Saturday, May 30, 2009

OMG! WTH? This Pwnz!

It seems only right that I oppose yesterday's post with one that demonstrates a literal reversal in fortune.

You see, I didn't actually ask for help yesterday. All I did was complain that my money was gone. I did some math after that post, and I can now see where the money went. I am notorious for cutting what corners I can when it comes to my diet and money. Mainly, the most important meal of the day - that would be breakfast, for those who don't know - is abandoned for a few cups of coffee, usually taken with a couple of pieces of cheese. Technically, I'm still following my diet. The creamer I use counts not only as the fats written in the schedule, but carbohydrates. Yes, my children...Mile products actually count as a bread on the American Diabetes Association exchange diet. (I was going to write "ADA," but I don't want folks thinking my diet came fro the American Dental Association.) But for a month, I ate three meals a day instead of two, delving into my "twigs and nuts" as snacks when my stomach rumbled between meals.

An extra meal a day isn't enough to explain where all the money went. I...ummm...Well, I was dumb. Instead of buying generic food at every turn, I bought some name brand stuff.

What's sad is that this was my way of "treating" myself. I didn't get a cell phone. I didn't order up satellite TV. I bought no movies or CDs. All I did...was eat a little better. Usually when I say that, it means I ate out a few times. But I steered clear of any restaurants, even the one's that surround my apartment complex.

Okay...I got my meds, specifically my psych meds, and started them yesterday. (Let's have a big round of applause for the emotional roller coaster I've jumped on.) The pharmacy manager at the chain pharmacy I go to was very understanding, and I believe he may have paid for them out of his own pocket come the end of his shift. (Company policy prevents him from doing so while on the clock.) Also, between the $4.43 still in my bank account, and a bowl full of small change I had, I was able to buy a loaf of bread, peanut butter, and two boxes of generic cereal. In other words, I have enough food to get me through the weekend.

Oh...Small note with that bowl of change. It had about $1.00 in dimes, $0.50 in nickels, and the rest in pennies. The machine that would have counted the change and given me a slip that would have allowed me to make a purchase was broken, so the market manager counted the money by hand! A task semi-impossible for me, as my hands would have started malfunctioning shortly after I tried. Mixed in the pile of coins was a genuine Buffalo Nickel! I have no idea how old it really is, as it's far from mint condition. Still, the manager saw it and immediately separated it. It turns out he's a coin collector, and told me that while the coin was probably not worth anything because of its condition, it was still a neat thing to have. He gave it to me, and converted the rest into an additional $4.00 I could spend. =)

Having taken survival measures, I figured I was good for the time being. I'd panic again on Monday, when the food was gone. But, no...I don't get to do that, because I have managed to find some of the most awesome friends on the Internet. One of these friends, who happened to know my PayPal account name, sent support funds! All I did was come along with yet another of my complaint sessions, and a friend steps forward with aid. It's a reminder that I know some of the best humans on the planet.

So, while I was filled to the brim with doom and gloom yesterday, I am chock full of glee today, knowing that in a days, hopefully by Monday, those funds will be in my bank account, I I won't have to fret my finances until the middle of next month.

And so, with help on its way, and me with my meds, I leave you for the moment with a hearty...BE WELL! =)

Friday, May 29, 2009

OMG! WTF? This suxxorz!

Yesterday was my follow-up visit with the doctor that wanted to keep an eye on the infection in my left big toe, Dr. R. If you recall, I was able to communicate rather nicely with Dr. R. Unfortunately, he wasn't in, and so I ended up with Dr. G, the one who barely listens to a word I have to say.

So much for the lengthy list of things I was going to discuss with my doctor.

Dr. G opened the visit by flashing a letter in front of me...a letter that I was barely able to comprehend before he took it away to put back in my medical file. The gist of it is that I am now under scrutiny for being on so many powerful narcotics to cope with my pain. That my percocets last longer than prescribed, and that I never have to fill my morphine early doesn't seem to be part of the equation. So right at the start, I'm made to feel like I'm a would-be villain because I'm chronically ill. Dr. G then dismisses the entire thing, saying that he has patients with similar letters, and those patients have even longer lists of medications than I do. This news did not make me feel any better.

Next, I tell the doc that something is going on in my right ear. No, he won't have to look far. You see, after a shower, I carefully take a Q-Tip and dry my inner and outer ear. I have a very good reason for this. Leaving the moisture there has, in the past, resulted in ear infections so serious that, while I was still living in NY, my father would have to rush me to an emergency room to have it treated. These infections were so bad that all I'd be able to do was sit and cry. Once I'd connected the dots and realized that water was to blame, I made it my business to make sure my ears were kept dry. Recently, while taking care of this little task, the Q-Tips have been going in clean, and coming out bloody.

Seems I've been a little too good at my job, and the dry skin that seems to come along with living in AZ and having brittle diabetes has resulted in an infected sore. It's not deep inside my ear, but it's in a spot not easily seen in a mirror. Thankfully, I'd already been using Silvadene. He gave me a new prescription for it, and said to continue using it to care for the wound.

Then he refilled various prescriptions that have come due. Thanks to that lovely notice, I said, "My percocet will run out next week. You can refill it now, while I'm here, or we can waste more appointment time next week when I'll be officially out." He wrote it then and there. Added to the list was a prescription for Zoloft, which I've been off of a few days. It's a bit of a story, but it boils down to my mental health case manager making morning appointments to see a psychiatrist, usually at a time when I'm still incapable of moving properly. I have another appointment coming up, in the afternoon, thank goodness, and Dr. G wrote enough pills to get me through until then.

Finally, we dealt with my concern of my Charcot's foot. How do we monitor it? Who should I be seeing to do so? He said he would get me a referral to a podiatrist. I asked, "Are you sure this isn't under the purview of an orthopedic specialist, especially when my aches are in various joints body-wide?" My question was dismissed, basically as a silly idea, and said he would be sure to renew the referral to my old podiatrist.

Right. Off I went to the bank next to the doctor's office. I had several prescriptions to fill, as well as a few to refill. My rough calculations told me I'd need approximately $16. I also knew I had virtually no food back home, so I'd need to do a little food shopping on the way back. Rather than blindly use my debit card, I wanted to check my balance. You can imagine how floored I was when I saw I only had $4.43.

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ALL OF MY MONEY?!? I mean, I mentioned that Social Security gave me an extra $250 this month. "Extra" meaning that I should be okay for the month without having to do any begging and pleading. And I seem to have done so well, too. None of my posts this month had me dropping to my virtual knees and asking for help. I'd been a good boy!

I suddenly found myself running through my spending this month. What had I done out of the ordinary that would have me staring an an empty wallet and a virtually empty bank account? Well, I did go a little crazy with my spending. I mean, all those sweat stains on my tee shirts were a bit embarrassing, and Wal-Mart had plain tee shirts on sale for all of $4.50 each, so I bought five shirts. (Get crazy!) There was a recent release of City of Heroes of a costume pack that came with some new emotes and some nifty powers. I blew $10 on a treat for myself. (Mind you, I was tempted to buy five more character slots for my account and use them on what is now my home server, but I deemed the cost of $20 a waste of money.) I also ate fairly well this month; I was able to get away without taking severe shortcuts on my diabetic diet as I usually do. In fact, in an act of utter lunacy, I blew around $4.00 on a 12-pack of diet root beer. (I tell ya, I'm living on the edge!) My grand total in bonus spending: approximately $35. That's it.

Apparently, what I didn't do was keep an eye on my bank account. Somehow, I'd managed to convince myself that the "extra" $250 represented more money than it actually was. Now, when I am in the most dire need of that money, it's all gone. I didn't even go crazy with the money! Thus, I find myself in a genuine "WTF moment."

Well, all is not completely lost. I spoke with the manager at my pharmacy and explained that my finances were in dire shape. He said he would let me slide until 3 June, and fill those prescriptions. At my behest, he will also throw in a box of alcohol swabs, which I need to take my insulin. As for my other needs...Well, I suppose prayer might work. Between what I have in my checking account and a bowl full of pennies, I hay be able to muster enough for some very basic sandwich makings. Odds are excellent I'll be thoroughly fed up with peanut butter come the 3rd of next month, but I need to be eating something.

Once again, I have created a post that makes is dangerous to ask me, "How are you?" I'm off my psych meds, I have no money, I have no food, and I'm an emotional wreck due to all of the above. As I've said before, I need more friends that are millionaires. =/

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Setting myself off.

Okay...As a general lover of music, I listen to just about anything. The only thing I won't waste my time with is (c)rap. Don't even start arguing with me, because it is often "borrowed" music from others and rhyming to a beat. Anyway, this is an official "Country Music Warning." If you have a hatred of country music, don't watch/listen to this song. But I'd like you to try, because I'm going to do something with the rest of this post...I won't be correcting my errors as I type them, and, with luck, you'll be able to read through what's happening to see how much goes into my posts. Again, this is the point where Backspace, spell checking, and any other editing stops...Unless the spelling is EXTREMELY important for the moment.

Once upo a time, I used to love writing. It was a passion, and I simply couldmn't put a stip to my inagination. The stories just kept coming, and I just kept writing. My typos were common. "The" was often "teh." I even had an all time classic typo. I was working on a fantasy, and I meant to write how one of the main heroine's internal organs felt like they were on fire. Instead, O wroite how it felt like her internal orgasms felt like they were on fire. The friend I replied upon to do my editing had a few questions for me about that one, especially when the story used my real friends.

Then again, I'm a noptoriously bad speller. I went to write how someone could barely accomplish a trask, and instead wrote "barley." His comments in the margin was, "He could 'barley' do it? Wheatever shall we do?" And for a guy who liked to write, it took ages for me to realize "no one" is two words. (Are you starting to see a problem yet?)

An important fact to take note of is that I never had an formal training for typing. I simnpy became a very fast two-finger typist...then four-finger. For a guy without training, my fingers would fly, practically causing the keyboard to smoke when my mind was on fire with a new isdea. Jus a few years ago, when I write my screenplay Spirits, there wwere a day when I cranked out close to 4500 words! There weer FIVE drafts oif that story, all written in a mere 12 days!

That was approximatel foiur years ago. Since then, my diabetic neuropathy has taken a greater toll on my manual dexterity and strength. I started hitting more and more extra keys, or would hit a key without enough pressure for it to register on the keyboard. In a way, I saw this coming. It's one of the reasons I left NY. Winters are longer there, and the cold affects my neuropathy in ways I was noticing with increasing ferquency, The keys to a lock would be in my hand, and I'd be trying to open the door, only to find myself without the strength to turn the lock. In many ways, I'm glad no one was around to see the tears start to flow as I had to use both hands the turn a key. NY winters also had another affect, that being on my ankels. I'd be walking along when one or the other would suddenly give out. For that reason, usually one ankle or the other was wrapped in an ace bandage after I'd sprained it.

Not this past winter, but the one before, I boarded a bus and didn't have a bus pass. So I stood there, rtying to put the change into the coin slot...but th coins kept slipping through my fingers, and I couldn't get my thumb and forefiunger to grab the money. The driver, seeing I was having a problem, soimply told me to take a seat.

My "favoite" moments are when I have to sign something, and I have the pen in myhand...and I can't get my hand to scribble my name. I know I'm not gripping the pen hard enough. My head is sending the command to my hand, and it's simply not happening. That's usually when I give an embarrassed smile at whiomever is waiting for em to sign and say, "Give me a second...my hands aren't listening to me."

Yesterday, while I was talking to my friend Leroy, I explained athat my neuropathy is a desiease of my own design. When I was a teeanager, I was especially stupid when it came to caring for myself. Why? Becaus those things that catch up to other diabetics would never catch me, because as a teenager, I was invulnerable. Diabetes complications are for those who aren't invulnerable teenagers. Here I am, decades later, practically waiting for the day when a doctor tells me my feet will have to come off because they're so defroemed that they can't be repaired.

I'm also breaking the promise I made at the start of this post. I'm so accustomed to hitting Backspave that I've been doing it, and actually going back to put my mistakes back so you can see what my neiuropathy is doing to me.

I also made you watch a video. Well, I tried to make you watch a video; I have no idea if you did or not. The thing is, I had no idea that I'd miss the days when things were merely bad. Now, as some of my days are absolutely terribl;e, I find myself thinkjing back to a timne when things were better than they are now.

The ultimate lessin in humility has ben taking place over the last decade. You see, it was about 10 years ago when I moved to AZ the first time, chasing Robin out here when she left NY. Not long afterward, my father had open heart surgery, and I made it clear to anyone with ears that although the risk was low, I wouldn't let my last words to him be over the phione. Although I'd just started a new job, I told them I needed to go back to NY to spend some time with my Dad. And it was at that time that I vowed to myself to live a life with as few regrets as possible.

It's a noice promise...but it means very little in the face of the fact that "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." A regret-free life is impossible. There will always be those decisions you'll regret, be they the romance you invested five uears in, or something you did when you were much younger. And all of those years I spent in out of the hospital for diabetic ketoacidosis...Well, "stupid is as stupid does." I can't seem to strop myself from looking backward and noicing that I actually miss so much from the past. My friends...various family members...the ability to type with greater accuracy.

Along comes Trace Adkins, who wrote a song about just that. So many people see their lives in the moment, and they dislike so much that they see, never realizing that these may well be the good days.

Okay...This is where I end my experiment. Clicking the spell check and looking over this post, I see a lot of words highlighted, once again bringing the reality of my life into technicolor relief. Between all of those errors and Trace's song...Well, it's more than enough to set me off again. The tears start to roll...

'Cuz you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I must've been "Mental."

When I saw the commercials for a new FOX show called "Mental," I tilted my head with interest. A show revolving around a psychiatric ward? I didn't realize they were making a television show just for me!

Of course, watching FOX has become a bit of an adventure. Months ago, I finally bought a digital converter for my TV because, as everyone has been warning, broadcasting will be switching over to this "improved" method of sending out signals. (And, for those not in the loop, I will be revealing my true status as an alien visitor to this planet, sent to save humanity from itself.) When I tune in to FOX, I sometimes get a clear signal, sometimes a sporadic signal, and, quite often, no signal at all. I have a theory, though...If I set up a number of large mirrors around my apartment, angling them just right, I may be able to watch a show on that channel in absolute clarity...from my bath tub.

Thus, when I tuned in to watch "Mental" last night, I stared at a black screen for a moment, fiddled with the antenna for a few minutes, and then surrendered to the fact that I would have to watch it online today, which I did. I also took a few peeks at some of the reviews for the show, and almost everyone is tearing it apart as a "wanna-be House," but in a psych ward. I mean, they even wrote in a scene where breaking into the patient's house was part of the pilot story.

"Sorry, 'Originality,' but you have no place on a television show these days."

Personal experience immediately tainted my opinion of the show. I mean, a schizophrenic patient isolated in a room with a mysterious object that was sharp enough to carve into a wall? Ummm...Riiiiight. Do they also let the patients with depression play with razors?

Then there were the windows of the ward, which appeared to be made of simple glass. No security grate, inside or out. No wire mesh inside the glass to prevent it from shattering in a conventional manner. What's more, the "security" doors were also made of glass. Perhaps thick glass, but glass nonetheless.

Shockingly, the somewhat violent schizophrenic is permitted to sleep on a normal hospital bed, complete with wires and moving parts that no psych patient would be permitted to have in the real world. Someone that mentally ill could do serious harm to themselves with such a bed...like using it to crush their skull in an effort to squeeze the voices or images out of themselves.

Finally, in the pilot, the main patient they focus on somehow escapes from the ward mid-episode. My immediate thought was that the writer's obviously had no experience whatsoever with a REAL psych ward. This wasn't drama...It was fantasy....And not a very good one.

Then there was the protagonist, Dr. Jack Gallagher. The way he advocates for patients is similar to the idea of allowing a chimp drive a tour bus. Sorry, but even the character's personal experience wouldn't allow for his written behavior, and I have yet to meet the doctor that would care that much about a patient. For the average doctor, it's about what medical insurance will allow, and the paperwork he/she has to fill out. It's why I buy into Dr. Gregory House as a character. He couldn't care less about the patient; it's all about treating an illness, not a person.

I'm a nitpicker with medical dramas in general. How many times have I seen a "newborn" that was entirely too clean, or so big it would have needed an axe to escape the womb? Or an abortion that is handled "neatly," and with all the emotional impact of getting the oil changed in one's car? Either you give me a bit of realism, or the medical drama is going to fall flat.

"Mental" is so far from reality that might as well be a soap opera. Dr. A will operate on Patient B, because - damnit! - Patient B is his sister, and he doesn't trust anyone, not even his beloved Nurse C, to treat his sister! And so, after downing a liter of vodka, Dr. A scrubs up and heads for surgery, knowing that there will be tension in the operating room because Dr. D, a woman he's been on a few drug binges with, may or may not be pregnant with his twin children, never realizing that Dr. D is actually a female clone of his long-departed third cousin, Steve! Unless they miraculously find a way of fixing all that is broken with "Mental," you'll see its cancellation come the end of summer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Welcome back to Hell, Bor.

I returned to GitP in full gear, trying to help those whom I thought I could help. And after a bit of research, getting the full story about what this one person was going through, I thought, Wow, my experiences seem to fit what this kid is enduring perfectly. So I sat and crafted a very lengthy response to his issues, giving the best advice that I could think of. Toward the end of my response, there was the following paragraph:

I'm guessing...and I'm also a bit of a dramatist. I mean, using characters from my past, I'm already imagining a scene between you and your father, built on a set of my own mental design, and picturing camera angles.

For the rest of the day, I sought other things to fill my time, and finally went back to GitP to see if this kid had read it. I have no idea if he did, but it was definitely read by some idiot who felt the best response to all of my typing was:

Well... that was a lot!
And I must say... At the end I felt like this:

Then he quoted my "guessing" paragraph.

And that was it. His post wasn't about a problem he was having. It wasn't advice for someone having a problem. It seems he only wanted to say, "You talk too much."

Now, I wrote several replies to his post. During each one, a thought came to my head...No, that'll break the forum rules. Each response I typed would have violated one rule or another, so I deleted them all.

But here? Well, there's a link to this blog in my GitP signature, but it's a "click at your own risk" kind of thing. So as long as you folks don't mind a little emotional explosion on my part, I will reply to his post on MY blog...(Warning: My NY vocabulary is showing.)

In what way was your post relevant to this thread? Who did it help, and how did it help them? So far, the only thing it's done is piss me off to the point where I want to shout, "Fuck you, you little punk! Take your one-line conversations to Random Banter, and stay the fuck out of my thread!" Yeah, MY thread. I made this thing with the idea of helping people, and some of them have serious issues.

Like me, jackass! What makes you think typing is easy for me? Did you ignore the post where I said that I'm suffering wide swings where depression is the only persistent aspect? Did you ignore the part where I mention Charcot's Joint? If you're so fucking smart, then you would read up on the condition and realize that it's a rather severe joint problem that comes with ADVANCED NEUROPATHY! The muscles in my hands are all but gone. I have severe issues typing lengthy tales, and yet I do it anyway in the foolish hope that typing will be some kind of exercise for my weakening hands. And you think I talk too much? Be glad I'm talking online AT ALL! As it is, my coordination is so low that typos have become a natural part of my scribbling, and I'm becoming increasingly frustrated at the fact that even a spell check isn't helping, as my typos make actual words. Even better, because my meds create an altered mental status, I miss many of the mistakes when I make any attempt at editing.

But then there was another post before you decided I needed to be critiqued. You actually had the audacity to tell a friend of mine that his experiences don't really count because they're personal. So what he learned is invalid because it was produced by the greatest teacher of all, Life? Your statement makes me think you've put your foot in your mouth so far that you've swallowed an entire leg, and are currently chewing on one of your ass cheeks!

Oh, let's not forget the ultimate drop of wisdom you tried to give the same kid I tried to help. That's right...Tell a minor to flip the bird to everyone and do what he wants, because they can't stop him. Feel free to ignore the fact that the kid is 16 and trying to resolve his issues, not cause them to explode in his face.

And then you have the audacity to write up a post about your own issues? My first instinct is to tell you to get a stick of dynamite, shove it up your ass, light the fuse, and wait for the big boom. Instead, I'll apply your way of thinking. "You're screwed. You might as well surrender to the way life has turned out for you and start shopping for a cardboard box to live in, because giving up instead of seeking alternate solutions is much better. You already told a minor to say, 'Screw you guys. I'm going home.' Well, nothing's stopping you from doing the same. Admit you're a failure and just do something else...something unwise and unhealthy."

Your one, stupid, short response has me regretting my move back to the GitP forums. I returned to help people, not get critiqued by some asshat who thinks he's smart, but apparently isn't. You see, had you actually BEEN smart, you would have had the thought to make your comment, but realized it contributed NOTHING to the thread and would have kept silent.

And do you see what I've done? Has someone directed you here and shown you this post? It's HERE because it doesn't belong ANYWHERE on GitP. There is no thread there that allows me to say "Your mother should have swallowed."

And there you have it, for better or worse. Mind you, the moment I saw his reply, I knew I would blow an emotional fuse. I fight so hard to keep this angry side of myself locked away, and then the few words of someone I don't even know has it running riot. Mental illness explains it, but doesn't excuse it. That's why I brought my rant here, where it can be let loose and explained...but on GitP, no amount of explanation would excuse it, and I would be banned for the multiple infractions the above would-be post represents. And I would have fewer emotional explosions if people would think before they communicated.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

14 April 1986

I don't think I've spoken of this one in quite some time. It's the tale of my "death." And who better than to "call the time of death" than...lawyers!

The story begins at the Loews movie theater in Levittown, NY, two miles from where I lived with my parents. Although I was 18, I didn't have my driver's license yet. There had been...technical difficulties during the driving test, namely that my self-absorbed mother had failed to renew the registration on her car. While I'd passed the written exam, they would not let me take the driving test with an "illegal" car. So I was stuck riding my bicycle to and from work.

No big deal, really. Back then, I was as fit as can be, and two miles to work, and two miles back was nothing. At a leisurely pace, I could make it in a half hour. If I hauled ass, I could do it in 15 minutes. Hauling ass usually involved me listening to a Walkman and a tape loaded with tunes designed to inspire speed. (If you remember owning a Walkman that played cassettes, you're are like me: OLD! =P ) But I also kept a few tapes that would allow me to set a slower pace, and it was one of those that I was listening to when I got out of work on 14 April, 1986.

Because I was 18, I was finally allowed to close. This meant that I was cycling home around or after midnight. As the last of the staff left the theater, I set my headphones in place and started the trek home along Wantagh Ave. And it wasn't until I reached Old Jerusalem Rd. that I had a problem.

The streets were fairly quiet. Wantagh Ave. being a main roadway, there were a few cars rolling one way or the other. But this doesn't mean I was in La-La Land. Yes, I was a bit tired from work, but the cool air and the ride home was enough to wake me up, and I was very aware of my surroundings. My trip involved few traffic lights, and I was ever-watchful as I approached each one. Good thing, too, because at the light where Old Jerusalem Rd. and Wantagh Ave. met, a woman named Mary was not nearly as attentive as I was.

In the most technical sense, this intersection is four-way. But OJR actually changes its name past Wantagh Ave., as it becomes a very short dead end street. For this reason, the intersection is often thought of as merely a T.

Mary was coming from the opposite direction. She was in the left turn lane. I was in the bike lane. We both had green lights, and pedestrians have the right of way. Street lights...reflectors on my bike...the fact that I was larger than a squirrel...I don't get it. For whatever reason, she didn't see me, and so she started making her left turn, just as I was a mere foot or so from entering the intersection. I was cruising on instinct in that moment, and was smart enough to turn right, moving with her car. Had I been in "haul ass" mode, I would've been one with her front bumper. But instead of flattening me, as would surely have happened had I not turned, I slammed into the side of her car and rolled across her hood.

She stopped, I got off the hood, and while I dragged my bike to the curb, she pulled over. She was very apologetic, and asked if I was okay. Well, a close call with the Grim Reaper gets the adrenaline pumping, and I thought I was fine. If anything, I was more concerned about my poor bicycle, which was bent slightly out of shape. While I was using my "superhuman strength" to bend it back to what it should be, Mary was scribbling down her insurance information. She then made an offer to drive me home, and I repeated that I thought I was fine.

We went our separate ways.

I honestly thought I was okay...But then Dad found me in the kitchen around 1 AM, my bare left leg elevated on another kitchen chair.

Dad: Hi, Rob. How was work?
Me: Okay.
Dad: Anything exciting happen?
Me: Well, I got hit by a car on the way home.
Dad: ...
*I pointed to my leg, which...Well, the only way I've ever described it is that it looked as though someone had opened the outside of my calf, inserted a golf ball, and then seamlessly closed my skin.*
Dad: Are you joking?
Me: Nope. I really did get hit by a car.

Dad wigged out. I insisted that it was probably nothing, and that I'd rather we wait until morning before rushing off to any doctors. I mean, I'd fallen off my bike, and collided with so many things in my life when using said bike, that I thought this really was nothing new. It would go away.

The next morning, however, I couldn't walk. Calls were made, and I was taken to an orthopedic specialist later that same day. X-rays were taken. It was rather amusing when the doc put the x-rays on the light board and pointed. "See this little line?" he asked, with both my father and I squinting and seeing nothing. "You have a hairline fracture of your fibula. No cast, just crutches. Come back in three weeks and we'll look at it again."

Which we did. Lo and behold, there was a cloud of calcium over the spot he'd pointed to, indicating that there was a tiny break, and that it was healing just fine.

The End...

NOT!

Months later, I was having an issue with my left knee. It hurt. The specialist took x-rays and saw nothing, so he ordered this new kind of picture they could take called an MRI. It was big, scary, and noisy, but to find out what was wrong with my knee, I would endure. Since MRIs were relatively new, the radiologist that read it said, "Hmmm...I dunno if there's anything wrong. Let's open him up and take a look!"

And so I had my very first arthroscopy, which showed nothing at the time.

Little side story: I'm no athlete. They seem to have these things and start playing their sports the next week. I was only semi-athletic, and was sent to physical rehab three times a week after the surgery. They had this high tech device that I would sit in, and they would strap my leg to a mechanical...thing. Then they would set the device to apply so much resistance, and I was to move my leg up and down, bending it at the knee. I was instructed to exert all the strength I could muster, and my physical therapist wandered off after hitting start.

One...Two...Thr -

The machine locked up, and I almost flipped myself out of the seat. The therapist came rushing back to me when everyone around me gasped aloud. He desperately tried to reset the machine, but I'd broken it. As he put it, my leg was too strong for the device, and I killed it. (Eat your heart out, Steve Austin.)

When I was 20, I would need a second arthroscopy to fix what was wrong with my knee. I went to a specialist of specialists, and I required something called a "lateral release." Why? Because the lateral retinaculum of my left knee was so tight that when I bent my knee, it would pull my knee cap out of the groove it should sit in, and leave it resting on the end of my femur. Talk about pain! At one point, I was with friends when it happened, and they helped get me to an emergency room. By the time I got there, my knee cap had returned to where it should be, so they saw nothing. The specialist, however, took an x-ray at an angle he called "sunset," and it showed my patella angling toward the outside of my leg. What's more, he also found a piece of "free floating matter" in my knee, which I joked later was probably from the first surgery; someone must have dropped their wallet in my knee.

Back to the tale of my "death"...I was a good Jewish boy. For those that don't know, we are genetically attached to lawyers. A Jew without a lawyer is like a human without blood. As part of the legal process and my medical treatment for the first surgery, I was using "no fault" insurance. I didn't ask to get hit by a car, and because it was someone else's doing that I was hurt, the fault lied with the driver's insurance. So when I had that MRI, I gave all of the no fault insurance info and left it at that.

Months later, I received a bill for $900 for the MRI. I called the facility to find out why, and they said they hadn't been paid. I gave them the insurance info a second time and thought nothing of it.

Months later, I received a bill for $900 for the MRI. I called the facility to find out why, and they said they hadn't been paid. I gave them the insurance info a THIRD time and thought nothing of it.

Months after that, I received a letter from a lawyer. I didn't know this one. Their rather stern letter wanted to know why I was refusing to pay the $900 for the MRI. "Refusing?" I'd given the no fault information THREE TIMES! I hadn't "refused." Some inept dolt didn't know how to get the money from the insurance company!

I needed to know what was going on before I did any official flipping out, so I called the lawyer's office. Now, when I scribble out the conversation, I want you to keep in mind that the man I spoke with had been through four years of college, four years of law school, and had passed the Bar exam. I was 19 by the time this exchange occurred, and all his higher education was no match for me, a teenager inexperienced in legal matters.

Lawyer: Hello?
Me: Hi. I'm calling about a letter I received from your office. Something about a bill for an MRI.
Lawyer: Case I have the case number?
Me: *I give the number.*
Lawyer: Okay, we're talking about one Robert Meadows...*He goes on, rattling off information that he should be asking me, not telling me; the kind of data that would have made identity theft easy, had it been a big crime back then. And he finished with...* D.O.A., April 14, 1986.
Me: *baffled* D.O.A.?
Lawyer: Yes, he was dead on arrival.
Me: That's interesting...because you're talking to him!
Lawyer: Oh. Uhhh...I guess you're not dead.
Me: YA THINK?!?
Lawyer: So, uhhh...I...
Me: Stop! Never mind. I'll take your letter to my lawyer.

And I hung up, wondering why on Earth anyone would do an MRI on a corpse anyway. An ancient body found at an archaeological dig, that I can understand. But one would expect a fresh corpse to be subjected to the ministrations of a coroner, who would simply open the body up and look. And how did he expect to collect from a dead person? Was he going to dig me up and rifle through my pockets for loose change?

My lawyer was ultimately amused when I asked, "Since I'm dead, do you think I can collect my life insurance policy?" And since then, I occasionally joke that any woman that's dated me has been a necrophiliac.

So there you have it. I'm dead since 1986, as proclaimed by a lawyer who didn't know that D.O.A. actually meant Date Of Accident.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Just when I thought I was out...

they pull me back in."

Really...I entered a state of deep, abiding crisis, and thought the Depression Thread would be left in good hands. As I started to fade, I saw others coming forward to lend an understanding ear, and to show they cared. I assumed the virtual group therapy session would go on without the lead therapist, as there were others who were following my example.

Then there was mention in an e-mail of a certain Blue friend of mine. I know her fairly well, probably better than most. But the reference was vague, so I had to go looking at the GitP forums to see what was going on. Yes, Blue is in crisis...BIG TIME! Thus, I posted what I thought would be a one-time response. Toward the end of my post, I told Blue to reach out to me if she wanted to talk. I even jumped on Skype, and when she didn't answer my call, I typed in a message that I assume got through to her, as she sent me a PM.

Okay...I replied, probably giving her a lot to think about. But to be sure, I've visited the Depression Thread several times since, and...Well, let's see some of the responses, shall we?

...and now I know why everyone speaks of Bor in hushed, awed whispers of awesomeness and love.
*gives him a cookie*

You are smart and helpful, and i wonder how a person like you has emotional problems at all Bor. Will you come back?

Has he been gone so long, and you here so short, that you'd missed him? Bummer for you.
I wish there was a way we could help him out, in a way more long-term than the last one or two crises, so that he could come back and help us out again =/

And the exchange between Blue and...someone.

Someone: I know people are only talking about depression... and how to help you... and how to cheer you up...
But hey... You have a degree in what?
Blue: Software engineering.
Someone: Really? That's cool.
I'm working on my degree in computer science now
Well... If the university allow me to study until the end.
Do you enjoy programming or your degree was more like UML and stuff like that?
Blue: We had a lot of just designing, but I really preferred the programming.
Someone: Sweet
You have any particular interest in programming? Like... I don't know... computer graphic.. or genetic algorithm?
I did some scientific research on computer vision and I once worked on a OS project based on unix for public schools. But I'm current stuck in a bank correcting other peoples code, which kind of sucks....

When did the Depression Thread turn into Random Banter? (And when did I write in the first post anything about D-D forcing Titanium Cookies on anyone? I don't recall actually writing that. Then again, maybe I did.) I can see from the exchange that "Someone" is trying to help Blue find something enjoyable, but it is also akin to sneaking up on a person with a bucket of troubles, pointing and shouting, "Look! Elvis!", and then trying to run off with the bucket. The troubles are still there, compressed into the bucket...they've just been moved on a temporary basis. It helps in the short term, not the long term.

An old fire is starting to burn. It's the fire that starts as a mere smoldering beneath my butt and gets me moving again. When the flames reach the seat of my pants...well, let's just say I'll move for the sake of saving the pants, and not so much my tuchas.

As I make my return to GitP, I'm going to have to bring something new to the table. There was a time when I may have called it selfishness, but what it really is is a sense of self-preservation. I can no longer sacrifice my own well-being for the sake of others. Where I was once like a psychological fireman, running into emotional flames to save another, I'm going to have to realize that my own mental illnesses make it difficult for me to "run" into anything. I think that's part of why I burned out and abandoned the Playground as I did. I was so busy juggling the problems of others that I was all but ignoring my needs. What's more, I'm NOT a trained professional. I haven't developed the skill of professional detachment. Thus, I feel more for my "patients" than REAL therapists.

For those who remain fans of this blog, know that I will continue posting, probably in an effort to keep my emotional explosions from GitP. But I guess...Well, it's like the title says...I'm being pulled back in, though not intentionally. My friends need me, and turning a deaf ear to focus only on myself is not helping any of us.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Presents for Nike and I

There's something to be said about a "care package." Even if what's inside isn't exactly what you needed or wanted, the very concept says, "Hey, buddy. Someone out there gives a damn." This afternoon, a package with that very message was received. Let's look inside the box of goodies and see what Rob got, shall we?

Nuts! No, literally. NUTS! Almonds, soy, and macadamia nuts! Mind you, I initially asked for only the soy and almonds. I won't call them the absolute, tastiest of all "twig food" one can eat, but they're not bad, AND they're good for you...especially me. The soy is a great source of iron. The almonds are a great source of potassium. Both are great sources of much needed fiber, especially when one considers the effects my meds can have on my digestive tract. The macadamia nuts are my...healthy sin. That is, they're better than downing chips or other high carb, high fat snacks.

Bonus points to the friend who sent the package, as all the nuts were salt-free! To a diabetic who is slowly advancing on the "extra special" complications of this disease, this is a good thing. Okay, so my taste buds aren't exploding with seasoned goodness, but it's better for me, and it's what I asked for. Nothing beats a grumbling tummy like a fistful of nuts, and that's what I got.

Hmmm...What else is in the wondrous package? Well, there was the sugar-free, powdered drink mixes...that I was apparently unclear about. At the start of the month, I get several canisters of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry or Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade. Each canister usually has six little tubs of powder, and each tub makes a half gallon of sugar-free drinkables. Due to a lack of clarity on my part, my friend sent individual packets that can be added to a bottle of water. And I think the Cran-Raspberry passed through a mystic portal, because it arrived as Cran-Grape.

None of this is not a problem, though. You see, the summer months are coming, and I usually burn through around $5 when I have to travel in triple-degree weather. Now I can save a little money by just getting a bottle of water and adding one of these packets to it. And I'll consider the Cran-Grape an experiment. If I like it, I'll add it to the list of drinkables that will make Arizona water somewhat tastier to drink.

Mach 3 razors. A package of five. G-d above, but the manly task of shaving can be costly. Because I only bother shaving every few days to save on these expensive blades, a package of five should last me three or four months. If I find a reason to shave more often, (like a girlfriend), my cheeks will once again be smooth and kissable.

Bandages! You folks should know by now that I tend to have entirely too many holes in my skin than desired. My skin has become extra dry due to the arid air here in AZ, as well as my diabetes. Your standard band-aid used on my legs has a bad habit of taking off more skin around a wound, making it a nightmare to deal with. So I suggested to my friend he send 3" x 3" gauze squares to help me tend these wounds. He sent 4" x 4".

Again, not a problem. You see, I can't tape the gauze down, so I use ace bandages. If used on my calf, they tend to start slipping. Large gauze means that if it slips, it'll still be covered. That works for me.

Q-tips! My battle with generic cotton applicators is always bothersome. They're too short, or they're made of plastic and can't handle the stress I sometimes use. Now I have a glorious package of 500! I think I may make new cuts on my legs and feet just so I can use them to apply antibiotic creams as soon as possible!

Okay...That's not gonna happen. But it's great to have such a sizable supply on hand.

Then there was the desperate plea for that which I ALWAYS seem to need: SOCKS! It's a rare moment when my feet are uncovered, even at home, and I go through socks faster than...something really fast. I told my friend I was in dire need, and I seem to recall being told two packages of socks were on their way. What I got were two pairs of socks.

Here's where I was mildly distressed. Despite my best efforts to tame the calluses on my feet, they wear through my socks rapidly. And two pairs of socks really isn't the same as two packages of socks. I was expecting 12 pairs and received two. Then I actually read the label on the socks. They are specifically designed for diabetics. Having seen such things sold elsewhere, my guess is my friend took out a small business loan to buy them. I don't know the cost of this specific brand, but I've seen diabetic socks priced as high as $10 a pair! Here's hoping they can survive my feet, as they are definitely an asset to my foot care.

What did Nike get from the care package? For those that have forgotten, Nike's favorite playthings tend to be trash. The box was filled with packing peanuts. Well, I don't need these things all over the apartment, so I folded the box's flaps in such a way as to keep the Styrofoam from getting all over the place. But this would not stop Nike. On, no. She would play with them, even if I tried to keep them away from her. Thus, she jumped on top of the box and had one of her front legs buried between the flaps up to her kitty shoulder in order to play with them. I eventually caved and removed a few for her to knock around the apartment, and she was in kitty heaven for a while.

Now for the crude humor. You see, my friend insured the package, probably because of the warning I gave about my neighbors. If one accepted the package, they would probably keep it. While I didn't get the actually message from my friend, I find it amusing that he could have said, "Yes, Rob...Your nuts are insured."

The final verdict...? It would have been much easier to simply send money. I mean, it cost $18.05 to ship this package, and that's money I could have used as my needs arose. Alternatively, a package of goodies is heartwarming. "Tell me what you need/want, and I'll try to send it." It's a message of caring and loving that is not lost on me.

Oh...and I should correct myself. It was a pair of people that conspired to create this package. It is to those two that I send out a heartfelt thanks. =)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A kind of reverse paranoia...

People aren't out to "get" me...They're out to make me happy!

Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the puppies of peace;
That this nice deed shall smell above of flowers
With sweet people, moaning for Bor.

I told you kids not to let me near the Shakespeare. Then again, at least he doesn't ever have his "chorus" start actually singing during Julius Caesar. Do you know how unpopular Shakespeare would have become if a group of thespians in his plays started singing "Who Let the Dogs Out"?

But I digress. People have been replying to my last post - people not actually following my blog - via comment or e-mail. "We love you, Bor. We Miss you, Bor. We got you a boar, Bor." Okay, I haven't actually been offered a boar, but the messages of friendship have been rolling in.

One even tried to use the big guns. "Think of D-D!" Do you honestly think I'd forget my "little buddy?" (And, really...Why has no one started calling me "Skipper"? Do I have to call him "Gilligan" before people pick up on the "little buddy" reference?) D-D is one of the reasons I'm still alive. I still suffer bouts of deep depression, and I stare at all the medications I have to take daily in order to function. The temptation to devour a "chemical cocktail of doom," (patent pending), is strong. Then I think about the folks of GitP, especially D-D, and it occurs to me that his mind would explode if he learned I shuffled loose this mortal coil. I can't remember what he looks like, as I think I've only sen one picture of him. But in my imagination, I see a generic teenager in the Netherlands bursting into tears, and finding to his dismay that he can't stop crying! D-D...He's the little brother I'd like to have, as opposed to the ones I actually have.

Fearing friends running for the hills was just ONE of the reasons I wandered away from the Playground. I told one friend the other reasons, and it seems unfair that I not explain to others so they can see the whole thing.

First, there was what seemed to be "Creepy Bor Syndrome." This involved me seeing an attractive female of any age, though usually under 18, and making some kind of semi-perverted joke. Following what was meant to be a joke would be an influx of people stating how creepy my joke was. Ummm...Yeah. Because, as the secret millionaire that I am, I have the capacity to travel the world at a moment's notice to stalk an underaged girl, and perhaps charm her into doing a variety of illegal things. Lacking tone inflection online, I suppose people couldn't tell if I was joking. In return, I couldn't tell if they were joking, though I suspect they weren't. And even if I wasn't joking, some of those girls are beautiful! So what if I entertained a deviant thought? It's not like I was approaching them with indecent proposals. If anything, each girl I saw that was underaged and attractive usually got a PM from me: "Be careful in your online communications." But I was "Creepy Bor," and those remarks kinda hurt. (I would even occasionally take down posts due to the negative responses my comments would get.)

Oh, but then there was the taboo romance that was starting to develop in my head. One particular lady-Playgrounder was getting stuck in my brain, to the point where I was starting to have dreams about her. When I last read something posted by her, she was 17. She may have had a birthday since then, but I don't know. The thing is, I was actually starting to fall in love with her, with no effort on her or my part. She's more than half my age, fit, intelligent, and awesome. Me? I'm old, decrepit, occasionally intelligent, and...Well, rumor has it that I'm awesome, despite my not feeling awesome. I could sense the symptoms of "foot-in-mouth disease" coming on. Rather than do that, or risk the heartbreak I was setting myself up for, I added her to the list of reasons why I needed some time away.

While we're visiting the topic of heartbreak, the was The Depression Thread. People were posting, hoping that the wise and powerful Bor would reply with advice that was, as they say, "full of win." As my foot issues increased, I found myself reading the problems of others and thinking, "I don't know what to do for you. My problems are getting worse, and I'm falling into a thought cycle of 'me, me, me.' I want to help, but I need help too. Until I can get my brain back on track, I feel rather useless."

Here, then, is the topic of my issues. Folks, I'm poor. I live in a poor neighborhood, filled to the brim with other poor people, many of whom don't have two brain cells to rub together. Their answer to an argument is to throw a punch or pull a gun. This may be genuine paranoia or a genuine concern, but I worry when I leave my apartment for an extended period, because I expect to come home to find shattered windows and my computer gone, along with my television, DVD player, and perhaps even Nike! And on my income, anywhere I go is going to be just like this. I want to move, but can't afford to do so, and once I move to a better neighborhood, I would need an additional income of approximately $300 per month to live there.

As it is, I sit here on a monthly basis and plead with the known universe to help me. You'll notice that this month is lacking in terms of begging. That's because I was the lucky recipient of stimulus money. Like it's a big deal. All it means is that I can feed myself for ONE FREAKIN' MONTH without holding my hand out for help. As it is, after running the numbers, I have no "extra" money. Because of this, a pair of friends are sending me what I will call "presents," and will be posting about it when it arrives.

My reluctance to return to GitP stems from a fear of getting hurt. I consider the people at GitP some of the very best the planet has to offer, and I'm afraid of them becoming sick of my perpetual whining and turning away from me. It's happened too often to me, and I honestly can't handle more heartache. Thus, it remains an internal debate for now.

But before I go...Thank you, my dear friends. I know you care about me. You should know that I care about you. It's why I am always telling people, like now, to BE WELL!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Smattering of Thoughts

I couldn't decide on any ONE thing to babble about, so I'm just going to throw out all sorts of things that have been cruising through my head. Some things have moved rapidly, while others slog through my thoughts at an agonizingly slow rate and just irritate me.

One such thought is the young woman that was standing near my apartment a few days ago. She was with a couple of people that knocked on my neighbor's door. When that happens, it occasionally sounds like they're knocking on my door, so I answer to find people waiting for my neighbor to open up. And because she has to be in on everything I do, Nike tends to answer my door with me.

Now this young woman...I have no idea what her age might be, but let us say that she had a natural pair of...assets...that were difficult not to look at. The task of trying to look at her eyes and not her chest was made more difficult by the fact that she was wearing a tank top, and that she'd apparently been babysitting a small, artistic child recently; her arms and exposed chest area looked like they'd been drawn on by a two-year-old. My manners were truly tested, as things went from bad to worse. She saw Nike and immediately bent down to pet my cat, all the while giving me a greater vantage point of her mammoth mammaries. While I don't consider a woman's chest size to be a requirement for dating, it's hard to look elsewhere when a set like that is so boldly displayed.

Quick, Rob! Defuse the increasingly evil thoughts in your head with some kind of harmless joke!

And so I went into a little shtick about how Nike and I are married, and that it all occurred via my cat's devious plans to claim permanent ownership of me.

While this particular human female was physically attractive, any concept of me "making a move" was obliterated when I saw the look on her face. Her expression prompted me to ask if she thought I was serious...and she answered that she did, in fact, think that I believed I was married to my cat.

I immediately flashed back to the late 1990. I was driving my girlfriend of the time back to her house. I noticed she was unusually silent, and the following dialogue occurred:

Me: You okay? You seem rather pensive.
Girlfriend: No, I'm just thinking.

Yes, that's the opening to our conversation, word for word, although the rest of what was said is completely lost because the level of dumb overshadowed all else.

Speaking of dumb, my last post was about seeing Dr. R, whom I deemed an excellent doctor when it came to communicating with a patient. This concept was corrected yesterday, when I received a call from his office saying that they'd made an appointment with a pain management doctor. Mind you, I'd already made an appointment with that doc for 17 June, which is a Wednesday. This is very important, because Wednesday is the only day of the week this particular doctor is in Phoenix. All other days of the week, the pain specialist is in offices that are too many miles away for my medical insurance to cover a cab ride. It would also be a two/three-hour bus ride should I try to make it on my own. So I was rather surprised when I received a call saying I had an appointment on 21 May, which is a Thursday.

Poor "Addie," the young woman who makes such appointments. She had no idea Dr. R hadn't told me he'd be trying to get me to the pain doc sooner, and she had to listen to my full explanation as to why I couldn't make the 21 May appointment. She tried to insist that Dr. R wanted me to make it to the appointment they'd said up, and I countered, "Unless you or Dr. R are going to personally drive me there and wait to drive me home, there's no way I'll make it."

It bothered me that Dr. R would try to make that appointment without talking to me about it. If he had, I would have explained that I could only see the pain specialist on Wednesdays. As it is, I told him I had an appointment next month, and honestly have no idea why my PCPs' office is trying to make maneuvers without an explanation or consultation. It's irksome.

Meanwhile, in "the Hive," (as per the Wednesday and Saturday schedule), I joined another Hamidon Raid. I've mentioned Hami before; he's a giant single-cell organism, and it takes at least 36 players to defeat him. (That was the lowest number of people in any raid I've been in.) Usually, 50 people show up to take on 300-foot diameter creature. Coordinating 50 players is no easy feat, and I'd shown an interest in trying it if anyone could take the time to share the details of leadership.

Well, one person didn't so much as share the details as point to where said details could be found. Thus, I did lots of reading, and, since I have no life to speak of, spent an hour creating 20 macros for City of Heroes to lead a Hami raid.

As people were gathering for the raid, I talked to a few of the regular raid leaders, displaying my macros for them to review. They said that I not only had the basics down, but managed to add my own unique style to the programmed announcements. For example, there is a point when everyone needs to run for their lives. If you don't run, you're dead. Most leaders shout, "RUN FASTER!" Because teams can only have a maximum of eight at any one time, one person per team is usually chosen to run off early, find a safe place, and when the call is made, they teleport the entire team to safety. I didn't go the "RUN FASTER" route. My macro had me shouting, "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! FLEE! DIAL 911! STOP, DROP, AND ROLL! DUCK AND COVER! AIEEEEE!"

Earned me a few chuckles, it did.

Of course, things don't go as planned when it comes to me taking the initiative. There are four phases to the raid, and after I'd gotten all 50 heroes prepared for the second attack, and called out for us to surge forth to assault the giant beast...50% of EVERYONE IN THE RAID disconnected, just as we were all reaching our targets. There were many, many "deaths."

No worries. People reappeared, we reorganized the teams, and went through the preparation process again. Our targets were...targeted. I sent the tanks forward to get Hami's undivided attention. I called on the melee players, "scrappers," to move in. Finally, I announced everyone else should attack...AND 50% DISCONNECTED AGAIN!

Really...Why can't even a video game be easy for me? =*(

Anyway, we waited five minutes when everyone came back, just to be sure the game wouldn't kick people a third time. Not only did we manage to successfully complete the raid, but a lot of private messages rolled in afterward congratulating me leading a successful raid despite the circumstances.

Also related to City of Heroes is the latest update, which includes something called "Mission Architect," or simply "MA." It would seem that for the first time in MMO history, a game is allowing players to write game content! Well, to a creative writer like myself, this is a chance to have a massive joygasm! The MA system allows three arcs per account, with five missions per arc. So, of course, the first three arcs I published to the game forms one massive story that chewed up a great deal of the allotted file size. Arc one had four missions. Arc two had three missions. The final arc had only one mission...but it was HUGE!

The problem was that when MA was released, players immediately started seeking ways to exploit the system. They were finding ways to farm the missions, thereby getting new characters from level 1 to the maximum of level 50 in less than a day! They didn't want an epic tale; they wanted a generic contact to say less than "im in ur base killin ur gaize!" Then, with as few objectives inside the mission, they would run the same, boring, high-reward-yielding tasks.

While the developers rushed to fix all the exploits they'd accidentally unleashed on the game, I unpublished my three-arc epic and replaced it with a single-mission arc that poked fun at all of the silly mission farmers. Y'see, moderators on the game were starting to take down anything that blatantly said "this is a farm!" The players creating the farms thought they were clever when they started posting arcs that had become "pharms." When I saw that word and how it was spelled, my mind immediately thought of this! With that stuck in my head, I published my "Banana Pharm," and players have to fight mutant bananas on a map that includes a prison. This was particularly evil of me, because if players die on the map and try to revive themselves by going to the hospital, they wind up in a prison cell instead. But I also kept it silly without dragging it out. The mission map is small, and there are three goals. You have to defeat all of the mutant bananas, rescue a hostage, and defeat a boss, "The Top Banana!" (Upon defeating the boss, he says, "Tell my parents...I was...a good source...of potassium.")

More amusing than the actual mission I wrote is the reception it's received. MA allows people to comment on published stories, as well as rate them one to five stars. Because I've been receiving ratings between three and five stars, the MA display shows Banana Pharm holding a consistent four-star average rating. And those who choose to comment usually tell me they got a good laugh from the whole thing.

I currently working on a new arc, with the main bad guys all being half-dragons. (Go-go gadget D&D!)

Speaking of D&D, GitP and all my friends there have been on my mind more and more recently. I have been considering returning to their fold, but am reluctant because of my perpetual complaining. On this blog, it's their choice to come and read about all of my woes. To start posting again on GitP...I feel like I would be subjecting them to my endless whining. What's more, they view me as the person to come to when they need help, and I'm having an increasingly difficult time helping myself. I found myself shouldering a lot of responsibility on GitP, and I simply don't think I'm up to being the helpful soul they came to see me as.

*sigh*

I'll continue to consider it. Meanwhile, I believe that covers the smattering of topics roaming around my brain-case. Be well, my faithful minions...ummm...friends. =)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'll see your 9.4 and raise you two antibiotics.

So, as I've told you folks, I have two doctors: Dr. M and Dr. G. For over a year, these are the two guys I've seen every month.

"Every month?" you ask in surprise. "Rob/Bor...Isn't that a lot of times to visit a doctor?"

As a matter of fact, it is. Most doctors would only see a patient with diabetes as brittle as mine around three months at a time, perhaps stretching it to every six months. However, in an effort to keep a strict handle on my pain meds, I have to see the doctors more often than that. Be it by law or by ethical values, my doctors don't put refills on my pain meds. This ensures that I'm not going crazy with the narcotics.

If you kids also read my last post, you know that I was supposed to see the doctor on Thursday, but was turned away for having arrived 14 minutes late. An irritation, to say the least, and downright stupid at the most. In fact, the receptionist was somewhat afraid of me when I signed in; I was apparently THAT angry when I was there last.

Well, I went to the doctor today, and to my surprise, I saw a doctor whom I'd never seen professionally. Dr. R and I have kibitzed a bit. Since we're both Jewish, we've been able to toss a few ethnic jokes at one another, and actually have the other understand the jokes! Today, however, he saw me as a doctor, and he was all geared up to yell at me for the 9.4 hemoglobin A1c. "You're diabetes is out of control, and - " That's where I cut him off.

Before I go on, you should really read up on what a glycated hemoglobin is about. You can go here for the "simplest" explanation. To summarize, a diabetic really wants an A1c result between 6 and 7. When I started seeing these doctors, I was, as I'd joke, "a perfect 10." Over the year and a half I've been seeing these guys, I got as low as 8.2. Recent blood work revealed I'd jumped up to 9.4. Not good.

So there was Dr. R, all set to give me what for, and I asked him to pause a moment and listen. "I wish I had my medical records from when I was 20 years younger, as they would prove how seriously my diabetes responds to infection." I pointed to my left big toe, which I'd exposed for him to see. "You'll notice the red, bulbous nature of my big toe. That's an infection. Because I have an infection, my diabetes has been out of control. Because my diabetes is out of control, the infection won't heal properly. And because I have an infection, my diabetes is out of control. With my diabetes out of control...Can you see where I'm going with this?"

Indeed, he could. Most astoundingly, he actually took the time to talk to me about my medical issues. This was vastly different to the treatment I get from Dr. M and Dr. G. Those two rush through my visits, writing prescriptions swiftly and dismissing me like I'm a bothersome gnat. Dr. R and I discussed my lab results, with my liver showing no abnormalities, and my kidneys appearing to be a minimal risk if at all. As for the infected toe, he prescribed two antibiotics and told me to return in 10 days for a follow-up visit. He also refilled my percocets, and gave me a prescription for diabetic footwear.

There is a small, added adventure to this grand outing today. Thanks to my messed up feet, going out is no easy feat. Rather than run all over the place, I went to the pharmacy right next to the doctor's office, rather than head for my regular pharmacy. The big issue is the quantity of percocet. I'm given 150 at a time, and because it's such a popular medication, I run the risk of going to a drug store and them not having it on hand. Well, the store next to the doc had it, so I dropped off all of my prescriptions there. (Except the shoes, which I need to have put together at an orthotics lab.) Once I had my meds, I made the trek home...

...and found a message waiting for me when I got here. The pharmacy gave me the wrong painkillers. Instead of the 10/325 dose that was ordered, I'd been given a bottle full of 5/235. Before I could call the pharmacy, they called again. The pharmacist on duty told me that he would be coming to my home to make the exchange, instead of making me schlep all the way back to them! That, my friends, is good service!

So...That's that. I'm off to rest up a bit, and wait for the pharmacist to come by around 8:30 tonight. Here's hoping they don't botch this up further, or I'm going to have all kinds of issues.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Happy-Happy Post

Golly! This is so exciting! I'm making a happy post, and you all get to read how happy-happy I am, and all the happy-happy things going on in my happy-happy life!

Like the wonderful thing that happened to me on Thursday. If you remember, I was told on 1 May that I needed to go to the doctor because my diabetes was out of control. I'd also posted reasons in previous posts as to why that might be the case. So my doctor's office called to tell me I needed to come in because my diabetes was out of control, and I was worried sick - LITERALLY! - over the whole thing...but I was cheerfully worried sick. And the bestest part of this was that the woman making my appointment for last Thursday chose the absolute, mostest hottest part of the day, 4:30 PM, to see the doctor!

It was easy enough. All I had to do was catch the bus under the beautiful, excessively hot AZ sun (which was reported to have been 103 degrees F) and ride for three miles with all those happy-happy commuters who were smelling rather...interesting...after experiencing that heat for so long. But first, I had to miss the bus and stand around in said heat for an extra 15 minutes until the next bus came along. By the time my exhausted, but happy-happy self reached my destination, I was hot, tired, in great pain, and late for my appointment. But not to worry! I was still within the 15 minutes that I'm allowed to be late for a doctor's appointment, and so I signed in at 4:44 PM...

...to be told that it was too late, the doctor was getting ready to go home, and that I had to reschedule my appointment. I happily flipped out, exclaiming with joy that I was within their posted time frame, and that this was ridiculous...all the while, gleefully gasping and sweating from the heat, while grimacing in wonderful pain. They politely told me to go screw, and we rescheduled the appointment.

But before I left, I politely demanded that some idiot immediately tell me what my hemoglobin A1c results were so I could merrily worry less. I was delighted when they told me it was 9.4, a 1.2 increase since my last test, and I left the office while cheerfully muttering (using some of my native NY vernacular) how wonderfully stupid the entire staff was. (A 9.4 is actually better than I expected after dealing with such a serious infection for so long; I was afraid I'd be back at the 10 I had when I started seeing this doctor.)

That was Thursday, and there other events during the week that were equally as enjoyable.

Like Tuesday, when some of my most beloved neighbors decided to continue their frolicsome, violent relationship. I'll tell you, there's nothing that says love quite as clearly as screaming, slamming doors, and the shattering of apartment windows during an altercation. And these people are smart, too! You see, the woman who actually rented the apartment invited her boyfriend to live with her. After enduring his physical abuse long enough, she got him a present. Really...the message of adoration provided by a court order of protection in unequalled! Then, just to prove to everyone how smart she is, this woman invited her boyfriend to come back the day after she received that court order! Since then, there's been more screaming and a lot of banging from their apartment. My guess is that those two crazy lovebirds just can't keep their hands off each other. The result of which will likely be a happy-happy homicide investigation in the near future.

Speaking of neighbors, let's not forget the picture of maternity that lives two doors down from me. What a sweet woman, letting her two-year-old wander to the front of my apartment at 7:00 AM so he can scream his head off about nothing in particular. And since I wake up to loud noises so well, what with my PTSD and all, I chose this very morning to open my door and tell the child to go home. His mother's response was exceptionally polite. "Don't tell my fucking kid what to do. I'm right here, watching him." Isn't that great! She standing there, watching her child disturb the neighbors, thereby making everything A-okay!

Between all this, I've been enjoying my time, hiding in my dusty, filthy apartment. I'd clean, but I seem to be in exquisite pain most of the time, especially when it comes to my wonderfully malformed feet. They seem to be swollen and aching all the time, which I think is really great! Don't you?

This concludes my happy-happy post. Really, folks...I couldn't be happier if I were twins! And now I'm off to practice a new skill I'm working on: juggling running chainsaws! It's great exercise, and helps with my atrophied muscles and lowered coordination! And I'll probably be even better at it when they reattach the arm that's currently lying on the floor, next to me!

Oops! Nike is starting to chew on it again! Gotta run! You kids be well!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Rob Report

Attn: Anyone That Cares.
Re: Status of Project Rob
Current Stress Alert Status (1 - 10 scale): 7.3

(1) Rob, hereafter known as "the subject," is recovering nicely after a lengthy trip outside his apartment yesterday. Rent was paid. Food was purchased. Rob's survival is assured through Monday at this time, provided he doesn't tear his agonized feet off.

(2) The subject's attempt to quit smoking moves forward as a slow but steady pace, and has moved from "light" cigarettes to "ultra light" cigarettes. As of today, the subject is poking holes in these weaker cigarettes, further reducing his dependency on the addictive substances therein. He maintains a goal of being completely free from his nicotine habit by 9 July 2009.

(3a) At 4:32 PM Pacific Time, the subject received a call from his doctor's office. The subject was in no condition to process the information given to him at the time, nor able to ask detailed questions. He was told his diabetes is out of control and that he needs to see the doctor as soon as possible.

(3b) Subject's frame of mind this morning seems to indicate a theme of, "Well, DUH!" He reports that he forewarned the doctor of poor results due to battling infection for more than three months, as well as the stress of attempting to quit smoking. Since he responds poorly to stress, specifically in the area of his chronic illness, it is no surprise to him that his diabetes is out of control.

(3c) Unable to coherently discuss this news, an appointment was established for 7 May 2009 at 4:30 PM. This appointment may be changed on Monday, 4 May 2009 for the sake of convenience to the subject.

(4) In response to paragraphs 3a, 3b and 3c, lack of precise data, such as the exact level of his Hemoglobin A1c, has increased the subject's existing stress levels. A complete lack of knowledge on the status of his kidneys, liver and cholesterol are causing a degradation in the subject's mental status.

Recommendations:

(A) Subject is to play computer games, watch movies, and read books as a distraction from existing stress threats.

(B) Subject may do some creative writing if clarity of thought is possible. Prohibited subjects include porn, violence, and anything involving the molestation of farm animals. While not specifically a farm animal, this also includes all types of simians.

(C) Status of WMD made entirely of LEGO remains unknown.

This concludes The Rob Report. Further reports pending, reliant on the possible spontaneous combustion of subject's brain.

*TINY EDIT* No sooner did I post this than my Dad called to ask how my quitting was going. I gave him the details, and he is ultimately pleased that I'm actually making progress. Even nicer was him giving me support and not a lecture. Just one more reason I love my Dad. =)