Wow. A more dramatic start to a year: Karl dumped me. Really. It boggled my mind as well. In short he said he would prefer being in a 1-1 relationship, where his partner was not also in relationship with another person.
Then he changed his mind. We were on.
Then I changed my mind. We were off.
Then he was really mean. He was pissed.
Then we seemed to even out. We were on. Sort of. My therapist suggested just letting it happen; that Karl and I love each other and operate 80% really well – that when we try and make rules for the other 20% is when we get bumped up. We started in on couple’s counseling and it really helped.
I had a really nice visit to see Daddy & Charlotte in Oregon. Since his stroke last June he is actively putting his affairs in order should he croak. It’s smart, and also sad – for me. He keeps a great attitude.
My birthday was particularly sweet. Many well wishes. Tom baked his yummy coconut cake. Daddy Barry sent flowers. Karl took me out to dinner at The Farm House Cafe. Sister Susan sent games. Sister Alice lined me up with kitchen gizmos to make cooking easier.
April had a really unexpected bump: I was hospitalized with pneumonia. I knew something was up when I spiked a fever of 106. Really. 106. As it was heading up toward 106, I tried bringing it down with aspirin, ibuprofen. What really helped? Chilled water. And chocolate. At least circumstantially my fever didn’t break until I ate some chocolate because I was hungry. I suspect it was really the chilled water and aspirin, but…
So my fever starts coming down and I’m thinking, well, this seems to be improving, when I lay down to rest and my chest hurt. Now it was definitely time. I called Karl and he came and brought me to the emergency room at Sharp. It was my experience with three different E.R.s (UCSD, Scripps-Mercy, Sharp) that got me to change medical plans to one where Sharp was the provider. They were faster. And good care is again how it played out. A steady rhythm of attention to me: vitals, bloodwork, EKG, admission to an E.R. room, chest X-ray, pneumonia diagnosis, admission to the hospital. In an isolation room. Huh? Yup, my high white blood count had them wondering if I might also have tuberculosis. Three sputum specimens on three separate days ruled that out. But in the meantime I was in an isolation room. One good thing about an isolation room with double doors at the entry? It was quiet. Really, really quiet.
Daddy Barry came in from Palm Springs. He and Karl traded off visits. Roadkill and jim visited. Dion visited. Tons of sweet friends on Facebook sent good wishes. The family stayed in contact through Facebook and Sister Susan, since talking was the most difficult thing for me to do. Daddy Barry got me through discharge, three and a half days later, and home for a continuing course of oral antiotics. Then it was the slow inflammation healing process that follows a lung infection. It takes time.
(The charges for the 4 days? $27,000. Thankfully my Medicare coverage brought my share to $800. I love Medicare.)
The next month Daddy Barry and I were able to join my family at a long-planned vacation week at Disneyworld. Great to see the family.
We took in movies. Prometheus (the Alien prequel, disappointingly uneventful), Magic Mike (the male stripper movie -- not enough skin), Brave (a great Disney heroine flick), the wonderful The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the enjoyable Men in Black 3, the slow Snow White and the Huntsman, and In Time (in which Justin Timberlake lived in a future where people were always young until they expired, but the rich could buy extra time).
June-July Daddy Barry and I took in multiple trips to/from Palm Springs. July brought a visit from Deputy and Chris (who had recently passed the CPA exam!) during Pride, so I hosted a dinner with them, Daddy Barry, Karl, and Tom.
Karl and I had two rough bumps over Pride and our anniversary 8/19. These were in addition to some other big bumps. Finally the conversation came to this simple fact:
You are the only friend who berates me.
You do this on a regular basis.
It’s no longer worth being your friend.
And with that we were done. I felt an immediate sense of relief. And in a few weeks, also loneliness. But time heals all wounds.
August did bring two bright spots. One was another visit to see my parents in Oregon. It included an extended family reunion, my first since The Letter Wars (aka The Homophobe Hellhole) in 1995. I was able to go up to my aunt and genuinely say “It’s good to see you.” Others in the family additionally came to visit while I was at Daddy’s and Charlotte’s. A nice trip all in all. And Daddy had just a week or so before purchased a scooter. It really helps with his post-stroke mobility. And, at the prescription of his physical therapist, he bought a Nintendo Wii with its fitness board and a soccer game to help him re-learn balance. In the game, your team kicks soccer balls at you. The goal is to hit them with your head. It requires moving a little left, right, up, down. Then they also start throwing shoes. Duck! The other sweet spot was a two-week visit from dog after I returned home.
Fall brought many more movies. Paranorman. The Bourne Legacy. The Expendables. Frankenweenie. Hotel Transylvania. And the fun game Cards Against Humanity.
And food with my family of friends -- BBQ at jeanne’s; David & litlone breaking in a BBQ; Burger Lounge with Melissa; Busalacchi's; home and Li’l B’s with Mark & Gary; SD Soup with jeanne.
And the election. It was a tense summer for both sides. Thankful that’s over.
And a little health burp: My left arm went numb. Couldn’t tell when, as it was that way when I awakened. I figured it would just “wake up”. Then an hour went by. Then two. I looked on the Red Cross site and it said if you have a sudden numbness, call 911. So off I was rushed to the E.R. When tests showed things were fine, the doctor hypothesized that it would come back within 2-3 days. It did a day later. Another great experience at Sharp.
Then a bigger health burp: Sinus infection two weeks, followed by a cold for a week, followed by a bigger rebound of the sinus infection. I was sickly for a month.
Thankfully a new iPhone 5 arrived and kept me entertained when I was doing my civic duty by not spreading the cold around.
Meanwhile, life went on. Halloween had a sweet costume dance called “Belt”. I worked on a CD of my 2012 music and called it, appropriately, Twenty Twelve. I met several Leatherboys in my leatherboy search; joey, Brent, & Rob. Daddy Barry and I went to Palm Springs Leather Pride, and our periodic visit to the dentist in Mexico.
A particularly nice gathering? Thanksgiving at Pam & Allison's with jeanne, Pam's daughter Jessica, Pam's ex Mark, Pam's ex mother in law Vera (almost 90), sweetly butch park ranger friend Al, & two of Jessica’s college friends.
But my most thankful moment? Tom having successful L4-S1 spinal fusion surgery. In the recovery room he could already say “I can feel my feet!” after a prolonged period where that wasn’t possible. Surgery was on a Tuesday and he was discharged to home on Sunday. His surgeon is sweetly amazed at his progress.
The year wrapped up with a Christmas celebration with Daddy Barry and Stan. They made a tall tree and packed it with ornaments:
Stan also made a pretty elaborate special dinner for me that included his pistachio cake. Yum! Friends Anne & her brother David & his partner Dale joined us. Tom made dinner for the two of us on Christmas day.
Lincoln with Melissa closed out the year.
As always, I hope this finds you happy & well.
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