Check-in time

A rare good picture of both of us. I like being married
to a woman who still looks hot at age 63.
I think a lot, and I can’t help but notice that what I think is more interesting than what other people think. I’m aware, of course, that other people might disagree, but that just shows you how wrong they can be. 

Three weeks ago, Father Brent wrote that we should get together again, and he proposed last week as a good time. A lot was going on in his life, so I heard nothing more from him, which was fine, but I wrote to him that when we do talk again, I would like for him to read my last blogpost first because it represents my best effort to say why I’m coming to his church. After trying to find it on Google, he admitted that he didn’t have my blog address anymore. Because of how extremely interesting my blog is, I was disappointed in him about this, but I expect so little of people anyway that it didn’t really matter. I still think he’s a good man in terms of caring about people, and that’s what’s important. It’s also why I couldn’t be a priest. Of course my atheism would be deal-killer right off the bat, but even without that obstacle, my poorly disguised antipathy for humanity would keep me out of the priesthood.

I really don’t know what to think about how cold I am. Like with that Ebola epidemic in Africa. I can’t help but think that the vanishing wildlife of Africa would be greatly helped if several million people died, so this makes me think that it would be for the best if they did die, what with the non-human animal population dropping by half in just the last thirty years. You might ask how I would feel if the epidemic were in America. Well, I would just shit, but that doesn’t negate my point.

I went to the back doctor this week for what I thought might be my last visit. My back hurts all the time from my upper shoulder blades down to either side of my crackie, and I had hoped he might be able to do something about it, but I’ve had enough experience with doctors to doubt that he could, and I was right. He always orders an x-ray, and this one showed that my broken vertebra is continuing to collapse. It was at 21% three months ago and at 24% now. He says that if it reaches 30, I’ll need a surgery called pedicle subtraction osteotomy with thoracolumbar fusion. This means that he re-breaks my back, rebuilds the vertebra, and fuses four of the surrounding vertebra. I naturally wanted to know more, but he said it’s still too early to talk about it, and that doing so would only upset me. I took this to mean that he had’t even told me the worst of it, so I came home and googled the surgery, and found that he really hadn’t told me the worst. I won’t say anything more because it’s still too early to talk about it, and I woudn’t want to upset you. Ha.

I’ve been taking a lot of narcotics lately, not to mention Ambien, Neurontin, and Cymbalta. I take the last three drugs at night and the narcotics during the day. 30 mgs of oxycodone (three to six times the starting dose) doesn’t slow me down, but it does it make it easier to keep going, both in terms of pain control and mood. I drive, run power tools, ride my bike, prune trees from ladders (no, I wasn’t on oxycodone when I fell last year), clean roof gutters while leaning forward on a sloping surface, and so on without feeling unsafe. The drug probably makes some difference in my performance, but other than problems with memory, Im unaware of any.

I’ve thought a lot about narcotics over the years because I take so many of them, and because they’re supposed to be such a horrible thing. Given how well I function, I think it likely that the worst problems addicts face are simply getting their drug and having to worry about being caught. Certainly, marijuana and alcohol both have a more detrimental affect on my abilities than do narcotics, so I would assume that the same is probably true for addicts. Obviously, narcotics are a health risk, but to repeat myself, so is overeating, and a lot of other things. I can but say that so far, knock on wood, my energy level is fairly good considering that I’m kept awake by pain for a significant portion of every single night, and if I’m developing organ problems, I’m unaware of it.

I’ll tell you, though, I’m low right now. I did so good on my fencing project that I was encouraged to think I might do okay with emptying out our large living room, dining room, and hallway, removing the old carpet, painting the walls, and then having new carpet installed. The first thing I did was to move about fifty shelf-feet of books into the garage, and I was in more shoulder pain that night than I’ve been in a long time, maybe years. I was planning to move the furniture the next day, and had asked our friends, Lee and Robin, to give Peggy and me a hand with the big pieces, but I was in so much pain that I didn’t even try to move the little pieces. It’s an awful thing to watch other people do my work, but I have to stay in good enough shape to tear out the carpet and wash and paint the walls, and I knew that if I moved furniture, I might be in too much pain to do the rest. So, while they worked, I babysat with their little girl, Sidney, aka my granddaughter. That needs some explaining.

Lee and Robin were Jehovah’s Witnesses before they became atheists, and when they left the JW, their families, being filled with the love of Christ and all, naturally shunned them. When Sidney was born, they shunned her too, the damned little sinner. Even before she was born, Lee and Robin named Peggy and me Sidney’s grandparents, and Lee told me that in the unlikely event that his parents should come back into his life, I would still be Sidney’s grandpa. I probably love Sidney as well as I would if she were the offspring of the son or daughter that I never had (how can anyone not fully love a little child?), but as much as I care about her, Peggy is invested several times over. I find it poignant and worrisome to see how much she needs that kid in her life. 

Peggy is off for a long weekend with two friends for their 20th annual “Girls’ Weekend Away.” When she’s home, Brewsky has to sleep in the laundry room because he keeps her awake. When she’s gone, he sleeps wherever he pleases, and this weekend has been the first time that he spent most of each night in bed with me. I’m awake so much that he gets a lot of petting during the wee hours, and sometimes, he’ll even wake me up just to be petted. That’s what Peggy objects to, but I don’t mind it, at least for a few nights. After having him for four years, I’ve finally become enough attached to him that I actually think I might miss him if he died as much as I would miss a dog.

Well, that’s enough of a check-in. I’ve got to clean house and finish getting ready to paint because the carpet is coming next week.


Helen said...

The nicest part of cat / dog sitting for my daughter when she is out of town?? Purring and snuggles. All night long.

Paula said...

That is a beautiful picture of you guys. A very nice looking couple. I am so sorry for your continued pain. My brother has spent many years, and many surgeries, and still has a lot of pain. Hope you feel good enough to paint. I am trying to make myself get some energy to do some painting. I love that you and Peggy have a precious little granddaughter...

stephen Hayes said...

Thanks for bringing us up to speed. That IS a good looking picture of you two. Take care and don't overdo it. Give the carpet guys a few bucks to move your furniture.

PhilipH said...

Whoa! What a fast-moving post. What a really attractive photo too.

Glad you didn't go into the nitty gritty of the back operation that you MAY have to undergo, (hope very much it never comes to that), and that your constant shoulder/back pain does not worsen, despite the doc's opinion.

Jehovah's Witness to Atheism. What a wondrous and sensible conversion. Great stuff, marvellous post, best wishes to you, your lovely wife and Brewsky.

Anonymous said...

NO WAY can she be 63. She looks in her early, early 40's! Like my age. Just no frigging way.

And you ARE a lot more interesting than most people.

All Consuming said...

I love the picture, you're both glowing in it and look so happy. "Because of how extremely interesting my blog is, I was disappointed in him about this" - you've made me laugh a few times in this post, and though I'm sorry to hear you feel so low I'm happy to see that you've been able to ride bikes and lift things and do so much more, though as usual you over-did it with the books like a loony, though its something I do all the time so I have no legs to stand on there. I sent a thank you reply to your card, but thought I'd add another here with a couple of hugs thrown in *thanks them both and hugs 'em too. X

Charles Gramlich said...

I often think the world would be better off with far fewer people, but I'd rather be more selective than a disease is going to be.

Linda said...

I was rumbling around in some old prescription bottles, determined to get rid of bottles. Some had one pill that I took today. Some were out of date. Some bottles had nothing in them. One bottle was full of oxycodone. !!!! I am afraid to take it. That is probably why I still have it.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

So sorry to hear your back is getting worse! My shoulder surgery is looming...dreading it!

kj said...

so nice to read a catch up, snow.

one thing though: "Given how well I function, I think it likely that the worst problems addicts face are simply getting their drug and having to worry about being caught."

no way. drug addiction interferes negatively with almost every aspect of physical and psychological well being. i've seen enough of that actuality to not even bother providing statistical and antidotal evidence.

i know, i know: you don't agree :^)

lotta joy said...

You do more with your pain and injuries than most people would attempt. Today we went to a "festival" with friends, and I told them up front that "if my hips lock up, we'll be leaving, so let's drive separately." Sure enough, halfway through, I got in so much pain I was (1) embarrassed (2) trying not to yelp (3) wondering how they'd get my body home. My self-esteem will not allow me to have a "scooter", so I've become a housebound recluse. But I still climb ladders and do amazing things inside the house. I just can't do "fun" things. I choose my priorities and chose carefully.

Stafford Ray said...

That is the first time (that I remember) you have posted a photo of Peggy the saint! Hot indeed. :-)

Cartoon Characters said...

Oh my, I love your blog! It brought a bright spot to my evening tonite.... I found you while googling a troll that left a comment on my blog and noted that he had left the same message on a multitude of blogs - exactly the same message! It brought me to The Depressed Reader" and as I was looking through the comments to see where that awful troll had commented, I noticed your name "Snowbrush" and it seemed familiar to me as someone who had commented on some other blog site I have followed in the past. Long story, I know! But I am glad I found you because you have a great way of writing. I will be following you! Thanks!

Snowbrush said...

"drug addiction interferes negatively with almost every aspect of physical and psychological well being. i've seen enough of that actuality to not even bother providing statistical and antidotal evidence. "

I didn't mean to say that addiction is harmless, but that, compared to some substances, narcotics have the advantage of leaving one able to function. My experience over a period of eight years of nearly daily narcotic use has been that no matter how high a dose I take, I get used to it very fast, and can function quite well under its influence. If I wanted to get "high," I would therefore need to take a still higher dose. Hence the rub, and it's a big rub. Narcotics make one high by stimulating the pleasure center, and, once stimulated by narcotics, nothing else seems to stimulate it quite so well ever again. Even so, I and many others have found that a person can carry on a relatively normal life under the influence of large doses of narcotics, so however grave their consequences in other ways, in this regard, at least, they seem less problematic than many dangerous drugs, most notably alcohol which is surely the one most commonly abused.

"My self-esteem will not allow me to have a "scooter", so I've become a housebound recluse."

For what it's worth, I'll just ask if the problem might not be vanity.