Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: VA (page 1 of 2)

A Bit Disappointing

(This post was moved to this site on 19 November 2018.)

Considering where I was on the 10th when I posted my last blog here, I had hope of getting more done over the remainder of the week. That, unfortunately, didn’t happen.

I’d really hoped to get a bit more writing in from the 10th-13th, but I think the only days I managed were Thursday and Saturday. Not really sure, I just know I didn’t meet my own expectations over the past few days. Because of a nap I took late Thursday afternoon (starting around 17:00), that lasted a little about 2.75 hours, I didn’t sleep that night. As a result of this, I had an exhaustion day on Friday, and was not productive at all. Beyond going to the VA to pick up a medication I needed a refill on in the morning, nothing really productive got done.

The most productive I actually got was in reading through what I had of TPOV2 and trying to make progress on it. I think I also managed to get some more ideas for DH04, which was good. Aside from those things, nothing else.

So, a disappointing week overall.

I intend to make some progress this next week, which is going to be a bit busier than last week. The difference is that I’m feeling motivated about the week, and when I feel motivated, things tend to get done. Honestly, I wasn’t feeling motivated last week, and I can’t really explain why, outside of possibly a bit of depression. Instead of writing, I did more houseworky things, which is odd in and of itself, but I felt then and feel now it was just procrastination on what the writing. The houseworky stuff would have gotten done anyway, but for some reason, when I wasn’t suffering exhaustion, I was in cleaning mode, and I let that distract me from my writing.

One thing I intend to do this week is take my laptop with me to Demolition Games so if people don’t show up to play Magic: The Gathering, I can work on my writing goal that day if I don’t get it done before going. Another thing I plan on is getting to bed by 01:00 each night; that’s an hour past my preferred bedtime, but I’m giving myself some time to argue myself into taking my night meds and hit the sack. Week after this, I intend to cut that hour out and go to bed by midnight—and No More Naps! Also, if I’m still awake after 2 hours, I’ll be taking one of my Trazodone to help knock myself out. I don’t want to sleep past 10:00 any morning this week.

So that’s where things stand, and the plans I have to get myself back into my writing goals.

5Oct18: Long Day at the VA

Visual Field Test Machine

Lights flash in here to see how good my field of vision is.

I spent Friday up at the VA because I had two appointments up there, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The day up there started fairly early, because I got a ride from a friend who was kind enough to drive me ’cause I wasn’t sure just how transit was running.

After breakfast up there, I went to my therapy appt, the first one I had yesterday. This went pretty well. Over the course of it, I mentioned having an optometry appointment, and my therapist checked on her computer and told me it had been canceled by patient the day before. Though I tried calling, nobody answered, so I said I’d run up there as soon as I got out of my therapy appointment.

Which was what I did. Turns out, the original appointment was still available, so I reclaimed that slot and went to have lunch. Also got my flu shot. Got up to my optometry appointment about an hour early, but they got me in early too. I had to take a visual field test and have an exam to determine how I’m doing on my eye drops for the glaucoma. The pic at the top of this post is a view into the machine that does the vision field test.

Got my languages done while waiting for the train to take me home.

Came home, laid down for a while to recharge, then went out to a club with some friends. This was the first time I’ve done this in a long time, and my experiences before left much to be desired, so I was a bit nervous. When Lynn, Dan, and I arrived at the Sun Trapp, two other friends of mine greeted us from a nearby table. Unfortunately, Dan’s ID was expired by about a month, and there are hefty fines for bars that let people in with an expired ID, so Lynn had to drive him home. Since Garth and Louis were there, I went over and hung out with them while Lynn did that. It didn’t take Lynn very long, and shortly after he returned, Kit joined us. We had a good time, and I’m glad I went. It was worth all the anxiety I suffered.

28Aug18: Long Tuesday Out

Safe sex is good sex!

Love Brand Condoms

Yesterday I had a long day out. Left my apartment around 11:30 to go to a psych doc appointment up at the VA. The appointment started a little late ’cause my doc was tangled in a phone call, but it was a good meeting. A few times in the past, we’ve discussed the possibility of adding a sleep aid to my medication regimen due to outside influences (like the 2016 presidential election cycle). Before, though, we decided to wait and see what would happen, and things always tapered off to the point where it was determined I didn’t necessarily need a sleep aid. This time was different. I’ve been having difficulty sleeping the past few months since I last saw my psych doc. Part of that is admittedly me sitting up with Daz, but that’s not every case, and I do try to sleep most nights. But for the past few months (even before meeting Daz), I’ve had difficulty sleeping two or three nights out of the week. I’ll either not get tired at all, or I’ll wake up after lying down. We’d discussed this the last time I saw my psych doc back in I think May, and we decided to wait and see how things would develop. So, the result was that things haven’t really changed, so my doc prescribed some Trazodone. I’ll be getting it n the mail within about 2 weeks.

After my appointment up at the VA, I went directly to the Pride Center. You know, I took my laptop, but I didn’t have its cord or peripherals. LOL It was another busy night there, with 5 or 6 groups meeting. Lots of people hung out in the lobby, and I chatted with them. I also did the condom bowl. LOL Because, really. Teens are going to have sex—maybe not all, but that’s not the point. My point is, denying things like condoms and to teens is just plain stupid. Preaching abstinence doesn’t work, people. It just doesn’t.

*steps down off of soapbox*

But have a picture of the pride center’s condom bowl anyway.

22-24Aug18: Catch-Up

I had a busy day Wednesday (22nd). I had to go to the VA for an appointment and other things. Also had gaming to do. Didn’t do MTG, ’cause I got out of the VA too late to do it, but I did do Pathfinder.

Thursday was an exhaustion day. Put myself to bed but couldn’t sleep. Was productive, though I can’t remember everything I did. Worked on D&D stuff. Also did the day’s D&D session, introducing Daz’s character. Came home, read incomplete wips, then went to bed.

Did nothing on Friday. Got up, ate breakfast, took nap, had some more food, went to bed. Was still tired from Thursday, I guess.

Day of Idleness

At least yesterday I was productive in some way—or would have been if I’d had all the tools I wanted/needed for that productiveness. Today, aside from doing one thing outside the house, I’ve been idle. All I did was go out with a friend to pick up a package an out of state VA sent to me. Meds.

Besides that, I’ve idled, though I tried writing—oh! I did type up one session of adventure notes from Daz’s group. Other than that and picking up the meds, though, nothing.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Here’s Weds and Thurs

Rolegaming Dice!

Chessex Sea Dice from Oasis Games.

I completely zoned writing Wednesday’s post before going to bed, and Thursday I was just too tired to care.

Not sure what time I got up on Wednesday, though I had plenty of time to prepare for my Wednesday afternoon and evening gaming sessions. Did I do this? Noooot completely. I was all prepared for MTG, so there’s that. JJ, Cayden, Greg, and Daz came to play as well, though JJ only observed, I think because they had something they wanted to go to at the pride center before our gaming session ended, because he left early. The rest of us finished the session, then Greg departed and Daz, Cayden, and I started setting up for Pathfinder with Phil, who’d arrived before we quite finished our last MTG game.

We set up to play Pathfinder, and I realized I’d forgotten my dice for role gaming. I mean all my sets of dice, so I had to go get another set from the store. Just as we got settled in the room, one of the store’s managers came to chat with us. Apparently, Wednesday night is their Adventurers League. Also, the other room had been rented already, and the store was hosting I think a Pokémon event in the tourney area. The store was also otherwise busy, but the manager said he’d do whatever he could to ensure we could game that night. Nicholas went out of his way to get us tables and chairs and a power strip for us to plug our electronics in—because Daz uses his computer for the books—and arranged them near the cafe. This took all of about 10 minutes, and we settled in to game. Afterward, Daz and I found Nicholas and thanked him again for going out of his way to ensure we could play our game. He told us that he was brought to Oasis Games specifically to ensure their customers were treated well, and that he was happy he was able to find a solution that allowed us to game and have a good time.

Back at home, Daz and I hung out for a few hours before he went home to bed.

On Thursday, I got up with just enough time to feed and water Hendrix and scoop out his litter; and to take my prebreakfast meds. I even left half an hour later than I usually do because I just couldn’t pull myself out of bed on time. Even with that, I got to the VA with time to spare and had an hour wait for my appointment, which I didn’t mind much (the sitcom they had playing on their TV now, is another matter – LOL). Saw the podiatrist, though, and she gave me some advice on diabetic foot care, prescribed some special creams/lotions for my feet, and ensured I had plenty of their special between-toe pads to carry me through the next I don’t know how long. The doc said I could get rid of the crutches the last week of this month, but that I’ll probably need to keep buddy taping my toes for up to a year to prevent swelling.

Came home and laid down for a while, but didn’t actually nap. Got up to putter around the apartment doing idling nonsense. Stuff that I’d have done anyway at some point, but which wasn’t imperative I do right then when I had other things that needed doing and wanted to get done but had no interest in doing.

Oddly, at around 18:00, I started to feel a bit more energetic. Wanted to make dice pouches for two sets of my dice, so I excavated my fabric bits and ribbons . . . then realized Daz still had my sewing kit. So, instead, I made a search for my crochet threads. Four times at least. Could not find them and considered what I may have done with them to remember that I put them all downstairs. I know better than to do stuff like that! LOL As a result, I idled for the next few hours doing nothing in particular.

Daz came over after his Thursday night game and brought my sewing kit back. He’d also picked up a couple packets of penny sleeves for me. While chatting, we sleeved my cards with my graphic sleeves in the penny sleeves, and played Uno. He introduced me to a couple acts that appeared on America’s Got Talent, and we munched Doritos. A good night overall. Finally called it quits a little after 04:00.

Pathfinder and Schedule Changes

My Character is the white figure.

The False Crypt.

I made a conscious decision not to post yesterday. Last night, I was mentally weary from the day I’d had and couldn’t really organize my thoughts very well outside of random conversation. Writing a blog post that was supposed to make sense and not randomly hop form topic to topic was out of the question.

So, for Wednesday.

Around 09:00, I got up. In part because I simply couldn’t sleep any more, but mostly because I’d seen a call from Steve, who owned the mattress and box springs, come in. I had my phone off, so it didn’t ring, but I happened to glance at it when his call came in, and after that, I was anxious enough that I couldn’t sleep any longer.

I got up, called Steve and left a message when he didn’t answer, and called to tell Mom that he’d called. While she and I were on the phone, he called back, and Mom hung up. Long story short, Steve was happy not only to sell me his bed, but also to bring it over for me. He even took my old mattress. He was asking $25.00. Mom suggested I talk him down to $20.00. After all that help, I didn’t have the heart to talk him down and gave him the $30.00 I had on me for his trouble. He was very glad to get the money, as he’s moving to be near his kids in another state.

Then I had breakfast and headed up to the VA for my psych therapy appt. It was good, and didn’t jar me too much, so I went right to Oasis Games after that for my early evening of Magic: The Gathering with JJ and Cayden. Greg texted me that he wouldn’t be able to make it ’cause his contacts were causing him issues and he was having difficulty seeing as a result. Cayden and JJ arrived, and we played MTG, including our young friend in it until his mom came to drag him away to some church event. We realized he’d left a box with one of his desks behind, and I took the box up to the store’s primary sale point and texted Carma that I’d done so she texted back that she’d pick it up.

At one point over the course of the 2 hours we played MTG, I went to purchase a new cardboard card box and some perfect fit sleeves for my Feline Ferocity Commander deck and ran into a friend from Lynn’s D&D group, Daz. He’s been running a Pathfinder game with Phil, Dan, Dave, and Kit for a few weeks, and he invited me to join. I said I’d have to see about rearranging my schedule and went to talk to Cayden and JJ about gaming earlier. I didn’t get a chance to suggest the change to our Wednesday MTG games to Greg until later.

I arrived late to the Pathfinder game, and Daz interrupted it to create my character. He asked a bunch of questions about how I saw the character and made suggestions. I told him I wanted to challenge myself with playing a support character who doesn’t always get into the fray. He asked me, “If there was one thing your character could have, even from our modern world, what would it be?” And I said something like, “Well, something she could do research on” and that got us on a discussion about her Googling stuff. LOL That’s how I ended up with a Tengu Oracle.

After the Pathfinder game, I helped Daz clean up. He lives in my building, and we walked home together. On the way, we chatted about our lives and such, and he told me he lives in the same apartment I lived in the first time I moved into this building. When he heard I lived just around the corner one floor up, he asked if he could use my wifi and offered to pay. I waived his offer of payment and told him I’d get him my wifi’s name and password when we got home. When I did that, we ended up commencing an exchange of emails about Pathfinder, the adventure he’s leading us on, and my character.

I didn’t get to bed until after midnight, and I was very glad I’d made my bed after getting the new setup that morning.

So, for Thursday.

This is much simpler and shorter.

I got up after noon, contacted Kevin to pick me up, and hung out with him from the beginning of his shift until group started. I learned some nice things in group and made a big decision I’ve been stalling on for a while. More on that as I get to executing it. Kevin kindly drove me home. I had supper and just finished emailing Daz my character’s entire backstory after giving her a new first name (I didn’t like the placeholder name he gave her).

Not only that, over the course of the day, I finished rearrangement of our Wednesday gaming schedule, rescheduled 2 appointments for next month, and finished moving Saturday sessions with MLTGF and Greg to Tuesday afternoons.

And that’s it for the past two days!

CPAP Appointment

Scrub-a-dub-dub.

Cleaning MTG card sleeves!

Monday, I had my CPAP appointment. This is a machine that helps me sleep well at night, as I have sleep apnea. I forget what the breathing interruption rate was the night they did my initial test, but I do recall them coming in about halfway through and putting a mask on me and letting me go back to sleep. The remainder of the night, I had fewer interruptions, and I woke up feeling more refreshed and better rested than I had in I think years. Since then, I’ve had a CPAP machine.

Today was an interim appointment. It’s necessary that I go in to review my stats and everything once a year, or I may lose the machine. These appointments were hard to get a few years ago, and this past year they got even harder to make. My usual visit month was late March in previous years. This time, I had to wait until this month, July, before an appointment I could make it to opened up—and I made this appointment back in January, I think.

I went in, as always, really early. Well, even earlier for an appointment than usual. My appointment was for 15:00, but I didn’t actually get in to see the guy until almost half past. I was, to say the least, disgruntled about the tardiness of my appointment. However, things quickly turned around. The Physicians Assistant I spoke with told me I’m doing well with my machine and put me in a program where I won’t have to go in every year. Instead, each year, sometime around my birthday, they’ll call me and we’ll do this appointment over the phone. He also, at my request, put in an order for a new mask specifically for women, which I’ve needed for years but nobody else seemed to know what the bloody crap they were doing. I’m really looking forward to getting that mask, because the straps are supposed to be smaller, so it should fit better for a longer period than the standard men’s headstraps have been. Seriously—I get those things usually and I immediately have to adjust it to a size that makes further adjustment almost impossible because the straps for men’s heads are so big. My mask’s leak rate wasn’t what I thought it should be, because it doesn’t fit well with the larger strap. I asked the guy to make sure it’ll be delivered to the local UPS store as they don’t usually deliver to my building, and explained the whole situation with the broken intercom.

So I left his office a happy patient.

Getting home took pretty much forever, because the afternoon’s driver of the U Campus VA Shuttle drove it at a snail’s pace and went pretty much everywhere else on the VA campus before finally picking up those of us waiting at the front entrance. Most other drivers do the speed limit and go to the main entrance first. But he finally showed up, and I climbed the stairs with my crutches while he lifted two men with walkers into the vehicle. One more passenger caught us and we were off . . . at a crawl. The driver was kind enough to lift me out of the shuttle bus because I seriously doubted my ability of descending those stairs with crutches. We caught the train that was already at the station.

Back home, I had a stress headache from the emotional ups and downs of the day, so I idled in WG and MeWe chat with friends. Josh was in WG, and Kit came into MeWe after he got off wok. I wanted to work on GIMP, but didn’t have the mentality for it. The chats were good, though, and I eventually cleaned 20 of my Feline Ferocity deck’s sleeves while chatting with Josh and Jam in WG. I think Kit went to bed a while ago, which I understand completely. He spent something like 3 or so hours out in the incredible heat fetching carts.

So I’m up past midnight and not at all tired yet. We’ll see what time I get to bed tonight. Will definitely be sleeping in, though. Oh, and I still have to set my CPAP up again—it’s still in its carry case in my backpack. LOL

Long Day Out

I left home by 10:00 this morning and was out all day. Went up to the VA for blood draw and a psych therapy appointment. Then to the Pride Center for my shift until 21:00. Worked on character sheets for D&D NPCs while I was there. Didn’t make much progress, but I did mostly finish one off. Now I have to type up spell cards. If I’m lucky, I’ll be getting some fresh black ink on Thurs and will be able to print ’em out. whee

Depression and Writer’s Block

In a way, I don’t know where the past few weeks have gone, though I can tell you what I was doing for most of them since my last post here. The essential thing is that I’ve been in a depressive funk and struggling to do pretty much everything from rising every day to writing on anything to indulging in hobby activities like crocheting. I’m not out of the pit yet either.

What I’ve been doing is getting out of the house a lot. Between Christmas and the beginning of last week (the 7th). Most of the time, I’ve either been going to the offices where the Utah Pride Center moved their therapy services, or, even more often, to Oasis Games, which bought the pride center’s old building and fixed up the first floor. I’ve been going there mainly to read Dungeons and Dragons books; I finished reading the Player’s Handbook and have been making slow progress on reading the Dungeon Masters Guide since about the first week of January.

I’ve also been continuing crocheting. My primary project is now complete, and I’ll be giving it to my friend who I decided to give it to soon if I get an opportunity. To be honest, I’ve done most of the work on it at the pride center’s therapy offices.

But even with those things, I’ve been in a depressive funk. The main reason is because I received a decision from the VA on my Compensation claim. I’m not sure if I mentioned it last year, but I started the claim in order to try and connect my bipolar disorder to my Naval service. Well, they didn’t even bother opening a case; they simply denied it without investigating. I’m fairly certain that is what threw me into this depressive funk.

It’s still with me. And, unfortunately, it’s not a state of mind I’ve been able to simply write through. I’ve tried. The first 4 days of this month, I wrote at least 500 words a day. Managed to complete, I think, 2 scenes on Unwritten Letters. But I didn’t feel like writing. Even with plot cards, I had trouble grasping the ideas. I felt no joy in getting the words down. Even though the quality was up to my standards, I hated what I’d written because I’d written the words when I felt bad. Gah, talking about it is dragging me down again. Enough.

Anyway, I haven’t touched my writing to do more than read stuff since then. Most days, I haven’t even been able to read my writing. I will not go into detail about how that makes me feel—it’s even more depressing than my description of writing, and I really don’t want to get as bad as I was last weekend over it all.

So, I foolishly thought writer’s block was a myth. That people who had it were undisciplined and lacked initiative in their writing. Well, since September or October, I’ve seen what it’s like to be undisciplined and lack initiative. And now I’ve been treated to my own grand case of writer’s block thanks to this depression.

Let me go over this again, to make it clear. Reading my writing depresses me, primarily because I see all its potential and am not actively capitalizing on it. Writing on anything depresses me any more because it’s not THERE—the ideas are vague, no matter how well-prepared I am for writing, and I hate the act of writing, and having done so makes me feel horrible because I didn’t enjoy doing so and I think I should. So it’s easier to just not write. I’ve gotten to the point where I dread writing, and I figure when it’s that bad, there’s no point in torturing myself.

Oh, I won’t be this way forever. I have faith in that. Maybe I’ll tuck myself into the inpatient mental ward at the VA, maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ll get by and this depression will pass. It’s already started to lift—a little—the past few days. I have a good long-distance friend I can chat about this with, and if that doesn’t help, I can always call the Veterans Crisis Line, and I’ve already notified my mental health care team about where I stand emotionally. All I need to do is stick it out long enough for the clouds to pass, and I’ve done that before and know I can do it again. In the meantime, I’m getting out, cuddling with my cat, and doing what I can to distract myself from my depression so I don’t do something stupid.

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