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.

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

April 12 2022

It’s been quite awhile since I wrote. Updates are in order. Spring is here but we haven’t gotten much rain. With as windy as it’s been, we’ve had lots of wildfires in my state this spring. The weather is slowly warming up, but it’s still chilly at night.

Baseball season started last week. I have a fantasy league team again. I’m in a league with a couple college friends and some of their former coworkers. Been in this league for 15 years now. So I usually watch a ballgame or two during the evenings.

Been staying up later and waking up later. Most nights I don’t fall asleep until midnight. Wake up for good around 9am. I sleep in my recliner only half of the night anymore. I’m having fewer aches and pains again. They were pretty bad a couple weeks ago.

Mentally I am still stable. I don’t leave my apartment very often. I do visit my neighbors a few times a week. My cleaning lady arrives every Thursday. She helps me with laundry now too.

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.

March 10 2022

Got several inches of snow over the last couple days. Been really cold too. Haven’t left my apartment in over a week except to accept grocery deliveries. I still talk to friends and family on a daily basis. I still sleep a lot but I usually sleep only a couple hours at a time. Been feeling more aches and pains again. I just want to stay home all the time anymore. Sometimes I don’t even want to eat. I try to avoid the news anymore, even online materials. Bought some extra groceries. Who knows how high prices are going to get. Gas is close to $4 a gallon in my hometown and we are below national average. I guess it’s a good time to be a hermit and away from most people.

Feb 20 2022

Been warmer than usual for the last several days. Supposed to get real cold starting tomorrow morning. I’m actually looking forward to it. Gives me an excuse for not feeling guilty about not wanting to leave my home. Probably just stay home, make cheese soup, and read for the next several days.

I’m feeling less aches and pains all the time. The only real bad time is in the mornings. My knee pains are all but gone but I still get lower back pain after sleeping for several hours. I got a new mattress a week ago. It’s firmer than my old one and a lot easier to get out of. I usually stay up late now and sleep until 9am.

My best friend found a new job. She has to have security clearance and can’t take her phone into her office. So I haven’t gotten to talk to her much in the last couple weeks. I miss our chats but I know this job is better for her than most of the jobs she’s previously held. She too has problems with anxiety and depression.

I think I’m continuing to lose weight. I don’t have the same appetite I had even six months ago. I’m able to make my groceries go farther. I still get winded if I have to stand for several minutes at a time. I’m also not as heat sensitive as I used to be.

Mentally I’m stable. I’m not having flare ups as often. I still do better taking people one at a time and in short time periods. I hear from my neighbors at least once a day. I still call my parents several times a week.

Been kind of lazy about reading the last several days. I always seem to read more in cold weather. Been watching lots of documentaries about America before the arrival of Europeans lately. Same with the old Silk Road.

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.