Archive for General

Goodbye Space Man

A lot of my dreams and aspirations for space physics were motivated in part by the work of this man.

Goodbye Space Man

Neil Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012)

 

 

68 days since surgery, not much better, numbness and irritation the same

Since not much has changed, I wanted to copy and paste an email that I wrote to a friend of mine from a previous place of employment. I thought it was quite succinct and explained how I felt at this time in my life. So here it is, as written.

 

The surgery was relatively easy to go through and endure. My wound has healed quickly from the surgery, but the nerves have not healed much. It is going to take a long time to become “normal” or at least as close to normal as possible. It could take a year or two. I am fine with it because I was expecting a lot worse and made myself ready for it, but people around me are surprised when I remind them of where my body is and what to expect from it. I am also not quite the same person. I think I have become more irritable and separated because of the experiences and the my inabilities. I am trying very hard to fit back in. People (my family included) are used to normal surgeries where things are well healed in a few months. I have to continue to do PT like activity to keep my body mobile and able to function. I make it sound bad, but all of it surrounds my right leg and the lack of feeling on the right side of my body. I can get around on it and can drive but I cannot do any of those things or others as well as before. I think I severely underestimated the effect that the loss of certain motor functions and a little added tingling could have on my sense of well being. Oh, and the meds make me quite irritable and unable to tolerate any shit from anyone, force me to have zero short term memory and make me very sleepy all day. The surgery has really annoying from that aspect and has caused a lot of small, but consequential issues that are material to my quality of life and of those around me. These will get better with time, I am sure. It has thankfully not affected my work, at least from my perspective.

Other than that, I am shuffling between CLE and TOL once a week. I get to work from home one day a week, so I take Friday, leave for home at 6 AM and start work at Toledo at 8:30. It is easier for me to drive early in the morning than later on in the evening when my legs are tired and the nerves are jangling. I spend the rest of the weekend here and then head back to CLE mid afternoon on Sunday. We have found a house in Westlake next to the Rec center, and should have possession around the end of this month. We will still have to get some work done to the house and move in around the end of September-ish. I will then have to work on this house to get things cleaned up and moving. So a lot of work to be done and lots of people to still work through but excited about all of it nonetheless. Moving is such a pain!! :P

As for work, I love it so far. It is exciting and challenging at the same time. It is truly different to work for a company with so many people who have been with the company for so long. The corporate culture is strong but they know that they need to become more agile. I am constantly learning, plotting, planning and executing and my boss is with me 90% of the time. It is a great feeling to know that you might be able to make a big difference. “Maintenance” or Operations in Software Development is a very new concept and larger companies are not geared for the type of quick changes required and the dangers that be might be faced with such expectations. I am working on building new relationships here. We are hiring like crazy but trying to be respectful of the people we hire. Exciting times!

So it has been worthwhile, but it has cost more than I had budgeted for it. We are going to be happy in the end and thats what matters the most to me. I could not have seen this coming!

59 days since surgery, nurse says wait another 240 days

I spoke with my nurse practitioner today (with her stand in really, she is on vacation) and they told me that I should expect this sort of a recovery (slow) for up to 6 months. My feelings and pain sensations are not uncommon for a surgery of this type and I should expect to recover very slowly for another 4-5 months. Nerve recovery is very slow and he was not worried about what I was going through. As long as there are no spasms and there is no nerve pain, I should be fine. I should also notify them if there is a sudden loss of motor functions or sudden onset of very severe weakness.

It made me feel a little better. I totally forgot to ask what Jennifer had asked me to ask them (about getting a new prescription) but I am hoping she can do it tomorrow.

In other news, I am trying on three new pairs of shoes, at different times. The Asics 2170, the New Balance 927 and the Brooks Beast. All from Zappos, thank you very much. I LOVE Zappos.

The 927 stood out instantly. They are comfortable to wear, ugly to look at and were my instant favorite. Then I tried the Asics, which I liked the feel and look of. After that I tried on the Brooks Beast. The Beast was the worst of the lot and I felt the pain that is common. The Asics has stood at the front of the line and I have been wearing them ever since. I will continue to break them in this week and next and we shall see at that point. I have a bunch of shoes to return and I will try to find the New Balances in Black from Toledo. The Asics are on my feet right now.

My dad went fishing again today and he sounded very happy. I was very happy that he was able to go out and enjoy himself. He needs to do that some more. When he got back home, he was missing Lucien and so he went out and played with him, which sounded like so much fun as well. I miss being home.

I wonder if I passed the ITIL test?

Went to physical therapy today Jonathan wanted me…

Went to physical therapy today. Jonathan wanted me to get into the pool for some aquatic therapy. Feeling much better after it. Not much in terms of recovery, but liking the pool and the exercise.

On another note, the electric shocks through my right leg to my right foot have increased over the past week or two. I am getting them all the time now, about 1-2 every couple of hours. They used to be 2 at a time. Now they are 2-3 at a time and stronger. I will be calling Ann (my nurse practitioner from Dr Edward Benzel’s office) tomorrow and talking with her about it. It might be related to Lyrica. I will know soon.

The stiffness generating from excitement or worry/anxiety is still there. It was strong this afternoon before the test I had to take at work. Still don’t know if I will pass it with my wooziness from the medication. A word of advice, if you are on this concoction, namely full dosage of Lyrica and Baclofen, don’t try any memory exercises! :)

Bitch about Spotify

So Spotify, why the hell would you sign up me for Premium on the Andriod app without asking me? Do you think I am an idiot?

Stop being a sleazeball. It is not becoming of a mature app or a mature system. Improve your product to attract customers and keep them.

Here is an idea, extend your Andriod Radio idea with a thumbs up and down on your desktop app so people like me, who prefer Pandora to Spotify, will actually pony up the dough to get your Premium Service.

When you do that (or better), and quite being a fucknut, will I switch!

The Merrell shoes I ordered did not work…

The Merrell shoes I ordered did not work. They still make my feet hurt. Back to the drawing board. I am too busy to go somewhere to look at shoes, so they will have to wait. Jonathan, my PT, tells me that my right foot is a little swollen and I would benefit from some shoes for support such as New Balance with various model numbers. I will post updates as I know.

For now, I am back to the drawing board and feeling like my feet are having the bends :(

55 days since surgery, progress

So it has been 55 days since the surgery. Some things have gotten better, others have not.

I am taking the full dosage of Lyrica and the full dosage of Baclofen. They make me sleepy and drowsy at times. At other times, they have me shake and uneasy. I am almost always uncomfortable. This is either from the medication or because my body feels some sort of pain or electrical shock. I am irritable, very attentive to small changes in almost anything in my environment, and I am making everything miserable. I am sorry for all the sadness I am causing. Sounds depressing, but I am actually in pretty good spirits. I almost feel selfish and uncaring at times, which makes me very sad for the others in my life. But life has to go on and I have to make the best of what I have and carry on with everything.

The cramping feeling that I was complaining about has reduced to almost nothing, which is good. It was not comfortable at all when it used to happen. It made me feel like my leg was being held together with a tight and wide rubber band. I kept thinking it was like the bands used for physical therapy. But I really felt like my legs were being sucked into my body. My right leg mostly. I am really glad that this has reduced to nothing. If I am careful and don’t make things bad (I know what irritates the system) and if I take the medications on time, I can prevent this. I am thankful for this at least.

Now all I have left are tightness and tingly and burning sensation at times, along with the bends and loss of control of my leg and foot. The bends are horrible. I feel them mostly when I am driving. This is mostly when the Baclofen is starting to wear out. I have to take a pill often to maintain the levels. I also have a tightness that comes and goes in my right leg and the right side of my body. It makes me very itchy and very restless. Thankfully all the medication makes me very sleepy and I sleep like a baby. I do feel very tight and sore after I sleep.

I cannot wear any shoes besides the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove. It has been a godsent and I really like the feel. I almost feel that IF I could run, I would go running in them. If I ever get better, I will try to go running. I did order a couple of other barefoot Merrell shoes to try them out. It is getting kind of strange to wear them to work with the orange around the edge. I know I could take a doctor’s note, but I am retarded enough. I just don’t want to make it worse.

I want to keep track of my complaints and how they rate on a scale of 10.

Cramping: 0-1
Tightness: 5-6
Electricity: 2-3
Soreness: 3-4
Pain in my right armpit: 2-3
Irritation: 6-7

Kudos Amazon for doing the right thing, refunds when price changes happen

Maybe just for MP3s since they are pushing those quite a bit, but kudos just the same for doing the right thing.

Hello,

We’re contacting you about an order(s) you placed for one or more of the MP3 albums offered in our July 3, 2012 Gold Box Deal of the Day promotion. We recently learned that some customers were charged $1.99 for albums that we promoted for $0.99. We’re very sorry about this.

To help make it up to you, we’ve automatically applied a $1 promotional credit to your Amazon account for each album you purchased at $1.99, which you can use the next time you order an item sold by Amazon.com. This amount will be applied to your next qualifying order automatically without entering a claim code and is good for qualifying Amazon purchases, including MP3s.

You can verify that a promotional credit was successfully applied by reviewing your Order Confirmation e-mail or by visiting Your Account: https://www.amazon.com/your-account

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Sincerely,

Customer Service
Amazon.com


Running and Walking Shoes, what works for my numb feet

I hope you guys read my last post about my surgery and then all the hoopla surrounding it. Well it also left me numb in my right leg. The leg works, I can walk, not run, but walk like I have a wooden leg. I also can drive, not like I used to be able to, but well enough I would say. I just cannot feel for anything under my feet and so at times when I need to accelerate or brake, I tend to jump o them a little bit more than I should. I really wanted to find a pair of shoes or something that would help me make my sensations better. Taking my shoes off did not help, which was surprising.

So Jennifer and I went to the Perrysburg mall to a shoe store called Second Sole or something like that. There was a really helpful salesman there called Zack who worked with me to find the shoe that would work for me. I had wanted to get something from the Vibram family because I liked the idea of barefoot walking/running. I was most interested in the Vibram Sprint and the KSOs because they looked the most attractive and seemed to be the best price. (REI has them for sale now, but that changes all the time). I have both of them in the Amazon link below if you are interested in looking through them.

(aff)


I could not get my feet through the Vibrams. Any of them for that matter. So if you have numbness in your feet, dont buy Vibrams. The Vibram Sprint might have worked better because they have a larger opening, but they were not available for me to try out. The sales person then suggested Merrell Trail Glove Barefoot Running Shoes. They were fantastic. Truly fit like a glove, instantly increased sensation in my feet a little and felt right. Now I am hoping that they continue to be as nice and I can use them in the future to walk around my motel in Westlake. Walking helps a lot and I hope they continue to be as helpful in the weeks and months to come. I am also looking forward to the upgrade that was promised to me by Mariott!

A quick update for everyone

I have not been the best at communicating with everyone and I am sorry for being that. This spring I took a new position with The Sherwin Williams Company in Cleveland and have been commuting to Cleveland from Toledo for about 3 months.Around that time, I also ran into some serious health issues. Instead of having everyone bealarmed over something I could not control, I decided to wait. Myillness ended up requiring surgery and it was completed on the 4th ofJune with moderate success. In short, I am doing relatively well, am in Toledo and recuperating from home. I have been working from my Toledohome for two weeks and am going back to commutingfrom Cleveland.

It turns out that I had a tumor called an hemangioblastoma insidemy spinal column (yes, inside the bundle of nerves :P ) . I startedhaving severe symptoms on the first day I started the new job. Just asluck would have it, of course. It is a benign type of tumor that has areasonably good prognosis and is the least likely to reoccur (knock on wood). They have removed most of it. The surgery was more complex thanthe doctors had originally anticipated. The four hour surgery actuallyended up taking over eight hours. Instead of the tumor “popping out” as the doctors had anticipated, it was completely vascularized and had to be scooped out, one smalllayer at a time. Since they were messing around in there for a longtime, they had to hook my whole body up to neural impulse generatorsand monitor the evoke potentials for each zone after every scoop. Oncethey started seeing loss of voltage across my right leg, they stoppedscooping and sewed me up. I did end up biting halfway through mytongue because my bite block slipped during one of the tests. I nowhave a huge laceration on my tongue, which is also healing well.

The surgery area hurts as expected, but that pain is going awayquickly. The score so far is that my left leg is about 20% numb and myright leg is about 50-60% numb (no feeling, limited movement).Recovery is about 1-2% per week. I am working on Physical Therapy andlots of walking with lots of pain meds. They are reducing the painmeds drastically but recovery will take a while still. I m going back to work next week. I will take the bus to work. Ican walk and take care of myself today, but am quite weak and Iquickly get tired when walking.

I hope all of you and your families are doing well. Please take care of yourselves. I am proof that we are all quite vulnerable. :)

Cowon J3 MP3 Player Repeated Reboots Fix

I own a Cowon J3 MP3 player. I love it. The music it produces, heard through a higher end set of cans (I own a set of Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 and a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphones, both of which re-produce beautiful music) is dreamy. Any other MP3 player simply pales in comparison. This is mostly due to Cowon’s advanced JetEffect audio enhancement technology. As long as the player works, it is a charm.

Cowon J3

Cowon J3

Creative Commons License photo credit: NFS-974

While setting it up, I had read about nightmares with Mac OS X and this player and how it should not be plugged into a Mac. Well, me being a technology jerk, decided to do it anyways and ended up with a player that constantly rebooted itself. It would get to the bootup screen, perform a “checking albumart” function and then throw garbage on the screen. The J3 does not have a hard reset built in and I tried every other trick I knew of. I knew that I would have to do something drastic.

I found a post on iaudiophile.net that explained how to use tcctool to unbrick the Cowon J3. From what I understood, most of the people that ran into this issue were able to mount their players on a Windows machine and fix the bad file that was causing the issue. In my case, the device would not boot far enough for me to use any such trick. So I ended up using tcctool to upload the latest firmware as explained in the post above. However, I still could not boot it up. It would still cycle through endless restarts.

So instead of uploading the latest firmware, I decided to upload the oldest firmware I could find on the Internet. That did the trick. I installed Cowon J3 Firmware Version 2.10 on the device and it restarted just fine! I then proceeded to fix the bad file by formatting the drive and re-uploading my music. It worked like a charm.

So if your Cowon J3 is stuck in a never ending loop and you are brave enough to try the tcctool method, it might be worth a shot. Of course, no warranties are implied or offered with this advice. Please make any changes or fix your device at your own risk. Leave a comment if this helped or if you need more information.

I just love having my little player back! :)

What a crazy f’ing week!

Still there was some rejoicing. I had the pleasure of editing and finally sending out a company wide email of the accomplishments of my team and the folks that I run with every day. I loved knowing that not only are we doing well, we are being recognized for the good work we do and are being called upon to do better work every day.

Billy and Graham Green from the Salvation Army Camp practise a little deceit, Collaroy Beach, ca. 1940 / photographer unknown

Crazy!

c
Creative Commons License photo credit: State Library of New South Wales collection

So here is to a crazy week, with lots of good things happening and some more scheduled to happen as soon as we let them.

IRS, Good comes out of the Bad

It could have been a lot worse of course, but it turns out that I had forgotten to show some mutual fund earnings in our 2009 returns and the IRS added other items to it and asked us to respond. Well, as my astute MIL pointed out, we actually lost money on those funds, and now the government owes us some money.

Considering The Tax Shelter

IRS Tax Shelter

Creative Commons License photo credit: JD Hancock

So something good came out of the bad. Not a lot of money mind you, but some to spend on a nice dinner and a toy for Lucien.

I Love Biking!

Even as I type this, I have to pinch myself. I have never been the type of person that likes to work out. However, somehow I enjoy biking and I even crave it at times. Like right now.

Rad Am Ring 2010

Specialized Sirrus

Creative Commons License photo credit: sweens308

I have been working out on my hybrid sirrus and my recumbent stationary since July. I have pedaled well over 500 miles since then and try to get in at least five hours a week on the bikes. All I can say is that the results on my well being have been amazing. I will have to take some time some day to document all the good things about it but for now, I will say that it is a great way to burn off steam and it makes me happy.

Every time I climb on the bike and pedal past my threshold, I feel great.

A vacation can bring people together in more ways than one

One of my co-workers just came back from a three week vacation. It was nice to see him again and have him around to share in the load. But aside from that, I watched today as the rest of our team rallied around him to listen to him talk about his wonderful trip across the pond. It was so much fun to hear his tales and even more fun to watch the morale of the team lift up. The meetups were impromptu and always accompanies laughter and wide eyed participation. In between the short bursts of social interaction, the team took on new challenges and found quite unique and effective solutions to complex projects. All without knowing how well they were doing.

DSC_7112.jpg

Iceland

Creative Commons License photo credit: randystoreyphotography

He enjoyed his vacation and came back refreshed and ready to face the world. His experiences livened up our day and the group accomplished a whole bunch of goals without even knowing how productive they had been. A boon in so many ways.