Balance and Aim

Yesterday was painful.  I face planted after slipping on the ice, and managed to crack a molar in the process.  I look like I lost a fight with Mike Tyson.  I went to the dentist at the VA, and they sent me to an oral surgeon to get the cracked tooth dug out.  First, they cleaned my teeth and did a flouride treatment, since I couldn’t get in for surgery for a few hours.  I’m very pleased they did this, as I was there already, and going in the first place is hard for me.  I drove from the VA to the oral surgeon using the map they gave me.  I had it upside down, so I had to turn around at one point, and while doing so, I drove past my childhood home.  I don’t do this very often, as I live in a different part of town now.  The neighborhood seemed so small compared to my memories.

I arrived in plenty of time, and chose local anesthesia rather than being put under.  It meant a huge needle that I saw, even though they were trying to hide it from me.  I’m not afraid of shots so long as I know when they’re coming.  The first two didn’t hurt much.  The second two hurt about the same as a scorpion sting.  But it was only for a brief moment, and then they waited for the numbness to set in.  I didn’t feel any pain while the dentist dug out my tooth.  I heard cracking sounds, and had to push against the force to keep from moving too much.  The dentist and his assistant complimented me on remaining still.  He said he wished all his patients were so easy to work with.  I didn’t reply verbally for obvious reasons, but my eyes probably smiled.  I have a high pain tolerance, so it wasn’t difficult for me.

They prescribed an oral rinse and some narcotic pain killers.  I drove back to the VA to get them filled, and was home after about 5 hours.  For me to be away by myself, driving while it’s snowing, and going somewhere unfamiliar, is amazing.  I’m proud of myself for pulling it off without a panic attack.  The difference between the equipment at the VA dental clinic, and at the oral surgeons was astonishing.  I felt like I had travelled forward in time.  The seat was leather, and so soft and comfortable.  They were worried that I would have a hard time, but in reality, the hardest part was staying awake.  I got 2 stitches, and a handful of gauze to help stop the bleeding.  I bit down on it while I drove home, and then changed it upon arrival.  My cat was a little put out that I was gone that long.  She’s so cute.

I took the pills, but I halved the dosage.  The numbness was just starting to wear off when I got the script filled, so I took it as soon as I settled in.  My face is bruised and swollen today, but the bleeding has stopped, and the pain is minimal.  I’ll drop the rest of the pills off at the VA ER tomorrow, since I don’t need them.  I’m just glad I didn’t throw up from them.  I’ve been eating gogurt and PB&J sandwiches today.  I’m slightly nauseated, but I feel much better today.  I slept really hard last night, and ruined my pillowcase from blood leaking out in my drool.  Fortunately, it wasn’t one of my good ones.  I’m healing quickly, as usual.  I’ll be going back to get a tooth implant when I’m all healed.  I’m a little bit shaky on my feet today because my brain keeps replaying the fall.  It freaked me out how quickly it happened.  I know that my body is too weak right now, or this wouldn’t have happened.  I’ll be so glad when I can run daily again.  I never realized before how much balance depends on strength.

I read an article today about black intellectuals who want reparations.  I strongly disagree, and think reparations are a ridiculous notion when you consider the fact that the only reason African Americans exist in large numbers is because of the Africans who sold our distant relatives into slavery.  It was horrific betrayal, and we’re still coping with its effects on our daily lives.  It sucks.  I hate that it’s so hard to have brown skin in America.  But reparations won’t resolve anything.  First of all, who would pay them, and to whom?  Ridiculous.  Turn that energy toward fighting for an end to institutional racism and oppression.  We all feel the repercussions of slavery, and we all deserve viable solutions.

 

Gamify Your Life

I slept well last night.  I have a feeling I will again tonight.  It’s starting to cool off and may result in snow tomorrow, so my days of running outside may be coming to a pause.  I’m not as bothered by this because there’s a new treadmill in the gym downstairs.  I haven’t been using the gym in the leasing building recently because for some reason they completely redecorated it.  They put in new flooring, furniture, window treatments, and fixtures.  They even changed how the furniture is arranged.

It looks nice, I must admit.  It took a bit for me to muster the courage to look it over.  I gave myself double points for doing alone.  There’s a new treadmill in that gym too, but the one I always use is still in the same spot.  I might use the new one if nobody else is working out.  It’s in the middle of the row of cardio equipment, which means the chances of someone working out right next to me are higher.  I’ll go at 5AM.  That way it will just be me and the weight lifters.  They just watch their form in the mirrors and ignore everyone else.  They also allow me to cut in to do my reps while they stretch, which is nice.

The people who are there just before closing are the Indian immigrants who live in my building.  They’re always nice to me, and sometimes they do cricket team workouts which are fun to watch in the mirrors.  Especially when it’s dancing.  It’s so cute to watch several guys doing the same dance moves in unison.  I’ve seen them playing cricket on the softball fields in the park across the street.  The ones who live down the hall from me play their music loudly, but you can only hear it when you’re in the hallway.  It made me feel more confident to play my violin.  We have soundproofing between units, just not the entrance doors.

I started a new project today with a friend I met on Twitter.  He’s a software engineering student.  We’re going to build a site that encourages people to do the things that challenge them in life, and reward them like any other video game would when they conquer a task.  I’ve done this for years, and it’s helped me stay motivated when doing things that are hard for me.  I love that rush I get when I finish a task that I really didn’t want to do.  Grocery shopping comes to mind.  I award myself points and do a victory dance for a bit afterward.  It feels good, like any other accomplishment, so it totally counts.  I keep score in my head.  I’m totally winning.

He’s far more into web development than me.  I got burned out on web dev years ago, and now I only do personal projects here and there.  The programming languages change over time, and the process is constantly getting easier.  I’m a firm believer in utilizing open source software, rather than recreating it myself whenever possible.  It’s kind of the point of open source-ware.  My friend wanted to build a custom content management system from scratch, but when we realized his language of choice won’t work on the server I rented, he agreed that we should use open source.  We’ll probably go with either WordPress or Joomla.  I’m leaning more toward WordPress, as I like it.

I’m excited about it, and am probably going to spend lots of time making award titles and graphics.  It’s a system that works well for me, and I hope others will find it useful too.  I’m a gamer, so it was a natural thing for me to do.  Non-gamers might also enjoy the benefits of the accumulation of small victories.  I hope so!  Either way, I’ll have a blast building it.

Kind Hearted Woman

I watched a show on PBS today that wrapped itself around my heart and tugged.  It’s called, Kind Hearted Woman.  I caught it in the middle, but was instantly hooked.  Its a real story about a Native woman from the Spirit Lake reservation in ND.  A woman was comforting her daughter before she went to sleep.  Her daughter had spoken up about being sexually abused by her Dad.  Everything her Mom said to her was so perfect.

She knew exactly what her daughter was feeling, as she’d experienced it herself when she was a child.  I have never seen someone help a child cope with this so well.  It’s not a scripted show. These are real people living within driving distance of me right now.  I immediately picked up on the Native accent.  I grew up with foster siblings from various reservations in SD, so conversing with their families during visits was common throughout my childhood.  They were like extended family to me.  Their kids were usually in foster care because they had a medical condition that couldn’t be properly treated and accommodated on the reservation.

Watching this woman cope with her past, and present while battling for custody of her two children felt like listening to one of my sisters.  She had a lot of things working against her in the episode I watched.  Tribal council law was so unjust.  They blasted her character in an attempt to cover up the sexual abuse issues going on behind closed doors on the reservation.  I haven’t yet seen how it will play out as this was filmed 2 years ago.  I ordered the DVD’s on Amazon, because I have to know that things worked out for her and her children.

I’m so used to being the outsider who never fits in, and is baffled by the behaviors of other people.  I feel a connection with her because I can relate to her struggle in feeling like the world is so confusing, and actively working against her, yet getting up and living life anyway.  It’s a nice feeling.  Like there is someone on this planet with whom I can understand and root for, and hope for her to find lots of joy in her life.