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.

Quarantine Journal: March 25 2021

Doing well overall. Started lifting weights again. I’m taking vitamin D supplements and I think it helps with the depression and anxiety. Met my new landlady a couple days ago while I was waiting for a delivery man. I think she will make a good manager.

I’m thinking about signing up for a home health service to see if I can a covid vaccine at home. Without a car I’m essentially home bound unless I want to hire an Uber driver. I’ve heard that many places are starting to have spikes in case numbers again. For as many problems as my country had in the first several months, we have gotten vaccines out faster than I thought we would. I’m thinking where was this level of focused action one year ago? Many people died that didn’t have to.

While I don’t socialize much in person, I leave my door unlocked during daylight hours in case anyone wants to drop by. My neighbors and I check in on each other a couple times a week. I’m having fewer aches and pains the last few days. Maybe I’m doing something right.

Still stable mentally. Had one flare up in early January but it was short lived. Haven’t had any since. It does get lonely sometimes spending most of my time at home and by myself. But I am still prime target for covid and there are still lots of vaccinations to go. This thing isn’t over by any means just yet.

January 2 2021

Another holiday season has come and gone. I saw my parents a couple days before Christmas. Had Christmas dinner with them. First time I saw them since June. We still have lots of snow on the ground so I don’t get out much these days. Been content to stay home, listen to audiobooks, and play computer games.

Been sleeping more lately. I have more or less kept to myself between Christmas and New Year’s. Been feeling kind of irritable and short tempered the last few days. So I’m reducing my caffeine and trying to sleep more. I also make a point of avoiding rude and angry people. I think the pandemic is getting to most people I know. It’s gotten to me sometimes even if I try not to take it out on others. Two of my cousins had covid this fall. There have been a few thousand cases in my hometown with a few dozen deaths. So it is here even several hours outside of major cities. Granted we haven’t had the protests or looting that some places have. If I wasn’t concerned about covid I probably would get out and about more often. But as I am mentally ill and overweight I already have two conditions that would make covid worse than normal for me. I still have some face masks, a bottle of hand sanitizer, plenty of soap, and enough food supplies and meds I can stay bunkered down for weeks if needed.

I guess the highlights of my week are when my neighbors and I drop in on each other just to check in. My neighbor across the hall is kind enough to pick up my mail and help me out a couple times a week. In exchange I will usually give him some face masks or some quarters. We have a soda pop machine on ground floor that has the coldest soda pop I ever had. It’s worth the 75 cents a can to get a frigid Diet Coke. Our laundry machines still take quarters too. My mom gave me a bunch of quarters for Christmas. Saves me a trip to my bank. I also enjoy Thursday afternoons when my cleaning lady arrives. She gives the place a good scrub down every week and she indulges my need for chatting. I’m glad she at least tolerates my eccentric sense of humor.

Overall I’ve done okay during this pandemic. Sure I get lonely sometimes. But that’s why I have a cell phone and my facebook account. But, since I sold my car back in 2019 I’m able to save some money as I don’t have to buy gas or change oil. Once I found I could get my groceries delivered and get amazon delivery, usually within two to three days even in my rural town, I no longer had much of a need for a car except for emergencies. My drivers’ license is due to be renewed this summer. I’ll probably keep it updated just for emergency purposes. I tend to get sensory overload with my mental illness. And I felt that made me unreliable as a regular driver. Since I can already get most things delivered to my house, I really don’t need a car. Even my small town now has a few Uber and Door Dash drivers. As I can stay home with fewer problems, I’ve managed to avoid getting sick so far. Hopefully only a few more months until I can get the vaccine.

Coping With Pandemic and Mental Illness

Been sleeping a lot lately. I usually go to bed around 9pm and wake around 8am. Mentally I’ve been feeling stable, at least enough to visit with my neighbors a few times per week. I’m glad that another summer has passed. I would really be looking forward to fall and winter if I wasn’t worried about a resurgence of the pandemic. I have avoided crowds and restaurants for over six months now. Looks like I have at least another six months of doing so. At least with colder weather coming I won’t feel as guilty for staying home and isolating.

Two of my friends in Omaha tested positive for covid. They had to quarantine for two weeks. They have recovered. While my hometown hasn’t been hit as hard as many places, I still prefer to stay home and have everything delivered. I think some of my friends and neighbors are getting burned out on the pandemic. I have purposely avoided crowds and public gatherings as many people are on edge. It’s discouraging being around some people anymore.

I have stayed stable in spite late summer being my roughest time. I think it helps that avoid in person contact as much as possible. Sure it is lonely sometimes. But I’m afraid of people anymore, especially during a pandemic and economic depression. I just don’t expect people to come to their senses anytime soon.

April 2 2020

Went to bed right after sunset last night.  Must have slept for over 10 hours.  I had some groceries and medications delivered yesterday.  I have some more groceries coming on Friday morning.  So far I haven’t had a problem getting food.  Cleaning supplies, especially Lysol spray is a different story.

There are now at least a few cases in my town.  Don’t know much else about details.  As far as I know, no one in my complex has gotten ill.  I still haven’t gone out in public since mid March.  I check in on my neighbors every day.  I usually just call them or knock on their door and chat for a minute or two.  I still lift weights.  I can feel the old strength starting to come back.

Been watching an ancient history series on Netflix the last couple days.  Halfway through the series right now.  I think I’m going to watch The Men Who Built America this weekend.  History Channel put out some pretty good series about 8 to 10 years ago.

I have my cleaner coming this afternoon.  Even during a crisis, the place has to stay cleaned up.  I usually just sit in my recliner just to stay out of her way.  She seems to enjoy chatting while she works.

I still talk to my mom and dad every day, usually in the mornings.  My brother and his wife often work from home now.  A friend of mine and her husband are both working from home now in Omaha.

I saw that like six million people in the US alone have filed for unemployment.  Certainly tough times for lots of families.  None of my friends have had to file yet.  A friend of mine in Lincoln has been having coughing and fever for a few days now.  Since she works at a pharmacy she has been taking sick leave.  She was wearing face masks and gloves in public weeks before it became a thing here in the US, especially as she takes public transit to work.

One of my neighbors is planning on planting a vegetable garden once the weather warms up for good.  My mom has already put in a vegetable and flower garden at her house in Oklahoma City.  Most homeowners I personally know are doing this.

Been kind of lazy about reading traditional books this week.  I am reading a lot of online articles even though I try to avoid the news.  Not much I can do besides stay home and wash my hands several times a day.  Been buying groceries more often but in smaller batches.  I don’t buy for two weeks at a time anymore.  I have plenty of non perishables already.  About all I need to buy any more is fresh meat and vegetables.

I saw that the feds approved a stimulus check for most US citizens.  I don’t know if I’ll get a check.  But as I’m debt free and can do alright on my disability pension, I have no clue what I’m doing with it.  Won’t get much letting it sit in a savings account.