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.

I Don’t Socialize Much In Person, But I Don’t Feel Lonely Or Isolated

Spring has finally sprung. I’m glad to see the end of winter. My aches and pains have been essentially non existent the last several days. Most days I’m asleep by 10pm and up for good by 5am. I’m back to listening to audiobooks again after a few weeks of vacation I still have no desire to socialize in person. I do talk to friends and family a few times a day. But I spend most of my time alone.

I’m still losing weight, at least as far as I can tell. I can stand for longer periods of time now. I have fewer aches and pains. Things are going alright on that end.

I’m still afraid to socialize in person. I’m also scared to leave my apartment. My paranoia keeps me at home most of the time. I’m just scared of people anymore. I just don’t know how to read them anymore. It’s far easier for me to socialize over the phone and online than it is to socialize in person. The pandemic hasn’t been as tough on me as most people. I love that I can socialize online and on the phone. I love that I can get my groceries and medications delivered to my home. I love that I have a cleaning lady comes to my place once a week. I love being able to make payments online. I enjoy streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Absolutely love my Audible audiobooks. Sometimes I can spend hours at a time listening to audiobooks while playing computer games. I even love doing my doctors’ appointments via Zoom calls. I have too much sensory overload to be a safe driver anymore. Haven’t driven a car in almost three years. Saved me lots of money and headaches. I now know that my car accident several years ago spooked me real bad. It killed my love for driving.

Even though I’m afraid to socialize in person anymore, I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on much. It’s always been really tough for me to find people with similar interests. It’s gotten tougher the older I got. Most of my old friends have families and careers, so their ability to socialize with me is at a minimum. I haven’t seen my friend Matt since 2015. I haven’t been to a family reunion in probably ten years. I’ve been outside of my town only once since the start of the pandemic. While my physical world has gotten much smaller the last few years, my mental world has gotten much bigger. I probably spend six to eight hours per day reading, watching documentaries, and just learning new things. I’ve learned more history, economics, philosophy, science, etc. since 2015 than all the years before that.

One of the things I enjoy about being in my forties is that I no longer feel pressured to conform to others’ expectations. If I don’t want to leave my apartment for days at a time, I don’t leave my apartment. And I no longer feel any shame for wanting to stay home. I didn’t use to be a homebody. When I was in my teens and twenties, I preferred to spend time at my friends’ houses. I went roadtripping with my college friends every summer in my twenties and early thrities. I started becoming a homebody about five years ago. And the pandemic has accelerated this trend. I no longer feel like eating in restaurants or going out in public. I know many people feel like I’m missing out on life by not going to movies or sporting events or restaurants. But I don’t feel that way. I just hate being forced out of my home.

Even though I don’t have a paying job or a family, I don’t feel incomplete or a failure. I have, on average, written one blog entry per week over the last nine years. While it doesn’t have much of an audience, I still love doing it. I see no reason to quit doing this. It has given me more meaning in my life than any job or dating relationship ever did.

End of Holidays and Sticker Shock

Another holiday season has come and gone. And we are now in full winter. Supposed to get some snow in my town tomorrow night. Makes me glad I have enough supplies I don’t have to go out.

This was kind of a let down holiday season. I spent Christmas alone as I told my parents I didn’t think it was safe for them to travel several hundred miles when the pandemic was picking back up. The case numbers have skyrocketed in my country. So I stay close to home most days. I haven’t seen my family since Thanksgiving. I can hardly wait for this pandemic to burn out.

I drop in on a couple neighbors at least once a day. Found I have a new neighbor a couple doors from me. She seems nice. Seems like we’re getting more and more younger people in here all the time. I was the youngest when I moved in 15 years ago. There are plenty of residents older than me but only a handful who have been here longer than I.

Found out my internet bill went up this month. Cancelled my cable several months ago because of price increases. Cancelled Netflix too. I watch mostly youtube and Amazon Prime. I get most of my news reading free online journals and newspapers. I definately suffered some sticker shock the last time I bought groceries. I’m looking for ways to cut expenses. I can’t really increase my income without social security disability cutting back on benefits. I definately do not want to lose Medicaid right now. I’m sure my three week stay in the hospital would have cost a fortune if not for Medicaid.

I keep myself occupied by reading books, watching educational videos on youtube, and reading online journals. Currently working on a Ray Dalio book. I’m not sure what my next project will be.

December 27 2021

Another Christmas has come and gone. I spent this one alone as I was afraid of having my elderly parents travel several hundred miles to see me on Christmas. First time in my life I spent Christmas alone. My cleaning lady was kind enough to drop off two plates of traditional Christmas dinner. She does this for all of her clients who are shut ins. I stayed home, listened to Christmas music while playing computer games, and watched the old movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ It could have been worse. I friend of mine and her spouse spent Christmas sick with the flu while their neighbors suffered from covid.

This month has been warmer and drier than usual this year. We’ve had snow only twice in the last eight weeks. So it’s been drier too. Supposed to get cold this weekend. New Year’s Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. Something about the old ending and the new beginning has always appealed to me. I used to go to local concerts on New Year’s Eve. I always made a point of leaving well before midnight to avoid drunk drivers.

Still lifting weights three times per week. I’m starting to sleep less too. Most nights I go to bed around 9:30 pm and wake up at 5am. I got a new cpap machine so I’m good to go on that for at least several years. I’m still losing weight as my clothes are looser and my endurance is increasing with each passing week.

I still talk to friends, neighbors, and family at least once a day. Even though I spend most of my time at home, I’m not lonely. I drop in on my neighbor across the hall once a day on average.

Been lazy about reading the last several days. I guess it comes and goes in cycles. I’ll probably start back up by the end of the year. I still have the Audible account. I probably won’t give that up anytime soon.

Been more paranoid than usual the last several days. Probably from the lack of sleep. My illness seems to get worse when my sleep patterns change. Sleep has always been good therapy for me.

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.

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.

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..

Disasters and Mental Illness

Staying closer to home again lately. The cases of covid are increasing again. It’s only a matter of time before it hits my hometown again. With the bad heat waves the western part of the country has experienced, we have had more rain the normal. It too is only a matter of time before the heat waves hit my hometown. We don’t have the water shortages that places like California and Arizona have. But I think if my state gets that level of drought, a new Dust Bowl will result.

Being prepared for disasters is extremely important. If wildfires, freak blizzards, and chronic flooding can’t convince some people, nothing will. Growing up in a rural farming community over an hour’s drive away from the nearest Wal Mart and Home Depot, it was necessary to have enough supplies to be able to fend for ourselves for at least a few days in the event of a bad blizzard or flooding. Growing up around farmers, I personally know several farmers who have lost entire corn crops to hail storms and floods.

When the covid disaster relief payments came, I made a point of buying extra food, over the counter medications, and clothing. I also bought a new computer. My old one was starting to die and I was afraid prices were going to go up with the shortage on microchips. And prices are going up. I certainly pay more for food than I did even two years ago. Clothing prices have increased. And gas prices are on the rise. When the Colonial pipeline in the southern states was shut down by hackers, I remember thinking if I was an Uber driver in Atlanta who had a Tesla, I’d probably have more work than I could handle. As it is, I no longer have a car. Sold it two years ago. But, since I can get anything within reason delivered to my apartment and I don’t road trip anymore, it made little sense to keep a car. If I really need to go anywhere, I can hire an Uber driver or sweet talk one of my neighbors into giving me a ride and offer gas money in return.

In addition to natural disasters, many people are more on edge than usual. A friend of a friend had a gun pulled on her a few days ago. My friend in Denver said she’s dealing with far more rude and angry customers than even a few years ago. My brother and his family moved out of their suburb and bought a place with a large lot just outside of the city right before housing prices skyrocketed. I have two friends in Omaha, both college educated, working two jobs each barely just scraping by. Gone are the days when a father could support a family of six kids with a factory job. Lots of people are hurting. And we are turning on each other instead of working together to solve problems.

Our science, tech, medicine, etc. are what’s keeping us afloat. Other institutions, namely politics, haven’t kept up with the changes in tech and world affairs. I can’t imagine how much worse covid would be if we still didn’t have vaccinations or work from home options. People who were saying this covid isn’t as bad as Spanish Flu was 100 years ago may have to back track those words. They certainly would if not for the efforts of scientists, doctors, nurses, farm workers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, truck drivers, merchant marine sailors, etc.

July 11 2021

Been quiet the last few days. Staying close to home as it’s been really hot when it hasn’t been raining. Looking forward to fall again. Only 50 days until the first college football games. It was so strange last year watching games in empty stadiums. I see the Olympics won’t allow spectators this year. I hope we can get enough people vaccinated that we can open up all over the world again.

While covid hasn’t been as rough for me as most people, it has been quite lonely at times. Glad I can do my psych doctor appointments by teleconference. I haven’t been to a general practice doctor since the pandemic started. I managed to get vaccinated in early May. A home health service sent two nurses to my home, had me answer some questions, and gave me the Johnson & Johnson shot. I didn’t even have to leave my living room. So thankful such people and services are out there. Internet shopping has been a godsend for myself. I can’t imagine how much worse covid would be had this happened back in the early 1980s. As far as loneliness goes, if my grandparents’ generation had to fight a world war, the least I can do is stay home.

Still lifting weights three times a week. Noticing some of my strength starting to come back. I force myself to stand up at least once an hour. If I sit for too long my muscles get sore and I have issues walking and doing chores.

Haven’t read much for traditional books lately. I am watching the Dune mini series that came out in the early 2000s. I’m not normally much of a science fiction fan, but this series is done alright. A friend of mine has been talking up the Dune and Foundation series for years. I read the first Foundation book last summer via audiobook. I have grown to love audiobooks. My college roommate’s dad was a truck driver who used to listen to audiobooks when he was on the road. I can understand why he liked those so much.

Don’t have much planned for the next few weeks. Cruise Night (a rally for classic cars) will be in my town later this month. And one of the main routes run right by my home. Since I’m on the top floor of my complex, I get an amazing view and I don’t even have to brave the hot late July temperature or the large crowds. It should be a huge deal this summer as the country is opening back up. I’ll just watch out my window and have the American Graffiti soundtrack playing, like I do most years. For my Independence Day, I replayed the Revolutionary War on one of my computer games.

I think I’ve finally gotten over my coffee addiction. I’ve had only five cups in the last month. For the first several days I was sleeping more and kind of irritable. I was probably going through caffeine withdraw. I am back to more normal sleep. Most days I’m up for good by 6:30. I usually go to bed around 11pm. Was up until 3 am a few nights ago. Haven’t stayed up that late in months.

I’m doing well overall even if I stay close to home. I usually have visitors in my cleaning lady and a couple neighbors a couple times a week. My neighbor is kind enough to help me with chores like laundry and mail once a week as long as I provide laundry soap and change for the machines. I guess after years of helping out others, I need the help now.