I'm going inpatient at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Tarrytown NY (maybe called Sleepy Hollow). I'll update when I get out.
22 March, 2006
I just met with my new therapist. She seems pretty cool. She wants me to go to the psych ER at Phelps, so i'll probably end up there. With everything that's been going on lately, it's probably a good idea for me to in back in.
From my mobile ph
Firefox 2.0 alpha is now available from Mozilla's ftp server.
Lots of people are now using the Firefox web browser, but not as many are using , Firefox's companion Email client. I recently convinced one of my friends to switch to Thunderbird, and he's been quite happy with it since the switch. Although Thunderbird doesn't have a built-in calendaring application and some of the other group/collaborative features that Microsoft's Outlook has, I find that it has what I need for even the most advanced e-mail tasks. However, a calendar application is currently being developed by the Mozilla Foundation.
As with all alpha versions of software, unless you really need the latest and greatest and you're very good at troubleshooting, it's probably best to wait at least until a beta version of Firefox 2.0 is available. Mozilla is releasing the alpha version to start getting the community involved in hunting down hunting down all of the bugs that inevitably pop up in new software applications and new versions thereof. (Wikipedia has a pretty good wiki on the software development process, including alpha and beta versions.)
Another reason that you might want to wait until a beta release is that alpha releases aren't finished being developed, and features are still subject to change. When the beta version(s) are released, the features are, by that point, pretty much set down and it's more about the bug-stomping than anything else.
So if you're adventurous, and you don't mind using a browser who features aren't set down yet, and you absolutely, positively, must have the latest and greatest technology products, then check out the 2.0 alpha version of Firefox.
InformationWeek | Browsers | Firefox 2.0 Alpha Imminent | March 21, 2006
21 March, 2006
He left a voicemail for me last night. Here's a transcription (I've previously worked both as a word processing operator and transcriptionist):
How's my favorite nephew? Your father said you that he was bringing you right back after you uh got finished visiting with grandpa in the hospital. I said OK. Uh, I'd like to find out what you did about trying to get grandpa's car fixed, what arrangements you made, if any. Um, you're welcomed here. It's just not going to be for the long-term, that's all. So come on home. I'll talk to you when you get here. Or call me if you don't want to do it in person. Alright? Bye.My phone battery was pretty much shot by this afternoon, so I was only turning my phone on to check for voicemail. At 9:55 this evening, I received the following message from him:
Hello there, Peter . This is your Uncle Keith. Um, I need to hear from you to find out what you're planning on doing. Um I got permission to start cleaning your room out, as soon as possible, that was a request and I was kind of hoping that you'd come and do it. Let me know if you're going to come by and do it or if I don't hear from you I'll assume that you just don't care and I'll do it myself. I'll start by taking your computer apart tomorrow and putting it out on the street. So let me know what you decide to do. Thanks. Bye.So when I got home, the first thing that I noticed is that his car was on the other side of the driveway than where it last was (since the serpentine belt in his car wasn't completely hooked up, it wasn't in any condition to be moved unless it was fixed). So he somehow came up with the money to get his car fixed.
I got to my room, and found that he had removed the door to my room (he had threatened to do this yesterday, when he was kicking me out):
I also found that my computer had been shut off (not shut down, the difference being that he just hit the power switch on my power strip, which can cause major physical problems with the computer, like a hard drive crash, for starters). I called my father, and he told me to ask him to put the door back on. I did, and he ignored me.
Of course, now my room smells like cigarette smoke. I'm asthmatic, and cigarette smoke triggers my asthma. My clothes all smell like cigarette smoke, along with my room. He's smoking in the house, which he shouldn't be doing in the first place, especially with a disabled baby in the house.
I think part of what my uncle is doing is thinking that he's going to be able to move into the house, because he never had the opportunity to move back home after he moved out. You see, my father had moved back into the house and stayed here for a number of years, until the re-married to my stepmother about four years ago. My sister has pretty much lived here her entire life, and I moved back home after my car accident (I spent a number of years living in the City). Or maybe it's just that he's jealous that we've been able to live here. Or whatever.
Whatever it is, it's bullshit, and I really don't know how much longer I an hang on. I probably should go back into the hospital, because I'm eyeing some pill bottles right now. Too bad they're empty. Of course, I can't make the attempt now, because the bottles are empty and unless I knew I were going to succeed, I'd just be accused of acting out in a borderline fashion again.
20 March, 2006
Yesterday, he had my sister, her boyfriend, and the baby drive him up to Massachussetts to get more of his medicine so he could stay down here. Never mind the fact that he could have borrowed my grandfather's car and driven himself, as opposed to making my sister make the drive with her disabled baby.
As a favor to him, I got my friend Mike, who's a mechanic, to agree to come up and take a look at his car and fix it, if possible, for a reduced price. Since Uncle Keith went to MA with my sister in her car, and since my car is waiting on a backordered part and his car wasn't working, the only other car available for my use was my grandfather's car. So as a favor to him, I went down to the Bronx to pick Mike up and bring him up here to look at the car.
I then had to take Mike to an auto parts store to get some parts for the car. We went to Medallion Auto Parts in Port Chester. When we came out of the store, I found that the driver's side door had been hit by someone. There was yellow paint on the door (a yellow SUV was parked next to us on the way in, but was gone on the way out), the door handle was broken, and of course the door was creased in. I tried to call my sister to let her know, but she didn't pick up. I tried to call my grandfather, in the hospital (it's his car, after all) but his line was busy. So given that I've had experience with this sort of thing before (my car was hit in a parking lot while I was shopping and when I contacted the policy, they were basically like "so what do you want us to do, they guy's gone?"), I went up to see my father at work and then went to the bank to get the money to pay Mike and go back and finish fixing the car.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I, stupid me, agreed to lend my Uncle the money for Mike to fix his car. Stupid me, of course, because there's about a 0.0000000001% chance that I'll ever see that money again.
So last night when my sister/Alex/Uncle Keith get home, they get all upset. But I explained what happened, and my sister at least was OK with it. My Uncle called me a "fucking idiot, you stupid fucking idiot." Of course, I said that I would pay to get the door fixed, as I was responsible for the car. But Uncle Keith apparently didn't believe me. He wanted to go to the store and see if they knew the guy who owned the SUV and track him down.
So this morning Uncle Keith woke me up at like 9am and told me to get working on getting the car fixed, he was taking it to see my grandfather and to call him if I had any news, blah blah blah.
He just came back a few minutes ago, storming into the house. He tells me, "Pack up your shit and get the fuck out of the house." He calls me a "fucking liar, no good worthless fucking piece of shit." He said that he went to the auto-parts store to track down the owner of the SUV, and a store employee told him that he saw the car hit a telephone pole that's in the parking lot. Then he says that he matched the paint that's on the telephone pole "and it's the same fucking paint." He told me that he told my grandfather this, and it made my grandfather cry, so "that was enough for me." He then got in my face and became very threatening, physically, and told me to get the fuck out of the house. He told me that my grandfather said "don't even bother cleaning his room, just tell him to get the fuck out." He said those were my grandfather's exact words (my grandfather, if you know him, doesn't swear). He said he doesn't give a flying fuck where I go or what I do, just get the fuck out of the house. He told me that if I go upstairs and lock my door he'll break it down and throw it in the garage. He also told me to tell my friend not to bother to come back to finish fixing the car.
He also told me that he'd break my neck if I called my grandfather to plead with him.
Alex was downstairs pretending to be washing dishes, with a big shit-eating grin on his face the entire time. But that's another story.
I don't know how much longer I can hold on. I called my father to ask him to come get me, and he said he was on his way.
Here's a copy of an e-mail I sent to my father a few days ago:
Dad,I should point out that the "THAT" on my hair to which he is referring is hair dye -- I've been coloring my hair for the past few years (wild colors, not ordinary colors -- it helps me feel more alive).
I'm lending Uncle Keith about $100 so he can get his car fixed and go back home -- he's incredibly annoying, and I'd rather be out of the money than continue to put up with his BS.
Grandpa's going to be in the hospital until at least Monday -- he's in more pain today, and they're doing physical therapy with him.
Marie (his "lady friend") went into Greenwich Hospital today -- they think she had a stroke.
Mom's getting a divorce. She wants me to come up there and help her with the paperwork and try to get Jack deported and a bunch of other things. She said he offered her $20k or something like that, and wants to know if she can get more, but she doesn't want alimony from him.
Uncle Keith is being as annoying as ever. He made a comment about my hair in front of Elaine (the baby's physical therapist -- she's a pretty cool person). He said something like "What the hell is THAT on your hair?"
Are we having fun yet?
Read more about what he did in Part II.
17 March, 2006
Why am I writing about this, you ask? Because of the chaos and drunken disorder that ensues after the parade, I now must leave home about an hour early in order to get into work tonight. Just check out the traffic re-routing and restrictions. Plus, the voyage into work is more perilous than it normally would be, because of all the drunk people. (You'd think that with all the drunk people I'm going to run into, one might be able to find an article about it on the 'net, but I'm coming up empty in my searches -- can anyone else out there point me to a source? <UPDATE> I can always count on my good friend, Stacey, to post something about the drunken disorderliness that otherwise is known as the St. Patrick's Day celebrations. </UPDATE>)
Plus, let's not forget the controversy surrounding the decision by the Ancient Order of Hibernians -- the organizers of the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade -- to preclude Irish gay & lesbian folk from marching in the parade and portraying their identity in any way, shape, or form. This year, of course, the controversy and confrontation is taken to a higher level — it gets worse:
March Chairman John Dunleavy ... stated, "If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, do you allow Neo-Nazis into their parade? If African Americans are marching in Harlem, do they have to let the Ku Klux Klan into their parade?"So now, Irish gay men and lesbians marching in the parade are the equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan marching in a Black Pride parade, or Nazis marching in an Israeli Pride parade.
Do they still teach logic and ethics in schools these days? I'd really like to know how one makes the leap from how being a gay Irish American is equivalent to allowing Nazis into Jewish ceremonies or incorporating the KKK into Black society. It's really mind-boggling.
One bright note about this year's controversy: Christine C. Quinn, the out and proud New York City Council Speaker and an Irish American who happens to be gay, refused to take part in this year's parade. She refused to dignify march Chairman John dunleavy's homophobic and hateful remarks with a response. Council Speaker Quinn attempted to bring about a compromise, allowing gay and lesbian Irish Americans who wanted to participate in the march while maintaining their LGBT identity, but march organizers responded with the hateful words written above. She issued the following statement:
Unfortunately, a compromise has not been reached this year with organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade that would allow LGBT Irish New Yorkers to march in a way that openly celebrates our heritage and identity. Therefore, I will not be marching tomorrow.
New York City is the most diverse and welcoming place in the world -- it's a shame that for yet another year our St. Patrick's Day parade won't reflect that diversity.
I want to thank the leaders in the Irish American and LGBT communities who worked together with me to find common ground. I continue to hope -- and I firmly believe -- that someday soon Irish LGBT New Yorkers will proudly and openly march up Fifth Avenue on St. Patrick's Day.
16 March, 2006
So, my mother called me on Monday night. She told me that she needs my help because she's getting a divorce. This is her third husband. It turns out that she thinks that he's still married -- in Thailand (where he's from). She also thinks that he married her just to get citizenship (which he still has yet to get, although he did get his green card). So she wants me to come up to Hartford to help fill out the papers. Apparently, he's offering her $20k to get divorced. All of the finances are in his name, but my mother subjected herself to being denigrated by him for about a decade, and she took care of him and the homestead. From what I remember in law school, that's worth a bit more than $20k with no alimony payments.
Of course, my mother doesn't want alimony. She wants to get him deported, because she thinks that he had another child with his wife when he took a trip to Thailand last year. I don't have all the info yet -- I have yet to make it up to Hartford (the car's in the shop). But I'll find out. And I'll subject myself to my mother's co-dependence, paranoid, and anxiety disorders.
My Uncle has been visiting since Tuesday -- since my grandfather's surgery. He has some serious issues going on with his personality. He convinced one of the mental health hospitals where I received treatment that I have borderline personality disorder (BPD). I wholeheartedly disagree with that diagnosis. I might have some other kind of personality disorder, but I don't think I'm borderline. According to the DSM-IV (that's the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fourth Edition), one must have at least five of the following traits in order to be diagnosed with BPD:
- frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
- a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
- identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
- impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, Substance Abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
- recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
- affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
- chronic feelings of emptiness.
- inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
- transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
I had a lengthly e-mail conversation with my friend Val (she's a Spiritual Counselor with a New York State Certification in School Psychology) about all of this. Here's what she had to say:
Peter, then what I'd diagnose you with (if it were something I had to do) would be Personality Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. You do have a personality based disorder in my opinion but it does seem that you have a little of this and a little of that.This is based on a self-assessment that I performed, by reading about all of the various personality disorders, the traits associated with each, and then doing a self-assessment to figure out which of those traits I exhibit. Basically, my personality can be considered to be pretty fucked up. Right, Val?
In my e-mail conversation with Val, I also wrote about my past suicidal behaviors, and why I don't think they should be counted as one of the traits for BPD, and why I don't think I have BPD in general:
Looking back on things, I can see that I've had major depression/chronic depression for a very long time. However, the only time I didn't want to live was when I was 17 and tried to commit suicide because I realized that I was gay. But I got over that, and became an activist instead. Ever since then, I've been depressed, but I didn't want to do. I always had the "fight" in me, if you know what I mean.One of these days, I'll post the rest of that e-mail conversation ... the part where I pick out which attributes of which personality disorders I see myself as having.
Until, at least, my car accident four years ago. Ever since then, I've lost that "fight" -- that spirit. For the two years after my accident when I was trying to kill myself, I was taking a LOT of painkillers (opiates). I was in a total fog. The reason that I didn't succeed in killing myself then, I attribute to the fact that my mind wasn't working correctly [basically, I was in a major fog].
In terms of me wanting to kill myself, it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm in a lot of physical pain. I don't want to go back on the opiates. I take a LOT of Aleve (like 8-12 pills a day -- the bottle recommends no more than three) for the pain, which helps, but doesn't get rid of it completely. The pain that I have is only going to get worse (much of it comes from the arthritis). I've had more than one orthopaedic surgeon tell me that fusing the joint (meaning I'd lose all mobility in the ankle, as opposed to the 20-25% that I now have) will help alleviate that pain but won't get rid of it completely, especially since some of my pain is from neurosis.
Without that pain, I might just be depressed. But with the pain, and the depression, I lose energy, I lose my will to stick around. I saw my grandmother and what pain did to her -- I don't want to end up like her. If I could figure out how to do it right now, I would. But unfortunately, I'm not sure, and I don't want to make another "attempt" and have some fucking idiot tell me I'm just doing it for attention. Really, I'm not. If I wanted attention, I'd do something else. I'd spend more time with people. As it is, I'm avoiding everything.
Recently I was discussing my car accident with a friend from the hospital and she mentioned that it's very common for people in severe accidents to not remember a thing -- that's it's part of post traumatic stress disorder. That got me to thinking, the fact that I can't remember anything, and that I lived and the other driver died, and that I've only really been suicidal since after the car accident -- I think being suicidal is more related to PTSD than to borderline personality disorder.
Back to my depression ... I think I'm in, or heading into, a double depression. Too much shitake going on in my life these days. I did manage to get in touch with someone who works for WJCS today. He took my information and will get back to me about getting back into treatment. One step closer, right? Hopefully it won't be too long now....
In the meantime, check out some books at Amazon.com on personality disorders and the DSM-IV:
11 March, 2006
You see, this past week, I found out that my grandfather's melanoma has spread to his lymph nodes. He's scheduled to go in for surgery this coming Tuesday, March 14, 2006. That's the eve of the Ides of March, which typically is not considered to be a good day where luck is concerned (reference the assassination of Julius Caesar).
Apparently, this means that he now has Stage III malignant melanoma. The prognosis for Stage III malignant melanoma is mixed ... he has a 30-70% survival rate, based on 5-year survival rate studies for this stage. If the melanoma progresses to Stage IV, then the prognosis becomes very bleak. Since his melanoma has gone from Stage I to Stage III, all the negative energy in me converts this into thinking that he's going to reach Stage IV.
When my grandfather was first diagnosed with melanoma, they did all the testing and such and told him that it hadn't spread, and chances were good that it wouldn't spread. So take together the fact that we've gone from Stage I to Stage II to Stage III, plus his surgery being scheduled one the eve of the Ides of March, put that all together, and then maybe you can see why I'm thinking that he's going to end up in Stage IV at some point and this, essentially, is the beginning of the end.
Also this week, my father told me that he had a stroke last year, which has caused permanent damage, and mainly affects his memory (which, he surmises, is probably why he didn't tell me until now -- he forgot he hadn't told me yet). He hasn't told anyone else, other than his wife, about the stroke.
Additionally, my sister is now bitching to me about how our mother is refusing to see her daughter (my niece, my mother's first grandchild), because of a disagreement that she and my sister are having (which I won't even begin to get into here now). My sister and my mother, essentially, baiting me to take sides, which I'm refusing to do. I can see points to both of their opinions, and they're both being stubborn by refusing to make the first move to talk to the other about their feelings. But still, because they're family, I have to sit and listen to them.
Happy Happy, Joy Joy.
This is just typical of my life these days, though. Take, for instance, the year of my car accident:
I was involved in a fatal automobile accident in January, 2002. Apparently, there was a head-on collision between my car and another car. I was driving alone, as was the other drive. I had the misfortune of living, the other drive died. I don't remember a thing about the accident -- even of being involved in an accident. Apparently, this is typical for people who have gone through severely traumatic events such as very bad auto accidents. I spent bout four months in the Trauma Unit of Westchester Medical Center recovering from my injuries. Half of that time was spent in the hospital being treated for my injuries, the other half was spent in the rehab section of the hospital (that's physical rehabilitation). Here's a picture of the accident scene:
I got out of the hospital, and started treatment for my depression. A few weeks into it, I wound up in the psychiatric unit at United Hospital (which has gone out of business) for a few weeks. I came out, and then wound up in the psych unit of Westchester Medical Center -- they call it the Behavioral Health Center -- where I spent the next seven months.
During my stay there, my grandmother, who raised me and essentially acted as a surrogate mother to me, died. That was in July, 2002. In the beginning of September, another patient, with whom I had developed a deep friendship, hung herself -- in the bathroom right outside of my room. I saw her as I was coming out of my room, as the staff was opening the door to the bathroom at the same time. Later that month, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Around my birthday in October, my father told me that he had gotten remarried -- back in June. And then, when I was discharged a few days before Christmas, my grandfather went into the hospital with pneumonia.
Oh, and did I mention that the friend I had moved out to Phoenix, Arizona with back in 1999 had died the same year? In fact, I think he died the same day I wound up going into WCMC's Behavioral Health hospital. I loved him very much, and was probably even in love with him (he loved me, too, although the "in-love" part probably wasn't reciprocated). But he's another story.
R.I.P. Roscoe R. Loper, IV.
So you see, this kind of trauma has been my life, especially since my car accident. And this is probably why I keep lapsing into these double-depressions so often.
This is a note to myself to add this blog to my "Blogs I'm Reading" list. I came across it from a site I was visiting, and I clicked on a link to another site, where I clicked on a link to another site, where I clicked on a link to another site, and I basically repeated that about 97 more times to arrive at this one.
I'm starting to love this gal. At first, before I read her bio, I thought it was a drag queen's site. I mean, she has the personality of a drag queen. Plus, just look at the name: Paper Napkin. That's a Drag Queen name if I ever heard one.
But she's pretty cool. She started this "delurking week" thing where she advocates for people to stop "just" reading other people's blogs and participate in them -- leave comments! She has a cool list of "100 things." She's won some blogging awards.
I just wish Blogger had an easier way of updating the sidebar. As it is now, I have to go into the template (which is a pretty big file to being with), find what the section I want to add a link to, and then manually add it to my list. I don't mind the entering it manually part -- it's the finding the code in the huge template form that is becoming quite a bit annoying ...
Try reading it as you would any other news article. That is, not to analyze the contents, but to get a general idea of what the article is about. I think you'll be surprised at just how readable the text actually is.
What's perhaps even more amazing is that this, apparntly, has been around for a while. Just take a look at the search results I came up with on Google.
This "word recognition" that we perform is perhaps the reason behind our ability to perform "speed reading." Maybe the reason that I was able to read this passage without batting an eye, so to speak, is because, back in high school, I bought a computer program for my Commodore 128 computer, called the Evelyn Wood Dynamic Reader, which basically teaches you how to increase reading comprehension and how to "speed read" using the Evelyn Wood Dynamic Reading method.
So perhaps, when one possess "advanced" reading/comprehension skills, one is better able to process information of the sort descrbied in this "article"? What do you think?
Mambo - Newsflash 3
Some of you (any of you?) may have noticed that I've been tinkering with my blog a bit. It's been a long time since I've done any HTML coding, and I'm a bit rusty. Plus, now I have to make sure that the code works with Google's Blogger service, which hosts my blog. Blogger uses "blog tags" that are similar to HTML tags, but are a bit more involved and evolved.
In any event, most of the tinkering that I've done has to do with repositioning certain elements in my sidebar, and adding a footer to the blog (scroll down all the way to the end). Back in February, I had to do a bit of debugging, because adding the Creative Commons license totally messed things up for a while, completely oblierating some sections of my blog, and also made my Google Adsense ads stop appearing. That was fun. Of course, the ads have stopped appearing again, and now I have absolutely no idea why they're not showing up. I've asked my friend, Stacey, to look into it for me, because she's a web goddess.
If you'd like to learn more about Google's Adsense, and start making money on your blog or web site, click on the button below:
01 March, 2006
(Clicking on the link will open a Flash movie with sound -- WS, unless you work for the evil conglomerate)
YouTube - microsoft ipod packaging parody