Sunday, March 22, 2009
Consolidating Gains, Measuring Distance to Go
Definitely, the six-month mark represents a major milestone in this medical adventure, and I’m designating it by inaugurating Part Seven. Over the last week or so, it’s become clearer that things are different—and better—than they’ve been since surgery. My goals and world view are broader, my stamina is improved, and most importantly, when I do run out of steam, the costs are lower and recovery spread over a shorter period. Even at full extension, if needed, I can eke out a bit more time to finish things, rather than just stopping in my tracks. This is all just in time, too, as the memorial service this week and all the associated work and events look to be pretty strenuous—and I’m stressed about them. There’s a lot to do and there’s a lot to feel, and neither of those is at the top of my wish list right now.
The existential issues associated with brain surgery (is that even a correct use of the term?) continue to thwart me. There’s something about it all that persists in its effects, and it continues to elude me in the big picture. I get lots of the small-picture stuff, but integrating the whole is still a work in progress. Part Seven means that I’m less self absorbed most of the time, which is deeply pleasing and a relief. I was beginning to get worried that I’d be that way forever, and it was worrisome, even as the fear persists that the lingering damage and limitations are just how life is going to be from now on. We’ll see. If things never improve, it’s all doable at this level. We hope not to be at the top plateau and that the next year will bring continuing improvement, though at a slower rate.
As to the memorial service, last night’s disrupted sleep and today revealed how much this is weighing on me. I’ve brought every coping mechanism in my repertoire to bear today, and it’s helping—some. We now have to-do lists, a chronological schedule, dinner lists, you name it, I’ve organized it. For those who asked, a quicktime movie version of the slideshow will be posted on the web so family members can review it in advance of the memorial service; email me and I’ll send you the address if you want to take a gander. It will take downloading to your computer because of the export mechanism of choice; despite our combined best efforts, this was the only way we could find to share it intact with music, transitions, etc. Even so, it’s static and the real thing cycles around and plays different music as it repeats, because the music is longer than the slideshow. It’s about 15-minutes long and the scope of the life revealed is quite amazing, from life on the prairie in the 1910s as a small child through last fall. There are holes here and there because so many of my dad’s belongings were destroyed in the hurricanes, but even with the holes, it’s an amazing odyssey. The music is from a classical guitarist we heard in Parc Guell in Barcelona, collecting coins and selling CDs out of his guitar case. It’s not anything meaningful to my dad, but it felt like a good fit and at least for us, evokes great memories.
One of my father’s specific requests was that we hold the memorial “in the spring when the crocuses are blooming.” Michael took this picture this morning in our side yard. Sometimes, things work out. Not sure they’ll still be here Saturday, but who can say we didn’t get pretty darn close?
It’s spring break here—hallelujah. There’s some breathing space to get all the new medical tests done (ordered by the consulting doc we visited last week), progress through the items on all the lists (memorial and work), get grading done, visit the new office and start planning the move and still sit in the sunshine some. Stay in touch.