Tag Archives: work_rehab

My Recovery: I’m Still Sober–Barely

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Well tomorrow will be one week since I left the VA Treatment Center in Brockton, and landed in this Transitional House in another part of the state.  I wish I could say things are just ducky but they are not.

First of all, this is not the rural location I was hoping for; far from it.  The huge house I live in, it’s got 4 3 floor apartments in it, sits squarely on a residential street lined with houses.  No lawns, hardly a tree, just houses sitting on top of each other.  I live on the third floor, in a fairly spacious room at least.  However, it is 100 degrees up there constantly and I wake up sweating profusely on a regular basis.

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Then there’s the new VA.  It is over 100 years old.  The buildings are beat up.  They decided to build the -ugliest outside tunnel system around the interior perimeter, destroying any charm the campus once had.  And there is wifi only if you can find it.  This enrages me.  I have found a few choice locations to stand in, but forget walking and texting, not happening.  They also take smoking outside ANYWHERE OTHER THAN THREE SMOKE SHACKS, very seriously.  I have already been spoken to twice by VA Police.

And no longer am I helping paralyzed veterans go through their days.  No more muffin conversations with my friend Jim.  No more post office runs for Ken.  No more bedside visits with the Sergeant Major.  No, nothing special like that.  Instead, I get to empty a dishwasher in the kitchen.  I have to be there at 6:15 in the morning, ungodly hour.  I am there for 9 hours, but I get two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute lunch.

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My actual work time is about 3 hours.  The rest of the time I am thinking of various ways to pull the eyes out of my head.  It’s not the actual job that sucks–though it sucks indeed–it’s the down time that is murderous.  And remember, there is no WiFi, so I have to duck out and hide if I want to text my dear friend.  The friend who has been my rock through this entire ordeal.  The friend who, without, I am not sure I would still be sane.

And let’s talk about the town.  Ah yes, the town without an identity.  This is the most fucked up town I have ever seen.  On the one hand you have lots of college students. Then you have the soccer mom types strolling out of Stop N’ Shop with their go green grocery bags.  Then you have a large community of lesbians which make this town their home.  The place has no real identity, it’s hard to explain it to you unless you saw it. You would immediately know what I am talking about here.

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The downtown is a hodgpodge of weird, useless shops.  There are way too many restaurants and not enough pizza and sub shops.  The other side of main street is rundown, with empty lots, deserted buildings and car dealerships.  It’s about as depressing of a place as I have ever known.

And the trees and grass and woods and lakes and ponds?  Nowhere to be seen.  Everyone was like “Oh man, it’s so beautiful out there!”  Really?  Where the fuck did it go?  I am being totally serious when I tell you that I nearly cried as I was being driven to the house from the VA on that first day.  I felt like I did the first day I landed in Basic Training, in the pouring deluge of rain that night, thinking “What the hell did I just do?”

So ya, you might be noticing a severe lack of gratitude and acceptance.  And, to be quite honest, right now I am so overwhelmed at the shitty aspect of ALL of my move, that those have gone by the fucking wayside.  I couldn’t get lucky in just one aspect of this move?  Decent town?  Decent Job?  Decent VA?  Decent neighborhood? Decent environment?  NO NO NO NO NO.  Add to that I left the few friends that I had behind, lost my regular psychiatrist and I lost my dear therapist Molly.  Ya, I’m going through a tough time that kind of took me by surprise.  But I am still sober!

Sorry my first post in awhile is this, but that’s where I am at.  If it wasn’t for me digging really deep, and having the best of friends anyone could ever hope for, I’d be in deep shit.  As it is, I have  mist of depression that is creeping in.  And, if this mist turns into a fog, acceptance and gratitude are going to be the least of my problems.

(FINE, HERE’S A FEW POSITIVES:)

  1. I just found the computer room which is decent.
  2. The Wifi works in my room.
  3. Dunkin’ Donuts is 5 minutes away.
  4. I am still sober.
  5. I am not truly alone.

Happy now?  You probably are all wondering what the big deal is, I hope that some of you truly get this.  I am so sick of not catching a break.  So sick of nothing going my way.  Of course I am glad I’m not in jail in sober, but is that all I am going to be happy for in life?  Bullshit!  I want a higher quality of life, I deserve it.  I feel misled about what this place was, where it was and now I am stuck here.  Ya, I’ll make the best of it, but that’s not even my damn point.

Oh, and here’s what I get to look at to the right from my fancy new porch:

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Ya, not fucking cool.  And the view directly in front of me?  Ya, that sucks even more:

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My Recovery:  Paralyzed 

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I hope you read this post all the way through, because this man’s life is changing before your very eyes.

As I sit here and type, headphones on, I’m thinking about my new job with the paralyzed soldiers in Building 8; that’s where I work 24 hours a week now, for those of you who don’t follow me regularly.

If you would have told me last year, that I would be comfortable feeding a quadriplegic in a busy canteen, I would have told you that you have lost your marbles.

But there I was yesterday, escorting my new friend–and yes, he is quickly becoming my friend–Jim, down to the canteen for hot chocolate and a muffin.  I was the one who suggested it.  I was the one who paid.  And let me tell you, it felt incredible.

muffin on justruminating men's blog

At first I was intimidated by the environment.  There are about 25 men living in Building 8.  Almost all of them are completely paralyzed.  I’ve made it a habit of forcing myself to go into their rooms.  It’s a little daunting, but I am now almost completely comfortable doing it.

There’s Grover, an old crusty, who informed me that his name is not Grover, it’s Command Sergeant Major.  Then there is Ron.  Ron is your proto-typical stoner who owns 6 electric guitars that he can play.  He also has one of the biggest private safes I’ve ever seen.  Right in his room!

There’s one-legged Pete.  Pete is surly to me every time I say hello or try to strike up a conversation with.  My mission is to crack Pete before I leave at the end of March.

There are many other characters, but Jim is my favorite.  He is full of sarcasm and put downs, and I match him blow for blow.  I abuse him verbally and he abuses me.  He beat me in chess yesterday and relentlessly tortured me about it.  He also makes fun of the way I think, talk, look, and the way I call bingo–I call it using all kinds of voices and accents.  He’s one helluva man, I’ll tell you what.

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So my life is changing before my eyes.  I never listened 3 years ago when my then psychiatrist said that volunteering would be incredibly good for my well-being.  Now I know what he means.  What a blessing in disguise.  I might even go so far as to say I am actually happy when I am there.

Now THAT’S astounding to me.

My Sunny Side: Volunteerism

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I’ve decided to try a new feature in my blog: Sunny Side Up (I actually like over medium eggs lol) me trying to be my funny, sarcastic, positive, uplifting, grateful, off the wall self! I am going to show my positive side. My life is not all doom and gloom, And WovenEclipse helped me see that. So, thank you Rebecca!

Over the Christmas weekend I got to do some of my first volunteering.  On Christmas day, I volunteered to help with a Christmas party that was held in Building 4.

Building 4 is this VA’s hospice.  Most of the old soldiers who come here are coming to die.  Some of them will get better and leave, but the majority of them will not leave here conscious.

I helped set up a wonderful celebration for these Vets.  There were Veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and up through all our modern conflicts.  It was a humbling experience to see these Veterans in this situation.  It reminded me of the old saying

“Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”

On Monday I also volunteered for Bingo in Building 8.  Building 8 is where old soldiers who are severely handicapped reside.  I helped a man name Dan monitor his Bingo cards.  We won 8 of the 12 games!  He was so excited.

Volunteering at both of these events was very therapeutic for me.  It puts your perspective in perspective very quickly.  I came away with feelings of gratitude and humility.  And who can’t use a bit more of both of those?  I know I can.

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