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It's been three weeks now since I went in for my life-changing surgery, and I'm no longer quite as raw now. Sure, I'm still adjusting to my recovery and it will take up to a year before I'm confident in self-assessment, but as of right now I definitely feel better than I did when I made my last post.  For starters, I no longer have sensations of pressure in my jaws/teeth, nor do I have feelings of wearing a phantom helmet; and even most of my sense of taste as returned. The hearing in my remaining ear is not adequate enough to really enjoy life, but I've noticed a marked improvement in speech recognition with it now that it's the only one I have left. In fact I've even started noticing some faint sounds when I don't have my hearing aid in. I'm attributing this to trauma, and I expect it to fade once my implant is activated.

My surgical bindings came off earlier this week and I was able to take a look at my incision site. They cut away my ear from directly behind the earlobe, leaving it attached in the front while they set the electronic unit into an indentation made on my skull and then drilled the wire laced with electrodes down into my ear, seating it within my hearing organ. From the outside, it looks like my ear was removed and then reattached. It sticks out from my head a little more than I remember. I still have no feeling in the upper/outer part of my ear, and it no longer responds to muscle cues within my head. I can't wiggle or pull up my ear any more, even though the other ear moves around just fine. The condition of my skin has worsened a bit, but this always happens when the seasons change. It just seems more noticeable I guess, since I bizarrely had perfect complexion right out of surgery. Another result of trauma?

I've been dealing with the day-to-day with a kind of resignation that isn't quite blase'. The game has changed; nothing is right not even me. The week after my surgery the patron of our family passed away; the man I referred to as Grandpa Ron. I really wish I had been able to spend more time with him as an adult, though we did enjoy lots of time together in my youth. I was too far removed from the kind of life he was used to, so it was difficult for us to relate especially as I got older. I didn't enjoy hunting or fishing, I wasn't an outdoors man...I couldn't join the Navy. But I can drink, something that I've been doing more frequently since coming off my antibiotics. I'm not drinking too much though...just one a day, but my Mom cautioning me caused me to think about it, and I suppose I really am imbibing more than usual.

Part of the reason for that though, is the fact that I'm out of work. I tried going back in after my surgery but it turns out they were unable to meet me in my recovery. The doctor recommended I not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for three weeks after the operation, and even though there was still a job I could have done (indeed, had been doing), my bosses put me on disability leave, citing liability issues. Ok, no problem. I spent the three weeks in rest, playing video games and generally recovering my health. In hindsight I'm grateful for the respite; it almost feels like a summer vacation, and it was actually shocking to behold how long it's been since I've actually...had one. At the end of my three weeks I attempted to go back to work but found out that the doctor had filled out the Return To Work form incorrectly, so they wouldn't let me back on the job. I was fortunate in having my disability leave extended to June 7th by my case workers, who had contacted my doctor and learned that this would be my next appointment, so I'm still covered until then. I e-mailed the doctor some copies of the paperwork he needs to correct, so hopefully I can get back in before then...but if not it's not that much of a big deal.

Well..sort of not that much of a big deal...My bills are starting to come in now. It's not a lump sum but rather, broken into bills owed to separate departments. Normally I would use my care credit card to deal with it, like I did with my hearing aids. Pay off the lump sums and then deal with installments to the bank. But the hospital system here does not accept the card, so I am having to pay my out of pocket share in large lump sums where it does not make sense to divide the payment into installments. Case in point, the second bill I received is almost exactly the amount chartered to me by disability leave for the first week of my leave. I'll be getting less from them after this week too, if I read their language right. So it would certainly be nice to return to work before the 7th, even though it won't give me that much of a lead on my bills.

I wanted to test out my new implant by finally attempting DEFCon with friends this year. Not sure if this idea will be financially sound any more, as it involves a two way plane ticket and coverage for a weekend in Las Vegas. (As in food and necessities; I don't plan on gambling). All this on the possibility of buying a house next year...which I still don't know for sure if that's what I want to do...If I decide in a year that the implant has lessened my quality of life, paying to own my own house would be pointless.

Basically I could sum up this post by saying "So far so good. Still got insecurities, still don't know what the future holds, though the entire framework the future was set in seems to have changed somehow; like some rules somewhere that used to be set in stone have been misplaced or altered. New Normal ahead. Still recovering."

Recent years have seen some pretty major disappointments come out of the gaming sector, one of the most visible being the controversy surrounding the end to Mass Effect 3. Interestingly, now more than ever before gamers are raising their voices about their grievances and they are actually making themselves heard; BioWare recently released appending DLC that provides an alternate ending to the game. However, some would say this is indicative of another issue facing the state of gaming; that of consumer entitlement. Do you think this is an issue? I suggest you read the article, it's a good read.

We've sent some probes to Mars before and what they found was a whole lot of nothing....Or did they? According to some new research that applies mathematical algorithms to conditions in Martian soil, some scientists are saying Viking rovers found life on Mars in 1976.

Speaking as someone who's lifelong pipe dream has been to be a superhero, I must say that the ideas of superpowers are pretty cool; but everyone knows by now that such super abilities aren't ever going to be seen in real life...right? Well....there are actually a few examples of some neat 'super powers' that have been made to work in the real world.
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Hey hon. I know the future's scary, and I know what it feels like to be scared. I think I know where you might be at with this part:

All this on the possibility of buying a house next year...which I still don't know for sure if that's what I want to do...If I decide in a year that the implant has lessened my quality of life, paying to own my own house would be pointless.

I've been feelin it too, for my own stuff. If you'd like, it'd be nice to hang out on IM or skype and maybe chat about it. I wanna know what's goin on in that head of yours! And you can always find out what's goin on in my head, haha.

Regardless, I'm here for you, and I hope you know that. You're a friend and someone I care about a lot. I'm here for ya anytime, and I mean that.


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