Sunday, October 31, 2010

You know what this blog needs?

FUN THINGS! Recent events have been entirely too dramatic, and it's time I shared some of the fun, wacky, and even somewhat disturbing things I've found on the web. A lot of it comes from YouTube. I'll try to mark anything Not Safe For Work (NSFW) when appropriate. And now, on with the fun things...

Let's start with an adorable kitten. Really, this is entirely too cute.

And now that same kitten...EXPLODING!

Just in time for Halloween, we have a bit of a light show.

Because you can never have enough kitties, here's one of a pair apparently playing patty-cake...or, as the video says, "Wing Chun Sticky Hands"...whatever that is.

Oh course, if you can combine Mortal Combat and a kitty, even better, right?

This one may be NSFW, if only for the subject matter. It seems a precocious little girl caught mommy and daddy trying to...create a sibling...for her. The situation was just too funny NOT to capture on video. And then what happens? The Gregory siblings got a hold of it and turned it into this.

Do you have an Xbox that has suffered the "red ring of death?" (I know at least one person who has.) Well, in this particular video, in which the language is DEFINITELY NSFW, some innovative marines have figured out how to..."fix"

Okay...If you haven't seen these, you've been living in a cave. First we have the original commercial. Then we have the kids' version. But someone, somewhere, noticed that the timing of these two videos was absolutely perfect. And so this happened.

And now for a musical interlude, in which the pun, itself, is probably NSFW. Introducing Paul and Storm, and "The Captain's Wife's Lament."

What's that? You like the musical interlude? Then here's another. This one's an oldie, but goodie, from "my good friend" Jonathan Coulton, who, without even knowing me, did me a great kindness some time ago.

There's something special about a game show, especially when the answer given by a contestant brings the host to his knees.

Okay, this one is just...wrong. Harry Partridge tends to make some rather...unusual...cartoons. While I was fooled by his Watchmen opening credits, I was amused and disturbed, all at once, by "Chuck's New Tux" and its surprise ending.

This one...Ummm...I honestly don't understand what it's supposed to be, but I was oddly fascinated by it. Thus, I am sucking you into this Bollywood video so that I don't suffer alone.

Finally, two videos of a cute and determined squirrel. As I started this post, it ends with the original. And ends EXPLODING!

Be well, all.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Best Online Community EVER!

Giant in the Playground, frequently called GitP when I write about it, remains the greatest community ever. Even if we've come away a bit jaded after the recent hoax, the responses I saw in the thread to discuss it have been...Well, amazing.

When Rich Burlew posted the confirmation that the whole thing was a hoax, the thread remained so everyone could vent their feelings about it. I was amazed by how many people who, amongst all the other things they might've said, included, "I'm glad no one committed suicide." Yet I, who carries the credit of being one of the nicest people there, made a post here entitled. "He be BETTER be dead!" My thinking behind that title was not only the pain I'd been caused, but all of the others who wept when they thought this really good person had ended his life. One girl in particular, who had endured a great deal of pain during the Ilev fiasco, shed many tears over the situation, and all I could think was, Dear Lord, not again. She's so sweet, and yet crap like this keeps seeping into her life.

She didn't need it. None of us did. And yet the reactions, when we thought it was real, all demonstrated what kind of wonderful people exist on that site. It's not merely a collection of friends on the internet; it's more like a family that has formed in cyberspace.

In fact, I went to the hoax thread and vented my rage at what Zen had done to "my people." No longer restrained by forum rules, and I must warn you of inappropriate language to come, I quoted Rober De Niro's Capone, "I want you to get this fuck where he breathes. I want this Nancy-boy Eliot Ness DEAD! I want his family DEAD! I want his house burned to the GROUND! I wanna go there in the middle of the night and I wanna PISS ON HIS ASHES!" MY rant went on to my desire to see criminal charges made against him, was well as a lawsuit that would see every penny he earned going to every person who shed a single tear for his feigned suicide. I ended said post with a statement that I filled in with asterisks to cover the words and leave it ambiguous. It read: And Zen...if you're reading this, you need not be so well. In fact, you can shove a rod of ***** up your **** and ***** it. But for any who might be curious, and there's more language here, what I said toward the end, and with a thick New York accent behind it, mind you, was, In fact, you can shove a rod of glass up your dick and break it. Because at the moment I was writing it, I wanted him to feel pain beyond measure.

The thing is that I had actually written several things that never got posted. I would type the words, count how many forum rules I was breaking with each statement, and then delete them. My rage was that out of control, and what I DID post was the best I could muster and not get myself banned from GitP.

This is why I keep my anger on a short leash, and why I feel I'm lucky to have learned to think before I fly off the handle. I can say things that I know for a fact that I'll deeply regret. As much as I can help people to feel better, I can also use my words to cause great harm. Because I spent so many years being beaten over the head with negativity, I try not to let it get away from me. Thus, Becky has been told that when I get TRULY angry, I'll probably become quiet and separate myself from the source of my ire. If I don't, someone is going to get hurt, perhaps irreparably, by the things I'll say.

The result of my post were a couple of private messages. One advised me not to let the situation affect me so greatly. (Too late.) The other was a suggestion that I go back and edit my post, since the moderators might be breathing down my neck over it. I rushed back, reviewed the post, and decided that I hadn't broken any forum rules. I may have come close, but I don't believe I crossed any lines. Then I posted again, stating that I'd gotten most of my anger out, and that I was on the path to recovery.

But I'd still like to know WHY Zen did this. He was on the path to making some really good friends. He was well-liked. And then, quite out of the blue, he went and pulled this stunt. Was life too boring for him? Does he actually feed his ego with the negative emotions from others? Is he somehow proud of what he did? And because I still desperately cling to hope that maybe this was a greater crime, and that the real Zen is out there and wondering what happened...Was he away, and someone watching his home hopped on the computer to portray this cruel hoax? Did he have a psychological disorder that is the underlying cause of this drama? Or, from a more jaded perspective, was this cruelty planned from the moment he joined the forums back in June?

Other things I'd like to know...Well, they also exist on the "Wish I knew, but probably won't" list. You see, I only saw the beginning of the whole, "That's not him; it's me" posting. I saw ScionOfBlades show he was confused, and tried to clear it up in conversations. Was there more? What did the moderators do then to discover the truth? Were the Australian authorities involved? Is so, were any laws broken? Are charges being pressed? Someone with an official title said they can't reveal all of their methods because it would removed the tools they used to unveil the culprit. Still, curiosity burns within, (If anyone would like to tell me in my "comments," I vow that said comment will never be published. I just wanna know.)

Thinking from a less-than-pure perspective, why the heck did he sabotage himself the way he did? He had us lapping up his tragic story. Why did he then pose as the mysterious stranger, RaptorRider, and make the claim that he wasn't...ummm...himself? Was he testing us as a community to see if we would still care about Zen's death? Was he looking to see how stupid we were? Didn't he KNOW not to mess with a bunch of gamer geeks who also have computer know-how?

He could have been like me...a guy who can literally state that he has friends all around the globe. We was apparently getting on rather well with many people, including my friend Arguskos. (I'll capitalize your name if I like! =P ) Now he's lost us for good, and nothing can ever change that. And it really is his loss.

Whatever the case may be, GitP remains the very best community I've ever encountered on the web. It's filled with some of the most loving, caring people on the planet. Doubly so, as my sweet, beautiful Becky recently joined. Yes, some were skeptical when my brother was deathly ill, but I provided a phone number to be called to prove that he was, in fact, in a critical care ward and in critical condition. (He may still be a jerk, but I'm glad he's alive.) The hundreds of dollars mustered so I could fly to TN on short notice to see him was amazing, and will never be forgotten. Nor will the other acts of kindness that they've committed for so many others besides little old me.

I'm just upset that this incident will cause grief in the future. Someone is bound to come along at one point and declare a member of the community has passed, to which many will reply, "Oh yeah? Prove it!"

Friday, October 29, 2010

He BETTER be dead!

Okay, I admit that that sounds incredibly wrong, but the alternative, if "Zen" isn't dead, is that he upset a great many people for no good reason.

This will show up as my second post in a day, even though it's now after 1:00 AM where I live. This will take some explaining, so try to be patient, okay?

During the holiday season of 2006, a young man in Australia started threatening to commit suicide. He called himself "Ilev," which we would all realize later was an anagram for "evil." It didn't seem to matter what was said, Ilev was intent on ending his life on New Year's Eve. The general discussion and pleading that occurred out in public wasn't enough for some of us, and we took the conversations private. I was one of those who sent a private message to him, and it was amazing to me that regardless of what I suggested, Ilev had a counter argument. His death was pending, and there was nothing anyone could do about it...or so we though.

Here's the thing about liars...Given enough time, they'll reveal themselves. That's what happened with Ilev. I became aware that, besides myself, the only other people he was talking to privately were women. One "woman" was a mere 14-year-old girl. And when he learned that she'd been in tears over his insistence to commit suicide, he seemed...smug...about it. He wasn't apologetic, or further depressed that he'd brought her to tears, or even apathetic. He almost seemed to say, "Good. This is what I've been hoping for." Not his exact words; that message came from between the lines.

So I found out who he'd been talking with privately, and that small circle started their own little message ring, reporting what was being said to each individual. Ilev was telling each of us what he thought would hurt us most, which turned out to be different for each of us. So we had our severe doubts about whether or not he was who he said he was, or if he had any true intent to do himself harm.

The folks who run GitP aren't fools. They know their stuff, and when the time for his supposed suicide came along, they made sure the authorities were on hand. So after the "date of termination" had passed, I and others called him on his lies out in public. With his game ruined, he vanished.

Some months later, someone claiming to be the REAL Ilev sent me a private message, claiming that his name and password had been hacked and that...blah, blah, blah. I was having none of it. If it was true, he should say so out in the open, not try to reconnect privately. I warned the ladies, "Guess who's back," and he vanished again.

Because of his antics, however, it was realized that there were plenty of people on GitP who could use a place to vent their emotional woes. Thus, even though the originating incident was a distressing creation of fiction, the Depression Thread was born, and many people have been helped because of it.

Now we have this guy, ZenAnarchist, AKA Zen, who is posting regularly, seems friendly, is nice enough, and even puts a picture up on the YOU Thread, in which Playgrounders post photos of themselves. In his one and only picture, he's a handsome guy with a beautiful woman smiling beside him. They appear happy. This picture was posted on 22 October.

On the 23rd, looking up his history of posts, Zen was making his normal posts, when he suddenly started telling people on several different threads that he would have to postpone his participation in various games due to his fiancee and unborn child being killed in a car accident. He was going to have to identify the body, which he said was the hardest thing he's ever had to do.

Come the 24th, several posts on the YOU Thread were scrubbed. It meany a moderator came in and erased what was being said. These posts occurred AFTER the posting of the picture AND the supposed death of the fiancee and unborn child. If I recall correctly, it's because the comments were a bit too racy for the like of the Playground.

Question: Why would you be adding to the racy banter about your fiancee who was killed the day before?

Mind you, that's relying on my hazy memory. It could have been an argument that Zen started because he was upset, but I don't know with absolute certainty.

Also on the 24th are numerous posts by Zen in which he thanked people for their support. One might wonder why he was doing so much posting to a gaming forum, but he flat-out stated that if he didn't do SOMETHING that he'd spiral downward emotionally. He was doing a lot of posting in the "play-by-post" gaming threads, and someone by the name of BladedWarlord was going to take over Zen's character. Zen's basic message was, "Don't worry. When I have my head together, I'll send you notes on my character so you can take my place."

On the 25th, he involved himself in someone's plight on the Depression Thread. This other person was talking about his great desire to end his life, and Zen came along with his little "life is precious" post. All indications are that he is very upset, he is coping, and he has a grief counselor. All of that is from his posts. Then he went silent.

There was nothing more until someone named ScionOfBlades came along on the 28th to report that Zen had ended his life. And the Playground wept. Including me. I was terribly distressed that someone had ended his life in a state of insurmountable emotional turmoil. I was so thankful when I was able to log onto Skype and talk to my beloved Becky, because she helped pull me together and make me feel better overall. (Thank you for just being you, baby!)

Once we disconnected Skype, I headed back to GitP to see what else was being said, and there's drama brewing on the memorium thread. Someone named RaptorRider came along to say, "Ummm...Hey, guys. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but that picture of the guy with the beautiful woman? That's not this Zen character. That's me."

I'm instantly suspicious. Someone somewhere is lying to everyone else. If they're not lying, and the picture WAS stolen by a guy who just committed suicide, pointing this out now is NOT the time. Ah, but it was the timing of this new poster that was a bit odd. He joined today for the specific reason of being able to post and reveal "the truth."

ScionOfBlades didn't know what picture was being talked about, and that's where I became directly involved. I sent the picture in question to Scion, who claimed he was seeing the picture for the first time, and that it WASN'T Zen. ScionOfBlades then said that Zen was somewhat ashamed of his looks, and probably borrowed a picture of more attractive people to make himself feel better.

Thus, I wrote back, explaining that we'd been scammed before, and that it had been pretty upsetting the last time, and this time it was even worse. I hated doing it, but I asked for some kid of proof that Zen had ended his life. A news article or an obituary. I mean, a story like this here in the States would be news. "Man commits suicide less than a week after losing wife and unborn child in car accident"...? It falls perfectly under the rule of news, "If it bleeds, it leads."

Then, because I was growing increasingly upset that someone was playing out a cruel hoax, I engaged in a little Darksiders. When I'm getting angry, nothing improves my mood like killing pixelated demonic minions.

After a few hours, I returned to GitP to find that the memorium thread had been locked. Another thread, placed by a moderator and immediately locked so that there could be no arguing about it, was placed. Suspicions had been raised, so all threads were locked and were being investigated.

That's when I started writing this post. And while I was writing it...

They weren't kidding when they said it was being investigated. The head honco, Rich Burlew, came along and posted the foloowing:

After examining information both from our own forum database and various external websites (and offline sources), the moderation staff of Giant in the Playground has determined to our satisfaction that the reported suicide of GITP poster ZenAnarchist was, in fact, part of an elaborate hoax. We do not know, at this time, to what end.

However, we have made enough different connections to know that ZenAnarchist, ScionOfBlades (the poster who reported the suicide), and RaptorRider (the poster who recently claimed to be the "real" person displayed in photos posted by ZenAnarchist), are all the same person, all using the same computer (sometimes within seconds of one another). Other aliases on this site include BladedWarlord, -Baldur-, WorldWalker, Octopus Garden, and DocRock. We know this poster's real name, address, current employer, and most importantly, that he is still alive. We have no knowledge regarding the alleged death of his fiancee at this time.

All related accounts are being banned, and steps are being taken to to prevent this individual from ever participating in the Giant in the Playground message board again. At this time, we cannot reveal all of the methods used to make these determinations, but I want to personally assure you that we would not be making this announcement if we were not absolutely certain.

And on a personal note, I'd like to apologize for not getting this removed sooner, but certain key pieces of evidence did not come to light until now.

I am virtually speechless. What kind of creature, (because he certainly isn't human), pulls this kind of hoax, and for what purpose? Was it somehow "fun" to put an entire online community into a state of extreme distress? And can we start a class action lawsuit against him? I'd like $1,000,000 for every tear that was shed today.

It's now two hours since I started writing this post. I need medication to calm me down, and I should probably kill more imaginary things. Because if I don't, I'm going to start thinking about how to hunt this clown down and do some of the things my old Mafia neighbor suggested when it came to torture.

We lost one

Yesterday, using an overdose of medication for severe headaches, one of the Playgrounders took his life. And I find myself suffering at least three stages of grieving all at once.

It starts with the recent loss of his father, who had been battling cancer for a while. I don't exactly know when it happened, but this is a painful experience, even when it's something for which you prepare. "Oh, he was sick a long time." That's no excuse, nor is it a good explanation. If you loved the person, their death still hits hard.

Even more recently, on 23 October, he lost his fiancee and unborn child in a car accident. I saw a picture of them on the thread in which we post such things, and they were a beautiful couple. The one photo I saw was of two people who were happy and in love. I don't have the details, but I know he was delayed in going down to identify her body. My guess is that she was in a severely bad way, and that officials wanted to get her cleaned up before he saw her.

I put myself in his situation, and it makes me want to break down in hysterics. The idea that I could get a call from police to come identify Becky after a wreck...I could easily imagine the image of her body getting trapped in my head, battered, bruised, and all sorts of holes where medical equipment was used. G-d, I pray that I never have to experience such a thing.

Alas, he did, or so I imagine. If she died in a car accident, I doubt she only had a bump on her head.

He was obviously upset, as he posted on the Depression Thread. But his post was in response to someone else on 25 October. The other person was threatening suicide, and the response was one of hope. Here's what he wrote, every word and punctuation as he put it:

Life...Life is precious. You won't listen to me when I say that, but it is.

When you've literally had two lives stolen from you, you may understand but please just trust me for now...

I can assure you that you will be missed. You wouldn't think it...But you will.

Lost lives devastate people. Family, engagements, marriages, children...

All partially destroyed in some way...All losing a precious piece.

Don't do that to the people who love you.

Even I, who've recently lost an unborn child and a lover, fiance and beautiful woman. Acknowledge that one day, maybe no day soon, but maybe one day things will return a smile to my face. One day...

So please...Don't just throw your life so casually away, okay?

His response to someone else's crisis indicated that he had some strength in him, and that he was trying to survive a nightmare. People offered to chat with him, and from what I gathered in his postmortem thread, there were a few private discussions going on. Unfortunately, he gave no indications that he was in dire need of genuine help. He didn't say anything on the depression thread about it. Not on the Depression Thread. Elsewhere, he seemed to indicate that he was steadily falling apart...but not on any threads that I visit.

This leaves me shocked and extremely sad. I mean, those who come to the Depression Thread are "my people." Even if I don't talk to them, as it seems so many others are willing to be the voices of reason of late, they are my charges. If I see someone post, and there's a lack of response because they aren't part of "the popular crowd," I will speak up and try to aid them. The phrase that keeps passing through my head is, "I lost one of my own."

Another piece of the stage of grieving that I'm experiencing is denial. No, this is some kind of cruel joke, perpetrated to show this person how much he'd be missed if he took his life. He's not really dead. In fact, he'll probably come along soon and say, "I'm so sorry to do this to all of you, but someone wanted to prove a point. They said I'd be missed, and I didn't believe them. Well, now I do, and I hope you can all forgive me." I did something similar when my friend Sandra passed away, thinking she was only tired of talking to me and had her family tell me she died, and that she was actually alive and well. Seeing a tombstone changes that kind of thinking rapidly.

The final stage of grieving that I'm experiencing is anger. I mean, how DARE he come along with a message of hope, saying what he said, and then ending his own life. He's a hypocrite. I shouldn't waste a single tear on that lying bastard!

But I will. I'll shed many tears. Because while I may not KNOW his pain, I can understand it. I imagine he was thinking that there would never be a day when he'd smile again; that every day from now on would be a struggle to get through. If he did make it through this insanely difficult time and moved on, every woman he dated would be trying to live up to the standards set by a personal ghost. His words could speak of hope, but his mind was mired in little else but enduring darkness.

I pray he's reunited with his beloved, and that they exist in eternity, forever in love's blissful embrace. Rest in peace, Zen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PTSD Theory

One of the illnesses that doesn't get much coverage on this blog is my PTSD. That's Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for those who don't know. According to the first line in Wiki, it's "a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma." Well, I have plenty of THAT in my life. I was reared in a household where the threat of corporal punishment was perpetual, even for merely PERCEIVED slights. Then there was a robbery, in which I was a victim, and I can tell you from experience that staring down the barrel of a loaded gun being held by someone with malicious intent is say the very least. And what cemented this illness into my already damaged head was an attack that took place while I was asleep.

Oddly, all events prior to the attack weren't contemplated nearly as much until AFTERWARD. Now, whenever there's a sudden, loud noise while I'm asleep, I wake with a scream. This includes a simple knock on my bedroom door from housemates.

Why bring this up? Because I think this is the reason why I went looking for some information on my ex, and why it became so upsetting to me. What I SHOULD have done when that curious thought popped into my head was talk to Becky about all the wonderful things we've been planning. Instead, curiosity got the better of me, and I learned JUST ENOUGH to get my imagination rolling. And because what Robin did to me in the past was pretty traumatic all on its own, it became a serious of thoughts that I simply couldn't shake.

Mind you, I'm better today. I spilled my guts on most of what was dwelling inside my head, fact or fiction, and have been spending my time dwelling on the fact that I am so "crazy-go-nuts" about Becky.

Several people have voiced their concern over the fact that I became so upset recently over this woman who abandoned me over 10 years ago. The only way I can explain it, to myself as well as others, is to say that it MUST be the PTSD.

One specific friend, however, would point out that I've been like this since long before the attack. I would harp on a great deal of the bad things that have happened to me, often refusing to let it go. It's such a complex and jumbled web of thought processes inside my head, but I think it all stems from the way I was brought up. All that was discussed were the bad things. My brothers and I were in trouble all the time. A day didn't go by without my mother having SOMETHING to scream about. I was programmed to be this way, and now I have an illness that seems to target the negative and amplify the horrible feelings that come with it.

This happens every now and again, and I fear the only way to prevent it is to detour my thinking the moment I see myself heading down that old PSTD road. Unfortunately, by the time I recognize what I'm doing to myself, it's too late. I've already started dwelling on that which did me great harm.

This only EXPLAINS the situation, but doesn't excuse it. There is no excuse for generating concern over something that should, by now, mean nothing. Robin left me. She hurt me a great deal. I haven't spoken to her since the day she left. And that, my friends, should be the end of it. But is it? Nooo. I just have to drag my old skeletons out and examine them in public, making my friends worry. To that, I must apologize. And I thank all who voiced their concerns.

Meanwhile, on a MUCH happier note, Becky has finally met with success in her hunt for an apartment close to college. The landlord calls it "an efficiency plus," but I call it a studio apartment. That's because its size and furnishings seem to be the same as what I was living in in AZ.

Now here's the really good part: because Becky has a place to live, I'll officially be able to visit her in December, as well as in March of next year. Each direction of travel is over 30 hours by bus, but the trips will be affordable. And we'll no longer have to deal with the expense of a motel. It'll be great, just me and my Becky, curled up and cuddling, without fearing housemates using the bathroom in the middle of a romantic moment, or worrying about being up in time for check out.

As an added bonus, her semester ends toward the beginning of May. If all goes as planned, that's when I'll move to PA. With any luck at all, that means there should be time in our schedules to head for the GitP meet-up, which is usually in June!

Here's hoping all schedules, medical stuff, and finances allow for it.

Be well, all. =)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I loved WHAT?!?

Well, I've mentioned her often enough. Now, because I discovered a recent picture of her, I will, unfortunately, introduce you to my ex, Robin. Mind you, what will follow is...ummm...well, it'll be the equivalent of my brain vomiting. But first, the picture...

Is everyone okay? Nobody got hurt while looking at her? If you did, wash your eyes with cold water and dial emergency services in whatever country you're in.

A few things to note about this picture. I'll start with Robin and work my way clockwise.

Becky's first reaction, upon seeing this picture, was, "Please tell me she was pretty at one time!" Well, I THOUGHT she was. Love is blind, though. Right? It looks like Robin has been letting her hair grow without any effort at taming it whatsoever. In case you're wondering at everyone's heights in this picture, she's 5'2", which has me wondering a few things, but I'll get to those. Meanwhile, the page where I found this claims that Robin works for AVON, which sells many things, but their focus is on beauty products. Which leave me wondering, Yikes! Does she even bother USING any of their products? Because it sure doesn't look like it! You'll also note the crutch. This means Robin wasn't wearing her prosthetic leg (on her left side) for this photo.

On to her husband, who is apparently...tall. And doesn't he just look like the happiest guy on the planet? That's got to be one of the deadest looks of neutrality I've seen in ages. It's an expression that practically screams, Please, let's just get this photo over with so I can make some quality time with my mistress. That, or, I hate my life. Please kill me. Either way, he doesn't look as happy as the rest of the family.

Now we get to the oldest boy. I'm baffled by him for several reasons. Does he look anything like Robin? Maybe the genetics are subtle. I mean, he and his brother are pasty white, just as she tends to be. The page where I found this has several references to her being a "mommy." I am left with the assumption that both kids are just chock full of their father's genes, and not nearly as many of their mother's. Another guess is that he's about 10 years of age, as he's not exactly flashing baby teeth there. (More on that last to come.)

I'm almost certain the youngest child is, in fact, Robin's kid, as he's small enough to fit into one's pocket. He's petite like his mother...well, she WAS petite...which is really a horrible word when using it for a boy. Boys shouldn't be "petite," they're "small for their age." Uh huh. The kid needs to some growth hormone shots or something.

Now I had this theory before, but I'm not sure if I've discussed it. I can go back and read half of my blog posts and think, Wow, did I write that? I vaguely remember such events happening in my life. If it wasn't for all the commas, which I blatantly abuse, I'd think someone else wrote this stuff. So this is why I question whether or not I wrote something...which is just a tangent to avoid the fact that I've been fairly upset over the theory I have.

That oldest child. He looks to be somewhere between 10 and 11 years old. And that age fits my time line in a rather distressing manner. You see, Robin left me on 16 January 2000. So...was Robin cheating on me toward the end of our relationship? If so, was she actually pregnant when she hopped out of my life? Or did she get pregnant shortly thereafter and leap into a marriage with Captain Happy, there? The latter implies she was already seeing someone when she left me, and that...Well, it all boils down to yet another woman who lied to me during a deeply involved relationship, and that has me pretty upset.

Am I so foolish as to be blindly trusting every time I fall in love? I still had some changes to go through back then, but I'd already been preaching openness and honesty when I was with Robin. Maybe that's why Robin tried to hop off with her wedding band, the one I'd bought for OUR wedding; she was looking to save money on rings for her upcoming nuptials with tall, dark, and "elated" up there.

I'm upset, not because I lost Robin, but HOW it all went down. I was abandoned. And now it seems that I was abandoned with her using lies to do so. Oh, I'm sorry. ROBIN didn't lie to me; her FATHER did, as he was the one who sat me down and explained that the relationship was over. Robin actually said very little during our final encounter. Whatever the case may be, there seems that there was no honesty involved in it. It looks like I was replaced before I was gone, and that's a blow to my already diminished ego.

I've spoken with Becky at length about such things. She's stated that she's different from all of my exes. Funny, but all of my exes were going to be different than all of the exes before them. In the end, they all turned out to be the same. And here I am, in worse physical and emotional shape than I was back then, thinking that I'll be able to make it work with a woman who is 18 years younger than me.

Oh, but Becky IS different from all of my exes. She's the first to realize that saying the words isn't enough. She recognizes the fact that actions speak louder than words. Thus, she has told me that time will prove her right.

I certainly hope so. Because I couldn't possibly endure another fiasco like the one Robin brought to my life.

But for the record, and because I know she'll be reading this: Baby, you had to know this was coming. I had to vent to the world, even to my limited audience, about what this...creature...did to me. I'm hoping that by getting some of the poison out that I'll fell better.

Know that I love you. I love you so much that is terrifies me sometimes. If I appear to grow emotionally distant, that would be my defenses coming into play, guarding me against the terrible things that I fear may happen to me again. I hope we're BOTH right, and that time will prove this to be the love that lasts me the rest of my life. =)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I....I, ummm...WOW! I got this injection on Thursday in my foot, and was told it would take at least a few days to have any affect, and maybe as long as two weeks. We had a rather nasty storm last night, and that's ALWAYS guaranteed to increase my pain during and after such weather. I should be popping painkillers as often as allowed to seek relief from this evil, evil foot of mine.

But I'm NOT! In fact, I'm wondering where a majority of my pain is right now. I can walk without a limp, and am doing so at the moment because of two reasons. The first is an ancient break that acts up when the weather is bad. The thing is that the spot that hurts on my foot can't be avoided at all. It's too close to the heel. Its pain, however, is not nearly as bad as the other aches. The other reason is that I'm simply USED TO limping.

I have virtually no pain in the parts of my foot that usually make me miserable! Maybe a twinge here and there, but that's it!

Now I have to deal with the part of my brain that doesn't want to believe I've actually received relief. Am I dreaming this? Is my alarm going to go off any second and return me to my normal, painful existence?

No, I don't think so. I just walked through the living room, past Cody, who's playing a video game, and he didn't even realize that I was, in fact, WALKING! Not limping. WALKING! I felt the slightest complaint from within, so I don't think I'll engage in any running races too soon. But it would seem that the nerve block is working, and I almost want to cry with relief. A happy, joyful weeping session. =*)

On the other side, and more reason to continue taking my painkillers, is the fact that I had the sutures removed from my arm yesterday. A few people have stared in horror at the bruising that occurred after the surgery, but it never bothered me, so I made no calls about it. I was told yesterday that that's completely normal, and that the lack of severe bruising when I had my left arm fixed was the unusual part.

The stitches were mostly interior, with just a bit of silk sticking out near both ends of the incision. A small bit of it was also exposed at the middle of the incision, and I always thought that it was a single, independent stitch to prevent the dimpled scar that occurred on the left arm. Nope. It was all one piece of silk, and the center bit that was exposed was cut...then the nurse started pulling the now separated stitches out. Oh, that stung! But they're out now, and that, from what I was told, is the last I should need of the surgeon's office.

Meanwhile, the entire incision is stinging quite a bit today. Thankfully, my foot isn't taking up all of the efforts of my painkillers, so I'm actually getting some relief.

*sigh* I love it when doctor's get it right while "practicing" medicine. =D

Friday, October 22, 2010

He shot me in the foot!

But then, I did ASK that he do exactly that. And because he's a doctor, I'll trust him.

I'm speaking, of course, about the nerve block. And I'm coming to realize my brain was doing something else while the entire thing was occurring, as I didn't really ask questions about what was happening. For example, I have no clue as to what the doctor injected into me. None. He could have put liquid Draino in my foot and I wouldn't know it right now. Well, I probably would, as it would be burning through my flesh. But you take my meaning. I have no clue as to what the meds were. That's not what I normally do. I'm usually full of questions. But in this case, I was so excited and nervous that I just wanted it done so I could start feeling relief.

And then I learned that I wouldn't be feeling relief for up to two weeks. Whatever this medication is, it takes time to do its thing, so instant relief, which is what I was hoping for, isn't a possibility. It completely ruined my chances of dancing my way out of the office. Mind you, I can't dance...but I would have tried...and probably broken a bone in my foot along the way. Because I'm that brilliant, don't ya know?

It's just that I feel a great need to get off these damned narcotics. I keep feeling as though I've adjusted to them, and that they barely affect my life, but they might well be behind my sudden bouts of exhaustion. (Then again, they might not. It would be nice to know, though.) Even if they're not affecting me in such a way, my body DOES get used to them, and the dose just keeps climbing. What am I going to do when I'm on a maximum dose and I still feel the need for more? Morphine can suppress the respiratory system, causing it to stop completely. With my intention of marrying Becky and having kids, suicide is not exactly something I'm going to think about a hundred times...should my depression symptoms ever get the better of me. I have more reasons to live now than ever before...and risking my life with medications is not the route I want to travel.

As it is, in the aftermath of my surgery, I have access to even MORE painkillers. I've said the surgical site isn't bothering me that much, but that doesn't mean SOMETHING hasn't been bothering me. I've been using those extra painkillers to get some relief in my ever-aching foot. My popping these pills always seems to remind me of the celebrities that have dies of accidental overdoses of prescription medications. Trust me, I can see how it happened. The meds seem to take only a small edge off the pain, so the desire to take more pills is always there. I have to stop myself and just do absolutely nothing to get relief. Those celebrities...? Well, doing nothing was never anything they considered, so they took more pills to be functional, and ended up overdosing.

Which brings up something else in my life: smoking. I haven't spoken of it because I remain somewhat ashamed of this habit. I'm still putting a pack and a half away, if not two packs a day, and this has to stop. If it doesn't stop, it needs to be cut back. And that's because of Becky and our potential kids. If I keep going as I am, I'm going to simply fall over, dead, and then I won't be around for any of them. This is not to be confused with "quitting for the sake of someone else," although it appears that way. I want to start working on...something...involving my smoking because I want to be around a long time for them.

I'm mentioning this, despite the fact that I'm nowhere near ready to start working on it. The thing is that Bryan and I recently discussed it, and he seemed to have immediate insight into why I'm still smoking: I have nothing better to do. But I pointed out the other reason, and it's deeply seated in my psyche. I don't care. Or I didn't care. If smoking was the thing that killed me, so be it. My psych meds might keep the suicidal thoughts from existing on the surface, but they are constantly bubbling within. I wasn't all that concerned with my demise, and was actually kind of hoping smoking would do it.

Now that I want to stick around, I have this habit that practically controls my life.

It's kind of funny, because Becky and I were sitting in our motel room one day when we saw a commercial for a new medication to quit smoking. I was listening to it and getting all excited. I commented on it...and then they started listing all of the potential side effects of taking the meds. It sounded like I had a greater chance of being killed by the medication than I would from smoking. It was absurd! I don't remember the name of the drug, nor do I remember the side effects, but the latter was pretty horrible.

It reminded me of the time I was looking up the side effects of another medication I wanted to try, and one of them was "sudden death." Really?!? How the heck did this stuff get past the FDA?

And that reminds me of something funny I've seen on almost all of my insulin bottles. They list the signs of hypoglycemia, and one of them is simply, "death." Since seeing that, I've joked, "If you ever come across a corpse, just give it a candy bar. It might get better."

Speaking of all of this has me thinking of one of my followers, Blue. She's actually a dear friend, and someone whom I once had a crush on. She's recently discovered that she's seriously ill with a heart condition, and the only treatment is medication and time. A pacemaker is a possibility, but her doctor is trying to avoid it for the time being. To you. my dear, I highly recommend you find your sense of humor about your illness as swiftly as possible. Without it, your disease will find ways to crush your spirit completely, making you depressed and angry about life for all time. To put it another way, you might forever be "brokenhearted." =P

I have to get ready to have my sutures removed. This is going to be a lot of fun, as the incision has started stinging a bit as it's been healing. And this means there might be more stories.

Be well, all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

About the last post...

I think everyone, including myself, can relax. Becky did some research yesterday and it would seem that co-ed living arrangements are entirely up to the landlord. The person who fed Becky that load of malarkey probably has issues with couples "living in sin." I think it's time that person got with the times. I don't think many couples wait until the wedding day to move in together. It's far better to move in and see one another in a more "natural habitat" than finding out all kinds of potentially nightmarish things AFTER the marriage.

It's surprising what kind of things can alter a relationship once a couple lives under the same roof. She can endure his loud snoring. He can live with the fact that she's a terrible cook. But G-d forbid one of them leaves the toothpaste improperly closed! Oh, now we have a fight on our hands!

To get married for the sake of being together was a bit disconcerting. There's really only one reason I want to marry, and that's because I love someone. I want to marry Becky because I love her. At the same time, I don't want to have the rushed ceremony at all. I mean, we have a plan in place right now to have the small, civil ceremony, but our plans then include a gathering of our closest friends and family at a reserved room in an upscale restaurant. To rush things and then go out to eat at Wendy's with just her mom and dad would be...Well, wrong in every way.

But it does seem that an alteration to our plans is coming. Becky is having an extremely hard time finding a place to live at all. Landlords keep telling her there will be openings in December, as 6 December is the last day of the fall semester, but none can give exact dates as to when those openings will occur. It may end up being a last minute move, which makes buying bus tickets in advance somewhat difficult. (The tickets are almost double the price if you buy them at the last minute.)

This is one of the reasons Becky has been becoming so upset. She's afraid that her lack of success in finding a place will result in me not being able to visit. I promised her last night that the visits will happen, even if the dates aren't what we had planned. I can still come up while she's taking classes, but make sure I arrive and leave on the weekends, just so I don't cause a scheduling conflict. Our days won't be filled with lying around, enjoying one another's company, but we'll still have plenty of hours together. So right now, we're still hoping to spend the entire holiday season together, but may have to settle for only being able to ring in the New Year with one another. And if that doesn't work, we'll just create our own holiday to celebrate when I see her in January. =)

Then there's the March visit. By then, Becky SHOULD have a permanent place to live. Heck, if she can't find a place soon, I've already suggested that she return to her old work place and get her job back. Being employed will allow her and I to afford me visiting her in her home town, and she can start school like a traditional student next fall. The place where she worked always seemed to be looking for more people, so her return would probably be welcomed. She'll likely be able to find housing a lot easier over the summer.

Oh...and Zeb, I'd like to point out something you said. "If she needs to live for a few months without you so that she can figure out a better living arrangement that doesn't require this drastic step, it won't be the end of the world." I haven't mentioned it much, but the plan actually exists that she live alone for a while, no matter what we do. Becky has NEVER, EVER lived alone. I deem this rather important, since she's never known what it's like to be completely independent. To survive on one's own and not have to answer to anyone but a landlord...It's not like any other living arrangement. I think everyone should have a taste of that, so Becky and I wouldn't have been getting hitched until next summer, regardless.

Of course, telling that to Becky brings about a degree of disappointment for her. Becky is so blindly in love that getting married yesterday would be just fine with her. The difference in our ages allows me to add the wisdom that people just don't do that if they expect the relationship to survive. The last time I blindly fell for someone and rushed headlong toward marriage...Well, that was with Perlin. And in a way, I'm thankful she cheated on me, as she then allowed me to realize I'd fallen in lust, not in love.

Thankfully, I know I'm in love with Becky. I know this because I can see her with two different sets of eyes - the "before" and "after" eyes." Before I was in love with her, I would look at her picture and think, Oh, she's pretty. After I fell in love with her, I look at her and think, Wow, she's beautiful!

In fact, it happened last night, at random, as it usually does. We were on video chat, and my settings were okay, yet the image was still coming through a wee bit blurred. It was like looking at those women that were filmed through a gauze lens in the original Star Trek episodes. The dim lighting on her side made it look as though she was wearing eye shadow and mascara, and her lips ALWAYS have a ruby-red appearance that makes is seem like she has lipstick on. It was as though she'd made herself up just for little old me, but that was her natural appearance. No makeup was involved in any way. Not for the first time, I found myself saying softly, "G-d, you are so beautiful."

Okay...Time to snap out of the mush mode that I'm in. I'm seeing the pain specialist later this afternoon to have a nerve block done on my right foot. Will there be relief at last? Will I FINALLY be able to start weening myself off the narcotics I take daily? I will be keeping all of you posted.

Be well!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Because I'm brilliant!

That would be sarcasm, folks. I'm not so smart, and can prove it by telling you what time I finally decided to go to sleep. You see, I took a "little nape" yesterday afternoon. Said nap was somewhere between six and seven hours. This only helped to throw my sleep schedule off completely, and I finally went to bed at...ummm...9:08 AM this morning. I slept for all of two hours, and am now a very special brand of exhausted.

It doesn't help that I ended up having a rather disturbing dream. In it, I was dating both Becky and Perlin, and neither knew of the other. There was something about there being nine different apartments in which I could hide one of the other, and I was constantly trying to do so. Apparently, when I wanted sex, I would run to Perlin. When I wanted love, I would seek out Becky. And what bothered me about it is that such thoughts of Perlin were supposedly left in the dust. How is it that an ex from well over a decade and a half ago still manages to haunt me?

I felt so bad about the dream, too. I mean, if Becky had still been here, I would have rolled over, looked her in the eyes, and apologized. Why? Because while I remain faithful to my beloved, my mind is obviously prepared to cheat on her. I'm a subconscious philanderer.

This could, of course, be a direct result of the chat Becky and I had last night. She's having a great deal of difficulty finding an apartment; something I suspected would happen because she's trying to do so during the "off season." It turns out she's having a problem for reasons other than "the fall students are taking up all the space." Something about gas workers filing into town and taking up all of the available apartments. (Greeeeat.)

One potential landlord spoke about student housing, and said that there might be stipulations pertaining to what sexes can live under one roof. According to this person, it has to be all-male or all-female. Our plans on living together starting next year would have issues, since I don't think I'd look good dressed in drag, and there's no way Becky could fake being a guy. (Her figure shouts, "I AM FEMALE!")

It came to us that the only way around this stipulation was if we were married. Becky is thoroughly against getting married for convenience's sake, since that was something her ex, Shawn, frequently said. "We'll get married when it's convenient." (How's that for the height of romance?) And while it seems like we might be doing just that, what we'd actually do is get married for the sake of being together.

It's just that we'd be pseudo-married.

Okay, that's just a reference to the frame of mind we'd TRY to hang on to, even though we'd be ACTUALLY married. The thing is that we'd essentially be skipping over the part where we live together a few years to be absolutely, 100% sure that we've found "the one." Lots of things can come to light once people share the same roof. We did well during the near three weeks we were together, from 18 September to 9 October, but that was just a visit. What'll happen when we know it's permanent?

My suggestion was this: we write up the equivalent of a prenuptial agreement, stating our plan on paper...with the agreement as part of the plan. (Is it just me, or does that seem a little odd?) We'll agree that until her nursing education comes to an end, there's always the chance that one, the other, or both will realize we've made a mistake and want to annul the marriage. Because there may be a time constraint on when annulment is possible, it may be considered a divorce after a while. Either way, we agree to break up without making it a legal drama that neither of us can afford. I'll get my stuff. She'll get her stuff. And we'll go our separate ways with a minimum of fuss.

All wishful thinking on my part, I assure you. I don't see us breaking up very easily, IF we break up at all. Becky has never experienced love this deeply, which means that the end, if it comes, will be exceptionally painful. On my end, I simply can't keep up this quest for someone with which to spend the rest of my life. I've said it before, but it's becoming more of a reality for me. "This is it. Becky is the last woman I'll consider for marriage. After this, I think I'll simply be too broken to try again, physically and emotionally.

As for the marriage itself, it would be a hastily arranged civil ceremony. There was supposed to be time to decide if we'll go the route of eloping or having a more traditional ceremony. If we marry so we can be together while she's in school...Well, I still don't want to take that possibility away from her. So when she's done with school, there will remain the option to renew our vows under better circumstances, with friends and family on hand to share in the event.

No matter what, her mom and dad will be there. I promised her that, as well as making the same promise to her mother; "You will be there when your daughter is married." For those who don't know me well, I live by the statement, "A promise made is a promise kept."

And this means yet another promise is to be upheld: no kids until Becky's schooling is over. The whole idea behind all of our plans is that we, as a couple, mold to Becky's educational plans. Her education is to never mold to our plans. Children would only complicate matters, and we can't afford such a complication in ANY way. Not until she's done with school.

For the moment, this is all talk. Becky asked that I give her until the end of this week, and I immediately realized that that wouldn't be enough time to get much done. Amidst her search for housing, she is now to start asking, "Who's allowed to live with me?" Student aid might be against an engaged couple living together, but a husband and wife...? We shall see. And I extended her deadline, pushing it to 30 October. If she can't find proper housing by then, it'll be time to discuss a reorganization of our plans.

Maybe this is why I had that disturbing dream this morning. After discussing such serious matters as turning Becky into "Mrs. Meadows," my mind went running back to the first woman I ever asked to marry me. Then it couldn't decide which one it wanted, so my brain tried to keep both. (My psyche is a polygamist!)

I wouldn't mind a little feedback on the whole marriage idea. Becky and I are a wee bit too close to it all to see it from every angle. You might end up repeating things that are already in my head, and that didn't make it into this post, but I don't care. Fresh minds and ideas are always welcomed to the ongoing drama that is my life.

But know this...If I marry Becky so we can be together, it is NOT for convenience's sake. It's not JUST so we can be together. It's because I love her tremendously, and THAT'S why I want to be with her. =)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Well, something is afoot...

...with my foot, but my new podiatrist isn't sure what.

As previously posted, I'm having an issue with my right foot. I was positively enormous on Friday, and it didn't seem to be improving with time. I made the decision to call my regular doctor on Monday. But when my alarm went off yesterday morning, I noticed the size of my foot had decreased. So I went with my original plan.

What was the original plan? Believe it or not, I'd created "an event" for 18 October on my cell phone's calendar to call a podiatrist. And I did this over the weekend BEFORE my elbow surgery. Well, now I had even more cause to call, other than simply wanting my feet examined. Usually, when one calls a specialist, there's a few weeks between the call and actual appointment. But I'd used the magic words. "I'm a diabetic." That got me an appointment for today, and I'm here to tell you...

..that he's not sure what's going on in my foot, but doesn't seem to be overly concerned.

He started with an examination of my right foot, feeling around for trouble. I was, in fact, experiencing minor discomfort along the arch of my foot, but on a scale of 1 to 10, I could only declare it a 2 at the most. He then got out an instrument that was basically a small "hair" made of plastic, and asked me to close my eyes. "Tell me when you feel it touching you," he said, and proceeded to poke me with it. Of the dozen or so times he touched my foot, I felt it twice. This means that my neuropathy has progressed to the point where I have almost NO surface sensation. None. He could probably have cut my skin with a razor and I wouldn't have felt it. But I knew that. This was just for his confirmation.

His next step was to have his staff take some x-rays of my right foot. Once those were developed, he reviewed them with me. That is, we examined them I could really contribute to any pending diagnosis. While the pictures didn't reveal any reason for the mysterious swelling, it did show a few things of which I was unaware.

The first is that I have osteoarthritis right around the talus, the bone that connects the foot to the lower leg. I assume it's the talus, as it's the one closest to the area that the doctor pointed out to me. At no time did he tell me the severity of the arthritis; he simply told me it's there, which is a huge "thrill" for me.

The other thing his x-ray revealed is that the osteomyelitis I'd had all those years ago in my third metatarsal also extended into the second metatarsal. The "head" of both bones is malformed, which explains why I experience such great discomfort in the middle of my right foot at all times. As far as I know, there's really nothing that can be done for that.

So things haven't really changed, other than the fact that me fears have been reduced. Since I have an MRI of my right foot scheduled for 2 November, the doctor has asked that he receive a copy of it so he can see the more detailed pictures. An x-ray doesn't reveal vascular issues or soft tissue damage, so hopefully the MRI will give a better idea of what's going on in there.

In other news, my arm seems to be healing fairly well. The horrific bruising that surrounds the incision is FINALLY turning somewhat yellowish, indicating that it's getting better. I even took a shower today. (Technically, I could have taken one yesterday, but wanted to give the surgical site one more day of healing. My only complaint right now if that the incision stings quite a bit. Until now, the pain's been minimal. Now it's becoming tender to the touch. There's no indication of infection, so my guess is that I'm pulling on the stitches inside as I heal.

There's not much else to report at the moment. I'm pretty tired, what with waking up at the ungodly hour of 8:00 AM today. I prefer to be up each day at the crack of noon. =P Thus, I'm off to nap.

Be well, all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Or maybe I am...?

Just a quick note before I go on...I totally missed it, but my last post was #400. I should have done something to celebrate that fact, but I've been preoccupied.

Like the fact that my right foot is INCREDIBLY swollen. It's HUGE. I haven't done anything that I can denote as being troublesome, and yet my ankle is so large that it's stretching out the scar from a surgery from years ago.

Damnit, I may yet have to have myself taken to a hospital to have it checked out. Because something is going on in there that shouldn't be happening. I'm ready to blame Charcot's foot, but maybe it's something else.

Why? Why is it, when my life FINALLY seems to be going in a direction I want it to go, that crap like this happens? Does G-d feel that I don't have enough drama in my life?

How did I become aware of a problem? Well, I've been sitting here, fearful that a couple of days without a shower and doing all this sweating that I would become extra...fragrant. So I busted out the anti-bacterial wipes and got cleaned up, starting from my head and working my way down. When I took my sock off, I noticed my foot was unusually large. And I just don't get it. There are no wounds. I haven't been moving around much. The pain's been worse in that foot, but we're supposedly addressing that at the pain specialist next week.

So what's going on? Did a bone break in there due to Charcot's foot? Did a bone become dislocated from the same? Is this some mystery complication from the surgery?

Crap. I need to talk to Becky before I do anything, just so she knows what's going on. Then I'll elevate the foot and see if that helps. If it doesn't, it's hospital time. =*(

Okay, I'm not dying.

Just a quick note to say that I'm somewhat better today. I still feel drained, but I think that's expected, what with having had my arm purposely sliced open a couple of days ago.

For me, the key thing marking my improvement is the lack of neck pain and stiffness. I was up early, when my alarm went off, and noticed right away that whatever had been going on in my neck had abated. There's no nausea. And the feeling feverish...? Well, it's minor, and may be more related to exhaustion than anything else.

Oh, but I should mention the absolute cuteness that was Nike this morning. You see, my alarm went off and I checked my neck out. While doing so, Nike swooped in to occupy the warm spot on the bed that I'd left behind. Silly cat...actually thought she'd be able to just stay there, without realizing I had every intention of going back to sleep if possible. Thus, I relocated her, and she ended up curled against my chest and left arm. This, apparently, wasn't comfortable enough for her. She repositioned herself so that she was against my chest and ON my left arm, with some of her fur tickling my face. (She was lying on my bicep.) And that's how I drifted back to sleep, with my "wife" curled against me.

As for the rest of what's going on, I'm rather astounded at how little pain I'm in from the surgery. With the bandage removed, the itch is greatly reduced, and I'm able to bend my arm without difficulty. It aches a wee bit on the interior, feeling as though someone punched my right bicep, where there's also a little bruising. Otherwise, I seem fully capable of moving my hand, which was not the issue when the left side was worked on.

And to the mysterious "Martienn," who commented on my last post. I would follow you, except...well, you haven't really said anything that speaks to me. Makeup and fashion are not things with which I'm concerned. (And speaking to me in Polish certainly won't help, as I speak only English.) I'll grant that you're cute, but I'm engaged. Finally, you seem a bit...young. So until your blog reflects some depth, I appreciate the compliment on my blog, but I don't think I'll be your 71st follower.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Was I built with a self-destruct mode?

Seriously. Why is it that I can't just have some surgery and recover without some other worry? Why do I always have that wee bit of extra something or other to complicate matters?

On the first elbow surgery, the nerve kept pooping back into the place where it was entrapped, so the surgeon used my innermost layer of skin and the soft exterior of the humerus to create an internal sling to hold it in place. This put me in extra pain during my recovery.

Then came the knee surgery, which proved so painful that I was back in the ER that very night to get injections of a painkiller even stronger than those that I normally take. And because the doc removed approximately 40% of the medial meniscus, my knee is STILL healing, and starts "acting up" when I'm on my feet too long. (That's about 10 minutes.)

Now we have the other elbow, and it's not bothering me much. Oh, it itches like crazy, but I think that's a combination of really dry skin, arm hair matted down by the bandages, aqnd the steri-strips used to help keep the incision sealed and protected. So that's not really much of a problem.

It's the fact that I feel like I have a fever and my neck is stiff and achy. Somewhere in this room of mine is a thermometer. Of course, there's also the chance that it fell off my desk, into the garbage next to it, and was thrown away months ago. So, I have a possible fever, stiff neck, and...well, it was brief, and it's actually become kind of common for me, but there was an added bout of nausea earlier this evening. I tend to blame my painkillers for the nausea, along with possible diabetic gastroparesis. Now here's the scary part: add these three symptoms together, and I just might have meningitis.

Huzzah for crippling bacteria!

But this is a case of me knowing the symptoms of an illness and coincidentally having said symptoms, when all it could be is me being overtaxed from surgery and then sleeping wrong last night. I've run low-grade fevers after surgery before. The nausea, as stated, is actually somewhat common. So this could be a solid case of nothing. Just some discomfort.

I'm going to play it safe. Tomorrow, should my neck still be enough of a bother, I'll make a call to my doctor's office and see if they can check me out immediately. If not, I'll head for the ER to get some blood work done. Better I should get checked out and find out it's nothing than discover too late that it's something serious.

For the record, however, I should note that I AM kind of worried. Self-diagnosis using information on the internet has plenty of people apparently developing cancer. (Because every cough ever developed once the internet is consulted MUST be cancer, right?) I mean, meningitis actually has a fairly high mortality rate in adults (It's 19 to 37% according to Wiki.) Especially the bacterial kind, since I'm fairly certain this isn't viral. (No outbreaks here in KS.) So I have some fear that this may be my final post...

Ah, but the symptoms I have aren't "bad enough." I don't have a HIGH fever. I'd feel it. I don't have the horrific headache that should be present. I'm not vomiting. My neck may be stiff and achy, but I'm still willing to blame that from sleeping wrong, what with trying to sleep in only one position while trying to keep my arm elevated on a pillow.

Altered mental status, though. Maybe this paranoia is a symptom? I'll talk myself into a worrying frenzy if I keep this up.

I'm off to watch some TV via Hulu, then try to get more rest. Be well, my friends...and I'll try to do the same. =)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Can you feel the post-operative love?

This may be kind of quick, as I can't really bend my right elbow to type properly.

Remember yesterday's post, when I said I'd be asking for 4 mg., broken down int two shots so they don't do more harm than good, of diloted with which to send me home? Well, I didn't get them. Instead, I received two shots of 3 mg., for a grand total of SIX mg.

I love EVERYONE. You could beat me to near-unconsciousness and set me on fire, and I'd still love you. Probably not as much as the person who did NOT do these things to me, but it would be love nonetheless.

Mind you, my theory of powerful painkillers remains the same. I might still feel said pain...I just don't care about it.

Here's the thing, though. I could concentrate past the narcotic effect and start talking as though I were merely tired. Instead, because this is a fairly rare event, I'm riding the effect as long as I'm conscious. My regular meds don't do this to me; I've been on them too long. So I'm using the next few hours to enjoy my trip down Narcotic Lane.

As far I know, the surgery went well. I have no real details. I just know that there didn't seem to be any major problems.

And now I'm off to rest. The incision stings a bit, and I didn't sleep last night due to an extreme case of nerves. While I TRY to be well, you should all DEFINITELY be well.

And remember...I love you all.

Special Note: As much as I love everyone, there remains only one woman who occupies my heart and mind: Halle Berry. I mean, BECKY! Yes, I'm sure I meant Becky. =P

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yet another pre-surgical post

I am both a nervous wreck and a wee bit upset at something I saw. And I'll start with the second one.

You see, I'm doing laundry because doing so after the surgery won't be easy at all. I decided to wash the socks I was wearing, seeing as how it's one of the new pairs of diabetic socks I recently bought, and made a distressing discovery. My right foot is swollen. The whole thing. There is nothing new in the way of injuries or the like. No new pains; just the same old ones getting worse. So I'm rather concerned as to what's going on there. I'm thinking that I should REALLY get my ass in gear about seeing that podiatrist.

Foolishly, I've been letting other things occupy my mind than what I SHOULD have occupying it. Being totally in love with Becky is all well and good, but our relationship should NOT stand in the way of certain things. Like her schooling and my medical care. If we let our relationship deter such things, it's our fault, and no one else's. And my feet have been grossly overlooked. If I have any intention of keeping them, I need to get my butt in gear. As I'm typing this, I paused to put a reminder in my calendar to make a podiatrist appointment next Monday. That should give me enough recovery time.

Now to the first issue, which is the surgery tomorrow morning. My pre-surgical jitters have become a regular event, so there's nothing really new there. Except that the work will be done on my right elbow, which is my primary arm. I can almost see (and feel) it now, as I unconsciously try to do numerous things that I would normally do. Scratch and itch, reach for a thing, or, best of all, trip and throw my arm out to stop myself from falling. That one's fairly current, and it's going to HURT if I try it after tomorrow morning.

Also on my mind is ensuring that my post-op pain management is taken care of properly. Like the fact that my doctor has the habit of writing for pain meds that I already have. Insurance won't cover the same medications. It's an overlap in their system. They also only allow for so many of such meds per month, and trying to squeeze more out of them just won't work. I'm going to need something that is NOT made with oxycodone. Maybe something with hydrocode instead, or perhaps dilaudid. Whatever it is, it simply CAN'T be the same stuff I'm already on.

Another thing I'd like, which also pertains to my post-op pain management, is one last shot before I'm discharged. After my leg surgery, I ended up back in the ER because of extremely amounts of pain. If I can avoid that this time, I'd greatly appreciate it. So on my way out the door, I'd like to receive another 4 mg of diloted in a couple of intramuscular injections to see I'm leaving and feeling some genuine relief.

I'm probably worrying for nothing. When I get home, my housemates, who've taken VERY good care of me over the last year, will probably remain vigilant of my needs.

Speaking of which, I think I should say something about the two lunatics I live with. Maybe even NICE things.

It wasn't their idea to take me in. It was more Siege's idea, to which these two merely nodded assent. Siege eventually moved off to CA, leaving me with these guys, and they have yet to slack off in their "duties." I mean, they make sure that if they can't get me to a doctor appointment that someone else can. I'm fed. They make sure that should I take a fall that I'm not seriously hurt. They even come running when I drop something, just to make sure it wasn't ME crashing into the floor. When I imagine a life in Stu's house, I envision no one coming should I cry out n pain. These guys, thankfully, are more human than that.

And they are quite the characters, too. Ray loves to talk, and if you allow him to do so, he will be off to the races with one imaginative idea or another. Sure, I have my occasional issues with him, but if I ever needed someone to talk, I also know he makes a good listener.

Cody is one of the most amusing misanthropes I've ever encountered. I tend to agree with him when he claims that humans are silly and stupid...I just don't pray for their prolonged, painful deaths as often. But really...How could I be mad at the guy who got me stuck on, "A one, and a two, and a ching chong potato"? =P

I'm off to finish my laundry, my friends. There may yet be another nerve-wracked post prior to surgery. And if I'm up to it at all, perhaps even a post-op post. (Although continued silence from me just means I can't do that "typing thing" for a bit.) For now, this is Rob, AKA Bor, signing off.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I wish people would give me information...

...instead of waiting for me to make a statement and then accidentally realizing there could be some stuff I need to know.

Take my pain doc. I saw him today, and my plan was one of desperation. Whether or not steroids would create a problem for my diabetes, I was going to ask for a nerve block for my right foot. The pain is beyond the capacity of both the morphine and the oxycodone I've been taking. I can barely walk around the place where I live. I'm fed up with being unable to walk.

I've been avoiding a nerve block because steroids are commonly used in them. Steroids and diabetes don't mix, as they can raise the blood glucose. It was pointed out to me today that even if that happened, I could just take more insulin and wrangle myself back under control.

The thing is that my doc said nerve blocks can be done WITHOUT steroids. I've been taking powerful narcotics for almost three years, and now I'm finding out that there was yet another alternative that NO ONE bothered to mention. This is irksome news to say the least.

So there I was, in the doc's office, prepared to BEG for a nerve block, and the doctor has no problem getting it done. No begging required at all. If this works, I might be able to ween myself off the narcotocs and save them for some other time when I might need them. Let's hope my appointment on 21 October produces some results.

Now for the bad news. The doc took one look at my hands and is concerned, because it appears the muscles are continuing to atrophy. I was ready to dismiss this news, since the surgery on my left hand was only four months ago. His reaction was that there should have been some improvement or, at the very least, should have stayed the same. They should NOT be getting worse.

With the intention of burning one bridge at a time, we're going to address the pain in my foot first. I need to be mobile. I'm also need to be at the hospital at 6:30 AM on Wednesday for surgery on my right elbow. So we're going to get these things out of the way, and then see what's what.

That's really all I have for the moment. I had a long night, which has become an exhausting day. I'm off to get some rest. Be well, all.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy 10/10/10!

It didn't even occur to me that today's date would be so unique until I noticed several people making a fuss over it. Some think it's the greatest date ever, while others are awaiting 11/11/11 or 12/12/12. Here in the States, a few geeks are awaiting 3/14/15 9:26:53, which is how we Americans would write the date if pi were to be represented in it. (Get it? Pi, taken out to 10 digits, is 3.141592653.)

I really have nothing else to say on the matter. The date is unusual. Huzzah.

Also unusual, however, was the call I received just before 10:00 PM. It was Bryan, and we stayed on the phone for an hour and a half while catching up. We did that to a small degree when Becky and I saw him on Long Island, but I learned last night that he was avoiding talking about "the good old days," as he didn't want Becky to feel like an outsider. I would have found a way to include her, but he didn't know that.

And so we talked. He was rather curious about what happened to me when I vanished over a decade ago. So I covered the highlights of ten years in an hour and a half. As I covered much of what had happened to me, I found myself sinking into a dismal depression. There were very few good things to report. Thank G-d there were good things at all, because without them, I would have entered that psychological darkness that is so difficult to pull myself from.

The last Bryan knew, I was living with Robin in AZ, preparing to marry her. Then, without warning, I disappeared. There were times when he assumed I'd died. I mean, I was quite the mess back then, even before I was officially diagnosed with severe recurring depression. In a list, here's what I covered:

1: My one-legged fiance hopping out of my life, and the steps I took to survive without a job or money.
2: The six months I lived in Las Vegas, with Stu around the corner, but never really there when I needed him. I included my shoulder tear, consequent surgery, and flight from that dreadful, greedy city.
3: The return to NY, living briefly with my biological mother, and my almost immediate hospitalization for depression.
4: My biological mother's inhuman response to my suicide attempt, and the hospitalization that followed THAT. Included in this was the last time I saw her, which was in the hospital, with her more concerned about herself than her son, trapped in a psych ward.
5: Living in boarding houses for the next few years, the attack on me while I slept, the lengthy fight for Social Security, winning my benefits, and my return to AZ.
6: My time spent alone, interacting more with people online than I would in real life. This included the creation of the Depression Thread on GitP and the friends I've gained all over the world from my efforts.
7: The financial aid from some of those same friends, who essentially kept me alive when it turned out that I was living beneath poverty level.
8: How Stu demonstrated his inability to change, even after a life-altering experience, and treated me like a source of income, not as a brother.
9: The fact that someone from GitP chose to rescue me from utter destruction by bringing me into his home.
10: The "plans" I now have with Becky.

It looks like a short list, but when you consider how many blog posts there are pertaining to these very things, you'd start to realize I was lucky to get in even a few details during an hour and a half conversation.

I only ended the call when I realized I was draining the battery in my cell phone and needed it fully charged in case Becky needed to reach me for whatever reason. (She won't be getting off the bus for a few more hours.) That, and the hour was getting on to a point where I should take meds and head for bed.

It was good catching up, but I told him that our next call would be about him instead of me, me, me. I'm very interested to know how he became the civil servant that he is today. (He'd rather it not be mentioned because he works with criminals regularly...and he is NOT a cop.

So, Happy 10/10/10, everyone...even though the evening of 9/10/10 - that's the way other countries would write it - was far more eventful.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I'll Hear Your Voice

I'll hear your voice
In every thought that flows through my mind.
I'll see your face
In every cloud that floats through my sky.
And when the world is too much,
And the hurt's got me down on my knees to pray
I'll hear your voice,
And you won't be so far away. sung by Rockapella. (You can listen to it here.) I was sorely tempted to sing it while Becky and I awaited the bus for her return trip, but we both would have ended up in tears.

Goodbyes suck!

Still, one good thing came from her leaving. I can now move about my sardine can of a room without stepping on her toes or banging my head on anything. But that's the only good thing to come out of her leaving. I'm going to miss everything else.

An amusing side note: the driver who picked Becky up was the same who dropped us off a week ago. It's as though the man never sleeps.

Now I wait. To recap the next part of the plan, I'm to visit her again come December. My ability to visit will all depend on her getting her financial aid paperwork out this upcoming week and finding a place to live. If she doesn't find an apartment, I'll have nowhere to stay should I head to PA when scheduled. She needs to get an apartment near school so that I'll have a destination for my next bus ride.

Cody started ribbing me the moment we started pulling away from the bus station. "And now Rob stares longingly after the bus that is carrying away his fiancee." Gee...was I THAT obvious? I even joked that he should start following the bus, to which he said, "If that's the case, you better get out and start running."

I don't even run when chased.

Okay...I'm babbling. I'm over-tired. I stayed awake all night to be sure we were on time for the bus. It comes down to the fact that I miss my beloved, even though she's not yet gone an hour. Thankfully, I have a whole new stack of memories to replay in my head while we're apart. Thanks to such memories...I'll hear her voice, and she won't be so far away.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some thoughts about my father

On 26 September, I said at the end of the post that some things required something more, and my father is one of those things. This is going to be more of a venting session, as I have no idea what to do for him.

I'll start with the physical, which is the least complex of his issues. It starts with the fact that Dad is overweight. He's always been out of shape. He once got down to 189 lbs., but that didn't last. The psychological tie-in on that is that, in his quest for comfort, food never argued or said no to him. Thus, food was always a big part of his life. His weight complicated the triple bypass he had over a decade ago, turning what should have been a three-day hospital stay into a three-week stay. Because they replaced his mitral valve with a mechanical valve, he's had to be on blood thinners that ultimately complicate everything else in his life. On top of all this, Dad's legs behave..."diabetically." He gets frequent sores that become infected, and he seems to need perpetual wound care. Add a hefty dose of arthritis to the mix, and he's just not well physically. He's not dying. Not even close. But he is in a constant state of discomfort.

Spiritually, I think Dad has become lost. I believe he was once conservative, and eventually became a reform Jew when us kids came into his life. Now, unable to attend any services whatsoever, Dad has become about as Jewish as I am. I'm comfortable being what I call "an agnostic Jew." (I'd have more faith if I had G-d's mailing address.) Dad, however, never took the time to grow comfortable with any religious aspect of his life. It's as though he's simply wandered through Judaism without ever truly connecting with it. He's Jewish because he was reared to be so, and not because he's accepted any part of it.

Emotionally, my father has become a train wreck. My step-mom told Becky and I a few things that had me absolutely flabbergasted. For example, she's 80. Dad will be 80 in March. (They're 51 weeks apart in age.) At that age, there's really not many places to go or much to do with one's life. And yet Dad, ultimately frustrated by being...elderly..., has great fits of dissatisfaction, leading him to vent his anger with fate on his wife. She's the most readily available target, and so she gets hit with the flack of his outbursts. Just the night before Becky and I visited, he unloaded on my step-mom, saying, "I didn't want any of this. I'm leaving." "This" being such things as becoming old and residing in an assisted living facility.

My poor, poor step-mother then pointed out a few things. Like the fact that if he's going to just up and leave her, she needs a bit more warning than that. What is she supposed to do? Pack a bag, step out to the curb, hail a cab, and move into an apartment elsewhere? She doesn't have the means or physical ability to do anything like that.

What's more, her life is now my father's life. You see, Stu has stopped calling my father for some unknown reason. My guess would be that when Stu screwed me out of a place to live, Dad gave him "a talking to" that Stu decided to throw yet another fit over. I don't think Stu ever grew past the stage in life where, if one is displeased, one throws a tantrum and then stops talking to the person who upset him. Barry hasn't called in years, leaving many to wonder if he's even part of this family anymore. Then there's me, who wants to stay in touch with his father, but has become afraid to, as every chat is a fairly depressing encounter. Aside from his three sons, there's distant family that is...well, distant, both in distance and emotionally. And so my father's "family" that lives locally all belongs to my step-mom. If Dad walked out on her, he'd have nothing. Just me, and I live too far away to be of any use whatsoever.

My personal belief is that Dad hasn't been honest with himself. I think he convinced himself he was marrying my step-mom for love, but was actually doing it to save himself from loneliness. She also had better credit than he did, which meant he could do more financially than if he was alone. He began with a lie to himself, and continued by lying to everyone else...without ever realizing he wasn't being truthful.

Now the truth is smashing him over the head, and he doesn't know what to do with himself. Who knows? Maybe he does love my step-mom? But he's not IN love with her. And the greater financial freedom he hoped for...? Social Security isn't much of a retirement plan, and there's not much for someone his age with limited mobility to spend his money on. Besides, his assisted living is an EXTREMELY expensive bill each month.

And Dad was never supposed to get OLD. That is, he wasn't going to die young, but he never planned on becoming elderly. For a man who's worked all his life, not being able to simply go and do what he feels needs doing is one of the most frustrating things he's ever encountered.

That's all I have at this moment. I would talk to my father, but he won't listen to his son. He doesn't see me as the fount of wisdom others see. I'm his poor, disabled, foolish kid, who never made a success of himself as he should have. And that's unfortunate. I think Dad could benefit from a nice, long talk with "Bor the Barbarian Monk."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I had to get it out of the way

My time with Becky is mostly spent with her doing one thing on her computer while I do something else on mine. It's all very domestic. The idea that we could or would make love at every possible moment just isn't a reality. I'm still hanging on to a cough from that demonic cold, and we're never truly alone here in KS. I may have mentioned it way back in May, but my room is right next to the bathroom. This offers many opportunities for romantic, tender moments to be interrupted by the sound of someone peeing in the next room. Joy.

Lately, I been having a HUGE problem with my right foot. My level of pain on a 1 to 10 scale sits perpetually at 7, meaning that I'm always experiencing great discomfort. This is with my pain meds working at the height of their effectiveness. The pain I'm feeling is very similar to when I had an issue way back when, and some idiot ER doctor sliced open my foot without taking proper precautions for a diabetic. The end result was osteomyelitis. I should have sued him into nonexistence, but I had other things on my mind at the time. My current discomfort is probably a result of Charcot's foot.

So here I am, perpetually in pain, and it occurs to me that this is my life. This is how things will be for the remainder of my life. I mean, I'm in so much pain that I've occasionally contemplated having the danged foot removed. Thankfully, this is not an accepted treatment by most medical practitioners. Pain = misery. Thus, I am miserable, and this is going to be a regular thing for me.

I crawled into bed last night for a brief cuddling session, and I found myself facing this awful reality. I don't think I'll EVER be 100% happy. Not even with the greatest love in my life to date. While holding my sweet, beautiful Becky close, I said something along these lines: "Baby, we're reaching a point where there's going to be no backing out. We've been ridiculously happy, and I've been going with the flow. Until now, there's always been an easy out. If it's not working, you could always call it quits. But we're moving into new ground, where you leaving would be more devastating than I could possibly realize right now. So in a way, this is your final opportunity to escape. After this, it's going to be that much more difficult on every level."

I had to do it. I had to get it out of the way. Some part of me doesn't think it's fair to have Becky wrap herself up in the life of a guy who's ALWAYS going to need extensive medical care. She might be working on becoming a nurse, but to have to take care of me is not something she needs to sign up for. And although we're engaged, I felt the need to offer her one last opportunity to escape without any repercussions.

Well, I didn't quite notice it, but Becky lay in my arms, silently crying at the idea of losing me. She wants me in her life, preferably as her husband. She doesn't want to lose me under ANY circumstances.

And that, my friends, leaves me feeling much better. Emotionally, anyway. Since we started becoming romantically involved, I've made offer after offer for Becky to leave, and she's refused. Here, then, was the last "easy way out" I could offer, and she remains adamant about keeping me in her life.

I don't know how I got so lucky. How I managed to find someone who actually doesn't mind that I'm a walking, talking disaster area is beyond me. And I think it's time to stop worrying "WHEN" it's going to end and contemplate how it's going to work out into a genuine "happily ever after."