March 03, 2012
I'm The White Rabbit

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Miscellany...

- Got Chiquita's ashes back from the vet. Still very bummed she is gone. I loved that little dog very very much. It sounds new agey to talk about life forces and spirit and aura and such, but it only sounds phony if you never meet a soul like her. In talking to a few folks who knew more of her history than I did, I realize her life was harder than I had thought. For her to endure that and come out with any good at all is a miracle; but to come out as sweet, loving, and so easily pleased is really cosmically important. It means something. Her life was meaningful and important, especially to those who saw her joy first hand. I really did learn much from her. Indeed, if someone endures tortures like that, they can be brought low and made to be humbled or to treat any absence of abuse as pleasure. To interpret her life that way is wrong. Yes, I think she was somewhat happy to simply not be sad (which isn't a bad thing.) But she was more than that. She was not just a smiley-faced pushover to anyone who just didn't hit her (many of the abused love their abusers, and amplify ANY good in them.) It really wasn't like that. She was strong-willed and often bullheaded. My point with her is that what was important was to let her regain her dignity, to be free to live as she wanted, and THEN see what she was about. It was by letting her find her equilibrium that I got to see what a great little soul she was. Quick to forgive and made happiest by the small things are things I would be over the moon to find out folks said of ME when I am gone (fat chance at this point - which is kinda my point here.) I can say that of her. It matters. To find a way to stay on the sunny side of life when you have been dealt its nasty side is one of the most admirable things I can think of. That is who she was. Yes, I am talking about "only a dog" here, but she was special. She was never on a clown act or selectively taking things in. She took it all in and still found a way to be the proverbial Machine For Loving. I marvel at it.

- So, with this month, I am entering year 10 of Ye Olde Weblogge. The productivity here has dropped off dramatically for lots of reasons, and I think this is a good occasion to bring the Welogge to its end. This will be my last year in which I make any effort to keep it going. That isn't to say there will be nothing put here, but I will stop keeping it as minimally current as I do as of March 2013. I won't take the old stuff down (people look at it - I have no idea why or where they come from, but they do.) I have tried keeping a backup copy of this, so if it dies, it kinda lives. Thanks for visiting. I am not sure why you came, but you came.

- Home for a month. At least I think I am. As much as I am ready to get out of Chicago, I am also happy to be off the road for awhile. One thing I am gonna do with my time is create my Farewell To The Heartland tour agenda. Naturally, at least half of them involve food. That is easy. There are some other things though: Lincoln Presidential Library, Grahn Kentucky, Iowa City, Duluth, Detroit II, Memphis, Chicago Museum Of Art, Tour Of Family Graves, and so on. I will publish a list either here or on Facebook to see if any of y'all wanna join.

- I am now almost clean a full month. I am gonna declare myself Clean. I lived in fear of going through this for years, and I am not sure it warranted such primal fear. I really got myself worked up over what withdrawal would be like many many times. It was very very difficult to be sure, but I think I made it harder on myself by making it so gradual. I stretched it out by doing small tapering off steps over months out of a nearly primal fear of going cold turkey, so that when it came time to actually go cold turkey, my period of hell was really only about a week long. I was prepared for 2. What is amazing is the way it ended. I made it through the first 48 hours on sheer adrenaline, and then felt release from the withdrawal. Then, day 7, it came back worse than it had been at any point so far. The end of it all was literally like having a fever broke. I woke up day 8 free of it. Day 7 really stunk. I thought it either was a last gasp or the start of the real withdrawal. Thankfully, it was the former.

Ideally, this isn't something I have to go through again, but if it does come to pass, I am wiser of it. I would do it much less gradually and just get it over with. I definitely wouldn't want to do something like jail cold turkey, but I will not be stretching it out for months either. I intend to take pain meds again since - well - I am in pain. Everyday. I don't want to be in pain. I have had enough of that for a lifetime. My aim has not been to never take real painkillers again, but to get away from 24/7 dope and simply take medication only when I need it. Living without any real medication has been very instructive in that I have learned how I actually feel. I went through a decade often feeling nothing. I have lots of other aches and pains to learn to live with (getting back to California and being active again should go a long way in treating those), and I have a chance to figure out how bad I feel when I do nothing (some days fine, some days like hell.) Ideally, this gives me a chance to match need to use rather than have only use. That may never happen. I may very well end up on 24/7 drugs again. It has some advantages that conservative treatment does not, especially in terms of avoiding the worst misery. Should that happen, this would hardly have been a failure. My aim has always been to try to improve my circumstances and to not just become resigned to being miserable. This is a very important step in trying to do actual pain management. I never thought I was ever going to feel good again. The point has always been to try not to get too comfortable with that. To try to find a way to improve my situation. While I have totally gone back on being active and not eating meat while here in Chicago, that will be easy to get back I think. What was always tough, and what I could not have done in CA (for lots of reasons), is go without meds. I could not realistically have gone through all of this alone in CA with the doctors I had there (and will likely have again.) I could not have stopped being on drugs all the time there I think, and to get where I am going, I had to know whether or not I had just become lazy and so drug-addled that I was just rolling along without actually trying to do something to better my situation.

I am glad I went through this. I think by end of summer, if I can get active like I should, I should be in a position where I have the heavy duty Judy level of pain only a day or two a week. That would represent a pretty significant uptick in my quality of life. I think it is possible. It will be a rough year getting from here to there, but I think I can do it. Not a ton frightens me at this point since I just did the thing I didn't think I could. About the only thing I would say nags at me is the fear that I have been going through all this nastiness to prep me for a larger nastiness to come. Even if I knew it was so, what could I do about it? At least I would have the chance to go through it knowing how to temper the metal of the brain and toughen it up a little. Hoping it doesn't come to that.

It may be that I will end up "technically" clean for less than even a month. That would not be a failure in my eyes, because I am pretty sure I wouldn't be trading the extreme of no drugs for 24/7 drugs. It would not be a defeat to get a point where I take only the drugs I need when I need them. That is what victory smells like for me! On one hand, I just did the hard work I needed to do to get to that goal. On the other, the reality is, I am likely getting all dressed up with no place to go because I will never have the ability to be supplied with the drugs I need on an as-needed basis. I was put on Fentanyl to begin with because most drug addicts don't want it - too strong, not enough of a high. It has lower resale value than pills, so is preferred by many pain doctors. Me saying I want "as-needed" meds almost exclusively means pain pills, and that is going to prove very very difficult to put together I think. Especially over time. I suppose I will have plenty of time to worry about that, so it doesn't pay to get too worked up over it now. For now, I am gonna permit myself a pat on the back. I did something that was tough for me. That matters.

Posted by rudayday at March 03, 2012 09:41 PM