2012 December

December 2012

My minor surgery turned into something more serious. I’m okay now, I think, but I wasn’t. And I’ve never been in that position before.

What I thought was going to be a quick in-office slice ‘n’ dice became a deep surgery before I knew it. Sedated and anesthetized, tube-down-the-throat, IV-in-my-hand, girlfriend-trying-not-to-cry surgery. I’ve had a relatively healthy life, and I can count my hospital visits on one hand (stitches above my eye when I was 5 when I slipped on a wooden floor and hit my head on a bedframe, two separate instances of stepping on a screw sticking out of a board). I’ve had minor dental surgery to have a wisdom tooth removed. I never expected this to be serious, and it all happened so quickly that I didn’t have the chance to be scared about it.

When I woke up, I was back in the recovery room. My girlfriend was there. I was surrounded by doctors and nurses who were trying to explain things to me, though I couldn’t exactly get a good grip on my brain, which was slippery and kept on fading out of focus. By the time surgery was over, an icy snowstorm had taken over the valley, and we crept along the roads to get medication and get home.

I now have a tube coming out of me, which should only last for a few weeks. The purpose of the tube is to create scarring, since muscle blocked part of the procedure, or something like that. Things are sutured into place, large wounds are left open to drain, bloody gauze is being placed and replaced. I’m on a diet of soup and bread, and I’m taking bets on whether or not I’ll lose or gain weight being stuck in bed for a few weeks, but eating minimally. Food has never tasted so good. Ramen feels like the most exciting thing in the world. I’m really looking forward to being able to eat a burger at The Daily Planet.

Three or four more doctor visits until I know if everything is healed up. Typing from bed, watching all-day marathons of nonsense, and just starting to lose my mind from boredom. I’m psyched to start freelancing again, but it’ll have to wait.

I don’t write here a lot. It’s hard to find time to express yourself, or even summon the energy to form expressions, when you work 14-hour days. ‘Expression’ takes the form of trying to sleep on the train while I guy I hatefully call “Business Meth” smacks the back of your head with his newspaper, or trying to eat fast enough after work so you can get a full night’s sleep, because you don’t actually have a life outside of work anymore. Choosing between nourishment and sleep is a choice that no one in the civilized world should have to make, because it’s effing depressing.

I’ve tried the corporate world. I gave it a year. I tried financial security and working in an office, making spreadsheets of data to analyze, and fighting through a pervasive sense of spiritual meaninglessness, and four hours of commuting every day. I tried to make the best of it. I saw it through. I knew that it really wasn’t for me before I stumbled into it, and I still know that I have no place in the credit-stealing, subtly-insulting, always-kinda-broken world of the corporation. I had no idea that a job I landed because of the creative role I played as a freelancer in the company would turn into full-time customer service and writing sanitized blurbs for meaningless things, and absolutely zero expressions of actual creativity. The very worst part of this is that I lived without art for a year. I feel like I cut off my arms.

I also gained like 20 pounds.

The company that hired me is now collapsing. Without divulging any trade secrets, the company funding our company has changed their goals, and we’re not included in them anymore, and there’s no money left in the bank. So, I’m getting laid off at the end of December, along with every other person in my company. I’ve already made plans to start a few new projects and blogs to continue the kinds of creative work I enjoy, and most importantly, restart a once-lucrative freelance business which I was forced to abandon. I miss creating different things, and learning new techniques, for a wide variety of projects and people and guidelines. I miss game design and art direction, and having the time to make a sandwich, instead of ordering one from the rat-infested deli down the street and hoping to make the 2-hour trip home before the food poisoning really set in (which happened at least 4 times this year). And if I give myself food poisoning, not being stuck on a crowded train with no possibility of egress.

I have minor surgery today to deal with a problem that’s been bothering me for many years, and I need to do it before my health insurance runs out. I would have done this earlier, but it’s hard to find time when there are spreadsheets that need to be analyzed. So, it’s time to get my health back, and get creativity back, and start to enjoy life again.