New Trick

I learned something new at my most recent doctor appointment for my neck, shoulder, nerves, spine, etc… I learned that there’s a way to completely deactivate my left arm. 😳😧 Seriously. It switches to rag-doll mode and isn’t good for a GD thing. πŸ₯Ί My neck was close to frozen and the muscles were all jammed up in my left shoulder and neck, so I asked him to show me some stretches that might be able to break me out of that.

What he showed me definitely worked… it relaxed the constantly-tense muscles and reduced some of the pain, but man… for about 10 minutes it also made me think that I wasn’t gonna have use of my arm again. ☹️ I ended up finding a place to park in the far end of the parking lot so I could lie on the hard ground, brace my scapula, and do some range-of-motion type stretches to get it working again. πŸ˜£πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

What a weird feeling though, to get in the car and mentally place both of my hands on the steering wheel… for only my right arm to actually do it as the left one just hung there. πŸ₯Ί It didn’t feel “asleep” or tingly or anything, it just didn’t respond. Scary shit. So, it’s not a great feeling to know that the painful / annoying tension has to be there (at least in some part) in order for my left arm to be even slightly useful. 😠 Because when you totally relax those bad muscles, there aren’t enough muscles left that are attached to good nerves that make it do what it’s supposed to do. 😟 And yeah, I know this is a weird blog entry, but trust me… when an entire arm suddenly just doesn’t work, it’s pretty jarring.

As I was laying on the ground, moving my arm up, down, and around… I thought for sure that someone would either send a medic out to check on me or, more likely, someone would call the cops on the weirdo lying on the ground, flailing around. πŸ˜πŸ˜―πŸš” So I don’t know how I feel about all this. Learned some specific stretches and motions that help relieve the pain and pulled muscles, but at a pretty big cost. At least the option is there, I guess, and everything is temporary… both good and bad. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

No more news on the other stuff yet, but I’m taking a break… I need to lie down.

Tnx, Easter Bunny (Bok Bok!)

The Easter Bunny totally spoiled me again this year. πŸ°πŸ˜ƒ It was probably the combination of a bunch of candy, lots of little neat / weird / random goodies, some scrunchy / puffy catnip dolls for Maven, and then all of it coming during this time when we’re all bored of seeing and doing the same thing day after day, meaning that whenever anything new and unexpected gets thrown into the mix it’s gonna be a nice treat. 😌 I won’t even get into the details of the “goodies” in the basket, since they’d probably seem rather strange to someone that didn’t know me and Genesee… er… me and the Easter Bunny, rather… πŸ€“πŸ˜ but it’s a perfect little collection of weird stuff for the sake of mental distraction.

I think the EB also caught word that I don’t exactly keep my shelves and fridge stocked with “real” food, so along with the regular basket of goodies I also got two huge bags of food from The Olive Garden. 😯🀀 I ate the cheese sticks as soon as I unpacked stuff, but then there are five more entrees waiting for me, a couple more salads, a ton of bread sticks, and a big piece of cheesecake. 😁 I had no idea that any of it was coming, other than being told to expect a delivery, so it was a great addition to the other stuff from the bunny.

I can’t think of anything I’ve done lately that should merit me getting spoiled like this, and I do feel bad that I haven’t been able to include Dad in the surprise company and surprise food, but it’s sure gonna be nice to have that “real” food for most of the days coming up this week. 😌 Like I told Gen, I really am stocked up on foodstuffs. πŸ€” Frozen stuff, canned stuff, boxed stuff, etc… and I would have been okay with only that… but this was just really good timing and I really appreciate it.

In other news, a few days ago Wendi had me download Facebook Messenger, that way she could video-chat me and I could see one-month-old Matthew Jr live and in person. 🀀 And after telling Wendi that I’d “try to get back on Facebook” soon… I’d swear that my words got picked up by the wind and were subliminally scattered to my friends. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Because not long after, I had two different friends “find me” on YouTube and Twitter, and then a couple different friends texted me directly… all wanting to know if I was okay, if I was gonna get back on FB, etc – since I really have neglected folks for a long time. 😟

(Honestly, I think that re-installing Messenger after so long may have caused notifications like “Robert Batina logged on for the first time in six months. Say hello!” or some similar shit like that. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ)

On average my anxiety is still high, but I’m trying to handle the bits of each day in little chunks – rather than worrying about all of them from the moment I wake up. 😳 Cousin Jimmy was another one that hit me up after a couple of months off, and he helped ease my concerns regarding getting back into the social swing of things. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ He reminded me that everyone on Facebook is now dealing withΒ at least one shitty, significant “life” thing –Β so I might be able to sneak back in without any fuss or questions about why I vanished. 😬 I may get into that here sometime, but I’m hoping to keep my eventual return to FB quick and painless.

Okeydoke, enough rambling… heh… I was (good) wired after the surprise company from my cousins yesterday, and now I’m feeling (good) wired from the Easter Bunny totally hooking me up with goodies and a ridiculous amount of food food this year. πŸ˜… But it is starting to get late, so I should go ahead and shift my brain into neutral and start getting ready for bed sometime here in the next one to eight hours. πŸ˜πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I know everything kinda sucks right now, and it feels nearly unavoidable… but I hope y’all had at least a little unexpected good stuff pop into one of your recent days like it did mine today. 😊 Take care, stay safe. ✊🏻

The “Anxiety Light” Version

Legal Eagle spells it out much better than I could… and with 99% less emotional exhaustion. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Partial Reprieve

I’m half disappointed and half relieved. πŸ€” Lead attorney said I’d probably get a call to set up a meeting with everyone towards the end of the week… and now the week is over. So, I’m gonna guess that the letter I sent with my concerns, pre-meeting, may have caused a little more research and discussion among the team. Or I’m a piddly case and they’re working on something bigger and didn’t even think of me this week. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

Obviously I’m torn… part of me is ready to get this shit taken care of as quickly (but firmly) as possible, but part of me is glad that it’s the weekend so I’ll have two whole days of not having to think about it. πŸ™‚ (For the most part.) I did get a printout from the pharmacy though, with the records for all of my meds from 2019… and at some point this weekend I have to go through that and figure out when the WC insurer did pay for things and when they didn’t. 🀨 (As well as calculating the true total cost of all my meds.) That’ll be fun, considering the printouts have no payment info other than the type, date, and cost. πŸ˜’ Meh… I’ll figure it out.

I’m gonna go to the rarely-used “sitting room” in the basement this evening, to watch my shows in complete isolation from the world… 😊 then the weekend is supposed to be nice, or at least sunny, so I’m gonna try to go see Dad on one of those days. The one year anniversary of Mom being called Home is coming up, so of course that’s been bouncing around in my thoughts along with all of the other stuff. 😒😌

It sure doesn’t seem like it has been a year already…

Perfect Storm

Three things:

  • I didn’t get my nap today, so I’ve been awake since 3a… and it is currently 11p.
  • Despite that, I still made it in town to meet up with my friends for dinner.
  • I had a good time… but my shoulder is fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Note, this isn’t a complaining post, even though it’ll sound like it. ‘Cuz my shoulder is frozen in the “up” position, but thankfully isn’t throwing a fit anymore. πŸ™„ Good lord, I haven’t had it shake this much in a long time. I’ve also got that familiar tilt of the head to the left. πŸ€• Yeah, tomorrow is going to royally suck.

This was one of those “price of entry” situations I’ve mentioned before. Where a combination of normally trivial things combine to flip the switch, even though it was something I wanted to do. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Not quite enough sleep, sitting up against the wall in an uncomfortable booth, not being able to fidget around as needed, loads of noisy people all around, using “social energy” I didn’t really have, an unfamiliar place, and then going from the warm to the cold as we finally gave up our seats and took it outside to finish talking. 😏

But it was Jim, Adam, and Brad, and we all went to The Pink Cricket. Haven’t stepped inside that place since I was barely a teenager, when me and my cousin Jim went in because they had a new (at the time) Ms Pacman machine. Ironically, they still have three arcade machines, and they’re all vintage. πŸ€“πŸ‘πŸ» Adam is a bit of a foodie, so I was happy to go there – since us getting together these days technically qualifies as “an event.”

The only time we weren’t talking was when we were cramming food in our mouths, but at a little over an hour my shoulder really started twitching. 😳 We had finished eating and were just taking up space, so I asked if they’d mind going outside so I could move around a bit. Well, we ended up standing outside for another 45 minutes, and all the little triggers came together and I ended up putting on a pretty good show. πŸ€•πŸ˜ Just meaning that my shoulder wouldn’t stop, and it’s probably the worst that they’ve seen it.

We covered a lot of topics but of course eventually it turned to my shoulder, then workers comp stuff, then all of our various aches and pains that we now bitch about… 😏 typical fare for four d00ds who are approaching “old fart” territory a little quicker than we’d like. But they had to drop off Brad before Adam could head back to Columbus, and then Jim up to Marion, so we broke it up and headed out around 10:30p.

Fun fact… I started this entry around 11p when I got home, but I’ve had to take so many breaks that it’s now after midnight. 😳 That’s the stuff that people don’t see. Spending an hour leaning against the space heater, typing a couple sentences here and there, and doing my best to make the “ugh” go away. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ At least my shoulder’s down and my head’s back in a normal position now. But yeah, still glad that I went.

(But ask me tomorrow when I wake up. 😏 It’s time for bed.)

No Skill/Participation Required

I really wish I could take credit for what I’ve thrown together in this little clip, but the extent of my participation in capturing these three clips was setting a few things on the camcorder, pressing record, then slowly backing away and leaving it alone while it did its thing. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The first clip suffers from a huge amount of chromatic aberration – something that I can’t do a damn thing about – but I hadn’t recorded the moon going behind the trees before, so I didn’t realize how bad it could be affected by it. πŸ˜• I probably shouldn’t have pointed it out, ‘cuz now that’s all you’ll see.Β Β 

The second clip was a time-lapse at 20 second intervals… and yeah, I knew the clouds would be moving way too fast to be “peaceful” looking, but I wanted to show the motion of the moon across the sky in that particular clip. πŸ€”πŸ€“ β˜οΈβ˜οΈπŸŒ•πŸ’¨Β And then the third, it’s much like the first, just using less zoom – and unfortunately the camcorder just struggles to maintain the correct brightness level, so unless you’re zoomed in with the 80x digital you’re just not gonna be able to get the detail of the surface. πŸ˜’

But with this last test, I think I’ve kinda done all that I need to do when it comes to shooting the moon (*giggle*) or working with time-lapse videos of the sky, whether in the day, evening, or night. Meaning, there’s not much more new that I can do without leaving the yard… so I’ll probably put these projects on the back burner for a while, until I’m feeling in good enough shape to actually take the show on the road and set up for something with a more scenic view. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ Figuring out this stuff helps to temporarily take away some of the stress I’ve been feeling lately… really looking at this stuff, realizing how small we are, and how vast “everything” truly is. 😌 But yeah, back to boring and/or bitching posts after this, I guess… πŸ˜…

Oh Yeah, I’m Still Quite Broken

I enjoyed having some company for a few days, but the one reason why I’m glad that she’s back at her own house now? So I can have my damn chair back. πŸ˜… She’s like me… for whatever reason, we both find the recliner to be the best place to sleep. So while she’s here she sleeps in the living room and I sleep in my bedroom… on my crappy mattress. πŸ˜’ It’s not always bad… but the odds say that you’re more likely to wake up feeling like shit than not – and every night that she’s been here recently I’ve woken up wishing that someone would just put me out of my misery. 😣 Thankfully, hot hot shower “until the hot runs out” makes a lot of it go away.

I think that steroid injection did work, and I think it is starting to wear off… so I’m just having to get used to regularly waking up in pain again. It’s almost enough to make me not want to do an injection again – because, believe it or not, I can get used to the pain… but not if some magic shot makes it go away for a few weeks before letting it get me again. πŸ˜ͺ I’m not meaning to bitch though… I just wanted to say that I’m happy that I’ll be able to sleep in my recliner again and at least give myself a shot at feeling decent in the morning.

The past few days have been really good for me though. I went and did my own grocery shopping without any problems, and then yesterday I went with Cassi when she did her shopping… and at neither time did I feel like running from the store or stabbing anyone in the face. 😈 I think it’s because she’s one of the few people that I can feel human around, which sometimes lets me do human things. Lemme tell you, as weird as this stuff probably sounds to “normal” folks, it’s even more confusing and frustrating to me, the one experiencing it all. 😐

I’m not gonna make any concrete plans based on how I’m feeling after the past few days, but I will say that I’m gonna try to keep rolling with the positive vibes and see where that takes me. 🀞🏻 I’ve got some things in mind, but I don’t wanna pressure myself by laying it all out. See, it is possible to really hurt and still feel somewhat okay. πŸ€” Some days are obviously worse than others, but I have to convince myself that feeling physically miserable doesn’t always mean that my entire day will be destroyed. I know it’s possible.

Faith In Medicine

Got up early yesterday and went and got that steroid injection taken care of. Since I was having it done at a local “surgery pavilion” (yeah πŸ™„ I know) it ended up feeling like the real deal. 😯πŸ₯ I had to strip and change into a gown in the staging type room, got all wired up with sensors and an IV, was rolledΒ way down to a procedure room full of huge lab machines, and when I was done they wheeled me all the way back up to a different area (recovery) where, after having my vitals taken a couple more times, I got dressed again and then had some bloke guide me to the exit. 😳

The doctor that did the procedure is the same one that I’ve been seeing every month for the past decade, so after seeing him for years in “diagnostic mode” – it was kewl to see him in that environment, runnin’ the theater, calling out to either of the nurses for this and that, and then of course jabbing me with needles. πŸ’‰πŸ˜¬ And I’ll admit, some of the stuff hurt a little more than I expected. Kind of like when you get a tattoo on your bicep, the underneath part is super sensitive… well, in order to get me numbed up, the area(s) that he had to hit repeatedly with the lidocaine injections had that same “YOWZA!” effect.

So, the site was numb, and he went in… needle, then saline, then dye, then… oops, a bit of blood. 😯 I’m not sure exactly how bad that could be, but none of them seemed worried and he decided to try one level lower instead. (Which means I had to go through the anesthetic process all over again. ☹ Yay.) This time it went without issue… but let me tell you, it’s quite an unusual sensation having extra fluid (as limited as it probably was) pumped into your spine. It’s like it’s used to a certain “normal” pressure, and that bit of extra… at least for me, it was like someone plopped down on my back for a few minutes. So strange.

My doctor is awesome though… and I’ve probably said that to various people in various places over 100 times by now. 😏 But he talked to me through the whole thing, told me everything that was happening, everything that was getting ready to happen, and then when I was in the recovery room he came out and showed me the pictures, described it all over again to make me feel at ease, and that was about it. πŸ€— There was a lot more “fuss” than I was expecting, but if I notice that it’s making a difference over the next few weeks I certainly won’t object to doing it again when needed. 🀨 ‘Cuz something’s gotta give… something has to eventually work better on me again, right?

The day before all of this, I stopped in again to see Mom and Dad. πŸ‘ͺ As I was telling him about what I was getting ready for, he mentioned the procedure that he was getting ready to have… but he said it in such a “matter of fact / no big deal” type of way that I didn’t really pause to consider the seriousness. πŸ€” More serious than mine, anyway. A heart cath is one of those common-ish surgeries where you just expect that cardiac surgeons can basically do them in their sleep… but each patient can obviously be very, very different – so you can’t really say for sure how safe it is or isn’t. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘πŸ»

But, and I think it started way back when Mom had a brain tumor removed, for whatever reason I just have a strong faith in medicine, the people that practice it, along with the technology and science behind it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yeah, I’m all fucked up now, but not because of the fusion surgery… it was because of the delay of the surgery. So that’s why I wasn’t sweating my injection yesterday, and why I’m only slightly sweating Dad’s upcoming procedure. Oh, and you may have noticed that I didn’t mention God in all those things I said have faith in… but yeah, he’s absolutely watching over all of it, for all of us, so while it’s not a guarantee – it does add a subconscious sense of “unconcern” when thinking about it all.