Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Return to Normal

I met with Rachel a week ago yesterday in Rochester. We went for lunch at 5 Guys and then she accompanied me to a couple of appointments at Mayo Clinic. The first was for an audiology exam to see if the hearing in my left ear had continued to improve since the previous exam 12 days earlier. (If you've just stumbled onto my blog, I suffered Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) in my left ear one month ago.) I'm very relieved to say that the hearing in my left ear is now back in normal range. It's not quite as good as my right ear but it's wonderfully good and it may still get even better. For comparison, here's the exam from September 3rd and here's the results from the 15th. In both audiograms the red plot line is for my right ear and the blue is for my left.

There's still some tinnitus when I stop and think about it but otherwise it mostly goes unnoticed.

While we were waiting for the doctor to come in and see me I was joking with Rachel about how my medical problems are becoming quite a source of experience for her to draw from in the future as she works toward her degree as a Physician Assistant and beyond. From my Cluster Headaches to my Factor V condition and associated blood clots and now my experience with SSHL, I've given her a firsthand look at some rather rare conditions. Lucky her! I would be perfectly happy to not personally give her any additional maladies from which to learn from.

I'm so grateful and thankful for my healing and I would like to thank everyone who offered their prayers, well-wishes or suggestions. Thank you all so much!

Several relatives came into town this past week for my mother's funeral service. Bryan drove in from Portland with his son Tristan and granddaughter Cambria. Tristan's girlfriend Karen flew in a day later on Friday. They all stayed with us. Keith and Tracee had a full house as well, as did Erin.

Having never met Karen or Cambria before; they definitely won us over!

Keith and Tracee opened up their home to all of us for a family get-together this past Sunday. It was a super time. I enjoyed the lengthier conversations I was able to have with several of my relatives that I haven't been able to talk with in quite a while. One of those conversations was with my uncle Martin. He's suffered more than his share of loss during his life yet through it all he's always kept a positive attitude and is quick with a smile or a laugh. I admire him very much. He'll be 86 in February.

A few photos and some video from the day.

We gathered again the next morning at Hosanna in Lakeville for Mom's Celebration of Life service. It was a culmination of so much that has transpired within our families over the past few months. The service was very nice and there was music provided by my aunt Maria, my cousin Deborah and Rachel.

I have one rather big regret in all of it though. I was recording the service and noticed that my camera was still in standby mode after Maria had finished singing Borning Cry with Rachel accompanying her on violin. They did so well with it and I missed it. I don't know how I messed that up but I did. I was able to video the rest of the service though for those who couldn't be there.

I have this thing and it may sound nutty but I believe we all get to attend our funerals before departing to the great beyond. And I'm certain Mom was pleased with how we came together on her behalf to give her a beautiful send-off. She deserved it.

Before the service began I was up in the tech booth overlooking the chapel making small-talk with Fred the technician who was running the audio-visual console. We were coordinating when to start the video I'd stitched together so that it would end just as the service began. He put it on to have a look and he saw Mom and said, "Oh no, that was your mother?" "I'm so sorry...she was such a sweet woman. I'd see her here all the time with the other women and she'd always give me a smile and often times we'd talk".

It's been a couple of years since Mom has been well enough to volunteer with the other ladies the way she used to but Fred had very fond memories of her and it was so nice to hear him talk about her the way he did.

She will be missed by many.

Some photos from the day.

And now it feels like I can try and resume my life where I left off. Or can I? I'm not really sure what normal is supposed to feel like at this point since retiring nearly 3 weeks ago but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

I think I'll go for a walk.

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