Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Progress and updates

Arnhem Autumn Morning 1

‘back in Arnhem after a week on the road in France and the US.  Autumn transitioned to winter here in the Netherlands during my absence: the leaves are almost gone from the “Countdown Tree” in my back yard, and the rooftop puddle of rainwater completely froze overnight.

Time to migrate south, clearly.

I’ve got a bunch of thoughts and pictures to catch up with here in the days ahead, but I’d like to catch up with a short update on various ‘stories in progress’ from the past weeks.

Most importantly, my father continues to make a good recovery from his quintuple bypass surgery last week.  The heart seems strong, he’s healing well, and he didn’t suffer a stroke during or after the surgery.  He seems in good spirits when I talk to him on the phone, and they have moved him from the ICU to a monitored bed.  There is some concern that his short-term memory seems slow to come back.Arnhem Autumn Morning 2  The doctors say that there may be some residual impairment as a result of being on-pump for 90-minutes during the surgery and his native sensitivity to anesthetics over that long a period.  They’ve referred him on to a rehabilitation facility rather than a recovery center to try to get on top of it, and we all remain hopeful that he’ll have a good recovery with time.

The apartment on the Maas did come through, and the contracts are signed.  I have an office and short term assignments are starting to come in, so it’s feeling more like I have a ‘home’ to go to for the coming months.  I’m looking forward to having the water and city views, and to moving back ‘among the living’ by the end of November.

The interviews at the French medical device company did not lead anywhere.  It was a bit of a mismatch at the outset: they wanted a functional leader who could manage a 100-person systems engineering and informatics group, and I am an entrepreneur who incorporates those functions into the new business programs that I lead.

I am sure that I could have fit into the position and made significant contribution, but it wouldn’t have been an ideal match.  Still, they are a good company with strong people, and the interview was good experience.

Arnhem Autumn Morning 3The neuromuscular imbalance in my left ankle has noticeably worsened in the past year, and I visited a neuro-orthopedic surgeon in Boston to see what could be done.  There isn’t much, unfortunately: he is recommending a fusion of the bones to get the foot back into position where it can support me again.

This is an irreversible step, and I want to be sure that it will improve and preserve mobility to the greatest degree possible.  I’m going to get a second opinion before making any decisions, and the recovery could take six weeks.  This, naturally, creates further concern about when and where to get it done.  The holidays are coming and I have a teaching program that I am co-chairing at Cambridge in January, so there may not be a practical window until February. Still, it needs to be complete by April.

All of this is change and uncertainty is, not surprisingly, raising a fair amount of stress in my life.  This, in turn, makes me a bit distracted, irritable, inward-focused, and execution-driven.  It runs against the sort of person that I usually am and want to be, at a time when I can least afford it.

I’m sure that all things will work out well in the end, and the trick is just to keep it all in balance and perspective along the way.

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