Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Matt flu edition

I am so tired this week, my eyes itch, my stomach is having issues and my nose is running.

It could be seasonal allergies or I could just be tired from a busy week. Maybe it is because I am taking fewer antidepressants or maybe it is the swine flu.

I am also a touch bitter and angry, which makes think it is the antidepressant thing. I am as sure as I can be that I am not missing the 37.5mg of Effexor that I am not taking. But I am almost certain I am suffering without it. Meaning I think it is withdrawal of the drugs from my system not the absence of the drugs.

I mostly am just mad at myself. I know that I just dreamed the impossible dream, but the reality settles in when you are sitting on the floor stuck because your goddamn leg won't lift you up because your goddamn foot can't stop sliding on the floor.

I mean that is not too much to ask, is it?

Monday, April 27, 2009

To fight the unbeatable foe and kick its ass, sort of

So you know how I said that taking a shower upstairs makes me feel as if I have conquered Everest?

Well, after visiting my sister, I feel like "I can lick 30 tigers today."

Her house is not what you would call wheelchair-friendly, but not a lot of people's houses are.

I used my manual chair so it could be carried up into the house, and I eschewed an escort at the airport to scoot myself along. It is kind of nice and relaxing to push yourself, and an airport is great for rolling because it often has flat surfaces with no carpet.

I got on the plane last so everyone had to walk past the choice bulkhead seat that Claren and I had -- two seats, lots of legroom, just me and her.

In Boston, where my oldest sister lives, I transferred in and out of a minivan to travel. Piece of cake.

To get in the house, we got a chair and I sat in it while two people carried my wheelchair on to the porch. Then two people (usually) helped me up the steps by walking on either side while I put my arms around their shoulders. We reversed the process for going down. It worked quite well. The worst part was that I visited during a rain storm so my shoes and wheels got muddy.

Using the bathroom required people not to peek because I could not get in and shut the door. On occasion, I did sit on the toilet, push my chair out and close the door, but that meant that someone needed to put my chair back in. I can't really explain how I got to the toilet except to say it involved a strong towel rack and one of those suction-cup grab bars placed about six inches off the floor. It was totally safe.

I decided not to risk a shower so I just washed myself at the sink, and I managed not to knock my niece's contacts, makeup or other paraphernalia over.

There were other odd events like getting my nephew to pull me off the couch I slept on, my pants falling down on stairs or slipping to the ground in the bathroom with my legs bent in a way I was surprised they still went.

But I had a blast. I saw my sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, three cousins, Bruce Springsteen and two friends. And I know now I can do it. I even survived driving in the rain with my 16-year-old niece, and if I can do that, my friends, I can do anything.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm a weaner

I started last night to cut the amount of Effexor I take.

Actually, I don't mind taking less -- I don't think I really need as much as I take -- but I wish I was trimming because I want to, not because it costs me $1,000 to get refills on this new health insurance plan.

My goal is to get to 150mg from 225mg, but I got some 37.5mg capsules so I can go down a little at a time. My earlier attempt to cut by 75mg was a disaster.

Today I was OK, just sleepy.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I love trash

I was surprised to get an IM a few weeks ago from a friend and co-worker asking me
if I was OK.

I told her yes, someone else came in so my department was no longer short-handed. She said good and I asked if I had been rude or something when I was working alone.

Not rude, she replied, but maybe like Oscar. My first thought was why is she comparing me to the fat guy who does crossword puzzles on The Office. But that isn't even right; Oscar is the gay Hispanic guy, which still makes no sense. Then she clarified: Oscar the Grouch, a mini-Oscar, she said.

It was true -- we were short-staffed that day and I was a little ill-mannered. But hardly anyone mocks me at work.

I mean every single relative does, especially younger ones who ought to respect me.

Mom, too. I just this minute got back to my seat on the couch after going to the bathroom. I had some trouble getting in, though. I grabbed the door handle, but it slid through my hands and I fell forward. My head hit the wall so I did not tumble right out of the chair -- I had time to brace myself by putting a hand on the floor. I called Mom for help because my hand was holding me from dropping and could not pull me up. She walked out: "Can I give you a hand?" After I was up, she mocked me for going for a ride without my seatbelt.

It made work feel downright homey (and no, I do not want all my co-workers to start making fun of me).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"It was goddamn good"

Whoo! The only song I really should have recognized but didn't last night at the Springsteen concert (April 22 / Boston, MA / TD Banknorth Garden) was "Glory Days." The others were new, rare or by the Ramones. I feel so much better.

My ears just don't work well in good settings. In really LOUD ones, they are pathetic. I wear earplugs to blot out some of the noise, but it only sort of works. And I have yet to have both earplugs work. Last night, I kept having to fiddle with the right one. When we left, I noticed it had fallen out.

Even then, I am not sure people who can hear correctly would have had a better time. It is so electrifying. I get goosebumps when I recognize a song. And I just feel like I am part of something wonderful. Having a setlist to follow would be nice but not necessary.

He played "Candy's Room!" I got a little teary-eyed during "The Rising," and something wet ran down my cheek during "The Land of Hope and Dreams" (This Train carries lost souls!").

Seeing him Boston was neat, too. Everyone at the show was so helpful, and I did not even have Claren so it must have been my cuteness! Or they just do their job well. And I took my oldest sister so now I have taken all my siblings but one, and we were at the same show a few years ago, just not together.

And to make up for "Glory Days" my faux pas, I heard the words to a Stephen Foster (I guess really it is "Stephen 'Stinking' Foster") song he has been singing: "Hard Times Come Again No More."

The title comes from Bernstein's "The Mass," not that I am comparing the concert to church. It was much cooler.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cutest dog ever

I left my cellphone in my pocket on Sunday, and it did not survive the wash. I told Mom that I wanted to go to Boston without one to prove how unnecessary they are, but Mom said I couldn't. So there I was this afternoon at Tysons, buying a phone, a belt and tightening my glasses before the trip tomorrow.

In a nod to efficiency, Mom went to get the belt and I did the other errands. I finished first and started to walk toward Macy's where Mom was. Claren was carrying the orange bag from AT&T.

Everyone we walked past smiled or ohh'ed and ahh'ed, and I said to Claren, "You are the shit."

but then I noticed a woman hurrying past, intent on getting by us. I told Claren that apparently she was not so cool with everyone.

But then the woman got past us, turned, pulled out her cellphone and took a photo of Claren.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My poor thighs!

I have new respect for strippers and exotic dancers after the shenanigans of last night: Metal poles are really chafing.

I was getting into bed last night, wearing just my shorts. I was holding the Super Pole with one hand when I stepped on to a shoe that I had not gotten out of the way.

WHAM, I flew into the pole.At that point if it were biblical times, you could probably say I knew the pole and we'd have to get married.

After getting over the initial shock, I then had to pull myself up the pole and into bed. Granted, it was nowhere near as graceful as what the ladies do (so I understand, never having seen that), but even if I had the ability of a veteran pole dancer, I don't think I could have escaped the rubbing.

Gals, I feel for you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Maybe I should duct tape my life

I broke another toilet seat tonight. I think that's like three in the 11 months I have lived at home.

Mom duct taped it to keep it on so I could use it until we get a replacement.

I don't think that is the use they meant when we were told to stock up on duct tape.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

If I had just been raised from the dead, I would be nicer

My manual wheelchair is kind of a piece of junk. Neither brake stops the chair from rolling, which is not so bad when you are in it but does make life kind of tough when you are trying to transfer into it.

I was getting ready for bed and had to go to the bathroom. I was kind of delaying until someone besides my 10-year-old niece got home.

But finally I decided to transfer into the chair, well try anyhow.

It moved and I fell.

To show my niece I was OK I decided to wait till I had my breath back before asking her to get my power chair. she did, and with as little sighing as possible I somehow got in. again I decided to wait till my breathing was at least mostly inaudible before heading to the bathroom.

I had issues in there and needed help. I had to scar my niece by calling her into the bathroom to put a towel on my chair before I sat. I did ask her for help and assure it was nothing at all gross.

She did it with no questions and it wasn't gross for her, but goddammit it is pretty gross for her 38-year-old uncle.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

All I have to do is dream

I dreamed last night that I was at my folks' home with everyone else from my family. No one was paying attention to me, which I found maddening, especially because I needed some laundry done. I can't do laundry at my folks'. The laundry room is inaccessible.

Accessibility was not the issue in my dream. I was living in my room upstairs. I remember taking a shower standing up and walking upright. But for some reason I felt I was being improperly neglected.

I am not embarrassed by that because dreams are weird.

Anyway, I was getting my clothes out of the dryer (someone had started doing them) when two family members started putting stuff from the washing machine to the dryer.

I yelled at them to stop and said, "Can't you let me do anything on my own?" Again, jerkiness is allowed in dreams.

Then I woke up and went a long way to convincing Dad and myself that I am not at all someone who should be living independently, let alone doing laundry.

I rolled out of bed but my foot slipped and I had to drag myself to my chair using the stripper pole. Then I had to re-situate myself several times to get the seat cushion underneath me. Then I struggled to lower the footrest. Finally, I was ready to get to the bathroom.

Then I started peeing.

I called to Dad and asked him to quickly bring me the urinal, which he did, and I used it. Then I headed to the bathroom where the door knocked the urinal off my lap. (A brief side note: I HATE DOORS.) Then I got in the shower and called out to Dad to bring me a dry wheelchair cushion and some soap.

I won't be doing laundry in the new house either; the laundry room is on the second floor.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I go to the vet

Today I went to the human vet to see about my arm. It was a little disappointing because my doctor just said take Advil, which I have been doing.

It also sucks because I got proof my health insurance -- a health savings account -- just might be the worst in the planet but I am likely stuck with it till next open enrollment.

I chose it because the HR website said no other plan took my doctor. My doctor said, Whoa, we take everything for existing patients. Needless to say I am a little put out.

I am also trying to cut way back on my anti-depressant for no other reason than cost. Just 90 days dosage will suck all the savings out of my account and then some. That in itself makes me depressed.

To top it off, Claren barfed in the elevator. Yes barf with an "F," not bark with a "K." She started gagging right as we got on, no clue why. She then made two puddles about 2 inches wide. So it wasn't a lot. She would have licked it all up, too, if I had let her.

While I was watching the spit fly, the elevator started going down, not up like i wanted. I rode down to the garage then back up to my doctor's floor with lots of people, dog barf and no paper towels.

I resolved to go to the bathroom on my doctor's floor, get some paper towels and wipe it up. But the bathrooms are locked and the keys are in the doctors' offices. I then just went to my appointment, worrying that I would go to hell for this mishap. Actually, I was worried Claren would throw up again in the office, which unlike the elevator is carpeted.

She didn't and when I got into the exam room, I snagged a handful of paper towels. On leaving I waited for the right elevator ready to clean up my mess. The doors opened and .... The floor was sparkling. Someone must have mopped it up.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh the hilarity

I feel like I need to apologize to my brother for interrupting his video call with Mom.

I didn't do it on purpose.

I was just transferring to the couch from my chair, and well, it was more of a struggle than normal, which means there was a lot more grunting than normal.

At some point, it struck me as ridiculous that all this noise was cutting into the video chat, so I started guffawing, which made the transfer even harder. It didn't help that Mom looked over to see if I needed help and noticed my pants were falling down.

Finally, I just waited till the call was over and got the needed help to get on to the couch.

No, it wasn't that funny.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stupid nerves

I am the roughest, toughest hombre out there, but you'll have to take my word for it.

Last weekend, my shoulder started aching. That's nothing new at all. Sitting in an effing wheelchair will do that.

After the original pain, I treated it simply: Advil, heat, holding a ball that Claren was chewing so she tugged at my arm really hard.

That last treatment may not be AMA-approved, but I was sure it would help dislodge something. And it did. The pain that was confined to my shoulder started dripping down my arm and chest.

This turned out to be not so good. I never realized how connected the back of my arm was to my neck. I could feel the muscles in my arm shout when I tilted my head back. But that did get better.

I probably will not patent that treatment just yet, though, because the tips of my fingers are now tingly. My nerves suck on a regular basis if they work at all. I sure wish they would go back to not working and leaves my fingers alone. And my chest still hurts, too, right by armpit.

This does allow me to work on my pain tolerance, but what good is it if no one knows how much of a bada-- I am.

Blog Archive