Saturday, July 31, 2010

Major Mental Meltdown

I had a good one a few nights ago. It started innocently enough. Becky and I were doing what we do regularly, chatting on Skype while using voice and video. The topics were also the usual. The fact that I'd like her to live alone for a few months, for example. Becky has never, EVER lived alone. This is something that I deem important. People should always have a taste of that semi-lonely existence when it's self-imposed, this way they are prepared for it should it come later on in life without warning.

This led me to start thinking about my own college years, specifically the time in which Perlin was a part of my romantic life. I started to remember all the times in which she was left alone to do what she pleased. I'm not one to desire enslaving the woman I love, keeping her under constant scrutiny and never allowing her the freedom to chase those things that she wants for herself. But Perlin was pursued by another guy, and her heart decided to head back to its old habits and chase him in return. I could see my relationship with her coming undone, and fought against it as much as possible. In the end, there was no saving the love that I thought I had.

Of course, years of reflection made me come to realize that I wasn't in love with Perlin, but "in lust." But you can't tell that to a man who was addicted to the endorphins produced by so many "rolls in the hay." I lost my mind and did things that were more along the lines of someone infinitely more cruel than that which is my normal nature. I mean, I was a funny guy with an offbeat sense of humor. I moved instantly into nastiness, using words to cause the most harm among my friends. What's more, my bout with a severely broken heart pushed me to make my first serious attempt at suicide.

I didn't like that guy. I didn't like the person that I became during that bit of heartache. I didn't like the person I became during ANY of those incidents in which I was recovering from a broken heart.

So there I am, imagining Becky living alone, making new friends in her various classes. I'm also imagining that guy who's a few years older than her, educating himself so he can enter a field of employment that will earn him decent money. And it's a field of employment that he likes. That she likes. So they hit it off in simple conversation. He's like me in many ways. Loving, caring, honest...but lonely. Before I know it, Becky is off with new "friends" in a "study group" almost every evening. I think it's on the up-n-up, but later I find out that it's far less than innocent. And before I can process what's happening, my girlfriend is asking me to be on my way in a place where I have few, if any, acquaintances.

This is my imagination at it's worst. There is no real evidence that anything like this would happen. Becky has been entirely faithful to me. And she's promised me multiple times that nothing I imagine would ever happen.

Experience has taught me otherwise. People can say many things, but until they prove themselves with actions, all they have are are words.

Look, I love Becky. I am blessed to have found her and get her into my life. But I've had so many bad experiences that I've come to expect the very worst from EVERYONE. Even when I get the best, I expect the worst to come along at some time to help destroy another chunk of my life. And that scares me silly.

Because I am open and honest with Becky, I shared this monumental fear. Her response was a rather casual, "Well, I'll just have to prove to you that I'm not like everyone else."

Really, what proof do I need beyond what I've already received? At the start of our relationship, I went through my usual routine of advertising that which I believe makes me a poor catch. I'm never going to have a regular job. My income will always be a very small check from the government each month. My health will either remain status quo or decline. And when offered the chance to run, Becky insisted on staying. In fact, she stayed just when others in the past have fled from me. In and of itself, that act makes her different from the other women I'd attempted to have relationships with.

Last night, I pushed myself toward an improved outlook on our relationship. My internet connection died, and so we were forced to chat on the phone. I brought up several aspects of our "planned" future for discussion. I specifically focused on the children we'd like to have. These were some of the ideas that we discussed...

When the kids misbehave, there WILL be punishments. If they deserve to be spanked, so be it. There's a huge difference between a spanking and a beating. Our kids will never be abused, but they will not get away with things like talking back to their parents or disobeying the rules of the house. We will also not live in fear of overreacting witnesses. If our kids get out of line, they will receive the punishment they deserve without delay. (I added that last bit just now, but Becky would probably agree.)

When the kids get home from school, they get an hour to decompress. Have a snack, relax, unwind...The school day will be much like a work day in their little lives. Then comes the question of whether they want to do homework immediately and have the entire night free, or do they want to wait to do it after dinner. This becomes a lesson to the kids about time management. Whatever the case may be, homework will be done. And if I ever find out that they lied about not having any homework...See the above paragraph.

Throughout our lives with children, I want to establish a "family night" for each week. It's a night when we bust out the board game of choice and sit around playing and having fun. I don't necessarily want it to be a night where we go out and spend money on an activity that doesn't allow us to interact face-to-face. My greatest desire is to establish family bonds stronger than what I have with my current relations, and to maintain those bonds. "Candyland" can easily give way to other games that are more complicated as our kids grow up.

Off the subject of kids, I told Becky that when I move in with her, I'm going to want a night when I have her to myself. It doesn't matter what we do that night, as long as it doesn't involve work or school for her. The reason I stressed this is because of a young woman on GitP who seems to be making herself crazy with an extremely busy schedule. Becky confessed that she'll probably want to try and tackle everything at once, which will only lead to her burning out rapidly. But be it Friday or Saturday night, her time is mine. And she will have fun, dangit!

Back on the subject of kids, we pondered how to answer the dreaded question, "Where did the world come from?" Despite our religious differences, Becky and I are closer to being agnostic. As I often say, "I would have more faith in G-d if I had His mailing address." For this reason, as of right now, we'll stick to the science, while also fostering a belief that there may very well be a higher power somewhere in the universe that's helped things along.

Becky also raised an excellent question. "How would you respond to any of our kids who want to join the military?" My response was that I would have no objections, provided they knew EXACTLY what they were getting into. Most specifically, if they don't follow orders, the punishments they received while growing up will seem like good times.

So...I'm trying. These grand fears that have been drilled into me from many romances gone bad shouldn't casting a pall on the love I've found. The best I can do is make an effort to embrace what I have, and allow Becky to continue to prove she's not like the other women from my past.

Oh...By the way, I'll be seeing my sweet, beautiful Becky in exactly seven weeks. That time can't pass fast enough.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More medical adventures

So...I went to physical therapy yesterday, and was fully expecting to get yelled at. I mean, I was supposed to call between three and five days after the surgery to set up PT, and was in such discomfort that I became AFRAID of going somewhere where I'd be forced to move my healing leg. Instead, I was content to do what little exercising I could at home, and try to live without PT.

As reported, however, I received a talking to at the surgeon's office. No PT could mean a loss of mobility in my knee, so I'd best get my butt there ASAP.

My "PTist" is named Anne. She came into the room, and I told her she might as well be prepared to yell at me, and she thanked me for warning her in advance. I then told her the tale of WHY I didn't set up PT, told her what I'd already been doing at home, and we went from there.

First came the measuring of the leg. Anne was pleasantly surprised by several things along the way. First of all, she says my incisions look fantastic for someone who is NOT a diabetic! That's right, boys and girls. She says my healing looks better than that which would appear on someone in relative good health. When checking the size of my knee, it was only 1.5 cm larger than pre-surgery. Of course, my knee was swollen then too. But to be so close to what it was prior to the operation was impressive. As for my mobility, my knee was shy 21 degrees to its previous ability to bend. I told her I could probably get a few more degrees out of it, but that it would feel exceptionally tight and uncomfortable. Anne was quick to tell me to do no such thing. Another thing that impressed her was the definition of my quads. She could tell I'd been doing my isometrics, which I actually tend to do without thinking about while I talk with my beloved.

Then it was exercise time. It's fine that I should be exercising while lying flat on in a chair, but she wants me doing a few things while standing. Most were fairly easy leg lifts. But two things that she told me to do became issues.

The first is that, while standing, I should lift myself onto my toes. Why is this a problem? Because of the severe osteoarthritis in my right big toe. Just a few lifts, and I feel like I'm walking on broken glass the rest of the day.

The other was a surprise issue. While standing, I was to raise my toes so that I was standing on my heels. This was actually done quite easily with my right foot. But my left foot absolutely, 100% refused to move. Even while sitting, I can tap my right foot. But my left strains to move, and nothing happens.

Anne and I immediately try to figure out why this was happening. I believe we've been left with two reasons. One is my diabetic neuropathy, and the other is the fact that I've been walking oddly since I broke my big toe several years ago. I was told to engage in the exercise she prescribed for my right leg, but use both feet while sitting down. This is the ultimate in frustrating, because no matter how hard I try, I can't lift the front end of my left foot. Even while walking and trying to correct my gait, the foot won't respond properly. I fear it may have lost that particular bit of mobility permanently.

In other medical news, I received a call while leaving PT yesterday from my medical insurance company. They were calling to let me know that the release of my morphine sulfate prescription is now pending my doctor's response. As I hung up, I felt the call was very much, "We called to tell you nothing important. You still can't have the meds you need. Have a nice day."

Meanwhile, I had myself a "crash weening" from the morphine last weekend. I thought we'd simplified the process. Instead, the insurance company came up with yet another reason as to why they won't fill a prescription. And with less than a day's worth left, I suddenly had to reduce what I was taking each day before I ran into some kind of withdrawal nightmare.

The real surprise is that I don't think I've been having that much of a problem withdrawing from the meds. I mean, I wake in the morning with greater neuropathy pain, but that could be because I don't have a time release painkiller in my system anymore. I'm also experiencing greater discomfort in those things that cause me regular pain, like the arthritic toe and my Charcot's feet. But crazy sweats, hallucinations, extreme pain all over, and wild cravings...? None of that. This is a good sign, for it shows I was actually using the medications as prescribed, and not getting "creative" while taking them.

And that's all I have at the moment. I'll try to think up some other mundane news to share with my devoted fans in the near future. Be well, all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The first rule of closed beta testing...

...is that you don't talk about closed beta testing. Which is really annoying, because I'm in a closed beta with a lot of cool stuff, and I can't tell anyone but those that are already in it. And since they're already in it, telling them would just be silly.

But even sillier is this particular closed beta testing and how people came to be in it. You see, to gain access to this test, people had to be active members of a particular MMO between certain dates. By doing so, these people were awarded an achievement that they could not only publicly display, but that people just looking at their information could see if it WASN'T displayed. The whole world inside the game knows that those with this badge of honor will be invited to the closed beta. And yet the penalty for saying you're in the closed beta is to be given the boot and never invited to beta test again.

Say it with me, folks. "Huh?"

So here I am, withholding all the nifty things I COULD be telling you about the closed beta, all for the illusion that it's a secret. Everyone pretty much knows it's going on. Everyone can tell everyone else in the game by setting themselves up to have the achievement floating over their heads. But we can't discuss it. It's all very silly.

When it becomes open beta, IF it becomes open beta, I'll be able to tell you all of the nifty things I've been playing with. But until then, you'll just have to assume I'm on one of the half dozen closed betas out there at this moment.

In other news, I did what I said I would do and set myself up for PT. The reminder I set in my phone was, "Call for PT or Becky will kill you." A completely false statement, but I'm sure she would have given me quite the talking to if I failed to get moving on it today.

And that's all I got. Be well, all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

An increasing need

I need to do more. Even if I don't do more, I need to TRY to do more. Because if things work out as Becky and I hope they will, sitting on my butt day after day while doing little more than playing computer/video games and/or watching DVDs is not going to cut it. It's as though I fill my life with trivial things just to kill time between various doctor visits. It has to stop.

To start with, I'm out of shape. Muscles that were once large and firm have become soft and flabby. Taking my insulin in the same place along my stomach has drawn fat there, as well as providing me with quite a bit of scar tissue. I may or may not be able to do much about this, but...Well, I mentioned this wedding that's coming up in September. In preparation for the wedding, I decided showing up in jeans and a tee shirt probably won't make me welcome at the reception. So I ordered some clothes online. I found a great shirt and tie set, as well as a pair of dress pants, at what I consider unbelievably low prices. I was a happy camper.

The pants are the problem. The shirt and tie are fine. But I based the size of the pants based on the jeans I've been wearing. I caved at one point and bought 36 inch waist pants because 34" jeans were hurting me. Those same 36 inch pants have been falling off my hips the last few months, to the point where I can take them off without unbuttoning/unzipping them. (Yay! Rob's losing some weight.) Using this fact, I said to Becky while ordering the pants, "Since my jeans are constantly drooping, I think I'm safe ordering pants with a 34 inch waist." Becky agreed. Upon receiving them, I tried them on...and almost gave myself a hernia trying to get them closed up. And when I added the shirt, I couldn't close them at all. So I need to exchange them, which is yet another project I need to work on.

The thing is that I don't like the whole idea of buying clothing that simply increases in size as I age. It was the trap my parents fell into, and now my Dad is having a great many difficulties for being as heavy as he is. My biological mother...? Well, I honestly don't care what problems she's having, I just know that the last time I saw a photo of her she looked like she'd been hit by a bus and survived it a lot more shapeless than ever before.

Of course, I have this little thing standing in the way of my becoming fit, and that being a body that really doesn't want to even think about the workouts I used to perform in my youth.

"Gee, Rob. What kind of workouts did you have?" I'm glad you asked, because I like to boast a bit. First of all, before I received my driver's license, I could bike 25 miles a day, and often did, simply because I wanted to. After I started driving, and I was working for my father, I would spend an entire day lifting auto parts, which aren't always light. Then I would come home and use free-weights for a half hour, working my lower body one day and my upper body the next. And at any given moment, I could do 40 push-ups. Oh, but let's break that number down. I would do 20 regular push-ups, usually with my legs elevated about three feet off the floor. Then I would do 20 "diamond" push-ups; place your hands on the floor so that your thumbs and forefingers touch, hereby forming a diamond shape...also with my feet elevated. I was so fit that a friend's girlfriend once referred to me as "a triangle on a stick." That was because I slim all the way to mid-torso, and then my chest expanded with well-developed pectoral muscles. Having naturally broad shoulders didn't hurt, either.

Until I met Becky, my dreams of ever having kids were all but crushed. It was never going to happen because I didn't have someone to make the kids with. Becky and I are looking forward to having a family that includes a few miniature versions of us. And some disabled shlub who can't hold a baby or chase after a small child makes for a poor stay-at-home dad.

Mind you, the kids aren't something we'll be having in the next year or two, so I have some time.

Or do I? Think carefully, gang. I'm 43. Becky is 25. I need to do something to start getting in shape just so I can keep up with the woman I love, don't you think? And I'm not even talking about making love, (although in my current shape, having the local ambulance corps on speed-dial might not be a bad idea). I'm talking about the desire to go on long walks while holding hands and talking about whatever comes to mind. I'm talking about vacations in which we might want to do some sight-seeing instead of hiding in a hotel room for a week. I keep thinking back to around 13 years ago, visiting Sedona, AZ and taking a "Pink Jeep Tour" through the Red Rocks. If I don't start working on at least building up some stamina, such a tour would have me requiring traction for a few weeks to realign my spine.

Physical stuff aside, I also need to engage my mind a bit more. I'm still suffering the great desire to write, but tripping and stumbling along as I try to tell a story of any kind. All of my writing lands here, and these snippets into my life are all well and good in terms of a writing exercise, but it's not really getting the imaginative stuff out of my skull.

And wouldn't it be great if I actually published a book or two, or maybe sold a screenplay and added to the family income? Why, I might even feel like I've earned my place in the universe for a wee bit longer.

I wrote several months back that Becky has caused me to stop existing and start living. Well, I've been working on it. She's part of the reason why I had back-to-back surgeries. (And while I love you, my sweet, beautiful Becky, there ain't no way I'm doing that again.) As I start to heal, and get moving on seeing a few more doctors about this and that, I need to start DOING more. The mindset is falling into place; now I just need to followup with action.

Yes, I'm handicapped. I'm disabled. I'm whatever title you want to apply that is directed at the fact that I can't hold down regular employment. Because of this, I have an "out" should there come a time when all of these things I want to do fall through. "Well, your body just can't handle whatever it was you were trying to do." It makes for a good explanation, but it does NOT excuse me from TRYING. I keep telling people, "If you try, you cannot fail. You may not succeed at your task, but you will be that much of a success in life for having made your best effort. Only by never trying can you actually fail." I would rather try and not succeed than not try at all and be a failure.

Step 1: Get on that whole physical therapy thing so I can get this leg functioning again...

Be well, all.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My date with another woman

Well, we joked that it was a date. I don't think being driven around by Ray's mom while talking about Becky as much as I did would truly qualify as a date. And if it WAS, in fact, a date, then my talking about Becky almost continuously made me a terrible romancer.

It started with me waking Ray a half hour before ym appointment. I was surprised to find him still asleep. But when you rely on your cell phone as an alarm clock, and you fail to charge the phone properly, oversleeping is quite possible. Ray's car remains an air conditionless wonder, and so he got his mom to come by and take me to my surgical followup. Her car is full of...stuff. I don't know what any of it is, but the back seat is filled to capacity. So Ray wouldn't be coming along.

Now about the doctor's appointment. Ray and I set our calenders when my surgery was scheduled. Both of us had 23 July at 2:00 PM as the followup. Yet when I arrived at the doctor's office, I was told my appointment was last 20 July at 10:00 AM. "No," I said. "The people who drive me from point A to point B don't know what morning is, and I would never set up an appointment in the morning unless it was absolutely necessary." Emergency visits, for example, are absolutely necessary. But this appointment...? No, I think Ray and I were right, and a clerical error on the doc's office is responsible for the screw-up.

Whatever or whoever was at fault, they were still able to see me. They were pleased at how the incisions were healing. That's the good news. The bad news is that I have yet to make an appointment to go for physical therapy, and they were rather insistent on it. I've been avoiding it because this recovery has been particularly rough. While it's not as bad as it was, my knee still hurts a great deal. I was told that I need to get my butt to PT or I could lose mobility in my leg. And "but I don't wanna" isn't a good excuse anymore.

Heading home, Ray's mom and I discussed what to do next. More driving was needed as we began what has become my monthly drug quest. I suggested she and I hang out, ditch the kid, and that we could go dining and dancing while we were out. (Neither of us is in any shape to even FAKE dancing.) So we stopped at home to fill Ray in on the plan, and then she and I were on our way to pick up prescriptions at the pain specialist.

When I started seeing the pain specialist, I signed a contract stating that I would only go to two pharmacies to get my meds. Drug seekers don't like to be consistent. I took this contract very seriously, and have done everything I'm supposed to when it comes to keeping my word. However, I'd already made phone calls before Ray's mom came to get me, and I knew that both pharmacies on that contract did not have the meds I needed in the quantity I needed them in. So when I picked up the meds, I told the nurse at the front desk that I was going to have to drive around to find what I needed. I was both stunned and annoyed when I heard her mutter, "I don't care."

Nice, huh?

Surprise, surprise...My previous plight with getting my meds filled was the same as my last problem. The insurance company wants to know why I need so many pills for a single month. I think the problem is that these companies are run by number crunchers and not doctors. So I was unable to get my morphine sulfate today, and I run out tomorrow. This would be a good time to panic, except that I can keep my body's need for opiates sated with the meds that I DO have. I might have to take it even easier than normal, but I should be okay. Meanwhile, the pharmacy will work on getting that prescription filled.

My "date" was coming to a rapid end, and instead of Becky being my main topic of conversation on the way home, I shared a few nuggets of my family history. I mentioned the greedy, selfish bigot that is my youngest brother Barry. I told about how I broke my wrist when I was five and my mother slammed the front door on the face of her child who was screaming in pain. Mixed in with some story telling from Ray's mom, the time was filled in rather nicely, and we got things accomplished. Mind you, my knee has turned into a balloon from all of my efforts today, but a little rest will help that.

As I said, Becky was the main topic for me. I'm still spending my time, babbling away. "Becky Becky Becky Becky Becky, Becky Becky, Becky Becky Becky Becky; Becky Becky Becky Becky Becky!" One of the things that's been preying on my mind is that I seem to be hit with more bouts of exhaustion of late, specifically when I'm talking to the woman I love. Is it because of my meds? Is it because of all the healing my body is trying to do? Or is it psychological?

It's that last that worries me most. If it's the other two...Well, time will allow me to adjust to meds, as well as heal up. But if it's psychological, then what's the cause? I should not only be happy that I found love, but filled with energy for it. I shared this with Ray's mom, and a new (old) theory has come into play. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Things don't go well for me. Every time "happily ever after" comes my way, it all goes south. I've apparently adjusted to the idea that good things don't happen to me on a regular basis, and being in love for the rest of my life just isn't supposed to happen.

The thing is that Becky and I have discussed this in the past. She's told me I can wait all I want for the other shoe to drop; but I'll be waiting a LONG time. And Ray's mom warned me not to work so hard to make this a self-fulfilling prophecy, to which I said that I'm actually working against that idea. I'm the one who suggested all the upcoming visits. I'm the one who tries to break away from the nonstop silliness to let the love between us become our focal point. I'm the one who's made it clear that OUR plans should mold to Becky's plans for school and a career, and not allow her plans to mold to the idea of "us." In short, I have been working as best I can to make sure this works.

I just wish Becky and I could take my subconscious out and hold a kind of intervention with it. Sit it down and explain that life can be good, and that it shouldn't be trying to shut down my consciousness so I can flee from this great love that I've found. Becky says she's not going to give up on me. I'm prepared to take her at her word. But my psychological makeup has doubts...or so it seems.

Maybe it's time to order that do-it-yourself home lobotomy kit?

Be well, all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reminders of the past

Someone on GitP wrote a brief tale about how touched he was at receiving human kindness. I have to agree that it's somewhat shocking when you run into someone who's willing to care because it's the right thing to do. More often than not, people simply turn their backs on those in need. Not only have I made my best effort not to do that anymore, but have also been blessed by those who've shared because they could.

His tale, however, reminded me of an event that occurred when I was 21. Since it's been ages since I've told a "Bor story," I figured I'd share one of the good ones.

I was a limousine driver at the time. The company I worked for offered three different kinds of vehicles: a sedan, a mini-stretch, and a stretch limo. My lengthiest assignment that particular day was to drive a woman and her foster child to a doctor's appointment in a sedan. The child was an absolutely adorable four-year-old girl.

I don't remember the exact destination, but it was at least a half hour there, the wait, and then the drive back. Because it was a doctor's apportionment, I couldn't be given another assignment. I had to wait for my clients to come out. Overall, I'd say the job took three hours, and that simply lets you know how much time I spent on this. The woman and the girl...? I interacted with them only when they were actually in the car. The reason I mention I was driving the sedan is to let you know the proximity to my clients. They weren't tucked away at the far end of the stretch. They were right there, behind me, within easy talking distance.

But did we talk? No. The little girl insisted on singing various songs from school. In fact, she insisted I sing with her. Don't ask me what we sang. I can only remember going through the alphabet about three times. We had fun, and keeping the little cutie smiling and laughing made me feel good...

...especially when I eventually learned why she was in foster care. She'd been sexually abused and her parents were drug addicts. Because of her age, she wasn't fully traumatized by what had happened to her...but traumatized just enough to require special care. Hence, the doctor's visit.

One of the most important things the little girl brought with her was a stuffed animal. The little critter never left her side. But when she started drifting off to sleep on the way home, it fell from her grasp and onto the floor. I dropped them off, took the car back to the office, and discovered the toy while checking over the car as my final task of the day.

My boss's attitude was that we'd return the toy eventually. No rush. But I'd spent some time with this girl, and I knew the toy's importance to her. (I believe I received quite the history of the toy's life, as told by a deeply interested little girl.) By sheer coincidence, I had to drive a prom the very next day, and my route to the new clients took me one exit past the girl's on the parkway. I offered to leave a half hour early so I could drop it off.

Back then, I didn't have many profound thoughts. I didn't contemplate the cruelty people inflicted on one another. As long as I had gas in my car and rock-n-roll on the radio, all was well with the universe. At best, I was somewhat hurt that this sweet kid had seen abuse so early in life. But I didn't dwell on it. And in my eyes at the time, I was just delivering a beloved toy to a little girl who probably missed it.

The foster mother was pleasantly surprised to see me standing in the door when she answered my knock. She told me the girl had been so pleased and excited by the trip the day before that she couldn't stop talking about it the night before.

All this time, I had my hands behind my back, and when she was done talking, I asked, "Did she lose something yesterday?" I revealed I had the stuffed animal with me, and the foster mom said she'd been wondering where it had vanished to. "It was left in the car. Since I have a prom to drive one exit further up the parkway, I decided to swing by and drop it off."

I was prepared to leave the toy and be on my way, but the foster mother insisted I return it. She called to the little girl, saying, "Look who's here."

Up until that point, I knew the kid had had a good time. I knew she'd been excited to have a nice, long ride in the car to the doctor. I knew she enjoyed singing her elementary school songs with me. But it had never clicked as to exactly how much she enjoyed these things. She came around a corner, saw me, and her face lit up in a huge smile. The word didn't exist back them, but I was effectively "glomped" by this child, who took a running start at me and latched on to me in as powerful a hug as she could muster. And she was all smiles when I returned her stuffed animal.

I tried to share this tale with a few people back then, but I didn't know anyone who was in touch with humanity as much as I am now. Heck, I wasn't all that in touch back then, either. Now, however, good deeds are as valuable, if not moreso, than gold. Sharing it in this forum probably has greater impact than all the people I tried to convey the story to all those years ago.

I can only hope that that little girl found her place in the system. That foster care wasn't as cruel as it can be now and again. I pray she found a responsible family that loved her and nurtured the very best in her. And I hope, should she even remember it, that memories of the limo driver who returned her beloved toy makes her realize that there are people in the world who do good deeds for the sake of doing them.

Walking to my doom

It's as though I don't learn. I manage to find ways to hurt myself that are the same old methods used during previous times. It was a walk through a mall that caused my knee to blow up like a balloon and bring me down the path toward surgery. It was a walk through Wal-Mart that has distressed my knee now.

It's almost two weeks since the surgery, and I've been getting around a lot better than the first few days. Heck, the first few days I could barely walk at all. If I did walk, it was with me applying as much pressure to my cane as possible. When I could have my housemates get me what I needed from the kitchen or some such, I would ask. Ah, but I couldn't lay around all the time. The sooner I was learning to walk again, the better. So after a few days, when the pain had subsided substantially, I was slowly hobbling toward the kitchen for my needs.

To keep from having to leave the house, I made sure I had plenty of money in my wallet. In fact, I still had money in my wallet yesterday. But I needed to get to the bank to deposit my birthday check from Dad. ($50! Woohoo!) What should have been a simple task at the ATM turned into a wait in line because the ATM was broken.

Then it was off to Wal-Mart, and I honestly thought I was in good enough shape to make it. We weren't going to be there long. In fact, we weren't there long at all. I hobbled over to the pharmacy to order some prescriptions, then we made our way down the food aisles to grab...well, food. (I got some ale to go with my beer. Ummm...That is, I got ginger ale to go with my root beer. =P ) Afterward, we went home with no stops anywhere else.

This short trip had taken almost everything out of me. Still, when I got home and started talking with Becky, I found myself briefly energized. (She has that effect on me.) We jumped on City of Heroes and fought a little villainy together...

...and after about two hours of playing, I was done for the day. If I didn't go to bed, I would collapse. So we shared a quick "goodnight" and I was off to sleep...

...and was up around 1:00 AM and in too much pain to return to sleep. My knee felt like everything inside had been loosened and would come undone at the first misstep. I took what painkillers I was permitted and tried to relax, but I didn't get back to sleep until around 5:00 AM.

Joy.

I woke around 10:00 AM, which brings my sleep total to about nine or ten hours last night. I would happily have rolled over to get more rest, but now I have a new issue: a muscle spasm. One of those pesky muscles in my thigh, right next to the knee, has been jumping inside my skin since I rolled out of bed. I tried to massage it, but discovered that it's directly beneath one of my healing incisions. My knee also feels swollen, and I refuse to look at it to confirm this. Ignorance is bliss, right?

I have to stop letting my body fool me into thinking it's okay to engage in various activities. What I can do for brief stints at home can't be accomplished for an extended period of time out and about in the world. For now, I will assume I miscounted my spoons. In the future, I'll try to avoid such dangerous tasks as walking.

Be well, all.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happily terrified

Every now and again, amidst silly conversations or those that overflow with mush, Becky and I discuss the serious stuff. Like how and when we'll see one another face-to-face next. Long distance relationships have the infrequency of physical contact going against them, and usually also lack vocal and visual contact. Skype has eliminated those last two. But physical contact...? That's the hurdle we're constantly trying to leap. And cuddling with computer screen doesn't work; too many sharp corners to even attempt hugging.

Visit #1: Becky's best friend is getting married, and I've been invited by extension. It would be nice if I could be selfish and whisk Becky away from all of her obligations as maid of honor, but that would be unkind on numerous levels. I'll have some time with her and be grateful for that.

Visit #2: Since I'm not attached to anyone or anything here in KS, I figured I'll pack another bag and head for PA during the X-mas season. This will be a MUCH less expensive trip, as Becky will have an apartment of her own by then. (She'll be starting college in January for nursing.) Aside from her work schedule, I will have her all to myself. There will also be the dreaded "meeting the future in-laws." I'll probably need constant reminders to keep my dry, rapier wit in its sheath.

Visit #3: Spring Break for Becky offers a perfect opportunity for me to roll out to PA again. If we can swing it, instead of driving to see her family again, we'll see about swinging out to Long Island to see my Dad. It's been entirely too long since I've seen him. And this time Becky will be in the hot-seat while "meeting the future in-laws."

In my eyes, this is working out quite well. I saw her in May. I'll see her again in September, December, and probably March.

And then, the true reason for being happily terrified, come May or June, once Becky is finished with her semester in school, she will drive to KS and move me to PA. There, we will begin living happily ever after. We should be engaged by then...as long as I ask by 20 May 2011. (I checked past posts for the exact date.)

Oh, that's a fun little thing that's going on. Becky knows it's going to happen; she just has no idea WHEN it's going to happen. Her assumption is that it will happen in person, as I wouldn't even ask her to be my girlfriend over great distances. So will it happen during the wedding, the holidays, or during Spring Break? It's making her nuts, and I refuse to tell her...even though I desperately WANT to. I mean, I have few if any secrets from her, and keeping this one is kind of frustrating.

Other scary things I have to consider are establishing my medical care all over again in PA, getting myself registered with whatever qualifies as welfare out there, and adjusting to a new place where I know exactly ONE person. I think that one threw Becky a bit. I reminded her that I would have no one but her when I first arrived, and she was suddenly quiet. Of course, it's not nearly as bad as my last move to AZ, where I knew NO ONE. Personally, I think the former is a tad scarier, because if things should suddenly turn sour with the one person I know, I'd be quite stuck.

Then again, Becky and I discussed that briefly. If things don't work between her and I, we'd both be mystified. I did everything I could to chase her away before we became a couple, and she was adamant about staying. She, too, has revealed her numerous flaws, and I've refused to go. So if anything splits us apart, my guess it would be backed by divine or infernal power, as only something beyond the power of a mere human being would be able to do so.

Sure, I say that now...but it'll probably be Halle Berry that leads me astray.

I'm off to fret about the future. I do so quite often, but now that someone is becoming entwined in my future makes it that much easier. Be well, all.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Okay, okay! Shush, already!

I honestly didn't expect that much of a response. "No one's reading this blog, so they'll probably remain silent, and that'll be my confirmation. I'll cap off the blog, and that'll be that." Mind you, Becky expressed a desire for me to keep blogging. And while I would do a great deal for her, maintaining a blog that's practically a verbal experience for her would have been a fruitless exercise.

But you guys just can't leave it alone, can you? You gotta be all "we love you, Rob, and we'd miss you." Don't you have significant others or something to love? Go cuddle with your cats and leave me be!

Okay...don't leave me be. I actually love you guys right back. (Darn me and my humanity!) In fact, just as I would on the Depression Thread on GitP, here are individual responses. And just because a response isn't addressed to you doesn't mean you shouldn't read it. There may be something of value in someone else's segment.

LouLou: "Words are more difficult than money," eh? Fine. Send money. =P

I guess what struck me hardest was the fact that I mentioned my birthday in TWO posts, and no one handed off a birthday wish. And so I thought, No one is reading this thing. I'm writing for Becky, and that's it. If I'm simply writing for my soon-to-be-fiance, then I should abandon this thing.

One has to wonder how I, of all people, left you behind. To put it as a clearer question: how does a guy who sits around all day doing nothing leave ANYONE behind? You're still doing things with your life. Me? I'm desperately hanging on to a long distance relationship in the hopes of keeping the most wonderful woman on the planet at my virtual side, and that's about it. Unless you could fighting for improved health as "doing something," to which I would argue that that still involves a lot of sitting around while I slowly heal.

Thanks for busting my chops, Lou. Oh, and Becky appreciates you slapping me in the head. She'd like to do it herself, but would feel bad. ;-)

Mikkel: Ummm...Who are you, and how did you get this number? =P

It's kind of interesting to discover a mystery follower. What's more, you're a mystery follower who got his girlfriend reading my blog as well. It almost sounds like you two have found a new soap opera to follow: "As the Rob Turns."

It's nice to know that the two of you are cheering me on. What I'd like is to actually read some of the cheering as it happens. I asked that people at least vote on my ramblings, and that happened for a couple of posts, and then there was nothing. So when I see neither comments or votes, my thought is that people aren't all that interested. Now that I know someone is rooting for me when good things happen, and DEMANDS I make good things happen...Well, the awareness that I have a cheering section means a lot to me.

Walking Target: What, pray tell, do I have in common with Neil Gaiman? And keep in mind that I'd happily accept "excellent writing style" as a perfectly viable answer. =P

The idea of you reading each post thoroughly makes be think two things. The first: Where was YOUR birthday wish? The second: Dear G-d, he's probably made notes on every typo that I've ever made! Of course, I eventually excuse the latter. These posts, after all, are all first drafts. I don't edit these anymore, so mistakes are expected.

I'm not sure if Gaiman appreciates his readers as much as I do, but I thank you for being such an avid reader.

Zeb: I...

That is...

What I mean to say is...

Yeah, that about sums up my response to your comment. It's people like you that almost make me wish that the people following my blog were morons. Had you written, "You can't stop blogging because...you just can't," it would have been easier to give it up. Instead, I receive a lucid and touching response like yours, and my heart caves in.

My best to the Pudding Goddess and your adorable Pudding Troll. =)

Valiant Turtle: Facebook? Really? While I didn't watch the episode, I could hear my housemates watching "South Park" in the living room, in which Stan is sucked into Facebook. Do you want me sucked into Facebook, VT? Is that your goal? It was hard enough for Stan, who's a cartoon, to get out. How well do you think a live, handicapped guy will fair, eh? =P

In all honesty, I've had only one motivator to join Facebook, and that's the fact that reaching my little Lizzy would be that much easier. Beyond that, I can't think of much else, although you've given me more to contemplate.

* * *

In other news, I woke to the sound of my ringing phone. As I desperately tried to figure out how to answer the danged thing, I thought that whoever it was had better be dying to wake me so early in the day. I felt completely unrested, and wanted nothing more than to sleep a few more days. HOURS! I meant "hours."

It was my pain doc's office. I'd called yesterday to make suggestions of the prescriptions that should be written for me, as the last attempt became a fiasco involving my medical insurance. The doc agreed to all of my suggestions, and I could swing by to pick up those prescriptions when I was ready.

So while I have an internal debate about trying to get off these meds, we're switching me over to 60 mg. morphine sulfate and an unknown dose of oxycodone. Here's hoping the insurance company doesn't cause me more woes over this nonsense.

As I hung up the phone, I was going to go back to sleep. I was mentally cursing the existence of anyone who'd dare to make early morning phone calls...and then realized that it was 1:14 PM.

I'm off to work on looking human, or at least fake the process. Be well, all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Illusions

If you look to the right of this page, you'll see a list of followers. That list isn't real. You see, some of those people stopped following this blog some time ago. Meanwhile, there are those who've followed without signing up. So how many people are actually following my blog? No idea. With certainty, I can say one: Becky, AKA Neko. And the truth is that I don't need to write a blog for her; I give her updates on my life on a daily basis. Nefi MIGHT be following it, but with her life currently in chaos due to her upcoming marriage, I doubt she's reading regularly.

So I have to wonder...WHY, pray tell, am I maintaining a blog with one audience member? Better yet, why am I maintaining a blog for an audience member whom I speak with daily? It makes little sense to do so. It's like the practice of writing a journal that you intend to let no one read. I tried that last one, and eventually stopped because it was a nonsensical exercise. The only reason I could think of to keep such a journal was in the hopes of writing about a secret love and having said love discover it...then fall madly in love with the author. And does that EVER happen?

So I've been contemplating abandoning this blog. Why bother if no one is reading? Not even a small audience is following along.

I've also been contemplating leaving Giant in the Playground. I've been a member for three years and eight months. That's a pretty good haul. And in that time, I've had many good things happen for me, and have committed numerous good deeds. But...

Well, "the kids are growing up and moving on." I started the Depression Thread, and it seems to run fairly well without me. I have been discovering this last while suffering through my latest medical adventures. If anything, I head in there to use the DT myself, to which the masses reply, "Golly, Bor...Your life sucks, and I'm sorry. *HUGS!*" I get sympathy at best. Advice...? Nope. Oh, it has nothing to do about caring; I know these long distant friends care. It's because they don't know what to say. Many of my issues are so overwhelming to the average person that they simply don't know what to say.

Or...is it that they assume I'll just be okay? Hmmm...There's an idea. "Rob has been through so much, and continues to go through so much. He's always survived. Surely he'll survive again." That thinking would be great, except that...I don't really get words of encouragement. And that's what's lacking.

Y'know, maybe things were better when I was suffering financially. Support was easy to receive in the way of cash landing in my PayPal account. But words of encouragement seem to be incredibly hard to come by. That is so backwards in this current world economy. I can't get words, which are free, but I can get money, which isn't easy to come by. Go figure.

So that's where I am mentally. I'm contemplating several things. One is leaving GitP. Another is discontinuing this blog. And finally, I'm thinking about abandoning some of the illusions I live with. The idea that my internet popularity would be maintained was probably the silliest of all things of which I convinced myself. "Friends" on the internet are rare. I managed to make myself believe I had many of them. But what I ACTUALLY had were a lot of acquaintances, with a few friends. Unfortunately, some of those friends have faded away into their own lives. The rest were never as close as I imagined. It's time for that illusion to end.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How Rob broke Rob

Ray figured it out yesterday morning. His logic is far from flawed, which is a pleasant change in my life. Oh, that's not to say Ray's logic is flawed frequently. It's a human thing. People often speak "the facts" using flawed logic, which often has me walking away with the thought, You have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

On his way to the kitchen to grab some breakfast, he paused to ask if there was anything he could do for me. Time spent off my leg is valuable time. He also asked how I was feeling, to which I said that I just seemed to be having an incredibly difficult time getting over this knee surgery. Yesterday morning, I'd spent several hours trying to continue sleeping between 7:00 and 11:00 AM, but was dripping with sweat and shivering uncontrollably. When I checked for a fever, my temp was 98.3 F. I couldn't figure it out.

So Ray asked a question. "Have you ever had surgeries this close together, back-to-back?" The basic answer was, "No." I came close, but I'd never had one surgery, and then another exactly four weeks later. Ray's theory, which is quite sound, is that I have pushed my body to its limits, and now I'm paying for it.

My body is already immuno-suppressed by almost 36 tears of diabetes. It has a hard time fighting off every little germ that enters, and infections of all sorts are common. Put simply, my body is ALWAYS fighting one thing or another. Then I asked it to heal from my arm being sliced open. It's only a 15 cm. incision that didn't go that deep. But once my ulnar nerve was freed, it kept snapping back into the place where it was trapped. Using some interior suturing and my bodily tissues, the doc crafted a sling for the nerve inside my arm so it would stay put. It should be no surprise that my arm still hurts, but the pain is minor.

Now I've spent yet another hour on the operating table, this time with three incisions...although all three combined aren't as long as the one on my arm. A large tear in my medial meniscus was repaired, as well as the cleaning up of some arthritis. (I have to ask, but I'm wondering if the jagged bones didn't tear the meniscus.) It's easy to avoid using an arm. When it comes to avoiding the use of a leg, now you have a an entirely new task on hand. Even using muscles to hold it off the floor, and thereby avoid using the leg can affect the knee.

The arm...the leg...It's all too much for my body to handle. Thus, my body is going haywire, vacillating between being too hot and too cold, perpetually wanting to sleep, (although that may be the pain meds), and not being particularly hungry.

Add to this a spectacular act of dumb on my part. My nerves were so frayed prior to this surgery that I was occasionally forgetting to take my psych meds. Until yesterday, I was so preoccupied by the surgery itself that I failed to take them altogether. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday...Three days without them. If the affects didn't wear off completely, they're close. So now my brain has to start adjusting to the meds all over again. It's truly brilliant, I tell you!

Well...I have been sitting at my computer for about an hour, reading the news and crafting this short post. My leg is telling me it's time to rest again, and so I'm off. Be well, all.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Because you can never be in enough pain

So on the eve of surgery, I was in so much pain that I had to be taken to the ER for intramuscular injections - yes, plural, because 4 mg. in one site is apparently no good for the patient. The second shot, which was in my left arm, hit a little too close to the nerve. It feels like someone punched me in the nerve bundle that's in there.

The following day, I followup with my doctor. We note that there's some redness, and I'm told to keep an eye on it.

Some time after yesterday's post, I got cleaned up and changed the dressing on my knee. It seemed more red than before, so I was on the phone with my doctor's office again. What could have been done over the phone became unnecessary drama. I can understand that the doctor wanted to see what I might have been talking about, but standard antibiotics for this potential infection, which is staph, can be called in over the phone. Is my request reasonable? Apparently not. Does the doctor want me to come the office? No, but he wants to see my knee.

So he has me go to the ER again at a set time.

ER...EMERGENCY room. Broken bones, severe pain, gunshot wounds, heart attacks...These are emergencies. "My knee looks redder than yesterday" is NOT an emergency. But there I was, going through the entire registration at the ER, including triage, just so my doctor can look at my leg.

Look, I truly do appreciate his caution. I do. But the far more emotional part of my mind, the part that wanted to stay home and do nothing at all for my birthday, was being sunk by his caution. Couldn't he just call in the meds and have me followup again on Monday?

The doc and I have varying opinions. I think it's red. He thinks it's bruising. And he was SO firm with his diagnosis that he ordered the very antibiotics I knew I'd need anyway.

Oh, who am I kidding? My surgeon is a really nice guy. He's concerned for my well-being. Could I really stay mad at him for that? Nope.

The same way I couldn't possibly stay mad at Nike. I mean, she's a cat that just wants to be near her papa. I feed her, rub her tummy, scratch behind her ears. These things are of vital importance to a cat. So when I chose to lie down early in the evening, it should be no surprise that she would return to my room and attempt to join me in bed.

The problem is that I was asleep. I asleep in a pair of shorts. I was asleep in a pair of shorts with my wounded leg exposed and elevated. When Nike jumped onto the bed, her fur tickled my skin. The normal reaction, even in one's sleep, is to jerk away from the source of the tickling. That's what I did...

...and SCREAMED! In my sleep, my brain tried to make my knee bend in ways it can't. Once again, I found myself in tears from extreme pain. And for the first time since picking up the oxycodone, I found myself taking them as prescribed. My pain was bad, but popping four tablets every six hours would have me sleeping somewhere around 20 hours a day. I may not have much to do when I'm conscious, but there are things that are rather difficult to accomplish while asleep. Like talking to Becky. Or answering the phone to hear my Dad and step-mom sing "Happy Birthday" to me. But after Nike's simple attempt to get close to me and my literal knee-jerk reaction, I had reason to take the actual FULL dose.

It also occurs to me that I have shed more tears in the last few days than I have in the last decade.

Happy Birthday?

Every year. Every single year, some disaster strikes on or around my birthday. It never fails. And there it was...yesterday...my birthday...and I spent time in the ER, AGAIN, and then had an episode of unbelievable agony brought about by the soft fur of my beloved pet.

Yeah...a perfect birthday. (Feel free to repeat that with a great deal of sarcasm.)

NOTE: The date stamp on this post sayws it was put up on 9 July, even though I'd started it after midnight in my time zone. Not sure what's going on here. To be clear, my birthday was 9 July, and as far as I was concerned, everything I discussed had technically happened yesterday.

Aches, pains, debates, and birthdays

So here I am, still aching from all sorts of things. There's the surgery, of course. Then there's the left arm, where one of the diloted shots hurt more than on the right arm. Finally, there's my right leg, which is so danged tired of supporting my weight most the the time. By the time I'm done healing, my left leg muscles are going to be disproportionately HUGE.

But this whole adventure into surgery has me wondering at the whole approach to my pain management. I've actually feared exactly what's happened to me. That is, I've been taking powerful pain meds to cope with chronic pain. Along comes a moment in time when I need those pills to work their best, and instead I find that my body has adjusted to them, and that I now need something even stronger. Instant release oxycodone, with absolutely no Tylenol, is powerfully scary stuff. And that my surgeon, a guy who hesitates to write pain meds that strong, was willing to tell me I should take FOUR at each dose is a sign that I've dug an unfortunate hole for myself.

Did I dig it? Or was it the fault of my doctors?

Mind you, the oxycodone has been working wonders for me. I'm siting at my computer desk at this very moment. While I'm in pain, I'm not even close to breaking down into the same tears I experienced on Wednesday night. (Even if I cried a little bit, it would be nothing compared to that night. I was hysterical in my pain.)

An internal debate has begun. Should I ween myself off the narcotics? Should I ask for a rapid-detox by way of chemically induced coma and IV medications to clean me out? Or should I be looking for yet another combination of pain meds to keep me up and running?

I believe I said it before, but narcotics were the last resort. Surgery isn't possible because my feet heal like crap. NSAIDS caused me extremely painful acid reflux. The only other route left was narcotics, and...Well, I can't help but wonder if I leapt at the chance for them a little too quickly. They tend to create a marvelous sense of euphoria, which I'd experienced in the past from other surgeries and injuries. It's not easy to describe the feeling, but it was NIIIICE. And when I was receiving IV diloted while in the ICU about six years ago, I was feeling so good that I was chatting it up with my IV pole. "Hello, IV pole. I love you. You're my best friend in the whole world." (Yeah, I was pretty out of it.) I already knew there was more to narcotics than pain relief; they would also put my in a place mentally where I didn't care if I was in pain.

But I've adjusted to that feeling. I no longer go to a happy place. As far as I know, I just get pain relief.

Or do I? Because of some human need to doubt one's self, I can't help but wonder if my pains are imagined, and that it's my body's way of screaming for the narcotics it's accustomed to. Am I really in so much pain that I need morphine and dilaudid to function?

This is something I need to discuss with my pain specialist. I certainly know that I can't take myself off those meds without seriously endangering my health. My withdrawal symptoms will be extreme, I imagine, and I don't believe I'll be able to do it without help. What kind of help? I have no idea what the doctor can and can't do. Personally, I'd like the shortcut of the rapid detox. But I don't even know if that's a viable option.

And all of the internal drama is really great stuff to contemplate on one's birthday. That's right, faithful readers. It's my birthday. For the 22nd year in a row, I have turned 21! (That would make me 43, much to my realistic regret.) Becky has sent me a gift. And with her birthday coming up on the 13th, I have sent her one as well. The two of us have tried to play the guessing game as to what one bought the other. I think she knows what I got her. But as to what she got me...? She claims my official guess was wrong, so I'll just have to wait and find out.

And now, folks, my knee is telling me that I've been sitting here too long. It's time to lie down and perhaps ice my wounds. Thos who have the sudden urge to send me late birthday gifts...? Well, I'll always accept game cards for City of Heroes or World of Warcraft. Just ask for my address (somehow) and I'll get you that information (somehow).

Be well!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Battle of MY Wounded Knee

It's kind of like the Battle at Wounded Knee, except there were so soldiers, no great amount of bloodshed, and my fight is a lot more recent that 1890. So...in reality, it's NOTHING like the Battle of Wounded Knee.

The pain I experienced after surgery was worse than arthrospies I've had on my left knee. Oh, this was MUCH worse. I also had a mild rise in body temp, 99.5, which hospitals don't even consider a fever. They should really try explaining that to my body, because I had severe chills that made me quake. And the pain in my knee was so bad that I alternated betweem simply moaning to bawling like a baby.

I did what I could to ease the pain. I tried elevating the leg. Didn't work. I tried to use a cold compress. Didn't work. Thinking the bandages were too thick for the cold to penetrate, I removed only SOME of them, but never exposing the cuts made in my knee, and then applied the cold pack. Didn't work. I tried to distract myself by chatting with Becky. Didn't work. The written instructions from the surgical center said to call my doctor if the pain was beyond my medication's ability to handle. I discovered he doesn't even have an answering service.

By 9:00 PM, I was done. With permission from Cody, Ray used his minivan to get me to the hospital. I was still crying and quaking, and I was seen right away. I asked for a hundred shots of local anesthesia to numb me, but the doc said that wasn't a good idea. I then asked if a nerve block was possible. He said they can't do things like that in the ER. But what he DID do was order 4 mg. of Dilotted to be injected IM. (T Hat's intra-muscular, for those who don't know.) Two painful shots in the arm later, and I was on my way home.

Dilotted is VERY strong stuff. I was still in pain, but not nearly as bad. And when it came time to sleep, I was able to slip into unconsciousness with ease.

But to give you an idea of how bad this pain was, I considered some things I wouldn't normally do. The mere fact I was willing to have a steroid cocktail injected into me to block some of the pain is an example. Those steroids would have done bad things to my blood sugars. I didn't care; I wanted relief. I also considered taking one of my pain pills, washing off the time-release coating, dry it, then crush it into a fine power to snort. Mind you, I only know this as rumor, but supposedly the medication's effect is that much stronger when taken that way. That's how desperate I was.

Amazingly, I got plenty of sleep. I awoke shortly after 9:00 AM and called the surgeon immediately. I followed up around two hours later when I heard nothing from them. Then, right around noon, I was told the doctor wanted to see me this afternoon.

I learned a few things while I was there. Like the fact that the tear in my meniscus was a big one. There were also signs of arthritis on the knee cap, and he trimmed some of that down. Once again, a nerve block wasn't available to me. The only answer the doc could think to do was throw more pills at the problem.

I think I've described percocet in the past. t's a combination of oxycodone and Tylenol. My thought was that the doc write a prescription of the percs and I would split them. I'd take a half tablet, and if that didn't work, take the other half. But apparently that kind of thinking should be saved for amateur hour. The doc prescribed straight oxycodone, and told me to take FOUR every six hours.

I didn't. I took two just before starting his post, and they're kicking in BIG TIME! And mt theory about narcotic meds is practically being proven. My knee still hurts...I just don't CARE that it hurts.

At least I have some kind of relief. And with that said, sitting on my bed and squinting at the screen isn't easy. I'm going to lie down and rest.

Be well, all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And I'm back.

How'd the surgery go? Why, I have no idea. I never got to talk to the doctor after this one. Why didn't I get to talk to the doc? Because I managed to screw up the surgical schedule for my doctor.

"Golly, Rob! How'd you do that?" To be honest, I'm not EXACTLY sure. That is, I don't know what the underlying cause might have been. Did I eat too much during "the last supper?" Is my long-acting insulin going bad? I have no idea. What I DO know is that I entered the hospital this morning feeling rather thirsty. If all was well, I wouldn't have been craving a drink so badly. So I had the cute nurse attending me take my blood sugar within minutes of my arrival. The result was an even 400.

This wasn't so bad. I'd had higher in my lifetime. All I needed was a little insulin and I'd be fine. Except insulin can't be given without an order from a doctor, and there were no doctors in the surgical center at that hour. Adding a little adventure to the quest was the fact that the phones weren't working. So all kinds of races were run to find someone who could say, "Yes, the diabetic may have insulin."

It gets kind of fun, as none of the doctors wanted to commit to prescribing a dose. Their answer was that someone should contact my PCP and have THAT doctor tell them how much to give me. Reaching my doctor, however, was almost impossible, as I see a nurse practitioner, and her number wasn't lying around for anyone to call her.

But maybe they did, because what followed was not nearly as professional as one would think. The nurse eventually returned to my room to ask, "How much insulin should we give you?" Ummm...screw the insulin. Just mainline some morphine into me and I won't care how high my blood sugar is. Yeah, I'm sure that'd go over well. I can practically hear how the situation came to them asking me. It involves them getting my NP on the phone and her saying, "What are you asking me for? He's the one living with this disease for almost 36 years. Ask him, and stop bugging me."

So I get the insulin, and I'm thinking that all will be well. Until, that is, I'm told they'll be doing an A1c to check my diabetes control. If the numbers come back crazy, then the surgery would be off. If it was okay, then we were w a go.

That's when the frustration got to me. My knee had been becoming increasingly painful. I'd been coping as best as possible with the growing stress of surgery. And now, in the virtual blink of an eye, they were threatening to shut down the operation and let me suffer a while longer until things looked better. Alone in the prep room, firmly believing my "birthday disaster" was almost upon me, I cracked and started to tear up. I hated being in pain. I hated the requirement for surgery. And now I was absolutely despising the concept of having to remain in pain until the doc saw a hemoglobin A1c result he liked. And he probably wouldn't like future results, as living in perpetually increasing pain would only make those numbers worse.

Well, I didn't like the results, myself, but my growing pain explains why I was an 8.1. (I can't seem to remember my last results. That could be because I've had a busy day thus far.)

All of this for little old me meant I wouldn't have the surgery when I was supposed to. The doc took the person ahead of me, thereby throwing off his schedule just enough. By the time I was done, he needed to prep for a bit pf back surgery. No time to sit around, jawing with patients he'd already seen...well, he'd technically seen me...unconscious. Right?

To add to the day's adventures, the SNAFU with my meds still hasn't been cleared up. And I just don't understand how that's possible. The request for prior authorization was sent 30 June. The person supposedly handling it was at the pain specialist's office yesterday, but trapped in the procedure room most of the day. Today, she's not even in the office. And as far as I know, NO ONE has been trying to get this worked on, exbept for me, who can actually do very little.

Thus, it has become short cut time. I was told by the insurance people yesterday that I could have the prescriptions filled for that which WAS covered. It's less than a month supply, as originally written, but it'll help me survive. It will also allow for three weeks for someone somewhere to get their act together and get what I need from the insurance company. Hopefully, there will so further complications, like some nitwit saying no to the shortcut that the insurance company told me I could take. Oh, then I'd be all kinds of new and improved pissed off.

Amidst all of the after-surgery fun, I called Dad to let him know I was okay. If I didn't, he would have called later this very day to find out how I was, and would probably do it while I was resting. It's kinda hard to rest when people are calling.

As my final act for this day, I will call Becky to remind her, as I do daily, that I love her tremendously. Who knows? Some day soon she may actually understand that I am the luckiest man alive for having found a woman as wonderful as she is. Then again, maybe I'm the one who'll cotton on when she says that SHE'S lucky. (I keep trying to make it clear that she's doomed, but seems to think otherwise.)

I'm off to get lots and lots of rest. Writing while on my bed may not be as bad as sitting at my desk, but this lef should be elevated a bit higher. And I seem to have a mild fever starting up. So be well, my friends, and I'll work on doing the same.

Well, I'm off.

Just wanted to stop in and display my last case of nerves. Not sure what the next week or so will bring. I may be able to sit at my desk later this day, or I might be forced to lay back and take it easy. It all depends on what needs to be done inside the knee. Last time I had an arthroscopy. the doc went into my shoulder to fix a torn tendon and ended up tightening a different tendon, while also shaving the head of a bone. Did it hurt? HECK YES!

Becky...I dunno why I'm writing this exactly, but I love you. I love you so much. And I miss you. I'm honestly hoping this thing is as simple as described in the doc's office, and that it has no lasting effect that ruins my visit come September. But it is, after all, an extremity, and things from the knees on down haven't been healing right over the last decade.

And everyone else...? Well, you know how diligent I've become at caring for myself. Once upon a time, after such surgery, I was doing all sorts of foolish things. (Really, did I HAVE TO jump stairs when I was 18 and 20?) My bed is all set to keep my leg elevated, and my computer is even rearranged so I can lie back and watch movies.

And with that, I'm off. Got me a date with a surgeon. Since I'm somewhat thirsty this morning, I hope he's kind enough to buy me a drink at the very least.

Be well, all.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wait, WHO called?!?

Two posts in one day. Aren't you the lucky ones? =P

So I finished my post, then went about grooming myself. I clipped my hair extra, extra short, as it makes grooming while laid up that much easier. I shaved. I showered. I headed for my room to call the pharmacy...and couldn't find my phone.

This is not normal. I am constantly grabbing my phone to check the time, as there's usually an MMO on the screen that doesn't allow me to check the time on the computer. Or when I'm lying about, rading a book, I sometimes like to know how many hours I've been impersonating a bump on a log. I checked the two spots the phone is usually at, and found nothing.

My next step was to have Ray call my phone. He said that it had been ringing while I was in the shower, that someone left a message, and thought the phone was somewhere it wouldn't have been. (Down between a bunch of stuff, where the phone is never placed.) So he called, and I found it...in the trash. I have no idea HOW it ended up in the trash, other than to assume in vibrated off my night table.

Thus, the phone was found, and Ray was correct. Someone HAD called and left a message. So I dialed all of the appropriate numbers to get my voice mail, and it started with something like this. "Hey, Rob. It's Joe. Long time no hear."

Hmmm...Joe...Joe. Who the heck is Joe, and why is he calling and leaving a message like he knows me? I don't know anyone named Joe, and this is probably a wrong number. I mean, the odds that someone else named Rob once had this same phone number...? Not so slim in my life. When I lived in AZ, there was a guy with my first and last name, AND my same birthday, down to the year, that was up on drug charges.

As all of that went through my head, this Joe-person went on to say that Julie just had her second child, Lucy, and that -

Wait...JULIE?!? She's alive and well?!? I thought she'd banished me from her life.

Well, perhaps she had, and now things were different. I have no idea. And the reason I have no idea is because I was forced to leave a voice mail when I called back. My assumption is that there will be little answering of phones while Julie is in the hospital.

Oh...Why is Julie in the hospital? Because Lucy decided to be difficult. She was a breach baby, and a C-section was required to get the baby out. It's a rude way to have a baby. Then again, I think it's rude to have a whole bunch of people staring at a woman's "hoo-hoo" while waiting for a baby to exit the normal way, so...yeah.

I then went about the business I had planned for today, which was supposed to be "Drug Quest." I brought my prescriptions into the pharmacy last week and was told the insurance was complaining it was too early. On my way out, I said I'd be back next week to get it. Thankfully, I thought to call before going there, because the insurance company has an issue with how the meds were written. "Why does this man need this many pills in a single day?"

My understanding is that the request for the doctor's authorization was made on 30 June. Not including the day it arrived, because it could have come at the end of the day, that leaves July 1, 2, 5 and 6, today, for it to be handled. "Holiday weekend?" People don't stop being sick on holidays, so I don't buy that as an excuse. I will officially be out of these meds come tomorrow, and will be unable to travel to get them anyways. I have a little surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning. Or was no one paying attention?

I'm off to make more calls and find out if these meds can be taken care of today. If they can't, I'm going to be in VERY bad shape after the surgery.

Here's hoping.

But can I *DO* it?

Surgery's tomorrow. I've been watching the second season of "House," which now has me thinking a hangnail WILL be the cause of my potential doom, despite having no such hangnail. And so, on Becky's recommendation, I have decided to watch "New Moon."

...and may G-d have mercy on my soul.

I'm about 40 minutes into it, give or take a few minutes, and so far it's not a movie. It's one of the longest music videos ever made, running neck and neck with "Rocky IV." I can almost imagine the production discussion, with the lead producer saying, "It's okay that we don't film anything of value, or write any meaningful dialogue. We'll cover everything with music, and the people will love it." Uh huh. Unless the audience members have brains. Then you're going to have a problem.

This is also apparently the "Bella breathes" movie. I get it. Edward is a vampire. He doesn't breathe. But did they have to put a microphone into Bella's nose and mouth so we could hear every breath she takes? Really...if you have the opportunity to watch it again, listen carefully to the start of the movie. Whenever Eddie's around, Bella sounds like she's in respiratory distress. Someone hand the girl an inhaler!

I'm actually disappointed. You see, the movie had a fairly twisted opening. And since the characters were established in the first film, we could get on with the hot vampire on human action, right? But, no...The music starts up and doesn't seem to end. The soundtrack must come in a seven-disc set. And that's the first 40 minutes! The 57-disc set hold the complete soundtrack for all to suffer through.

But can I finish it? Can I make it to the end without bleeding from the ears, or hemorrhaging from my brain as the painful writing murders one brain cell at a time in cold blood? Maybe THIS is the plan? The movie was made by vampires, and they want us as close to brain dead as possible before coming to feed on us hapless humans.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, I'm scheduled to be at the hospital at 6:30 AM for surgery tomorrow. Because I won't be able to take painkillers, I'll probably be in spectacular amounts of pain in the morning. Thankfully, all I have to do tomorrow morning is shower and be on my way. If I had to do more, I'd probably ask that they admit me to the hospital so that they can take me from my room directly to surgery.

G-d, I'm scared. And with no good reason, I think. I've had this kind of surgery twice before, and it wasn't that bad.

I've also survived a third of "New Moon." I'm thinking open-heart surgery is less scary than that. =P

EDIT: I COULD do it. It was more painful than I could ever imagine, but I could do it.

Every time a new song started playing, I winced. A hundred and one sad songs does not a soundtrack make. I prayed for death during each idiotic song choice that was made for this movie. And what was amusing was that when people were supposedly falling in love and happy, a piece written specifically for the movie was slipped in. My assumption is that there are, in fact, no happy songs being written by the latest pop musicians.

The acting was as bad as the first movie. It seems only Kristen Stewart had any tone inflection in her voice, and that was mostly when she was whining. Is it a bad thing when, while watching a movie, you pray the leading heroine will be killed to save you, the audience member?

As for the leading men, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner...The former needs to eat a bit, and maybe work out some; if he were any skinnier, I'd want to know why he isn't hospitalized for anorexia. The latter apparently only knows how to act angry, and, yes, it's virtually monotone, as mentioned.

I kept waiting for the action to pick up. I mean, now we have werewolves AND vampires. In this two-hour film, you're lucky to total up five minutes of action. I would go back and time it, but that would mean having to watch it again, and...I just can't. Not unless forced.

In the midst of watching this G-d-awful piece of cinema, Cody interrupted to talk to me. When he saw what I was watching, he reacted with great shame. I was practically forced to vow on the lives of my future children that I'd never bring the books into his home. (Actually, he merely threatened to set fire to the books if they ever came into this house.) (Here's hoping that not what Becky bought me for my rapidly approaching birthday.)

So...Why will I eventually watch the third movie? Well, most of you know that I have this foolish human quality called hope. And it is my hope that somewhere, at some time, there will be some redeeming quality in these films. I doubt that such a thing will happen. Not if the writing and acting stays true to form.

These "Requiem" and "Forsaken" lite movies are hardly worth the success they've met with...but then even a fool can get lucky, right? This is why I maintain hope. I'm a fool, and I cling to the hope that I'll be that lucky some day.

Friday, July 2, 2010

One more time, but with feeling

Surgery number 21 is rapidly approaching. Because of this, my brain is starting to work overtime. And it doesn't help that I've been working my way through the second Season of "House."

In the real world, I'll be going into the hospital on the morning of 7 July and hobbling out some time in the afternoon. I'll be drinking a virtual ton of fluids to get rid of the taste of the anesthetic gas, as well as sooth my sore throat after being intubated. Odds are good that I will take a nap, wake, call Becky, eat, and go back to bed. Wash, rinse, and repeat as need for the next few weeks.

But in a House-esque setting, I have the surgery, and all sorts of lights and alarms go off half way through the procedure. There's a computer graphic that shows something inside my head short-circuiting. Then, for reasons beyond anyone's understanding, I slip into a coma. The doctors on hand look completely baffled, and on the cusp of very unprofessional panic. The camera slowly closes in on my face, intubation tube still taped in place, and a little bloody dribble coming from the corner of my mouth.

Of course, I don't know what's going on. The last I knew, I was being knocked out for a relatively simple procedure on my knee. My acting skills will be tested to their limits as I simply lie there, drooling. (I sense an Emmy coming out of this one!)

Meanwhile, House is flown to KS to review my case. He makes various cracks about what Dorothy REALLY got from the Wizard. And then, without every talking to me, House is confronted by the most honest man in the world: me. His premise is "everybody lies." And he can't understand that I don't. He just doesn't get it, and assumes the worst right out the gate.

Since he's alone out here, he comes to the trailer to break in and see what I might be hiding. He discovers nothing new about me, personally. The only thing that's possibly medically relevant to my case is the fact that I live in a veritable bacteria farm. (Three guys living together without an real adult around to keep us on our toes means we only clean when the piles of trash start trying to breed.)

He's about to leave, when he can't resist the temptation to play some of the video games in the living room. (All owned by Cody and Ray.) He's having so much fun destroying a fictional city that he's busted by Ray, who comes home after visiting me at the hospital. Now Ray and House chat. (Ray is juiced that Hugh Laurie is in our G-d-forsaken dump. But it's NOT Hugh Laurie. It's HOUSE!)

It's learned that some people in my life have some...ummm..."very bad habits." House assumes I have them too. He has the hospital run a tox screen for everything. They all come back negative.

Two days into the case, with my health mysteriously deteriorating, Becky arrives. Ray called her the moment he received word I was in a coma. As she has threatened when we've spoken, she dropped everything and came running. Now she confronts House, stretching the truth a bit and stating that she wants to know what's going on with her fiance. He parries her attempts at information with his acerbic wit, eventually claiming that unless she was ACTUAL family, he can't tell her anything.

But House gets an idea. If my phone was able to bring Becky here, surely it would provide other leads. He gets a hold of my cell and calls my father. During this call, House learns my father knew nothing of my pain management. (I have yet to tell Dad I take so many powerful meds just to become functional.) "So he is a liar," claims House.

No...Withholding certain information from certain people in my life doesn't make me a liar. It makes me someone who doesn't want grief over the only choice I had when it came to managing my pain. It might be a thin line between lying and withholding facts, but I can live with the sin of omission better than I can the alteration of the truth.

Intermingled with the medical drama is more of the "everybody lies" and "people don't change." House has been reciting each mantra constantly, sometimes together during a single episode. He and his staff argue about me, and the fact that I've essentially gone from an abusive bastard to a nice guy that TRIES to hold everyone in high regard. When he hears about WHY I don't lie, he puts that House-spin on it, making me seem perfectly selfish for avoiding drama. "He doesn't tell the truth because it's right. He does it just to keep himself from getting caught." And so he gets to recite another mantra: "people are selfish."

Well, he'll eventually learn that I ALSO do it because it's right.

As his team wants to blame everything I'm experiencing on diabetes, House is determined to prove it's something far more obscure. It's a race against time, as my symptoms get increasingly worse. It's yet another episode where, "If we don't find out what's wrong, and fast, he won't live to see the end of the week!"

Well, it's one of those happy endings for the show. I come out of the coma to see my sweet, beautiful Becky smiling down at me. What caused me to start slipping away was the severe symptoms of a hangnail, or some other trivial medical problem gone awry. And House moves on to another episode, where simple illnesses are exaggerated, or, in fact, "could be Lupus." (I believe they mentioned Lupus in every single episode of the first two seasons.)

In reality, I'll have my surgery on Wednesday, with everything else I mentioned at the very start of this post. Save that I was given a bunch of exercises to do in the middle of writing. (Had me a physical therapy appointment to get pre-op measurements and the like.) Strange how they practically require PT after knee surgery, but all others seem to end with, "Good luck. See you at the followup appointment."

I'm off to conquer more of Azeroth. (I got me a wealthy palAdin, only level 26 and over 600 gold. Neat!) And while I seem to have issues following my regular suggestion, I would like everyone to BE WELL. =)