Things are looking up.

Seriously. I mean that. I know it seems like all I use this blog for are feral outpourings of seething angst, but I am actually a somewhat fluid and variable individual. I mean, I’m bipolar and ADHD, so there’s days where I’m too bloody scattered to really go full blown agitated. Sometimes I get mixed states, but the Lithium lowers the volume dial on pretty much everything if that makes sense. At any rate, it’s been a few good days. I found some non kitchen work in the form of my old HVAC installation skill. Ideally, I’ll make it my regular job. Still pulling a couple days in the kitchen until I’m sure I can rely on it.

Back is pretty good, just had to stop doing the floors at work on wednesdays. Moving all that restaurant furniture was murder because so many corner sliders were missing. I’ve started wearing a brace to work at all times. It helps. I’m taking it easy on theatre for a while, but I’ll do another play (preferably onstage) soon.

I missed Church this past week, but it was unavoidable. Happens. Very much thrilled to be back. Meeting my Priest for breakfast some time soon to catch up. He’s always very educational as well as just great company. One of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. A retired mathematics professor who became an Orthodox Priest. Pretty cool. In addition to that I’m enjoying being back in the choir (I was back five minutes when they pounced on me :) I really enjoy contributing to the Liturgy at various intervals. Lit-orgia basically means ‘the work of the people’ if I recall correctly. Amusingly enough, I’m listening to a Pestilence (Dutch Death Metal)  album whilst gushing about how much fun I have in the Choir at my Orthodox Church. Gold Star Irony.

I still listen to Metal, I’ve just shrugged off the occult stuff. Honestly, it’s not so much the fact that I’m Christian as it is me finding stuff like Morbid Angel, Deicide and Gorgoroth really freaking cartoonish these days. How many times do you have to hear grown men screaming about satan before it gets old?  I still love Exhumed, Bolt Thrower, Cryptic Slaughter, Brutal Truth, Carcass, Sepultura, the list goes on. I have, however become far more picky about Metal. I’m nowhere as easily amused by it as I used to be. Honestly, this is true of a great many things.

But ja, I feel alright. The HVAC stuff came right back to me despite not having done it for about three years. I’m feeling fairly alright, and I’m being diligent about proper lifting and hydration. Which is good because for a few years I honestly had very little sense of survival imperative. These days I try to take better care of myself.

That’s all for now, but I’ll see if I can give myself a shove here and be a bit more prolific with this here blog.

Peace.

This again?

It’s been a rough couple of days. During my morning bike ride to work, I felt a familiar twinge of my old nemesis. Sciatica. It’s kind of a unique experience as far as pain goes. This description is solely of my own experience. One feels fine the bulk of the time. However, at random intervals you get a deep, sharp runner of hideous pain which starts in your lower back before it goes through one side of your buttocks and down the leg about halfway before easing off somewhat. Maybe.

Much like a train wreck mushroom trip, it’s not the experience itself so much that overpowers you. Rather, it’s the fact of if coming in waves of escalating intensity. For a while you have a handle on it, but eventually it becomes too much. There are many causes of sciatica. Perhaps I should tell you of mine.

See the muscle group behind the lumbar spine? That’s the Multifidus. Just about a year ago to today I badly pulled this small but crucial muscle group.

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What it does is act as a stabilizer as well as a shock absorber for the lower spine. Highly necessary for lateral movement.

So Ja, I was working stage crew on a Musical. There was a stupid heavy backdrop we had to hoist. The old main curtain to the playhouse on a huge metal pipe. Never got an exact weight on it. I’d wager around two hundred pounds. It took two grown men to hoist it to it’s apex.

I had done this on a previous show. As such, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. I hate being wrong sometimes.

I started hurting in the second week of shows. Lots of Tylenol, ice packs, heating pad and menthol patches. It quickly became apparent that it was not improving at all.

By this time I was sure I had slipped a disc. However, Xrays proved me wrong. It was the Physical Therapist who pinpointed the multifidus. Essentially, when it swells up and/or spasms it puts pressure on the sciatic nerve going down my left leg. As it gets worse my left leg feels increasingly heavy until I start getting a subtle limp.

A decent array of injuries over the years and I thought I had a pretty good handle on dealing with pain. Nerve pain changed that drastically. I can deal with a good bit of hurting and maintain composure usually. However, nerve pain turns me into a whimpering four year old girl if it’s intense enough. Actually, I laugh weakly at the thought of being THAT cool about it.

So Ja, I took it easy, did my Physical Therapy stuff and was back up to par (more or less) in a few months. A few Cortisone Injections helped. I didn’t honestly feel like i was back at full strength or close until I was a guy in ‘Guys and Dolls’ this past May. That was tough but also a great deal of fun, which I desperately needed at the time.

I’ve not been involved with a stage show since then. I’d like to but with recent happenings it isn’t on the table for at least a few months. This fact makes me sad. I’m sadder still to know that I’m simply not Mr. Iron Man of Perpetual Endurance like I was just a few years ago. I have to carefully guard myself against making my back and shoulders any worse.

All that aside, I’m pretty optimistic. It was really incredible to be back at St. Nicholas Church last week. It just felt right, being in my usual spot in the Choir section. I’m not sure I can make it tomorrow. I have a person or two I can tag along with but I believe they are tied up in the morning. I’m not attempting last week’s trek in my current state.

I see the Physician Monday afternoon. Until then I have the Baclofen she called in for me. One more day of work to hobble through and I can relax for a few days.

No way through but forward, Ja?

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Well I’ll be…..

For once in a blue moon or blood moon or perhaps the planets being properly aligned my trek to Church was successful. Mostly because I covered about half the distance on my bicycle. Biked about ten miles and used the bus for the other ten. Totally worth it.

I made it with time to spare and stood listening to the Orthros Prayers for a bit. When he had a moment my Priest came up and gave me a big hug and said ‘Welcome back’.

A few minutes later I heard someone hiss my name from the door. It was one of my Choir people fetching me for rehearsal. I sounded not so awesome in rehearsal so was a tad nervous going into the Liturgy. However, my fears were unfounded. We sounded pretty well on point that day.

All in all, well worth the dawn trek. Also, my Priest introduced me to some folks who live up this way. Might be able to largely avoid the massive trek. We shall see. Seriously though, wonderful to be back at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. I journey there because I truly love that Parish.

Not a whole lot else is going on, really. I’m slowly turning my eastern wall into a Shrine, so that’s a fun little project.

When I’ve something interesting to report, you’ll be the first to know.

God be with you-
Thom

The general shape of things as of late

I’m still hanging in there. The last few years have been pretty rough. A relationship that went way farther than it should have imploded. Still fighting for the life of my health coverage. Still don’t have a car. Still clean (Thanks be to God) from opiates. Still having pretty significant back/neck/shoulder troubles, but holding so far. Although I did have to see my GP a few weeks ago and get a dexa shot in my left shoulder-blade area. Blasted muscle was clenched like like you wouldn’t believe. Still working at the same idiotic place and carefully looking for something better.

Hrmm, what else can I tell you?

I checked out an Orthodox Church closer to home recently. Had a wonderful experience and planning to go back. My previous Church is quite far away so I’m glad the nearby one looks promising.

I’m still taking basically the same meds (Lithium, Risperdal, Vistaril) with the reintroduction of generic modafinil (provigil). Naturally the insurance company is making me go through the slow and lengthy authorization yet again. Makes my blood boil a tad but whatever. All I can do is go with it. That’s true of quite a good many things. Still quite vexing.

Doing my best and slowly finding my footing. Hopefully I’ll rediscover my blogging stride. We shall see.

Finding my way back…

           Sometimes I find myself wanting to quietly breathe the following words to the nearest human being: “Life sure is confusing, isn’t it?”. Not certain why aside from the fact that I’m somewhat mentally ill and have a great deal of inner conflict. It’s been like that for years. Ask any of my exes. That aside from that, my subject here is awaiting articulation. “Back….to what?” You may have uttered as you read the title. Well, Orthodoxy.

Despite all the madness in my life, particularly a disastrous relationship of several years, learning about Orthodox Christianity at St. Nicholas Antiochian was in a very real way my peace and refuge.

However, I did something stupid. I turned my back on the way. My relationship was crumbling and it was easy to walk away from the Church life because I thought it would be like a saving throw. Totally didn’t work. She and I continued fighting and it got to where we were completely distant at all times. There’s more to this story than just this, and I certainly did my share of wrongs. I don’t know. It just didn’t work.

A few months passed. Five, actually. I just started thinking about all of this again in the last couple weeks after talking to my Father. He asked if I was still going to Church. I said “Nah”. He replied ‘Well, I do hope you find your way back.”. The thought marinated for a few days. I slowly began to realize how much I missed St. Nicholas Church, singing in the Choir and the whole of the Christian experience. I thought, “Dude, this time I can do it right, with no distractions or walking on eggshells.”. Started informally praying again, doing the Sign of the Cross and reading a bit. Re-installed the Ancient Faith Radio app on my Windows Phone. Looking forward to getting back into “Orthodixie”. It’s the program of Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, an Antiochian Priest in Texas. Very down to earth, informative and a great wit to boot. So that’s pretty cool. Easing myself back into the routine, checking the fasting calendar and trying to stay focused on getting my life back in order.

Easier said than done. Currently I find myself in a state of hopeful repentance. I know it’s going to be tough, but this is something I simply cannot phone in. I had a taste of a change for the better within myself. I intend to go full throttle with it. More as it develops.

As ever,
T

I have returned.

Well, I have come back in a few ways. A few months ago, my life was basically crumbling. To be honest, I lost faith. I put faith aside and tried to salvage a bad relationship. Didn’t work out very well. Just in the last few weeks I’ve come to realize how much I miss Church, This blog and various other facets of my life.

I still have some tweaking to do but all the old content should be back very soon.

Au revoir for now-
-Thom