Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Everyday-ness of Recovering

If there were an option to do the everyday chores of life in clumps—like cleaning the house for two weeks solid, or whatever number the statistical gurus calculate as being the quantity of time otherwise spent spread out over the year, that would always be my choice. This would apply to cleaning, exercising, organizing, tidying, dieting, all manner of life chores that need to be done on a regular basis but aren’t that interesting or fun. This applies, double, to recovering, where the everyday-ness is getting old. Of course, if you think about it, I did do recovering in a clump, and this is just a different phase. Given my inclinations, though, every time I’d go for a longer acute period and shorter in-between period, just because managing this is so complicated and frustrating. On the other hand, trying to dwell on the bright side, the recovery report is very good: I’m able to drive reliably now, at least for short jaunts, the incision healing has taken another big leap forward, and my balance and shoulder are improving. Washing my hair and brushing my teeth this morning occasioned a moment to stop and appreciate the distance I’ve come, as both have now moved back into the routine category from extremely-difficult-or-impossible. It pays to stop and track progress and to appreciate it.

Riding in the car with our whole family this weekend, it came forcibly home to me how well the tumor lottery worked out: if anyone in our family had to get a brain tumor, I would choose me every time. Not only do I have the perfect brain tumor hair which neither Michael, nor the girls have (they have Michael’s hair, except more of it), but if it’s me, I have more knowledge and control over how things are going. The horror of it being any of the three of them is hard to contemplate. So, that’s another thing to be happy about: the tumor lottery turned out the best possible way and exactly the way I would have chosen, had I been consulted.

Slowly, it is sinking in that scheduling one big event per day is about all that makes sense; more is possible if the events don’t involve major expenditures of energy, like standing up and teaching, but even then pacing is called for. Even more, I’m getting better at recognizing the signals of when to slow down, which feels like a major victory: after my flu shot, the next morning felt like more sleep was needed, and I actually heeded the signals. Score one for the tortoise.

My goals have been slightly revised: before adding back in the work on the book, restarting mentoring at the middle school needs to be added back. My mentee from last year has moved, so this year brings starting anew with another student, and I’m anxious to meet her and get started again. Maybe next week?

We’ll know a lot more next week, after the election, about a lot of things. Waiting is hard. Hope you’re all hanging in there, and thank you, as always, for the support and caring. We send the same back to you.

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