Search for a deeper purpose or meaning in the battle to live

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I think the hardest thing for me to do, is to find a sense of urgency about everything I want to accomplish before I leave this earthly plane.

I heard back from the lawyer that the Cemetery is still disputing my mother’s (estate’s) claim to the grave which holds the remains of my baby brother, Jimmy.  No surprise, there.  Replied with instructions to stay the course, and go after Daddy Dearest to once again buy back his half of the plot, or allow me to pay him for my brother’s remains so that he may be exhumed and reburied with my Mom.

Didn’t get any flowers from my baby sis on my birthday (clear confirmation that she’s still p*ssed off), and so I was proactive to update the lawyer that my being put out on disability was on track, while also reminding her to emphasize that it was me, alone, responsible for any drama that Dear Old Dad might choose to stir up once he gets the offer letter.  Maybe, my written confirmation that I’ve likely got only 3-5 years left (and thus he’ll outlive me) will work to sway his cold, black heart.  Heaven knows, I learned from the best how to be heartless.

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It’s very hard to put a delicate negotiation like this in the hands of another, but if heaven exists, and I get in to see Mom, she’ll know I tried my best after screwing up for resolving this at the time of her death.  If she no longer exists, and life ends on this earthly plane with no rhyme or reason beyond chaos theory, then that’s ok, too.

The reward is in the doing.  And the prevailing to achieve one’s goals.

If this ends up like some crappy morality tale, where the solution came too late to make a difference, then them’s the cards we played, and he wins.  Again.

I just know that I can’t trust this to baby sis as she wasn’t a part of this story, and as her belief system is as changeable as the wind.  She would have no problem redirecting funds left to her for resolving the dispute to her own benefit.  While I love her deeply, I am under no illusions about which parts of her character I wished were stronger. Cuz both of us have way too much of BOTH our parents in us, and that’s ok.

If reincarnation exists, maybe next time Dad’s soul will win the battle of good against evil, and if we happen to be within each others’ sphere of influence, we can move to find forgiveness and selflessness in each other.  Or not.  Without concrete proof of an after-life, maybe this is as certain as I can get.

The 11th hour before freedom

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…and finding a way to make it all work without being focused on my discomfort.

The change in meds, to go back to my December 2014 standards vs. keeping on with the medicines that helped me breathe better but also made my exhaustion and side effects worse, is improving my quality of life.

The picture above is the typical start to any day where I’m not immediately running out the door.  11 medicines to keeping my engine running, cold water and an egg and ham omlet (with ketchup) to help wash them down and keep them down.  Blood sugar testing kit before any food.  My medicine and food log.

Computer glasses, phone log and the work computer in support of any early morning meetings.

TV control gizmos to crank up or down the sound, and change channels without actually moving my butt, plus the headset for work calls on my computer.  Typical day / night set up, that’s going to be hard to stop.  I think.

Oh, and a lottery ticket for results update.  Who knows?  Today could be my lucky day.  Life changing in more than one aspect.

They finally replaced the driers in the laundry room, so I have sorted laundry all over the bathroom floor, awaiting attention.  And, after washing the kitchen floor, I can finally get access to the coins, laundry detergent and anti-static sheets to begin that series of chores while trying to multi-task my last days of working full time.

And, I need a nap.

Trying to bull my way through the daily tiredness and not fall prey to laziness / alternate sleeping schedules as I don’t have to be anywhere any time soon.  Also thinking about whether or not I’m a slacker and well enough to work…

Anyway, I tell you all that to tell you this…  I still feel like a big fat faker.

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I read positive-thinking meme’s like the one above, and make myself crazy thinking that I can just push through the tiredness and exhaustion, regardless of the statistical reality of my breathing numbers, and it’s maddening.

I will be so happy once I move on to the next phase of this process for understanding if I have to report into work each day, or if I’m accountable solely to myself (and the government for filling out the proper forms) for figuring out what happens next, where the money is going to come from, and how I’m going to afford to live.

For right now, I’m mostly focused on putting one foot in front of the other.  It’s all good.  Or, good enough.

Aging and Embracing Change

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15 years after I decided to leave the big fruit company for the next-to-last time, I’m on the threshold of change and it’s again a milestone birthday.  55.  Double nickles.  The speed limit in most of the US while traveling highways.  And the question pops up… Do you follow the rules, or do you break the limits and risk a speeding ticket?

I’ve always been a lead foot.  Within reason.

As I prepare for Wednesday to be my last day of employment before moving onto the disability obstacle course, I have little idea of what’s going to happen next.  Beyond the fact that I need to learn to NOT apologize for being unwell, and also to remain my own best advocate and letting the medical documents and test results speak for me.

Seems strange to be embracing idleness.

As I sit here with my weekend challenges behind me from our final outdoor show of the season, I’m pleased to have found someone to try to get my healthcare proxy and other legal documents filed so that I can get those steps ready for final need.

My right arm is still killing me (still heart complications, I believe) and my right side is still a melody of small of aches in my back / rib pains, confirming that the heart is likely giving out.

Still haven’t been to the doc or the emergency room, though, as anything they are likely to do will only prolong the inevitable.  Walking the fine line between knowing what’s going on (and choosing palliative care) and not knowing what’s going on to ensure no aggressive measures are taken is a fine line, but I’m walking it to the best of my ability.

I have 3 days left of work that “must” be completed, and trying to psych myself up to going into the office vs. working from home.  Decisions, decisions, decisions…

15 years ago today, I was on the verge of leaving the big fruit company, and even though I eventually went back, I’ve never regretted that decision.  I took a bunch of friends deep sea fishing to celebrate turning 40, and I threw myself a birthday party at the local Japanese steak house.  While there are no plans to celebrate in a big way this year (I caught up with my 50th’s big bash last year, so I’m a bit off schedule), I am looking forward to whatever comes next with anticipation.

This may be one of the stupidest choices I’ve ever made (to leave work and apply for disability), but I’m willing to take the risk and see what happens next.

Wish me luck, that this all works out ok.

Happy Sunday !

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Got through yesterday without needing a nap, which is a great comfort to me.  Absolutely tired.  Packed my inhaler.  But, I went through about five 12-20 oz containers of Dasani water and ice, due to the incredible heat wave, and it was all good !

We have our booth stationed between olive-based soaps on the right, and exotic, olive-based condiments on the left (no idea why for either topic, we’re just noticing a theme and happy to be in the shade for most of the day, LOL).

On this day last year, my NV Auntie was going off the rails, and I ended up flying standby to Las Vegas the following weekend (thanks to a very dear friend who went with me) because I’d made the vow to let Auntie’s situation be what it was, and I was no longer jumping through hoops for a situation that I can’t make better.

When the latest drama all came down, I made the decision to put Auntie’s situation into the hands of Adult Protective Services, and I’ve never regretted it for a moment since.  There are some things that all the love and attention in the world can’t fix without professional intervention, and this particular situation remains in that arena.

But, I tell you all that to tell you this…  Whatever happens with the disability decision, I’m ok with the outcome.  While I would never want to end up like my Aunt, lying in bed moaning about what a dirty hand life has dealt me, I’m going to hope that my disability journey has a different outcome.

I’m going to continue to set challenges for myself, and focus on the fact that the breathing numbers (not my total incapacity) set the limit for how to manage my life, and do not dictate what that life can still be.  As long as I plan ahead and keep on trying, I will continue to enjoy myself and risk the consequences of any poor choices.

For today, it’s starting off pretty good.  The pen is holding (I broke part of our tent roof structure yesterday, when the support pin wouldn’t align into place, but rather dropped back inside the support leg, out of reach to do its job).

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MacGuyver lives !  A $.99 pen is keeping a $100 investment going, LOL !

My partner made $231 and I made $93, so we’re at a little over $300 for Day 1.

We’re in an area with heavy church goers, but they love their outdoor events, and so today should be another good day and lots of fun.

Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday !

Final show weekend of the year

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Keeping involved in life, whether feeling great or feeling crappy, is important for everyone.  Having a hobby, even if not a full-blown passion, is critical, IMHO, to remaining mentally balanced while things may be crashing and burning elsewhere in life.

In my case, I make and sell jewelry.

Nothing too fancy.  Usually something fun.  Inexpensive trinkets, that hopefully make people smile or bring a momentary joy into their lives.

As I’m preparing for today’s event, I’m happy to say that getting off the more powerful COPD meds is having a bit of an improved effect of not being EXHAUSTED all the time.  I’m still tired.  I still need naps.  But, while I have less stamina to do things without breathing difficulties, I am also finding that I am able to stay awake longer.  The habit of going until I must crash seems to be lessened.

Today is going to be a very physical day. I have my fingers crossed that I won’t need a nap and that things should be ok.  Here’s to my last show of 2015 – let’s hope it goes well !

And you?  What’s up for your Saturday?

COPD side effects – urinary retention? Jeeze Louise !

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If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

The latest hassle appears to be urinary retention.  Now, I stopped taking the Striverdi Respimat as of September 7th, however, it’s the 25th and I’ve been noticing an increasing pressure / need to pee, to the point where I couldn’t even walk around for an hour today without having to hit a public restroom.  Looking up the side effects of that particular medicine, I just found “urine retention” in the fine print, which could explain a lot of what’s been going on since last weekend or so.

Having had my bladder repaired in a surgery when I was 5, I understand about bladder issues and hate them.

Sitting here with my eyes blurry, my back sore, and feeling full has finally brought me back to memories of my childhood and constant urinary infection tests.  Not wanting to aggravate things by swimming, I haven’t been back since my Monday night class, and I’m frustrated.  I can’t believe that it took me until this evening to remember about urinary retention and catheters.  (Sigh).

Denial is persistent and strong in me, so I guess I should be happy I remembered this challenge at all.

So, I’ll hope that the next two days aren’t horrible for not having access to rest rooms or portapotties, and I’ll go see if acidolphidis (or howevayaspell it) is able to cure urinary retention.

I really don’t want to be cathetered to eliminate this problem and (hopefully) cure my blurry vision and back pain.  I’m trying to remember to be thankful that I have the internet to help me beat a hospital energency room visit…

I really don’t have time for this drama.

Do I have any Friday thoughts?

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I bought a wicked “Smaht” phone in early August, and I’m still having trouble adjusting to it.  One of the craziest things to learn involved the fact that everything which used to be built into the prior handset now needs to be located and installed off the net.  Or, so it seems to me.

Even things as simple as loading in a pay-as-you-go prepaid phone minutes card needed me to first download an app.  And create a linkage to my gmail account.  And load a credit card (which I will *NEVER* give it permission to use).  Seriously ?!!  Who has time for this insanity?

I first bought an Android Optimus Prime via Net10 (big mistake; I think it was a Transformer in another life – I keep waiting for it to convert into something useful vs. simply expensive).   Anyway… that testing period cost me $20 for the handset, $35 for the first month’s usage, $38 for the second month’s usage, countless hours spent programming the thing, etc., etc., etc.   I have a prepaid $40 card sitting there, unused, because I gave up on their licensed theivery and let the month’s service expire without refilling it. Just didn’t like the phone and the reality of its “pay as you go” minimum amounts ripoff plan.

Next, I went back to Tracfone and ordered a new handset from them.  Another useless “smahtypants” phone that’s oh so dumb!  This one is an Android Patriot.  I feel like I should salute when using it or something, the “patriot” theme is just so bizzare.  For a phone, of all things !

But, it at least works.  Eventually.

Yesterday, I picked it up and some sort of message flagged itself on the handset for 5 whole seconds, indicating that I had nine (9) messages.  9 ?  How is that possible?   Never heard it ring.  There’s no flag constantly visible giving me a vmail count.  Just like there’s no flag or note showing me I missed a call, and who the caller had been.

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So, remembering that I had to call myself (crazy!) in order to get voicemail, I listened through a series of calls without any identifying information, i.e., “Saved (or recorded) on Tuesday, September 15th, at 10:15am”.  My prior to last phone didn’t have that information audibly at the start or end of each call, but it would offer you the option to open the envelope to hear the message details.  Relatively simple, right?

At any rate, just to prove I’m not completely out of my mind…  The Unimax Max Android Patriot Phone… Image as brought to you by The Dollar General Store:

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The bane of my life.

But, I’m not a quitter.  I know that the Roomie’s nephew works for Google and has an Android phone.  (The family is seperated into the Android vs. Apple camp – it’s like getting between the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s – also crazy!).  However, T was there, and I wasn’t shy about asking him for help.

Exhonerated !

He couldn’t bring up the missed calls or vmail prompt either.  Yesssssss !

So, I may be slowing down, but I’m not completely befuddled.  Yet.

Not a bad way to start a Friday, though.  Haven’t exactly won.  Didn’t really lose.  I’m holding ground as I get ready to start my weekend.  I’ll give it a year, and see how my health goes and if I get smarter once I’m no longer wiping out my energy to keep up.  May even pick up an “Android for Dummies” book to see if it will help me use it’s features.  The minutes are good in that handset until 2043 (yes, I use it so much and underutilize my minutes so it’s now carried forward to the point where I don’t have to buy another card to keep my minutes – I keep them forever and just add cards when needed vs. when the phone company is hungry for income).

And you?  How’s your Friday going?

Limitations vs. Helplessness – COPD in real time

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No idea where the graphic came from, but I pulled it off the web under a freeware search as it made me laugh.

As I’m going through the gyrations of trying to keep abreast of what needs to be done with my limited energy vs. what I’m capable of doing, it’s very confusing.  COPD is a heartless s.o.b., and I have more good days than bad.  However, the medicines are a whole other issue.

Many people have said to me, “You’re not on oxygen; it must not be that bad.”  While that’s true, this disease is also a lot like having “a little” pregnancy, or Sundowners vs. full-blown dementia or Alzheimers.

Some days are better than others, and a lot depends on what medicines I’m taking (or refusing to take) to impact my quality of life.  For whatever reason this week, my arms have been killing me, particularly around the inner elbow and upper arm.

While I went to the YMCA on Monday night for my swim class (anything to keep the mobility up), I couldn’t do any of the swimming exercises which require me to be floating on my back as that causes a panic reaction / coughing fit.  And, I don’t like the feel of water getting into my ears, which happens despite the ear plugs.  (They just don’t make ’em like they used to!).  This limitation didn’t mean that I didn’t participate and keep moving for an hour, it just meant that every time the instructor advised us to lay on our backs to tighten up our cores, I lay on my stomache and did a variation of the movement.  One (1) hour of constant movement is my goal, with each day’s swim class.

Used-Hilda-Fat-Swimmer  (“Hilda” art; freeware from the web)

But, I tell you all that to tell you this – limitations aren’t the same as helplessness, and I am not completely incapacitated.  Yet.

With any luck, I won’t reach that incapacitation level until 3-5 years from now, and I’ll bypass it completely if I end up getting a cold which goes to pneumonia and does me in vs. me sitting here and waiting for the grim reaper to come pack my bags and move me along.

I am pretty much viewing the next part of life as an exercise in patience, for trying to view myself as “retired” vs. “useless” or “incapable”.  While I am currently obsessed with contemplating my naval as I fill out mountains of forms and jump through hoops much sooner than society allows, I’m also looking at keeping my first few weeks off work filled so that I don’t become overwhelmed with time on my hands.

Starting the process now, in the Fall, when I’m usually beginning to struggle to breathe well as congestion kicks up, should aid me in slowing down.  However, it will be up to me to kick my own butt to keep on moving and to judiciously choose on which days to go out, and which days to stay and home and keep busy with things like blogging and my jewelry work.  The goal is to ensure that  I’m not allowing myself to sink into a depression, and so that I don’t make myself worse because I’m not moving my butt.  I have limitations, but I am far from helpless.

Using my limited resources to do specific things each day (like wash the floors, do laundry, etc.), should help my limited energy extend so that this house looks less like a slob / hoarder lives here, and more like it’s lived in by someone who gives a damn.

And, finding a new place to move to closer to Silicon Valley (where it’s drier, and where my friends are), should also help kick my butt for moving me into a new place to maintain vs. continuing to live among boxes in this affordable (but rundown) dump.

Despite the reaction of some of my co-workers:

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I truly am not dying, yet, and this is not a sad occasion.  It just is what it is, and I’ll be ok.

If the bureaucratic paperwork doesn’t kill me first, LOL.

Militant, much?

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Let me start by saying I love and adore Gabriel Inglesias’s humor.

I like the fact that he calls us all on our dirty little secrets, or entitlements, and does it with humor.

I, unfortunately, am not as talented in being humorous in response.  Try as I might.  But, this picture on his news feed sparked an unfortunate need to chide him in the comments, asking for an explanation of why a man who honors women so much (his Mom and his girlfriend) would suddenly feel the need to surround himself with hootchie-cootchie women – props in the picture; nothing more than sexual furniture.  (I know, I can hear you sucking in a deep breath, as in, “Oh, no, she didn’t!”).  I went further and asked him if he’d gone “Hollywood”.

Now, if you followed Gabriel and ever saw his act, you’ll know the “Hollywood” routine I was referencing.

Unfortunately, my need to ask the question started a firestorm of nasty comments on Gabriel’s feed, which is all my fault because I jumped in with my two cents.  And it’s fair.  That’s what happens when one rumbles in the real world, even if the other readers were not the intended audience.

Just so you will know how ill-advised my comments can be, I also commented on here yesterday on another blogger’s post who felt that clothing informed the world about one’s gender, vs. one’s style, and (to paraphrase) was used by men to keep women down.  All while writing that she COULDN’T choose clothing more convenient or practical for her daily circumstances, as that wouldn’t allow her to express her feminine identity.  Or, something like that.  My Militant Feminist identity may have blinded me at that point.

So, I tell you all that to tell you this.  I am always speaking to the individual when asking questions or making “judgy” comments, but I also know I’m opening myself up to flack from other commenters as they want to defend their icon’s or friend’s viewpoint.  Fair enough.

I am not against a woman using her feminine beauty to get ahead.

I am not against women allowing themselves to be “exploited” (another hotbutton word) if that’s what they feel is in their best interests.

Men have been using their brawn to make a living for years, and since I’m for equality and generally don’t have the same physical strength, I’m all for people using what they have.  But, I’m also for both genders having a backup plan to survive when their physical prowess or beauty fades.

I was not making fun of nor denegrating the women in the pictures above, but I was challenging the Alpha male in the pictures to not sink to the level of using women as props.  He hasn’t needed that so far in his career, so I hate to think that he might be blinded into thinking less of women as his career progresses.

The dialog between men and women must be kept open and fluid if we are to continue to grow and prosper and get along.  If I see bullsh*t, I reserve the right to call it out.

And, if someone finds a lack of integrity in my comments for how I challenged their thinking, I respect their right to call me on it, too.  That’s it.  Accountability is all we have in this world, and if I’m out of line, I respect the individuals in this world enough to allow them their fair say.

Respectful dialog is very different from troll-ish behavior, and all non-trolls are welcome to participate in any forum where I hang out or promote my own thinking for consideration.