My Selfish “Good” Day

I had a lucky day yesterday, where my knee decided it would cooperate with me, so I was actually able to pick back up on some of the tasks that had the brakes slammed on them when my knee originally went out. It happens when I have sudden problems with my back as well… those things around that house that you just assume you’ll be able to get to tomorrow or the next day, once your knee or lower back goes screwy, those are the messes and tasks that you’ll have to just look at for the next days or weeks… until the pain hopefully goes away enough to finish those things up.

So I was finally able to bring up the laundry from the basement, as well as do another couple of loads. (And let me tell you, I now understand how the basement stairs were a big “nope” for my Aunt C when she reached an older age.) Got that all folded, hung, and put away. And then I finished up the grooming of the cat… at least as good enough as I care to get it… and then also picked up all the big globs of fur, ran the vacuum over the two rugs that I was using in the bathroom to catch it all, and then went over the carpet in the living room and hallway to catch the rest of the stray hair.

I did a few more small things, essential things, and with each thing I did I could feel my knee reminding me to take it easy… and I really did. Being careful with each step or turn, making sure I didn’t move it in any wonky ways that could derail the rest of my meager plans for it for the day. Like, I didn’t even try to put all my junk back on my bookshelves in the bedroom, although after my appointment today I might take a stool in there and attempt it. Yeah, that’s another reason why I didn’t mind “risking” yesterday’s actions, since I knew that “back/knee guy” was already on the agenda for today.

It was such a relief to be able to do those few things, but it still left me feeling guilty. My knee has been screwed for about a month now, which has also screwed my neck and shoulder more than usual, which has kept my anxiety at shitty high levels… and it’s kept me from being able to do so much. So when “good knee day” was gifted to me, knowing that it would likely be a limited resource, out of all the things I could have done – I did choose “work around the house as best / long as I can” over other things. 😟

I had to… because I already feel ineffective enough on most days, so having to sit here with most of my clothes clean, but in the basement… and with two big ass rugs in my bathroom, covered with an obscene amount of cat fur… along with going out to fetch my trash buggy, empty the litter box, and even just finally putting my groceries away and standing there to do the dishes. If I would have not gotten that stuff done yesterday, and woke up with a fucked knee today, which I did, all of that stuff would have been even more heavy on my mind.

So I ghosted almost everyone, doing what I needed to do for my brain to be a little more at ease during this whole “doctor / workers comp BS week” and the time immediately after. Still gotta get it through my head that I need to not fuck things up around the house (and not immediately clean it up or undo it or whatever) since there’s a pretty good chance that the next day could bring me some new surprise that physically stops me from doing so. I’m not old old yet, but the things affecting me… I may as well be. 😐 I need to start figuring out how to think about life in that way. Making use of, in all ways, the good days – and not just counting on each following day to be the same or better.

That’s why my anxiety messes with my head when people count on me or rely on me… because I can’t even count or rely on myself half of the time. So, kudos to all those people who are dealing with daily pain, disability, anxiety, depression, etc… but who still manage to carry on with their lives and not let it tie them in knots like it does me. I keep hoping it’s just a matter of getting used to it. But again, it makes me think of my Aunt C, who was in horrible shape and probably hurt in more ways than any of us ever knew… yet all the way up through her final days, she still lived her life without complaint, fought against the pain to play the organ at church each Sunday, and probably lots of other stuff that only she knows.

So whether it’s my neck, shoulder, thyroid, back, knee, or whatever’s next… I hope that I can eventually at least be like her, and just accept things as “how they’re gonna be” once doctors have determined that yes, this is just how it’s gonna be. I still haven’t gotten past the “Nope, I’m not that old, I shouldn’t feel like this.” phase – as made obvious by all the appointments just this week, and my decade-plus long battle with workers comp – but maybe it’s time to try and start accepting and adjusting, rather than fighting. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… I dunno… but my appointment is soon, so I better get off here or I’ll just keep rambling… wish me luck.

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Your Warranty Has Expired

I wish that I felt more capable of adjusting to whatever illness or injury that might be affecting me at any given time. πŸ˜’ I don’t usually complain directly to anyone about such things, instead saving it for shouting into the void here, so I dunno… maybe everyone else has just as hard of a time adjusting to certain things like I do. But for example, the better part of the last couple of weeks have been really good – and then out of nowhere my knee just decides that it’s going to hurt. Hurt hurt. 😣 And my past couple of days have been mentally, physically, and socially fucked up because of it.

It makes sense that physical pain, along with losing some ability and motion, would also trigger my twitchy… I just hate that I don’t have any more control over it than what I do. 😠 But after a few days of hobbling around, and a few nights of long but often-interrupted sleep due to feeling the pain throughout the night, I wish I could just say “Well, I guess I’ll just take it easy and stay off my feet today.” but instead I let it fuck up my day, being irritated about being so irritated about it.

One problem, almost all of my friends (for a long time now) tend to be younger than me. It keeps my mind young, but my body doesn’t get that memo. So I’m not surrounded by similarly aged people with similar aches and pains. 😏 Another problem, with my work injury happening to me as young as I was, I’ve been dealing with that pain / disability for over a decade now… and it is pain that I feel like I didn’t really earn. πŸ˜•

I’ve joked with my cousin Matt and Dad about how “At least I was never in great shape when I was young…” compared to Matt, who loves / loved playing basketball, and Dad who is a Marine and served during Vietnam. In a way it’s a joke, but you’d also like to think it would be true… if you were never in great shape when you were young, it should be less of a deal when parts start to get defective when you get older. That’s turning out not to be the case. Now it’s more like “Dammit, I didn’t use myself up when I was young, so I shouldn’t be breaking down like this already.” πŸ™„

And I’m not making this entry to complain… it’s actually something I’ve thought about as I’ve faced various things, and it has also made me wonder how I’m gonna handle things when it inevitably gets worse as I get older. πŸ€” Like my Aunt Carol, she was in all kinds of awful shape, but she didn’t bitch about it or let it slow her down – let alone stop her. πŸ™‚ I just hope I can eventually become more like that. Everybody gets old, everybody sooner or later starts feeling worse and worse, and I just don’t want to end up a grouchy old recluse because I’m still struggling to handle the changes that every other human just seems to handle.

One thing I’ve noticed though, even my younger friends don’t give me shit about it – when either my neck and shoulder are extra screwed, or when my back or knee just randomly decides to go to shit for a while. I think it’s that insecurity of (in most ways)Β being on the same page as someone regardless of our ages, and worrying that if I have to hobble around or use a cane for a few days that they’re gonna look at me like “Oh my gosh… I forgot how old he is.” Heh… but so far that’s not been an issue, and if anything it just ends up being something that we joke about rather than it being some eye-opening revelation… heh… as if they don’t know my age until a physical sign appears. πŸ™„πŸ˜„

Meh… it’s just a gimpy knee, it’s not gonna be permanent, I’m gonna be fine, and I’ll surely have plenty of otherΒ “fun” new things like this to deal with in the future. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Gotta figure out how to just start sucking it up.

Oh, Hai Knee

Despite all the various stuff I’ve been doing lately, I’ve managed to keep from gimping up my neck, shoulder, and back too much. But while being careful not to aggravate those areas, it seems I wasn’t paying enough attention to my right knee…Β  ‘cuz, oush. 😣 It’s been all sorts of fuckered up since yesterday evening. πŸ₯Ί Can’t even tell you what I did to it, other than just moving around a whole lot more than it’s used to, but whatever it was sure has pissed it off. πŸ˜’ Not really complaining though, because at least it’s not one of my traditional “oush points” getting worse, and also not complaining because I don’t really have any “labor-based plans” for the next couple of days, so with any luck it’ll chill the eff out and get better over the next 48 hours. πŸ€•πŸ€žπŸ»

And it’s funny that just as I’m musing about my gimpy knee, I was reminded that Hamvention is coming up again here soon. πŸ˜ƒ Not this coming weekend, but the next… I think. Now, busted knee or not, what were the odds that I’d have put a Hamvention trip on my to-do list this year? Pretty slim, honestly. 😏 I think the last time that I went was a couple years before they moved it from Hara Arena (just outside of Dayton) to the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia… so yeah, probably at least half-a-decade. (He said, dramatically… heh)

Now I’m wishing I could remember the first year that I went. πŸ€” Dad had been going for years before he talked me into it… I think I was just too young and couldn’t imagine what a “HAM radio flea market” could have to offer me. But that first trip was when I got my first (of eventually many) Commodore computer. 😊 A VIC-20 with cassette drive, tapes, and a bunch of cartridges. I was in junior high, so whatever year that would have been. After that, we continued going each year more often than not, until eventually I was even making trips on my own when Dad wasn’t quite feelin’ it that particular year. But with so many memories of it being there at Hara, with so little changingΒ from year to year, it’s just hard to force myself to make that first trip to the “new” location. 😐 I just imagine it’ll be missing half of the “feels” that make the trips what they were. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… not gonna rule it out, of course, but you know how that usually goes…Β πŸ˜›

I dunno… I really would like to take some sort of solo road trip this summer. And while Hamvention is always at least on that list of possibilities, I’ve started thinking a little more about researching some of the big ol’ retro arcades that are scattered around the midwest, and maybe finding one or two that seem worth the drive.Β  From what I remember reading about some of them, they generally just have a one-time cover charge to get in and then all the games are set to free play, no “pocket full of quarters” required. πŸ€“πŸ•ΉΒ Heh… but even now, I’m not sure if I’m actually considering it, or if I’m just talking out of my ass ‘cuz it sounds like fun but also kind of a PITA. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜‹

New Rule

I have to stop letting how I feel when I wake up each day be an indicator of how I’m going to feel for the rest of the day. 🀨 Especially since I usually have the luxury of waiting it out… taking my morning meds, giving it a little time, and eventually feeling at least somewhat better. And yeah, I know that this is such a “Yeah, no shit.” thing for normal people, so of course my brain just instinctively resists the idea. πŸ™„

I’m gonna be so bad at getting older and more broken if I don’t keep trying to recognize my flawed ways of thinking and trying to change them. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦³ The other thing that I have to work on is learning to accept that some of the physical things just aren’t going to get better. What’s that Garth Brooks song? Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old) 😏 Heh… I really hate that my blog is like 90% “bitching about things” these days though… like today, it was only four hours of sleep, waking up because I could feel my pulse in my friggin’ jaw, and then (when I got up to go to the bathroom)Β discovering that my back is trying to re-fuck itself.

I swear, there’s an invisible hat in my house somewhere, filled with bits of paper listing all of my various potential ailments or irritants for the day, and some unseen force just grabs three or four of them at random and there ya go. πŸ€•πŸ€’πŸ˜–πŸ˜·πŸ˜ŸπŸ€’πŸ˜“β™Ώ The unending uncertainty of each day is such shit… so waking up depressed or mad is understandable, but I gotta stop letting it stick… especially if that’s the only thing that seems to be triggering it on that particular day.

But it’s been a few hours now since I woke up, my meds are kicking in, things are sucking a bit less, but I’m still gonna take it easy today. I’ve got another appointment tomorrow, plus I need to build up some positive juju because I wanna get back in to see Dad again next week, Bri is gonna be induced and have her baby next week as well – starting at 6 friggin’ AM, then on Saturday Jim’s going to Buckeye Lake to meet up with his dad, brother, and Adam at Pizza Cottage and I’ve also been invited. I’ve missed the last couple of hang-outs with them, so I really wanna try to make it this time. πŸ˜”πŸ€žπŸ»

And that leads me back to the new rule. Well, let’s call it a guideline, since I know that I’m going to fail at it at least as often as I succeed…. but without being able to “shake off” how I feel when I wake up, none of that fun stuff on my potential to-do list will be possible. History has proven that more times than I’d like to admit. πŸ˜’ Trying to adjust my attitude each day will let me hopefully be less flakey to my friends and family, and being less flakey to my friends and family in itself will help keep my mood going in the right direction. I just have to hope that my meds decide to start pulling their weight again soon too.

Doing The Things

Haven’t had the energy to spend much time online the past week or so… gettin’ shit done, as required. Saw my primary care provider, saw specialist for my back, got labs done for my PCP, got scans done for the back specialist, then did my normal workers comp deal yesterday. Also went to the dentist’s office and scheduled what is technically the third part of a four part plan that started like a year ago… but with the cancer scare, Mom stuff, etc… it kinda got put on the back burner. But that appointment is now made as well.

Next couple of things I’m hoping to do today or tomorrow is making an eye appointment for some new glasses, taking some pics of my semi-broken HVAC unit outside and making a couple calls about getting the AC compressor replaced, and then I need to figure out what I want to have done outside regarding all the growing shit – and touch base with my lawn guy so we can get this spring and summer’s plan in action soon,

Bri is also super duper pregnant… I think she’s approaching 36 weeks here in a few days… so I’ll probably be taking her to one of her OB appointments, plus she’s been on the ball as well and will soon be moving into her first apartment – so I’m making available some different furniture from here in the house if she needs some stuff to fill her new place until she’s able or decides to get what she really wants. So yeah, it’s just been mostly mentally busy – and when my brain isn’t doing that type of processing, it’s preferred to have been doing none.

Had to be in Columbus the other day and caught my first crash on the dashcam. I’m lucky that I wasn’t just one car in front of where I was, because whatever happened to this d00d – he ended up slamming into an old lady and nearly pushing her car into the intersection. All from a dead stop, while appearing to have his foot on the brake the entire time. I saw them get out and they were both fine, and there’s no ambiguity when it comes to fault, so I didn’t stick around… plus I had somewhere I needed to be anyway.

Sometime today I’ve also gotta get into my e-mail and messages… Aunt Sharon and Dad are probably both waiting to hear from me about some things, and I’m still working on getting my brain to get used to using e-mail again.

The Other Stuff

TRIGGER WARNING: This entry is gonna cover some of the other depressing shit that has also been filling my thoughts and influencing my mood recently. But I think it’ll help to explain why when it did hit me, about Mom being gone gone… why it was so easy for it to knock me down and keep me there.

About a year ago my best friend Jim lost his mom to cancer. At the end of last year, Brianna, another of my closest friends, lost her mom to cancer. And Christina was more than just “Bri’s mom” to me… she treated me like family. Rick, a classmate of mine, has been fighting cancer for two years now, and rarely posts to Facebook anymore, which seems like a bad sign. Then on the first of this month, anotherΒ school friend, Stephanie, died in her sleep from unknown and absolutely unexpected causes. Her oldest son turned 18 just two days later. And then today, my “cousin-in-law” Gloria lost her sister Wanda to cancer as well.

Jim’s mom was in her early 70s, but Christina was only in her early 40s, Rick is my age, Stephanie was only two years older than me, and I think Wanda may have been barely into her 50s. And Mom’s best friend through the entirety of her adulthood, Cecil… she passed away within the year as well. I’m actually sitting here afraid that I’ve neglected to mention someone, because it seems like every direction that I turn – sickness and death is what I see, and in many cases – in people far, far too young for most to even think it’s a possibility.

(Oof… this is gonna be a downer of an entry, that’s for sure…)

And of course, having cancer myself… or at least having had cancer (fingers crossed)… all of the stuff mentioned above doesn’t exactly do a lot to put my mind at ease. A long life before passing… that is something that hurts, but we understand it. People dying at my age or younger, from things like lung cancer when they were very vocal non-smokers… those are the ones where it starts to make less sense. And then ones like Stephanie that are there one day, making posts about her dog and her son’s upcoming birthday, then *poof* … simply gone the next. No rhyme or reason, and I’m not good when it comes to shit like that.

But for my stuff, I did get another appointment with my family doctor at the beginning of this week, tried to sum up all of the things I’ve been talking about here, and told her that I’m not really comfortable with what (to me) feels like a lack of concern or urgency once my thyroid removal and radiation treatment was completed. I’m not being neglected or anything… but after the surgery, radiation, and scan – other than the thyroid guy getting my levels right via medication, nothing else has happened or was scheduled to happen until July. I realized that I’m not okay with that. “You have cancer. We cut the cancer thing out. We think we got all the cancer. See you in half-a-year.”Β Christina also got the “we think we got it all” speech after her first surgery as well (I was there) so… umm… no. Not good enough.

It would be another thing if I honestly just felt great, and all these other things were just spooking me, but that’s not the case. Without going into details, there are things that just feel “wrong” for lack of a better term, and since I’ve gone with the “flashy” insurance this year I would be dumb to not metaphorically pound my fist on the table and ask for a little more. So that’s where I’m at now… the start of “a little more” phase. Tomorrow I’m seeing someone regarding my come-and-go, sometimes excruciatingly painful back problem… and, thankfully, with the lab being in the same building, my primary care provider has ordered an assload of blood and urine tests to not only hit on the regular “physical” type stuff, but cancer indicators as well… so I’ll do those right after the back guy.

So yeah… I’ll admit that with all of this stuff on my mind, I’ve essentially disappeared as far as my friends would describe it. At least in person, I mean. One, it’s hard to want to go out and do anything fun or visit with anyone when my brain is so full of this shit… and two, more than half of the time I just physically feel too crappy to even consider it. Now that it’s going to be looked into with a little more detail, I’m hoping that with good or at least encouraging results I’ll be more likely to spend at least a few days trying to act like everything is fine, and hopefully trying to start living my life again.

I’ve been out to see Dad a few times in the past month and a half, but when it’s hard to make myself get up and do anything even on good days – I know that I’ve not been visiting as much as I should or as much as I want. It’s hard to explain “I just can’t.” to someone, when it’s hard for you to even understand yourself. I can’t remember the last time I’ve opened my e-mail app, but I’m gonna try to at least start doing that again. My biggest problem is that I’m not exactly some cheery ray of sunshine right now, and I’ll probably struggle to come up with e-mails to Dad that are any less depressing than this particular blog entry. I guess that’ll force me to really think about each day, or couple of days, to find the little good (or at least “okay”) moments that I’m sure are there. But yeah, that’s the plan for now…

(And I’ll try to limit the depressing topics here in the blog for a while after today’s posts. Wish me luck.)

Ahh, There It Is

All week the news has been telling us about this horrible snowstorm that we were supposed to have starting today. (Technically yesterday, but you know what I mean.) But as today progressed, it brought nothing more than rain… at least until almost midnight. But once it got here, boy did it get here.

After much debate with myself earlier in the evening, I decided to go in town to pick up Brianna and Ariel so we could go meet up with some of their and Christina’s friends – to celebrate what would have been Christina’s 44th birthday today. I warned them that I planned to bail when the weather turned – but even though I headed pretty much directly home with them… once they were dropped off and I was on the way to my house, it was a legitimate white-out situation on most of the road that leads to my house.

It was fun hanging out with everyone, but I sure wish I left about 15 minutes earlier than I did… because that drive home made my butt pucker. Luckily I’m familiar with the road, but for those that aren’t – there’s probably no way they’d have made it, since the road was completely snow covered, not touched by a plow or salt truck, nor even touched by another car before me… at least as far as I could tell.

So even though I was creeping along, the stress and limited visibility made my eyes hurt, my shoulder hurt, my neck hurt, and then topped it off with a splitting headache just as I made it to my driveway. But, as usual, as long as there weren’t any other cars spinning or driving into my path, I didn’t really have any problem driving. It wasn’t even slippery… just drifts of snow, effectively erasing the roads and making it a “choose your own adventure” drive home.