A personal retrospective on my physical well-being.
I hope to get some more normal posts up, but such is life.
Late in 2004 I began a trip into a land of darkness where my mind was slowly losing track of work and I was beginning to feel exhausted beyond anything I had experienced in my life before that. With that also came a lack of awareness of these things and the simple and all too human attempt to rationalize these sensations. Being made senseless and having one's mind dimmed when aided and abetted by rationalization meant that things that should have alerted me to my dire straights were passed off... until my body forced the issue by giving me a cataleptic attack while driving. No accident resulted, but that warned me that something truly serious was going on, even through the mists of my befuddled state of mind and being, which was turning into a strange place where being awake and being asleep meant little difference at all.
By 2005 I just wanted to know what was causing these attacks and if they could be dealt with, and the list of tests I went through was long and deep. The only change had been in a standard medication, one of the statins, and when my endocrinologist heard the symptoms he took me off them, but the damage had been done and worse was to come after that until the full extent of it was finally reached. My brain had the normal attributes of someone a good 20 years older than my physical age, and yet that was not a natural thing. Narcoleptic conditions run in the male side of my family and I had thought I had escaped them as they have two general periods of onset: up to teenage years and then again in one's 60's. Well, my brain had reached that magic age, I guess, just decades ahead of schedule.
Climbing out of that pit meant trying to get my thought structure back together as it had been shattered and eroded by this condition. I had become a creature of willpower alone, determined not to let this be the end of my life. The hardest work in my life would not be physical, would not be trying to write great pieces of fiction or histories to last the ages, but to merely scrape back a formulation of my thoughts out of a land between waking and dreaming and back, fully, into the land of the waking and living. We take the fact that we think for granted, at least most people do, but somewhere within my psycho-dynamic toolkit there is a repair kit that allowed me to begin the hard work of reconstructing my mental capabilities to get some thinking capacity up and running again.
Thus diagnosis was done by others, but I was willing to go through just about any test they cared to put me through, and I would hazard a good couple of hundred of vials of blood were taken to that end. I have a long, long, long list of things I don't have and for that I am very thankful, indeed! I will give the Sherlock Holmes method of scratching off stuff from a list and whatever you are left with is what it is a hat tip: it works. Unfortunately it is the brute force method of logic, and I prefer inductive reasoning of 'this is the only thing that fits to make the entire thing work' sort of approach to the list scratching business. As I have learned, that is a bent of mind that one must have by some means other than education as no one can teach you how to take a look at a whole thing and then see where something is missing and say what it is.
Countering the effects of the problem, although not the problem itself, came next. I was a Type 1 diabetic before this happened and can tell you that dealing with a problem is not the same as curing it. For all the advances in genetics, biology, biochemistry, and 3D structural analysis of molecules and how they interact, plus the human genome, a simple auto-immune disease dating back into the far reaches of human ancestry is still beyond modern medicine to cure. Somehow every promising approach is thwarted by it. Yet one gains a toolkit of mental requirements to deal with such a problem on a daily basis and that means I had one available for yet another problem that has no cure. We know that there are cases of spontaneous remission of Type 1 diabetes after about 20 years of having it: the poor immune system just gets tired of fighting that part of the body and natural regeneration takes place for islet cells. That I still have the condition points to an immune system that is still misdoing its job! Now I also get to take medications that modern medical science can say what its structure is, but has no real idea of how it works.
There are times when I suspect the strain of being known as Witch Doctor is still with us to this day. 'What is it, what does it do?' you ask and the response is 'Dunno, it just works, take it.'
I am not nor ever have been impressed by degrees sitting up on a wall.
Doctors are still practicing medicine. They need more practice, less overhead, please, as the practice still is not perfected.
Now all of this research, fiddling with code, playing with stuff got me to firearms as there was a warning bell going off in my head circa 2007. A good year before the elections, hell before there were candidates, some part of me was saying: Prepare For No Good Shall Come Of This. I took NRA training to ensure that I properly understood function and safety of firearms, plus only rudimentary cleaning... there needs to be a real course on that, not just gunsmithing but just 'how the hell do you clean this piece of Swiss watchmaking called a gun?' sort of course. And I like older firearms, so drift punches, springs, and scouring around for parts became a ready past-time. All of this is DIY in the firearms community, and the modern arms are much, much simpler to work with than much of the older stuff until you get back to the bolt action rifle: those are, at least, pretty simple to understand.
My goal was to next find out what sort of useful skills I had or could gain, and I'm still on that path today. Firearms leads to stocks made of wood and that means wood finishing. In my family lineage is woodworking going back at least a couple of generations, and I had not only shop class but a father who did cabinetry in his spare time. That means I had some of the old 'young shop assistant' sort of deal going on, although not a lot of it, enough to get me familiar with the tools of the trade.
Building back stamina became the major goal as of 2009-10 and woodworking, well once you start using the manual tools you now have a major way to utilize physical capacity and measure endurance, now, don't you? Even on the power tool side, the lifting and toting of boards, planks, and other less savory bits of trees can get you all sorts of exercise, especially if you have a small shop and need to set up and break down the power tools so that you can have access to the rest of the shop when you aren't using them.
Up until the past few weeks here has been the deal: 1 day of a few hours of work, 2 days of recovery. Doesn't matter if the day is woodworking, shopping, or whatever, either. On rare times I could string a couple of days together and then need additional down time to recover. That was getting me to an even keel, but the boat still had water up to the gunwales and I was bailing as fast as I could. Stamina was not returning but I at least could keep what I had.
About a month ago I talked with my neurologist who told me that there are some preliminary longitudinal studies that indicate that for diabetics in Japan and Germany (two populations with a major concern over the disorder by genetic causation) that the use of a CPAP helps to lower the HbA1c (a basal blood glucose reading that you strive to get to 7% as a diabetic) by a full 1%. That is an eye-opener, to be sure. A real eye-opener as a CPAP improves flow of air to the lungs while sleeping. I had tried a CPAP before as there were indications of some marginal sleep problems, and they continue to be marginal and the neurologist doesn't know what to make of the actual readings as they aren't showing a disorder but something else going on... but that a CPAP might help that and the the cause to actually get one.
The prior CPAP device made my sleep worse, not better.
There have been improvements over the last 6-7 years, not grand ones but gradual ones, to the point where I can actually tolerate the device, more or less.
It will take some months of use to see what it does for that long term basal blood glucose reading.
A more immediate effect is to get lots of oxygen into my system at night and well distributed through my body. I do wake up logy, no two ways about it: it is the sleep of someone who has worked themselves to exhaustion. I knew what that felt like, back before 2004. It is the sleep that when you wake up you just had no idea of how tired you actually were. Apparently I need that sort of sleep.
From that sleep I now have better and larger amounts of physical energy and mental awareness longer into the day and even into the evening. I can accomplish a lot more with the energy once I get the logy feeling out of the system. Learning to hand plane maple that has just been skip planed is really hard work, let me tell you. Yet I haven't been tempted to power tools (although I have a planing jig for a router) because it just feels good to be able to put some actual physical capacity into the work. For a few hours at a stretch. So now I can have sore muscles when I wake up! This is a good thing.
The next step of the recovery is actually reversing not just the effects of one of my major conditions, but the thing, itself. Those require an actual, functioning medical system in which trying to redistribute wealth and making everyone sicker in the name of 'health insurance' is not the goal. That is an enemy to actual scientific advancement. Strange that the most backward looking people are now on the political Left: they are starting to sound like the old fogies who just want to do things the same, tired old way that doesn't work well because that is all they know and will tell you about how righteous it is to do things the broken, tired, old way. Yet the 21st century isn't going to wait for them to catch up, and no matter how much kicking, screaming, and theft under the guise of 'doing good' goes on, this century is set to steamroller the prior 3,000 years of advancement with changes that seemed impossible just a decade ago. Be it the first formulation for a warp drive or getting to the bounds of computer capacity and then leapfrogging that with quantum computing or finding out that the ways to deal with disorders and diseases isn't to just ameliorate the effects but treat the damned things with some skill ('what does this drug actually do?' 'I dunno, it just works') and get the idea of practice out of the way or education that is self-performed via online systems of study that can't be categorized but can be tested as to skill, knowledge and capacity to utilize it... everything, and I do mean everything, that has been the foundation for the modern world is about to undergo a sea change that will make the Industrial Revolution seem like something for children.
Thus my goal is to survive the current bout of MegaStupidity via Centralized Insanity of Government and get to this new age of Individual Freedom and Liberty writ large.
As has been my threat: the more I recover, the less I will be posting.
I hate repeating myself and that is mostly what I would be doing to no good effect.
I need to recover so I can join this up and coming age of wonder.
The age of Back to Basics, DIY and reaching for the stars and getting off this damned starter home of a planet.
And I hope you will join me.
For we are better than the old 20th century has led us to think.
And governing is the problem, and government is not the solution.