Monthly Archives: March 2007

Long, boring post.

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DISCLAIMER: Everything in this post is of a personal nature. What I’m trying to do is offload some of the stuff floating around in my head. Continue at your own risk.

I get a lot of people that ask me how I’m doing. Some ask to be polite, some ask because they are really concerned, and a few ask because they are looking for opportunities to help me. So, when I get asked “that question”, it’s hard to know how to respond. Part of this is because I don’t want to sound whiny, and part of it is because I don’t know if that person is really going to be interested in the answer.

It’s because of this dilemma (and others) that I feel I need to put some stuff into words. I’m going to try to make this somewhat easy to follow, because I have a feeling I’m going to type a LOT. There are three basic sections to this: history, facts, and needs.

My second marriage ended in divorce towards the end of 2004. I had been married to the X for about 4 years. During this time, X was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. To those of you who do not possess a postgraduate degree in psychology, I won’t bore you with the details, but instead tell you what it’s like to be a spouse of a person with BPD.

  • Usually, this person cuts themselves to relieve stress or cope with reality. X was no exception, and has arms and legs with excessive scarring. She would then show me what she did…so I got used to the sight of blood quickly.
  • Suicide attempts and threats. This means that, as a spouse, you’re always on edge, wondering if your wife will live through the day. And threats mean that you get to hear stuff like “if you go to choir practice and leave me here by myself, I’m going to kill myself.”
  • This may be redundant, but as a spouse to someone with BPD, you are constantly living under the threat of wife being healthy one day, and dead the next. Obviously does NOT make for a stress-free house.
  • Mental health medication. Lots of it. Fortunately, most of hers was covered by the county. But if she didn’t feel like taking it, I usually found out quickly because the next symptom would arise:
  • Physical abuse. I knew when X wasn’t taking her medication, because the next thing that would happen is that she would start to hit me. For those of you particularly “macho” individuals, yes, I am bigger than X. However, here’s a couple of things to think about: If someone’s brain isn’t working normally, they can show strength aggressively enhanced by adrenaline…and if she would cut herself with knives…what would she be willing to do to ME?
  • Paranoia. One night X wanted to sleep with a knife under her pillow, in case Tony Soprano and his crew (who were waiting outside our patio according to X) wanted to come in and kill her (which she just KNEW would eventually happen).

Anyway, as you can see, life was full of stress. And I was faithful to her, and totally committed to remaining married…until she started making dates with other guys by phone in front of me…and then she brought home one of the guys that was supposedly her “male friend”…after she told me that she was spending the day with a female friend. And the only reason I found out about this is because I came home early…and was laying on the couch exhausted when she came in the door with her “male friend” in tow.

She later moved in with this “male friend”.

During this time I am finding it harder and harder to keep up with life. I’ve always been a person to pull myself up by my own bootstraps…but I found that continuing to do so got harder and harder, and eventually almost impossible. I know that a lot of it was mental fatigue, so I just plowed through until I sold the house, moved into the house where I live now, and anticipated the finalizing of my divorce.

However, after the divorce was final, and I was settled into my new place, I was still really exhausted. All the time. I knew it was a problem when I went to the last Star Wars with friends, and fell asleep in the theater at about 2:00 in the afternoon. I continued to work, but anything in addition to work became too much to handle.

Now, I readily admit that as a bachelor, I didn’t have the cleanest home on the block, nor did I need the cleanest. But it got to be disgusting, even for me. Dishes went undone, the bathroom was disgusting, and you couldn’t see any of the carpet in my bedroom without moving a lot of junk. I’m not going to go into any additional detail, but I looked at the house and decided that the person living here was not doing well.

August 2005 I had finally had enough, and went to the doctors’ office to see if there was a medical reason for me feeling totally drained all the time. I won’t bore you with details, but in the course of the next 18 months I would see a dozen doctors, only to have them tell me that they don’t know what’s wrong. Several of the doctors wondered aloud whether I had a mental illness, and started steering me towards a psychiatrist. Here are what I believe are some of the key findings.

  • The family doctors that I had kept steering me towards specialists, but in the end did very little to diagnose me.
  • The third hematologist/oncologist that I saw basically said that my bone marrow was functioning well, but the elevated white count means that my body is reacting to something. They just don’t know what it’s reacting to.
  • Yes, I’m overweight. Yes, I need to get into better shape. But when you exercise at a light to moderate pace for 30 minutes and it puts you in bed for up to two days, it’s hard to do the work to get into shape.
  • The therapist I saw agreed that I am depressed, but after several visits he stated that my depression is caused by my fatigue, and not the other way around.

I am now into my fifth month in a row of not working this time, and I took three months off in 2005 because I’m just too tired to work 40 hours a week. People often ask me things like “what about part-time?” Well, part-time is somewhat of a catch-22. If I’m working part-time, I can’t get disability, and like most Americans, I am not in a position to lose half of my income without severe consequences. It just doesn’t make good financial sense.

I continue to ask myself if I am able to return to work. Days like this weekend harshly remind me that the answer is no. I went to Tucson to watch a Spring Training game, went to dinner, and then went home. A few years ago this would have been an insignificant event to my well-being. Today, though, I am so exhausted that going to church, lunch, and coming home left me feeling that I need to sleep for the next week to catch up.

The “easy” thing for me to do is to just go back to work tomorrow. I’ve worked since I was a kid. I love my job. I love to work. I do NOT want to sit at home all the time staring at the TV or the internet. I’m not even 40 yet, and going to a baseball game as a spectator is more of a workout for me than it is for the participants. So, for those of you that have issued comments like “you need to get off your fat a__ and do something”, or “some of us have jobs”, and my favorite “you’re just trying to work the system”, I feel like telling each of you to screw off. I’d give anything to just pick myself up, go back to work, and get back to life. I go to the gym, cut down my eating, and do whatever I can to get better. But it isn’t happening, and a dozen doctors together agree that something is wrong, but Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnoses don’t solve a thing.

But going back to work, at least right now, is not feasible.

I am still appealing my denial of short-term disability benefits through work. I also have an appointment with Social Security in a week and a half to discuss my applications for disability and SSDI. But until one of those comes through, I have no income. I have borrowed as much from my 401(k) plan as I can. Income taxes are done, and all the money is spent.

Before getting into specifics about where I am now and what I need, I want to talk about what it’s like to ask for financial help. It sucks. I have no problem helping anyone else in any way if I have the means to do so…but to be on the receiving end of that help is really difficult for me. A lot of this has to do with pride, but some of the other factors include self-identity, and how I am treated by others.

I have already gotten some help from different people. I have one person that has assisted me, and nothing has changed between us. I have to say that’s the minority, though. People are really great about saying “let us know if you need something, anything!” But the stark reality is that when I’ve needed help, some people have immediately treated me differently. There have also been people that have assisted me, and then I find that they stop answering my phone calls and don’t want to spend time with me. I don’t know for sure whether or not it’s coincidence, but since I can only control what I can control, I have to assume that helping me has damaged our relationship.

Therefore, I’m not really asking for help. I still believe that God will provide for me, even though I don’t know how. But I get a lot of people that ask how I’m doing, and hopefully this post can answer that question.

If you’re still thinking about helping me, and there’s any chance that doing so will change our relationship, don’t do it. If you’re going to avoid me because you helped me financially, don’t do it. I’d rather have your friendship than your money.

To summarize, out of the past 20 months, I’ve worked 12. If you look at the financial consequences of this, one quickly realizes that I’m worse off than just broke. And now…here’s what I’m lacking.

I’m behind on about every bill you can think of. If I don’t have rent available by the 15th, I am going to have to give notice and get out of the house I’m living in.

I have five prescription medications that I’m supposed to be taking on a daily basis…and I’m out of all of them. One can imagine that this is a backward step. You’d be right.

The gas gauge on my truck hasn’t been above a quarter-tank in weeks. I get excited when I can see space between the needle and the E line. This means that something as simple as picking someone up at the airport requires planning so I have enough gas to get from point A to point B. It’s also overdue for an oil change…so it’s probably burning more gas than needed.

Fortunately, I have food in the house so I don’t go hungry. But to say that I’m eating well would be a stretch.

I’m not going to put exact amounts on here, for obvious reasons. If you have read all of this stuff and still feel led to help, contact me at my gmail address or click on the button to the right. If you don’t feel led to help, that’s ok too. And if you have helped me, I’m more thankful to you than I can ever express.

I don’t know if any of this made sense, or if it really expresses what I’m feeling. But it’s what came out of my fingertips over the past hour or so that I’ve been typing…and I’ve gotten it off of my chest.

Thanks for listening to me whine…and God bless.

Category: Site News

The love of God in action.

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“Your son is here,” she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand.

The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement. The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.

All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength.

Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused.

Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.

Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her. “Who was that man?” he asked.

The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered. “No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied.

“I never saw him before in my life.”

“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed “

The next time someone needs you … just be there. Stay. We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience.

Category: Site News

Inspirational Thought of the Day

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I have an online friend that emails me a scripture daily, along with a small thought. I want to share it with you today.

….. they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but my own vineyard have I not kept.
Song of Solomon 1:6

Solomon was good at taking care of everyone else–his family, his friends, his work. He made sure everyone else was happy, but in doing that, he neglected to take care of himself. Are you living like that today? Do you spend all your time on other people, but not any on yourself? Eventually you will burn out and you won’t be able to reach out to others. Decide today to begin investing in yourself. Take time to relax and rejuvenate yourself. When you are refreshed emotionally, physically, and spiritually, you are able to give to others more effectively. As you bring balance to your life, you will begin to enjoy life to the fullest.

Category: Site News

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

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Being exactly half-Irish, I love St. Patty’s Day…and wish you a happy one….belatedly.

Bluestar Chronicles has one of the best Thursday Thirteen lists I’ve seen in a long time. Go check it out.

Category: Site News

Another funny blog

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A blog that talks about butt-sniffing.

You HAVE to check out Things I Never Thought I’d Hear Myself Saying.

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TT Quote of the Week

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From JAM’s TT:

We hated to throw away our Dollywood magnet, because hey, them things is rare!

I laughed hard at that one… 🙂

Category: Site News

Thursday Thirteen #20

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Thirteen recent events in Bubba’s life

Sorry I haven’t posted lately…been busy with miscellaneous stuff…listed below for your amusement. OK, it’s not really that amusing…

  1. Last movie seen: Wild Hogs. Twice. Yes, I thought it was that funny. But the friend I took to see it the second time says she thought it was kind of stupid.
  2. Monday was the worst day I’ve had in a long time, physically. Woke up with my arms and torso aching extremely bad…so I went back to sleep, and slept all morning. Good news: when I woke up, my torso and arms didn’t ache as much. Bad news: my legs were then the recipients of the same degree of hurt. Better news: I don’t hurt now.
  3. Went to a spring training game on Saturday to watch the D-backs get beat by the Brewers. Yes, the Brewers. Good news: Pat’s nephew Brian Barden went 1 for 2. Bad news: it wore the jeepers outta me.
  4. I’ve been an airport taxi for the past couple of weeks. Guess I should be glad I’m available….
  5. The HDTV that my roommate got recently is awesome. It’s a lot of fun to watch sports on it.
  6. Can this list get any more random?
  7. On the Sunday before my wonderful Monday, one of my friends noticed that I was much more tired than usual. Guess I need to pay more attention to what my body is saying. This is one place where I do not possess as much patience as some think I possess.
  8. Allergy season this year is pretty miserable.
  9. Duke lost in the NCAA tournament for men’s basketball. In the first round. I’m pretty happy with this fact.
  10. Thanks to GIMP, I’ve made my last 4 TT banners. Not bad for someone that possesses no artistic talent whatsoever.
  11. My friend Dania gets to spend 2 weeks in Washington DC. I know that she misses her family and friends, though. Here’s hoping it goes fast, kiddo.
  12. Partial list of artists on my current playlist: Atomic Kitten, Paul Oakenfold, Liz Phair, Santana, Collective Soul, Dream Theater, Toto, ELO, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and Honeymoon Suite.
  13. I notice that it’s now Friday by 2 minutes. I’m still gonna post this. Sorry it’s late…and I will surf your TT later today. 🙂

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Category: Site News

March 6

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Hey there…thought I would do more than one post in a week so I can remember what the heck I’m doing…because, let’s face it. My capacity to remember much is diminished, so if I don’t type I’ll probably forget it.

Yesterday was semi-productive…went to the bank to deposit some funds, picked up one of Jodi’s kids to take her to her first day of work (yay!), started the application process for Social Security, only to find that if I want SSI I have to make an appointment to go. So, I did call them, and I have an appointment for April 4th for that application.

I also did some dishes, took a nap, and not much else. I skipped going to the gym because I still feel that headcold still not wanting to completely leave after hanging around for more than a week. I really enjoy going to the gym, even if it’s just the circuit training…it means I get out of the house and do something different. However, it also wears me out severely…and no, I don’t do anything I would consider to be THAT strenuous. But I am trying to get in better shape than I’m in now.

Don’t know what I’m doing today…might go over to Jodi’s and inspect the wiring for cable there. Because she has an inside wiring problem at her apartment with her cable coax, she’s still on dial-up…and that’s just unacceptable. Other than that, right now feels like nap time. Take care y’all.

Category: Site News

My Parachute

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Yes, I know I’m posting chain emails today.

This one is special to me though. You, the faithful, beautiful, and intelligent RDD reader, have left me comments that have sustained me through some tough times recently. So YOU are part of my parachute.

Our Parachute

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam . After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk . You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year,
recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in
packing my parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it: When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do — you forward jokes.
And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.

So my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute…….

Have a great day and stay in touch….

Category: Site News

Obituary for Common Sense

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I am going through my email today, and finding some interesting tidbits. Here’s the first.

Obituary of the late Mr. Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn’t always fair; and Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6 -year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Tylenol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 3 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

Category: Site News