The Depth and Breadth of Cripple Adventures

If you follow me on Twitter you may recognize my hashtag #CrippleAdventures, some of which I’ve blogged about in the past here. Since the snowboarding accident 4.5 years ago I’ve tried to keep the humor up about this crazy health situation. That effort’s just about run its course, especially now that it seems the trouble I’m having may be more serious than lingering neuropathy.

It is a bit too early to start jumping to conclusions about what exactly is underlying the symptoms, but I will tell you I’m afraid it’s something like MS or ALS. I’ve stumped three different primary care physicians, at least 4 specialists and their array of nurses and interns, countless X-ray, MRI, and CT scan technicians, and the guys at the Bacon Test clinic. All of the scans come back with perfectly normal results despite failing the reflex and strength tests and weird results on different nerve conduction studies. I’ve had 8 different operations to reconstruct my arms and treat the neuropathy, yet it continues to get worse. It’s not diabetes, cancer, a thyroid disorder, anemia, vitamin or hormone imbalance, a vascular disease, an STD, or pinched nerves. Nothing shows up except weird, verifiable symptoms that the tests should be able to explain but don’t.

When I left Nevada my surgeon’s advice was to wait and see if anything got worse, since improvement could take time. He was concerned that worsening symptoms would mean a neurological disorder since he’s done the latest treatments for the nerve damage I had. He recommended me to the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas, although they didn’t take my insurance and needed $$$ up front even for an evaluation.

So here we are, a year and a half stubbornly denying the worsening of my condition. The blindness and paralysis are back and frequent. So is the pain, the twitching, all in places and patterns that don’t make any sense. While all of this goes on I’m trying to keep my job, which has only gotten more complex and brought more demands and responsibilities while my physical and emotional resources have been long overdrawn.

I’m watching my career dead-end as we speak. With the promotion and changes in the business my role demanded I develop greater people skills and devote more time to orchestrating some changes and ensuring they come off without a hitch. There are days when I can’t move my legs, or even roll myself out of bed. Today I was reprimanded for being late last week, despite it being a direct result of the new medication I’m taking and partly exacerbated by an Outlook outage. Over the weekend I was called on for not anticipating another team dropping a piece of work and then not being able to take charge because I had no way to see the piece of work, much less take action on it. My work is being re-directed to others and my responsibilities are being pushed towards an avenue that leads straight off a cliff. The pessimist in me says I’m being set up for failure. I know there are plenty of logical conclusions and my boss(es) has/have been well-updated with my health concern over the last four years, but my gut smells something wrong.

All of the struggles happening in my body are having a huge impact on my life, despite being more or less invisible. The last 4.5 years have been spent trying to push through and get on with my life like normal to varying degrees, although I didn’t do it very well after surgery. 8 operations in a year and a half is a little rough though, so I’m not ashamed of all the help I’ve had to ask for. Thanks to Luke and Regina, Ben, Max and Jessi, Michelle, Amanda, Julie, Colleen, and the others who’ve been there to help me through.

I’ve been maxing out my physical credit, paying off the balances a little at a time, but never making any headway since I keep overdrafting. It’s tough maintaining credibility when you have to tell your boss you can’t do something because you can’t use your hand, you can’t walk, or you’ve suddenly gone blind. It’s embarrassing when you’re with your friends and suddenly can’t lift your fork, take off your coat, get something out of your purse, or your legs drag when you walk because you can’t really feel them. It’s demoralizing when this happens day after day and you still have to find a way to go to work, keep up a house, feed and clean yourself, and find the energy to be joyful and grateful to be alive. This is barely surviving, I wouldn’t really call it being “alive” most days.

Try going to a doctor’s appointment and having to list everything that’s wrong. Try asking for a new medication because the one you tried last didn’t do anything for the pain and you’re still not sleeping. What about when you can name all the narcotics you’ve taken and how each one does or doesn’t work, and then all the nerve drugs and muscle relaxers they recommend (even the expensive or experimental drugs), and then the other random anti-depressants or NSAIDs that they give in weird doses to help with things they’re not principally designed for? When you open a bottle and pray that you get SOMEthing to work, even it is just a placebo effect today because GOD DAMN I’d really like to be able to finish getting through my inbox and sending out all those reports and maybe washing dishes today? For a little while you’re motivated to prove to yourself that you can succeed and be productive despite the situation. After a while it only makes things worse.

My appointment with the neurologist is next week. Hopefully they’ll do a test where we see something and can start treating what’s wrong instead of throwing pills at it hoping I can find a way to be pain-free or at least sleep. I would love nothing more than not having to go to more doctor’s appointments, undergo more tests, become a specimen in a petri dish ever again. When I have to re-tell the story of the last 4.5 years the humanity of my struggle gets sucked right out for the price of a good story. I want to cry right now just anticipating the next visit.

In the short term I pray I can deal with the Cripple Adventures a little longer, for the sake of my career. Even if I can’t rescue this one I’ll be able to find another. Every single day in my body is a nightmare, though, and I can’t laugh about it anymore. Maybe in the future again, but not now.

Meanwhile, please consider that all the people who look “normal” might still have a personal struggle. Disability takes many different forms, whether you can see it or not. I don’t want pity, I’m already recriminating myself for not being able to push through by the sheer force of will and stubbornness. I just want to be able to get through the day without having to defend my limitations.

Categories: crippled, disability, doctors, life lessons, you gotta be kidding | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Where Were All the Single Ladies?

It’s been a while since my last post, and although a lot has happened since moving into the new house it’s mostly variations on a theme. It’s the same DIY theme that seems to be the vein of ore in my life. As I discussed in the last post I’ve had some great examples for how and why to thrive on self-reliance. Over the last year (and especially in the last few months), the thought has turned to “Why the hell don’t I have any role models for this?”

 

One long, enlightened weekend with Ms Annie in Minnie, we actually said at one point that we wished that as young girls we’d had examples of the independent women we’d grow into. How many examples did we have of women who were satisfied with themselves and their lives without it having to center around kids, or a relationship? The key to happiness is following your passion. Marriage and family can be important and fulfilling, but so can a career, hobbies, and friendship.

 
 

As an adult I’ve had more and more examples of women who are happily self-reliant, ambitious, and good people. As a kid, though, I couldn’t think of any major role models I had who fit this model. Certainly none of my aunts or other older immediate family members  qualified. Even though my aunt went back to school to become a successful nurse and did all right after her divorce, a lot of unhealthy things followed. The next closest example was my cousin Teeny, who worked in a large city for a major corporation and was responsible enough to buy her own house and pay off her school debt. Unfortunately, she’s also a raging alcoholic.

 

So while my mom’s family would be best described as an episode of COPS set in backwoods Appalachia, she did end up having two female friends who were great role models for independence, ambition, and happiness. Despite having lots of strong female friends, most of these women were in abusive relationships, had drug/alcohol problems, couldn’t keep their work life together. (Is that a nice way to say it?) She did have other friends who didn’t have these issues, but I never knew them enough to tell you anything about them now. One woman was a lawyer, I guess she’s survived cancer now? Another one was a professor? Clearly you can tell the impact they had on my life.

 
 

That leaves us with her first best friend Steph, and her now best friend Sassy. (You’ll be happy to know that Sassy is the one who taught Lil Pirate and Lil Bro the proper uses of the word “fuck”.)

 
 

Steph is married, has kids my and my brother’s ages, and used to work with my mom. She’s intelligent, hard-working, responsible, and takes good care of her family. If a kid needed a positive influence for their work life, how to make decisions about money, difficult family situations, or life in general Steph was a good person to know. Nobody’s perfect, but she had a significant impact in our lives.

 
 

Sassy is around 7-10 years older than me, and she became besties with my mom when she went back to college. Lil Bro and I were still young and impressionable and Mom had a lot of friends who were young, intelligent, hard-working, and kind. As time went on people moved on to other cities for jobs, sunk into drugs or alcohol, or else just drifted away. There was a short time where Sassy had a boyfriend, but I distinctly remember her breaking up with him because he was an idiot. We never knew if Sassy was usually single because she has a disability, but it turns out that it really doesn’t matter.

She doesn’t have any high-powered job, she’ll never be a supermodel, and she’ll never have kids of her own. Sassy’s financially independent, takes care of her health problem, is a doting aunt to her nieces and nephews, and stands up for herself.

 
 

These are the only two women I knew who weren’t stuck in a relationship because it was abusive or they couldn’t support themselves, didn’t have drug or alcohol problems, had jobs they were good at and were leading to fulfilling careers, and supported their friends, family, and community. Maybe that’s a long list of requirements. It’s also a long list of unhappy trappings if it’s not what you want.

 

And that was it, until I was in my early 20s.

 

I know I’ll be a trailblazer, if that wasn’t how I was born then it’s an old habit now that will be hard to break. I’ve come to terms with the confusion and the difficulty figuring out what was important to me as a younger adult and I know I’m stronger for it. Resisting following the crowd was hard, because even though money, relationships, family were things I wanted, they weren’t what was right for me at the time. Thinking about future versions of Lil Pirates, I always wonder why the message can’t be “Follow your passion” instead of “School, Job, Marriage, Family”.

 
 

This isn’t an issue only for girls, either. Young boys grow up with these examples of what women will or should be, and if we don’t think to treat people as individuals on their own merits, we run into a very unhappy world.

Of course, that’s a lesson that is greater than gender.

Kids learn by bad examples, so this isn’t a lost cause if people aren’t perfect. But if people don’t have any accessible, real-life examples of being happy and successful doing something different, they might not realise they can be strong instead of sinking into following the crowd even if it makes them unhappy.

Categories: childhood, family, friends, life lessons, reflection, Workaholic | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

House Insanity – I Got This

Moving is always an adventure, and when coupled with buying your first house, you realize what stuff you’re made of. While I’ve had plenty of essential help and advice from Miss J and a few other friends, it became clear to me that my parents taught me two incredibly important lessons that are making this entire endeavor possible. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you may have an idea that most of the lessons I learned from my parents were typically why or how NOT to do something, but these two lessons about independence I actually learned vividly by example.

 

My mom and dad are two very different people, but what they do have in common is determination. Big surprise that their offspring are doubly stubborn and determined then, but even more important were their lessons in getting things done.

 

My dad likes to learn new things, and if there’s a hobby he wants to pick up or trade he wants to try, he’ll find a way to learn. I remember him going to the library for books and videos about plumbing, how to build a deck, trapping, how to build a compost pile, all before the internet. Even though I learn by doing more so than by reading a book, my dad set the example that there’s nothing you can’t do if you’re willing to learn. He remodeled the house we moved into in the early ’90s and built the deck out front. 20 years later it’s all still there and in much better condition than the neighboring houses.

Thanks to my dad’s example I’ve learned a variety of skills and hobbies – from teaching myself new instruments, to working on cars, to the fabulous world of personal finance. The only obstacle to whatever it is you want to do is not being willing to find a teaching resource and try your hand. Even if you can’t do something professionally (like rebuild your engine), learning about the task at hand makes it easier to find someone who IS capable of doing it for you.

 

My mother taught me a similar lesson, but more importantly I learned that there’s nothing I can’t do by myself. Ignore the fact that I’m a woman for a second. If there’s something that needs to be done, if I can find a way to learn how to do it, I can do it and I can do it by myself. As a single parent I watched her repair furniture, get her truck out of the ditch, basically accomplish anything that needed to be done simply because there was no one else around to help her. What was a necessity for her has now become a luxury for me.

Yes, Miss J kindly helped me pack up the car and the moving truck and I called the Little Mermaid to help me move the table, but when Miss J hurt her ankle I was able to pick up and carry on by myself. Little Mermaid was very kind and helped me move everything  out of the moving truck and into the house, but I put everything except the table in there on my own. I’ve put all the furniture together, repaired the table, and figured out everything else in the house. I don’t need to rely on having to call someone, do without, or otherwise feel insecure because I’m on my own.

 

I got this.

 

Having a house is a nice feeling – I finally feel like I’m home. It’s even better knowing that, no matter what kind of trouble comes, I’ll be able to handle it. Whether it’s installing a ceiling fan or hiring a qualified electrician I know I’m capable of getting it done right. All thanks to my crazy stubborn parents.

Categories: family, getting old, hobbies, house insanity, reflection | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ambien: a Text Message Adventure

After last night, you should consider yourself lucky if I don’t have your phone number. Here are a few of the texts I woke to find having sent in my stupor:

 

“Ambien + Yelawolf = WTF Santa”

“My grilled cheese sandwich might have AIDS”

“I told the vampires to stay in the bathroom so I could sleep but they might not listen. You can shut the hall door.”

 

Since I spent the weekend not being able to sleep with the recurring neuropathy, yesterday afternoon I decided to take an Ambien in the hopes I’d be able to fall asleep after dinner and be well-rested for a bitch of a work week. I guess my body’s forgotten what drugs do this far after my last surgery.

 

Whoops!

Whoops!

 

The first time I took Ambien was after surgery, and the bathroom tiles were having a dance party around my feet. When I took a pill the next day I watched the words on my Kindle dance around and off the page. Most commonly, there would be alien vampires in the bathroom waiting in the tub for me to have to get up and pee. They never left the bathtub so I was fairly certain they weren’t real after the first time they appeared

Stone-cold sober, I’ve had super vivid dreams ever since I was a little girl, and have had the odd hallucination even in the middle of the day. (Yes, I know, it’s probably better that I get into the neurologist sooner than later) Add Ambien and opiates, and, well…

 

If you ever get weird texts from me about aliens or vampires, or maybe tiny pictures on my phone, please just convince me to go back to bed.

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Cubelife Chronicles: Pirate’s Pro-Tips for Success

It’s just about the time for my annual review so I’ve been reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses lately. Most of what’s kept me afloat through my working life (and through our recently challenging economy) haven’t been a high-powered degree, a blazing intellect, or insider connections; it’s been a few simple things. Whether you’re in school and wondering how you’ll make your way in the world or looking for a change, let me extend these small bits of wisdom.

 

1. Learn a foreign language

I finished university in 2007, my senior paper on the developing perception of self in the Middle Ages, specifically as seen through the treatment of death and violence in the evolving short narrative form.

 

Do you want fries with that?

 

Actually, I had several job offers right away that summer that were at a living wage. In fact, I was getting offered pay premiums. Why? I spoke a foreign language. Yes, these were call center jobs in the suburbs and far from glamorous. However, I didn’t have any insecurity about whether or not I could find or keep a job, even when the economy crashed that fall. Not only that, I could afford to only work ONE job for the first time in my adult life.

Since then, I’ve had a much easier time finding employment and advancing my career simply because I speak at least one foreign language. It doesn’t have to be French or Spanish (although if you have to choose between the two, take French. Trust me.), but you should practice it every day and get to know the cultures where the language is used. New worlds will open up to you, both in your personal and your work life. Speaking a second language is invaluable.

 

Think of all the street art you'll finally understand!

Think of all the street art you’ll finally understand!

 

2. Be able to apply math to the world around you

Everyone groans in school about how useful math really is and scoffs about “when will we ever use this?” We were only half right when we professed that we’d never use algebra in real life, since your boss or a customer is not likely to hand you a quadratic equation to solve. The word problems, though… those are everywhere. Being able to handle basic applied mathematics makes you the person your coworkers go to for insight. Hate your job and want to move? Learn how to solve word problems.

 

If you’re in customer service, even retail, there are so many everyday tasks that require intermediate math skills.

  • Customers trying to work within a budget is an algebra word problem.
  • Trying to figure out how many of something will fit in a certain space is geometry, whether it’s stocking shelves, packing a shipment, or helping a customer choose a product.
  • Registers will break, so it’s good to know how to figure out something correctly on a calculator.
  • When it comes time to your own performance evaluation you should be able to have a rough idea if your metrics are being calculated accurately – are you handling calls or selling items at the rate your company is claiming?

 

My job technically has nothing to do with math. My job is to manage the performance of customer service teams, and our company has reporting teams and tools that give us reporting for us to be able to manage performance. However, being able to take one of the bosses’ problem statements and give them analysis of the metrics has made me near-invaluable. While it might sometimes be frustrating to always be running numbers and explaining the methodology to others, it’s a feather in my cap that helps me stand out and stay valuable.

I couldn’t tell you how helpful it would be if more of the people I’ve worked with throughout my career could do more math, or at least learn the applied math I’m describing. It’s the algebra and geometry we learned in high school basically, not any of the fancy statistics and standard deviation. If there were more people to share these projects with, not only would I have been happier but our projects may have even been more successful and provided greater insight. HELP ME HERE, PEOPLE.

 

3. Travel on your own at least once

I don’t mean disappear in Thailand on your own for three months, although if you want to do that sort of thing go right ahead. Whether it’s a camping trip in the next county or a full-fledged trans-continental or international flight, being able to travel on your own  demands the self-reliance, risk assessment and planning skills that are vital in life. How will you cope with unexpected changes in timeline? Will you be able to entertain yourself? What new things will you learn?

Traveling on your own imparts a kind of self-confidence that is difficult to tear down. Going from Point A to Point B will always have unexpected challenges, from a schedule change to a flat tire, a missed bus, or figuring out exchange rates and navigating new cultural phenomena. In these scenarios you’re forced to problem solve, and sometimes you’ll have to decide whether or not to ask for help and then how to do so.

 

Then if you end up in a job that requires travel you’ll already be at least a little bit prepared. That never hurts.

 

 

Whoops, I should have turned left!

The English need to learn from the French how to riot…

 

Whether it’s drinking with strangers in a new city, negotiating with long-hauling taxi drivers, or suddenly finding oneself in the middle of a riot, you learn what you’re capable of and how you handle difficult situations in strange surroundings. While these aren’t always pleasant stories, being able to say you survived it and learned a valuable lesson goes a long way towards knowing you can handle anything. You learn what you didn’t know in a visceral way.

 

4. Have a hobby that involves teamwork and deadlines

This comes straight from my own list of weaknesses. Often in high school and university I would either go off on my own and finish a project because I didn’t want to “deal with” people who weren’t as sharp with the subject, or else I took charge and did the whole thing on my own because the team didn’t know the material as well. As a result I’ve learned to do and enjoy a lot of things on my own; however, it’s been a bit of a struggle to work in team environments and, yes, deal with helping the team learn the parts that I know better than they do.

As such I’m not good with deadlines, either. When it was just myself I didn’t mind taking a lower grade because things were late, and I didn’t learn enough of the self discipline to complete tasks before they’re due and give others time to collaborate. Teachers would always say that not doing your work doesn’t fly in the real world and – shock – they’re right! Sometimes I still practice my “coast until the night before” tactic but I wish I didn’t. It’s a tough habit to break, and I wish I’d learned to jump in line with deadlines much earlier in life.

 

Even Spider-Man plays on a team

Even Spider-Man plays on a team

 

There’s more to life than work, and most of these tips will help you find more enjoyment in life. Except maybe the math, unless you’re a nerd like me. We’re capable of more than we know: all it takes is a little bit of risk to grow.

Categories: travel, Workaholic | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lil Bro’s Wedding – Out of the Tempest

As should be expected, Lil Bro’s wedding was a success. Not only is there a new happy couple, but emergencies both large and small were weathered with all families intact. I’ve copied a few pictures for you from the weekend.

Lil Bro and his Lil Lady

Lil Bro and his Lil Lady

Upon my eventual (and very delayed return) the lovely Miss J asked if the trip was better or worse than I had imagined. Honestly? It was just as bad as I’d feared, but didn’t turn out as disastrously because I’d spent so much time preparing to stay calm and fight the internal craziness. When my dad was being a selfish prick in the face of a severe medical emergency I was the one consoling my mom, rationalizing with her that we shouldn’t be surprised by Dad being a dick anymore and to save our energy for the next shitty thing he’ll do. I had the presence of mind to remind Mom that everyone knows Dad and his wife were being dicks about how the wedding was going, and the only way to make it right would be to be a bigger dick than he is. That doesn’t make anyone happy, and everyone else knows he’s a prick.

<3 Gram <3

❤ Gram❤

I got left out of being sat with the family in the church – not at all by accident – and had to sneak in the back way to actually see the ceremony despite being involved in the preparations and getting everyone in the church so we could start. At first I was furious and really quite hurt, but I pulled myself together and was able to remind myself that I love Lil Bro more than I was angry about anything that was happening. That got me through the rest of the day and was able to keep Mom off her ledge.

Two and a Half Corpsmen

Two and a Half Corpsmen

There were so many more bouts of madness, but not only did Lil Bro himself keep us together but for once I was able to keep it together on my own. I got to see Gram and spend a little bit of time with her, my stepdad and I were able to spend lots of time together, and Lil Bro’s friends were even pretty awesome. Since when does Pirate overcome the craziness?

Since now, I guess.

Stinky & Pirate

Stinky & Pirate

Categories: commitments, family, road trip | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lil Bro’s Wedding – the Calm Before the Storm

It’s finally happening, Lil Bro is getting hitched this weekend. I wish I could say it’s against my better judgment (it’s not – I wouldn’t miss being there for Lil Bro for the world), I’m going to be spending a weekend surrounded by our family.

 

Alone.

 

Yes, I’m completely alone, without anyone accompanying me as a distraction, a babysitter, or a crutch.

WTF am I thinking???

 

Well, at first I wasn’t thinking – the first week or two after I got the invitation was a near-constant panic attack. Two months later, leaving Hicktown for the South, I was finally mentally and emotionally prepared for this… thing? I have no idea what to expect. It could be a circus, it could be fine – the only constant I know is that my mom will bring up the old drama, my dad will stonewall me and pretend to be nice, and even though I’m sitting at the family table for dinner I’m going to be the odd one out like all the other family events I’ve been to since I left home. My dad’s wife used to be known for leaving obscene voicemails and doing obscene drive-bys and my mom is known for telling every secret under the sun when she drinks, and then making up more… So who knows?

In the days before I left Hicktown I had a few bouts of anxiety, one of them pretty intense. Eventually I was able to articulate for myself that these crazy jerks don’t even know me so anything they might say to me or about me doesn’t even matter. The usual topics of conversation are just politics-baiting.
Seriously, the two insults I always hear are that I’m a “goddamn liberal” (only half-true, more like I think for myself which is actually pretty verboten on its own) and I’m a lesbian. No, dad, I’m not, but you’re the one who always starts that rumor. And even if I were a lesbian at least I’m not a child molester and don’t sleep with my relatives. Those two practices are actually commonplace in our family.

 

Since my vacation earlier this summer didn’t pan out, in the interest of mental health I took a few extra days off this week and am driving the long way around to stop in a few different cities. Last night I stayed in St Louis, which turned out to be surprisingly fun and relaxing. Road trips have always been me-time, but I met a friend and ended up laughing the night away. Today I slept in, had breakfast, started making my way through Tennessee to arrive in Carolina tomorrow afternoon. Blinding thunderstorms aside, driving was still therapeutic and I was in a groove.

…that is, until I was an hour east of Nashville and started panicking about how I’m going to spend Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon surrounded by family. 48 hours of snide remarks, outright challenges, lies and changed history, new or distant relatives afraid to get to know me because of the inevitable retaliation or my mom being crazy. At my cousin’s wedding 10 years ago I thought I really was the problem until my dad’s wife’s mother told her she will come talk to me regardless of them “forbidding” her to talk to me. Knowing the background makes it easier for my rational mind to process, but under the layers of reason I paint on myself daily is still a scared little kid. Ashamed, afraid, and empty.

 

If you were on eastbound I-40 today and were almost sideswiped by a little black sedan, please let me apologise. Fucking panic attacks, man.

 

The lizard part of my brain that’s still a sad, lonely, scared kid keeps telling me all the likely scenarios I’ll encounter. The logical, Type A part of my brain keeps telling me to calm down, people make a big deal about shit that doesn’t matter, I’m an adult with a good life and I’m a good person, don’t engage, blah blah blah. It’s only working to the extent that I’m not having nightmares and have been able to function in the real world. Success…?

My hope is that I’ll have prepared for nothing. Second to that, maybe the rehearsing how to be calm and collected will kick in and I’ll be able to play the part without the lizard brain taking over.

 

And if that doesn’t work, I’ll just bust out the bruises on my leg and give them all something to talk about.

Categories: reflection, road trip, you gotta be kidding | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cripple Adventures – Weekend Edition

Oh boy, do I have a full weekend planned. Blog posts, cupcakes, cleaning, hunting for dismembered wildlife in the backyard…

Once I can move and feel my extremities again. Well, even the non-extreme portions of my body. People are supposed to be able to feel their sides, right?

You guessed it, the neuropathy and paralysis are back. How am I typing this blog post, you ask? Very carefully, and I’m going to pay for it later. Oh well.

 

are-you-fucking-kidding-me

 

5 surgeries and 8 incisions later, the nerves are supposed to have been moved, decompressed, repaired enough for the damage to heal. After the last operation it seemed that not only had the right lower arm and hand calmed down finally, but the left arm had stopped screaming and I would be able to use my hand. I’ve had a nice two and a half months of minimal twitching and mainly only-recovery pain. Laugh along with me when I tell you it’s now come to an end. The twitches, stabbing pain, lobster claw, and paralysis aren’t as extreme as they used to be, but they’re back and I can’t hurdle them.

Harsh reality started to set in after not being able to move my legs or my left side yesterday while Miss J was making dinner.

 

paralyzed

 

While I will be seeing Dr Torture (that’s what his name sounds like, seriously) when I’m back in Vegas for work, there’s not much I can do to be a regular human again unless I’m willing to plow my way through the symptoms, the pain, the disability.

There will be baking, and I’ll let you know how my new low-sugar whipped frosting recipe turns out. I’ve got a post planned about how the incisions have healed, if anyone’s interested in how to deal with minimizing the look of scars. There are D&D sessions to plan, character prep to do, and maps to draw. The basement needs to be cleaned and I can’t be asking Miss J to clean up after me.

 

Let me be clear: I’m not asking for pity. I’ll be damned if I let this stupid injury steal any more time from me.

And if it turns out to be an underlying neurological disorder causing all of these problems, then I’m well on my way to coping with whatever degeneration awaits.

 

poke your eye out

 

 

In the meantime, let’s all have a good laugh!

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A Long-Overdue Apology

This blog is not meant to be constant navel-gazing, and if you’re not interested in my personal bullshit feel free not to read. However, there’s an apology that’s long-overdue to someone who’s been very dear to me – someone whose constant complaint was that he felt like a secret.

A blog post won’t right any wrongs, especially one that’s somewhat anonymous. Still, I’ve been in his shoes before so I will do what I can.

 

Once upon a time I was madly in love with a guy named Dru. For some time he was the first person I thought about when I woke up and would often fall asleep texting him at night. There was a time where I was traveling wherever my little heart desired, and every place I visited I saw through the lens of his crazy sarcastic artist’s perspective. There was a CD I bought a few weeks before the first time he said “I love you”, and I would listen to it on repeat because it said the same thing that I was too chicken to say.

 

Long distance relationships are always a challenge, especially when people are focused on school and work as intensely as we were and probably still are. Being in different time zones can add to the wear and tear, but luckily we found ways to enjoy the same TV shows and movies, the same news, the same jokes. All I cared about was that we were able to share these things, but it wasn’t enough.

I didn’t declare our relationship on Facebook or Twitter. To me it was moot since the people in my everyday life knew about him and I couldn’t care less what Facebook thinks. Even when I have dated people who also have Facebook I don’t always list my relationship. When my coworkers, roommates, friends ask how someone is… To me, that’s what’s real.

 

Dru, you’ve hardly been a secret in my life. Spending the crazy brief vacation with you was better than any of the other trips I’d taken. The accident and injury was scary – more than I’ve admitted to a lot of people – and I can’t tell you how much your support meant to me. My work bestie still asks about you.

 

I understand that school became your priority, and honestly that’s probably how it should be. You’re gifted and deserve all the fruits of your hard work. While we disagreed about how I should or shouldn’t have aired our relationship on social media I still respected your opinion and always loved you. I understand your reticence. I know you’d been hurt in the past by being a secret. I know that we live at a different pace, and that I live life much more intently when it comes to getting what I want. I always thought that two independent people could compromise and come together eventually.

 

Why the fuck am I writing this if you’ve been radio silent for ages? People have been asking about you (still), so this is my statement. And, well, it’s what I wanted any time I’ve been in your position. Here’s the publicity you wanted, for whatever it’s worth.

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Wake and Bake

The need, it’s back – it’s taken over. Cakes, cookies, frosting…

Fucking baking.

 

Many, many moons ago my secret recipe cookies were mildly famous from Wisconsin to France. I started experimenting with cakes in college and, in certain circles, a party was only an excuse to make another cake. Fillings, chunks, frosting, fruit – you name it, I experimented with it. No half-assed sheet cakes for this domestic derelict, either. Imagine layer cakes, ganache topping – spending more money on your bakery budget than the rest of your food combined.

I invented CAKE PIE for God’s sake!

These were the parties.

 

After the accident it was necessary to stop many of my hobbies, of which baking was a particular challenge. I melted my hand trying to make nachos one evening because I twitched and ran my palm along the heating coil in the oven. This mishap was pre-injury so I knew better than to mess with an oven with two busted arms. Now that the recovery period is coming to a close, I decided to test the waters.

 

This batch of my secret cookies might be one of the best batches I’ve ever made. Period.

 

Oh goodness...

Oh goodness…

 

Next came a Final Four cake, in honor of the Wisconsin Badgers. Dark chocolate double layer cake with sour cream and raspberry filling, mixed with a little of the cream cheese frosting to help keep it together.

ON WISCONSIN

ON WISCONSIN

 

Miss J mentioned she had muffin pans that had never been used so I decided to try my hand at cupcakes. Meet my new love.

Blh4_RICQAALo1k

 

This is my third batch of cupcakes, the second batch just in the last week. I’m teaching myself how to decorate despite really, truly only liking the simple frosting spread you do with a butter knife. Next up? Low-sugar or sugar-free frosting. Once I’ve got the handle on that it’s time to learn to make the batter from scratch.

It's a start, for a cripple...

It’s a start, for a cripple…

 

Holy hell, I’ve found my favorite new hobby. Forget minion-mastering, forget demon-slaying, forget crocheting. The three year hiatus took its toll and now I’m making up for lost time.

 

Let’s see if my high-powered metabolism holds up, or if it finally crashes with all of this indulgence.

At the very least, it’s a good way to justify joining the gym this weekend.

Categories: crippled, hobbies | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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