What the Hell Happened: March 2020 to Now

Chances are good that if you read this blog, you know me. I’m not famous or influential. So, maybe you know this whole story. Maybe you know parts. Maybe we’re old high school or college buddies and you saw the smallest of snippets of my life during the Pandemic and clicked it for the lulz (spoiler: not a lot of lulz in this story). So, why retread a story you knew? My wife asked me this and it bears asking. Here’s the answer:

Because I have to.

I couldn’t fully engage with my creativity for over two years of my life. The Muse is fickle on the best of days for most creatives, but the emergence of Covid was something devastating to the part of me that makes things. It was different in devastating ways.

To process all of this Covid craziness, I felt the need to put it down on figurative paper. To let it out. Because, if I don’t, I may not be able to get past the block while my mind, hands, and willpower all have a moment of clarity to work in tandem.

So, this is the story of what the hell happened since astrangesignal.com stopped posting and I couldn’t seem to write any longer.

So, this is it. I’d say enjoy… but it’s not all enjoyable.

But, it happened.

The Lockdown

So, as mentioned earlier, I’m not dead. And, if you’re on my site, you probably remember that this happened and then I went more or less AWOL here. We’re unlikely to forget the Lockdown of 2020, regardless of which side of the fence we fell on regarding the Coronavirus. That there were even sides to take up versus a potentially fatal disease still staggers my mind. There was a virus out there that spread like wildfire and people were actually against doing the things that might have stopped it so that they could go to goddamned Applebees.

libertarians are weird

In the rare instances that my wife and I found ourselves outside the apartment, we either encountered empty spaces as quiet as graveyards or mobs of people looking to hoard toilet paper and bottled water. Going to Shop Rite was fucking bonkers. They had people checking how many people came into and out of the store, blocking entrances and exits to enforce chokepoints, marking the directions shoppers had to take in the aisles, and rationing several key items people were looking to hoard. These measures were there for the community as a whole and we never wanted for any of these items as a result. So, we buckled down and accepted it. But, it felt at many points as if the theme from The Walking Dead should have been playing during the whole thing. It certainly did in my head.

shoprite walking dead
When the walkers come, this ain’t gonna keep ’em out.

So, the day they closed down my work (March 23, 2020), the Lockdown began. My state took things very seriously, like most other Blue States. The store shut down to the public while the GM worked by himself in the store. After about a week of that he told corporate that he wasn’t comfortable being the only one in there.

The co-manager came in after that and fought to bring me on because he wasn’t comfortable flying solo either. He ultimately took a pay cut to do it, and – I shit you not – we went back to work April 1, 2001. I learned how to do just about everything needed in the store that I wasn’t already doing while we got everything started again. With only one other employee working with me in the whole of our giant space, I needed to be ready to do it all for when the store re-opened in the indeterminate future.

During this time, I think everyone could tell you their days blurred. The only way for me to really differentiate weeks in that time was by what show we were binge watching: Parks and Recreation, Bojack Horseman (maybe too heavy for the time), Rick and Morty, Fargo, The Mandalorian.

Then, after a curbside pick-up only soft opening on May 1, 2020, we re-opened the store to the general public on June 1, 2020.

Hostility, Madness, and Other Acts of Economics

Being a retail worker in that time was staggeringly stressful. It was as if no one had learned anything about personal space or transmission vectors during the two months of lockdown. Or decency. Masks, too. Oh: and how to fucking wear one.

van gogh gets a pass
This guy alone gets a pass.

It seemed to me that the world had gone mad. I had to fight at a panic attack within the first hour on that first re-opened day on account of anxiety. If the day-to-day interactions of our former retail lives weren’t enough, people got fucking worse. Every day, the stress was on par with working retail during the Christmas season. Otherwise responsible people cooped up for, bare minimum, six weeks; and the assholes who were denying the dangers of a global pandemic were even worse than the cringiest of Christmas Karens. The shit I heard yelled at me and the rest of the staff in those opening weeks would wither your soul.

Asking even the nicest seeming people to respect your boundaries in an uncertain world drew down the kind of scorn you’d expect a grieving victim’s family might level at the perpetrator of their relative’s murder. Employees at my store experienced beratement, mockery, insults, and general abuse for the want of safety. It caused a lot of folks (the ones who came back after lockdown) to quit, and many more new employees to suddenly leave after a few days of experiencing the ‘new normal.’ And that’s just what we got from customers. What came from the top wasn’t often good news either, including having to fight to keep safety precautions that forced distance between cashiers and customers because ‘they didn’t look good.’

I wasn’t even in an ‘essential’ retail environment. Going through a pharmacy or a grocery store was surreal. People were awful to one another in places like that. One of my friends with a son working at a supermarket said that it wasn’t uncommon to witness three fights a day at his store between shoppers; shoppers and staff; or even between employees. New people came in and left just as fast, regardless of ‘hero pay.’

Add to all of this that the company I worked for had figured something out: with a bare-bones staff and reduced hours they could still make an unconscionable amount of money. Even more than previous years. As a result, we never got back to a ‘normal’ level of staffing after that. Even when every indicator, especially turnover, said that we desperately needed more help. I went home every day exhausted.

My creativity, which had been on the rocks for months once the pandemic reached us, finally gave up and died. I had stopped making Signals by that point but had desperately kept trying to write. The Starfinder campaign I was writing and running evaporated. There was little joy, just a lot of fear. Through it all, I saw some people running around outside caree-free, like it was all over; not caring about the people for whom it did matter. People who were immuno-compromised like my wife and I. At the time, I still counted myself lucky. I had a job. I hadn’t caught Covid. My wife was healthy, my extended family was healthy. I kept my head down and pushed through.

Thin Silver Linings and Changes

There were a few good things that happened. I experienced a field promotion in June, 2020, and a few months after that, an actual promotion in Dec, 2020. After about four-and-a-half years of funderemployment or outright unemployment, poor fits, and some truly terrible corporate experiences, I had a growing belief that there was no place in the job market for a forty-year-old man with a degree from an art school whose former campus now has an Old Navy in it.

But, at this job, I finally was starting to feel like there might be a place where a Maurice might have a decent job, if not a career. That my job was working with stuff I loved helped – as did the employee discount. I could buy things for my wife and I that could provide the occasional hit of serotonin and take our minds off of how things were outside the walls of our home.

There were also many other changes in that time. My wife and I took on a roommate for a little over a year in August 2020; a friend and co-worker who would have been out on the street during the pandemic if we hadn’t. I rigorously maintained six-feet of distance from people and often lost my usual disposition to give hugs to friends and family.

How we handled food and dining was another big change. My wife and I no longer dined in at restaurants as often in favor of cooking at home more frequently. Our roommate introduced us to the finer points of DoorDash (the good and the bad, tipping 25% minimum regardless of service to the staff who were taking risks to get people food). We opted for takeout as well, making occasional use of curbside pick-ups.

We learned the difference between Covid-19 and seasonal allergies, often in terrifying, anxiety-amplifying ways.

But, the biggest thing to change was being inside most of the time. If it was’t essential: food, work, medicine, dog duty… we didn’t go outside (beginning a Vitamin D deficiency continuing to this day).

Eventually, over that summer, we just hunkered down and waited for news of a vaccine.

Holidays With Needles

Christmas was very different in 2020. My parents were in Arizona in their winter home when the lockdown came. The CDC was strongly recommending that seniors should not fly unless the need was dire, so the family swallowed tradition. Quality Chinese food was ordered and it was a quiet Christmas in with my wife and our roommate. Family members were met later on Zoom, where we learned virtual gatherings were like in-person ones: loud, distracted, and largely spent talking over one another. The only thing missing was jockeying for personal space at my Parent’s home on the East Coast. Still, it was lonely with just the three of us in person. We lived in this insular bubble with little exposure to the outside that was not work, grocery, or pharmacy-based through those cold months.

We did receive one, much-needed early Christmas present over the pre-holiday season: word of a vaccine around October 2020. I was glued to the NPR website to learn more every day and listening to the news podcasts I loved (NPR: Up First, as well as the lefty-leaning Daily Zeitgeist).

While the first pilot vaccine programs went out in October, these were limited to persons 60-years-old or over and were incredibly hard to come by given a myriad of obstacles. With nursing home facilities experiencing Coronavirus deaths in droves they got the lion’s share in those first weeks. The new vaccines also didn’t have the massive cooling infrastructure needed to be warehoused in a lot of places anyhow. Plus, it would take some time to start mass-producing the vaccine. Without a way to get a vaccine that winter, we waited for what our state called Phase 1a: Anyone between 18-60 with immuno-compromised complications. My wife and I both qualified for 1a.

It was a long, intense wait. Five months of working in a crowded retail store for up to ten hours a day depending on the store’s need. Five months of being surrounded by people on all sides who would not respect us or care one whit for our safety or our mental well-being. It was about that time that I had to stop listening to the podcasts and news reports so closely; too anxiety-inducing. It was too much on top of the constant fear that I would catch Corona, go into the hospital, and die. All because I wasn’t old enough to get the vaccination and diabetics have a hard time fighting the virus.

It got pretty dark for me, given my high levels of just my baseline anxiety. Everything amplified through a prism of worry and fear. I eventually relented and went to my doctors and admitted the dosage from pre-Coronavirus days was not cutting it any longer. They increased my dosage by half. It helped absorb some of the difficulties, but the only bit of true relief from this time was when my parents called sometime in early winter to tell me it had happened: Arizona had opened vaccination centers and that they received their jabs.

My parents, at least, were something I wasn’t going to have to worry about now.

When Phase 1a finally came in the late winter of 2021, it was an intensive process of trying to get my first jab. I hustled for a week before finally getting disheartened and giving up, waiting to be notified through our local health system. Despite my home being served by one of the tenth-largest healthcare systems in North America, it was still massively unprepared for the demand.

I figured if I’d been safe this long I could go just a little longer. In the beginning of April, through happenstance, a friend who worked at the local hospital saw my woes on Facebook and let me know to get my shit together right then and there; they had vaccination openings due to no-show reservations and didn’t want to waste their vaccine supplies. I tried to get my wife in on that same day but couldn’t. Work was full-tilt for her (and would be so for months after as well) and there was no escaping for her despite being closer to the hospital than I was at that moment.

When I got there, I could see the line from the access road running through the medical complex from 200 feet away. It started at the Cardiovascular wing and wrapped all the way down along its side, turned a corner, then kept going.

covid vaccine line
This represented about 1/4 of the line ahead of me, and at the time I took it, it was still growing.

I waited outside in the chill for about an hour in the queue. Once I got inside, more lines waited as each person being brought in was broken down into four new lines where we had to supply our driver’s licenses. We then stood in another long line that wrapped around the indoor inoculation center, which in turn broke down into about twenty vaccination stations. The wait inside took probably another half hour. Everything was surprisingly civil. The people who weren’t being very civil at the time (and largely continue to be) didn’t want vaccinations, so no big surprises there.

Then, at around 11 in the morning, about two hours after I got the call from my friend, I was vaccinated.

vaxxed bitches
This is what relief looks like.

Spring 2021

When the second vaccination happened three weeks later, I went down hard. I had a good idea that it would happen though, so I was prepared. I ended up out of the store for three days while my immune system made adjustments. The worst I suffered from was fatigue – but the fatigue was all-encompassing. On day two, I slept for almost twenty hours out of that entire day while the vaccine worked its way through my body. I came out on the other side okay though. For a while, the weight came off my metaphorical shoulders.

Delta was around by then, had been for months, but it hadn’t been named. I had about ten days of relief before it hit the news. And by June, there were questions of whether or not the vaccine would even be effective against it. My mental health took a hit again, but I managed to fight through this time.

Despite all of this, a few good things happened while Delta was winding up to hit America hard.

First, in April 2021, my parents finally came home. We’d been separated for about fifteen months. During that time, I managed to kill half of my mother’s houseplants, and our family dog had passed in Arizona due to complications from a collapsed trachea. I’d had to manage several house disasters while they were gone, mostly centered around flooding, but when they got home, they were happy to simply be home and to know that my wife and I were okay. I was simply glad to have them back. Even at forty-four years old, I still feel lost sometimes when they’re not here.

Retail continued to be an adversarial environment when it came to basic safety matters from both the customers and corporate sides, but I managed to perform well. I wasn’t the perfect manager. But, I did okay, I think. I largely liked the people I worked with and I felt bonded to many of them in the same way people in high-stress environments often do. I learned a lot and I had a job. Lots of people were still feeling the crunch of the Coronacoaster (my favorite euphemism for living through this particular historical event) and I felt very fortunate. With the help of my new prescription regimen, I was somewhat more resilient, able to tackle the stressors of home, isolation, and work.

Sometime in June, I began using a new sort of blood sugar monitor to take my readings while managing the store, I often met with frustration in getting them to go the distance, though. I’m a big, fat dude (for now). And, when I work, I sweat. I mean unreasonably. On many occasions, I’d apply the sensor only to find at some point in my day that it had come loose (and sometimes bled all over the place as a result depending on how recently the sensor was applied).

It was an imperfect solution, but once I started using it, there was no way I was going back to pricking my finger two or more times a day, not knowing if I was on the upswing of the downswing. That ship had sailed. I mostly had my sugars under control though, especially given that I was moving about seventeen thousand steps a day on average (you read that right).

Also around June 2021, I found out I wasn’t going to have a career with the store. They had certain assumptions in place for people who wanted to go into the assistant general manager or general manager roles that I simply wasn’t going to give in to. That, and the fact that what they offered for those assumptions was… lopsided. Something must have been looking out for me though, because as I sweat in the back of the store, cramming product onto shelves, I got a call from a friend and former co-worker that he had a job opening. It would take some time. But, over a couple of months, things came together.

The New Gig and Sudden Changes

After a brief vacation in Rehoboth Beach, I got news of the new gig’s availability and I put in my two week notice mid-October, 2021. Our roommate had moved out and the spare room transformed into a home office so that I could I work from home.

For the first time in years I found myself in a position to regain control of my own health, particularly when it came to my untreated ADHD and Diabetes. I started getting my shit together. It took a long time. There was a lot of poverty induced personal neglect on my part, and slowly but surely, I started fixing things. Not enough as it turned out. But, it was a beginning. I made appointments with my psychiatric office, which had changed hands, started filling prescriptions. For reasons beyond my ken, I kept doing a lot of dumb shit though. My diet didn’t change, and rationing kept happening. Being poor for a while will make you do crazy stuff I guess. It felt like progress though.

It was around this time of relative stability that life would throw my wife and I a curveball in the form of Avascular Necrosis (AVN).

Spoiler alert: no one died. But parts of my wife’s bones did.

To make a long story short, the blood flow in the ball joints of each of her hips stopped providing enough blood to the bone. As a result, those parts of her femurs both degenerated irreversibly. We don’t know exactly when the time of death for the ball joints of the bones were, but they were diagnosed in October of 2021 after months of increasing pain. In November one of the joints finally collapsed and took my wife out of work. My new job couldn’t have come at a more fortunate time. I took on the job of shouldering the bills for two months while we worked out her temporary disability. After all the time she supported me while I was unemployed and running around in circles to figure out how to repair my life, it still doesn’t feel like I’ve done enough.

With hospitals still backed up and Covid protocols making things difficult, it took months (and emotional pain and suffering on both of our parts) to arrange the surgeries she needed as the Omicron Variant of Covid-19 began its rampage across America. If you’ve never had a joint collapse due to something like AVN, you only need to know one thing: it is brutal. I didn’t even experience the pain directly, but secondhand exposure was enough. My wife eats pain for breakfast and has the highest tolerance for it than anyone I have ever known (case in point: she broke her kneecap on the way to a funeral once; she got up, attended the service and the reception afterwards, stood through the whole thing, and never once complained until arriving home).

The first total hip replacement was in early March of 2022. The surgeon had said that comparatively, the pain of the surgery would feel like instant relief compared to the actual condition of AVN. I had my doubts (frankly, I thought he was full of shit).

He and my wife proved me wrong.

The difference was night and day. She suddenly could do more. Even with intensive PT, things got better and better until the second joint experienced total collapse. There was a long period of secondhand pain via basic human empathy on my part. Watching someone get lit up with pain for simply sitting still sucks. We waited another forty-some days and finally got the second total hip replacement surgery in late May of 2022.


Things have gotten better. My wife and I have been vaccinated and boosted (second boosters to follow in August of 2022 if we both qualify for a second round). She’ll be back to work in September of 2022 with any luck, and I’m happy in my new job. For the first time in a while, the lights in my brain have been slowly coming back on. Creativity is something that I can feel flowing again, albeit slowly and irregularly. There’s something about living through historically significant events that diverts all of that energy into basic survival and just watching to make sure nothing is going to come out and take you out at the knees (or the hips). Hypervigilance and fear are starting to back off enough for me to hope that maybe something better comes out of the times that seemed so dark and hopeless.

The world isn’t right – never has been. But it’s less wrong in some ways. There’s still a long way to go. Especially with SCOTUS looking to take America back to the Fifties and telling us all that bodily autonomy isn’t a right. But, we live to carry on. I live to carry on.

Here’s to more posts and more work and more future to write.

The Penultimate Day – No Needles Need Apply

So, this is almost it. Tomorrow I go back for my A1C check-up. It’s down to the wire. Improve or face the needle for the rest of my life.

This is a big thing for me.

It’s not about the diet. It’s not about losing weight. It’s not about doing the right thing because it’s the right thing.

It’s about fear.

needle - slenderman's cousin
Slenderman’s nudist cousin is coming for me.

I am phobic of needles. Just don’t like em. Don’t want ’em in my life. I’ll have to look away this morning when the nice gentleman who comes to our office to distribute flu shots gives me mine. I hate them. The needles, not the nice people who administer them.

It is about the worst nightmare a Type 2 Diabetic can be offered. Fear of your salvation. Because recombinant insulin doesn’t get in you any other way. Needles are the only way to get it done. I badly want to not require recombinant insulin or their needles.

It’s why I’m working so hard. It’s bad enough I have to strike myself with a lancet once a day. There’s times I’ll just sit there for a couple second, slowly pressing the button to release the pinprick required to take my numbers. The dread just builds. I don’t want to do it.

The idea of having to do that with a needle makes it even worse.

You can hide it in a pen. But it doesn’t change the knowledge. What you can’t see stabs you just as badly.

needles - gomjabar
‘What’s in the box?’ ‘Liberty Medical. Probably oatmeal too.’

I’ve prepared myself and my girlfriend for the reality that it’s possible that, no matter what I do, injections may need to happen. Diabetes is a progressive disease. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter how well you eat, your body just stops being receptive to the insulin you make. Doing the right thing hedges your bets, but it’s a dice throw on a long enough timeline.

It’s been at the forefront of my thoughts all month, and now it’s down to the wire. As Roy Batty said in Blade Runner: Quite a thing to live in fear isn’t it?

I don’t feel like a slave to it. But even after all of the good work, I have a lifetime of doing it to look forward to. A seasoned alcoholic though could tell you the best advice: to take it one day at a time. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

It’s just one more day until I find out if that’s the end of the road I’m on and if I must branch onto a new one.

That Sugar Thing Again

It’s been about three weeks now of a much more strict regimen. To keep my sugar readings in line, I’ve dropped a lot of bad habits, started going to the gym four days out of seven, started counting calories, and in general denying myself many of the comforts I previously held. Why would I do this? Well, if you’ve been following, the ‘Beetus is a harsh mistress.

You may also recall that it was goddamned hard to get the numbers to start slowly creeping down. But, I seem to be doing well on that count.  It ain’t great yet, and I’d say my median score is somewhere around 176 mg/dL, but it’s better than 190-250 mg/dL at any given time. With any luck, I’ve shaved some points off my A1C – but there’s no way to tell until I have my next blood test taken.

The further good news is that my morning numbers have been slowly dropping. I haven’t had a 200 morning in a while, so something is going right. Also, I have found that late night exercise is where it’s at on two counts. First is that all the machines are free at around nine on a weeknight, so that’s a score any way I slice it. Second is that when I work out late, my morning numbers seem to be better than usual.

I’ve even got back to being able to do some of the stuff I could do the last time I got into shape. The weights have been increased on the machines by about ten pounds each, and I finished two 5K elliptical runs in the past two weeks. I even had a really good time on one of them – 2.2 miles in 22 minutes. That’s two ten-minute miles no matter how I slice it. And my heart is still in my chest!

Kali is pleased with your high-cholesterol!
Kali is pleased with your high-cholesterol!

All things considered, the change has been a positive one. I’m getting out of the house more, I’m seeing results (nine pounds!) and I think that this could all work out so long as the Holidays don’t just destroy me.

Aw, Wilford. You scamp!

And the holidays can be real hard on the sugars. Halloween alone should be enough to cause me to go comatose simply based on proximity, and when you add in the average Grands! biscuit intake through November and December, well, let’s just say it ain’t pretty in my family.

Colloqially known as 'Diabetes Grenades.'
Colloquially known as ‘Diabetes Grenades.’

So it’s going to take some pretty iron will to get through to the new year without tanking the sugar numbers. I get tested in another week though and if nothing else it’s going to be the first step on a long path. Wish me luck, and be sure to take cover when those flaky, delicious biscuits get tossed into your family’s foxhole. It’s loaded with all the carbs you shouldn’t eat.

Nine Pounds, Ten Days – Weight Loss Weigh In

The easy weight is coming off – nine pounds in ten days. This isn’t weird. It worked this way the last time.  Pretty soon, I’ll have lost the water weight. Then the real work starts.

Still, nine pounds makes a lot of difference. I can already see some of the loss in my face. I can also feel my body adjusting to things. The elliptical isn’t so draining now. I have already been able to slowly ramp some of my weights. Hamster time hasn’t full on produced much creative stuff yet – but my head is starting to clear while I work. And more of that happening means the ideas will start coming again.

weight loss hamster
Sisyphus reincarnated. Ain’t ever gonna see the end of that wheel, rodent.

I also have a buddy to go with. While Sarah’s been too sick recently to go, she’s as enthusiastic about it as I am. When we’ve been able to, we go together. When she can’t, my dad has gone with me. Having support is one of the biggest things to keep me going. Working with people makes work go by faster.

The curious part is that the hunger hasn’t been so bad. I think I have a good release valve going on the weekends, namely that on weekends I don’t count calories – I just eat sensibly. After ten days, I am starting to have a better sense of what is ‘enough’. It’s hard to manage more than a day of that though. It’s how I got here. I’ll have to be careful moving forward. It’s always inattentiveness that gets me.

Which is weird, because in recent days I have felt more aware. My focus improves when I do what I’m supposed to do. I had forgotten that. Colors are a little brighter, as is my outlook. I complain less. I feel a little more alive. It makes me wonder why I let myself go the last time. Living this way… it’s not so hard. Why wouldn’t anyone do this?

Netflix comes to mind.

Maybe I watch the next episode of the Blacklist on the elliptical. Best of both worlds.

The Little Reminders

So, it’s not a surprise if you’ve been here the past couple of days that the blog has taken a bit of a shift. Usually I’ll talk creativity, progress with work, the little gems I find while reading. But, recently it’s been all about turning my personal ship around. The SS Maurice is in bad shape and is going into renovations. As also noted prior, this is not the first time.

Which is why I find it curious that I never learn the lesson. The little reminders fall by the wayside. The benefits should seem obvious, but I eventually forget them automagically (much like I often forget where my girlfriend and I’s schedules overlap to her chagrin).

The little reminders that I’m on the right track are numerous, but no individual one really seems noticeable until you start stacking them up next to each other. I suppose that’s part of the reason it’s so easy to forget. You take out one of the little reminders and the structure still stands. It doesn’t seem so bad. But, then when three or four are gone, you look around at the increasing wreckage of personal health and wonder what the hell went wrong.

Working out, eating well, controlling intake, saying no to indulgences, all of these things lead to multiple benefits: reduced need for sleep, better quality of sleep, increased focus, increased energy, increased physical output, mood lifting, resistance to common illnesses. How do all of those things disappear and not send off a huge response on my give-a-shit-meter? Somehow, I always forget what I lose by not working to keep my body in working order.

Little Reminders - honey badger doesn't give a shit
And apparently I don’t either sometimes. I think he and the Blerch may be friends.

I have had all of the above flood back into my life and I feel really, really positive about it. It’s giving me idea time in the gym, making me feel better, and giving me a sense that I’m accomplishing something.

So here’s to the little reminders. Maybe I can make ’em big reminders moving forward.

Six Pounds

So, I lost six pounds already. I’ve been working out for maybe two weeks and the easy pounds are coming off. My girlfriend has been incredibly supportive, and my dad has even been going to the gym with me most nights. My blood sugars are still in the toilet, but it’s beginning to work itself out as I work myself out.

The wrong way to lose six pounds quickly - bloody knife
I suppose there’s faster ways to lose weight, but some side effects may occur.

It’s strange too, because this is the third time I’ve been here. I remember when I was first diagnosed in 2005, the doctor and I had a very hard, very graphic conversation about where I was at and where I was heading. By blood was thick like heated animal fat, my sugars were at 288 ml/dl. At that pace, I was headed to renal failure and my kidneys were already in enough distress that I was going to be on ACE Inhibitors for the rest of my life. If I ignored it, I could also look forward to losing my feet, hands, and/or eyes. It woke me up, showed me how bad things were.

It put me on track right up until May/June of 2007. I went to Japan that year. And my sugars were great even with me indulging in local food and skimping on gym exercise (though I was walking around a lot on the guided tours).

When I got home, I let it loose a bit. I put on another twenty pounds after having lost about forty. A year later on my diabetes checkup, the doc said he didn’t like where things were headed. So, I endeavored to rein it in and for a little while it worked. Up until about 2012 I was managing okay. Average sugars were about 120 –  140, high, but not horrendous.

After that though, I started to lapse into ‘convenient’ eating. I started going out to lunch more days than not, I got cheap, quick breakfast food. I’d go out to dinner and clear the plate or not watch my portions when I was home. I stopped going to the gym at all (though I’d pay for it through the process).

As you might have guessed by the last entry here, it’s gotten bad again. Really bad. A1C never has been higher, even though my daily glucose numbers aren’t as high as when I was diagnosed. I’m facing injection therapy (again) and I’m definitely scared out of my wits.

But, so far, the fight has been working. I’ve already lost six pounds (these are the easy pounds) and I have at least fifty-four left to go.  I have an array of tools available at my disposal, the primary one being the LoseIt! app I used last time to get myself in order. Additionally, I now have an even better gym plan, one that allows me to go to any convenient location. Given they’re one of the larger chains, this is handy for anywhere I go, even if I end up out of state. I also have the support of my girlfriend, my family, and my friends. I suppose I might also start crediting my active ignoring of the Blerch. As a friend has noted, discipline is required to really achieve. I have discipline – right up until I get a big distraction. That’s the big part. It’s easy to think you’re doing fine once you get to a good place, but I always seem to forget the part where it can’t be though of as a temporary change. It needs to be a forever thing. And forever is daunting. It’s why one of the AA pillars is taking things one day at a time. One day at a time isn’t as hard as looking into the cold stare of infinity.

Or it's Gauntlet.
Or it’s Gauntlet.

But, I think I’m making progress, even if the numbers aren’t shaking out the way I want them to right now. It’s going to take a lot of time to turn this ship around.

Stay with me people. The progress will come.

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