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Well I better get on with this before I forget all the details.  As I stated I get my massage, take my medicines, and gather the ice packs for both of us. Somewhere along the line my trusty sidekick Tommy the cat comes in our room and starts his night under our bed in my wife’s suitcase. I then brush my teeth, rub in some Rogaine to keep my hair from all falling out and start my night.  Rogaine is another commercial I could do because I can state in all honesty it does work! Unfortunately even though I’m a photographer I neglected to take any before pictures.  I then get in bed with my laptop, knowing it will take quite awhile for me to get drowsy.  I have already experienced 100’s of nights without sleep to not waste my time just laying there. Also my Doctors have tried every combination of drugs under the sun to help me sleep. Some work for a day or two, maybe even a week. But soon after my body just gets used to them and they do nothing. I’ve been told what I take now should knock out a horse. The last thing we tried with limited success was Ambien. Worked for about 3 nights.  Depending on the order that I take my meds in and how empty my stomach is, I am sometimes visited by hallucinations.  Not trippy acid types, or even ghosts, usually spiders, rats, or people I know.  I once flung the poor cat off my chest recently because I hallucinated that I spilled a big bowel of food on the quilt and I needed to get him off before he ate it all.  Poor guy didn’t know what the hell he did.  Another side effect from the meds is no matter how cool it is in the room, I get hot flashes, followed by cold sweats.  So it is hard to get comfortable for about the first 45 minutes or so.  I’m taking of my shirt, flinging off all the blankets, then comes the cold sweats where I’m cold, but clammy, very uncomfortable.  Not sure exactly what med is responsible for that. I usually check my e-mail, any EBay items I may be watching, check the chatter on some model train forums I follow, and then if moved, I write this. It’s not easy because I get a lot of pain in my right arm and shoulder from typing, and sometimes end up using only my left hand. That’s bothersome and really slows me down, but it’s better than the pain. Before I know it, it’s 3am. That’s when I usually give up and try to sleep.  This particular night I quit at 2am, knowing I was traveling to see relatives. Well I laid there for an hour with no hope of sleeping. By this time I do get consoled by Tommy who leaves his perch under the bed, and crawls up between me and the Mrs. I pet his head because it relieves some pain and stress and helps me sleep.  He also likes it, so it is a win win situation. Occasionally I disturb him by having to get up and pee, or to get a new ice pack.  Around the middle of the night I start getting a reaction from a sleep agent I take called Imiprimine.  It’s an anti-depressant that is given to me to help with pain, and also sleep.  It’s been years so it’s effect on sleep is little, though sleep is hopeless without it.  The side effect is it makes it very hard to pee. So I stand there and listen to the clock tick, and pray, and mumble. Sometimes it takes as little as 5 or as long as 15 minutes to go. I’ve fallen asleep standing there. I’ve paced, ran cold water, tried sitting, you name it. The Flomax helps in that eventually I wouldn’t go at all if I didn’t take it. It was prescribed because my Doctor said my bladder would stretch eventually. His reasoning was only that “You don’t want that to happen” I believe him, so Flomax it is. This happens several times during the night. Eventually about 4-4:30 am the cat gets out of bed too and wants fed. After we both have a snack him his kibbles, and me a Thomas’s English muffin toasted with grape jelly, and a little bit of the BBC radio from NPR, we go back to bed.  If I’m lucky I fall asleep.  This night I wasn’t lucky. After laying there for an hour, I tried reading. This didn’t work because I was too tired to read, but too awake to sleep. I tried reading for an hour, then tried sleeping again. No luck.  The worst part of insomnia is when you start hearing the world wake up, and you have yet to sleep. The birds chirp before the sun comes up. Then you hear people warm up their cars, and go off to work. Then the sun starts creeping in your window. Now your really disgusted. I finally did fall asleep about 7am I think. My Wife bless her heart let me sleep until about 10am, even though she wanted to leave at 11:00am. I got up, had my best meal of the day, breakfast. Everyday for the past 45 years I start my day with a cupcake of some sort and a drink of diet soda. It’s changed over the years. For a long time it was Oreos and milk, then Ring Dings, Devil Dogs, you name it. Right now it is Tasteykake chocolate cupcakes with butterscotch icing and creme filling, chilled, sometimes even frozen and diet Sierra Mist Free. I savor it, eating it slow like it was my last meal.  This morning because I was allowed to sleep in and we were on a tight schedule, I was not allowed to savor it 😦   I then headed to the showers hoping it would wake me up. It didn’t, I was in a fog. As usual we were late, but it was not because of me. We left at 12:00 noon. Our destination was Laurie’s Fathers house for a belated Christmas get together. As we left my thought were of getting home and sitting in my chair or crawling in bed, back to familiar and comfortable territory. Since I’ve become disabled the joke is to see who falls asleep first, me or My Father-in-laws, Father-in-law who is about 85 and in poor health. He is a great old man who looks like Grandpa Simpson. Well unfortunately he wasn’t there this year. My main thoughts were to stay awake as long as possible and not to embarrass my Wife. We actually were the first to arrive. I try to make small talk with my F-I-L but we have so little in common. He’s a hunter, fisherman, drinker, loudmouth, a Man’s man. He’s actually a nice guy when you get to know him, but we have nothing in common other than his daughter. Lately we do have one thing, he’s recently retired and spends his afternoons watching Fox News, as do I. So we do have that to talk about. I take a seat and try to read the Sunday paper. By then other guest arrive. I keep telling myself in my head, stay awake, talk to others. I try my best and even though the eyes want to close, I do stay awake. Everyone chows down on the pre-dinner finger food. Unfortunately for me it’s all seafood which doesn’t work for me. So I nibble on chips and Christmas M&M’s. This and the lack of a comfortable chair keeps me awake. The other men all gather around the TV for Football.  I never got into football but I try, just to be sociable and not the weird uncle. Finally we feast. Laurie’s Step-Mom is an incredible cook. You never leave hungry or dissatisfied. We gather around the table for at least an hour. The meal winds down to somewhat embarrassment as F-I-L starts filling up on wine and telling us his opinion of Barack Obama. He blames his ignorance on never having seen a black man where he grew up for his first 20 years. He grew up in western PA, think Deliverance the movie. We ask him how come he didn’t grow and widen his horizons for the last 47 years since then. The rest is best left unsaid. His grandsons who are from South New Jersey and very worldly laugh at him and try to straighten him up. They are both big enough to talk back to Grandpa now. After dinner I retired to the living room.  I’m sure this will be it, I always fall asleep after dinner.  I also always get very warm after I eat.  I pushed on, trying to be sociable, talking about non-football things during the commercials, as we all watched the Eagles play. I also twitched much in the seat with sciatica pain, and had to massage my own shoulder to try and break the pain.  We had hoped to leave about 6pm.  But leaving Dad’s always takes at least an hour. There is always some serious conversation that comes up between my wife and her Dad just before we leave. We didn’t get on the road until 8:30-9pm.  Even though I told my Wife she needed to drive us home, I started out the drive. The cold air woke me up. I drove about 1/3 of the way home and I had to give up the wheel. You know that point where you have to try hard to keep your eyes open.  I hit that point, so I pulled over and had my Wife drive the remainder. I also was in a lot of pain, so I took meds and contorted in the chair looking for some comfort.  Good thing she was awake and we got home safely, but very late. As soon as we got home, I got ice packs on my back and sat in my La-z-boy with massage. Laurie and her Mom caught up on the day, and I just tried to get out of severe pain. I took an extra pain pill, and after about 45 minutes the pain became bearable. We went to bed about 12:30, did the night time routine and I thought for sure I would pass out from sure exhaustion. Unfortunately I had another complete night of no sleep. I think the problem was I consumed chocolate at her dads which I very rarely eat. I think that is what kept me up. Lucky for me both Laurie and her mom had to go to work the next day. I was able to do what I needed  to do, sleep off and on all day. Laurie knew I would because travelling always wipes me out.  Well there you have it, a typical day or two in my life.  Any questions or comments will be answered if you write.  Thanks,  Spiney

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Why did Mcdonalds stop counting how many served?  If they hadn’t how many trillions would they be up to? Some of you probably don’t know what I’m talking about.  McDonalds used to have up on their golden arches sayings like over 3 million served. At some point they stopped.  What would be really interesting would be the number of pounds gained, or heart attacks caused.

You do have to admit their dollar menu is the best cheap eats on the planet if you don’t care about eating healthy.  A double cheeseburger and fries for just $2.12, can’t be beat.

And while I’m throwing out random thoughts here, is it just me, or is there something in fountain soda that really makes you pee?  I can drink 3 20 oz bottles of diet soda no problem, but one fountain drink and I’m off to the races every 20 minutes.

Why is everything sold on TV always $19.95?  After awhile you start thinking what a deal or they must be making a killing on this if they can sell it for only $19.95.  Also when did they decide that wasn’t good enough, we will give you 2 for $19.95.  Now you know it’s apiece of crap if they can give you 2 for the same cheap price.  Then they started throwing in quickly under their breath that you could get a second free if you “just paid additional shipping and handling”  For a small item how much does it really cost to throw another one in the box, come on.

Doesn’t Billy Mays really get on your nerves?  And do you really trust your life to health insurance that he’s selling on TV.  My favorite all time pitch of his is the “Amazing Garden Auger”  Till he gets done you get the auger, 5 attachments, and a power drill for only $19.95.  That must be high quality stuff.  Plus watch that commercial, that dirt couldn’t be any looser.  I’ve never dug dirt that loose in a garden.  It’s basically brown sand.  For what it’s worth Consumer guide ordered the Amazing Auger, the real price in the door until you pay all the extra shipping and handling is $59.95, $40 more than the $19.95 they want you to believe it is.

My Wife got sucked into one of these infomercials.  The Amazing Tobi Steamer. Whatever the grab you price was, the real price in the door was about $159.00  She showed me the infomercial and told me how much easier it would make her life.  A quick wisp of steam instead of having to iron her work clothes.  I tried to fight it, but she’s the bread winner, so I gave in.  It’s been sitting here for about a year.  I used it 2-3 times.  She has yet to use it.  So now it’s my secret weapon.  Whenever she wants to buy a TV gadget, I mention or point to the Tobi in the corner of the closet.  In the end it has saved me lots of money.

One last thing on those TV gadgets.  They always say “Not sold in stores”  Wait a week or two, there they are in the store.  No pushy telemarketer, no shipping charge, and usually less than the TV price.

You ever look at yourself in the morning, or evening before you go out and say “my hair doesn’t look too bad, I can skip a shower, then 15 minutes later when your out in public you won’t take your hat off because your hair is so greasy and you can’t believe you left the house looking like that.  Especially since a man can get a shower and be dressed in about 20 minutes.  And why then does it take a woman a good 45 minutes to an hour for the same thing?

How come when your out in the middle of nowhere in your vehicle and your not into sports the only thing you can get on the radio is the ball game or sports talk?  And it’s coming in loud and clear, even if it’s from 10 states away

Till next time, Spiney

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My real name is Dave but online I go by Spiney.  Why Spiney?  Well the last few years and much of my future has been defined by a big change brought on by 3 back surgeries and (1) neck surgery.  I have 4 levels of my lower back or Lumbar fused together with donor bone and held together with plates and screws. I have the same done to 2 levels of my neck or cervical spine.  So I am very aware of my spine 24 x 7.

I must give credit to Conan O’Brien, or actually one of his writers Pierre Bernard for the “Recliner of Rage” tagline. I use that because most of this will be written from my New La-Z-Boy recliner, I wore the old one out after 10 years, or my bed. That is where unfortunately I spend the majority of my days.

Because of this I am unable to work a job or better yet, run my own business like I did for 15 years full time and another business for about 8 years part time. So I have a lot of time on my hands.  I’m in chronic pain and have serious sleep issues so the time I have can be an hour here, there, or mostly in the middle of the night when pain and insomnia are my pals. I’m an info junkie.  always have been, but today there are so many more sources.  The Net, cable news, NPR, XM, BBC, a slew of monthly magazines, Borders when I can get there, and the occasional newspaper.  I also watch The History Channel, History International, the cable channel owned by Al Gore and Steve Jobs: Current, the Science and Discovery channels. Yes I do interact with humans when possible, but I don’t get out much, so it’s mostly my Wife and family. Oh I also moderate a Neck and Back Pain Yahoo group.

What I hope to accomplish here is to say the things I would say to people if there were intelligent people to discuss this with.  Things I yell at the TV about, or talk my wife, or cat, or who ever will listen. I hope someone reads this and I encourage response. Thanks for listening, Spiney

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