Rambling Elaboration

Yesterday’s entry was admittedly pretty bleak… but not all of yesterday was completely full of suck, so I figured I should come back in here and sprinkle a little bit of that “good” around – even though I know it won’t really do much to balance out the tone of the blog lately or overall. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

Knowing that soon I’ll be runnin’ completely without my thyroid meds, there were a few things inside and outside of the house that I wanted to get to… just in case the next several weeks are as “challenging” as I’m expecting them to be. 😟 The inside stuff was whatever… but the outside stuff, that’s the kind of stuff that kicks my ass even when I’m at my relative best these days. It also didn’t help that it was still 87 degrees in the late afternoon, when I finally went outside, since “waiting for the heat to die down” wasn’t really gonna work unless I intended to do my yard work in the dark.

When they took out my line of bushes, they plucked about a 1/3 of them, and the remaining 2/3 were cut off at the base – as close to the ground as possible. I told Jason that I had plenty of poison spray when they were doing it, and he suggested that after they were done I should probably go out and hit all the remaining “nubs” in the ground, to discourage them from trying to make a comeback – and to hopefully make them brittle enough that anything still above ground will eventually just start breaking off. So, that was mini-project number one, and luckily I didn’t need my cane nor did I have any neighbors eyeballing me as I worked.

I still had juice left in the sprayer when I was done, so I started hitting weeds along the fence, under a bunch of the evergreen bushes, all over the empty-but-weedy spot (where a big bush used to be) beside the garage, and then all around the AC unit just to make sure nothing considers growing up around it. I was sweating balls at this point. Actually, I was sweating balls within the first 10 minutes of being outside… but yeah, it was time for a break in the cool air inside.

It felt nice, but when it became obvious that I wasn’t gonna stop sweating, I sucked it up and went back outside. I’ve got a couple different sprays for spiders, wasps, bees, and ants – so I treated all the areas that needed it. 😷 Front porch got most of the spider attention, back porch had the bees, and then I sprayed what amounts to an “ant barrier” at the bottom and lowers sides of all of the doors that go outside or into the garage. (They’re a fan of Maven’s messy eating habits, usually leaving bits of cat food on the floor for them to sniff out and come after.)Β Bugs don’t really count as “critters” I suppose, but I still hate to be an exterminator. πŸ˜• But when they won’t stay outside, or try to take over certain areas when they do, they’ve gotta go.

Don’t you love how I can take “Sprayed some poison on the bush stumps and weeds, then killed some bugs” and turn it into a multi-paragraph blog entry? This time it’s intended… to make it sound as time-consuming and exhausting as it actually was. πŸ˜“ I ended up sweating so much that the mosquito repellent finally quit working, but I had done everything that I wanted – so it was time for a shower, and to stop friggin’ sweating.

Throughout the process, I learned that I have another mutant ability. πŸ™„ I can work outside for a little less than an hour, come inside into the cold air conditioning, take a shower to get all the stink, grass, and stray poison mist off of me… but I can continue sweating for a full two hours after everything was done and I should have been good. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m guessing it’s a thyroid thing that I just hadn’t discovered yet, since I’m usually too gimpy to work that much outside. But yeah… cool shower, cold air, and two more hours of sitting here with a towel to keep drying myself off.

It’s fine though… because as much as this all might sound like bitching, it felt good to accomplish so many things when there were so many other things trying to mentally or physically discourage me from doing so. Until I started to not be able to do a lot of things, I didn’t realize how important that it could be to be able to do something with purpose. So even though this stuff is probably most people’s typical weekend, it’s my little thing to grab hold of and feel good about. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

And, obviously, I have to take what I get when it comes to stuff like that these days.

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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.

I Guess It’s My Turn

My sleep’s been a bit affected over the past couple of nights. I did have two or three decent days where I was able to get out and do some small things that I needed to do, but all the driving tweaked my knee enough again that the pain’s got my sleep just a bit screwed. 😴 Not here to complain about that though. I’m starting to get used to it and make concessions the same way I have to do with my left shoulder.

But today, sleep was on and off all night, so I didn’t end up getting up and around until after noon. Before my brain even had a chance to give me a hint about how it was gonna feel about today, I heard knocking on the front door. 😳 Checked the cams to discover that it was some of my lawn guys. 😏 They were here today to trim all the hedges around the house, and then Jason came by a little bit later to lock down the details and prices for the spirea removal and other misc.

And with the bushes around the house all trimmed back, it’s even more obvious that I really need to stop putting it off and have the siding and sidewalk power washed. He gave me a good deal on the trimming today, which made it easier to just apply that savings towards getting all the green, bugs, webs, and bird poop washed off of the house. But yeah, there wasn’t much new to what we discussed (except for that) so it was just a matter of reconfirming everything now that my name’s apparently up on the “next job” list.

Gotta admit, waking up and having to immediately “human” started my day off a little twitchy. πŸ˜•Β I didn’t expect to even be seeing any people, let alone interacting with them… but I’m feeling better now that plans and prices are set, things should start soon, evening is coming, and things are cooling off outside. I mean, just walking around the yard with everyone, pointing out this and that, using my cane and trying not to dick up my knee any more… I was sweating just from that. πŸ˜“ Good on them for being able to work in the heat like they did today. It sure saves lazy and/or broken people such as myself. πŸ™‚

Just hoping to get some good sleep tonight so I can be a little more productive tomorrow. Bills, e-mail, laundry, vacuuming… just little shit… but I’ve had to stay on pause for a couple days, and I’ve learned that if I don’t turn it around quickly it could end up sticking. But hey, like I said, I’ve gotten out of the house to handle a few things and even make it to an appointment up in Columbus – so things are still basically moving in the right direction. Just really looking forward to the couple of doctor appointments for my neck and knee once June gets here… ‘cuz this shit is getting old. Like me, I guess… πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

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˜‹

Sing, Sing A Song

My injury that resulted in the c5-c7 disk removal / spinal fusion over a decade ago… it stole so much from my life. 😞 Not the surgery itself so much, but the resulting nerve damage that made my left arm rather useless. There are still days when I’m surprised by the discovery of something else “new” that I’m no longer able to do.Β πŸ™ I should have kept a running list… but boy would that have been depressing to have everything I’ve lost, all in one handy notebook.

Well, my most recent neck “thing” seems determined to steal something from me as well. I’m still in the middle of the whole “cancer treatment” thing, with the first step having been the removal of the thyroid… and now while I’m waiting for the radioactive iodine treatment in a couple of weeks, in the mean time I can’t help but be a little bitter about a particular side effect of this surgery. 😠

I dunno… for all I know, this might not be something permanent – but considering that I’m about a month and a half out from the surgery, it’s probably gonna stick. You may or may not know, but music is everythingΒ to me. 🀨 Whether listening to it, playing it on a keyboard, crafting it via Amiga / PC tracker programs, or just singing in the car or even at karaoke back in the day. Well I’ve lost a big chunk of that passion, because I can no longer sing. 😟 At least in no way that I used to.

At first I just couldn’t hit the notes at all. Songs that I’ve sung out loud or in my head a thousand times… I now sound like any other shlub that might try to sing it at karaoke somewhere, to the cringes of the peanut gallery.Β πŸ˜’ With a conscious effort, thankfully I’ve been able to get someΒ of my “pitch” ability back – but I’ve lost a huge amount of my higher range. 😒 I’m not sure if it’s because things got tightened up inside my neck, the same way the skin has on the outside (due to the new incision and stitches), but during those moments when I’m not hitting the higher notes – I can actually feel it pulling. 😣 It’s a difficult sensation to describe without the listener having experienced it themselves.

And yeah, I know… considering that I lost some of my range as a side effect of trying to free my body of cancer… I know that it probably sounds silly or greedy for me to be complaining about something that many people would see as frivolous, given the situation.Β πŸ™„ But seriously, when so much has already been taken from me, and singing was one of the few things that I just endlessly enjoyed, whether by myself or in front of people… it’s just another kick in the nuts that life has decided to send my way. 😑 “So… that one thing you’ve always loved doing? Yeah, well that’s about enough of all that.”Β Fucking awesome.

Meh… it’s not gonna stop me from singing, at least not when I’m by myself, so maybe, hopefully, things may continue healing in a way where I can get a little more of my voice back. If I would have known this was coming my way, I definitely would have recorded as many songs as I could before going under the knife. Years ago I recorded enough songs to fill 3 CDs, which I then shared with Mom and Dad and a few other people… but I never thought those would be all that I’d ever do, at least not until now.Β πŸ™

I’ve never claimed to be a great singer. I’ve never even really claimed to be a good singer. It was more that I was good enough, and I recorded the songs that I did because I just love singing, and trying to sound like I love singing. 😏 I wanted people to be able to hear me doing something I loved, because of how it made me feel. Meh… it sounds dumb when I try to put my thoughts about it to words.Β πŸ˜• Oh, and I don’t care if anyone thinks that this is all self-pity… because it is, and I think I’ve earned it.

What’s This?

Only got a couple hours sleep last night and then still had to wake up at 8am to get ready for my monthly appointment with Dr Walter. πŸ˜’ I don’t know how he does it, but he always seems to be in a good mood no matter what the time of day. If nothing else, he’s got a great “game face” for when it comes to dealing with patients. 😏 I told him how my left arm was literally like a limp noodle the day that I came home after my surgery, but how since then I haven’t really had any pain – thanks to the temporarily increased meds.

So it was a good visit, with nothing for me to really complain about. Like I mentioned to him, I think that sometimes the amount of pain that I’m feeling in my shoulder and in my neck is relative. When that’s the only thing that I’ve got to focus on, there’s a good chance I’ll notice it more and feel genuinely worse – but when I’m barely two weeks out from a major surgery, my old injury is the last thing on my mind as long as it’s staying at that moderate level of pain where it’s usually at.

I filled him in about the next steps that I’ll be taking with all of that, and we agreed that next month would probably be better for evaluating any changes, since I’ll have had plenty of time to heal from the surgery. I had to leave there and head directly downstairs to have more blood drawn for a thyroid panel, but I still left in a surprisingly good mood.

It’s weird… I haven’t had much to feel good about in a while, and in a way I still don’t… so having those hints of “good mood” just felt weird, since it then caused me to sit here waiting for something or someone to come along and ruin it. 😞 Like Charlie Brown said, “I think I’m afraid to be happy… because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens.”

But with that little boost of positive energy, I did go ahead and throw the Insta360 One camera out there on a tripod in the front yard, set to time-lapse mode. One frame every five seconds, and I had one lens directly facing the setting sun, with the lens on the other side obviously completely shielded from the sunlight. 😎 I wanted to not only do a time-lapse, but to see how bad the stitching is when there’s such an exposure difference between the two lenses. In practice, it would probably be better to turn the camera 90 degrees, where both lenses would get a similar amount of bright light on them. 🀨

Meh… I’ve gotta recharge the camera before I can hook it up to the phone and export the video, so I’ll just drop it in here later once it’s done. In the mean time I’m gonna get a notepad and start documenting all the medical bill stuff, and try to figure out what I wanna cover at my PCP appointment tomorrow. Oy… too many doctors this week, eh? And it ain’t over yet…