Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life in a cage

Zoos are depressing. I don't like to see animals mewed up in cages. I understand why it's necessary, though, when a bald eagle has lost most of a wing, for example. It's the more humane choice.

Doesn't mean I have to like it, especially when I see myself in a cage.

For more than 18 months I've been trapped in a body that doesn't work right, relying on a handful of pills to keep my blood pressure from blowing out my aorta or popping arteries in my brain. I can handle most of the day-to-day crap, such as diuretics that have me running to the bathroom like clockwork and leave me thirsty as hell. If I don't take them, my feet and lower legs swell up.

I'm having trouble with the lost mobility, though. I fucking hate it.

From Day One after my aorta self-destructed, I haven't been able to stand for more than a few minutes at a time or walk more than a few hundred feet without having to sit. Something as simple as taking out the trash leaves me winded; going to one of the "big box" stores is such an ordeal that I won't go unless I can get in and get out quickly. Even then, once I make it back to my car I sit there wheezing and panting for several minutes--on a good day. On a bad day, it's the same, but I can barely move my legs to drive the car.

Forget about going to Fort Pickens or the others. That's the worst part. I haven't been back to Pickens since last February.

I've been trying to tell various doctors that there's a blood-flow problem with my legs, starting at waist level. They all tell me to exercise. "Take a walk around the block."

Around the block? I can make it to my friend's house down the street--on a good day. After 18 months, that's still as far as I can go before my legs give out. It's not getting any better.

I spent a few days last week visiting my nephew in central Georgia; we went to a little park called Dauset Trails, which has a modest zoo and meandering trails and boardwalks. I spent most of my time either sitting on benches and resting or walking--or tottering--to the next bench. I glanced at the otters, stared back at a pair of glowing green eyes in the dark black bear hideout, felt sorry for the eagle that could no longer fly, and concentrated on making it to the next bench along the trail. I ended up parking myself on the last one while the others went off to look at deer and antelope.

By the time we made it back to the car, I was ready to lie down and not move for a few days.

A couple of days later, we went to a big indoor flea market; my nephew had told me about a vendor who sells die-cast cars (Hot Wheels, Matchbox, etc.). I wanted to see whether the guy had any Johnny Lightning Citations. Just like at the Trails, I spent a lot of my time walking for a minute or so before heading for the nearest bench. I couldn't stand long enough to look through all the cars, but he didn't have a Citation. Also like the day at the Trails, I found a chair in the food court while the others went off shopping.

This shit is past old.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

X-11: 3 Years!

I can still see the delivery guy trying to free himself from the monster Ford Expedition after he locked himself in.

I haven't really done much to the car in the last year. The most involved repairs were the clutch cable and...the clutch cable.

The rest of it was little stuff like trying to rebuild the door lock switches (farking 30-year-old plastic!), swapping in a new wiper motor, and swapping in new headlamp shells (takes your 6054 lamps and lets you use modern 9003 bulbs).

Here's how the poor car sounded the morning she was delivered:

Just about every vacuum line under the hood was missing or plugged and the carb was pretty badly out of adjustment. It took the guy a few minutes...and once he got her off the trailer:

Still pisses me off, though, that I told the transport company NOT TO TRY STARTING the damn car. It had been sitting up for awhile. I didn't want to risk damage to the engine bearings from someone running it without priming the oil pump.

It only took me 15 days to get the engine running much better (all new vacuum lines and a bunch of other little stuff):

It was still rough, but once I got it to this point smoothing things out only got easier.

Think I'll go driving.