It was a 13-hour return to the world for me today after a little over a week recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Recovery was slow going; the drugs were rough, and the intubation sore throat bad enough that I’m still not on a full solid diet yet. But at the end of my long day, my knee sore and cranky at the exertion, driving across the 520 bridge, I felt almost on top of the world. (No, I wasn’t still on the painkillers.)
The day that started early with my postoperative appointment at my surgeon’s office. It’s the end of an era for me. The screws are out, the bandages removed, the final wound healing. The surgeon was really happy with how the wound is healing, and proudly showed me the before and after photos of my cartilage (naturally, an 8.5 x 11 glossy sheet for my medical scrapbook, which is SO happening) – apparently the kneecap healed as well as could have been hoped. From 4 separate pieces to a relatively smooth fused piece with only two tufts of frayed cartilage that needed buffing for good measure. It’ll always be a bit arthritic, but quite honestly, that knee never was perfect, even before the injury.
Now I have a new PT scrip, and I scheduled my first 7 or 8 appointments on the phone today. Hoping to finish equalizing my range of motion and strength; the surgeon thinks there’s no reason we can’t get there. Today was a huge milestone in my defeat of this dreadful injury, and it was my hard work (and a team of expensive physicians) that got me here. As this is my last scheduled trip to see my surgeon, this may also mean (in October) the end of my 18-month stint as a temporarily disabled driver, if PT goes well and I don’t fall victim to further misfortune. Sure, I’ll miss my parking spots, but the goal has always been to get myself back to fighting strength, not to ride permanently on a single moment in time.
From there, it was back to work for the first time since mid-May. After a brief meeting, I had the rare opportunity to attend a lunch with a departing Microsoft president (!) and a dozen or so other women from the board of the Women’s Leadership Council in STB. Hearing such an accomplished man talk candidly about his experience, learnings, and perspective on his post-Microsoft future was inspiring and energizing. It’s also great to see really good people in such positions. We went around the table telling him about our experiences and efforts as women in the org, and I managed to squeak out my part well despite my failing voice. Couldn’t eat solid food, but even soup, antipasto and wine from a lovely Italian restaurant is nothing to sneeze at for a workday lunch. I just sat there reminding myself how lucky we in that room are to have each other and such an opportunity all at once.
My afternoon was spent working on my current effort – researching, identifying, and documenting current UX trends relevant to my area. It’s a great opportunity to partner with a researcher I haven’t worked with before, a chance to put to paper thoughts on the ramifications of things like gamification, and a potential chance for good exposure and speaking opportunities. Good all around.
Then, after a rather scrappy soft-food dinner (applesauce, soft curry, and some bread) it was off to my final engagement of the day – rehearsal for my latest acting project. Called “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, it is an improvised longform parody of original Star Trek episodes. I’ve been cast as the (apparently sexy) alien female character. In this rehearsal, I ended up playing a tripped-out free love alien on a planet ruled by honeybees, a young impressionable woman on a medieval rapidly-aging planet that worshipped a deep dish pizza, and finally: the mildly dominatrix-esque “mother” and cult leader who controlled the residents of a planet purportedly home to retired Starfleet crew and their families.
In short, tons of fun the entire night and we’re only on our second rehearsal; it’s going to be a great show. I get the pleasure of working with some old friends (like my first ever Seattle-area director, my father from Into the Woods, and two awesome women from my recent production of Vagina Monologues) as well as some great new faces. Our director is both knowledgeable and passionate about Trek and is giving us great feedback.
…And it’s great motivation to go to PT and keep working out at home, since my director told me on Sunday that “…my philosophy with your costumes is that every time I’m OK with them, I should go back and shorten them again.”
So it was after a day of important events and a night of laughter and getting to play a wide range of characters that I drove home, content. I’m doing what I want without having to give anything up, growing as an actor and a designer while recovering (always, always recovering from something). Sure, I’ll need to take medicine to sleep soundly through the residual soreness. But it’s worth it. I’m doing what I love, day and night. It’s worth the effort.
This Sunday, in addition to rehearsal, I’ll be walking in the IGNITE Brighter Future walk, gimpy limp and all – you only have a few more days if you’d like to sponsor me on my walk! All donations are tax-deductable and will go towards a great, proven cause. To donate, visit http://ignite-us.org/BrighterFutureWalk/ and click “Sponsor a Walker” – please click the link on the Paypal form to note you’re sponsoring me so that I can thank you afterwards. Thank you for your help in keeping IGNITE alive!