Better Than I Could’ve Hoped

Song: N/A

Mood: 8

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

Just a quick post tonight about how Monday went. I was nervous Sunday night but Monday went so well I’m still trying to figure out if I missed something.

With J’s urging, I got up on time, got all prettied up, and was ready by the time FA arrived around 9AM. J had moved the vehicles around while I was getting prettied up so there wasn’t even that to do (THANK YOU!!!).

After a quick chat and loading up the truck, we were on our way. I think FA and I talked for about… 45 minutes? Something like that. Then I fell asleep and woke up about an hour later with FA still at the wheel driving intently, and everything else was fine. Seems I didn’t say anything dumb while I was still really groggy, I didn’t snore (at least not too badly, I don’t think), and a quick glance in the mirror showed me that FA didn’t shave off one of my eyebrows or draw something weird on my face.

We made good time and got to my folks’ place, where they came out to say hi while we were unloading. We went inside, hugs all around, and then had a good chat before having a little lunch.

After that, we headed outside to work with Dad on his pump. Spent a lot of time outside testing one idea, then another, until we figured it out – the well isn’t refilling fast enough to keep up with the pump, so it runs fine for a minute and then slows right down as its slurping at the bit of water that does come in. Not the answer we were hoping for, but at least there’s nothing wrong with the pump. He does have a work-around, so that’s good.

We took a break midway through and sat on their deck and talked some more. Shared more stories, caught up on stuff… it was great. We also probably couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to be working outside – it wasn’t too hot and there was a bit of a breeze. Considering the swampy, thick heat and storms we’ve been getting lately, I think we lucked out.

After we were done with the pump, we talked some more and then had a delicious supper of BBQ chicken, BBQ corn, and salad. Then we moved back into the living room and talked some more until it was time for FA and me to hit the road.

We tossed the stuff back in the truck, had another round of hugs, and were on our way. FA offered to drive home but I was feeling pretty good so I figured I’d drive at least part of the way. We got gas, then went to a hardware store to see how it compared to the hardware store in our town. Lots of different stuff, but lots of the same stuff, too. It smelled and felt a little different than our store… I think I like ours more. But that one would do in a pinch!

I decided to give driving the rest of the way home a shot. Knowing that FA was there and able to take over if/when I started to fade was a big help, and being in a familiar place (I’ve driven that highway probably hundreds of times now) AND headed toward home and J was also very, very helpful.

We got back to the house around 10PM, and everything was fine. I drove the whole way back, and it was kind of like one of the geek-out sessions that FA and I have – we talked about pretty much everything on the way back. We also shared some pretty stale sour gummy candy that also became a topic of discussion itself.

J was at home waiting for us and as FA and I unloaded the snowblower from the back of the truck (bet you didn’t see that coming), she came out and we talked for a few minutes until the mosquitoes found us and started swarming. FA got into her truck and headed home, and J and I went inside.

We talked for another hour and a half or so, but not long after I sat down inside I could feel whatever oomph I had leaving me quickly. It was so good to be home and to see J again, but doing the road trip with FA and seeing my folks and working on stuff all afternoon and everything going so well… things just went so well!

I think one of the things that helped an enormous amount was that someone I trusted very much was keeping an eye on the things I worried about. I knew that J was home and she would be all over anything that could go wrong here, while FA was with me in the truck and I knew that if I was tired or had some other problem, she could (and did) take the wheel and would be all over that stuff. Plus, we were going to see my parents – a place I’m familiar with and where everything was fine.

I have said this many times on this blog already, but I am very lucky to have the kind of supportive family and friends that I do. J was 130% supportive of this whole endeavour, FA didn’t even bat an eye before agreeing to come along (and drive) on a road trip on a weekday, and my parents put zero pressure on me for being there. I’m not entirely sure what to say other than THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

Oh, and as an added bonus, in the time I spent driving on the way back, my right hand didn’t get so much as tingly even once! So the whole arm surgery thing seems to already be paying off very well!

Well… so much for that being a short post. It’s so good to be able to write posts that fall into the “what a great day” category!

Stay safe.

Good And Bad, But A Road Trip Coming Up

Song: “Love Child” by Diana Ross & The Supremes

Mood: 7

Nightmares: Usually several a night now

Ghosts: Pack

There’s been quite a bit going on lately, some great and some not so great. My arm is healed nicely, and the fingers on my right hand are working better and are less numb and tingly than they have been in years. I’m looking forward to getting my other arm done at some point.

I’ve been having a lot more trouble with nightmares, panic, and sleep lately. It’s to the point where I called Dr W outside of our appointment hours and asked if he could help me, so my prazosin dose has been increased back to 9mg in the evening and we’ll see what happens. My Dr C appointment this week was very difficult because of the nightmares and because of some of the other stuff that’s been going on lately.

One of the things that’s really got me bothered is the state of the volunteering that I had planned to do at the church down the street. There’s no schedule, no communication, and I got an email out of the blue from one of the folks there asking if I could send an email in some sort of official capacity. Since I haven’t done anything there, haven’t heard from them in months, and the time I spent there before Christmas was sporadic (at best), I declined. Despite being told by Dr C and Dr W last year that getting out and doing this stuff is something I need to do, I’m terrified that my insurance or disability will be cut off. I was doing okay with the phones but I’m back to not even wanting to look at them when they ring, afraid that it’s going to be work calling and demanding that I come back.

I know it’s not rational, and Dr C said she and Dr W would back me up, but I can’t get it out of my head and it’s really messing with me. I’ve been trying meditation, grounding, and all the other tricks in my toolbox, but nothing is tamping down the churning in my stomach and tightness in my chest very well. I am also upset at the fact that I am currently upset, and I’m really afraid that this will be a problem for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be 80 years old and worried about work from 2016 calling me back. It doesn’t make any sense and it shouldn’t be happening. It’s causing me a lot of anxiety and I’ve been having more panic attacks again along with the nightmares. It is really, really bothering me.

On the upside, though, I got together with J’s aunt yesterday. She picked me up and home and we went to her house, talked about everything, and had snacks. I put up a blind in her kitchen, said hi to her cat, and we just shot the breeze, talked about the world, exchanged gossip, that sort of thing. I am quite comfortable around her (I find her to be very unassuming and easy to talk with), and to my surprise, I was comfortable at her house, too. I brought the crib board but we didn’t play – just talked. It was very nice and I hope we can do that again sometime soon.

On Monday, I hope to hit the road and visit my parents. Dad’s having some trouble with his well pump, and J is working during the day, so FA has been kind enough to do the trip with me. If you’ve read this site before, you’ll know that FA is one of the very few people that I feel comfortable enough to do something like this with, and I think it’s going to be a fun time. The last road trip we took together was, uh, something like 25 years ago? We’re going to leave a little earlier in the day, so FA is going to drive on the way there while I finish rebooting (as she likes to say). Fingers crossed that I don’t fall asleep, half wake up, think she’s J, and say something really embarrassing. Although now that I think about it, FA would probably find it funny and just tease me relentlessly about it for the rest of my days. 🙂

I washed the truck today. Poor thing has needed it for a while now so got out the hose and bucket and soap and fluffy mitt and went at it. I missed a few spots and left greasy handprints on others but at least it doesn’t look like someone will catch tetanus if they touch it. We’ve had a lot of rain lately and the air was thick and swampy but not too hot. The sun, though… wow, that was warm. After I was done I rinsed out the washing bucket, filled it with cold water, got out my chair, and sat in the shade with my feet soaking in the cold water. It was pleasant and I will do it again.

With the nightmare, worry, and panic I’ve been experiencing lately, it’s been quite a bit more difficult than normal to motivate myself to do things I enjoy. It’s also more difficult to concentrate on the things I am doing. I’m more tired during the day and it feels like I’m not running on all cylinders. I asked Dr C during my appointment the other day if there was a way she could hypnotize me so that I’d have a different kind of nightmare instead of the usual three (actually, it’s pretty much down to two now, the boat one doesn’t happen very much anymore). I’d pay good money if I could be chased by skeletons or a giant monster for once. She gently reminded me that I’ve asked that question several times before, and said that it’s unfortunately not possible.

Tomorrow I’m going to head back outside and make sure the truck is ready for Monday. After I finished washing it I checked and topped up various fluids, but I still need to check the tires, the spare (which I suspect no longer holds air), and all of the lights and indicators. Monday will be a blast!

Stay safe.

Stitches Out!

Song: Soundtrack from Surviving Mars (Computer Game)

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: More than usual lately

Ghosts: Pack

Today was an early day. Got to the clinic with plenty of time to spare (thanks sweetie!) and I didn’t even have to wait too long until I was called in to see the nurse. She was pleased with how my arm looked and it took only a minute or two to get the tape off and the stitches out. Talk about relief… the novelty of feeling the stitches pulling whenever I bent my arm a bit wore off pretty quickly.

According to the nurse I don’t need to worry about my elbow splitting open if I bend it too hard, but the skin is pretty tight around there now so while I can bend my arm pretty well now it’s still a little uncomfortable when the skin stretches. As an added bonus, if I bend it even farther, I irritate the nerves there and it feels like I’ve banged my funny bone. I’m supposed to work on range of motion but not lift anything heavy or do anything strenuous with that arm until I’ve had the followup with the surgeon in a few weeks.

I’m very pleased with things. I’m pretty sure my fingers are already less numb and more useful, and it’s so good to be able to use both arms again.

As far as other stuff goes, things aren’t too bad. I’ve been keeping myself very busy and am working on a couple of different projects. J and I have been watching 30 Rock and playing Stardew Valley, and we’ve had some really nice weather so we’ve spent some time outside, too.

I’m still not sleeping all that well and have been having more nightmares than usual, though. They’re almost all the same tent one, but sometimes the life jacket one gets in there too. So it’s taking me a while longer to shake off the morning grogginess and concentrating on things is a little more difficult. The good thing is that if the past is any indicator, this should pass shortly and I’ll be back to getting sleep and not having nightmares and making weird noises or talking and waking J up (sorry about that).

I had another appointment with the dietician and we went over a lot of stuff. We are both pleased with the things I’ve been working into my diet and the effect it’s all been having, and we started to talk about entire meals. She gave me a recipe for taco salad that I wasn’t too keen on trying (anyone who knows me will know that coleslaw is NOT my thing, bleurgghhh), but J and I made it that evening for supper and I found it surprisingly edible. A bigger surprise was that we had leftovers and it seems that sitting in the fridge for a day made it even better. We’re going to see if we can work it into a rotation. Hooray for cabbage!

Tomorrow (or later today, I guess) is Friday and then it’s the weekend again. I hope there is some more good weather. I have some stuff that I’d like to do outside, and if the weather cooperates I’d like to spend some more time in my big fat man chair, staring at the sky and watching the rabbits wander around the yard.

Stay safe.

Good Stuff

Song: “My Perfect Cousin” by The Undertones

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 2?

Ghosts: Few

Friday was a very long day, but the surgery on my arm went well and there were no surprises like finding a golf tee in my elbow or discovering that the nerves in my arm have been infected with liver flukes. I’m afraid to say anything but I think I’m already noticing an improvement in my hand.

Something did happen, though, but I’m not 100% sure what it was. I guess I started to panic partway through the surgery and they had to dose me again to get me to calm down. I don’t know what was bothering me, although I remember that sounds weren’t working properly and there was a blue surgical drape to my right. Beyond that, I have no idea. It’d be nice to know, though, so if I end up in an operating room again I’ll know what’s coming and can advise the doctors.

J and I hung out and were pretty quiet for most of Friday evening and Saturday. I slept like the dead on Friday night, probably because I was still shaking off the aftereffects of the medications… but I had nightmares (tent) on both Saturday and Sunday nights.

With a lot of the COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, it’s easier to get out and do things. FA came over yesterday afternoon and she, J, and I had a good chat before FA and I headed off to the hardware store to do a short walkthrough and some shopping. It closes earlier than I thought on Sundays, so despite all of the weird things and laughing and noises we’ve made in there over the years, yesterday was the first time an employee suggested that we start heading toward the door.

After we paid for our stuff, we went and picked up some burritos at the burrito shop, then went back to the house and the three of us had a delightful burrito dinner and another great chat outside on the back lawn. The weather was pretty much perfect for me – warmish but half-overcast and with a nice breeze. Very pleasant.

Aside from being kind of tired because of the nightmares waking me up last night, today has been a pretty decent day. My mother-in-law dropped by for a visit on her way out of town, and it was very good to see her and catch up on some of the news and gossip. She seems to be doing pretty well, and hopefully she’ll be back in town for another visit soon!

J is still working from home so things are pretty quiet during the day and I’m still so happy she’s around! She takes her work seriously, though, so I only really see her on breaks or when she takes her lunch, but just knowing she’s here or hearing her move around or her muffled voice makes the house so much brighter and happy. Ahhhhh…

Aside from that, I’ve got some more projects that I’m working on. Nothing too important, but enough to keep my mind and hand(s) busy.

Stay safe.

Tomorrow’s The Day

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Several

Very short post because I need to get to bed. Going to the hospital tomorrow morning and getting my arm surgery tomorrow afternoon. I’m excited about getting it done and hopefully getting better control over my fingers again, but I’m also getting very nervous. I’m a little nervous about the surgery (which is very common and minor) because I’m concerned he’s going to open it up and go “uh-oh”. I’m also nervous about getting there on time, whether I get lost or say/do something stupid, and whether I’ll have everything I need.

But it will be fine. Late tomorrow afternoon I will be back at home, sitting on the couch in the basement, and watching shows or something. It’ll all go perfectly.

But… maybe if you don’t mind, wish me luck. Can’t hurt.

Stay safe.

Slipping

Song: “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Several

The weekend was good but it went by a little too quickly. We had some pretty good weather, and I spent some time outside enjoying the air and puttering around a little bit. Saturday in particular was beautiful, with a deep blue sky with nothing but a faded moon interrupting it. I took a couple of pictures, none of which really show just how blue the sky was:

Blue skyWe’ve had lots of animals in the back yard, too. Rabbits, squirrels (which are no longer welcome because they’ve been devouring the bird seed), and lots of different birds like chipping sparrows, juncos, blue jays, robins, crows, and a bunch I haven’t been able to identify yet. Pretty neat.

My Dr C appointment was alright. One of the things that frequently amazes me about Dr C is that she remembers all kinds of things that I mention. She’ll often reference something that I said a few sessions ago, a few months ago… even a few years ago. I don’t know how she does it, but it’s impressive. I’m pretty sure I’m not her only patient, so where does she get the brain space to remember all that stuff about all her patients? I’ve asked her a couple of times and she just smiles and says, “part of the job”.

One of the things that came up during the appointment, though, is that it’s becoming apparent that I’m slipping in several areas. I’m not worrying about things like the freezer or stove (thank goodness), but I’m getting stuck on the doors again, having some more nightmares, and experiencing more panic attacks. My sleep is all over the map again, but I’m not falling asleep on the couch (or at the dining room table now), which is good. J and I talked a bit about this stuff today, and she mentioned that she’s noticed I’ve been more concerned about things again too

I’m also feeling much more reluctant to leave the house, which bothers me a lot because of how well things were going just a few months ago. It’s easy for me to joke about having to self-isolate or whatever, but I don’t like feeling that I really shouldn’t go outside. I still haven’t started up my motorcycle this year, haven’t done any welding… haven’t even had the truck out for weeks now I think. Not that there’s a lot of stuff that I should be doing or want to be doing, but I don’t like the feeling of dread settling on my shoulders again when I’m thinking about going out.

Speaking of going out… I’m still scheduled to get that minor surgery on my elbow done on Friday. I’m excited about getting it done, but I wish they could come and do it here. Even out in the back yard or something – get some good sunlight, everyone gets some fresh air, we could have some iced tea and do up some hot dogs on the BBQ, maybe some fruit salad and potato chips – everyone could go home after a nice relaxing operation.

Part of the problem is that with all the precautions being taken by the hospitals around here, J won’t be able to come into the hospital with me and instead will drop me off at the door and then pick me up when I’m fixed. As I’ve said about fifty thousand times in my posts here (and will continue to say), J makes everything so much easier just by being around and being herself. Yes, I’m a big boy, and yes, things will get done and work out fine, but this has me nervous and gives that part of my brain that wants to curl up in the basement ammunition when the rest of me argues with it. But yes, I know it will be fine.

I’m also having trouble with what’s been going on in the news. The magnitude and breadth of the current issues makes it impossible to avoid hearing or reading about it, and I’m finding it hard to keep from dwelling on it and trying to figure out how it should be fixed. I need to keep my hands and brain busy with other things like tasks or hobbies… which will be more difficult if I need to keep from using one of my arms after Friday. We’ll see what happens.

I hope you are all well and safe. Take care of yourselves and make sure to tell your family and friends that you care about them.

Stay safe.

Motivation Lagging A Bit

Song: “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

Mood: 7

Nightmares: three or four over the last week

Ghosts: Several

I haven’t been posting a lot lately. There’s nothing wrong, I just can’t seem to get the oomph together to focus and write things out. I’m running a little low on motivation, too, but otherwise I think I’m doing okay.

For some reason that I haven’t figured out yet, I’ve fallen asleep at the dining room table the last few nights. It’s not like when I fall asleep on the couch – I’m not asleep for very long – so I don’t end up with a nasty headache or sore throat from snoring. I’m a little worried that one of these days I’m going to drool on my keyboard and short something out.

Lots of stuff has happened over the last couple of weeks, so you know what that means… bullet points!

  • FA and I got together for a truly epic twelve-hour geek-out session. I think I sprained something in my head – my brain didn’t work properly for two days, but we got a lot done accomplished and I had a very good time.
  • Hospitals around here are starting to open for non-essential surgeries again, and it looks like I’m going to be getting that numbness in one of my hands fixed in a little over a week! Fingers crossed that when the surgeon pokes around inside he sees it’s a quick fix instead of having to move nerves all over the place. They want me to self-isolate until my surgery so I’m less likely to carry any kinds of germs into the hospital when I go. I’m very excited to get this done!
  • I’ve been doing some printing, some sewing, some cleaning, and a lot of puttering with electronics.
  • J gave me a hand cleaning up the laboratory and I have a workbench again! I had to go downstairs and fix something and wow, was it ever nice going into a room where the bench is clear and everything is in the right spot. Thanks sweetie!
  • Had another appointment with the dietician. The protein that I’m adding to my breakfasts has made a noticeable difference to how I feel throughout the day. I’m still not getting hungry, but you know that sick, shaky feeling you get when you’ve waited too long to eat? Instead of that showing up suddenly, I can feel it coming for a while and can do something about it before I feel gross. I’m also eating apples, and enjoying a small amount of peanuts in the afternoon as a snack.
  • J and I have been playing more Stardew Valley and watching 30 Rock together. We spend a lot of time talking (especially when playing SV), and it’s a very pleasant, relaxing way to spend time together.
  • We’ve also been spending time sitting outside in the afternoons, enjoying the fresh air and watching the rabbits, squirrels, and birds go about their business.
  • We planted the garden last weekend. We’re only putting in potatoes this year because we like potatoes and they overran everything else in the garden last year.
  • Had a bad panic attack a few nights ago while I was getting ready for bed… didn’t get to sleep until after 4 that night.

I know I’m forgetting a lot of stuff, but this is what’s floating around in my head right now. Because of the surgery I’m not supposed to go out wandering around but that’s not a problem. I’ve got a ton of things I can do around here.

I have a video appointment with Dr C tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to it because I haven’t really made any progress on… well, pretty much any of my homework over the last two weeks. It’s another one of those things that have been tough to drum up motivation for.

Stay safe.

Could Be Better, Could Be Worse

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Few

It’s been a while… not a whole lot has happened. Had some phone appointments, worked on some stuff. I’ve been feeling like I can’t stand being in a room with myself – like I want to crawl out of my skin.

And I miss my stupid fish. WTF.

Last night I was up with a nasty stomach ache. I’m not sure what I did or what I ate, but man… ouch. I don’t know what time I finally got to sleep, but J got me out of bed at 2PM today. Then I went for a 90 minute nap about an hour later, and the rest of the day I’ve been walking around in a haze. At least my stomach doesn’t hurt, but it’s got that “be nice to me or I’m going to start yelling” feeling to it.

Spent three days banging my head against the wall on one project and made zero progress until I did something else that showed that what I was doing wasn’t going to work, so I gave up. I guess that’s progress in a way.

It’s difficult to get motivated about anything, but I’ll keep at it.

This week I have appointments with Dr C, Dr W, and the dietician.

Stay safe.

Very Angry

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Lots going on in my head that I’m trying to process.

Today was not a good day. I didn’t get enough sleep (which was 100% my decision), some really shitty stuff happened, and I spent most of the day having a discussion about said shitty stuff over and over again. Then I ran across some stuff in the news that would normally make me feel something like… sadness? Frustration? Despair? Instead, it closed a breaker somewhere in my brain and I got very, very angry. I haven’t felt like this in years. Maybe longer.

I don’t know if it’s the lack of sleep or a perfect storm of several other things, but my goddamn goat has most certainly been got. I’ve been trying to relax for hours now and I’m not having much luck. Usually writing stuff out helps put things in perspective but re-thinking things is making it worse so I should probably stop here.

And there’s a weird, sporadic thumping going on somewhere outside. I want to grab my biggest torque wrench, find out what’s making the noise, and smash it until it stops.

Stay safe.