Wringer

Pardon the length of this entry, but yesterday was kinda tough, basically as I anticipated. Anxiety had me up most of the night, so I ended up doing all this stuff on only three hours of sleep – but at least that meant I was awake at dawn, so I could just hop up and start getting ready instead of grumbling at my multiple alarms squawking at me every two minutes until I rise and shine.

From 8am until 12.5pm I was doing “something medical.” ๐Ÿ˜ Starting with my monthly neck doctor appointment, where we also covered my upcoming surgery, some of the medications that I might have to start taking because of it, and how they should or shouldn’t react with whatever meds I’m getting from him for my fusion spot, nerve damage, and grumpy muscles in the area. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ

Next was another blood draw for multiple panels of testing. ๐Ÿ’‰ I already had this done a little over a month ago, but they not only wanted to get the most current results, but there were also specific tests that they needed that weren’t in my other test. I volunteered my right arm, and the girl did her best… I mean, she hit the biggest vein available there, but for some reason it was only spitting a little bit of blood – and it was definitely not enough to fill the three vials needed. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ My left arm ended up being successful, and of course now I look like a junkie with two big bruises on each elbow-pit. ๐Ÿ˜

Next was theย electrocardiogram, which actually didn’t take that long due to it (thankfully) not including stress testing or anything like that. Just the normal dozen-or-so electrical leads, a few minutes of holding really still, and on to the next. ๐Ÿ™‚ But the next thing was where it started to get shitty. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Since they’re going to have to manipulate my head quite a bit while they’re working on my neck, and since they’re aware of the C5-C7 fusion, they had to take a crapload of x-rays while my head and neck were in extremely stretched, compressed, or otherwise super-uncomfortable positions. โ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ฃ I do my best each day to not move my head in all of the ways that I had to do for those x-rays, so my neck was fucked after everything was said and done. ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ So not only will my surgery site be painful, but the ways they are gonna have to move my huge lump-of-a-head around while I’m under anesthesia… let’s just say that I’m really not looking forward to how that area’s gonna be feeling when I wake up.

I almost wasn’t able to complete all the scans that they needed, since one of them (while standing) was given with the instructions of “Put both of your arms straight up, directly over your head.” ๐Ÿ˜ง If there was a bar or something above my head I could have done it with little issue, but the only way I could do it without my left arm shaking was to get the arm up there, then actually lean against the plate/target of the x-ray machine to basically jam it up there in that position. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ The fella doing it was really patient and understanding, and after reviewing them he said that the results should be fine, including that one which I thought would be pretty uncertain.

And I know, to a healthy person that all probably doesn’t sound like much… but man was I worn out after everything was done. ๐Ÿ˜“ Between the lack of sleep, the multiple stops, the blood loss… heh, the painful x-rays, and then my leg jumping around between “fine” and “omg stop” heh… I was just thankful that I was able to knock all of that stuff out in one day, along with being able to just go home and recover at my own pace. ๐Ÿ˜” It’s all good though… all of this stuff is now done with a couple weeks to spare, so I’m just happy to keep everything on track.

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Hurt, Heal, Push, Hurt, Heal, Push…

Yesterday evening ended up being bad. Normally you do some sort of physical activity, it’ll work up your muscles a bit, then as the day and night progresses – the pain or stiffness gradually goes away. Not last night. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ˜  I left PT feeling awful and it continued to get worse all the way until I somehow fell asleep despite it. And even today, as soon as I effing woke up – neck is stiff, head and eyeballs are pounding with a headache still… heh… I really wasn’t anticipating it being this bad, considering the relatively limited movement that I allowed my bad arm and shoulder yesterday. ๐Ÿ˜’ Even being actively aware of and discussing it as I was going through exercises with the physical therapist, I still allowed myself to get this effed up. ๐Ÿคฌ

I got wrapped up in that “authority figure” syndrome thing. ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿซ๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€โš–๏ธ Where you’re talking to a cop or doctor or teacher or whatever… and because you see them as an authority figure, you’re more likely to just do what they say, or give their words more weight than compared to a “normal” person. ๐Ÿ™„ I wanted to do the exercises that they have determined should help me, and in “trying to do my best” (like always) I really messed myself up. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ But anyway – I’ve already decided that I’m barely going to do any of that shit during the next visit – or at home, where I’m also supposed to continue the exercises.

I’m not gonna give up on trying to get my back to heal properly and train it for a little more endurance, but I’m not gonna be able to do it the way a completely functional human would. ๐Ÿค• Tomorrow is supposed to be my last appointment with them anyway, so it’ll be up to me to make the choices about how I’m gonna keep things moving in the right direction. Heh… I can’t explain how angry this pain makes me… it’s a combination of the actual pain, the resentment regarding the original injury that has made me this fragile, feeling like “taking the initiative” to push myself to heal just results in punishment, spending every other day hurting and recovering… meh… I’m just gonna basically drop the extensive PT and do what I can, because prior to this I was actually healing and feeling pretty good.

It’s just one of those days where as soon as I woke up I was already done with this day. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ Gonna try to make this headache go away and hopefully do something that can flip my mood. Apologies to anyone who has messaged me or sent e-mails and haven’t gotten a reply yet. I’m gonna try to get at all that before the afternoon is over. It’s hard to put on “happy, socializing face” when I’m feeling like this…

And I’m gonna find something positive to post about later too. Tired of being miserable.

Sunday Delivery

No real change in the past couple of days, and I’m starting to get restless. ๐Ÿ˜’ I’m sitting here, keeping it in neutral, but also wanting to do stuff around the house… anything other than just sitting here. ๐Ÿค• But then I stand up and take a few steps and it knocks that motivation right out of me. So I’m gonna continue to take it easy and just work on things that I can take care of in the immediate area. Sitting on the floor with my back right up against the heater is helpful, and I can pop open the laptop and spread out any paperwork type shit that I want to work on… ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ“ so I guess that’ll have to do for now.

The mailman stopped here today thoughย (Sunday… weird) to bring a couple of goodies that I ordered the other day. They aren’t even goodies for me, but it still made me happy to see them arrive. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ“ฆ๐Ÿ“ฌ Now, I’ve been out of circulation for a long time when it comes to most of my friends, but Brantley and Desiree both have a birthday this week – so I wanted to get each of them something so they don’t think that I’ve forgotten about them.

Bri and her family have Indiana roots, so I got him an Indianapolis Colts wallet. ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿˆ Now, he’s only four, so he’s not gonna be all Woohoo! when he opens it – but hopefully mama will teach him how to carry important things in it and tell him how “grown up” it will make him. ๐Ÿ˜Š I also unsealed the packaging, stuck a $20 in the wallet, and sealed it back up again before I wrapped it… so that should be a nice “extra” surprise.

Meandering Thoughts

I’ve been anxiously waiting for the weekend to get here. ๐Ÿ˜ While technically the day of the week doesn’t matter too much when it comes to my life, right now I’m using these “weekend” days as a crutch for my struggles of the moment. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ I’ve had a string of challenging days which have gotten progressively worse, mostly because I’m dwelling on a few things that I’m incapable of doing at the moment. Things that other people are somewhat countingย on me to be able to do. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ No matter what it might be, I hate when I can’t be “reliably reliable” for my friends or family… so while I do continue to work on myself, I really needed this weekend so I could chill and tell myselfย “Just take it easy on yourself for a couple of days. It’s the weekend.”

Even having said that, it’s only partially effective, so my brain took it upon itself to engage in other distractions. Twitter is always a “go to” place for relatively irrelevant engagement. It seems most of the world goes there to loudly and/or angrily broadcast their opinions (often barely grounded in facts, if at all) and I usually end up trying to educate the exceedingly ignorant, insulting, and condescending of the lot. I know the odds are slim that I’d ever get any of them to think beyond their narrow view of reality… but like I said, it’s more distraction than crusade. (Plus it lets me act like an asshole to those that deserve it. Everyone needs that outlet sometimes๐Ÿค”)

Lots of discussions about gun control and the Parkland kids, talk about the recent military engagement in Syria and the potential consequences… ๐Ÿค“ but then somehow I got diverted towards more random/fun Twitter and Google searches. I think it started with things about Atlantic City, since I’m considering a trip there sometime this year, but then I ended up looking through local auction listings – which switched my brain over to straight nostalgia mode. ๐Ÿ˜Š

One of the first things that I came across (which was weird, since I was just wondering about it a few days ago) was a vintage “Poosh-M-Up” pinball-ish type game… one that my Dad had when he lived here at this house. ๐Ÿค— It’s funny, one of those things where my memory of the game and the location are inseparable. I’m assuming my grandparents originally bought it for him, but then I ended up playing with it once I was old enough. ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿป But yeah, such a random thing to accidentally come across… and there’s actually quite a few varieties of this game, and I plan on reading about the history of them all. ๐Ÿ™‚ I never considered there’d be a bunch of ’em out there like this.

This local auction though, it has several items that I’m kinda interested in. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ That pinball game, old Atari game consoles and computers, other misc old toys of my era… and even though it’s in Mt Vernon, that actually motivates me to go a little more – since it’s a sleepy little town and there might not be many people that show up to outbid me. ๐Ÿ˜ So after looking up that stuff on eBay, it made me think of other old games that I had when I was a kid, so of course I started looking up some of those things as well. I know that I always threaten to do an entire blog entry devoted to pricing toys from my personal childhood, but I really think that I’m gonna do that later tonight if my brain remains in its current happy place. ๐Ÿ˜‹

Bullying Hypocrisy

I wanted to make a separate post about this because it’s such a glaring contradiction that seems to be widely accepted among the “supporters” of the Parkland students and their movement. And like many other things, it seems to be something that people cling to solely because of how it makes them feel rather than there being definite truth behind what they are saying. The students don’t like clear backpacks because it makes them feel like they are in prison… their words… and the students and supporters fail to acknowledge that bullying could have played a part in what Nikolas Cruz did. Possibly because it makes them feel (or at least concerned) that people are somehow putting at least some of the blame for what he did on them.

First of all, the decision was his. Mental illness, bad childhood, bullying or not… the final choice fell on him. He is to blame. Having said that, of course there were a ton of contributing factors – and him being picked on or bullied would be one of them. But if you even bring up the topic with students or supporters, they’ll either say you are “victim blaming” or they’ll reply with something like “Well,ย I was bullied in high school… and I never killed anybody.”ย That’s fine, and I’m happy for those people… but acting as if everyone’s school experience and mental struggles should be judged the same is about as useful as going up to someone with lung cancer and saying “Well, I smoked a pack a day for decades and I didn’t get cancer.”

Go check it out for yourself. When someone is bullied and lashes out violently, look at how the people will try to remove the bullying as any kind of motivating factor. I don’t know if it’s because they have a guilty conscience and are subconsciously dwelling on what they might have done to that person, or if they legitimately believe that bullying is never a factor in causing someone to snap or what. If it’s the second option there, that’s scary… because if people don’t think that bullying someone could ever push them to do something awful, they’ve got little reason to not bully that person. I guess while some people feel like it is victim blaming, it makes me wonder if those people are just trying to relieve themselves of any potential feelings of responsibility.

Now, think about the role of bullying in the context of suicide. When that happens, the reaction is almost completely reversed. When someone kills themselves, all you hear is about how they were picked on, bullied, ostracized, etc… and that’s “obviously” what caused them to eventually take their own life. Hell, there are even protests or activism or whatever you wanna call it… campaigns about “mean girls” or things to force students/people to think about how they treat others, stories about how they were verbally or physically abused at home and how it needs to stop… anything that can possibly turned into motivation for suicide, relating to verbal, mental, or physical abuse, will likely be acknowledged and discussed.

Now, I wasn’t the most well adjusted kid during junior high and even into my high school years. Any bullying or “picking” that I may have experienced wasn’t even that bad… but you can bet your ass that it had an effect on me. Did I ever think about bringing a weapon to school? Did I ever think about who deserved my revenge and how I’d do it? I’m not saying I that did, but I’m sure not saying that I didn’t. I never crossed that line – but even today I’m not sure that I could tell you where that line was, or what might have caused me to cross over it and turn into one of the stories that you would have heard on TV back then. And let me tell you… my home life was fine, my family was fine, my time away from school was fine… and the only thing that was pushing me closer and closer back then was the shit that I endured from the few asshole children at school. So, from my own experience, I can tell you that bullying can indeed be a contributing factor towards someone lashing out – if not the main cause.

Are there really that many stupid people out there though, who honestly can’t see the link between bullying and lashing out? I mean, Christ, everything we do in life is based on the stimulus that we get from interacting from other humans… good, bad, mean, nice, happy, sad… and you’re an idiot if you think that only in the case of someone snapping and doing something violent, that those negative interactions didn’t have anything to do with it. It could just be a matter of most people never having experienced that feeling, where you don’t know if you’re going to be able to control yourself or what you’ll end up doing if you can’t. So, I’m glad for that, for them… but if you look me in the eyes and saying that bullying plays no part if that person lashes out later, I’m going to think that you’re either full of shit or that you’re a fucking moron.

It’s a sad to see so many people refusing to acknowledge that there could be a link between bullying and school violence, because for every voice that denies it – that’s a voice that could be making some other student’s life feel like hell… one more voice that could be unintentionally pushing someone towards something awful. And when you are immediately shut down when you bring up the subject, or even made to feel like you are doing something wrong by bringing it up, that shows that there are thousands and thousands of people who are unable or unwilling to learn. Unwilling to even allow the possibility that it’s true, what people like me are trying to make them understand. And, obviously, when people don’t learn from a tragedy, there’s not a whole lot that’s gonna stop it from happening exactly the same way again.

The people who were involved in the shooting… the “survivors” as they are called… they really do seem desperate to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again, but as with all of the security measures that they reject – they reject the idea that their actions or the actions of their friends could have even possibly played a part in what happened. I don’t think of that as victim blaming, I just think of it in terms of humans evolving and just being a little more self-aware, and more aware of the cumulative results of their combined words or actions. For people to treat that as something bad, disrespectful, or even bullying in itself… I just don’t get it.

That’s another point where their argument loses impact. A thorough argument of “bullying didn’t do this” when it comes to someone that lashes out, but go on Twitter and search “parkland bully” and just look at how many people have their hair on fire about how adults are allegedly bullying the students. Granted, in some cases it’s definitely true, but claims of bullying include simply disagreeing with the students and trying to discuss the differences with them or their supporters.

But here’s the thing… if bullying isn’t a big deal, never leads to anything bad happening, and is something that “normal” people should just get over… then why are so many people crying about people “bullying” the survivors? (By the way, they are called “survivors” just from being in school that day… it doesn’t matter if they weren’t even in the same building as the shooter, or never even heard a shot fired.) But yeah… you better not suggest that bullying had anything to do with Nikolas Cruz snapping and murdering 17 people, because that’s just insane nonsense, right? But also… DON’T YOU DARE BULLY THOSE POOR SURVIVOR CHILDREN! STOP! JUST STOP!!

All these folks who want change. Most of them can’t even say, “Yeah, I mean, it wouldn’t have affected me if someone picked on me like that… but I guess I can see how someone with other mental issues might handle things differently. Hell, even without additional mental issues, maybe I should just try to be a little nicer to people.” And no, nobody is suggesting that you force your kids to be friends with the scary, troubled kids at school… and nobody is saying that you, as a student, shouldn’t feel okay by hanging out with just your friends and not necessarily trying to make buddies with the entire school body. Everyone acts like this is a fucking trick question or unreasonable idea. Don’t think about it so hard, and if you feel like maybe you’ve been more of a dick than you needed to be… maybe just knock it off. Is that too hard for humans these days?

Unpredictable

I’ve had a couple of days that were pretty good, or at least not bad… and yesterday ended with me feeling good enough that I thought for sure that I would wake up today and probably be able to make something of it. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ But nope, it wasn’t meant to be. ๐Ÿ˜’ Thankfully (I guess) today was more “normal” headache rather than something revolving around my neck and shoulder… but still… I feel like crap, but I wanted to take a minute to throw something out here so people would know that I’m still around. ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

I’m just not likely to be very social for the rest of the night and possibly tomorrow. (Shit, maybe even longer…) Gotta try to take care of myself, and sometimes that requires tuning the rest of the world out.

Hmm, This Is New

I’ve been cautiously creeping through the past couple of days, making sure that I didn’t do anything that could possibly tweak my neck (since it’s been acting up again) but the past 12 hours have been awful anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‘ Sleeping for an hour here and there, and then when I finally woke up and stayed up for good this morning at 6am – I had some serious chest pains going on. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

My breathing was fine, I wasn’t lightheaded, and I didn’t feel any tingling in my arms, legs, or face – so even though it caused me concern I decided to not go to the ER. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ I actually went in town to get some aspirin though… a couple to chew right away, and the rest to add to my normal daily pills. Just in case. (I even sat in the parking lot at the hospital for a bit. Also just in case.) But the idea of heart troubles or a heart attack… my brain goes “You’re fine, that only happens to old people.” while forgetting that I amย close to being “old people” if not there already.

I caught a nap after coming back home, hoping that if I got a little more sleep that it might make me feel better, but that’s not been the result so far. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ I swear, it’s like I slept on my front, and someone snuck a baseball-sized rock in between the mattress and my sternum. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ I’m not dead so far though… heh… so I’m gonna give it one more day and if it isn’t noticeably better then I guess I’ll almost have to go to the ER.

Do the majority of folks my age (and older) always feel like they’re falling apart? ๐Ÿ˜ข I’m obviously really hoping that this is just nothing… so I’d definitely appreciate any “thoughts and prayers” that anyone may care to throw at me until it passes. โค๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป Looks like I’ll be remaining in neutral for a while longer.