Let’s talk about ADHD

 

I’d rather be telling filthy stories but i’m kind of fighting with an (unusual for me) anxiety issue.

This is a long story and I would rather not tell it all right this moment, but we’ll see, these things grow as I go one sometimes.

I’ve worked in high tech for an absurd number of years. I had an aptitude with computers from the time I first encountered them in the late 70’s; I learn things hands on, and pick them up quickly. So when, for example, the poster/plant department of Tower Records needed a person to take over ticket sales when we first got a terminal, my boss tapped me because he knew i’d be all over it.

It’s always been that way. I don’t have patience with manuals and instructions, but things I can learn by getting hands on and problem solving, I launch at. My first high tech job was as a shipping clerk, but I quickly found my way into a test department (at Seagate in Scotts Valley), moving into engineering on hard work and fast learning.

This got me every job since, going through most of the top tech companies of the 80’s and 90’s. I won’t mention my current employer by name, but Sun and Cisco were both great for me, allowing me to keep learning and growing as an engineer as well as a technical expert in non-engineering teams.

It’s the same story throughout; aptitude, work ethic, intelligence, and extremely good communication skills.

The fact that I didn’t always excel at deep focus tasks was balanced by all the rest; if I could not solve a deep technical problem, I knew how to diagnose the issue, and collaborate to get it solved quickly by people who had the specific skill I did not have. I compensated for certain difficulties, by multi-tasking exceptionally well. Yes, I have had phone sex while programming perl code, and did both well, thank you.

 

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Protect ya neck

Or more accurately, your shoulders.

I’ve spent the last 10 weeks recovering from a rotator cuff surgery, so unable to drive stick shift, ride my motorcycle, work out, or do fuck all that needs my use of my right (dominant) shoulder. (Ok, all of me is dominant, some of you know that, but, well, that’s means something else.)

 

Let me give you all a piece of advice: no matter how fit and strong and young you are, your shoulders are vulnerable to injury, and shoulder injuries fucking hurt. Shoulder surgery hurts like hell, for a long time, and is incredibly slow to heal

That gets worse as you get older.

My orthopedic surgeon tells me it’s one of the most painful, slowest healing surgeries around, and from person experience, I can agree with this.

If you’re working out, trust anyone who tells you you’re risking injury with a technique. There are right and wrong ways, and you can only get away with wrong for just so long before something give out,

 

All that said, it’s healing, but it’s going to take months more before I can do a push-up, pull-up, bench press, or just ride my harley.

So trust me on this one, take care of yer goddam shoulders.

My Shoulder

I kind of had this plan to blog my way through my surgery this week. I kind of think that was over-optomistic, considering a) I haven’t been blogging at all most of the last year and b) I haven’t really had much use of my left arm.

I didn’t quite get there; best I managed with posting photos f the inside of my shoulder on facebook, and tweeting about how looped I was on percocet in the middle of the night.

To summarize though, for those who aren’t following me elsewhere – December 23, I had arthroscopic surgery on my left shoulder

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bad wing

Looks like I need surgery on my left shoulder. You know, the one with the flower tattoos, not the one with the swirly black tribal ones.

This shoulder has given my trouble ever since I took up weight lifting ten years ago, and eventually it got bad enough that I pretty much gave up weight lifting a couple years back (because every time I lifted, I hurt myself). The last year it’s gone from occasionally annoying to painful when I sleep, so it’s now having daily impact.

My diagnosis based on the location and character of the pain was a tear in my rotator cuff.

I had an MRI the monday after xmas, and while it didn’t confirm a tear, it did show a lot of swelling and fluid buildup in the joint, and what my doctor called a “down beak” in the bone which is rubbing on a ligament and causing the damage.

Verdict: I need surgery. At very least the damage to the surrounding tissue needs to be cleaned up, and the bone needs to be ground down to reduce the wear. There may be a small tear we can’t see on the MRI, which he’ll also repair.

The doctor wanted to do the surgery the 14th of Jan, but I have too many schedule conflicts (including a tattoo a week later), so we had to put it off until early Feb based on his schedule.

I’m not looking forward to this. I have little patience with things that impede my physical ability. Pain is no problem, but having my arm useless for two weeks really, really annoys me. The good thing is, it’s going to be arthroscopic so the procedure itself is quick and the recovery reasonably short. Plus, there will be pain medication, which is always a treat.

Marks and scars and lusts

The wound in my hand wasn’t as bad as all that; the following morning the pain was gone entirely, leaving behind only a vague tenderness. More interesting, though, was the leathery texture my skin has now. It’s like it’s someone else’s hand, when I feel it against my skin. The ridges and whorls are burned entirely away in a few places, leaving only the exact imprint of the pan’s handle on my palm and fingers.

The only discomfort, amusingly, is when I put on my one my skull rings on my left middle finger.

In any case, marks lead to marks; I’ve been thinking about tattoos.

I think it’s time I got back to work on long-shelved tattoo projects. With things at work getting back within the range of ‘normal’ at work, my mind’s had a small amount of space to wander.

I called a local shop today, and sometime in the next three or four days I need to visit to pay a deposit and arrange a start date. I’m planning to finish my half-naked right arm.

It just feels like time. And the other things I’m obsessing over are harder, both financially and logistically, to manage just now. Yesterday I started to fantasize about boats and diving and tropical breezes, and spent a few minutes looking at trips to cozumel or la paz or some such lower-cost diving destination; though in truth the windows I have for travel this year are small, and, well, we all know what finances are starting to look like in the next weeks or months, for most of us.

It’s not a surprise I’m a creature driven by desire; one of the things that tells me how hard I’ve been working, how buried I’ve been, is that my mind starts to re-direct the energy of avaricious thoughts into basic survival. I stop thinking about who and what and where I want, and think about how to get through a day without losing more ground.

It’s clear that I feel better, despite (or even because of) a little pain and a visually striking injury. It’s clear because I’m now looking at motorcycles, thinking, how can I swing a new bike; I’m planning tattoos, trips to warm, sunny beaches, and fantasizing about who-and-what I’d be doing in any given scenario.

I feel like me when the low, simmering desire begins to come back. So that must be a good thing.

Remind me, though, not to shop for any new motorcycles. At least not this week.

Happy V

I’ve talked about it before; I will again. I don’t think a lot of the idea of valentines day.

Pink candy hearts and paper cards are not part my celebration of carnal, physical love, nor are they pat of my celebration of romantic love.

My kind of love leaves marks, bruises, welts. It leaves one spent. It doesn’t include a sugar rush and a lot of packaging.

All that aside, though, love is what we make it, and it needs to be celebrated. We need to remember to say it out loud, and to show it with forgiveness and acceptance, respect, an open mind and an open heart.

For those to whom I’ve not say i love you enough lately, I do, even when I forget to say it. For those to whom I have said it, I mean it. Those words don’t come lightly from my lips, and when I say they, they are absolutely real.

Happy Valentines Day, people.

baby it’s cold outside

Sometimes a guy needs a new coat.

I had a coat like this in about 1971; a real vietnam-era vintage m65 field jacket. I loved that coat, wore it constantly. It was covered with patches with things like peace signs and the Sgt Pepper drum head and various hippy-dippy sentiments; I wanted Freewheelin’ Franklin painted or embroidered on the back but I never found anyone who could render it properly. The left breast pocket was full of rat chew holes; I always carried my pet rat in that pocket.

My mom still has that jacket, and I started thinking recently that I wished I could get another.

The vintage ones are hard to find, and obviously, the commonly desired sizes like L and Xl are virtually impossible. So I started looking at new ones. They turn out to all be cotton-poly now, the new ones, which wasn’t the same. And I didn’t want a black one, or camo, just the same old green, cotton field jacket I had when I was a kid.

Then I found the jacket above; all cotton, vintage styled, skul-and-spade logo which, you know, is so damned me, and *on sale* for a third the price of the current GI surplus ones.

I couldn’t be happier. Has kind of a travis bickle look to it, doesn’t it?

A drink to…

I sit on new year’s eve. I’m drinking wine, cooking for family. And thinking of those not present.

My mother, alone in the prison of her home and her infirmity and her fear; she could come here, but will not.

My father, my brother, dead now ten years or so; the first, a heart attack because he loved his cigarettes and brandy and bacon better than he loved – well, than he loved anything; my brother, because he chose self-pity and the need to justify himself, to himself, over treatment for an ailment that was mostly between his ears.

My father in law, who lies now in a hospital bed, drugged into insensibility because waking forces him to deal with his own mortality; a surgery that took half his insides to save his life. He sleeps, thanks to chemicals, with the innocence of a baby, while tubes bring him nutrients and fluids, and take away his waste; machines help him breath, and insure his heart keeps beating.

And I imagine others; some who should be here and are not, friends with families or loves or responsibilities; or those across a country or an ocean, missed, longed for, desired.

I drink to you all; be ye here, or me there, or all us in some fine, warm place where the new year can be welcomed by the light of bright stars.

My wine glass sits empty, and i’ve a pot of soup to stir, stock from christmas’ roasted turkey, a bounty of vegetables, butter and cream and herbs and fresh baked bread perfuming my kitchen.

Happy new year, friends, lovers, loved ones, relatives, readers.

Happy new year, those gone, across a distance of miles, or years, or below a layer of simple dirt. Happy new year all ye; love to all, and I drink to a better year for us all.