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Author Topic: Treading Water  (Read 8053 times)

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Offline leatherman

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Treading Water
« on: June 07, 2008, 12:56:16 PM »
Since I ended my previous thread (Spinning Wheels) about Jim, many of you have been checking in and wondering how things are going with me. I guess now is as good a time as any (a little over a month after Jim's passing, and almost two weeks after his memorial service) to start a new thread about just little ol' me.

Sticking to the "-ing" part for a title for this thread, I thought "treading water" sounded good for two reasons. 1) I've been trying to get the pool ready to be opened (it's a 24ft round above-ground pool); and 2) "treading water" means you're just staying in one place, waiting, holding your head above the water.

Although I helped Jim open up his pool every year for the last decade, I sure wish I had paid more attention to the details. I have questions; but no Jim to answer them. And it's been one problem after another. First a broken retainer washer and then I found the diaphragm gasket had a big tear in it. Don't worry though, I have the general idea, I'm fairly intelligent (no comments, peanut gallery LOL), and there's a pool store about 2 miles away.

So butch Leatherman pulled out his tools, stripped down the filter pump, got everything back in the right holes, and had the pump spurting once again. (leatherman has a dirty mind about everything ROFL) mikie, however, just doesn't remember how many days it's supposed to take to get that icky green water back to crystal clear. I started late this year (I was rather "occupied" during May when we normally open up the pool) and lost two more days with the gasket problem. I hope to have the pool back up and running soon - especially since it's fricking 90 degrees here in Ohio, for heaven's sake.

However, as far as getting my own life up and running, that's a much tougher issue than the green pool water. To be honest, every day for the last two weeks, I felt worse (both emotionally and physically) than the day before.

(although the last two days kinda held even as I worked on the pool problems and caught several hours of rays lying out on the pool deck. I know I'm supposed to worry about cancers, and there's a warning label ("avoid prolonged sunlight exposure") on my Bactrim; but I've been lying out by Jim's pool for more summers than I can remember. Now after just two days I've already got my speedo tan line coming back nicely; and as a good ol' Southern boy, I always feel MUCH better in the hot sunshine.)

Each day, despite the support (and distractions) provided by my friends, I am feeling more depressed as I try to adjust to my new single life (you'd think it'd be easier as this is the second time I've had to transition back to being alone; but I think it's actually more difficult this time). Absolutely everything I do reminds me of Jim. I went to the grocery store one day and came home with only a can of soup because I'm just so used to buying for Jim and I that I had no idea of what -I- wanted. 

Although, I've been taking my meds, as prescribed for nearly two weeks,  I've felt like I've been beat with a sledgehammer (all my muscles and joints hurt so bad, I feel like I should see bruising), and I've been nauseated - enough to have a couple episodes of dry heaves and puking. (WooHoo! I'm beating my average this month. ROFL) Between not knowing what to eat, feeling too "icky" to eat, or being too hot to be hungry, I've been "off my feed" lately, so to speak. Just like with the aftermath of an adrenaline rush, I would bet most of my current "sickness problems" are the aftereffects of all the stress from the last few months.

I originally started writing up this post last week, as so many people were checking in and as I had so much swirling around in my head. Never one for a lack of words (LOL), I had written about so many thoughts that this post would have been just much too long for me to expect anyone to read through (LOL like this version isn't already too long at this length).

I had thoughts about how odd it is to be storing the memorabilia from two partners who passed away; how every change I make in the house seems wrong to be making to Jim's house; why I'm sadder this time as each day goes by since Jim has passed away compared to my experience of being sadder watching Randy before he passed away; the issues surrounding my recent stint of drug "semi-compliance" and my previous patterns of going off-meds; and there's still the unfinished business of handling Jim's medical bills and the cremation bill.

(Oh, and leatherman was thinking about the one thing people don't think or talk about much after someone's partner dies - the sex. Not only is he having to handle things by himself again; but there were all those previous months when he wasn't getting any because his partner was sick. He doesn't begrudge Jim for not putting out; he just finds it another one of those annoying things that has changed in his life now. One that is going to be much harder to fix. Last time he was only 30 when he became single; this time he's 46.)

However, lest you think part of my problems as from having too pessimistic of an attitude, let me set your minds at ease. First, unfortunately, I've been here before and done this. There's a certain amount of stress, grief, and depression from losing a partner, that I'm just going to have to go through - rather I want to or not, as I learned from losing Randy. Right now, I'm allowed to be in "the dumps". But secondly, I've been here before, and survived! Yes, I was a changed person; but it has been 14 years since I lost one partner and I'm hoping and thinking about the next 14 years. For right now though, I'm just treading water, trying to determine in which direction to swim to get back to some solid ground.

thanks to everyone who has still been thinking about me!  ;D :-*
mikie

PS when I go see my doc this thurs (ooooh, the numbers aren't going to be good this time I bet, so my doc is going to be fussy with me; but I can't fall into the old pattern of skipping the doc appt and stopping my meds), I'm going to get another Chantix script. Last time I took it for a month and was off the cigs for 105 till everything went to hell in a handbasket. I waited a while as I wasn't really to deal with the nicotine withdrawal effects or any of the chantix side-effects (I only had the vivid dreams last time; but I don't think I want to risk any medical-induced depression right now. I have enough of my own, thanks anyway). As before, I could care less about any health benefits to quitting smoking. I wasn't able to afford cigs any longer back when I had Jim's income too; so I sure can't afford them now on my own.
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline bear60

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2008, 01:53:39 PM »
Its good that you have reached this point where you are depressed.  The stages of grief:
1.Denial and Isolation.
2. Anger.
3. Bargaining.
4. Depression.
5. Acceptance.
So if you are at the DEPRESSION stage...you are doing well.
I think 2 years is the usual time people allow for grieving.
I dont know, being at Jims house must be difficult.
When my former died....I rented the house out for a while. I moved in with Kurt, then when Kurt became ill and had to go on disability we moved back in but not before a complete makeover.
It wasnt Pauls and my house anymore. ....it was Kurts and my house
 But I know what you mean about the "memorabilia".  Kurts former lover who died in 1993 and my former lover who died in 1995 are still with us.  Having all this memorabilia around is difficult sometimes.  I want to give something to the thrift shop and....no that was Alan's or......... no that was Paul's.
As for the sex......have you ever heard of going out and testing the waters?  Instead of treading water you actually take a few strokes.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline MOONLIGHT1114

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2008, 02:09:49 PM »
Thinking of you, Mikie.  Yep, its 94 degrees here today with a heat index of 102.  Get that pool ready and take a nice nap while floating on the water. 

~ Cindy
HIV+ since '93, 1/12 - CD4 785 and undet.   WOO-HOO!!

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2008, 05:07:03 PM »
1.Denial and Isolation.
2. Anger.
3. Bargaining.
4. Depression.
5. Acceptance.

So if you are at the DEPRESSION stage...you are doing well.
I think 2 years is the usual time people allow for grieving.

I don't know if I'm just crazy or abnormally balanced. As with Randy's death, I skipped the first three steps. I'm a very realistic person, so denial wasn't an issue. People get sick; and people sometimes die. That's the way it is. Isolation - you gotta be kidding. I've got too many friends (and I'm too outgoing a person) to fall into that. No anger either. It wasn't my fault, Jim's fault or even God's fault. And why would I be mad at the dead guy? Bargaining? Again, I'm too realistic and who would I bargain with? God? I think of myself as an agnostic. I feel that there might be a God; but if he interfered in my life, then it wouldn't be MY life, now would it?

So both times, I skipped straight to the depression. I know from personal experience that it will take some time to get through that stage. Personally, although I do get to the point of just being me, alone (acceptance), I never totally leave the depression stage, though it does lessen. I'm always going to miss Randy and Jim terribly and there's nothing I can do about that; but continue grieving for the rest of my life.

I dont know, being at Jims house must be difficult.
When my former died....I rented the house out for a while. I moved in with Kurt, then when Kurt became ill and had to go on disability we moved back in but not before a complete makeover.
It wasnt Pauls and my house anymore. ....it was Kurts and my house

Now that Jim's stuff is packed up, I had to re-arrange the computer room, back bedroom and living room to accomodate moving in the new roomie - Sean, my right-hand man through the last month. Although re-arranging the furniture is another one of my "bad" habits (or so all the boyfriends have said LOL), I sure didn't enjoy it this time.

Little by little, Jim's "home" has become my "house" as things have been moved around or stored away. Having lived in this house since he was a young boy, Jim was set in his ways, and never very open to my hints of re-decorating. Though he was very gracious about merging my furniture and belongings into his house when I moved in a year and a half ago, I understood how much he hated changing things around. I knew how much it meant he loved me to allow me to cause such a "disruption" in his household. Changing things around now almost seems disrepectful and each change removes a little bit more of Jim from the house.  :'(

Since a few people have asked about the new roomie, let me give you an update about that. Now don't get me wrong about the next part for I think this is all minor stuff that will work out in time; but breaking in a new roommate isn't really what I was in the mood to do right now. I guess I'm still just very disturbed by this "start of a new life" that has been thrust upon me.

First there's the break in my whole routine (like going to the hospital every day for 2 months didn't already just destroy anything like a schedule or normal routine). I used to have the daytime all to myself - computer time, yard work, chores, etc; then by 8pm, Jim would be home, we'd eat dinner and watch TV before hitting the hay (or having a "roll in the hay" before going to sleep). Now, the roomie is here all day (working 4pm - 1am); and I have ended up alone at dinner, and totally un-interested in TV.

The second problem is my new roomie is just too nice (and just a bit lonely himself). I do really appreciate all of his help, and the way he tries to keep me occupied; but at times, I swear, he follows me around like a stray puppy dog, when all I want to do is be alone. But I'm an easy-going person and I'm sure we'll work through this in time.

Unfortunately, the roomie is getting a lesson in "living with aids" since he moved in. He's been quite concerned about me being sick, and I've had to explain that that's just how it goes sometimes for me with my virus. It's been like this for about 16 yrs now; but I've definitely been sicker at times than I have been lately. You know how it is. You tell people you're sick and that you have problems; but until they get to see how many times you're actually hanging over the toliet, they don't "really" understand.

As for the sex......have you ever heard of going out and testing the waters?  Instead of treading water you actually take a few strokes.
Leatherman got a chuckle out of your "strokes" comment.  ;)

While I'm not discounting taking the plunge back in the deep end of the pool; there are problems. First, because I'm realistic, is my age. At 46, it's just going to be much harder to find someone. Then I'm going to have to finally deal with the whole "disclosure" issue. (we'll have to see if I can hold up to my standards after some of my "pontificating" in previous threads about that subject) Not to mention that I live in small-city Ohio - not a lot to choose from around here (ah, and there's the transportation problem of getting to Akron or Cleveland if the car gets repossessed). Back when I was 30, I didn't think I'd ever get laid again, much less fall in love; but both things happened, so I won't rule either of those out totally (I do learn from my experiences ;) ). However, it's just going to be tougher this time around. Although since I'm NOT looking for another full-time partner (I just don't seem to have good luck keeping the ones I've had), hopefully it'll be easier to find someone to meet just my "physical needs".

Get that pool ready and take a nice nap while floating on the water. 

I'm trying.  ;D I thought maybe I'd find some help from my blog (that I've been keeping since 1999). Because we had pool liner problems for a couple of the last years, I had to go clear back to 2000 to find out how long it normally takes to get the pool cleaned up after winter. All I wrote was that "we cleaned the pool up last week and are now enjoying it" - not much help there. LOL Although the water is still green today, I've been working on cleaning it all day, and it's a much paler green. I can even finally see the bottom! Maybe in a couple more days, it'll be safe to get in (gosh knows the last thing I need is some bacterial infection picked up from the algaefied water. ROFL); though knowing Ohio weather, it'll probably be snowing again by the time the water is clear!  :D

another day working on the pool and my tan,
mikie  ;D
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Iggy

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2008, 02:23:03 PM »
Mikie,

Reading this thread is so similar to conversations I had once with someone else.  He too had lost two partners and ironically his first partner's name was Randy.

There are many things that you discuss that seemed so eerily verbatim from those conversations of long ago that I started to get chills.  Of course, what it tells me is that what you are going through is to be expected and as he dealt with it and continued through all the pain and remembrances, I hope you will be able to as well.

Knowing from our previous pm's, I am certain that you are better equipped then many to deal with such events, because you have always had a strength in life (and death) taken on it's own without artifice.  It doesn't make it easier, I know, but it does make you more certain of continuing through the bad and the eventual good again as you know you can.

All my thoughts and best wishes.


Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 11:44:26 PM »
I don't know if I'm just crazy or abnormally balanced.

No anger either. It wasn't my fault, Jim's fault or even God's fault.

Maybe I am imbalanced since I'm quoting myself  ::) ; but...

I was floating around the pool and thinking today. (oh! I forgot to tell you - the pool is clean and open for business! ;D I've been in the pool for the last three days now while it's been near 90 here in OH) I still don't think I have the anger step; unless frustration is a part of anger.

It frustrates me to have lost two partners (that's still so f-ing weird to say. Oh, I've said similar for years; but it was always "lost A partner". that's ONE, not multiples!!). It frustrates me that I tried (they did too; but this is MY story now) to keep them both alive to no avail. It frustrates me that there isn't anyone to bitch too. It frustrates me that it doesn't seem fair; but none of life is "fair"; it just "is".

There's frustration at the way life happens; but no one to be angry at. That's the reality of life, and life keeps moving on - so I have to move along with it. Previously in my life, I was frustrated that I was 4 credits short of a college diploma. I was frustrated that I got HIV. It frustrates me that so many little things seemed to have broken lately around the house (the refrigerator motor is now making a very loud sound now).

To be honest, I guess life is just going to keep on throwing hurdles up in front of me. And what am I to do? I could fall down, or I could jump over them. Well, a long time ago I decided, even though it's tougher, to jump the hurdles. That's my plan and I'm sticking to it. ;) Though I may complain about my problems, it's not with anger; but I use the frustration I feel about the situations to focus me on finding the solutions. Even though there isn't a "solution" to Jim's death, there are solutions to all the problems left behind from his passing. I just have to figure them out, jump the hurdle and keep on until the next hurdle.

Reading this thread is so similar to conversations I had once with someone else.  He too had lost two partners and ironically his first partner's name was Randy.
That's quite sad to hear. I was hoping I was unique in my experience, as no one should have to go through this kind of thing twice in one lifetime.

You know I came to this site partially because I had lost one partner (and partially because I had lost my gay friends - mainly through AIDS deaths, or my own isolation from being sick). I found some people here who really understood, not so much just having HIV, or even the personal problems from having AIDS, but also understood the tragedy of having a partner taken from them by this disease.

Now I find myself in an even more "elite" group. Honestly, I doubted there would be anyone but myself that had been through this tragedy twice. I guess I might have to check around and see how many of us have lost multiple long-term partners. Wonder if I should start a poll about that?
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 11:45:49 PM »
Today, I had an appt. with my doc and I must say that I left his office flabbergasted.

Believing "honesty to be the best policy", I've been upfront (even with my doctor) about my compliance to my meds. Or should I say "semi-compliance". Ever since Jim went into the hospital (and that was months ago now), taking my meds hasn't been my top priority. Either I wasn't at home and didn't have any meds with me, or I wasn't eating right (and I gotta have food to keep the norvir down), or I just didn't want to risk any side-effects (the puking!). So when I had blood drawn two weeks ago, I was certain I'd be getting back results with a lower tcell count and a higher viral load (just like the last couple of times).

(on my last doctor's visit, I didn't get any counts. He only ran a genotype test on me and then dropped the viramune as it was no longer effective)

Never much higher than 250, my tcells have, unfortunately, been dropping over the last few months. Today was no exception. This time they dropped from 225 to 214. I know it's not much of a change; but it's the trend that worries me. Plus it means I'm much closer to that critical 200-mark.

However, the results from my viral load were totally unexpected. Instead of rising from the last results of 2545, unbelievably, the viral load dropped back down - clear down to undetectable! It took me 10 yrs to reach undetectable the first time, and now on the 4-yr anniversary of my first undetectable, I've hit the mark for the 5th time!

So my doc didn't have to fuss at me, wrote me a script for Chantix (Jim and I took it this Fall and I stopped smoking for 105 days. I couldn't afford the habit any longer when Jim was alive, so I sure can't afford it now with just my income), and refills for everything else (ddi, norvir, bactrim, reyataz, acyclovir and viread). The doc didn't even fuss about my tan! He was just happy that I was keeping myself busy and active. Matter-of-fact, the doc was so pleased with my counts, and how I've been holding up after losing Jim, that instead of having to see him again in a month (I like my doc alot; but how I hate it when my counts are bad, and I have to go in to see him month after month after month), I've been given a reprieve for the whole Summer! My next appt. isn't until mid-Sept. WooHoo!

 ;D mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline bear60

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2008, 10:37:31 AM »
Wow, thats great news AND you have a tan.
I never told you this but I have THREE former lovers who are dead from teh AIDS.  Truth be told tho, I was not in a relationshiop with the first two when they died. No, they died after our relationships were over.  But still,  three people in my life that I actually had more than a casual affair with are dead.  I was beginning to feel like typhoid Mary! 
Kurt is number four.  I just hope he outlasts me.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2008, 02:34:53 PM »
Wow, thats great news AND you have a tan.
Even though I'm a good ol' Southern boy from NC and spent my youth playing in the sun (and my college days in Pensacola FL, at the beach), it wasn't until 3 yrs. ago that I first got an actual tan. Up until then, I just burned. For me, a tan was always a nice deep red. LOL The summer before I moved in with Jim, I started coming over in the late Spring to take care of the pool. Summer got a late start that year, so I spent many an afternoon just lying by the pool reading. That was the first real tan I ever got. So actually living AT the house with the pool for two yrs running now, I've been able to get out and get enough sun every day possible to bring back my tan.

I should mention though, that the tan is not really about my vanity. Oh it is some, I'll admit ;); but mainly, there's just not enough sunshine here in OH compared with NC, so I make sure to soak up all I can in the few decent months of weather we get here. Trust me, by the time Christmas comes around, my whole body will be as white as my ass is now. :D (I probably freak the neighbors out enough in my very tiny speedos. I'm sure a thong or going in the buff would just be too much for my straight/married/with young children neighbors. ROFL ;D)

I'm still tripping about my viral load count though. :o Don't get me wrong, I couldn't be happier about that - it means MY death is still a ways away. But good grief!  ::) I was so bad about taking my meds lately, I almost have to think that the lab got it wrong. LOL Maybe it's just life giving me one break amongst all the troubles recently. :D


Kurt is number four.  I just hope he outlasts me.
That's what was supposed to happen with me this time. :'(

I didn't waste the time with Jim; but I'm frustrated that I spent all those years only thinking of him as my "best friend" rather than "lover", because I was oh so certain that I would pass away first and leave him bereft like I was after Randy died. I know it troubled Jim too. Several times near the end, he talked to me about how bad he felt about me having to go through this a second time, after I had tried so hard to spare his feelings if I had passed away first. I'm sure I'll learn a lesson from all this eventually; but right now I do know that that's a big reason on my list to NOT have another boyfriend. I still wouldn't want someone else to have to go through this grief, and I surely don't want to go through it again myself!!!

Although I understand your sentiment, how about rather than hoping Kurt outlasts you, I just keep both you and Kurt in my thoughts and prayers that you BOTH last a nice long time.  :-*

I never told you this but I have THREE former lovers who are dead from teh AIDS. . .
omigosh! I really am sorry to hear that. Even though you weren't still with those two, I'm sure that had to affect and trouble you.

Hmmm, that got me thinking. Not that we were together much over a year or so, I had a couple other partners before Randy. I wonder what's become of them?  Hopefully, since we were all negative back then, they are still around.

I was beginning to feel like typhoid Mary! 
And I can sure understand that! Although I'm pretty certain that I didn't give the virus to either of my guys, I sure have some weird feelings from losing partner after partner this way.

It sounds like both of us are suffering from some "survivor's guilt" - although I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I mean, if you let those kind of feelings consume you, it'd be one thing; but feeling some of that is just natural because of being a survivor. Personally, it's that "guilt" after losing Randy that taught me to value every day of being alive. Back then, I was oh so certain that I was only going to survive Randy by two years. Hey, the meds were crappy back then, and at the two year mark I got PCP. The odds were in favor of me being correct about my assumption; but it looks like I've been made an "ass" about my "ass"-umptions a couple times now. (Hmmm, I'm sure there's a lesson to learn there. LOL)

However, after that I started thinking of every day that I was still alive as an "EXTRA" day (not like "borrowed time" - like something stolen or undeserved; but as something special - like a "gift"), and if I had this EXTRA day then what folly it would be to not try to get some enjoyment out of that extra day. Some days, especially the puke-y days, it's awfully hard to find the silver lining; but I have learned that, at the very least, being alive and not dead is the silver lining for even the worst days. (although it was VERY hard, trying to keep that optimistic point of view during this crisis with Jim. Being alive to watch another partner die just didn't seem like much of a silver lining at all.)

Part of me can't help but wonder why it is that I'm a survivor and lost two long-term partners. I know there's no answer for that question - it's just the way life is. I have been considering doing something, after summer, that might become an answer though. I've been thinking about volunteering to help the local Hospice. Goodness knows, I've had the experience now (twice) to handle the care giver duties. I also know how necessary it can be for a care giver to have the chance to leave the home for even an hour or two (for errands or just a break). Or maybe Hospice can put my clerical skills to use. I'm definitely NOT ready to do this yet as I'm still struggling with my own emotional baggage and problems getting my life back on track; but it's been in the back of my mind since Hospice first came to the house and amongst their papers was a pamphlet about volunteering.

So I guess if that's part of my future plans, I better get my med compliance problem worked out, or Hospice might be here for me, instead of me helping them in tribute to Randy and Jim.  ;)

mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Dragonette

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2008, 05:26:57 AM »
Hi Mikie,

Congratulations on your results, that's great news.
I was at the supermarket yesterday when I saw someone who really reminded me of you.
I don't know why Im telling you this, just cos it happened I guess. When I read your posts i mostly dont know what to say, I am just awed at your reslience, your strength, your spirit.

My warmest wishes,



« Last Edit: June 15, 2008, 05:39:36 AM by Dragonette »
"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline Iggy

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2008, 06:25:23 PM »
Mikie,

I'm glad to hear of the VL nose diving to Undetectable.  I think you deserve some good news after all that has happened.


Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2008, 08:33:46 PM »
well, the good news is that I'm still alive.  ;D

the bad news: I was sick for another week; had my cable/tv service turned off; almost had my power shut-off; got a tax bill for $3k; the rainstorms washed even more shingles off the house; and the cremation society is turning my acct over to a collection agency on Fri.

the biggest news is that I've decided that I'm just not going to be able to keep living at Jim's house for much longer. If the roof doesn't cave in or the old pipes burst, or the taxman comes or any of Jim's creditors probate the house, things would be okay for a while. However, I just can't believe that at least one of those things won't happen and any one of those things would get me kicked out onto the street. (all the details are in a long posting over on my blog http://reigningpages.com/leatherman, week three and four of June)

So for a more stable living arrangement, Sean (the roomie) and I will be spending the month of July looking for a place to move to with the dogs. We even have another pretty stable friend who "might" move with us. Surely between the three of us, we'll be able to rent a decent enough house for us and the pups.

well, with my internet connection off, I don't check here but every other day or so. I just wanted you to know I was still enjoying the pool (though it's been a little chilly and rainy at times lately, and I haven't been in the water as much as I would have wanted), and the summer sunshine; although I still end up crying every few days as I still desperately miss Jim.

 8) mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2008, 09:51:20 AM »
It's been nearly a month, so I thought I should try to update y'all on what's going on with me this month. ;)

Dang it! I thought you people were my friends. :D I told you months ago that I needed a crystal ball to figure out what was going to happen in the future, and not one of you has ponied up a ball yet. ROFL (although, I may have asked for that ball in the spinning wheels thread, so I guess you're off the hook. But now you know, so get out there and start looking!) I've had a rough week and sure do wish I could have even a tiny glimpse of the future, so I knew what to do next. Heaven knows, I don't even own a car to sleep in (a letter from the car company says they may repossess the car anytime after the 20th), and I sure don't want me and the boyz to end up homeless!


I should start by updating you on how things are going with stopping smoking. It's been just over three weeks now and I took my last Chantix a few days ago. Once again, I've been having some vivid, wake-you-up dreams; but none of the scary variety. Up until just a few days ago, I wasn't certain how much the med was working, as I was still puffing away, or craving them when I wasn't smoking.

However, I was very nauseous the other night (it came upon me suddenly, late in the evening, so I'm not real certain about the cause - though I'll speculate on that shortly) so I went to bed feeling too icky to do much of anything, much less smoke. I awoke the following morning and still felt cruddy throughout the day, until that evening. Though I had been craving cigarettes just the day before, I found I didn't have the craving any longer and the few that I have been smoking (old habits are hard to break) don't taste like anything at all.

With a little luck, hopefully the Chantix will stay working in my system for a few more days as I try to kick the last of this smoking habit. (oh goodness though! I'm back to being hooked on those wint-o-green LifeSavers again. ROFL)


I have an idea of why I may have been sick off-and-on for the last few days - 2 parts good ol' stress and 1 part disease. It seems that even taking acyclovir twice a day to head off an outbreak of that infection in my left hand, the recent stress (a key trigger to a herpes outbreak) was just more than me, my body, or even the meds could compensate for this time. Although my hand didn't swell up too badly from this outbreak, I had some of the other side effects this time - mainly severe pain and nausea.

Also I have to admit that I haven't been taking my meds regularly lately. Between the Summer heat, the confusion of my life, and having days of feeling nauseous, taking meds hasn't been on the top of my to-do list again. (Hmmm, maybe the doc was right and onto something when he was so worried about me on my last few visits.) It's over a month and a half before I have to have more blood work done, so hopefully I'll be able to get my act together and still have some good numbers around the middle of September.


Two main problems hit me this week. First, thank goodness it's Summer cause we don't have no heat! There was enough left over from Winter on the gas bill that I haven't been able to keep up with it, so a few days ago the gas was shut off. Luckily, it's not really a problem at this time of year with the daytime temp in the upper 80s; but cold showers are kinda hard getting used to. LOL Thankfully, the stove here is electric, so I can still fix dinner every night. WooHoo!

Then there's a problem with the roomie. Oh, Sean and I get along pretty well, it's just a problem that he lost his job! Unfortunately, it seems he's also lost his motivation to find another job. After 2 weeks, he's barely tried even a dozen places for more employment. However a day ago, Sean finally got an offer for a new job, though it won't start until the first of this week.

It's also been during these last 2 weeks, that we started looking for a new home. At first, I was checking out three-bedroom places; but it looks like our other friend has preferred to stay in the dreadful position (of his own choosing though) of being 30 and still living at his mom's. So then we changed the search standard to look for a 2-bedroom place. Now, with Sean's unemployment, I'm just not certain whether I should continue with that search or start looking for a 1-bedroom place that I can afford for just me and the dogz. I told you - I really, really need that crystal ball to figure out what to do next!

Maybe if Sean was my bf I could tolerate the situation, but goodness! the cute boy ain't even queer! LOL No matter how "nice" Sean is, or how much he "wants" to help (without a paycheck now, "wanting to help" is about all he can really do), the responsibility of housing for me and the boyz falls into my lap alone, and I'm just not certain on how much assistance I'm going to be getting from this roommate. He may just have to fend for himself, while I move on to my own place.

But looking for a 1-bedroom is even a problem, I'm finding out. Getting only $500 a month from SSD may give me enough to pay rent somewhere; but there'll be no money left for any utilities. Not knowing then exactly what kind of housing to look for right now, I've been putting out the word and trying to find as many solutions to my problem as possible. One very drastic solution that I have found is that, if worse comes to worse, I can lose nearly all the furniture I own and move in with Carolynn (Randy's mom) until her house sells. She is looking to sell the house while she has a new small house built beside her son's home, so at best, this would only be a temporary solution - but it is a solution that keeps me and the boyz off the streets for a while longer.

The dogz are another minor problem in my search for housing; but I'll be damned if I'm going to lose my boyz! As it is, I may have to lose a LOT of my belongings (furniture, clothing, even memorablia from Jim's life) to fit into a small apartment (or just a room over at Carolynn's); but I've stayed alive for many, many years because of my responsibility to care for the dogs. They are moving with me where ever I end up going!


On top of those worries, is still a much deeper emotional problem though. I know I've mentioned it before; but Jim was a major part of my life for 20 years and having him gone so suddenly has really just left me for a loop. It's just tearing me up that everything here reminds me of Jim and that I have all these problems that not only can Jim not help me with; but I can't even discuss these problems with him.

I remember once, long ago it used to seem, being this sad and realizing that it was only me against the world after losing Randy. I used to think that those were the worst days of my life. I was so surprised the last few years at how much better my life was turning out than I had ever imagined. I guess you just get spoiled with a partner. The right one fills in all the gaps, gives you a break from all the day-to-day headaches and chores, and is always there to consult on any issue. Now it's back to being half-a-person for a while. Though you may not want to believe me, it really is harder than just being single. I have to break EVERY frickin' habit and daily routine that we used to do as a couple for these past years and re-learn to do EVERYTHING all by myself, to even obtain the status of being a single, whole person. It's awful to say, cause part of me feels that it's disloyal to Randy and part of me feels it distorts Jim's legacy; but THESE are the worst days of my life ever. Not only is my physical life in shambles because Jim is gone; but emotionally/mentally, I'm in quite a mess too.


Even the poor pool is starting to fall apart now. First one of the patches Jim put on last year, has come loose and there's a slow (very slow) leak to the pool. Also, with my money situation, I've run out of chemicals (chlorine tablets for the filter) and won't be able to get any more. Since it's nearly the end of the pool then, and nearly the end of  July, there's only one thing to do - have some pool parties!!I invited people over this weekend and next weekend to splash about and enjoy a few last cook-outs at the house before I move on to greener pastures. Neither of these weekend parties will be Pooltag however. My heart's just not into it. Maybe if things had gone differently and things weren't so uncertain about how long I was going to continue to live here; but that's not the reality of it all unfortunately. Sigh! Someone else will just have to do something with the hundreds of empty pop bottles stacked up on the patio after I've left this place. LOL

I guess I survived this first pool party okay. I'm really tired; but I had a good time and so did all my friends. (For a second time in the last three weeks, I shocked people by drinking beer - Corona with a lime twist, of course.) We had a couple great games of beach ball volleyball, ate hot dogs and cheesy-taters (Joyce's summer "piece de resistance"!) and all got a little baked. Sure we lost a few more pool toys in the fray; but we got a whole lotta fun squeezed out of those toys!

And I can't forget to mention that MUFFINS made a come-back for the pool party!  This was the first batch I've backed since the batch I made for the nurses at the hospital!

Yet, even with all the diversions of my friends, the pool, the fun, the food and the laughs, underneath it all, I was quite sad. There was no Jim to help me pick up supplies, to clean the patio and garage in anticipation of our guests, or to man the grill. Several times during the afternoon, I really wanted to do nothing more than get away from everyone, and go hide out and cry.

I'm not surprised I felt that way about the pool party though. As I mentioned, I started dwelling on sad thoughts when I didn't have Jim with me at the grocery store to pick up supplies, and I have to wonder if I wasn't sending out vibes. As one of the regular cashiers was ringing up my purchases, she mentioned that she hadn't seen or "my friend" in the store much lately. She continued that she understood if we had chosen to do our shopping elsewhere, she had just noticed the situation seeing me and wondered how things were going. Even though I had been thinking about Jim, it was still quite a surprise to have his "absence" mentioned like that. Quickly, quietly, and politely, I explained that Jim had gone into the hospital Mar 3rd, found out he had cancer, and had passed away on May 1st. The lady politely offered her condolences, and I headed home.

However, about an hour later as I was starting to bake the muffins for the party, I realized that I was still missing a few ingredients. Going back to the grocery and entering, I didn't see the same cashier but a whole new shift of employees as I walked past the registers and into the store. This time I was checked out by another one of the employees that regularly ring us up. As this lady checked my items, she told me that the other employee had informed her about Jim's death. She also offered her condolences. I was very touched by the concern of both ladies today.

But those weren't the only reminders during the day of my missing partner. I received a letter in the mail delivery just before the pool party guests arrived. It seems the Cremation Society will finally be turning me over to a collection agency now (they threatened to do it last month) to try to get the last $417 that I still owe them.

So it's back to looking for a new home this week and trying to pack up my belongings. (I need boxes!!)
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline bear60

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2008, 11:22:35 AM »
Hi Mikie
I continue to offer you support and hugs whichever comes first in priority.
I'm glad you gave us an update.
I have one thing to say: check out section 8 housing.

Joel
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline Roie

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2008, 11:37:20 AM »
Mikie, you have your dogs and yourself to look after.
Please do that ,
This means that Sean should look after himself. He has to go worry about his own job and place to stay. You have helped him by bringing him into your home and given him a place to stay. Now he has to move on.
As do you.

Keep on your meds Mikie. Please.
 I am proud of you that you are off those cigarettes. Well done.

Cruise on down the High Way

"When people who are not ready jump in, things can go horribly wrong. For most of us, there is always time to take a deep breath, consider one's options and make a careful, sound decision based on clinical fact, not emotion."
MtD

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2008, 05:05:51 PM »
thanks for the words of encouragement, folks.  :-*

I have one thing to say: check out section 8 housing.
We must both have great minds  ::), as I was just checking out Sec. 8 info this morning. I also emailed several organizations that I have dealt with and Jim dealt with while in the hospital, asking about assistance or at least pointing me in the right direction towards some assistance. Desperate times call for desperate measures. ;)

I am proud of you that you are off those cigarettes. Well done.
well..... I'm not totally off of the cigs, I'll be honest; but going from 2.5 packs a days for the last four months down to less than half a pack a day has got to count for something. Even though I've run out of Chantix to help, poverty will be kicking in for the rest of the month to "help" me finish kicking the habit. LOL It's awful hard to keep a habit that you can't afford. ;)

Keep on your meds Mikie. Please.
and the meds, well, taking my meds has always been a problem with me :-[ - except for the last five yrs or so with Jim in my life. I just can't find meds that don't make me sick to some point. I get negative "positive re-enforcement" to not take the meds because off the meds, I feel so damned good. And I'll keep feeling pretty dang good for another 6 months before everything goes to hell in a hand basket. On the meds (and the ones I'm on now have been the best for results and less nausea), there's still 10 days or more a month that, if I'm not puking, I feel like I could all day.

I continue to offer you support and hugs whichever comes first in priority.
I think I'll take the hugs first, Joel. :-* Things are just so much more messed up with Jim's passing than they were when Randy passed away. I'm just not certain how much longer I'm going to be "treading water" as I can already feel myself sinking under the despair of being alone and having all these problems.


I'm just really confused at this point in my life. After losing my first partner and being so terribly ill, I had quit believing that I had much of a future. I had reached a peace with how life was going to end. (that's why stopping smoking was never a big priority. Lung cancer was the last of my worries lying in the hospital with PCP, a sky-high viral load and next to no tcells.)  But I didn't die. And then the meds got better. I fell in love again and thinking I would live to at least 60 didn't seem so far-fetched. But now, after losing another partner, and soon my home, I'm not so certain that I want these meds to keep me alive that long. ::) After the hardships of amount the last 20 yrs (from 30 to nearly 50 yrs old), I can't believe the next 10 yrs are going to hold a miraculous change of luck for me.

I guess I'm becoming the pessimist that I always claimed I wasn't.  :(

But just because I'm pessimistic doesn't mean that I've given up quite yet. I have to find out about sec 8 housing; I need to set up an appt to have some of the "valuables" in the house looked at; I'm still looking for boxes to pack things in; and I need to go get the dogs another bag of food. This afternoon, I spent some time talking and crying about things with my OhioMom, before spending a couple of hours playing in the pool with her until the clouds moved in. I took my meds this morning, and have the next dose sitting out to take with dinner which I need to cook in a little while. ;D

mikie
(who at least has a killer tan this year if he's got nothing else  ;) LOL)
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Iggy

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2008, 09:01:55 PM »
Mikie,

I'm glad Joel already mentioned Sec 8 and that you have already begun contacting orgs for assistance.  There is a reason those services are out there and I think you should explore on how they can help you.

Great news about the cigs and I hope that you can keep off of them as much as possible.  I know it is one of the worst things to quit.

I won't lecture you on the meds because you already know that you should be taking them, however I am going to remind you that with everything going on that seems out of your control, you should not take for granted what is within your control, and that includes taking meds and staying as healthy as possible.

My thoughts and best wishes are with you right now.



Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2008, 01:17:36 AM »
My thoughts and best wishes are with you right now.
actually I was just thinking about you this evening. ;)

you know, now that a "whole world of opportunities" awaits me (though, personally, I had preferred life just the way it was - with Jim and without all these questions about the future), one of the many, many options I could choose is to move back home to Charlotte. (ah! now you see why I thot of U  ;) )

Moving back home has been an issue (a BIG issue) that I've just ignored for the last 15 yrs. I guess I'm going to have to sit down and do a pro/con list about making that decision. then I'll have to do some research on what happens with SSD and the medical card if I move from OH back to NC. Even though I haven't been good with my meds lately, I sure can't screw up getting them, or I really won't have to worry about anything in about 9 months.  :o  :D

I am going to remind you that with everything going on that seems out of your control, you should not take for granted what is within your control, and that includes taking meds and staying as healthy as possible.
that sounds suspiciously like something I'd say to one of my friends when they came crying to me about what a mess their life was in and how everything was out of control. ;)  thanks.  ;D

mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Iggy

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2008, 12:21:53 AM »
actually I was just thinking about you this evening. ;)

you know, now that a "whole world of opportunities" awaits me (though, personally, I had preferred life just the way it was - with Jim and without all these questions about the future), one of the many, many options I could choose is to move back home to Charlotte. (ah! now you see why I thot of U  ;) )

Charlotte?  Why you absolutely don't want to come to Charlotte.  Conventional Wisdom by those who know say there is not much to do in this town.  :D

You be certain to send me a pm no matter what you decide or if you need more insider information. 
 :-*


Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2008, 11:23:12 AM »
I'm cross-posting this entry into my old thread (spinning wheels), since it seems appropriate to mention this in both threads.

Earlier this month, on July 9th, I was slightly upset with myself as I talked online with Randy's mom late that evening. It was 10:30pm and it wasn't until she IMed me that I remembered that that day would have been Randy's birthday. My Randy would have been 45 and we would have been together 23, if things would have been different.

I don't beat myself up too much for not remembering his bday though. It's been 14 yrs, and his birthday is less of a day for me to remember - I wasn't there at his delivery like his mom was  ;) - than dates like our anniversary (jan 15th) or the day he passed away (may 25th). For the first decade after his death, I always remembered this date; but during my relationship with Jim over the last four yrs, I found that I was "forgetting" Randy's bday and not upset on that date like I had been for so many years.

However, waking up this morning (july 29th), the first thought in my head was the same thought I went to bed with - today would have been Jim's 52nd birthday, if he hadn't passed away 89 days ago.  :'(

God, how I still miss him!

 :'( mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Iggy

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2008, 11:35:49 AM »
Mikie,

I'm sorry that this month brings two bittersweet dates in your life. 

Thinking of you.

Offline sharkdiver

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2008, 01:45:24 PM »
Mikie,

I can understand where you are coming from. It's been 3 years this week since I had the memorial service for my late partner and the beginning of a probate/estate battle with his 'family'. Although I, now, can handle the ongoing financial crap, it is the little reminders or certain dates, that creep up on me and initiate a "grief spasm."

Just hang in there and know you aren't alone.

Sharkie

Online BT65

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2008, 09:16:21 PM »
Mikie, I'm so sorry about the month of losses.  Here's a hug  {{MIKIE}}
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2008, 03:34:00 AM »
Nearly another month has gone by (that's 111 days now since Jim passed away), and things are still pretty lousy and messed-up in my life.

You know all the weird coincidences and similarities that have been happening in my life this year? Well, I figured out the reason! I'm not having a mid-life "crisis"; I've actually reached a mid-life "point". Being 46 means that in November of this year I will have lived half of my life (23 yrs) in NC and the other half (23 yrs) in OH.

[the deal with the numbers is starting to bug me.  ::) There's 23 for the two halves of my life; 14 yrs. between losing Randy and Jim; 10 yrs on meds before I reached undetectable; 10 yrs. since I was last in the hospital; and a potential roommate that used to be a roommate of mine 7 yrs. ago. I'm a computer/math guy, so I just keep thinking there's got to be a way to use those numbers randomized by my current viral load (it never stays undetectable unfortunately) divided by my avg tcells over the last decade (only 167) and come up with either the date of my death or the winning lottery numbers that will get me out of all the mess. LOL]

Unfortunately this 23rd year of living in Ohio hasn't been getting any better for me lately. I've been more depressed in these last two weeks about not having Jim than ever before. Figuring out how I'm going to get another roof over my head has damned near been impossible (though there is a tiny glimmer of hope there). I almost burned the house down; the infection in my finger is acting up from all this stress and from not staying on my meds properly; the roommate still hasn't gotten a job; and the car was finally repossessed last night. As you can probably tell, things aren't going well right now.

But Summer is nearing it's end (I have a great tan!), so I'll be closing up the pool after this weekend. If I can finally catch a break or two, hopefully me and the dogz will find a home in the next few weeks. Maybe we'll leave some of these troubles and woes behind, and I'll try to see how far I can make it through the next 23 yrs of my life.

If you're interested in all the nitty-gritty details, I just posted a two-wk update over on my blog, http://reigningpages.com/leatherman (August Week Two and Three for the latest update)

Oh and I guess I really am trying to kick my cigarette habit now. No, Chantix wasn't finally approved by the medical card or whatever Part D I'm in. LOL There's still about 10 days in this month and I have no more petty cash (the unpaid house payment is still in the bank to be used to get a new place). No cash means no cigs.  :o

looking forward to better days; but struggling right now,
mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Iggy

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2008, 10:00:36 AM »
Hey Mikie,

I hope that glimmer of hope regarding the house becomes reality and that you find another place.

Sorry so much is still going on.


Offline bear60

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2008, 01:05:26 PM »
Hi Mikie
I'm with you.  I need to win the lottery. I need to retire.  My body is sore.  But I cant afford to yet.
Hope it all works out for you.


Joel
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2008, 11:51:23 PM »
I need to win the lottery.

My Mom (the real one, living in SC) has eschewed her Baptist upbringing and frequently plays the lottery now. LOL I tease her about gambling and winning the "devil's money". ROFL Personally, I don't care if it oozes evilness (as long as it doesn't drip on the carpet  ;D ), and pays the bills. ROFL
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2008, 12:01:26 AM »
Even though I've gradually become "Mr. Pessimistic" as this year has progressed (and it distresses me to have lost the hope in my life and become this kind of person; but can you blame me with what's happened?!), I finally see a ray of light breaking from the clouds. (So maybe I'm still not all that pessimistic as I must admit that I expected something, sometime to finally change for the better ;) goodness knows I've been trying to follow my own advice about "patience and hard work") Oops! I guess I'm mixing metaphors. I should say, instead of a ray of light, I see the shoreline coming closer in the distance. I'm so tired from treading water these last months, and I can't wait to get some solid ground under my feet.

The last week of August started with me still in a pretty deep funk after having the car repo-ed and getting Jim's keys back from my OhioMom (she was safekeeping them in case I had one of my frequent "blonde" moments and locked myself out of the car or house). My mood influenced not only the dogs, but my dreams** too. Though the weather was nice, rain and cool were predicted; so we spent one last day playing in the water before saying goodbye to Summer and the pool (which was just as good as I found a stray piece of bamboo growing up through the liner!!)

After spending many fruitless hours, driving in the drizzle the rest of the week, looking at houses for rent, things finally changed for the better. This morning I put down the security deposit for the new home that I'll be moving to next Friday!!  ;D WooHoo! The roommate situation has worked out and we finally found a nice place. What's ironic is that it's about two blocks from my OLD house. Too bad I moved everything across town to Jim's house, just to move it back to my same old neighborhood. LOL Oddly enough after getting accepted for this house and finally solving one of the biggest problems in my life, I felt pretty crappy today. I actually think I'm suffering from the reduction of stress. LOL

I still have convoluted feelings about this move, (though I guess they'll be resolved once I actually make the move LOL). I'm going to be leaving behind Jim, the house I thought I would stay in the rest of my life, the pool, and my Gabby (the cocker that passed away this past Dec. She's buried out in the backyard here, along with 5 of Jim's cats). Mainly though I think I'll feel like I'm leaving behind Jim. Packing up the rest of the house is going to be quite an emotional chore.

However, moving into the new house finally gives me the chance to begin this "new life" of being single once again, instead of being in limbo and treading water as I did all Summer. I'm sure it's going to be much better for my mental and emotional health to leave behind all these house woes and constant reminders of Jim's absence. I'm finally going to be able to move forward; but I won't really be leaving Jim behind though. Instead of crying looking at the furniture, artwork, clothes and dishes that he left behind, I'll be able to see them as the things he left me to make my life better and more comfortable. Instead of seeing what has been lost, I'll see reminders of the love that he and I shared.

So it's time for me to get serious about packing now as moving day is less than a week away. Oh, and I better go out in the yard and see what plants I can take from here to transplant to the new house. LOL Next month I'll be sure to have plenty of pictures on my blog (http://reigningpages.com/leatherman) of the new house and yard. There might even be a few more pool pictures from Labor Day weekend, since the rain has ended and Summer-y mid-80 degree days are forecast to close out the month.

climbing out to shore after being adrift on the sea,
mikie (3 months - though it seems like forever - without Jim)


**I did want to take a moment to mention my dream.

Actually it wasn't a dream as much as a nightmare: and it was the WORST nightmare that I've ever had! Yes, it was worse than any of those Sustiva-induced nightmares of zombies that I used to have years ago (Night-after-night, I would wake up screaming from that nightmare while I was on that med. That's the one I quit after it left me so disorientated that I fell down the staircase at my old house.)

The dream started nicely enough with me sitting on the couch alone, watching TV. Someone entered the house - and it was Jim! Coming in, he looked at the clock, and apologized for being so late, saying that work was really busy this evening. In shock, I tried to speak; but couldn't get any words to come out of my mouth (when I woke up my mouth and throat were so dry, I couldn't have talked in real life either). When Jim flopped down on the other couch, I jumped up and ran to him, embracing him in the biggest bear hug I've ever given to anyone. Pulling away from his returned embraced though, I told him that this couldn't be real because he died. As shock registered on his face, I realized that I just couldn't endure the anguish from this dream, and I woke myself up - crying uncontrollably. I laid in my bed, sobbing for nearly an hour before I was finally cried out and felt tired enough to fall asleep again. Thankfully with no more dreams that I could remember.

You may wonder why I considered this a nightmare, rather than enjoying a dream moment with Jim. My reasoning goes back quite a ways in my life. Years ago, Randy and I truly did live in a haunted house. When Randy passed away, I waited to see if I would "see" anything that made me think he was still there in "ghost form". Since we always believed Randy to be the "ghost magnet", I thought if anyone might "come back", then he would be the one; but there was never ANY sign of Randy's spirit back in the house. After that, I developed a strong negative reaction to any images of deceased people appearing to the loved ones that they had left behind. I despise the movie "Ghost" with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, and the Toni Braxton video for "Unbreak My Heart" for just this reason.
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

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no more Spinning Wheels or Treading Water
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2008, 01:55:01 AM »
Well folks, moving day is just a little over 24 hrs. away now, and though the future I thought I'd have is gone, a new future is just around the corner. So I guess it's time for me to just about close out this thread. There'll be no more "spinning wheels" (since the car has been repo-ed!) and I'm not "treading water" anymore (I closed up the pool the other day), waiting to find some solutions to the problems I've had since Jim passed away.

Before I catch you up on the details, I really want to let you know, one more time, how much I valued and appreciated the support and advice I received from you nice people here at aidsmeds. My friends here in Ohio, and my family down in NC/SC have all been very good to me; but they just didn't understand the issues (my haphazard med taking because of the side effects and stress, and the grief of losing a partner - for a second time!) like so many of you here have understood, having gone through similar situations yourselves. Life is moving me forward again, and I'm leaving behind a very sad chapter in my life - ready or not. Thankfully, I'm more "ready" than "not", due to the support and advice of my friends that I have now throughout the world. (that's you people!  :-* )


Moving on with my life now, things have finally started to look up. I have a new house to move to, and I'm not being evicted and sleeping on the streets. The utilities will be on at the new house when we move in. (WooHoo! I'm going to spend a hr in a HOT shower. It's been a royal pain heating water on the stove to bathe for the past 6 weeks) Why, just today, I was even contacted by the antique store and received a check for some of Jim's belongings that have been sold. (Getting this "extra" $1,500 is sure going to make paying security deposits and moving go a heck of a lot easier. WooHoo!)

Most everything is packed now (I wish LOL); though I'm going to have to just dump some boxes at the new house to be able to finish up everything here at the old house. Moving has been a very trying and tiring experience already, shuffling between deep grief and happy anticipation as I've been packing up my belongings, and those that used to belong to Randy and Jim. I'm dreading a final walk-around of the house and property, saying goodbye to the memories I had here, and the memories I had hoped to have of here; yet I'm eager to get to the new house and begin a new life without all the problems that have been plaguing me for the last 6 months.

I was "lucky" enough to get the whole summer off from visiting the doc or having blood work done. Of course, during the stress of packing and moving, I've finally had to go have labs done again. This has only been my second labs since Jim passed away and it felt quite odd being back in that hospital where he spent those miserable 60 days. Sitting in the waiting area, I talked with several of the "transporters" (the staff that shuffles the patients from their rooms to the labs), and nurses from the oncology floor. None of them were surprised that Jim had passed away and all of them had a kind word to say about how I had struggled to help Jim and been there to comfort him. They were all very kind-hearted people who did their best to help Jim and I hope they have blessed lives for the work they do. So in another 2 weeks, I'll see if the depression, stress, and physical work have finally taken a hit on my counts; or if they miraclously have continued to stay in my average range (about 200+ tcells, and a slightly "blipping" viral load).

The only utility that won't be on at first will be our cable/internet connection (hookup is next Wed); but I'm sure that unpacking all that I just packed up will keep me too busy through the weekend to worry much about watching TV or surfing the net anyway. I'll close out this thread with one more post next week, letting you know me and the boyz (my 3 cocker spaniels) are okay and settling into our new life and new home.

best wishes and good health to you!
mikie

PS the last thing I plan to pack is my computer (of course!), so if you want to watch me and my friends lugging furniture and boxes, you're more than welcome to check out my webcams on Friday (http://reigningpages.com/cams) or you can always catch the updates and pictures at http://reigningpages.com/leatherman.
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Peter Staley

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2008, 09:39:34 AM »
Mikie -- sounds like you're closing this thread on a hopeful note.  I just wanted to say a quick thank you for being so open here about your life and struggles.  While I don't often reply in the forums, I do make a point of reading most posts, especially yours.  I consider you a fellow AIDS war-horse (those of us who survived the 80's and 90's), and am an admirer of your perseverance.

Always keep fighting.

xoxo

Peter

Offline rondrond

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2008, 01:53:48 AM »
mikie,

I wanted to wish you good luck on your move. I certain your new home will be warm and inviting to all your friends.

ronnie
"I may not be exactly where I want to be, but I sure as Hell am not where I was"
Wynnona Judd

Diagnosed/HIV
1993
AZT
Norvir
1994-2001
Crixivan/Epivir/Zerit
No Meds for 7 Years

04jul07/DVT-right leg/Bi Lateral PE's     
16oct08/DVT-left leg
Sept '09  6 blood clots in left arm
Coumadin 5mgs
                                     
Atenolol/50mg/2x
Hydrochlorth 25mg/1x
Gemfibrozil/300mgs/2X
Symbicort
Proventil Inhaler
Potassium
Rhinocort


*APR 08~Viramune/Truvada
March08  CD4 330 23% VL 452.000 
*Jan09 Med change~Epzicom/Viramune

Aug09   CD4 523 23%  VL<48
Diagnosed: COPD
Dec 2013: CD4 645 45% VL 49
Med Change: Viramune/Epivir/Ziagen/Isentress

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2008, 08:09:50 PM »
WooHoo! I'm happy to give you one last update. I'm finally moved into the new house, most things have been unpacked and put away, part of the backyard is fenced in for the doggies (if it would quit raining, I'd extend the fence further), ALL the utilities (including the net! WooHoo!) are on, and I'm dead tired - but I still tackled some yard work (it hadn't been mowed for a while; and the back yard was a jungle of weeds, fallen branches and broken glass!)

I appreciate and thank you all for the well wishes you sent me for a smooth move; however, things didn't really go so well. One roomie got hurt (badly sprained ankle) and wasn't able to help as much. The other roomie, who lived in a one-room hotel room for the last three yrs., didn't understand why I needed to move so much stuff (he just didn't get how much stuff it takes to run and/or repair a whole house), and was pretty much done moving when his stuff got moved in. Nearly everyone else helping me was late coming over to assist and had to leave early, and quite a few of them seemed more worried about their errands than helping me getting finished. Moving almost the same items that took Jim, Mikie P and I only ONE day last time, the process took FOUR days this time!! To say the least, I was pretty pissed-off this past weekend, along with being severly depressed. >:( :'( >:( :'(

http://reigningpages.com/leatherman
September Week Two is my newest blog update

Along with all the details about my very sad and terribly frustrating move, I've got pictures online of the move-out, and some pictures from my day spent cleaning up jungle out back. Nearly all of the furniture is set up now and some of my webcams are running again. Oh and most importantly, I've been back online a couple of days now (running on a new wirelss router, since my computer is upstairs in my bedroom). In my next update (email me or send me a PM if you want to get added to my update list. Maybe this Winter, I'll finally get around to automating that whole procedure LOL), I should have pictures of all the rooms with us moved in; but there are a few more details I want to handle up first (like hanging my mask collection up) before I take pictures to show off the place.  ;)

But whatever went wrong with the moving process, it's over and done with now. It was emotionally, physically, and mentally draining dealing with all those problems plus leaving behind the old house; but things are already getting better at the new house. I've had a little time to relax; I'm not so stressed about life; the gripes with the roomies and their lack of help moving is in the past; and I'm starting to develop some new patterns of daily living. I'm becoming a different person (happier and less stressed) than I was just a week ago as the moving process was starting.

So my thread about Jim is over, and my thread about the aftermath is done for now too. I'm still not quite at a point where I feel I'm beginning a new life; but I guess it's already starting, so I'll just have to go along for the ride.  :D

mikie

oh, by the way, I should add should here in the forums that I'm going to conveniently leave off my website.  :-[ I can't even begin to tell you how many days, well, let's be honest, weeks of meds that I've missed taking this year. Ever since Jim was admitted to the hospital, my compliance has been haphazard at best. At first I rationalized it by saying that I couldn't afford to be puking (as I've mentioned before, an average of 6 times a month from the med side effects) when I was needed at the hospital so much or was being awakened in the middle of the night by Jim's psychotic phone calls. Then I avoided those side effects while I was so busy caring for Jim those nine days back home. After that, personally, I just didn't care. I was either too sad or too stressed to have the strength to deal with the meds or my own health and well-being.

I kept thinking one of four labs I had done during this time would have started to show the signs of my bad behaviour; but so far, my counts have stayed fairly level this whole year. This coming Thurs, I'll get the results at my doctor's from the labwork done last week. I just can't imagine that it'll be good this time (avg 250 tcells and VL under 5000); but I thought that about those last results too. Either way, I'm still dreading seeing the doc. The last thing I want (though I admit I deserve it) will be a lecture from my truly kind and caring doc. If I have to I'll tell him what I did in the hospital - you step inside my shoes, for even just a couple of days, and tell me how the hell you'd be handling all this.

However, once things were moved into the new house, I have tried to change my evil ways and have been deligently adhering to my regimen.  ;D I know this wasn't the best reason; but for many years now I've taken my meds religiously for Jim's sake. (I was determined to not put him through the grief of losing a partner for as long as I could.) Now I'm not really certain what reason I'm going to use to persuade myself to suffer through the bad days each month. I guess (if I've been able to get through losing Jim, the aftermath, and moving and changing my whole life), I'll think up some reason.  ;) I'll just have to tackle this problem, like I've done with all the other problems I've encountered this year.

Thanks again for all your concern, advice, support, caring, and compassion. :-* And especially thanks for listening to me rant, rave, and ramble through all these months of chaos.  ::) For any problems with the forums, it sure is nice to have contact with other people who can really understand and sympathize with my problems whether medical related or just the side effects in life of being HIV positive. I'm sure we'll run into one another again in a thread or two.  ;D And if I ever have to start my own thread again, I sure hope I'll be doing it to share better news with you than what I had to share so far this year.

best wishes to you guys!
mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2008, 09:35:22 PM »
sorry.  ;D I know I said I was done posting in this thread, and I could have started another one since I have some good news; but there was a complication, so I figured it was something leftover to add to this story.  ;)

My doctor's office calls the day before each of my appts. Since I hadn't given them my new number at the new house, I called them to confirm -  just on the off-chance that things might not be going as scheduled. That pessimist in me now sees trouble around every corner. LOL And you know what? The pessimist was right again.  ::) Seems the doc needed to reschedule this appt - which had already been rescheduled two weeks later to this time! After setting a new appt (for a month from now, for heaven's sake!), then the nurse asked me if there was anything wrong right now and did I need to see the doctor sooner? I told her to give me the lab results that I would have gotten back today at the appt, and we'd see just how badly I needed to see the doctor. Duh!  :D Thankfully my numbers were still okay, so waiting another month is okay with me too. (WooHoo! this'll be the longest reprieve I had from seeing my doc in the last decade - except for back when I just quit and went off the meds several times. LOL) However, I will need to call the darn doctor back and get new orders for more bloodwork. I might as well get new lab work done in another couple weeks. What's the sense in going in for an appt just to get 6 week old results? (that I already know now anyway LOL)

**begin gripe**
Even though I try to plan things out to avoid trouble and take minimal damage, I could almost start laughing now about each of these things that just goes wrong in my life; but all the crappy customer service I get (from the doctor's multiple rescheduling to those damned Wendy's people that can't give me a Jr Bacon Cheeseburger right!), I can only be pissed about all these things. Argh! Have I gotten "old" at 46? Or am I right to believe that someone somewhere should be able to hold up their end of a deal?
**end gripe**

So, with all the grief, all the stress, all the anger, etc, and not hardly taking my meds, drum roll please, my newest results are that my tcells bumped up from 214 to 256 (so they stayed in the average range) and my viral load is still under 75! WooHoo! Good News to pass along for a change! I won't say that I'm not happy at all with those numbers; but they do surprise me. That's like three times in a row down that my counts have stayed at the same level when I was sure they were going to come back crappy. I really am happy that my physical health seems to have survived losing a partner, moving, and starting a new life. It's just that it's hard for the pessimist in me to admit he might be wrong about one of his predictions. ROFL  :D

mikie
(who updated the graph in his signature line, and posted a new update - with pictures of the new house all moved in, trees blown over at my OhioMom's and Jim's house, and the dogz playing in their new backyard -  at http://reigningpages.com/leatherman  ;D )
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Online BT65

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2008, 09:37:52 PM »
That's great news on your T's, Mikie.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline Longislander

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2008, 09:58:36 PM »
Mikie,

I haven't posted much in your threads lately, but I have read them all~

The new house looks great!! I wish lots of good health and happiness there!  And congrats on somehow managing to keep your numbers together!

Paul
infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline AlanBama

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2008, 10:37:19 PM »
Glad your numbers are what they are; looks great, all things considered!   Wishing you a lot of happiness in your new home.....it's time to turn the page, and move forward into the next chapter of your life honey.

Godspeed.

Love & hugs,

Alan  :-*
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline leatherman

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Re: Treading Water
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2008, 12:06:33 AM »
and move forward into the next chapter of your life honey.

don't worry on that account.  ;) Trying to stay ahead of the curve, I've always got some project or another on the schedule. And every project finished is another accomplishment in my life ;) Next projects are to build shelves to go over my computer and three monitors so I have some more "storage/work" space here with the new setup, and to build a small porch (about four by ten) with two or three steps off of it into the backyard (right now, without any steps the backdoor goes nowhere but a 2 1/2 ft fall. LOL) Of course, when this part of Ohio gets cold and wintery (like I'm sure it will be doing soon), I've always got a folder full of computer projects to work on. I never did finish building the 3d version of Jim's house, like I did of my old house with Randy; but now I have a new one to construct. Then there's a whole redesign of my website so that it not only jumps to the right month; but also to the right week of the newest update. I've only been promising my mom that for about 2 yrs. now. LOL

I first thought about not replying, then I started writing this anyway; and I'm glad I did. One of the many things I've learned from having AIDS and all the death and near death that been associated with it, is that I have to appreciate the good times when I'm having them. You know three weeks to a month ago, I would have never imagined working on any project. My life really was on hold while I still lived there at Jim's house through this Summer. Oh, I think it was the right thing to do, and what Jim would have wanted. Heck even a lawyer and I discussed this very scenario on the day after Jim passed away. I guess I just shouldn't have stressed so much, knowing all those months ago, that things would be changing by the end of Summer. But what a change it was! I think I was entitled to be stressed out.  ;)

So here I am on the other side now. Oh I'm still very sad about losing Jim (and I mean very, very sad).  Hell, I'm still depressed, and damaged, from losing Randy. But my numbers say I'm doing well (WooHoo!), as things go, and I've got no reason to think I won't live through at least the next 6 months and turn 47. ROFL Realizing that part of my life has returned to normal enough so that I can consider any projects is enough to give me a smile and to encourage my hope a little bit.

So, I've got some projects lined up, and I really ought to get my bicycle out and start pedaling again. It won't be much longer till my OhioMom is "nagging" me to go to the park with her and see all the pretty leaves. And I love riding around the park. LOL

handyman and computer geek,
mikie  ;D
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

 


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