Almost There

It has been a busy time for me this week. It started Monday where I spent almost six hours going through tests, meetings and information overload. When I made it home I basically fell into my bed and stayed there until morning.

On a positive note about my appointments is that I met with an anesthesiologist. He looked at all of the results from echocardiogram and an x-ray of my lungs. Both tests were great, my heart is strong and so are my lungs.

Tuesday I met with the surgeon for the last time before the surgery. He too was pleased about all of those tests.

The hospital here is only booking surgeries one week at a time. This outbreak of Covid has everything in a tailspin. The surgeon and also the anesthesiologist said that if surgeries are put on hiatus that the both of them would fight for my surgery. My hip is that bad and growing worse.

For the first time in my life I have the utmost confidence in all those who will be working during my surgery. They seem to feel that I will only be in the hospital for about five days. I am not going to be anxious to push going home, I know they will discharge me when it is safe to do so.

I have to use a four legged walker, not my own with wheels. The therapy department ordered one for me and it was here over night. So, I am trying to learn how to properly walk with it according to a video that was sent to me from the O. R office. The video walks me through from start to finish. What happens during an hip replacement, then speaks about the post-op afterwards. There are exercises, how to put on socks and pants of which I have a tool to help. All these things are there for me to use that will ensure a complete and successful hip replacement.

I appreciate all those who have sent good will my way. I am not sure when I will be able to post again, but I will at that time tell you of my hip replacement.

So dear reader, take care of yourself, stay safe and I will chat with you on the exit from this tunnel!

I Can See Light at The End of The Tunnel

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. DESMOND TUTU

Tomorrow I head out to the hospital for everything of pre-op. They will be measuring my hip, taking blood work, chest x-rays, and I will be seeing an internist. I was told it will be about six to seven hours. I am looking forward to this, the beginning of the final last stretch to my hip replacement.

I find I am buoyant about everything leading up to May 3, 2021. I am praying and hoping that there will be no postponements. I am being extra careful and cautious not to cutting myself while shaving, etc., The surgeon will postpone the surgery if there is any cuts or scratches on me. He is picky about infections and to be honest I am thankful that he is that way. I have total confidence with this surgeon. This is not the first time I have been to him for all things orthopedic. I saw him for a fracture in my knee and one in my foot. Yes, he has relayed all the things that can happen. I guess this is necessary, probably it is the hospital’s policy.

I was sent a link to a YouTube video that the hospital produced. It is concerning everything I need to know about the surgery. It ranges from pre-op straight through to post-op and recovery at home. It shows you all the things that you should have in your home. I am fortunate that I have all these things already installed, except for a raised toilet seat.

So dear reader I start counting the steps that will lead me to the exit of this tunnel called “hip replacement”!

p.s. – I thought that this day would never come around!

Can’t Wait…Look Out Summer

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck

First, I went for my vaccination on the 14th. I was given the AstraZeneca vaccine. I did not experience any side affects, not even a tender spot. I really didn’t even feel the needle go in.

I was talking to a family member and I mentioned getting the vaccine. The family member told me that they were not going for vaccination because of the fears of blood clots. I tried to encourage them by telling them that the odds of that happening are very great.

I have already start dreaming about what I expect I will be able to do after recovery. My thoughts turned to walking through the community and maybe seeing a deer or a moose. It is common to see them around for it is quite the site to look and see them walking through.

Walking through the area and being able to chat with those who are out sitting on their decks. To look and see some of the new trailers that are being brought in. Taking my dog out for a long walk along the roadside.

I am not one who sits out in the sun because I think that too much sun causes wrinkles. Yes, that sounds like I am somewhat vain. Maybe, but I don’t think that I am. Just cautious and keeping the odds great from having skin cancer.

This past year has seemed so long, days seem to meld together. Trying to remember what day it is. It has been a battle to keeping my spirits up, not to fall into the depths of depression. Fighting to not giving up, doing what I can to see the better or best of the situation. Finding things to be thankful, even if they are the smallest.

So dear reader, here is to a better summer than the last one!

Great News, Hip Surgery May 3, 2021

This morning the phone rang. It was the scheduling O.R. office. It was to inform me that my surgery will take place on May 3rd here in our hospital.

On Monday I will be at the hospital to go through all the pre-op procedures. This will be around six hours of tests and such.

They told me that I need to be careful not to cut myself or catch a cold. The surgeon is very picky, if I have any of those things, like an infection, he will post pone the surgery. On the next day I will see the surgeon once more at the hospital.

I am not sure how long my stay in the hospital will be. I will not be allowed visitors, I have a feeling that it is for all hospital patients.

So dear reader, this is one guy who is excited today and I can’t wait for Monday May 3rd evening with surgery behind me. I have no idea how long it will take me to be 100 percent.

Mental Health and Community

Whatever you define family as, family is just a part of belonging to something that takes care of you and nurtures you… and when you have lost that, and you want to get that back, it’s pretty easy to get emotional about it. Ellen DeGeneres

I was thinking about where I live, daydreaming thinking about if I could move anywhere where would I move. Over the years I have lived in many different cities and towns. I look at those places and I have noticed one thing, I didn’t feel like I belonged, there was no sense of community. I never really learned the names of my neighbors and wouldn’t recognize them even when I may cross paths. The city that I found was the worst was Toronto, Ontario. You just kept to yourself, never looking directly into someone’s eyes.

I mentioned once that I live in a mobile trailer. This trailer park is not anything like what was portrayed in the show “Trailer Park Boys”. The owners screen new people that are moving in. They like having seniors and people who are not going to play very loud music. You will not find old cars, mattresses and old fridges in the yards. What you will find is people who like to visit when outside and you will know many of them by their names. I know all of my neighbors, within a block or so, their names. They in return know mine and of course, Natalie.

There are great benefits living here. I have a sense of security, a warm sense of belonging somewhere, and even a sense of family. There are not many places that I could name where I could find those benefits. This didn’t start at the beginning for it needed time, time to nurture, and stepping out of my little bubble. It will soon be twenty four years since I moved into this home where I live. The old adage, “Home is where the heart is”, has become real, deep seated within me.

I believe that if I was in need of some help that I could ask any of my neighbors and they would help if it was in their ability to do so. My best friend’s car is fine for around town, but out on the highway he is not sure it would hold together. When I needed to go to Regina, Saskatchewan, for those cortisone shots in my back, I asked my next door neighbor if he could take me. I don’t even think he hesitated and he gladly took me. On the way there and back we had a great time chatting about all manner of things. It was the same neighbor, after I purchased the laminate flooring, he offered to put it down for me.

It is those things and much more that has been so beneficial for my mental health I can go to bed without worrying if my home will be broken into. It has been that sense of belonging, a sense of community, that anchors me to stay here. Yes, I have those moments where I feel I would like to move. I weigh the pros and cons, but truth be told I could not find any place better than here. The rent prices are going through the roof in this town, I probably would end up living beside someone who wants to party all night, and even worse a couple who would fight constantly.

So dear reader, what gives you a sense of belonging, that sense of community? I would like to hear some of your thoughts!

Trying My Best to Stay Positive

“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you’ll find the positive side of things.” Demi Lovato

My best friend made a comment to me , “I am amazed at how well you are handling things”, that made me feel good.

I picture my brain as several filing cabinet drawers. Being someone who in high school took mainly business oriented subjects, filing seems natural to me. I organize my files on the computer into large and mini files. Even how I keep important papers, such as Tax Returns, etc., they are arranged in files in a filing cabinet.

I do my utmost best to keep my life in a filing system, that way I can concentrate on the task I am doing at that moment. I wasn’t always this way, I was the world’s best worrier on the planet. There were times that I would be such a scatter brain, always running full tilt trying to get things done. The one thing I could manage was arriving at appointments early, never late.

Maybe there is a name for a person who treats his mind as a filing cabinet, it wouldn’t surprise me…lol. When I am working on writing a post I can tune out the background noise, although I work best in the quiet of the evening. It assures me there will be few interruptions, like the phone.

My situation of my hip I am trying not to constantly dwelling on it. For some strange reason I am not overly concerned about the actual surgery, even though I have never had any surgery in my life. Yes, the pain stops me from doing many things, but lately meds are keeping the pain at a lower level. I get my sleep thanks to a sleeping pill, a pain killer, and two Tylenol 4’s.

Then I like to watch different shows with my best friend. We both like baseball and curling. At the moment he is teaching me about hockey. I don’t understand much about the game, but it is a distraction from everything happening around me.

Of course there is my dog, Natalie, and she can make me laugh with some of her crazy antics. I love it when she hops up onto the couch while I sit at the other end watching tv or reading a book.

So dear reader, do you have ways handling situations of stress, pain, and mental health issues? I would love to hear them!

“Frustration” Is The Word For This Week!

It has been one hell of a week for me. I have been without access to my internet since Monday.

I really didn’t care on Monday because I spent most of the day resting in bed. But Tuesday I tried to login to my internet and absolutely blocked. I tried everything I had learned over the years about resolving problems with logging in. Nothing I tried worked, so I call the support line. He basically walked me through everything I had already tried. From his end he could find nothing concerning my problem. Then he tells me to push a red button to reset the modem. Well, I do just that and to my ever increasing frustration, nothing, ziltch, nada! So, the answer was to wait for someone to come to my house and try to resolve this issue.

Today, Thursday, a support guy shows up and begins trouble shooting what might be wrong. He found the trouble, apparently when I was told to reset, it reset the username and password to the default that is given by the ISP. He goes out to his truck and brings in a new modem and a new switch. The modem I was using was a bit old and the switch was for me to be able to hardwire my laptop. He sets up a new network with a name I chose along with a new password.

If today would have been a flog I might have thrown everything out the door! But, I am connected again and I have missed not being able to access WordPress. I have some catching up to do with reading all the blogs, but I am thankful I am back on the wide world web.

New Observations About Blogging

“Successful blogging is not about one time hits. It’s about building a loyal following over time.”David Aston

I am probably the last person you would ask about the intricacies on blogging. I really don’t understand the nuts and bolts about WordPress. My journey in blogging has basically been trial and error.

However, once in a while I have little things pop up that gives me a sense of accomplishment. Things like this:

The other day a thought came to me about blogging. It was this, “do the work, then let the work work”.

Here is how I would define “the work”

a. Be yourself

b. Try to be consistent

c. Interact with other bloggers. When I interact with others I try to stay within the subject of their post. I do my best to be respectful and courteous. One blogger has had to take down the comment section because of some being rude and outright asses.

d. I try to step out of my universe, the bubble that I usually read or comment. I use the section of “Search” and “Tags” found on the left side. I like to enter a topic on either the “Search” or the “Tags”. I have found some great posts and have even added them to blogs that I follow.

So dear reader, it is because of you encouraging me along this blogging journey that has kept me going. For that I say, “Thank you”!

Thoughts About Chronic Pain

Chronic pain shatters productive lives. Chronic pain almost always is accompanied by depression, anxiety, frustration, fatigue, isolation, and lowered self-esteem. Jed Diamond

I have lived with chronic pain on and off again. As a kid, I played outside as much as possible. I would climb trees, ride a bike, fly a kite. or many other activities. My parents left myself and my siblings with my aunt and uncle while they went to look for a place to live in London, Ontario. They gave us instructions about what we could or couldn’t do while they were away, one was not to climb a tree.

Well, my sister and myself decided to climb it anyway, typical kid stuff. I climbed up ahead of her and on the way up I told her not to step and the same branch that I was on. She did the complete opposite, the branch cracked and down I went unto a pile of stones that surrounded the tree. My left arm hung in an almost ninety degrees. So, my uncle comes out and he tries to set my arm. Off to the emergency room and sure enough I broke both major bones in my arm in two spots.

The cast was removed just before returning to school. The new school year started and for gym we were outside playing baseball. I am not sure exactly where I was standing, the next thing I knew there was a bat flying towards my face. My instinct motion was to put my right arm up to protect my face. I went through the day without thinking much about it. The next morning I woke to find my hand and wrist completely swollen. Once again, this kid breaks another arm. I had snapped my wrist backwards and it caused the break.

Moving on towards my mid to late twenties, I was the passenger on a motor bike. A beautiful clear sunny day and the driver plows into the back end of the car in front of us. It sent me sailing through the air finally landing on my butt. To make a long story short the result was that I had torn everything away from my spine. Somehow, I was able to walk out of the hospital without the aid of a wheelchair.

It was near the turn of the twenty first century when I saw a doctor for severe pain in my back. This was my introduction into pain opioids. It started with a very mild dose of Oxycodone, which gave me some relief for a period of time. My back pain was growing worse and every time I saw the doctor the medications doses were increased.

Eventually I was taking the maximum amount of Oxycodone that was allowed. Next, came Fentanyl transdermal patches. One patch was good for seventy two hours and after that you replace it with a new patch. Finally, a new doctor suggested cortisone injections. I had two treatments and for at this time they have worked. Thus, the long term affect of long use of opioids created an addiction. I voluntarily admitted myself to the mental health ward to break the addiction.

Chronic pain demands your attention, it affects how you do anything. You do anything possible to have some relief, to have even just a couple of hours without the pain. When one part of your body aches it sends ripples out throughout your entire body.

Everyone deals with chronic pain differently. There is no one thing that if it is done will bring total relief. Also, tolerance with pain is different. Some of a hi tolerance level with pain. For me, I do not handle the chronic pain very well.

This hip pain is probably the worse that I have ever experienced in my life. I do have some relief during the day with a high dose of a pain killer. The only relief I get is when I sleep. I take an opioid, a sleeping pill, and two Tylenol 4’s.

I have become very limited in what I can accomplish on my own. The effort of just getting out of bed has me screaming while trying to maneuverer my legs to the side of the bed. I no longer cook for myself because I am afraid that I may not be able to respond if something went wrong. The task of getting a cup of coffee requires taking very careful movements using my walker.

I went on a search about managing chronic pain and found very little information that I didn’t already knew. For some I could tell by their writing that they have not encountered chronic pain.

When I read other’s blogs about having pain I can empathize with them. Even when watching tv if they have someone who has fallen and broken an arm, my response is, “ouch”. I know how that pain feels and would not wish it upon any other person.

So dear reader, I thought I would share my experiences with dealing with chronic pain. When someone describes pain, whether physical or mental, they have my sympathy.

Update- The Hospital Is No Picnic

Back in March when I was having such great pain my friend took the lead and spoke with my surgeon’s office. She gave me a date to see him, which was today.

I was up early because it takes me a long time to get myself moving. Along with a couple of cups of coffee and breakfast. I started getting ready to be at the hospital for noon time. We called a cab that can carry my wheelchair, my friend’s car was out of the question for it rides low. The cab arrived and I slowly make it out to it and a hobble to get myself into the back seat.

I arrived early, which is nothing new. Of course Moose Jaw is on high alert for Covid, so I had to be screened before going to register. Finally, registered and make it to the area where the surgeon was conducting a cast clinic. I sit in my wheelchair waiting to be called into a room. Forty-five minutes later I am called in to see the surgeon. He has me jump, well in my case hobble, onto a bed. I lay down and he moves my leg and barely off the bed which makes me scream. He quit because he didn’t want to make me hurt anymore. He decides that he needs an updated x-ray. So, back in the wheelchair and off to have the x-ray done. After the x-ray it is back to the surgeon, where I sit another thirty minutes before he makes his return.

He proceeds to explain the condition of my hip. It is far worse than it was three months ago. He explains about my hip and there is a ball that is attached to a bone and the ball moves around the hip. Where the ball should be is nothing more than a flat piece of bone. And still no answer of when my surgery will take place. No thanks to Covid to bring things to a grinding stop. Here is what he said, “I sit at home with nothing to do, no surgeries”!

So dear reader, the hospital is definitely not a picnic!

Have Air Bags Before The Crash

“The pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it, and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be borne. The prevention of many suicides will continue to be hindered until there is a general awareness of the nature of this pain.” ― William Styron, Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

I hope you will read the entirety of this post and don’t move on because of the heading.

I was watching a tv show, “Touched By An Angel” and in the episode a teen becomes drunk drinking wine. He takes the keys to a car, he gets in, starts the motor, and takes off screeching the tires. Just out of the lane way he crashes into a post. It sent his head forward crashing against the steering wheel. The outcome from the crash was he did damage to his eyes. He will need a transplant of his cornea transplant. It was before airbags became mandatory, so if there were airbags the damage might have been a slight lump on the forehead.

Prevention, I wonder if I would have sought help if I would have know that I was bi-polar. Would my actions, like, attempting suicide, would have been altered. Messages, like, one here in Canada that says, “Let’s Talk” would have been aired back then, would it have saved thousands of lives?

There are so many things today that we know if we follow them they would prevent many diseases in our body. We know many substances cause cancer. It took many cancer deaths caused from the material asbestos before the product was banned. It is no longer used in construction and if a home is being renovated and they find asbestos everything comes to a halt. Work is stopped, everyone is told to leave and specialists are called in to handle the material safely. They start the procedure of removing it with many steps. One step involves the specialists put on a Hazmat suit

I remember the late First Lady Nancy Reagan against using drugs. It was quite simple, “Just Say No“. It is probably what started a search to help first responders deal with drug overdoses. Every ambulance, pharmacy, and even for homes a drug that reverses a drug overdose. It is the drug, “NARCAN“, also known as, NALOXONE.

I know now what triggers a migraine in me, tree nuts. I also know the signs of a panic attack. For both those things I know how to prevent both of them.

I wonder if you know something that would have helped if you knew how to prevent it. In other words, do you now have airbags, prevention, before you crash.

So, have airbags before the crash!

Moods On A Wire

The point about manic depression or bipolar disorder, as it’s now more commonly called, is that it’s about mood swings. So, you have an elevated mood. When people think of manic depression, they only hear the word depression. They think one’s a depressive. The point is, one’s a manic-depressive. Stephen Fry

On Wednesday I sat down to write a post. My mood was upset because I watched some of the witnesses of the George Floyd trial. I saw these witnesses, who were bystanders in May 2020 , break into tears. Almost a year has past and still the trauma deeply affected each of them. One man, sixty-one years old, broke and buried his head on the witness stand sobbing uncontrollably. It was quite traumatic that the judge saying to take a ten minute break.

As I tried to write about the what I saw was the defendant sat in his chair unmoved, and wrote on a yellow legal pad. It bothered me that a man could look so cold and unfeeling, the total opposite of what was happening on the witness stand. As I kept watching the two pictures I found myself becoming angry, angry not at the witnesses, but at the former police officer. Angry at seeing the video of the former officer with his knee on the head of Mr. Floyd.

I could feel myself going down the rabbit hole and my writing was turning dark. I began to rant about what I saw and heard on the trial. I realized that the mood I was writing in was not good or healthy . I deleted that post and it has been two days since that first attempt to write a post.

Mood swings in the past was a big issue for me. I could go from calm to an over wrought angry person. I truly thought that I had overcome those swings. I also found that men my age also go through something like the change of life, similar to women going through menopause.

Back in the early nineties it was anger that caused me to grab a bottle of sleeping pills and down them. It was just that day going from a calm peaceful start in the day, to erupting in a fit of anger. The result of that was being committed to the mental health ward for the better part of the month.

Before I started treatment back in 2004 my moods were always on a wire. I just couldn’t find a balance, one step the wrong way and down I went. Mood swings would take me on a roller coaster of highs and deep lows of depression. The highs would find me staying up all hours of the day and night. The deep lows of depression found me living on coffee and cigarettes.

So dear reader, my question is this, does anyone else experience these intense mood swings? Do you have your moods on a wire? How do you deal with them?