The Year In Review

I have had an odd 2020. In many ways, it has been genuinely wretched for everyone, but compared to the issues I see others facing, I have very little to complain about. Health issues are a good metaphor for my year…specifically, I am in at a new Ortho clinic and had the MRI and tests redone, and what do you know, my pain isn’t a fiction of my mind! I really do have something wrong with me – quite wrong actually. Long story short, I need an entirely new left shoulder. This is enough to keep me busy, but I am in a weird spot; mainly, that I am probably too young to have this surgery. I am 50. The doc says most replacement shoulders of the kind I need have an expected life of no more than 20-25 years. That means my new shoulder would wear out some time in my early 70s. The problem is that if it wears out then, I will be too old to get ANOTHER new shoulder, and that I would find myself in a real state of ugly needing another new shoulder at 70. As the doc says, I likely wouldn’t be able to get another new shoulder at that age, so the plan is to wait to get my new shoulder for as long as I possibly can. Ideally, I would wait for…TEN YEARS! That means a decade of the very ugly situation I find myself currently in. Not cool, but in truth, my options are to suffer now at 50, or suffer more at 70. The wise thing is to do my suffering now, and it looks like that is what we are going to do. To make it 10 years, I have to make some changes. The biggest one is that I likely need to move to a place with no winter. I should have never left California (and I wish I never had to), but I have to eat, and my job moved to NYC, so I did too. Now my job can be anywhere (if I continue to HAVE a job), so I can go west or south without much grief. That is good news and deep down, I am good with it. The only down side is that I am very much enjoying living here in Iowa again. The weather is beastly, and I am not a fan of the winters here, but on balance, it ain’t all that hard once you git yr mind right about it. I mostly have my mind right about it, so even though it is nasty enough outside to get penguins to go back to the open ocean, I am surviving pretty well. My lease is up in a few months, and I could easily make a clean break, but in a few months, things will start warming up. That means I could just ride it out here through spring and summer and then get myself out when the coats come back out of storage. I would like to do this, but I could also just get out in 2 months and figure out where to go now. Not the worst problem…The other thing I am facing though is that to survive these next 10 years before I can go bionic, I am going to have to start taking lots of drugs that fuck up livers and kidneys. I had my blood work done, and lucky for me, my liver and kidneys are in good enough shape to take the drugs without killing myself with them. You get a finite amount of liver and kidney function, and 10 years of the killer dope is going to chew up all the function I have to spare. It will be a tight-run thing to be sure. If the drugs provide real relief, then it is a good deal. If they don’t – it ain’t. This is kind of emblematic of my 2020…I have many many things to be thankful for (and I am thankful), and I have many things coming which will test my positivity on some high stakes issues. I am in pain and suffering in ways that I don’t like, but I am grateful that my issues actually show up on the diagnostic test. My life would be dramatically worse if I was suffering the exact same amount, but I had no clear diagnosis and no clear malady to point to which explain the suffering. So many people in pain are allowed to dangle above the abyss because their issues don’t show up on x-rays or MRI’s. I experienced that for years, and it drives one to despair quickly. I don’t have that issue. I know I have issues and every doctor who has seen my labs and imagine knows I am not lying. This is something I thank God for. It increases the chance I will get my pain treated without being treated like a drug-fiend. I am everything but a drug fiend…when you take opiates 24/7/365 for a decade, that doped up feeling is the last thing you are interested in. Frankly, by the end, the constipation from Fentanyl was bad enough to blot out any euphoria – I promise! Anyway, I have a very full few months ahead of me. I have lots to ponder and wonder, and thankfully, I have no distractions. If I can keep my pain levels down during these wet and cold days, I will be fine in time. Between now and fine, I will be tested no doubt, but I know that I am just one of many. Many of us are being tested and there is no reason to think it will end any time soon. I am not gonna push church just to hear myself do it, but in all sincerity I can say that the Christian explanation of pain is the only one in which pain makes any sense, but I will have to prove this later as it will take more space than I have here. For now, I will take a quick turn through recent headlines and leave you with a Happy New Year for 2021. I sincerely hope this year is better for humanity than 2020 was. I hope this year finds you all well, and richly blessed. I especially help you can feel the warmth of your blessings, whatever they may be, even as the cold and ugly goes on around us: