Home alone with me and my sick thoughts........

Thursday, January 27, 2011

There goes my MRI virginity........

So a Jew and a coward walk into a bar.....the Jew says, "Oy Vay, I got such back pain!" To which the coward remarks, "Thank God I got no back bone!"


OK, fine, I'm no comedian, but today I did have an my very first MRI in my ever-ending quest to discover the cause of these weird and uncomfortable symptoms I've been experiencing lately.  They amount to a deep-seated ache in the backs of both my thighs with a corresponding sensation of my toes feeling like I just walked home in thirty-below in ordinary shoes.  Now, I paint that picture because I used to do just that; walk home from school in extremely cold winters in Fairbanks Alaska when I was in high school.  The toes are the first to experience frostbite if you don't get them warmed back up real quick.  These symptoms begin appearing sometime in the afternoon whether I've been working or not; just the fact I've been more or less vertical all day seems to be the trigger; thus we (my doctor and I) think I might have some nerve issues.  The MRI was required after the x-rays showed I had no obvious defects due to age or injury in my lumbar spine.  I can only hope something shows up to explain these symptoms because folks, this is getting OLD!  I have not had any really bad back injuries (that I am aware of) of late that would explain this latest problem, but I'm not surprised that SOMEthing is showing up after 15 years of pulling heavy patients up in bed.  The wear and tear this kind of physical job puts on the body is bound to show up sooner or later.

It was indeed an interesting test, a term the technician told me I was opining with much charity.  I didn't get any music to listen to on headphones; just a couple of foam earplugs, so I suppose my $75 copay only afforded me the economy MRI.  They told me the test would last about 20 minutes; I can only take their word for it, but I can say that I have never before heard such a wild combination of foghorns, bangs, thumps, and other strange combinations of noises before in one continuous symphony of annoying sounds.  Good thing I'm not claustrophobic, either, because the ceiling of that tube was AWFUL close to my face!  Whatever; I was very happy for the experience to be over when it finally was.

I want to thank Jules for her VALIANT efforts in responding to the challenge of my last post by commenting TWICE to that one post!  So far she is the only reader PERIOD who even commented on it so I guess you can pretty much kiss the whole idea good-bye.  I do want to tell you, though, Jules, my good dear lady friend, that you HAVE sustained what desire I HAVE had I had in writing about anything at all, and for that I am most profuse in my appreciation for you as a friend.  I am SO blessed for having had the one opportunity so far to have met you and Blan at least once and I hope one day to see you both again.  You both are blessed of the Gods even though I suppose you don't have much reason to believe in 99% of them.  As long as there is at least ONE of them looking out for you, I'm happy.

One other reason besides the respite from Southern heat that I love Winter so much for is the work I get to avoid for now that awaits me here on this acre of sand, which is buried in leaves and fallen branches which sooner or later THE Wife is going to want to rake up and dispose of in some fashion.  Me, I'd be happy as a clam avoiding a beach party to just let all those leaves fall where they may, as they WOULD if humans weren't around to interfere with the natural order of things and go raking them up simply in the name of neatness and this human obsession with order.  We don't have a lawn by any definition and this layer of leaves is actually good for the soil, but you know how it is.......Wives just can't leaf well enough alone! (hehe...I crack me up sometimes).

Anyway, I probably could come up with a million more things to prattle on about, but since I don't have a sizable audience to entertain, the pressure is pretty much off of me to produce verbiage and the bevy of nouns required by great and attractive writing skills.  But, dear rabidly loyal readers, stay tuned, for I am sure I will have something to report here eventually concerning either my spine or my spin on life here on this leaf-coated acre of sand somewhere on the outskirts of sanity.

Blessed be!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Price

Hello, and welcome to the Monday night edition of "An Acre of Sand", the one blog in this universe which will never approach the number of fans that Monday Night Football has enjoyed over the years.  Not that this fact bothers me to any great degree, but it seems that a VERY few of my most loyal readers are so addicted to the RANTS that characterized the many blogs I published in the past that they have expressed the desire to see me continue said rants in some forum or another, perhaps continuing these expressions of ire back on the hallowed pages of "Full Moon Over Pendragon Hold", where I last published such emotional pablum.

Yes, I must admit, I DID get a certain rush pontificating upon the voodoo that we (as a species) do so well these days despite the thousands of years of supposed evolution afforded us by a benign and patient Gaia, but the rush also had the side affects you come to expect from caring about all this stuff enough to put it to pen to begin with.  Like having a wife who looks at you sideways and wishes you would just calm down and not worry so much about things you cannot change (an attitude which in and of itself has also been a topic I can be very rabid about, to no good end),  or the reputation one earns that is not as charitable as one would like.

So, good readers, the ones who have had the good grace to leave literary traces of having been here and endured these emotions (that drug-like feedback I call "comments"); what would you be willing to give in return for THE Michael to return to the scene of his crimes and continue to sin so joyfully as a human being who has had such a lack of patience with his brothers?  Would you go forth and find ten......five.......even TWO more adherents to this philosophy that takes no prisoners? (They gave Sadam and Gomorra the same head-start, to no avail)  Would you think it profitable to suggest to anyone else you know as a friend or acquaintance that a dose of THE Michael is good for the soul; immortal, saved, damned, or even perhaps even non-existent?  OK, fine, then you have your challenge; the gauntlet has been thrown, and you are invited to learn what it means to be an apostle.  Yes, I know full well how blasphemous this might sound to the ill-informed, but I never claimed to be an easy experience.

If you have enough energy to dare cry HAVOC, and let slip the dogs of blog (which equates easily enough to having to put up with MY insignificant drivel concerning a world gone mad) then I dare say you have enough energy to fill the comment section of this post with enough newcomers to this forum that I think it worth the time, effort, blood, sweat, and yes, my dear fellows and ladies, tears, that expressing my innermost thought-demons to the perils of pen-upon-page has always demanded.  Go forth and recruit, and I will reward your evangelical zeal with an equal orgasm of flat-out truth as only THE Michael can reveal.

Or not.

It's in YOUR hands now.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crawfish on a Weekend Off

It's Sunday night, and yours truly is making his cousin Julie's crawfish Etouffee' recipe. The Local Daughter and hers truly will be having dinner with us.  Tomorrow it's back into the fray in the Critical Care Unit, whilst I am still feeling in need of "critical care" myself, if only due to the aches and pains of steadily advancing age.  One rather funny thing I've discovered within the mess that is my wounded finger is the "mysterious vanishing stitches"  which the P.A. put into the nail bed of my split finger but seemed to have already been absorbed by the wound by the time the Finger Doctor examined it.  Now that the wound has healed somewhat and dried out, the so-called "absorbent stitches" are readily visible, and anything BUT absorbed.  I have one more appointment with the finger doctor who will probably want to pull them out, now that he can see them.  These are a bit thicker than the one he already pulled out, so I am not a big fan of that idea.

OK, it's after dinner now and the Etouffee' was enjoyed with much gusto.  The Wife and "kids" are watching "Practical Magic" (starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman), her, for like the umpteenth millionth time since we bought the disk.  I think maybe she likes this movie.  It's one of those tales that is wonderfully escapist for a Wiccan, as it's low on the bullshit quotient (except for the "real" magic and nasty dead guys) and full of romance.

The Wife and I drove a bit of a distance to visit the nearest Barnes and Noble bookstore, a cheap "vacation" for us these days, where we treated ourselves to Starbucks and a few books on sale.  I was amazed to stumble across another medieval murder mystery by the author of "The Mistress of the Art of Death", which I am currently enjoying.  It was also on sale for less than $7 which can only mean it was sitting there waiting for ME to come and get it.  It's called "The Serpent's Tale", in case you want to check these good reads out.

So far I have resisted the impulse to rant and/or rave about some injustice or act of utter stupidity being committed by mankind, and although at least one of my loyal followers has expressed disappointment in this, I'm willing to bet in the greater scheme of things, it hasn't been missed much at all.  But thank you anyway; the very idea that someone appreciated my efforts is, at the very least, equally appreciated.

Thus ends another lost weekend here at Pendragon Hold.  May you, my valued readers, find the simple joys within your own Hold, and like us, milk them for all they're worth.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Return of the Prodigal PCT

Today I returned to work in the Critical Care Unit and yes, 12 hours later I am sore and a bit tired  and much happier for it.  It seems my absence indeed had an impact, and nothing boosts your esteem better than to have been sorely missed.  It seems that my value as a resource has even earned me assurances from my boss that she's more than happy for me to work forty hours a week (as opposed to only 36) or even more if it keeps the unit covered with that one invaluable PCT.  So, next schedule I'll be working an interesting mix of 12 and 8 hour shifts, which I think I can handle better than additional straight twelves.

And the finger performed admirably, if I may say so myself.........

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cleared for Take-off!

So having the stitch removed from my finger was rather anti-climatic; I hardly felt it.  The tech gave me this really cool molded finger splint that is less cumbersome and allows me to use the hand without much discomfort while doing my job, which involves griping and grabbing and pulling a lot of weight around (the average American patient is getting much bigger,  my friends).  So I go back to Company Care and they put me through this "fitness test" to see if I can fulfill the physical requirements of my job, most of which really had nothing much to do with my finger, like lifting a fifty pound weight over my head.  The closest test they got involving my hand was a grip meter, and the physical therapist remarked that I had more grip using my four good fingers than most of the female PCT's did using all five.  Anyway.....I go back to work Thursday!!!!  Yippie!!!  I'm sorry, many of you might be shaking your head wondering why anybody would give up a leisurely vacation on sick leave to go back to work......well, sorry, but I can only take so much sitting around by myself with the four walls of this castle closing in on me, getting more and more out of shape as the long days go by.  Besides, I miss "my girls", those beautiful lifesavers who I personally think perform one of the most fulfilling occupations on this planet.  If you have the misfortune to come visit us here in the Critical Care Unit as a patient, you'll soon agree with me.

I want to think those few loyal fans who have welcomed me back to the blogging scene, and I want to assure those who might be alarmed by that same fact that I will not be endeavoring to point out to the masses just how much misery you cause the rest of us, either out of ignorance or intent.  I do not have a wide enough audience to cause you any grief anyway, so rest easy.  I consign you to the horrors of your own karma.

I have two books to recommend, by the way.  Ahh....you know....BOOKS?  Yea, those thick things with a gazillion pages all crammed with printed words, remember?  You can get some really good ones off the bargain tables at books-a-million for less than $8 if you look hard enough.  I know they are no where near as easy to use as a Kindle or iPod Touch, but there's something about holding these things in your hands and turning those pages ( I know, MANUAL LABOR....deal!) that makes the reading experience....I dunno....richer.   ANYWAY.......the first is a historical murder mystery set in twelfth century England, "The Mistress of the Art of Death" by Ariana Franklin.  Fascinating!  The second I'm also reading is "The Pagan Man", by Isaac Bonewits, one of our most interesting and celebrated Pagan Elders, who passed away last year of cancer.  Now, this second one, if you are a die-hard Christian or an Atheist, might not seem like your cup of tea, but it DOES give you an insight into the mindset of this polytheistic/nature-based lifestyle, and it would put to rest any misconceptions you might still have concerning us "un-godly" people.  Truth is, we have more "Gods"  than you do...na-na-na-na-naaaa-na!  hehe.  And we have a pretty damn good sense of humor.  You HAVE to if you're gonna be Pagan (free-thinker) and live in the bible-belt......

Oh, and Jules, I took your advice and capitalized "Witch".  But, she IS a Wiccan High Priestess, so what can I say?  And Hecate, aren't we all "married" in some sense to the land and all living things upon it?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Finger

It's a dreary, rainy cold day here in sunny Florida.  The Wife is at work, and I'm biding my time until I have to drive thru the drizzle to see the finger doctor, who will be removing the stitches from my injured finger.  Since you're coming in late on the story, here's a quick synopsis to catch you up…….

Yours truly, staring off into the great room while loading wet clothes into the dryer, takes left hand and slams dryer door shut, not really noticing that my RIGHT hand (my back is to the washer with the dryer to my right) is resting lower than it should be, that is, until the sudden pressure and pain at the end of my middle finger informs me otherwise.  Of course, the instinctive reaction to this is that I jerk my hand up and away from this sudden shock to my system and I tromp into the kitchen, cursing, yelling, and holding my hand, trying to get my eyes to look down and start figuring out just what the &%#@ just happened.  First thing I SEE of significance is that the finger is oozing blood like a stuck pig, so the medical professional in me takes over and I reach over to grab paper towels to wrap around the finger to try and apply what pressure I can to the wound, which isn't much.  Meanwhile the kids, who have been preparing that morning to return to Tampa, are asking me if I'm all right, which I'm still trying to decide for myself….

I finally peel back the paper towels just enough to see that no, this is not minor by any stretch, and admitted to perhaps being in need of a ride to the emergency room.  The Son-in-Law makes a quick glance around for any loose finger tips and we quickly pile into the car to get me to the hospital while I try not to pass out amongst the waves of pain.  Remember, folks, this has happened on the next to most sensitive area on a Man's body (you can guess what the first one might be), and even if I wanted to be all John Wayne about it, my finger was screaming OMG! I think I was pretty manly-man about it considering everything.  Perhaps the worst part was when the PA in the ER was sticking the needles into the side of my finger to numb it while I buried my head in The Wife's shoulder trying not to scream.  This is on top of being needle-phobic to begin with…….

Believe me, it felt a lot worse than it actually turned out.....

OK, so I survived her repair work, including the removal of about a third of my fingernail, which I think had absorbed the majority of the assault from the dryer door, saving the bone beneath from crush injury, later verified by  X-ray.  If this same degree of laceration had occurred on just about any other area of my body, say my arm or leg, it really would have been no big deal, and would not have slowed me down all that much save for some minor pain and discomfort.  But THIS injury occurred on the one spot on my body that I use everyday, and especially at work, handling patients and equipment (a good degree of strength and dexterity required), and on my dominant hand to boot!  So, this stupid misadventure actually put me on sick leave, which I have plenty of, so it isn't going to damage us financially to any great degree.  But there's a lot about being out of work that get's somewhat maddening after awhile.  I actually MISS my three twelve hour shifts working with my wonderful, talented, and beautiful nurses.  I really do need this finger to heal up and de-sensitize so I can get back to my normal routine, even if it does deliver other aches and pains, which I can live with.  This trying to keep myself occupied sucks.

I know, this wasn't really quick, but now you're caught up.  And now we'll get to see if this new plastic splint he'll give me will keep enough pressure off the tip of my finger that I can get Company Care to let me return to full duty.  I have my fingers (on my left hand) crossed!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

As I was saying........

You might have noticed that I mentioned I'm married to a Witch.  I wasn't kidding, and I wasn't disparaging the woman.  She really IS a Witch, and no, in context it's not a bad thing.  You see, unlike the stereotypical old hag with a bad complexion and an appetite for stray children, a REAL Witch is nothing more than a person (not necessarily a woman) who practices the nature-centric religion of Wicca, often as the High Priestess of her coven, although belonging to a coven is not necessary to practice Wicca, as many adherents practice as solitaires.  We here at Pendragon Hold consider our family to be our coven, and have always welcomed like-minded guests to our circles, although here in the bible belt, pagans are rather hard to come by.

Which makes yours truly the High Priest more or less by default.  Yes, I DO consider myself Wiccan as well, having given up Catholicism for Lent a long time ago.  I'm just not as devoted to the craft as the wife is, never having personally cast a spell or led a ceremony.  I've been happy to let her do all the hard work....grin.  Actually, she finds value in my ability to stay grounded within the faith, keeping her firmly within the realm of reality.  Yes, I know it seems that I might just as well admit to having joined the crazies by embracing neopaganism instead of graduating straight to atheism, but so far I've refused to surrender to the idea that there is nothing greater than ourselves outside the realm of our four senses.  No, I cannot abide the idea of an angry white guy in the clouds who tolerates the very idea of a Westburrough Baptist Church or Fundamentalist (fill-in-the-blank).  Yes, I do know a VERY few individuals I would consider Christians in the truest sense of the word, but like Grandi observed, the worst thing that ever happened to Christ's teachings were what his followers seemed to have "learned".

Thus we now live our lives by a new sensibility, which embraces our most basic teaching; "An it harm none, do what you will".  This is simultaneously liberating while at the same time applying the same principle as the golden rule.  There are so many strictures within our social order which are oppressive for no profit other than for those seeking power over another.  Our Wiccan "Rede" frees us to pursue pleasure and joy during this life while sternly reminding us that there IS no pleasure OR joy in harming others in this pursuit.  No, there probably is no practical way to adhere to this guideline, insofar that we eat meat or purchase a product that may have cost some blood, sweat, and tears to produce, but if we cannot strive to avoid doing so, then we have avoided our fair share of responsibility.  Rights of any stripe do not come without a price.

Oh boy, I can go on and on, can't I?  This was a sort of "get-to-know-us" sort of post for the benefit of those who don't know us or didn't know us that well.  I hope you didn't think of any of this as judgmental, because save for anything YOU might believe which might wish harm upon me or mine, I do not require you to accept my creed in order to have my respect.  And since it is not MY job as a human being to be anybody's judge, I hope you can see fit to be our friend and return the favor.

Friends (no, not the "FB" idea of friends) in this day and age are worth their weight in ANYbody's concept of "gold".

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Once more into the breach........

     Hello.  Chances are, you are already familiar with yours truly, "THE Michael", an interesting character who has published numerous blogs that each had their own measured, if limited, amount of success.  Thing is, "success" is a relative term, dependant entirely on what one would expect to be accomplished from such an endeavor as blogging.  Yes, there are those amongst us who due to our own particular talents have produced blogs which have attracted "rock star" numbers of followers, while the rest of us have wallowed in our "close, but no cigar" efforts.  I was one of those, the "no cigar" bloggers, but like I said, success is relative, and what I lacked in sheer numbers I more than made up for in relationships I value more than just about anything I have gained in my life.  So, those of you who have already discovered me, well, welcome back to my twist on life, and those of you who are now stumbling across me in this new incarnation, well, hold on;  I am an acquired taste which I hope you will find worthy of sticking with if you have the time to waste on blogs.  I certainly have time to write this one, and hope you agree that it's worth the effort.  There's more to life than Face Book, doncha think?