Category Archives: illness

The Story So Far…

My life as a school teacher is definitely over. That part of my story is complete. I thought, as I found that driving for Uber to earn extra money was becoming too difficult to do, that maybe I could get healthy enough to be a substitute teacher again. Money-wise it makes sense. Three days of substituting in a single week would easily surpass my best days as an Uber driver. And they correctly figure withholding for tax purposes, something that neither my teacher pension nor my Uber account seem capable of doing. I face tax penalties again for 2018.

But my health never seems to stabilize since the car accident in August. Of course, that figures too since my diabetes has gotten worse, insulin has gotten more expensive, and my personal economy tanks monthly. So I have to let go of teacher daydreams. Those chapters are now closed. I must read on more slowly and carefully in the Book of Life.

The Wings of Imagination

The way forward is now through being a story-teller. Writing and drawing are things that I can do without leaving the house, sometimes without even getting out of bed. I know that becoming even more sedentary is basically a slow death sentence. But my arthritis, COPD, and diabetes have all worked hand-in-hand to reduce my mobility. They also make driving more dangerous. So, slowing down probably reduces the chances of sudden and destructive death. And I have never been more prolific in my writing.

Davalon the Telleron alien, Anneliese the gingerbread girl, and Francois Martin the Sad Clown Singer

I have published eight novels. They are, in order of publication, Catch a Falling Star, Magical Miss Morgan, Stardusters and Space Lizards, Snow Babies, Superchicken, The Bicycle-Wheel Genius,  Recipes for Gingerbread Children, and The Baby Werewolf. Number nine, Sing Sad Songs, is in the revision and editing stage and will be completed early in 2019. I have When the Captain Came Calling well under way, though the end is not yet in sight. And I recently began work on the rough draft of Fools and Their Toys. I am also working to finish my graphic novel, Hidden Kingdom.

These novels of mine will probably never generate meaningful money in my lifetime, but the creation of them feels like the fulfillment of my life’s arc. I spent four decades in education, and now I am investing my remaining life force in story-telling, using many of the students and fellow teachers in novels of surrealistic fantasy and humor, giving meaning to the memories of a life spent in service to higher ideals.

Player #3, the powerful Miss Perez

So, there you have it, the Story So Far. I will continue to work on it, polish it, perfect it, and continue not to worry if no one reads it or even cares. It is my story, the story I live to create, and that is all the meaning that matters.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, drawing, education, feeling sorry for myself, humor, illness, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

Living On After Writing

I finished a novel over the weekend. It was one of those novels that you have to write before you die because anything short of finishing it would leave your whole life incomplete.

So, now that it is finished, I can go ahead and die, right?

4clownsWell, of course, it is not as simple as that.  I created a cover for it.  But it is not proofread and formatted and I have to give it time to cool down, being fresh out of the oven, before I read it over again, make adjustments, and publish it.  And I have two other novel drafts that haven’t yet reached the published state of being.  So, I better put off dying for just a bit.  Any clown can tell you that giving birth to a novel that you have been composing for 4o years and writing down for six months takes a lot out of you.  And you have to stop and take a breath.  At least one.  Before you forge ahead with the next one.  I do have Recipes for Gingerbread Children already formatted and I am working through the final edit.  I am still in poor health yet and could drop dead at any moment.  My computer is all funky from some sort of virus, hopefully not computer flu… or computer black death.  So, I am still in a mad rush to beat an unknown deadline beyond which I am really dead.

I don’t have the luxury of dying yet.

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I have to deal with the death of another beloved character,  I can’t seem to write a comedy adventure novel without killing somebody at the end of it.  Shakespearian comedies all end in marriages, and it is the tragedies that end in mass deaths.  But like any clown, I have most things backward in my life.  You learn that as a teacher in public schools, you really are just another form of professional fool pursuing your profession foolishly.  That is kinda what life is for.  And it doesn’t change when you retire and try to become a foolish writer of foolish novels to leave behind as a foolish legacy to a whole foolish world.

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But, as for the question of whether there is life after writing… I really don’t know, and I am still not ready to find out.

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Filed under autobiography, humor, illness, new projects, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Benefits of Having a Virus

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To be perfectly honest, I can’t think of a single recommended use for a virus, either the computer kind or the kind I have right now that floored me for the past five days.  The computer kind damages expensive hardware and ruins expensive software, and serves no purpose I can fathom beyond usefulness in acts of evil.  And I do not recommend getting sick with a virus.  Every viral illness I have gotten over the past two decades has been, for me being a diabetic, potentially fatal.

But the book that Raggedy Clown and Baby Clown are displaying here in a vain attempt at marketing was written during a continuing siege of virally-induced bronchitis… Six times in four years.  Writing benefitted from lost work time and extended usage of sick days from my teaching job.  Some of my most creative work has happened because of bizarre dreams dreamed while having a fever.

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Idiotically I leaped out of bed with a feverish inspiration in the middle of a mostly sleepless night to write down a song, as if I had any business trying to be a songwriter.  I had listened earlier in the evening to a compilation of sad songs on YouTube obtained by typing the words “sad songs of the 80’s” into the search box.  I listened to a totally gawd-awful mess of weepers because in the book I am now writing, Sing Sad Songs, the main character Francois sings almost exclusively only sad songs.  That listening session must have caused just enough brain damage to make me think I could somehow compose a worthy sad song of my own to horrify readers with as an original song written by the character in the book.  Clever idea.  Impossible to carry out with my croaking toad-like musical abilities.  I can probably polish up the poetry to an acceptably awful level, but the tune half-heard in my dream is now completely lost and inapplicable.

Dr Seabreez

So, on the whole, I would have to say I have been decidedly unwell.  But, overall, it has not proved to be a barrier to my creative work.  It has really only served to make the strange little imaginary realm I live in a little bit stranger.

This is, of course, not a medical dissertation, or any sort of health and wellness advice that I am not qualified to give.  But it would be ironic if lots of people suddenly re-posted this essay and it ended up going viral like my post on visiting a nudist park did.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, healing, health, humor, illness, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

One Day More

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I am still collecting sunrises.  Chest pains and numbness on the left side of my neck have me fearing the worst again.  I need rest.  But I am still alive.  And life is still worth living.  And I may not be able to write much today, but I am still living and will do better when I am able.  I am working on publishing The Bicycle-Wheel Genius, re-writing page 240 out of about 330.  I have to last a little longer for that book.  And longer still for the next one.

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Please ignore the spelling mistake.  You can be a genius without being able to spell it correctly.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, humor, illness, Paffooney

Deep Dark Depression

I have been very limited for over a week in the amount of time I have to spend on writing and blog posting.  The start of a new novel has been delayed.  My posts have been short… and hopefully also sweet.  I have relied some on re-blogging old posts.  Depression is a demanding illness.  It requires the sacrifice of time, the sacrifice of energy, and even the sacrifice of self.  It can go so far as to demand the sacrifice of a human life.  And it can require you to offer up those things even when you are not the one depressed yourself.  Though I must admit, my health and mood have suffered through hospital visits, business arrangements made without money to spend, only mortifying promises of doing whatever you can.  And then doing those things.  And at the same time I have earned zero dollars from Uber.

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Ghosts from the past, long dead emotions, and ancient regrets all arise from crypts you have been keeping them in to remind you that you are mortal after all and subject to the slings and arrows that flesh is heir to.  And you must become a ghost-buster.  How do you do it?  How do you defeat the phantoms of past deeds and devilments?

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Dr. Pinkenstein and Pinkenstein’s Monster Mickenstein

Of course, Science can help.  You need professional help from a real psychiatrist, especially if you can find a good one.  The doctor we found is one who saved our family from darkness once before.  This time a mood drug called Lexipro and vitamin D supplements helped.  Before it was too much cortisol, the stress chemical, and lack of serotonin that threw things out of balance.  Better life through proper medication is actually a thing.

And a sense of humor doesn’t hurt.  Dr. Pinkenstein was not our psychiatrist.  But if he makes us laugh about things… well, laughter really is good medicine.

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And I have sailed these waters and fought these devils before.  My little boat was easier to navigate this time because I had a map through the labyrinth that I drew for myself before.  Experience and the wisdom to learn from it is seriously a super power.

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Up, up, and away, me!  We have come out of the darkness again, and it is time to get our lives back on track.

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Filed under battling depression, colored pencil, humor, illness, mental health, monsters, Paffooney

Oh, Great! Illness Knows Where I Live!

Portrait from the Jungle

I am desperately trying to recover financially after being sued by Bank of America, forced into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and being hospitalized in November with heart troubles.  This Spring has found us repeatedly beset by illness as a family.  I mean, I have known for some time that the Grim Reaper has my address penned into his address book.  He knows where everybody lives.  At least those of us who are alive.

But the Third Horseman of the Apocalypse, the one with the scales,  who decides who deserves what and how much we get and how much we forfeit, has also taken notice and recommended that the Fourth Horseman sow a little pestilence in our garden.  I am ill again, for three days now, and my daughter is working on day two, the third illness since being diagnosed with the flu in January.

That Night in Saqqara 2 No one here is asking to live forever, but you would think horsemen could be a little more sympathetic and not layer on quite so thick a layer of never-ending disease.  And yet, I am reminded that I do plan to look at the benefits of the worst things that happen to me in life, and what good things they lead to.  I have been ill enough in my life to become quite good at it.  Arthritis has slowed me, but not stopped me.  I still get around quite speedily, even though I often require a cane to do it.  I am still not on insulin for my diabetes because of my diet and exercise efforts.  I have learned how to cope with illness and keep going in spite of it.

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Now I hope to transfer some of my illness-battling skills to my daughter so we might have at least some hope of her graduating high school in two more years.

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Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, healing, health, illness, Paffooney

The Doctor’s Bill Comes Due

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I am in the middle of a family health meltdown.  In this time when the yearly flu epidemic is turning deadly, my two kids living at home and still in high school are both home sick.  And I am finding it difficult to pay for illnesses.  My recent trip to the hospital for a faux heart attack has left me staring down an incoming tidal wave of doctor and hospital bills.  I have been paying more for health insurance than ever before.  The lovely caring government has been mucking about with health care issues to the point that, even though I am paying thousands of dollars more per year for health insurance than I did ten years ago, I have huge medical bills that, due to higher deductables, leave more for me to pay as my portion than ever before.  I am paying twice as much for a three day stay in the hospital than I did five years ago when I had pneumonia, and was hospitalized for five days.  The Princess’s doctor visit yesterday cost me $77 dollars.  Number two son goes to the doctor this afternoon, and I have to hope it won’t cost more than that, because I am running out of Uber money for the month.

Gone are the days when I could afford to be sick.  Now, bankrupt and with no credit left to my name, I am going further into the dark lake of debt, hoping for the mercy of lawyers and credit collection agencies.  They may as well grind my bones to make their bread.  I have little else to give them.

If this sounds like a complaint rather than the humor I usually shoot for, well, that’s because that’s what it is.  I am sick and tired of always being sick and tired.  But I have to do my part to help the American economy.  It is really booming right now.  Probably because people like me are investing so much in health care, right before we die because we can’t afford to pay for the medicine the doctor prescribes.

My thanks go out to the ghost of Norman Rockwell for providing the illustrations for this post.  The pictures make me long for the good old days when doctors actually cared, and weren’t just making lots of money.  Of course, it isn’t the doctors who are making most of the money off piratical health-insurance schemes.  Whoever those people are, we never actually see their faces, and the voices we argue with over the insurance help lines are just their employees.  Anyway, I am not myself sick yet.  That probably comes later.  So I will hunker down and burrow my way through a potentially terrible week.

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Filed under angry rant, art my Grandpa loved, artists I admire, artwork, feeling sorry for myself, health, humor, illness, pessimism