Happily Oblivious or Just Plain Ignorant and a Desire to Dance

Today I learned:

1. Happily Oblivious or Just Plain Ignorant? It is a toss-up: I was either avoiding the issue or ignorant to it. I was skipping through life (figuratively at least), waiting for my ACL Reconstruction assuming it would just create a minor blip in the road. That ended today when I finally allowed myself to more clearly understand just how long I will be laid up.

I received a call to advise when to come in to the hospital for surgery on Monday and this led to a long discussion on follow-up visits, therapy and driving restrictions. Essentially I was told to “get ready to tackle that book you have always wanted to write” because you won’t be doing anything else for the next few weeks. I knew exactly what the long-term recovery picture looks like, but I hadn’t spent much time thinking or planning for the short-term.

With the sudden realization, and forced acceptance, that surgery is going to upset my routine for longer than I had hoped I spent this morning in a panic trying to prepare for the inevitable. The bottom-line: Frantic preparation or not, I am not ready to spend 2-3 weeks sitting on my butt.

2. Desire to Dance: When you know you will be laid up for awhile your desire to spontaneously dance with your daughters skyrockets.

To be clear, my desire to dance generally sits at about a 0.1 on a scale of 1-10, but knowing I will be off my feet for a couple weeks, and certainly not dancing for months, I found myself dancing around the kitchen this morning with the girls. Notably, this was pre-caffeine dancing, so no artificial stimulants were involved.

It makes me think of the song lyric, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” and seems to be part of an innate desire to fit in all the things I need/want before I can’t do them for awhile. It is an odd emotion, and I better go feed it while I can…

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Working from home and I forgot about Facebook

Today I learned:

1. Best Practices for the home office: With knee surgery in a few weeks I am going to be unable to drive and limited in my walking tolerance for a couple weeks so I will be forced to work from home for a short period of time until I am fit enough to make the trek into work.  Critically, my recovery period coincides with a particulaly busy period in a large project with a vendor, so I will need to be efficient in the time I put in from home.

In preparing for a period of work out of the office, I was inspired today to read up on best practices for working from home. A few great sources (Lifehacker, ZenHabits, Productivity501, and Stepcase Lifehack) have helped me prepare.

My key take-aways are:

  • Prepare for the day: The goal after surgery is to resume normal activities of daily living as quickly as possible, so this fits right in. Get up, shower and get dressed. Do everything I would normally do, just skip the commute and go straight to work.
  • Stay-connected: Pre-book calls and video chats for updates with both superiors and reports at the bookends of the day to help me stay connected and on task with deliverables.
  • Take breaks: Schedule down-time to help keep the energy up. I’ll need to be in a regular routine of physio exercises and icing anyway, so building in recovery time is critical.
  • Get the right tools: I have pre-tested all the required technology (laptop, VOIP phone, remote desktop) so there should be no surprises.
  • Shut the door: Make a clean break between work and personal life, particularly when the kids are home, to make sure I remain effective in both areas.

Any other tips to keep me on track?

2. I forgot about Facebook:  A pleasant by-product of my committment to learn two things a day (and to blog about it for the first 66 days straight) has been a noticeable change in my consumption patterns on the web, specifically with respect to Social Media.

The bottom-line?

I just went a week without accessing Facebook, and until today I didn’t even notice.

I think I have subtly shifted from passive to active consumption. Over the last few weeks my media consumption has moved towards sources of inspiration, rather than simply connection. With a committment to blog two personal take-aways from every day, I have spent more time reading books, magazines, blogs, and simply trying to talk to people.

At the same time I have watched less TV, changed the sites I visit online and, interestingly, without even noticing at first I have stopped checking my stream on Facebook.  I always knew I was a big Facebook lurker and I was really just using it to kill time.  Now that I am tasked with trying to produce something creative – even something on a very small scale – on a daily basis, I have almost no use for it.

It is certainly an interesting by product of this little experiment, and may just be my favourite lesson so far.


Unexpected emotion and Emotion unexpected

Today I learned:

1. Unexpected Emotion: If you had asked me 5 years ago what emotion I would experience when walking out of the house in the morning accompanied by a tiny witch in gumboots and a two-legged horse wearing a pirate hat and Dora shoes, I would have assumed it would be embarrassment. Today I learned instead that emotion is acceptance, accompanied by a sort of muted expectation that the day can only improve from there.

2. Emotion unexpected: With pending ACL surgery I have spent the last few days researching what to expect in the recovery period immediately following the procedure. I have been talking to friends that have gone through the same thing, chatting up doctors and scouring the web. At this point I find just about any source acceptable, from the anecdotal to the scientific, and the most concerning thing to me is the variety of answers I am given, even from credible resources.

It is not the likelihood of success that bothers me – I would not proceed if I wasn’t completely confident in both the surgeon’s ability to do his job, and my ability to commit to the rigours of months of rehab.

What bothers me is the inability make concrete plans in my personal and professional life.

Despite having a desk job I have been told the time I will need off work could range anywhere from 2 days (by a close friend) to 4-6 weeks (by a surgeon). In the weeks following the operation I have pre-planned personal events including two Canuck’s games, a Wine Tasting, and a family wedding. Now I don’t know if I will be able to attend any of them.

Family vacation at Easter? Not sure how mobile I will be.

Annual summer golf trip? I damn well hope so.

Essentially I am entering a period of somewhere up to a month where planning work meetings/commitments is tough and up to about 6 months where planning anything fun is risky.

The result? A range of emotions.

  • Happiness – “Finally, surgery after a frustrating 4.5 month wait.”
  • Anger – “I really dislike the inability to safely plan and commit.”
  • Appreciation – “I now understanding of how important it is to keep fit and healthy.”
  • Indecision – “I hate giving family and work non-committal answers to fair questions.”
  • Hope – “I really want to be rehab’d in time for that golf trip!”
  • Freedom – “I know what I can do now, so a spur of the moment family vacation has been booked.”

Surgery and Rehab? No problem. I go that. It’s the unknown that is getting to me. When you are a planner, the thing that bugs you more than anything is an empty calendar.