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.