Friday, October 17, 2008

Definitely Part 4

Yesterday was a watershed day in many ways: it brought awareness of the clutter back, there was a major leap in the healing of the incision, and we actually made some headway in clutter reduction. The meds have been cleaned up, and many small clutter deposits consolidated. As the mail came in during this adventure, whoever brought it in shuffled through it and tried to fish out the bills. Some of us throw the true trash away at a recycling station near the door, but others of us set it aside in a pile. Most of the mail over this period was brought in by the set-asiders, so we had an impressive collection. We’ve managed a first pass through the pile, discarding most of it. We did find some important items, so it was good that we kept things—there just wasn’t enough attention to go around for a while.

The difference in the incision and its healing is remarkable: it seems like from one day to the next, major sections have changed, and there are only two truly sensitive spots left, along with the general feelings of tightness, numbness and strangeness across the peeled-back area. The improvement from even one day before is striking and most welcome. The surgeon said that it would take a full three months for the scalp to heal completely, so more patience is indicated. The advances, though, are heartening.

All told, this is certainly a new and encouraging phase. Part 1 was the diagnosis, surgery and immediate after-math in the hospital. Part 2 started when it was possible to go home. The third segment of the adventure began as it became possible to see people and pick up one or two threads of real life, very slowly; the medical routine was dramatically reduced and the pain came under control, at least most of the time. And now, Part 4, where genuine healing has taken place and the recovery is tangibly in transition to regular life, albeit at a prudent and stately pace. If you didn't know I'd had surgery, you probably couldn't tell encountering me during an "awake" period. There are more awake periods, though I still just run out of steam now and then and urgently need to rest. Just not as often. Hooray. It's all forward progress, even in a week that had some dips and setbacks. Part 4 is a nice place to be. We're counting our blessings, again.

I’ve been mulling over an experience this week. Before an MRI, patients are both questioned closely and fill out a form about whether there is any metal in their bodies. Questions include whether any items have been implanted: pacemakers, dental fixtures, hearing aides, joint implants, etc. They even ask if you have ever done any welding or have any shrapnel shards. What they don’t ask, and what never occurred to me to mention (though obviously they knew about them) were the titanium pins in my head. They just aren’t part of my self-image or consciousness so far, though this probably needs to change. At least on my first trip, by the way, the pins weren’t an issue in airport metal detectors. We’ve been told that the pins aren’t detected by them, which raises a whole host of other questions. I’m not going there. Meanwhile, I have a letter for travel—just in case—that explains what I have in my skull and why.

Today brings physical therapy (balance) and strength training. Late in the day, a talk on civility booked long ago. For me at this point, that’s a full day of activity, though some grading will likely be possible as well. Very slowly, I’m beginning to learn how to balance energy and aspirations. Mostly. It’s a moving target, since I am getting stronger every day. The tendency is to over-reach, but I’m getting better at recognizing the signs and responding more appropriately. It would be hard to say that I’ve achieved full tortoisedom, but I’m at least approaching some kind of hybrid racing tortoise drinking espressos all day.

Fridays are nice days. We send you our wishes for a good day and a better weekend and hopes that you will fit in some enjoyable time with your family and friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment