Friday, December 31, 2010

In Transition

I'm currently in the middle of our transition.  Lots of boxes and clutter, but we're quickly getting through it all.  I'm going to edit our eviction footage tomorrow, and attempt to have it on YouTube by tomorrow evening.  Thanks to everyone for wanting to be kept updated.
  Since I haven't had access to the Internet I've been utilizing a journal for my poetry, but now that things are back to normal I'll be getting more of my creative works up and online very soon.
Thanks for all your patience,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Medical Appointments, Breakfast Reservations, and God's Angels

  Just six hours till Christmas.  I honestly didn't think we'd have one this year, but several groups donated so much that we've been able to have a nice meal and Santa will show up for Lincoln.  This year God's angels were hard at work in our lives, and I hope that next year I will be able to be one of those angels.
  This morning we spent time with some of my old friends from school.  We had a nice, simple breakfast at Around The Clock restaurant, and I'm paying the price for my good time.  It was worth every minute of pain though.  It seems so odd to see people I used to share classes with sitting with their own children, and it makes my heart skip a beat when I realize how amazing those people will be as parents.  We may have been one of the last generations that lived without the bombardment of the digital world, and I know that we'll succeed in creating a pocket of individuals who appreciate hard work and earning.
  Yesterday I made an appointment to see a PTSD doctor about my night terrors.  As I had commented on one of my previous threads, last night's was the worst.  I kept 'waking up', but not really waking up.  It happened seven times before I finally found myself in the real world, and I've spent most of the day half expecting to wake up after having something terrible happen to my right leg.  Maybe tonight I'll not have them, more likely I will.
  My son and wife are both ill.  Nothing serious, just head colds, but enough to keep us from being able to spend time with my mother and step-father because of his recent surgery.  It's best that we not get him ill because we love him and want him to stick around for quite a while longer.  So, it's just been us for the day, and it's been wonderful.  Lincoln is playing a game on the PS3, and trying to goad Amy into playing too.  They fight so much when they play together, and all I can do is chuckle.  Someday they'll learn to work together...  Someday...

  God blessed me this year with some of the most amazing people.  Jhon Baker, an amazing poet and philosopher has given me so much.  Noah Kaplowitz who has helped me further my causes and spent much time on corroborative works.  I think the three of us have leaned on each other so equally that it's kept us on our feet.  Scott Little, who's been giving me art lessons and spending time with me despite the fact he really hasn't had much of it.  Lars Jensen who's always been there for me, despite the ocean between us (you're going to get some English readers here, so you better start posting in English for us).
  My wife, Amy, who's put up with, and taken on, so much that I don't think I'd have survived RSD without her.  My mother; who brought me into this world and taught me to love and laugh, rage and cry.  Without her my son wouldn't be who he is today, and I wouldn't have been strong enough to make it through all my pain.  My father, Mike Shear, who spent so many hours driving from Iowa to here just to spend a few days at a time helping me when I had no one else.  I learned how to speak and succeed from my father, and how to laugh when things aren't at their best.  My stepfather Jeff, from whom I've learned to 'tell it like it is' and accept the fact that there's a lot of dumb asses out there.  My grandfather who I miss dearly.  He taught me how to be at peace in the world when we would go fishing or hunting together.  Firing a weapon still centers and empowers me to this day.  My grandmother, who taught me dedication to family and kept us from going under throughout the year.  My nephew Alex, who's gamed with me even when I've been blinded by pain and been useless.  I'll be on line again soon my friend.  And Corey Leese and the Divine Knights, Corey's stuck by me through thick and thin, and helped me find a group of fantastic new teammates to game with.
  Illinois Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association who's meetings have helped me feel like I'm still part of the world, and not alone in my struggles.  Congressman Manzullo's office, and Vera Moore of the VFW have been extremely helpful in my claims.  We may not have succeeded, but they still deserve recognition for all of their hard work and diligence.  McHenry County Marine Corps League, my brothers and sisters who have offered so much support, and given my son a Christmas, both on their own and through others who donated.
  I know it's asking a lot to have you all check out all these links, but these people deserve it.  They've given so much of themselves for me and my family, so please take the time to check them all out.  And to those of you who I haven't personally mentioned, leave a comment so I can include you in this 'thank you' post.
  Despite all the pain, and our eviction in seven days, I feel nothing but peace; happiness.  Blessed.

With all the gratitude I can muster,  Happy Holidays,


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

From Nightmare to Nightmare

  I sleep on my couch most of the time.  It isolates me from moving about too much and aggravating my leg.  My dreams have been getting worse over the last few weeks, and I'm finding myself awake more and more.

I'm sleeping on the couch and it begins to shake; tremor.  I get up and open the door to our small apartment; find the weather outside to be balmy and warm.  I'm walking in a normal fashion, with no aid, but the stones on the paved area are causing pain to the bottom of my right foot.  It's like walking on glass.  I'm at an airport and a few hundred yards from a single runway.  A large jet is coming in for  landing, and I can hear the tower radio telling them to abort.  The jet comes in anyway and crashes; explodes in front of me.  I turn to run.  My right foot hits the ground and a piece of shrapnel tears through it.  Falling; hitting the pavement.  More shards of metal and glass rain down into my right leg, and I scream with agony.
  Awake, and in just as much pain as in the dream.  I'm still trying to catch my breath, and my eyes are still watering.  It's getting to the point that I'm jumping at every sound, expecting my leg to be damaged.  I'm spending most nights awake trying not to scream and wake my family...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Back to the ER

  I spent several hours at the ER last night.  I was at a Marnie Corps League meeting when my outbreak started, and by the end of the meeting I had to be carried out.  I even blacked out while trying to get into the van.  They gave me my injections of pain killers directly into the muscle and didn't run an IV.  Having them administered this way worked far better than through an IV.  They took a bit longer to kick in, but lasted far longer.  In the future I'm going to request this form of administration..
  Tonight I'm hurting.  We had to drive to the Milwaukee V.A. to pick up my medical records.  There must have been over 100 pages of information.  Hopefully I'll be able to comb through it and present supporting facts for my case.  I only wish that the V.F.W. would have been doing this.
  I started working on a new song, and hope to have it up on my poetry site by tomorrow evening.  I've been developing the songs to fit into a CD titled 'Just One Breath', and the song I'm working on will have that title.  It's, perhaps, the lightest song I've written, and it feels good to do something more uplifting.
  I was featured at Web of Life.  So please take a few minutes and read the post, and check out their site.  These gentleman have a genuine love of life and belief in positives.  I think you'll all find it an uplifting experience.

I wanted to tell you all how much I appreciate all the support you all have given my family.  I'm quite anxious about our upcoming eviction, but I'm trying to focus on how it can be a useful tool in ensuring future veterans with RSD don't have to experience this.  Regardless, I am feeling something I haven't felt in quite a while.  Love.
It feels good to tell my friends and family that I love them, and too few people do it.  I'm not sure if there's a reason for not saying it, but I'm going to say it anyway.

With love and respect,
Kevin Shear

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Family Aid

  My father drove in from Des Moines to help me with my son.  He showed up Sunday evening, he's leaving in a few hours, and it hasn't been a long enough visit.  My stepfather is in the hospital.  Last Thursday he had heart surgery, and now they're not letting him go home.  They want him to be under constant care for a while.
  I feel so helpless.  I can't go and support my mother while she waits for her husband.  In the past, I'd always be right there by her side to help.  When my stepfather had his first heart attack I spent countless days in the hospital, and when my grandfather had medical issues I flew to Florida to spend a week at his bedside.  Now...  now I can't get out.  Last nights venture has caused a great deal of increased pain today.
  Cold weather is hell.
  I feel like I'm falling behind on my writing.  Maybe I'll feel caught up tomorrow...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Looking toward the future.

  I've informed the V.A. of my address countless times.  They still send my mail to my mother's house.  A letter came in this week, that they're going to be having a hearing in regards to my case.  I'm sending out an APB because I can have as many people testify as I want.  I figure, if we have enough people there, it will take a long time and I'll have a major pain attack on-site.  They'll have to rush me to the ER, and will have a very difficult time saying I shouldn't get benefits.  I'll post the exact dates, and perhaps send save the date cards...

  My pain is being managed better.  Still hurts, but I can get around a bit now without bursting into tears or passing out.  I'm becoming more tolerant of the narcotics.  I'm taking two pills most days now, and I've been talking with my doctor about moving to three on days I need a third.  I wish there was a non-narcotic medication we could switch to.  Switching between the two would decrease tolerance.  Unfortunately, I'm told, there isn't anything else they have at the V.A.

  The Marine Corps League came buy a couple days ago; dropped off two large bags of toys for Lincoln and Ashlynn.  I spent a good part of that day in tears.  Santa really did come for them this year...

I can't wait till I have my benefits and can do the same for another veteran...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good News, Bad News

  Monday afternoon, and the reporter and photographer came through my front door.  Questions where asked over the camera's clicks; answered, at times, through clenched teeth.  In all the story was told, and I spent the night in pain.  When they left they wanted to get some video, so they scheduled to come back on Tuesday.
  Tuesday morning, bad pain, and the photographer walked through the door.  She set up, filmed, asked questions.  Pain consumed, and it was time to go to the ER.  That poor photographer, she looked so worried, but she was getting the real story.  She was capturing, on film, what real pain looks like.  RSD is the worst pain in the world, worse than cancer or natural child birth, and she was right in the middle of it.
  One of the few things I remember is the look of terror on her face.
  I called my mother, begged her to hurry, to take me to the hospital.
  Time passed.  The reporter took photographs, filmed.  I gasped for breath and struggled to keep my body from tightening against the pain; fought to stay conscious and present while my mind was trying to shut down from overload.  Then I was in the car and rushing for the ER.
  Vomited in my mouth, swallowed, and blacked out twice on the way.  Prayers to God to give me strength; get me through one more time.  Arrival, and a wait for someone to come with a gurney or wheelchair to get me inside.
  They're rough getting me out of the car.  Big burly police man.  He embraces me, keeps me from falling to the ground, and it hurts more than he knows; could understand.  Vitals where checked, and then I was rushed into a large scary room.  'Oh God, why this room,' I thought.  Crash cart, machines that ping, all things medical surrounded me.  My vitals must have been extreme to have put me in that room.  I.V. run, drugs promised, and then I laid in wait, in pain, in prayer.  Minutes ticked by like hours.
  The doctor arrives, asks what is usually done for me.  The nurse arrives and pumps the drugs into my system; first a needle for nausea, then a needle for pain, and lastly a needle to calm.  Minutes pass, and the pain is still pretty severe, so she hits me again with another dose of pain killers.
  In all they dosed me with enough dalauted and Valium to knock over a rhino, and I got off the gurney and into the wheelchair on my own.  Then I wheeled myself to the exit.
  The reporters where there for a lot of the time.  They asked questions, and took photos.  In all, the two women working on my story had been some of the most compassionate and endearing individuals I've met.  Today I will send them a letter or email with all of the gratitude I can muster.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Today is the first day

  I was up all night last night.  The pain was excruciating, and it took all my strength to not cry out and wake up my wife and child.  This morning it's a little better, but not by much.  Today is the day that I'm to be interviewed by a reporter.  Maybe God wants me to do this in the hospital?  If things keep going the way they are, that's where we'll be.
  This interview is like a first day of triumph; a small dent in ignorance and gross mistreatment.  If I can reach just one person with this article, and help them understand what people with RSD go through, I will have succeeded.  Because it only takes one person to change the future of our veterans.  One phone call, one letter.  One.  Because if one person does it, I know there will be others, others that will add to the one voice.
  I'm going to take my meds and work on some poetry.  Writing has been a fantastic coping mechanism.  I've lost a bit of my urge to game, and have found that it isn't helping as much in regards to my pain management.  I just haven't been able to get myself immersed enough.  Immersed, and away from this daily nightmare.
  I'm really having a bad time.  It's hard to admit it, but I'm worn thin.  This isn't a plea for help, I'm not going to kill myself (I have no urge to do so), but I feel like simply sleeping my days away.  Except, I can't sleep...
  It's good that I can't sleep.  Today is the first day...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Updates and Free Time

When you have chronic pain there is no such thing as 'free time'.  Yesterday was spent shredding paper targets at the local pistol range with my best friend, and published poet, Jhon Baker.  I learned two fundamental truths over the last 24 hours.  First, once you fire a weapon, pistol or rifle, you'll crave it more than anything else.  Yesterday was such a freeing, and empowering, experience.  I can't even begin to thank Jhon enough.  So I made him a deal.  As soon as my benefits arrive I will buy some weapons of my own and pay for a trip to the range for the two of us.  I honestly don't want to wait long to do this.
  There's a link to Jhon's blog under my links section.  I would highly encourage anyone who enjoys poetry to check it out.  You won't be disappointed.
  The second truth I learned is that there is no such thing as free time when you have chronic pain.  You pay for every experience.  Today I'm paying the price, and it was worth every penny.
  Some updates and information is next on the agenda...
  The Chicago Tribune rescheduled for next Monday.  So next Monday we'll be getting photographed and interviewed.  The date change is bitter sweet, I want nothing more than to have the story run now, but, with the delay, I'll be able to do a little more phone work to get other individuals involved.  I really want to give the congressman's office a chance to have some free publicity for all the hard work they've done.
  There are several pages that the V.A. have set up on Facebook.  They explicitly pointed out that these pages where to keep in touch with veterans more efficiently.  I've posted on these pages several times; asking for them to discuss RSD, it's lack of rating schedule, my current situation, etc.  All of my comments have gone ignored, and one of them even had the VA suicide hotline people post up that I should call for help.  A little later I read the same post from them to another veteran.  Turns out that it's an auto response.  They must hit it when they don't want to deal with an issue.  I'll keep looking for a posting about RSD and I'll link it here should they ever follow through.
  I've become a member of a Facebook community for veterans with RSD.  If anyone would like to join us, please send me a message on Facebook, and I'll get you added.
  My contact with GM about their commercial stating they 'understood that everyone falls down and needs help up' was unproductive.  It seems that GM is more than willing to get bailed out, but as soon as an opportunity presented itself for them to help out a disabled veteran, they turned their backs.  I tried everyone from corporate to local dealerships, and they all where unwilling to help.  I would encourage anyone getting ready to shop for a new car to not go with GM.  Let them burn through their bail out and dwindle away.  Companies who publicly state that they're empathetic to plight and then privately scorn it should not be kept around.