I turned 55 years old on Monday the 5th, and I "celebrated" yesterday by having surgery to repair the ventral hernia that I've had for several years. The surgical anesthetic took all day to wear off, and, curiously, I almost felt as though I hadn't had the procedure; however, by the time I went to bed, I was starting to feel the pain, and this morning I woke up hurting from bruising and inflammation. The surgeon prescribed Vicodin for pain, and it works pretty well for me. (I know from experience that Percocet makes me violently nauseous for a full 12-14 hours -- I always say I'm allergic to it so that no one tries to prescribe it for me.) My plan all along was to go back to work on Monday, and I think I'll feel well enough to do that, despite the fact that prescription painkillers practically paralyze my intestines. I'll have to limit my physical activity for several weeks, which unfortunately coincides with plans for business travel and vacations; however, I didn't want to put the surgery off any longer, so I'll have to work through my recovery as best I can.
Fifty-five marks my full eligibility for retirement from Sandia National Labs, although my pension payments at this stage would barely amount to one-third of my current salary. Needless to say, we can't afford that big a dip in our income; moreover, it would seem grossly unfair to Dorine finally to have paid off our house (and to have no other debts) only to have to skimp heavily. My mal de debarquement-related mental fatigue (which has resulted in some cognitive impairment) has become a bigger issue with regard to doing my current job, so I'm probably going to try to move back to Procurement, where I spent the first 13 years of my career at SNL. Working as a buyer can be very stressful -- my last two years there, from 2003 to 2005, were one of the worst periods of my life -- but at least it's a job that I understand and in which my work experience and legal background would be at least somewhat valued. (I've become aware that a number of former buyers are looking to go back; apparently I'm not alone in my distaste for ill-defined "project management" responsibilities using confusing, non-intuitive software applications. It will be ironic if Procurement, historically a "toe in the door" organization where many people hire on and then move to other jobs at the first opportunity, eventually becomes the destination of choice for a population of disenchanted admins at SNL.)