Dusting it off

So I managed to get myself a 30-day ban on Facebook. It’s a long story, and I wasn’t even telling anyone to go fuck themselves, so it was kind of a waste. I made a jokey comment to a friend that tripped the AI and apparently I was “inciting violence” which… Facebook fucking deserves it. That platform can suck all of my balls. I have had CREDIBLE rape threats directed toward me that apparently don’t violate their community standards, but me using the word “murder” in a sentence apparently merits a month-long ban

Fuck Mark Zuckerberg right in his gross poached-egg eyes.

ANYWAY

It might be a blessing in disguise, you know. I am always meaning to blow the dust off this thing and write more but it’s just easier to shit out whatever I’m thinking on Facebook. I can do that here! AT LENGTH.

For those of you who aren’t subjected to the fuckery I get up to on Facebook, here’s a quick update: we moved to Ohio! We landed here in Shaker Heights last week and have been trying to unpack and get settled. This process has been hampered by the fact that we don’t have enough furniture for our house and due to Global Pandemic Weirdness, the run-up time on the furniture we want is like, 6-8 months. So that’s nice. We have a big front room we can play squash in because we don’t have furniture to put in it. Good times!

Our house is really cute, though. It’s in a fantastic neighborhood, and we have three livable stories, plus a full basement that isn’t a damp torture dungeon like the old house! The third floor has been commandeered by SHOUTY MAN for his home office and lemme tell ya, IT’S A GODDAMN BLESSING. There’s a whole floor buffer between him doing SHOUTY MAN WORK THINGS and whatever it is that I do every day.

The kitchen is smaller than the old one but laid out in a much more efficient way. I dig it. The yard is smaller (yay) but has a ton of landscaping (boo) that I think the previous owners just ignored. We’ve found someone to come over and help us decide what’s actual plants and what’s weeds. That should be a good time.

Our neighbors (on both sides) are delightful. We share a driveway with one side so we had to make friends with them pretty quickly. They’re very nice and were very understanding when Emergency Backup Dog went into their house and made herself at home.

The suburbs are a trip, man. Where we lived before was, I guess, technically suburban, but there was a mix of residential and retail in the immediate area that was more of a small-town feel. This is truly suburban. It’s streets and streets of houses with some commercial districts on the edges. We love it.

This week’s project is choosing paint colors. Then we’ll hire a painter to come in and slap paint on the walls (I have been *expressly* barred from doing it myself and don’t think I didn’t throw a tiny tantrum about it) and then I can FINALLY unpack things like books. I have way too many boxes of books and I might get rid of some of them, but I just culled the herd and I can’t imagine I have too many that I’m willing to part with. I guess we’ll see!

I do miss New Jersey, though. I mean, Ohio is where I was born and I grew up here, but I spent almost my entire adult life in fuckin’ New Jersey. Coming back to my ancestral land is proving to be a bit of an adjustment. People are VERY VERY VERY NICE HERE. Just… very nice. It’s weird. I’m not saying Jersey people are rude, but they know enough to leave you the hell alone because if you need help, you’ll ask for it. Here? OH MY GOD EVERYONE IS SO DAMN HELPFUL. It’s cute!

We’ll settle in here and it will be like I never left, except for the fact that I have to pump my own gas (that is BULLSHIT) and I will complain about it EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s against my belief system! I didn’t have to pump gas for 22 years and I plan to complain about it AT LEAST that long. Fucking nonsense, is what that is.

But the trade-offs are many: we are closer to our families, we have tons of friends around, Cedar Point is 92 minutes away, and in a pinch, there is a Wegmans in Erie (2 hours door-to-door). I guess we’ll stay.

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Housekeeping!

Howdy, kids! It’s been awhile, no? I feel like I start tons of blog entries that way and although I’d really like to write more frequently, when things are boring around here there’s not much to say.

And by that, I am pleased to report that things are kind of boring around here! Yay! Sorta!

Freddie’s recovery continues apace. Physically, he’s almost 100% back to normal. He just has some lingering hand issues that he needs to have looked at. One, to make sure the fracture healed properly and two, his left ring finger is a bit messy. It looks like it was broken at some point and nobody noticed? Granted, that was the least of our worries at the time but the middle knuckle there is all enlarged and I think he can bend it okay but it’s a bit stiff. Shades of Jamie Fraser up in here, but I’m confident we can get it dealt with before I have to chop it off. We’ll see!

The eye thing is still going on. Not a huge amount of improvement there, but we figured as much. The doctor said that it takes TIME more than anything else and that he wouldn’t even consider surgery until six months have passed, which would put us at the beginning of March. The other doctor we consulted also said “TIME” but suggested some other things that aren’t quite LEGAL but… something something stem cells something and it was all very interesting but expensive-sounding and now I kinda wish we’d banked The Teenager’s cord blood when she was born but maybe that wasn’t an option due to the crazy way she arrived? I don’t remember. Anyway, we’re not doing that. We’re doing the waiting part.

We did get him new glasses, which look very cute. His old ones, god bless ’em, are still functional but the lenses were a bit scratchy (this happens when you slide down the road ON YOUR FACE). He has the prism on the one side but it’s less noticeable than it was before. He still looks crazy if you look at him directly but for the most part, we all forget that it’s there.

As for me, I am in a holding pattern of sorts. I had been taking tentative steps toward making something out of my life when I was thrust into this supportive caregiver role and I’m kind of stuck here right now. That’s fine. It’s not permanent. My job right now is to keep everyone alive (so far, so good), and oversee the shoveling out of the manse so we can put it up for sale. It should surprise no one that I am doing a half-assed job of it but it IS getting done. This house is going up for sale the first weekend of March and the realtor we’re working with is confident that we’ll have offers galore. I certainly hope so.

Because yeah, we are leaving New Jersey after 22 years. It’s bittersweet, since I truly love it here, but with ageing parents and whatnot, it makes sense for us to load up the wagons and go west, back to Ohio, to the place where I came from, my ancestral lands.

I worry sometimes that it’s the wrong decision. I don’t think it is, at least not for Freddie and for The Teenager, both of whom will benefit from a slightly relaxed environment. The suburbs of NJ are a high-pressure way to live, despite my very best efforts to live up to my generation’s Slacker reputation. There’s a lot of competition and bullshit in the schools and the job market here just NEVER FUCKING STOPS and we really don’t want to be in a position where one of us is working 25 hours a day, which has been the case in the past. We’re not doing that anymore, despite SOMEONE’S best efforts.

I do a lot of yelling. And now that he works from home, if I find he’s pushing it too far, I’ll just make a ton of noise. I’ll run the vacuum and that upsets the dogs and everyone starts yelling and a good time is had by all. I mean, it took me the better part of a decade to make him realize that work-life balance was even a THING and his was out of whack. Now I just have to make him pay attention to it. We’ll get there but yeeeeeesh.

So moving the fam to the other end of the time zone is going to be good for them, but I’m not 100% convinced it’s going to be good for ME. I left Ohio for reasons (and Reasons) and even though a lifetime has passed, I’m not sure I’m ready to revisit certain places and spaces. I already have a list of People To Avoid, like some kind of reverse scavenger hunt. That should be interesting.

And maybe it will all be okay. I know I’m not the same person I was when I left (except I am) and maybe other people aren’t either (except I bet they are). I will be open-minded about things. I’d hate for the State of Ohio to have to add to my police files, after all.

On the flip side of that, I am actually excited to be able to re-connect in person with a bunch of old friends. Thanks to the magic of the internet, there are a lot of people I’m still in touch with, but it will be so nice to be able to hang out in person again. That will help a lot.

And we’ll see how The Teenager does. It kind of hurts my heart to uproot her in the middle of her high school career, but it’s not like she’s even BEEN to high school yet. She was physically in her school building 10 times this year (so far) and that’s just dumb. She says she doesn’t care and that she’s looking forward to a fresh start but I still feel a little bit like I’m failing her? I think that’s all me. I know she will be fine and will probably thrive to the point where I’m mad at how well she’s doing. I hope so.

The other upside is that we’ll have a whole city to explore. New places new faces new food new beer new parks new lakes new new new new. The ADHD brain thrives on NEW BETTER FASTER MORE and hooooo boy we are going to be serving up a ton of that!

In the meantime, we are whipsawing between BORING AS HELL and TERRIFYING AS FUCK. Everything is normal.

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Unbreakable

Hi kids! Long time no see, eh?

That’s a good thing, you see. It means life settled down and got really boring.

Oh, except IT DID NOT. Life will never settle down and get boring ever again, apparently. This is fine.

Since we last spoke, Ol’ What’s-His-Name has improved by leaps and bounds. We had the Great Re-Toothening a couple of weeks ago and our dentist is a goddamn WIZARD with caps and implants and stuff and you can almost not even tell that his front tooth was replaced. The temporary one that was in there was taken out and a permanent crown was put in and he looks 99% like he used to, so there’s less of that body-snatchers feeling when I look at him.

We still haven’t ruled out a body-snatcher situation, but if he HAS been replaced, they did a good job on him. Close enough, you know?

He went to the facial surgeon this week to discuss the stitches in his upper jaw. They’re supposed to dissolve but he was still feeling them to off he went to the doctor. APPARENTLY, the discomfort he was feeling wasn’t stitches, it was a bit of leftover numbness from the plate they put in his jaw. Which… I’m sure someone told me that at some point in this journey but I have no memory of that conversation. Turns out I did get the Wolverine package in the rebuild, but I guess I have to pay for it piece by piece. Hrm. But everything looks good and is healing well and moving along nicely there.

I also sent Himself to see a neurologist, to chat about the eyeball thing and what the prognosis is and see if there were any other therapies or interventions he could take advantage of to speed this process up. There are a couple of things but they’re not feasible for us (for anyone, really) so the best/only thing to do there is WAIT. The doctor did discuss some kind of stem cell treatment situation, but he said it’s not FDA-approved and so he couldn’t *officially* recommend it, but y’know, it’s a thing that if you’ve heard of it and if you heard that maybe such-and-such doctor was researching it you could ask and see… ALLEGEDLY. But this alleged, totally hypothetical not-a-suggestion-at-all costs around $75K to do because insurance won’t even look at it so… yeah, homeboy is gonna have to WAIT for his brain to get around to fixing it on its own.

Patience turned out to be the theme to 2020. I have had to exercise a remarkable amount of grace and patience this year. I am not good at EITHER OF THESE THINGS but here we are. You know how when someone is counting to 10 in their head because they really want to just STRANGLE YOU so instead they take a deep breath through their nose and then whoosh it all out? THAT’S ME. I like to be the star of the show! I’M SUPPOSED TO BE THE BLACK HOLE THAT ALL THE ATTENTION GOES IN, YOU GUYS. That’s my role! That’s my comfort zone!

Fine, let’s call it “personal growth.”

I look at 2020 as a hill. It started out with me at the bottom of a near-vertical climb. I didn’t want to, but I started climbing. AND IT SUCKED. Then it started to even out a bit and the climb got a little easier for awhile. It never really flattened out completely, but it was manageable until The Bikening, and then it got vertical again. But I kept climbing. And I dragged the family along with me, even when they didn’t want to go. I carry all of these chuckleheads with me: Partial-Wolverine, The Teenager, Main Dog (and her ENDLESS NEEDINESS), Emergency Backup Dog (with the one leg that refuses to work anymore) and Auxiliary Cat (who poops on EVERYTHING and barfs on anything he doesn’t poop on). These are my people and BY GOD WE WILL END THIS YEAR TOGETHER AND INTACT IF I HAVE TO DRAG THEM ALL BY THEIR NOSTRILS.

This is a lot, as you can imagine. I am handling it… admirably, let’s say. After all, they’re all still ALIVE, which is really the baseline goal for any given year. I take care of my people and in return, they do whatever I say, all the time.

So even though everyone is more or less alive and whole, we aren’t going to be getting back to ‘normal’ anytime soon. There’s a lot of crazy stuff in the works for 2021, some of it BIG AND SCARY unknowns and some of it intentionally planned. I’m not sure how much of it will involve bicycles, however. And I’m not sure how much of it will be within my control. But I do know that I can handle it, because if this stupid year didn’t break me, nothing will.

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The Uncanny Valley

In body-snatcher type movies, there’s always one little detail that the aliens or whoever get slightly wrong, which makes our heroine go, “waaaait a minute, something’s not right here.” In some of the poorer-quality movies, it’s very noticeable, like, maybe the guy’s thumb is on backwards or something. In the better class of film, it can be as subtle as a slightly-altered hairline. This is what I’m dealing with now.

Yesterday, we took The Artist Formerly Known as Cletus The Pirate to the dentist to get his tooth [temporarily] fixed. Easy enough! He had a root canal a few weeks ago and so now he has a temporary crown in place of the snaggletooth he’s been sporting for the past two months. It looks… normal?

BUT IT DOESN’T, ACTUALLY. Let me explain.

Are you familiar with the concept of the “uncanny valley?” It’s a term coined in 1970 by a Japanese scientist named Masahiro Mori. It’s how he described his observation that as robots/computers get more life-like and “real” looking, our acceptance of them rises… TO A POINT. There’s an undefinable line which, when crossed, we start to back away slowly. So it really IS a fine line between “cute” and “creepy” as anyone who owns a Cabbage Patch Kid can tell you. Mori noted that as a robot’s looks (and, I guess, behavior?) approached this unseeable borderline, our feelings toward it drop into a valley (see what he did there?) of strangeness and dread and a general feeling of freaked-out-ness.

This does nothing to explain why I feel like that all the time, unless you’re all robots, which would EXPLAIN SO MUCH.

So all of that is to say that now we have this [temporary] tooth replacement and it’s maybe a half-millimeter too short and IT IS FREAKING ME OUT. It’s a tiny, tiny, TINY difference but y’know I’ve been looking at his face for almost 30 years now (we first met in 1993) and while we’re not the fresh-faced weirdos we were in the 90s, I’ve been there for all the changes the years have brought so I’ve had time to get used to them. This is very subtle but also VERY SUDDEN and IT’S SO WEIRD.

To compound the weirdness, I’m a Cute Deaf Lady and rely on reading lips to understand most of what people say so I *have to* look directly at his mouth when he talks. This all seems like some kind of cruel taunt from the universe, which… I probably deserve it but oh my god enough already.

The permanent crown will be installed on December 2nd and it will probably not be exactly “right” and I will have to figure out how to hike through the uncanny valley and come out on the other side. Or maybe I’ll just feel weird about it forever, who knows. He’ll probably wonder why I always seem like I’m just about to laugh but I do that when I’m nervous!

Still, even my not-exactly-right-looking husband is preferable to the toothless wonder I’ve had! And getting this tooth fixed is a HUGE relief to him, too. I know he’s been struggling with handling video calls and whatnot (although, the other day I heard him say “put the video on, you have to see what my tooth looks like!” I assume he was talking to a client or the president of the company or someone equally important. Who knows). One step closer to 100%!

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Baby, You Can Drive Your Car

Dudes!

I let Freddie drive the car yesterday and today. It went well, which was not quite what I was expecting! I let him drive to Starbucks yesterday and that was… scary. He saaaaaaays he can see okay and all of that but homeboy was drifting far-ish to the right and pulling into a parking space was… interesting. His reflexes seem okay and his car is one of those judgy bitches that will automatically hit the brakes for you if it thinks you’re too close to the car in front of you.

I do not like this feature because um, HELLO, if I’m riding your ass it’s because you are going 65 in the left lane so MOVE OVER, SUSAN. But nooooooo the car gets all finger-waggy about that. Still, it’s a good feature to have if you’re trying driving for the first time in two months.

Today I let him drive all the way down to Flemington, where his physical therapy is. That’s a 20-minute ride on a pretty busy road and he did very well! I didn’t grind my teeth nearly as much as yesterday! Parking is still challenging, though, so we might work on that. Or, I’ll just have him park far away and take up however many spaces he feels he needs. We’ll practice and see how it goes.

We’ll also need to work on parallel parking, because we can’t be a family where NONE OF US can do it. I am very very very bad at it, so I usually don’t even bother to try. I will park a full half-mile away from a place and walk if I have to. Sure, I could practice and get better at it but I could also go out and run a couple of miles and get better at it and you certainly don’t see my sexy ass doing THAT, do you? No, you do not.

The driving thing is definitely going to be helpful. That will take a little of the burden off of me, and give him a bit more freedom to do stuff without having to be concerned about me sitting around, waiting. I’m still going to keep him on a fairly short leash, especially with Fun Weather coming up, and I realllly don’t think he needs to be driving at night, which starts at 1:37PM right now. But he’ll be able to take The Teenager to school when and if we ever start doing that again and that will be… yay!!

Next week is a big week!! We’re finally getting The Tooth replaced, so any of you who have seen his crazy face on video, enjoy it while you can because it’s going away and he’s going to look slightly more normal. When he can tell I’m having a down day or if I’m feeling stressed or sad, he grins at me and I can’t help it but it makes me laugh. I felt bad about laughing at first but it’s so absurd, the way his face looks, that I can’t help it. What a nerd.

The only downside to all this recovery and improvement is that I am going to have to start helping out around the house more. I can’t keep saying “it’s good for you! Part of your recovery!” EVEN THOUGH IT IS! I have a list the rehab place gave me of activities that are good for people with brain injury and all of them involve things like laundry and other housework!

Sigh. I knew it couldn’t last.

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Progress!

Today should have been the FUNNEST DAY OF THE YEAR. It’s Halloween! It’s Saturday! We get an extra hour! There’s a full moon! Last year we had talked about having a big Halloween party this year because why not? We hadn’t thrown a good party in awhile.

Then the world fell apart.

Then MY world fell apart.

So here we are, putting things back together, piece by piece, like the most fucked up Lego set ever devised. We’ve been busy, so I only purchased pumpkins YESTERDAY. We carved them up this morning. And anyway, if you’re not doing your holiday decorations half-assed and at the last minute, are you even doing your holidays right?

Our Boy Wonder continues to improve. His vision is still crazy but his left eye has a lot more mobility than it did a few weeks ago. Rehab is helping and the eye exercises he isn’t doing regularly enough are helping too. That’s a very hopeful sign that maaaaybe this thing will resolve itself without surgery and we can put a cap on this adventure sooner rather than later.

Memory and cognitive function is improving, too. He’s been doing the New York Times mini crossword puzzles and the other day he branched out into the big puzzles, which force him to use his brain in different ways. Some things are still elusive, though – when we were getting ready to do the pumpkins this morning, he couldn’t find the word for tablecloth. He had “placemat” and then “the thing you use to cover the table” but couldn’t find “tablecloth” in his brain. He got there eventually but we bump up against these kinds of walls sometimes. I am getting better at not just immediately supplying whatever word he’s looking for but it’s hard!

He is getting close to wanting to try to drive the car, but I’m still not sure I like that idea. Driving in New Jersey is a challenge at the best of times and only the strong survive. If his eye mobility keeps improving, I *might* allow him to drive around town a little but there’s no way I’m letting his crazy ass attempt the Somerville Circle or route 22. Yet.

As for me, I’m still tired. I made the mistake of really looking at myself in the mirror the other day (something I generally avoid) and whoa, I am one tired lady. I’m getting a reasonable amount of sleep but this tired is more of an existential tiredness. I have been in crisis mode for one reason or another since December of last year. Life exploded and just never really let up. People are like, “whoa, how do you handle that?” What choice do I have? This is what I have been given to do, so this is what I do. “Oh you’re so strong!” Am I? What would it look like if I wasn’t? I can’t just up and abandon my whole life because it got weird and hard. That’s what life is. You do what you are given to do. If you’re lucky, you get a break sometimes.

That said, this would all be a lot weirder and harder without my kick-ass personal Rescue Squad. Individually and together, they have fed me, listened to me, laughed at my jokes (especially the really bad ones), sent me hilarious pictures, offered up their time and energy to help keep this boat afloat. Everyone should have a personal Rescue Squad like mine. Soon I’ll be in a place where I can try to repay all of this kindness, so everyone be on high alert for hugs that go on WAY too long and inappropriate butt-touching, because that’s how we show love around here.

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I’M TIRED

So it would seem that my caregiving lifestyle is catching up with me. I’m tired, y’all. Like, “want to sleep all day but can’t because insomnia” tired.

It’s fine. I’m fine. None of this is new. It just sucks.

Also, somehow, my entire body itches? I haven’t changed my laundry detergent or body wash or allergy pills or allergy shots or anything like that so WHAT GIVES, STUPID BODY? I keep scratching my head and wondering if I have lice (I don’t).

Some of it is stress/anxiety. I tend to absentmindedly scratch the backs of my hands when I’m HELLA STRESSED and I’ve been trying to not do that but… [skritch skritch skritch]. Keeping my hands busy helps a lot with that. EVERYTHING ITCHES. I took a shower to see if that would help. It did not.

I asked my therapist about it. She said it could very well be a psychosomatic reaction to stress/anxiety and I should try taking a Benadryl to see if that helps. The only problem is that Benadryl will put me RIGHT to sleep and since I’m the Prime Mover in this family right now, I can’t exactly do that.

So I scratch. I’m doing MOST of the self-care stuff I know how to do but it’s no match for the amount of sheer nonsense I had to carry around for so long. A couple more days of discomfort and I should be through it. It helps that things are getting back to normal here, too.

One-Eyed Freddie is doing a great job with his recovery. I have allowed him to go back to work a little bit so he is a HAPPY SHOUTY MAN about that. He is managing his TBI-related anxiety a lot better this week, too. After a particularly fraught day that included a lot of coffee, I nixed caffeine from his diet for a few days to see if that would bring him back down to earth. He slept a lot those three days, hahaha. But then he talked with his doctors and got permission to have A LITTLE bit of coffee each day (not half a pot, which is customary). He suggested decaf at one point and I nearly threw him out of the house. We don’t talk like that here!

Now that he’s allowed to have SOME coffee, he’s been feeling pretty good. Yesterday he folded all the laundry! We’ll see how long I can get away with “it’s part of your recovery, Sweetie!” Years, maybe?

The vision thing is something we will just have to be patient about. There are eye exercises he can do that will help, but it will take time to either resolve on its own or it won’t, in which case there is a surgical repair option. He needs to be patient.

Raise your hand if you think that’s going well. [ha]

That, I understand. He’s always been a “make this happen, right now” person and there are a lot of things in this recovery that just take time. He can’t control all of it, which is anathema to his personality and he’s been pushing up against that a lot. I tend to repeat “control what you can control and let the rest go” which is very unlike me but that’s something I’ve been working on for YEARS. I can’t control everything [yet] so why waste the energy trying? There are other things that need to be done with that time and energy.

But he’s an energetic guy. Kind of like a puppy, and when I can see him getting all torqued up, we go for a walk. We walk and talk and judge the landscaping in the neighborhood and talk about what our life together is going to look like going forward. We’ve always been more or less on the same page so we’ve never really sat down (or walked around) and really talked about what we want things to be like, so it’s been interesting to do that after all these years. It’s also nice to know that we are, as ever, on the same page about most things. While it sucks that we needed a near-death experience to do it, it’s nice that we are spending this kind of time together.

SO I GUESS WE’LL KEEP HIM, YOU GUYS.

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Homer Improvements

This has been a busy week for our little family of three. EVERYONE has appointments this week for doctors and therapists and allergy shots and tutoring and and and and AND!! Lots and lots of things on the calendar this week.

And the mostest funnest part of it is: I get to drive everyone everywhere every day. Because I’m the only one who can. Driving Mr Daisy has suggested that he be given the opportunity to take some of these errands off my hands, but I am not at all confident in his ability to see well enough to drive himself around, much less letting Raritan’s Answer to Homer Simpson drive the car with MY PRECIOUS BABY in it. So the answer to that, so far, is “hahaha you’re hilarious.”

I mean, he’s only had this eyeglasses fix for a week – he’s still getting used to it. I maaaaaaay let him drive around the block a la Rain Man and we’ll see how that goes, but I’m not letting his crazy ass get on a highway anytime soon.

And I just watched him empty the dishwasher (it’s part of his recovery!) and there were a couple of times where I could see him stop and think for a minute about where to put something away. Most of his recall is pretty good, but there are some little things he does that make me do the confused dog head-tilt, all “barrrooooo?” Luckily, we all have a sense of humor about it. Well, I do, anyway. He’s getting there.

He had a root canal on Tuesday to prepare for getting a crown on the broken tooth. That was SUCH a minor part of the accident, that it’s kind of annoying that it’s probably the biggest hassle to fix. He broke that tooth when he was a little kid and has had a partial cap on it for decades. It got knocked loose in the crash and the surgeon just took it out altogether. It’s for the best but HE LOOKS CRAZY and I’m starting to GET USED TO IT which is NOT A GOOD THING!!!

Speaking of crazy, that’s another thing that WE ALL have been dealing with. He’s been coming to terms with the accident and the consequences thereof and that has been, understandably, crazy-making. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past week telling him that all these feelings are more or less normal aside from everything being SIZE EXTRA LARGE as a result of TBI. Feeling all your feelings in CAPITAL LETTERS is a well-documented side effect of brain injury, and knowing that has helped me stay patient and cheerful (I KNOW, RIGHT?) while he navigates these crazy waters. Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep The Teenager afloat as she figures out high school in this Brave New World and the amount of demented cheerleading I have to do on a daily basis is WEARING ON ME.

I’m so lucky that I have a massive support system looking after me and making sure I don’t murder anyone. It’s working… SO FAR. But yeah, it’s hard. We had a nice conversation the other day about the emotional load I’m carrying and how if I get to the point where I’m asking for help, that’s kind of a big deal. It’s a continuation of a theme I’ve been yelling about since The Teenager was a baby – this house is my workspace and as such, it should be respected, at least a little. And right now, EVERYONE IS HERE ALL THE TIME so now it’s EVERYONE’S workspace and we all need to work TOGETHER a little harder to keep the place running. I’ve never been willing to do it all and I’m even less willing now. It was a good talk and will go a long way toward alleviating some of my stress. Bonus: nobody will get murdered! Probably!

It helps a lot that folks have reached out to Freddie, too. He really appreciates all the calls and texts and stuff, so keep doing that because it helps keep him centered and less wrapped up in his own head. I can only do so much, so it helps ME, too. Someday, if we’re ever allowed to have parties again, we’ll throw a big one and everyone can come. Bring your own booze.

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RETURN OF SHOUTY MAN

This has been a very busy week for us! We have seen doctors and therapists and dental people and eyeglasses folks and had tons of fun!

Actually, the biggest missing puzzle piece was added yesterday when we got the prism film stuff for his glasses. It’s exactly what it sounds like – prismatic sticky bits that go on the one side of his glasses so his uncooperative eyeball stops seeing two of everything.

I can’t imagine how stressful that is – can you imagine having to deal with TWO OF ME? I’d run away from home.

It looks so weird, you guys. If you look at him head-on, you can’t really see the film but his left eye looks like it’s moved inward about half an inch so his eyes look too close together and it’s CRAZY. But he can see again and doesn’t need his cool pirate patch anymore, so I suppose we’ll call that an improvement. I tried looking through the glasses myself and it did not go well. Not only are his eyes already way worse than mine, but my brain just DID NOT want to even try to figure out what was going on there. I might have given myself a stroke.

Surgical recovery is going perfectly, we won’t need to see that doctor again for a month or so. We swung by the outpatient rehab that was suggested just to see what they said, and of course they’re like “oh we need to see you twice a week for the next little while” and yeah, maybe that’s true, but not for a $60 copay every time. We have a couple of sessions scheduled and then we’ll see what happens after that.

Next week is SUPER FUN – root canal time! I’m sure Freddie is super duper excited about that! I’ve had a root canal and I don’t think it was all that bad. The tray of things they plan to stick in your mouth can be a little daunting, but I’m not fazed by dental things so it didn’t bother me that much. Lay back and do some yoga breathing and it’s fine. We’ll see how he does.

The biggest indicator that he’s getting back on track is the RETURN OF SHOUTY MAN. He’s been taking work phone calls here and there and holy god, he is loud. SO VERY LOUD. Even when he’s upstairs, through a closed door, SHOUTY MAN CAN BE HEARD. The other day, we were on the phone with the insurance company and since the weather has been nice, we have windows open and SHOUTY MAN TELL NEIGHBORHOOD ALL THE BUSINESS! Not that anyone was around or would even care, but his voice does carry and I’m sure he can be heard from the street. It’s cute! He gets annoyed when I make fun, but WE ALL LOVE SHOUTY MAN.

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My Turn!

GONNA DO A BIG SCREAM.

I wake up at least twice in the night, usually. It’s because I’m 45 and I drink a lot of water so I have to pee a lot. This is easy enough to do whilst half-asleep, but if we ever rearrange our bedroom, I’ll probably die.

So the other night, I got up like I usually do and took a step and my right knee decided to have some kind of pain party. So now, instead of being hurty because I did things to it (like, say, jumping split squats or something else horrible), it’s hurty ALL THE TIME and making my life difficult.

We have discussed my approach to medical issues before. The “you’re not dead, there are no bones sticking out or spurting blood, therefore you’re fine” way of life has worked out pretty well for me so far. But I can’t very well bully Freddie into participating in his recovery and ignore my own nonsense, can I? I lose the moral authority I need for yelling if I do that, so I made an appointment to see my doctor and we’ll go from there.

I have always had trouble with my knees (thanks, Ma) but this is worse than usual AND it’s my right leg so if I am incapacitated and can’t drive, we’re fucked because Cap’n Handlebars isn’t allowed to drive and The Teenager refuses to learn. She’s only 14 but come on, kid! Take one for the team! So let’s hope this is something that can be helped via a brace or something and not require immediate surgery or similar.

In other news, Greybeard The Pirate is doing okay. We have had to have some discussions about how recovery isn’t going to be a straightforward process – there will be times when he feels like he’s regressing and there will be days when he doesn’t feel like he’s getting any better. That’s all normal and he needs to accept that. So far, so good. He’s been great about recognizing that he’s doing fantastically well, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

Today is the one-month mark, by the way. ONE MONTH. It feels like YEARS. Time is weird.

Recovery is going well. We are waiting on this prism film thingy that will stick onto the one side of his glasses and help with the double vision. If, for some reason, it doesn’t work, I hope someone out there has a spare room that I can live in because I will run away from home, I swear. But since there wasn’t any other option offered, I’m confident that it will work just fine and I won’t have to leave my family to save my sanity. Once he can use both of his eyes and not rely on the eyepatch, the pirate jokes will dry up but he will be much more useful to the outside world. It’s very hard right now for him to read and type and the texts he sends me are hilarious. Between him not being able to see and autocorrect, it’s a whole new language he’s speaking.

Everything else is going VERY well. I am allowing him to walk around the neighborhood on his own now, which is good for him. The dogs are super pissed off by this, though, because they’re both absolute maniacs on the leash so he can’t take them with him when he goes out. Maybe if they were LESS UNTRAINABLE, they’d get to go on walkies too! But while he’s got balance issues and my knee is falling off, the dogs will have to be content with pooping in the backyard like everyone else.

The tooth situation is also resolving nicely. He still looks absolutely bonkers but he’s going to have a root canal and a cap or a bridge or something which is a lot less hassle than an implant, so that’s good. It’s still going to be a giant pain in the head but a bridge situation is a lot quicker than the implant would be. I have both (my dental x-rays usually elicit a “wooooowwwwww” from folks who aren’t familiar with them).

We’re starting to see some of the bills bounce off the insurance now, too. Thank goodness we HAVE insurance because some of the numbers I’m seeing are basically imaginary amounts of money. The final bill from Morristown Medical Center is listed as “pending” which… yeah. It can stay that way for awhile because I’m not at all interested in what that is going to be. The rehab stay (5 days) came out to just under $9,000 and we’re on the hook for some of that. It’s fine. We just ran the household budget and it’s all doable! It just sucks. The healthcare system in this country is fucking bullshit.

Overall, we’re doing fine. Near-death experiences seem to be a thing that we can handle but I don’t really want to do it again anytime soon. Yesterday he said, “I guess I’m not going skiing this year.” NO, YOU ARE NOT, CAPTAIN DEATHWISH. For the next little while, our sporting life will be contained to things like jigsaw puzzles and strolls around the block. We’ll postpone our foray into the Circus Arts until 2021.

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