Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A busy few months to be sure. At the request of my employer, I've been attending Grad School for a Masters of Science in Game Design. Long ago they told me this might occupy 6-8 hours a week of time. In fact, the first semester required about 45 hours a week. The second semester (just concluded) was a bit lighter, but still tough. Plus I had a regular job to squeeze in and my work at the Florida Film Festival and a family... I'm glad I didn't think too much about it or I would have realized that I was nuts.

School has been interesting and I've learned quite a bit about the game industy as well as useful producing and scheduling tidbits. But I kinda of wish the Grad School featured a bit more thinking/theory courses and fewer production courses. At one point last semester, the 12 of us in our class were each in three different groups, all of which required meetings, plans, schedules and a project. It was unwiedly to say the least (my fave moment was actually holding a meeting on the way to the bathroom, as it was our only free time). I think everyone in this program needs to think about some bigger issues too - it's good for the mind.

On the personal front, four weeks ago I was greeted with with a CAT scan that told me I had to have my appendix removed immediately. This was after a few weeks of mild lower ab pain. I didn't have any of the classic symptoms of appendix problems, but at 11pm that night, I went under the knife.

The surgeon planned to do it laproscopically - three little incisions and minimum discomfort and recuperation. Before putting me to sleep, he explained, "You might not have an appendix problem, but we're going in and we're gonna take it out anyway." That's what they do. He told me later that once they got inside and saw my appendix on the scope, it was a horrible, infected mass that couldn't be removed through the three little incisions. And thus, my little appendix removal turned into something much more complex. The infection had spread into my intestines, so they had to open me up, remove the appendix, the caecum (a little pouch that links the appendix to the large and small intenstines) along with 4 or 5 inches of my intestines. Then he had to reconnect the large and small inenstines to each other (since the caecum was now gone). This all took a few hours. I don't recall any of it.

My appendix had sort of cocooned itself as it got infected and it had ruptured within that cocoon, but i didn't feel it. In fact, they told me I jumped right onto the operating table and was chatting away. From the size and infection presention, the doctors said I should have been unconscious from pain. Oh well.

That led to 6 days in the hospital, four of which I couldn't eat anything but ice cubes. I did have a button to adminster morphine every six minutes and I enjoyed that dearly for about three or four days. Then it got old. On the plus side, I got to watch the entire Sunday coverage of the US Masters tournament while mildly buzzed on morphine. Lovely.

That was almost a month ago and I've been getting around okay since then. Some of the meds I'm on leave me tired, but on the plus side, I've lost 20 pounds. The weight loss benefits of this process can not be overlooked. I'm actively seeking additional body organs to remove to promote aditional weight loss. I am taking recommendations.

Now I have two weeks off of Grad School and I'm just doing my regular job at the University, which is strangely calm and easy compared to everything else I've done lately. I'm rather bummed that I didn't get to help students with their films this year - I saw one class screening and all I could think of "Ooo, that should be tighter." But I'll just have to jump into that game again this fall, even if it means starting all over again.