Catching up last week and this one

This is a note to everyone who is waiting for me to respond to their emails, voicemails, Google+ hails, Facebook DMs, Twitter messages, and snail mails.  I’m getting to each of you, I promise.

The past week has knocked me off schedule for reasons good and bad, social and nearly gory.

The good and social: I spent Monday through Friday at, and traveling to and from, the 2016 EDUCAUSE conference in Anaheim, California.  This really soaked up my time and attention.  Partly it was the six flights and two full days needed to haul me about 3,000 miles each way.  Partly it was my overstuffed schedule, which included offering one preconference seminar, running ten Future Trends Forum sessions, seeing a research project released, giving a talk on digital literacy, attending the occasional session, being interviewed numerous times, and a nearly continuous series of meetings with friends, clients, prospective clients, vendors, and more.  Lots of good meetings, discussions, work, and people.

part of the preconference seminar crowd at EDUCAUSE 2016

I’ll be following up with more posts linked to this conference.

The bad and nearly gory: I ended up in the local emergency room Sunday, the day before this trip.

The cause was tremendous head pain, migraine levels, the kind of agony when  you swear you can feel an iron pick being hammered into your skull.  When I could no longer think nor see well, my wife and I decided to head to the ER (it’s “ED” now, according to professionals).

I expected a shot and/or a handful of pills, plus the option of being chided for wasting the ER’s time.  Instead I was dragged at once to a room, whereupon nine+ medical professionals besieged me.  They took various readings and slugs of my blood, repeatedly asked me if I knew what day it was, hurled me through a CTscan, pumped me full of saline and meds, and rechecked my stats and condition.  All this for a headache? I asked.  “No,” replied a very serious medical doc.  “The symptoms you describe are very close to those associated with bleeding within the brain.”


brain-_-mike-coghlanFor the next hour this frantic process continued, my long-suffering wife at my side.  The verdict came: no brain hemorrhage.  There was a mysterious bit in the CTscan, for which further examination is required.  But the awful pain was just a migraine brought on by intense sinusitis.  Given the level of pain, they generously dosed me with morphine, which did make things better.

Then followed one of those American conversations familiar to those of us who work for a living and/or workaholics.  Recall, dear non-US readers, the uniqueness of our medical system, our social safety net, and general culture.

Medical doctor: “We’re going to send you home in a little while.  You need to spend the next week resting.”

Me, doctor of literature: “That’s not going to happen.  I have a very important work trip ahead, which I can’t cancel without serious damage to reputation and income.”

MD: “That’s a really bad idea.  You should cancel.”

MDL (usual verbal fluency all morphined out): “Can’t.”

MD: “Harrumph.  This is likely to cause you a lot of pain and slow your healing.  Well, tell me you’re not traveling far.”

MDL: “Er, actually, yeah, to California and back.”

MD (glowers): “I hope it’s a nonstop.  What really causes pain is changing elevation.  Once you’re at cruising altitude you should be in less danger.  The fewer flights, the few opportunities for real agony.”

MDL (sheepish): “Um, it’s three flights.  Each way.”

MD (glares): “This is a really bad idea.”

MDL (shrugs): “What can I do.”

And so it went.  Bearing liberal cupfulls of drugs, steadied by my wife, I set out for the trip.  And things went well, medically, all things considered.  I dosed myself liberally for travel, bore through the pain at the conference when I had to, and drugged myself when I could.

Now I’m back home for a few days, where Vermont is trying to figure out if it should snow or not.  I’ve taken care to sleep, and am resting with books and computers.  Some Halloween viewing and reading are in order.

As is responding to a giant stack of emails, voicemails, DMs, letters, and more.  I’ll get to each of you, I promise.

(brain photo by Mike Coghlan)

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6 Responses to Catching up last week and this one

  1. After reading this I feel almost obligated to strongly suggest that you take a minimum of three days to completely disconnect and do nothing but eat, drink. sleep and be merry. Best wishes.

  2. clsaarinen says:

    Best wishes, Bryan. Do take some time to rest and recover, and most importantly, follow up with your doc. We need you. Take care of yourself.

  3. Morris Pelzel says:

    Wow, this is amazing…not only do you deal with the sickness in the midst of all your professional obligations…but then you write a fluent and insightful blog post reflecting on it all. I wish I could be half as productive as you when you’re feeling miserable.

    Be well, take care of yourself…

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