Happy New Year 2018!

Yes, I know I’m a bit late with this, but I have a good excuse. My new year started off poorly with the onset of excruciating pain in my left hip/leg after eating lunch at a local Olive Garden. It got worse on the ride home and attempts at sleeping it off did nothing to help. By 4:30 PM it was so bad that I couldn’t get into the car to go to an urgent care center. After deciding against calling for an ambulance I continued to try and rest, but the only position that didn’t cause immediate pain was laying on my belly, a position I never sleep in, or standing straight up, which is also not conducive to sleep. Still, I managed to doze off a couple of times and by 2:30 AM things had improved just enough for me to fold myself into Anne’s car for a trip to the ER at Saint Joseph’s Mercy hospital in Ann Arbor.

This is me in my hospital gown standing up in my room because it’s too painful to lay down.

I was admitted pretty quickly and had an IV stuck into my arm whereupon I was given healthy doses of morphine which helped in making my immediate situation bearable. Over the course of the next day and a I half I had a couple blood labs done, an x-ray session and, ultimately, an MRI. By Wednesday evening they had worked out what my issue was. Despite it being the location of all my pain and misery, my hip and joint were ruled out as having any issues other than some minor arthritis. However, upon looking at my spine they noticed a problem:

L4-L5: Moderate-large size central to left paracentral disc extrusion. Slight caudal migration. This results in compression left anterior/lateral thecal sac with moderate to severe narrowing of the left lateral canal. Encroachment on the expected left L5 nerve root. Mild left foramen stenosis. Right foramen patent.

Which is to say that I have a partial disc herniation that is pressing on the root of one of the major nerves in my leg resulting in, to put it more collequially, “sonofafuckingbitchthatfuckinghurts.”

The first time I was able to lay on my back in over 24 hours and only because I was very doped up on that sweet, sweet morphine. You can tell it’s only slightly dampening the pain in my expression.

Near as I can figure, this is the result of a fall on my stairs that I took nearly three weeks prior just as I started my annual end-of-the-year vacation. Stepping down the two steps from my kitchen to the landing in front of the side door of my house, we had a small rug there to collect debris on shoes as we came in and I slipped on it falling backwards and smacking my ass and right arm into the edge of the step. I thought I had only bruised my ass badly (and, indeed, there was some sign of that in the x-ray), but I thought I’d come closer to breaking my arm than my spine.

After much more waiting around, I finally got word from the neurological surgeon that was consulting on my case that they wanted to try giving me a lumbar epidural steroid injection Thursday morning and then they’d keep me around until Friday evening to see if it had any effect and if it didn’t reduce my pain by at least 50% then I’d be scheduled for spinal surgery on Saturday morning. Considering that I had already missed most of the first week I was supposed to be back at work and that surgery would mean four to six weeks of recovery time, I was seriously hoping that the epidural would work.

Fortunately, it did. This is me sitting up on the edge of the bed eating my breakfast Friday morning.

Mind you, I’m on a healthy dose of percocet in the picture above, but it was still more than I’d been able to do for three days. They kept me around into Saturday, but I was finally let go with a prescription for more percocet and ibuprofen (to reduce inflammation). After a weekend spent sleeping off and on, I went back to work on Monday.

I’m far from fully recovered, but I’m at a point where I’m able to stretch out how often I take my pain pills from the recommended 6 hours for the percocet and 8 hours for the ibuprofen to as much as 10 or 12 hours depending on if I’m sleeping through it. I’m able to sleep on my side again, but I can only manage sleeping (in any position) for at most 4 hours before I have to get up and walk around to get my leg to stop hurting enough to go back to sleep. The pain still manifests in my hip and the calf of my leg, the latter feeling like the muscle is just this side of going into a full charley horse. Additionally it causes numbness in the pinkies of both my hands and along up the edge of my arms. The medication keeps it down to an annoying roar, but I can definitely tell when the pills have worn off. Walking is a bit rough at times as all this also makes my left leg somewhat weak hence why I have my cane handy.

But, I am able for the most part to function. I’m on restrictions with regards to lifting heavy things and bending over too far, which makes putting on socks and shoes fun. I am also scheduled for another injection in February with the possibility of one or two more depending on how much progress I make in the coming weeks. It may be that I’ll end up having to have the surgery in the future anyway, but at least this offers some hope of avoiding that for the time being.

So, yeah, my new year is not off to a great start. I’m hoping this means things can only get better from here on out. I’m not looking forward to the bill for all of this and finding out how much of an additional pain in the ass my insurance company is going to be about this. They’re already refusing to pay for more than one week’s worth of percocet and only once a month at that leaving me to pay it out of pocket, but that’s a rant for another time. Here’s hoping your new year was pretty good or at least not as eventful as mine has been so far.

Merry Christmas 2017!

Just a quick update to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at SEB.

I finally got Uncharted 4 for the PS4 along with Assassin’s Creed Origins, a new Hawaiian shirt, the book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really AreGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Deleted Scenes From the Cutting Room Floor, by Caro Emerald, a Doctor Who lanyard, a couple of Rick & Morty decals, Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1: 1980-1982, and a cool wall clock that plays tunes every hour.

I was going to post a picture of me being jolly, but for some reason WordPress isn’t letting me do that at the moment so it’ll have to wait.

A little holiday music to start the season…

I’m not normally a huge fan of the more religious Christmas carols for obvious reasons, but I’ve always had a soft spot for We Three Kings and this here may be my favorite version of it to date:

I’m going to have to check out the rest of their Christmas album.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Just a quick post to say Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at SEB.

Anne and I are hosting my mother and my daughter for dinner today and, of course, one of the bathroom sinks has clogged up. Because of course it has.

So in addition to all the usual stuff that goes with Thanksgiving, I’m also learning about plumbing and clogs. Also possibly learning the number to a local plumber to call tomorrow if I can’t figure this out on my own.

Happy Halloween 2017 and an update.

First up, here’s wishing everyone a Happy Halloween today!

Jack O'Lantern

This year’s classic take on the Jack O’Lantern on my front porch.

Second, it appears I am as bad at vlogging regularly as I am at blogging regularly. I’ve done a whole two videos and one of them is just me petting Cuddles. I really had planned on doing more, but I’m being overly critical of my own efforts and giving up. That said, I’ve learned a lot about editing videos and I’m probably going to try just picking a subject and talking about it instead of trying to cover multiple topics at once. Will make for shorter videos, but perhaps I need to ease into it.

I have made several gaming videos including the ones I put in my last post and I’m thinking I’d like to start streaming. Still trying to decide if I should stream on YouTube or Twitch. I have accounts on both platforms and I’d be starting off from zero either way so I suppose it doesn’t matter. One thing I need to develop is my ability to talk about what I’m doing as I play. I still get so caught up in playing that my only commentary tends to be me whinging a bit when I feel I died a cheap death. I’m also finding it difficult to monitor the stream on the same PC I’m streaming on so I may need to put together a secondary machine strictly for monitoring the stream at some point. I’m not sure how people who do this full time are doing it. I’m not even sure if I play anything compelling enough for people to want to watch.

This week sees the launch of Call of Duty: WWII and I’ve taken Friday off because A) I had the time to take and B) three day weekend and I was thinking of using that as a starting point for streaming. Of course the game unlocks at Midnight so if I stay up to play it right away then there’s likely not going to be anyone awake to watch the stream. If I wait until after a good nights sleep, well, it’s Friday and everyone will be working anyway so I doubt it makes any difference.

Spooky Lantern

Picked up a new Halloween themed lantern for the front yard.

Anyway, other than that I’ve been enjoying decorating the house for Halloween and looking forward to the upcoming holiday season. Also looking forward to handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters this evening. Being that I live in an actual house in an actual neighborhood and not an apartment complex for the first time in my adult life, I fully expect to see tons of kids. Or at least I hope so because we bought 3 bags of candy totalling over 700+ pieces that two diabetics really shouldn’t have access to if no one shows up at the door.

Also I did get a new Pixel 2 phone from Google. I’m very impressed with it so far and I’m debating trying to do a review of it either as a vlog or standard blog entry. Dunno that I have anything particularly profound to say about it.

So that’s it. Nothing major going on right now other than playing around with YouTube and video editing without producing much of anything in the process and getting ready for Halloween. What have you folks been up to?

A Happy 16th Anniversary to my wonderful wife.

It’s hard to believe, but 16 years ago today we stood together with our immediate families and exchanged vows in a gazebo in a public park in Plymouth, MI.

Picture of Anne and Les exchanging vows.

That one moment I’ll always remember.

The day started out cloudy with some drizzle, but by the time the short ceremony was finished the sun had broken out. The same was true of our marriage. The early years had some stormy parts as we figured out how to become a family and the challenges that entails, but the sun always returned.

Anne, you have made me a better man, a better father, and a better person than I would’ve been without you. I love you so very much and I look forward to the next 17 years and beyond.

Wishing my mother a Happy 82nd Birthday!

My mother, whom you can find over on her blog Momma’s Corner, has reached another milestone. Today she turns 82 years old and is looking pretty good while doing it.

Here’s a pic of her from this past Christmas Eve. Click to embiggen.

Mom had an eventful year in 2016 as she finally managed to sell the house in Otisville and moved in with my sister in Pontiac just across the street from the house my siblings and I grew up in. She’s since been keeping busy with her projects, feeding the zoo, and updating her blog at a pace that, frankly, puts me to shame. She even got an entry up marking this special occasion where you can leave your congratulations if you’re so inclined. As for me, I’ll be seeing her on Saturday when we gather to do the food and cake thing as is traditional.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy New Year 2017!

Quote

“New Year’s Day — Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.”
– Mark Twain, Letter to Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, Jan. 1863

Seriously, who steals a shirt?

So another Christmas has come and gone and I’m happy to say I got many goodies I’d been hoping for, but not all of them. I don’t mean that there was something I was hoping to get and didn’t, but rather a couple of items that were purchased for me never made it to my door.

It seems someone is a bigger fan of Hawaiian shirts than I am as two of them were purchased for me off of my Amazon wishlist, but were stolen or lost along the way. The first was purchased by my wife and the Amazon order says it was delivered on the Tuesday prior to Christmas and left at our front door. I was home and picked up several packages throughout the day, but that wasn’t one of them. She contacted Amazon and got a refund so no worries there.

The ghost of Christmas gifts lost. Click to embiggen!

The other one is this beauty to the right. I have no idea who purchased it, but it wasn’t Anne. It was bought on the same day that Anne bought the first shirt, December 15th. It never showed up at my door so I’m hoping whoever purchased it had it delivered to their home as it’s a $33 shirt.

I find it odd that two Hawaiian shirts bought the same day by two different people both failed to arrive at my home. I’m wondering if the UPS guy loves them as much as I do and seeing where they were coming from decided to help himself. I suppose it’s also possible that out of the handful of packages delivered that day someone only managed to steal these two off my front stoop. Regardless of how they were lost, if you purchased that one and didn’t ship it to your home then you will want to contact Amazon and let them know so you can get a refund.

I’m a little bummed as both were Christmas themed shirts and I love nothing more than wearing them out of season to see how long it takes people to realize what’s on the shirt. If you’re curious, here’s the one Anne tried to get me which is sadly out of stock now:

Click to embiggen!

Both will be going back on my wish list with hopes they’ll eventually make it to my home. As for the other stuff I got this year, I have a lovely new British Telephone Booth wall cling that can be used as a whiteboard for taking notes, a beautiful handmade Santa Claus cloth figure that my mother-in-law made for me, Civ 6, Final Fantasy XV, and The Last Guardian video games, The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat, and a $50 Amazon gift card which I’m sure will be put to good use.

What about you guys? Get anything cool for Christmas?

Merry Christmas 2016!

Man, 2016 has been a rough year, but we made it to another Christmas. Here’s hoping you got all the goodies plus some quality time with friends and family. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours.

Here’s our tree this year before the mayhem of this morning. Somehow the cats mostly left it alone this year.