Making Rapid Progress On Physical Health and Answered Prayers

I am now down 70 pounds overall in the last six months. I’m not even 10 pounds away from losing all the weight I gained after my car accident back in 2015. I am currently wearing a dress shirt I wore to my grandma’s funeral seven years ago. I can also now stand in place for several minutes at a time. I ordered an electric razor so I can shave my own face. It should be here by next week. My blood pressure has been holding normal for weeks now. I am currently on four meds for my heart and blood pressure. I used to be on six. I think as I keep losing weight I may be able to drop a blood pressure med or two. Heck I might even be able to reduce my dose of psych meds if the weight keeps melting off. Overall since covid started, I’m down almost 150 pounds.

Originally my goal was to get back at my old 2012 weight. 2012 is the last time I held a regular job and I could walk easily. Now I am aiming lower, so to speak. My goal now is to get back to my old college weight. It’s going to take at least another year, but time is on my side now that my blood pressure issues are being addressed. It also helps that effective vaccines and treatments for covid are now things. One of the reasons I avoided doctors and most people was that I was afraid of catching covid if I went to the doctors’ office for my blood pressure. I know most people’s attitudes towards masks and distancing in my hometown: not good at all. So I pretty much treated covid as drastic as I would being at war. As I result I lost 150 pounds, never caught covid, found out I could function with delivery groceries and Amazon, reread Wealth of Nations (the Bible of capitalism), kept in contact with family every day, built up a decent amount of emergency money (not enough to get me in trouble with disability), and even got to blog more. I also discovered the joys of Zoom calls.

I can now walk short distances even without a walker. My wheelchair has been on back order for almost three months. Wouldn’t it be ironic if by the time my wheelchair got delivered I didn’t even need it anymore?

My goal is to still get out on my own eventually. I think at the rate my physical health is improving I can be back at my old college weight within a year or two. Sheesh, even in two years I could be below my old high school weight. The protocol my doctor set up for my diet and therapy is working. Oh my goodness is it working. I just hope nothing throws a wrench in my plans. Things have been working so magically well for the last few months that I can’t even believe it. I have been used to things not working according to plan for many years. Maybe God is answering prayers.

Surviving The Covid Pandemic With Schizophrenia and Congestive Heart Failure

Still doing physical therapy three times a week. Been doing this for over six weeks now. My speed is improving. So is my leg and arm strength. Overall I am down 65 pounds since I moved here around Memorial Day. Since the meals are well balanced and home made, I don’t feel deprived. I get three hot meals every day. I am on calorie restrictions, so I can’t go back for seconds. The meals are good enough that the smaller portions don’t bother me. I’m still on fluid restrictions. I usually drink less than 2 liters of fluids per day.

Got on the scale today. If I lose another 10 pounds, I will be at my lightest since my car accident in October 2015. One of the reasons I gave up my car was that it was really tough to get in and out of my car with my bad knees and back. I haven’t ridden in an automobile since late May, but I am quite confident I can get in and out of most cars easily. It seems like I’ve been losing 5 pounds per week since the therapy restarted in late September.

I can walk with a walker easily now. Distance is still a problem as I still get winded after a few minutes of walking. But even that is slowly coming back. I can stand in place for several minutes at a time even without a walker. I started experimenting with a cane too.

I go outside more often, at least when the weather is nice. Haven’t been outside for a few days as the weather has been chilly and rainy. We’ve been having terrible dry spells for many months now. Any rain is welcomed. Some parts of my state got their first snow of the season. Most of Nebraska usually gets it’s first snow before Thanksgiving.

The corn harvest is mostly done. Most of the leaves are gone from the trees. The grass is turning yellow. While we haven’t had our first snow yet, it does feel like winter isn’t far away. Most nights I sleep under a fleece quilt. It is purple and made for a king size bed even though I have only a queen size bed. I bought an extra large blanket so I could wrap up whether in bed or in my recliner.

I am now in a single room. It feels good to not have a roommate again. I had a roommate for a few months. First time since May 2004 I had not lived alone. Having a roommate was the largest adjustment to long term care. I’m also getting used to having communal meals. For years I made my own meals and ate alone most of the time.

My blood pressure was kind of low a few days ago. I don’t feel dizzy or weak. But I had problems with low blood pressure during the summer. Spent three days in the hospital in July because of those problems. I guess as I am losing weight fast, I’ll have to readjust the doses on my blood pressure meds every few months. I have lost 65 pounds since late May and have lost 145 pounds overall since the pandemic started. I’ve lost most of the weight I gained after my car accident. For a few years, I was really depressed, ate a lot, and was lazy about exercising besides weight lifting. If I lose another 45 pounds, I will be the lightest I’ve been since 2012. I eventually want to get back to my old college weight, but that’s at least a couple years in the future.

I still don’t have my own wheelchair. I’ve been borrowing one from the hospital for the last five months. First, Medicaid denied to pay for my wheelchair. Then we decided to order one through the hospital with my family paying for it. Well, the chair has been on back order for over three months. I can get along just fine with the wheelchair I borrow from the hospital. There is still no timeline on when the backlog will clear up. Could be another several months. I imagine by then I will have lost enough weight that I have to get remeasured to see how big of a chair I need. My current chair is already kind of big for me. I can get around just fine as long as the doors aren’t too narrow. For the doors that are narrow, I just fold up the chair and walk through.

I can already walk anywhere in my room without a walker most of the time. Sometimes my knees hurt enough that I use the walker. I can use a cane now too.

I had a bad cold for a couple days. I isolated from the other residents a couple days ago so I wouldn’t get others sick. I tested negative for covid. In almost three years of covid I still haven’t caught it.

Decided to get real serious about weight loss right before covid hit the US. I was afraid if I caught it, it would be real bad with me being overweight and having sleep apnea. I’ve lost 145 pounds since early 2020. Currently the lightest I’ve been since mid 2016. I avoided doctors and hospitals during covid for fear I’d catch it. I more or less stayed near my complex for 2 years. I rarely left the apartment without a mask. I wore masks when I met the delivery guys for my groceries and Amazon. Grocery delivery and Amazon kept me from getting sick for over two years. Most people I know have had covid multiple times. My brother has had it at least twice.

Maybe I went overboard treating covid like a war time crisis, but it kept me safe and well. I’ve also lost an incredible amount of weight in that time. It was kind of lonely, but I had my smart phone and called friends and family every day. I dropped in on neighbors a few times per week. My cleaning lady came every Thursday and did my laundry. Even though I was home bound because of my knee and foot pain, I still managed to survive the covid pandemic.

Even though I wound up in the hospital because of my blood pressure problems (which manifest in the knee and foot pain) in May 2022, I think I made the right decision to avoid most people and hospitals during the pandemic. It was lonely and it felt like I was hiding out in a bomb shelter. But it very well may have kept me from getting sick and thus kept me alive. With as overweight as I was in February 2020, my mental health problems, and my sleep apnea, covid could have been a death sentence back then. The vaccines didn’t become available in large scales until late spring 2021. I got vaccinated as soon as I could. Only then did I relax on some of the self imposed restrictions. Once the threat of covid faded, I started concentrating on the blood pressure issues.

Now that I am doing physical therapy three times a week, my weight loss has really gone fast. I am now convinced it is not a matter of if I get to go back out on my own, it’s a matter of when now. Everyone I know is amazed by the amount of progress I’ve made in less than six months. Hopefully I can make even more progress in the coming six months. Once my knee and foot pain cleared up, everything changed for the better.

The grocery delivery service, meds by mail, and Amazon service were all godsends for me. They very well may have kept me alive during the covid pandemic. I’m thankful I was able to have regular psych doctor appointments via Zoom calls for the duration of the pandemic. It was a difficult couple of years I will never forget. I think the covid pandemic changed me for the better.

October 9 2022

A lot has changed in the last few weeks since I wrote. I started physical therapy two weeks ago. I have three sessions per week. I can now walk in my apartment without a walker. I can get anywhere in the facility with a wheel chair. I get outside more often now that fall has hit and the weather is cooler. My blood pressure has returned to normal. I’ll probably have to take blood pressure meds for the rest of my life. But blood pressure issues run in my family. My knees and feet don’t hurt anymore. I have to take tylenol every day for my knees but it works. I’m down over 45 pounds since Memorial Day and over 120 pounds overall since covid started. I’m currently at the lowest weight I’ve been since late 2016. I can now walk several minutes with a walker non stop. And I’m the waiting list for a private room. My own personal wheel chair is on back order but if I keep losing weight and improving through therapy, I might not need it for long.

Overall things are going well. I’m doing much better than I was six months ago. I never thought this improvement was possible this fast. Therapy and I both now have the long term goal of getting back out on my own again. Even though I haven’t owned a car for three years, I still have my drivers’ license. I’m glad I kept it current through the pandemic. I had an odd feeling that I might have need for it in the future. And I just might.

After my car accident in 2015 I got really depressed and eating a great deal. Gained a lot of weight. And I’ve already lost most of what I gained after the car accident. That accident spooked me real bad but I’m glad I didn’t give up my drivers’ license. As much as I love using Door Dash to get groceries delivered to my house and I get damn near anything delivered to via Amazon within four days even though I live in a small town, I’m glad I still have my drivers’ license. I was inspired to keep my license by one of my old neighbors who had a drivers’ license for “emergency purposes” even though I never knew him when he owned a car.

Ideally I’d like to end up back in the town I previously lived in. I know that town well, still have several friends there, I love the culture of the town, and I’ve always done well in college towns. I imagine eventually I will end up living in Oklahoma near my brother and his family as my aunts and uncles become elderly. But I’m glad to have a new lease on life. And these are good issues to have. Things have really been improving in the last five to six months. I didn’t expect to improve this fast. I thought I wasn’t going to improve at first.

Last Days of Summer 2022

Summer will be coming to an end in a few days. The leaves are starting to turn yellow. The days are still hot but cooler weather is supposed to hit by the middle of next week. I’m glad that summer is almost over. It’s always been a rough time for my mental health problems. I’m looking forward to Okotberfest, Halloween, Thanksgiving, chilly nights, pumpkin spice in dang near everything, and the whole bit. Fall is one of my favorite times of year. Fall is living proof that change can be beautiful and good.

I’m still losing weight. A wheel chair has been ordered for me. Should be here any day now. Now that I am regaining my mobility and am losing weight, I’m starting to formulate a strategy on how I can get into position to where I can have my own apartment once more. I have made a lot of progress over the summer. I’ve lost over 30 pounds since Memorial Day. My blood pressure has stabilized. I lost enough weight that the doctor had to take me off a couple of my meds because my blood pressure was getting too low. Once I get my own wheelchair, I’ll be a lot more mobile than I am now. I am currently using a wheel chair I’m borrowing from the nursing home. The public transit buses in Kearney are wheel chair accessible, so maybe I could go back to Kearney once I’ve lost some more weight.

One of the reasons I opted to go to a nursing home was I couldn’t get to my doctors’ appointments anymore. I couldn’t walk long distances and I get sensory overload so much I can’t drive safely anymore. But, since some public buses are wheelchair accessible, I might be able to live on my own again and just take the bus everywhere. Hell, I might even be well enough to move out on my own within several months.

Maybe I should have bought my own wheelchair rather than give up my apartment in the first place. But hindsight is always perfect. I really didn’t think I was ever going to get better. It’s amazing how losing weight, regular doctors’ appointments, and getting my blood pressure under control changed everything.

Nearing The End of Summer

Summer is almost over and I’m glad for it. This has always been the roughest time of year for me. I’m looking forward to chilly nights, changing leaves, pumpkin spice in everything, and fall sports. School started a couple weeks ago so it’s feeling more like fall.

My Saturday plans during the fall usually involved staying home and watching football. Today will be no exception. I might even go down to the community tv room and watch the games. I feel like things are starting to come back to life with the change of seasons.

For most of my adult life, I lived in college towns. Those towns were really quiet during the summer, but really came back to life once students returned for fall semester. This is the first time in eighteen years I won’t be in a college town for the fall. It’s bittersweet. I’m where I know I need to be to get healthier. But I do miss the activities of college towns, whether it’s concerts at the local dive bars, ball games on the weekends, cultural events on campus, or just running into college students during my overnight trips to Wal Mart or the 24 hour grocery store in town. I miss those activities already.

My blood pressure is back to normal and I’m losing an average of 8 to 10 pounds per month since I moved here. I’ve lost over 100 pounds in the last 2 and a half years. Eventually I would love to get back to my old college weight. I can walk short distances again, even if it is slow. Most of the pain in my knees is gone. I haven’t had pain in my feet in weeks. I’m starting to need less sleep. Last night slept from 11pm to 6:30 am. My sleep patterns are starting to improve. I used to need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night.

Overall I’m feeling much better than I felt this spring. I’m glad to be back on the right track.

August 27 2022 Updates

My knee pain is starting to clear up. I’m on a couple medications for it. Seems like it’s taking effect. I get out of my apartment at least a couple times a day anymore. It was just getting too discouraging to spend all my time at home.

My blood pressure has been stable for weeks now. I think I’m still losing weight. Some of my smaller clothes are starting to fit again. Tried on a couple of my hoodies a few days ago and they fit perfect now. Weather will start cooling off in a couple weeks so I have those ready.

Haven’t heard much from friends lately. Everyone is busy with work, family, chores, etc. Found out my friend in Denver is promoting her arts and crafts again. Won’t be too long before Christmas. I’ve bought a couple of her knitted hats in the past.

I just feel chilly most of the time lately. I imagine the blood pressure medications have changed my circulation. Rarely do I ever sit down without a blanket over my legs and feet. My joints feel worse when they are cold. My knees also ache whenever the weather changes drastically. We had a hail storm a week and a half ago. My knees were really acting up that day.

Still listening to audiobooks. Decided I’m going through Asimov’s Foundation series. I’m halfway through the first book so far. I like to listen to it while I play Civilization: Beyond Earth. That game is about setting up colonies on another planet. It’s certainly a science fiction game.

I’m thinking about hooking up my Play Station soon. I imagine as the days are getting shorter and start getting cooler, I’ll want to spend more time at home and less socializing. I still get around really well in a wheel chair. I usually make a few laps in the hallways every morning just to keep my arm strength up. Just because my knees went bad doesn’t mean my arms have to.

Haven’t seen my family since early July. I did get a good visit from an old college friend about a month ago. He bought me some updates to my Civilization game. Been playing that a great deal since. Having activities, even if it’s computer games, help the time pass on long days.

I’m looking forward to the fall. Fall is my second favorite season behind spring. I love the longer nights, the cooler nights, the changing leaves, the harvest, and the variety of sports during the fall.

June 22 2022

Been in my current place for two weeks now. Had a roommate move in after a few days. We now have our own wheel chairs, so I’m getting out more often. Spent some time outside today in the flower garden at the entrance. I still can’t walk very well. I can do well enough to get into the wheel chair and get to the bathroom. My food intake is a lot less than it was previously. That alone means I’m probably losing weight. I think covid is making a bit of a comeback as I’ve been tested twice just in the last week.

The food is alright. Most of it seems homemade and we have quite a variety. I’m not doing physical therapy. With as shot as my legs are, I probably won’t make much progress in terms of walking until and unless I lose a lot more weight.

Most nights I sleep alright. Didn’t sleep well last night. My roommate accidently left his tv on overnight. Listened to more infomercials than I cared to.

Currently in my wheel chair. I’m going to try to stay in my wheel chair until bed time. Most nights I’m asleep by 10pm and up for good around 6am. I have meds twice a day, usually with breakfast and supper.

I played some cards earlier in my stay here. I shower twice a week and shave twice a week too. I think my beard days are behind me. Mentally have been pretty stable, more so than when I was living alone. I play lots of computer games and listen to lots of audio books in my free time. Since I don’t have to go to physical therapy, I have more free time than I’m used to. I haven’t eaten restaurant food or had soda pop in over a month. I certainly could go for a double cheeseburger and a Coke sometime soon.

I won’t be having visitors until around the Fourth of July holiday. I hope they bring some treats. Since I moved into long term care, I’ve been eating more balanced meals, more vegetables, and some more sweets. My roommate’s wife brings him candy bars and diet soda occasionally. I don’t have anyone within an hour’s drive to come visit me. I think the nearest Pizza Hut to my facility is a twenty minute drive. I definately live in a small town again. So small it’s eerie quiet and dark at night.

Going To Long Term Care and Reflections on Life Since 2006

Tonight is my last night in swing bed. I move to my permanent place in long term care tomorrow. My parents and my cleaning lady are emptying out my apartment today. It is a bittersweet end of one chapter in my life and the start of another. At this point in my life, I can no longer manage both my physical and mental health problems all alone anymore. I gave it an honest shot for over eighteen years. I had lived in my previous apartment for sixteen years. Worked a variety of jobs, started my blog, made lots of new friends, had three grandparents, three uncles, and a favorite cousin die, had several really good friends die, lost most of my mobility, survived a car crash, went through two years of the covid pandemic without getting sick, saw my best friend from college get married and become a dad, and saw my three nephews and niece grow up. While I am sad that my physical health has fallen apart so fast, I am confident I am now where I need to be.

In my sixteen years in my previous apartment, I went to the mental health hospital twice. I applied for and got on social security disability insurance. I worked for four years as a janitor at the county courthouse. I started this blog and have continued it on a regular basis for nine years. I became a published writer by having several poems published in a couple literary magazines. I learned about the joys of home grocery delivery. I found out that youtube is a wealth of knowledge if one knows how to properly look. I learned more history, philosophy, economics, science, etc. in several years of binge watching youtube than I did in my formal education. I saw several cousins get married and become parents. I had DNA tests to determine what psych meds would be best for me with great success. I saw the rise of the smart phone. I saw the world completely transform during a pandemic. I went from a young to a middle aged man. I saw three college classmates die young. I saw my parents retire and move out of their house of over thirty five years to be closer to their grandkids. I saw private space flight become a normal thing. I saw the first Black man become president of the United States. I saw the first woman become vice president. I saw a new pope elected. I saw same sex marriages legalized. I saw the beginnings of legalized marijuana. I saw the Arab Spring. I saw Brexit. I saw the beginnings of driverless cars. I saw electric cars become mainstream. I saw people my age and younger become leaders in politics, science, and industry. I saw some people my age become grandparents. I saw the internet go from a luxury to a necessity. I saw China become a world power again. I saw a renewed appreciation for democracy, especially after the war in Ukraine started and several years of choaotic politics in USA and Europe. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the sixteen years I lived in my last apartment. Heck, I don’t even recognize the world of 2006 anymore. Hope I can get to live another sixteen years to see what changes happen then. Now that I’m in long term care and have around the clock medical care, my chances of seeing the next sixteen years are improving.

Moving to Long Term Care. Changes in A Life Of Mental Illness

It’s been a long while since I last wrote. Updates are in order. Two weeks ago I called the ambulance as I was having issues with foot pain and blood pressure. In those two weeks, I got my blood pressure back under control, had over 20 pounds of excess fluids pulled out, and decided to move to a Long Term Care facility in my home state of Nebraska. After almost 18 years of living on my own, I can no longer manage my mental illness issues and physical health problems at the same time.

I am currently in swing bed in a hospital in a small town in Nebraska. I should be able to move to my permanent long term care unit (in the same town) by Wednesday June 8th. My foot pain has mostly cleared up. My blood pressure is back to normal. I am not diabetic. All my blood numbers are in safe ranges. But I can no longer manage physical health and mental health at the same time. I can no longer live on my own. I came to the conclusion I need more help than I was getting at my previous home.

My parents and my cleaning lady will start clearing out my old apartment probably on Tuesday. I decided I’m donating most of my books to the complex library. Give them more variety than romance, western, and crime dramas. I lived there almost exactly sixteen years. It feels surreal to be moving. But it needs to be done. I just can’t take care of all my issues on my own anymore.

I will be living on a ground floor, have access to a wheel chair, and the staff will cook my meals, handle my medications, and do my laundry and cleaning. It’s been a crazy last two weeks, that’s for sure. But these changes were needed. I should have moved into long term care last fall when I had my blood pressure issues. But, with covid still raging hard, I guess all of that got lost in the shuffle.

Why I Spend Most Of My Time Alone

It’s been two weeks since I left my apartment for something other than picking up deliveries. When I was out and about two weeks ago, I was reminded why I isolate so much. Had a conversation with a guy who went on and on about conspiracy theories. Dude wouldn’t shut up. So, to make it interesting, I played along and acted like I believed similar nonsense. It was both annoying and amusing at the same time. Another guy asked me why I spent so much time alone. I just told him I love to read and watch educational videos. And he was all like, “Why? You don’t get paid for it.” I wanted to say, but didn’t, “I don’t get paid to eat and sleep either but I still do both.” Some people are so willfully clueless it’s scary. And I also ran into the random lady who went on and on about religious rock music. I’ve heard some of the newer stuff. It’s not going to make me forget “Amazing Grace”, “Old Rugged Cross”, or “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

After a day like that, I had enough of being among people. I do get lonely at times. I’ve been quite lonely the last several days. But I’d rather be lonely than irritated.