But I feel fine

Today I returned to work, not 100%, but close enough—like in horse shoes and hand grenades—to count.

Without exception, every time I have opened my mouth, the response has been, “You sound awful.” Which, to be fair, is accurate. I go on to assure everyone that I feel better than I sound.

Actually, there was one exception to this. One person said I sounded “different.” She was being kind.

And I find if I talk for more than a few seconds, my voice starts to give out. It’s like my mouth and vocal cords get too tired to continue. This forces me to choose my words carefully. Or use nods and other facial gestures to convey looks that carry a thousand words, or at least enough to leave the other person satisfied or confused enough to give up and go away. Given how I feel, I’m okay right now with either result.

Thus begins the slow, steady end of whatever horrible bug I caught. I have coughed and sneezed enough in the last week to last the next 10 years. No, 20 years. No, forever. Really, it was kind of ridiculous.

Today I have a little more energy, am coughing less, but still have almost no sense of smell or taste, plus my ears are plugged. Still, going for minutes at a time without coughing so hard the muscles in my abdomen ache is the stuff of luxury. How I have missed having a normal-acting body the past seven days.

I’ll never take this normal-acting body for granted again, unless I go long enough before getting sick again to forget how miserable it’s been this time.

And to end on an even more positive note, it’s sunny and warm out and somewhere out there is a cookie with my name on it.

Photo of the Day, May 5, 2019

Note: I spent most of the day coughing, sneezing and napping. This photo was actually taken four days ago.

Train tracks new and old, near Braid Station.

Feeling grossbuckets, May 2019 edition

Yesterday was characterized by the delightful experience of coughing so hard that several times I nearly induced my gag reflex.

Today I was hoping I had hit peak cough, and the road to recovery would open before me, especially since I was going to see Avengers: Endgame in the afternoon and one can only avoid spoilers for so long and still stay connected to the internet.

Alas, it was not to be.

Instead, I coughed even more, though mercifully with less force than yesterday, but it was enough to keep me home. Over the course of the day my sinuses also plugged up and yet I also developed a runny nose. I did not buy more NyQuil as I didn’t expect to need it and tonight I have none. I will suffer and build character instead.

Also, the previous paragraph somehow started and ended with the word “instead,” which is a little weird and unintentional.

I did feel strangely warm earlier, though I didn’t feel hot. Thanks to last year’s preparation, I now have a thermometer for just such occasions and took my temperature. It was perfectly normal, as expected. So that was good, I suppose.

I’ll be toodling off to bed soon and hoping that tomorrow will be the beginning of my swift recovery, but I have my doubts. I’m going to put the doubts in an airtight tub to keep them fresh. I’m not sure if that means they will thrive or die.

I guess I’ll know tomorrow. For now, attempts at sleep.

Photo of the Day, May 2, 2019

Google image search tells me these are mountain laurels. I can confirm that they are definitely some kind of white flower and not, say, a wild boar or surfboard.

Sick writing prompts

Ever gotten sick and wanted to complain endlessly about being sick to everyone around you, but realized that no one wants to hear you complain, you big loser baby and keep back, I’m going on vacation in two days?

Here are a set of writing prompts just for you. Enjoy!

  • There are 500 words for “desert” in Swahili or something. Maybe it’s snow? Whatever. Make up 500 words for all the phlegm caught in your throat.
  • Write a day in the life of a cough drop. Make it a noir thriller.
  • Who doesn’t love lists? Very bad people, that’s who. Write a list of all the fun, crazy things you would be doing if you weren’t so sick no one wants to even call you, let alone get anywhere near you.
  • If you could cure one common virus, which would it be? Write your response as a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Flu is not a four letter word. But if it was, what word would it be? Keep it family friendly.
  • You’re the body guard for the Queen and you have to keep her from catching a cold. Write your adventures in keeping Her Majesty healthy using iambic pentameter.
  • Write a love letter to your favorite head cold. No, that’s dumb. Don’t do that. Write a poem about your worst head cold. Use the words “I”, “wish”, “was” and “dead.”
  • Hospitals are a great place to pick up germs and get sick. Ironic, ain’t it? Write a short story about one person’s attempts to stay healthy while in a hospital. Make it a Broadway musical.

Cloudy with a chance of doom

The chance of doom is minimal, but you never know.

Today the sun has departed and the clouds have rolled in. My mind is similarly clouded as I question the effectiveness of the so-called “extra strength” cough medicine I took this morning that has not particularly stopped me from coughing. Maybe it’s a perspective thing. If I hadn’t taken the cough medicine, I would be on the floor, in endless coughing spasms, my sides sore, feeling worn out from the effort. In that light, the cough medicine is actually working pretty good.

Meanwhile, this flu or whatever it is has reached the annoying stage. I try to remain positive and think how much better I’ll feel when it’s moved along, but right now a nap would be seriously nice. Just curl up on the cold tile floor, right here. I don’t need carpeting. Or a pillow. I’m surprised I’m not napping right now, in this chair, as I type.

Changing gears, I looked through my blog a few days ago semi-randomly. I do this from time to time, usually starting out by searching for something specific, and ending down the rabbit hole that can keep me checking YouTube videos for hours when I totally didn’t mean to do that.

One of the things I re-discovered is how in-depth some of the writing prompts I worked on were. There are complete stories, albeit short ones, on this very blog. I thought to myself, “Neat!” and “I should do more of this.”

So starting tomorrow, when I am hopefully feeling a bit better, I am going to tackle a prompt whenever I have nothing else to write about. Get the ol’ creative juices going again. Maybe this time it will stick. Stranger things–such as the election of Trump–have happened.

This post brought to you by Day 3 of the flu or convincingly flu-like.

Hello, May!

It’s sunny and pleasant out and Alexa just told me there are only 52 days until summer and I can put on my bikini again*.

I am also home because I have the flu or something flu-like. It’s funny how there’s no real way to know for sure. Look it up, everything has the same symptoms. But I have NyQuil and that’s all that matters. And also a small bottle of Robitussin extra strength cough syrup in case the cough starts up again (it’s been mostly fine today). I deliberately bought a small bottle because there is no way to go through an entire normal-sized bottle of cough medicine before it expires. I know this from the two bottles of cough medicine in our medicine cabinet that expired in 2015. If you cough long enough to use a full bottle before it expires, you probably have some fatal cough-related illness.

So on the one hand, hooray for May and getting another day closer to summer, the best season ever made, but boo to starting the month with the flu or something flu-like. I want to run through fields of tall grass, not feel like I’m incubating a baby alien in my chest. I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, not constantly fight the urge to nap wherever I happen to be. But time heals all wounds (well, most of them) and it works decently for the flu, too. I have my Vitamin C and my NyQuil, I have soup and a bed ready to accommodate napping with no notice, so it could be worse.

NOTE: I am not suggesting that I would like to be worse as a comparison. Repeat, DO NOT WANT.

I did indulge slightly and I will share here to help keep myself from sinning again:

I bought and ate an apple strudel. They come in packages of six, so there are five more to tempt me (that’s 1440 calories for all six). I sometimes do this when I am unwell, using the logic that I am not unwell often enough for the occasional indulgence to put me on a course to being the largest guy ever who is 5’10¾” tall. So far this has held true. Also, the apple strudel was way sweeter than expected. It was almost kind of gross.

I still want another one. But one per day, that’s the rule.

Here’s to a warm, sunny month, a speedy recovery, some weight loss, better control over snacking (ignore everything I wrote above about apple strudel) and more running, walking and all that good stuff.

Oh, and writing, too.

Achingly stupid

I am nearly convinced that after our current civilization crumbles away and is (maybe) rebuilt some time in the far future, those far future historians will look back at the unfettered commentary made on the internet by the “every person” and their ability to reach an audience of millions of like-minded people, will be cited as one of the key factors in our downfall.

Go to the CBC News website and find any story on politics, then read the comments and you will marvel at how achingly stupid, how willfully ignorant, how blindly loyal, how in love with their own malformed thoughts the general public is. People who know so little, yet are so confident in sharing their ignorance with as wide an audience as possible. People who fundamentally lack the understanding of how the world works. It’s a complex thing–there’s no way one person can know everything. And that’s okay. Educate yourself, make informed decisions, take the time to learn what you need to know.

But it feels like so few people do this. We live in an age that celebrates ignorance and stupidity, abetted by mass media that regularly turns away from thoughtful reporting in favor of not just the sensational–which has always been the case–but in perpetuating “both sides” nonsense and has helped to normalize the aberrant politics we endure, that give platforms without consequence to those who deny climate change, to anti-vaxxers, to people who still honestly seem to believe the world is flat, for the love of Pete.

It’s all depressing and it makes me angry in a low-level, simmering sort of way. It’s 2019 and the world should be better than this, but instead it feels like we are regressing. Maybe we are meant to be doomed and another species will take over when we’ve eradicated ourselves.

Bonus material: People who answer questions about products on sites like Amazon with “I don’t know.” WHY DO YOU DO THAT?

This rant brought to you by the flu.

April 2019 weight loss report: Down 0.5 pounds

Another month, another rounding error in weight loss. And this time it was a mere fluke that turned a gain into a loss at the last minute.

As I write this, I am fighting the flu or some flu-like virus. I called in sick and slept until noon. I am not feeling an overabundance of energy. I weighed myself at around 10 a.m., where I’d normally weight myself around 5:30 a.m. on a work day. The later weigh-ins almost always result in me weighing less.

Yesterday I was at 169.2 pounds. That would be up 1.2 pounds for the month.

But today, weighing myself later, I was at 167.6 pounds, down 0.5 pounds instead.

I remained donut-free for the month. I began running, if not more, than at least more regularly. These things were good.

But I did not resume walking as much, even with nice weather. That was bad. And I did not resist the siren song of post-dinner snacking all that often. This was worse.

I am going to vow to stay on the downward trend, however lucky I got to be down in April. But I suspect I won’t get another last-minute save again.

For the year to date I’ve gone from 167.5 to 167.6 pounds, which is about as close as you can get to unchanged as possible. If I was at my ideal weight now, I would be in an excellent position to maintain that weight. Alas.

Also my total body fat was up slightly, which is depressing, slightly.

The stats:

April 1: 168.1 pounds
April 30: 167.6 pounds (down 0.5 pounds)

Year to date: From 167.5 to 167.6 pounds (up 0.1 pounds)

And the body fat:

March 1: 19.7% (33.1 pounds of fat)
April 30:
20% (33.6 pounds of fat) (up 0.5 pounds)