11.26.2007

Ex-Convalescent

Back to Alaska tomorrow night. Back to cold. Back to dark. Back to work. I don't want to go back to any of it.

Sure, I miss my friends and I have a nice little life up there, but I was ready for a trial separation from AK a few months ago when I accepted the Eritrea job. Now I've had a too-brief respite; I'm not ready for it to end.

This date five years ago I was one week away from moving to Anchorage for a three-month job working on prisoner's rights issues for the ACLU. I was busy packing and cleaning so my apartment would be subletter-suitable. I was getting ready to drive my dog to Phoenix where she would stay with my dad while I ventured north. I was excited.

This night five years ago (I remember because it was the Monday after Thanksgiving) I had dinner up the street in Noe Valley with Anita, a girl I had been dating a little bit at the time. "You're going to go to Alaska and never come back here," she said. I protested--it was a temporary job. Why on Earth would I want to stay in Alaska? I was so going to come back to SF.

She was right. I didn't. Alaska became home. But I don't think it is any more. [1]

I just told Vik that if he gives me $2000, he can have the contents of my storage unit, all of my furniture, and (almost) everything else I own that is located in Alaska--just what one needs to be an Anchorage YUP. He just needs to put my dog, clothes, snowboard, and my big butcher's block cutting board in my car and ship it down to Seattle. Now that I think about it, that's a really good deal--the Afghan carpets alone are worth more than 2K. Shit. I have to make a call.

UPDATE: He just turned it down. Tempting, he said, but all he really wants from my stash is my car and dog, so, no deal.
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[1] In fairness, my thoughts on this topic might be different if it was June, or if I was facing another Winter of snowboarding and playing outside instead of a Winter of handcer-related physical therapy and being careful not to land on my hand when I slip on the ice.

11.19.2007

Post-Op

I am a fantastic convalescent, I learned. A natural. In the two weeks post-handcer surgery I have taken to sleeping in, making espresso every morning, lounging about, reading, and watching movies and complete seasons of television series on DVD.

But I couldn't do it alone. My ability to convalesce with the best of them is due entirely to Andrew and Casey's generosity, sympathy, bedside manner(s), and desire to watch said DVDs with me. My younger brother and "sort-of sister-in-law" welcomed me into their home [1] and have cared for me like I was their own son (which, I admit, is kind of weird). I owe them a lot.

Andrew and Casey have taken very good care of me. They cooked for me, cleaned up after me, made sure I was comfortable and entertained. [2] Casey has had me on a great naturopathic post-op protocol which includes acupuncture and lots of supplements tailored to my injuries--I've been taking Vitamins A, B, C, and E, DHA/EPA, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, and Pantothenic Acid. My twice-a-day servings look like this:

Including not-pictured anti-inflammatory and pain medication, I'm swallowing about 30 pills a day. Difficult and not fun, but I can't argue with the results: No post-surgery infection or complications. My wounds are healing well, and ahead of schedule. Thanks, Case. (And thanks too, naturopathic medicine.) [3]

Despite the time off and the ability to do nothing but R&R, the past few weeks have been tough. Though I could still use my (dominant) right hand some during the first two months after it broke, everyday tasks like brushing my teeth, bathing, buckling my belt, writing, cooking, turning off lamps, and washing dishes became mostly left-handed adventures. But for the two weeks immediately following surgery, my right hand was out of commission entirely, forcing me to not only be left-handed, but one-handed. I cannot express in words the difficulty of pulling on wool socks, flossing one's teeth, and putting on pants with just one hand. [4], [5] Complicating matters further, the sleeves of all of my shirts (save for t-shirts and an old stretched-out sweater [6]), sweatshirts, and jackets that I brought with me wouldn't fit over my cast, so I could hardly venture outside without being cold and/or wet--not good for a cast that must stay dry.

Now the cast is off , the stitches are out and physical/occupational therapy has begun. I am stunned at how much flexibility and strength my hand has lost. I can't lift anything heavier than a glass of water without pain (and I'm not supposed to for a month, doctor's orders. This is especially important for those of you who are soon going to help me with The Move 2.0 to remember.) and I can only make half-a-fist. But it gets a little better every day, and my physical therapist is really nice, despite the fact that she inflicts Serious Hurt at 11:30 am every M,W,F.

Post-op pictures are online, but again, don't look if you're weak-stomached--though these aren't nearly as gruesome as the during-surgery pics.
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[1] Technically it is Casey's house, and Andrew does not live there--he has his own apartment. Since I arrived in town, however, the number of minutes he has spent in his apartment and the nights he has slept there can both counted on one hand: five, 0, respectively. Whatever the technical terms of their arrangement/status may be, I'm glad to have had this time to spend with them under one roof.

[2] Re: entertainment, Casey will do things like this:
[3] Remember, if you want more information about naturopathic medicine, or want to find a naturopath or other alternative healthcare provider in your area, check Andrew's website, Medfinds.

[4] Also, reading has been hard. I should have brought a shorter book. "Laborious" best describes the repeated act of one-handedly hoisting to a suitable reading level and navigating through the 1,100-page copy of Infinite Jest (and flipping back and forth between the text and various of the book's 388 endnotes) that was purchased to get me through this month.

[5] Though I understand that there are people who suffer through this, and much worse pain, frustration, and physical difficulty every day, and even though I am now even more sympathetic toward the handless and de-limbed than I ever was, I can't help but think that if I was permanently shorthanded (pun intended), I would have some sort of prosthetic helper device, like a hook, claw, or something with a USB port so I could at least charge my iPod.

[6] Some of you may recall the navy blue merino wool sweater I have been wearing at least 3-4 days per week since my third year of law school. Holes and all I love that sweater and it seems to have a preternatural ability to fit better and better as time goes on, adjusting to whatever shape my body might be in. A simply brilliant bit of sartorial engineering from the formerly fine folks at J. Crew.

11.14.2007

Redesign

I was bored with the look of the site, and I found myself with plenty of time to learn some coding basics, so I made a few changes. Well, my intention was to make just a few changes, but it turned into a much bigger ordeal, and a near-total cosmetic overhaul (though most of the labor is behind-the-scenes stuff). It's the most work I've done in two weeks. It felt good to do something other than read or watch DVDs of the first season of Heroes.

11.06.2007

Tuesday Night Random 3.0

Blogging has been light lately due to the agonizingly slow process of typing with one hand. But without any further delay, and continuing this semi-Tuesday night tradition, here are some random thoughts and happenings covering the past few hectic (packing/moving/working/dog-sitting/traveling/surgery) and not-so-hectic (post-surgery sitting around doing nothing but popping pain pills) weeks:
  • My adoring fans have suggested the following actors to play me in the BH4J movie: John Favreau, Mark Ruffalo, Jon Stewart, Woody Allen, Lewis Black, Denzel Washington, Robert Downey, Jr., and both actors (John Hodgman and the other guy) from the "I'm a Mac" ads.
  • Co-worker Jennifer thinks the B-Dice part will be played by a woman, and suggested Janeane Garofalo or Sara Silverman. I like this idea, but I'm going to hold out for the part to be played by one of these performers (all of whom I am dying to meet and whom I am in varying stages of love with): Maggie Gyllenhaall, Zoey Deschanel, Christina Ricci, and/or Lisa Loeb.
  • Myster thinks I should eschew Hollywood altogether: "Better yet, team up with some indie filmmaker and get your own story out there first... that way you can capitalize on the moviegoing public's clamor for the real story behind BH4J before it's sated by the big-budget version. Like the direct-to-DVD outfit that puts out things like 'Snakes on a Train' only, you know, classier."
  • I recently learned that recently-married Ex-Girlfriend Alli is five months pregnant. I'm very impressed: Around this time last year, when we were still involved, Alli told me she wanted to be married and have a kid "in about a year." I didn't want that; not with her. I'm glad she found someone who could give her what she wanted, and I'm glad I knew enough to know that she wasn't right for me. Alas, I left her for someone I thought was right for me (or who I just wanted to be), but I wasn't right for her. And on and on we go...
  • This story about the Department of Homeland Security Halloween Party Fiasco raises five questions for me: (1) What kind of a schmuck thinks "Rastafarian Inmate" is a good choice for the office Halloween party? (2) How un-creative are the DHS employees that this lame costume was voted "most original"? (3) How sheltered are the "judges" who thought this costume was in any way original? (4) Shouldn't Halloween, and its concomitant free speech undertones, be embraced by the Federal Government, regardless of whether some find it offensive? (5) Really? We're really (literally) making a federal case out of this?
  • This is freaky, but freakier still, WWTD's take on the story is exactly what I was thinking.
  • Before I left for Seattle I met someone whose very existence reminded me that no matter how bad I think things get, my life is still pretty great:
  • This is embarrassing, but I am comfortable admitting it because (a) I'm just writing it on a blog that no one really reads; and (b) I'm out of town: Last week I drove way past a street I was supposed to turn onto because I was daydreaming and singing along (loudly) to Torn by Natalie Imbruglia.
  • A word I never want to hear my mom say again: gynecologist.
  • Acupuncture is way cool.
  • Best Case Caption Ever: UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v.
    Ronald G. Cheeseman, a/k/a Big Cheese, Patrick Lawless, Robert Morgan, a/k/a Bear, Kim D. Diluzio, a/k/a Mr. Fun, Richard D. Cirzeveto, a/k/a Piggy, a/k/a R.C., Jeffrey Adamek, William A. Grosso, Janet Beam, a/k/a Puffy, Maureen Pompey, a/k/a Mo, James A. Harwood, a/k/a Gorilla, Martin Pulver, a/k/a Tiny, Orville Deitz, a/k/a Orvie, Robert Milhomme, a/k/a Indian, John Lofranco, a/k/a John The Baptist, a/k/a JTB, James Lee Farrigan, a/k/a The Mayor, Sandra Grieco, a/k/a Sandra Harris, Patti Milhomme, a/k/a Patti Root, Donna White, and Thomas Mulholland, 620 F.Supp. 1327 (D.C.N.Y., 1985).
  • Boyz II Men sang God Bless America at Fenway Park during one of the World Series games. For me, this historic musical event disappointed greatly: First, only three of the four Boyz were there. [fn1] Second, my favorite Boy II Man, Michael McCary (the guy with the deep voice and the cane) didn't have his cane and the song did not stop in the middle for his patented slow, heartfelt "girl, you know I love you and I'm sorrry" soliloquy.
  • Random pictures from Sarah's birthday scavenger hunt:
with a state legislator and his kids. at his house. at 10pm. on a saturday night.


canned chicken. corn dog. postcard.

kat hoisting a giant rock.

alex w/child. and bottles of booze.

human pyramid. sort of.

no idea what is going on here.
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[fn1] Shawn Stockman--the skinny guy with the big head--I think, was missing. Also, his Wikipedia page uses the word whilst. He may be my new favorite.

11.02.2007

Handcer Removal Pics

These pics were taken during surgery. If you are at all squeamish, don't look.

11.01.2007

Handcer Survivor

Surgery was successful. I'm a little wobbly and sore right now, and I can't use my right hand at all, but otherwise I'm doing great. And now I totally understand why Rush Limbaugh was addicted to Oxycodone; to borrow a phrase from a friend, "me likey."

Thanks to everyone for all of your kind words and support. More tomorrow.