Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Wonder everywhere

I lost a safety detent spring while changing the peestil greep on a reefle. I lost it back in late Octobler, before Halloween. I'd temporarily forgotten that the damme things are cleverly held in by the body of the greep, so when I pulled the old one off, sprong went the spring. I looked and looked and looked. I moved all of the furniture out of the room and carefully combed the entire floor with my hands. No luck. The spring had spronged into an interdimensional wormhole and was lost forever.

I wanted to, well, use the tool the other day. I'd actually planned ahead and bought a new spring kit, so the evening before I was going to, er, well, hammer with the tool, I prepared to install a new spring. But before I could get started I noticed the above pictured spring laying on the floor right in the middle of the room. Somehow the interdimensional wormhole had puked the thing back into existence. So I put it back where it belonged and the hammer hammered just fine the next day.

There's wonder everywhere, and we don't always have to understand exactly how it happens. Seeing and enjoying and appreciating can be enough.


Here's a recycled CC, perhaps appropriate to yesterday's big celebration of rodent prognostication and to my present struggles with physical and emotional infirmities.


At 0515 BIL D and I hit a tanker and struck out north for Scottsbluff and my date with big needles.

BIL D is my brother-in-law and is driving. I'm required by the medical establishment to have a post-needle driver. It's one of those nanny dictates where a somewhat reasonable precaution is applied to everyone. It's a top-down thing generated by desk bound bureaucrats, and it strikes a supremely discordant note in the song of medicine. The argument is a spin on the "if it saves one life" argument. Let me stipulate for the record that it is indeed possible for a patient who has received back injections to lose control of their legs while driving home and crash into a school bus filled with nuns, killing everyone, including the entire staff of a baby milk factory. It's just not a very likely outcome, and the decision to nix driving home should, in a proper medical context, rest with the patient and medical team. Bureaucratic intrusion is a stain on and an impediment to the practice of medicine. Doctor and patient should arrive at a considered and informed decision regarding how to proceed, but that can't happen so long as faceless and uninformed, uncountable parasites dictate practices from on high.

Is that a shocking concept? It shouldn't be. Not for ape-lizards who continue to be out-of-the-closet sapient homos. Cognition. What a concept!

I hope that doesn't come across as a rant, because it's not meant to be.

The wonder of the thing is that excellent medicine can still be practiced by medicoes who are willing to suck it up and drive on in the face of parasitic impediment. And by patients who are willing to do the same. By patients and medical staff who see the parasitism for what it is and choose to do proper medicine in the face of the unnecessary and necrotic gauntlets thrown down by a self-proclaimed master class. Make no mistake, persevering in the face of perversity is nothing less than a wonder. Ape-lizards who choose to do the best things for the best reasons to the best of their abilities -- especially when it's hard work -- are beings who practice wonder every day.

More wonder. Family who unhesitatingly provide so very much support -- including driver services -- and fill my life with blessings anew each and every day.

Now where was I? Oh yeah. What's all this about hitting a tanker? It's just goofy naval aviation talk for getting gas. BIL D and I wheel into one of the local convenience stores, the one I worked at a couple of winters ago and which I've only rarely visited since. I always get gas at the other, locally owned place. They have zero ethanol gasoline. It's not a big deal, just my habit. Anyway, the "tanker" is nearly "sour" as "fuel transfer rate" is terrible. It takes 15 minutes to transfer 13.5 gallons. SMH, so much for brand x. We do get the fuel though, and we're on our way. We'll make the 0630 show time with no problem. Unless an unanticipated problem crops up. Which it probably won't.

As we drive north we have a great flowing conversation, much of it about Alex. It's good therapy for us to talk about her, our much loved but gone from us wife and sister in law. We're part of a family crushed by Alex's death and navigating the path forward is unspeakably hard. Difficult as it is, the talking helps.

This day and this excursion is doubly hard for me. Precisely six months (183 days) ago Alex was my driver when I received the first targeted injections. But she was far more than my driver that day, she was my soulmate and my betrothed and she was flowing loving support at me in a way I had never before experienced. It was such a beautiful day, perhaps the most beautiful day of my life. Next Wednesday will mark both my birthday and the six month mark since she died. Ah shit. The loss and longing are nearly impossible to bear. Surely impossible for a Shaun without the love and grace of God. As BIL D and I drive and talk I recognize how very blessed I am. It makes no human sense to the hurting, egocentric part of me, but there it is. In the face of the impossible, possible. I am blessed.

I am blessed also to be heading for care where the practitioners choose to suck it up and drive on and deliver actual medical care despite the roadblocks thrown up because reasons. The wonder of steroid injections is something I feel I need very badly. The last two weeks have been awful pain weeks, and constant pain tends to grind at my soul. I guarantee that if it were not for the grace of God I would allow the pain to twist me into a savage beast. I am so blessed to have God grant me peace and a walk in the sunlight of the spirit, however gimpy my stride may be.

We arrive on time and check in, where the priorities include the wuhandromeda dance, the driver dance, the insurance dance, and then "have a seat and the nurse will come get you."

While we wait BIL D hits the coffee station. I do not, as I am "NPO after midnight" -- no food or drink to ensure an empty belly just in case something goes bad and I need to be intubated. This is a completely medicine-driven precaution which makes perfect sense. It's not driven by the imagined peril of a school bus full of nuns and the baby milk makers. The possibility that I might need intubation is so small as to be essentially nil, yet it makes sense to stack the deck in our favor should an emergency somehow arise. It's an exercise in real world risk management, and that's a very different thing than justification-driven parasitic fiat. The first is real, the second is in the tee-vee. Cognition? Huh?

I'm on a roll today, no?

BIL D hits the coffee shack and notices a sign of the times. It's amusing enough that I get a picture.

You can have coffee, but you can only consume it in the confines of the tiny coffee shack area, which is simply a coffee maker equipped counter in a short seven-foot passageway. A perfect solution for life-saving social distancing during these wuhandromeda times. Is the irony of the situation enough to reveal the difference between real reality and tee-vee fantasy/mass psychosis? I feel like it should be.

There I go again!

While BIL D slurped coffee sans mask in the wuhandromeda concentration slash coffee shack, Nurse Sabrina came to fetch me. In only minutes I was stripped and gowned and getting my vitals taken. My blood pressure was very high, a combination of pain, anticipation, and an inability to control my autonomic nervous system. There was a bit of appropriate medical concern, but the consensus was that it wasn't a big enough deal to change the plan for shoving big needles into my back.

The OR nurse claimed me from the staging area and soon I was face down on the table having my back swabbed with betadine or whatever magic potion they use these days. The surgical team was the same crew I'd had in August and October, and they remarked on how well my summer tan is still holding up. It's good to have fans who will stab you in the back. If only Joe Walsh knew.

The Doc came in and did the great big needle thing. He injected both sides, and injected the max-ish (+25%) dose into each space. There was no pain from the procedure other than a tiny stick and burn from the initial injection of local anesthetic. When the steroid cocktail went in I felt a good bit of pressure, and when he injected the "bad" spot which had been causing the most pain it felt wonderful; an immediate reduction in pain.

Because we maxed out the injections there was initially a lot more pressure on the nerves. This meant a temporary replacement of one quality of pain with another. The pressure of injected medicine also impinged on motor nerves, something I haven't experienced before. The result was a feeling of profound weakness in both legs, and a good bit of reduced proprioception in my locomotion. I could still walk fine and steadily, and my feet and legs worked perfectly, but they felt weak and unsteady. It was odd and disquieting but I understood what was going on. I knew that the motor nerve impingement would ease as the medicine was absorbed, and that the steroid bath would reduce tissue inflammation and quiet the screaming sensory nerves.

Sabrina checked my blood pressure again and it was back to normal. I got dressed and taxied to the cat where the final checkers blessed me and the shooter genuflected me into the early morning air.

It was 0730 and we were headed home. There's a good dose of wonder right there. The entire process from check in to heading home took exactly an hour. A routine application of some of the best medical intervention mankind has ever known, executed by a team of principled doctors and nurses who have taken up the gauntlet and decided to suck it up and drive on, to persist in the face of perverse roadblocks and tee-vee driven psychosis. There's a good lesson in livin' there, hidden in the plain sight of reality.

The balance of the day was rest. The new pain and leg weakness eased over the hours. Not as quickly as I wanted but I was able to muster up patience and acceptance. I spent some time reading with the little ones and that helped a lot. I went to bed and slept comfortably and well for the first time since before Christmas. Wonder. Blessing.

When I woke this morning I had my legs back and the pain was entirely absent. Wonder. Blessing.


Six months of impossibly hard. Six months of proof, day in and day out, that the impossibly hard is navigable so long as I do best things for best reasons to the best of my ability and walk the path with God. As I look back there is a big part of me which honestly can't believe that I've survived. The heart and soul of this ape-lizard knows why I've survived. More wonder. More blessings.

How 'bout some fun? Morning play...

And... Pirates!

And... Playing outside on a beautiful February morning.

Wonder and blessings are everywhere.

Except in the tee-vee.

That is all.


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. Is the big coffee bar with baristas by the front entrance closed? For three years that was my extra large coffee to take me to Hwy 14. The young ladies made it my way, plain with two spoons of honey and a dash of whole (whipping) cream.

    1. I should have been specific. I get the injections across the street at the surgery center. So far as I know the main hospital coffee shack is still there. I don't think I've been in there since before the wuhandromeda though so I really don't know.

      Thanks Frank.

    2. No problem. SB was on our medical courier route. 410-420 miles (if we stopped at Brush) six days a week. I personally put over 100,000k on a Prius. Didn't like it when I started and liked it less when we retired it.

    3. Ah, the prius. Dream machine of the tee-vee. That's a lot of driving! Is that courier company hiring?

    4. Probably, if you want to relocate to Loveland, CO. My partner on the route and I ran it under four different owners. The only thing that changed was the logos on our jackets.

    5. I'll pass that along, family member looking for work (but not very hard). Thanks!

  2. Ha! I lost a wire retaining-ring thingy (keeps the front plate of a deadbolt on) into the dreaded devouring wyrmhole in my toolroom four? months ago. Today it chucked it up, with another of the same part that HADN’T been lost (that’s what really blows my mind) ACROSS THE ROOM!! I’d moved the lid/tray with parts on it last week, not working on the lock until today. Past efforts to find said lost ring resulted in frustration and..words. Ha! I said: "Hey! Thank You, Lord! That’s awesome!" The lost is found! Huzzah!

    1. It's kind of interesting to think about how such things happen. There is an objective truth in operation when tiny parts go missing, but since we don't know everything about everything it's possible that some very interesting physics is in play. I try to imagine how that spring could have disappeared and reappeared within the realm of physical law as I understand it, and indeed there are millions of possibilities, but none of them quite make sense as far as I can tell. So regular spring physics? Gremlins? Wormholes? As frustrating as such things can be, they are also part of the fun of the big adventure.

      Thanks JLM.

    2. Boy howdy! Indeed, the possibilities just don’t make sense at all sometimes, but are, too, interesting to think about. Usually (for me, anyway) that comes later, after I’ve given up on both finding object X and being frustrated (such a mild term...) about it. "Fun" I read as "wonder": I see fun but it translates as wonder in my head. Man! We must appear as simpleminded children to God! Well, we are... I wonder (ha!) if colors have smells in heaven. I would certainly think so. Guess we’ll find out!

    3. So very much cool stuff in reality and we walk by without seeing most of it, concentrating as we do on our "important" stuff.

  3. The money quote for me, "bureaucratic intrusion is a stain on and an impediment to the practice of [fill in the blank]."

    Well said, my friend, well said.

    I cannot begin to imagine the world of pain (both physical and spiritual) you are enduring. You have my constant prayers for better days ahead!

    1. Thanks very much for the praise and the prayers Chris. It's been a hard slog but I'm surviving and even thriving, for certain values of thriving... ;-)

  4. Yeah, I recognize that spring. Mine escaped too, but was never recaptured. Had to get a new one.

    Amazing how those shots make Mr. Grumpy go away and allow Shaun's muse to get back on the job.

    1. I have plenty of spares now so I'll never lose another one. Next loss will be something i lack spares for.

      Physical pain sure can block a lot of stuff. It's a pain! Blessed to live in a time where such pain can be addressed.