Here’s a recent telephony V.O. project through Fiverr and with the help of Bensound.com contributing laid back, folksy sound beds. Thank you East Kentucky Metal Sales for the opportunity and ease of working relationship. Here’s their number 606-877-1848 should you be in the market for building materials and/or in the area. Or perhaps you are interested in my lulling you into call waiting submission?! Here are a couple of samples. Thank you Kacey!
8/21/21- Cloudy, cool. Blessings @ 65 degrees. No rain still, but the shade feels like a blessing in the drought.
Waking this morning to rapid fire muscle spasms in my neck and down my shoulder blades, I thought I might try to detail the sensations to aid follow-up diagnosis for an upcoming visit with my orthopedic surgeon. After nearly a month using ice, heat, postural exercises, lacrosse ball massage, yoga, passive stretching, traction and acupuncture to calm inflammation in the muscles, tendons and ligaments supporting my neck and shoulders, the pain has reached a pitch again ushering me back to the doctor’s office. Since the end of July, I have not slept, worked or recreated comfortably for any significant length of time. I’ve not been able to swim again all summer. I’ve not been able to carry a backpack. I can hardly ride my bicycle around the waterfront without generating inflammation that puts me back on the floor again until my neck can again comfortably support my head. I cannot sit at my computer for an hour without tension headaches radiating nerve pain down my right arm into the digits of my right hand. Every morning for the last month, I have awoken through a cloud of pain medication to the nagging, if not outright alarming, sensations my body is producing to remind me of some danger to it.
So let us see if we can detail some of these awful sensations to help my doctor to help me to help myself. Dislocated in March, my right shoulder has still not fully healed, and we need to reassess treatment since the benefit of May’s cortisone shot to the shoulder blade has now faded. When I calm myself with deeper breathing, I notice that the recent pains are most reminiscent of the sort which occurred closer to my surgery and cervical fusion (C-7, T-1) in November of 1997. There is a stiffness where my neck meets my shoulders, where I am fused, that currently limits rotation to less than 45 degrees to each side. The tension in my sternocleidomastoids cause a constant dull aching along the collar bone. At times they coordinate with the scalene muscles to produce a nauseating jaw tension. The tightening of the trapezoid muscles pulls my head back and down, further compressing already challenged (by the initial fusion’s limitation of motion) vertebral discs. This elicits a burning nerve pain from the muscles between my shoulder blades and spine, predominantly on the right. It also signals a tension in the thoracic vertebrae that threatens often to misalign my upper back painfully enough to interfere with my breathing. All muscle groups are apparently and very painfully bracing to maintain shoulder joint stability. I must find a way to ease their vigilance.
Self-assessing further along the neuropathways re-inflamed by the dislocation, I notice a burning sensation daily down the outside of my right arm into the final two digits on that hand. Until the shoulder injury this Spring, I had not sensed this pain in years. Initially after surgery, I struggled to use this hand for a few years, often either lacking sensation or flooded by painful sensation that impaired function. With the residual nerve damage caused by prolonged nerve impaction, I still cannot write legibly for more than a few minutes with this hand. I struggle with functional accuracy on the keyboard still. I assume that knotted muscle tissue bracing the right shoulder joint has again impinged nerve root endings. However, rather than the pain I had been feeling more specifically within the shoulder socket from March through May, I have lately noticed a more pervasive upper torso tension, a chest cavity lockdown consuming much of my upper body. The sensation is one of muscle groups tightly interwoven in response to a danger to the shoulder joint…but the actual cause or solution?
This is the million dollar question. After 23 years of searching, I have no illusions about solving the riddle of my enduring physical pain and struggle in this round of battle, or negotiation rather. But I also don’t see any reason not to make some more substantial advances in functionality and pain reduction. This episode has provided an excellent opportunity to investigate and review the synergy between long compromised joints of the neck and shoulder region. The condition of my body this summer has put the most tightened constraints on my physical performance in 20 years.
The length of the protracted recovery diminishes my confidence that it will ultimately be successful. The latest affront to this region of my body has consistently limited my activity, my work habits, my sleep habits, my exercise habits, damn near every aspect of my life. And though I’ve thankfully been able to complete a few Voiceover projects in between all the modalities I’ve employed to carry me through the ordeal, I have not been able to seek supplementary work for all the time taken by constant rehab and for the simple fact that I cannot tend bar nearly as well with one functioning hand. Though a strangely familiar anxiety after so many years of struggle with my invisible disability, I wonder again through the nearly constant pain if I may continue to provide for myself. So, it is obviously time to take another look.
May my specificity in detailing the painful sensations I continue to experience bring more effective treatment. May the story bring other long time sufferers some commiseration. May I remember that everything is temporary. Onward ho!
On my way back upcoast from my Brookings reconnaissance, I decided to stop early in the ride in order to ease the subsequent legs of the 5 & 1/2 hour trip back to Portland. With the return of a sore neck and back courtesy of a fold-out bed, noisy campsite neighbors, and then yet another failed sleeping mat this summer; I needed to stretch out on the sand in the cool sunshine of the coast before heading inland to an even more distinct heat and drought. With less than a year’s light usage, a LightSpeed double walled mattress had blown a couple of coils the week before, and now the Fox mat gifted me 5 years earlier had refused to maintain consistent inflation for the last few evenings. Another ill-timed replacement expense, I dismissed my aggravation for the time being as I stopped along Meyer’s Point at the mouth of O’Brien Creek to get lost in the sweeping view. Taking it into my eyes, lungs, head, and heart; I casually repacked some ironically damp gear as I snacked, and then even more casually tossed my beloved fleur-de-lis pinkie ring into the dunes along with an acorn I was discarding from my floorboard. Immediately I felt my heart sink.
But I had seen the shimmer as the ring passed into the brush and so thought I would be able to locate it quite easily. I causally finished my yogurt and granola, spread out my hammock to dry over the passenger seat, and then approached the edge of the dune grass while tracing the trajectory of the ring flight from the back door of my car. No sweat, I thought, I’ve done this before a few times….like when the yellow jackets attacked as I was prepping food at camp, or when I had been swimming in the river, or folding laundry even. The years had proven that the ring would not stay on my pinkie unless I had been drinking more heavily or eating too much salt. Initially, I simply brushed some of the grass aside where I had seen ring enter it. No luck there. I expanded my search radius a few feet outward, getting down on hands and knees to ensure that I did not toss the ring away as I unclumped some of the tangled mess of roots and dead grass. Still nothing.
My frustration building, I was incredulous that I could not find the ring when I had actually seen exactly where it had flown. I began to curse under my breath. “What the fuck?!” I began to curse loudly. I then began to yell my curses into the ambivalent wind whipping at my face. F bombs then exploded indiscriminately as cars passed by on the highway unaware of my torment, but also likely wondering what I was doing on all fours on the ground at the roadside stop occasionally yelling at the sky. I must admit, it felt pretty good to exorcise my rage. After another 30 minutes of searching, I was beginning to get very hot, both headed and bodied; and the objectivity of my search capacity suffered for it. So I decided to take the walk on the beach that I had originally intended in order to calm myself and thus return with greater composure to the search I was certain would end in my favor. I had lost this ring in this manner a few times before, and I still had the thing.
As I walked out on the beach, I could hardly enjoy the scenery, my mind still back at the car, in the bunch grass. I recalled how the Gold Door, even after keeping the ring for 6 months during COVID, had failed to downsize the ring as I had requested. I had not returned to renegotiate the work because the initial repair had taken so damn long. Still, it was not their fault. I had known the ring was loose almost instantly, had taken it off a few times for fear of losing it, had begun clinching the latter fingers of my right hand a bit to ensure that the ring stayed on; maybe not the best routine for the residual nerve damage in that hand. I sat on the warm sand behind an enormous rock outcropping directly on the shoreline to block the wind and gave myself a little talk about the significance of the ring.
I had purchased it the final day of a family trip to New Orleans in which we had just witnessed the football team from the University of Alabama crush the team from LSU for its second national championship under Nick Saban. The victory had been decisive, the Tigers never crossed the 50 yard line, such was the defensive prowess of the line-up that year, likely the best in college football history still. We had all witnessed thrilling moments of athleticism and teamwork together in the Superdome in addition to an exciting Saints/Lion playoff game that week. When I purchased the ring on French Market Place, I thought of it as the perfect complement, just the thing to commemorate one of the finer times my family had been able to enjoy together. For a moment freed by collective purpose from our ongoing grievances with one another, we had come together for one of the finest times we’d enjoy. Moreover, the fluer-de-lis was a quintessential symbol of the French and of New Orleans, a place very dear to my heart for its people, food, music and culture. Even if I had not imagined myself ever wearing a pinkie ring, this was the ring I should have, and it was the only remaining size of a discontinued pattern that would fit one of my fingers. The design far surpassed any other in the glass cabinet, called to me, and it would be mine.
In addition, the ring complemented perfectly the other silver rings on my hands, the only jewelry I wear, in recognition of my French heritage as well as my Germanic and Welsh/English (I always claim Welsh over British in honor of William Blake and the forehead that we share). The rings have become a part of me: talisman superpowers, reminders of roots, I’m naked without them. With the added tensions brought by the race riots after George Floyd’s murder and the poor COVID response of the southern states generally, I valued the ring not only as tribute to the impeccable taste of the French and my small heritage within, but also as emblematic of a time perhaps now passed when I might join old friends and family from Alabama at least in appreciation of sport, albeit tacitly brushing aside the dangers and inequities facing the young men and women who entertained us. Unable to find much consolation in this interior monologue, I rose after a few more minutes and re-approached my business with the ring and the dune.
As I retraced its flight trajectory and picked through the tall grass again using a small axe to spread the brush so that I might more clearly see the root structures and if the ring had somehow attached to one. Although I enjoyed brief assistance from one man whom I had earlier jokingly asked for a metal detector, we found nothing. And after a dozen passes through the area, I finished my beer, conceded victory to the dunes, and cursed a few more times as I wheeled back North with a head full of rage and disappointment. I drove for a couple of hours silently as I rehashed the scenario, searching for an opening in my consciousness that would allow me to find solace in the loss, and especially on the tail end of what had generally been a spontaneously successful adventure. After scattering a dozen or so more F bombs throughout the countryside, my throat sore and parched from my outbursts of the last hour plus, I calmed down enough to enjoy a burrito at a very cool Wilson Market in Bandon.
The unexpectedly warm welcome I received and the flavor of the carne asada special brought me out of my slump, and the warm sunshine along with the omnipresent chilly wind of the Pacific Ocean (thank the Lord more and more) bucked me up for the remainder of my travel. I still had to consider and reconsider the err of my ways in having lost one of the few material possessions for which I cared. But after a substantial repast and maybe a little more scream therapy, I was already searching my brain for a different narrative. I began to consider how many times over the last decade I had nearly lost the ring and how much worry it had caused whenever I performed an activity where it might slip off or snag on something. I could have cursed the silversmith at the Gold Door for incomplete work, but I also could have taken it back any number of times, though I figured it would have done little good since the initial order had been treated as complete, when it had not been. I continued to muse on these matters until the traffic around Salem forced me to pay more attention to the road and to a semi truck that nearly clipped me as I attempted to maneuver around it while it sat idle in the middle of the exit lane of the truck stop.
As I made my way back into Portland, thankfully at a break in the heat wave, traffic forced a reroute southward through town. As I transitioned to a less direct, but ultimately quicker, route home; I began to think of the ring as a necessary sacrifice for the sustenance I had received so long from so many adventures in the Oregon mountains, forests and rivers that I had just now clearly seen throughout the state in extreme states of distress as a result of years of human mismanagement, lack of honest stewardship. This bit of silver I had, no matter how much I cherished it, was the least I could give, I thought, to a nature that had revived me when I had little human support and less hope for recovery, and that has continued to ground me through a social existence I see largely as pointless and absurd. I can easily give up a pinkie ring and more for that, can trade a less meaningful signification of success for the real support and different success I’ve found simply in the life I’ve created out west from the ashes of the old.
Requiem for a Ring Dream.
I really enjoyed doing these Tech Narration Cloud Security Spots for Uptycs. However, their aggressive Cloud Security Posture must extend to my own usage of the spots I recorded for them;). Please see the Overview videos for Cloud Security, Endpoint Security, Container Security, and also those for SOC 2 and FedRAMP Compliance. There you’ll hear me. Thank you, Steffen Wade of S& Box Productions, for the opportunity to extend my range, for recording ease and efficiency and for golden tone production.