Over the last few years, I have been increasingly active in a few active fora online. In particular, multiple ones related to amateur astronomy and a couple related to WordPress. My participation is generally two-fold — I both learn from others and help newbies with their questions. I’ve also been active in the past in groups related to my son’s health issues, although those are often more sharing of experiences than directly helping anyone.
One thing that I am particularly good at is framing information in a way that a newbie can understand it, orient themselves to the topic, and then proceed with a rudimentary schema for processing various types of other information coming their way.
Yet what I am often struck by, and amazed at, is the completely useless advice provided by well-meaning people in the fora. I don’t mean that the information is wrong, although that happens too. I mean people who ask a question, and then when someone responds, the response is of the form “Do x.”
At first blush, that sounds helpful, doesn’t it? They asked what they should do, and somebody answered. Except they didn’t ask any questions to understand the context for the question. They didn’t say to the newbie, “Wait, what are you trying to do first? What are you looking for?”.
In astronomy circles, there is a very common opening salvo by newbies. “Hi, I’m new to the group but I’ve always been interested in astronomy. I have read a bunch of stuff online, but I’m just more confused. I want to buy a scope, and I don’t know which ones are good for newbies. Please advise.”
And invariably, within about 3 replies, someone says, “Buy a Dobsonian” and someone else says “buy binoculars”. Is that wrong advice? Maybe not.
But it’s about the equivalent of someone asking what tool to use to take apart a workbench, and someone saying a saw, another saying a screwdriver, and another saying a hammer. Are they wrong? Not really. But until we know the context of how that workbench was initially assembled, what it’s made of, and what the person intends to do with the materials afterwards, the answers are at best incomplete. As a result, they’re useless.
For astronomy, for example, telling someone to buy a Dobsonian design is about the same as telling someone to buy a sedan when looking for a car. It’s an all-round good choice, good value, a solid utility vehicle. On the other hand, if the person was looking to haul equipment around their farm, not the best of choices. Yet people will tell someone to buy a Dob without ever asking a single question about what the person is looking for, are they comfortable learning to navigate the sky manually, are they looking to get into astrophotography at some point, etc. Equally, binos are a frequent “all-round” suggestion EXCEPT it assumes that the person is able to stand still (i.e., no wobbles, no physical mobility issues) and their eyes work well in conjunction with each other and don’t have any aggressive astigmatisms or wear bifocals. If either of those is not true — i.e. for kids who can’t hold heavy binos still or seniors with different eyesight profiles — then binos might be a terrible suggestion. They are also less useful for certain types of objects (moon, planets) which are quite often VERY popular starter targets. In addition, they require manual navigation of the sky too, which might not be what the person prefers.
In WordPress, people frequently say “Get Elementor” which is a page designer. It is advertised as easy to learn, easy to use, and there is common wisdom out there to regularly say “it’s free and has lots of power”. I have been using WP for close to 10 years, and when I tried Elementor? I found it completely confusing. Plus it mucked with a bunch of my existing setup. It was an overly complicated and terrible design for a newbie who doesn’t even know what WP does or a theme is for, let alone plugins, but the common advice is to start with full page design to start?
I don’t know what it is, whether it is group think, or the dangers of underestimating stupidity in large groups, but frequently I will see people chiming in and leading the person down roads they are likely to follow, get confused, get frustrated, and end their trip before it even begins.
Equally in astronomy, there are certain types of setups that are better for astrophotography than others. While you can do visual and AP with them, they’re often not as versatile or as simple for visual. Different tools for different projects, so to speak. Yet there are people who say “Buy this equatorial mount” which is good for AP more than visual and is priced at 5x the budget the person said they had, or add this gadget, buy this upgrade, get this accessory. It is very popular for some people to randomly suggest upgrades to gear when it is someone else’s money.
Most days it’s merely puzzling. Some days it’s maddening. I’ve sometimes come to a discussion late, 40 people have already taken the person down ten different rabbitholes, I ask two simple Qs, and it turns out NONE of what the guy already went through applies to his situation. But nobody asked what the problem was, they just started throwing out generic solutions.
I feel at times it’s like the old issue of someone typing “FIRST!” when commenting on a post. Stupid and pointless. But then I feel more angry later…because in a couple of cases, the answers were SO wrong, that the person felt like they had NO choice but to give up the hobby. Because they had a budget for astronomy, for example, of $200, and some moron told them they needed to spend at least $1500 or it wasn’t even worth it to get started.
I confess that more and more, this kind of misleading “advice” just pisses me off. The person has no way of knowing the advisor is well-meaning but stupid. I’ve seen it with people trying to understand French training, HR prep for exams and interviews, or writing fiction too.
Maybe I’m cranky, but I feel like if you don’t have something actually useful to contribute, then don’t bother saying anything at all. 🙂 Others are more of the “you get what you pay for” variety. Either way, I am starting to believe in the “superficiality of the crowd” more than in their wisdom.
My blog is often my creative outlet, a way of making sense of the world. Taking an issue, wrestling with the details, framing it a certain way, putting a personal stamp on it. It is also stress relief. I talk through some of the things that are bothering me, a monologue with myself that I share publicly. Sometimes they provoke reactions, likes on FB or a comment or two. Many times they don’t. While I would love to have thousands of people hanging on my every written word, I write most of the time for me. A diary of sorts. Maybe a legacy that my son will some day read, wondering, “What did Dad think about that?”.
Yet because I write for me, sometimes as potentially the only one who will read the post, I also cannot hide in sophistry or metaphor. I believe strongly in as much transparency in relationships as they can handle, sometimes more than is comfortable, and that transparency has to apply to my relationship with myself. But even though it is sometimes hard, I know that my writing is good for me. An outlet of release.
Which is why I am posting something when I really don’t feel like posting or doing anything. I want to curl up in a ball and shut out the world. If it wasn’t for COVID, I’d probably want to go somewhere for a week, turn off my phone, and just shut down. To simply “be”, find my centre, and let my body and mind recharge. A form of CTRL-ALT-DELETE for my internal software and external hardware.
Except life doesn’t work like that, of course. You can’t run away from problems, and if they’re mental noise, they end up going anywhere you go too. I’ve often wondered if I’d be better off having an interest in alcohol occasionally. Something to just overwhelm the brain and shut it off for awhile. I tend to mute it through distraction instead, binge-watching something or a project. But I’m having trouble filtering the noise right now.
A good portion of it is COVID, of course. I feel like I want to go to a mall and just walk around. No shopping, no interactions with anyone, just go and walk around. Do something somewhat normal. I won’t, we are still a high-risk household, after all.
Some of it is the winter. I do tend to get squirrelly in February, although I’m barely noticing other than having to clear snow off the car. I barely even know it is winter or anything outside of the pod.
But my issues with my leg are getting to me. I can wrap my head around the compression socks, maybe not well, maybe not right away, but it’s noise. I did my fitting today for some custom socks, yay, and it’s not a big deal in the long run. Same shit, different day. Whatever.
I was able to wrap my head around the trips to wound care, constant wrapping, the extra hassles with showering, etc. Mostly because I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. My leg was improving, the wound was healing, the compression was helping.
And then last week blew that to hell in a handbasket.
My wound started to get angry and red again, I had multiple appointments by phone with my doctor to go back on the antibiotic horse pills for another 14d. I also had multiple “rush” appointments with the wound care people after I had to rip the compression off on Saturday and again today because the wound was starting to hurt like the Dickens. I think the bandage is somehow slipping under the compression over time, and it is “pulling” at the wound. My nurse thinks it is because I’m not keeping my legs elevated during the day, which while working at a desk for 8h isn’t a great combo.
So where does that leave me? Basically with a wound that is almost back to square one and the likelihood that my next stop is going to be an ER sometime. Who the f*** knows what they’ll actually do for me if I go, since I’m already receiving wound care and antibiotics. I suppose IV antibiotics is a possibility.
Yet when I look at that list, you know what I see?
It’s not that serious in the end. There are people out there with real serious health problems and I’m not talking about simply COVID. I’m talking about chronic pain conditions. Things they deal with and live with, and I can’t help but wonder.
If I’m this much of a basket case with a simple leg wound, what will I be like when I get to a point with REAL problems to live with?
That is what is frying my mental bacon. The weakness, the face of the future, my comfort and ability to handle mental stress and emotional turmoil but which seems to fail me completely when dealing with physical discomfort.
With a slightly serious segue, it is made me think about the MAID legislation that is going through. Medical Assistance In Dying. And it makes me wonder. Is that me in the future? Am I going to be THAT guy? The one who is in some discomfort, isn’t dying anytime soon, is relatively mentally competent (or at least as I ever was) but simply cannot endure the day to day that is misery?
I already live in fear of mental decline. For someone who has always lived in his mind, has always used his mind to separate himself apart from others in school or work, who defines himself by his mind, the thought of that mind not being “there” to continue to define myself is relatively terrifying. If my fear of snakes was put in comparison with fear of dementia, snakes would be about a 2 compared to a 12 for dementia. Even while knowing that ironically, I won’t know if it does decline.
On the other hand, I’m not in distress, I’m not in crisis. It’s a setback, I’ll bounce back. I’ll write, I’ll do Lego, I’ll do some stuff on my website design. But first I’m going to take a mental health day on Wednesday, as I didn’t feel like I’d really accomplish anything at work anyway.
Oh, and I’ll take out the garbage and recycling. I’ve already cleared snow twice today (Tuesday) so I’m hoping I won’t need to do that on Wednesday too, if I can help it. More coming on Thursday. Yay.
At least I was outside for awhile, right?
In the meantime, I blog late at night, throwing my words out into the abyss. A week ago I reached 1500 posts, and I didn’t even notice. I probably need to celebrate that milestone somehow, just not sure what it is yet.
I have been having a strange recurring thought over the last few weeks. It isn’t a new thought, it’s more an occasional thought that has come up with previous experiences that become clearer in hindsight than they were in the actual moment.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about not seeing something in a moment, and then realizing days later. I mean events that you have experienced, went through with planning and awareness, carefully considered things, thought about them before and afterwards, and then later, something twigs your memory and you think, “Huh. That’s weird.”
I have an experience with a friend from back in the day that didn’t go the way I had hoped. In fact, it ended the friendship. And I felt maybe if I had said x or y, maybe it would have changed things. Maybe I could have handled it differently. Taking responsibility for the outcome. Yet years later, I was reflecting on it after something twigged my memory, and it was suddenly so clear that I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t seen it before. It didn’t matter what I said or didn’t say, the outcome was already determined by them before I ever started the conversation. It was a stage play, I was just the only one thinking it was improv. Yet both before and afterwards, I had never thought about that as a likely or even possible interpretation. But when I thought of it, it was so obvious as to leave me thunderstruck. I reflect on my life daily. Yet such a basic realization had escaped me. Huh.
And sure, I know that there’s a body of literature out there that suggests these moments of clarity, or perhaps “new clarity” or realization, happen because the emotional content of the event has dissipated. Unblocking you from processing it more rationally. I get it, I can see it, I can even think in some instances that is likely what was happening. In part because when I thought back on it, I followed the same pathway into the event that got me there in the first place. But for the new realization, my memory was twigged in a different way, and I went back to the memory along a different path from normal. And thus literally gave myself a whole new perspective in coming upon the memory.
As a metaphor, it works. But it also works in reality for another memory I have had. We used to shop at a Towers store in Peterborough, which eventually became a Zellers and a Walmart. There is a grocery store attached which was a Dominion, and then I think a Food City, and either Food Basics or Price Choppers now, can’t remember. Anyway, when I was a kid, it was one of the two big box stores (the other being Kmart) where we would go to get Christmas presents, maybe some clothes (if it wasn’t Sears), etc. And yet I was thinking of the store one time and I could NOT picture what it looked like inside. I could picture the outside more or less, but I could not at all remember what the inside looked like. Until I remembered they had a different set of smaller doors on the other side of the store with a very small parking area, only one row. My mother ALWAYS parked over there. As soon as I remembered that, I could remember coming in that door, and voila, my memory was unlocked and I could remember where EVERYTHING in the store had been.
The metaphor for a similar revelation mostly works. If I go in one door, I follow the path as far as I can. Go in another door, a whole different path.
What event is playing with my brain?
In short, my wedding day. And more pointedly, the role of my mother in the wedding day. Going into the wedding day, I had several plans for how to avoid any drama with my family. I wasn’t worried about Andrea’s family, but mine has always been dysfunctional at the best of times. Add in formal settings, people being uncomfortable, everyone together, alcohol? Not a great combo.
So I planned ahead. I didn’t want any drama with my “best man” selection. I had a couple of early ideas, just to balance out Becky as Maid of Honour, but they didn’t work out, and I did NOT want any family drama. I don’t even know if there would have been any between brothers, as I have three main brothers and three more in-laws. I was close with my brother Bill when younger, then my brother Don in my teen years, and my brother Mike in my adult years. I spent a lot of time with my brother-in-law Ken when I was early teens, and Bob was a pretty comforting presence when my Dad died. And if I went with just “time” in recent years, that would be Dean who is a great guy all around. So I have six family members who could easily step up. Not to mention a nephew, Brian, who I was close to for a really long time, albeit not so much now that life has intervened and become more complicated. Chris would have done it too, so 8 right there. Before I even get to 3-4 friend choices. And I considered three before deciding it just wasn’t going to fit right. So I did it sans Best Man.
But then I got creative. I asked Mike and Bill to make a toast for my father to give them a role, and had Bill get me the drink for the toast plus scripted Mike so he wouldn’t get inappropriate. Don was tagged as an usher at the church, along with a close friend and a cousin. My sister Sharon covered off her family with a speech to welcome Andrea to the family in lieu of my mother, my sister Marie and her daughters helped out with decorations and Mom wrangling. A nephew and niece agreed to take some extra photos to supplement the official photographer’s collection.
Drama happened anyway, but for the most part, I kept it at bay and didn’t engage. Not my problem to worry about.
But early on, my biggest worry was not the drama but the impact on my mother. This would not be the first family event since my father had died, but it would be the most prominent one for him to miss. And she would be coming alone, so to speak. I also knew that she would want to pay for stuff that she couldn’t afford to pay for, and so early on, I made the decision that has messed with my head a bit in the last few weeks.
I let her completely off the hook.
I wanted zero pressure on her. So I made sure that she didn’t worry about organising or paying for a rehearsal dinner. She and my sisters did a shower, and she put a lot of work into that, which in retrospect, I wish I had paid more attention to her role in. My one sister tends to take over anything she’s involved in, cutting out others and ignoring their input, but I wish I had had a few moments alone with her afterwards to just sit and decompress and to thank her for it. She had a bad day that day, and she didn’t want me to pry, but she had invited a man to come that she had been sort of seeing. And he flaked on her. He called to apologize and she let him have it. He was attempting some BS about forgetting or whatever and she cut him off at the knees and told him she never wanted to hear from him again. She was alone, and she was feeling the letdown. But it wasn’t an area her and I could ever share, nor would she want me to try, and I let her off the hook on it. Now, with Jacob, I see how he reacts to things and even if he doesn’t want to talk about it, I want him to know that I see his pain, I know some of what he’s going through. Even if he chooses not to talk about it, I want him to know. With my mom, I knew, and I think she knew, but I’m not sure. But that’s not quite the right issue either, mostly just additional context to how far I could go and/or didn’t.
As the summer progressed, I was so focused on making sure she wasn’t feeling pressured, I don’t think I ever stopped to figure out areas where she might have been feeling pressured anyway. She came up for the cake tasting to help choose a cake, which I thought she might like. I consulted her on my ring choices. I talked to her about ties a bit.
But as I was processing the wedding photo galleries in recent weeks, a thought occurred to me. Andrea, like most brides, had her hair done that morning. Along with her sister Becky (as maid of honour) and her mom. What did my mom do? Now, remember, my mom was no spring chicken at this point, she was 81 years old. So we weren’t wanting to tire her out in an otherwise long day, but it never occurred to Andrea or I to see if she wanted to be part of that “outing”. I’m sure she would have said no, but it bothers me it never occurred to me.
Equally, my sister was insisting that my mother had to have a new dress, and my mom was not interested. So my sister went ahead and bought two dresses anyway so she could try them on. I thought it was overkill, my mom didn’t want a new dress and she was 81yo. Pretty sure she could make up her own mind about that.
But could she? Did she say no because she was feeling “out of it”? Of course, the mother of the groom would normally get a new dress. Particularly if she doesn’t have others hanging in her closet ready to go. She had one from a year or two before, but certainly for any other wedding in the family, she got a new dress. For mine, I was basically telling her she could wear whatever she wanted, to take the pressure off, but maybe I shouldn’t have. Maybe I let her off the hook too much. She looked great, I loved her dress (one of the ones my sister suggested).
I got one thing right, at least sort of, anyway. When we were at the theatre, waiting for the event to start, and I was running around making sure everyone had what they needed — ushers, musicians, the Minister, greeting some guests — my mother was sitting for awhile by herself at the back of the theatre. I feel bad about something that happened that I didn’t do right.
Because I was the one getting married, I let my 5 siblings handle mom wrangling for the morning to get her to the theatre. I would look after getting her from the theatre to the picture taking, and from pictures to the boat, and one of the siblings would take her back to the hotel afterwards. It was covered, I didn’t have to worry about it.
But apparently, there was confusion at the hotel that morning. My mom was nervous walking over to the theatre (about 3 blocks), and being late, so she got ready early. She was in the lobby when one of my siblings came down to come over, and so she latched on for the escort and made it over to the theatre early. Unfortunately, my one sister had been planning on bringing her over and she didn’t know my mom left. So they were looking for her at the hotel, she wasn’t there, they were all freaking out, finally found out Mom had gone ahead, and she was ticked. After wrangling her, buying her a dress, getting her here, etc., my sister was pissed my mom was so ungrateful that she didn’t even tell them she was leaving to come without them. Frustrating, sure. I get it. Nerves, drama, blah blah blah. But she chose to lay into my mother about 15m before the wedding, with my mom sitting there by herself, feeling a bit lost, and thinking mostly about my late dad. I saw it and I did nothing. Not my church, not my pew, not my problem. Other people were wrangling my mother today.
Yet, of all the things in my life that could be a possible regret, however much I don’t believe in them, I regret that moment. I should have thrown down, kicked my sister’s ass to the curb and let her know, “No, on my wedding day, nobody gets to talk to my mother that way.” I know, I know, it was not my job to regulate their relationship, and my mother never needed my protection. She survived the Great Depression, WWII, had six kids and two miscarriages, buried almost all of her nine siblings, took care of her family, worked, and buried her husband. She had seen some shit in her life. My sister’s rant probably never raised a blip on her shit meter. But it bothered me. Even though I know that if I had reacted, my mom would have felt it was her fault for not waiting originally.
Anyway, I’ve thought about all of this before, then and since, and except for the hair or dress, all of those things were already known. But I missed an opportunity right after that event. Or more accurately, I didn’t take as much time with her as I should have. We went over to the side of the theatre, out of prying eyes, to have a small “us” moment.
She brushed my jacket with a lint brush, helped check my hair etc.. It was nice, but it was only one of three short moments we really had all day. In retrospect, I kind of wished I had an extra 30m in there to just sit and chat about nothing before the ceremony started instead of having to rush around. Maybe even, gasp, play a game of cribbage or something. Just a quiet ritual for the two of us.
Later, during the formal pictures, we did have a small moment while other shots were being taken where I gently mentioned Dad not being there, but we didn’t talk, just sort of stood there watching the photos being taken, and she squeezed my hand. I think, in part, that I was hoping she would open up about what she was feeling, but that wasn’t really our kind of relationship to discuss that in that way, at least not then. Closer to her death, perhaps, as our relationship changed, but not then.
Finally, during the dance, we had a short dance to the wedding song for her and my dad. “My truly, truly fair”. I’m not much of a dancer, but I will remember that dance almost as much as the first dance with my wife.
What the hell am I even talking about?
I’m not sure I know. Some of it is regret, to the extent I can even ever feel it. Some of it is loss for my mom, with a sense of missed opportunity. But most of what triggered this is the reality that I was consciously aware of the issues with my mom long before the wedding, and I planned in a way that would minimize the pressure on her. I actively managed things for the year so that she wouldn’t feel stressed that she needed to do something. I wanted her to just enjoy it, not feel like she had to “deliver” on anything. But in doing so, we missed opportunities that looking back, maybe we wouldn’t have missed if we, well mainly I, didn’t try to make things easier for her throughout the lead-up. Maybe I was trying to protect her from me when I should have been letting her have more of a role so she wouldn’t have felt disengaged if she even did.
I just find it odd that in hindsight, certain choices we didn’t even consider at the time now seem clear from a weird memory twig, rather than when they were fresh, when we were consciously in the moment, and when it went according to our original but incomplete plan. Huh.
Blogging is a strange world at times. Particularly for a personal site, where I try to embrace my inner muse and reveal what I’m thinking. Transparency is a regular mantra for me, with work, with personal relationships, with myself. And yet, when I’m feeling blah, I tend not to post about it because, well, I’m feeling blah about posting too.
This week I’m feeling a bit run down mentally, physically and emotionally. My leg has been giving me grief over the last few weeks, ever since it got infected. And while the infection seems to be gone, the resulting leg ulcer (if that’s the right term) remains. I am now officially part of “wound care”. But it’s not like I had surgery or was stabbed by a supervillain. I literally scraped my shin on a laundry basket and 4m later, the damn thing hasn’t healed properly.
Some of that is my weight, some is pre-diabetes (with the two obviously linked), and some is just the spot on my leg that I keep hitting it so it takes longer to heal as I age. Adding to the problem is that I have swelling in my legs. It seems to be venous, i.e, my veins are not doing an adequate job of pumping my blood back into my body. Weak calf muscles, I guess.
But the wound itself, and needing “wound care” is only a third of the problem. In and of itself, the need for wound care because it was gross and infected was basically that I didn’t take good enough care of the wound. I should have kept it covered better, washed and cleaned it better, put more anti-bacterial cream and stuff on it. And taken more care to avoid whacking it yet again. So that’s a small nudge to my self-esteem. I have no one to blame but myself and my own laziness. Stupid me, stupid leg, as I blogged previously.
However, on top of that, I had a problem last Friday. The previous three bandages I had on it were with a silver nitrate layer that helps sterilize the area and kill the infection. On Friday, they put on a new layer of stuff, and I didn’t really ask too many questions. I just thought it was a different layer of bandage. I was distracted by something else going on, but I’ll come to that in a minute. The short version is that the new bandage thing wasn’t likely to be a problem so I didn’t expect anything with it. However, as I posted on FB, it was an iodine layer designed to do the same as the silver layer had, except I tolerated the silver just fine. The iodine? Not so much.
It went on around 1:30 p.m., and by 6:00 p.m. I was going crazy. I took off a compression bandage that I thought was causing the problem and it lessened the issue for awhile. By 8:30, I was jumpy again. By 10:00 p.m., I would have considered amputation. That is not an exaggeration. I was considering a visit to the emergency room. What had started as a simple occasional twinge was up to 60 seconds of pain, 90 seconds of release and then another 60 seconds of pain again. Not like level 10 or anything, just a strong 6 or so. But it was constant and I couldn’t relieve it. I needed a solution, and I had no idea what the problem was. Finally I had to look at the wound, so I removed the bandage to find this brown “goop” that I no idea what it was (turns out it was the iodine patch). It didn’t look “normal” so I washed it off, took 2 advil and a sleep EZE pill, elevated the leg and tried to sleep. It was a bit more complicated than that, trying to wash it off while in a lot of pain and having NO idea what was going on with the wound, but we got it sorted out, and I slept. I kicked Andrea to the guest room because I thought the night would be hellish, but as it turned out, it wasn’t bad. I managed to sleep.
The next morning, I called the wound care clinic, and went in to see them after lunch. We decided it was the iodine patch as the pain went away afterwards, and so in hindsight, what I was feeling was essentially the equivalent of iodine being applied directly to the open wound every 60-90 seconds. It wound normally sting anyway, but after 8h of it, I couldn’t take anymore. If I was at a hospital, I would have been begging for a TENS unit (spelling? the thing they use instead of epidurals to disrupt the pain signals), some painkillers, or amputation. I had no idea what the cause was, I just needed it to stop.
Not my finest hour, dealing with the constant pain, and it’s left a residual taste in my mouth of self-disgust. Both in handling it as well as the original cause.
But what’s making me blah is that part of the challenge with the healing is that my lower legs are swollen. Weight, venous issues, pre-diabetes, take your pick, but I have excess fluid in my lower legs. There’s a simple solution of course, compression socks. I’ve used them before, it worked well, but it was never a huge problem and more out of inconvenience than anything, I stopped using them.
Well, now I basically need it again. And the part that is kicking my brain is that I will, in all likelihood, need them for life.
So if it gets warm in the summer, and I don’t wear them, my leg ulcer is likely to return as the leg swells. And I’ll end up back in wound care. Plus, if you don’t wear them for a while and your legs re-swell, the socks won’t easily fit and I’ll have to get separate wrapping to do it.
Maybe I’ll be able to lose some weight and I won’t need them; maybe I’ll be able to strengthen calf muscles. Maybe a genie will appear from a magic lamp and give me three wishes. Maybe things will improve, maybe they won’t. I can do a 1000 things to improve my life for other things, and it may make no difference for venous insufficiency, the current cause of my problem.
In the summer, when I’d like to wear shorts, etc. and not look or feel like an old man. I already have enough self-esteem issues that I feel uncomfortable wearing shorts lots of times, tend to prefer baggy sweat pants or regular pants, but comfort is also important, right? Apparently if I want to go swimming, I *can* take them off to do that, but afterwards, they should go on right away.
Or if I get careless for a few days, the legs will reswell and I’ll have to reset everything with separate wrapping to get the leg down to normal size so I can wear the custom socks.
Is it a big deal? Not really. Jacob deals with worse on a daily basis with his AFOs, and he has adjusted just fine. All I have to wear are simple socks, no major surgery required or anything, and yet it’s knocking my mental health back.
Some part of my reaction is simply mortality, one step closer to the great dirt nap. Some of it is simple ageing. Some of it is the embarrassment that I’ve declined to a point from which I can only partially recover. Some of it is February blah. Some of it is the pandemic isolation effect. Some of it is just me wallowing.
But much of it is just trying to wrap my head around the uncertainty of the future, what it will be like trying to go places where it will be warm and hot, where I’ll have to wear compression socks that I won’t be mature enough to want other people to know, and so I’ll likely have to wear pants instead of shorts. And, according to the nurse (who is admittedly a bit hard-core), likely for life.
This past week, I had a feed from a site that advertises recipe collections where you can assemble all the ingredients for, say, 10 meals at once, and gives you a consolidated ingredient list plus the ten separate recipes. There are a few of these sites around, all geared towards the “busy mom” who can stock pile meals in the freezer and take them out when needed. My wife has had a freezer party or two with her Epicure business, and I think the idea is really solid. In some ways, it is simply assembly line principles applied to dinner prep so that if you’re chopping up meats or veggies, or getting out spices, you do it once instead of 10 separate times with each meal.
For the Epicure meals, it’s more tailored to the individual preparer, so you know what you’re getting. For the sites, usually of the 10 recipes, there are only a few I even like the sounds of, let alone trying them out with a full preparation. I took the list though, or several lists from the site, and narrowed it down to a few crockpot recipes that sounded both interesting and simple. I confess that I’m looking for some that could be added to the rotation once or twice a month and are worth the effort.
The first one we tried this week was called “Crockpot Honey Mustard Pork Chops and Potatoes”. I said it was simple, and it was — pork chops, onion soup mix, mustard, honey, black pepper, butter and potatoes. Simple to assemble and even simpler for me to say since I did the grocery shopping but Andrea did the assembly in the crockpot in the morning.
The recipe turned out okay, nothing wrong with it, and it looked pretty good.
But it was incredibly bland. And honestly, it was a bit weird with all the butter. It adds a half a stick of butter. That is a LOT of butter. And left a near-oil slick on top of the “broth”. The pork chops were edible, certainly, but the recipe is not worth sharing and not worth repeating. It isn’t even worth starting with as a base to play with other ingredients or adjust elements to make it more interesting.
There are just too many other good recipes out there to waste time on this one again. Guess our cooking attempts can’t all be home runs.