Friday, March 27, 2015

Introspective End of Week.

            It has been one hell of a week here in the heart of the South. My mood seem to rise and fall with the ever present and bipolar Mother Nature. One moment sunny and warm, the next, icy with bitter winds and my mood plummeting as quickly as the mercury. For a few moments, and by few I mean maybe three or four, I was not as worried as I normally am.
            Sure, I’ve been putting on a good smile and downright cheerful disposition while at work, but those who know me, I mean really know me, know there has been something off about the way I am when there are no strangers or untrustworthy types lurking in the shadows. Yeah, to say my days are not just an emotional but also a stress roller coaster ride the likes which have not been built is but a shallow example of the truth.
            I’ve spoken of this before, how could I not? It seems all I do these days is feel the overwhelming pressure of middle-aged life and the duties of raising a kid and being a good husband. Not easy. If you think it is, I’ll trade ya. (especially if you’re a bajillionaire) And the trade will most likely be temporary. Just long enough for me to empty out your bank accounts, steal my family from you and run off to a secluded island where they’ve never heard of large box stores.
            I digress.
            Yeah, it’s been rough. I, no, we survived. The weather, the stress, the insanity of life. And we did it with very little grace and dignity. Yet we managed to pull together and survive for one more week. Just like you. And you. And yes, you, there in the back room with no lights on and eating your way through a box of Swiss Miss rolls. We all survived. A little more dented, a little more tarnished by lifes pummeling, but we fucking survived.
            Sure, I had some help. I texted a person I try to not text because I know how crazy his time management is and I know the demands on his life are at least as much as mine. Words of encouragement were exchanged and I actually laughed when I was feeling like quitting. I hope you have someone in your life like that because it wasn’t until recently I realized how important it is to have someone to help pick you up and dust you off when you’ve been sucker punched by the world.
            Just talking to my pal brought forth good conversations filled with memorable quotes. Life quotes really. Some would call the platitudes but to me, right at this time in my life, I need them. I really need them. I’m grateful for our friendship, hell any friendship for that matter. Our bond with others seems to help lessen the pain we get force fed every day. It acts like a morphine shot to the soul and psyche. A shot that seems to give us the strength to stand up, brush the dust and grime of life off our soiled clothes and move our still aching body forward. Forward with the help of a friend or two.
            I can’t say I won’t lose my mind in the near and dear future. I will. I know I will, because the unseen blackness of life is hiding just around the corner. Or on the other end of an incoming phone call. Or, maybe pressing send on an email that when you read it will make you wish you’d chosen a different path to your life. Thankfully, right now, I don’t feel that way right now.
            Nope, I’ve got a few secret weapons on my side. Soldiers in the fight for life so to speak. Soldiers I can lean on. After all, we are all brothers in arms just trying to get as far as we can before the energy that keeps us going is transferred to another plane of existence. Hopefully one filled with golden roads and mansions. I think I could actually rest there. Peace, tranquility and none of the insanity we have created on this spaceship we call earth.

            Have a great week. Be good to each other.

Friday, March 20, 2015

And on the first day of Spring... Raise the white flag.

            Mother nature has played a cruel joke on us here in the South. You see, like all of you, we here have suffered another bitterly cold winter. So cold that I know of men and women who work for the power companies who’ve been working almost non-stop since the first blast of arctic air made its way into our lives. The weather has been so awful that I have not really been able to enjoy my favorite writing spot. My front porch that is. Nope, I’ve been mostly relegated to writing while sitting up in bed or trying to write while sitting on my couch because the bitter cold, the snow, the incessant rain that pelts you from all sides that feel like ten thousand needles penetrating your skin makes sitting outside in nature a difficult task if not damn near impossible.
            Whatever the obstacles put before me have been, be they thrust upon my by nature or duties to my family and work, I’ve still managed to persevere in my communication. This is not news, but it feels good to say. Yet I can’t help but think, with all the chronic comments and complaints I hear from people in my daily life, that others are just as put out as I am in these thoughts that Mother Nature is playing some sort of cruel joke on us. Which brings me back to my original sentence.
            The cruel joke.
            You see, just a few short days ago, here in the south, the mercury rose above seventy for the first time in what seems like eons. Birds chirped with glee, squirrels chased each other frantically, dogs that normally bark like the world is ending as you passed by their house seemed to just be happy to feel the warmth of a yellow glow on their skins. Yes, all around us, even the trees seemed to have let out a collective sigh of relief that the long cold winter was over. Then the temperatures dropped to the upper thirties. That night. Almost no warning, with the exception of the weather Nazis on television. Yup, our brief respite in the death cycle of seasons merely a mirage. A mirage quickly replaced by rain, bone chilling wind and foggy breath for those brave enough to venture out into the atmosphere of arctic air that seemed to have found a new home here.
            Which is funny in a way to me.

            You see, as a person gets older, you hear about “Snow-Birds”. They are the people who live in the northern climates during the summer months, and when the witch of November begins her lengthy exhale, they head south. Places like Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas become havens for pale faced elderly people with more disposable income than they have days left on this planet. Used to be, I felt sorry for these folks, thinking how unlucky they are to miss out on the gasping vestiges of a season as it slowly goes into a slumber, only to awaken months later in joyous harmony and bloom. A season filled with energy, life and the ability to ensure that the life they are enjoying will be passed on.  Right now, I think I may have been wrong.

            You see, I’m fast approaching my forty-eighth year and I’m beginning to think that chasing the sun and its infinite healing warmth may be a respectable goal. Yet, inside me, deep inside where all the super-secrets and regrets of life lie in a coffin that is encased in concrete while surrounded by metal that is coated with three inches of rust-proof while anchored to the core of the molten core of the earth with magma proof chains is the little kid in me who used to love winter. A kid so enamored with the cold and white flakes from the sky he never realized the beauty of the stark gray countryside until it was almost too late. A scenery of bare beauty that was only hinted at in the movie “Fargo”. Yet the desire for the sparseness and empty plains of white drifting off into a dark gray horizon haunt my dreams to this day. Yes, there is a part of me that yearns for those days. Endless rows of empty fields where not even an animal would dare tread for fear of being on the supper table of a starving farmer.
            Yes, I still think fondly of those Wisconsin winter days. Where the morning snow is a deep ruddy black and gray that slowly fades to white and the imprints of child sized snow boots scatter across otherwise pristine lawns. Footprints that if analyzed by a CSI would show a great battle had occurred there not twelve hours earlier. A battle that held the stakes of every citizen in the solar system, nee, every citizen in the universe in the clutches of its outcome. Empty snow forts with abysmally made mutant snowmen standing guard in cul-de-sacs and front yards that had once hosted squeals of glee and vehemence, all in good natured fun, slowly melting and soon to look like some sort of menagerie of a madman with a blowtorch fill my mind lost scenes from my own youth. Yah, I guess in one sense of the word I miss the neck high to a giraffe snow drifts. But another part of me, the part that is quickly approaching embittered middle age, I say my bones are weary. My bones ache. The earth is not only for the living but the young.
            Bring me tepid temperatures where I can enjoy the simple fruits of my labors without soaking my hands and body in water that reaches upwards to one-hundred and ten degrees just so the feeling of life will return to my aged and aching bones.
            I’m done Mother Nature, I surrender and hoist a white flag in your honor. I’m too tired, too, worn out and too cold to endure a spring where the average temperature is less than my double digit age.

            Have a great and warm week everyone.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Camera Shy

            It has been a comedy of frustration and errors today. You see, I accidentally or maybe purposefully got myself volunteered to do a task that a person with my limited patience should not be in charge of. Okay, maybe I should back up a bit.
            If any of you my dear readers are followers of me on facebook then you will have undoubtedly seen some of the videos I’ve posted from work. These videos, model train videos, were recorded on the train tracks of a train layout I designed. They are pretty cool too, if you ask me but then again, I’m a train geek and videos of trains are what I like. I find them fascinating.
            In order to make these videos, the city I work for purchased a small video camera. No, not the gopro camera. Instead they opted for a Kodak camera that can record in full 180 degree vision. Now, the camera was not intentionally purchased for filming on the train layout. Instead it was purchased for the planetarium we have here so the planetarium director can film weather and stellar phenomenon for our dome. Pretty cool stuff there. For example, he/we actually filmed our first train layout videos using the dome setting and then replayed the footage on the dome. Watching the trains go down the track at larger than life size scale was dizzying.
            After that initial experiment, I put in a requisition to get one of these cameras and other equipment to broadcast live onto a television in the train room. That requisition is still pending approval/disproval. In the interim, I thought I’d experiment with the camera a bit more, get some regular footage, not dome footage and test the entire system out before spending a lot of government funds on expanding my exhibit. Which I started to do on Tuesday.
            Towards noon, the camera’s battery died. In truth, I don’t think the battery had been fully charged but it makes no difference now. So I charged the battery. When it was finished charging, I reinserted it back into the camera. Which promptly refused to turn on.
            Odd, I thought, then I went and spoke with the planetarium director to see if he had any advice. He did not, but he was more than willing to try and get the camera on himself. He failed as much as I did. So we decided that the battery may not be fully charged. We stuck it in the charger overnight.
            Wednesday came and went with the same dead results. We pondered the problem, questioned our intelligence and even tossed the idea around of holding an exorcism for the possessed piece of plastic, metal and glass. By the end of the day he handed me several sheets of paper that contained the purchase order, extended warranty plan information and all other pertinent information and asked if I’d take care of the problem. I stupidly agreed. And this is where the story starts.
            Thursday, I call the toll free number, sit through more than several minutes of automated telephone directory assistance and then, as I was ponder what it would feel like to have a number two pencil shoved into my eye socket, a nice and pleasant baritone voice says “Hello, may I help you?”
            Success! I set the pencil back in the Norfolk and Southern coffee cup on my desk that seems to be overflowing with pencils, pens, screwdrivers and scissors. I quickly explain the situation to the gentleman and he is more than happy to assist me. However; it appears our extended warranty plan had not been activated. So that is what we did. I spent about ten minutes going over everything with him and he then informed me that it would take about twenty-four hours to process the paperwork and I should call back on Friday. I thanked him and hung up believing that success was just one day and one phone call away.
            I should have just stuck that pencil in my eye right then and there.
            Friday started with a bang. Not really, but it was an exceedingly hectic and fast paced morning. I believe every school in the seven cities sent their problematic kids to us to use as ad-hoc babysitters. It wasn’t until almost one o’clock when the one thousand and seven juvenile delinquents finally departed. Leaving behind broken markers, pens, fishing equipment, bubble makers, lightbulbs, anvils, case hardened steel and coated aircraft cable. Also, there was a film a stickiness and toxic goo upon every flat surface in our over 28,000 square foot building. I almost called FEMA.
            Instead, I called that wonderful toll free number in hopes to hear a nice gentleman with a subtle baritone voice again. Instead, I got a squeaky voiced woman with a heavy Midwestern accent. I went over my story with her as I did with the gentleman the day before. She opened the account and informed me that our product, the camera in question was still covered under the one year manufacturer’s warranty. She was even polite enough to give me another toll free number for the manufacture. I nodded in silence, picked up the bloodless and eyeballless pencil from my cup and wrote down the number. I thanked her and hung up.
            I called the number and promptly sat through ten minutes of advertisements and contest winning affirmations. All I had to do to claim my prize(s) was punch in a valid credit card number. I apparently was the winner of a ten day and night round trip to Las Vegas for only sixty-nine dollars a day, I had also won a European vacation of no less than four countries for ten days at one-hundred and ninety-nine dollars a day, a Segway, a new flat screen television and even a trip to the Grand Cayman islands. I sat through all of these promotions, the pencil in my hand drawing ever nearer to my right eye socket. Then, the phone started to click, my anticipation for communicating with a real live person grew, then I heard “If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again.”
            I wanted to slice my wrists with a rusty and dull spoon. Instead, I dialed the number again. (I’m Polish, what’d you think I was going to do?) I then sat through all the wonderful announcements that I was a prize winner again and if I would only punch in my credit card information I would soon be traveling around the globe in a carefree and jaunty manner. I put the phone on speaker mode, picked up a pencil for each hand on contemplated the dire look of a co-working coming into my office and finding me with two pencils, one in each eye with blood slowly pouring out onto my face and pooling on the floor next to my desk. This thought made me smile and relax. After all, it would serve as a warning for anyone who ever wanted to try and claim a warranty over the phone for the history of man to not do so.
            At the end of the recordings, the same chipper voice said “If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again.”
            I hung up, looked at my computer screen and did a quick search for the camera manufacture. I found their website, found the support section and called them. In a few minutes, after of course listening to the instructions in three different languages, I was finally speaking with a real, live human being. A woman, middle aged, from the Midwest and more than happy to tell me her company no longer makes cameras and has not done so for several years. Also, she told me, any manufactures warranties are invalid since they do not make any products whatsoever that deals with storing digital or analog photographs anymore. I informed her the when and where of our purchase. She had no answer. We hung up.
            I called the warranty place again. When the young lady who answered, I say young but I don’t know, her voice was a mix of Midwestern accent and Indonesian accent, answered I went through my entire tale again. She told me I needed to get some sort of paperwork from this company stating they don’t make cameras before they, the warranty company could do anything about my issue. I hung up and started to play with one of my many knives.
            Instead of honoring the great Samurai and their tradition of suicide when faced with shame. I called the manufacturing company once again. Wouldn’t you know it, I ended up speaking with the same young lady I had previously spoken with. She then informed me that while her company does not in fact manufacture cameras, other companies do and then put their name on them. She gave me the number of that company and wished me luck.
            I took break. I had to. My mind was swirling with questions and I knew if I talked with anyone, I’d be crass, angry and just downright unpleasant.
            Fifteen minutes later, I was back on the phone, instead of calling the number of the manufacture I had just received I called the warranty company. I don’t know if this action was intentional or not. I do know that I got a different customer service agent. Another woman, older, maybe in her fifties, and I tried to explain once again what it was I was trying to do. She had no answers for me, even after putting me on hold for several moments.
            When she returned to the line, she recited what the previous lady had told me. I frowned. Then she implied I/the city had purchased a used item and the warranty would be void anyway. I informed her that was not the case. That in fact, the product we had purchased through Amazon was brand new, in its original package, sealed and was being made by a “shell” company for the original manufacturer. She did not say I was lying but she did infer it. I then pointed out, since all of these transactions had taken place through the Amazon portal and their company was certified with Amazon along with the company we had purchased the camera from that they in fact should honor the warranty. She had no reply.
            Now, I know when I get upset and frustrated, much like you my dear reader, we have a tendency to say things we don’t mean and on occasion use language that is rather colorful. I abstained from this. Consciously. I made a point to NOT use colorful language and I made a point to show this woman that the company she worked for was more than eager to take our money but when it came time to file a claim, even with all of the paperwork they required, they would not do so. I then hung up. I felt better. No, it was not a venting, just a mere relaying of the conflict in the service her company offered and the service they delivered.
            I then called the number the nice young lady had provided for the proper manufacturer. I didn’t hear any ads, nor did I hear several languages while waiting for someone to pick up on the other line. Nope, as soon as the “Welcome to our company” message was over, a nice lady with an accent that dripped of southern California and Spanish identified herself and promptly listened to my tale of angst, frustration and woe. She then emailed me the proper form to fill out. Which I did, and she invited me to have a pleasant weekend. (Which I hope to do.)
            Now, the camera is sitting in a bright yellow, red and black box on a desk waiting for the cities internal mail man to come pick it up, have proper postage stuck on it and mailed to the left coast of our country. Hopefully, and this is from the last woman I spoke with, we, the city, will have our small digital, wifi, 180/360 domed camera back within twenty-one business days.
            So, presumably sometime around November.

            Have a great week.

PS. No pencils or eyeballs were hurt during the writing of this or the experiencing of this event.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Third, First and Last

Well, yesterday, Friday, the verdict came down from on high. Okay, not really on high, it was delivered to me in a sterile doctor’s office the size of a walk in closet. My back has been broken. In two places at least. Small fractures really. And as the Doctor put it “If you have to have a broken back, then you are in the best case scenario.” When I asked him what he meant he informed me that there is no damage to my spinal cord and very little chance that it my spinal cord will be affected.
            I was more than upset to hear this news. You see, my dear reader, I was trying to get a note from him saying I was fully fit to go back to work. He said he would prefer if I took a bit more time off and let my soft tissue around my lower back heal as well as let my bones start to repair themselves a bit more. When I asked him how long, he said at least three more days. I wanted to punch him. Of course doing so would mean I would have to stand up, step down from the exam table, ball up my fist and try to twist my body at the waist to get my full body weight behind the force of my punch. Even thinking about that sort of action while sitting there on the thin paper covered table made my back throb with stabbing pain. Even though I was loaded up on pharmaceutical grade pain killers, the pain told me I would be unfit to perform that particular task. Lucky doctor.
            He then proceeded to examine my broken and bruised body. I did my best to not flinch, yelp in pain or rip his face off for touching the places that my steps so happily chose as their own punching bag. Given, the steps punched me only once, but once was enough to put me on my ass for a week.
            After the Doc visit, I went to my part-time job, I gimped down the aisle trying to ignore the stares of the customers in my direction. After all, it’s not every day you see a six foot tall, 190 pound, long haired biker stumbling through the door of a fine dining establishment. I’m sure my shambling caused more than a few diners to clutch a bit tighter to their purses. Hell, I even saw a few scoot away from the aisle I was making my way down.
            I ignored them and focused on the business owners who were standing at the back of the restaurant staring at me. The chef was grinning and nodding, his wife looked blankly at me. When I got to them I informed them I would miss another shift of work due to the fact my Doc would not sign off on my return to work slip. The chef then informed me that when I called and left my message that I would not be able to come in to work on Wednesday, he did not recognize my voice and that he had to have other people listen to it to make sure it was me. I laughed because I knew why I sounded like an alien being tortured at area 51. It was the pain I had been going through.
            When I left the restaurant I then went to my primary job. I informed my supervisor of my plight, he informed me I needed to get some paperwork from administration to have filled out. FMLA paperwork. Bureaucratic paperwork that makes going back to work more difficult. The one thing I want to do, work, requires me to get permission from others so that I can do it. I’m sure there is a reason for this, but I’m sure I’m not smart enough to understand it even if it were explained to me. It’s okay though, because I know I will do exactly what I need to do to get back to doing my job(s).
            By the time I got home, almost six hours after I left to go to the doctors to get a clean bill of health, my painkillers were wearing off, my gimpiness had gotten worse and I was exhausted. I made my way upstairs, climbed into bed while trying to not inflict more pain on my body and promptly fell asleep.
            When I woke up from my nap, almost ninety minutes later, a brief thought entered my mind that I may be wrong in believing I was ready to go back to work full time. I then told myself I was hallucinating and I couldn’t be wrong. Which is about the time I started to count down the hours and minutes that I actually get to go back to work. Which is about the time I started to fall asleep again. I’ve repeated this behavior for the past twenty-four hours.
            On the bright side of everything, I’m actually healing. My body is not in as much pain as it was a few days ago or even yesterday for that matter. The insanely blinding stabbing pain I’d been experiencing has been replaced with a less blinding stabbing pain. Also, truth be told, the meds are helping. But even without the meds I see small improvements not just every day, but every several hours. Not too long ago I couldn’t even put my own socks, pants, shirt and shoes. Now, can do all of those, true, not as quickly as I could pre-flight attempt on Tuesday morning, but I can perform these simple duties. Also, yesterday morning was the first time since the front step incident I was actually able to sit down in a chair, on a couch or even in my bed. Big success there. If you don’t believe me, try doing nothing but standing or lying flat on your back for three and a half days. It will drive you nuts and make your feet extremely tender.
            So, in conclusion, I’m on the mend, I’m bored, and I’ve written way too many blogs about this one incident. But, I needed to do something, after all, I’ve read books, watched movies, television shows, played video games and driven the people in my life batshit crazy with my stubbornness of not asking for help and not allowing them to help me. Why? Simple, I don’t really like to ask for help, need help or want to be helped which is a principle I’ve had for years. A principle I do believe at this point in my life I need to reassess. I don’t want to, my pride screams inside my head every time I even think about asking for help. It is no secret that my pride has been a problematic issue in the course of my life. Hell, I’d say that my pride is most likely the primary culprit in all my previous fights, arguments and disagreements.
            All of this brings to mind a night not too long ago when I was sitting in a truck, smoking a cigar, drinking a sprite and talking to a good friend who told me I need to put my pride to the side. That my pride is my biggest weakness and if I didn’t get a handle on it, I’d be falling a long way down. He, of course, was right. So right now, so many days and hours after my accident I finally understand what has been said to me over and over again in not so many words. Let others help you, get out of the way of your destiny. Get out of the way of Gods plan in your life. Just do what you can and let others help.
            The platitudes go on and on, but the message is always the same and when I seem to lose sight of it, I end up taking more steps backwards. So, okay, I’m giving in, I’m raising the white flag in surrender. I give up. I’m setting aside my pride and I’m now just going to do what I can and try not to work myself into exhaustion anymore. I’ll let my future unfold in the manner that God wants because if I don’t I know I will end up right back here, flat on my back staring at the ceiling and wondering how in the hell I got here once again.

            Have a great week… again.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Trapped Humanity

Yesterday I went to the hospital. Not that I had much choice in the matter. My warden/nurse/wife made it abundantly clear that I had absolutely no say in the matter. When I was informed of this decision made on my behalf without my insight or consultation, I thought if I just lay like a lump on a log there would be nothing anyone could do to get me to move out of my bed. That is when I was threatened with an ambulance ride in my pajamas. I refuse to be one of those types of invalids. You know the kind, rolling around Wal-Mart at all hours of the day in a motorized scooter, wearing their food stained pajamas and worn out house slippers. Not that my PJ’s are food stained and as for the slippers, I don’t own any. Still, the thought of looking that disheveled is quite an unappealing thought to me.
So I did what any self-respecting injured person would do in that situation. I accepted my fate, got dressed with help and went to the hospital. Once there, I proceeded to wait almost three hours in the waiting room standing up. You see, my injury to my lower back makes it almost impossible to sit down. I’m okay if I’m lying down on my back or standing upright. The pain from sitting is almost unbearable. Okay, that may be a bit of an understatement. Imagine if every time you tried to move in any position that there were twelve very angry monkeys with flaming hot dull knives standing behind you stabbing you right next to your kidneys… then multiply that by a million. You take in so much pain that your vision blurs at the edges only to leave white hot pin pricks of veiled reality at the center. But the center is miles away, and you know that is where the pain originates from. You want to reach out with your shaking hands and trembling arms and throttle the pain into non-existence but it is too far away. You can’t reach its physical drowning in the tunnel that is quickly filling up with liquid agony.
Once there, we were told the computer admissions printer was broken and the check-in administrator was as present as bigfoot so all the paperwork landed upon one woman in a small, semi-private room with a computer an no printer. There were three people ahead of us in the queue. Me standing and trying to ignore all the bad television being broadcast to an almost full waiting room by trying to figure out what was ailing the people in the five hundred square foot enclosure. We waited and eyeballed the vending machines, two filled with beverages and one filled with snacks. One machine had the “Out of Order” sign on it. Glad I wasn’t starving.
One woman, thin and tall with several kids was angry, bitter and snapping at her kids with almost hostile words. Another woman, elderly and quiet was taking care of a small baby. The baby cooed and waved at anyone she saw. Quite adorable. An elderly gentleman hobbled along on crutches and my wife helped him get a wheelchair. He promptly fell asleep right next to another woman who was sleeping in a waiting chair when we arrived and looked as if she were in a coma. The woman who came in ahead of us sat in a chair with a vomit bag in her lap and scrolled through her phones apps. Every now and then she would get up and make a hasty retreat to the bathroom only to emerge a bit paler and less steady on her feet. Then there was the elderly couple who came in behind us, the man attending to his sick wife who could barely walk. He fussed over her and she allowed him to do so. He would gently push her hair back and whisper to her, offer her a drink every now and then and he even got up and talked to the security guard for a few minutes.
I kept my head down, focused on not being in pain and tried to play video games. It sort of worked. I just couldn’t get comfortable. Hell, I even tried to sit in a wheelchair but that experiment lasted about twenty seconds before I got up. I knew if I had stayed in that damnable contraption I’d have passed out from the photon torpedoes being shot into my lower back. I think Luke Skywalker was using my back as the death star trench. Uncool Luke, uncool.
When I did get a room, it was one filled with four chairs, three were recliners and one was a plain old plastic chair. No bed but there were five crash carts which is good to know in case I was about to die. I paced, no, I hobbled the room back and forth. My wife sat in a chair, read and checked her phone. I tried to explore the inner contents of the crash carts but they were locked so I started to root through the shelves near the sink. I found nothing of interest except infant sponges. So I decided to play with the nitrile gloves. No latex apparently in the hospital.
Right after I finished goofing off with the gloves, and my boredom was approaching the level of my discomfort the Nurse Practitioner showed up and started to interrogate me. I willingly complied. She then ordered x-rays.
I won’t go into the Battan death march to that room of torture the likes Torquemada only dreamed about nor will I go into the fact it took three grown adults to contort me into various stress poses just so they could take black and green photos of my junk and my butt. I just hope none of you have to go through what I went through. But I hope they do.
By the time I made it back to my room, my wife/warden/nurse had gone to a nice fast food place and picked me up a juicy bacon cheese burger. I’d like to say I enjoyed every morsel of that square burger and supped with the dignity of a king. Nope, I devoured that thing as if it were the last burger in the world. Ate it in record time too. Less than a minute from opening the bag to throwing the bag away. In fact, I managed to even eat some of the greasy paper the fried meat was wrapped in. Which gave me pause long enough to think…. I wish there were a bacon wrapped cheeseburger where the buns were actually made of bacon. I expressed this thought to my wife/warden/nurse. She was non-plused. I still think it’s brilliant. Just bacon, cheese and burger, no veggies at all. I’d eat it.
That’s when a new nurse came in pushing a large cart. She told me she was there to give me a shot. Of what I asked. Deluded she answered. I proposed to her immediately.
Thirty minutes later, the Nurse Practitioner had us signed out, me on a bed rest and no work chit as well as a prescription for some pain killing opiates. I went home. Sort of. We made a couple of quick stops, and once home, we stood on our porch and enjoyed the almost seventy degree weather. I informed my warden/nurse/wife I had renamed the front steps to F/U 1 through F/U 5. She laughed and said the drugs must be working.
I won’t lie, they were.
Now, I’m pretty much relegated to my bed. I have at least one more day to lie here. I’m not a good patient. I don’t like being immobile and I don’t like people doing things for me. Yet as I sit here, the weather now turned back to shitty ice and rain, the porch freezing over again I can’t help but wish I were doing something else besides being an invalid. My body is not healing fast enough for my taste. However, it isn’t really about me and what I want is it? I mean, I was doing an experiment where I slowed my life down and just as it ended a large roadblock was thrown in my way. A roadblock that literally put me on my back. Is a greater power trying to teach me a lesson? Is God saying I’m too old to continue my youthful zeal for responsibility and life? Am I to not be the one who is always going somewhere, doing something and giving the answer?
Am I human after all? Is that my lesson?
If it is, then I understand. I don’t like it, but I definitely understand.
Have a great week.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Icy Repercussions

            This morning started off like any other morning. I woke up at five a.m., tried to not get out of bed before five-thirty, cleaned up and headed out the door by six a.m. That is when my day changed.
            You see, since we here in the heart of the south are suffering a cold blast filled with snow, ice and basically nothing but non-motorcycle friendly weather, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the weatherman said it would be in the forties today. I was dressed in my riding leathers, helmet and boots. When I stepped off my porch I immediately found myself staring up at the stars of the morning sky and my feet. My arms flailed uncontrollably and when I landed, five steps lower with the lower half of my body on the concrete, my lower back on the knife edge of the last step and nothing but white hot noise in my vision, I tried to breathe.
            I don’t know how long I lay there, sprawled out like a chalk outline at a crime scene, but I do know I was gasping for breath when my neighbors walked up and started to speak to me. I don’t recall what was really said, something about hospitals and spouses. I shook my head, mumbled negative comments and something about getting to work all the while trying to do an appendage assessment. Right arm and hand, check. Left arm and hand, check. Head, check. Right leg and foot, check. Left leg and foot, insane pain. Torso, lower back, blazing white hot pain, shut it down.
            I tried to move. In my mind I was moving like an acrobat, in reality, I was more like a flopping fish out of water. My neighbors pulled me up into the seated position, then tried to get me to my feet. I managed to get a semblance of balance then stumbled, pulled and willed my almost two hundred pound frame up the icy steps and to my front door. I assume my neighbors went to work thinking I was an utter lunatic. (Who am I to argue?)
            My daughter, seeing my gimpy entrance, greeted my pained facial expressions with horrific concern of youth. I assured her I was okay and made my way slowly upstairs to where my wife was. Halfway up the steps, dragging my left leg and foot over each step in a slow, deliberate manner in an attempt to cause less pain and if I were seriously injured, less of that too, I realized I might not be able to ride my motorcycle to work. After all, my left foot was for shifting gears and I could barely lift it let alone think about utilizing all my facilities to operate that beautiful and complex machine.
            My wife, hearing me stumble up the steps, came out from our cave of solace took one look at me and asked what happened. I told her I fell. She then wanted to take me to the hospital. I tsked tsked that notion. She then offered me a ride to work. I took her up on that offer.
            Work was an interesting evolution. Tasks which normally take me forty-five minutes took me twice that time. My normal speed of movement was cut down by almost seventy-five percent. Fortunately for me the museum is closed on Monday and while it is my normal day off, the other technicians set up everything so all I have to do on Tuesday mornings is make sure all monitors are turned on and the exhibits work. It should have been an easy task. It was not. I spent most of the rest of my day trying to sit comfortably in my office chair and figure out how I’d work my part time job.
            I worried, I plotted, I worried, I planned, I worried and I schemed.
            Around noon I hobbled out of my office for a few minutes and when I returned I discovered I had a visitor. My wife. She gave me an ultimatum. Go home or go to the hospital. I chose home.
            When I informed my co-workers and managers, they all seemed thankful for my wife’s interference in my hard headed life of non-stop go. Also, they seemed relieved I would not be scarring the children with my Quasimodo-like movement from point A to point B inside and outside of the museum.
            I informed my part-time job of my affliction, folded myself painfully into the jeep and rode home where I soon fell asleep in an almost corpse-like position. I awoke hours later to silence. I ate more BC powder, tried to get out of bed and discovered the pain I had earlier experienced which had been absent while lying still, was still there.
            So now, I’m lying in bed, surrounded by comic books, regular books, electronic devices, cookies and beverages. I’m not happy about it. I’d rather be working. I’d rather be doing something productive, but I can’t. My body says I can’t and it sucks. So what do I do? I write a blog about the wonderful nature of our soft, fleshy and easily wounded corporeal vessels which we are given for our short span of life.
            Makes me want some type of robotic armor like in Robocop. I can’t see Robocop being hurt by slipping on some icy steps. Nope, he’d probably slip, fall, and then torch the whole porch. Then he’d go on to take out all the ice in the city. Yeah, that’d be cool and safe for the citizens.

            Okay, enough rambling. Have a great week.