Facial Recognition System –
The healing began with a greater intensity of burning, and itching, than I thought possible to bear. For the first two days there seemed little escape. On the third day massive applications of Aquaphor, began to pay off and helped the situation progress to peeling. The peeling was coaxed along by soaking four times a day. My face would feel better initially and worse as the compresses multiplied. The mornings became the most challenging as my face continued to tighten and dry overnight. Coaching legend Jim Joy, who I admire and adore, did a healing process called Tonglen from his home on my behalf, and for the first night since the treatment began, I slept four full hours in one stretch. That alone went along way to restoring my sense of humanity.
From there I moved to increased sensitivity to temperature changes and wind. That was an extremely tough few days, and limited my dog time, which of course made me feel worse. Each of the 10 days, the outer edges of redness have receded a bit more and become pinker. I still wake up most nights due to discomfort, but am now able to go back to sleep without TV. Taking a bite of an apple or laughing too hard are still pretty bad, but the discomfort is now confined to one spot on my forehead and below my mouth on both sides. In just the right light I look, well, almost like me! Finally, my face is in sight. Ordeal or adventure? It just depends.
Barring any major setbacks I will be on the erg this coming Saturday morning for the first time since the pain got really bad. I have to admit, I am a little nervous about it. To a lesser extent it is similar to what I experience each time I prepare to see my beloved. I know it will be great, because it always is and yet, I also know it will take a minute before the physical connection feels like home again. I am looking forward to seeing how I have changed during the time we have been apart and what new surprises are in store for me. One thing is certain, I will move slowly and savor every moment. I have been reminded through this whole journey that everyday whether on my erg, or rowing on the water is not guaranteed, but rather a privilege and a gift.
Perhaps I am returning to my athlete self with a new sense of honor and purpose. Whatever the case I know in eight short weeks my beloved and I will be heading to rowing camp and I for one can’t hardly wait! Until then, as my newest rowing buddy Ray Jones so eloquently reminded me, on a particularly hard day, cruising along – Flat water, hard catches.