a walk in the park

I took up my morning walk again except I get up earlier. It was cold and wet this time. Sometimes I think people sleep in their cars there. The same vehicles are always parked with someone sitting inside. It doesn’t matter what time of day I go, they’re there. I can feel them watching me as I go by. Like I’ve invaded their solitude. They have to recognize me by now. I see a lot of the same people who walk, also. Most just say hello and keep going. I’m fine with that, we’re just there to walk. There are two I talk with. The lady with the dogs is my favorite. She has two really old dogs. She feeds and takes care of the stray cats people drop off. Then there’s this younger girl. She always appears from nowhere in front of me. I’ve never seen her come into or leave the park. And we meet at almost the exact spot on the trail each time. She says she taking picture for her Facebook page. She looks well kept and healthy, so I don’t think she’s homeless. She’ll walk with me to my turn around spot and back but she’ll always stop on the trail where we’ve met up. She’ll stop talking then go about her business. The last time I walked a ways and looked back but she was no where in sight. In my mind I’ve named her the trail nymph.

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last walk for now

 

I’ve been off work since May. My position had to be filled so I lost my job and insurance. One thing I found out is you’re treated like crap by doctors and pharmacies when you don’t have insurance. My doctor released me to go back to work at the end of August. The company that let me go said they would hire me back but at a different position. One I really didn’t care for. After 6 weeks of interviews and no one calling back really wore me out. I did get unemployment benefits but that barely paid anything. So last week I broke down and decided I would go back to the company I worked for. I hated to, I didn’t want the job. I took their drug test and criminal background check. They called me Thursday and said to be there Monday morning. Thursday afternoon someone called and was interested in talking to me. I just threw my resume out there for them several weeks ago and never thought about it. I went in Friday morning. They wanted to make sure I knew what the job was and that I’m over qualified for it. They brought in the manager to look at my resume. He said I could be used anywhere within the company. They made me an offer which I accepted. I ran down the street for the drug test and Monday morning I’m to show up to do a job I’ve never done before or one I’m really not sure what I’m suppose to be doing. It is less pay than what my previous employer offered but a lot less dealing with people.

Here is a photo of my last walk at the park. The morning walk was addictive. If I didn’t go it felt like I didn’t accomplish anything that day. I was up to a mile and a half walk. Two miles was a stretch, it was too much and made my new $25,000 knee hurt. I’ll miss my new friends and their pets too.

 

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morning walk

I talk about the state park I live at and the forest outside my front door. I take my walk there to get my knee (and myself) back in shape. I got out early this morning. It’s really quiet there and you can get lost in your thoughts. The path is diversified and it doesn’t seem like you’re out that long or have walked that far. Most of the wild flowers must have finished blooming, there wasn’t much color this morning except the sun coming up through the trees. The park was empty, also. Very tranquil…

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Here’s the path I walk. I like how clean they keep this park.

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first mile and stuff

I couldn’t sleep last night. I tried but I was to wired up. I wanted to be active, nothing was hurting. There’s too much wildlife to go walking around here at night so my recumbent bike kept me occupied for 15 minutes. Next my drawing table had unfinished work laying around. The pain meds kept me non-creative for so long I dug out a coloring book I forgot I had. Practicing colors was something I needed to work on. Doing this for almost two and a half hours took it’s toll on my eyes so I moved to the drawing I started over a month ago, I think. After setting up the webcam (my phone) it didn’t take long until I figured out I made this too detailed to work on at 4:30 in the morning.

doingstuff-firstmile

I didn’t sleep very good as usual. Every hour I looked at the clock and the window to see if it was time to go out. I was ready with all the built up energy. At 7:45 I was dressed and out the door. It was 75 degrees with a slight breeze. Just enough breeze to make the sweat bearable. At the park, I drive to the spot I marked at 1/2 a mile the other day. I got about 100 yards and remembered I left my cane in the car so I went back. I’m using it less and less but I didn’t want to get stranded and not make it back to the car when I’m walking. I’m off again, with no pain I’m walking pretty fast. Probably the fastest I’ve moved in four or five months. It feels good on my body, my muscles are working and I’m getting air deep in my lungs. And there it is, the back gate of the park. I barely felt anything as I touched the post and made a “cheering crowd” sound when I turned and headed back. My cane is slowly becoming useful then I see the front of my truck. Running out of steam and for some reason my thigh hurts, I head for the bumper. My door wouldn’t open fast enough for me to plant my fat ass in the seat and chug some water like I’ve just ran a marathon, but I did it. In one month, after total knee replacement, I just walked a mile.

Now my arm is going to be sore patting myself on the back.

 

 

first long walk

Just got in. This morning I drove over to the park, back until it dead ends. I drove forward to measure a half mile and parked. I’ve made walks to my mailbox and had trouble. That was only a 300 yard walk. My last doctor visit he removed some fluid and it turned the pain game around. I’ve been going up and down my stairs and getting around unaided the last week. This morning when I woke up I sat right up. Nothing hurt. I drank my coffee and got pumped up some more. My first thought was I’ll walk to the mailbox and call it a day. By the time I got dressed and out my door I felt like really walking. So I drove around to the Metro Park entrance and marked my territory.

During my walk I kept feeling my new knee bang around inside a little. But I felt o.k. so I kept going. It’s nice out too. Finally it’s below 80 degrees but I’m still sweating like a pig. My knee is feeling great but my hip and thigh are starting to hurt. I can see the end of the trail where I wanted to turn around but I couldn’t make it. I was close but still too far away so I turned around. I didn’t want to get stranded back there. It was a struggle getting back to my car. It seemed like it took forever to get to it. It felt good to get the weight off my leg while I’m catching my breath. It also felt good to get air deep in my lungs. I go back in to the doctor Monday. We’re keeping an eye on the area that’s not closing up. It doesn’t hurt and it’s not infected. It’s just not closing up.

I’m guessing I walked a little over two thirds of a mile.

first walk

the knee story pt 4

Boredom is the worst part. The smallest thing is entertaining. I look forward to doctors visits just to talk to someone but those will end now. Without insurance I can’t get physical therapy or office visits. I just paid $110 for pain meds. I did get hold of my employer to get access to my company account for my personal information and check stubs. We had automatic deposit and I never saw a physical check the entire time I worked there. I wasn’t even sure how much I was being paid. It was more than I thought and with them paying 3/4 of my insurance and matching 401k, I had no reason to complain. I stay in touch with the District Manager. She said to let her know when I’m ready and she’ll hire me back at another position. I’ve never worked for such an employee friendly company in my life. There’s not even bad co-workers there. I never understood why people quit working for the company. Even if I don’t get hired back, I have nothing bad to say about them. They’ve gone out of their way with me the last two years and I feel like I owe them for that.

Back to the boredom part. I had a follow up visit with the surgeon on Monday. He took some x-rays and removed some fluid. The fluid was causing the most pain, it was never ending. Sleeping was impossible and it felt like there was so much weight to my leg. The last two days I’ve been feeling pretty good. I was surprised to get another refill of pain meds and I was afraid to ask but I guess this was serious enough surgery to get more. But the last two days I’ve been going out and moving around a lot. The walk to the mailbox is still difficult but I force it. I go up the steps right leg first just to work it. All this makes me feel better while I’m doing it but resting is when the pay back starts. I never know I’ve over done it, until I’ve over done it. So I’ll take my meds and get the ice packs out. Then I sit here. Bored. I have drawing supplies right beside me but no ideas. No motivation. I stare a lot, though. Think bad thoughts. Negative things. Stare some more. Boredom drove me to start typing this. There’s no point I have. Nothing needs to be told. I’m just bored and sore. So here’s the x-ray of my new $25,000 knee.

 

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the knee story that never ends pt3

I’m terrible with names. This therapist/nurse has been here six times and I have no idea what his name is. That’s the same at work. I’ve been there six years and maybe know 15 names out of 50 people. So every time before he gets here I unlock the door. The windows are open and I know when he knocks, he hears me say “come in”. But I have to get up and open the door. This time I just opened it. He’s standing there with a kit and says “Lets go”.

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The plan is every other staple just in case it comes open. Only a few hurt, they had skin growing on them. I also noticed a new bruise on my calf this time. The first pass goes good. No whining yet. I did notice the staple removal kit reminded me of “Lunchables”

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Heading to the finish line, I lost track of my  photography plan. It kind of hurt in a not really but different way. I’ve always watched when my body parts were being worked on. When I get blood tests I watch my fluid drain out. I sliced my hand in half with the ceramic from a water tank. After they sedated me and numbed the hell out of my hand I watched them sew it back together. I even asked what things were inside. They asked if I was alright that time. Of course I said I was…

st-2

Today’s finished product. In a couple of days I can start washing it. When I put my legs together my knee/leg bent to the right. You can kind of see it in the picture. I have a week to myself now. I’ll meet with the surgeon and start physical therapy. I think I’m doing pretty good. I live on my own so there’s no one helping me do daily living tasks or anything. Survival mode speeds things up.

 

 

fuzzy doll and stuff – random blathering with a few beers, then…

It hurts when you get old(er). I fucked my knee up again and had some dental work done. Great insurance is awesome. I’m taking full advantage of it while it’s in front of me. Except sometimes recovery is more painful than the actual problem was to begin with. They’re still doing tests on my knee but the dental surgery is over for now. My bone graph for the implants look good. This is the first time in years my mouth/ teeth work properly. My last dentist, I’m finding out, was a complete hack. After the two root canals and crowns he performed about 16 years ago finally died and had to be cut out of my jaw, I can actually eat properly with no tooth there yet. My jaw use to click also. That went away. What the dental surgeon found in the x-rays were four wisdom teeth in the back growing forward, so his plan is to not put the last molar implants in the back. I’m cool with that.

Also my knee that use to respond well to cortisone injections decided it didn’t want to cooperate any more. The orthopedic surgeon is slow as hell as is the MRI staff. At least they gave me anti-inflammatory and more of them pain meds I’m growing fond of. According to them I’m not taking enough. I’m suppose to take them on a schedule, not as needed. But once a day in the evening is fine with me. Fuck them, I’m not going to be an addict. My employer is fine for now with my light duty schedule. We passed a State Inspection, what more do they want. I actually quit on Tuesday. Those retiree’s really know how to piss me the fuck off. They throw garbage all over the place! Why? Who the hell does that? Why would someone set garbage on the floor where there’s four trash carts inside the building and two huge dumpsters outside? What the Fuck is wrong with these asswipes? I don’t know, they sure know how to find that last nerve and keep grinding it. The corporate office said to take a few days off and come back Monday. They must like me there, I didn’t get wrote up. They scare me sometimes with that employee friendly attitude stuff. I’m not use to it.

But, here is the point of the post. I casually follow Deviant Art channels. A few I really like because I can learn their drawing techniques that apply to my way of thinking and my arthritic hand. Out of no where I found a lady who makes felt dolls. She had just opened a Deviant Art Channel and I liked her drawings. Then she posted the doll. I had to have one. I hope I didn’t creep her out, but I wanted one really bad. I told her to name her price. She’s Canadian so I tried to be on my best behavior. I didn’t want to come across as the typical media enhanced American Idiot Fox News is so great at promoting. I even opened a PayPal account just so she’d feel safer about my intentions. I wanted one so bad I would have paid what ever she asked. So here it is…

 

fuzzydoll

 

The Fuzzy Doll by Koma13. It’s simplistic but says a lot. I want more, like a collection. I’ll pay her what ever she wants. I just thought they were the coolest things I’d seen in a long time. It was cool enough, I was afraid I’d scare her just asking to buy one. But there’s also a connection to the appearance of this piece of work. It kind of looks like me when I was an 18 year old kid back in 1980. At least the hair looks the same.

Me_1

 

I’m the one on the right. Karen’s there to pretty up the picture. I was grunge before it was a thing, and Disco really did suck!

 

 

 

**GRAPHIC**

A picture of my scar if you don’t want to see it click out.

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Second warning. This is a picture of my scar from back surgery.

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Final warning to click out of here or you’ll see it

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scar

 

I warned you. This is the scar from my back surgery. There is a medical term for what they did and I think they just make words up in the hospital. All of my prescriptions are words I’ve never heard of too. I thought it was just a 2″ incision. This is the first time I’ve seen it. My physical therapist took the picture. That’s her hand at the top just to give it some comparison. The thing is 6″ long. There’s just some small scabs left and a one of the stiches sticking out of the top that will probably just fall out. It’s healing pretty good on the outside but hurts like hell on the inside.

 

 

I’ll miss my room

I’ll miss my room at the rehabilitation hospital. Or no, I’m miss the entire place. I was spoiled the entire time. I’ve never been taken care of my entire life like I was here. The attention and respect the staff gave me was outstanding. I had to ask them not to disturb me as much. They said o.k. but continued and I never brought it up again. A lot of times in the evening no one came in to check on me but I could see them going in and out of the rooms around me. After a while I finally told the nurse that I feel like I’ve been forgotten. She told me I’m one of the few that never pushes the callimage button. I never wanted to bother them, they looked too busy. The only time I asked for anything was when they brought my meals in. They always said they’d let the nurse know. I never knew who was and wasn’t a nurse. When the nurse did come in with the med cart and to check my vitals she always asked my pain level from 1 to 10. I always said 9 and the meds weren’t helping. A few days later she comes in and said if I need pain meds just ask. So I did. Dilaudid did absolutely nothing, after several tries even with the IV, they tried a combination. This caused me to have a seizure. I was completely aware of what was going on but had no control over anything. My right hand started flinching and it felt like cold air blowing on it, when I look down at my hand I lost control of my neck. It was like my neck folded and cut off my breathing. That’s when a lot of people came running in the room. One lady was holding my head up as they laid me back in the bed. When I finally got control I couldn’t speak no matter how hard I tried my mouth wouldn’t let words come out. That was scary. After that my meds were given to me in intervals but I still could ask for pain meds anytime I wanted them. Now they were Oxycontin tablets which kind of scared me. I don’t want to be a pill addict except I’m not craving them as a buzz, I need them when I can’t hold out any longer.

The other thing I liked was the food. The place had their own cooks and I wasn’t on any special diet. I had a big menu to order anything I wanted, and I did. They fed me well and nothing I had was bad. I ate everything I ordered.

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One other thing was my bed. When I went to my three hours a day physical therapy (which is a whole other story) I’d come back to all new sheets and pillow cases, the bathroom was clean and trash taken out. I was suppose to stay until May 22 but they came in on May 15 and told me I was leaving on the 17th. I didn’t want to leave, I had another week but they felt I was o.k. to go home. My last day I got up, took a bath and dressed myself. The ride home kept changing times. First it was 11am, then it was 4pm, then 6:30pm. They finally show up at 7:30pm and they wheeled me into a transportation bus and strapped me in. I was kind of afraid to go home on my own but every morning I wake up something new is going on inside me. Sometimes it’s good and other time, like today, it’s horrible. One thing I’m learning is the nervous system is a strange thing, the other thing I’m finding out is nerves repairing themselves is the most agonizing pain I’ve ever endured. I’m working on a drawing I came up with while I was here. Sitting up for any length of time is a little painful but I’ll get it done.

the city

I use to live in the city. It was above a pretty popular restaurant which made living there a pain in the ass. If I left during the day I would have to park pretty far away until they closed then go get my car and move it back where I could see it. For once I really didn’t like the other people that lived up there. The one kept getting into my mail box until I threatened him. I’m pretty laid back but I will get in peoples faces if they piss me off. The other neighbor I called him Joe Dirt. That’s exactly who he looked like, the hair and everything. He was straight from the ’80’s. The owner evicted the mailbox guy then changed the locks at the entrance. He tried to get back in and Joe Dirt went to talk to him. Joe, being a little slow, forgot he left hamburgers grilling on his oven caught his kitchen on fire which set off the buildings fire alarms. The fire department shows up at this historic landmark thanks to these two clowns. This was in the summer, so it’s around 90 degrees out and we had to evacuate the building. I was pissed because I just got home from work and I was working a few beers. Don’t interrupt my fucking beers, god dammit! The other guy was evicted for not paying his rent. I mean it was only $400 a month, WTF. So he destroyed everything in his unit. Then it was just me up there. I think the owner liked it that way, I was responsible and kept and eye on his building. But I didn’t want to be his after hours security. I didn’t want to be responsible for anything that happened to that building. It was a popular restaurant, even the local news personalities ate there in the late morning. I really liked the apartment. It was kept up for as old as it was. New cabinets, new hardwood and ceramic tile floors. The one thing I didn’t like was I felt like I was always on stage there. I had to go past all the customers in the parking lot to get to the second floor stairs. And it was two flights of metal stairs, those things made some noise too. Once inside I felt safe. I liked my place, I liked the view of downtown and Broad Street. In the very back is where I kept my computer and tech stuff. I didn’t even have a living room because this is where I spent all my time. The window and balcony to my left was a nice view at night. The streets calmed, the lights dimmed and the city went quiet. This is where I forgot everything and went into another world.

OFFICE

 

I finally get my surgery next week. I’m probably typing this because I’m wigged out on Oxycodone and Gabapetin and I’m not even aware I’m doing this. But anything is better than the excruciating pain I’m normally in. Just one more week…

 

 

picture and a whine

I should whine more than I do. Or acknowledge that’s something’s not right instead of thinking it will pass. It’s been months telling myself I’ll get better soon and go about my life as it was. It wouldn’t fix itself and gradually I sought help only because pain hurts, it really does. And when it really hurts to where it’s your only fixation, I had to give up the facade that I was O.K. I’ve always saw everything in a positive light (except my art) and never let much bother me. So giving in wasn’t at the top of my list. Today, I gave in. Finally after months of crippling pain I got an answer. My big problem was the MRI. I was scared to death of that thing sucking me in. Twice I tried but flipped out and stopped just moments after that machine started. Claustrophobia doesn’t play fair. As a matter of fact I had never thought I was claustrophobic. It could have been the combination of things. I think plugging my ears was the cause. Cutting off a sense made the rest of me hyper aware of everything else. But this time I gave in to my fear. I closed my eyes and wished away the agony I’ve endured for the last six months. Then it was over. Twenty minutes of pure panic and I made it.

Today I get the phone call. The hospital name shining like a beacon in my caller I.D. and I even answered this time. Casey was so nice. She knew how to talk and made everything easy to take in. She didn’t know how much I appreciated what she was telling me. To her it was just her profession, to me it was a ton of weight lifted off my soul. In a few days the neurosurgeon will be contacting me. At least I finally have peace knowing that I’ll be taken care of. It will probably take all my life savings but will be worth it. All I want is to be normal again. I want to walk and sit and sleep like I use to. I want it the way it was. I think I finally understand I’m not 18 anymore and have physical limits I can’t exceed.

By the way it’s a spine injury. My entire spine from my neck down. So pretty much my entire being hurts. And I never kept it a secret from the doctors that I’m getting non prescribed Oxycontin. I took it that far to where the worst opioid available is my only relief and I’m getting it illegally. It has it’s place and it’s the only few hours of relief. I wouldn’t say it’s addicting. I don’t feel I need it until the pain is unbearable and those few hours of sleep are worth the price I’m paying. One thing I’m aware of is none of them said to stop, but none of them have offered anything else to replace it.

After I got my phone call this morning a sense of of calm came over me. It felt good to know something, to know anything. I got dressed which takes a long time to do now. I keep my shoes tied so I can slip them on. The belt is in my pants and the shirt is already buttoned and on a hanger waiting to be slipped on. It’s funny how I’ve adapted to living like this. I live alone if that’s not obvious. I mean who the hell would want…

Back to the story; I get down my stairs and look out the back door to see snow. I love the snow and winter. This just adds to my excitement. I want to walk and get fresh air and move around. When I opened my front door a calm came over me. It was the perfect ambient atmosphere. The snow muffling the sounds, the temperature just above freezing, no wind. Here is what I saw as I exited my front door. Welcome to my front yard.

 

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a picture

We had a good snow over the week end but it was kind of cold out. I didn’t get any decent pictures this time because there were too many animal tracks. Wednesday was boring a work, I just kind of did a whole lot of nothing and got paid for it. The way the office is set up, you can’t see me when you walk by the door. They usually just walk right in yelling my name even if I’m not in there. I was just doing things to keep busy and I thought there were birds in the bushes outside my widow. Being bored I walked over to watch. Instead there were three deer eating the bushes. I took a few pictures before I heard a loud voice yelling five feet from me, “MIKE I BEEN LOOKING ALL OVER FOR YOU”. I mumbled back “younutscantleavemealoneforfivefuckingminutes”. I gave her the Shush! signal to be quiet and she yells, “WHATCHALL LOOKING AT” (it was just me, no crowd) as she slams up against the glass door and scared them off.

 

deer

 

No big deal, just throwing this out there.

 

 

new project #73

I’m trying to correct the previous attempts at this one. The orbs should be going back instead of forward. Large to small, I think. I haven’t got there yet. I wanted to try different shading. The first thing I tried was smaller Micron pins (.03 and .05) but they weren’t that much smaller than a .08 running dry. Digging through my drawers of crap I’ve bought and forgot about I found an old charcoal pencil. I’ve had this since the ’80’s, think I’ve found a use for it now. See what I can do with this new found wonder.

 

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