So not long ago I filled out a relatively short survey on facebook about my Internet usage habits. It said that Google would send me a free sticker if I filled it out and gave them my information. I ALMOST didn’t do it because I was worried about getting a bunch of crap in the mail and spam. Then I figured that Google already had all my contact information because of my Google phone, a Droid 2. So I gave in and clicked the final button on the survey.

The survey told me that I was some kind of super Internet user and that I use it for everything and that my sticker should arrive in a few weeks or so. Then fast forward a few days to today.

I went to knitting group with my friend today. She took me home afterward and came in. We were just going to grab a ball band to go get some more yarn to finish a gift for my grandmother. My mom came into the room when she heard us and brought a big box. She said that a package came for me. I glanced at it and told her I hadn’t ordered anything. I didn’t recognize the business that had sent it either. Mom suggested she open the box because it could be something I’m not supposed to see until Christmas. I suggested that she not open the box because the grandparents could have sent something to me to sneak under the tree and that perhaps mom shouldn’t see it. Finally, Mom and I left the room and my girlfriend opened the box. She wasn’t sure what it was and tried to describe the box within a box. Ultimately, Mom and I both burst in and I was blown away. Once I figured out it was a laptop I was afraid to open the seal thinking that surely it wasn’t for me and I didn’t want to have to pay for it. What on earth had I clicked on accident on the net to have someone send me a laptop?

Some googling on my desktop which I’d left on proved that this was indeed a FREE LAPTOP! I squealed several times and carefully started unpacking the sexy, clean, minimalist computer. It’s so light and the matte finish is so soft, just like my cell phone without the case on it. Unfortunately due to the beating the phone takes, the case is on 24/7 and will need to be replaced every few months. I love the computer so much that I don’t even care that the sticker is kind of ugly.

Anyhow, look for more posts in the future from my sexy new computer. It’s so much lighter than my laptop I’ll actually be able to take it with me places. The weight of my Acer coupled with my back and shoulder pain makes the laptop really just a wired computer that lives in bed. Plus, the battery in my laptop is barely good for even an hour! This boasts something like 8 hours, but we’ll see I guess.

The idea that I don’t have a hard drive, disc drive or anything really just seems a bit too strange for me still. I do make plenty of use of the Netflix discs still and streaming isn’t supported on the Chrome OS just yet. Hopefully they’ll get on that immediately. Netflix streaming is my number one use of the Internet if you measure by time spent online. Ravelry is a close second.

So here’s me only a few minutes after getting the computer out of the box and through the little welcome message and instructions. Yeah, I’m super stoked. Now to decide what kind of laptop sleeve to knit and felt up for the little guy. Hell, I guess I’ll even have to use it to order the yarn from knitpicks…and listen to some Pandora while I knit!

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I’m BACK!

December 7, 2010

This past year I’ve been doing less and less. When I graduated last December I was more functional than I’ve been this entire year. It’s been frustrating to say the least. I feel like I’ve lost enough of my life due to these accidents and having the gains I had made over the past few years falling away was brutal. When I couldn’t keep dyeing yarn or even posting about my exploits it nearly killed what was left of my soul. Being banished to the only (moderately) quiet and dark place I have to go, my mother’s basement, just hasn’t been very satisfying. Thankfully things got so bad this past November that they’re getting better.

Those of my Chronic Bitches and any others who have spent the past few years on OxyContin know exactly what I’m talking about. Having been on the same dose for way too long, I’d been feeling worse and worse with time. To make matters worse, on Halloween night, I started the first dose of the new OP pills. Sure, they may be harder to abuse, but they’re also impossible to digest leaving pain patients to suffer through withdrawal and worse, the full force of the underlying pain they’ve been trying to hide. Thankfully, withdrawal for me isn’t too bad. I get super sweaty (which makes using the TENS impossible because electricity + sweat = all sorts of zaps and hurts), super cold, and my sleeping gets even worse. I don’t get a runny nose or flu-like at all. Some muscle aches, but nothing too horrid. All in all, not that bad and compared to the pain I’ve been living with, VERY short lived. What got me was how bad I hurt. When I hurt like that I thrash about trying to find any position or movement that relieves the pain. This thrashing about only further injures me. I’ve been having minor to moderate thrashing bits for about a year and a half since the old dose wasn’t working anymore and then suddenly, I literally had to use every fiber of my being to stay still because I know the thrashing makes things worse. By the time my physical therapist asked me to wear a cervical collar until we figured out how to get the pain under control I was very happy to wear one.

My old doctor’s office (and their after hours answering service) refused to believe that the change in pills could cause any of this and treated me like a criminal for stating the simple fact that I needed help getting my pain under control ASAP. The urgent care I finally went into (no health insurance makes it a very expensive proposition) proceeded to lecture me, told me that this was my own fault for not managing my meds effectively, that it wasn’t possible for the OP pills to be giving me any problems (unless I was an addict who was snorting them or whatever the fuck people do with them), and gave me some completely useless pills to last me a whopping 3 days, until Monday. Because of course you can get an appointment with a new pain doctor that fast after a holiday weekend!

Thankfully Tuesday morning I got in to see someone my PT had suggested I see. She looked at me a little sideways until she found out who sent me. Then, I actually got to explain my problems to someone who would listen…for over an hour! I kept talking at warp speed. I’m so used to having to get through everything in those typical 4-6 minute appointments! Ultimately, I got put on new pain meds, in a dose that actually works for me without being treated like a criminal. Within 24 hours of starting the new pills, the changes were so dramatic I wouldn’t have believed them if I hadn’t been caught inside of them!

The pain is lower than it’s been since…before the wrecks, 4+ years ago. I still feel the hurt, but it’s shockingly manageable. I don’t feel all dizzy and drugged like I have any time the pain has been knocked down in the past. My brain actually works again! I can keep track of what row and stitch I’m knitting! Last night I pulled out a rather heavy textbook about headaches and was able to follow it through the few pages I was interested in, even though I had a bad headache! I got to go play with my friend’s kids for the first time in months and months. I was just as overexcited as the kids were! I took my dogs on a short walk after my PT appointment last week. The dogs hardly knew what to do. They’ve not really been on any walks since early last winter and even those were rather sparse! I even went to knitting group for the first time since July! I feel like if I can get back some strength just maybe I could work again, probably not a scheduled job because of the fact that pain doesn’t adhere to a schedule, but maybe be a writer or work more on knitting patterns and yarn dyeing.

The most exciting thing right now is that I’m knitting Christmas gifts for my family. I’m way to broke to buy them anything though I’d kill to go shopping. I desperately want to get out and be a part of the world now that I can for aa few hours a day! Sitting in the same cell I’ve been trapped in for the past year and a half just doesn’t feel like it’s got any holiday spirit to it. Maybe I should decorate. BUT, the point is, I’m making holiday gifts for the people I love. I was dreading the empty handed holidays. I’d given up around Halloween. I couldn’t even finish my costume, or my mom’s birthday present. Thankfully, my mom is the kind of person who still gets rather excited when you show her a tangled mess of yarn and explain what you were trying to get done. I may not get all my holiday gifts done in time, but there will be a few!

My goal for this year was to get good enough at knitting that I could start writing patterns. After the first wreck and the loss of work, I’d started working very hard on putting together a set of crochet pretend food patterns (this was way before Tasty Crochet) and then had to quit with the second wreck when I lost the ability to crochet. I found a dog sweater I’d attempted when I was trying to learn to knit in 03. I’m unraveling it as I knit on my brother S’s gift. The progress I’ve made even with the hell I’ve been through this past year is incredible. Just in this one picture, you can see how I used to unintentionally twist every stitch and how irregular my tension was. On the right, you can see the torso of the ‘doll’ I’m knitting. The gauge is an even tight fabric (to hold in the stuffing) and there are no twisted stitches.

I’m very pleased that in this year of hell I’ve made some progress in something even if it seems like the shreds I’d been clinging to of my previous life have all slipped away. I’ve missed several trips this year, including one to Europe. I’ve missed weddings, parties, dates, meals, countless night’s sleep, and just the feeling of the sun on my face as I stroll around with my dogs. But, I’m coming back now. I can’t think of anything I’d rather have this Christmas than this hope that I’m not stuck in the pained state I’ve been in for the past year and a half. Just having a clear head is worth everything. I’m not sure how fast, or even what I should/shouldn’t be doing given how bad the pain the drugs are hiding really is, but now that I’ve got a spark of strength and the hope that there is someone new who actually believes in helping me through my pain rather than ignoring my gradual decline, consider me back.