Not A Bad Week

Song: “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

It’s Friday already! Once again I have no idea where the time went, but the week hasn’t been too bad at all.

On Wednesday afternoon, FA and DM stopped by for a quick visit out in the driveway (these are strange times) and we exchanged some stuff. I gave FA some project stuff and an old network drive we had that still works and should do the trick for them. FA brought a birdhouse she built from scratch – it’s nice and sturdy and will work very well. Despite a rather brisk breeze, J and I really enjoyed the chat, and it was very good to see the two of them again. I think that sometimes J and I like to think we make good hermits but we both miss not socializing with family and friends.

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, I had two telephone appointments: one with a dietitian and one with Dr W. The dietitian and I are working on getting me to recognize queues for when I’m hungry and when I’m full again. I haven’t felt hunger or fullness since before I ended up in the hospital, and it would be very helpful to be able to notice and use those sensations again.

The Dr W appointment went well, too. We didn’t make any medication changes because I would rather keep things the same right now and he agreed and said that it’s not a good idea to change medications when we’re under stress. And there’s a fair amount of that going around right now. He was mostly concerned about how I’m handling current events and how well I’m doing being cooped up in the house.

I’m fine with being cooped up in the house; it doesn’t bother me at all. I have more than enough things to keep me busy or entertained, and I’m more comfortable at home anyway. As for current events, I’ve dialed back my news intake again because I’ve felt on several occasions now the urge to wind myself into a knot over things. I’ve been able to see it coming and have been able to deal with it, but it’s starting to happen a little more often now so I’ll step back for a little while.

On Thursday, I had a video appointment with Dr C. It took a little while to get started, but I finally fumbled my way into the video chat and the appointment went well. She is also making sure that I’m taking care of myself and doing the things I need to do to keep from burying myself in worry and possible scenarios. We also talked about making sure that I still get out of the house instead of barricading myself inside and losing the tolerance that I built up for going out and doing things.

That brought up another question. How am I going to react when things go back to normal? Getting out of the house was going pretty well – I got out to visit my parents and in-laws, I got out and did that OCD study, I got out to visit DM and FA… and I was hoping to do a bunch of other stuff this year, too. Visit my parents and in-laws again, go over to FA’s place to geek out, go to DA’s cabin, get out on my motorcycle again… there are so many different things I want to try.

I feel guilty thinking about that – me putting around on my motorcycle or hanging out with DA at his cabin is really unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but dammit, I was looking forward to being able to do some of this stuff again. I know that it will still happen, but I had everything planned out and how it all goes in the garbage and I have to wait. I’m not always good at waiting.

Today, FA and I had a nice long chat on the phone. The call was originally supposed to be about one of the projects we’re working on and the network drive, but we ended up talking about all kinds of stuff – an almost two hour call! I enjoyed it a lot and appreciate her taking the time to just shoot the breeze too because I know work’s got her running hither and yon (metaphorically).

After the call, I went outside to hang up the bird feeder and play around with putting up the birdhouse that FA gave me on Wednesday. I know exactly where I’m going to put it, but both my drill batteries are dead so I’m just waiting for one of them to charge. J got me that drill as a gift quite a few years ago now and it’s built a LOT of stuff but I fear it’s nearing the end of the road. She picked great – it’s the best drill I’ve ever owned.

I’m not sure what’s going on this weekend yet. If it’s like today (it’s around +10C out!) I will probably spend some more time outside puttering around. Maybe sit outside and just enjoy the fresh air. Who knows.

Stay safe.

Pretty Quiet

Song: Music from Stardew Valley (video game)

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

There’s not much going on. I’ve been keeping busy with a lot of stuff but I seem to be flitting back and forth a lot again and not making much progress on any of them.

J’s still working from home, which has been wonderful for me because even being down the hall from her is pretty swell. I try to do some quiet-ish stuff and stay out of her way while she’s working, and I think things are working out well so far.

My mom called today with some great news – a family friend from long ago who has cancer found out that chemo is working so she won’t need radiation and can even ease back on some of the medications. Mom is very happy and I think that she and Dad want to make the drive out to visit her once things have quieted down. I’m very happy about it too and I hope that things continue to improve for her. I guess her brother is planning to move into the same complex she lives in which will be really good for both of them.

I finished Disco Elysium, and it was amazing. What a fascinating world, characters, story, skill tree… even the items you can collect and use or wear are really different than usual, especially considering the character you play is a police detective. I mean “track-pants-and-mesh-shirt-and-cavalry-boots-and-fedora-and-bag-full-of-recycling-and-clipboard” different. I’m already looking forward to playing it through again.

J and I have been enjoying playing Stardew Valley in the evenings. It’s a nice, relaxing way to hang out and chat about whatever while saying hi to cute little virtual chickens. Seriously, the virtual chickens are pretty darn cute:

Chickens in Stardew ValleyAnd so is the dog:

Dog in Stardew ValleyTomorrow I have another telephone appointment in the afternoon, which will be fine. Other than that, I’m going to see about doing something about my crappy attention span and actually get something done.

Stay safe.

Slept Like A Log

Song: “Top of the World” by The Carpenters

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Few

I know that current events don’t lend themselves much to silver linings, but it’s been wonderful with J working from home. She treats it like a regular work day – puts on real pants and everything, and I only see her when she takes a break or is on lunch – but it’s just so great that she’s around. The only downside is that the days are going by even faster than usual. I know the weekend was good but I can’t for the life of me remember what we did.

What has been happening the last two nights, though, is that I’ve been sleeping really well. My CPAP machine keeps track of how many breathing-related things happen while I’m sleeping, with the good range being below ten per hour. Usually I’m around 2.5 to 3.5, but three nights ago it was 5.8. I was a little concerned that my machine needed adjustment, but the following two nights my number has been around 1.3, which is great. I also don’t remember waking up because of nightmares or worrying the last two nights, either. I even got up with my alarm today without too much whimpering.

I’ve been keeping quite busy with the usual things. The printer has been busy and I’ve been working on and/or arguing with lots of projects, most of which have been going well. I have a Carpenters song stuck in my head, which is a little problematic. Could be worse – at least it’s a little more uptempo than some of their other songs.

J and I started watching Good Omens yesterday. The show isn’t too bad so far but the characters look different than they did in my mind’s eye when I read the book. I suppose that’s to be expected. I’ve also been taking a little bit of time in the evenings to watch some “classic” shows. The most recent one has been Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory from 1971. It’s… uhm… well, let’s just say it’s not how I remember it, so I’ve been watching it a bit at a time. I know it’s from a different time, but it’s a little cringe-inducing.

I haven’t volunteered at the church for a while now and don’t have any plans to go. I’m pretty sure it’s closed to the public now.

Tomorrow afternoon I have a phone appointment with Dr H. I think it’s a follow-up about the liver stuff we’ve been investigating, so nothing too exciting.

J just turned on her computer and we’re going to play some Stardew Valley before she heads off to bed. Hopefully everyone gets a good sleep tonight!

Stay safe.

Not A Good Night

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 3

Ghosts: Few

Kind of a rough day today. Fell asleep on the couch last night. Haven’t done that much lately but it was a doozy last night. I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t in bed and/or wasn’t using my CPAP machine but I had some bad nightmares last night (tent, lifejacket) and woke up with a nasty headache and sore throat that’s stayed for the whole day.

I did my best to keep busy, though, and fiddled around with the printer a bit.

J and I are trying out playing Stardew Valley – so far it’s not too bad. It’s a lot more laid back and calm than the games I usually play (i.e. there’s a hoe and pickaxe in this game, as opposed to torpedoes or flamethrowers), but I think I like it.

Not much else going on right now. Either I’m thinking really slowly or the day went by very quickly.

Stay safe.

And Onto The Weekend

Song: “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Few

The biggest news from here is that I was outside yesterday… in shorts! Yes, it was finally warm enough to go out and enjoy some fresh air in comfort. The snow is melting pretty quickly, and I can finally see some lawn, too! Sure, it’s all brown and dead but it’s still lawn!

J is working from home for the near future now, too. I’m very glad about that for a couple of reasons: one, her co-workers are the kind of people who pick up on every ridiculous rumour and conspiracy and feed on each others’ ideas and try to rope other people into that same kind of thinking, while not washing their hands and standing in each others’ cubicles to talk about said rumours and conspiracies. Two, I’d prefer it if J wasn’t around a bunch of people who don’t wash their hands, don’t wipe stuff down, and don’t think any of the current directives actually apply to them because they’re the smartest people they know. And three (and this is the best one) – things are so much better with J around. Even though she’s in her office and is actually working a full day, it’s just great that she’s home!

There are lots of stories about medical professionals and facilities running out of particular kinds of protective equipment like masks, gowns, that sort of thing. Quite a few groups have popped up that aim to match people or businesses who can help produce some of this equipment with places that really need it. I’ve printed up a face shield design and with a few tweaks I think I’ll be able to easily print them and they’ll be pretty sturdy. I don’t know what the need around here is yet (fortunately we haven’t been hit too hard by COVID-19 yet) but I think I’ll do up a dozen or so of them and if they’re needed I’ll give them away and start in on a new batch.

J and I finally watched Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home over the last couple of days. Both were excellent, and I finally don’t have to worry about running into spoilers about either of them anymore. I’m a big fan of the Marvel movies and I hope that they somehow manage to keep the momentum going even after the big changes of Endgame.

I just took a look at the thermometer and it looks like it’s going to be another nice day out… might have to spend some time outside!

Stay safe.

Pretty Quiet Here

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Pack

Things have been pretty quiet here. I’ve been keeping busy with lots of different projects and tasks, and for the most part I’ve been able to concentrate on the stuff I’m doing.

It’s been gorgeous outside the last few days and the snow is melting which is great, but with the change in temperatures the house is making all kinds of weird sounds again like it does every spring and fall so that’s been a little more noticeable.

Had a single nightmare two nights in a row (tent), and I’ve had a lot of just plain strange dreams, too. Like changing the oil in my motorcycle and when I remove the drain plug, fresh clear water comes out, and pouring in more oil just made more water come out. Or going for a walk with J and watching cat-sized squirrels chasing each other up in the trees. Those are okay, though – I’d rather have a thousand dreams that leave me wondering what the hell I ate earlier than waking up from a single nightmare.

With all the stuff going on in the news, I’ve been a lot more careful/picky about what sites I visit and what I read. You can only do so much, though, because there are reminders everywhere. Traffic on the main roads in town is less than half of what it usually is, businesses are closed or have limited their hours, and despite the fact our civilization is intact and still functioning, people are STILL panic buying and clearing out entire sections of stores. I’ve even been limiting the amount of time and which hours I play STO because the chat in it is all about what’s going on.

Despite all that, I’m still not waving my arms and winding myself up into a tizzy. Maybe it’s because I’m a lot more isolated from the real world than most people are (although that seems to be the proper thing to do nowadays), or maybe it’s because things here really aren’t that bad – most of the stuff going on here right now is about preparation and trying to keep things from getting bad. Maybe I’m actually able to look at it now without trying to find every inconsistency or thinking up the worst possible outcome, then thinking up something even worse. Could be something else entirely, too.

I haven’t been great about maintaining my sleep diary lately. I need to get back on track with that – it provides a lot of useful information that has already been useful.

Tomorrow I plan to do a few things: print some stuff up, design some other stuff, do some electronics, do some tidying, and if it’s nice out, go for a walk. We’ll see what happens.

Stay safe.

Doing Appointments Over The Phone This Week

Song: “Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean Knight

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Few

J is working from home today, which is very nice. Her eyebrows are a lot more knotted and she’s sighing a lot more than normal, but I suppose that’s what happens with work…

FA didn’t make it over yesterday but that’s okay – with some of the stuff going on I didn’t get as far in some of the projects that I’d hoped.

I spoke with my sister and my folks over the last couple of days. They’re all doing well and are eager to get back out and do some wandering.

I had three appointments this week: a Dr W appointment on Wednesday, a massage appointment Thursday, and a Dr C appointment on Friday. I called Dr W’s office the other day and found out that he just got back from a travelling holiday and is now quarantined. He’s not sick or anything, it’s just the standard precaution nowadays. He called yesterday and we spoke briefly – he’s going to call this afternoon at my usual appointment time and we’re going to the appointment over the phone.

Same thing with Dr C – I called her on Monday and it turns out her office is trying to do what they can over the phone. They’re in the process of setting up some kind of video link, too, but I’m perfectly happy with a phone call. That way I don’t need to put on pants or comb my hair.

Both Dr C and Dr W emphasized strongly that if I’m having trouble that I can call them and get in for help, which I appreciate. I’m doing pretty well right now, but if things change it’s good to know there’s still an option.

I was going to go to my massage appointment tomorrow (my back and knee are bugging me) but changed my mind this morning so I called and cancelled it. Once things are figured out I’ll go back.

Got a call from the liver specialist that Dr H referred me to… he asked where I was at and how I was feeling. I told him that I’m feeling fine and he said that he recommended that I wait until things have calmed down before I go into the hospital for a non-essential visit. I agreed wholeheartedly and he’s going to call back in a while – anywhere from a couple of weeks to some months, depending on what happens. He also told me that if things change at all, go to Dr H or one of the Urgent Care facilities, which makes sense.

So yeah… lots of changing plans this week. I’ve been avoiding a lot of the news (there’s nothing new and helpful there anyway), and keeping my mind and fingers busy at home. I’ve got a couple of projects I’m working on, and now that I fixed the printer, I’m going to start in on that again too.

With all the stuff going on, it’s normal to feel upset, anxious, angry, scared, or even experience emotions or combinations of emotions that you’re not familiar with. If you are having trouble dealing with the world, please remember that there are people who care about you and want you to feel better. Talk to someone – don’t grind your teeth to stumps or lie there in the dark with your stomach churning, heart pounding, and every muscle tense. Talk to a therapist or counsellor, your doctor, or call your local/regional crisis line or go to your closest emergency room. There is some information on the resources[] page that may be useful. Even if you’re feeling fine, keep in touch with your family and friends and keep an eye out for each other!

Stay safe.

Much Better Sleep

Song: “Skipper Dan” by Weird Al Yankovic

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

It was easy to get to sleep last night and I slept pretty well. No nightmares and I only remember waking up maybe three times to worry about things, none of which kept me awake for very long.

I got quite a bit done today. Had a small but interesting chat about religion with my aunt over text, got a lot done on one of my electronics projects, and two packages showed up today.

I’ve been finding that with the right combination of mood, sleep, music, comfort, and interest, I am getting quite a bit better at concentrating on things. There’s a positive reinforcement cycle that happens, where I’m concentrating on something so I’m not worrying about things, which lowers my anxiety and lets me concentrate better for longer. I think part of it is that things are moving in the right direction, but I’m pretty sure that a lot of it is practice.

It doesn’t really matter why, though – I’m just happy that I can work on something for more than five or ten minutes before switching to something else or taking a break. I feel a much better sense of accomplishment when I can see that I’ve done or made progress in something. That improves my mood, which makes it easier to concentrate, which lets me accomplish more things, which improves my mood. Positive reinforcement everywhere!

The stuff that Dr H called about yesterday was on my mind today, too. I’m not so much worried about how it affects things today as I’m tired of all the doctor appointments and probes and scans and tests. It’s also got me a bit worried about what the future is going to be like. I’m in my mid-forties now, and, if I’m being frank about it, the things that normally happen when one ages are going to start happening, but I have the added “bonus” of going into that with things already wrong.

I probably shouldn’t worry about that, though, because Dr H is on top of things and we’ve already fixed some stuff. No reason this won’t be fixed soon, either.

Next week is going to be a little busy – I have appointments on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Nothing scheduled for the rest of this week, though, but I may volunteer at the church sometime in the next few days. We’ll see.

Tomorrow I hope to print some stuff up, get some more work done on electronics projects, and start sorting the chaos in the workshop. I’d also like to listen to some records. It’s been a while.

Stay safe.

Didn’t Sleep Well

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Short post today, I’m beat.

Yesterday was a pretty great day. FA was over for close to 11 hours, which may very well be our biggest geek-out session of all time. We got all kinds of stuff done and talked about pretty much everything. We also got out to the hardware store, had a delightful burrito lunch, and after J got home the three of us had a great chat, too!

Dr H called yesterday morning about the ultrasound I had on Monday. When I saw the clinic’s number on the display I felt a pang of worry, but it was okay. Long story short, I’m not dying but I am going to get to meet yet another specialist – this time a liver specialist. Dr H also wanted me to get more blood tests done and for me to come in again soon to talk about this stuff, which I’m perfectly happy to do. The sooner it’s fixed and over with, the happier I’ll be.

I had a lot of trouble falling asleep last night. I tried everything – muscle relaxation, breathing, getting up and going back to bed – but it was after 5AM when I finally fell asleep. As a result, I didn’t really accomplish anything today (although I did stare at stuff a lot), and I spent a lot of the day in a fog.

When J got home, she took me to the shiny new lab near home to get those blood tests that Dr H wanted done. I think I’m going to make a giant copy of a blank test requisition form and put it on the wall and play blood test bingo. Some of them are going to be tougher to get (like BHCG), but who knows…

This evening has been pretty quiet. I kind of half zonked out on the couch for a while after supper and then J and I spent some time chatting. Hopefully tonight I will be able to get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

No appointments tomorrow, so I hope to work on some electronic-y project stuff. We’ll see what happens.

Stay safe.