Song: “Shingaling” by Tom Swoon
Sorry I haven’t been posting that much lately. I usually post in the evenings after J has gone to bed and I’m sitting by myself, thinking about the day. Lately, though, I’ve been enjoying how much better my brain has been working later in the evening, so I’ve been using my brain for a lot of things that it hasn’t been all that good at for the last three or four years. Not really an excuse, I know, but there’s just something I really enjoy about being able to accomplish things. I don’t take that for granted anymore.
The mornings aren’t really much slower than they were before I changed my evening medication time; they’re just slow for longer. It takes longer to get out of bed and I’m groggy for longer, but the grogginess is the kind where I probably shouldn’t do calculus and really shouldn’t drive, not the kind where I’m going to accidentally burn the house down or go outside without pants. I’m still me, just slow and not very smart. But the grogginess does clear up, and as Dr W and I (hopefully) make further reductions to my medications, I will spend less and less time in the morning rubbing my face and staring at my Cheerios, wondering if it’d be smarter to eat them with a toothpick or bamboo skewer than with a spoon.
I have been keeping quite busy during my days, too. I’m not a fan of the melt-freeze-melt-freeze weather we’ve had recently, so I blew the dust off the treadmill, lubricated the belt, and gave it a quick once-over before heaving my but onto it and lumbering along while watching a show. The TV isn’t right in front of the treadmill so I can’t watch it or I’ll eventually shuffle over to the left side of the treadmill and trip on the edge. So instead of the nice big LCD just off to the left, I watch stuff on my trusty phone.
I’ve also been puttering around a lot with electronics projects. Electronics has been a hobby of mine since I was around five years old, and I have a lot of training in the field, but I’ve always been kind of… hesitant? Reluctant? Nervous? …about trusting in the things that I know and doing stuff with them. Over the years, I’ve collected hundreds and hundreds of dollars of bags and boxes of parts and modules and kits that I’ve never used because I’ve been afraid to ruin them. Thanks to Dr C and Dr W, I recognize that that particular behaviour is due to my OCD and anxiety, and they have also given me tools and resources and exercises to help deal with that when it happens.
Therapy and medication and exercises aren’t the only things that’ve helped, though. An equal – or possibly even greater – amount of progress is due to the support and encouragement of my family and friends. J, in particular, has been steadfast in her support of the things I’ve been trying. Even when the dining room table is covered in breadboards and parts and wire and notes and an oscilloscope, she doesn’t yell or give me “the look”. She tells me she’s happy that I’m up and about and doing stuff, and then we either elbow enough stuff out of the way to eat at the table, or we go sit on the couch and eat there. No judgement, no complaints, and she’s always interested in what I’ve been doing. I wouldn’t be able to do a tenth of the stuff I do without her help and support.
Then there’s FA, who has done a huge amount for my self-confidence when it comes to anything technical or mechanical or building things. She didn’t set out to do that (at least, she claims she didn’t), but working on projects with her and figuring out electronics or debating the best way to solve a problem with her is really fun and has made me realize that even the oldest, dustiest knowledge or facts stuck in the bottom drawer of a really beat-up filing cabinet in that part of my brain where most of the lightbulbs have burned out can actually be useful. I don’t need to know everything about something to be able to contribute – even the foggiest recollection of something that may have been similar years ago can be used to look things up and come up with a plan… or to strike something off the list of possibilities.
Okay, I’m kind of getting off track here, but there are a lot of people who I thank daily (sometimes hourly or a couple of times a minute) for all of their help. I really hope they know who they are and that I wouldn’t be up and out of bed and doing things without them. Thank you so much!!
I’ve also been doing a lot of stuff with the printer. My nephews really liked the lithophanes I made for them some months ago, so I plan to make a few more to give them when they visit over the holidays. I’m also working on cases for the little ESP32 boards and I hope to get them figured out enough to give DA a couple to use as cameras for his cottage.
The SDR has been seeing a lot of use, too. Now that I can use it with an old phone, it’s really easy to set up and listen to what’s going on. If I want to crawl through the spectrum and find new signals to listen to I’ll use the computer, but for background sound or a quick check, the phone is really simple to use and works pretty well.
It’s going to take a long time if I go through every single thing I’m working on right now, so I think the best thing to say is that I’m keeping busy during the day. Dr C and Dr W have repeatedly emphasized how important it is to get out of bed, stay off the couch, and keep my brain and body occupied. I don’t have to be the best at anything… or even particularly good at anything. I just need to keep doing stuff, and the more I find it interesting or enjoyable, the better. I think I can comfortably say I’m doing that.
Otherwise, I had a CT scan yesterday, which will hopefully be the last chapter in my kidney saga that began in 2012. I had to be at the hospital for 8:15AM, so J took me (thank you!), which was good because I honestly can’t remember much of the whole thing other than tottering along after her in the hallways and that the person who did the scan was really nice.
In the six days since I changed my evening medication time, I’ve only fallen asleep on the couch once, and there were no signs of Zombie Mark having a 3AM snack. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I’m quite enjoying being able to do things later in the evening, and I’ve taken advantage of it.
Last night brought the first nightmare (life jackets) that I’ve had in a couple of weeks, and while it woke me up and I was scared, I was able to calm down and get back to sleep without having a panic attack or even having to go out into the light of the living room. Not ideal, but certainly better than gasping and shuddering on the floor of the basement bathroom for half an hour or more. Hopefully last night was just a one-off and they’ll stay away for a long time.
I also noticed yesterday that I haven’t felt “lungy” for a while – possibly even more than a week. I’m not sure why that is but I’m definitely not complaining. It would be nice if it never came back, but at the same time I’d like to know what caused it in the first place. Wait… did it go away when I changed my medication time? Hmm…
So… yeah. I’m keeping busy, things are going alright, and I’m getting used to having more of my evenings back.