It begins to fall

One thing that happens as you begin to grow older is that you have more discussions is the number of discussions you have concerning your health. For instance when I called my sister recently she talked about signs of her blood pressure. She felt that her grand-daughter was raising her blood pressure as a kind of wild child. She would have fits and these were very disturbing.  I don’t recall being this kind of child. Especially at the age when I began talking and having babysitters. I have no memory of crying for my mother.

So it’s impossible or me to fathom having a child who throws fits in order to get her way. My blood pressure problems seem to have developed over the years. I started taking a water pill and then lisinonpril and verapamil. Now I am taking yet another blood pressure pill. I have been concerned that my blood pressure pills may have stopped working but it seems there may be a few other factors. For one thing I may not have been taking my blood pressure correctly. When I talked with the nurse from the VA she said I needed to wait 2 hours for the blood pressure pills to begin taking effect. Another thing that happens is one can’t eat or drink for some time before taking one’s blood pressure. Then one must sit quietly for 5 to 10 minutes before taking blood pressure. When I followed these procedures I found that my blood pressure gradually came down today. So I am listening to a story about a man who ran a lab during world war ii who ran a lab that was to create a vaccine for typhus. Typhus was a horrible disease spread by unclean conditions and a particular type of lice. We know so much more about these different diseases but blood pressure is the most insidious because high blood pressure gives no warning. I am certainly planning to stay around as long as possible for my sweetheart. As the ages of men, go up we fall away by not taking care of ourselves. I hope not to be one.


Blasts from the past and present

Recently I spoke with a former co-worker who told me she had seen an old friend of ours who had fallen on hard times. It was not surprising. We had seen one another in several years. She had been a peer support specialist and we met while riding on the bus out to the Mental Health Complex. She was going to be in the training class for peer specialists and I was co-presenting. She was in and out of work and in a last ditch effort worked as sorting clothes after peer support became too much for her to handle. I found my way into state certification and my current jobs by keeping to a regular routine and it has been very rewarding. Peer support is definitely not the easiest position in the mental health world. Now, with the availability of more jobs, one can make a better living in Milwaukee than at any time since I have been in the profession.

I am helping people facing a variety of challenges: breaking through the isolation, finding work, maintaining stable housing and finding and accepting recovery. Strange as it may seem, not everyone is willing to accept recovery. They have reasons  of their own and life seems curtailed. I met with a young man in the hospital whose mother was pleading with him but to no avail. Three of us elders tried: his mother, his uncle and me. It was clear he was telling us we could not make him recover.

I hope this day finds you healthy as you read my sobering words. Some people struggle to finish the day, while others thrive. I am prepared to live life with a purpose.

Naming the dead

I am struck by the way that the names of the dead from Israeli bombardment of Gaza have disappeared. This latest round of killing was touched off by the killings of 3 Israeli hikers and the allegation that Hamas was responsible. Then a group of Israeli settlers killed a Palestinian youth and his name was in the news. There were apologies and an investigation and charges were brought. And then, came the planes raining death from the sky and the names of the dead grew too long to count. For those who believe that life is precious, this must feel dehumanizing. I was struck by the irony of Israel making a big deal of finding the settlers who killed they boy and then sending in its military to  do the same many times over. They are well-known to target civilians and the death tolls from their raids always testify to this fact. They are not mounting an offensive against Hamas, they are offending against the whole people of Gaza. This is barbaric on a scale one could not imagine being done by any other country.

The world community howls about the Ukraine and sanctions were placed on Russia for annexing Crimea but none are considered against the targeting of civilians, families, soccer fans, those whose only crime was to be poor. They are the unnamed targets executed in this latest round of death and destruction. If I was massacred in such a fashion, I would want my name spelled out in the news. We must name the Palestinians.

Sometimes these deaths are explained away as being unintended. Perhaps the victims lived too near an intended target. A bomb was not dropped on them but the concussion from the blast collapsed their weak house. Maybe the victims are the relatives of a supposed Hamas operative? When I read the names and descriptions, I saw few persons described as being with Hamas. Wars are very seldom fought between armies as the object is to inflict as many casualties as possible on the civilian population. Israel often destroys houses or Palestinian institutions and attempts to prevent people from rebuilding. Everything in Palestine is described as being part of terrorist infrastructure and this description is accepted at face value even as the faces disappear. Those of us who dare to mention the lopsided body counts are mocked. As if only Israelis count. And even public opinion is no longer a deterrent.

At the same time, we cannot be silent and accomplices. If you use the hashtag #gazaunderattack, you can track this human rights tragedy. I do not believe there is a military solution to this cycle. Israel could continue to bomb almost indefinitely because Palestine has no airforce. The United Nations has stirred and there may be resolutions passed but Israel continues to ignore past resolutions and the United States vetoes anything that comes to the Security Council. It is up to us, now that we have understood that this course of action is unacceptable to take whatever measures we have as world citizens to stop the killing.

Running the bastille and playing hoops

Milwaukee’s premier summer festival has ended but our tourist season has only begun. For example this weekend is Bastille Days. It has been a very diverse event and I will be there with phone cameras snapping pictures for my Facebook page. One or two women will be with me as I attempt to ruin things for everyone else.Today I was spreading the word about the event, which is free to attend. Unless you wear a sign on your head, no one knows or cares whether you have a diagnosis. I remember going to the event with a woman friend and snapping pictures and buying a hat and having a good time. We need to simply assume we are included.Wherever.

On the July calendar for Our Space is information about outings, including Festa Italiana next weekend. And I will be pushing people to go enjoy themselves. Too many of us are in group homes needing people to monitor our behavior. Some of these places actually have some cool stuff to do. For those who have seen me, I am much more slender than many consumers. I went over to visit 2 guys today and I grabbed a basketball and made a couple of shots. And my friends joined in. There are weights and a treadmill and games in this place. Put down your smokes, turn off the tv and breathe.Otherwise few of us will live to be 64.

Oh, goodness

While I was out escaping from all kinds of mayhem that may be happening, my companion has just turned 64. This is certainly not anything I had planned. You might have heard I am terrible with remembering these sorts of things. I had months of preparation and still almost flubbed it. Well to make up for it I celebrated with her for a few days. By the time we were finished she had surely had enough of her birthday. This is a trick that men use when we are dealing with important dates such as anniversaries or a companion’s birthday. We celebrate a day or two after in such a big way that the person says, oh please, sod off, why don’t you?

Well, what else has gone on? The World Cup soccer tournament has been going on endlessly, thanks to international asshole Ann Coulter. She insulted most of the people on the planet by dissing soccer. And so naturally the convoluted rules made it possible for the US to continue playing even after losing its game in the qualifying round.     Many very nice people died, not the ones who you wish would jump out of a building. I saw The Bucket List, which I had written about on the other blog but was more appropriate on this one. I had probably start working on my list now that I have been middle-aged for like 30 years.

Being able to go into the woods without being killed by the natives is top on the list. Next is traveling somewhere this year. Third is having a friend or two. Fourth would be having a woman writer to annoy my fan. I’m certain my fan is sitting around thinking I wish there was some guest writer to lighten the load from this nitwit. Canada would be a nice place to venture out towards. Fifth would be to end the year with money and good health. But surely I can be more ambitious than that. I don’t know about the jumping out of airplanes stuff that they did in the movie.

The money thing is always handy. I am finally in a job where I am in high demand now that my thoughts turn to retirement. It’s a long way off due to my less than stellar work history and my tendency to work for small start-ups. It’s interesting. I think if I had gone to social work school I would have started smoking and become burnt out carrying around the  problems of the people I was assisting. It’s also possible I would have gone to a psychiatrist sooner. Now that I decided becoming a psychotherapist was not in the cards, I am feeling restless.

My friend wants me to write a non-controversial blog for her website. There are those friends who know all kinds of things about you and are so thoughtful. I’m not one of those. I can barely stand remembering stuff about me to share. Most of the stories I tell about folks are ruined because I can’t remember the juicy details. Was Kenyatta chopped up in Minnesota or Wisconsin? Was he left-handed or right-handed? And what kind of olive oil did he accidentally put into the cake? But if you like following people on twitter or Facebook, I’m your man.