Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my family and friends, and to the others who stop by the blog.

If you celebrate other holidays,  I hope that you enjoy them.

May the season be happy for you in any case, and may the coming new year be better than any that preceded it.

May peace and good will prevail.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Not Dancing on Tables

It hasn't been the best year for me, mostly because I spent a little over seven months of it hospitalized.

I’m now at home in Kumagaya recuperating and doing rehabilitation at home or in a nearby hospital-affiliated daycare facility, while doing some work for my employer over the ‘net from home (relatively small income compared with working daily in the office, but it’s very good that they let me telecommute).

Right now, I have to use a wheelchair; I can’t stand/walk under my own power yet, so I'm basically either in the wheelchar or in bed unless I'm doing some sort of rehab exercise. I expect to recover slowly but surely, and I’m not sure yet just how slowly or to what extent I will recover, but the prognosis overall looks reasonably good. We’ll see.

You can skip the next part if you’re not interested in the sordid details, but here’s a quick rundown:

January 21st after leaving the office I walked to a nearby parking lot and, while getting into my car there, did a twisting fall. I heard a snap, but figured I’d broken something in a pocket as I fell. I then drove for an hour or so, picking up a friend and going to dinner, had some grilled chicken and a couple of beers, but wasn’t feeling really great…somewhat weak and tired, so I left to walk to where I’d be spending the night, but only got maybe 30 meters before my knees just sort of gave way and I sort of crumpled into the street. Since I found myself unable to stand up, an ambulance was called, an ER stop at one hospital showed I had broken my right fibula near the ankle. So into a nearby hospital I went, a splint was put on, and I was admitted pre-dawn 1/22.

In the course of further tests—I have now had dozens of MRI, CT, ultrasound, and X-ray scans--the hospital discovered a few things that made the leg fracture the least of my worries.  They’ve been dealt with now, pretty much:

Myelitis: Spinal cord problem that was fixed by the second of two long operations (the first one turned out to be exploratory...they couldn’t find the place that needed to be fixed), but recovery of the nerves and whatnot will take a while. The good news is that they caught it pretty early, and there was a surgeon who is an expert in this at another hospital in town, and he offered to do—and succeeded in—the operation. Meanwhile, I’m doing rehab to improve leg strength along with upper body strength and with any luck may be walking in a few months, with some assistance from a stick or walker. I'm not sure about this yet, but if it doesn't turn out that way, it certainly won't be for lack of trying.

 Deep Vein Thrombosis (aka Economy Class Syndrome): They found some blood clots in one leg, and more worryingly in my lung, but they caught this in time, dealt with it with blood thinners, and this seems to be fixed.

Colo-rectal cancer: While doing ultrasound testing for the DVT, they found something else suspicious, which led to a colonoscopy and the discovery—and removal—of a couple of early-stage tumors. Tests four months later showed no return, so that seems to have been dealt with successfully, but I need to go in twice a year for tests to make sure it’s not back.

Brain tumor: There is apparently some sort of small growth next to my brain stem, which they found in one of the CT or MRI scans. It doesn’t seem to be growing or producing any symptoms, so the current consensus by various docs is to let well enough alone unless something changes.

Pressure lesion: (aka bed sore) A rather deep one that required an operation—annoying because the recovery reduced the time and intensity of my rehab—this is healing steadily but requires daily dressing changes and so is something of a PITA.

So that’s the current state of Mike’s health. It’s going to be a while before I’m dancing on tables.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Strength, Courage, and Honesty

In the Japanese version of the Zodiac, 2019 is the Year of the Boar. Elsewhere in Asia, it's the Year of the Pig, or Deer, or even Elephant, but I'm happy to see this coming year as that of the Boar.

Despite not being a believer in astrology whether Eastern or Western (or pretty much any other arcane beliefs that strike me as superstition), I've always found it fun to read and listen to the lore.

The Boar is said to be characterized by strength, courage, and honesty. From my limited experience and acquired knowledge of wild boars in nature, it's easy enough to see how they're considered representative of strength and courage. I presume that the honesty factor comes from the perception that--despite being very intelligent and occasionally quite crafty--a boar's charge is very direct, very straightforward, indeed.

Current world events have highlighted a lamentable lack of honesty in leaders, and for that matter a dearth of strength and courage where we would like to see more of both. It behooves us all to reaffirm our commitment to being strong, and courageous, and honest, and to demand better behavior in all those areas from those who have been given authority to govern.

Here's hoping that the Year of the Boar brings increased appreciation and engagement in all three of those virtues, across society.

May 2019 be a very happy, exciting, and prosperous year for you all.