just carry the essentials – a full day of medical appointments

This morning I walked from home down to physical therapy in Redmond.  I packed some clothes into my mesh backpack, and set out for the four mile walk.  There are many things I like about going on foot.  First, it feels good to get my blood flowing.  Second, it’s a whole lot cheaper than having to fill the tank in my car up.  Third, it forces me to think carefully about what to carry along, because no one wants to carry more than they need to on a long walk.

There’s a great metaphor to live life by in there.  When you need to go from point A to point B, it pays to focus on what’s really important.  No need to bring excess baggage along.  It’s stuff you don’t need, and only serves to slow you down.

Over the past few days I’ve had a lot on my mind related to the accident.  The tinnitus and back pain I’ve been experiencing had gotten me down.  Intellectually I know these feelings are normal parts of recovery.  I also fear that these conditions may be with me for life, which stinks.  Ergo the down feelings.

The only thing I know how to do when I’m feeling like this is to focus on things that can get done.  In my recovery, that means making sure I’ve scheduled all necessary appointments, getting to them, working my healing body out as much as I can, and making the most of each day.

This doesn’t fix everything that hurts.  But it’s impossible to always do that, isn’t it?

I started out this morning with little time to spare to get to my PT appointment.  It felt good to be outside, and great to walk briskly.  I got to PT with just enough time to schedule next month’s appointments before changing into my bathing suit to do a 3 mile run on the pool treadmill.

While running this morning I felt pain in my low back again, especially when doing the sideways running I like to mix in.  I had Matt work on the back issue as a result – which meant I got to do some of the muscle energy exercises that my friend Katie (a skilled PT, not currently practicing) had introduced me to several years back.

Then, it being a full day of medical appointments, I grabbed some lunch and Kris drove me into Seattle where I met with a plastic surgeon.  I mentioned several days back that I felt a bit self-conscious about the hollowing around my left temple.  I also wanted to ask about the (unlikely) possibility of reanimating the muscles in that area. 

This was a good visit.  We discussed either using a synthetic material or grafting in some tissue from my forearm (I wouldn’t have guessed that location).  He also mentioned the possibility of improving the scarred area on my head, including transplanting hair to the semicircular area on the left side of my head.  I’m going to get a second opinion, but am pretty convinced I’ll have someone do this work ASAP.

The biggest foreseeable delay will be getting the insurance company to buy off on what they may deem an purely cosmetic procedure.  This is another reason is stinks to get hit by an uninsured driver – wouldn’t it be more fair for his provider to foot the bill?  Or for him to?  I digress …

Then it was back to the eastside for a CAT scan (needed by the surgeon), followed by an appointment with my internist about the tinnitus.

The word on my ear ringing is that (as anticipated) it may or may not resolve itself.  He expressed that this sort of thing is not unusual following a severe head injury, and could be the result of nerve damage.  He did not have an answer as to why this would have just started within the past week.  A quick check by the doctor led him to believe that I would probably not require amplification (hearing aids), but he’s sending me to an ENT specialist to take a look.

Anyway – it was day so full, I didn’t get to work.  The trick will be figuring out how to make the time up given that I’ve got a 2-4 hour appointment scheduled for Thursday afternoon as well.

Definitely lots to think about here though.  As always, the trick will be to focus on the essentials and not ‘carry more along’ than I need to.

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