Happy New Year 2018!

Yes, I know I’m a bit late with this, but I have a good excuse. My new year started off poorly with the onset of excruciating pain in my left hip/leg after eating lunch at a local Olive Garden. It got worse on the ride home and attempts at sleeping it off did nothing to help. By 4:30 PM it was so bad that I couldn’t get into the car to go to an urgent care center. After deciding against calling for an ambulance I continued to try and rest, but the only position that didn’t cause immediate pain was laying on my belly, a position I never sleep in, or standing straight up, which is also not conducive to sleep. Still, I managed to doze off a couple of times and by 2:30 AM things had improved just enough for me to fold myself into Anne’s car for a trip to the ER at Saint Joseph’s Mercy hospital in Ann Arbor.

This is me in my hospital gown standing up in my room because it’s too painful to lay down.

I was admitted pretty quickly and had an IV stuck into my arm whereupon I was given healthy doses of morphine which helped in making my immediate situation bearable. Over the course of the next day and a I half I had a couple blood labs done, an x-ray session and, ultimately, an MRI. By Wednesday evening they had worked out what my issue was. Despite it being the location of all my pain and misery, my hip and joint were ruled out as having any issues other than some minor arthritis. However, upon looking at my spine they noticed a problem:

L4-L5: Moderate-large size central to left paracentral disc extrusion. Slight caudal migration. This results in compression left anterior/lateral thecal sac with moderate to severe narrowing of the left lateral canal. Encroachment on the expected left L5 nerve root. Mild left foramen stenosis. Right foramen patent.

Which is to say that I have a partial disc herniation that is pressing on the root of one of the major nerves in my leg resulting in, to put it more collequially, “sonofafuckingbitchthatfuckinghurts.”

The first time I was able to lay on my back in over 24 hours and only because I was very doped up on that sweet, sweet morphine. You can tell it’s only slightly dampening the pain in my expression.

Near as I can figure, this is the result of a fall on my stairs that I took nearly three weeks prior just as I started my annual end-of-the-year vacation. Stepping down the two steps from my kitchen to the landing in front of the side door of my house, we had a small rug there to collect debris on shoes as we came in and I slipped on it falling backwards and smacking my ass and right arm into the edge of the step. I thought I had only bruised my ass badly (and, indeed, there was some sign of that in the x-ray), but I thought I’d come closer to breaking my arm than my spine.

After much more waiting around, I finally got word from the neurological surgeon that was consulting on my case that they wanted to try giving me a lumbar epidural steroid injection Thursday morning and then they’d keep me around until Friday evening to see if it had any effect and if it didn’t reduce my pain by at least 50% then I’d be scheduled for spinal surgery on Saturday morning. Considering that I had already missed most of the first week I was supposed to be back at work and that surgery would mean four to six weeks of recovery time, I was seriously hoping that the epidural would work.

Fortunately, it did. This is me sitting up on the edge of the bed eating my breakfast Friday morning.

Mind you, I’m on a healthy dose of percocet in the picture above, but it was still more than I’d been able to do for three days. They kept me around into Saturday, but I was finally let go with a prescription for more percocet and ibuprofen (to reduce inflammation). After a weekend spent sleeping off and on, I went back to work on Monday.

I’m far from fully recovered, but I’m at a point where I’m able to stretch out how often I take my pain pills from the recommended 6 hours for the percocet and 8 hours for the ibuprofen to as much as 10 or 12 hours depending on if I’m sleeping through it. I’m able to sleep on my side again, but I can only manage sleeping (in any position) for at most 4 hours before I have to get up and walk around to get my leg to stop hurting enough to go back to sleep. The pain still manifests in my hip and the calf of my leg, the latter feeling like the muscle is just this side of going into a full charley horse. Additionally it causes numbness in the pinkies of both my hands and along up the edge of my arms. The medication keeps it down to an annoying roar, but I can definitely tell when the pills have worn off. Walking is a bit rough at times as all this also makes my left leg somewhat weak hence why I have my cane handy.

But, I am able for the most part to function. I’m on restrictions with regards to lifting heavy things and bending over too far, which makes putting on socks and shoes fun. I am also scheduled for another injection in February with the possibility of one or two more depending on how much progress I make in the coming weeks. It may be that I’ll end up having to have the surgery in the future anyway, but at least this offers some hope of avoiding that for the time being.

So, yeah, my new year is not off to a great start. I’m hoping this means things can only get better from here on out. I’m not looking forward to the bill for all of this and finding out how much of an additional pain in the ass my insurance company is going to be about this. They’re already refusing to pay for more than one week’s worth of percocet and only once a month at that leaving me to pay it out of pocket, but that’s a rant for another time. Here’s hoping your new year was pretty good or at least not as eventful as mine has been so far.

Happy New Year 2015!

It’s a brand spanking new year! A time for hope, optimism, and resolutions to be better people that we’ll break before the month is over. I stopped making new year resolutions long ago because I’m a terrible person and have little hope of ever maintaining them, but when I did try to make promises I knew I couldn’t keep I’d often resolve to have a higher opinion of my fellow man.

Then I’d go on Twitter and see tweets like this:

And my resolution would be broken instantly. You can’t have a worldwide population of 7,285,099,800 (as of two seconds ago) and not have a few folks out there who are, to put it politely, clueless about certain things like the age of the world. In case you thought David was an isolated case, well, nope:

There’s tons more of these tweets out there and it’s clear that many of them are meant to be jokes or are simply attempts at getting retweeted for the attention it’ll garner them. (Some folks will take whatever Twitter fame they can get no matter how stupid it makes them look.) The ones I posted above I couldn’t confirm for certain weren’t jokes, but there wasn’t anything to indicate that they were. Indubitably there are certainly some folks out there who are this clueless and the fact that it’s often difficult to tell the jokers from the serious ones makes the number of folks who really think this is true uncomfortably large for maintaining faith in mankind.

In short, my cynicism is pumped up yet again. There’s a part of me that hopes that all of these folks are just yanking our collective chain and no one really thinks the Earth is a mere 2015 years old, but given how common lazy thinking is I’m sure that there are some out there who do. On the bright side, it gives me something to blog about in the new year.

My three New Year Resolutions for 2010.

I’m going to do something I almost never do: I’m going to not only make some New Year resolutions, but I’m going to post them publicly. I don’t normally bother with resolutions at all because years of experience has taught me that I’m terrible at keeping them. My standard joke was to say that I resolve not to make any resolutions allowing me to both keep and break it all at once.

However, this year I have felt every single one of my 42 years weighing upon my body. From the occasional back spasms to the ongoing rotator cuff issues to my right knee starting to act up to a general lack of energy. All issues that tie into the fact that I am far heavier than I should be. I don’t have a current measurement of my heft, but last time I was checked I was back up to just under 300 pounds. A number that surprises people to hear because I don’t look like someone who is that heavy to a lot of people, which just goes to show how shitty most people are at judging weight. I’m fat and it’s been affecting my health more and more the longer I ignore it and I could probably counter a fair bit of it by just getting off my ass and exercising a bit.

Which brings me to my first resolution: I resolve that I’m going to start exercising regularly in 2010. I will not be setting any weight goals because I honestly would be happy if I can just manage the willpower to do something for 30 minutes three times a week. Anne has been wanting to sign up at the local Rec Center where they have a fitness program with trainers that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and I think it’s time. Hell, it’s long overdue. Whether it’ll be a treadmill, stationary bike, or whatever I couldn’t say. I’ll probably try several before I settle on something I can handle. The next two resolutions aren’t anything so dramatic, but are things I had fully intended to start doing in 2009 and never managed to get around to it.

I resolve to finally get the SEB Podcast underway. ***Dave and I keep bringing it up to each other and then proceed to go back to doing whatever we were doing and forget about it. The idea of chatting with ***Dave on various topics makes me very excited as the test run we did over Skype awhile back went very well. One of us is going to have to wrangle us together and get it done, though, and seeing as it’s my podcast that means it’s up to me. I’m still open for ideas on formats, topics, and even people to participate if anyone else out there wants to spend some time blathering with me on Skype.

I also resolve to finally try my hand at video blogging. I bought the RCA Small Wonder and a webcam specifically for doing video blogs and, again, I’ve never gotten around to doing one. This one might be even more difficult than the podcast as I have even fewer ideas of what to do with it and there’s considerably more work involved as lighting becomes an issue as well as editing and even a background. I did some live streaming during the Blogathon that was pretty nifty, but it became clear that shots of my basement walls were less than amazing background fodder.

So that’s it. My three resolutions for 2010. The funny thing is I’m less confident of my ability to keep the last two resolutions versus the exercise one as the latter requires less creativity. Still, I’m going to do my best to keep all three. I might only get a single podcast or video blog done this year, but I’m going to do my best to get at least that much done. Wish me luck. Self-discipline is something I’ve always struggled with.

So what resolutions, if any, are you guys making?

Happy New Year 2009!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! Hopefully this will be better than last year for many of us.

Sorry the posting has been so light lately, but been busier than I expected considering I’m off work. Will try to get back to posting regularly soon.

Welcome to 2008.

Happy New Year to you and yours. Here’s hoping this one will be a big improvement over the last one in so many ways. If nothing else it’s the last year of the Bush Administration and that’s reason enough alone to feel optimistic about it.

Personally I’d like to thank all of you folks who stop by here on a regular basis and help to make SEB the community that it is. I’ve learned so much from having you guys leave comments or drop me an email pointing me towards new knowledge and fun things to write about. You make the effort very worthwhile. I never thought I’d still be at this six years later and I’m still humbled by the breadth and depth of the folks who drop by everyday.

My family and I still aren’t quite back on our feet since that first layoff over two years ago now, but I have a good feeling about the new year and I think this time next year will find us in a much better place. Good or bad you can bet I’ll be here shooting my mouth off about it as the days pass.