So *this* is what a professor does on sabbatical!

I saw a hand surgeon yesterday, and I'll be having hand surgery on Monday to repair a damaged ulna nerve on my right hand that has gotten progressively worse since I fell down the stairs (running, in my socks, to close windows against a thunder storm) on July 15. For most of our two week vacation in Utah (July 22 until August 5) I wore a  wrist band to deal with the sprained wrist, which turns out to be the least of my troubles.

Ten days after the surgery the sutures come out, we go to Asheville for a week, and then I start physical therapy-it could be as much as a year before I get my strength completely back, but the alternative is that I look like Spock and my right hand gets weaker and weaker, so I really don't have a choice.  A huge shout out to Dr Alan Schefer (I have no idea when that picture was taken-he has a nice curly head of hair now) who will be doing the surgery, and I am so grateful to have health insurance to cover most of it.

Right hand with pinky stuck out ;(
Here's what my hand looks like-sorry for the blurry picture but I'm a rightie taking pictures with my left hand.

And it the Spock look isn't bad enough, I'm losing strength in my index finger.  It's become hard for me to turn the key in the car ignition.   Now that's bad!

Dr Schefer assures me that I will be fine, and that I will be able to drive right after the surgery.  So Monday Anne and I will go to the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Westchester and Dr Schefer will make an incision in my palm and "clean out" whatever it is that is compressing the motor nerve so that I can move my pinky again.

In the words of Gilda Radner, "It's always something" and I'm grateful that I'm on sabbatical so that I don't have to worry about moving classes around (although I'd rather not spend my sabbatical recuperating from surgery, but hey, I haven't been operated on in 15 years, so I guess it's time).

What does a professor do on sabbatical, anyway?

Well, I can only recount what this professor is doing on sabbatical.  The list is long and reflects things that suddenly arose, that were neglected, and things on my "someday-maybe list."

On the suddenly arose list is my finger-I fell the weekend before we went on vacation in July and when we returned in August my right pinky decided to go astray-I can't move it toward the rest of my fingers.  An EMG test seems to indicate a damaged ulna nerve, so off to the doctor tomorrow to find out what we do about this.

On the things that were neglected, first and foremost is my office at home-not cleaned up in, oh, four years and two months.  I don't have any "before" pictures (too embarassing) but I do have an after, and a picture of all of the recycling sitting by the curb (and that doesn't include the stuff that just plain got tossed.

You can see my meditation cushion in this picture, another practice that has been neglected, so I'm getting back to that.  Pleasure reading with the exception of my monthly book group has been limited to what I can grab and read on the train.

Spending time with Anne, again except for "planned" times has been severely neglected, so I am enjoying long breakfasts, leisurely conversations, and picking up my share of house chores.

Spending time with family has also been neglected but some of that that was rectified by attending a family wedding at West Point right after Labor Day, and by having my father, sister and brother-in-law stay over (which was the motivation for cleaning my office; my sister and brother-in-law slept in the guest room, and my dad slept on a blow up bed in my office.  So my office had to be cleaned up.  Nothing like a deadline to focus the mind.).  I saw my cousin Tom (we hadn't seen each other since my grandmother's funeral in 1983) and my cousin Bob (at least I saw him in the 90's and Anne had met him) and their families-it was Bob's daughter Emily who was getting married.

But maybe the best of all is having time for learning new things, practical things.  Developing my web site has been on my "someday-maybe" list for four years, ever since I took Meggin McIntosh's workshop "Make a Difference, Make Money, Teaching Teachers" (a class she no longer offers).  At Meggin's suggestion, I signed up with a hosting service and snagged connieknapp.com, constanceknapp.com and facultyzen.com and have done absolutely nothing with them, except pay the leasing fee for the last four years.  So it's time to learn iWeb.  More to come.

Learning how to use Evernote productively is also on the list.

Spending time actually reading all of my RSS feeds would be useful, as will pruning some of them back.

For the learning part, I'm experimenting with Grovo-can't remember how I first heard of Grovo, but so far the free classes have been very useful.

And then there's Project 137 with the amazing Patti Digh.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll actually get caught up on all that e-mail (or perhaps I'll just declare e-mail bankruptcy).

The "new and improved" me will head back into the classroom in January, right after I turn (gulp!) 65.