&D at a house I’d never been to that was at least an hour public transit ride away.

The other night I sat passively at a dance performance with a friend who would leave if I needed to rather than going to play D&D which is a highly interactive and creative story telling experience often with multiple voices overlapping and at least an hour public transit ride home after.

As I post openly about what I do with my time I worry about one of my D&D friends seeing that when I cancelled on D&D because I didn’t feel well enough that I then went to a dance performance. It makes me feel lame in that teenager way of saying “that’s lame.”

For each thing I choose to turn down and each thing I choose to pick up as I recover from surgery I do a careful measure of my capabilities. How much effort goes into transportation? How easy will it be to leave abruptly if I need to get away quickly? (This one is huge for me.) What level of brain or body wellness is required to do this? Sometimes my information is inaccurate and later I find out I could have gotten a ride or something like that.

Anyway, this is my disclaimer. I plan on being very active but I also plan on declining a lot.

Categories: Portland OR, surgery recovery | Leave a comment

A Person’s Books

I thought I’d start light with a comic book. Didn’t work.

Maybe a nice little mystery that leads you along to where the murderer is caught in the end. Nope.

A history of libraries? Almost.

Algorithms in a Nutshell? Blah blah blah.

The Art of Computer Programming Volume 1 Fundamental Algorithms Third Edition? YES!

Donald E Knuth is a lyricist and a logician. He shows algorithms as steps in a list, as flow charts, descriptively, and as programming code. He covers all learning styles. He is thorough and knowledgeable and I love the way he writes.

I thought to get my brain working again I should start slow, read something easy. Instead it turned out I needed return to an old favorite, an author who speaks to me like kin. To explore familiar paths and comfortable book houses.

Time to pull out Oscar Wilde, John Burroughs (naturalist), Robin McKinley, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jane Austen, Gene Stratton Porter, Joseph Campbell, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Tamora Pierce, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, etc.

For now though dear Donald Knuth.

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What Makes a Person

Approaching the intentional transformation of self for me includes an outline of what makes Self. Foundationally I agree with Joseph Campbell on the concepts of masks.

We all wear masks throughout our lives. These masks come with familiar phrases like “professional behavior will help with networking for a job” or “don’t talk like that around your grandmother.” Sometimes the masks are changed out with barely a thought. One outfit is for a night on the town and another is for on the job. The idea that these different ways of presenting ourselves are just masks that we wear and switch out is not a new one, though also not always done consciously.

Underneath these masks exists a fundamental me with traits that thread through all the masks. For me one of those traits is I won’t lie just to get ahead. I failed a class in college because I wouldn’t just go along with what the teacher was saying. My truth was more important than a grade, or a relationship, or a free ride, or a job or anything. I value sticking to my guns on topics I believe in and I’m not going to say “yes, we should all be vegans” just to get an A.

My goal is to sift through my traits, figure which ones are firmly me and which are simply taken on for convenience and then facet them out into masks appropriate for each situation in my life.

To make this easier I’ve divided traits into the following categories:

  • Actions
  • Appearances
  • Dreams
  • Environments
  • Feelings
  • Memories
  • Perceptions
  • Physical States
  • Thoughts
  • Words
  • Works

Each one is plural because each one is changeable as well as potentially multiplicital (spell check says I made that word up).

Here’s the list again with examples:

  • Actions: Exercise, hug a friend, or share lunch with a homeless person
  • Appearances: Wear spikes on a leather jacket or smile at people
  • Dreams: Wipe polio off the face of the planet or eat pumpkin pie every day for a week
  • Environments: Live in a small town or read in a coffee shop
  • Feelings: Sadness or love
  • Memories: Picking mint for Mama’s tea or almost drowning
  • Perceptions: Eugene is the big city or Eugene is a town with delusions
  • Physical States: Healthy, head cold, or heart murmur
  • Thoughts: E = MC^2 or I wonder if she’s out of my league
  • Words: “Thanks for the lift!” or “I can’t believe he did that!”
  • Works: Founding a non-profit, building a skyscraper, starting a successful business, creating art, or etc

So given my belief that these things make a person I simply (ha!) have to quantify myself in each of these areas as I have been, as I am and as I want to be.  Then I just (ha ha!) facet that into appropriate masks for the situations most likely to occur in my life. In the end I will have a solid sense of core self with easy to reference facets for general purpose use.

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I’ve had a few life events to finish off 2013 and am very ready for 2014. As I heal from surgery I plan on healing in the direction of the me I want to be. I’m pretty tired right now, just got back from very delicious Dim Sum at a very crowded noisy restaurant but let’s just start this transformation with a little change in style for this web site. Something a little brighter and sunnier.

Categories: surgery recovery, websites | 1 Comment

Emotional Roller Coaster of Healing

Up and down, up and down. Healing after a major surgery is an emotional roller coaster. One day I feel bad but I cling to optimism. Another day I feel bad and I mope. A different day I am happy and feel healthy. Then there are days when no matter what I feel like physically I feel trapped by the things I can’t do. It’s oddly the worst on days when I feel well because any activity beyond the basics reminds me I am still on the mend.

Just to be clear, I am happy, optimistic, grateful, blessed, and healing quickly. I also feel whiny.

I want to hop in my car and DRIVE. Remember how I used to do spontaneous road trips? I want to do that again. I don’t want to wait six months. I want to do it NOW.

I want to fill my calendar and DO STUFF. Yesterday I filled up my calendar with “potential” things and it was exhausting and I didn’t even make it to music or crafts. There are dance performances, theater, book lectures, book clubs, coding meetups, events all over town I want to attend.

I want to do stuff with PEOPLE. Not just people who have cars and are amazing and will come get me on a strange day and take me to Zell’s for lunch. Definitely those people but also harder to get to people. People who live further out or have bad transportation. People who are interesting but you have to wrangle out of their introverted dens. People who can’t make plans but can be kidnapped for road trips at a moment’s notice. All my people. OK, maybe Donna is right, maybe I could be an extrovert.

I want to go hiking in the woods. I want to rearrange my bedroom. Again. I want to pick up heavy boxes and not have this weird pressure pain in my head. I want to do some crafts that involve hot wax or a soldering kit and could lead to horrible burns if I’m not in top form. I want to cook every other night like I used to. I want my husband to look less tired.

I want to be done with this and do the things I love. And optimism can go jump in a well, I want it NOW.

Signed, cabin fever mixed with soppy gratitude to Allen & Laura for coming to take me outside today.

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Last night I was laying on my left side (which is every night because laying on my surgery side is achy) and Isaiah said something and I heard him. Actually heard him and clearly which with Isaiah is a miracle as he’s from Maine. It’s still foggy through that ear, muted, less than left but hey! I had an improvement! A noticeable improvement.

Clearer mind is something I’ve had since the start. The post-surgery deafness is nearly gone. My balance is also much improved. Any autophony I experience is heartbeat when exercising too much and a little bit of my own voice (I only know this because I can compare left and right ear sounds. Dizziness is fading as well and my suture is pretty much healed.

It’s like the other day’s depression was a hill I just had to make it over to get to a beautiful sunny field.

To moderate the happy it’s important to note that I am horribly out of shape and every exercise I perform or therapy I undergo will make my symptoms temporarily worse but let’s all ignore that for now.

Progress has been made. Go Dr Wackym! Good surgery, high five!

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