28 March 2016

how do you get back to "normal"?

After about five weeks with four rounds of surgery involving local or general anaesthesia, how do you get back to "normal"? You are accustomed to the doctors and nurses having control of what the next day(s) will bring. You can only plan maybe a couple-three days out with any assurance. In mid-February, just after the College Art annual conference in Washington, D.C., it seemed like I would have a few weeks at home and then head off to Seattle for the joint ARLIS/NA-VRA conference, followed ten days later by heading to the Netherlands to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch's death by seeing the major retrospective at the Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch. The next two older blog posts give more detail of those plans.

Being in the midst of the surgeries made "recovery" seem like something in the future. I still had surgery on the horizon and recovery is for healing after treatment. Today I began to feel like I was entering that recovery phase and, strangely, it was unsettling. The secure, scary, uncomfortable momentum of waiting to hear what your caregivers needed to do next is replaced by the realization that real life has to recommence, those income taxes need to be filed, the Avery indexing and Scholes Library hours need to be re-established, real meals rather than grazing. No using the surgery or bandages as an excuse. Of course, part of you desperately wants to get back to normal.

I have been incredibly lucky in the whole process that my basic mobility (that is, movement of arms and legs) is not restricted and I've had very little pain. I just look like a Mack truck drove over my face. So tomorrow I'll go on my "normal" morning walk around the three-mile loop in Alfred, come back to the house, have some breakfast, maybe work on my income taxes, etc. We can do this .... I hope. And dream of Bosch.
Bosch: St John the Baptist
(Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid)
(Google Art Project / Wikimedia Commons)
(my current bookmark is a detail of this painting)

10 March 2016

carrying on .... and on

The last ten days have been pretty intense. The second round of surgery, to move the flap from my forehead onto my nose, happened last Thursday (March 3rd, my dad's birthday). It rather zonked me out. Dr Quatela and others checked me on Friday morning and left me in the caring and knowing hands of nurse practitioner Julie Chatt while Dr Quatela went on a long-scheduled trip to work with children in Vietnam (HUGS Foundation). Julie has been re-dressing the wounds every day. I mostly feel up to doing things but the bandages between my eyes make it somewhat hard to focus on text, either printed or online. It's a little like the Vaseline that cinematographers use on lenses to soften the age lines (or sexy bits) in movies.

I won't know for sure when the third round of surgery, to remove the bridge supporting the patch on my nose, is going to happen but it is likely to happen within a week of Dr Quatela's return next Wednesday. That being the case, there is no way that I can imagine being ready to travel to the Netherlands for the Bosch show on March 23rd. So I've rebooked my flight for later April. The show closes on May 8th. Many of the works will then be in a similar show at the Prado in Madrid. I think I still prefer my other Plan B for missing the show in the Netherlands: going to all of the home collections of the paintings and drawings. Road trip! (with a bit of flying)

I've been staying with Rachel in Rochester and there's a Bosch electric box in the basement of the big old house that her apartment is in.
We're both used to living alone so we're working on not becoming some scenes from a Bosch ..... whatever? Hell mouth? Last Judgment? Ship of Fools?