Saturday Posts . . .

Also, I have some updates.

First, the experiment of my reconnecting with my family has failed. My parents do not want to deal with anything that has happened in the past. My father repeatedly told me that “you just have to let go of it” while my mother was quite different. She denies everything, including events that I was personally there to witness or took part in. For my own personal integrity I was forced to return to the total disconnect I had previously been enforcing.

Second, I have recently been watching a show called “Dr. G: Medical Examiner” which has me a bit riled up. The first problem I have with the show is that it seems that some states have laws which require an autopsy on nearly every death that happens within their jurisdiction – something Dr. G seems to revel in because she loves to “solve puzzles”. My problem with this is – what gives her the right to solve a puzzle about me if I do not care to have it solved? Another problem is that she seems to view ALL medical problems as preventable, and is particularly judgemental about any and all suicides. Has she never heard of “death with dignity”? If someone already knows that they are dying, do they not have a right to choose to end their own suffering early? Dr. G does not seem to believe this is an option. Since she currently works out of the Orlando, Florida, USA, medical examiner’s office, that is one jurisdiction I will not be visiting anytime soon.

Finally, I have recently gotten approval through the VA’s community care program to begin receiving chiropractic care at a local wellness center. I’m really impressed with the size and scope of the facility, but I’m not so impressed with the results I’m getting. To me, the first red flag was their focus on longevity – like they just can’t believe anyone wouldn’t want to live to be 115 years old. Sorry, but that was never a major consideration of mine. I’ll take every day I can get – but only if it comes with a good quality of life. So far, I’m not really seeing any improvement, and after getting acupuncture yesterday morning I had a very stiff neck and headache that lasted well into the evening.

Saturday Posts . . .

We’ve had a lot happening here over the last couple of weeks. I learned that my dad’s home, which he’s owned for over 30 years, is about to be condemned because raccoons have invaded the attic and are destroying the house from the top down. My youngest full-blooded brother is going through a divorce, and is coming up here to see what we as a family can do to help dad.

But, there was one thing I found to be both refreshing and encouraging. About 21 years ago I bought a brass Zippo lighter, which I’ve used almost constantly ever since. Zippo advertises that they offer a lifetime warranty. A couple of weeks ago my lighter got stuck – the striker wheel that scrapes the flint wouldn’t move. So, I looked up the information for the repair center for Zippo, and after filling out a form and paying a $5.00 USD fee for “processing” – I sent in the lighter for repair. Yesterday they called me back to say they’d received the lighter, and I should have it back within a month.

Here is something I bought for my wife shortly after we became a couple, and it has hung on our bedroom wall ever since. In case you have trouble reading it, the text says, “I Love You More Today than Yesterday, and only half as much as Tomorrow.”

I’m a mess . . .

Once upon a time, I was so in tune with my body that I could continue to function while I had injuries that required stitches. One example of this was something that happened when I was about 10 years old, when I was asked to deliver something from my aunt and uncle’s home to my grandpa’s home, a distance of a few hundred yards at most. During the travel, I accidentally encountered the edge of a rusty shovel, and needed a dozen stitches to repair the injury, despite the fact that until my relatives pointed it out I had not been aware of the damage. I still have a scar on my left calf to remind me of the incident.

That is no longer true.

I just realized that I missed posting my usual “Saturday Posts” blog for this past week. I’ve been dropping a lot of “balls” lately, and that is only the most recent one. I’ve been having trouble keeping track of what day of the month it is, or even what day of the week it is. The closest thing I have to a schedule is by following a regimen of starting a laundry cycle each week based on when my wife’s last workday of the week is. That is the day I start my cycle by doing the white’s of our laundry, usually followed by her work slacks the next day, then the light weight colored clothes the next day, and concluding with the heavy colored clothes the next night (if there are enough of them to need it – in the Summer that isn’t always needed).

I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. It’s likely more due to what I’m doing for pain management than whatever else is going on, but it is still a concern to me. Admittedly, some of the pain I’m trying to cope with is emotional – I am still reeling from the pain of my dad’s betrayal when I asked for his support to end the religious feud between me and the rest of my family. It doesn’t help that my dad’s birthday is only a few days away.

Saturday Posts . . .

I have some updates to share, too. First, since I’m now more than halfway through the year in which I hoped to regain control of my abdominal muscles, I ‘m now forced to admit a partial defeat. I didn’t realize until after I stated my goal just exactly how badly my abs had lost their tone. Even now, 8 months later, I still can’t do a full set of 10 sit-ups. This does not mean I’m quitting, or resigned to look terrible forever. It just means that I’m now realizing that this will be a process that takes more than a year to resolve.

Second, I need to talk about our home improvements. Every year we try to use our tax refunds to do something to fix a problem in our home. One problem that has been on our minds for the 11 years we’ve lived here is water control in the basement. The sump pump has always managed to prevent any severe water build up, but whenever there is extreme weather outside (rain, thunder storms, etc.) it has to work around the clock for several days to accomplish that job. We’ve known about “French Drains” for a long time, and have been looking for someone to install one here, but none of the contractors we talked to would even come over to give us a quote. This past spring we found out about a company from Omaha, Nebraska, that does something similar to those drains – but it’s installed in the floor of the basement instead of putting it around the outside of the house. The company’s name is Thrasher. We called them for a quote, and got it very quickly. Then, thanks to Presidents Trump and Biden (financial stimulus checks), we were able to put together the funds to get the system installed THIS YEAR!. It’s done, and the big take-away is that since the installation, our basement floor has been completely dry!

Finally – last Monday (July 26th) was the 21st Anniversary of my wife and I getting married. Thanks for putting up with me all of these years, honey!

Saturday Posts . . .

First off, I want to apologize for missing the post last Saturday. My explanation is that my dad called me the day before, to tell me that his sister, my Aunt Judy, had passed into her next adventure the night before. While I still do not know of any final arrangements, the family has been scrambling to get them made and keep each other informed of what’s going on.

With that said, here is this week’s inspirational post:

Frustration . . .

I’m beginning to think that the physics is against me. When I last checked into a medical facility – for the unbillical hernia repair – I weighed 223 lbs. Okay, I fully acknowledge that muscle mass weighs more than body fat, so it stands to reason that as I build muscle tone in body areas that have seen long-term neglect, weight loss could be a challenge.

But, seriously – only 2 months after beginning my program to get my abs back in shape, I’m now at 239?

Hernia Repair . . .

I’ve already shared that I had the corrective surgery for the hernia in my abdomen, but this update is to share that I’ve had the follow-up visit with the surgeon. He was very pleased with my recovery, and while he asked me to wait another 2 weeks before I start resuming my previous activities he said there should be no limits to what I do with my abdominal muscles after that.

I’m very happy with that. It is exactly what I’ve been hoping for, and waiting for, over the last 30 years. It is time to start getting rid of the watermelon I’ve been carrying on the lower part of my torso.

So, while I know I’m several weeks early, I’m announcing that my New Year resolution is that by the end of 2021, my abs will look more like what they did when I met my wife than they have for the last 10 years. I’ve known all along how to exercise to tone those muscles – now I have medical permission to start doing that. I’ve never had “six-pack” abs, but when I was a medic in the US Army my abs were flat, and that is the dream I have for where this will go. I just have to wait until the start of the new year before I can start. I’m excited!

Please forgive me . . .

I realized that I forgot to post a new “Saturday Posts” entry on Saturday, but I’m hopeful that you will all forgive me when you know the situation.

Last Wednesday, I reported to the local hospital outpatient surgery center at 0700 for the hernia repair surgery I’ve been waiting for since the mid 1980’s. While the surgery itself seems to have gone well, the first 3 days of the recovery were a trial in the extreme. I did not get any sleep at all after getting home for the first 36 hours. The pain medication they gave me (hydrocodone) did almost nothing for the discomfort unless I was also drinking coffee when I took it. It is a well known (within the medical community) truth that when you combine drugs that end in ” ine” the effects of the drugs are amplified. The active ingredient of hydrocodone is codine, while the active ingredient of coffee is caffeine. Together, in my recent experience, I felt a nice reduction of discomfort, while also not being able to get any sleep.

My solution to that was to quit taking the hydocodone, and after waiting 6 hours for the drug to vacate my system I started drinking vodka. That worked much better for helping me get any sleep, and since I made that decision I’ve experienced a slow but steady progress towards recovery.

Speaking as a patient, I must defer to the surgeon as to whether or not the surgery was a success. That being said, I think that when I see him later this week for the follow-up, he’ll agree. However much of a trial those first few days were, I do feel better. It’s my expectation that within the next week or two I’ll get what I’ve waited for all of these years – the authorization to begin light abdominal exercises with an eye towards full normal abdominal activity.

Updates . . .

Yes, yesterday was Veteran’s Day. I know that I have posted something about it every year for several years, but yesterday I did something more personal.

You see, I found a limited series on Netflix called “Medal of Honor” – which should be self-explanatory. I spent most of my waking hours yesterday watching that series, and saluting my brothers in uniform who rose to the occasion to deserve the highest military honor the USA ever awards. As one relative of a Medal of Honor recipient said in the show, “You want to think you’d do what they did, but you can never know for sure until you’re in that situation.” I was particularly impressed by the Medal of Honor recipients who have children or grandchildren who chose to enter the military service too.

I can only hope that Netflix will continue the series. All of those stories deserve to be told.

Additionally – I’m only about a week away from my first visit with the local General Surgery clinic where I’m supposed to get my abdominal hernia repaired. I do have one concern – that in the paperwork they sent me they wanted to know about alternative insurance. The Veteran’s Administration referred me to their clinic. I should need no additional insurance. If they are not willing to perform this procedure without some extra assurance of payment, I might have to decline. There is no way I’m going to sign anything that makes me, and by proxy my wife, obligated to pay for a procedure the VA sent me to them to receive.

Contractors . . .

I have no idea if what we have experienced lately is a part of a greater phenomena, but we’ve had a lot of trouble with local contractors in the last six months.

For example, the guy who installed, and has maintained, our house guttering for the last 6 years, was also the guy who was doing our mowing.  In the last 6 months, he’s been increasingly undependable, and has not cleaned our gutters since October, even though we paid in advance to have it done back that far.

We also just finished getting our house repainted, and even though we asked that the front door be painted to match the trim paint we selected, it did not happen.

I fully realize that Covid-19 has changed a lot of the rules of how contractors do jobs for private individuals, I am upset that we are having trouble getting contractors on the phone to discuss these problems.

We greatly prefer to give our business to local, even independent, contractors, for the specific reason of supporting local, self-employed businessmen.  Not only do they usually care more about doing a good job, but they also are people it is easy to develop a personal long-standing relationship with.

Except that the rules seem to have changed, since the genesis of Covid-19.  Since then, even the contractors we already had good relationships with have become difficult to get in touch with. They don’t answer their phones, and sometimes don’t even have voice-mail set up on their phones.  Several of the ones we’ve worked with for years are now distracted by jobs they took on that have nothing to do with the businesses they were building, but that they needed to keep their bills paid.

It breaks my heart to do so, but I feel that I have no choice but to replace the contractors that have become unreliable with other contractors who will respond when we call them.

As a foot-note, we had our house painted last week.  Our all-brick house is now a very light tan color with brick-red accents.  That cost us $2000 US plus the cost of the paint, but we’re already seeing a return on the investment.  Our HVAC system isn’t having to work as hard as before, in the job of keeping our home cool for the summer.