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.

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social distance diaries: days 176-182

in which time loses all meaning

Day 176, Monday

Another Monday, another day inside despite it being Labor Day… not that I ever really do much on Labor Day. I’m not a beach person, even under normal circumstances.

Day 177, Tuesday

I’ve been turned around all day, thinking it was Monday. My leg woke me up at 2am and kept me up until 4-something, so there’s that. I applied heat today to see if that soothes the muscle. I think my ankle has started to tense, leading to cramping (at least, I hope it’s just cramping).

Day 178, Wednesday

Cookie Cat went back to the vet for what is (hopefully) the last time. His stitches came out and we asked for him to be tested for anything contagious because, yes, I’m bringing him home. Part of me isn’t ready for a second cat—I’m still missing my sugar bear and little girl is still not 100% since her bout of bronchitis (and other -itises)—but I want to give him a chance at a nice, comfortable, indoor life. Basically, my place is a rehab home for my mom’s sick ferals.

Day 179, Thursday

Trying KT tape on the ankle because the boot is making my leg ache. Also adding some stretches and mobility exercises to loosen up my joint. The scabby knee is itchy AF.

Days 180 – 182, Friday – Sunday

TBH, these days were a blur. Friday was filled with meetings and the weekend was filled with writing, podcast recording on Sunday, and worrying on Sunday night. It was a productive time until kitty started sneezing and breathing faster than normal. Her asthma/allergy is acting up again and I have no idea what is causing it, but a vet trip is in order.

The number of confirmed covid cases is going down in the state and locally, but we’re still higher than we were when we shut down back in March. I’m worried about the holidays and kids going back to the classroom 😦

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social distance diaries: days 169-175

in which I am in injured…

Day 169, Monday

Kitty woke me up too early, so I decided to get to work right away… missed my morning walk, decided on a post-lunch stroll and bam tripped on a massive pothole behind my building, twisting my ankle 😦

An officer was driving by and saw me fall. It was pure serendipity because I’m not sure how I was going to hobble back to my apartment without something to lean on.

Glad it wasn’t a break, but not feeling great about being injured, alone, and unable to get much help from my family because of covid. Not being able to reach my mom or boyfriend for well over 30 minutes while crying and stumbling around my apartment with a swollen ankle and a bloody knee brought a lot of my living alone fears to the fore.

Day 170, Tuesday

Living that peg-leg life. Wasn’t able to sleep with the boot, but at least the pain decreased and managed to get some rest after switching to a brace. Being a chronic painer means I’m well-equipped to deal with the situation. sort of sigh Slathering on arnica, triflora, and cbd cream between icing sessions. Elevating all day with my WFH setup. It makes for some interesting zoom sessions.

The knee that I scraped is badly bruised, but my knee feels fine (thank goodness!). Not an attractive sight.

Called the city to report the pothole. I can see it from my bedroom window… hoping they fill it.

Day 171, Wednesday & Day 172, Thursday

Apparently, my body doesn’t like naproxen. Two days of dizziness, drowsiness, brain fog, and near inability to function. The side effects of the meds were worse than the sprain.

Day 173, Friday

24 hours after my last pain killer and I feel significantly better. Switched to advil as needed, which isn’t often. As long as I’m wearing the boot, icing, and taking care to rest, I don’t feel pain. The bruising is well and truly purple now.

Getting my head back helps.

Day 174, Saturday

I stayed up reading, something I haven’t done in a VERY long time, which means kitty was most displeased when I didn’t get up for her breakfast. I received a nip on my arm for my disrespect.

Still having a hard time finding my focus. Edited for about 25 minutes before my attention was shot.

Spent some time with the boy, which always makes me a little nervous (he has to physically go to work twice a week and goes shopping more than I ever do), but he wears his mask and I really need the help if I want to leave the house.

Day 175, Sunday

Back to writing (focus on point today), but there’s so much that needs doing, I have to split my time, even on the weekends. Plus, my leg feels uncomfortable if I sit too long—not that standing is any better. I mostly have to lay, which has me feeling all manner of dejected after 6 days straight.

Started working on a cookbook review project, but I’m limited by mobility and ingredients at the moment, so this is going to be interesting…

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social distance diaries: days 127-133

surviving the summer of our discontent…

Day 127, Monday

Completed my writing goal for the month, which gives me enough time to start an extra chapter before July ends (if all goes well). My goals are super modest, but they’ve been keeping me on track for the last few months.

Day 128, Tuesday

Started my new running plan using Nike Run Club. Also gave in to an unplanned splurge (damn you clever marketing!) and upgraded my fitbit alta with a fitbit inspire, so I can finally monitor my heart rate.

Day 129, Wednesday

Planned to get started on a review, but best laid plans were unlaid. Oh well. If this strange period has taught me anything it’s to accept the unexpected with as much grace as possible.

Trying not to obsess over the possible hurricane churning in the Atlantic… I’m more prepared than ever because of my pandemic stock and excess of batteries from last year’s hurricane prep. Still… I really DON’T want to deal with another crisis on top of the current one.

Day 130, Thursday

IBS? PCOS? Who knows, but I felt pretty rotten. Hoping it’s a passing symptom and not a sign of something else. I’m one week into my post-Dr’s visit quarantine and feeling fine otherwise. And by fine, I mean low-key tired, but what else is new?

Day 131, Friday

Back to the vet. Mom’s outdoor kitty with the abscess has some sort of resistant infection, so he got a new round of antibiotics and the Dr. sent a sample to the lab. Same thing happened last time 😦

Met with one of my department faculty to figure out some plans for the Fall. Finding the motivation to plan activities for the Fall term has proven difficult. Not sure how successful we will be, but it’s a start and we both need the motivation.

Received my 30 day heart monitor. Maybe I’ll have some answers after this… maybe an inkling?

Day 132, Saturday

Completed my weekly running goal and a return to my old habit. It was hard. I can barely manage a few minutes without feeling like my legs are going to fall off, but it’s a start.

Writing and podcast recording in the afternoon. I completed my writing goal for the month a few days early, so I upped that goal by a chapter.

Day 133, Sunday

I planned to write but gave in to the siren call of a cleaning frenzy. Deep cleaned the bathroom, did the laundry, and sorted through my linen closet/supply cabinet. It’s not perfect, but it’s a darn sight better than it was before I went through it.

Spent the rest of the night reading, which felt pretty glorious.

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social distance diaries: days 120 – 126

wherein depression hits hard…

Day 120, Monday

Balancing work stuff and life stuff in this weirdness that is the WFH life while providing elder care from a distance… Picked up mom’s kitty from the vet. He looks a lot better than the last time he had an abscess (then it took nearly a month to heal, multiple trips to the vet, and several tries to find the right antibiotic to get rid of the infection. We thought he was going to lose his tail, but he didn’t). I’m not yet ready for another cat, but the possibility is possible…

Time to prep the special, multi-category grocery list for this month’s trip to Publix… where I will freak out several times and possibly have a nervous breakdown if the cart gets too full to push (again).

Day 121, Tuesday

Grocery time… and an epic migraine that knocked me out for most of the afternoon into the evening. Was it the weather? Was it tension? Was it hormones? Who the F knows?! At least it was strong but quick to leave fade.

Day 122, Wednesday

Back to the cardiologist for my results… I have a slight valve defect! Which might account for some of the weirdness I’ve been feeling for the last year and a half (and maybe more?). Waiting to be approved for a 30 day monitor to try to capture the events I feel. Like a wonky car, I had no symptoms during any of the previous tests.

Day 123, Thursday

I can’t even remember what happened… meetings?

Day 124, Friday

Back to the vet, which is a whole experience in lockdown. Kitty needed to have his wound flushed again and a new round of antibiotics. It’s been an emotionally draining week.

Day 125, Saturday

Writing for the first time since Monday. Finished the chapter I was working on — a long one that required more focus than I had this week.

Worried because more people are testing positive in my parents’ buildings (yes, plural, 2 separate homes). Started noticing the frequency of sirens over the last few days as well. I live on the same street as the local Fire Rescue/Police station, and the number of emergency calls is definitely on the rise.

Also worried about the boy and his risk at work and home 😦

Day 126, Sunday

Another morning of writing… I’m in a mood and it’s left me drained.

Boy changed the oil in my car, so I’m all set for future grocery and vet runs (although, please, no more EMERGENCY vet runs).

I want to start running again. I stopped when COVID started because I was anxious about getting hurt and needing to go to Urgent Care (not an unlikely occurrence), but I’m going to try short jogs and see how it feels. I’m months out of practice, so it’ll be a fresh start.

Also, not gonna lie… the days are starting to blend into each other and this “diary” is one of the only tools I have to make them feel distinct. Since visiting the Dr.’s office, I’m committing to a 14 day quarantine and hoping for the best. I debated getting tested, but I’m going to wait it out this time. There are so many cases, it feels futile to get tested right now. (It took 10 days to get my results last time.)

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social distance diaries: days 78-84

Day 78, Monday

Meetings and lots of them.

Started writing again. It’s slow going, but it’s a start. It’s been difficult to write in my current mental state, especially when trying to write a Romance that has some heavy angst.

Day 79, Tuesday

I don’t even remember what I did on Tuesday…

I wrote for an hour.

Day 80, Wednesday

Collected Cara’s ashes. They didn’t have my number on record, which is why it took so long. I called to ask and they already had him. They provided a ceramic paw print, which broke my heart just a little.

Meetings that I didn’t have on my calendar threw me for a loop.

Wrote for another hour.

Day 81, Thursday

Tired and feeling a little off, but I suspect mid-cycle hormone mess. I’ve noticed this increases my anxiety and makes my heart race.

Meetings and work on writing projects. I have ideas for future research that I’ve been mulling for months; I think the time is nearing for introspection…

Day 82, Friday

What would’ve been the uni’s chair’s retreat was hosted on Zoom. It was very informative. Our local infectious disease expert spoke candidly about the situation and what’s going to happen moving forward. Her conclusion: herd immunity won’t save us and vaccines (if/when we have them) will likely be annual.

I wore makeup for the first time since March…

Day 83, Saturday

Suddenly, incredibly sick with indigestion. Spent most of the morning feeling awful and the afternoon in a languid haze. Managed to get some writing done.

Day 84, Sunday

Donated blood for the first time ever. I’ve always wanted to but haven’t because of reasons (not least of which is my episodes of lightheadedness). It went well. Phlebotomist said, “Wow! You’re a bleeder.” Friends, I am apparently. It only took about 5 minutes to complete the donation. Part of my motivation was to donate, but the more selfish motivation was to 1) learn my blood type 2) participate in the covid antibody study that the blood bank is supporting.

Stay safe, wear your mask, register to vote!

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writing: August update

writing

The draft is “done”. The words are down and the review copy printed. Next steps include: writing my synopsis, drafting a query, and reviewing the first 50 pages. As usual, I am left with writerly ambivalence (It was the best of drafts; it was the worst of drafts.) but there are only so many times you can rewrite before you’re just avoiding the next step. So, wish me luck.

The numbers, as they stand:

  • Words (re)written in August: 27,431
  • Words in 2018 to date: 135,148
  • Words before revision : 80,160
  • Words after revision: 77,930

Making this the second shortest version of “Anúna” since my 100+k first draft (the shortest draft was just over 70k). I’m brutal when it comes to trimming excess.

There are two other manuscripts I’d like to revise, but I’m probably going to focus on a fast draft of last year’s failed NaNo project. It’s a story that I may not be ready to write, but I’d like to give it another try and see where it goes. If I do decide to join NaNo, I will do so completely safe in the knowledge that I will fail to reach 50k in a month. I’m just not there right now, but it is a nice motivator.

writing: May draft update

writing

I have news! The draft is complete! Except, it’s not… not really, but you know what I mean. This draft, as it stands, is completely revised and mostly rewritten. I finished it on Saturday and had a nice lunch to celebrate, before writing up a quick plan for next steps.

The first step: proofreading and a deep review of the first 50 pages (plus, take care of all those notes I added in the margins).

Next: query and synopsis research, as it’s been a while since I’ve done this and need a refresh.

Agent research, list-making, and more to follow. But, for now, it’s in a happy place and I can relax when I go to my yearly library conference next week.

The stats: 

  • Words (re)written in May: 9,998
  • Total wordcount: 80,163
  • Previous wordcount: 83,124
  • Words that survived from the last draft: probably 163

*Patting myself on the back.*

writing: April words and progress

writing

I wrapped up the month just shy of my goal, completing 5 chapters (including the prologue. I started the month strong, with some serious, day-long editing sessions, but the end of the month brought a couple of health issues (knocked out by migraines and cramps) and some personal life drama that made it difficult to do more than the basics. That said, it was my best month yet (wordcountwise) and I’m ready to take on the last three chapters.

  • Words (re)written in April: 15,530
  • Words (re)written in 2018 (to date): 47,222

My goal is to finish this draft by May 19th (ideally, the 13th), giving me two/three weeks before I proofread, and time to focus on the switch from drafting to query prep. Deep breath. I’m going to get over my anxiety and do it.

 

writing: March progress

writing

March marks a small milestone for my current project: I’ve completed the first two parts of my three part rewrite plan! 7 more chapters to go before edits (and maybe [finally] querying prep).

  • Words (re)written in March: 11,024
  • Words (re)written in 2018 (to date): 31,692

I’m sticking to my weekend writing schedule and it’s working well for my mental state. My goal is to finish the last section before I leave for a conference in mid-May.