“What the Faulkner is he complaining about, being idle” you might be wondering. Two things are indisputably true:
1) I function best when I feel/am useful
2) the healing process from these surgeries has kicked my ass and then laughed at me – even if I wanted to do anything more than physical therapy or class, I simply could not.
State of the Shoulder
First and foremost, how does my shoulder feel 37 days after the surgeries? The answer depends on the day, but 10 days ago the pain had gotten manageable and was no longer tiring me out to a serious degree!
Then, I started physical therapy.
Everything is awful, thought I! The pain has returned and thus being exhausted at all hours; the scar tissue collection my shoulder had begun was being destroyed.
Everything is blessedly alright, acknowledged I after the pain subsided and I thought about it. Not only have the wounds completely closed and are free from complication (thus ending the live option of serious infection, thank God); the fact of the matter is, against all expectations, that I have started PT with a MUCH bigger range of motion than people do. That is not to say I can do much of anything with the arm – I am still only capable of passive motion (eg leaning over and letting the right arm dangle to and fro; or using a cane in my left hand to move my right arm in different directions). But I am nevertheless able to reach far above my head in two different directions as of 12 days into PT… which means I will likely get back to normal more quickly AND I don’t have as much to worry about in terms of complications.
That said, I have at least 5 more weeks in the sling, according to the last appointment with the surgeon. I am to slowly leave the arm out of the sling each day, to get the elbow more comfortable with being unbent (though I assure you, it is massively uncomfortable to do so, yeesh), all the while continuing with my twice-daily exercises at home to maintain the gains from PT sessions (which are three times per week).
The road ahead (and the return to eventually using my own car)
The fact that I am least in pain when reclining, so I have every reason to research interesting plans and projects for the months ahead, once I am the two-armed man again. Besides looking into gargoyle geckos and the design and construction of a 100% self-sustaining vivarium for them (stay tuned approx 14 months from now, once I am settled somewhere and have the money to build it, God-willing), I have been doing a great deal of systematic reading about my car, and ways to finally iron out the rest of the intermittent power loss issue (uphill on the highway, the engine sometimes goes into ‘limp mode’ and slows me down to 50mph… not especially fun).
But I have also read about performance and efficiency enhancements, to say nothing of adding utility AND good lucks to that wondrous diesel machine of mine. A short list, for the interested:
-new camshaft, upgrades for the engine computer, bigger fuel injection nozzles – interestingly enough, well-designed diesel engines like this 1Z Volkswagen TDI become MORE efficient when you give them more fuel and performance engine components. I am told I might be able to kiss 60 miles per gallon if I drive super careful on the highway… but 55mpg will be normal. So worth it/LOL PRIUSUX
-need to try and fix the three spots of cosmetic rust, so the car can last to the 1 million miles I have planned for it
-very understated accent paint on things like the edge of the front grille, the canoe tiedown points, brake calipers
-painting the majority of my rooftop cargo carrier to match the car’s Storm Grey; doing the rim of the lid with the same aforementioned accent color (specifics still unclear)
-possiblt turn the interior into an altar to the stars and outer space (beyond just being the MFALCON, more on this later)
-slowly figure out a utility trailer, buy and renovate it as needed, to enable me to move out of New Haven without renting anything + to help me build my own house one day by transporting materials with my own gear!
Mind you, I can afford none of this now, and won’t soon have any money. But I thrive on planning and tweaking things to improve them…
So then, to close I offer a short update on where I hope to go, and what I want to do once I depart this place.
1) I am unwilling to pay rent any longer. I am going to carefully look into the “where” and strive to purchase land if at all possible; the “what” I do ought to be secondary to joining a community where I can flourish
2) I am at my best when I help others, but the lifestyle encouraged by academia (namely living beyond my means on loans while talking about sustainability) just doesn’t do it for me any more. I want a goddamned salary to start paying down debt; as much as I feel drawn to a place like DC to dive into helping others, it would be arch-hypocrisy to live beyond my means while trying to encourage others to be sustainable. So the “what I do” is wider open than before, which is both exciting and nervewracking.
3) I have had my fill of urban spaces. I need to be where folks are friendly and where I would have lots of open, quiet space within which to meditate and purge my system of years of built-up annoyance and bitterness at all manner of things. Maybe not QUITE “My side of the mountain,” but close seems to be my ideal. Any suggested locales to research would be appreciated.
4) Finally, there is an opportunity in front of me which would fulfill a lot of these hopes. I cannot say much still, but prayers and kind thoughts would be much appreciated.
This post brought to you by one-handed typing. ow.