I Haven’t Ran That Much In YEARS

Song: “Skyliner” by Charlie Barnet

Mood: 8

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

Today was pretty fun. FA had an appointment in our part of town and DM was at work, so I got to do something I’ve never done before: dog sit!

I was a little nervous beforehand – our house is not what you’d call dog-proof, and I’m not even sure how to dog-proof some things, but J and I moved around and tidied up what we figured was some common sense stuff and I would be supervising the pup the entire time so we weren’t too worried.

FA stopped by with the dog and a brief hello, then hopped back in her car and zipped off to her appointment. I felt a little bad for the pup because she stood staring at the door her person had just left from.

But then I got out the treats and everything was fine. I showed her around the house and then we sat for a while in the living room. J and I bought a toy for her yesterday and when I gave it to her she didn’t quite get it until I made it squeak, then she was all over it and it lasted about 14 seconds before she’d already started pulling it apart and I took it away. Then we sat and talked for a little bit and she plopped down and leaned against me while I gave her scritches.

Then we went outside. I kept her on her long leash at first because while our yard is fenced, I’m not sure if it’s dog-escape-proof. Our yard isn’t large but we went over every last square millimeter of it, sniffing away at all kinds of stuff, only pausing in that to jump up and give chase to a squirrel.

Then I got her attention with a fake chew bone (it had peanut butter in it) and I spent time scritching her ears again while she played with that. By this point I was feeling more comfortable about taking off her leash because just crinkling the treat bag slightly would get her attention instantly and she’d trot back over to me and give me puppy dog eyes.

Who’s a good doggy? My goodness, who’s a good doggy?

Picture of dog sitting on the grass, giving me puppy dog eyes for a treat.


Then – for reasons that escape me right now – I thought it would be a great idea to play chase-catch-wrestle, so there I went, running around the yard like a maniac, waving my arms and making whooping sounds. Any neighbours or people walking by probably think I’ve lost my mind – with the fence, they wouldn’t be able to see the dog – only my head and arms waving as I ran back and forth around the yard. She was good at keeping up, and I think she enjoyed it because her tail was wagging pretty good. Then I’d heave myself down to the ground and (gently) wrestle with her for a minute or two, but she mostly just rolled over to get belly rubs, for which I was happy to oblige.

Filled up a little container with water and she drank a bit, then we ran around the yard some more. And some more. And then some more. It was good fun, and I haven’t ran that much or that fast in a loooong time. FA and DM have been working on some commands, so I figured I’d see if we could try that, too. “High-five” ended up with me getting knocked on my butt by two paws in my face, but she’s getting pretty great at “sit”.

And what fun is looking after someone’s pet (or child, for that matter) if you can’t spoil it? I was splitting the treats in half but we still went through quite a few of them, but it was for a good reason – we practiced catching treats out of the air. She let the first couple of them bounce off her head but then she started to get the hang of it.

I’d had several plans for activities but they kind of all went out the window when she seemed to enjoy scampering around outside. And after what seemed like only half an hour, J and FA showed up at the same time and the three (four) of us had a good little chat outside. We showed off the tricks we worked on, ran around a little bit more, then FA and I took the pup on a short walk around the block before they got into their car and headed out.

It was fun! I’ve never done that before, but I’d be happy to do it again sometime. I’m going to be sore tomorrow but hey – a bit of exercise for an old fat guy isn’t a bad thing, right? I also really appreciated DM and FA trusting me with their dog, and J (as always) was fantastic with boosting my confidence and helping me prepare for a little furry guest.

There’s other stuff going on too, but it will have to wait for another post – I just looked at the time and I REALLY need to get to bed.

Stay safe.

I Hate Halloween

Well… it’s that time of year again. We usually don’t get many trick-or-treaters on good years, and this isn’t shaping up to be a particularly good year so I think both J and I will be hiding in the basement with the lights off this time.

I feel bad for the kids who are going to miss out because of all the stuff going on, but I will be a happy man if everything’s done by 7PM and the streets are quiet.

Stay safe.

A Nice Long Weekend

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Few

This has been a good weekend so far. J has today and tomorrow off, and it’s been great to just hang out, relax, and get some things done around the house.

One of the things that’s been on our list for a while is the outdoor light above the front door. It’s got a little brain in it so that it turns on at night, but only runs at half brightness until it detects motion, at which point it goes to full brightness for a while. Well, a couple of months ago we noticed that it was doing this weird flickering thing so we turned it off. Not a big deal in the summer, but as it’s getting dark by 7PM now, having an outdoor light would be good. We did some online window shopping but didn’t find anything we liked, so we took the lamp down, ripped the guts out of it, and then put it back up as a regular lamp that we turn on/off with a switch. Might get one of those extra screw-in light detectors and see if it can turn on automatically again but at least we’re not in a big hurry to find something now. So that’s another item off the list.

With the days getting shorter and some of the other things going on, I’ve been feeling a little down lately. Had an appointment with Dr C on Thursday and it was one of the more difficult ones I’ve had in a while. Sometimes it’s easy to talk to her, while other times it feels like every word is snarled in a bunch of tree roots and I only have a butter knife to cut them free with. Four and a half years in, though, the sessions are still very important and I’m lucky to have Dr C as my therapist.

J and I decided to see if there were any new computer games we could play together and we ended up trying Neverwinter. It’s certainly not new, but it’s new to us. I think we’re both enjoying it, although it’s a little confusing in places (particularly when trying to figure out where you’re supposed to go). We’ve played Neverwinter Nights and NWN 2, so the fantasy-style game isn’t new. I think the most fun part of the game is when we talk about and mock the bad guys, particularly the big nasty looking ones who howl and take forever to fall over after you beat them.

We’re still watching Bob’s Burgers, too. I’ve been finding it getting funnier as the show goes on. We’re on season four but there hasn’t been much of a lull yet, although the first season was a little rough. There’ve been a lot of places where we’ve had to pause and rewind a couple of times because we were laughing so hard.

Otherwise, there isn’t a huge amount of stuff going on right now. This coming weekend J and I will be going into her work to sort out a bunch of stuff and load up our little truck to haul stuff to a couple of charities and recycling depots. If I remember correctly, the following week is going to be another appointmentpalooza. So I’ll enjoy the quiet calm we have going on right now.

Stay safe.

Accomplishment, Friends, Food, And Fun

Song: “In The Navy” by The Village People

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

I’ve been neglectful about my posts for a while now. That doesn’t mean that things aren’t happening, though. The last week or so has been pretty interesting.

First things first. The trip to FA’s place that I mentioned in my previous post went very well. No panic, no clawing at the doors trying to get home… it was great! There was a bit more traffic than I would’ve preferred but that’s kind of my own fault – I went there during the lunch rush hour and came home during the afternoon rush hour. But it was okay.

On the way there, I picked up burritos for FA, DM, and myself (which is a first for me and it was very nice to be able to return the favour), and stopped in at a pet store where I went right to the counter and said something along the lines of, “my friend has a new dog, I won’t see it all that often but I want to be best friends with it.” The cashier said she knew just the thing and showed me two different products, I picked the one that looked the tastiest (and had the best name) and got out on the road. Like I said, the roads were busier than I’d hoped but the drive was fine, I didn’t get lost, and I didn’t make a wrong turn and end up eaten by a giant lobster monster.

Had a great time there, too! Beautiful weather made eating outside very pleasant, and the three of us had a really good conversation. Plus, the treats seemed to go over well with DM and FA’s new dog. She already seems a lot more comfortable there and was wagging her tail a lot. FA and I spent a bunch of time geeking out over some electronics stuff and an old ship’s wheel that she has in her garage (don’t ask – it’ll take too long to explain and I’ll probably end up confusing myself), and talking about all kinds of stuff. Then the three (four) of us went to pick up the mail and they let me walk the dog on the way back. I’ve been around a lot of dogs over the years, but that was the first time in my life I’ve ever actually held a leash with a dog at the other end. So simple but pretty neat!

The drive home went well too – again, no wrong turns, and there was no cloying panic getting in the way. I got home with no problem. Pooped, but no problem. Aaaaand… driving out to FA and DM’s place by myself is one of the items on my list of things I REALLY wanted to accomplish this year! And I did it, woohoo!

So in addition to it being a fun day, it was also pretty big for me!

Then, on Monday, J and I both went over there again for a fancy little Thanksgiving visit and meal. The food was delicious – very nicely seasoned beef, dumplings, gravy, and yet another form of cabbage that I not only was able to eat, but quite enjoyed… and dessert was a lovely lemon and chocolate cake. The conversation was good as always, the weather cooperated again (which at this time of year is quite a gamble), and J and I had a fantastic time. Having friends like FA and DM is wonderful thing. They’re good people who are a pleasure to be around, we never seem to run out of things to talk about, they’re able to look past my many and wide-ranging faults, and they make reeeeally good food (which is not necessary to be a good friend but I’m happy to take advantage of it).

We also spent time playing with their dog, which was pretty great. She seemed even more comfortable than when I’d been there a few days prior, and I think the treats I picked up worked some magic because I not only got more wet dog nose in my face, but she was comfortable enough around me to lay down and let me keep petting her while she zonked out for a short while:

Petting a relaxed dogThe four of us humans all grabbed some treats and then called out her name to see how good she’s getting at responding. I think she’s getting pretty good at it but it’s entirely possible that she was playing us and just getting the treats. Still, I think all of us (humans and canine) enjoyed the exercise.

She’s also apparently quite the escape when DM and FA are out, so FA and I set up a little camera to keep an eye on her and see what she does while they’re away for more than a few minutes. Should be interesting to see what she gets up to!

It was another good day and J and I both really enjoyed ourselves. So many things worked out and it was fantastic to hang out and just shoot the breeze on a beautiful fall day (and eat good food (and play with the dog)) with friends.

As for J and I, we’ve been getting back into watching some shows. After finishing The Good Place (and being sad about its ending) we’ve been watching Bob’s Burgers. The first season was a little rough but since then it’s been really good. It’s clever, funny, and pretty uncomfortable at times (kind of in a Napoleon Dynamite way), and once in a while something happens or there’s a joke that makes J and/or me laugh pretty hard. Here’s an example:

As for the rest of this week, there’s not a whole lot going on. Work is still frustrating for J so hopefully things will be calm there, and hey – tomorrow’s already Thursday. I’m not sure how the weather is supposed to go but there are a few things I’m hoping to do out in the garage before it gets all damp and miserable. We’ll see what happens.

Stay safe.

Some Ups And Downs But Doing Alright

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: some

Ghosts: few

Fall is certainly here. It’s been below freezing at night once or twice now, the leaves have all turned, and it seems like most of the geese have already been overhead on their way south. I’m not looking forward to winter but I suppose the closer winter gets, the closer spring gets too.

It’s been a little more difficult than usual to get myself started in the mornings. I wake up, finish rebooting (as FA would say), and then I pretty much just want to go back to bed. I’m not particularly tired – in fact, I’ve been doing pretty well with sticking to the new sleep schedule – but it’s hard to build up some steam to get going on something. It’s a normal swing and not something to worry about but yeah… it’s tough to start working on something.

The bad part about that is that being idle isn’t healthy for me, so I’ve been doing my best to force myself to start in on something and spend at least five minutes doing it. If I can do that, often what happens is I start to get interested, and if I’m interested it’s a lot easier to concentrate and continue doing whatever hobby/task/etc that I’m doing.

Along with that, I’ve had the feeling that something is terribly wrong. No matter what I try, I can’t put my finger on what’s causing it. It varies in intensity but has been following me around like a little dark cloud for the last week or two. I’ve checked in with everyone, checked around the house, and have gone back through dozens of conversations and nothing seems to be the trigger.

I’ve also had a few nightmares (life jackets mostly, some tent) lately, and more of them than usual have sent me out to to the light in the living room to fight with myself to calm down. I don’t know what I’m doing differently – could be related to my mood or the shortening of the days or whatever. At least I’m able to get back to bed and I’m not losing too many hours to nightmares right now.

Had a Dr W appointment today. We talked a lot about my nightmares and how I feel that something’s wrong, and Dr W mentioned that a lot more people that usual are having trouble with mental health issues because of everything going on nowadays. Virus, politics, climate, economy, protests… all kinds of things are putting more pressure on people and making it more difficult for them to go about their regular routine. He didn’t have any answers for me aside from making sure I use the tools I’ve learned, keep in touch with him, Dr C, and my family and friends, and keep busy. We talked about medication for a while too, and we decided together that I’d lower my quetiapine another 25mg, so I’m down to 100mg of that per day. Not bad, considering I think I was at 700 when I first got out of the hospital. As always, Dr W said that if I’m having problems I can call him anytime, which I really appreciate.

As J’s job winds down, it seems to be getting sillier and sillier. I think one of the other supervisors she works with is having a lot of trouble with the whole situation, as she’s rarely making any decisions and the decisions she makes are increasingly erratic. J has been putting in a lot of work trying to keep things running smoothly and then this other supervisor just suddenly decides to ignore what’s been decided and documented and go her own way, without so much as an explanation or warning. I can see J getting frustrated and angry but she’s doing an amazing job of staying classy and professional. I’m really proud of her but I’m also worried about her, too. I wish I could go into her work and point and yell at that other supervisor, but I’m starting to think she’s having trouble keeping things together and talking to a professional would help more than someone yelling at her. Buuuut… she’s making my sweetie sad and I REALLY don’t like it when my sweetie’s sad. So I’ll just sit here and if J wants anything I will do my best to help.

Tomorrow I am getting together with FA for another geek-out session. The big difference this time, though, is that I will be driving over there by myself. J and I went over a week or so ago and hung out with DM, FA, and their new dog (who is such a sweetheart). I drove there and back and it was fine, so I think going there myself will go alright. I don’t need to worry about whether I make a wrong turn or miss a particular street – I’m familiar enough with landmarks in the area that I’ll be able to recognize it if I make a mistake and be able to turn around or change my route or otherwise correct things. Last time I checked the map, it did not look like this:

Old map with sea monsters as a map to FA's house

Public Domain + scribbles by Mark

FA and DM are also right up there on the list of people I trust and J will be at home, so that’s a lot of stuff off my mind right there. Plus, their dog is very calm and not jumpy and/or bitey (did I mention she’s a sweetheart?)

So… I’m not feeling my best right now but I’ve got a lot of good stuff going on. Tomorrow should be fun and interesting, and hey – I may get to play with a dog!

Stay safe.

Post-Nightmare Panic Attack In Progress

Headphones on and Undertones playing really loud. It’s 4:15AM. Fan on to cool me down and forthe sensation.

Nightmares suck. Panic attacks REALLY suck. Nighmtares AND panic attacks REALLY REALLY suck.

Grown adult, cowering in th elight of the living room while every cell in my body screams. I want to punch through the wall and go run down the strret and never tstop. I want to curl into a ball that gets smaller and smaller until I feel better.

I am almost unaware of whats’ going on outside my skin but every sound that makes it through the music makes me twitch. I just ne

Fucki t, I’m taking some PRNs. That’s what htey’re for.

Stay safe.

Home Alone

Song: “I’m Running After You” by Major Hoople’s Boarding House

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

J had some furniture to deliver so she headed out yesterday afternoon and is staying with her parents this weekend. So I’ve got the house to myself.

Some great news first – J stopped at my folks’ place to drop off a chair and visit for a bit and she heard that my uncle who has a lump on his liver got the results from a scan and it’s just in that one spot! He’s been through a lot already and he’s a really good guy, so I’m very happy about that!

Other great news – FA and DM got approved to adopt a rescue dog and she arrived yesterday! They’ve been talking about getting a pup for years and I know they’re going to be fantastic puppy parents. I’m so happy for them! From the sound of it, the dog is already doing a good job of training them to get what it wants. 🙂

The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting more unpredictable so I took advantage of the clear, warm air and light breeze and stained most of the deck. I’ve been meaning to do that for years now, and the original treatment is worn and the wood is starting to weather in places. It went really well… aside from the hour plus that it took me to stir the goop at the bottom of the can back into the stain. I don’t think one of those paint stirrers that go on a drill would’ve been much help – it was like hard margarine at the bottom and I had to scrape it up layer by layer. It was fine, though, since it was so nice I just sat on the deck steps and watched the wildlife go about its business in the yard while I slowly scraped and stirred.

Geez, that was a long paragraph. Anyway, the little paint sprayer we just bought seems to do the trick quite nicely and the majority of the wood is protected now. Depending on the weather I want to get back out and finish it up soon.

With J being away, I’m having a little more trouble with ghosts than I have lately. There are lots of folks outside doing things, too, so that often catches my attention (in a bad way). Not a huge problem, though.

Otherwise, I’ve been keeping myself busy with my usual puttering kind of stuff and watching some movies. Nothing too fancy, but that’s how I like things right now. I’ve got water boiling on the stove to make some perogies for supper and I think this evening will be pretty quiet-ish too.

Stay safe.

Lots of Nightmares Last Night

Song: “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 3+

Ghosts: Several

Last night was strange. I didn’t have much trouble falling asleep, but nightmares woke me up three, four, maybe even five times last night. I even woke J up a few times because I was talking and moving around in my sleep so much. The nightmares that I remember were the same ones I’ve been having all along (tent several times, life jacket once), and one of them left me sitting on the couch in the living room having a panic attack.

I know that some days will be better than others, but usually there seems to be something else going on when I have that many nightmares. Trouble sleeping, a lot more anxiety than usual, OCD being particularly bad… usually there’s some kind of correlation. I’m going to keep thinking about it but right now I have no idea. Hopefully it was just a one-off and tonight will be much more calm.

One of the things Dr C and I have been working on is the time I go to bed. I’m a night owl and usually feel much more creative later in the evening than I do during the day. It’s not because of my medication – I’ve always been that way. Since I was in the hospital for that headache, though, I’ve been going to bed at a much more reasonable time. I guess when I got home I was still very tired and was spending most of the day in bed anyway because of my head, so I just started trying to go to sleep when J did.

So far it’s been working out, although I sometimes have trouble with my brain thinking of things and wanting to get up and go work on things, but after I do some of my exercises things calm down and I eventually nod off.

I’m still keeping myself busy with lots of projects. My back is still pretty sore and I’m not supposed to lift things so some of the stuff that I wanted to work on outside isn’t going to get done right now. I will get to it, though! Lots of puttering around with electronics and some old stuff that’s been kicking around. It’s very satisfying to be in a mind place where I am able to use a part in a permanent project, instead of being unable to commit to things like that. I should talk to Dr C about that sometime, hmm…

The big news today, though, was that J’s mom and aunt stopped by to have supper and visit today! There’s a new restaurant in town that they wanted to try and they were nice enough to pick up the food on the way over. I stuck to a pretty simple rice dish but I was pretty amazed with how good it was.

It was very good to chat with J’s mom and aunt, too – always fun to share stories and catch up on all the juicy gossip. Plus, they’re both really great people and I find them comfortable to be around, which makes things fun and not awkward (unless I say something particularly dumb).

So yeah, that’s been the day. It’s getting close to bedtime again, so I should probably get going – no screens before bed! Fingers crossed that I get a better sleep tonight.

Stay safe.

Tracking Medical Professionals

Everything leaves evidence of its presence. Bears, birds, plants, even dolphins leave some sort of tracks. People who work in medicine are no different. Here’s how you can track them.

1 – Anesthesiologist/Anaesthetist

These are tough critters to find, as they are very good at minimizing the tracks they leave and/or covering up their trail. Often found administering medicine with a very fine gauge needle in exactly the right place, sometimes the only way to prove that an Anesthesiologist has been there is by finding no trail at all:

Hand with site where IV was inserted by anasthesiologist2 – Emergency Room Nurse

An ER nurse will often leave its mark on the largest and/or most accessible vein. Not too difficult to find if located soon enough after they’ve been by, check for a single pink dot or – if you’re lucky – the tiniest bruise.

Site on arm where ER nurse inserted IV3 – Trainee Paramedic

These are rare but fortunately they leave very vivid and long-lasting trails. The Trainee Paramedic can be found using any gauge of needle on any part of the body they think could possibly have a vein running through it:

Site on arm where Trainee Paramedic inserted IVsThe Trainee Paramedic also has a very distinct call that is almost always one or a combination of the following:

  • “Okay, I think that’s a vein.”
  • “It’s in but there’s no blood coming out.”
  • “I’m really sorry if that’s uncomfortable.”
  • “Did I go right through?”
  • “Just hold this gauze here, I’m really sorry about that.”
  • “I think I need to go in a little further.”
  • “I definitely got it this… wait, nope.”

Keep this list handy so the next time you’re in or near a hospital or clinic you can easily identify what kind of medical professional has been starting IVs on the people around you!

Stay safe.