Treadmill walk: Sponsored by guilt

Even though I am mostly recovered from the cold, it still persists in annoying, lingering ways, such as an occasional cough and a still-present feeling of (light) congestion in the chest. Maybe I was using this subconsciously as an excuse to not exercise, but it’s still an excuse.

So tonight, just shy of 10:30 p.m., I got on the treadmill and did a half hour workout with the usual settings.

Results, with previous workout in brackets below. Of note, my pace was a bit sluggish, but this probably helped my BPM to be a bit lower, too. I felt like I recovered faster, too. Overall a bit meh, but at least I did some exercise.

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:17/km (9:09 km/h)
Time: 30:08 (30.05)
Distance: 3.24 km (3.28 km)
Calories burned: 294 (301)
BPM: 139 (142)

Treadmill miracle walk

The miracle is that after a day of coughing, feeling generally sick and above all else, indolent, I actually got on the treadmill tonight and did a half hour workout.

I did not cough once during the workout.

I started coughing immediately after completing the workout.

I also noticed my heart rate was much slower than normal to recover. Not that it was crazy high or anything, it just took a few minutes longer than usual to get back below 100 (which is the arbitrary point I’ve chosen for when I stop the treadmill and get off…the treadmill).

The stats in brackets are from my previous walk, just a little over a week ago, completed during the small window between the bad flu and the bad cold. As you can see, everything is slightly worse, but actually not too bad considering the coughing, congestion and general unwellness I continue to experience.

Here’s to a healthier week. At least it is mercifully one day shorter than normal.

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:09/km (9:06 km/h)
Time: 30:05 (30.04)
Distance: 3.28 km (3.30 km)
Calories burned: 301 (298)
BPM: 142 (140)

Sick sick sick sick sick sick

Sick.

Last Sunday I got on the treadmill and had a good ol’ workout for the first time in weeks, finally recovered from The Great Flu of 2020.

The next day at work I was feeling a little phlegmy and at first dismissed it as some lingering effect from the flu. I felt fine otherwise. That night I went to bed thinking that this was something. I woke up in the night, my throat raw and inflamed, my sinuses itchy and annoyed. It was something. Something bad.

I missed a day but seemed to bounce back quickly, so returned to work on Wednesday. Thursday I realized that I had not actually recovered, but was simply entering a different phase of what now seemed to be a cold. The most delightful part was getting to experience a whole different set of symptoms compared to the flu.

Thursday was the “running nose” day and when I say running, I’m talking Olympic-caliber sprinting here. It was awful. Also my sinuses began this back and forth of being clogged and unclogged, like a dam that was constantly releasing water, the shut back up, over and over.

I missed another day on Friday. It was now the long weekend and I was sick again.

By Friday night the first of the coughing began. The nose ceased its running and choose instead to just clog up permanently. I tried drinking some water while it was in this state and the experience was weird and unpleasant. Go ahead, try drinking something while holding your nose shut. Do this over a sink or outside, though, because you’re bound to spill. Turns out that breathing is important.

I kept waking up Friday night with my mouth bone dry, because I was breathing through it rather than not breathing at all. Saturday the stuffiness seemed to wax and wane again, but the coughing continued. My voice began to grow hoarse. The cough medicine did nothing or produced an effect that I could not measure with my working senses.

Speaking of senses, the last few days I have lost both my sense of smell and taste. I lifted a garbage bag with a day-old fresh chicken wrapper in it that had to stink to the hills, but smelled not a thing. That was kind of nice. But eating food without tasting it kind of sucks.

By tonight–Sunday–my nose is now officially only half-plugged, a major breakthrough. The coughing is worse when I sit or lay down, so my voice has also gotten worse. I don’t talk right now so much as croak. My voice cracks like I’m revisiting puberty. Once was enough, thanks.

But my sense of smell has returned a tiny bit. I had some mango passionfruit tea tonight and if I smushed the dry teabag right into my nose I could faintly detect a pleasant aroma of fruit.

Tonight I will take NyQuil and hope that my nose stays partly-functional through the night. Tomorrow I hope I “turn the corner” on the coughing because it wears me out, almost as much as getting sick with a cold right after recovering from the flu. It’s silly and wrong and I wonder what karmic payback this is for. Or maybe it’s just riding public transit every day.

Anyway, I thought about complaining about being sick and how it wouldn’t really change anything or make me feel better, but it got me writing, so there’s that. Here’s to better health for the rest of 2020 (pretty pretty please).

The post-flu world

Yes, given how awful and lingering this flu has been, I am now dividing my life into pre-flu and post-flu.

Every night for about the past week I have intended to post something to the blog–maybe a haiku, or a comment about the weather (done), but every night, after dinner and by mid-evening I find I have no energy left. The idea of laying down becomes immensely appealing. The idea of engaging my brain while sitting upright seems like far too much work.

That said, I’m forcing myself tonight, as you can now see. So here’s a haiku on the flu. A fluku, if you will.

The flu strikes swiftly
Energy sinks like a stone
Weeks later, still blah

Okay, not exactly my finest work, but it’s a start. Of something.

The final flu weight loss tally is…5.4 pounds

Of which I gained back 1.8 pounds overnight, after eating the world’s most calorie-rich homemade French onion soup (it was very tasty, however).

Here’s the final chart showing the max just before the flu hits and the bottom where I still had very little appetite. As of this morning, post-soup, I am 169.7, so already I am perilously close to edging above 170 pounds again, which is BAD.

The secret to the weight loss was not actually getting sick, of course, it was not eating. Having no appetite due to the ravages of the flu (P.S. get your flu shot) just expedites the process.

The tricky part starts now, as my appetite returns to normal. For the last week I have not done much of any snacking because the idea of snacks has been grossbuckets. Now, though, food can once again return to something I find comforting, reassuring–a welcome distraction from whatever is happening. And therein lies the return to the fat.

But I’m going to try. I really want to stay under 170 for the rest of the month and build on that. I have five days to go and snacks in the pantry.

We’ll see what happens.

Getting really sick remains an effective weight loss program

I hadn’t got around to getting my flu shot yet, thinking, “What are the odds?” Then my partner got the flu and I thought, “What are the odds?”

It turns out the odds were quite excellent, as two days after his symptoms appeared, mine did the same. What has followed has been five days in which I have slept copious amounts, along with bouts of sneezing, coughing and all the other fun stuff one associates with colds and the flu.

And as always, the flu remains an excellent way to lose weight, as lack of appetite played prominently the first few days. The Fitbit chart above shows how I managed to drop 4.1 pounds in four days. For months the goal of breaking under 170 pounds has eluded me and all this time all I had to do was get incredibly ill.

Anyway, get your flu shot.

This cough of mine

It’s been awhile since I’ve had any kind of lingering cold or cold-like illness. Usually they blast in, knock me down for a few days, then within the week I’m pretty much back to normal.

This time I am stuck halfway between still sick and normal, with a congested chest and nagging cough persisting two weeks later.

I do not like it. I’m trying to think of a way to say this is an observation and not a complaint, but really, it’s a complaint.

But only a mild one. I can smell and taste more than I could two days ago, so progress is being made. I do have one small wish to stay illness-free for the rest of the summer, at least. I’ll drink Vitamin C-fortified drinks and whatever else it takes. I’ll eat healthy snacks–before dinner, instead of after. Honest! Pretty honest, anyway.

Mostly I just want this cough to go away. It’s been a nice visit, but it’s time for you to continue your travels somewhere far away from me.

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.

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.

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.

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!