Thursday, May 11, 2023

LBGTQ+ Meeting Day

I was up early Monday morning. I was anxious to get everything ready for our trip to the big island. I got through the appointment about the bone density testing quickly, and then went to the two nurseries that I wanted to visit. At one (Green Thumb) I was moved by the clerk who signed “thank you” to me. It made me feel wonderful.

I was home by 12:30, and I was pooped. I unloaded everything and then went to bed. But I was not long there because the local garden store phoned to say that my order of wood was arriving. It looks nothing like the wood in the ad. I am going to have to rent a splitter or spend days with the maul, hand splitting it all. Oh my God, I have a lot of work ahead of me!

I did little the rest of the day on Monday. I don’t exactly know why, but going to Nanaimo on the ferry, which is really nothing challenging at all, exhausts me. I just read and rested the rest of the day, and I went to bed early.

Tuesday began with a lovely long walk with Her Highness. It was a glorious morning of bright sunshine, and we had a lovely temperature—not too hot, just perfect. My goal for the day was to clean up the big garden under the trees and plant all the ground covers I bought. My plan was to garden all day yesterday, and to chop wood today. I reckon that if I vary my work, I won’t get too sore.

I go very slow. It’s hot in the bright sunshine, and all the bending is tiring for this old man. Slow and steady is my mantra. Realizing how easily I tire, I posted an ad on 3 Facebook pages seeking someone to come and split the wood I bought. There is just too much work to be done. And voila! I got lots of answers; there are three people providing mobile splitting service. I am over the moon. I can focus on gardening now that I’m onto a person with a splitter. I don’t mind stacking it, but I don’t want to split it.

I’ve got to scrape the deck. It looks absolutely dreadful because someone before me painted it and it’s treated wood, so the paint is peeling. Also, some wood is rotten. So, I am going to scrape it all and brush it with a wire brush, and many stain it. I’ve also got to split all the wood Joe left for me, way in the back of my yard. I’ll be using the maul and taking my time. These are both big jobs. What a change from the stagnation of the indoor season!

Today is predicted to be in the low twenties. Come the weekend, we have a heat advisory. Damn. I don’t like working in the heat. It’s hard on my pacemaker and my body, so I will only do light work and I’ll work slowly. I’ve changed the temperature of my hot tub so that it becomes a cool tub for the weekend. 

This morning, I got my camera out. Every time I do something around Pinecone Park, when I’m done, I think to myself: I should take a picture. And then, instantly, I speak to myself again: I should have taken a ‘before’ picture. And then I do nothing. Doing nothing is heavenly. ‘Nothing’ actually means, “whatever I want.” I do a lot of reading, but not like before the onset of FND. Now, I have trouble concentrating. I want a break every hour. Old Chris, once Christmas holiday, read 17 books.

I don’t think my cabal of gays is going to go for the Halloween party. I think they’d rather have a small party for the LGBTQ+ community during the Summer. I’ll know tonight when the cabal gets together to talk things through. I can’t participate in the meeting, but I can listen and write notes.

As I’ve recounted here before, my mind suddenly regurgitated images into my consciousness. My personal Pandora’s Box of memories opened and flooded my mind one evening when I was 45. Soon after that, I started having trouble with my voice. I’d have no voice for weeks, after months of sounding like I had laryngitis. Difficulties would last for months and then disappear for even longer, and then return.

I understand that the onset of FND is the consequence of remembering my past, as much as it is the past experiences themselves. And when it came, my speech was gone in a new way. I have been mute for most of my time awake for the past 7 years. I can speak with people I know, often very poorly, sometimes fluently. So, if I stay here at home and only interact with friends and neighbours, I have a good life.

I always have a good life, but I don’t relish being the mute guy in public. I like being invisible and when I’m forced to out myself as a mute person, I feel like my privacy is lost. Strangers get to know a very personal thing about me.

For the past month, when I’ve been speaking with friends, my voice has been like it was years and years ago. It’s been raspy, like I have mild laryngitis. This is a first since the onset of FND. I am in the worst speech I’ve had since the first few days of onset of my condition. It’s really bad, but the miracle is that I could not care less. It’s been shitty for 7 years, now it’s shittier, but I can still communicate.

Jay was here today. I can talk with him. It is very challenging. My speech is almost a whisper, and I can only say a short sentence or two and I must rest a bit before another sentence. It’s so fucking weird, but there’s nothing I can do about it and worrying is as useless a hoping or praying.

I still think I’ll get back to where I was, but this laryngitis aspect is worrisome. If I don’t get better, I may have a bit of a slump in morale. I can see myself in a restaurant, but not talking in a restaurant. Living permanently like this will make life harder. I’ll have to get friends to make calls for me and avoid large gatherings.

I’m on track for getting my wood split. I am so happy and relieved that I don’t have to swing the maul. I am terrified of an accident with it. Now, I can focus on the gardening and lawns and not worry about all the splitting that needs doing. I will happily stack it all, but I don’t want anything to do with splitting it. Relief is such a wonderful feeling!

Wednesday was glorious. Our morning walk with friends inspired all of us. We are all avid gardeners and love this time of year, but we all love our early morning walk while the air heats up. We can expect brilliant sunshine and lots of heat for the coming week. Hooray!! But the sunshine and heat are hard on my old body. I tire so very easily, so I take many breaks. 

If I keep going as I have been for the past couple of days, Pinecone Park will be looking pretty great and so I plan to ask Judith and Anthony over for brunch one afternoon when all the heavy work is done. They are great people. I walk with them three times a week and we always have fun together. I’m very keen for a nice lunch in the garden when the work shows down.

At 4:00, I went to Jay’s for our meeting. I was very happy he was chairing the discussion, but I did speak once in a while and it wasn’t too, too bad. But as we were winding down, I had a cluster seizure—a cluster seizure is when I have 3-4 seizures, one right after the other. I was very embarrassed to be seizing in front of people.

But we made decisions about the party. The Halloween party is a bust, but we're going to have a cocktail party at Jay's in early July and then a big LGBTQ+ party in August if we get the Nanaimo Foundation grant.

Today, and every day for the coming week, I’ll be outside working on the gardens and lawns. We’re having remarkable weather. I’m excited to think of all that I’ll get done this week. And Joe is coming by to assess the splitting work. All is good at Pinecone Park.

My Japanese Maple is nicely concealing my spa.

It's so lovely and green right now. All the branches and other
forest detritus is gone.

To the right of my wooden walkway now, I don't mow or do
anything to the land. I like my own private little meadow.

The garden under the trees (above and below) is finally filling
out as plants mature and I add more plants.

The Wasteland is growing scores and scores of mushrooms.

The Fern Garden was flattened by snow last Winter, but it is
slowly coming back to life. I have lots of work to do here.

The wood I bought and that needs splitting.

The front yard. That green is largely weeds, but at least it's green.

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