After Shocks

No, I have not experienced an earthquake. Although that is the natural disaster that scares me most. I got my first Covid vaccine eight days ago. I did not have an actual allergic reaction to the shot but I have been having side effects since the day of.

Let me start by saying that I encourage everyone to get the vaccine if you are able. It makes all of us safer in the long run. My fiance has a peanut allergy and he did have the allergic reaction to the Moderna vaccine. He was advised to not get the second shot but that he can try for the Johnson & Johnson. I am good to go for the second Moderna shot with some pregaming for my allergies.

So, lets talk about side effects. From the beginning I have had a major headache. Almost migraine level with the light sensitivity. I have not been able to wear my glasses or my headset for work. It has felt like I had a long rod ran between my temples. I have had headaches from high blood pressure and sinus pressure/infections and ear infections. None of those have felt like this headache.

The fatigue makes me appreciate my spoons so much more. I napped off and on so much the first day. And the second and the third. The headache was enough to make me tired but there was just so much more fatigue on top of that. Naps are a good thing. Food did seem to help ease the headache briefly for me but only for a short while. Tylenol did not do much more than dull it a bit. I did not want to take too much of it due to stomach issues. And my stomach would get upset sometimes anyway.

Did you know there is a lymph node in your elbow? There is and mine swelled up and got hard. It didn’t last long but it was sore and hurt to bend my arm for a couple days. It was below the injection site and was actually more sore than the injection site except for the on time my fiance hugged me, forgot where it was and put his hands around that part of my arm.

All of these reactions my doctor assured me are normal for what is being reported. This is where my allergies come in. I have a laundry list of allergies along with asthma and dermatographia. The dermatographia is the most likely the culprit here. My doctor figures the shot triggered a hyperactive allergic response. I broke out in hives over the lymph node on my elbow around the fourth or fifth day. Then around day six or seven my feet broke in hives along the lines where the lymph drainage system runs, around the top edges from toes to heel, across the joints at the top of the foot, and even up my ankle. Tiny, itchy red bumps. Hives suck. So I get to double up on antihistamine, add a steroid, and use a steroid cream on the skin.

I’m hoping the second will not be worse than the first. I’ve heard it is but I’m still hoping. And even with all the side effects I still advocate getting the shots. The shot does not make us invincible. Each of us are different. Each person’s body will react different. Take care of yourselves and each other. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance.

It doesn’t feel like September

My apologies for not being here since April. I have been working from home. And, yes, I have been wearing a mask when I have had to go out. I have too many doctor appointments to not wear a mask. Has it gotten any more comfortable? Not really. I don’t have quite as much anxiety when I’m out. But I usually have an asthma attack by the time I get back to my car.

But here we are in September. I have started yet another round of shots in my back for arthritis. There are still little yellow flowers blooming at the edge of the forest I live in. We are still getting tomatoes off our plants on the deck.

TV shows are finding ways to be socially distanced. Football is back and trying to keep players healthy and fans socially distanced. People are still getting sick from Covid-19. And I still don’t feel safe going out anywhere. Especially now that a lot of local stores are getting lax on there precautionary measures. Masks are about the only thing they are still requiring and many people still do not wear them or do not wear them correctly.

The news just makes me sad or angry. I have to limit how much of it I watch or read. It’s easier to just focus on the few shows I enjoy and football now that it is back. And my crochet. But that is another blog all together. Stay safe my friends…

Social Anxiety, Kind of

I had to go out yesterday. I’ve only been out of the house maybe four times in the last month. I have asthma and I am at high risk for catching the coronavirus. The last time I had to go to a doctor appointment they gave me a mask to wear inside the building. I was very nervous being out and the mask did not help that. It was hot and made it hard to breathe. Not a good thing when you already have breathing issues. 

Do I look nervous? I feel nervous…

This trip out I was going to an area hospital for my monthly injection. It’s a shot to help with my asthma and dermatographia. (That’s the skin reactions that causes everything to look like a rashy writing on the skin.) Almost everyone in the hospital was wearing a mask. I was not offered one when I went in, though they did check my temperature. The nurse that took me back asked if I wanted a mask. I declined. 

As I stood in the elevator with her and then followed her down the hall, I realized that the mask would not alleviate my anxiety. The mask alone was not going to do anything. It was simply the fact that I was outside among other people. We don’t have enough people getting tested yet, not enough effective testing. And there is no herd immunity yet. It’s too soon. And too many people still don’t understand the importance of simply staying inside and washing their hands. 

I know the weather is getting nicer and people want to enjoy it. Kids want to play outside and adults want them to. But we have to be smart. I know as a group that is hard. People as a group are stupid as cattle. Individuals are smart.

We need to think like individuals and act as a group. Maybe, if we can learn to act smarter, we won’t become a virus ourselves. Like so many before us. 

It’s been a while…

I haven’t been here in a long time. I owe myself an apology for that. I started blogging many moons ago as a way to purge a backlog of emotions and vent about the world in general. The blog grew into a lot more than that. Probably why I’ve kept it for so long. It’s migrated to a new platform and changed names. But I still keep coming back, even when I’ve been gone for a while. No matter how long it has been. So I’m sorry it has been so long this time.

The world is upside down right now. The CoVid-19 pandemic is everywhere, except Antarctica. I hope they like eating fish. A lot of my friends, both local and online, are dealing with changes to their lives. Loss of work, working from home, kids trying to do online school. I have a friend waiting for a test result. I have been staying home because I am high risk with my asthma. I try not to watch too much news. It’s bad for my blood pressure. They start repeating themselves after a bit anyway.

It saddens me to see so many artists dying from the virus. We need artists. I know the virus does not discriminate. But why can’t it take some politicians? We don’t need as many of those. They need to be culled now and then to remind them they are not invincible. We already know most of them are inhuman. That’s why we need more artists.

I read this morning of the passing of Bill Withers. It wasn’t from the virus but still. Another legend has left us. I get the feeling today is going to require a lot of music. I already have my headphones on…

Where did you go?

Where did my Muse go? The so-called creative angel that’s supposed to whisper inspiration in my ear so the words flow onto the page. Where is she? I haven’t felt her presence in a long time. Her voice was drifting in and out for a while. Then a writing friend died maybe a year ago. It’s like he took the words with him. Maybe he was one of my muses. If he was, he’s welcome to haunt me.

Some writers say they have to just sit down and do the thing. No matter what. I can’t force the words out like that. If they don’t come of their own accord I get frustrated. Then nothing on the page works. Once I reach that point I have to walk away and do something else for a bit.

But when the words do flow it’s like music. I usually write to music. Something to fit the mood of what I’m writing. I like to write with headphones on. Helps block out distractions. I have a lot of ideas for stories based on song lyrics. Lately, I’ve been thinking about writing song lyrics. They were my first venture into writing many moons ago.

At this point, I don’t care what I’m writing as long as something hits the page. I did write something recently for work, which we don’t have to do very often. Maybe once a year. I realised how much I had missed it. Felt good to have my hands on the keyboard again for something outside the norm.

Not all of my creative process has gone astray. I’m still crocheting quite a bit. My Pinterest boards are overflowing with ideas. Probably more than I can ever make. I usually have a project queued up while I’m working on one. Sometimes two. Writing crochet patterns can be very satisfying but it’s a different feeling from writing fiction.

I try not to make resolutions because nobody keeps those. I do like setting goals. So my goal is to write more posts here for the next couple months. Start with that. Try to rebuild my writing muscles. Hopefully I can draw my Muse back. And if Glenn wants to help me from the other side, I’ll be listening.

New Year, New Goals

I’ve written about resolutions before. I don’t like calling them resolutions. Nobody keeps those. Few people are able to last far enough into a new year to say they kept those pesky New Year’s resolutions. We get all excited at the ball drop or drink too much and have high expectations for what we think we can accomplish. And then we go back to work.

Reality sets in. It’s cold, rainy or snowy, or you get sick right after the holidays. You have to deal with taking down all the decorations on top of it all. You may be worried about paying for Christmas if you maxed out your charge cards. Your stress is climbing if you keep thinking about it. Those resolutions are getting pushed further and further out of your mind.

Stop. Just stop stressing yourself over it. Resolutions are fine but not realistic. We should all have goals. And not just at the beginning of the year but throughout the year. Realistic goals that don’t cause our blood pressure to rise unless it’s with excitement. There are some ways to keep your goals attainable.

Make them something you can achieve so you don’t feel like you’re never going to get there. If buying a Bugatti is 3 years worth of your salary, doing it this year is probably not going to happen. Get real. But if you do need a new car, plan for something that you can afford and will be able to work into your budget this year. Then you can save for the Bugatti later.

More achievability: say you want to save money for a vacation. If this is something you usually struggle with then you need to take an honest look at where your money goes. Buying high priced coffee on the way to work every day? Take-out more days than you cook? More drinking nights out with the buddies than hanging out watching a game on the couch? There are always places you can find where you can cut back on spending. Take a close look at where you money goes. Write down everything you spend and do for a month then go back and look at it. You may be surprised at where the money is. Then you can decide what to start cutting out so you can start planning that sweet little beach trip.

Another trick to keeping goals is to have accountability. Have a partner. Someone who can help you stay on track. If you’re trying to lose weight, have someone to work out with. If you live with someone who can help you, plan meals together and shop together if you can. Cook together and when you sit down to eat, turn off the phones and the TV and talk to each other. A big part of accountability is keeping communication open. If you talk to people about what you’re doing and they talk to you, you’re a lot more likely to keep it up.

Also consider time frames. Is the goal something that needs to be done within a certain amount of time? Are you trying to lose 20 pounds before a reunion or a wedding or some other event? Are you trying to get the garage cleaned out before movers show up to take everything to a new house in a month? Even short term goals should still be planned. Use a calendar or planner and keep it where you can access it quickly and daily to track your progress. Make notes on where you are and what your next steps are. That leads me to my next point…

Write down your goals. Let me say it again. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS! Make a big board with pictures and encouragement. Put twinkle lights around it. Put it where you will see it Every Day! You need the reminders that you have something to work toward. Keep telling yourself that you want this, and that you can make it happen. Make small versions of your sign and put it in several locations: your car, the bathroom, on the fridge, at your desk at work. Put them anywhere you need the reminder of what you are working toward.

Goals are good. We all need them. Professionally, personally, spiritually. Whether it is to learn a new hobby, a skill, trying new recipes, to read more books, or to write more books. We should all have something we want to do. Being stagnant is for ponds. Be a flowing river, ever changing, ever growing.

Is it December Already?

November was National Novel Writing Month. I was helping my local writing group go crazy trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days. For each person. How crazy is that? Pretty normal for us writer types, actually. 

But that means today is December 1st. Time to deck the halls if you haven’t already begun to decorate for Yule or Christmas or whatever you call it. I like to call it Yule but I’m old school like that. You know, before Coke cornered the market with the jolly old dude in the red suit. But let’s not get off track waxing poetic about commercialism. 

The year is almost over. Are you ready for making resolutions to pretend to keep? Or do you prefer to call them goals? How do you plan on keeping them in the coming year? Now would be a good time to start thinking about what you would like to work on and how to implement those changes. Think of them as goals instead of resolutions. Goals are something you can work toward, with progress points along the way, giving yourself high fives and encouragement as you go.

Set a plan. Make it happen. You got this. 

Something New

So I’m trying something new. My doc put me on a diet. That dreaded four letter worddoodle everyone hates. The resolution nobody can keep. But here’s the thing: I’ve never actually gone on a diet with any intention of following it. They’ve either been too expensive, too far-fetched, too restrictive, too…something.

But this time everything the doc and I discussed leading up to that four letter word actually gave me some hope that making some “dietary changes” would have some positive effects. And once all my labs come back, I’ll probably have a new medication to go along with it. So I’m not going into this with as many reservations this time.

It has taken a long time to get to this point because previously the regular docs have all just told me to drink more water and exercise more and eat less. Well, that doesn’t work for me. No matter how much I exercise or how little  or what I eat, I stay overweight. I’m insulin resistant. I finally got a doc to refer me to a specialist who’s trying to find out why.

I’ve joked for a long time that my family tree has rotten roots. Sadly, this is no joke. Both parents were diabetics with heart disease and kidney disease. The odds are stacked against me. I already have high blood pressure. That, coupled with insulin resistance and an irregular menstrual cycle, means I most likely have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which I was diagnosed with in 2000 or 2001. But there are a few other conditions that can have the same symptoms which is what the specialist is testing for.

This mash-up of symptoms, especially the insulin resistance, causes weight gain and it is damn near impossible to take it off. That’s why the new doc has put me on the Keto diet. And I’m doing my research, looking at food lists and menus, printing out recipes, clearing out stuff from my fridge that I can’t have anymore. And I’m already getting into that mindset of “oh wait, I can’t eat that.” Like when we had Pumpkin Spice Everything Day at work and someone was passing out mini muffins. I didn’t think twice about passing on those. But I did get excited about finding a pumpkin fat bomb recipe in one of my Keto recipe books.

So I will give this diet a chance. And hopefully it will become a full-blown lifestyle change once the doc gets his labs back and decides what the next steps are. I’ve been a very round girl my whole life. It would be nice to be just a slightly curvy girl for the rest of it.

 

Rebounding from Fear

TAXES! CANCER! VOLDEMORT! 

There! I said all the scary words.

I realized today that once you put a name on something it can make it bigger, scarier, more recognizable. For a long time I just thought I was having back and hip pain. Now I know I have sciatica and scoliosis. Those are scary words that come with medicine and tests and shots. The words make them more real. Before it was just pain that I could try to ignore and work through and go about my business as best I could.

Now I know that I will have pain if I forget my medicine. I know I will have follow-up appointments to keep in the coming months. There will be other doctors to see.

The point is that we let things grow until they overtake us. But do they really need to? If we are getting on with our bad selves before we know the names, do we really need to stop living our lives once we know those names? I saw a new doctor today who said he was running tests for a lot of things including a brain tumor, of all things. Does he really think I have a brain tumor? No, but he needs to rule it out. Does it scare the hell out of me? Yes, but I’m not going to let it change how I’m living in the week or two while I wait on test results.

To paraphrase my favorite nerd, fear of the name only increases fear of the thing. Learn the names, yes. Do research so you know what it is, yes. But fear it, no. Stand strong in knowledge and get on with your bad self.

When is Enough

Was talking to a friend in the wee hours about financial stability. I have never felt like I have had it. I grew up with parents who did not know how to budget. Often grandparents would pay the power bill or buy groceries. It was common for the parents to argue over money.

I ended up marrying and later divorcing a man who also did not know how to budget. He could make money but he went through it like water. And with the examples I had I certainly didn’t know. It wasn’t until after the divorce and I was living on my aunt’s couch that I learned how to budget my money. And how to keep my bank account in the green. I didn’t have a lot of bills while I was with her but she taught me more in that time than I had learned in the 36 years prior.

Yet here I am. A decade later and I feel like I can barely support myself. I do not feel financially stable. I am way too close to 50 for this. I’ll be honest. It makes me nervous.

I’m not afraid of working. I put in my time every day. But it’s not enough to live on. And finding a job at my age is not easy. I have good benefits where I am so I’m not going to just leave without having something to go to either.

All that being said, I’m tired. Tired of worrying if I can afford housing. Tired of worrying about my car breaking down. Tired of wondering if my boyfriend and I will ever be able to move in together. Tired of wishing for more than a room at my friend’s house.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have to be Oprah level rich.

I just want enough that I don’t have to worry about having enough. Ever. Again.