Thursday, February 27, 2014

The d. virus

Hello World. I'm sick.

I'm going to try and make this quick, because I've been watching a lot of TV online, because my abilities for action have been depleted and so I think I've spent enough time on the computer. 

This illness is the weirdest. This week I've had one day fully at work, one day fully not at work, and two days where I've gone to work and then left. Sometimes I feel almost normal, then give my body a few hours and I feel sicker than I have in maybe 15 years. So weird. 

I've polished off the bottle of OJ I bought on Monday, and with this glass of V8 already poured by my side plus a couple of swigs in the fridge, the veggie juice is about to go the same direction as its fruity counterpart. 

I've been drinking and drinking and drinking - not alcohol - and peeing. And my mucus is like water, thin. That might gross you out, but as a lifelong student of the Great School of Allergy, I am able to discuss my mucus almost with banality. And when your mucus is thin, friends, that means you're hydrating well. So I am patting myself on the back for all the hydrating, but still finding myself at certain hours so congested, feeling like my head and neck are a brick. 

With sickness comes some other things to look forward to, like feeling guilty every time I call in sick to work. You know how it goes: you wake up, feel not great, call in sick, then suddenly feel a little better. You go to work, suddenly your employer is upping its tissue budget solely on account of you and your overactive schnoz. Everyone wants you to leave because they think you are going to make them sick. Next day you call in sick, suddenly feel OK. 

It's mind games, I tell you!

Well I've resigned to the fact that this illness is on a weird cycle. So I'm not confident I am out of the dark, and I'm planning to spend several weekend hours fighting illness/being bored/depressed that I am sick and trapped in my apartment (all of these things are one and the same). 

I saw my doctor today, for the second time this week, and he had interesting things to tell me. One, when I told him I was back because my symptoms were worse from two days ago, he said, "Damn virus!"

I enjoyed this.

He was very adamant that I steam my sinuses. Over a previously-boiling pot of water. At least I interpreted what he was saying to mean previously-boiling, because I'm just not comfortable putting my face over something that's currently boiling for any length of time, Doc. 

He looked in my ears and, upon looking at the right ear, informed me that the ear drum has begun to retract

People I'm not sure what that means but it doesn't sound great. He tried to explain it to me and was getting into vacuums in his analogy and frankly I was in a fog and lost him. Really I never had him in the first place. I think while he was talking my mind was thinking something like, "Retract?! ReTRACT?! What is that?!"

Other than steaming my nasal passages and using a sinus rinse, he didn't give me any real concrete actions for fighting ear drum retraction. So I'm using my added, creative methods of: worrying, trying not to worry, and really really hoping my ear drum doesn't retract. 

He also mentioned something about other patients and pus coming out of their ears. Please let's not get to that point. 

Doctor Man gave me some codeine cough syrup. I had a cough on Tuesday and Wednesday, but not so much today, and when I had the cough it sounded bad but it wasn't very productive (that means wasn't producing a lot of mucus, for those non-chronic-allergy sufferers who may not know - there I go again chatting about phlegm; it's really not that scary of a topic. Join me) and it hasn't been persistent or keeping me up at night or anything. 


Doctor heard all those details about the not-so-interesting cough, and gave me this cough syrup not to take right away, but to take when I develop a major cough. That's right. He told me that this virus, this "damn virus!", is going to get worse. And then I will need the cough syrup.


And finally, he told me that if I wanted to fight this whole...thing going on in my head the Russian way (which, come to think of it, would be timely of me, given the Olympics) that after steaming my face I could wrap it up with a towel, and then, then, I could drink hot vodka - I repeat, hot - with paprika in it. 

I have to say this frightened me. I wouldn't want to try that while not ill, let alone while ill. That said, if a friend showed up with said cocktail I would try it, in the name of getting rid of the d. virus. And I'm relatively certain it would burn my throat, make me need to sit down, or make me yell like a cowgirl or...something. Some combination of those things would happen to me, I'm guessing. 

So far I've done the steaming, some 24 hour Claritin-D, much catching up of "Parenthood" episodes, some phone calls to Kansas, and, most surprisingly, some dish washing. Something I've discovered about living alone and being really sick: it sucks that you have to do chores like dishes so that you have something to drink your many beverages from, when mostly the thought of doing dishes makes you feel faint. Also sucks: being the one to drag your ill self to the drugstore for much needed drugs. Children and youth of the world, and those with roommates, hear, hear: be grateful that you have someone to do a tissue run for you. I would gladly have paid a roommate good cash today to wash my dishes or buy me throat lozenges.

All right, that's about it. I'm tired of being in my bed (is that an oxymoron?). But I've gotta fight the d. virus (by the way I've decided to start calling it that because it looks kind of official and scientific and scary like some medical conditions are) so what am I gonna do? 

Thanks for reading. Don't get sick. Steer clear of hot vodka and paprika. And currently boiling pots of water near your face. 

Oh and I forgot to tell you earlier that the doctor said paprika has anti-viral capacities. Apparently. Which is kind of interesting, and making me consider sprinkling it in with some hot tea. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

For Valentine's Day...

Skip to the 6 minute mark (or 2 minutes from the end...) to hear a very special story involving the Daily Bailey and a Valentine related theme (smooching).

May love* be with you today and the day after that and the day after that...

*Doesn't have to be romantic!! Family love, friend love, pet love, etc.


If you didn't know, I actually love Valentine's Day, and this year I am celebrating with a beloved gal pal in Vegas. Here are some previous posts regarding this holiday:

From 2010...Cupid: Stupid?

2011: Spinster Sister

2012: Follow suit, men of the world

And from last year...Who says your lunch can't be your Valentine?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Progress that doesn't feel like progress

A lot of negative, negative, negative pulsing through me this week, and it's decided to carry it's way into my weekend.

I will say, before I continue, that I did just watch this, which helped wrestle me from my stewing pot of Ick:

FEEL GOOD times 10, am I right?? (Also, go Seahawks)

This trending negativity came back to hang out with me last night after a nearly-2 hour conversation with my friend Michelle (who I love so much I can't even tell you), and it was back when I woke up today.

Michelle, my phone date from last night, is wise beyond her years. Last night we were talking, and I was telling her that I feel guilty/behind/pathetic/etc. for not writing enough/ever/for a big enough audience. I told her that I came home from work on a Friday and managed to write something - something fiction, something I have no idea what to do with, but something - and I expressed my frustration of feeling like others in the writing rat race are getting ahead of me. I try to correct my thinking every day to adhere to my belief that I am not in charge of my life's timeline, but even so I of course fall victim to my own negativity and failure-fueled thoughts over and over.

As I was telling Michelle about my sort-of-pride for doing some writing on a Friday night but mostly my annoyance with still feeling like it doesn't matter, Michelle said something. To which I said, "I'm writing that down," and I did:

"It's not a failure. It's just a slow success that's not here yet," she said.

She's 23. People aren't supposed to get that kind of wisdom until 75.*

*I actually don't believe that. I see wisdom in people of all ages all the time. So lucky to call many of those people Friend.

Michelle continually astounds me in her ability to really take care of me, though I am five crotchety years her senior. I don't quickly take my tears to my non-family friends, but I hesitate not at all to take them to Michelle. Hours we spend on the phone, thousands of miles between us, and she brings healing and comfort into my life. She cheers me on and acknowledges my feelings as real, valid, and fair.

After I got off the phone with my Shelbot, I cracked open yet another book (someone stop me, please. I have no self control. I crack open books the way a rich celebrity could rifle through $1,000 items of clothing, one after another). This book is fourth in a series I started reading last year, by author Jan Karon. On the dedication page of "Out to Canaan," a verse from Joel is listed.

"I will restore unto you the days the locusts have eaten..." - Joel 2:25

I thought, "Wow. I've never seen that."

I am a horrible Bible reader, in that I rarely do it, I don't understand most of it, and I zone out as I attempt to read it. But in the same breath I find it to be the most hauntingly poetic thing I've ever read. I usually find the poetry in snippets ("O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past!" - Micah 5:2), which makes sense as I will probably never be one to view things in "the big picture." I would say I believe - or try to believe, or hope to believe - in the big picture message of the Bible, but I find that I am most rocked, most soothed, and most carried forward by the small pieces here and there that don't necessarily make full sense to me. They just stir my guts, make my eyes and cheeks moist, and convince me of their deep, ancient truth in that way.

I read the verse from Joel last night, and though I tossed and turned as I later lay in the dark, as I saw that passage about the locusts I was whacked aside the heart once again and re-awoken.

All these sh*tty days, of no writing, or crap writing, of thinking I am too busy, not busy enough, directionless, head constantly churning - I'm gonna get those days back! The days the locusts have eaten! I'm not focused on cashing in on those days, like some tickets spewing out of an arcade game that I can someday go and use as I wish, writing perfectly and wonderfully - on the porch of a cabin in sight of a river, with a sexy man who will bring me bon-bons as I grow faint from writing flourishing sentences that will inspire the masses... But I'm taking comfort in that those bad days, though they will happen, though I will continue to wrestle with just who I am and what I am offering to people, the point is the locusts aren't winning. The negativity won't win.

I guess what I'm saying is that the locusts have eaten my days, and they will eat more of them, but they don't get to feast on all of them. There is still grass left (though I don't see much of it here, literally, in Los Angeles. We're more of a dust and sand region).

I don't view every past action of mine as progress. There are plenty of them I can hardly think about; I rush past them when my memory tries to surface them; I'm terrified to talk to anyone about them. I got a deep tissue massage on my injured foot this week and thought, "I'd rather endure this than talk about certain things with a therapist."

But my past is past. It will be repeated, much of it. I will have racing thoughts, I will be anxious, I will get lonely on the weekends, I will feel sorry for myself, I will not give enough love to my friends when they sometimes need it.

All I can do is move forward, trusting that the locust days will be restored to me.