Blank Slate

With the way my past few days had gone, and then getting suckered in by that early evening nap yesterday, I sure didn’t expect to get a decent night of sleep last night anyway and then wake up feeling as good as I do. Keep in mind, it’s always “relatively speaking” when I talk about how I feel… but yup, not too tired, aches and pains aren’t too bad, and whatever ick I’ve been slowly fighting off seems like it may finally be gone.

It’s even fairly warm outside, so I’m gonna go ahead and open up the house to blow some stink out, and maybe do a little of this and that around the house as I watch the race. (Even though, honestly, I probably won’t even really be watching it. I’ve lost so much buzz for NASCAR over the past couple of years.)ย The only mandatory thing for the day is getting the mail opened and bills caught up, but I have a feeling that this will be the first day in a while where I’ll be able to be a little more productive than that without it taking some sort of toll on me. ๐Ÿ™‚ It feels silly to be kinda excited about that, but that speaks to how crappy I feel most days.

And when I was at Walgreens to pick up Dad’s prints the other day, I also went ahead and grabbed what will be a purpose-specific little notebook so I can continue to get my shit together. Sure, I could do it on my phone, but I’ve just been wanting a notebook where (all in one place) I can start listing out all my doctors, addresses, phone numbers, meds prescribed by each one, etc… and in another part I’ll do the same with my lawn guy, potential other handyman/repair/service/etc type people or companies. Just wanting to inject a little more order into my sometimes aimless life. Even if doing all that is almost just for a placebo effect, it’s gonna make my brain happier if I do this and then have all of that information right there at hand whenever I need it. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Meh… guess I should stop rambling and get to enjoyin’ the day, eh? ๐Ÿ˜ย It could be a one-off…ย  heh

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Whirlwind

The past few days have been rough… starting off with some sort of 36-hour bug that had me down for the count. I can’t remember the last time that I felt that bad and threw up that much. It was awful. For 24 hours I didn’t even leave my bed, unless it was to go to the bathroom, but by yesterday morning I could tell that I was starting to get back to decent. Not completely better, but with as miserable as I was feeling, man did I feel blessed to feel at least as good as I was feeling. (I appreciated Gen keeping me “company” through an always-open message screen… ‘cuz man does it suck to feel alone when you’re that sick.)

But later that evening I got a few messages from my friend Bri, telling me about some concerns she was having regarding her pregnancy… and that she was advised to go to the hospital to have a couple tests done, but she wasn’t able to find anyone that could give her a ride. Her sister and brother-in-law both had the same bug as me, so I totally understood their inability to drive her there and wait – so I ended up being her last resort, and luckily I was just good enough to be able to go in and take her.

Everything ended up being fine but the whole ordeal didn’t wrap up until after 1am, and then I didn’t manage to get to sleep until after 4am. I had made plans with Aunt Sharon to go visit Dad today, but that was before I knew I’d have my late night at the hospital. (I had a bunch of old slide scans of him, Mom, me, and others turned into prints that I definitely at least wanted to drop off – even if I wasn’t feeling good enough to stay long.) So a few hours sleep and I was back up and at ’em. Sort of. Took me forever to get moving, because I could (and can still) tell that I haven’t quite shaken whatever had me laid out.

The visit was really good, and I finally ate some real food, but almost immediately when I got home I sacked out for a three hour nap. Not really what I wanted to do, risking losing a normal sleep schedule, but I didn’t get much say in the matter. I think I’m still good though… and between wearing a mask the whole time at the hospital, and then hopefully being over it by today, hopefully I won’t end up getting anyone else sick. Whatever it is is really going around though, so everyone’s kinda watching out for it.

I don’t know how I didn’t manage to jinx myself today. During that “Ahh!” period of feeling better after a couple days of puking, that’s when I made the plans to go see Dad… so I’m lucky that I didn’t end up overdoing it or setting myself back with the lack of sleep and end up having to cancel. For once my body didn’t betray me… let’s all hope that I can still get some good sleep tonight in a few hours though. Still staying optimistic, cuz any improvement over a couple days ago is worth being happy about. And maybe it was good to get one more day before I try to throw myself back into “getting some things done around here” – albeit slowly. Still trying to get myself back on track from this past month…

One More Day

I’m taking one more day, tomorrow, and then I plan on doing my best to return to society and engage with the humans again when necessary. ๐Ÿ˜ I already know that I have a crapload of phone calls to make and take, but I’m actually talking about not looking like a hobo anymore, and actually leaving the house more than once a week. See, I haven’t shaved since the day before my surgery, so that means I’ve got 18 daysย of mostly gray beard that needs to get gone. ๐Ÿง”๐Ÿป I haven’t shaved through this point because I didn’t want to risk mowing over my stitches and ripping the incision open. ๐Ÿšœ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Being somewhat laid up, unable and/or unwilling to go out in public… it’s been grand. ๐Ÿ˜Š It’s selfish, yes, but “me doing me” for the better part of two weeks, even though I’ve been physically “bleh” for most of it, has done wonders for my mood. ๐Ÿ˜ And discussing with friends, when I noted my unusually “okay” mood lately, they suggested that maybe my thyroid was actually causing some of the “mood disorders” – and now that it’s out and its function is being replaced by medication, it’s a possibility that it could be easier for me to maintain an okay mood because of it all. (There’s also a good chance the whole idea is psychological trickery, and I’m psyching myself into a decent mood under false pretenses. ๐Ÿ˜…)

I did get a ton of shit done yesterday. ๐Ÿคจ Pretty sure I’m completely caught up on medical, mail, and bills… and it’s a good thing that I’m going through the medical stuff in such detail, because I’ve already caught a fraudulent bill for over $100 – for services that I know I shouldn’t have been charged for. (That’s one of the folks on the list of Tuesday calls…)ย The side effect is that my living room floor, where I do my work, is covered with various piles of paperwork, pens, envelopes, receipts, file folders, etc. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ I”ll take care of that tonight though, so tomorrow can be reserved for just laundry and a shave.

I’ll probably make sure the Insta360 is charged up tonight. Oh… yeah, I didn’t go out today – except for a quick trip to the truck stop down the highway for foodstuffs. ๐ŸŒฏ๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿž๐Ÿฅค But I’m gonna have that cam charged in case I wanna try anything, and then there’s also the Dover NASCAR race, the premiere episode of Series 11 of Doctor Who, and then I think the new season of The Walking Dead airs tomorrow evening as well. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐ŸงŸ Haven’t yet decided what I’m gonna do with my Monday though. When I made that “Three Day Weekend” post, I was only joking – because I was treating Friday as part of the weekend… and I didn’t even realize that there actually was a legitimate holiday this Monday. ๐Ÿค” Hmm, note to self, don’t put all these envelopes out in the mailbox until Monday night.

Pass The Baton / Kick The Can

I didn’t do my bills last night, but I’m doing them now. ๐Ÿ˜’ They’re enough of a pain in the ass that I think I deserve an intermission, so I figured I’d jump over here and drop a few paragraphs. I knocked out the easy ones… gas, electric, internet, etc… but all of the fun medical related ones are starting to come in, and I want to pay closer attention as they nickel and dime me. ๐Ÿคจ Mostly just to make sure that they don’t nickel and dime me over the same test, scan, procedure, or person twice.

My appointment today? Well, I guess it was okay. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ He said that the pathology reports on the tissue removed during my surgery was exactly what the pre-surgery biopsy had suggested, and that it’s the most common and most treatable type of thyroid cancer. ๐Ÿ˜ Bleh… I don’t like using that word, so don’t expect to see it get used much here. ๐Ÿ˜ท So, it was a good follow-up, with the labs at least not coming back with something scarier than already thought. And I really pushed him for his true opinion. I told him not to bullshit me, and asked him if he had any “gasp” moments during the surgery.

Like I told him, before I was able to get workers comp to pay for my C5-C7 fusion surgery, I had to get an MRI done – with several doctors and medical assistant folks looking at the results, which showed some pretty severe damage. ๐Ÿง And each one that didย look at it… it gave them a “gasp” moment. ๐Ÿ˜ง

Where even a trained medical professional was like Wow. ๐Ÿ˜ณ or Damn. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ or Holy shit. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I explained how that helped me in thatย previousย situation, as it got everything approved and moving much more quickly… but that a “gasp” moment now isn’t something that I was hoping for, but that I still wanted him to tell me if it happened to him while he was digging around inside my neck. ๐Ÿ˜ His reply seemed genuine (as usual) when he said that nothing was any more concerning to him once he was in there than when he was anticipating how it would look and how it would go. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

He explained that there was inflammation, but no more than he was expecting. He said that nothing gave him any kind of pause, that the surgery went as well as he could have hoped for, and that I don’t need to worry so much at this point. (Easier said than done, pal… ๐Ÿ˜) I’m getting more blood drawn tomorrow, and he’s referring me to an endocrinologist in the same building that will hopefully help get my screwed up levels straightened out, as well as likely doing (or scheduling) this marker/radiation pill dealย  – which will hopefully be a one time thing followed by close monitoring. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

I figure I’ll save the questions about if/when I’ll have to see an oncologist, although I’m guessingย that’sย gonna be the doctor that would be doing the marker/radiation pill deal that I just mentioned, now that I think about it. ๐Ÿค” It’s a little frustrating to be handed off from specialist to specialist, but better to have a whole bunch of different eyes on the situation than just one d00d who might not know what he’s doing, right?

So today’s follow-up… I’ll take it as a positive outcome. ๐Ÿ™‚ Didn’t really learn anything new, but learning that the labs confirmed what the initial tests suggested, and nothing worse… that’s sure better than the alternative. Also, having the whole “Don’t BS me, doc.” conversation, with the way he replied… it did actually make me feel a little more comfortable with the whole thing in my head. And so it goes…

Nervous But Not Worried

One week to go until my surgery (don’t worry, I’m not gonna count down each time I make a post… heh) but I’m trying to make today as “normal” and chill as possible. Trash runs tomorrow, so I’ve gotta fill the buggy and drag it to the road… then I’ve got a small stack of mail that I should probably get to… and then I wanna straighten up the living room, vacuum up all this kitty hair, etc. ๐Ÿ˜ย Normal.

I’m nervous, but I’m at ease. Nothing about “right now” is how I want it, and I plan to work to change what I can after the surgery and recover time, but the way things are right now should get me through to next Wednesday without any big chance of unintentionally triggering anxiety attacks or whatever. Right now I have to worry about me. (And I know I’ve got all my loved ones’ support, which definitely helps.)

I still haven’t told a majority of my friends. Some have learned about it through the blog here, I’ve told a small handful in a private Facebook group, but I haven’t yet figured out how to tell “everyone” in a way that won’t trigger a huge reaction. I guess that’s the point of friends though… to provide those huge reactions, since it means they care. ๐Ÿ™‚ But yeah… not today.

Today I get to pretend that it’s just like any other day.

Preparation

Yesterday was a strange day. ๐Ÿ˜ I feel good, having completed a bunch of stuff that I felt neededย completing, but the nature of the stuff left me feeling a little uneasy – and definitely unable to fall asleep at a normal hour. ๐Ÿ˜• Despite that, I managed to have some awesome dreams. Awesome enough to have actually woken me up every hour or so – but of course I can’t remember a single detail at the moment. ๐Ÿ˜  I’m just lucky that they weren’t about the topic at hand yesterday.

Of course I expect my upcoming surgery to go fine, but being the type of person that I am I’ve gone into “prepare” mode – just in case it doesn’t. ๐Ÿ˜ณ As part of that preparation process, I spent a good amount of time typing out letters to my cousin Jim and my ex-wife Genesee, as they would be the ones handling everything in the event that things need to be handled. Those letters are just my way of easing them into the process. (Since I was the executor for my aunt, I learned a few tips and tricks.)

They won’t even get those letters unless the situation calls for it, so that allowed me to be a little more free with what I said… but for the most part it was just explaining my will, explaining my wishes when it came to my personal belongings, explaining a good deal about how the process will go, and what they will need to do to keep things moving along, hopefully without too many hiccups and at a reasonable pace. ๐Ÿ˜Ž It’s a lot to ask of someone, so I also made sure that my appreciation was made super clear.

But between the several pages that I wrote for Mongo, and then the three pages that I wrote for Gen… I was just doing a whole lot of thinking about a topic that nobody wants to have to think about. It wasn’t all bad… in fact, a lot of the thinking that I did was about good memories, good times, good things with family and friends, etc. ๐Ÿ˜Š Oh, and I’m up to 19 separate audio recordings when it comes to the little archive of messages that I’m recording for people to have and listen to after I’m gone… which, like I said, I don’t anticipate happening for a good long while. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m actually really enjoying doing that.

Don’t take this the wrong way. ๐Ÿคจ All of this preparation is just being done out of necessity, and it’s something that any responsible person would want to do before a major surgery. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ It can just really mess with your head when you end up dwelling on the topic for too long. I’m still good though, and I know everyone that loves me has my back. ๐Ÿ˜ I’m still optimistic about this surgery, I’m gonna get through it, and then whatever is next is next. One step at a time.

RfD – Reality For Dummies

There is an epidemic in America these days. It’s a damaging combination of ignorance, anger, stubbornness, apathy, gullibility, reluctance, spite, denial, and straight up stupidity. (Among at least a dozen other harmful ways of thinking.) Since this post will revolve mostly around political opinions or beliefs, let me say that I don’t even care what “side” you’re on when it comes to any particular issue… I just want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are false, just as I want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are truthful. Operating within the bounds of reality, to put it simply. Apparently, though, that’s something that can prove to be incredibly difficult for an obscene amount of humans on this planet.

  • Robert Mueller and his team announce 13 new indictments resulting from their investigation. Most of the people are Russian, not linked to Donald Trump in any specific way, and it says the people that the Russians did work with were unwitting participants… unaware that their strings were being pulled by Russians.

Donald Trump and his supporters immediately seized on this news, and either through ignorance or deception – spun it as some sort of huge vindication for Trump. Going on about how the actions of those Russians had no impact on the election, and that it proves that Donald Trump and his campaign “did nothing wrong” and that there was no collusion. All of that, and more, based on these specific indictments on thatย specific day.

RfD Explanation: 1) Nobody can say with certainty that the actions of the Russians had zero impact on the election results. You can only say that if you know for certain what would have happened without Russian interference, which is impossible. 2) As for the “did nothing wrong” and “no collusion” claims… those claims can both be true for this incident, with these indictments, while still allowing for those claims to be false when it comes to anything else in the investigation. If the FBI is investigating the mob and they arrest some low level shmuck – just because it was “the shmuck” that was picked up, it obviously doesn’t guarantee that the mob leaders are innocent and will never be caught and charged in the future. That shouldn’t even need explanation.

  • President Obama created DACA protections through an executive order, which Donald Trump has since nullified once he came into office.

In the time since then, Donald Trump has been endlessly tweeting about how Democrats don’t want to help DACA, they don’t really want DACA, they only want it as a campaign issue, and how badly DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats. He also claims that Republicans are the ones who are working hard to save it, that they want to make a deal to save DACA, and that he’s offering DACA as a great deal to Democrats.

RfD Explanation: Donald Trump single-handedly ended DACA. There shouldn’t be a need for elaboration after that, but… not only is Trump responsible for DACA being in the dire position that it’s in, but he and the Republicans will not vote on a clean DACA bill. He wants to use it as a bargaining chip – the exact thing that he has accused the Democrats of wanting to do. Democrats were even willing to deal, to offer requested funding for “The Wall” in a bipartisan deal that would save DACA – but Trump went back on his word and rejected the deal, feeling he wasn’t getting enough from the Democrats to save DACA. Simply put, the GOP controls the senate and the house, so if Trump wanted to save DACA as he claims, the Republicans could do it themselves – with just a few (happily given) votes from Democrats. Every argument he makes on this is nonsense.

  • Rob Goldman, Vice President of Advertising at Facebook, made several tweets about their part in the Mueller investigation – since they’re being looked at due to Russians buying blocks of advertising on the site before and after the election. He wrote today that “I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.”

RfD Explanation: The problem with this statement is that Donald Trump and loads of his followers started retweeting this information as fact. That the Russians were “definitively” not trying to sway the election. However, unless the ad buyers directly told Goldman the goal of their plan – his use of the word “definitively” is a huge issue. He can look at all the ads, he can look at other information, but his conclusion is simply an opinion or impressionย – not something that should be presented as a fact, and then retweeted by Trump as a fact. It would be like me saying “I read this help wanted ad, and can say definitively that they wouldn’t hire my friend Jim.” It’s not something that can be claimed as fact.


Those are just the three most recent incidents in my mind, where people are being sold a load of horse shit – and they either don’t care or they don’t know any better, so they run with it and repeat it to others as gospel as well. As long as something fits the preferred narrative that someone already has in their head, they’re not going to apply critical thought. Some others… they might actually suspect (or even know) that a piece of information may be partially or completely false, but for some reason they’d rather feel right (with others that think like them) than actually be right.

I’m sure there are some Trump supporters who started out legitimately putting their hope into the guy. Wanting to give him a chance, and believing his words when he’d say how much he was gonna fight for “the little guy” or whatever it was that sold himself to them. Over time though, I’m sure that many of those folks started questioning, and then realizing… that in so many instances, Trump is ridiculously full of shit. But by that point they’re already fully invested – and even just acknowledging the lies and deceptions to themselves is something they aren’t willing to do. Realizing and admitting that you’ve been suckered, even just to yourself, is a difficult thing to do. Nobody likes feeling duped… and many Trump supporters, to me at least, seem like they’d rather angrily defend everything about him and their support for him, rather than allowing anyone else to see that they’ve realized how much they’ve been conned. Their feet are dug in at that point, and nothing will change their mind about how they’re gonna play the rest of the game.

I’m not sure which people are more scary/frustrating to me. The ones who know that Trump (or whoever) is full of shit most of the time, or the folks who really do believe everything that Trump (or whoever) says. I can understand people in the first group, but the second group… how can anyone be so oblivious when they’re being lied to over and over? But hell, in both instances – I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for them. It would suck to put your faith into someone that turned out to be a snake oil salesman, just as it would suck to be so blinded by hope that you can no longer recognize fact from fiction.

The divide between folks like me and folks like them… it’s getting bigger and bigger with each day that passes. On top of that, while I thought that when it comes to politics, that people would start to consider themselves more as independents, as issue based thinkers and voters – but the opposite seems to be true. Democrats/liberals are moving farther to the left just as quickly as Republicans/conservatives are moving farther to the right. Things feel broken and somewhat irreparable, and I don’t see how it’s going to get any better any time soon. That’s what brings me back to the topic of this post. If people could just make more of an effort to find/recognize/admit truths and resist lies and bullshit, and act on those truths and lies accordingly, things would have to get a little better, right?