Time to do

New Year’s Eve was quiet for me, as it was for many this time around. I’m not really up for partying in my present condition. I can’t go that long physically, but with my present hearing difficulties and my rough appearance, my social appetite is much less than it was. I hope and expect that will change as I pick up, but on this occasion, I was happy to crack a bottle of bubbles and watch a movie. I was in bed by 11.

The other reason, shared by many, is that I’m trying to keep a low profile with omicron rampant. I’m boosted, but it won’t be at its maximum effectiveness yet, and I know in my condition that if I pick up covid then I’ll end up in hospital. That, I don’t want.

It’s been pretty quiet since Christmas in fact, partly because of that, but mostly because most of my friends are away and everything is pretty slow generally. I went out once during the week, by train to the hospital for a check-up.

I’ve been off-kilter since before Christmas. It’s not surprising. I’m frustrated and confused and sad.

I can be relied upon to process thoughts and feelings like these into something more productive. It’s a fine quality generally, but I wonder sometimes if I’m not meant to feel these things, and by moving on too quickly I lose something?

Not that I move on exactly. At bedrock I know there’s not much value in dwelling upon the unpleasant or the things I can’t control. If it’s something I can control I find myself moving in the direction of finding a solution. It’s not really conscious, but a function of the body.

I accept that there will be frustration and confusion, and maybe even some fear. I’m in an uncertain place. It’s natural. I find it hard to live with such things hanging over me like unfinished business. As in so many things, action is therapeutic.

I haven’t done anything yet, but I’ve made up my mind about the things I have to do.

Firstly, I’m going to get a referral to a psychologist to help deal with the road ahead of me. Cancer is a life-changing experience. On the presumption that I survive it, I have to figure out what I want in the life left to me. Whether I like it or not, the narrative has changed. I need a new narrative to live by, and part of that may well be a changed sense of identity.

My hip has been playing up to the point that come every PM I’m hobbling badly. I’d like to believe this will wear off in time as my muscles adjust to the surgery. In the meantime, I’m hoping to see a physio next week to accelerate the process, or at least to get a better understanding of what I face.

Finally, I’m going to see someone about my hearing loss. I’m finding it very difficult. I miss a lot of conversation in social situations, and even in watching TV there are bits I miss – I’ve taken to turning on the subtitles. I hate it. Practically speaking it’s tough, but I find it a real blow also to my sense of self. In general, I feel a bit like damaged goods, when once I’d have considered myself a premium product. It’s hard to get my head around my reduced capacity and is something else for the shrink to address.

There’s a chance that my hearing may improve once the swelling goes down, but I doubt it. In any case, I’d like to be professionally examined and get some sort of diagnosis, and hopefully a plan for treatment. I expect it will end with a hearing aid, and I’d like to start the conversation now (assuming I can hear it).

The bottom line is, I’m not willing to sit around hoping for things to get better. I think that’s been part of my problem. By nature, I’m a doer and it sits poorly with me to take it easy and let recovery take its course. I accept there’s much I can’t do, but if I can be better informed, at the very least, then I’ll be a lot happier.

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