social distance diaries: days 197-203

in which we reach the 200s

Day 197, Monday

Checked in with my folks and finally started to feel motivated enough to return to a work-related research project I’ve put off for an embarrassingly long time.

Day 198, Tuesday

And the hormonal migraine came back with a vengeance…

Day 199, Wednesday

What happened on Wednesday? I can’t even remember…

Day 200, Thursday

Wow. 200 days of Working from Home and trying not to lose my head every time I need to go somewhere.

Had an ultrasound this morning to look into a weird pain I’ve been having… preliminary review by the tech showed no lumps, so fingers crossed for the radiologist’s report. I didn’t want to take the risk and “wait and see”.

That said, waking up an hour earlier only made my migraine worse and I needed to lie down when I got home. I would call it rest, but there’s no rest, just an all-consuming need to lay down, slap a heating pad behind my head, a cold pack on my forehead, and a black-out mask over my eyes and lay as still as possible. I felt some relief, but I’m working in the dark now.

Day 201, Friday

Dr. called with my results. Ultrasound was all clear, but they can refer me to a specialist if the pain continues. I’m starting to think the pain is muscular, as it started when I was going to the vet on a nearly weekly basis… heavy cats, already injured, not a good combination. I’m going to try to get to the local orthopedic center to see if it’s muscular. No sense in seeing a breast specialist if it’s a muscular issue. I’d rather rule it out first, if it’s not. (really hoping it’s a simple strain, that would be the best case scenario).

Meetings in the morning, followed by a dentist appointment that I could put off no longer. I have TMJ and my teeth have been experiencing sensitivity. I’ve needed a cleaning since March and have been dreading it. This feels like the safest time to go (cases are down, but not staying down).

More news! The ortho believes I may have torn/sprained my Teres Minor, one of the four muscles that assist in shoulder mobility. He found the spot right away and the description that I found matches what I’m feeling. To err on the side of caution, he ordered an MRI, so I’ll be scheduling that as soon as I hear back from the imaging center. fingers crossed the pain will be the result of carrying too many fat cats with bad form and no worse.

While I was at the Dr’s, I received an appointment to another very important university committee… my second one this week. I like serving, but it’s getting to the point where I’m averaging 7-9 hours of meetings a week and it’s starting to affect my ability to do my regular duties. I requested a meeting with my dean to lay out some realistic expectations going forward, because I can’t see myself doing it all without crashing and burning.

I should also point out that these meetings are not the result of Zoom. TBH, Zoom is an improvement over the uncomfortable seating and lighting arrangements that generally trigger the tightness in my shoulders that starts my headaches.

Day 202, Saturday

Back to writing. I took about a week and half to prep and plan for round three of edits, now that the major developmental/revision round is complete. I started the morning with a migraine, so it wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, but I’m also willing to give myself grace. I worked for two and half hours and managed to stick to my plan, which is a a win.

Completed my vote-by-mail ballot, now I have to find some time to take it to the elections office between the 7.5 hours of meetings I have scheduled this week (so far).

Had a Netflix and tea night and was completely charmed by the Enola Holmes movie. I want more! And I want to read all the books!

Day 203, Sunday

Trying to shift my writing a bit earlier in the morning, so I started at 8 and pomodoro-ed my way through a 3 hour block with 10 minute breaks. I calculated how much time it will take to finish this round if I maintain this pace and it’s not bad. Obviously, that’s an idealized situation. Realistically, there will be at least one week a month when I’m knocked out by a migraine and there will be days when I’m too tired to write after a day of staring at Zoom, but allowing for a few days off, it’s still promising.

Took a quick trip to see mom and gran. We’re seeing a slight rise in cases, but still less than we’ve seen in months. I’m worried about the holiday season and trying to take the time I can to see them before we have to quarantine again. The drop in cases is the only reason I felt “safe” enough to get he care I needed this week without immediately locking myself down.

I made espresso for the first time in a couple of months… that may have been a tactical error.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries: days 85-91

yes, I’m still working from home and keeping my distance. cases are still on the rise.

Day 85, Monday

Interrupted sleep and another bout of whatever hit me on Saturday = a very lethargic day. Maybe it’s a migraine coming? Maybe it’s PMS? Maybe it’s whatever I had in March giving me second go? Who knows. Living with chronic issues is a guessing game.

My general fatigue manifested in some rather low blood pressure in the evening. 75/63

Day 86, Tuesday

Meetings that went on too long, nothing resolved.

Day 87, Wednesday

I’m experiencing empathy fatigue re: my parents. I can’t help them, but the constant barrage of negative emotions coming from my mom, and my inability to do anything for my dad (he lives with people who are actively out and about and bringing people over without a care) are wearing me out. I speak with both of them multiple times a day, but there are times (like today) when all I want to do is say yes, no, and hang up. TBH I have a lot of unresolved issues that stem from the f*ck ups of these two humans.

Day 88, Thursday

We had more than 1600 new cases of COVID reported in Florida in today’s update and, somehow, we’re opening even more places where people gather in large groups… We’re f*cked.

Right now, everything feels hopeless.

On a lighter note, I visited my dad for a distance date. It’s the first time I’ve seen him since quarantine and it relieved some of my anxiety. I brought him a bag of his favorite bagels (he calls them donuts) and he was very pleased by the surprise.

Day 89, Friday

Cue the latest migraine. I’ve been feeling it coming for the last few days — extra fatigue, clumsiness, inability to concentrate, and generalized achiness (also, wrist pain, which is one of my first warning signs). Two days of interrupted sleep and neighbors slamming stuff didn’t help.

Decided to whip out the smaller of my teapots for a renewed, reading time tea ritual. I’ve also started using a small coffee cup with saucer to slow down my morning coffee moment.

Day 90, Saturday

Laundry in the morning, weekend chat in the afternoon. Amused (and confused) to receive an email from the university telling my I owe $3.50 for tuition… I’m a faculty member and haven’t taken a class since Fall 2008. I’m hoping it’s a glitch, but emailed them to investigate. I had enough issues with records when I WAS a student. (as faculty too if we’re being candid).

Podcast recording. (latest minisode)

Day 91, Sunday

Writing and dealing with mom drama. She is the greatest source of stress in my life right now. Yes, including covid, because keeping her safe from infection is compounded by the fact that she has a million health issues and keeps needing to go to Urgent Care Centers with more frequency than ever before… ugh.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries: Days 22-28

Day 22, Monday

It was a long night. I was up from 1-5 because I was having a hard time breathing through my nose and major pressure behind my eyes/forehead. I eventually fell asleep for a few hours after emailing my folks to let them know I wouldn’t be showing up for my 8-10 shift.

Consulted with the university’s medical director (v. nice doctor) who recommended I get tested just to be sure. Based on our conversation, it’s a 50/50 whether my symptoms are mild “asymptomatic” covid (given my possible exposure at the ER and pharmacy within the last two weeks) or anxiety spurring my usual ailments into overdrive (my temperature has fluctuated but never hit fever level, have had chills, rapid heartbeat, tiredness, sinus pressure, a scratchy/sometimes sore throat that comes and goes, and migraine type headache above my eyes, and toilet troubles that haven’t quit for 5 days at as of today).

I managed to get an appointment at one of the local testing sites and have a follow-up appointment with my PCP to discuss my anxiety.
After lots of phone calls, went about my day and finished with meetings and email.

Day 23, Tuesday

Went to the testing site. It was VERY organized (and Miami people behaved themselves!), Showed up an hour early, lined up (you never leave your car), and was being tested an hour later (exactly when I was scheduled). Whether it’s positive or negative, I just want some closure at this point.

Day 24, Wednesday

Went to see my PCP. Wore a mask, everyone at the office was wearing PPE. He ran some bloodwork but shared the same sentiment as the doctor I spoke to on Monday – this virus has a range of symptoms, so we won’t know until we have a test result. Either way, he tested by CBC, HDL, and TSH, to rule out issues related to anemia, cholesterol, or my pre-existing condition.

I’m calm and not in a state of heightened anxiety but my heart still feels like it’s over exerted sometimes and I have to take a deep breath. Lungs checked out fine. Like I told a fried, I wanted that stethoscope action to give me some insight.

The wait for results continues.

Day 25, Thursday

Slept ok. I’ve managed to get a full night during the last two days. Heart has been a little thumpy today.

Worked my usual shift and trying to catch up on emails from the current and last week. So many messages getting lost in the shuffle.

Trying to get back to projects that I haven’t been able to focus on.

Day 26, Friday

Meetings and stuff to catch up on. I haven’t gone outside in a few days because there are too many people out when I’m free. Played Just Dance to exercise.
Started re-watching Buffy as research for the podcast… it’s going to be hard choosing my episodes.

Day 27, Saturday

Another day indoors. Did some writing and took care of housework. The house is still a bit of a mess, but at least it’s something. Joined in on the podcast for a brief return.

Day 28, Sunday

Worked on another scene. At this rate, I will be working on this draft for months, but it’s the best I can manage in my current state of mind. I have regrets but I’m trying to work through them and keep going. Did half my laundry, the rest to be done tomorrow or Tuesday. This is what happens when you don’t have access to a washer and need to borrow your BF’s in order to avoid the laundromat.

My mental state is better at the end of this week. I also feel better despite needing a few more naps than usual throughout the week. Hoping for results (and answers) this coming week.

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries: days 15-20

* TW: my mental health declines in these.

Day 15

Another rough night, barely slept and had a hard time waking up in the morning… which meant I had to start out of bed and hop right onto chat with little prep. Not ideal, but made it work.

Day 16

The days are starting to blend… things have slowed down a bit, work-wise, and I’m trying to find the mental space to work on more than the basics, but it hasn’t happened yet…

Day 17

The usual, plus a very long meeting watching faculty trying to figure out how to use a survey tool. It was a looooong meeting.

Ordered dinner from a local Greek restaurant for the first time since I started the work-from-home sitch. I tried ordering from two Chinese places and both were closed, which makes me wonder if they were experiencing racism or decided to be safe (hoping it’s the latter and not the former).

Day 18

What day is it again? (it’s Thursday, for the record)

Went to the Outside after doing my first round of chat… more people wearing masks, so that’s good. I wore a makeshift scarf mask and prayed for the best. To keep my mom and gran away from contagion, I’ve been doing their groceries along with mine, which means I spent an obscene amount of money at Walmart, all while dodging people (still no toilet paper or disinfectant. Also, men need to learn to respect the distance). The elders and the cats will be fed for some time (my mom feeds her own cats plus the local colony that she’s TNRed).

Donated to Feeding America. https://www.feedingamerica.org/

Every time I have a cough, I wonder if this is it 😦

Day 19

Started having anxiety attacks again last night after doing what I shouldn’t do and reading covid accounts. I can’t tell if the weirdness my body feels is the usual weirdness or more, which only spurs the anxiety and makes my chest hurt more. It’s hard to focus on anything right now, but I’m eating well, moving, and trying to take care of myself as much as I can.

Had a major panic attack at night and thought I was having a heart attack. It was terrifying and happened more than once over the course of a few hours until I felt like I was dying. Called a 24 hour on-call nurse and 911. My vitals and EKG checked out, so that was a relief, but it took a while for me to fall asleep.

The Weekend

Day 20, Saturday

Called my doctor’s on-call service and spoke with the weekend doctor. She prescribed anxiety meds because I need more than my regular interventions can offer. My usual pharmacy is out of stock at all the nearby locations so I had to call around to find a CVS that had it in stock. It’s an obvious reflection of the times we’re in when all the anxiety meds are out of stock at a major retailer. Waiting for them to be filled and hoping they can stave off the next attack.

Got the meds after a mishap with the Rx transfer. Took the first dose with dinner. The anxiety gets worse in the evenings. I also have a mild migraine and sinus pressure that has been bothering me all day. I slept through most of the morning into the afternoon because I had no desire to do anything. I’m ok at the moment. I just don’t want to feel like I’m dying again.

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries: days 8-10

*this has been a WEEK

Day 8

5:30 am – Really tired this morning and barely want to get out of bed. Had an anxiety attack at 1 am and another at 3 am that left me reeling. I think I slept for about 4 hours, definitely no enough.
breakfast toast, biscotti, and two cups of coffee (I’m running low on biscotti)

7:30 am – check email and plan out my schedule for the week

8 am – back on chat

9ish – manager type stuff… signing forms electronically because no printer.

[neighbor always has a loud cough, but now it sounds particularly dire]

11-12p social distance chat with work friends

lunch and test zoom with BF who is semi working remote

1pm very awkward work meeting with all faculty and staff…

[took a nap because the tiredness was too much, came back to a million emails – the curse of remote work]

3:30+ emails, surveys, answering questions, scheduling meetings

———————

Day 9

woke up ok, soon entered crisis mode after learning my gran was injured and headed to the hospital. My fear for my family’s health is now code red.

8-10 – did my job as planned to stay busy and keep my mind occupied. chatted for an hour with one of my coworkers who was very kind. chatted with BF to feel a connection. Waited for calls from mom and updates.

I am going through all the stages of grief.

the rest of the day was a wash of meetings and anxiety. Good news, my gran had no fractures, albeit lots of bruises, and was sent home to recover.

———————

Day 10

one of my coworkers traded for my morning hours, so I decided to take the morning mostly off, check email, and forget about everything for a while. Finished the day with the usual work stuff, but I felt much better.

Things that have been helping: l-theanine for my anxiety, walks, checking with the boy on google hangouts. lots of calls with mom.

Also, reading a heck of a lot of romance, but that’s unchanged since the world became a trash fire in 2016. Let’s just say, my choice of reading material is a reflection of my inability to focus on much of anything. HEAs forever! At least in fiction.

social distance diaries: Day 6 & 7 (the first weekend)

Saturday

Slept ’til 8 (ignoring cats as long as possible). I’ve been going to bed later than usual and it’s definitely taking a toll. Feel a bit better this morning. Had a pb&j for breakfast because my appetite is starting to come back after the anxiety of the last two days. Tidied up a bit, wrote a weekend to-do list, and started revising/writing at 10am.
Wrote for about 2.5 hours (lunch in between) and had a nice, long walk.
Listened to podcasts (Smart Podcast, Trashy Books and Secret Feminist Agenda)
Did the dishes because I can’t handle the mess.
Had dinner and finished re-watching Derry Girls (my favorite crisis watch) and started Kim’s Convenience (Netflix)
Did mom’s taxes

Sunday

Slept in again, really needed the rest. Lots of driving to and from BF’s house to do laundry but NOT be socially near… Trip to grocery store to pick up stuff for mom after arguing about why I don’t want HER going out to buy things. People with recalcitrant elders, I feel you.
Jittery hands = dropped lunch. Such a waste. Glad for leftovers.
Cleaning frenzy at home… lots of vacuuming and scrubbing but all is clean for the first time in a while… (sad, but true)
Have been having less anxiety/rapid heart beat by NOT watching videos about the virus (every time I watch something, I start coughing)
Took a walk
Watched more Kim’s Convenience episodes
30 minutes of writing – less than I wanted, but more than I expected after the day I had.
Completed the Census for myself and mom
Caught up with podcast duties
Planning to read and go to bed early

Meanwhile, some people are not getting the idea of social distancing—having a backyard party with your family and friends is not practicing social distance (as evidenced during my walk this afternoon). Every one of your relatives and/or friends comes with a social circle beyond your own. This virus spreads rapidly and symptoms may not be evident. Stop mingling! I’d rather be bored than dead. If you can stay home, STAY HOME.

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries: day 4 & 5

Day 4

6:15 – morning as usual, breakfast, cat time

7 – morning Yoga with Kassandra flow

7:45 – one of the ferals who disappeared after the daylight savings shift returned! yay!

8 – hurry to get back on chat…

11-12:30 deal with mom stuff, phone calls, lunch, wonder if I’m sick tired or just “I’m always tired so what else is new” tired

1 – ordered myself the $20 surprise box from Love’s Sweet Arrow (bookstore) as a Good Thing of the Day

2-3:30-ish monitor online faculty meeting/chat simultaneously

3:35 – get call from mom that her pain has worsened, plan for worst case scenario and drive over…

5-6:30 mostly panic over whether or not my mother, grandmother, and I are now infected after visit to ER facility. Contact was limited, mask was worn, hands were cleaned, all clothes was stuffed in a bag for disinfecting upon arriving home

[a lot happened, lots of fears were tapped. I did some rage tweeting.]

8 finally go home. wash wash wash! feed self. try to relax

went to bed around 11 because couldn’t come down from the high of adrenaline for a while

———————

Day 5

all the emotions today. woke up, waited for pharmacy to open, went for a walk, bought a social distance latte because I needed it (our county is take-out only), back to pharmacy for pickup and supplies for mom (just in case). back home. quick lunch (finally had an appetite), caught last 5 minutes of a meeting, chat with coworkers, another walk, shower and try to relax, call with university therapist because I NEEDED IT.

Going to finish a book and write a review because I need something normal.

Trying to mitigate little panic attacks with deep breathing and podcasts. Every cough feels like a death knoll.

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries: Day 3

*note, these are always a day behind and are intended to keep me grounded with reality

6:30am back at it…

8-10 work work work online…
lots of med faculty and students signing on to chat for help -I think this means people are settling in to their new normal
students asking for procedural stuff re: library closures
[simultaneously, get back to working on a review I need to finish]

10-10:30 – took a break, yoga quickie, calls

11 work on review

11:45 -12:15 social distancing with coworkers online

12:30 lunch

1 back on chat… how to explain that we don’t have laptops for every student… lots of questions about returning books by mail if they’re not returning to campus next semester (we’ve waived fees but these students are probably graduating)
lots of emailing to find answers to questions I can’t answer

2:30 – 3 break for walk

3:15 learned one of the students from earlier got a laptop 🙂

5 – called it done. Made a lot of eggplant curry for the next few days (also, my freezer is now overstocked with pre-made meals.)

Around 8:30 I had a bit of a panic attack over my mom and gran and their health in general. It was hard to come down from it.

in the meantime, my insta stories are getting more action than ever…

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

social distance diaries: Day 2

so this is my new normal.

6:30am wake up, coffee, don’t make the bed because the cats have taken over…

7am search for a foldable laptop/tray table because if this is my new normal, I need a better solution than working on my lap [I have a desk, but I need a dedicated work station for work brain]

8am sign on to work work work the chat service for the next two hours

9am get my ire up because local uni (NSU) is still letting students hang out in the library, where staff are required to work (local news is reporting that NSU has 6 COVID student cases and many more in the county)

9:50am try to explain to student that we don’t have hotspots for every student 😦 [in-need students were identified for first dibs]

10:30am we have a tray table!

12-1pm lunch and google hangout with coworker

1:45pm learn we’ve gone remote through end of term and maybe into the summer

2pm zoom zoom zoom meeting with department folks

3pm took a walk and a quick workout for the sake of moving and deep breathing

3:30pm lots of texting with staff that I didn’t get to connect with earlier

4pm get back to reading for reviews and emailing

call it quits at 5.

dinner and finish the night with more reading for reviews

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast