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.

Things I Learned In The Adult World I Wish I Learned In School

With graduation being only a few weeks away, I thought I’d compose a list of things that I learned as an adult that would have made my life easier had I learned them while in grade school and high school. Here goes:

How to invest in the stock market

How compounding interest works

How to have an argument without resorting to insults and violence

Sometimes being “just good friends” is better than a romantic relationship

How to spot biases in news stories and journal articles

How to really listen to people

How to convince people of the validity of my ideas (Hint: facts and statistics almost never work)

I wish I paid more attention in junior high home economics

I wish I paid more attention in shop class

No one is going to ask to see your grades unless you’re trying to get into grad school, law school, medical school, etc.

Things change

Take care of your knees

The only language some people understand is force

There are truly wealthy people who dress in Wal Mart clothing and drive Dodge Ram pickup trucks

There are lots of people living paycheck to paycheck who drive BMW and wear Louis Votton

If you are wrong, apologize and move on. Don’t keep bringing it up.

It is possible to pay too much attention to a love interest. What you call being attentive, they may call being clingy.

Adults don’t know everything. They are just better at bluffing.

Having a job isn’t as bad as your parents and 7th grade teacher told you it was

You probably aren’t being judged as much as you think. Most people are too busy with their own lives to notice.

Eye witness testimony isn’t always reliable.

Sometimes bad people really do get what they deserve.

Some of the most admired people are sometimes the worst human beings in private

You can have just as good a time with pizza and cheap malt liquor as you can champagne and caviar.

You can have an even better time at your nephew’s sixth birthday party then you can any frat party.

No, it doesn’t make sense that a wedding takes a year to plan but a funeral can be planned in less than a week. But it doesn’t matter. Roll with it

It is impossible to predict human stupidity

Most people don’t read books or even newspapers after leaving school

Most people can get through life hap hazardly. But it won’t be a life that makes a difference to even your friends, family, and coworkers

Some people are better off not marrying

Some people are better off not having kids

Some people are better off not working a traditional 40 hour a week job

First impressions do matter but aren’t always accurate

Being a liar and a hypocrite works only when most people aren’t liars and hypocrites.

And, most people aren’t liars and hypocrites.

I have more in common with the working class of rival nations and religions than I do my political leaders and business tycoons

Life is a competition and a game, but in the end it all goes back in the box.

Money in itself isn’t evil but can be easily abused.

Poverty in itself isn’t virtuous.

Long hours and obsessive commitment won’t insure riches. They are the bare minimum.

You can be rich in money but poor in free time.

The graveyards of the world are full of people who could never imagine the world without them.

There will always be people who fight against progress.

The past was a real lousy place for anyone who wasn’t rich or in the religious or cultural majority.

Progress isn’t guarenteed

Machines and robots will eventually take most jobs

Time speeds up with age

March 16 2022

Feeling pretty decent the last few days. My joints are hurting less. Haven’t had to take any advil for a few days. I still spend most of my time at home. I read and watch educational videos most days. Renewed my Netflix several weeks ago. I often watch Spanish language shows with English subtitles. I think some of my Spanish is starting to come back.

I sleep half of the night in my recliner and the other half in my bed. Half of the time in bed, I lay on my sides. First time I’ve done that in a few years. I almost rolled out of bed a few days ago. I’ve lost enough fat that sleeping on my sides is easier now. I’m not sure how much weight I’ve lost since the pandemic started. I know it’s at least 80 pounds as that is where I was during my last doctor’s appointment back in October. I don’t have any immediate goals for health and weight loss other than I eventually want to get back to my old college weight. That will take at least a couple more years.

Yet the weight loss doesn’t feel like drudge work. The biggest changes I made were giving up bread, sugar, fried food, and most fast food. I haven’t bought bread in over two years. Haven’t had even a Big Mac in almost five years. Most fast food is too greasy and salty for me anymore. Upsets my stomach too. Most of my diet is now grilled and baked chicken, pork, vegetables, and soups. It’s easier, at least for me, to cook healthier meals now than even five years ago. It also helps that I’m cooking only for myself as I live alone.

Even though my aches and pains are reducing, my mobility hasn’t come back as quick as I would like. So, my family and I hired someone to help me with my laundry on the weekends. I just provide the coins and laundry soap, she supplies the labor. Even though my mobility is all but gone, I’m glad to be getting help around my house. Makes me glad I was helpful to others in my younger days when I was still quite healthy. See, kids, it pays to not be a jerk to people.

Don’t have any real plans for St. Patrick’s Day even though I’m 20 percent Irish. I’m just glad that winter is about over.

Mid Winter Routines With Schizophrenia

Gone back to more normal sleep routines. I’m having very few aches and pains lately. I still have issues standing for more than five minutes at a time. So glad for home grocery delivery.

I’ve been more stable this week than the last couple. Most days I have only one or two flare ups. These aren’t as intense and short lived. Haven’t had much of an appetite for the last few weeks. Some days I eat only once. I rarely eat more than twice daily.

My parents are coming up this weekend. I’m getting a new mattress and microwave for late Christmas. I swear they don’t make furniture and appliances as sturdy as they used to. I haven’t had much for visitors all winter.

I’m pretty content to stay close to home these days. I don’t have to go shopping as I get everything delivered. I don’t even have a car anymore. I get sensory overload too easily anymore. It’s gotten worse the older I’ve gotten. I can’t even sit through a whole movie on Amazon Prime anymore because of too much to take in. I usually have to break it into three or four separate sessions.

Going to have maintanence come in sometime tomorrow. My intercom no longer works. It seems the older I get, the more people take my requests and issues seriously. I don’t know why my issues become more important just because I have some gray in my beard now. Any wonder why I refuse to be nostalgic? I remember how bad being a young adult could suck. I always will.

December 12 2021

Started lifting weights again a few weeks ago. I’m starting to notice a difference. I’m taking vitamin C and fish oil suppliments. Still fighting off a cold but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was last week. I can stand for longer periods of time without pains. It’s easier to do chores around my apartment than even three months ago.

Changed up my diet some. I’m eating more burritos these days. I hadn’t been getting much for fiber in my high protein diet lately. I was needing a change as I was getting tired of the same routine every day. I’m going to go easy on restaurant delivery. That stuff is getting expensive, like everything else.

Sleeping in my recliner for the time being. My cpap machine finally broke down and I’ve been having chronic stiffness in my legs most mornings. I’m currently trying to get my machine replaced. But I’ll probably have to sleep in the recliner for at least the next few days until I can get a replacement.

Haven’t had bad flare ups of my mental illness in months. I’ve had a few minor ones and sometimes get kind of irritable. I’ve been stable for the most part this year. I see my psych doctor every two months via teleconference. I still spend most of my time alone. I still contact friends and family on a daily basis. But a lot of people are on edge lately, more so than usual. I just try to avoid the drama. Kind of sad it feels like I’m hiding out. But what’s the point of socializing with people who are going to make you feel bad? I no longer have time or patience for drama and nonsense.

Listen to audiobooks at least one hour a day. I’m getting close to finishing a couple of my recent purchases. For some odd reason, it’s just easier for me to focus on audiobooks than traditional books anymore. This wasn’t the case until a couple years ago.

I still do computer games some every day. I love the Civilization and Total War series of games. I’m also spending some time on Cyberpunk 2077 and Skyrim on my PS5. I still can’t believe my brother found that console. There are still shortages from what I’ve heard.

My clothes are fitting really loose these days. I’ve even had cases where I get snagged on dresser handles and door latches because of how much more loose my clothing now is. I have simple tastes as I prefer t shirts and sweat pants. I like hoodies but don’t wear them unless I’m outside as I’m more sensitive to heat than most people. Colder weather doesn’t really bother me, at least not as long as I have central heating, fleece blankets, and hot coffee. I’m going to start saving my money so I can buy new shirts and sweat pants. The ones I have right now are getting real loose. I know I have lost at least 80 pounds between December 2019 and October 2021. If the way my clothing fits is any indication, I’ve lost some more since October.

Christmas is coming in a couple weeks. The big thing I want this year is a new microwave. The PS5 was my blockbuster gift last year. As much as I appreciate my brother being able to find it, I appreciate spending time with family and friends even more. Christmas is more about spending time with family and celebrating the birth of Jesus anymore. Even though I haven’t regularly attended church services in several years, I think there is a great value to things like spirituality, community, and just treating other people with kindness and empathy. There will probably always be aspects of the cosmos and human experience that can’t be explained by even the best science.

In spite staying close to home and keeping physical contact with people to a minimum, I’m doing alright both mentally and physically. 2021 has been better for me than 2020, even with spending three weeks in the hospital. That time in the hospital allowed me to address health issues I neglected previously.

Nearing The End of 2021

2021 will be fading into 2022 in a few weeks. It’s been a year of changes and challenges for myself. I spent three weeks in the hospital for blood pressure and heart problems. Will be on meds for these for the rest of my life. I’m continuing to lose weight. Most of my clothes fit loose enough on me now that I may have to buy a whole new wardrobe if the weight loss continues. Several of my neighbors have moved away. I don’t even recognize many of the newer faces in my complex. I haven’t driven a car in over 2 years. I just don’t trust myself on the road anymore. I get sensory overload even in my own apartment now. I more or less quit socializing with my neighbors with a few exceptions. I just don’t have much in common with my neighbors. I guess I’m content to keep to myself with my books and hobbies. I no longer have a stomach for drama and pettiness. I’m just too tired for that anymore.

Been warmer and drier than normal the last few weeks. Seems like every day I hear firetrucks going out to range fires. We’re supposed to get some snow by the end of the week. We’ll see about that. We certainly need it.

My sleep patterns are returning to more normal. I usually go to bed around 10pm and wake up for good by 6am. I’m experiencing less severe aches and stiffness in the mornings. I still have odd dreams, but they aren’t scary. Just odd.

Using audiobooks a lot lately. Probably use those 2 to 3 hours per day. Still working the Ray Dalio one that came out last week. Have some Yuval Harrari and Parag Khana going right now too. I don’t know why, I just prefer non fiction to fiction. I always have. I never did get into science fiction even though I think I would have loved Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series had I discovered it in my youth as opposed to my late thirties. The science fiction I grew up on were stories like Terminator, Matrix, and Judge Dread. Basically really lousy futures that aren’t worth living in. I had enough drama and horror in my own personal life, I didn’t need horror and drama as an escape. Hell, I needed an escape from the horror and drama of real life. I have actually never bought a comic book.

Canceled my cable service several months ago. I don’t miss it one bit. I don’t even watch ballgames much anymore. Just seems pointless and I no longer enjoy it. And I haven’t watched cable news in over ten years. How is cable news still a thing? Most of what I watch anymore is youtube and Amazon Prime. I don’t even have Netflix anymore. I used to follow the Castlevania, Borgia, and Altered Carbon series. But I guess I just have a lot of reading I want to catch up on these days. I find learning fun. That makes me weird, I know. Maybe I just went to a good school in that they didn’t beat the love of learning out of me. I think it helped that I had parents who always kept books in our house and I was walking distance to the local library. When I was a kid, I wanted to buy that library, work in their full time, and just live in the basement. That was one of my aspirations as a kid. Another was to be rich enough that me and my friends could play Monopoly with real money. But isn’t being a real estate tycoon Monopoly in real life?

Changes in Sleep Patterns

I haven’t been sleeping much lately. Yet it doesn’t seem to be effecting my mental health much. I usually go to sleep around 11pm, wake at 3am, stay up for a few hours, and then sleep from 6am to 9am. Far cry from the 12 hours a day I was sleeping just a month ago.

We’re having apartment inspections this week. I’m not really worried but I will be glad to have them done. I usually stay close to home. It’s starting to get kind of boring. But I’m still slightly afraid to socialize. Seems like many people are just irritable and on edge most of the time anymore.

Saw my home health nurse on Friday afternoon. I usually see her once a week. I have a Zoom call with my doctor in two weeks. The blood pressure is still borderline high. So I’ll be on these meds for the rest of my life. Perhaps the blood pressure meds have the side effect of making me want to sleep less.

Been kind of restless lately, especially in the middle of the night. Lying in bed while my mind races in the middle of the night is a new normal for me. I used to fall asleep real easily. Not anymore. Having weird dreams too. They aren’t scary, they’re just odd and make no sense.

November 6 2021

Been back home for three weeks. Things have returned to normal. I’m used to the new medication routines. I’m used to having home health drop in on me a couple times a week. I’m used to hearing neighbors in my hallway again. I contact my family several times a week. I usually call my parents in the late mornings and my friends in the evenings. Sometimes my friend in Denver with Facebook Messenger me when she has down time at her job. I cancelled my cable several months ago. I’m not missing it that much. It was, more or less, another bill to pay for something I didn’t use enough to justify having.

My aches and pains depend on the day. I still get bad knee pains when the weather is about to change. But it’s nowhere near as bad as it was a few months ago. I don’t get the pain in my thighs anymore, just my knees. The worst is still getting out of bed in the mornings. I’m usually good after standing, walking a little, sitting down for a few minutes, and then standing again. I understand why stretching is so important, especially the older I get.

I don’t have as much of an appetite anymore. I don’t eat as much as I used to in one sitting. What I used to eat for lunch, I’ll now eat two thirds of and then eat on the rest throughout the rest of the day. I’m still working on keeping my fluid intake reduced.

My sleep has been kind of odd lately. I’m usually up until 11pm most nights. Wake up around 3am to go to the bathroom. I’ll stay awake until about 5 am and then sleep again until almost 9 am. Time change is this weekend, so I guess that will throw me off as well. But I am glad I no longer sleep 12 hours a day.

November 3 2021

We are well into fall right now. My town had it first’s snow of the season two days ago. I’ve adjusted to my new medication routine. I still occasionally get spikes in blood pressure. I still occasionally have moments of depression and anxiety. Been able to avoid paranoia since I got out of the hospital.

My best friend had covid in October. Had to miss some time from work. She’s recovered now. She said it was one of the worst sicknesses she ever had. I’m due for a booster shot sometime around Christmas.

Had an appointment with my general practice doctor via Zoom last week. The public transit in my town isn’t very easily accessible. So Zoom appointments, grocery delivery, and Amazon Prime are godsends for people like me.

I no longer sleep twelve hours a day. I’m now around 8 hours or so. Most nights I’m up in the middle of the night for a couple hours. I still get stiff and sore, especially in the mornings. That first get out bed and walk to the bathroom is always the worst. After I stood up a couple times, I’m usually pretty good to go. The stiffness comes back if I sit for more than a couple hours at a time.