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.

Beginning of Fall 2021

I’ve been having problems with insomnia lately. I fall asleep but usually stay asleep for only 30 minutes at a time. I usually get my best sleep between 7am and 11am these days. I still go to bed around 9pm most nights. But I usually lie awake for a couple hours before I drift off for the first time.

As far as I know, our complex is still on lock downs. I usually make a point of not talking to people much, at least in person. Most people I know are really on edge. I am too. Just saw in the news that the official death toll from covid in the US is now higher than the Spanish Flu of 100 years ago. Naturally, some people will say that Spanish Flu was a totally different virus and that the US has over three times as many people as we did in 1918. To me, this is a heartless and ugly attitude to have. I’m through with arguing about mask mandates and vaccines and social distancing. I’m convinced some people will never get the idea even if they themselves wind up dead. I’ve had to cut a lot of people out of my life because of toxic and heartless attitudes like this. I’m glad my grandparents aren’t alive to see this mass insanity.

End of Winter and Thoughts After One Year of Pandemic

Winter is almost over in my part of the world. I usually leave my windows open during the day only to get under blankets after dark. The days are usually warm but the nights are still chilly. The days are also a lot longer than just a couple months ago.

The vaccinations are rolling out pretty quickly in my country. Both my parents are fully vaccinated and getting out more often. Probably be a few more months before I qualify. Yet I have avoided getting sick for over a year. I still have some emergency supplies just in case. The last year has been lonely. But it wasn’t overly stressful. I’m glad I live in a town with home delivery groceries and Amazon delivery. I’ve avoided doctors’ offices and public places since last February because of pandemic. I did this as I am higher risk being overweight and mentally ill. But, as I had a set up where I could get groceries and prescription medications delivered, I didn’t have to leave my apartment unless absolutely necessary. My neighbor, who is quite mobile, picks up my mail once a week. In return I give him quarters for laundry and the downstairs vending machines. Amazon, grocery delivery, wireless internet with access to Youtube and Netflix, mail service, my cleaning lady arriving once a week, cell phone calls to family and friends, Facebook Messenger with friends, etc. has been a godsend for me and people like me. I sold my car almost two years ago as I no longer trust myself driving. My reflex and attention to detail just aren’t what they once were. If I do get real desperate, there are a few Uber drivers in my small college town. Most of the delivery drivers I have dealt with are younger people in their 20s. I think this pandemic would have been a lot worse had it hit back in the 1980s when we didn’t have easy access to internet, delivery services, fast vaccine developments, etc. I guess I am seeing the beginning of the end of the pandemic. I just hope when another one hits, could be a few years or even not for another several generations, we are better prepared. As bad as covid is, it could have been so much worse.

November 21 2020

Stayed up late again last night. Been listening to audiobooks quite a bit lately. Bought some groceries yesterday. Looks like I’ll be spending the rest of the month at home. My town passed a mask mandate through late February 2021. Glad I bought a box of masks last week.

The loneliness gets to me sometimes. I’m not irritated or paranoid about it. Just kind of sad. 2020 is going to be a year for the history books. And in almost every way imaginable. I’m still amazed workable vaccines were developed in only one year. I just hope enough people use these vaccines and practice preventative measures enough we can end this pandemic soon.

I doubt we will have a complete return to the normal ways of previous years. I don’t plan on doing much shopping in person anymore. I’m completely at ease for having doctors’ appointments online. I already got rid of my car last year. I had grown to hate driving the last few years before I gave it up. I have gotten pretty decent at cooking my own meals. I enjoy watching movies in my own home with my own snacks and no one kicking the back of my chair. I have thought for years that doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, etc. don’t get the recognition and respect they deserve. I think the same way about delivery drivers and minimum wage workers.

Progress didn’t stop during 2020. It actually sped up, often out of necessity. I read a couple days ago that now over 65 percent of the world has internet access and over 90 percent now has electricity. The change over to renewable power is going faster too. Read another article a couple days ago that over 90 percent of new electrical generating capacity is now clean energy like wind, solar, hydroelectric, etc. Politicians can talk all they wish about saving the coal and oil industries, but even the economics of cheaper renewables are working against this. It is now profitable to install green tech. I don’t think some of my friends would have seen the free market as ushering in green tech. Maybe we will head off the worst of climate change because the finances now make sense. Pity the tech wasn’t there twenty years ago.

As far as other progress goes, I read some places are now experimenting with flying drone taxis. Supposedly Dubai is supposed to have this service within the next two years. So everyone complaining about no flying cars can finally keep quiet and fly off. Personally I think a person born in the late 1800s, if they saw the world today would probably be more impressed with internet access than anything flying.

As bad as this pandemic has been, it could have been so much worse. Even if this would have hit back as recently as the 1980s, it would have been much uglier. I’m still amazed at how much work can be done from home. Couldn’t have done this without reliable internet. With vaccines set to be mass produced, I can start to see the end of the pandemic is in sight.

November 1 2020

Just read that much of Europe is going back on lock down as the pandemic picks up again. I am still avoiding people for the most part. Most people I know aren’t taking this at all serious. I fear they never will even when they themselves get sick. So sad. And with an extremely hostile election coming in only a couple days, I fear the problems are going to get a lot worse. I hate what people have become. And it was completely unnecessary. I am told that socializing can help with mental illness. But most people I know, even people in my family and friends circles, have become toxic. No reason to socialize with people who will make me feel even worse. I’m sick of politics, even of people I agree with. I’m sick of science denial. You want to fear change, fine. Go to the mountains and live off the grid. Don’t take the rest of us with you. Stop trying to remake the world in your image. I’m sick of seeing rude and anti social people prosper for being rude and anti social. I’m pretty much ready to go on voluntary isolation until this all clears.

Routines and Change Of Seasons During Pandemic and Economic Crisis

I’m enjoying the cooler weather. I spend most of my time either under the blankets in my bed or with a blanket over my legs while I sit in my recliner. I think I’ve gotten more sensitive to cold over the last few years. Cold didn’t bother me at all until my mid 30s. I am glad that cool weather is here. I usually do my best writing and reading in the fall and winter.

I’m currently between major reading projects right now. Been reading some old poetry books, writers like Emily Dickenson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Starting to read science articles again. Spent much of my summer reading geopolitics and history articles and blogs. Been reading more wikipedia lately.

I’ve been lazier about writing the last few weeks. I guess even I thought my blog entries were getting stale and uninspired. I’m now seven months into my self imposed quarantine. It goes get to me sometimes. Many people I know still won’t wear face masks in public even with cases of covid on the increase in my town.

Many people I personally know are struggling. Two of my friends in Omaha had to apply for rent assistance and regularly use food pantries. A friend of mine in Denver is worried that layoffs at her job may be coming as her company is losing business. I don’t leave my apartment much except to visit my neighbors and pick up the mail. I pass most of my days with lots of reading and phone calls. I call my parents every couple days to check in on them. I talk to my friend in South Dakota every weekend. I don’t watch much live tv outside of football on Saturday afternoons. I do watch a lot of science lectures, philosophy lectures, interviews, podcasts, and audiobooks on youtube. I don’t use facebook much except to keep in contact with close friends and a few cousins.

Weather is supposed to get real cold this weekend. My friend in South Dakota said they have had a few snows already. My friend in Denver specifically owns an all wheel drive car for their winter snows. I am restocked on supplies and should be able to stay home for awhile if needed. My cleaning lady arrives on Thursday afternoons. She does good work and is good conversation.

If there is one thing I don’t like about being an adult is that it isn’t as easy to have good conversations as it was when I was in college and just starting out in my adult life. Most people I know are busy with family and careers. Most are stressed about money issues, relationship problems, problems at work, etc. that I really can’t relate to. I don’t know if I’m stuck in a perpetual early adulthood or if I just skipped most of my career and right into retirement. I have given up on making new friends via social media. Just to divided and nasty anymore. It didn’t start out that way. It’s sad to see what it has become.

In other news, cement work is being done around the complex, namely in the parking lot. Doesn’t effect me much as I no longer have a car. But at least maintenance is still getting done during a recession and pandemic.

August 4 2020

Had an appointment with my psych doctor this morning.  We did a conference with an app similar to Zoom.  While my hometown has gotten it easy (so far) as far as the pandemic goes, my doctor offers this service to his patients.  We didn’t make any changes and I’m supposed to see him again in two months.

Been reading much more lately.  I not only read on my e-reader, but I am also reading some of my old hardback books.  Reading some of my old poetry books for the first time in several years.  I usually read in bed as it’s more comfortable for me.

Found out my neighbors are moving out.  I’m sorry to see them go.  We’ve had lots of people come and go this year.  I recently celebrated my 14th anniversary in this complex.  I’m now becoming one of the longest tenured residents in here.  I admit I usually don’t pay much attention to the comings and goings of people unless they’ve been here for a few months.

Been staying up later lately.  I usually stay awake until midnight and wake for good at 8am.  I still wake up at least once in the middle of the night most nights.  My aches and pains are less than usual lately.  Even my morning aches and pains are more bearable.  I usually take some advil in the mornings and that’s all I need.

Mentally I’ve been stable.  I avoid most news channels and social media these days.  I avoid the drama in my complex too.  I no longer have the patience for drama and nonsense.  I can’t remember the last time I watched cable news.  Almost no one I know does anymore.

I’m now almost five months into weathering this pandemic.  I can stay isolated for a long time if necessary.  Able to do this with some planning and buying extra food and supplies every time I get paid.

Quarantine Journal: July 16 2020

Been getting out of my apartment for short periods of time the last few days.  For awhile I had been afraid to leave my place except to pick up deliveries.  A pandemic and a tendency to be afraid of being in public are a nasty mixture.  I’m lifting weights again.  I had taken a few weeks off.  I’m having fewer aches and pains, even in the mornings.  I’m listening to more music again.  Listening to mostly material I liked in high school and college.  It just makes me feel good, maybe it reminds me of when I was in better health and had a better social life.

Starting to sleep less again.  Been staying up later most nights.  I’m now usually up until at least 11pm most nights.  For most of the spring I was going to sleep shortly after sunset and waking up for good shortly after sunrise.  I usually now sleep from 11pm to 8am, with a wake up around 3am to visit the bathroom.

We’ve had pretty hot weather since mid May.  I’m starting to look forward to autumn again.  I usually spend my afternoons reading and watching youtube shows.  Mentally I’ve been feeling stable for the last few weeks.  It helps that I’m not on social media much these days.  Most people I can either call or write emails to.

July 12 2020

Haven’t been spending as much time on social media lately.  Been reading too much negative news and it was starting to get to me.  I usually reserve it for keeping in contact with close friends and family these days.  It was just draining me and discouraging.  I am needing a few days off, at least.

Been staying home for the most part.  With the increase in the number of covid cases in my country, it’s probably best to avoid crowds if possible.  Fortunately my home state has seemed to have avoided the worst so far.  But I am convinced this is far from over.

Listening to audiobooks a lot lately.  Finished a couple Robert Kiyosaki finance books over the last couple weeks.  I like economics almost as much as I do science and tech.  I had a brilliant economics instructor in college who got me hooked on the topic.  May not have ever used much of it in the workplace, but it has helped in my personal finances and my general understanding of the world around me.  Thinking about rereading some of the philosophy books I read back in my twenties.  Emerson and Nietchze were a couple of my personal favorites.

Been trying on some of my winter clothing to see if I need to replace anything before it gets cold again.  To my pleasant surprise, most of my old clothes fit better than they did last winter.  I don’t know if I’ve actually lost weight, but I am pretty sure I haven’t gained any since the end of last winter.

Changed up my diet some.  Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.  Every two weeks at my complex, I get a box of fresh vegetables and fruits.  Have for the last several weeks.  Sadly I can’t get it all eaten before it goes bad.  But I give some of it to my neighbors who do lots of cooking.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy fresh carrots, apples, and potatoes.

I still sleep more than normal.  But I am staying up later and napping more during the afternoons.  For the last few months I usually went to bed around 10pm and woke up for good at sunrise.  Last several nights I’ve been up until midnight and woke at 8am.  I don’t have much for aches and pains even in the mornings anymore.  If I am careful about how fast I get out of bed in the mornings and how much I stretch during the days, I can avoid the worst.  I still force myself to stand up at least once an hour so my muscles don’t get tight.  I don’t run my air conditioner as cold as I tend to be less stiff if I keep my house a few degrees warmer than I used to.  I’ve gotten more sensitive to the cold in the last couple years.  Cold didn’t use to bother me much.  It does now.

I have a teleconference with my psych doctor coming in a couple weeks.  I have been pretty stable overall this summer.  Usually the summers are the toughest for me.  I think it helps that I avoid most news and negative people.  I may not have much for social life, but it is less stressful this way.  I have always been an introvert.  But I am not anti social.  I am just anti pointless drama.

Been hotter than usual since at least Memorial Day.  So I am ready for autumn and cooler weather.  Still have at least another two months of hot weather.  And the school year will be starting again in a month or so.  Will be interesting to see how the school year is impacted with the continuing pandemic.

June 27 2020

Alternating between hopeless optimism and slight irritability the last few days.  Had my neighbors over for the afternoon a few days ago.  Other than that, haven’t had much for guests or in person socializing for the last two weeks.  I am still working on my audiobooks.  Still messing with my computer games.  Been usually going to bed shortly after sunset.  Usually wake in the middle of the night, read some articles or play some computer games for a few hours, then go back to sleep for another few hours.  My aches and pains are still the worst in the mornings.  After I stretch out, move around, and take my morning vitamins with breakfast I’m good for the rest of the day.  Standing up and walking around at least once an hour helps keeps the aches and stiffness down.

See that some places are bringing back the quarantines for the coronavirus.  Here in the USA, big quarantines are now in the southern states and west.  I don’t know what the answer is, or if there even is a best answer.  If we stay shut down too long, we will make sure the hospitals don’t get overrun.  But many small businesses will go bankrupt.  We already have 40 million people on unemployment.  I think we are going through one of those ordeals will we will see an almost unrecognizable world once this pandemic burns out.  I think many things will be better, like allowing for more work from home options and people taking health and cleanliness more seriously.  But it’s already been a very painful process and we’re only six or seven months into this crisis.

I find myself overwhelmed sometimes.  By the pandemic, social unrest, economic problems, etc.  Yet, at other times hopeful too.  Many changes that were needing addressed, whether it was public health, bigotry, work life balance, environmental issues, supply chains for essential goods and services, lack of understanding and appreciation for science and tech advances, changes in the work place, the rise of automation and early AI, etc. are now at the forefront of social discourse.  These conversations are being had in the halls of congresses, academic institutions, business enterprises, and among common citizens like never before.  While it would have saved much heartache and many lives had these conversations taken place sooner, they are now being had by almost everyone.  It seems we humans are often at our best during times of crisis.  This current pandemic and social unrest are probably the first time in human history that all the nations of the world are facing the same problems all at once.  That alone is going to get far more minds working on solving problems.  I sometimes get discouraged in the day to day grinds.  But I am also hopeful at other times.  We now have several possibilities for a covid vaccine in human trials.  And we didn’t even know what covid 19 was this time in 2019.  And it’s not just the US, China, etc. working on this.  If this pandemic had to hit, at least it didn’t happen back in the 1980s before internet was available to the common citizens and our medical science wasn’t as advanced.