You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything recently. I have a really good excuse.
I had brain surgery (removal of a benign tumor) on October 19th, at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Parnassus Hill Medical Center. There is good news and bad news.
The good news is that none of the truly life-threating things that could have gone wrong went wrong. The window for those things is not completely closed, but the riskiest part is over, and the odds get better with each passing day.
The bad news is that I have – temporarily, I hope — lost much of the function of my left leg. The leg wasn’t perfect before the surgery – that was my first clue that there was a problem – but I walked into UCSF hospital on a Monday morning, and was carried out on a gurney Thursday. This was unexpected. I was worried about the life-threatening possibilities, but with respect to function, my questions were about whether I would regain full function in my leg, or whether there would be more modest improvements. Going backwards was not on my radar screen.
I was transferred from UCSF to the acute rehabilitation unit of the Community Hospital for the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) on the third day after the operation, and I spent 12 days there. I came home from CHOMP Tuesday afternoon. I can get around the house with a walker, and I’m using a wheelchair in situations where endurance or safety are the primary issues. It’s a little bit like being on crutches – a situation that, because of less-than-stellar coordination and a love of risk sports, I have quite a history – in that it’s hard to carry things. I’m checking out various walker and wheelchair accessories to mitigate that.
While at CHOMP, I made noticeable progress every day. When I entered the hospital, I couldn’t stand or walk. Within three days, I was making baby steps with a walker. Saturday night I wiggled my toes for the first time. Sunday morning I moved my ankle. I am encouraged.
The plan now is for two or three sessions of physical therapy a week and the same number of occupational therapy sessions at a CHOMP outpatient facility that specializes in neural deficits. I can expect that regime to continue for two to four months.
At this point, I have hope of regaining full use of my left leg, but there are no guarantees. I am in good spirits. I thank Betty and the rest of my family for their love and support, and I thank all of my friends as well; I never knew I had so many people who care about me.
What’s this all mean for my photography? For the immediate future, I’ll be working in my house. As my leg gets better, I hope to be able to work outside, and then, if all goes well, work in the field as before.
What’s it mean for this blog? In the short run, there will be less testing and – probably – more off-the-cuff bloviating and philosophizing. Some of you may like that. For the rest of you, take comfort in my intention to return to experiment-based testing as soon as I can manage it.
By the way, I can’t say enough good things about the professionalism, skill, dedication and care I received at UCSF during and after the surgery, and at CHOMP during the acute rehab phase.
Best wishes from Switzerland!
Will visit regularly to share in your progress… 😉
Andrea B. says
Wishing lots of energy your way so you can work hard on the leg rehab. Hang in there!
Matthew C. says
I’m very glad that you made it through a very scary surgery. I hope very much that you continue to recover your mobility and that the rehab process goes smoothly.
All the best,
gerry young says
I have been getting worried at the lack of new content and afraid something had gone wrong. I have got used to being informed and entertained at the same time!
Very glad to hear you are on the mend, you have been missed!
Best wishes for a quick recovery!
Michael Maloney says
Best wishes to you in your recovery!
Best wishes for a full recovery, Jim.
Mark Montgomery says
Jim, your in-depth testing has been my favorite reading for a long time now. I am really glad we didn’t lose you, it would have been a big blow to our photography community. I wish you the best on your long road to recovery, keep pushing to get that leg working!
Wish you a very fast recovery. Indeed, I was wondering if you went to another vacation…
Hope to see you posts soon.
Brian Smith says
Wishing you a speedy and full recovery with expert physical therapy from the Swedish Bikini Team!
David Braddon-Mitchell says
All the very best for your recovery Jim. Been missing your wise counsel. So glad there is some hope of regaining full function. Very best regards to you and your family from Australia.
Bob Tullis says
Jim, my sincerest best of wishes for your recovery. And for your family, that you’re a better patient than I might be.
Derek Dean says
Wow, you’ve had quite the little adventure. I’m so happy to hear that you are continuing to get better each day, and that we can look forward to more photo gear testing in the future (the forum isn’t the same with you, Jim).
John Danforth says
Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Your blog posts are wonderful. I have missed them. Please go ahead now (when your other commitments permit) and “bloviate” away. I am highly confident your fans (including me) will greatly appreciate hearing from you.
Again very best wishes to you.
Karl-Heinz Winkler says
A speedy and complete recovery! Good Luck!
Craig Arnold says
Get well soon Jim!
Simon M says
At times like these just KBO sir.
Chris Livsey says
Your progress is encouraging and your will to succeed can only help, many of us out here do care and wish you well.
David Sampson says
Best wishes for a speedy recovery
Jose Viegas says
Best wishes Jim, I was wondering why you weren’t writing anymore lately, all the best!
Best wishes from Germany! Hope everything turns out well!
Christer Almqvist says
Sounds like you are on the right track. Please continue.
Paulo Bizarro says
I am glad everything went well. Wishing you all the best, and a speedy and safe recovery.
Best wishes from many DPR friends:
Andrew Rodney says
Hoping for a fast and full recovery, you’re very much missed over on LuLa.
Wishing you well for a speedy recovery, Jim.
David Panno says
Ouch – Sorry to hear Jim. Get well soon.
Sheila Murphy says
Jim, I know from your disciplined approach to camera testing that you will apply the same methods to your therapy and recovery. My husband suffered a traumatic brain injury three years ago and dedicated commitment to the therapy routine has made a huge difference in the quality of both of our lives. I recommend patience in these early days. I am sure your return to the photographic world will happen in time, and look forward to more of your very useful contributions in the future.
Rhawi Dantas says
I am glad to hear that your recovery is going better than planned. Do not scare us like that man.
Best wishes and regards from Finland.
Glad to hear that you are out of the dangerous zone. I wish you fast recovery Jim, photographic community needs you.
Jeff Kott says
Jim, best wishes for a speedy and full recovery. I haven’t said it before, but I really appreciate all you’ve taught me through your blog and forum posts.
“Saturday night I wiggled my toes for the first time. ”
Heal well, Jim.
I already missed your Last Word for a couple of days. A very interesting blog.
I hope, you recover fast.
Best Wishes and speedy recovery Jim
Best wishes from Germany. Keep your spirits high!
Eric Calabros says
Glad your sensors have no dead pixels 🙂
I have no doubt that everything will be ok soon.
Herb Cunningham says
Jim: glad to hear of your recovery going well. We will all be happy to hear your comments, bloviating or not.
tex andrews says
I wondered if something had happened, and started to worry. I’m so glad things seem like they have gone well and that you are recovering. Count me as someone who will be happy to see you doing some thoughtful philosophizing—you have never bloviated. Best wishes to you!
Best wishes for a full recovery!!
Tim O'Connor says
Speedy recovery Jim!
Steve in AZ says
I need only echo what others have said well enough.
Fred Mueller says
A note of encouragement. Six years ago I broke my back and with that incurred a spinal cord injury that left me in much the same condition you describe of yourself. It was even my left leg that was paralyzed. We both have neurological injuries. Walker and wheelchair after returning home after 2 weeks in an ICU and 4 weeks in a rehab hospital.
Two and a half years of outpatient physical therapy 2-3 times a week. I walk without a cane albeit slightly slower than normal and truth be told, it requires effort whereas walking was once effortless. But I am walking and even with a judiciously packed camera bag. Oh, and I returned to work also which was no small feat, I’m a captain at a large international airline.
I know how hard this is. Lots of hard work ahead and things may never be the same again but you have cause for lots of optimism.
Best to you.
Kim Brun says
Keep up the positive outlook. It will heal all ails. Looking forward to your return to full health
Steve Dworman says
So sorry to hear of your challenge. Glad to hear the therapy is working. Please feel better and stronger.
There are a lot of mysteries in one’s own backyard. This could be a great time to explore them.
Keep working at getting better. It sounds like you’ll be back to almost normal fairly soon. I had a similar surgery in my early fifties. It took about two years to get back to almost normal, but now I’m 72 and able to get out and shoot just about everything I want. Keep a positive attitude, don’t baby yourself, and keep moving forward. Best wishes.
I am confident that any “off-the-cuff bloviating and philosophizing” you offer will prove no less rewarding to your readers than the consistently insightful results of your experiment-based testing.
All the supportive messages that have been left (here and elsewhere) are a testament to how highly you are respected in our photographic community. I’ll continue to hold a good thought for you and your family as you work towards recovery.
Best of wishes, Jim! Recovery, like everything else in life, is a process.
Just a quick note to reiterate the concern and well wishes already expressed. It’s a tenuous path we sometimes walk. CHin up and all the best!
Get well soon, Jim !
Can’t wait to see more posts. Focus on your recovery !
Good luck with the leg, Jim! Courage and good fortune to you.
I’m recovering from a total hip replacement and know what you’re going through. It’s a pain when body parts don’t do what you expect and you have to work around their deficiencies.
The mind is a powerful thing. Use it to heal that leg… 🙂
Max Berlin says
Get well soon Jim.
Hening Bettermann says
All my best wishes Jim! And many thanks for what you do for the photographic community.