My Day In Three Haikus

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

I slept on the couch
Woke up with a big headache
Why did I do that

All the tests went great
Then why do I feel like crap
Doctor does not know

Trying to get home
Road is like a parking lot
I miss the basement

Stay safe.

Three In A Row

Song: “Party Pops Medley” by Russ Conway

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Well, I fell asleep on the couch again last night. And the night before that, too. That brings me up to three nights in a row. I don’t think I’ve changed anything other than that medication reduction but maybe I’m waiting until too late to head to bed. It’s not the end of the world and it’s what Dr C and I are working on, but the headaches, sore throats, and fogginess get old fast.

The last two days have been alright. I’ve spent more time chasing ghosts than usual but I think it’s because I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve kept myself busy, puffed around on the treadmill, and kept quite busy. It’s a lot colder out so I have been even less inclined to go outside than usual.

Volunteering at the church didn’t work out this week after all, but like I said, I didn’t mind not having to go outside today. I’ll try again next week.

Looks like I may have an opportunity to “move up” in STO. With the drama the other day, there are now some empty fleet slots and I may be able to set one up with the group I already know. Good thing is it’s just a game so if it’s not for me I can go back – no harm, no foul.

I spent some time today pondering my situation – how I got here, why I got here, how things are, and where to go from here. I didn’t make much in the way of progress but I have more notes now at least…

Tomorrow is the appointment with the lungologist. The more I think about it, the more I really don’t want to go. It’s cold, it’s downtown, it’s a doctor, and it’s another test. I’ve pretty much had my fill of CT scans and the various probulators. I’m crossing my fingers that tomorrow ends up being like the kidney appointment last week was – the final one for my lung stuff and I’ll be done with it. Being broken, fat, and knowing 839 doctors by name sucks.

Stay safe.

Aaaand I Fell Asleep On The Couch

Song: “Heart of Glass” by Blondie

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence but last night after making the change to my quetiapine, I fell asleep on the couch. I haven’t done that for quite a while now and I didn’t have anything pressing going on today so it wasn’t the end of the world, but I woke up around 5:30AM with a headache and a sore throat and stumbled into bed to sleep for another few hours.

I had a really strange dream last night. It wasn’t a nightmare, didn’t wake me up… but it was strange. All I remember about it now was that I kept picking up a green can of Pringles (after doing some research I think it must’ve been sour cream & onion flavour) then flipping it up in the air end over end and then missing it when I tried to catch it. Over and over again. It was spring, the leaves and grass were that nice bright green, it was a clear day, and I was standing in the garden in the back yard. Toss, flip, drop, pick up. Toss, flip, drop, pick up. Over and over.

Despite all that, today was not a bad day. It wasn’t until mid-afternoon before the headache went away but I got quite a bit of stuff done. Lots of sorting and tidying, although you wouldn’t know it by looking at it… but like they say, you’ve gotta break some eggs if you’re gonna make an omlette.

My sister asked me if I could print her a coin holder thing. It didn’t take me too long to draw up a little proof-of-concept thing that I think will work. I printed it up and sent a couple of pictures to her and it looks like I understand what she wants, so that’s good.

I finally got my stuff together and sent out my texts today. First time since Christmas. I was getting texts from people asking if I was okay or if my phone was dead, stuff like that. I found a bunch more silly little video clips to send, too, so I should be set to send them regularly again. I enjoy sending them out – it’s a little way to say hello and hopefully one or two people will find the video amusing.

I’ve been doing my sleep diary, but the forms Dr C gave me to fill out have really small spots to write and no room for extra stuff like nightmares so I’m just doing up a spreadsheet. Hopefully that’ll be okay. I don’t think she’s analyzing my handwriting or anything like that.

Hopped onto the message forum for the Star Trek game I play and got there just in time to watch all kinds of drama unfold. I get that people have different opinions and like different things, but yeesh – it’s a game. Calm down. Hmm… now that I think about it a bit more, something like that would’ve bothered me a lot more a year ago.

Found a flashlight that I had long given up looking for today. It’s a great little penlight that my nephew gave me years ago and it was stuck behind the padding in a laptop case. The battery hadn’t leaked and it still worked, too. Now that I’m thinking of it, I’m pretty sure the last time I used it was during a work trip to Colorado back in… 2011? Something like that. Anybody who’s been around me in a store knows I really like flashlights (you can’t have too many of them, there are all sorts of different kinds and sizes for different jobs, they’re really handy when it’s dark, and they generally don’t go bad), so having the little guy back is good.

Tomorrow I plan to do some more sorting/tidying/throwing out, take another run at the kitchen, work on that coin holder for my sister, and puzzle over some electronic modules I’ve never used before. Oh, and I also have to call the clinic and make the appointment for my arm surgery. Thursday I still plan to go over and volunteer for a while at the church, and Friday I have that appointment with the lung doctor.

Stay safe.

Tales From The Ward, Part VI

Day 10

Slept poorly, had a panic attack at about 11:30PM, I talked with my nurse but couldn’t calm down until after she gave me something for the panic. Finally got to sleep close to 1AM, then had lots of nightmares again.

I don’t feel like I’m making much progress.

Morning nurse is V. She’s good.

Breakfast was Special K, bacon, potato, and apple slices.

Quite tired today.

Lunch was corned beef sandwiches, fruit, and chicken noodle soup.

Afternoon group was good, we made motivational posters for the ward.

Made the mistake of asking someone how their little cigarette roller machine worked. The answer I got was really rude and upsetting.

Supper was chicken thigh, rice pilaf, and a Nutri-Grain bar.

J and Mom are coming over at 6PM. We’re going to walk over to the Walmart and do some shopping. I need some shoes and I really want to buy the ward some more colouring books and markers since what Nurse J loaned me is in rough shape but really appreciated.

It is very difficult to write here. There are too many sounds and voices (some distressed) that interrupt my thoughts.

Went out with Mom and J. We did a lot – went to Walmart. It was very difficult even with the PRNs that my nurse gave me. We finished at the store, then went to the waiting area just outside the ward to talk for a while. I was starting to feel very unsettled so I had to go back in early. I feel very guilty about that – everyone is being so supportive but I can’t even sit and talk with them for very long. I feel awful about it.

Nurse J is working tomorrow (I think). I plan to give her the colouring book back along with the extra stuff I bought. I hope the ward can get good use out of the markers, books, cards, and crib board.

I don’t know how I feel right now, other than bad. Antsy/sad/embarrassed/hopeless.

I’ll get to see Dad, Mom, and J tomorrow. It will be good to see them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold myself together if we go out.

Appointments All Over The Place

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

The last week has been pretty busy. I’ve had appointments all over the place, and while I would still prefer to stay home and not go to them, progress is being made on pretty much everything, which is great. No nightmares for the past few days, either.

Let’s see… my appointment with Dr C didn’t go as well as they usually do because it was quite a bit earlier than usual and I wasn’t totally awake and with it yet. I took a cab because I won’t drive like that, but that went alright too. Unfortunately, I don’t remember all that much of the appointment, but we did talk about my nightmares and we are working on my sleep. I’m doing a sleep diary each night until my next appointment and then we’re going to figure out the best way to get me on a schedule and prepared for when/if my nighttime medications are lowered further.

Speaking of which, at my Dr W appointment later that same day, we did just that; we didn’t touch the venlafaxine but my nighttime quetiapine has been reduced from 200 to 150mg. I’m going to be doing the switchover tonight, so we’ll see what happens. J’s aunt was nice enough to take me to the appointment, which I really appreciated. I’m quite comfortable around her and she’s one of the people who makes doing stuff like going downtown to an appointment easier. I enjoy our conversations and I’m very grateful for all her help.

At 7:45 this morning I had an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon about the tingling in my hands. J (bless her heart) got me out of bed and moving, prodded me into the car, and took me to the clinic. She also sat in on the appointment which was really good because it made things a lot easier for me, and judging by how much I remember of the appointment, I wasn’t too smart. The appointment was very quick, and my right hand is considerably weaker than my left (which surprised me because I’m right handed and I used to be able to… well, you know how some people joke about being able to crush a charcoal briquette in their hand and make diamonds out of it? Well, I used to be able to do that… but with ICE CUBES. Think about that for a second). Anyway, so I should be getting my right arm fixed in the spring with a very common, simple, and usually complication-free surgery. So – progress!

I’ve got a bunch of projects on the go, which is really good. J’s aunt (the one who takes me to my Dr W appointments) mentioned the other day that she wanted an indoor thermometer so I offered to build her one. My sister asked me if I could design and print something for a good friend of hers so I’m going to give that a shot, too. I’ve also got a bunch of other electronics projects on the go, and while I’m working on things, I’m also trying to organize it a little bit, too. I have too much stuff spread out all over the place and not having to hunt through piles of stuff will things easier in many different ways.

As for the rest of the week, I have an appointment with the pulmonologist on Friday. Should be “fun” – as I understand it, they’re going to put me in a box, on a treadmill, breathing into a tube. It’ll be like some kind of elite athlete training thing, but with a fat, out of shape dude who wheezes. I can’t wait.

Since I’ll be busy on Friday, I’m going to try volunteering at the church for a bit on Thursday. I don’t know if it’ll work out but we’ll see what happens. As far as I know, I don’t have anything going on tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.

Stay safe.

Busy Week

Song: “Heart of Glass” by Blondie

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 2?

Ghosts: Pack

The last few nights haven’t gone quite as well as I’d hoped. I’m still enjoying being able to do so much more later in the evenings (it’s amazing the difference that an hour or two makes), and I’m not having too much trouble getting to sleep. Nightmares have been a problem again, though. I remember two for sure last night, one that had me sitting on the edge of the bed trying to remember where I was and that things were okay, and one that got me out into the living room all sweaty and on the verge of panic.

I’m still waking up a few times each night, concerned about what’s locked or closed or turned off or otherwise okay… but I think that when I’m actually sleeping, I’m sleeping pretty well. My CPAP machine has my numbers from a low to to a low three, which is great.

This week is pretty busy. I had a follow-up appointment yesterday for my kidney stuff, and got a lot of information, most of which is really good. The little blob that they saw in my kidney back in 2012 is definitely not a tumour, which is the whole reason I’ve been going to this particular doctor. The last scan found a couple of other things that my GP may want to investigate but for the most part they’re “don’t worry about it unless it bothers you” things. No further follow-ups have been scheduled, so after almost eight years, I’m finally done worrying about kidney stuff, woohoo!

Tomorrow I have appointments with both Dr C and Dr W, neither of which I’m really looking forward to. I’m not really in the mood to talk about how I’m doing or what’s on my mind. It needs to be done, though, and I think Dr W and I are going to lower my venlafaxine this time, which will be good.

Friday I think I’m going to volunteer at the church for a little while. I haven’t been there for several weeks now and getting back to it will get me out of the house for something other than an appointment and it’ll get me talking to people outside my normal circle, too.

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on electronics stuff. Mostly figuring out how to do various things with an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi, but today I spent close to four hours soldering stuff. I’ve mentioned this a couple of times before, but over the years I’ve collected a lot of electronic components and modules, so I decided I’d head down to my workbench, take (most of) the parts out of their bags or bins, and solder the pins on them so they’re usable. Some years ago it would’ve taken me half the time but with my tingly fingers and shaky hands I wasn’t quite as quick with the soldering iron as I used to be. It’s done, though, so no big deal.

Up until today the weather around here has been well above normal. Today it’s about -15C so it’s closer to where it should be, but I really haven’t minded the warmer weather. I used to be a big fan of winter, but ever since I got a motorcycle I’ve been a summer guy. Plus, winter weather is tough on everything, and the salt they put down to help clear the roads is brutal on vehicles. But… I was talking to my mom yesterday and both of us are already noticing that the days are getting longer, so we’re definitely crawling our way out of winter and into spring!

Stay safe.

It’s A New Year

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 2?

Ghosts: Lots

So, here we are – three days into 2020. So far it doesn’t feel too much different than 2019, but that’s okay. I haven’t been feeling all that great the last couple of days. Mostly headaches and nightmares (tent). I missed my Dr C appointment yesterday and didn’t make it to the church to volunteer today. But that’s okay because…

The holidays went very well. Much better than I’d hoped, actually. I wasn’t expecting disasters or anything like that, but I was pretty nervous about some things but it turned out the things I was worrying about never happened.

My sister, brother-in-law, and nephews visited for four days and it was wonderful! I was warned how much they’d grown so I wasn’t too surprised at that, but what shocked me was how they’ve matured – conversations with them are so much different now than they have been in the past, and we were talking about all kinds of things.

The gifts we got for the kids seemed to have gone over well, and my younger nephew asked me to show him how to use the microscope we got him so we spent quite a while going over it and looking at various stuff through it. Some algae, some goop, some cheek cells… even followed a little protist for a while as it swam and bumbled around.

I printed up some things for them, too, and it all seemed to be appreciated. Fishing rod holders and a lure for my brother-in-law, a hairband/clip organizer for my sister, and fall-down targets and an ammo holder for my nephew. As with pretty much everything else I print – if they don’t end up using them, that’s fine because I had fun figuring them out and printing them.

J and I used to be Christmas-y people but we haven’t really been into it all that much for years now, and since I got sick I don’t think we’ve even put up a tree. We weren’t planning on doing it this year, either, but since the kids were coming over we wanted to do something. So I figured what the heck, we’ll decorate a philodendron (I think it’s actually a pothos but we all call it a philodendron). I think it turned out rather well:

Christmas Philodendron

I got some great gifts this year, including… BORAX!

We got a couple of amused comments about it, and I don’t think anyone was particularly put off. The kids certainly didn’t care – there were presents for them under it, after all.

But the conversation and jokes were the highlight of the holidays for me. I got to have good conversations with both my sister and brother-in-law, as well as the kids. DM and FA came by one afternoon too (my sister knows FA from a long time ago) and the eight of us talked and laughed and had pizza and… well, it was a wonderful time. It was fantastic to have so many of my favourite people all together like that, and I hope we get to do it again soon – and with even more of my favourite people!

There was only enough room for five people in the car, so I stayed home while J took my sister and her gang to the airport. After they backed down the driveway and rolled down the street, I was amazed at how quiet the house was when there weren’t six people (including a twelve and nine year old) there. It felt wonderful that things had gone so well and the things I’d worried about since mid-November hadn’t happened. I’m still amazed at how well things went.

I’ve been sad a few times since they left. J and I were pooped and the house needed a good cleaning, but I really enjoyed hanging out with my sister and her family and I miss them.

I also feel guilty that the only way that I see my family or friends now is if they come and visit. I don’t do the yearly resolutions thing, but something I really want to do this year is get to where I can finally be the one going out and doing the visiting. I have some ideas and I want to talk to Dr C and Dr W about them, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will be the year I finally ring someone else’s doorbell. That’s, uh… not a euphemism.

For now, though, I’m back to puttering and working on things to keep myself busy and my mind and hands working during the day. So far, so good.

Stay safe.

Merry Christmas 2019 Everyone!

It seems to be a common theme with my posts but I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone by. 2019 was a blur!

J, Fatfish, Dumbfish, Redfish 1, Redfish 2, Lloyd, Buddy, Buddy, Buddy, Buddy, and Buddy the shrimps, and I wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday season and hope that 2020 will be a year of many ups and very few downs for you and those you care for!

This time of year can be trying, whether it’s because of people (near or otherwise), weather, stores, work, time, the length of the day or night, memories, medication, or any of the myriad of reasons that can make you feel unwell or like you don’t belong. It sucks feeling bad but you can get through it. Take care of yourself and remember to rest, eat something other than candy, stay properly hydrated, and move around a bit.

Make some time for yourself doing something you enjoy. Put on some music and tap your toes or dance around to it. Go for a walk and smell the air. Watch that movie you’ve been thinking about. Go onto YouTube and watch some videos of cute animals or something weird, like that Finnish guy who crushes stuff with a hydraulic press. Take a bath and read a book. Do something for yourself.

If you’re having a rough time, please remember that there are people who care about you and who want you to feel better. Please talk to someone, call your local emergency services (i.e. 911), go to the nearest Emergency Room or Crisis Centre, or contact a crisis line. There are some phone numbers and websites on the Resources page that may be useful.

You are not alone!

Stay safe.

It’s Been A Week?

Song: Theme From I Dream Of Jeannie by Hugo Montenegro

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

Wow… I thought I hadn’t done a post for two days – three, tops. No idea it had been a week! Lots of stuff has happened, so I suppose the best thing to do is write it out in no particular order using… BULLET POINTS!!!

  • Went to the dentist for the first time in… four years? Five? Tried a new one out (my last several visits haven’t been pleasant) and it worked out really well! No cavities, either, and I was complimented several times on my flossing, yay! Only downer was that I may have one cracked molar but that’s going to require some further investigation.
  • My sister and her family are visiting my parents. Dad stopped by for a visit before he picked them up at the airport. We had lunch and shot the breeze for a bit before he had to go. My sister and brother-in-law and nephews will be coming over to visit J and me for three days before they fly home. I’m really looking forward to seeing them!
  • FA and DM came over on the weekend for a good visit and supper. J and I had a really good time and are still talking about how much fun we had. Neither of us have ever really been big party people but we really enjoy hanging out and doing stuff with friends and family.
  • FA also came over one afternoon and we had burritos and geeked out about electronics and project-y stuff and listened to music.
  • No volunteering last week or this week – things have been pretty busy both here and at the church. Maybe next week.
  • J has done an amazing job dashing into stores to pick up last-minute things before Christmas. She’s a thousand times braver than I am (I know you already knew that), and she’s waaay smarter than I’ve ever been about what time to go into which store (I know you already knew that, too). Thank you, sweetie!!!
  • I’ve been keeping very busy when nothing else has been going on, too. I’ve designed and am printing some stuff for my nephews for when they visit, done a lot of electronics stuff… lots of figuring out how to do things, too. I’ve done some writing, some cleaning/throwing out junk. Lots of thinking, too.
  • J and I decided we weren’t going to really do gifts this year so we picked a couple of charities and made donations. We also sent some donations to some of the free software and resources we use, which was something else we’d meant to do for some time now.
  • With the time flying by the way it has and the weather this winter being unseasonably warm (I’m sure I’ll regret saying that soon enough), I haven’t really gotten into the “spirit” of the season. In some ways that may be a good thing – this time of year can be kind of rough – but I wonder if I’m going to look back in the middle of February and wish that things hadn’t gone by so quickly…
  • I’m still enjoying being more alert for more of the evening. It feels good to be functional and creative after supper. I’m still quite groggy in the mornings, but if I know something’s coming up before lunch some day I can kind of plan for it so it’s not too bad.

I’m sure I’m forgetting things – probably some that are important. Like I said, it’s been busy.

In the days before my sister and her family arrive, I think it’s going to be a quiet couple of days. We’ve been invited to a function tomorrow evening at the church that we’ve been volunteering at but I’m not sure what’s going to happen there. A big group of unfamiliar people away from the house… sounds like just the kind of thing I really try to not go to. But we’ll see. I don’t have any appointments this week, but after January 1st, things start picking up again.

Stay safe.

MYYY EYEEESSS… Are Fine

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

This past weekend was very good. J had Thursday and Friday off, we went out for supper, FA came over on Friday, and Saturday and Sunday were nice and relaxing. I fell asleep on the couch once, but I remember going over and sitting on the couch to watch a show and I didn’t do any snacking. I’ve been making good use of my extra productive time in the evenings, too.

Today I went for my first eye doctor appointment in four and a half years. I have a couple of odd things with my right eye (it has laser damage and I can’t see a lot of those wiggly lines during the, uh, “wiggly line test”) so they sat me in front of all of their testing machines at one point or another. One involved eye drops to dilate my pupils, after which my optometrist got the brightest light she could find and shone it into my eyes for what seemed like forever. The good news is that my eyes are nice and healthy. I need new glasses for my distance vision but I kind of expected that was going to happen. And it’s been four and a half years…

After my appointment, I went to pick up groceries. When I got outside, I was pretty much blinded – the eye drops wouldn’t wear off for another two hours or so, so my eye-holes wouldn’t close up. And of course it had to be a nice sunny day, with the sunlight bouncing off the clean white snow all over the place.

I’m pretty sure the employee at the store thought I was trying to look like a pirate or something, because I had one eyelid clamped shut and was squinting through the smallest gap I could make with the other. Fortunately, the optometrist and the store are very close to home so it wasn’t too long before I got back into the house where I could close all the curtains and sit in the dim of the basement for a bit.

Either the light or the squinting or something gave me one of those headaches that feels like tides on a beach, except instead of water washing up on the sand it’s waves of rusty steel wool. I wasn’t too productive today as a result.

My folks called and I spoke with them for a little while. I can’t believe how quickly the time is going – my sister and her family are flying into town tomorrow and Dad is driving out here to pick them up at the airport and take them to their place. He’s going to stop in here for a couple of hours tomorrow, which will be really good. We’ll shoot the breeze and exchange really cheesy jokes and talk about all kinds of stuff. I’m looking forward to it!

Other than that, there’s not too much going on. Hopefully it stays that way – at least until my headache goes away.

Stay safe.