As of today, I can hold a relatively coherent conversation about straightforward things. I can stand and walk across a room most of the time without falling. I can get dressed and usually take a shower without help (although doing both will generally tire me out enough to need a nap). The swelling on my face and head has reduced enough so that I look a lot less puffy and more normal. I can go with Abe to visit the supermarket or walk in the park, as long as either is less than about 20 minutes (with a few breaks to sit for a while and recover). I can climb a short flight of stairs, with support.
What has improved is that I can now turn my left eye farther to the left. This is outstanding, since they weren’t even positive I’d be able to see from my left eye anymore after the surgery, or that it wouldn’t be considerably worse than beforehand.
These are all solid achievements from the last few weeks since surgery. Overall, I’m incredibly pleased with what a great job Dr. Ferreira did. He managed to avoid a lot of the permanent damage that is very common in surgeries of this size in this location.
What I can’t do:
I can have a pleasant casual conversation, but can’t think very clearly or analyze things very effectively. Focused analysis makes me exhausted, so when I really think about something complex in even a limited way, I’m going to have to sleep it off for a while. Also, my memory (never great even before surgery) is especially limited now, especially about short-term stuff.
I can’t move quickly, or “walk and chew gum at the same time”. Movement and thinking about something else at the same time are likely to make me fall, which would be very bad. I also can’t yet bend over so my head is lower than my waist, lift anything heavy, or hold my breath, on doctor’s orders.
I can’t open my mouth enough to take a nice bite of cheeseburger. I can talk, eat small things, breathe, swallow, and brush my teeth. Going to the dentist where you have to open your mouth wide enough for instruments, though, would be a real problem at the moment.
Also, my face and half of my mouth are numb. I have a what seems to be a constant medium- to low-grade headache, which requires medication to address, but tends to return when the meds wear off. My stitches are sore but healing nicely, except in a few spots. My head has a variety of other tender spots which makes sense given what it’s been through. There are large chunks of my scalp that don’t really move like a normal scalp and instead feel awkwardly attached to my skull. I pretty much need to sleep on the right side of my head, or on my back – sleeping on the left would be too painful.
My left ear feels a bit like it’s underwater all the time, and occasionally produces sharp pains from deep within the inner ear. They’ve said this is to be expected, and that it will improve over time. The sharp pains don’t last more than a second or so, though, so that’s nice.
I haven’t tried cooking anything yet. That’s probably the next big household challenge.
Overall, everything seems to be progressing well but very slowly. When I see friends, they say I’m looking surprisingly normal. It’s probably for the best that the less normal stuff is also less visible. I just hope no one chats with me for a bit, sees me walking successfully around the apartment, and assumes I’ll be back in action in just a few weeks. It seems clear that this is going to be more of a marathon than a sprint.