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)

1 comment:

Two Tigers said...

Did you have to remind me of taxes? And I, unlike you, have no excuse for evading the demands of normal life. This comment comes with healing thoughts and a massive (gentle) hug from far away and too long. One of these days we must coordinate our appearances in nyc!! Love you! -Gabriella