Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My First Travel Day

The travel went deceptively smoothly. Kearney would suggest that my beginner’s luck kicked in again. Is the first time traveling after brain surgery a category to which it applies? Everything was on time or early, all reservations were recognized, navigation was straightforward, etc. However, it was exhausting. The kind of exhausting where it is hard to sleep afterwards, you are so tired. It was a good thing that I had most of the day to rest and recover. The hotel is a business suite hotel with no restaurant, so I ordered food to be delivered, and when it arrived, was too tired/full/off schedule to eat it. I worried about this for a while, and then realized that I’d been grazing steadily all day on some sandwiches Michael made me and had stupidly eaten food on the flight just because it was in front of me, not because I was hungry or liked it. I put the food in the refrigerator and will use it for meals tomorrow.

At some point during the day, it came to me that, throughout this experience, one of my underlying assumptions has been that it has only been about the tumor and surgery, not the rest of my healthy body. This might well be one source of my failures to pace myself very well so far. At the very least, it bears some thought, because of course, sense and the surgeon have plainly communicated the magnitude of the assault on the whole body presented by the anesthesia and surgical process. With any luck, this insight will assist me in coming days to be more realistic about limits, etc.

Is it true that women mostly shower with their backs to the water while men face the water? I cannot remember who told me this and I have never taken the time to track down whether it is true or simply another urban myth. This came to mind as I was standing sideways to keep the shoulder taping dry, since it needs to last until Michael arrives on Friday. The ends that curled the last time are taped down extra well this time, and there’s no premature loosening so far, but there are still two nights and at least 1.5 days before it can get replaced. Since it helps so much in the use of my arm, I’ve become very protective of the tape. Late last night, we had to modify the upper-arm taping, as an area under it had become inflamed and was seeping/weeping. Michael trimmed the tape so it was no longer covering the bite and treated the angry area with hydrocortisone cream. Overnight, it continued to be unhappy and even blistered, though that has subsided by now. We are hoping that an irritated bite is the full extent of the issue here, and not, as we were warned to watch for, the skin breaking down from being covered by the tape. Fortunately, I think this is the only bite that is covered by the tape. (The no see ‘ums were out in force my last two or three days in the sun.) The occupational therapist warned that this is one of the potential downsides to the kinesio-tape we’re using, though to a lesser extent than for other options. So far, it is plausible that our early, hopeful, theory was right.

In one of those strange leaps, this led me to thinking about things experts know and notice that the rest of us do not. This concept entered my life when I was a child, and the mother of a friend of mine who was a doctor said, in a conversation since lost in the mists of time, that the child we were discussing could not possibly be as old as we thought, as she had no ridges on her teeth, so did not have her permanent teeth yet. That she could tell the difference between permanent and baby teeth struck me like a thunderbolt. And, if she knew things like that, what else could she tell by looking at me? The therapists I’m working with have educated eyes about items I’ve never even considered, and it is always interesting to learn what they are looking for and monitoring. When we took car trips with Ernie, Michael’s dad, we always learned fascinating things about the fields along the highways, as he knew so much about agriculture. He knew about farming methods, equipment, erosion, crop rotation, etc., and could tell a lot about the success of the farmer by assessing the state of the cultivation. Usually, he could tell us the kind of equipment that had last been through the fields, as well as how the crop was doing. It always opened new worlds to us. We miss him a lot, for this and other reasons. But to get back to the point (yes, I know I wander a lot these days and I am hoping it will diminish as I recover more), the educated eye of the expert holds fascination. Is there a place out there on the web that catalogs some of the things experts look for in various dimensions? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to get access to the pointers that are meaningful in areas that matter to us to be able to make use of them? Just knowing the questions to ask is sometimes the most important step.

Your thoughts and comments on “enoughness” are providing food for thought. Keep them coming. How much is enough? How do we tell? Is it a teachable concept?

Even though it is early here, my emerging new respect and awareness of my physical state suggests that extra sleep is called for, so I’m going to heed. Tomorrow will be an interesting test of how well I am pacing myself and how my stamina is building.

I send you wishes for at least one moment of beauty and peace in your Thursday.

No comments:

Post a Comment