January 14 2023

I started losing weight again after Christmas. I’m down over ten pounds since then and almost 160 pounds overall in the last three years. My goal is to eventually get to my old high school weight. That will take at least a couple more years. But the slower I lose it, the more likely I am to keep it off.

I’ve officially graduated from regular physical therapy. I can now walk over 6 minutes without sitting down. I found out the other day that I can now navigate stairs. First time in over 4 years I could walk on stairs. I felt so accomplished. Heck, maybe by the time I find my new place in Oklahoma I won’t even need a wheelchair.

I use the wheelchair only for long distances now. I am able to make my own bed again. I can easily stand up long enough to brush my teeth. I used to sit on the toilet while brushing. Don’t need to do that anymore. I’m the lightest weight I’ve been since 2015. Lose another 30 pounds and I will be at my lightest weight in 10 years. I think it’s going to happen. Just a matter of time now.

I’ve put in applications to move into Section 8 low income housing in Oklahoma about two months ago. Amy, the case worker here at the nursing facility, has been making calls and writing emails on my behalf. Most of the nurses here think I no longer need long term care. I can make my own bed, get my own coffee, do my own showers and shaving, and sometimes I am asking the nurses for my meds even before they are ready to hand them out.

I still sleep for a few hours in the evenings after supper. I usually rattle around for a couple hours in the over night. Made several friends with the staff here. Most of my friends here are staff members. I guess it’s easier for me to relate to people my own age and younger now. Most of the staff is in their 20s to 30s. The head doctor is probably in his 50s. The charge nurses are mostly my age. Most people here don’t have me being in my early 40s. Most people think I’m ten years younger than that. But I do look younger now that I regularly shave and have lost a bunch of weight.

My best friend started a new job a few days ago. She works for a small real estate firm. They said they will help her get her realtors’ license this year. I’m so happy for her. She says the pay and the atmosphere of the office is already better than anything she has experienced in previous jobs. I wish you only the best dear friend.

Recently reestablished a friendship with an old college friend after a several year hiatus. We reestablished contact last summer and probably talk once a week on the phone. He lives in Missouri and has a steady girlfriend now. Both of them are on the autism spectrum and seem just right for each other. My friend’s wife died from ovarian cancer a couple years ago. He seems so happy to have found a romance interest again. Heck, maybe there is hope for me yet. I’d hate to think that I never found much success at romance because of where I was living. But I’ve lived in small towns my entire life.

I guess now that things are calming down between the pandemic and contentious politics, I’m reestablishing old friendships that had fallen by the wayside the last several years. Even though I currently live in an assisted living facility hundreds of miles away from most of my family and friends, I can honestly say I feel more hopeful for the future now than I have probably since 2014.

2015 to 2022 was a real rough time for me, as it was for most people. I honestly believe that the kids who grew up in the 2010s and the pandemic will talk about these events the same way their great grandparents talked about the Depression and World War 2. I mean, we’ve already had contentious politics all over the world, a covid pandemic that has killed many millions of people, really bad price inflations of everyday items in most countries, energy crisis in Europe, major war in Eastern Europe, and now food crisis in the Middle East and most African countries. People will talk about the 2010s and 2020s the same way their ancestors talked about the 1930s and 1940s or the Civil War here in America for decades to come. I think it will leave a major scar on the people who survive these years, especially those who are children and teenagers right now as well as those who worked in hospitals, drove trucks, worked in grocery stores, worked in warehouses, etc. I’m sad for all the millions of people who didn’t get to live to see some glimpse of hope that is now starting to come out of these dark times.

I’m sorry that I don’t write as often as I did before I moved to assisted living. It’s sometimes easy to get lost in the day to day and ignore the progress I’ve made in these last several months and years. When covid started, my knees and feet hurt so bad I could barely stand up, let alone navigate stairs. But I have lost 160 pounds in the last three years. Haven’t done any crazy exercise routine or diets or anything like that. Portion control, more protein, and less sugar has been enough to help me out. I’ve also done 30 to 40 minutes of physical therapy a day, three days a week, for the last four months. Other than that, I haven’t done anything crazy.

I think one of the reasons we have such a problem with weight gain is that we as a people have kept the same eating habits our ancestors did but do only a fraction of the physical labor that people did even 150 years ago. Our ancestors could eat several thousand calories every day and still not gain weight because old style farm and factory work required lots of physical labor. Now that much of that can be done by machines and computers, we no longer need to do the physical labor people in the 1800s had to just to survive. And we’ve adapted our eating habits only in recent years. It took me almost 40 years to unlearn the clean your plate no matter how much is on it mentality the pioneers had. It served our ancestors well as they never knew how much their next meal would be. But the same attitudes towards food without the physical activity has been killing us for a couple generations now. I hope the kids growing up today can adapt to eating less because our daily lives no longer need large meals every day. I guess save the large meals for the holidays.

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.

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.

Updates August 3 2022

I’ve now lived in my current place for two months. Updates are in order. My blood pressure is now normal and stabilized. I’m doing physical therapy twice a week trying to get some mobility back. I’m continuing to lose weight, usually a couple pounds per week. I’m eating smaller, but better balanced meals. The nursing and help staff are amazing here. My mobility is still limited to wheel chairs and walkers. I occasionally still get pains in my feet and knees. Usually some tylenol will clear those pains.

The variety of meals here is good. Seems that everything is home made quality. I think we have about 40 residents in my complex, most are senior citizens. I’m still adjusting to having a roommate for the first time in eighteen years. I had just got so used to living alone that having a roommate is probably the biggest adjustment I had to make. I sleep in an adjustable hospital bed. It’s so much easier on my knees and back than traditional beds. I’ve lost enough weight that I can sleep on my sides for part of the night. I’m currently at my lowest weight since late 2017.

Even though I’m at my lowest weight in almost five years, my mobility hasn’t come back as much as I hoped. I can still get around really well with a wheel chair. But I don’t own my own personal wheel chair as I borrow one from the complex. I met with a wheel chair salesman last week and talked to him for a good forty five minutes trying to get me outfitted with a custom made chair. Right now I’m waiting on social security to approve the purchase. I imagine supply chain problems are still an issue on some things.

Had a couple amazon deliveries to my new residence. Had to buy some new shorts as I was running out of pants that properly fit. It’s nice living where I don’t have to worry about doing laundry or cooking my meals anymore. I also enjoy having 24 hour access to health care and not having to worry about filling my prescriptions anymore.

Making My Peace With My Decline

I’ve been living in long term care for over a month now. Updates are in order. My feet no longer hurt. Now it’s both of my knees. I can barely stand up because of the pain, let alone walk. My knees hurt so bad I can’t even lay on my back in bed because of the pain. I’m back to sleeping in my recliner most of the time.

My high blood pressure issues have been solved. Now low blood pressure is a problem. I can barely stand up or go to the bathroom without feeling like I’m going to pass out. I also have the problem that I’m forced to do physical therapy even though I can barely stand up without passing out. I try to explain my problems to the nurses. No one is listening. I can’t get anyone to listen to my problems. Supposedly a doctor ordered me to do physical therapy even though that was NEVER brought up the only time I’ve met with a doctor since I’ve moved to long term care.

I couldn’t manage my blood pressure issues and mental health at the same time anymore. Home health coming to check in on me a couple times a week was only temporary. I live alone and I can no longer drive. So I couldn’t get to any of my doctors’ appointments. My blood pressure meds couldn’t be renewed via Zoom calls. That’s why I opted for long term care. I can’t drive so I can’t get to my medical appointments. My mobility is severely limited to where I’m wheel chair bound now. Even though I’m in long term care, my problems are still not being listened to. I am by far the youngest person in my facility.

After years of loss, fighting mental illness, no one taking my complaints serious, decline of physical health, loss of friends, loss of career, and the general overall decline of the state of the world, I have made my peace with my mental and physical decline. I’ve even made my peace with death. I’m tired of fighting losing battles. I’m tired of trying to put a positive spin on everything. No, my mental health will never get better. No, I can’t fight mental illness and physical decline at the same time anymore. I am tired of being ignored. I’m tired of being blown off. I am tired of being told I’m lucky. I am tired of being told to man up and stop complaining all the damn time. I’ve made my peace with death. I’ve made my peace that most of my dreams will never be fulfilled. I’ve made my peace with declining health. I’ve made my peace with the world never being a good place. I don’t know why no one else can.

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.

May 16 2022

Haven’t written lately. But, then I’ve been too discouraged to write. My diet has changed significantly due to price increases. I stay home all the time. Breaks my heart to see how insane most people have become these days. I believe mass psychosis is real. I see it every day. While I know things will never go back to the way they were pre covid, I can’t even relate to most people anymore. I swear the older I get, the less sense people make. Makes me glad to be an introvert. At this point I’m just surviving. Forget about thriving and self actualization.

My friends are also stressed. A friend of mine had much of their personal info and emails hacked into. Another friend and her husband are both working full time yet rely on food pantries. My dad might have to have stints put in by the end of summer. Another friend of mine found out his house has almost doubled in value since he and his wife bought it five years ago. Nothing makes sense anymore. I can handle life being unfair. Hell, I’ve heard that from my elders all the time since I was four years old. It’s a lot tougher when things no longer make sense. I’m now surprised when things work the way they are supposed to.

At least in my part of the world, we aren’t having problems with covid and lockdowns anymore. I feel for the people in China who have indefinate lockdowns and food shortages. Lockdowns of entire cities don’t make sense. We have vaccines that work. Survivors develop a sort of immuntity. My brother has had covid twice. He said the second time was alot easier than the first. And don’t even get me started on the war in Ukraine. We all have to suffer because of our leaders’ pride and ego it seems like.

Sickness, PS5 games, exercise, friends, family, and end of 2021

Been fighting off a cold for the last few days. Since I’m coughing up a lot of mucus and haven’t lost my sense of smell or taste, I’m sure it’s not covid. I mask up whenever I have guests or meet the delivery man out of common courtesy. My neighbor was sick for a few days. He thinks it was the flu. The cases of covid are starting to go up in my home state, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before we have masks in public places again. So glad I still have a box of masks and extra disinfectant.

Bought some PS5 games over the course of the autumn. Currently working on Cyberpunk 2077. I think it’s a cool game. But, if you aren’t into sci fi or violent games, I don’t recommend it. I recently bought the Skyrim 10th Anniversary update package. I hope they make a new college football game next year. It’s been several years since one was made by EA Sports.

Getting more physically active. I make a point to stand up at least once an hour for several minutes. Started getting serious about arm weights again. With the exception of Thanksgiving week, I’ve been pretty strict about my diet. Still avoiding carbs and sugar most days. I’m avoiding coffee too. It makes me too irritable anymore. Upsets my stomach too. Haven’t had coffee in over two weeks.

Sometimes I’ll sleep in my recliner. It seems to be easier on my back and knees. I still get my best sleep between 5 and 8 am. I still wake up with back and knee pain every morning. But it seems to be far more manageable when I sleep half of the night in my recliner and the other half in my bed.

I still hear from my close friends a few times a week. My friend in Denver is quite busy with her job and her arts and crafts. Recently made some sales. She has problems with getting enough sleep. She also has chronic joint pains. We tell each other it’s a pity that we started falling apart exactly when we figured out how to be adults. My friend in South Dakota is busy with his teaching job, marriage, and two daughters. I called him this morning. We talked mostly baseball. He has a few weeks until final exams right before Christmas.

My mom and dad are doing alright. Enjoying the retired life and spending time with grandkids. I try to call them a few times a week. I hosted them for Thanksgiving last weekend. They said they’d be back here before Christmas. I really need a new microwave. That’s all I ready need this year.

I don’t feel as negative about Christmas this year as most years. It’s good that I don’t have to venture out into the stores for shopping. I think surviving 2020 when large in person gatherings weren’t advisable before covid vaccines and treatments really made me appreciate in person gatherings more. And since I know some people who died from covid, it makes me appreciate life even more. Spending three weeks in the hospital this fall gave me better perspectives on everything. It allowed me to treat problems I couldn’t have treated on my own. I’m grateful to be on the road to recovery. I’m grateful to still be alive.

Holidays and Mental Illness

Hosted a non traditional Thanksgiving dinner over last weekend. My parents came back to Nebraska for a funeral, so they won’t be coming back this week. My cleaning lady, who does lots of cooking, said she’d bring me a plate of traditional Thanksgiving fare. I guess with many of my neighbors going to family and friends for the long weekend, I’ll be having a few quiet days in my apartment complex.

Holidays are tough for most people. For us with mental illness, it can sometimes be unbearable. While I enjoy the good food and Christmas decorations as much as anyone, I do have a hard time with the disruptions of my routines. I thrive on routines more than I care to admit. I don’t usually change my routines unless I have to. Some days I don’t even leave my apartment or have guests. I guess I’m really picky about what I do and don’t do, more than is healthy probably.

Christmas movies will begin playing soon. It’s A Wonderful Life and Christmas Story are my two favorites of all time. I think some of those ClayMation shows are kinda creepy. I definately will not participate in Black Friday. I mean, how did this even become a thing? Not only that, there are people who actually enjoy that madness. I can understand Cyber Monday, but in the case of internet shopping, I get what I need and the post man brings it right to my house. It’s so simple that the only time I need to put on pants is when I go meet the delivery man. I think kids waiting on the Amazon delivery service will be to them what getting the Sears Christmas catalog was to me growing up in the 1980s. On Black Friday, I’m just staying home and watching football.

While Thanksgiving and Christmas get most of the attention, my favorite end of the year holiday is New Year’s. When I was growing up, my church hosted a new year’s party every year. Played a lot of board games, had lots of good food, and we usually let out immediately after midnight in order to avoid drivers who had too much to drink. I’d wake up early the next morning and watch the Rose Bowl parade and football games all afternoon. Back then, my Huskers were good enough they were almost always playing in a New Year’s Day game. Sadly, some traditions wind up dying over the years. After I moved out on my own, I used to go to New Year’s Eve concerts hosted by the local bars. Quit going out on New Year’s around ten years ago after some girl chatted me up and I think she was trying to make her boyfriend jealous. Glad I was sober so I could talk my way out of a bad situation.

I didn’t do much for Halloween besides buy some peanut butter cups. They were always my favorite candy. First time in months I had candy. I try to avoid sugar as much as possible. Same goes for carbs. One year for Halloween, I watched the original Dracula movie from the 1930s.

While I do enjoy the chilly weather and possibility for snow, I don’t enjoy some aspects of the holidays. But they too shall pass.

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.