Earpocalypse: Approaching Human

Before I go into my own recovery, I just learned that Jesse Heinig is also going through some medical problems, and needs help with bills. It appears he just went through two surgeries, so I certainly wish him the best of luck and recovery, and hope that he continues to get the kind of emotional and community support that I’ve been getting.

For me, it’s close to two weeks since my surgery, and things continue to improve. At some point recently I made the switch from “I am always tired but can do short bursts of activity” to “I can move around and do some things, but I need to sit or lie down once in a while.” A checklist:

* I still have constant vertigo, but it does seem to be reduced. I can actually walk in a straight line, but I still sometimes need to use the rail on stairs, and sudden movements still make things spin for me. The vertigo pills weren’t having a noticeable impact anymore, so I’ve stopped taking them.

* My pain continues to be very low to non-existent. Once in a while my ear will ache or be sore, but I haven’t felt a need for any pain medication since shortly after the surgery.

* My hearing continues to fluctuate, but does not appear to have decreased since the surgery. Sometimes I’ll get popping or ringing in my ears for hours at a time, and how well I can hear seems to constantly change.

* I’m still on reduced physical stress. I’m not lifting anything heavy or doing anything strenuous. I’m not even going to raise that question until the vertigo goes away.

* I’m slowly getting cognition back. With everything going on, it was just really hard to think since the surgery, at least clearly. Last week a conversation would have taken a lot of energy, but now I can talk at length. Saturday I even went out to eat and had a lengthy conversation with my family. I’ve driven a few times on short trips without incident. I’ve been able to articulate some work-related concerns over email in a way that (I hope) is logical and intelligent. Today I’m going to try and outline something.

* All in all, I am better, but I am not well. The most frustrating part of any surgery like this is that there’s multiple stages to recovery: the immediate “oh my god did I survive that” stage, the “how long until I can get into an upright position” stage, and the “how long until I return to normal” stage. I’m starting that third (and most frustrating) part now, where I’m looking at what I used to be able to do on a daily basis and feeling frustrated because I can’t do it. This is also the part where I could really screw up my recovery, so I’m trying to be careful, but it’s a balance between pushing too hard and taking it too easy.

In some ways, the vertigo is helping with that as a constant reminder of “no, seriously, this is still not okay,” but I’m not going to keep sitting here and waiting. Tomorrow I’m going to try to drive into work and see how long I can sit at the office. I expect what will happen is that I’ll get up, go into work, work for a while, come home, and go back to sleep. However, it’s important for me to start getting back to something resembling my normal life routine, and being at my desk even for a short time will be a huge part of that.

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