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.

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.

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.

Recovering After A Rough Spell

I’m starting to recover after a couple rough weeks. Been feeling more paranoid and irritable than usual. Things started getting better a few days ago. I’m back to more regular sleep even if I am staying up a couple hours later than usual. I still sleep half of the night in my recliner. It seems to be easier on my back and knees.

So far has been a milder and dryer winter than usual. We haven’t had anywhere near normal snow. It actually feels more like prolonged autumn than winter some days. Still gets real cold at nights.

I really haven’t changed my routine much. I drop in on my neighbors once a day. I go to the complex library at least once a week. I contact my family usually once a day. Still listen to lots of audiobooks. I usually kept to myself most of the time for fear of having a breakdown in public. Finally had a minor one a few days ago. Didn’t last long but it was healing like having a good cry or any other emotional release.

Broke down and bought some smaller shirts several days ago. I’m down a full shirt size in the last two years. My aches and pains aren’t nearly as bad. I still get winded occasionally but I can recover from those faster than even a few months ago. I do have problems falling asleep but I get quality sleep once I do sleep. 4am to 9am seems to be my best sleep time. I still take my meds every night. They sometimes make me sleepy.

Flare Ups

Been having flare ups of the mental illness several times a day for the last couple weeks. I’ve been more on edge than usual. I never leave my apartment except to meet the delivery man. Having lots more irritability and paranoia lately. Been having problems with sleep too.

I really want to talk to my friends and family about the problems I’ve been having the last couple weeks. But, everyone’s too busy with their own hang ups and problems. I’m wound up tighter than normal. I don’t even enjoy eating anymore. Some days I’ll eat only once a day.

November 3 2021

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

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

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

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

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.

End of July

Met the new complex manager on Friday morning. They were doing routine spraying for bugs. I had problems with bed bugs a couple years ago. Had to get rid of a lot of my furniture. Had the carpet taken out and replaced with vinyl flooring. But the carpet had needed replaced for a few years anyway. A lot of places in the US have bed bug problems for at least the last several years. I heard that even five star hotels had some issues. But haven’t had problems with bugs since before the pandemic started.

It’s been a cooler than usual July, at least in my hometown. We’ve avoided the droughts and heat waves that hit most of the western states. It’s been hazy for the last couple days, probably from the forest fires.

Keeping in contact with friends. My friend in Denver is looking to buy some land. She sometimes gets discouraged when places she could afford are quickly sold. I guess I really have no desire to be a property owner. I like my apartment, my hometown, and I don’t have to shovel snow or mow grass. That and I like that I can get same day delivery for groceries. And I can get anything within reason from amazon within three days. My town is a few hour drive from any major metroplex, so we don’t have same day delivery. My best friend from college will have to report back to school in a few weeks. Hard to believe he’s been a teacher for almost twenty years now.

Found that I am eating less than I usually do. This has been going on for several months. Most days I usually eat only twice a day, with lunch always being my biggest meal. I think I am losing weight again. Most of my clothes are getting baggy. But I’ve always preferred looser fitting clothing. Tight shirts and pants just don’t look good on me.

Preseason football practice started a few days ago. I’ll be watching football games on Saturdays again in only four weeks. And the college kids will be returning before long. My town always comes back to life in mid August when the college returns for fall session. When I still owned a car, I often went to college events and festivals. Used to go to a few football and volleyball games on campus too. Ten years ago, my favorite hangout was an internet cafe near the college campus. I miss that place.

Got back into reading physical books again. Currently working on a Michio Kaku book and a geopolitics book about what the world will look like once the pandemic passes. Been watching more movies too. Saw Minority Report, Aeon Flux, Jupiter Ascending, and The Mask of Zorro within the last week. Thinking about watching some epic classics next week. I’m thinking either The Ten Commandments or Gandhi.

I can tell the days are getting shorter. Probably only another six weeks of really hot weather. Spring is usually my favorite time of year. But I do like fall for football, baseball playoffs, and now soccer. I try to watch whenever the US national teams play now that I have a niece and nephew who are good soccer players. My nephew plans on trying out for his high school soccer team when school starts up.

Summer is starting to wind down. I weathered it alright for the most part. Looking forward to cooler weather 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.