Mania.

I choose to fight

I am in the middle of yet another batch of useless paperwork for the insurance company.  They want me to explain my very existence, and why I “deserve” to receive matching salary benefits.

Having to justify my very existence creates a mania within me of highs and lows, self-doubts and anxiety, and anger.  Lots and lots of anger.

After 5 days of trying to explain my limitations, I have settled on the following answer.  The lawyer will say it’s too much, not enough, whatever.  But, I’ve gotten it done.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Hobbies / Outside Activities:

As my work history demonstrates, I used to work long hours at multiple jobs, with energy left over for necessary chores and a side crafting business. I began to notice that I tired much more easily after a work trip to China (August 2009), where aggravation of my underlying birth defect left me coughing up blood and crud from congestion during most of that trip. Following that trip, my breathing capacity and oxygen saturation began to drop. While I have always dealt with breathing difficulties and pain, now it is a daily nagging companion.

Due to my birth defects, I have always had trouble with enough stamina to lift things and move, or run. I used to be able to push through those episodes and risk being sick but still recover after a relatively short down time. Now, I tire much more easily. I can sleep whole days or weekends away. I need to schedule rest breaks. I need to space out my socializing with friends. I need to spend down time resting after a push to pass for normal and avoid others hovering and worrying.

When bowling, I have had to suck it up and ask for a “child’s ball” / explain I’m handicapped, as I just can’t lift and throw the weight of a normal adult bowling ball. I still travel and try and pass for normal, but I’m napping in my car or anywhere I am as I can be sick anywhere, as there are chairs and beds worldwide, but I will never get that particular moment back to live my life to its fullest potential before I run out of time, or my stamina and abilities decrease further.

As anyone does when struggling to live a healthy life, I’ve incorporated a variety of aids. My favorite exercise, swimming, has now become embarrassing. Like a child who doesn’t know how to swim, I’m now always wearing a float belt, as a lung or back spasm can strike at any time, leaving me floundering for air and at risk for drowning. Coaches want me to swim without the float belt as they are focused on tightening my core or some other nonsense, and it’s embarrassing to have to explain to strangers why the belt is there and why I’m not in a “special ed” swim class (they mostly don’t exist). When snorkeling, I use a snorkel designed to help people with lung problems avoid exacerbations and water inhalation, and I’m out of the water much sooner as I get sunburned and chilled much faster than I used to from lack of stamina as well as the photosensitivity of medicines that I take to remain healthy.

Being confronted with my health reality and having to talk about my change in abilities irritates the crap out of me. I know what abilities I no longer trust or have outright lost, like horseback riding. Still doing as much as I can when I can, but I run out of energy and patience with others well-meant intrusion, and usually need extra rest, which alarms them. I *hate* being helped and hovered over.

I know my own competitive nature is my biggest curse. The very thing that allowed me to work multiple jobs and succeed in the working world is a curse, too. I hate admitting I can’t do something or keep up, so I have to be careful when socializing to not push myself into feeling worse by trying to hide my exhaustion. When I was still working, I loved contributing goods and services to many worthy causes. I miss being able to contribute and help others. However, I learned my limitations during one of my “day of service” projects which involved weeding a hillside in South San Francisco. As a gardener, I thought we’d be driven / drive to the spot, and then weed. Surely, I could do that and have fun with my co-workers? Instead, we had to hike an hour, uphill, before we ever reached the weeding location, and I cannot / do not hike. However, I was there so I wasn’t quitting. I was humiliated to have it confirmed in front of others that I couldn’t keep up (October 2014). It was distracting for the organizers to worry about me, and it was a point of fury for me that my body was failing me. That event demonstrated to me that I was no longer safe or steady on my feet if I pushed myself while trying to keep up appearances. That event, plus multiple car accidents from pushing myself to keep up when tired, also pushed me to seek additional medical assistance from doctors to try and figure out if there was anything more that could be done to help me regain my stamina, fight brain fog, sleep well, and deal with my breathing frustrations (there wasn’t). That effort, however, ultimately lead to my COPD diagnosis being confirmed in black and white.

Mostly, I do much of what I used to do, just at a much slower pace and over a longer period of time. I often wake up, spend a couple of hours in the bathroom dealing with those daily morning issues, and then am freezing cold after being up for a few hours. I can get chilled on the hottest of days, which makes me very sleepy and forces me back to bed to try and warm up.

I *know* all of this, and concentrating on what I cannot do any longer leaves me in a state of angry mourning that isn’t healthy for my overall well-being, so I simply try to avoid thinking about my limitations.

I’ve now taken to wearing a fitbit to try and keep moving each day, as the tiredness can be endless. I am very aware that sitting around will kill me faster. The newest pain with a liver issue is also keeping me less active, and it’s adding to the overall hassles of my chronic health conditions as I’m very aware that I must move and participate in the world to remain as healthy as possible, but I also can’t be too far from a bathroom. The aggravations with this disease are endless, and I prefer to avoid thinking about my limitations.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I’m not holding my breath that this will help (ha, ha), but I got it done.  Win or lose, I’m getting through the b.s.

Unsupervised

Jesus Knows I'm right

I am spending a lot of time doing yet another round of paperwork for the Insurance Company, as they are trying everything they know to deny me my matching medical benefits.

Since I’m already in a pissy mood for having to justify my existence, seeing pictures all over the media and facebook about man’s inhumanity to man is draining the last bit of civility from me.  I’m in my own head without adult supervision, and it’s not helping.

In particular, I’m having problems with everyone (which says that the problem is my own piss-poor attitude) and their reliance on Jesus-Christ-as-their-PERSONAL-savior, to the point where some of my family and friends are calling on their “prayer warriors” on an hourly basis for everything including a stubbed toe.

Debate on Gods Favor 2017

Don’t get me wrong, I know I have it better than many as I have a safe place to live, adequate food, and enough funds to enable a life of luxury any way one looks at it.  Because, in a capitalistic society, anyone who sits on their duff and doesn’t work has a luxurious life.

But, as I read calls for “Prayer Warriors”, and referring to God as “Dad”, and bemoaning the fact that everything from a case of deteriorating sight to a new roof on the inn can be fixed by prayer, it just leaves me tired.

I don’t have the answers.  However, I do believe that prayers can’t hurt and should be a silent thing.  I don’t believe that prayers help anyone except the person praying offload a burden (kind of like writing this blog).

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And, while I’m not a fan of the atheist point of view, as often it’s confrontational and argumentative, I also believe in being practical, which many atheist/s appear to be:

 

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At the end of the day, I don’t know if Jesus knows or cares what any of us are going through.  But I have made the conscious decision to be the best person I can, and try and ignore all the rest of the “I’m right” b.s. about everyone’s invisible friend as the bible also says that “God helps those who help themselves”:

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Truly, I just don’t think that Jesus has a facebook account:

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Echoes

It may be close to fifty (50) years after I last dealt with a young man who helped shaped my impression of men and boys, but his effect on me was the gift that keeps on giving.

Violent.

Cruel.

Carelessly abusive just because he (and they) could be.

Keith Roberts 01 1979

So, last night (since I’m already frustrated and ticked off anyway with legal b.s.), I finally gathered the courage to send him a message challenging his abuse of me.  Abuse just because no one stepped in to protect me.  Abuse just because his personality was aggressive, and my personalty was more cautious.

After being attacked, repeatedly, the drama didn’t stop until I got violent back.  I got in trouble, but it was worth it.  Because they never once got in trouble for touching me.  Bothering me.  Hitting me.  Abusing me.

Let me just say, reciprocal violence is not the answer.  It should never HAVE to come to that.  Even if it works to end the abuse.

In a tit-for-tat exchange of violence, men and boys will likely win 90% of the time simply because of their personality and stronger abilities.  A smart woman realizes that and acts appropriately and with caution.

While women aren’t without defenses, I am glad that society has evolved enough in the last 40-50 years to enable me to speak up and be heard vs. just leaving the matter at an exchange of violence.  I am glad that I had a kind of ability to face my accuser down, even if it’s only through the safety of the internet and facebook.

Keith Roberts 02 2017

He hasn’t responded, and he may never do so.

He may share this as hot gossip with the members of our class that he still speaks to.

Frankly, I don’t care.  He was a violent jerk in high school, and he’s likely still a jerk.

But, I got it off my chest.  Even if he doesn’t remember me, and/or never acknowledges that what he did was wrong, I’ve finally stood up for myself in demanding an answer vs. just leaving it as a violent episode in my past.

If I get an answer, should he remember those times and choose to respond, I will use that as a learning opportunity as not knowing that answer has always bothered me.

Getting an answer from him doesn’t mean it was my fault.  It also doesn’t mean that it will be a truthful answer.

But, getting an answer is the start of healing.  Just like demanding an answer was also part of my overall healing.

Tired. Sapped. Wrung out.

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The 100+ degree temperatures experienced each day over the last couple of weeks are taking their toll on me.

I’m sleeping away most of the day, and still tired at night – but not tired enough to sleep well.

I’m snoring more, and wish that I could get out of my own way for getting things done.  But, it’s hotter than heck so I’ll continue to do what I can when I can while enjoying the nice weather.

Annuities – crazy or smart?

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With all the drama occurring with President Cheeto, including the defunding of medical care, the potential for allowing employers to stop making payments on employee’s benefits, etc., etc., etc., I’m very worried about finances.

While I can make it through (barely) with the the amount I get from Social Security Disability, my current matching benefits will stop when I reach age 67, should I live that long.

I am in the process of signing up for COBRA medical coverage to get me through the end of the year (since they have terminated my employment, and medical coverage ceases as of 31-AUG-17).  That’s going to be $605 that I don’t have in my budget should my employer ever be excused from paying my matching benefits.

Additionally, while I hope to qualify for some kind of medical coverage, I’m not able to even approach that topic until March 2018.

So, I’m listening to Wealth Management Guru’s, looking at annuities, and trying to figure out how to repair my tin can home economically, while still being able to afford to live.

I’m hopeful that annuities may work well for me as a steady, “safe”, supplemental income.

Heavens knows, I’m really concerned about leaving my savings in my 401K in a very volatile stock market, as I can’t make that money again, should it become necessary to fund myself.

While my plan is still to opt for euthanasia to not outlive my assets and ability to take care of myself, it behooves me to plan ahead to protect what assets I have as I live to spend $ recklessly.

I love art.  I love to travel.  I’ve been wasting $ on both.

Add in house repairs / upgrades, and you can see that there’s a lot going on.

Fingers crossed that annuities are the way for me to go to protect what limited income that I have, as well as my limited savings.

 

Screened in Deck

Repair work.

Construction.

Hate it !

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I’ve also found out that I am biased, as I wouldn’t hire the hispanic guy without a contractors license, but I (apparently) have no such problem with the white guy who is working on a unit down the street.

Sadly biased.

But, I can see the quality of the work he’s doing (even if he’s slow), and I can figure out how to put in my own make-shift ramp at some point, if we can just get the danged screened-in porch done, and done correctly.

The first guy wanted $1,600.  This new guy wants $1,800 + a possible $950 more if we do the steps the way I want them done.

Not sure how it will all turn out, but for now I’m just doing what I must to get this part of the work done and moving on in life.

I guess I am a racist, though, since I’m paying more for what amounts to the same type of work.  Only time will tell if it’s going to be worth the extra cost.

For now, I don’t want a built-in (visible) ramp, and I don’t want an elevator to get me from the street level to the porch.

Mostly, I’m thinking about what is needed to get this done with the least amount of cost but which will give the best bang for resale value and actual, practical, use while I own it.

This guy has also quoted $300 per window for replacing them.  Those are next, after the screened in deck is completed.

I’d also like to replace the front and back doors with something sturdier, but I can live with what I have, if I must.

At some point, it will be time for repainting the entire thing, and seeing if I’m going to replace the skirting with something a little better looking and which, given its design, is easier to hide any angles or tilting of the skirting.  Time will tell what I can afford vs. what I desire for the finished product.

 

Milestones.

It’s the end of an era.

End of an Era - retired

Today, I finally accepted that I won’t be going back to work and updated my LinkedIn settings to “retired”.

Yes, it’s a lie – as I’m on disability – but it’s the closest I can get to acknowledging the loss of my old life and confirming that I’m trying to move on with my new reality.

So much of America is about “what do you do” (for earning a living), that it’s been two years into my COPD disability journey, and I still don’t know how to answer that question.

Regardless of what happens in Trump’s America, I am in the process of trying to map out a path to success for accepting who I am, what I can and cannot do, and to survive if my matching dollars are taken away at some point in the future.

No answers here, but I have finally accepted the first milestone.