An Inflammation of the Eyelid Margin

Inflamed Eyelids of a Blepharitis Sufferer

No sooner did Martine return to Los Angeles than I broke out into an array of allergic responses. On one hand, I started going into sneezing fits and blowing my nose. More serious was a siege of blepharitis, a condition in which the eyelids feel like inflamed constantly itching parchment. The only thing that works against it is an expensive drug called Avenova, which, for some obscure reason, is not on Blue Cross’s approved drug formulary. I was able to pick up some today, so I am sure that the current infestation will not continue much longer.

Allergies have been one of the banes of my existence. In high school, I had a seborrheic dermatitis that made my scalp look full of snowflakes. Then there were the usual spring and fall respiratory allergies, which I still have to some degree. I am not able to eat shrimp or lobster unless it is caught in near-Arctic waters without getting a reaction that feels like a severe strep throat which lasts for two or three hours.

The worry and stress about Martine has certainly contributed to the intensity of my allergic responses. In time, it will gradually subside. I hope.

 

Not Out of the Woods Yet

The Conditions That Led to Martine’s Leaving Are Still in Place

I was happy to see Martine again yesterday, but her return had more to do with the discomfort of land travel over long distances on the cheap, and the fact that she had come down with a cold. She still hates Los Angeles and wants to leave. Yet, at the same time, she said she missed me and thought of me daily. (I also thought of her daily.)

Ultimately, to be cured of this mania, she has to takes steps to confront her depression: She spends some twelve hours a day in bad, and about six hours a day lying flat on her back on the couch. She does the laundry, washes the dishes, and cleans up around the apartment. That accounts for most of her time.

Today, I made a big pot of lentil soup with vegetables cooked in chicken stock. I hope it helps her with her cold.

I do not give Martine money to leave town, and on each of this trips, she wastes more of her own funds, which are dwindling rapidly. While she is with me, I will continue to pay for her food, rent, health, and recreation. I don’t think she can afford more than one or two at the most of these little escapes. But we are not talking about rational behavior here.

Whatever I can do without hurting myself, I will do. I feel no real resentment at her escapes, just sadness. I try to leave her with the feeling that, when the escape attempt fails, I will be there to try to pick up the pieces again.

 

Together Again

Martine and I in the Coachella Valley

Martine called me this morning from Sacramento and said she was returning home. Apparently her trip was marred by a combination of a bad cold and uncomfortable travel. Whatever the reason, I am happy to welcome her back. I hope she doesn’t plan any more of these departures (this was her third).  I just got back from the Greyhound Depot in downtown L.A., so I don’t have time for any further details at this time.

 

Rhyolite

Martine at Rhyolite Ghost Town Near Death Valley

On this, the first full day after Martine’s departure, I have been reading, watching old movies, and waiting for a major rain event that is due this week. I probably will not go downtown this Thursday because that’s supposed to be the heaviest rain day. Soon, I will have to get up and wash the dishes. That is one of the things that Martine used to do. That and the laundry are going to be my new duties.

I look at some of the old photos I had on Flickr and found the above pic of Martine standing by a ruined caboose by the ghost town of Rhyolite, NV—an old mining town that sprang up out of nowhere, became a fairly major railroad destination, and suddenly melted away into the sands of the desert early in the 20th century.

While I know I’m going to miss Martine, I do not plan to let my whole life swirl down the drain. I have to be more active about contacting my old friends and making new ones. Wish me luck.

 

The End?

My Most Recent Picture of Martine

This morning, I dropped Martine off at Union Station, from where she was to take a train to a destination she wouldn’t divulge to me (lest I try to stop her). My guess it was someplace in the Pacific Northwest. Starting in July, she decided she wanted to leave Los Angeles. She had been having problems with depression, and perhaps by some magical reasoning process decided changing venue would make her feel better. At no time did I ever feel she was leaving me and our relationship together as much as she was leaving a place.

I hope she comes back. She doesn’t have very much money, and she doesn’t have any friends that I know of that she would go to—not on the West Coast, at any rate.

Martine left late in October 2017, but she was hospitalized for observation in Truckee, California when she led a social worker to think that she came to Truckee to do away with herself. I personally do not think she would do that, or at least I hope she wouldn’t do that.

All I could do was to let her know that she was welcome to return, without preconditions, even though I would hope she received some care for her depression.

Martine Withdrawing Her Money from the Bank

Yes, I know she is a troubled person. I also know that she has always been sweet to me and unrelentingly honest. You see, I am used to having gone out with women before I met Martine who thought nothing of lying to me.

I hope she calls me so I can reassure her that I still feel the same way about her.

 

It Looks Like I Did It This Time!

Three … Count ’em … Three!

On Thursday, I went to see my doctor, who immediately suggested that I get the right side of my ribs X-Rayed. Which I did, but the radiologist never got around to telling me the good … or bad … news. But he had conveyed the info to my doctor, who called me on Friday with the news. I broke three ribs.

Tuesday, the day of the fall, wasn’t so bad, as my body’s own deception system was in force. Wednesday and Thursday, however, were horrible. If a butterfly had collided with me, I would have screamed in pain. Everything seemed to result in spasms of pure torture. Worst were the nights: Spasms attacked me when I laid me down in bed, spasms attacked me if I moved so much as a millimeter, and spasms attacked me when I had to get up out of bed. If I had to go to the bathroom during the night, I awakened Martine with my screams upon shifting my legs to the left and getting up.

Yesterday, my doctor prescribed some acetaminophen with codeine to help me get through the night. It worked, and I actually slept a full eight hours last night—and that’s after napping an hour and a half on the couch while watching Vincente Minnelli’s Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), a film that I love. And today was altogether better. The miscellaneous spasms seemed to have ceased altogether. Only when I have to lead with my torso do I have any serious pain. I have learned to get up using my knees to take the brunt of the weight (though that won’t work with our high bed) and to lead with my left when I do have to get up.

I have been led to believe that healing will take anywhere between six and eight weeks—but I already feel some slight changes for the better. I still can’t drive safely because I can’t steer crisply without getting my left hand over-involved.

So it looks like my retirement begins with a much-needed rest. I still have two work days the week after Christmas, but there won’t be much to do. I just have to take the bus, which isn’t too bad.

Although she is still planning to leave, Martine has put the departure date off until I get better. She has been incredibly helpful. So we still mean a great deal to each other: She is just on a different life journey. I am grateful to her for her help.

 

A Checkered Career

Starting at the End of This Month

I have been working now for just a few months shy of half a century. At the end of this month, the accounting firm for which I have been working will close its doors. At this point I am not sure whether I will continue to seek part-time work. I thought you might find it interesting to follow my work career from beginning to end:

  • 1968 – Work at System Development Corporation in Santa Monica proofreading a digital version of the Merriam-Webster 7th Collegiate Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster New Pocket Dictionary. A film student at UCLA, I was hired to replace a young woman who just so happens to have been murdered by a film student at UCLA (whom I didn’t know, honest!)
  • 1969 – Picked up computer programming on my own and worked as a programmer for Research & Special Projects Statistical Services at System Development Corporation.
  • 1971 – Worked at programming to process the 1970 census tapes at Becker & Hayes, a subsidiary of John Wiley & Sons, Publishers. Programmed the first version of CENSAC, which accessed a full but highly compressed set of 1970 Census tapes.
  • 1973 – My census programming job at Becker & Hayes morphed into Urban Decision Systems (UDS), where I continued to work on demographic data retrieval systems for research and site location. Worked on the ONSITE system, wrote technical documentation for it, and put together a marketing program for the company’s sstems and services.
  • 1991 – UDS folded. I worked to help create a new company called Desktop Marketing Corporation, but it never really went anywhere.
  • 1992 – Worked as an IT specialist for Lewis, Joffe & Company, a tax accounting firm.
  • 2008 – When Lewis, Joffe & Company split into two pieces, I went to work for Brian Lewis & Company doing tax accounting support and IT.
  • 2018 – ?

What with Martine’s desire to leave (she’s still with me for now) and the possible end of my working career, I am facing new challenges. I can promise you one thing, however: I will not put on weird multicolored pants, put on weight, and play golf.

Wish Me Luck!