Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All about the stress

I have been the beneficiary over the years of much medical advice from mom, and except for a badly infected toe that she totally blew off until I went to the doctor and was informed I had a fever, Dr. Mom has been on target.

Lately, though,  she seems to be more of a one-note medical professional.

Head hurts? Falling more? Restless-er legs? Stomach issues? Stress, stress, stress and stress.

The bigger problem? I suspect she's right.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Be very afraid

I was certain that the worst thing about yesterday was going to be running off the sidewalk into street. One wheel, anyone, and an aunt and uncle were there to help me recover ... although if I hadn't been walking to the funeral with them, I wouldn't have been on the sidewalk.

But when I realized the processional hymn, I knew I was in trouble. I started crying, and it wasn't for my 90-year-old cousin.

The song was Be Not Afraid, and the thing is I am so very afraid.

I am afraid I will put Claren down to make me feel better, not her.

I fear what will happen when my chief helpers, Mom and Dad, are gone.

I worry what will happen if I have to retire before I am ready.

And so much more.

The song makes these claims like "If you cross the barren desert, you shall not die of thirst." But you will, unless you find a spring or carry your own water.

Similarly, "If you walk amidst the burning flames," you will certainly be harmed.

The refrain is more realistic, saying, "Be not afraid I go before you always," and a later verse says, "know that I am with you through it all."

But, and not to be too blunt, who cares? I expect that from God. I know misery is supposed to love company, and I do, if that company can provide any assistance.

Like my nephew wandering not my room, hugging me for no reason and leaving. He might have been checking to see if I had any cookies.

Like my sister, who spent a half-hour putting a new chaise lounge, then later helped me out of said chaise.

How is God better than an imaginary friend?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I need new vitamins

I am unable to swallow my vitamins anymore.

Well, that's not quite true. Sometimes they go right down; sometimes they don't no matter now much water I drink; and sometimes they go down the wrong pipe and cause me to gag.

Fortunately, I am a good gagger.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Doctors, nurses, billing industry. What doesn't belong?

I love just about all the doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians, etc. I have come into contact with. It's kind of a shame, then that the medical billing industry is so very uncool.

Three incidents lately have reinforced this:

  1. I paid a $277 bill related to my sleep study in June. I recently got a bill from the same company for $330. I did owe $54 for a new thing, but they ignored the $277 I paid.
  2. I had some lab work done. They made copies of my insurance card and lab card. I was billed for the full amount because they said I didn't give my insurance info. A few days later Mom called, and they apologized and asked for my info. The very next day I received an Explanation of Benefits from my insurance company for the lab work that was filed before Mom even called in my info
  3. I paid a $350 bill by online bill pay, and I paid it to the wrong company. This was all my fault; I filled in the wrong box on my list of billers. The wrong company, also a health care firm, took my money even though they saw it was not owed them, then when we called, agreed to return it "in a couple of months."
No. 1 is forgivable. The other two? Not so much.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Go Set a God

I have not even thought about reading Go Set a Watchman. It’s not that I am suspicious about a “friend” discovering and publishing a rough draft of a favorite novel as something new. It is not that Atticus is a racist. It’s just that I haven’t had time. 

You see I, too, recently came across a friend’s scribblings that would later be rewritten into what some have called the greatest story ever told. My friend is God.

Some of the changes are just funny. For instance, the early version, the “Old Old Testament” paints Satan as the tempter in the Garden of Eden, but instead of a serpent, Old Scratch is a cute kitten. Apparently, God was trying to make the point that you need to beware even things that appear innocent. But an editor really thought it distracted from the overall point of the story and made Satan a snake.

Sometimes, God seemed to lose himself in the details. In the “Old New Testament,” Jesus’ genealogy goes on for 43 pages.

The most shocking change, though, comes when Judas leads the soldiers to arrest Jesus. In the version we all know, Peter pulls out a sword and cuts off a guy’s ear before Jesus tells him to put away his sword.

Here’s the original draft: “Jesus shook himself as if he were waking from a dream. ‘Thanks, Pete! Come on, boys, let’s show these jerks who the King of the Jews is.’ The lord then began calling fire and brimstone down on his arresters.”

By the end of the chapter Caiphas’ and Herod’s houses are smoldering ruins; their owners dead, and Judas? Let’s just say he doesn’t get a chance to kill himself.

Thankfully, an editor reminded God that Jesus was about “turn the other cheek,” so the rewrite makes it clear that violence is not the way to go.

I feel confident, though, that this original draft is something that needs to be read. And if it makes me rich, awesome. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Trying to be a good little incontinent, I go to the bathroom even if I don't have to. Or don't think I have to. Usually when I get there, I realize I did have to.

Today, on one of my proactive trips, someone was in the wheelchair stall. I went back to my desk because I didn't really have to go, but as soon as I got back to my desk, I did really need to go.

I went to the other bathroom on the floor because I really did not want to waste time with an occupied wheelchair stall.

Not that I like the other bathroom. Its toilet is still auto-flush. It does not have a vertical bar I use a lot. Worst of all, it is a reverse or my stall, meaning that bars I am used to on my left are on my right.

After straining not too fall, I succeeded in sitting and relieving myself satisfactorily. I even managed to get back in my chair.

Out of breath because of the extra care everything took,  I went to sit outside at lunch, and I actually started to cry.

I honestly do not know what to do about this problem, and if they ever get around to fixing the width of the wheelchair stall, it will only get worse as more people opt for the roominess of a big stall.

That extra width is why people, some of whom I consider friends, is why some use it now. I was in the bathroom when one guy came out of the stall and said: Sorry, just needed a little more room.

I sympathize. I need more room, too. Unlike others, though, I really can't fit in the other stalls.

Short of a lock on the stall, this is not going to change.

I can hear my sisters now. They would back the position of a friend at work I mentioned the problem to. She said I should knock and explain loudly that I need the stall.

It's hard for me to knock, to speak loudly and to hear, so lord knows what would happen if the guy offered a legitimate reason.

Even if the guy left the stall, he'd be back.

I know these guys do not wish me ill. I am sure they think of me not at all. Or perhaps, "I'll just be here a minute. Matt won't need it."

They're probably right nine times out of 10, 99 out of 100. But that one time really hurts me. It says to me that I am less than normal, that I am not entitled to a useable bathroom.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Take another little piece of my heart now, Claren

I told a friend that watching Claren near the end, which she is, has got me wavering about plans to get another service dog when Claren dies.

She agreed that it is hard to go through and said that while they do take some of your heart, they give some in return.

Like Black Widow, "I've got red in my ledger."  Not that I have killed people. The red in my case just means more marks in the "given by Claren" column.

Again like Black Widow, "I'd like to wipe [the red] out." I suspect, not being an international assassin, it will be easier for me to wipe the red out.

Granted, I'm not a superhero or agent of SHIELD, but all I need to do is love my dog. I can do that.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stupid Metro manager

It never fails to amaze me just how difficult a loss off hearing can make things.

Last night, a jerky station manager demanded to see my MetroAccess card before letting me into the subway, which has never happened in the 10+ years of MetroAccessing.

No big deal, but he was in the manager's kiosk and was motioning for me to put the card through a little slot.

I keep the card in a sleeve that is attached to my chair, so putting my card in the slot was not easy.

I briefly debated telling him that I couldn't take it out of the sleeve, but that if he wanted to use his legs, he could wander out of the kiosk and take a look.

But then I figured he might wonder why and ask something, and I'd have to say "what?"

I gave him my  card.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Not as simple as 1-2-3

I am a writer. It is how I make a living, how I relieve some stress, How I make myself laugh.

But in grade school and up until physics really,  I loved math.

Writing was always subjective. I was (and hopefully am) good at it, but not everyone likes the same writing styles.

I loved math because 1+2 always equals 3. You are right or wrong in math, no subjective grading or thinking. At least  until the higher levels of math, which I was miserable at.

I find myself missing that mathematical certainty in life where there are no absolutes.

Just once  I'd like to find a question in life that is an absolute. But they don't exist. You think you have one, then someone else mentions a related issue and that leads to another, and soon enough your simple decision is polluted with fractions and square roots.

It is enough to make you want to write.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Still restless

My sister and family left four days ago. Since then, I have been up at night three times.

It's not that I miss them. the restless leg medicine is not really working. Or when it does work, it makes my feet hot and uncomfortable.

Doesn't look like I'll be giving up my naps soon.

Mom said the failure of the medicine made her want to weep. Her and me both.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dog days

My sister and her family have gone to Maine and left me with the dogs.

This means Kenny sleeps with me, but the boy is a freaking rock when he sleeps. Forcing him to move, if needed, can be a bit of a challenge.

But it is good to have him. He reminds me of what a young dog can mean. I need this because I find myself forgetting the value of a dog as Claren ages. I also find myself wondering if I want to go through this aging process again.

It is hard to witness Claren's various infirmities, but a real issue is that we have become quite separated. It is hard for her to be at my level anymore, and I find it hard to get on the floor with her. And even if I do connect with her, her skin allergies leave me unsure if she even likes it.

I owe Claren so much, and she doesn't seem unhappy. She greets me and rolls around in the grass, but she makes me sad these days. And, of course, that makes me guilty.

Gene Wiengarten says old dogs are the best dogs; I'm not sure.

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