And… Still Tired

I spent a lot of today in bed. Mostly it was because I was tired but for a while I was feeling kind of down, too. I’m not entirely sure why but fortunately it seems to have passed.

I did a lot of thinking when I wasn’t sleeping. Thinking about how long I’ve been away from work, wondering how long it’s going to take until I can reliably work again, how long I’m going to have to worry about little things sending me back to the psych ward… stuff like that. J says that she thinks that I’ve got another layer of strength since I last got out of the hospital. I don’t feel like it but it would be really nice if it were true.

I texted FA today and said that I was too tired to get together tomorrow. She texted back that it was okay but I feel pretty bad for doing that. She’s a really good friend and I enjoy hanging out with her. Hopefully she understands and we can get together again soon.

J has had a lot of stuff going on lately. She’s been doing a lot of things at work, taking distance classes, went to an interview for a volunteer position, and found time to fire off a resume. Now that she’s taken her final exam and things have quieted down at work, we celebrated with a pizza night. I’ll use any excuse for a pizza night but the truth is I’m very proud of her and all the work she does.

Spring is here – of that, there can be no doubt. It got up to around 26C today and it’s supposed to make it into the low 30s over the next few days. I’m not a big fan of the heat but I really like the smells and sounds of spring. Fresh cut grass, the sound of birds singing… I like spring.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow. Probably spend most of it in bed again. I’m going to make a goal of finishing up the motorcycle. Depending on what it’s like and how I feel, I may even fire it up and take it for a ride. It’d be nice to be back on the bike again.

Stay safe!

Hobby Focus – Electronics

Hobby: Electronics

Cost: You can do some neat stuff for $50 but the cost can go up quickly depending on what you want to do.

Time Required: Completely up to you

I’ve been into electronics since I was five years old. That Christmas, my parents gave me an electronics kit from Germany that demonstrated concepts relating to resistors, capacitors, diodes, and transistors. I was hooked. Over the following years I’ve built up quite the selection of parts, whether it was from buying them or salvaging them from other devices.

I find electronics to be a rewarding hobby because if you’ve done it right, you get instant gratification. You can also spend hours trying to figure out what went wrong. There are an uncountable number of electronics sites and books out there, one of my favourite is Adafruit (adafruit.com). They have a lot of really good documentation for beginners and sell tons of kits that let you do anything from transmitting data over radio waves to making fancy jewellery.

What do you need to get started? Well, it depends. If you want to build kits, you’ll need:

– A low-wattage soldering iron,

– Solder,

– Solder remover (a solder sucker, solder wick, or both),

– A work surface free from combustibles that you can leave burn marks on,

– A multimeter,

– The kit,

– Some paper and a pencil, and

– A calculator.

If you want to build circuits from scratch (my preferred method), you’ll need:

– A solderless breadboard (get the biggest one you can reasonably afford – you’ll be surprised how quickly you can fill one up),

– A multimeter,

– A work surface free from combustibles that you can leave burn marks on,

– Some 22-gauge solid wire,

– Wire strippers,

– Some paper and a pencil, and

– A calculator.

If you’re starting from scratch, you can sometimes find kits of 1/4 watt resistors on sale that have several of the common sizes (multiples of 1, 2.2, 4.7, and 6.8).

That first kit that I got for Christmas so many years ago did a good job of making me interested in electronics. The first book that I got that really helped me dive into it was Getting Started In Electronics, by Forrest M. Mims III. I still have my copy, thirty-plus years later. Every once in a while I’ll go back to it, too. The book does a great job of describing what different components do and has a bunch of neat circuits you can build at the back of the book.

One thing I should say, though – if you’re new to the hobby, you should really be running your projects off of batteries. I don’t know how many 9V batteries I’ve gone through but it’s probably in the hundreds by now. Do not use line power, even through an AC/DC adapter until you are 100% certain you know what you’re doing. Electronics is a perfectly safe hobby if you go about it safely. Playing around with line power before you’re ready may end up with you getting hurt or starting a fire.

Stay safe!

Still Tired

Today has been a decent day. I’d say I’m sitting around a seven or seven and a half. I’m still really tired, though. I managed to get out and mow the front lawn this morning before it got too hot. It looks a lot better now but I expect that in two or three days we’ll have shin-high dandelions again. It’s supposed to get really warm as the week goes on – hopefully our ancient air conditioner still works…

J switched her hours around again so she could drive me to my Dr W appointment (thank you!) and it went pretty well. Dr W and I decided to cut back my quetiapine by 150mg so now my nightly dosage is 450mg. I’m happy to be taking less medication and hope that a lower dosage will help me stay awake during the day.

Other than that, not much is going on today. I probably have more to say but can’t remember it right now.

Stay safe!

Found Those Motorcycle Parts…

Actually, J found them. I probably spent close to an hour rooting through the garage with no luck. J went into the garage this evening and saw them after less than twenty seconds. I understand that a second pair of eyes can help, but yeesh – that was almost embarrassing. At least now I can finish putting the bike back together and go for a ride (if I can convince myself to do it).

I still feel like I’m running on empty. I did okay this morning for my Dr H appointment, which went quickly and well, but it wasn’t long after I got home that I couldn’t stop yawning and went to the couch to take a nap. J got home and we made supper and then I wandered back to the couch for another rest.

I don’t know why I’m so tired. Dr C suggested that I may just be catching up from the sleep that I missed out on over the last while, and I really hope that’s the case. Regardless of the cause, though, I’m getting a little annoyed at myself for not accomplishing much during the day. I have so much stuff I want to do!

Another thing I’m worried about is that FA is a ball of energy. I have enough trouble keeping up with her on my good days – Friday will probably be overwhelming for me and boring for her if I don’t perk up a bit.

My last ghost shrimp died today. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. The same two cleaner shrimp I’ve had all along are still happily cleaning algae off the plant but I just can’t seem to keep ghost shrimp alive. I’ve no idea why. Maybe I somehow got two bad batches of them. Maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing. Maybe that’s why they’re $1.49.

I had another good chat with my folks today. They might be coming into town soon, and if that’s the case, I think I’ll ask if my dad is interested in giving me a hand with my raised garden idea. I know it’s starting to get a little late for planting some things but I’m hoping that I’ll at least get some beans out of it this year.

Stay safe!

Still Tired

Today was a pretty good day. I slept well but I’m still pooped. My mom called this morning and we had a good chat, it was quite nice to talk to her. I got some good news about a couple of my relatives and that’s always good to hear.

Since I was still groggy, J took some time out of her busy day (thank you again!) to drive me to my appointment with Dr C. The appointment was difficult in places but went pretty well. It was the first time I’d seen her since my most recent trip to the hospital. We did have a phone meeting while I was in the hospital, but there was a lot of stuff that had changed, particularly with respect to medication. I think next week we’re going to start in on the EMDR. I’m looking forward to it but a little wary at the same time. Dr C also gave me some good information on coping with voices. I hope I don’t experience them again but if I do, I’ll have another tool in my toolbox for dealing with them.

I didn’t get a lot done today. It’s been grey and rainy outside for the last few days so I haven’t been able to get outside and mow the dandelions. I played some Mass Effect and cooked supper and almost had it timed perfectly for when J got home.

After supper, J and I had three or four really good conversations in a row about all kinds of stuff. I think it’s great that we’ve been married for over fifteen years and still have new things to talk about.

Tomorrow I have my Dr H appointment. I don’t expect any problems.

Sorry this post is short too but my tank is empty and I need to head to bed.

Stay safe!

Exhausted

I don’t know why, but since Saturday morning I haven’t been able to build up enough steam to do anything. All I want to do is go back to bed. Naps don’t seem to help. Tomorrow is the start of a pretty busy week for me – I may be getting together with WG in the morning, then I have a Dr C appointment at 1PM, Tuesday is my Dr H appointment, Wednesday is my Dr W appointment, then nothing on Thursday, then getting together with FA on Friday. I need to be alert.

I don’t know what’s wrong – whether I’m not sleeping properly or I’m over-medicated or maybe it’s a side-effect of the migration from sertraline to venlafaxine. Maybe I’m catching a cold. Maybe the depression is creeping up on me again. Whatever it is, I hope I figure it out soon.

All in all, this weekend has been pretty good. Not a lot happened because I spent so much time napping, but with all things considered, I think that’s a good thing.

Here’s hoping you all have a good week!

Stay safe!

And It Just Got Better!

One of the local radio stations is running a hospital fundraiser. The station typically plays 80s to early 00s music but for this weekend they’re taking requests from people who want to make donations. They’re also saying they’ll play pretty much anything other than Swedish death metal. Fair enough.

It was for a good cause, and with J’s encouragement I called in and requested “Get Over You” by The Undertones. I was half expecting the host to say, “the what?” but instead he said, “WHAT A GREAT SUGGESTION!”

About twenty minutes later, there it was, playing on the radio. The host even mentioned me by name, whoo!

Totally awesome. If even one person listening out there becomes a fan of The Undertones then my work here is done.

Stay safe!

Running On All Cylinders

Today has been a good day. After J left for work this morning I ran the dishwasher, then went downstairs and listened to a couple of records, did my exercises, and worked on my “worry hour”. The medication I’m taking still leaves me a little groggy until about 10AM so I wasn’t moving very fast, but I was moving.

I got a text from my mom and decided to give my folks a call and we had a really good (from my viewpoint, at least) conversation. I am very lucky to have parents who are as supportive and helpful as mine are. They’ve saved my bacon many times.

After that I did some research for a post I’m working on and ran a load through the washing machine at the same time. The sky looked like it wanted to rain all day but held off so I opened a bunch of windows and enjoyed the fresh breeze and the sounds of birds as they went about their business. I went outside to put the rear panels and seat back on the motorcycle but – since it’s been a year and a half – I couldn’t remember where I’d put them.

I really wanted to accomplish something outside, so I pulled out the mower and mowed the back yard. I’ve never seen so many dandelions out there and I’ve never seen them so healthy, with huge green leaves and fat yellow flowers atop four to six inch stems. Sometimes I wonder why we don’t just give up and say that dandelions or clover or whatever is growing in the dirt around a house works fine as a “lawn”.

When I finished mowing I looked around for the motorcycle panels again and, with no luck, decided to go back inside and play around with one of my Raspberry Pis. I ordered a camera for one of them a little while ago and it was badly out of focus. I spent some time today changing the focus with a pair of needle-nose pliers and finally got it to where I was happy with it. I then erased one of the oldest Pis I have and set it up again from scratch (the old kernel was from 2014). Some things are a little different in the newer versions of the operating system so I spent some time looking things up to make sure I was doing it right.

I was expecting J to be home around 5PM but she came home earlier than I expected and caught me while I was cooking supper. She’d had a good day too and was happy that it was the weekend. We talked for a little bit and then I finished cooking supper and she fired off a job application. We had a good chat over supper and went over what we’re going to do this evening. The only thing we got figured out is that we’re going to play a game of cribbage at some point.

Today has been a good day.

Stay safe!

Out Of The Hospital!

Today has been a good day. J took me back to the hospital and I signed back into the ward and met with Dr W. Our meeting went very well and as a result, I’ve been discharged. It feels good to be able to type that. Now I just have to stand on my own two legs and keep getting better. I have a Dr C appointment on Monday and I am looking forward to getting things back to whatever passes for normal around here.

When I was leaving the ward, I thanked as many of the staff as I could, but I always feel kind of silly just saying “Thank you very much”. I wish I could think of a better way of conveying just how grateful I am for everything that everyone did for me. After my first session in the psych ward, I sent a card thanking the staff for everything but I was stuck using the same words. I don’t even have the right words for J, even though we’ve been married for quite a few years. She shifted her hours around or took time off to get me to all of my appointments and to make sure I was doing alright. How do you thank someone for that? Anything I can think of just seems so… glib.

So, to everyone who treated me, supported me, or just wanted me to get well – THANK YOU. I’m sorry I don’t have better words, but I’m alive and in one piece because of all of you. Thank you so very, very much!

Stay safe!

What’s Going To Happen?

In just a little while, J and I are heading back to the hospital after what I think has been a successful two day pass. My only concern is that I’m feeling a little sad, but just a little. On the upside, I didn’t even need any rescue medications and didn’t need to do any grounding or breathing exercises. Other than my back bugging me, I slept pretty well, and it was nice to have something to eat that actually had salt in it.

So J will drop me off at the ward and then I’ll wait to see Dr W. If he gives the OK then I’ll be out this afternoon. If he doesn’t, it’ll be for a good reason.

I’m quite excited. I have a huge list of things that I want to do and an even huger list of things that I need to do. The dandelions have finished their colonization of the back lawn and are just swapping up the last pockets of resistance in the front. I also really want to do some welding, I’ve got a new welding jacket that I’m really looking forward to trying out. I also want to plant a garden and try to take my motorcycle for a ride. So many things – I should really write them down so I don’t forget.

Stay safe!