Flu shmu

The past week I’ve been on this weird up and down thing with the flu. Normally when I catch a bug it takes a predictable course. For the first couple of days I feel progressively worse, then I start to steadily improve after.

This particular bug started last weekend, when I just generally felt tired for no apparent reason. I skipped my run and generally didn’t do much. I went to work on Monday and again felt tired. I woke up around 1 a.m. Monday night to find myself shivering, even though I was tucked under the blankets and felt warm. Later I did feel warm, as in sweating profusely. I was officially sick.

I stayed home the next two days, then returned to work on Thursday, feeling better, but not great. Strangely, on Friday, I felt a lot worse again and once more stayed home. Saturday was worse, still, and I didn’t go outside the condo the entire day. I ended the evening sitting here with a desk fan blowing air at my face to keep me cool. Finally, we come to today, which started much the same, with naps, followed by tea, followed by more laying down and doing very little. I finally went out, to the store, and by the time dinner was over I began to feel a tiny bit like my normal self. It’s almost 9 p.m. as I type this and I once again sip in tea. I’ve turned the fan off now because I no longer feel like I’m broiling in my own skin.

I am hoping I finally have a little energy tomorrow.

Tonight, I look at my output for the weekend re: NaNoWriMo and the word count is easy: zero. I wrote nothing, because every time I sat to write, I was too tired to muster anything before going back to laying down some more. I also left almost all of my usual weekend chores undone. Still, cleaning the toilets can wait until I feel better. I would be more alarmed at the lack of writing output for NaNo, but I have an actual outline this year, and a bit of a buffer, so I should be able to get back on track fairly quickly (ho ho).

Anyway, my only real wish for myself for 2019 is to have good health, because this year has been rather the opposite. It seems a reasonable thing to wish for. I hope it is!

November, shmovember

I am starting the month with the flu, which is sub-optimal for my health and for National Novel Writing Month, which began yesterday.

Last night I attempted to write after revising the earlier work I’d done on what is now going by the bland working title of The Journal, but by 9 o’ clock I had written nothing, had no energy, then went to bed, where I burned up and had literal fever dreams.

Today–or tonight, to be more precise, I have a little more energy and a new thermometer confirmed I only have a mild fever, but I am still lacking the energy to really put out words. Tomorrow’s weather is The Rains, so I’m thinking I’ll have a good go then, especially if I’m over the hump of this latest beating to my health that is the year 2018. Not that I’m complaining! It’s been, uh, interesting. Yes. Interesting. Grist for the mill, fodder for my writing. Or something.

Anyway, on with November and the official start of the two month Christmas blitz. Ho ho ho.

About that summer cold…

I am getting more stuffed up as the evening progresses. I do not like this. But I’m not complaining.

Yes, I am. I am totally complaining.

I’m going to re-read A Complaint Free World. I need to get back on the complaint-free bandwagon.

And never catch another cold again.

Fake edit: I have just ordered an official™ Complaint Free bracelet. It’s purple, so I’m pretty excited. It will apparently take 10-25 days to get here, so I’m going to get in a serious pile of complaining in the meantime, as a healthy way of purging it from my system. Yep.

Prescription interruptus

That three-day antibiotic treatment for my kidney infection was apparently supposed to be 10 days, but the pharmacy only had three days’ worth of medication on hand (it was a total of six pills). I was expected to come back and get the remaining seven days’ of medication a few days later. They called and left me a message informing me of this.

I never got the message.

I was never told initially that the prescription was incomplete, either.

I’m actually a little ticked, because now I have to pick up the seven days’ of additional antibiotics, start taking them, then let my doctor know in case the lapse in treatment means I need to tack three more days of antibiotics onto thee seven.

And now I’m wondering if I can feel the kidney starting to act up again. Psychosomatic, perhaps. I feel like Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III. “Just when I thought I was out…”

A haiku to the common cold and resultant dreams

Not that I’m complaining. This is more observation. Yeah.

Coughing sneezing yuck
The common cold is no fun
NyQuil my best friend

In this post from May 16th 2017 I complained about an eerily similar circumstance:

This one bugs me because it just seems so random and out of the blue. Friday I was fine, Friday night I was sick.

This same sequence happened where I felt fine all day Friday and in the evening my throat had that telltale scratchiness. Unlike then, this one doesn’t seem random at all because I have been surrounded by other sick people lately, including several at work. I powered through a two-day workshop on Monday and Tuesday as it was too late to reschedule, but to my dismay actually felt worse instead of better on Tuesday. Today, upon waking early in the morning I could feel the cold nestled deep in my chest like the chest burster from Alien and opted to stay home. I like to think this is me being generous and saving fellow co-workers, among others, from experiencing the same mild agony of sneezing, running nose, sore throat and so on, but it’s really me just wanting to curl up and nap and imagine how wonderful it is to feel healthy and how can I possibly take it for granted again after being so sick? Which I will inevitably do, because that’s just the way our brains work.

My hope is that I will feel peppy enough to return to work tomorrow. My fear is that I will rank a smidgen too low on the peppy scale and be faced with choosing between a) feeling like poop but going in anyway and risk spreading my illness around or b) staying home, feeling guilty about how I feel like poop but knowing I could probably shuffle, zombie-like, through the work day somehow, especially if I loaded up on handy cold remedies first.

Today, though, the level of guilt I felt in staying home was a big fat zero. I also had very strange dreams in the morning when I’d normally be up that included:

  • some strange medieval setting that was a quasi-musical with a knight lamenting in song about always having to fight
  • another person lamenting about something where he repeated the same word three times but I can’t recall the word now, dang it
  • the scenery was this weird pastoral plain that felt like it was at the top of a mountain, with giant redwood-like trees that didn’t render properly until you got right next to them. Yes, it was like being in a video game with poor drawing distance.
  • I think there may have been fighting, but it was bloodless from what I can remember
  • there were other dreams that were sufficiently weird that I can only remember them being sufficiently weird

All that and I did not take NyQuil first, as I’d run out a day earlier. I’m getting more tonight and look forward to what my subconscious will present to me.

And I hope I feel at least better tomorrow. Seeing the activity rings on my watch go unfilled makes me sad.

Sick and the snow

Friday during lunch the college closed early due to snow and everyone got to start the weekend early. I was home by 2:30 p/m/ and safely tucked inside from all the snow. Yay.

Friday evening I felt that telltale tickle in my throat that said “Yep, you’re getting sick–probably that thing that knocked out a co-worker for a few days.”

Late Friday the tickle becomes more of a barb and I seek solace in a bottle of NyQuil. It mostly works.

I think about going to the Canada Games Pool on Saturday. It’s not that bad, I think. I can do it. I go to the store and earn about half my exercise goal (30 minutes) on the watch Activity app. That wasn’t so bad, I think, though the urge to nab has arisen suddenly.

I have a nice bubble bath. I nap. I do not go to the pool.

Today I wake up and the barb is gone or at least sufficiently buried to no longer feel like a bar. My sinuses are stuffed but it’s hard to tell if it’s from my ongoing sinus issues or due to this cold or whatever it is. I again muse over going for a workout. As a bonus, most of the snow has already melted away and the sun is out.

I have another bubble bath. I nap once more.

I do not work out. I give up on meeting my activity goals. Whatever streak I have is ended and I hear a little imaginary sad trombone play.

And now just past 7 p.m. I fight the urge to go to bed early, my strength ebbing away as I type. It’s too early, I think. I need to write. Or read. Or explore my vast Steam backlog. I can’t go to bed, not just because of a little cold.

But the bed looks so comfy.

One head cold, two lists

Two lists after the sudden and unwelcome arrival of a head cold four days ago.

List 1:
Things I have missed since getting a head cold

  • two runs
  • one writing group
  • my daily activity goal as per the Apple Watch (four days so far)
  • work (on-site)
  • going outside (two days)

List 2:
Things I have achieved since getting a head cold

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • stuffed sinuses (goes great with #2)
  • headache
  • mild fever
  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • sleeplessness (one night, see immediate item above for explanation)
  • conversely, plenty of napping during the day
  • weird dreams
  • possible addiction to NyQuil (not really, but it has probably saved my sleep 3 of 4 nights)
  • work (a little that I could do from home on the fourth day)

This one bugs me because it just seems so random and out of the blue. Friday I was fine, Friday night I was sick. Weekend shot, missed work, behind on everything again, going in when still not 100%, missing runs after finally getting back into a regular routine. Why haven’t we cured the common cold, anyway?

Never mind the flying cars

All I want from the future where technology is grand and filled with miracles is a cure for the common cold.

Which I caught late yesterday, perfectly timed for the weekend.

Grr.

Sarcasm

From Merriam-Webster, the definition of sarcasm:

Definition of sarcasm

  1. a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain

  2. a) a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual
    b) the use or language of sarcasm

When I was younger I employed sarcasm so regularly it was entitled to full benefits and vacation pay. Thinking it over, I haven’t really reduced my usage of sarcasm, I just have fewer opportunities to wield it. For example, I’m wise enough to know that sarcasm is often not the best tactic in the workplace (co-workers do not seem to share this trepidation based on the regular barbs that go a-flying).

Looking at that first definition, though? Designed to cut or give pain? Ouch. Literally. When I employ sarcasm, it’s certainly meant for effect, chiefly to skewer the target of said sarcasm. In that sense, it can be said to be intended to cut. Give pain? Not so much. I’m not a sadist, not even a linguistic one. When I use words as weapons I’m more like a mug swinging a club I can only manage to lift, rather than a skilled fencer darting to and fro, stabbing at will.

The second definition, though, that’s entirely me. When I prick a finger and draw blood I’m fairly certain a little sarcasm leaks out. I don’t always target individuals, though, preferring to broaden my targets to entire institutions or groups.

What brought on this bit of self-reflection was a perusal of some of the posts on this blog, specifically my writing prompts (the ones I create, not the ones I tackle) and how they are uniformly sarcastic. Why is that? Am I secretly afraid of producing mediocre prompts and so write ones that aren’t intended to be taken seriously? Is it a reaction to so many writing prompt collections being silly while trying to be serious? More the latter, I think.

Coming up with a few decent prompts is pretty easy. Coming up with a dozen? Trickier. Coming up with hundreds, especially hundreds that aren’t spewed out by an automated process? It is difficult, so bless those brave souls that try, even as I mock their efforts. I don’t mean to be cruel and fully open myself to similar mockery with the hundreds of nonsensical posts I’ve written here.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I blame my head cold and the obligation to write. I’d rather be sleeping and don’t look forward to staggering into work tomorrow, still feeling unwell and having to battle stuffed-up sinuses, caustic co-workers, and other stuff, all of which could be solved through the simple expediency of winning the lottery.

Time for bed and NyQuil-fueled dreams. The best dreams.

Writing group week 8: Postponed due to illness

Strictly speaking, the weekly write-in wasn’t postponed, only my participation was.

Friday: I felt that weird little twinge in my sinuses and throat that said, “You may be catching a cold!”

Saturday: The twinges became manifest. I officially have a cold, but it’s not too bad. Some NeoCitran helps me feel better. I still plan on going to the writing group.

Sunday: Nose is very irritated. Sneezing develops. Generally feel blah and listless. Decide not to inflict my potentially contagious self on the others attending the write-in. On a day when it reaches 9ºC and snow is a literal impossibility, I also do not run.

I eat toast and jam instead. It leaves me unfulfilled because my nose still hurts.

Now I’m having tea, which will temporarily soothe but also lead to me getting up multiple times to use the bathroom because that stuff goes through me like nobody’s business.

Also today, I started reading an article linked on Medium that lists 50 ways to make yourself better and gave up after realizing the list is a few common sense items wedged in-between a bunch of unsubstantiated nonsense, like “have faith” or “create an automated source of income.” The author also keeps citing the wealthy as inspiration, overlooking the fact that wealthy people are among the worst people on this planet. He cites Peter Thiel, for the love of…Pete. His advice boils down to “Be white, male, super-rich and you’ll do just fine!”

My two best friends at year’s end, NyQuil and NeoCitran

A dismal year is nearly over but there’s still time for more celebrity deaths to pile up like cordwood. In the past week alone George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds have all died. The deaths have happened so often that I am nearly expecting to find a celebrity death story every time I visit the CBC News website (just checked–none so far today).

For myself, I am happy to still be kicking, even if the winter break from work has been marred by a sore back the first week and a cold the second week (which I am still fighting). NeoCitran and NyQuil have been my best pals, one offering comfort by day, the other by night. I hate that I am taking them but have to admit modern medicine is pretty spiffy in masking how horrible you might otherwise feel.I even went for a walk today. Most of the sidewalks are bare but there’s still copious snow around.

I even went for a walk today. Most of the sidewalks are bare but there’s still copious snow around. It’s been weeks and it is silly. They are forecasting a return to sub-freezing temperatures in the week ahead with more snow still on tap for tomorrow, New Year’s Eve. Because nothing says a safe night out like driving on New Year’s Eve in a snowstorm.

I’m staying home and hiding under the covers.

If all goes well I may at least be healthy enough to go to the pool by the end of the week. I’m penciling in a run outside sometime for early spring when the last of the snow has finally melted.

I can’t smell (but my throat feels better)

I am officially on Day 4 of Being Sick and two-thirds through the holiday weekend. Today I feel much like the stuffed turkeys that will be consumed tomorrow.

What started as a slight scratchiness on Thursday evolved into “Why is there a tiny chainsaw constantly running in my throat?” by the evening. Blessedly, that diminished by late Friday. Taking its place was a general feeling of being run down, as well as increasing  congestion in my sinuses. That appears to be peaking tonight as my nose has been plugged up all day and I can’t smell anything right now. I am sitting here with a nice cup of Chai tea and I gave the teabag a good sniff before dropping it in the cup. Nothing. Not even the slightest bit of aroma. Drinking it I can detect something but it’s weird to have a sense just switch off like that.

I’ve been imbibing Nyquil in the evening and so far it’s been pretty effective in helping me sleep, just like the TV commercials say.

I’m up later tonight as well, so perhaps I am on the odorless mend now. However, if the usual pattern holds true, the cold will next visit my chest, to be followed by days of racking coughs (i am coughing as I type this, somewhat politely, but with a feeling of doom hanging over me that the polite coughs will give way to the “blow paper off the desk” coughing soon enough).

All in all, being sick still sucks, which is hardly a revolutionary thought. It’s resulted in me going to bed early, I’ve missed two runs (the idea of running is so off-putting right now I can’t even articulate it. I’d probably get a few hundred meters in, collapse and be eaten by a bear/bobcat/python) and I’ve tried to compensate for my general state of misery through eating. Even that simple pleasure has been diminished now that I can barely taste or smell anything. So yes, sucks.

By coincidence the next stat holiday, Remembrance Day, falls on a Friday, making it another three-day weekend. I would like to make a request to not be sick that weekend. Thanks in advance, arbitrary forces of nature!