October 22 2021

I’ve been back at home for a week. In that time, I signed up for home health services. I have physical therapy at least two days per week and a home health nurse come in and check in on me a couple times a week too. I sleep a lot. Most nights I’m in bed shortly after sunset. I sleep most of the night except to go to the bathroom a couple times a night. I usually awake for good shortly before sunrise.

I have to take blood pressure meds three times a day. I still take my psych meds every night before bed. Sometimes the coming and going of nurses and therapists can be close to overwhelming. But it hasn’t gotten the best of me, at least not yet. I haven’t had any real serious bouts of depression, anxiety, or irritability since I came back home.

The weather is getting colder. Most nights it gets around freezing point. The leaves have turned and the harvest is going full effect. It is defineately autumn.

To keep myself occupied, I listen to audiobooks while I play computer games. I do exercises every day in accordance with my rehab. My strength and balance are good but I need to rebuild my endurance. I do use a walker when I am outside of my apartment. Part of my rehab is doing walking in the hallway. I also do a lot of standing leg exercises to increase endurance and balance. I still have to hold onto a walker when I stand on only one leg.

Continued to lose weight when I was in the hospital. Overall I am down over 80 pounds in the last two years. I hope that now I am more mobile I can continue the weight loss.

October 15 2021

Today might be just another Friday to most people. For me, today is the day I get to return to my apartment. I’m anxiously looking forward to eating my own cooking and sleeping in my own bed once more. I’ve been sleeping a lot these last three weeks. Of course I haven’t had much for caffeine since I went to the hospital. As it is, I’m on a few blood pressure meds and will be for life. But blood pressure issues run in my family.

I’m looking forward to getting back to my old routine. I’m currently at a small facility for physical rehab a couple hours drive from my hometown. Right now I’m just waiting on my ride to arrive. My parents are coming from out of state to help me get back home and get reestablished. They probably won’t be here until early afternoon. But, it’s good to be back. Three weeks ago I wasn’t sure I could even live on my own again. After three weeks of intense treatments and rehab, I’m ready to live alone again. I’ll still have my cleaning lady arrive every week. My neighbors will still help with laundry. And I still have at least a few places in my town that will do same day grocery delivery. It’s going alright.

Update On My Serious Health Scare

It is Sunday October 10 2021 as I write this. My blood pressure is back under control thanks to a few blood pressure medications. I’ve been doing physical rehab for over a week. It’s looking like I will be able to go back home within a few days. I can get around in my hospital room without a walker. As part of my physical rehab, I’ve been outside several times in the last week. The weather is turning cooler the deeper into fall we go. Looks like my town might get it’s first frost by the end of this week.

I was retaining a lot of fluid. In the almost three weeks I’ve been in the hospital, I’ve lost 40 pounds in fluids. That was in addition to the 40 pounds I had already lost during the pandemic. Overall, I’m down over 80 pounds in less than two years. I still have a long way to go, but I’m off to a good start. I eventually want to be at my old college weight. It’ll take at least another three years.

The biggest thing I missed over the last three weeks was my own cooking. I’m probably going to cook some grilled pork and cheese soup for my first meal out in the world again. I’ll be ready for this ordeal to end. Haven’t slept in my own bed in almost three weeks.

Serious Health Scare

On September 21, 2021 I called an ambulance to take me to the hospital. I was having real bad shortness of breath and pain in my thighs. I was diagnosed with severe high blood pressure. I also had lots of fluids build up in my body, even around my heart and lungs. I spent ten days in the hospital trying blood pressure medications and drawing off fluids. In the ten days I was in my local hospital, I lost almost 30 pounds (around 12 kilograms) of fluids. My clothes fit so much better. After several days in hospital, we found a combination of blood pressure meds that brought my blood pressure to normal. I’m currently in physical therapy for at least the next two weeks. I’m building back my strength to see if I can go back to independent living or if I have to go to assisted living.

At first I wasn’t sure I could go back to independent living. After several days of progress I’m thinking that independent living is not only possible, but perhaps even probable. I can get around pretty well in my hospital room with just a walker. I’m still rebuilding my strength and getting used to the new blood pressure meds. I am hoping I can go back to independent living. I forgot how much I was missing not having to deal with pains and shortness of breath.

I did not have a heart attack or stroke. But the doctors said with my numbers I came close. I’m glad I got the help I did.

Got weighed this morning. Overall I am down at least 70 pounds since the pandemic started. I knew I was losing weight just by how my clothes felt. The big things I did were give up bread, sugar, sweets, and rarely drank soda pop. Most of what I eat are baked and grilled meats, vegetables, and soup. I’m glad I kept lifting weights and watching what I ate during the whole pandemic mess.

Beginning of Fall 2021

I’ve been having problems with insomnia lately. I fall asleep but usually stay asleep for only 30 minutes at a time. I usually get my best sleep between 7am and 11am these days. I still go to bed around 9pm most nights. But I usually lie awake for a couple hours before I drift off for the first time.

As far as I know, our complex is still on lock downs. I usually make a point of not talking to people much, at least in person. Most people I know are really on edge. I am too. Just saw in the news that the official death toll from covid in the US is now higher than the Spanish Flu of 100 years ago. Naturally, some people will say that Spanish Flu was a totally different virus and that the US has over three times as many people as we did in 1918. To me, this is a heartless and ugly attitude to have. I’m through with arguing about mask mandates and vaccines and social distancing. I’m convinced some people will never get the idea even if they themselves wind up dead. I’ve had to cut a lot of people out of my life because of toxic and heartless attitudes like this. I’m glad my grandparents aren’t alive to see this mass insanity.

September 18 2021

Last weekend of summer is officially here. I turned on my furnace for the first time a few days ago. It get chilly at night now. Corn harvest is beginning. It will be in full effect in a week or two.

Been having more aches and pains these last few days. Probably the constant change in weather. I’ve noticed I’ve been eating less the last few weeks. My clothes are looser now and I am a lot more flexible than even last spring. I’ve been having issues with bad sleep. I’ll fall asleep but won’t stay asleep for long. I usually get my best sleep now after 5 am. For most of the summer I woke at sunrise. I no longer keep a clock in my home as I have my phone, computer, and game console for that.

I like fall. It’s my second favorite season behind spring. I love being able to climb out of bed on Saturdays and catch college football games all day. Baseball playoffs will be starting in a couple weeks. Basketball and Hockey will be starting soon. I’m glad baseball season was able to go with fewer problems from covid than I thought. I still remember last year when most games were played in empty arenas. It not only wasn’t the same, it was eerie. So glad I got vaccinated a few months ago. I got the Johnson and Johnson one shot and done deal.

Been having issues with congestion in my lungs and throat. The throat congestion clears with a sip or two of apple cider vinegar. I usually mix it with a cup of water as it has a very strong bad taste and can be rough on my stomach. I think apple cider vinegar helps with lots of things, but I certainly don’t recommend it without a cup of water or tea. I still have my senses of taste and smell. When I do cough, I cough up gunk and not dry coughs. So I doubt it’s covid. Besides, the congestion, aches, and insomnia are the only issues I’ve had lately.

When I do have guests, I wear a face mask. The only regular guest I have is my cleaning lady once a week. It feels good to get my place scrubbed down and she doesn’t mind my conversation. While she works, I usually read science and news journals. I’m particularly fond of the free versions of the Washington Post, Financial Times, and FutureTimeline.net

Looks like another summer has come and passed. I’m ready for some autumn again..

The Only Constant Is Change

When I was young I was a high achiever. Did really well in school, was involved in school activities year round. Started helping out on my uncle’s farm during the summers when I was ten years old. Had a really good academic scholarship cover a good chunk of my college expenses. Graduated college debt free. May not have been overly popular but had excellent friends anyway.

But, the mental illness really ramped up shortly in the mid 2000s. The illness made it impossible to hold a job for long. Lost many of my friends and family. Had to go on disability. Have to take meds for the rest of my life. Will probably have a shorter life because of the illness. But it doesn’t bother me as much anymore, certainly not like fifteen years ago.

I’ve accepted that my career died before it got started. I’ve accepted that I’ll never have kids. I’m alright with that I’ll never have the big house, picket fence, SUV, and apple pie kind of life. I’ve accepted that I had question everything I took for granted in my youth. I’m even starting to accept that the pandemic isn’t going to end anytime soon.

In some ways I’m glad I have the life I do. I’m glad that I get to spend most of my days reading, writing, and learning things that most people simply don’t have the time for. I spend at least six hours a day reading online articles and journals. Spend a lot of time listening to science, economics, history, and philosophy talks on youtube. It’s almost like being a modern day monk.

I would say I accepted living in poverty, but let’s face it: even living below poverty level in modern America puts me ahead of most people alive today, let alone the past. Will Rodgers was right when he said America would be the first country in the world to go to the poor house in an automobile. Don’t even need to own said automobile anymore as long as you have a smartphone and an Uber account. Sold my car two years ago and my lifestyle hasn’t decreased at all. If anything, I feel less stress because I don’t have to worry about traffic, gas, and maintenance. Things like portable computers were science fiction when I growing up in the 1980s.

I think we tend to overestimate how much can change in only a year or two but vastly underestimate how much can change in ten to twenty years. Just looking in the living room of my apartment, most of the electronics didn’t exist in 2001. I don’t think even LED lighting was available back then. Even my memory foam mattress and shoes came about within the last twenty years I think. I don’t even subscribe to cable tv anymore. Can get all the tv I need on my laptop and game console. If only I didn’t have to buy a new phone or laptop every few years. Even in the movies and tv shows I watched in college in the early 2000s, I chuckle about some of the tech in those shows. Phone booths, land lines, and flip phones were extensively used even in The Matrix movies. Even today, we have many of the tech advances of the Star Trek series. We’re still not close to cracking Warp Drive though. But, what is a 3D printer if not an early version of a Replicator?

I will probably never have much money. But I really don’t need to. Certainly not like I would have 25 years ago. A person doesn’t really need much money anymore if they can stay out of debt. Granted that is a huge task. Housing, health care, and education have increased in cost far faster than inflation. But, even education can be real cheap if you play your cards right. There isn’t much I can’t learn with a few minutes of Google search or a few how to videos on youtube. And trade schools and community colleges don’t cost nearly as much as even public universities. I’ve heard of electricians and plumbers making more than even lawyers. In short, there are more options than even twenty years ago. If only people could stop fighting on social media.

August 31 2021

Another month is about to pass. Invited one of my neighbors over yesterday afternoon. He helped me with my laundry and mail, for which I paid him. Found out one of our mutual friends in the complex caught covid and is now quarantining off site for the next several days. Glad I still have a box of facemasks and disinfectant sprays. I have enough food and supplies I can stay home for several days if needed.

Saw that the ban on evictions is up. So glad I was able to keep up on rent throughout this ordeal. I know at least a few people who weren’t so fortunate. This thing got uglier than most people thought back in March 2020. People will be studying these times hundreds of years from now.

Looks like the weather will start cooling off soon. Usually things cool off for good in my home state by mid September. We usually have our first frost in early October and our first real snow by mid November.

Hallucinations And Paranoia With Schizophrenia

One of the primary symptoms of schizophrenia is hallucinations. In my case I have auditory hallucinations. I often hear people walking and talking in the hallways who aren’t there. I often hear my phone ring when it isn’t. It’s especially bad when I’m away from my phone in the bathroom or in the bedroom trying to take a nap. I often hear my Facebook Messenger ap chime only to find it was only hallucinations. I often have voices criticizing me when I’m trying to do even mundane tasks like cooking supper, doing laundry, getting dressed, and even when playing computer games and watching Amazon Prime. And it’s always the voices of people I know and they are always very critical and nasty.

As far as paranoia goes, it’s often bad. I always feel like I’m being watched when I am in public. I always feel like when something goes wrong when I have company (things like my internet going down, my computer being slower than usual, neighbors knocking on my door, having too much clutter on my desk and bedroom floor, or even having to get up to go to the bathroom) I’m being silently condemned and criticized. I’ve called my family out on this a few times. Even though they try their best to tell me that they mean no harm, I usually think they are lying and just get even more paranoid. I’m also paranoid that my call box that opens the security door to let delivery men isn’t going to work. I’m usually ready to go to my neighbor’s and have them open the security door. This has been especially bad for over two years as I’m completely reliant on grocery and UPS delivery.

I rarely leave my apartment for I fear that I’m being watched and condemned. I often lose my breath after walking long distances. And people making comments about me breathing hard makes me not want to leave my home. Then I get people telling me I wouldn’t be so short of breath if I got out of the house more often. I catch hell either way anymore.

I’m also really self conscious about my appearance. But, I’m also paranoid enough to think that no matter how good I am dressed up and presentable, it won’t be good enough for anybody. What’s the point of doing anything beyond minimum if it’s never going to be good enough for anyone? People were really critical of my appearance even back in grade school no matter how dressed up and cleaned up I was. I had one general practice doctor who wanted to take me off all of my psych meds because he thought the psych meds were preventing me from losing weight and that I’d be doing so much better mentally if I lost weight. Never mind that I’ve had mental health issues since high school and was physically strong well into my late 30s. Until my car accident in 2015 I’d walk three miles a day, five days a week. Can’t do that anymore. Another doctor flat out told me, and I quote, “Lose the damn weight.” First, last, and only time I saw him.

The whole, get tough, man up, scream in my face, Alpha Male, Marine Corp, hell fire and brimstone, cowboy nonsense never worked with me. It also never impressed me. I guess that makes me less manly, depending on who you ask. I suppose that after twenty plus years of schizophrenia I just no longer want to be bothered with it. Some days I feel a lot older than 41. I have no clue how I made it even this far. I really no longer care if I impress anyone, even friends and family. I’ll do the minimum to keep my neighbors, my landlord, social security, etc. happy and off my case. But I’m no longer going out of my way to impress anyone. It’s not like I was impressing anyone when I was in my teens and twenties anyway. I’m glad I’m not young anymore and can more or less do my own thing as long as I’m not being a jerk to my neighbors or breaking the law. I’m enjoying my 40s far more than I did my teens. As bad as the hallucinations and paranoias are now, they were far worse in my twenties. There are far worse things in life than being on disability and living in low income housing in rural America. Even the last couple years with the pandemic, I have a legit excuse to not leave my house and not get hassled.

Nostalgia and Regrets, Or Lack Of

One of my best friends from college died from cancer a few days ago. She was only a couple years older than I and had two teenage kids. I used to play trivia games all the time and she was one of the few who could actually beat me on our campus. After a couple years, she was the only one who would even play against me. Even though I hadn’t seen her in several years, I will always miss her. Easy socializing with people of similar interests is one of the things I miss about not being young anymore.

I’ve been thinking back on my younger years more than usual lately. I’m normally not nostalgic as I think nostalgia glosses over the bad parts of our past, overlooks what is going on that is good today, and leaves no vision for the future. Maybe it’s the time of year when school is back in session and my hometown, home to a small state university of about 8,000 students, comes back to life. Maybe it’s that after over a year and a half of pandemic and the end of two decades of war in the Middle East (at least for my country), I have found myself reflecting on how we got to the point in August 2021 were we currently reside.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I understand why so many people are nostalgic. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have the health they had in their late teens coupled with the knowledge they have in their elder years? But, health is wasted on the young and inexperienced and wisdom and wealth are wasted on the elderly, frail, and cynical. I just hope I never find myself complaining about the younger generations and fantasizing about a past that never existed anywhere outside of my own mind.

I do have a few regrets about my younger years. Most of them are minor, but the big one I have is that I didn’t do more to care for my physical health while I was fighting my mental illness in my twenties. I don’t regret the road trips, the books read, the college degree earned, the dead end jobs abandoned, the toxic people I gave up on, the failed romances, not having gotten married, not having kids, the activities participated in, etc. I certainly don’t regret having survived to middle age with a serious mental illness. I don’t regret trying to make something good out of a bad situation. I don’t regret being involved in many activities in high school and college. I don’t regret the friends I’ve kept over the decades. I don’t regret staying on good terms with most of my family even if we don’t chat very often. I don’t regret the women I’ve asked out on dates in high school and college even if I got rejected by all but a few of them. I don’t regret going a year and a half into a worldwide pandemic without getting sick and spending most of my time isolated. I don’t even regret selling my car and giving up driving. I always thought driving was overrated anyway. The only reason I learned to drive is that my country has had garbage for public transit my entire life.

I don’t regret not socializing with toxic people. I don’t regret cutting rude people out of my life. I don’t regret giving up on my minimum wage career. I don’t regret not letting other people determine what I think of myself. I don’t regret having unpopular opinions. And I certainly don’t regret spotting trends years before most people I know. I guess I’m not as nostalgic as most people my age and older because I have fewer regrets. Sure it meant lots of heat aches, humiliation, failed jobs, being betrayed, and knowing I’ll never be prestigious, rich, or even a respected member of my community. But it was worth it to become the man I am today.