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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] ladnews!!



Going through something hellish right now...

Last night, as I was turning to back into the driveway, I felt a thud near the front tire. I was wondering what the hell it was, wondering if there was a problem with the front brakes, or if I'd run over a stick or something, but the road was clear when I started my turn. As I backed in the driveway, I saw a cat body writhing in the street in front of me. By the time I stopped the car and got out, the writhing had stopped. I went in the house and got Mom, and when we got out there, there was another car coming down the street. We waved him around, but in the headlights, Mom could tell the cat was still breathing, and then the cat took its last breath and...was no more. Crossed the bridge, if it hadn't done so earlier, and everything else was just nerves, given that it was a head injury that killed him.

I haven't really slept, well or otherwise, since this happened. Mom dragged the body to the edge of the yard, just so he wouldn't get hit repeatedly or anything, and while I was getting the windshield replaced today, she made some calls. We were hoping animal control would come out and take care of the body, maybe make a note of the description in case he belonged to anyone and someone came looking for him. Turns out, animal control doesn't deal with anything dead, nor do they collect information like that. They referred Mom to DelDOT, who said that if the body is on the property, there's a fee for removal, but if it's in the road, removal is free, and so, maybe drag the body back into the road.

Fuck it. I dug a hole in the back yard, got one of the smaller boxes we have for moving, lined it with an old towel which doubled as a burial shroud. He (and I'm assuming it was a "he") was stiff with rigor mortis, but I did the best I could to make him fit in the box with any kind of dignity. Wrapped him in the towel, closed the box, said a few words over it, and apologized profusely as I buried the box. The cardboard casket.

It pains me to think he may have been some kids best friend. But then, this is why my cats are indoor cats. And why they have collars and chips.

He may also have been a stray or feral. Just...don't know.

What kills me is that despite his injuries, I could tell he was a beautiful cat. And no matter how accidental, no matter how unintentional, I feel like complete and total shit about this.

And as I've had a low level of acid and bile from all of this all day, I get a thing in the mail from the GI doc. The biopsies came back, and I'm back to having Barrett's Esophagus, which is basically a condition where my esophageal cells have mutated into something thicker, and are more likely to mutate further into cancer cells. Hence, more frequent endoscopies, more aggressively working to prevent gerd, and so on. With the stress from work, and now this recent...incident? Tragedy? Added stress? Yeah, I can feel my stomach eating itself right now.

The only good thing from the last day is that I finally got my damn windshield replaced. There was a tiny, very thin scratch on the new glass that I may have never noticed if they hadn't said anything, but they did, and they took $100 off for it. Also, when they took the old windshield out, they sanded down the rust from two windshields ago, that was done sloppily by another company and leaked like a sieve, and treated that. And cleaned/vacuumed the front seats and footwells as well as cleaning all the windows. Given that they took almost half the price off for a tiny scratch and everything, I'd highly recommend the Safelite shop on Kirkwood Highway for automotive glass repair or replacement.

Rocky...knows I'm upset in general, and he's been a little extra affectionate today, which just makes me feel worse. I feel like I betrayed his kind somehow. And considering how karma likes to make me its bitch, I'm terrified of something similar happening to him. Then again, he's an indoor cat and is perfectly okay with that. The door can be wide open, and he'll just sit at the edge, no desire to go any further. All of my cats have been like that. The furthest any of them ever wanted to go was the garden in the front yard. Some of them liked to sit in the back yard, but that was problematic, because they saw the deck as a neat part of the house and liked going exploring under it and were real pains in the ass about coming out when it was time to go inside.

But, yeah, I'm feeling pretty crummy. Maybe esophageal cancer is a just punishment for me or something.

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] monkeyspy AND [personal profile] shadesong!!



The Battle of the Cold...continues...

I went out this morning and resupplied on Coricidin. I also made a semi-impulse buy and got a vaporizer. And some Vicks Vapo-Rub. It's helping a little. I also stopped at the grocery store and get a few more cans of chicken noodle and chicken and rice soups.

This is easily the worst cold I've had in years. Part of me is wondering if it's not a mild version of the flu. But, with no fever and no nausea, I'm skeptical it's any kind of flu. I think it's just a Really Bad Rhinovirus.

Sorry about no comics, but, I am just not feeling up to going through and posting them and such. Sorry. They'll return when I'm feeling better and can type without my eyes gooping up and making it hard to see.

Yeah, my sinuses are so congested, they're pressing on my tear ducts and assorted nerves. Hence, the tearing up.

With all the sneezing I've been doing, as well as blowing my nose, my abdominals are hurting. Imagine not exercising for a few years, and then being compelled to do about 500 crunches or sit-ups. Yeah. Hence, why I refer to my ample gut as an alien baby bowling ball. The muscle tone I have under there is still significant. And yeah, I'd like to get started on testosterone therapy before I lose that muscle mass. In fact, once that all gets started, I might start some mild yoga or calisthenics to rebuild some muscle tone. Right now, I'd just be spinning my wheels. Or spinning my myofibrils.

Anyway, dance is out for tonight. I'd likely hurt myself. As is, work on Monday is iffy. We'll see how I feel tomorrow.

I'm muddling my way through housework. It's all intermixed with naps. Though... See, with all the tired muscles and such, the area where I have the herniated muscle that contributes to my GERD is also all fatigued, and thus the surrounding muscles are fatigued to where they can't compensate for the minor herniation. So, I had some reflux wake me up from a nap. Meh. :(

And yes, this is even with being raised a little.

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more that whole situation is a Catch-22: The acid reflux medicine has side-effects which are affecting my weight and such, which then leads to me having more weight to push on my stomach, which makes the acid issues worse, which necessitates more medicine...

I'm a medical mess.

Fortunately, I have Doctor RockyCat trying to help me out. I really hope this cold isn't something that can jump species; I'd hate to put him through this. I wouldn't wish this on anyone but the people most annoying to me.

Though, it gives me an excuse to freebase Wasabi.

More later...

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] unsilenceddream, [profile] drewshi, AND [personal profile] seanan_mcguire!!!



So...life has smacked me upside the head. A little. First off, not going to dance tonight. The anemia stuff has me feeling a little drained, and the morning ended up being busy. So, I'm going to pace myself. As for the morning's busyness? Well, I went to check the fluids and such on the car. I also noticed a front tire kind of low on air. So, I got to try out my new digital tire gage and such. Put air in the tire, thanks to Rich's air compressor, but, I discovered a few problems. First, there's a slice mark on that tire into a small area of tread. There's also a screw embedded in the tread. Lastly, the side walls are cracking. I noticed various degrees of cracking on the other tires. The result is that I will be replacing the tires sooner than later. I was hoping to hold out until the summer, but... Meh. The windshield might have to wait until after the tires. So, I need to do some budgeting this weekend and figure out how things are going to go the next few weeks. Or months. Or whatever.

Here and there, I'm still getting impressions or even admissions that people think I'm slumming here at home. It's annoying, but these days, it's annoying in that it means there's someone else I have to write off. At this point, if people don't know my situation, know what I've done for my family, and so on, then they don't deserve to be in my life. Indeed, they're already out of it to be so clueless. The Cliffsnotes version, for anyone needing to be brought up to speed, is that I helped out my mother after my father died. I put my family first and helped pay the bills, mortgage, and so on when the place where Mom worked kicked her to the curb. It was only two years ago that she found a permanent job that paid her more than half of what she was making before. She's still getting on her feet financially. On top of that, before she had the hip replacement (almost three years ago), there wasn't a whole lot she could do around the house, and I couldn't see having to take care of my own place and be over here 2-3 times a week to take care of this place for her.

Why am I still here? Well, before Mom had the hip surgery and before she got her current job, I sacrificed my own credit to keep a roof over our heads, up to and including buying her a car when her Sebring died. She no sooner got her new job that the engine in my car went, and it was cheaper to replace it than get a new car, or, another used car with likely the same or more problems than what Cammie has. Given that my credit was shot, there was no way I'd get approved for anything "new" or even comparably equipped to what I have now. What I'm restoring now. Now, I'm still paying off the engine, since there have been other issues that have come up, like all the dental work I needed that wasn't covered, other medical stuff not covered (such as co-pays), needing a new motherboard and chipset when the furkids knocked a glass of iced tea onto my computer, and then all the vet stuff this past year with TomTom and YoYo and Rocky. I'm surprised I had anything left for Christmas gifts.

I'm not here because I'm lazy or mooching or can't function on my own or anything else. I'm here because I'm, if anything, more responsible than most and have a high value on my immediate family.

Will I be here forever? Probably not. I'm here for the next few years at least, since it's going to take some time to dig myself out of debt and save up enough for my own place. I can't see getting an apartment or somesuch where I can't have pets or don't have enough room for all my books and such. I would like my own place someday, but for right now, where I am works. I can continue to help Mom and Rich out, dig myself out of debt, and have some significant freedom for my cats.

Anyone who doesn't know this by now or who still thinks I'm slumming it...can go take a long walk off a short pier.

In other news... I didn't get any writing done yesterday. I instead had that annoying voice that says I'll never be published, that I don't have what it takes to be an author. So, instead of getting any writing done, I was instead busy gagging that bitch and kicking her off a cliff. Would I be able to write full-time? Don't know. Not any time soon, that's for sure. I'd need to get established first. And I need the medical benefits from my current day job. But, if I'm successful at writing, then early retirement is a definite option...

Just some stuff bouncing around in my head. That, and... I'm going to (finally) use some of my medical time on the 14th for a trip to the dentist. I'm debating taking the whole day and maybe getting in to see the family doc to get the ball rolling on this anemia thing. Sadly, I shouldn't have to even think about this; I should be able to put my health first. It's times like this that I wish I had ignored a LOT of people in the past and actually focused on my writing a lot sooner...

Comics )
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Damn, only two more days of the holiday break. I had hoped for a few days where I'd wake up around 8 or 9, get breakfast, then work on writing until 2 or 3, then read for a bit, then maybe a little more writing, then gaming. Unfortunately, the break turned out to be a little busier than I anticipated with house stuff and errands. And sleep.

I'm almost done John Scalzi's Redshirts: A Novel With Three Codas. I've been highly amused by the main narrative, and I still have two codas to go. After I read the main narrative, I was ready to make a vow to not kill any characters in my novels, and I'm glad I read that first coda before making any such vow. That first coda also has given me a lot to think about with regards to writing in general, as well as writer's block and so on. I need to stop being so lazy and start pushing myself.

Tying some things together... I think I may be anemic. I mean, since September, I've been denied at the blood bank for my hemoglobin being too low. And my energy level has been down, too. Hence the extra sleeping over the break. And having a hard time getting myself motivated to work on stuff around the house, and even writing. Now, given my esophageal issues and GERD, there's a link there with anemia in that nutrients aren't being properly absorbed into my body. And then there's the Nexium, which may be hitting my bones and affecting my marrow in that red blood cells aren't being manufactured in the right numbers or in the right way. Lastly, there's an infinitesimal chance that kidney stone back at the beginning of the year did something to my kidney and my erythropoietin is down. Yeah, I kind of doubt that last one. Now, since work is kind of shitty about allowing me to use time I've earned, and since I have a backlog of things to take care of as a result, it may be February or March before I go to the doctor to get this addressed. In the meantime, I'm taking B-complex vitamin supplements and switching to a Flintstones chewables vitamin with iron for my multi-vitamin.

In any event, I'm hoping this is something that can be addressed with vitamin supplements and not require shots or anything. Still, I'm...annoyed. First, there was the whole sleep apnea and sleep disorder thing, and now this. I'm tired of this damn meat sack conspiring against me to where I'm just existing instead of living. Anyway, we'll see. Oh, and all this might be a significant contributor to the whole weight-loss thing. If my body's having a hard time absorbing nutrients from food, this might explain extra hunger and such, and might explain metabolic issues causing me to store fat instead of burning it.

But, I am determined to, eventually, get this all figured out and dealt with. Who knows? Maybe by March, the vitamins and such will have given me the boost I need, and the trip to the doctor will just result in some tests to make sure there's not some underlying major thing going on and I'll already be bouncing back by then.

In sucktacular news, Trek author and comic book writer Peter David had a stroke. Please keep him and his family in your prayers or thoughts.

Comics )
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Okay, so, doctor appointment went okay yesterday. Bee sting is healing ok, weight isn't up as much as I thought it would be, and I'm otherwise healthy. There's some bloodwork and tests to get done... Annual cholesterol and basic physiology tests, plus, a 5-year echocardiogram and stress test. Nothing is urgent, so, I'm probably going to get it all done in December, the week between Christmas and New Years, since the library is closed that week and I will have the time and such.

I have the car back... Seems to be running a little more smoothly. The ignition lock cylinder...was replaced, though, there still seems to be some issues. Jack mentioned that there are some problems with the steering column and I need to talk to Gary on Monday. Otherwise, things are looking good.

Today had a bit of a rough start. I was supposed to go donate a pint of blood, but, they had to defer me this time. My hemoglobin was a little low. Now, I've backed off some of the leafy green veggies because of the kidney stone issue and trying to cut back on some of the meats and such just for general health purposes. But, those things are dropping my iron levels and thus my hemoglobin levels. So, need me some moo meat and need to maybe pick up some V8 from the store. Anyway, I rescheduled for October, a week before Halloween. They said I could dress as a vampire when I go.

On a cheerier note... Funds are being transfered, clearing banks and so on. On Monday, in addition to calling Gary, I'm also calling Lantana to schedule Rocky's surgery for the end of next week. Mucho thanks to Mom. Because the tumor seems a little larger than it was a week ago. And Rocky is acting like that side of his face is tender. I don't care that it's non-life-threatening; my little buddy's in discomfort and it's getting worse. A week from now, the surgery should be done and he'll be recovering here with me. I am very happy and thankful that this will be resolved quite soon.

And being able to pay off that Care Credit card... Very happy about that.

Anyway, not too much left to take care of this weekend. And I've been watching Jackson Galaxy's My Cat From Hell marathon on Animal Planet. You know...for the frustrations of the Rocky-Riffy-Minerva issue, they are nothing near what some of these other cat issues are. That means that, with some patience and such, I can get them all to get along. But, I need toys and cat trees and some other stuff I can't afford right at the moment.

Comics )
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Ugh.

Woke up with a nasty headache and sinus congestion. I blame the weather, the impending heat wave, and everyone cutting their grass over the past few days. Including myself. And tonight, I've had some esophagitis issues and resultant anxiety. I am Not Happy. To round all this out, I had some anxiety this morning, since I had nightmares all last night and woke up several times. So, I didn't sleep well. Despite that, I couldn't seem to sleep for more than an hour at a time during the day. So, in addition to the anxiety, I have a decidedly disconnected feeling today.

Rocky pretty much stayed with me all day, whether I was napping or downstairs watching TV. He, Yoda, Bonnie, and I finished watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day and started watching season two, volume one of the original Transformers. You know, the introduction of Spike's girlfriend, Carlie, has Carlie as a rather strong female character. She's not only a grad student at MIT, but she also manages to hang out with the Autobots and even plants a bomb on Decepticon HQ. And her grasp of particle physics allows her to sabotage Wheeljack's stolen invention - the Immobilizer (which sounds like a knee brace used right after surgery to me). She's just shy of a Mary Sue character, which makes her a welcome addition instead of annoying.

I still say T2 is an awesome movie and not only my favorite Terminator movie, but also one of my all-time favorites. Sadly, it's depressing on how, in the same way no one listens to Sarah Connor, our defense department doesn't listen to many people about programming machines to do our killing for us. Terminators, Cylons... We're screwed because human hubris makes those people think they'll stay in control. Then again, because we can't value other human lives, we're pretty much boned in any event.

To be clear: I'm not against artificial intelligence. In fact, done right, AI can be more human than human intelligence. And when you program a machine to not kill, but rather to protect life, as Asimov does, then we get Data, KITT, and Emergency Medical Holograms. It's creating machines that can learn to kill that bothers me. It's bad enough that we kill, but, and apologies if this seems a bit cavalier, but, have we gotten so lazy that we need machines to kill for us? If that's the case, then maybe we deserve what we've got coming to us.

But then, I lose faith in humanity a little bit every day...

Books read so far in 2012... )

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Thus far, it's been a week of hell...

First, my job is being eliminated and, though they're giving me another job, it's still a major change. Then yesterday, I had a bit of a medical emergency. Granted, not life-threatening, but just incredible amounts of pain. I woke up around 5AM with pain in my left lower back. At first, it felt like a muscle cramp, but then it ramped up and when I stood up to stretch, I started seeing stars. And then the pain got worse to where I was debating vomiting, crying, or passing out. Tried lying back down, which was only marginally better. Then another wave hit and I somehow managed to stumble into Mom's room and wake her up to take me to the ER. Got back into my room and managed to put on socks, pajama bottoms, a shirt, and slippers, then was overcome with pain and nausea. Crawled to the top of the steps with my wallet and cell phone. When I got there and didn't hear any movement from Mom's room, I used the cell phone to call her and wake her up. Then I proceeded to swing my feet around so I could crawl down the steps feet-first. Meanwhile, TomTom stayed with me, licking my head. Rocky beat the crap out of Mom's door. Then when I started to go downstairs, he smacked my head several times, probably thinking I was about to fall down the stairs, but when he saw what I was doing, he backed off, then ran downstairs, thinking he would catch me if I fell instead of flattening him, 30-pound cat or no. Got downstairs and waited about another 10 minutes for Mom. In all fairness, sher had a doctor appointment later in the morning, and she needed to make sure she had everything for that so she could go there right from the ER, if necessary. She left the house first to start the car, and I decided I didn't care if it was cold or not, and I stumbled out to the car. Fortunately, the hospital is less than five miles away, and it wasn't quite rush hour. The pain escalated to where I ended up taking off my seat belt and putting the seat all the way down so I could lie where the pain was only slightly more bearable. Got there, and there was only one person ahead of me, and they processed me pretty quickly. It didn't take too long from when they brought me back to a bed/gurney to when a nurse came in and started an IV, followed by a doc who first checked for any hernias then ordered dilaudid. Five minutes later, I started to feel like I didn't have a broadsword impaled in my lower back.

So, I apologized for being a little wuss and was told, "Don't worry about it; it's just classic kidney stone symptoms." I looked down and realized the ER/Hospital gown really did have moons and stars on it, and it wasn't just the ones in my head. Though at this point, my memory is a little fuzzy, as the dilaudid was putting me in a very good mood, bring a whole new concept of "being stoned." Mom had to leave for her appointment, and I told her I'd call if there was a problem or when I was done. Note: Mom also had an appointment for a nerve block in the afternoon. Yeah, I picked a real good day to throw a stone...

Anyway, they took me for a CAT scan and politely smiled when I mentioned that TomTom and Rocky had already given me one, explained who TomTom and Rocky are, but that I was all for nuclear imaging. After I got back from the electron portrait, the pain was starting to return. So, they hit me with more dilaudid, took a urine sample and a blood sample, and I think I took a nap.

A little while later, the ER doc woke me up and told me the results of the CAT scan. I had/have(?) a 3mm stone, likely calcium oxylate, at the bottom of my left ureter, poised to pass into my bladder, after which, it wouldn't be a problem anymore. The lab results showed nothing else unusual, save for a slight elevation in white blood cell count, so, they were sending me home with a script for Vicodin and an antibiotic. My brain almost gave the comment that I wouldn't be like Steve Austin anymore, but then another part of my brain slapped the first part and said, "Anti-biotic, not anti-bionic, you moron!" So instead, I just nodded and smiled and called Mom. She was otherwise occupied in her own medical adventures, but told me she'd called Eileen (friend of the family), and she could come bring me home, and she would call her and let her know that they were kicking me loose.

So, got my stuff, waited for my ride, and when Eileen was taking me home, I came to the realization that I didn not have a house key on me. Wallet and cell phone, yes, but no key. So, I called my car-less sister, discovered she was indeed home, and went there to borrow her house key, then came home. Between the dilaudid and the fatigue factor, I took a cautious nap. I wanted to get my scripts filled, but I wasn't yet up for driving, but I was a little scared to sleep in case I woke up in pain again and didn't have anything for it. I ended up sleeping anyway from sheer exhaustion.

Woke up later after Mom was home from her adventures, had some dinner, and felt of enough sound mind to go get my scripts filled. Managed to get there before the pharmacy closed, and the pharmacist and tech were both very, very kind in filling the meds right before closing.

Anyway, I took today off work to continue to convalesce. I think I've probably passed the stone, and may have passed it before I left the ER. In any event, I have meds to help if I'm wrong. But with a slight infection and being on an antibiotic, I rescheduled my blood donation appointment from tomorrow to next month.

Next week, I finish the old job and start the new job while trying to ignore Valentine's Day and remembering that Wednesday makes it 9 years since Dad died.

Thanks to all who have posted well-wishes on FB.

Next up: another grievous example of someone who wishes they could be a cool nerd and failing miserably...



Just...stay with your conformist, unimaginative, nerd-bashing little clique of common denominators until you're truly interested in learning how to distinguish between Imperial hardware and Cybertronian life-forms. Or even between a real and photoshopped picture...

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