A Bump in the Road


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Back in July, I was excited about all the plans I had come up with during my sabbatical. A meaningful, part-time role at Rackspace, a return to graduate studies, control of my time and the ability to write, learn and explore. It was a perfect setup and I was excited. A couple of weeks later, I hit a bump in the road -- literally. I was out for a bike ride, following a 10 mile route I had done dozens of times. Suddenly, while starting down a hill at about 17 mph, the bike slipped out from under me and I went sliding down the asphalt. It was a terrible place for a wreck, a narrow road with high walls on both sides. I quickly assessed the damage - lots of road rash and torn clothes. But, the bike had only scratches and there were no broken bones on me. I hopped back on the bike and finished riding home.

After a trip to the urgent care clinic (Dr. Magoon at Alamo Heights Minor Emergency is awesome!), I was cleaned up and enduring the really fun kind of pain that only scraping off a few layers of skin could provide. Thankfully, xrays confirmed there were no broken bones and it looked like my injuries were just superficial.

When I was still unable to sleep a few weeks later due to regular night pain, I realized I might not have been so lucky. After more xrays and an MRI, it turns out my fall had also resulted in a torn rotator cuff and bicep tendon. I would require surgery after all. Finally, I am at that point and my surgery is scheduled for Friday. I'll be in a sling without the use of my arm for about six weeks and then have several months of physicial therapy. Hopefully, I'll be better than ever when my annual ski trip to Lake Tahoe comes in March.

Adjusting to the Bump in the Road

These kinds of health incidents really force an understanding about the need to adapt to changing conditions. While the pain from the shoulder is mostly muted during normal daytime activites, I can't sleep for much longer than 2-3 hours without waking up with my shoulder on fire. It has totally disrupted my sleep cycle and robbed me of much of my productivity. I've had no choice but to change course. Perhaps I could have chosen to just buckle down, stay on course and fight through it. But, it never seemed like a realistic choice.

So, I have withdrawn from graduate school - again. I've paused my participation on Texas A&M's Computer Science advisory council. I've learned to enjoy walking as my primary form of exercise. I've pulled back on my plans to write and blog more (as evidenced by the long distance between posts!). I've narrowed focus at Rackspace to concentrate on OpenStack and how we change some things at Rackspace to become an even better community participant. I've remained involved in the OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors although not been as proactive as I had planned.

So, that's where I am. The good news is that none of this is permananent. I'm already starting to get the energy and drive to blog more (as evidenced by this post!). Recent OpenStack issues and conversations have me ramping up engagement on that front. Despite having only two weeks between my surgery and the Hong Kong Summit - I have every intention of being there and being highly engaged (watch this space for more on that). I am putting the finishing touches on some plans to revamp some of our OpenStack and open source involvement and contribution efforts at Rackspace. So, hopefully, I am moving into the recovery and healing phase and will put this little bump behind me soon.

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