This has not, entirely, been a great August for me, or really, a great year. A lot of things have improved, but some things haven't. This includes my health.

For the last two weeks, I've been fighting off walking pneumonia. I finally went in last Wednesday and got the obligatory Z-Pack and some stuff for the cough, and settled in for spending the rest of week in bed, sipping codeine syrup and hoping my immune system would purge the unbelievers deal with whatever was colonizing my lungs.

By Saturday I was feeling well enough to go to a party with some friends, though my appetite was acting strangely. A usually delicious smoked salmon and chevre crepe was inedible. Small things seemed to be edible. Most things weren't.

On Sunday, I woke up with my stomach in a lot of pain. A lot of very nauseated pain. Around noon, I started vomiting bloodily into the toilet. Any attempt to drink water ended the same way.

Weee-yooo. Off to the ER, courtesy of a helpful friend. Doctor says: either gastritis or some sort of tear in the esophagus brought on by intense vomiting. One anti-nausea prescription and an X-Ray later, I was booted back home on a diet of bland food and no alcohol for the next week or so.

I woke up around 4:30 to lose a few sips of water and to writhe around on the floor clutching my stomach in pain. When that faded, I called the on duty nurse and headed back to the hospital.

You know it's probably bad when they greet you at the desk of the ER with a bracelet ready and a room set aside. They got some saline set up, hit me with some anti-nausea stuff, and fed me a cocktail of stuff for my stomach that looked and tasted like glue.

By the time they were done, I'd gone through three bags of saline, two breathing treatments, the aforementioned anti-nausea and cocktail, and a ton of checks from nurses. The good news is, the hospital, Providence, has some really competent folks running their ER. They were all over the low oxygen levels and fast heart rate, and kept me until everything had stabilized sometime around noon.

Now I'm home with a large pile of medication and am no closer to knowing what the hell than I was before. Assuming this is gastritis, I can look forwards to 10-14 more days of anti-acid meds and anti-nausea stuff. I suspect that between that and any other complications, I will be sick through the end of this month.

And then there's four more months of fun to deal with. Screw 2013, can it be the new year yet?

I second the emotion regarding August and the entire year not being exactly one of my better times. Back from vacation, I feel like I need another one. I'm not complaining, just stating facts. The week prior to the beach was spent somewhat cleaning the house so it would be nice to return to, buying groceries because once on the island, I don't like to shop except for local produce and seafood.

Took my husband for a hearing test to see if he is eligible for cochlear implants. The neurologist suggested it, saying improving his hearing might help him feel more connected as his Alzheimer's progresses. Four hours of tests and sitting in the waiting room, filling out forms for him, only to be told he is not deaf enough.

We saw two doctors and an audiologist, came away with a slip of paper saying he was medically cleared for these new and very expensive hearing aids which are placed inside the ear canal, last four months, and then are removed by a doctor, replaced with new ones. Rough estimate, none of it covered by Medicare or our other health insurance, is over four thousand dollars per year.

My husband's reaction: he liked the first "doctor" (who was really the audiologist) because she talked loud and told him he could keep his crickets (tinnitus) if he wanted. He enjoyed the baloney sandwich I made with mustard, and brought for him although it was messy.

I also accompanied my mother to the cardiologist, having made an appointment for myself as well. She was fine, still in atrial fibrillation but has lost more weight, which seemed to concern the doctor more than anything.

My turn as the patient, he asked why I was there, looked at my chart from four years ago, asked what had changed and if I was under any stress. I remember laughing at first, then giving him the short version of my troubles. He was my father's cardiologist as well, so I've known him a long time. He is in the right field, as he has a compassionate heart himself. He took my blood pressure twice and it fluctuated from too high back to slightly above normal. He winked at me, "White coat syndrome, your Dad had it, too. But to be safe, let's run some tests." So next week is fasting lab bloodwork, a stress test and an echocardiogram...fun times. Maybe I'll make a dental appointment while I'm at it.

Today it is raining, misty and grey. Good sleeping weather, but home again, I don't sleep as well. Taking husband to neurologist at noon, then hopefully finding a good recipe for yellow squash that I picked yesterday in my garden of weeds. I hope it rains all day, lightly.

Well wishes for all who need them!! 泛自然神論!!

I have noticed that I now have surpassed 601 writeups. In other words, in the year 2013, having reached level 13, I am on to my 13th page of writeups.

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Node auditing proceeds thusly:

passport is done!!

Pseudo_Intellectual is on page 10 of 31
Segnbora-t is on page 11 of 34
And pukesick is on page 22 of 29.

In the queueueu:
avalyn is on page 2 of 5, and

Blessings, all!!

On the value of one's word

Yesterday I got up really late, which is probably the worst way of beginning a workweek

 

Never mind the empty work I did today. After hours of feeling bad about this choice and sending out what seemes like a thousand email replies, I fired up Twitter just to amuse myself for a while. Then comes this girl, a friend of mine who I used to have a crush on. She tweets one of those cheesy teen-romance images (loose translation):

 

Whoever thinks of me shall text me.

Whoever misses me shall look for me.

Whoever loves me shall show it.

 

Me, not being in the mood for half-baked feelings immediately tweeted back: I get the idea. My question is: do you actually do this or just expect someone else to do it?. Not ten seconds later, she replies: "I just did, and it was the biggest mistake I've done"

Turns out, she wrote her ex (the father of her son) saying that she misses him, 5 weeks after she left her house. My reaction was a 50/50 mixture of a facepalm and I hate to say I told you so...


 

A bit of background on her, stop me if you've heard this one: they've been an on-and-off couple for the past 4 years, because he has cheated on her. She got pregnant/he got her pregnant. The baby was born, he swore to be a good father and stop all shenanigans. Two months ago, she called me to tell me that she was tired of him and his insecurities and his cheating (big surprise: living together didn't actually change him for good; love wasn't the cure to everything).

I'm not proud to say that I've witnessed this exact same story a few times in my life and I'm only 25. I said the same thing I said last time: It's very easy to say now that you're going away and will go back to your parents and will never think of him anymore, but I'll see you in a month or two missing him and on the verge of talking to him again and maybe going out to the movies "one last time". She assured me that wouldn't be the case and that she was strong and living with her parents would be a buffer of sorts. She told me that she had learned the lesson of how love is not a magic that "corrects" people and she was not "his savior". I said nothing.


Back to the present. After the obligatory and very painful "I told you so" I had to tell her: see how easy it is to say things and not follow them?. I obviously hit a nerve, because she started tweeting indirects about how "he" had called her to be all bark and no bite at all. I wasn't in the mood to get indirect bullshit from anyone and immediately asked her for an apology, which I got after a bit of guilt-tripping her (I'm here to help you and this is what I get in return...)

The problem was, I still felt bad, but I couldn't put my finger on why. Only after a long walk I realized it was more about her not honoring her word. On one hand, she promised herself that she would be strong and wouldn't fall for him again. On the other hand, she decided to vent publicly things that should be said privately.

I'm not saying that I'm any better than anyone at honoring my word, but I can tell you that I try. That's part of why I almost don't make promises of any kind anymore. That's why I ask everyone to not promise me anything, because I know that most people don't value their own word anymore. Feelings are important, but they should not be the sole guide of our actions (and neither should rational thoughts, IMO).

If you promise yourself to distance from an unhealthy relationship and then go back because "you still have feelings for him/her", how do you value your own word? I don't know if I'm right or wrong and maybe I shouldn't be questioning (myself) about this. Still, it hurts.


Irrelevant update: I just leveled up! Now I'm lvl 2

July was an unmitigated pain the arse and August is shaping up to be one too. The name of the game is recombobulation. I'm thoroughly discombobulated. Hell, I can honestly say that most of 2013 has been a discombobulatory experience, so far.

So, for most all of 2012 and 2013 up to July, I was living in a large house with a whole battery of other folks. 8, sometimes 9 of us in total. Two of us were paying large shares, two paying medium shares and the rest paying shares that were barely more than token. On top of that, with a house that in total useful area was over 5000 ft^2, all this was bloody expensive, and a much-larger-than-even chunk of that fell on me. This was working alright, because it was still costing me about the same as what it would to live solo without paring down to an uncomfortable level of austerity. Working alright, that is, until one of the folks paying a medium share decided to up and leave. Now just before this, the other medium-share-payer had gotten a new, better job and so I'd hiked his share up, so this wasn't a catastrophic problem. At first.

But, then, as is wont to happen, the universe had to pee. The fellow whose share I'd just hiked up? Yeah, he went and did something stupid and got canned. Foom. Now, other than the token-paying folks, who really aren't even pulling their own weight, all the financial load is on me and one other - which, combined with my own living expenses, the debts I'm still paying off, and the vagaries and fluctuations of life, was just too much. Suddenly we couldn't afford to live there anymore. So, I rounded up the token-paying folks (and the recently fired fellow) and put down an ultimatum - find some way to pull an additional $800 per month out of your collective heinies, on top of what you're paying already, or all of us have to leave. As in, no, I'm not kicking you out, I'm saying we'll all leave voluntarily in a month, or we'll be evicted in two, because there's just plain not enough money. They hemmed and hawed and pfumfered for a while, then realized that there was no way in hell that was going to happen without taking second jobs, and that they weren't gonna do that (assuming the jobs could even be found in that time, which is no guarantee), so we all resolved to leave.

To make a long story short, four of them up and left and are making it work somehow. Good - it's a long story but it's high time they stood on their own feet and stopped relying on me as a set of training wheels. My brother up and left, finding his own lightning. Good. He was temporarily crashing on my couch anyway after a legendarily awkward breakup with a live-in girlfriend. Ecch. As for me, and the remaining two, we not only moved house but moved cities, to be closer to work. Newport News, Virginia kinda has a reputation as a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but the western parts of town are actually fairly decent, and that's where I've ended up.

So, now most of my life is in boxes, and is even more thoroughly discombobulated. Combine that with the fact that moving is expensive, and moving because it's too expensive to stay just compounds that. So my finances are a wreck, too. But, my costs are way the hell down now and stand to drop even further, which is going to allow me to recombobulate pretty quickly. Also, my old 75 mile commute is down to 7.5 miles, and so taking a second job for a while is actually a reasonable option. Maybe, just maybe, I'll finally be able to get things stabilized. Gah, I've been saying that for years. But I've also been dragging around people who, to be frank, were cash vampires for most of that time.

All in all, furrfu. Minor, but what a painiac in the buttissimo.

Sorry for this bit of a rant, I realize today seems to be the day that everyone's got their own stuff they're going through but I just wanted to post this mainly just as a gratification for me to know it's somewhere other than the napkin I wrote it on the other night while battling insomnia:

Vitalansky- I don't know what it means, but it means I'm where I need to be. Finding myself amongst a whole run amok with shit and stink about it. Find yourself a niche, stick with it until you need to adapt to something greater. Be the better man, the better husband, friend, lover, whatever you can, be better. Stop being on your stupid ass phone so much, call people out on their shit, regard things to a higher standard and don't let them become something they're not, and if they do, build it better. Find yourself something you're happy with and pursue it until you no longer can, then find the means to pursue it more, then if it becomes no longer what you want to pursue, find the next thing that drives you, and do it well. Can't make a go of something? Then do something else and better, find that something that drives you and let it throttle through, same goes for others in your life, find them while they're at their best, utilize them to their fullest, then strive for ever better greatness. Of course, you've got to straddle the line of humility, find those that have helped you when you're down and help them in return, then go and find something to volunteer for, be nice/be humble, be a good person. Don't burn those bridges, even if they're shitty destructive ones. Utilize your resources and go get em. Sleep.

Daughter and her family were here for whole month! Wow! One thing we did was to go out in the dark to see the stars. In Amsterdam no one can see the stars. The Netherlands is the second most densely populated country on earth: the lights of the cities wash away the skies. The children, ages 12 and 9, had never seen the Milky Way.

As we were driving out into the dark countryside in California, I recited for the children the ancient wish:

Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
Wish I may, wish I might
Have the wish I make tonight.

Alexander, age 12, said, "can you write that down?" So when we stopped I found a little pad of paper and a pen and printed it out for him.

We were there a while before it got dark enough, but when the first star came out he stood a little aside with the paper and read it softly aloud, looking down, and then up at the sky.

For all that he is becoming a man, he is still a child too.

When we were cleaning his room at the end we found the little piece of paper, which had been folded up. I said, "I want that unless you want it." He said, "I want it." He solemnly folded it up again and put it in his pocket.

May he have the wish he made, whatever it was, and everything else too.

When I left the house this morning heavy clouds pressed against the tree tops, darkening the morning sky considerably for this time of year. So when I turned the ignition in my 2004 Elantra the dash lights glowed more brightly than usual, and I noticed that my odometer read 200,024 miles. I must have passed the 200,000 mile mark somewhere earlier in the week without noticing. At a round figure, that meant that I had driven the very rough equivalent of eight trips around the Equator in this little blue car. Those miles contained a lot of memories. Driving through rural Virginia with the woman who was to become my wife, driving nonstop overnight from Virginia to Alabama the night my mother died, driving my wife to the hospital the day my daughter was born, all of these took place inside the small gray upholstered cabin of the car. As I rode to work these thoughts led me to the idea of milestones, and how they mark the passage of our lives.

This coming weekend marks 12 full years of my participation here. Those 12 years read like one of Vonnegut's amusing lectures on how to tell a story. I can imagine him standing at a chalkboard, clad in button-up shirt and jacket, wild hair and mustache giving the impression of a man in disarray (though not actually) and lifting his arm to sketch out a Cartesian plane. He places the chalk at the top of the Y axis on the far left, and begins moving to the right as he curves down, then more sharply down, plummeting below the x-axis. At the bottom he makes a quip about how unaccountably bad my life had become. But then he continues to the right slowly ascending, ascending, edging back above the x-axis. As he pulls the chalk further and further to the right edge the slope increases, until he reaches the top of the chalkboard. This would be the plot of my story.

I mention this today because a bevy of daylogs expressed dissatisfaction with this past month, or in some cases, this past year. To each of those I say keep moving to the right, always moving, always edging up, even if the increments are depressingly small. Because each builds on the other, and in time you will gain momentum, and the milestones by which you mark your life will not always seem so sad.

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