Sunday, June 28, 2009

Then again...

...maybe a move to TN would be a monumental mistake.

I called Stu for information so I could refine my various searches. One of his "jokes" was that his wife is looking forward to my moving in, solely for the fact that I will pay rent, thereby adding an income to their household. (All together, in monotone: "Ha. Ha. Ha.") Overall, because Stu is out of work, they'll take any money they can. For the low, low price of $350 a month, I will get...a bedroom. Sure, I will have access to the rest of the house, but my space will be my bedroom. And if I don't pull a miracle out of my butt and quit smoking by the time I move there, I will have to exit the house every time I need a fix, no matter what the weather is like.

This whole idea of moving to TN is under the concept of being closer to people who care. Unfortunately, Stu...doesn't. Care, that is. About anything.

Here are the basics of the end of our conversation that stretched over an hour:

Me: Stu, there are a few things I just remembered that I need to talk about. One of them is the fact that I've had to take a lot of shortcuts over the last few years in terms of my diet. While I may not have to live under such constraints while living with you, old habits die hard. The modern view of the diabetic diet is that as long as I take enough insulin to cover what I'm eating, I can have what I want. If I want a chocolate long as I take enough insulin for it, more power to me. Please...No speeches. Okay.
Stu: Oooookay? (It's as though he has no idea what I'm talking about.)
Me: Also...Are, ummmm...Are you prepared for what's probably going to happen to me?
Stu: What's going to happen to you?
Me: Like when I lose my feet. There's no "if" in the equation anymore, Stu. I have Charcot's feet, and that means -
Stu: I don't know what you want me to say. It's not like I'm going to be able to install a lift in the house for -
Me: No, Stu. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about emotionally.
Stu: Emotionally? Rob, you're forgetting that you're talking to the guy who still doesn't emotionally acknowledge what happened to him last year.
Me: Yeah...I don't think you'll ever get that one, will you.
Stu: Probably not.
Me: Well, look...Whatever happens...I mean, you can ride my ass about the smoking thing all you want. I expect that. But if you can't talk to me...If people would rather yell at me, and not talk to me, then I'll just pack my things and walk. The whole reason I'm supposed to be moving to Tennessee is because I'm so mentally damaged.
Stu: Rob, we WANT you to move in with us.
Me: Ah, yes...So your wife can squeeze rent out of me -
Stu: (He cuts me off because it's total explosion time.) WOULD YOU LET THAT GO ALREADY?!? IT WAS A JOKE!!! I LAUGHED WHEN I SAID IT!!! YOU SHOULD TAKE THAT AS A HINT THAT IT WAS A JOKE!!!
Me: Yes...And I laughed very hard when you made the joke, didn't I?
Stu: (Silence from him. In the background, my nephew is having an all new fit because he's being made to clean up his toys.)
Me: Look, Stu...I think it's time for you to go beat your kid. Right?
Stu: (Now he's very distant.) Yeah.
Me: I'll talk to you.
Stu: Yeah.

And the call ends.

Seconds after I insist that I be spoken to instead of yelled at, he's yelling at me. I should have mentally slapped him with, "Wow...I'm not talking to my brother. I'm speaking to my biological mother."

He also made it infinitely clear to me that he doesn't understand that I am mentally ill. Earlier in the conversation...

Stu: We want you here. And don't start with that "being a burden" garbage. You're not being a burden.
Me: You don't get it at all, do you? I'm mentally ill. What? Do you think I said to myself, "Gee, scribbling severe recurring depression would look good on my disability forms"? You can tell me all you want that I'm not a burden, and I'll STILL believe that's exactly what I am. Hell, look at this month. I feel like I've been a burden to the world, and everyone has insisted that I'm not.
Stu: Wait...On the forms...Do they pay you extra for being mentally ill?
Me: Ummm...No.
Stu: Well, they should.
Me: Dear G-d...No one gets it. I can explain until I'm blue in the face, and everyone thinks it's just something for me to say. It's not. It's real. I. Am. Mentally. Ill.

So here's my predictions for my move to TN:

1. I will pack what few possessions I plan on my move to TN. I will ship my Computer, my television, and perhaps a box of books and DVDs to Stu's house.
2. My father will shell out a plane ticket to TN, paying a little extra so I can bring Nike.
3. Within the first week, Nike will escape my room and run through the house. This will upset Nikki, Stu's wife. Instead of her talking to me, she will send Stu, who will "give me a talking to" about my cat.
4. Inside of the next two weeks, my nephew's fits will have me on the verge of skinning the kid alive. I will go from one and a half Xanax per day to one every six hours, as prescribed. Only a self-induced coma will be keeping me sane.
5. Kristie, Nikki's niece, (around age 19 or 20), will do something so incredibly stupid that I will corner her with a speech: "Let's be clear about something...I have been judged SMI...That's severely mentally ill. That means that when you finally cause me to snap, and I end up giggling on the front lawn as I rearrange your body parts, I'll arrive in court and point to the numerous files that document how emotionally fragile I am. Off I go to a loony bin for three to six months, after which they'll let me go because 'I got better.' Meanwhile, you'll still be dead...So grow a brain before I rip your empty head from your shoulders." Mind you, this speech will be coming from a guy that's a pacifist, so it's not a threat at all...but she won't know that.
6. Somewhere in the first three months, Stu will buy a box of Cracker-Jax and find a medical degree inside. With said medical degree, he will declare that I'm not disabled. Lengthy talks about how I should get a job will ensue.
7. Six months, tops, there will be a major blowout between me, the over-emotional schmuck, and my brother, the apathetic schmuck. He will, as he's fond of saying, "Put me on notice." This will probably mean I have until the end of whatever month it is to find my own place. It will not be enough time, and I will end up homeless in TN...
8. ...OR, number seven occurs, and friends from GitP leap to my aid. I will then, once again, become what I deem to be a massive burden for people whom I should not be a burden to. Shame and guilt will drive me to do very bad things to myself.
9. Finally - as though it were even a vague possibility - before I can move to TN, I will be abducted by aliens. In exchange for letting them run a few harmless experiments, I will be permitted to live in their Utopian world. They will not only cure me of all ailments along the way, but also provide me with every hedonistic pleasure that might come to mind, from living on nothing but junk food to rooms full of wild and willing women. (I was going to go with a revelation that Krypton did NOT explode, but Earth's yellow sun has yet to provide me with anything but sun burns.)

Stu says he wants me to move into his house, but he acts otherwise. I'm just one more pain in the ass family member to him.

That said, I certainly can't stay in AZ. I can't afford NY. And TN is looking more and more like the place where the book of my life reaches its final chapters.

I blame "mom."

For those who have not paid attention to when I mention her, I don't often call my step-mother by that title. Instead, I call her "mom."

Why? Because I grew up with a "mother." The woman that gave me life did as little as possible when it came to showing caring and love. She was not even responsible for putting clothes on my back, food in my belly, or keeping a roof over my head. By the time I officially became a teenager, in that I turned 13, she was no longer cooking for the family. My brothers and I had to fend for ourselves, doing our own laundry and preparing our own meals, (unless we were lucky enough to have Dad cook when he got home from work). This had nothing to do with a life lesson. I mean, my brothers were seven and nine when this woman stopped doing everything.

But to talk to my MOM is to talk to a loving, caring, understanding woman. That is, as understanding as she can be; when I speak of some of my psychological issues, she becomes as lost as any "normal" person.

Now there's this idea of me moving to Tennessee, and several things are coming into play inside my head that have it turning into a silent war of internal thought. The whole idea stems from the concept of being closer to people who know and (supposedly) love me. When I spoke of the move to my brother, I mentioned Johnson City as a possibility, along with Knoxville. This almost caused my brother to blow a gasket. It's an hour and a half drive between the two places, and my brother sees it as being no closer than me living in AZ. I either move to Knoxville, or his stance is, "Why bother?"

Okay. So I would go to Knoxville. What I've been doing is looking into some things I'm going to need there, like whatever equates to welfare/Medicaid/food stamps. Well, I might qualify for those programs, although my receiving SSD seems to be a problem. "You're already getting something from the government. Maybe the State will help, and maybe not." It would be quite an issue for me if, when I got there, I discovered the answer was, "Nope. No benefits for you."

The next thing I did was look at the weather. They...ummm...They have winter there. If it gets down to freezing here in AZ, it's officially like a cold day in Hell. TN has months where the nightly average low is 32 degrees F. That "little extra twinge of pain" my brother thinks I'm going to experience is going to be me, lying in bed, praying for death. The cold will also have an affect on my neuropathy. I have this fear that I'll end up stuck outside wherever I'm living, unable to get inside because my hands won't work a key. Spec-freakin'-tacular.

While I gave my friend, "Smellie Hippie" as most know him, homework, I did some looking of my own into mental health case management. That's going to require a phone call, and the call may have to wait until Tuesday. The reason for this being that I need to see my idiot doctor on Monday. Since I'm awake at 1:00 AM right now, I'm going to need to get my sleep on schedule before then. (Yay?)

Then there's the living arrangements. Stu has this idea that I should move into his place temporarily, see how it works out, and if it does, they'll try to convert a room into a kind of private sanctuary for me. The problem is that, to be honest, I don't want to live under the same roof as my brother. He already has an outlandish brood of his own there. He has his wife, her nephew and niece, and his son. Eventually, the police will arrive to find me standing over a pile of bodies, with me standing there and calmly explaining, "They were bothering me." (Face facts, folks...If I had that kind of physical prowess, I wouldn't be in the disabled shape I'm in now.)

Stu also doesn't live that close to anything I can do on my own. If so inclined, I can literally step off my apartment complex property and find myself standing at a bus stop. That's not the case with Stu's house. When I was there last year, and was taken to his house for dinner on my last night there, I vaguely remember a lot of winding roads, with plenty of hills. Just going to a doctor would be an adventure, and relying on Stu to get me from point A to point B is sure to end up becoming a speech from him about what an inconvenience it is.

I'm also going to need to give my brother's doctor a call, and find out if he's willing to care for the likes of me. Stu has hinted that he may well try to get me off these painkillers I'm on. While I don't object to that idea completely, it poses a problem in that these medications are the only ones that have proven to be helpful. If he won't help, then I'm going to have to conduct a quest once I'm there for a doctor willing to work with me.

Oh, it's going to be loads of fun.

Of course, one of Stu's arguments to move to TN was that I'd be able to see "green" again, as in trees and flowers. I responded with, "Hey! If I wanna see green, I'll look for pictures of it online."

Setting aside my complaints, there are others out there who care. A chat with Smellie Hippie's wife, Mountain Fairie for those that don't know, reminded me of this. I know "Skywalker" is also out there, and I'm sure he'd love to have me closer so he can drag my butt to a coffee house and take my liberal mind to task with his right winged ideas. (I joke...I sense future conversations with a friend who would just enjoy the debate, as well as the company.)

There's also a certain "bunny" out there with a spectacular set of...ummm...assets...yes, I will call them assets...that would be that much closer. (Insert lecherous laughter here.)

My mind is at war with the idea, and yet there is more waiting for me in terms of friends and family there than there was when I returned to AZ. With that in mind, I stopped at the dollar store just a few short steps from my complex and asked a "close acquaintance" if he would call when they have boxes they can spare for me. No matter what, I have to leave this apartment complex. I fear that leaving my apartment for too long will result in my coming home to find it broken into. Heck, I fear stepping out of my apartment because I firmly believe my neighbors aren't above mugging me for all the nothing I have.

Now...Here's the really tricky part. Somehow, some way, I'm going to need the funds to pull this all off. Stu remains out of work, which is absolutely stunning. I mean, he applied for work at McDonald's and Burger King, and even they haven't called him back. This leaves him free to come all the way out to AZ, rent a van, and help me move. HOWEVER, this also means his wife would need to take several days off from work to watch their son, and that's going to hurt their finances even more. The pittance that I'd be coughing up for rent would hardly cover their overall losses.

MY plan would be much different. What I would do is pack up what little I intend to keep, sell what little else I have to the first "bidder," and then ship everything to Stu's place. Dad will probably be willing to handle the plane ride to TN. Once I'm there, just buy all new stuff for wherever I decide to settle down. And what would I really need? Pots, pans, plates, TV stand, futon or bed, computer desk, perhaps some shelving for books, and that's about it. (I'll ship my computer and television to TN.) The problems with my plan are that, aside from my regular begging each month, buying new everything would be financially painful. There'll also be the deposit on an apartment, the first month's rent, etc. On a guess, I think I'm looking at around $2,000...although I plan on getting a closer look at the prices of things before etching a number like that in stone.

Now, before people freak out...OMG, Bor, Rob, or whatever your name is! $2000 is a crazy amount of money to muster! Not if it's done between now and when my lease is up at the end of September. Look...People were able to muster enough for me to fly to TN and stay in a motel in three days when Stu was deathly ill. Given much more time, I think it can be pulled off, and not nearly as painfully as usual.

These are just ideas. Still, things will have to be set in motion relatively soon if this is going to happen. For the moment, I'm venting my thoughts here, and feedback would be welcome. I tend to miss the obvious, no matter how much I try to focus. If anyone has ideas, please speak up.

Oh...and be well while you do so.

Friday, June 26, 2009

They want WHAT?!?

If I was to take the time to explain what's gone on the last couple of days, you'd be reading for hours. I'd probably have to break it down into several posts, too, as 10,000 word posts don't go over well for me readers. So here is a summary of events.

1. Stu called and left me a message. He didn't sound happy.
2. Called Stu back yesterday and had a chat about me being in emotional crisis, as well as my father being pissed off that the both of us failed to call him on Father's Day.
3. Generated crafty plan to call Dad around the time he'd be off eating dinner, thereby avoid him driving my depression deeper.
4. Enacted the plan, only to have Dad answer. The power of Jewish guilt allowed him to stab me in the proverbial heart from over 2500 miles away.
5. I had a major meltdown.
6. Stu called today and left another message; this one insisted I call my father again.
7. Called Stu to make sure dad wouldn't drive me to a desire to commit suicide.
8. Called Dad and ended up speaking at length to my step-mom. She doesn't get it either, but is trying.
9. Spoke to Dad. He wants me closer to family.
10. Spoke to Stu again. We made plans to make plans to formulate plans.

Number 10 is where I stop, and is from where the title of this post comes. Realizing that I would be unable to afford anything in the way of rent in New York, my family is "conspiring" to have me move to Tennessee. In this way, when I'm in a state of crisis as I am now, I'll be closer to family. The same family that doesn't comprehend the psychological sides of my disabilities.

There is a part of me that likes the idea. No longer will I be completely alone, in a strange neighborhood where there are few, if any, people that care so much as an ounce about me. Alternatively, there would be so much to do in order to make such a move possible. Adjusting to the weather, which my brother believes will only cause me what he called "an extra little twinge of pain." (The boy really needs to lay off the crack.)

Then there's the confusion of whether or not I'll live in Stu's house, or if I should get an apartment of my own. I've lived with Stu in the past. Such events have proven that we are...BROTHERS!

After a major blowout in my parents' home, I threw my hands up in surrender and decided to move out. Stu asked if I was willing to share an apartment with him. After a great deal of drama at our first apartment, where the ownership of the house came into question, we moved into another place with hard wood floors. Here is where I was struck by an evil, and potentially dangerous, practical joke. You see, the bathroom of the place was across the apartment for me. For Stu, it was a matter of stepping out his bedroom door and doing a 180 around a corner to get into it. So what did I do? I bought a can of spray wood polish and did a number on the floor at that sharp turn he had to make. Every time he went to the bathroom, he'd slip and slide, and even came to me asking if I'd noticed the floor had suddenly become more slippery right at that spot. "Why, no, Stu...I haven't noticed a thing." (Insert evil laugh here.)

Now is not the time for me to make such major decisions. I need to get my head screwed on, if not straight, a little straighter. I still have no idea how I'd pull off such a move, anyway. It all comes down to the money...again. So this post is more about what my family is thinking.

Me? I'm just trying to get through until the third of next month without a penny to my name. The money is gone. The food is gone. And I'm in over my head when it comes to stress.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dear Sandra...

Have you been watching? Have you seen what's going on in my life? Are you proud I've made it this far, or disappointed in some of my choices? Is it even possible that you can watch me from where you are?

If so, then you know what happened after your sister called that March evening. If not...Well, I was in the midst of doing my chores. I was vacuuming the living room when the call came through. I was shocked. I'd been calling the hospital, checking up on you; each time I picked up the phone, I hoped to talk to you. Instead, it was always your sister, telling me you weren't well enough to talk on the phone...and never telling me how truly ill you were...although I think there was mention of a collapsed lung, and that it was in the process of being re-inflated.

Thus, I was stunned when word of your passing came through. I was like a zombie as I put the vacuum away, and then informed my biological mother that I was unable to finish my chores. It was another of those moments where an ounce of caring would have gone far, and she couldn't do it. "That's what you get for making friends in a hospital," she informed me as coldly as possible.

My verbal explosion was epic in its scale, and I stormed from the house to take a walk. I cried a lot. It was unfair that the world should lose you at the tender age of 15. I prayed that night. I asked G-d care for your soul as tenderly as he cared for my brother, Micheal. And, of course, I was loaded with rage against my biological mother. Strange thing, that; the angrier I get, the greater my tears. It persists to this day.

On my return home, I found my father sitting in the living room. He looked about as "happy" as I was, but then he'd become a victim of my mother's inability to be human. Y'know, I don't remember if I sat down or remained standing. I just remember focusing on those white, wicker chairs with their blue and white cushions. And Dad said, "Rob...I understand why you're upset, but I need to ask you not to use such language with your mother. When you do, we all pay a price." Then he added, "I'm sorry about the death of your friend."

My mother would have her revenge for me and my foul mouth. When I wanted to attend your funeral, she flat out refused to lend me the car. So I didn't attend the service...I never knew where you were put to rest...and for some time, I had some of the craziest thoughts. Talk about mental illness! Do you know at one point that I was convinced you had "faked" your death so I would stop calling? It's true. I thought you had your sister call and tell me you were dead so I would leave you alone. I now chalk it up to the "bargaining" part of the grieving process. "Just tell me it was all a prank and let our lives go on."

No such luck.

And yet you would manage to revisit my life in several ways, despite no longer being one this Earth.

The first was my "Santa story." I somehow believe that every good writer should have one, and mine focused on you. In my youth, it was called "The Gift." As I grew older, the title changed to "With a Twinkling Eye." I used a younger version of you, dying from cystic fibrosis. Although I used the generic name of "Mercy Hospital" in the story, I always envisioned it taking place at Long Island Jewish, where we met. An abbreviated version of the same story earned me a 4.0 in a poetry and prose class I took in college.

Funny little side story about that last part. One of my classmates was a guy who was about five feet, six inches tall, and almost as wide...all of it muscle. He worked as a bouncer at a bar at night, so he wasn't the kind of guy you'd think was an old softy. For an extra college credit, we would be performing for various other classes, and each rehearsal had me reading my story based around simply knowing you. By the time I was done reading my story, Mr. Tough-Guy-Bouncer would be sitting there, tears streaming down his face. He thought it was the most beautiful story ever written.

The next time you touched me from beyond the grave was when I was driving down...was it Merrick Road or Merrick Avenue? I can never remember which one was which, even when driving the streets of Long Island. I only knew once I was there. Anyway, I was passing your house, and I saw your mother taking a walk with a baby stroller. I believe she was out with your infant nephew. I immediately found the closest side street, parked my car, and ran to talk to her.

Memories flooded back to me, and very likely for her. Your Sicilian mama still held big dreams for you, and what you could have been had you not been taken so early in life. Thought several years had passed, we both missed you so much in that moment. She gave me a vital piece of information that day...she told me where you'd been laid to rest.

I would then visit your mausoleum site on the anniversary of your passing. I would only stay a short while, trying to close out the nightmare visions of what truly lay beyond the stone. Did your family follow tradition and lay you to rest in a wedding gown? Were you with me in those moments of my visit, trying to calm me? I'd like to think so.

The final time you seemed to reach out and touch me was during a call with my friend Jodi. I don't remember how it came about, but you were mentioned, and it turned out that a young woman who knew you was right there...Toni. I'd known Toni when we were both much younger, and I had no idea she'd known you. Well, she got on the phone with me, and the stories ensued. We shared a lot about our love for you, and the experiences we had in your home. I remain particularly fond of the time I rode my bicycle two towns over to visit you the day after Thanksgiving. We sat in your basement, and I joked how your mother was probably warming up the tons of leftovers right then, and would come down with trays of food, repeating, "Mangia, mangia!" Lo and behold, a half hour later, she did exactly that, making our laughter hard to actually do any eating whatsoever.

We joked so often about why we never dated. My "I can't date you because you're not Jewish" was always answered with "I can't date you because you're not Italian." We were always glossing over the fact that we loved one another, but were scared for whatever reason. I am sometimes filled with regret that I never took the plunge and asked you out.

And now...Well, my sweet Sandra, I have come close too many times to joining you. Will you be there, awaiting me with open arms? Will you embrace me and tell me that all of my mistakes are forgiven? Would you be sorely disappointed if my arrival on the other side was a result of suicide? Will you allow me to unload the horror I felt all my life with the knowledge that you essentially drowned within your own body? Would you be willing to just hold me and let me cry for a good, long time, and not judge me for my tears?

I'm trying not to find out. Every day is becoming a fight to stick around. The way you were loved, it would seem the same is happening for me. I didn't know by joining a forum that I would influence so many lives. In fact, it's one of those forum members that inspired me to write this letter to you. Can you read it? Does your celestial self understand my mortal problems?

I'm going to head off now. People know I'm in trouble, and they're doing their best to keep me propped up, fighting the good fight. But should the time come when my life comes to its close, I pray that you're one of the first people I see in Heaven, arms wide open, and the words, "You did the best you could with what you had," on your lips. And when we embrace, I hold that you'll forgive me a moment of weakness as I give you the tender kiss that is decades overdue.

With my enduring love for you,

Monday, June 22, 2009

Insult to injury...

Yesterday's post must have been too "happy." Apparently, what I needed was to have my mind shoved further into the depths of depression. And that's why I went to see my PCP today.

Okay...that's not the reason. The actual reason was because I was out of Xanax. It was Dr. G again, and he immediately looked over my prescriptions and said, "You're a week early for your meds." He was talking about my pain meds, so I corrected him and explained I was there for the Xanax. But I figured while I was there, he could write for the pain meds, and that would be that. I can't fill them for several more days, anyway.

Instead, he told me to come back in a week to get them. He couldn't make my life easier and just write them today. No...he basically treated me like a drug addict, flat out insisting that I return next week. Then, before I could discuss anything else, he was out the door.

And you know what? I'm about ready to scream, "I QUIT!" I mean, I'm sitting here and all I'm doing is typing, and I'm in A LOT of pain. The last time Dr. G write for my painkillers, he allowed for ONE tablet every four hours, as opposed to the one and a half I'd been taking up until that visit. Having received the $70 in my bank account, I paid back the person who got me through the weekend and bought food. I'm broke again. I'm fed up with asking for help, and I have a sense that people are getting VERY tired of hearing it from me. I actually think people are afraid to call or write because they're afraid I'll just spend my time begging. I have no wife, girlfriend, or children. The family that I do have is all back east, and they treat me like pariah. No of them call me anymore; they wait for me to pick up the phone. And when I last spoke to my father and mentioned I'd like to visit, he seemed more reluctant to have me fly to NY than pleased that I wanted to see him.

The reality is that I seem to be waiting around to die. I no longer have any prospects. I don't believe there's anyone out there waiting for me in a romantic sense. And all of my friends will shed tears for my loss, but they will eventually move on.

And there you have it. My depression has hit a new high - the first time in a long time. I'm not going to do anything foolish, so you can all relax. But I can't think of any reason why I'm sticking around.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Invisible Post

Yesterday, I typed up a rather lengthy post. It did a lot of reflecting on the last year. The problem with it was that it came to some rather unfortunate conclusions. Really terrifying stuff. And I decided that it wasn't appropriate to post, only because my friends have enough to worry about when it comes to little old me. Why nudge them into a state of blind panic? And while I tried not to complain about the help I've received, it still managed to sound like I was complaining. You can't really understand my shame, and it pushes people further away from potential understanding when my message comes across as, "Thanks for the help. Why aren't you sending more?"

Selfish bastard, I.

Some things in the post that I would like to get out there...

With my panicked cry for aid, two people came forward in a combined effort to see $70 come my way. You have my eternal thanks. Unfortunately, it takes several business days for it to hit my bank, and I've had to borrow money until it arrives. Once I have it, I must pay people back. Why? Because I'm in a poor neighborhood, and people here are in equally bad financial positions. It's a situation of the poor borrowing from the poor.

Part of my reflections of the last year focused on my finances and my friends' involvement. I hate...HATE...HATE...that I have become the burden that I am. People who are far from wealthy are squeezing their wallets to see that I have help, and there is a wrongness to this that transcends my moral fiber. I mean, I completely caved this month and took $40 from a 17-year-old. (She'll be 18 in July, but still.) If the standard parasite could have feelings, they would experience the guilt I'm suffering. And to my utter and complete shame, I look at the money coming to my bank account, see that $30 will have to go out on Monday, leaving me with $40 to get me through close to two more weeks, and a part of my mind is wondering if there's any more help to be had.

I really am a piece of work, am I not?

What I have NOT done is delve into that which is illegal. Surely there is a street value for my painkillers and my insulin syringes. In fact, I know there is, as I've been approached by certain parties to find out if I want to sell any of my prescription...stuff. "My apologies," I say, "but to do that would be akin to selling a part of my soul, and there is no adequate price for that."

I can't remember if I told this story, but when I was living in my first boarding house back in NY, one of my housemates renewed his heroin habit. What's more, he started supplying several other people in the house with the drug. As their various habits escalated from sniffing to IV use, I began to fret over my supply of syringes, which I needed to live. Oddly, there was honor amongst these "thieves," and my insulin syringes were never touched...

That is, my unused syringes were never touched. I was an idiot, though, because I wasn't properly destroying them after use. I was simply throwing them into the trash, and would see my trash into a dumpster that was outside the house. (There were 14 men living there, which makes for a lot of trash.) Well, I was stunned to find out that my roommate was one of the idiots who'd added illegal drugs to his alcoholic behavior, and that he was going into the trash to retrieve my USED syringes.

G-d above! Is this what a drug habit drives people to do?!? That was my thought, and the answer was obvious. Although I hadn't been robbed directly, I still felt violated to an extent. Thus began my habit of destroying my syringes beyond any possible repair, and the hiding of my unused syringes. Another thing I did was switch the gauge of my needles. The higher the number, the smaller the actual needle, and I went from 30 to 31, making them more difficult for IV use. Not impossible, but more difficult, thereby relieving myself of some guilt should I somehow forget to destroy a syringe.

Another part of the post delved into my upcoming birthday, and my audacity to want gifts. It seems like one would need a pair of solid brass balls to ask for more on top of what I've already received. Of course, my birthday represents me wanting things I don't actually NEED. I want computer games...I want to go to the movies...I want to buy DVDs. Want, want, want. In Yiddish, such audacity is called chutzpah.

There are those who pass judgments over me that are far more positive. They act as though I am G-d's gift to the world, and that I am deserving of all the help I can get, and heap praise on top of it. Ultimately, I appreciate the gifts my friends perpetually give me, from the financial aid to the LOVE AND CONCERN they show. Alas, there is an infinitely harsher judge, and that's me. The post that's no longer here "threw the book at me." And I am finding it more and more difficult to hold my head high, especially when it seems that all I do of late is plead for more and more of what others simply don't have.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So far, so bad.

My post was going to be a simple one. As most of my readers know, I have been making my monthly plea for help. Instead of starting in the middle of the month, the theft of all I could wear forced me to start at the beginning of the month. And aid came through...but - and I'm sorry to make this particular complaint - not enough. I have just over two more weeks to go until 3 July, and my next SSD check, and around $5 in my wallet. My bank account has a few cents in it. And so this post was going to simply say...


But then I awoke this morning...well, it was still technically morning, as it was 11:00 AM...and I found myself living the nightmare.

Shortly after I went to sleep last night, my blood sugar dropped. When this happens in my sleep, my glucose has to dip really low to wake me up. I'm actually one of the lucky ones, as diabetic neuropathy can often stop a diabetic from feeling the symptoms of low blood sugar. This happened during my that really long psych hospitalization, and they tested my sugar to be sure...and were shocked when they saw my glucose at 36. (The nurse looked at me and asked, "How are you conscious?") Another effect of my glucose dropping so low is that I eat...A LOT! So what I normally do is handle the low sugar, then do that which seems odd under the circumstances: I take a booster shot of insulin.

For those who understand what that shot means, you're probably thinking, "But Rob...Insulin will just make your blood glucose drop again. Are you...ummm...Are you trying to kill yourself?"

Nope. In fact, that extra shot is being taken for a good reason. There's a little thing known as the Somogyi effect. The blood sugar rebounds from low to high. Of course, the Somogyi effect is clinically viewed as a function of the body, and not caused by the diabetic individually. Almost 34 years has taught me a little better, and I know who's to blame when my glucose bounces from low to high. To prevent that, I take the extra insulin.

See how that works?

Unfortunately, I wasn't doing my best thinking last night. I handled the low blood sugar and went right back to sleep. No extra insulin shot. And while I slept, my glucose skyrocketed! When I woke at 11:00, my sugar was a horrifying 436! I took a blast of insulin immediately, skipped my morning coffee, because my creamer would make my sugar rise further, and then...then...

G-d, please kill me, was the thought that got caught in my head. My body felt like it was on fire. Specifically, my skin. My neuropathy was at its worst, and I had to suppress the urge to take a fistful of painkillers to relieve my pain. It's something that sometimes runs through the heads of those who suffer chronic pain: More will work faster. So I avoided taking more, took the recommended dose, waited two hours, and then took a half dose, because the pain was still driving me insane. Even as I type, I'm waiting for it to do its thing.

Although I haven't taken my sugar again - seems senseless to poke more holes in myself until I know the insulin has had a chance to really work - I believe I averted what could have become a genuine medical crisis. Besides, a trip to the hospital would have been agonizing, especially when they put the IV in my arm. My forearms felt scorched, and I might have screamed when they tried to put a line in.

So...with my body on a path to feeling better, we now return to our regular post, already in progress...


Monday, June 15, 2009

A little nap?

I had a rough night. I was unable to get to sleep until around 2:30 AM, and I woke around 7:00 AM. Nike was meowing, and I couldn't tell you what it translated to in my sleep, but I woke to the sound of my own voice shouting, "What?" That is, I partially woke up. I collapsed back onto my bed, started drifting off again, when I could have sworn I heard a loud noise outside. That had me out of bed and standing at my apartment door, staring around at a lot of nothing outside.

About an hour later, my left ear decided to reveal itself as a problem. Something was tickling/itching inside it, so all I did was rub just beneath the ear, allowing the aural canal to compress and hopefully stop the problem. What I heard and felt was like that of having an ear full of water. Moisture in my ears is a bad thing; it usually results in an ear infection. So I gently used a Q-tip to make sure all was dry in there, and it came away with blood.

What the - ?!? Blood from my ear? For G-d's sake, is there a part of my body that isn't so willing to bleed or break? Oddly, it wasn't dark blood. It looked like it'd been watered down. So something may or may not be going on with my ear, and I suspect a problem of old. Ever had the joy of a pimple on your eardrum? The only time I've ever noticed them is when they were infected. For all I know, I have them frequently, and this was one of those that didn't really bother me...but I managed to pop that sucker when I rubbed my ear.


But the fact that yet another potential problem was moving in really started to get me down. When I take an inventory of what's not working...well, the list is made shorter by considering what still works. Heart and lungs? Okay. Liver? Okay. Kidneys? Mostly okay. After that...Well, it seems that just about everything is an issue.

Then a story pops up online about a woman who garnered the empathy of thousands by carrying a terminally ill baby to term. My very first thought was, Great. Here I am, one of the few that is actually in dire need, and a scammer comes along to help people worry about whether or not *I* am one of those online asshats. I should get batteries for my near-ancient digital camera and take photos of my many broken parts. The proof is in the pictures, right? In fact, that's how this woman was busted; she tried to post a fake picture of her deceased baby, and people immediately started scratching their heads.

In the picture department, I noticed people on the You Thread at GitP posting hand pictures. I spend too much time staring at my hands and knowing how sickly they look because of neuropathy. Staring at those pics seems to have added to my negative mood, but that came this evening.

Back to earlier this day...

I started dwelling on my worth. A lot of time was spent with me mentally asking, What am I waiting for? The concept I immediately clung to was that I'm not living for myself. I'm staying alive for others. Want a warped thought? There's a part of me that denies myself the finality of suicide because I feel indebted to all those who have been giving me financial aid. If I kill myself, all of their money will have been given away - to me - for nothing, and they're going to be pissed! No joke. That's one of the things that stops me.

From there, my mind went to money. Ohhhh, you want to see me sink fast, just get me thinking about my finances, or lack thereof. I made a plea for help the other day, and the lack of responses (for two days, mind you), has me believing that people are tired of my pleas. They're not going to send help this time. You're screwed. You have enough to get through this week, and that's it. And then, to top it off, your birthday is coming up in July. You'll be 43, and -

My brain totally derailed for about 15 minutes. Holy crap! You've spent almost an entire year as the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, and you're only realizing it now?!?

And that's when I blew a fuse. I was hit by a wave of exhaustion I couldn't resist. It was shortly after 2:00 PM, and I decided to take a little nap. Just a few hours of rest. That's all I needed. And so I lay down...and didn't wake up until after 8:00 PM. Just what I needed...Six hours of rest that has likely thrown off my sleep schedule.

My worries are no less than they were when I laid down. I'm fighting so many tears today, and this is after being complimented for being a good guy.

Oh...The compliment? Well, the $40 I mentioned in my last post arrived today, and I immediately went to the market to get food. I only use a cart if I need it to help me walk. Usually, I use one of the hand baskets. I grabbed just over $30 of food, went to the self-checkout, took care of everything, and started heading out with my bags...and as I gave the manager a nod, I paused, went back to the register I'd used, took the hand basket, and returned it to the pile from which I'd taken it. This simple action had the manager amazed, as most people don't make that much of an effort. And for this little accomplishment, he thanked me, and told me it's what he thinks makes me one of the nicer guys that comes into his store.

That, in itself, is reason to be sad. I put something back where I found it. This is what makes me outstanding? Has the world become so rude and lazy that returning a basket to its place appears to be a social miracle?

Since I was much younger, I always thought I'd never make it to the age I've reached. When I was a teenager, I thought I'd never make it to 20. Then I never thought I'd make it to 30...then 40. Now I'm of a mind that I'll never make it to 50.

But I shouldn't let such things get stuck in my head. Maybe all I need is a little nap.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dial P for Panic!

Well, folks...Help has been coming in drips and drabs. One person sent me $25, another sent $50, and there's $40 in the mail as I type. (Interesting note about the $50. I thought I transferred it to my bank account, waited, and eventually wondered why it wasn't showing up. Silly me...I didn't confirm the transfer, and so it's been sitting in PayPal all this time. I'm a genius!)

In total, $115 has been given to my cause since the theft of my clothes. People have been wonderful, and that includes the couple that shipped a box of additional clothing, officially giving me a week's supply instead of a mere few days worth of clothes.

Alas, this leaves me in the normal position of my mid-month groveling for aid.

Y'know, I used to have some pride. When I worked, even though I was walking around with undiagnosed severe depression, I was awesome. During my brief stay in Las Vegas, I won myself a 27" screen television (while collecting college loans) for taking a check over the phone for $5,000! My commission checks when I worked for Dillard's varied between $300 and $900. I was a debt collecting god!

Then there was my brief stint working for Chase as a fraud analyst. Unfortunately, I only got two months in after training, and then I started suffering a problem that...well, I don't discuss it. (It's more personal than anything else, so it won't be mentioned here.) The thing is that the other analysts held a nice, steady 10% fraud rate. That meant that when they submitted a case for investigation, one out of ten proved to be actual fraud. Me? I was already becoming a legend that was being whispered about. My fraud rate was an astounding 50%! Half of the accounts I flagged for investigation proved to be actual fraud, and I was working the cases fast enough to see flashing lights often on my behalf. The unit that rushed to catch the bad guys was across the floor, and there would be a cheer from their end when they busted a criminal, along with a flashing red light that signaled the bad guys were caught in the act.

Long before that, when I worked for my father, there was a degree of pride in what I accomplished in an auto parts store. While the other employees grumbled over having to figure out how to cut certain rotors and drums, I would puzzle out how to get it done. Ever had the pleasure of cutting the drums off of a delivery truck? Probably not...but I did, and while another employee was saying we didn't have the equipment, I was there to say, "Yes we do. Come back in a half hour, and it'll be glassy smooth." And it was!

Or the month I spent on the second floor of our business, climbing storage shelves in the summer heat to clean up the disaster that had been created over decades of business. (It was during that time that I found the bookkeeping records for the year I was born, and was briefly impressed that the business had shut down for the day I was born...only to find out we weren't open on Sundays back then.) Dad was amazed at what I accomplished up there, and I was somewhat proud of the water running black when I got home to shower and washed away all of the dust.

Yeah...Once upon a time, I was a guy who did things for himself. I held on to the pride of accomplishment, which one might say I deserved. When I worked, there were visible results for my efforts.

Now? My pride has been beaten to the point where it may well be dead. All I can do is hold out my hands and pray someone will help. So...can anyone else help?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thanks for all the pain.

My PCP insisted that I see a pain specialist. I called, made the appointment, found my arm all but twisted to making the appointment sooner, did so, went to see the pain specialist...and only once I'm there do I discover they usually only handle neck and back pain. I would have had no problem with this, except that I described the pain I was having while making the appointment, and instead of being told this was the wrong kind of doctor, I was told they could probably help. Essentially, I was lied to.

I have explained all to often that I have very little to do with my time. I spend countless hours in front of my computer, doing little more than playing computer games, occasionally writing. But getting out is always difficult because my feet will ache terribly when the journey ends. So why - WHY - was my time wasted like this?

This is one of those instances where I believe it was all done for love of money. The patient's well-being was of no consequence, so long as someone got paid. It's not the first time this has happened, and probably not the last. Recent events in my life, however, simply make this another reason for me to be angry.

The worst incident of a doctor chasing his income instead of treatment for me involved a urologist back in NY. I had a kidney stone that was 3 mm by 7 mm. Said stone was trying to pass through one of my inner pipes, which was only as wide as a very thin strand of spaghetti. It hurt a lot. Not A LOT...just "a lot." For two months, I had a few appointments with this urologist, even undergoing a test that involved some anesthesia so he could make sure there was no tearing/bleeding in my bladder. When I ran out of painkillers that helped me function between doctor visits, I would have to go to the emergency room for a dose of morphine and a new prescription. Each ER visit usually involved yet another CAT scan. Each scan showed the stone in the same place, the same size. Oddly, i seemed no one was in any kind of rush to complete the treatment I needed.

Over the span of two months, I saw this doctor three times, not including the exploratory procedure. There was also...two or three ER visits. And on my final visit to this doctor, he told me that the hospital he works at doesn't have the equipment he needs to remove the stone, and that I'll have to see a new urologist. This IDIOT knew from the start, when he saw a stone too big to go anywhere on its own, that I would need a procedure called lithotripsy. Rather than send me off to the proper doctor at the start, me made me endure the pain of that kidney stone for two months before admitting there was nothing he could actually do.

My conclusion is that he did it strictly for the money. He's a specialist. He gets even more money that a PCP. And so he took the insurance company for as much of a ride as possible, while I lived in constant pain for his greed. Once he reached the end of the line, he let me go, leaving me to start the process all over again with another specialist...

Or so he thought. You see, I was then referred to a specialist associated with one of the best hospitals on Long Island. When I called to make an appointment, I found out that the doctor had a direct link to the hospital computers. If the hospital did a CAT scan, the doctor would be able to pull it up at his office.

I'd been in enough pain over this thing for too long. I was not going to go through the process from scratch. So as the appointment approached, I went to the new hospital's ER and got treated for my pain, as well as having another CAT scan. When it came time to see the urologist, he was all set to order more tests. I told him to check my records on his computer, and there it was...the test results he was going to want, all ready and waiting for him. So instead of having to relive the lengthy process of testing, all he had to do was schedule the surgery.

And now you have some of the details from when I wrote about Lizzy.

So I'm in tremendous pain for no good reason right now. What I could have been told over the phone - that they couldn't help - apparently needed to be said to my face. Because if they told me this over the phone, they wouldn't be able to bill anyone. I would torture someone for this inconvenience, but my feet hurt too much, making it easy for potential victims to get away.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Meanwhile, in another part of town...

Stygian Skivvies Journal, June 7th, 2009, 9:34 AM.

I checked with my sources. It's ironic that the person who'd heard something was the deaf woman I knew. She has friends. They saw the stolen underwear recently. But they had no idea who to report to, and so it vanished, along with the scum that scatter like cockroaches when the kitchen lights come on. What kind of a "superhero" am I when underwear can elude me?

Ummm...Right. Shut up, you.

Another package filled with affection from a friend arrived yesterday. Crammed inside were two pairs of shorts, two pairs of jeans, and four tee shirts. Add this to the jeans, tee shirts, underwear, and socks I bought on Thursday, and I actually have a week's worth of cloths again!

And what should come AFTER all of this is done, but news that someone saw a stack of clothing on Friday in the laundry room. According to the witness, the pile consisted of a pair of jeans and a lot of underwear.

But was it mine?

We'll never know. The reason we'll never know is because after over six months of complaints to the office, they finally sent repair crews to fix all of the broken washers and dryers. Scattered around the entire room were machine parts, and not a stitch of clothing to be seen. Besides, according to the witness, (a friend of my deaf neighbor), none of the socks or tee shirts were left. This morning, the laundry room is back in order, with no sign of that mysterious, nomadic pile of clothes. The chance to reclaim anything is now gone.

That figures.

Meanwhile, on the financial front, someone whom I will call "Kenny" sent me $25 via PayPal. (This reminds me of funny things, but I will speak of that later.) Another person, actually just under the age of 18, offered to send money. This second person...I told them the $25 would give me a grand total of $70 in my account. I was wrong. It would actually give me $57. I was prepared to stand on my high horse and say, "No one under 18 is allowed to send me money." But then it occurred to me that I'm in a REALLY bad way. I partially caved and said, "Talk to your parents. If they say it's okay, then you can help. If not...well, the hugs you offered will have to do."

But this gives me an idea. You see, if I don't need stacks of money from everyone. Oh, it would be very nice, but it's not what I actually NEED. To face this month, if a lot of people would send a little bit, then I would be well out of the red. So let's say 10 people sent me $20 to $25 each. That's $200 to $250 for the month, which would be perfect. It should be perfect, anyway. What's more, it's a lot less painful on those who want to give.

I feel the need to stress my immediate problem. Money has already been spent. Money that I can't get back. It's nice that TVT wants to get a "diabetic sock drive" going, but I already bought a package of 10 pairs of socks that has already been opened. Diabetic socks, while very nice, are a luxury for me. What I need is the money to now survive the month. So, once again, my e-mail is You can reach me there, or at GitP, and I will send what you need to know to help.

G-d...I've never been on such a "gimme" campaign so willingly. Yes, I am ashamed.

Oh...Before I forget the amusing "Kenny Tale." My time on City of Heroes is occasionally spent on a raid against the biggest, nastiest monster in the game. I've mentioned it before. Its name is Hamidon. One of the regulars is a character whom I'll call "the Scarlet Something." She's a healer type, and is usually deep inside where all the action is taking place. This presents a bit of a problem, as she, herself, has few HP and almost no defenses, and the entire zone is filled with giant monsters that can one-shot even some of the toughest characters. Thus, the Scarlet Something is often dead as the fighting goes on.

We've taken to calling her "the Scarlet Kenny." The rest of us take turns shouting, "Oh my G-d! They killed Scarlet Kenny!" This is usually followed by someone else shouting, "Those bastards!" It's an old joke that somehow remains fresh, especially when, at the end of the raid, we check to see if anyone else has died more than her, and hand out the "Scarlet Kenny Award." This tends to result in Scarlet fighting hard on the next raid to reclaim her title as the dyingest character on the map.

In still more news, I've been forgetting to mention my encounter with my friend Dave. It's rather astounding how he and I can delve into those topics deemed socially taboo without killing one another...and he's the one with the gun. I told him on Thursday about the theft, and he said that I really should move. It's a nice idea, except that I simply can't afford it. There are few apartments out there that are cheaper than mine, and those that are will probably be very similar to what I'm living in now. I don't make enough to live anywhere else but a slum.

But we spoke at length about my situation, and it amazes me how giving good Christian folk are. Dave is one of them, and I discussed the parameters of what I would need to be able to move. I would like rent that doesn't exceed $400, and actually said closer to $300 or $350 would be infinitely better. I don't need a one bedroom apartment; a studio would be just fine. This opens a lot of doors, as a spacial requirement would make a search much more difficult. Cats must be acceptable; I won't leave Nike behind. He suggested I rent a room in someone's house, but I told him that all my years of living in a boarding house, along with being attacked in one, have made me leery of such situations. I also mentioned that while I am trying to quit smoking, I am not meeting with the success I would like. The stress of my life makes the focus of willpower required for quitting extremely difficult, so for the time being, whomever has an apartment for rent, a smoker must be acceptable. I then suggested he ask around at his church, since that's where more giving souls would be found.

After saying that, I went on to the tale of when I was homeless in NY. (I may have already told this one, but it's worth repeating.) I was staying at a homeless shelter that was run by a Christian charity. Nuns and a priest were usually around all day, making sure the place was run cleanly. What's more, every soup kitchen I've ever been to was run by either Christians or Catholics, with plenty of volunteers on hand to help those in need.

Well, I took myself to a Jewish temple one day, found their administrative office, and explained my situation. I was homeless and penniless, and I needed help. To my shock, the secretary asked if I was a temple member.

All religions collect a tithing. Jews don't send a collection plate around during services; they collect membership dues when you join. This money goes toward paying the Rabbi, the Cantor, the temple staff, and keeping the temple in good repair. Oddly, however, little seems to be set aside to caring for those in need. Sure, they take up collections for the poor. I remember when I was a kid and saw boxes around for collecting canned goods. But beyond that, there seems to be very little in the way of help for someone who was in my condition at the time I was visiting that temple and asking for aid.

After asking if I was a temple member, I tried to make it clear. "I don't have a home. I don't have any money. I am currently staying at a homeless shelter, surrounded by goyim who would rather steal my insulin syringes than give me the time of day." (I was pretty upset at that time, and "goyim" is a Yiddish, derogatory term for non-Jew.) "And you want to know if I'm a temple member?!? I have no money for temple dues. I have no money to eat! And the absolutely shameful part of this is that if I walked into a church, I would be given whatever aid they had on hand."

The secretary scurried off to talk to a superior, and actually came back with said superior. I was stunned once more, as the second person had the chutzpah to ask if I was a temple member. I cut it short and told them I wasn't. "I'm sorry," said the person in charge, "but there's nothing we can do for you." And I was turned away without so much as a few dollars to get something to eat.

After I told this tale to Dave...

Me: Y'know, Dave...If not for my lack of faith in Christ, I would switch religions, if only because Christians are much more caring. Unfortunately, G-d would see through that one. Switching religions for social reasons and not reasons of faith is probably frowned upon by Him.
Dave: Yeah, you're right on that count.
Me: Ya think?
Dave: Yeah...It's that whole "knowing all/seeing all" thing He has going on.
Me: That, and my father would roll over in his grave...that is, he would after I broke the news to him that I'm found Christ, and he died of heart failure from the news. Then he would roll over in his grave.

Dave could only laugh...And yet, it's ultimately sad that the stereotyping of Jews being tight-fisted when it comes to money seems entirely too true.

So I'm on the hunt for a new place to live. While Dave searches, I have also looked around online, and found several properties that have a lower rent than what I have in this nightmare. The difficult part is that my lease isn't up until the end of Sept. Unless I give a 30-day notice, and then it would be a mad rush to get my things packed and get me out. I'd also need help moving, either by people who happen to own a truck, or someone willing to help me pay for apartment movers. There's also the matter of a deposit on a new apartment, on top of that first month's rent. There may also be other expenses, like charges for moving my phone service to a new place.

But I can't stay here anymore. The management doesn't care who they rent to, as long as the rent gets paid. The police are here almost daily, putting an end to domestic violence, drug deals, prostitution, and taking away illegal immigrants. Even for what little I can pay, there has to be something better out there.

And that's all I can think to report at this moment, folks. I still need financial aid, if it can be spared. Once I have enough, I will most assuredly come here and let folks know they can stop sending. When the time comes for a move, I'll be on yet another big campaign for funds...and, with luck, my living situation will improve.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stygian Skivvies Journal, June 6th, 2009, 4:15 AM

I have seen the darkest of those that surround me. The uncaring masses, more than willing to say an unkind word or make a false claim of injustice. They turn to me, crying to be saved after making false accusations. And when this happens, I look down upon them and say, "No."

These wretched humans, no more worthy of my pity than a rabid dog that's bitten my hand. I will suffer through the painful treatment to resolve the illness, all the while demonstrating the mercy I would give the aforementioned dog. I would put them down if I could do so without police involvement.

Some underwear was stolen was stolen on June 3rd, and no one cared...

Okay...I make a terrible Rorschach. Still, I joked with someone recently, telling them what happened Wednesday was the kind of trauma that usually spawns a superhero. I'll just throw on a costume and take on the moniker of "Stygian Skivvies"...a name that will instill fear in my enemies, if only because most people would be able to translate it to the simpler words, "Dark Underwear." And as I corner criminals of every stripe, I'll use a disturbing, guttural voice to say, "My briefs demand justice."

A few people have been reaching out to me with the question of, "What are your sizes?" Trust me, folks...if I could have waited for clothing to arrive, I'd be giving my sizes to everyone who's asked. But when I say whoever stole my laundry took everything, I mean they took EVERYTHING. And because Arizona is now in the "season of sweating," I needed immediate changes of clothing. Even with a young couple sending me a package of clothes, "just a few clothes to get me through until it arrives" cost me an astounding amount of money.

Yes, I stopped at second-hand store along the way, but the various clothes were not anything I'd wear. Something about the Caucasian guy wearing a Malcolm X tee shirt would bother many of my neighbors, and I'm just not a hug fan of Bob Marley. Hawaiian shirts were also out, along with any other variety of "loud" tee shirts.

No, my friends...What's needed now is money to get through the month. I just couldn't stare down another shower where I needed to use old, stained tee shirts normally used as dust rags to dry myself off. And what to put on afterward? The same sweaty socks, underwear, and tee shirt I had on before the shower? That would leave me wondering why I showered to begin with.

So, again, if you wish to help, you should contact me. Not sure why I didn't do this before, but my e-mail address is As I've done before, when enough comes my way, I'll be back here to let the world know I have all the help I need. Also, as when my brother was ill last year, no one under 18 is allowed to send money. I appreciate the thought, but I'm not a rogue. Mind you, I'm desperate enough, just as I was last year, to accept anything from anyone. If you're that desperate to help, talk to your parents and have them offer me aid.


Stygian Skivvies Journal, June 6th, 2009, 5:16 AM.

Some underwear was stolen on June 3rd. And while some people cared, it was too late. A dark, menacing hero who liked to have disturbing, internal monologues was born...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This time...

I've had laundry stolen before. No big deal, because there was always something left behind. They'd take a shirt...or a towel...

But this time, whoever stole my laundry, TOOK EVERYTHING I OWNED! With the exception of a few clothes that don't fit, or are in such condition that they'd be embarrassing to wear in public, I have nothing but what I'm wearing. Included in the theft were those wonderful diabetic socks a friend sent. The five new shirts I bought last month...gone. My one surviving bath towel...gone. And as I type this, I await a call back from the police to file a report of some kind...although what they can actually do to help, I have no idea.

Edit/Update: Well, G-d bless Xanax. Toward the end of writing the first part of this post, I could already feel myself coming unstrung. I wanted to call numerous people, but what was there to say or do at that moment. All I'd do is cry and, and those on the other end would be helpless.

But when Officer Carl called, I was already taking this in stride...kinda. What helped was an almost immediate e-mail, asking me for my sizes and the like. It's actually not all that helpful, as I need to replace what's been lost IMMEDIATELY. Tomorrow, when I shower, I'll be drying myself with old shirts that I normally use as dust rags. Then I'll have to buy clothing...a regrettably large amount of clothing. So what I'll need after that is money to survive the month.

Meanwhile, Officer Carl took my report, gave me what information I need to follow up in the report. He was ultimately impressed that I was probably the most pleasant victim, especially when I went off on how grotesque it is to steal someone else's underwear! I'm not saying there's anything particularly disgusting in my underwear, but the concept is just disturbing.

My oddest moment during the call was when he gave me the report number. It starts with 2009, which is fairly obvious. This number is the year. The case number went on with another eight digits, and a part of me hoped that there would be very few cases reported like mine. I suppose I was hoping for the sense of comfort that the world remained a fairly safe place, and that the phone report would be number 2009 0000 0001. Let me be one of the rare victims. But, no...I can only go as far as to say there are multiples of 10,000,000 cases like mine.

Officer Carl also asked the approximate value of my loss, and I foolishly thought that the Phoenix Police would have some kind of slush fund for victims like me. No...It was just part of the report, so I told him I'd lost a dozen Armani shirts.

For all the ways I'm trying to bend my mind toward the less traumatic of this whole thing, I find myself experiencing emotions that I have, unfortunately, experienced entirely too often. It starts with a mugging back when I was in my mid-teens. I celebrated my 21st birthday by having a finger (and my face, a bit) broken by a drunken troublemaker whom my youngest brother warned was the wrong person to file charges against; said troublemaker had a father with money and clout, and I should take my wounds and be glad that's all that happened. Then there was the robbery at gunpoint in my mid-twenties; I tell ya, there's nothing quite like starting at a gun aimed at your chest. Finally, that beating I took while I was asleep in the boarding house. In the last three hours, plus, I've been living all of the "joyous" effects of PTSD, along with the extras that come with depression that is still trying to come under control as I get back on my meds.

Tomorrow, I will be spending almost all of my money on rant, clothing, with the leftovers going to food. So, rather than waiting until mid-month, here I am, in a genuine crisis. I would love to make a list of my needs, but tomorrow, I'll be wandering the world in an ancient tee shirt with sweat marks that are more embarrassing than anything else. My socks will be mismatched. The jeans I'll be wearing...well, here's hoping I'll be able to breath, as the waistline is a couple is a few inches too small.

I usually try to ease my way into this kind of thing, but I'm flat out begging. If there are those who can, please contact me. Simply leave a comment with your e-mail, and I can send you what information you need to help me. Your comments will NOT be published with your contact info; they come to my e-mail for approval first, only because I like to make sure no foul comments make their way to my blog.

So, my friends...I've taken more meds. My hope is that I'll get some rest before the busy day ahead of me. I'll need to be up early, and that's a task unto itself. Please, my friends...If you can help, I am openly begging for it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

That Thing You Do

Well I try and try to forget you girl
But it's just so hard to do
Every time you do that thing you do

Those are the words that were in my head when I awoke this morning. It's kind of rough on you when you wake up with a song stuck in your head. I don't know about you folks, but when this happens to me, I end up having to hunt down that song and hear it in its entirety. Then, knowing it's from a movie, I have to look up said movie in an attempt to unravel the mystery...WHY is this song stuck in my head? This is a song I haven't heard since the movie was released and radio stations seemed to take a trip back in time to play the song repeatedly. And the movie, boys and girls, was released in October of 1996. So why is it stuck in my head almost 13 years later?

Well, some of it is the fact that some of my time spent in the Land of Nod has been used to twist the past. Just days ago, I dreamt of my ex, Perlin. In the dream, she and I were up to our...*ahem*...usual antics. But to avoid the displeasure of her father, which was always a concern when we were dating, we were "getting busy" on the roof of a house somewhere on Long Island. No, there will be no grand details...except to say that when we were done, we were lying on the roof and looking up at the stars, her head resting against my arm. This is where I woke up, only to find Nike was sleeping next to me, her furry back against my forearm and tickling my skin.

My first thought? Please, G-d...Tell me I haven't been doing strange things to my cat in my sleep!

Well, as disturbing as that seems, I probably wasn't performing unnatural acts with my kitty. She wouldn't have been asleep, or even near me if I'd tried. No, the upsetting thing about Nike sleeping next to me is my penchant for violent action while I'm asleep. Some time ago, I revealed that when I was living with Robin, I would start kicking her in my sleep. Kicking in such a way that I was hurting her, and she would scream to wake me up so I would stop...which eventually made me subconsciously exile myself to the couch, all the while making conscious excuses not to share a bed with her. So there are mornings when I wake and notice Nike is nowhere to be seen. Eventually, she comes out from under the bed...the place she goes when she's upset and trying to escape me.

Yes, for all the love I have for my cat, when I catch her on a counter, all I need to do is stand and shout, "Hey!" Nike, knowing she's done something wrong, makes a beeline for the bed, slinking under it, where she knows I'm not going to chase her.

Okay...Other leads. A crush from not all that long ago had a thing for the Beatles. (Hello, citizens. It I, Captain Understatement, here to tell you this person had "a thing" for the Beatles.) Maybe thoughts of romances gone by had me dragging this song out of the closet of memories. But then, if that was the case, why not drag out a Beatles song? Are there not enough of them for my brain to pick?

Right. Scratch that theory.

Maybe it's Robin herself. I mean, she and I were..."something"...back in 1996. Of late, I've been wanting to try and find her and talk. Actually, as explained to my Julie, what I want to do is apologize. For all intents and purposes, I pushed Robin away. Everything I did consciously had subconscious origins, and I didn't come to terms with those more discrete reasons until the last year or two. So for the last month or so, I've been suppressing the urge to find her and call...explain what was happening to me...what has happened to me...and ask her forgiveness.

Of course, just mentioning this to Julie had her sputtering. Robin was the one who didn't communicate with me. Robin was the one that left me when things were going south. Robin, who held a grudge against her boyfriend from years before because he left when she was at her sickest, abandoned me when I was jobless, penniless, and becoming disabled...

I suppose some mysteries aren't meant to be solved. What I should do is work on the increasingly impossible task of finding a new romance, so that one day I can look her in the eyes and tell her, "Y'know, I simply marvel at That Thing You Do."


On an unrelated note, I should warn the world that my existence on the Internet may suddenly come to an end. If you recall, I wrote about computer troubles not too long ago. Well, that dreaded blue screen has been appearing again. It started when I reinstalled my printer, hoping I could get it working again. I removed the printer, but I fear I'm heading for another fatal crash. If that happens, I'll have to restart my computer from scratch, all the while praying that it actually works. And if it doesn't...Well, at least you were warned to where I may vanish.