Monthly Archives: May 2010

Recording Journal Vol. 46: “Sidetracked”

This past week was one I’ll not soon forget. And if you go back and read the last few weeks’ worth of journals, I suppose you could argue that you could see this coming.

As you may know, I’ve been managing through some vicious left leg/butt pain for the entire month of May. Last Saturday (May 22), I actually felt as though I was coming out of it. Working at Delaware Speedway, I was getting around better than I had all month. My left calf muscle felt cramped, but my leg felt more functional. I was getting up and down the grandstands just fine.

When I felt sore again on Sunday and Monday, I was disappointed but not surprised. Monday was a holiday here in Ontario and I wanted to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. I started by mowing the front lawn for the first time this year, dragging my left leg around like Igor and catching my breath every few moments when the pain would strike. But I got it done.

In the afternoon, I took my boys to play mini golf and though I didn’t play, I limped along as best I could and completely enjoyed watching them. The best part was after we returned their putters. We bought a couple of slushies and sat out on the patio, under the shade of a tree, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Funny faces were made. Laughs were had. Good times all around. Yes, my leg was hurting but I was happy and content nonetheless.

I later went to KG Records for a rehearsal with Kev and Alyssa. Though I was hurting, I managed to find a place in a chair that felt okay, and we went through a mix of our own songs and some cover material to add into our show. The results were predictably rocky (because we’re just getting started with the rehearsals) but very encouraging. Alyssa sings beautifully. Kevin’s playing is incredible. And though I’m the least talented, performance-wise, of the three of us, I believe my passion and sincerity propels the songs forward. We have a good mix. It was an encouraging session.

The down side was that I was completely exhausted after the rehearsal. Upon returning home, I still had to collect and take out the garbage, a task that darn near killed me. By that time I was in a lot of pain and, looking back now, I should have been able to see that something was wrong. I was too tired and irritable.

After I finished the chore, I laid on the couch for a while to rest my leg and gain back some steam. Following that, I cooked myself some late dinner and it was then that I noticed my neck and jaw starting to ache and feel a little swollen. I decided not to think much about it and went off to bed a short time later.

That’s when the wheels came off.

I awoke around 1:30 a.m. with pain all over my body. I couldn’t turn my neck or nod my head. Any movement shot vicious pain through my leg. But I was too weak to move myself around with my arms. I felt nauseous. I was freezing cold; shaking and chattering my teeth uncontrollably yet sweating all over the place at the same time. My wife Tracey was scared at what she found when I woke her up. I’m still not sure how we got through the rest of the night, but I remember her bringing me some Tylenol and that I somehow got back to sleep.

When I woke later that morning, I knew I was in trouble. I just didn’t know how bad it was going to be. By mid-morning, I’d called my family doctor and made an appointment for 2:00 that afternoon.

I couldn’t stand or walk let alone drive, so my hero of heroes, Wray “Big Dog” Ramsay (my father-in-law) came back from work to take me to the doctor. Funny, we’ve each done that for the other a couple of times. There’s little better than being able to count on family.

When we arrived at my doctor’s office, I needed a wheelchair to get into the place. They looked at me and decided quickly that I needed to be at the hospital. They sent us off to Emergency with the benefit of a call to let them know I was coming.

Poor Wray. I tossed my cookies on the way. I had a container to spit it into, but it still can’t have been nice, trying to drive while I was next to him, throwing up. At least I’d not eaten anything that day so it was all water. In fact, now that I think about it, the whole thing is kind of funny.

Me: “Blleeeearrrgghhhh! Wray … [huff-puff-huff] … I’m sooo sorry. Bleeeeauuuuuuughhh!”

Wray: “That’s, um, okay. Maybe you can dump that out the window.”

I did so, probably to the dismay of the motorists beside and behind us.

Me: “I’m so sorry Wray. I think I got it all in this container thing – blaaaaaafarrgghh!”

Wray: “Don’t worry about it! Don’t worry about it!”

We arrived at the ER and Wray went right in, retuning moments later with a staff member equipped with a wheelchair. They set me directly inside, put a mask on me, asked me a few questions and before I knew which way was up, I was in an “isolation room.”

I now know that their main concern, given my symptoms, was that I might have had meningitis.

I was soon swarmed by various hospital people. Blood was taken. An IV was put in (which was later relocated two more times). Questions were asked. And asked again. And again. I was just trying not to throw up.

The doctors were initially confused by the situation. They weren’t sure whether or not the issues were related. Matters were made worse when they saw the eczema on certain parts of my skin. It’s something I’ve battled my entire life, but they didn’t know that and so they began to worry about it as well. I kept telling them, “That’s not why I here.” They kept telling me it didn’t matter, that they were concerned about it anyway.

After a few hours, they decided to give me a “lumbar puncture,” which is about as much fun as it sounds. It’s a three-inch needle into your spine, designed to go through the disc and draw out spinal fluid to determine whether or not there is an infection.

They gave me freezing shots in my back, but not enough. I told them I could still feel everything, so they gave me more (but only after I spoke up). The doctors argued about how the procedure should be done. I wanted to tell them to take their arguing into the hallway and come back when they were sure, but I was still trying not to puke.

At first I was on my side, curled into the fetal position to stretch out my back. It hurt my leg to be like that, but I could deal with it. So they went on with the procedure … and screwed it up. They put the needle in very slowly. You can’t really feel it but you know it’s there and you can feel the pressure. And I truly did feel it when the needle clearly hit a spot it was not suppose to hit, shooting immediate pain through my spine like I’ve never felt before. I yelped. Everyone in the room yelped in response. And they yanked out the needle.

They waited a few minutes and then decided to try again. This time they sat me up, my legs dangling over the edge of the bed and my arms hanging over a tray table. The position hurt my left leg quite a lot. I told them so. They didn’t seem to care. Into my back went three more freezing needles. Then in went the three-inch needle, for the second time.

My left leg was screaming in pain. I told them. They told me not to move. I told them, “I don’t care what you tell me not to do. I’m telling you the pain in my leg is killing me. I don’t care about the needle in my back. I can’t keep sitting like this!”

Their solution was to shoot me with morphine (in my right arm) at the same time as the needle was in my back. It did not help.

I breathed my way through it and we got it done. I’m not sure how to describe the leg pain other than to imagine the worst cramp you’ve ever had and multiply it several times. Or, imagine having a three-inch needle in your spine and not caring because your leg hurts so much. A horrible feeling.

A short time later I was taken for hip and chest x-rays, and then sent back into my isolation room, a concrete tomb with bright lights but no clock. No one was allowed in to see me unless they’d gone into a “pre-entry” room where they put on a mask, gloves and full-body gown (like a trench coat made of a giant yellow translucent hair net).

Bless his heart, Wray stayed for hours, knowing little about my condition and having no company at all in the waiting room. Eventually he came in to tell me they were going to keep me overnight and so he was going home. This was around 9:00 or 9:30 p.m.

I was told later that my sweet Tracey, who was at her parent’s place with our boys, was horrified when her dad returned home with nothing more than my shoes in his car. “Where’s Kevin?!” she gasped. And then reality started to sink in for her that it might be a bit of a rough week. Poor Tracey.

Back in the ER, a nurse was attending to me every few minutes, changing IV bags, taking blood, checking my blood pressure and taking my temperature. They could not get my fever down.

Funny, a couple things I’m just remembering from that time: I was begging for water. I had been left alone for a while and my mouth was drier than I could ever remember. I knew they were worried about my nausea but I was desperate for a drink of water. I didn’t know if they could hear me but I began pleading, “Please! Someone … water! Please! Water!”

Eventually they brought me a tiny sip. I asked for more. They told me I could have more in a half hour. And when that time came, I was right on top of it and made them bring me more.

Hours later, they’d seen I’d not ralfed-up the water so I suppose they figured my stomach was settling. They’d done their needlepoint on my back and taken the blood and all of that, so I asked the nurse if I could please have something to eat. She brought me a turkey “sandwich.” It was two pieces of white bread with two thin slices of turkey-like meat inside. And that’s it. She brought me a little packet of Miracle Whip, so I drowned the sandwich with it and began to chew. From that experience, I remember two things:

1 – It hurt to chew because my jaw was so sore

2 – It tasted like the best thing I’d ever eaten

Funny how your priorities change when you’re down-and-out. Water became the sweetest drink. And a dry and barren hospital-issue turkey sandwich became a delicacy. I was just that tired and desperate.

A little while later, without any warning, they whisked me away to another part of the facility and dumped me into a room that would become my home for the next three and a half days. I was too zonked out to notice and appreciate that it was a private room. For that I was embarrassingly fortunate. But I do remember thinking, “Wow, this bed is way more comfortable than the emergency room gurney.” I didn’t feel too rosy about that bed for long though.

I struggled through the night, trying to feel comfortable, sleeping little. I napped for a couple of half-hour stretches between 5:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., when they brought me breakfast. I remember being very glad that they’d brought coffee and 2% milk, exactly what I like at home. Of course, the coffee was horrid but it was hot and I was glad for it. The rest of the food was brutal but I ate what I could.

Later that morning, I got to speak with my wife for the first time since leaving the house the day before. I found out she’d been calling the hospital constantly, trying to find out what was going on. Ironically, she knew more than I did and I was there!

I later rented three days’ worth of phone usage ($8.08) and they hooked up a giant white phone that looked like it had come off a decommissioned submarine or something. Still, that phone was my lifeline for the next few days.

I don’t remember much else about the first day except that it consisted of trying to stay comfortable and staring at the walls, as I didn’t have so much as a book or magazine to keep me occupied. What I do remember is that my face and neck swelled up to a hideous extent. I got a look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and was shocked. It became even worse the next day but began to correct itself after they took me off the general IV fluids, leaving the tube in solely for direct delivery of the antibiotics.

Through my blood work, the doctors were able to determine that I was male, 36 years old, from London Ontario. They found that I loved to read, cheer for the Detroit Tigers and that I had some kind of nasty infection of unknown origin. My white blood cell count was way down (or up – whichever one is bad).

They didn’t know what was the cause of my leg pain so they ordered an MRI, which was done on Thursday night.

Now let me tell you about the MRI: it sounds like something slick and cool that professional athletes visit all the time. In reality, it is a claustrophobic’s nightmare than rattles and bangs for 45 minutes while managing to scare the daylights out of you the entire time. You are strapped to a stretcher (they even taped my feet together) and told not to move again for three quarters of an hour. Hands across your chest, you’re then shoved into a tube barely bigger than the size of your own body. No moving. No escape. And no space.

But, I decided, it was all for the best. So I closed my eyes as soon as they started to put me inside the machine and I used every bit of mental willpower I’ve ever had to keep my eyes shut until after they brought me back out. It wasn’t easy. I wanted to look and see just how tight the space was so I could describe it more vividly later on. But I knew better. I knew that if I looked, I would panic. But I did not. I was proud of myself.

I also was given and ultrasound test on my left leg to rule out blood clots or an abscess.

On Friday, I improved a great deal and was entirely frustrated to not get so much as a phone call or message relayed through the nurses on behalf of the doctors. They never came to visit and they never told me what was up. My family members were in a panic, wondering what the MRI would show. But on Saturday morning, I found out it was a herniated disc. I could go home with a prescription of antibiotics and the promise to take it easy and to continue to try and strengthen my back after I was better. Needless to say, I was relieved beyond words and thrilled at the prospect of returning home.

Before I go any further I want to share with you just how completely grateful I am to the nursing staff at that hospital. For three days, a male nurse named Ed became my closest friend and confidant. At first I thought he was a little aloof and absent-minded, perhaps too much so for his own good. But we quickly grew to have a good chemistry in terms of our communication and his personality traits that initially worried me became part of his charm. Go ahead and make whatever joke you want about me being cared for by a male nurse. I don’t care. I am so entirely grateful to Ed and I will be until the day I die.

A team of female nurses were just a great to me. It’s just that I only saw one of them – Nancy – more than once, so Ed sticks out in my mind more because we shared so much time together. Working the overnight shift, a nurse named Catherine was completely kind and compassionate to me while I suffered through my worst night in the joint. She tried everything she could to make me comfortable and was far more patient than I could have asked.

Another Kathy looked after me my last night there. She and I didn’t interact too much because I’d figured out the routine by that time and was improving. I didn’t need as much attention. Still, she was very kind and I could tell that she and I would have gotten along swimmingly if we’d shared more time together.

And then there was Nancy, who I mentioned before. She looked after me overnight on Thursday night and I was sorry to see her go. She had a quick wit and a sort of “don’t mess with me” kind of charm that was really just an act; she was exceedingly kind, compassionate and efficient. In fact, Nancy’s reappearance gave me a boost when I needed it most.

Friday night, I went to bed not knowing when I might ever get out of there, but also knowing that Ed was not going to be back on Saturday. That made the thought of staying even less appealing, having to come up with a whole new routine with another nurse. But when I awoke from my three-hour sleep on Saturday morning, there was Nancy, turned around from a night shift Thursday night to a day shift on Saturday. She doesn’t know this, but I was elated to see her. At that time, I was frustrated and angry that the doctors had not been around to see me the day before. I wanted to go home worse than ever. But when I saw that Nancy was there for the day, I thought, “Okay. I still want out of here, but I can deal with it with her around.” I intend that as a very high compliment to her.

I wonder if those people realize how much of a positive impact they have on people’s lives in such a short amount of time?

In any event, my sweet Tracey arrived with my boys to get me shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. I finished my last bag of antibiotics through my IV, Nancy removed the needle from my arm and we were on our way. Funny, for just a moment it felt bittersweet to leave. I’d been ill and these people made me well again. I was confined to one room for several days, but I was lucky to have it and everything in it served me well. As I prepared to leave, I experienced an overwhelming rush of gratitude for all that had helped me through the challenge. I found Nancy at the nurse’s station, gave her a somewhat awkward hug (I don’t think she’s used to that) and hobbled off behind my loving family.

Before I forget, I just want to right down a few random remembrances from the hospital stay. I admit this is purely for my own benefit. I want to be able to remember these things and chuckle when I am old and gray. Here goes:

  • When I arrived, I was in such pain that the nurses could not get my shirt off (so that they could put me in a hospital gown). They asked me if they could cut the shirt off. Trouble was I had my Detroit Tigers no. 54 Joel Zumaya t-shirt on. I told them, “I don’t care how much I scream from the neck and jaw pain, but you get that shirt off of me. Do not cut my Joel Zumaya shirt.” Haha. Juvenile, yes. But I still have my Zumaya shirt.
  • One of the things Tracey brought me to help cope was our mini DVD player. During the course of my stay, I watched the “Making of” the original Battlestar Galactic, the first two episodes of “Nash Bridges” and an episode of “Due South.”
  • The book I was reading through my stay – “Hell’s Aquarium” by Steve Alten – got soaked when one of the nurses left an ice pack on it. I’m still not finished it, but the book is still readable, even though it’s still a little soggy in a few spots.
  • There are no cell phones allowed in the hospital. But they had several free wireless internet feeds available. So I asked Tracey to bring me TWIKI, my Blackberry. I never made or received a call, but I was able to check email and Facebook (which I only did through the wireless network). I’m still not sure I should have had TWIKI there, but I am so glad I did. He was my connection to the rest of the world. In some cases, I sent out Facebook messages in the middle of the night just to try and keep me sane. I was careful only to use TWIKI when no one was looking.
  • The first full day I was there, Ed the nurse was on my case a little about showering and shaving. I hadn’t shaved since Saturday, so by Wednesday I was looking a little like one of the guys from ZZ Top. I was still very sore and didn’t bother until the next day, which made Ed happy to no end. It was funny to me that he cared so much that I looked clean and tidy.
  • When they were putting the “lumbar puncture” needle in my back, after they’d screwed up the first time, they got to a certain point and said, “Good. We’re done.” I asked, “You’re done?” They responded with, “Yes, we’re done.” Seeing as my leg was in total agony, I began to straighten up to gain some leg relief. The doctors screamed at me, especially the lady doctor who had been irritated with me before. She yelled, “Kevin! What are you doing! Don’t! Move!” I said, “I thought you said we were done?!” She said, “I meant that the needle is all the way in. I still have to take the sample and pull it out. Sheesh. Be STILL!” Nice, huh? I said, “Gee, I’m sorry. I took ‘we’re done’ to mean that – I don’t know – we were DONE!” That doctor and I will not be exchanging Christmas cards. Our relationship is done. By that I mean finished. Completed.
  • People that visited me: Tracey, Eddie and Jaden; my Dad and Stepmom, Barb; my business partners Jeff and Dave; my good buddies Kevin “KG” Gorman, Ken Alward, Derek Botten, Lisa Brandt and Rob Sharpe. My father-in-law, the “Big Dog” got me there in the first place and stayed with me in the toughest part, the very beginning. And I am so grateful to the countless people who called and emailed their support.
  • A rough needle-count estimate: Three placements of the IV; at least 6 blood samples; 6 shots of morphine; 4 shots of blood thinner (two of them in the stomach); 6 shots of freezing fluid in my back and 2 “lumbar puncture” 3-inch needles. That’s 27 needles in 4 days, and I’m not sure: I may be forgetting a few. But 27 is enough.

So now that I’m home, what of our CD project and everything else? Well, KG was working on the CD while I was cooped up. However, going into this week we were balancing on the razor’s edge with a number of behind-the-scenes issues. We are now behind. I’ve already looked into several scenarios but priority number one is to get well for another long haul. I’ll see what I can figure out in the next couple days, but we already know this about the No Schedule Man:

He gets there when he gets there.

If he gets there at all.

Recording Journal Vol. 45: “Pain”

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my back/left leg pain and my first visit to massage therapy. I did so with an eye toward humour.

I’m not laughing anymore.

I’ve now been in real pain the entire month of May. After two treatments with massage, the therapist suggested I go back to my family doctor (who had told me to go to the massage therapist). Last Friday morning, I finally arrived at my wit’s end (little did I know it would get worse) and called to make an appointment to go see a physician. That afternoon, I went in and was told to, “Take ibuprofen and go see a physiotherapist.”

Translation: Take a pill.

Now, this is a family blog. So I will not tell you in plain words what my opinion is of that diagnosis. After all, it’s the same bloody diagnosis you get for everything.

Take a pill.

To be fair, there was the physiotherapy thing. I’ve done that too. They gave me exercises. They gave me ultrasound treatment on my sore back. And guess what? I did what they told me, religiously, for a long time. I never got any better. And at that, my current pain is so bad that I can’t manage a stretch or any sort of an exercise anyway, so what’d be the point?

Still, I asked the doctor, “What do you expect a physiotherapist to do?”

He said, “Well, they may be able to manipulate your spine and if it’s a slipped disc or something, they might be able to pop it back into place.”

If?

I said, “Moving bones around? So you mean a chiropractor.”

“Oh no,” he recoiled. “No, no.”

Bingo.

Friends, here’s some free advice. Wanna know how you can tell when you’ve found the truth? Look for the people squirming. It never fails. When I mentioned “chiropractor” I may as well have yelled “SHARK!!!” I knew right then I’d probably be going to see Alan from Two and Half Men before long.

I left the doctor’s office entirely unsatisfied, popped my ibuprofen and went off to the race track for my night’s work there.

An aside: Try to remember that I live a pretty active life. Or at least I try to. Squash, golf, push-ups, street hockey, stretches; it’s not like I never move around. I’ve been eating better, quit my radio (part-time) radio job to have more room to breathe, have kept up regular visits to the gym for over four years and still have ended up here. Frustrating.

I somehow muddled through the weekend but it wasn’t much fun. And then Monday morning arrived and I knew I was in serious trouble. I talked to a good friend of mine in Toronto who specializes in wellness and works with some physiotherapists in his clinic. He told me I was welcome to come to Toronto for an assessment. Much as I love him, I needed help that very day and I wasn’t feeling up to a two-hour drive. I asked him his thoughts on chiropractors. His answer was, “Brother, it all depends on the chiropractor; what kind of person they are, how they feel about their patients, all of that.”

My two business partners, along with one of my good friends and co-workers, have sworn by chiropractic since I’ve known them. I’ve never begrudged their feelings, but I’d never been particularly interested either. Until Monday.

I called the chiro that treats my business buddies and she welcomed me in that day.

Let me tell you: that was an experience.

After the first “adjustment” I began laughing uncontrollably. I felt like I was in the middle of sitcom. I could only think of Seinfeld, and Kramer getting set to jerk Elaine’s head while saying “From pain will come pleasure” and then you hear that cartoonish crrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaccccckkkkk sound. Well I heard that sound coming from my own body and it struck me funny.

Also, I was a little scared. But I tried to roll with it. And I did, until she turned me on my right side (thereby  exposing my sore left butt cheek) and said, “Now, this is going to hurt.”

Coolly, I replied, “It already hurts, so go ahead and ARROOOOWWWHHOOGHHAHHHAGGAA!!!!!!!!!!!”

As she dug her elbow fiercely into the sorest part of my body, she cooed, “Deep breaths.”

Me: “ARRRGGGGGHHHHHHARRROWWWWWWW!!!!!!!”

And so it went.

And it got worse.

I was back for my second “adjustment” yesterday (Wednesday) and actually felt pretty good afterward. I foolishly thought I’d turned the corner. In fact, I vividly remember waking at 2:00 a.m. and thinking, “Hey – my leg doesn’t hurt at all! This is bliss!” And I happily went back to sleep. Never mind that I awoke every hour on the hour from that point with pain and discomfort. I still felt I was making progress.

Then I woke for the day and tried to get out of bed. I put my left leg on the floor and cried out in such a way that I believe I scared the daylights out  Tracey. I could not walk. She looked over me with pain in her eyes and pleaded, “What can I do for you?”

I asked, “Please bring me TWIKI (my phone) and my ice pack.” She did. I used TWIKI to let my business partner know I was an “if” for our 9:30 a.m. meeting and I used the ice to ease the pain in my leg. And then I started doing mental gymnastics.

‘Don’t panic’ I said to myself. ‘Don’t get frustrated. Be patient. Give it time. Listen to your body.’

Listen to my body. I’m about ready to hang the damn thing for treason, except that that’d ruin a lot of my other plans!

But I digress.

I pumped some ibuprofen into me and waited. After a while, I was able to hobble to the washroom for a shower. No shaving today (I hacked my face up pretty good the other day because I could hardly stand over the sink. I was putting cream on my neck afterward and found my hands covered in blood. It took me two band aids to stop the bleeding).

I made the meeting. I was exhausted after the fact, but I was there.

And so here I sit, speaking with you and knowing that I need to somehow make my way through working at two racing events in the next two days (quick aside: someone at a related business asked me for something early today because they were “in long weekend mode.” Sheesh. Must be nice. We don’t have those here in the real world where if you don’t do the work, you don’t get paid and the government doesn’t do a damn thing to help you along the way. But I digress again).

And, oh yeah: I’m supposed to release a CD three weeks from Saturday. I can’t even play my acoustic right now because I can’t even sit in the position I need to and hold guitar, let alone sing. I’ve got artwork to finish and print, CD cases to buy, the songs to master and send off to duplicate, merchandise designs to approve and print and rehearsals to do. It’s hard to believe that I actually have been working at this for a year, wanting this. And now my body has abandoned me.

But here’s the thing: When the time comes, I will be ready. I’m not sure how, but I will be ready. You watch.

See you on June 12th.

Recording Journal Vol. 44: “Deadline”

Greetings! This is Kevin Bulmer, coming to you LIVE from inside a sea of post-it notes, mock-up merchandise designs, doodles, lists and other plans! And I’m here to ask you: will I ever reach this goal? Are you still with me? Are we still on track? Does anyone still care?

Yes.

I care.

I’m starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf. I’ve been writing this journal for almost a year. It’s like a movie that never ends. Like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (which, I believe, it still going on at a theatre near you). Or maybe it’s just because we are getting near the conclusion of this chapter and I’m not sure how to deal with it.

As we near the release of our CD, I’ve been relegated to some behind-the-scenes work while I give KG some space to edit, fix some piano stuff and put some spit and polish to the songs. When our regular Tuesday night studio session came around, he texted me to tell me to, “Take the night off – I’ll have some stuff for you to listen to on Friday.” I told him, “Okay, but we’re cutting it pretty close!” He responded: “I have a plan.”

I love it when a plan comes together.

Still, it’s hard not to be right in there beside him. I’ll hear what he’s done tomorrow. Hopefully we’re close, because we are inside a month of release and we still have to send the master disc off to the duplication house, print the artwork/CD inserts, buy the jewel cases and – oh yeah – rehearse!

People are starting to try and give me money for tickets to the CD release show. I suppose I should take it. But it’s almost as if I’ve programmed myself to think that this event is so far off in the distance that, now that I know it’s getting close, I don’t know how to react. Oh well. I have faith in myself. I’ll get it figured out and when the time comes, we’ll be ready.

While KG toils in the studio, I’ve been working on a variety of things, including some merchandise designs and even the construction of the “No Schedule Man Trading Co.” display for our live shows. Wait’ll you see it! I’d describe it to you except I have no idea how it’s going to look. But there again, I have faith. We’ll get it done. Somehow.

I also took my first shot at a “video blog” this week. I think you’ll agree that George Lucas is shaking in his boots (if in fact he wears boots).

Meantime, if you read last week’s journal, you know that I have been suffering through what I have diagnosed as a pinched sciatic nerve. (Yes, I diagnosed it. Why? The doctor told me to go get massage therapy. Which I did. Twice. And then the therapist told me to go to the doctor. Sheesh.)

So Tiger Woods and I are now brothers in joint inflammation and lousy golf swings. Also, neither of us currently have a swing coach.

But I digress.

Basically, the situation is this: I’m going on two weeks whereby I feel that I’ll soon need to get a walker and start referring to people as “sonny.” It’s miserable, unless I’m under the influence of the miracle that is ibuprofen. I’m not proud of it, but right now that seems to be the only thing that helps. Which tells me I’ve got some inflammation. Will it ever go away?

Tune in next week and find out!

In other news, this past weekend I made my annual pilgrimage up to Thunder Beach (on Georgian Bay) to help my mom open up the family cottage. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when you can’t even get in or out of your own car without significant pain. But we got the job done and I got some quality time with my mom on Mother’s Day. Lucky kid.

Today I was not so lucky. Months ago I purchased a ticket to see the Detroit Tigers play the New York Yankees at Comerica Park in a game scheduled for this afternoon. It turned out to be a miserable day. All forecasts were for rain (ranging from 90% to 100% chance) so my pal Ken and I decided not to go. Well, darned if they didn’t get the game in. Tigers 6 Yankees 0. So I feel like a buffoon.

At least I’m used to the feeling.

Tomorrow night I am back at Delaware Speedway. And then I have the first Saturday/Sunday combo since I can remember where I have absolutely no plans. I believe Tracey is even taking the boys out for a few hours on Saturday. She asked me earlier tonight what I am going to do with my “quiet time.”

It’s a good bet I’ll be right here at my desk, working to beat our deadline.

– Kevin

Recording Journal Vol. 43: “Butt Massage”

Things in CD land have slowed down this week after much excitement the previous seven days. We pressed hard in order to be ready to release two new songs and also to be prepared for our live radio interview and performance. The whole week was extremely gratifying. There is always a wonderful sense of accomplishment when you fulfill a goal and we did that last week.

The only trouble is … we’re not all the way there yet.

After our CKXS adventure last Friday, I was right back into action in my CPT Entertainment duties, spending the entire day Saturday back at Delaware Speedway as an announcer coach/consultant. I then spent a good deal of the following day (Sunday) compiling my “reports” after the fact. Next thing I knew, it was Monday again and time to get back to business.

It never stops, friends. Not if you want to accomplish something out of your ordinary.

The process of finishing the whole “No Schedule Man” CD is pretty much in KG’s hands now. Everything is recorded except for some piano parts he may choose to redo. We are officially in “post production.” I have a lot of work to do in completing the artwork and other behind-the-scenes activities, but for the most part it’s up to KG (Kevin Gorman) to deliver us to the CD duplication company prior to our deadline.

I went to see him Tuesday night and it was immediately clear that neither of us had much enthusiasm for doing anything new. We were both tired. He had worked for a few hours on the song “Awake (But Not Alive)” so we listened through that, chatted, and called it a night. Our feeling was that sometimes the best way to reach a goal is to leave it alone. I know Kev is working at it through the week. But as I’ve stated in this space many times before, KG and I are not professional full-time musicians. I own an event and media management company and Kev is a full-time producer, teacher and man of all musical trades. We both have many other people and projects that we must report to in order to make our living. The “No Schedule Man” CD is a labour of love. That means we love it. But it’s also labour. You don’t always feel like doing the work because the time to do it is primarily in the evening or on weekends. Or, if you have to take some time out of a “regular” work day, then you darn well better make up for it. For in the world of entrepreneurs, you either do the work or don’t get paid. Everybody should have to be an entrepreneur at some point in their lives. But that is another opinion and story for another day.

With KG and me, we’d just been pushing ourselves so hard to obtain our goals that we’d finally worn out.

And so it goes.

So now we ramp up for the next run: completion of the CD and rehearsal for the first show (June 12 at the London Music Club) and all of the shows that come after it. That’ll be fun.

The other thing that I’ll look back on and remember from this week is a debilitating pain on the left side of my lower body.

In short, I’ve got a tight butt.

Laugh if you like, but it’s horrible. I have been doing my best to overcome lower back pain for the last four years. Much of it has to do with stress I’ve brought upon myself and the accumulation of some less-than-productive habits. I have been working to get in better shape and to that end I have good days and bad. But I have never felt anything like what I’m fighting through this week.

It has been diagnosed as a pinched sciatic nerve (aka “sciatica”) on the lower left side of my body. It means you’re in discomfort from your lower back right down to your toes. At the start of the week, I could not function without some Advil in my system and I was not pleased about that. I’ve been working hard to put fewer toxins in my body, not more. The discomfort prompted me to finally do what my doctors have been telling me to do for three years: go get massage therapy treatment.

I went for my first massage yesterday. All I could think about was George Costanza in Seinfeld, when he got massaged by a guy and later said to Jerry in a panic, “I think it moved!” Well, I didn’t care if a guy worked on me, a girl or if they drove a bloody truck over my back. I just wanted to feel better.

It turned out to be a woman that treated me, but I can assure you there was absolutely nothing erotic about it. Oddly, having another woman rub her hands all over your rear end is not anywhere near as exciting as one might hope. It was painful. Also, it was not quite embarrassing, but it was close. It felt like paying someone to treat you like a baby.

At one point, this nice lady had what I assumed (hoped?) to be a knuckle driven deep into the sorest point on my left butt cheek. She must have known that I was in pain, because I stopped talking. I never stop talking. But I did then. So she said, “Take a deep breath.” I thought, “I will if you take your knuckle off my butt.” But she did not, at least not for a few seconds.

So I took a deep breath. A few of them, actually.

Soon thereafter, she told me that the muscles all up and down my spine were, “Among the tightest she’d ever seen.” So there: my back muscles are tighter than yours.

Even so, I never got so much as a participation ribbon for all my troubles.

When it was done, I got dressed and then she asked me how I felt. I didn’t know what to say, because I honestly felt the same. So I came up with the only insightful, helpful thing I could think of and answered her by saying, “Umm, I don’t know.”

Nice.

She said, “Some people feel great right away. For others it takes a while longer.”

Hmm. Okay. Well, I agreed to go back next week and then limped back to the Kevin-mobile to take me home.

So here I sit today, happily visiting with you, shifting in my chair every few moments to ease the pain emanating from my left gluteus. My back and butt woes are officially “to be continued.”

When we finally finish our CD, please don’t congratulate me by slapping me on the rear.

I’d rather have my finger caught in a mouse trap.

– Kevin

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