It was around fall of 2016 and I was 2 years into my recovery from Brain surgery. I envisioned the clock and decided to take it on as the next major piece in my “TIME” Series. (No.4) The idea was to take an 1800’s clock that was given to me by a neighbor and make it into this microcomputer driven clock. The original clock had actually broke a spring and the spring tore through the right side of the case. It had irreparable damage. I would program it to keep accurate time with the option to plug it into the internet to do automatic updates to hold it’s accuracy year after year. I also wanted it to chime a tune at noon every day using solenoids and clock parts to make the sounds.
I know what your thinking. Such an over-ambitious project! Not so much for me. My background before my surgery is comprised of being an Electromechanical Technician. This means that I have a long number of years working in the field that combine electronics and mechanics. I have been an engine and programming specialist in the trucking industry. I was ASE certified and Nissan certified when I worked for the “INFINITY” car company. In my last working years I spent them as a Sub-Sea robotics technician working for Offshore drilling companies. I even worked at the BP spill site in the Gulf of Mexico where I was lead technician on the system that installed the subsea oil filling lines. With my background, this should be a breeze! I was wrong!
You see, it was around this time that I still had some issues, that in my mind, would not affect my ability to learn something new. This something is programming or writing programs for the microcomputer. “If a High school kid can do it then surely I can.” I could not add 2 plus 4 at the time but I could build just about anything so why not! WRONG!
I jumped in head first and built the project completely from scratch. This took months and months to get to the point you see in the photo. This is when I realized my life may never be the same again.
At this point in my recovery and for years to come I was still working on it when I could. Like everything I work on, every time I had a good moment, I took advantage of it. In the beginning it was minutes a day. As the years past it was a few hours a day to now when I have about 8 to 10 good hours a day. If I’m lucky I get more and sometimes it’s less but they’re never in succession. I often wonder sometimes how much I could accomplish if I had full days of being able to work!
Over the years I have come to realize that I may never get the ability to learn new things again. It does seem to be getting better but very slowly. My math came back about 3 years ago and I have the ability to do some pretty complex stuff so that’s a bonus. Even though I still find it hard to learn new things, I still have hope that one day that will change too. Until then I can only dream of what it will be like to bring this piece to a working point. Maybe one day I’ll be able to dig it out of storage and make that dream come true!
I want to end this with a poem I wrote during my early stages of my recovery…..
In my head the thought of who I could be
The places I’d go, the people I could meet
Forced to be silent, forced to be unseen
Taunting me with memories, only ones that can be dreamed
The illness that plagues me
Trying to make peace with it all
Being proud of who I am
Trying hard to stand tall
What would I do when the sickness is gone
Make a new life, most definitely move on