Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Blasted (updated!)





Z-Man, holding his pirate hook-knife, tells us why boys don't wear lipstick.

The Pirate Queen is not impressed with his argument.

What's better than a heart smile?

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Blasted. Here in the southwest corner of the Nebraska Panhandle and much of the surrounding area we're being blasted by an invasion of very cold Arctic air.


Now why do I say we're being blasted? The term blasted connotes a sharp increase in kinetic energy, as in an explosion. What we're experiencing is actually a reduction in kinetic energy. When air temperatures fall what actually happens is the molecular components of the local atmosphere slow down. All of those O2's and N2's and gaseous H2O's and CO2's and other bits of molecular gas zipping around and bumping into each other and everything else lose some of their zip and sloooow down.

That's the opposite of an explosion, the opposite of being blasted.

So why did I say blasted? Why did I title this post Blasted?

In truth it's the first thing that popped into my mind when I thought about this invasion of cold air. I think it's because the warm winter we were experiencing suddenly changed to hard cold. In the jumbled thinking of my mind the sudden change feels kinetic, even though by definition the actual change is completely the opposite.

Does that make any sense? Yeah, it kind of baffles me too.

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How do you count stuff? Not you you, mind, but you in general, as in we, as in us. How do we count stuff? And why?

Kind of a goofy question, no?  So what do I mean?

On Sunday, sometime after noon locally, Spaceship Earth arrived at the place in its orbit which was precisely opposite of the place it was when Alex died on August 10. That moment marked 182-and-a-half days, or six months. Yesterday (Monday, February 8) marked the 26th Monday, or half of a 52-week year, which is also six months. Tomorrow, February 10, is the sixth 10th of the month, yet again six months. So I can precisely measure six months three different ways over a spread of 96 hours. Kinda goofy, eh?

Tomorrow's my birthday too.

I don't know why the counting seems important. I worry that there's too much me-me-me going on. I don't know precisely how I feel about hitting the six month mark. My emotions are all over the place. I think that's exactly where I'm supposed to be.

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How about a back update?

The last week has sucked for the most part. I got an extra large dose of steroid injected on both sides a week ago. The injection of so much fluid into such narrow confines caused enough tissue trauma and inflammation to make the nerves very unhappy indeed. I understood what was going on and was reasonably confident that once the tissue healed and the inflammation went away I'd feel much better. Other than crawling around under my house to fix a busted pipe I've been taking it very, very easy.

Yesterday I went back to building widgets. The first 90 minutes was kind of awful. I gave serious consideration to pulling the loud handle and doing the nylon GCA to home plate. But I was kind of sick of home plate, and I wanted to stay at work if I could do so with tolerable pain. As a last ditch I went to the break room and stretched, which I was pretty sure wouldn't help, but which I also hypothesized could possibly work. I didn't think about in percentage terms at the time, but if I had I'd have pegged the possibility of relief from stretching at one percent or less.

So after 15 seconds of stretching the pain went away, and it hasn't been back. I still have some soreness in and around the injection sites, and a good bit of old-guy stiffness when I sit for more than an hour, but the radiculopathy pain is gone.

What a blessing. It's hard to (perhaps impossible) describe how wonderful the absence of pain feels. It's like emerging from darkness or something.

Another nice thing is that we've now appeased the insurance gods and allowed enough career bureaucrats to pad their nests that we can move forward toward a permanent (for certain values of permanent, obviously) surgical fix. More imaging and a nerve conduction test is in the works. A description of the modern surgical wonders available is fairly making my mouth water. The dream of returning to full physical soundness and ability might actually be within reach.

I'm old enough and experienced enough to know that it might not come to fruition. If it doesn't it'll be what it will be and I'll be okay. But things do look brighter than they did a week ago, so there's that. It's all part of the big adventure.

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Hold the phone, here's an update.

The kids found this series on u2b. I don't know how they found it, despite the fact that they were sitting on my lap watching kids videos on my phone at the time. Maybe someday they'll tell me. Regardless, I think the videos are quite clever and enjoyable, particularly this one. YMMV.

 

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Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.



 

20 comments:

  1. Congratulations on another trip around the sun!

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    1. Thanks Frank. Round and round, I'm getting dizzy... lol!

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  2. It's hard to (perhaps impossible) describe how wonderful the absence of pain feels.

    AMEN, brother! Last year at this time I was having major hip issues. Thanks to the combination of medication and physical therapy, the pain eventually faded away. I was hurting so bad last year at our grandson's birthday party that the only way I could participate was to take several tramadol, which kinda-sorta zoned me out.

    This year I'm fine, and it's wonderful to be able to get around normally.

    And a very Happy Birthday to you, sir!

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    1. Yeah, pain can be quite miserable. I've been able to avoid the narcotic pain meds and get by on aspirin, aleve, and tylenol. The stuff like tramadol gives some temporary relief but the cost is pretty high for me personally. I can't stand having mush-mind and those things seem to block my communication wit God. I've weathered this storm with his help and now that the pain is gone it feels really good. What a blessing and yet another life adventure.

      Congrats on retiring your own pain.

      Thanks for the kind birthday wishes drjim.

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  3. Happy Birthday! Stay safe and keep on livin'.

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    1. Thanks Mark! I shall endeavour to persevere. Although I am getting dizzy...😳

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  4. The absence of pain is truly awesome. Before I ever experienced real physical pain, I didn't really know that, I took the absence of pain for granted I suppose. Now when I am in the midst of something very painful, I tell myself "this too shall pass," knowing that it will. Being pain free is something to look forward to. Glad you're getting there.

    As to counting, it's what we humans do, we count things. I believe it's built in and it truly is a feature, most of the time.

    Happy birthday old friend, glad you made it through another year. Time to update the winter count...

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    1. Me too on the pain. What a pain!

      The counting thing is one of the odd places my brain goes from time to time. It's really quite interesting to think about and speculate on. As a sailor who counted down many deployments I've got some serious counting chops!

      These verdammt (as Grandma Burback used to say) birthdays come around a lot more frequently than they used to. Grrr.

      Thanks Chris.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks man! You've got one in this region of the calendar too, don't you?

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    2. Last week
      Spent mine recovering from the kung flu.
      Its a nasty little chunk of rna...

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    3. Well, Happy Birthday to you Penrose.

      As for the wuhandromeda...

      They're all nasty. Thank goodness for the MK 1 MOD 0 Immune system. JAFI (remember Blue Thunder?)

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  6. Happy Birthday, Shaun! May you continue to be blessed with clarity and the willingness to share it. (And despite the Pirate Queen's skepticism, Z-Man is correct. Although an anti-chapping agent is cool. :)

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    1. Thanks rickr!

      Don't know if anyone noticed the Pirate Queen's lips in that second image or if I was being too subtle. She got into Auntie's lipstick and did a pretty good job for a two year old. Which prompted the "boys don't" conversation. I agree on the anti chapping agent, particularly if it's brilliant vermilion! Lol!

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  7. A celebratory event recognizing your continued superannuation is heartily endorsed! Especialy withpain mitigation being more frequent.

    On the other counting of things we wish never happened, it would be good to consider that the start date for counting the kids' progress under new and challenging circumstances. It sure looks they they are doing wonderfully, all things considered, and that was not a guaranteed outcome. You, they, and everyone else in that convoluted gaggle seem to have made it work for the kids' benefit. Well done to all, and continued prayers for all.

    Still lots of winter ahead, but spring will come. Enjoy.
    JB

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    1. The birthday thing is odd this year. I'm quite vexed about it. I've been finding a lot of little, meaningless and unimportant things surprisingly vexing. So yesterday I was quite cross about it internally and had an endless stream of lovely people wishing me a heartfelt happy day. I struggled to hide my crossness and accept the kind wishes which people were going out of their way to offer up. Batshit crazy for sure.

      We all started a new path when Alex and the kids and I got together. The path had one hell of a bump. Alex left us, and as you say, the path ahead was (and remains) anything but guaranteed. When I look at the overall situation from an observer's standpoint I can't see or understand how we've been able to survive and thrive. I know that the answer is God and Love, but from a strictly ape-lizard observer's perspective the whole thing is clearly humanly impossible.

      Thanks so much for the support, prayers, and best wishes. Those things help more than you'll ever know John.

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  8. Indeed, the absence of pain is a glorious void of soothing relaxmentation. Ahhhh!! I’ve often (OK, sometimes) thought about the time-measurement strangeness: a month is, say, 31 days, but also 4 weeks, which is only 28 days, but then! If you go a month out from 1/31 that gets you to 3/2, but only by the calender month, since 4 weeks still only puts you at 2/28. A small reminder that some things we think we understand are actually beyond our reasoning..such as how-why?!-God blesses us with grace to stand the storms and come out "normal", whatever that is.
    (Your counting is, I believe, “just” a human tendancy-it’s something related to her passing you can do and measure-a solid reality in the midst of the whirling vortex [temporarily] of life.

    Happy Birthday!! May God bless you with lots more! Good ones, even!

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    1. The radiculopathy pain leaving makes the world bright and glorious. For 24 hours. Then I start bitching about regular old-guy aches and pains. SMH. It's like I've got no appreciation at all. Of course I do, but it's irritating when I face my shallowness. Which is another way of saying it's irritating when I face my basic humanity. I bitch about the splinter in my left eye and ignore the plank in my right eye...

      Part of me just wants to count seasons, but there are good reasons for counting days and the Gregorian calendar is a nice thing the Pope did for us. As much as I am smashed by what August 10 represents I am also blessed to be able to mark the day and count the days and see the proof that life goes on for all of us.

      Thanks for the kind birthday wishes. There are many things I wish to accomplish yet.

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  9. Well, your weather got here. You can come get it back... And happy birthday!

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  10. Thanks Cajun. Sorry 'bout the cold; I had thought algore fixed all that. I see it's well below freezing in Baton Rouge and heading for a hard freeze in Nalins. I hear Texas is completely glaciated. It's 33 at McMurdo and presently -6 here. Looking for -20 or colder tonite. I can literally feel spring fixin' to spring!

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