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Time Flies When You’re Off Work

August 25, 2003

Hey, where did that week go? It doesn’t seem like I’ve done a whole seven days worth of stuff since I last wrote here, yet the calendar says it’s Monday again. I hope the next week doesn’t slip away the same way, since it’s my last before I return to the office. When I saw my doctor for my post-op check, he was happy with how well I was healing and signed the form to send me back to work on September 2nd. Maybe the fact that my coworkers will be just coming back from a three day weekend then will make it easier for me to reintegrate. We’ll see. I got the feeling I could have talked my doctor into letting me go back to work a bit earlier, but I didn’t push it. I’m still not authorized to lift anything heavier than ten pounds or do any exercise other than walking; I can ease back into those activities at the same time as I ease back into work again.

Physically I’m feeling pretty good. My incision is all healed over now, so I’ve switched from the advanced healing pads to the scar therapy ones. I’ve read (and not just on the packages) that keeping these on the incision will encourage the new collagen to lay flat and lead to a better looking scar. I’m not sure how I’ll know if this approach is making a difference; if it heals well, is that the pads or is that me? Maybe I should leave it alone and see what happens and use the pads later if it ends up staying as bumpy and ridgy as it is now. No. I have the technology; I’m using it. At least until I get tired of paying for it. A box of these scar therapy things, a ten-day supply, is about sixteen bucks. I could buy almost two yards of quilting fabric with that money. Maybe I’ll go back to the advanced healing ones; they were only five bucks for six to eight days worth. On the pain front, I’m mostly off the ibuprofen. I’ve resorted to it and other over the counter pain pills (not all at the same time, of course) for muscle aches in recent days, not because my belly hurts.

My back and shoulders are bothering me this morning. Thursday afternoon, Mr. Karen and I headed to his parents place in northern Illinois. I took the first shift driving, from home to our habitual stop at what we call the super food exit about two and half hours out. That turned out to be too much; I was so stiff when I got out of the car that I couldn’t believe it. I’d tolerated the hour’s drive home from lunch with the ladies at the office just fine, so I didn’t think I’d have a problem doing a little more, and I had my doctor’s blessing to venture out and have fun. For the rest of the trip there, I sat in the passenger seat while Mr. Karen drove and experimented with how deeply I could breathe before my chest and back muscles protested. On the way back, we broke the trip up into shorter segments than usual and that worked out better.

In between the drives, we visited with relatives and friends and topped the weekend off with going to see Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai in Chicago. This was the production that was featured on the Bravo television series, so I was curious to see if having had a sneak peek would somehow spoil it for me. I don’t think it did; glimpsing bits of an act on screen doesn’t compare to seeing it live in the flesh, and the show didn’t cover all the acts anyway. Still, I left the show feeling a bit let down. Compared to the other three Cirque shows we’ve seen, Varekai didn’t flow as well, and one or two of the acts just didn’t seem special enough to warrant being included. It was neat to recognize some of the performers from Bravo, but disappointing that some others didn’t appear. The show did end on a high note with a final act that had plenty of the gasp worthy acrobatics I expect from Cirque.

The glow from the finale started to evaporate when we couldn’t find a cab to get back to the hotel. Getting a cab there had been no problem. I expected there to be a taxi stand when we got out of the show, but no such luck. We looked in back of the United Center; we looked in front; we saw one cab grabbed by a group way down the block, and one hailed by an entrepreneur who’d outfitted himself in a blaze orange vest. Mostly we saw lots of clumps of people milling around and looking various degrees of vexed. I really wished I’d taken the time to research the public transportation options, but I’d taken the advice of the hotel desk clerk who said driving or cabbing it was the way to go. After seeing how few cabs there were compared to the number of people wanting them and estimating how long we’d probably be hanging out waiting, I was just about ready to get on the next bus and figure it out from there. We’d just crossed the street to study the sign at the bus stop when I spotted a cab and hailed it. I felt a little bad about grabbing it before the rest of the people, but we’d all been waiting the same amount of time since the show let out and there wasn’t an organized line or anything. It seemed rather free for all, actually, and I just got lucky.

Now I’m home and able to drive where I want to go when I want to go there, traffic permitting. I think I’ll stay here, though, and keep working on the memory quilt. I decided to hand appliquĂ© the four corner blocks instead of piecing them, which added a little time to the process, but it’s coming along. It would be great to get it all done before I go back to work, but that may not be possible. I don’t want to spend every moment of my last free days chained to the sewing machine. I like quilting, but I like to do other things, too.

***

About year ago, it was time for a semi-regular goal check-in.

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