Good news!

Today was the follow-up with the ENT who was treating me for the balance issues I developed while caring for Kim. The vestibular therapy is complete, and I am very nearly back to normal – I get a little “queazy” when moving my head certain ways under certain conditions, and have issues still when one or more of the vestibular inputs are removed (amazing, the things I’ve learned about how we sense balance!), but as functional as most, I think.

The doctor was much more personable today than he had been – this could have been because he had a medical student in tow, or maybe the former “professional detachment” had to do with his expectations for my recovery, but it was a very pleasant visit – my last with him!

I was surprised by what he had to tell me. And, I think, he was probably more surprised by my progress. As he put it to me, he didn’t want to give me his prognosis at the time, but he wouldn’t ordinarily have sent me for therapy: the threshold for therapy is 23% difference between the two ears. I was at 38%. He told me that he frankly did not expect that I would ever recover my balance.

So good news! I beat the odds! Thank you, Lord!

They say that the typical widower will suffer some major health setback or other within the first year of widowhood. The likelihood of something untoward occurring, though, decreases as time goes by. Hopefully, this was mine, and I’ll remain sound going forward. God willing…

Being new again

I am a new widower. I have to keep telling myself that. Why? Because I want to be the old married guy that I was. I want to be the experienced, focused manager I’m supposed to be at work. I want to be the “super-smart, super-handy” dad to help my kids out with their needs. I want to be the loyal, dedicated son to my mom; that guy who showed up every morning with coffee in hand, and some conversation before we each started our days. To be the happy, doting grandfather… I want to be who I was. I want what I had. I guess as I have always told my kids: it’s good to want. Wanting drives ambition and achievement.

But I’m a new widower. Being a new widower has changed me so fundamentally in so little time. I still get things done – sometimes enthusiastically; sometimes like an automaton. Sometimes it takes a while to get to things, but they’re getting done. But I don’t like to leave the house, for instance. I was always a bit of a homebody, but I literally do not want to go anywhere. Is this a vestige of “Caregiver Pat,” who really couldn’t leave the house very often, particularly at the end? Or is this part of my grief? I know there’s a bit that COVID has to do with this – I mean, who looks forward to going somewhere where you need to wear a mask and stay away from everyone else? And I don’t get anxious when I’m out; I don’t feel like I have to rush back home – it’s just that first step that’s difficult: going through the door.

And my interests seem to have changed a bit drastically as well. Instead of my usual forays into things like 3D printing, Python, Arduino, and RPi or ever-engrossing home improvement projects, I find myself constantly searching for information on what I’m going through, poring over whatever I find. Without that, outside of work, and when I’m not needed to help one of the kids? I feel at sea. I don’t know what I want to do. That’s when I find myself plopping down here and either looking for more information on how others have dealt with this – or I write a blog post on where I am. Like this one.

And I’m terrified of being alone. That, too. Probably because I’m new at this.

In other news, I had the follow-up testing for the balance issues I’ve been experiencing, and it appears to be nothing more threatening than the damage done by not seeking medical treatment when I first noticed balance issues in late October. The ol’ noggin’ is already “relearning” this balance thing from the differing data coming from the right and left ear, and some “vestibular therapy” should accelerate the progress, eliminating the dizziness. That will be good – I have a few projects that were placed on hold that I need to be “ladder steady” for. Plus, the ENT ordered up some antibiotics to knock out this sinus infection that has been tearing me up for the past few days. Just in time, too – I seem to have developed conjunctivitis in the right eye as I was driving to this appointment. I think all of this lends credence to the point that grief may wreak havoc on your immune system. Make sure, if nothing else, you’re eating right and, particularly, you’re getting enough sleep.

Speaking of which, I should wrap operations up and follow my own advice.

Good night.


I really feel alone at the moment. The ear thing seems to have made way for a virulent sinus and upper respiratory infection that made it VERY difficult to sleep last night. Coughing, bringing things out of the sinuses and throat, choking on it. If I got three hours of sleep, I was lucky. And, unfortunately, laying in bed, unable to sleep, battling this crud has made me depressed in a way I haven’t experienced in a very, very long time.

It’s a bit of a ‘little boy” depression, I guess. It has its root in memories of how Kim would take care of me when I would get bronchitis – and bronchitis has been the bane of my existence. Now it’s just me. At least when I’d get hit with something like this away from home and had to take care of myself then, I had the knowledge that she was at home, and I could call her up and whine to her in my discomfort – a compassionate voice, albeit hundreds of miles away. And now, it’s just me.

It was a hard realization, in the dark unable to sleep.

I guess there will be more of these realizations as life continues onward.