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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 4: on and on

This is my journal I wrote during the time I was homeless. It is broken up by week for easier reading. Feel free to read it on the web or download the complete .pdf version and print it for reading offline.

Week 161

Day 1121 - 7/27 - They love my shirt

Today was pretty good, all things considered. I got to sleep in at school. I didn't sleep too late, just until a bit before 11. I went to have lunch at a pizza by the slice next door to the coffee shop I play from. I hated going that early and spending like 9 hours there, but by doing so I greatly reduced the number of times my leg was used for driving. When I got to the coffee shop a few of the workers said they loved my shirt. (It was the Gears of War one.) I told them the funny story of how I won it but haven't actually played yet. I think of all the workers there about 60-75% of them are gamers of some kind. There seem to be lots of people reaching out to me lately. I think people want to express concern and care, but since I'm a stranger they can only do it in a restricted way. I suppose it makes me happy though that it's yet another way I can tell people, or show them, how important and fragile life is. I've heard more than one conversation come up around me about people hurting themselves.

Still, in terms of pain, accidental hard steps when I lose my balance are far more painful than driving. And today my leg was often falling asleep when up on the chair, or throbbing quickly if put into a vertical position. The crutches are killing me, but if all goes ok I'll pick up the 'knee walker' after work in the later morning. So hopefully from then on trips will take much less effort, though I still won't to be back to my regular self for several months.

That was pretty much my day; slept in, did online work for my friend, spent the day watching a few shows and playing my game. I kept my foot up basically all day and drove or walked extremely little. It was about the best I could hope for with my life what it is.

It feels a touch better. Pain is rare. It's mostly discomfort now. And lately, as it does get better and swelling goes down the hairs are bothered and it feels a bit itchy. The file that didn't exist is going to be put into record and I'll try again tomorrow to make the follow up appointment.

Not much planned for tomorrow. I have the small morning work shift, probably the last since my boss confirmed I have to move the stage and I can't do that, then I'll get the walker, probably go hang out at school for a bit after that, then play a bit in the evening.

Guess that's it for now. Please take care of each other and yourselves out there. This is yet another terrible thing I don't want people to experience.

Day 1122 - 7/28 - Forgetting how to walk

Right now my ankle and leg are super swollen. They were fine when I started the morning, but now with all the exertion it's pretty bad. The shifting likely is pretty bad for it, but really holding my leg vertical for even a minute causes terrible pulsing and bad swelling, let alone the physical exertion required to move around on the crutches. Speaking of which, the place I spoke to about the knee walker don't have any?! Apparently six were rented since I spoke to them on Tuesday. I'll have to check again in the morning.

It got so hot in the car yesterday several sodas were near exploding, leaking, and my shampoo had opened and leaked out. Hopefully soon I can get my walking thing and be able to go back to school for most of my day. Without the walker it requires too much hobbling, which causes too much pain.

The day is young, just past noon, but I doubt truly good news will be had. All this hobbling on crutches is causing me to forget how to walk normally. I am having difficulty remembering the steps involved.

Time passes

These crutches are absolutely killing me. Everywhere I go I just about break a sweat and have to rest for like 10 minutes after even just a short trip in order to reduce my swelling and let the throbbing stop. I have a much higher compassion for the disabled and those, like me, who have to go through these things alone. I'm a very tough guy emotionally and have a pretty high tolerance for physical pain. I have no idea how any normal person would endure this alone.

I suppose, in a way, I am not alone, and my guild is around when I'm online, and even a few are around when I'm offline. I know there are those out there who worry and check in on me. And I suppose that is something.

Day 1123 - 7/29 - The bunny with zoom

I may have lost my hop for the time being, but I have a ton of zoom now. I picked up the walker and wow it's easy to use. I don't tire out on it really at all and it takes just about no effort to scoot. I kick with one foot now and then, but mostly I slide along on momentum. I actually got it up to super fast speed at work, just to see if I could. I'd say moving fast on just a few kicks and 'the perfect surface' I was going at a pace equal to a fast run. Of course I won't do it again, it is very wobbly and at risk of tumbling over, but it was super fun. I was like wheeeee when I did it.

I didn't sleep in in the morning because I started calling the phone at 9 A.M. Mostly I just hung out at the coffee shop and rested. One of the workers put her hand on me and said hey and smiled. She's not really my type, but attractive enough. I'm pretty sure she was just being friendly. There has been no overt or covert flirting.

Now that I'm scooting I have anti-inflammatory meds, and more importantly I'm not crushing my hands and over exerting myself. I'd guess I'd have to be using the walker for 15 minutes straight to have anywhere near the exhaustion level of just a few steps on the crutches. So hopefully over the next few days I'll see the swelling and throbbing rapidly disappear and it will be in much better shape on Tuesday when I have my follow up appointment.

Guess that's it for now. The walker is super fun and I have less frequent (physical) pain in y life. And that is something quite nice for my life right now.

Day 1124 - 7/30 - Pizza and cuties

Lunch time nom. It's a bit late for lunch, but it's when I'm having it. I suppose today has been ok so far even though I didn't sleep in. I played my game and tried to rest my leg as best I could most of the morning. I got a ticket for Captain America in 3D later tonight. And now it's lunch time. I did a bit of work on podcast 22, but mostly I just played my online game. I'm a bit extra spacey from the drugs today.

The beautiful blonde is here at the pizza by the slice place. She's super pretty. Average height, a bit thin, blonde hair, blue eyes, and she's super nice and friendly. She's been here for years now I think. Cuties always cheer me up.

That's it so far. Hopefully things will turn out ok and nothing else in my life will explode.

Day 1125 - 7/31 - I've seen you around

Some unusual stuff happened today. Nothing mind blowing, mostly just odd. My day started around 4 after I was back from a morning work shift and doing laundry. The beautiful blonde at the pizza place asked me how I broke my parts (as many do). She seemed interested, which is cool. (So many ask seemingly out of politeness and then really don't seem interested when I tell them a story more than 10 seconds long.) At the coffee shop someone chatted with me for a bit. Not just about the leg, but about other things. She was reasonably cute, attractive, and friendly. She didn't seem terribly flirty, but then she asked if I used Facebook. Could this be a girl asking me out? That hasn't happened in more years than I could easily count. I am not convinced it was though. While I felt there could be chemistry, I felt no immediate chemistry, nor was she doing any of the normal overt flirting. She mentioned 'her organization' and how they like to help people, and her page has over 450 friends, so that is very unusual in an odd way.

Later in the evening the new cute blonde at the coffee shop chatted with me. She has very short hair for a girl, she's older than the rest I would guess, though I'd also guess closer to 10 years younger than me than not. It wasn't flirty chat, just general chat. She had mentioned how she was in Paris for a bit and it was common for people to buy a coffee then stay there most, or all, day. The shop keeps actually expect it there. I told her, 'heh, I stick around here quite a bit' and she was like, 'Yeah, I've seen you around.'

In the evening when I traded movies the guy asked what I thought. Though I think he must be trained to do that because after my first sentence he kind of didn't really follow what I was saying.

It was nice to be included in conversations today, but I wonder. So many seem to be approaching me just out of some feeling of compassion or kindness for my leg. I seem almost invisible without the injury. Some of these people do seem the type I would hang out with possibly, and more chatting would be welcome. But like with the Facebook girl, and the movie shop guy, I wonder if there are ulterior motives, or if it's out of a sense of whatever about my leg, and if there is nothing more there that's real.

Day 1126 - 8/1 - Three falls

Kind of a bad day today. I got to sleep in, which was great. I scooted to the cafeteria and library with ease. I talked to someone in the cafeteria that works there about my leg. She agreed that guy who scared me is crazy. Apparently he was stalking her at one point, and he's been told several times he's unwelcome on campus due to his craziness. During work a game group was going pretty good, but then my connection completely lost it and I couldn't connect at all to the Internet.

I took three bad spills today. One was on a street, where a driveway meets the street. The other right across that same street where a walkway met the street. Both times my wheel spun and I rolled down. My foot got banged up pretty well, and so did my knees. The third time was at the hospital on my way to financial aid. I guess the carpet was bunched up in on area, and again the control wheel locked up and all I saw were a few quick flashes. I saw the wheel turned, then my side, then the ceiling as my head whanged against the floor. There's a big scrape above my left eye and my orbital bone got banged up. I was stunned and my eye couldn't see clearly. Thank the gods that cleared up after a few seconds.

I prey those and my other falls haven't caused further damage. I know what to watch out for now, but I fear these may not be the only spills I take.

I have my follow up appointment in the morning, so all I can do is hope for the best.

Day 1127 - 8/2 - May need surgery

Today's check up was good and bad. It was good in that the doctors were impressed that I didn't have any pain or sensitivity. There was some pretty bad bruising and my parts were still swollen, but the doc said that's not entirely unusual. I guess people's parts can stay banged up from such a fall for several months, and in some cases even as long as a year. The doc did go get a more experienced doc to get a second opinion on something. They said in terms of recovery I look really good, but that there may be some tendon damage. If there is I may have to get surgery because what may be happening is that the tendon isn't working right and bones are bumping up against each other. I said I wanted to avoid surgery at all costs, so what we did was cast me up super extra good, and I'll go in for a follow up in a couple of weeks. At that time they will run some tests and see if it looks like I'm healing up regular or if they may need to go through with the surgery.

I guess that's really it for the week of fail. I closed out podcast 22 with the update, and I finished the first picture series for this book with my ankle boo boo pictures. I guess things aren't too terrible, all things considered. There are some things I would otherwise do, like shower, that I can't do with the cast, but I guess it's tolerable. I just have to adjust for a few more weeks or so, then hopefully things can start going back to normal. I expect it could take quite some time before I get all my hop back, but I guess all we can do is hope for a good recovery.

Week 162

Day 1128 - 8/3 - Smooshed knee

Today I'm soooo sleepy. I slept until nearly noon, and then after I left the school library I zonked out for half an hour before leaving. I don't know why I'm so sleepy. Maybe it's because the school Internets were, as usual for a Wednesday, moving at half the normal speed or slower. I did my online work for my friend, finished updating the system builds, and got some pictures for a game to use as phone wallpapers.

Nothing special happening today yet. While it's only an early dinner time around 5, I doubt anything of interest will happen later.

My knee is getting smooshed by the walker. It's scraped up and a bit bloody. I guess that's better than both armpits and my hands though. Hopefully it will get better over time as I get used to it and can balance better. I guess we'll see.

I wonder if my sleepiness is due to my depression. As we near my birthday reflection upon the last year and my life overall is unavoidable. I feel very alone and very sad about what happened to me, and now I have my ankle to worry about with the possibility of surgery and will never be fully right ever again.

Day 1129 - 8/4 - Another bad spill

Good day, bad day. It started with a pretty bad spill at school. Someone helped me up, which was nice, but again I jarred my ankle and scraped myself up. I discovered why I'm taking these spills. It seems the handle bars are now only very loosely attached to the control wheels. Instead of being locked in position, a crack of any size now knocks them off angle. Several times today I've seen it very easily get knocked off at least 20 degrees, which would have easily resulted in a spill had I not been staring at the wheels almost the entire time after discovering the looseness. I'm going to stop by to get it tightened after my appointment as it's getting extremely dangerous.

I slept in, which was awesome. I got up early at 10, which I guess was pretty cool too. I watched shows and messed around online. In the evening I had fun with my guild. One of the people who was like, 'No, I'm not going to move to Star Wars: The Old Republic, I love Rift,' was sending me tells about what he'd play when he moves to Star Wars: The Old Republic. So I was like, lol, now two days later you've changed your mind? hehe.

My ankle hurt for quite a while after the spill, but once it had recovered it was feeling pretty good. Several times I put my foot down to a normal sitting at a desk position for quite a while. I don't know if that's a good sign, but it is no longer throbbing in pain when vertical.

Still, even though I can play my games, watch my shows, and have a good time, the sad things in life seem insurmountable at times. I've been homeless for so long, and so few opportunities for change have come, it feels like it will never end. Or like with my spill and breaking my ankle and leg, it will end, but badly.

Day 1130 - 8/5 - Dumb burocracy

I had my second appointment with the financial aid person and I still wasn't told all the stuff I would need to bring. Seriously? The person who made the appointment with me didn't say to bring anything. The original confirmation phone message didn't say to bring anything. The person I saw said to bring a certain something, but the information she gave me was incomplete, so I only brought part of that. And when I went to the lady today she had a form with all the information I should have been given before my first trip. It's ridiculous the hoops they are making me jump through. And they want to see all the pages of my bank statement. Seriously? That's such a huge invasion of privacy. My first page already shows the totals for things. Why do they need to see every transaction I make? And they went by my last paycheck, which was nearly quadruple what I normally make, instead of using my tax return for last year, which shows how my pay balances out over the year. They better qualify me is all I'm saying, because proving that I'm low income is effectively impossible with the documents. I could very easily not be telling them about a job, say that made 100k a year, and has a different bank account attached to it. Ignoring my tax return and requiring all the pages of my bank statement? Ridiculous.

I guess today was ok other than that huge repeating waste of time. No spills/falls. I got to sleep in until my appointment. I played a bit before work. My leg wanted to be down in a 'normal position' some, so that seems good. My toes can mostly bend up in a normal fashion again. I say normally as there is some weirdness/discomfort/pain as it reaches the max movement positon, as it smooshes the broken part in my calf. Though it does seem tight in the cast, so it may be swollen a bit more than usual, which is one of my greatest concerns.

Nothing really special to report other than that. Besides my suffering through sad days and a bit of well wishing here and there, my life feels very sad and unspecial at the moment.

Day 1131 - 8/6 - Could be worse

Today I heard more stories from people with bum legs. One girl had the same cast as me (in terms of size / position). She said she had pins in her ankle and couldn't move at all. She has to get surgery, she has no choice. I was wiggling my toes saying how I could move and she said she couldn't even do that. Another said she was out for three months, had surgery, and wasn't able to move or walk at all on the foot or a month after the surgery. She was just now starting to be able to hobble around with a sport bandage thing.

So, I guess my injury could indeed be far worse. Today several times I put my leg down from being up and it was ok for about 30 minutes each time. More and more it feels like I'm wearing my boot and I want to take it off. I can't really step with the foot though, but balancing on it while I move the walker to a different place, or baby steps to reposition how I'm standing, are a non-issue. It feels like I'll be mostly better in a few weeks. I don't expect to have full hop back for maybe 4-6 months after I get out of the cast, and I certainly will always wear my boots from now on, but I think I'll be fine very soon.

I'm still worried what the doc will say about the tendon, but all I can do is wait and see.

Day 1132 - 8/7 - The left boot

Today I mostly felt like I was constantly wearing my boot and I wanted to take it off so much. Of course I can't because it's a cast. At night, possibly now because I've run out of that one drug, I'm starting to feel claustrophobic about it. (I am a bit in general.) I was freaking out and pushing at it to try and get it into a position where it didn't feel like it was smashing me and bruising me, and I had a very difficult time finding a comfortable position to put it in to sleep.

Today was pretty good for what it was I think. I didn't get to sleep in. I actually didn't even check if I could. I wasn't that sleepy, and I stayed where I was hidden for the night until a very late 8 AM. So I probably got a fairly solid 7 hours of sleep (which is fine for me if I were in a bed.) The following probably 11 hours I spent at the coffee shop. That's the most time I've spent there ever. The people on both shifts were fine with me, and know that I'm leg broke. They know I kind of need to stay put longer.

I had a few chats with people about my leg/ankle. Some people seemed friendly towards me. One of the guys at the pizza place and I chatted about games for a while.

I had good groups online, but for the most part there weren't a lot of guildies on, so most of the groups were with non-guildies.

But now, in the quiet of the hiding spot at night, my ears are ringing from the constant noise, and my eyes are tired from the overly bright lights. As I drove to my hiding spot I saw people's house windows open. Some were getting ready for the night, while others I could just see a brief glimpse of how they'd set up their home. It seems such a distant memory now... home. I can barely remember the freedom to watch what I wanted, to cook what and when I wanted, to play without lag or download stuff quickly, to not have to worry about what I do, when I do it, or things like safety. And most of all sleeping in a bed. They seem such distant memories, and what's more, such distant feelings. I can't remember a time after I've been homeless where I could do something like sleep in without being disturbed and just showering and playing my game when I wanted. The closest thing would have been at C&H's when I was house sitting, but I was house sitting dogs and other animals, so I was disturbed at times. And I wasn't completely free. It has to be more than the length of my homelessness since I was free like that, and while I remember those days they are detached in feeling, as if I were watching a TV show. I no longer remember what it feels like to live in and have a home.

Day 1133 - 8/8 - Mini library

It seems today is the start of the school main library being closed until next quarter (August 22nd?). I guess the little side library room is open 4 hours Monday through Thursday, so I can still do that if I want. I don't think the cafeteria will be open though. I didn't check today because I slept in then ran a few errands before work. I didn't see hardly any cars in the lot, so I checked online and discovered the closed main library.

I suppose today was ok, though work lacked bandwidth to do any online activity past 5, which may indicate a bunch of people are starting to use it at home after work. I watched a movie and did some rabb1t stuff, like worked on podcast 23 a bit.

My leg is feeling kinda bad today. It's been feeling again like the ankle is being beaten up by the cast, repeatedly re-bruising it and making it more swollen. I so very much which I could take the cast off and let it relax and put it on a pillow and slowly stretch it out. I guess all I can do is be patient and hope it heals up as quick as possible, and as well as possible given the terrible life conditions that are imposed upon it.

Day 1134 - 8/9 - Five down

Today I didn't get to sleep in. There was too much construction noise on campus. Since I couldn't rest I just left instead of waiting several hours for the little side library room to open. I'm sooooo tired. I guess today was ok though so far. I spent some time with a few guildies in game, hardly anyone on so far. I watched a few shows. I checked for jobs. And now it's early evening and I'm settling in to have a dinner and do the school class planning I've been putting off so far.

There isn't really much to say about today. I'm still very sad about things. The emergency room bill is $2,650ish before the low income plan thingy. I'll know more tomorrow on what that's reduced to once I have my meeting. Supposedly it's going to be covered and I'd just need to pay $75. If it's not I have no idea how I'd pay that. That would take me like three years to save that much at the rate I'm going, even if we didn't add anything more for interest and whatnot. I supposedly have all the papers they need for the approval process, but since it's supposed to be a 30-45 minute appointment I'm still worried they may say no for some reason. I still think it should be based on current income or last year's tax return. I don't see how their requirements of current paycheck and three months of my bank statements is logical. There are simply too many loopholes in that theory, or trouble points, like the fact that I made nearly quadruple on my last paycheck, or that things like contacts ($500 a year or so) and car insurance (like $350 a year) don't show up during those months.

I can put my foot down about 5 minutes for every 45. I suppose that's something, but it seems ... not quite as good as before when I could put it down for about 15 minutes less frequently. I would think longer down periods are better. Sometimes the swelling in my calf area is down to the point I can put my hand in the cast up to my palm. But the area around my ankle seems like it's still pretty tight a lot of the time, and it never really seems to loosen up. I'm worried it's still being re-bruised constantly. I guess it's the inside bone bits and tendons that matter most though, and I can't see those with my eyes. I can wiggle my toes without any real pain, and recently I've been able to 'roll' the foot around and it doesn't feel bad or hurt. It feels odd due to the broken bit in my calf, but that's it. I haven't dared to put too much pressure on it, but as I said before, putting it down and moving the walker or putting on my backpack while I balance standing up isn't an issue, so hopefully that's a good sign.

I guess that's it for this week. More sad and more worry. Things don't seem to be getting any better, only worse. And that makes me more and more worried.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2011
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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