Archives for posts with tag: getting over it

I woke about an hour ago. It’s a bit past 3:00 a.m. now. Little point in attempting to return to sleep. No idea what actually woke me. For now, I’m dealing with this sinus headache, but, and this is just real, I’m almost delighted that I can, mostly, just breathe. The vertigo, which I think may be a result of sleeping with my neck at an odd angle, combined with this head cold, is a cruel new addition, and I’m already “over it” (meaning to say, I’d very much like to be done with this whole mess, now, please…).

I worked yesterday, from home, and wrapped up the day about 2 hours early, compared to a typical Monday. I honestly wasn’t good for much. Today, either, potentially, but I am feeling “up to it”, and no coughing or sneezing, so far, and able to breathe (mostly)… I may go into the office today. I sit here sipping icy cold grapefruit fizzy water, wondering if I really will. The advantage is small; I have more monitor “real estate” there, and this allows me to work somewhat faster, with more things open and easy to see. That’s it. The disadvantage? If I am still contagious, I get everyone on my team sick (small office space), and potentially also everyone I talk to. That’s a dick move. I resolve to stay home if I start sneezing or coughing, and decide that if I do go in, I’ll go quite early, and overlap with folks for a much shorter period of time, keeping my hands washed, and wearing a mask. If nothing else, the mask itself will discourage conversation, and reduce risk further.

…I’ll probably work half a day, get the essentials done, take advantage of the efficiency of the big monitors, and cancel live calls/meetings that involve face-to-face participation.

My coffee is very good this morning. I feel content and alert in spite of the ridiculous hour. My body feels mostly pretty comfortable, very little pain. The discomfort I do feel is largely to do with this cold, and I’m clearly getting over that. I find that to be very good news – honestly, I have shit to get done. Not being up to doing things sucks. I keep sipping this coffee, between physical therapy exercises, and wait for this vertigo to clear up; if it doesn’t, I’ll stay home. Driving to the office in the dark, in the rain, and also with vertigo? That just sounds fairly stupid.

Back and forth… water… coffee… work from home? Go to the office? More water. Another sip of coffee. How do I best take care of this fragile vessel? Water. Chicken broth. Tea. Sleep. More sleep. More water. Limited use of cold care remedies, and only those that are definitely effective, and don’t mess with my head. More sleep. More water. More broth. Food when I can eat. I don’t know what works for you – do that, though, I suppose. I do this. 🙂 I’d been going through a record-breaking number of Kleenex’s there for a day or two, but this box next to me has been open now for more than 12 hours, and it’s still half full. Progress.

…Oh, damn, do I enjoy being able to breathe? Oh, yes, yes, I do – so very much. 🙂 It’s nice having that back.

I find myself looking forward to the cold autumn air and the rain fresh breeze, when I step outside, into the pre-dawn darkness of morning. The house is comfortably warm, but not hot. I feel a bit overdressed for the indoor temperature, and remind myself that my coat is in the bedroom closet, my partner still sleeping. Going to work without my coat, in this weather, in this health, seems fairly dumb; I’ll have to go get it, probably waking my partner. :-\ It is what it is. I remind myself he would comfortable do so, himself, were the situation such that he needed a clothing item from the bedroom, while I am sleeping. lol No coat = no commute. 🙂 That’s some solid self-care decision-making right there. 🙂

I look at the time. It’s very early, not quite 4:00 a.m., but getting that kind of head start on the day will be a huge win for reducing exposure to any lingering contagion, so… I guess it’s time to begin again. 😀

Well. Shit. And, in some senses of the word, I guess I mean that literally. lol Omg – being a human primate can be so distressingly gross sometimes.

The tickle in my throat night before last wasn’t a thing, I guess, although my throat was a bit raw by the end of the day yesterday… it could have been because I talk too damned much. lol Just as I was forming a “hey, I guess I feel okay…” sort of thought, “other symptoms” hit me and I was making my exit by way of the restroom before I could get to the parking lot and get in the car. (Frankly, that was a good call, and I don’t think I’d have been able to make the drive home without that detour to the restroom!)

I don’t like being sick.

I felt lethargic and drained (lol) all evening. I went to bed very early, and apparently slept deeply through the night. I woke drenched in sweat, hair tangled and knotted, and feeling sort of shaky and weak, but aside from that, sort of mostly okay-ish… I think… So far…

I get through the morning routine pretty easily. That first sip of coffee isn’t treating me very well, though, and I uncomfortably wonder what to do about that?

What strange fragile vessels these meat suits are. My enthusiastic loose plan to hike on the weekend is taking on the shape of a gentle walk along an accessible path. lol My eagerness to see my Traveling Partner becomes a hope that whatever this is does not get shared. I reconsider my plans and place my focus on self-care, wellness, and “recovering”, tacitly admitting to myself that I feel unwell. Ah. Well, there it is, then. Apparently, I’m not well. lol Thanks, Brain, I wasn’t sure where I stood on that topic. Got it. Thanks for clearing up any confusion on that.

My coffee is of no interest; I’m not feeling wholly well this morning. I’d definitely work from home, but didn’t bring my laptop home with me last night – I’m feeling a little stupid over that poor choice – so I at least have to go into the office to get it. lol Fucking hell. Two more work shifts, and then a weekend.

I’m really over being sick on weekends. Damn.

I take a breath, then another; being annoyed over being sick can so easily turn into some bullshit emotional storm of frustration and volatility, and that’s really a pretty pointless waste of time. We are mortal creatures of flesh and emotion, and sometimes being sick is a thing we go through. Beating myself about being ill is fairly foolish, and I am not up to it this morning. I shrug and let it go. The work week is almost over. It makes sense that weekends are as much about recovering from exhaustion or illness as they are about leisure-time recreations.

I notice the time… yeah. I work at resetting my expectations of the day, and finding my way to a new beginning. It’s definitely time to begin again. 😉

Staying home yesterday was the right choice. The small amount of effort exerted happily tidying up the smallest bit, while my energy level was high in the early morning, completely wiped me out. Not a set back, specifically, but definitely a clear warning sign that I’m not yet well. By mid-day, symptoms like dizziness, and that infernal headache, had gone completely, and I didn’t need to sleep all day. (Yay!!) So… definitely feeling “better”…but… then, sometime later in the day, the coughing got going on this whole other unnecessarily annoying level…and then… ouch. The muscles supporting my ribs, along my sides, not quite around toward my back, definitely involved in coughing…and… definitely not ready for all of this coughing. Something sprung, or pinched, or tweaked, or… both sides, now, every cough, there’s also muscle pain sharp in my awareness, not quite to the torn muscle severity, but god damn it hurts when I cough. 😦 How the ever-loving-fuck do I avoid coughing as I recover from the fucking flu???

I went to bed. Slept… okay… ish. For most values of “sleep” and “okay”. I woke often. Drinking this much tea, water, coffee… it’s a given. So there’s that. And the coughing. And the pain. I so do not want to go to work today. I could get some shit done here, though… I’m up to that. So it isn’t really the work, itself, that I’m not up to at this point – it’s the environment. I’m not up to it, and it’s not really the appropriate place to bring all this fucking loud coughing. (I sound like I’m literally dying of some horrible disease of the respiratory system, it’s hard to listen to.) (Not only that, but sitting near me would also subject someone to listening to my damned lungs making percolating noises while I breathe. lol Again, not the picture of vibrant health one expects from a coworker, generally.) Nor do I wish to expose others to this (although I already have – and omg, I am so sorry!!). So… this morning, my coffee, the trip to the office to grab my laptop and back home to “go to work”. Like… double the commute. <sigh> Yes, but also… heated seats. My arthritic back does like some time on the heated seat. 🙂

I just want to be well. lol I wake up making childish bargains with the universe (“If you just let me get through today without… “) that never work out (because that’s not how life works). I’m managing to take decently good care of myself, and it was lovely waking up this morning to a tidy little place, a clean kitchen, a sense of order, and a fireplace ready for me when I want it. That was one bonus out of the day, yesterday; the landlord was on site doing winterization stuff around the duplex (and no doubt other locations in the area), and stopped in to turn on the pilot light for the gas fireplace. 😀 It was pretty nice to enjoy the evening in the glow of a merry little fire, then also just switch it off at bed time. I enjoyed it so much that before bed I put a sticky note on the switch that says “this too costs cash”. lol

Still sick. My coffee is good, though (and my sense of taste is returning). I’m decently well-rested in spite of the very interrupted night. I’m clearly in the process of “getting well”, it’s just taking rather longer than I’d like. It’s a good opportunity to bring the work laptop home, and get back to work, even if I am not ready to get back to the office… It’s just time to begin again. Slowly. With great care. 🙂

I didn’t have an easy night. Falling asleep didn’t happen easily. Staying asleep wasn’t going super well, either. At midnight, again, I was awake, drinking hot tea to sooth my sore throat, and waiting to be sleepy enough, again, to try sleep, again. Pillows piled too high, I didn’t seem to doze off. Too low and I found that I quickly couldn’t breathe. Sometime after 2 am, I found a “sweet spot”. The alarm went off far too soon after that.

Yesterday it was an achievement to enjoy a moment in the garden, quietly.

I woke with a clear sense that I am “getting over this”, at long last, although the cough persists, my throat is still sore, and my sinuses are still stuffy. There’s a new quality to it, subtle and hard to pin down specifically, that just feels like everything is, in some tiny way, just a bit less “off” and just a bit more “recovering”. I’m not well, though, and there are so many ways to choose to proceed that could delay getting over this completely. “Pushing myself too hard” is just one of them, but it is on my mind because it is one that I rather regularly choose. I’m not inclined to do that, today. I consider calling out entirely, but there is a small amount of preparatory work setting up tomorrow that I would ideally want to have done before tomorrow arrives… but… yeah, soooo not up to working an entire day in the office.

Today was either going to be working from home (this cough is pretty disruptive, if nothing else), or calling out entirely; that’s the decision that needs to be made this morning. I still don’t know. I was pretty sick Friday, such that I failed to bring my (work) laptop home with me (just wasn’t thinking clearly). To work from home I need to go get it. (The humor in that is not lost on me; if I work, I’ll have to commute, to get the laptop, to work from home.) Calling out comes with no such requirement, and omg I am so still sick enough, but it is a choice that requires convincing myself to let Monday’s work go even just one day, and picking up that thread tomorrow. Layers of decision-making. If I choose to call out today, and end up feeling like working from home tomorrow makes more sense than going into the office… then I’ve merely delayed that silly commute to pick up the laptop. If I think there is any risk at all I may want/need to work from home tomorrow, it makes sense to get the laptop today… doesn’t it? Or does it?

All the major weekly deliverables on my plate each week that go out to my consumers are handled on Mondays. This makes Mondays “matter” a great deal to me. But… so does my health. Shit. This is hard.

I do feel “more better” this morning than I have in days… My decision this morning may affect my timely recovery from illness… soooo…

I keep turning it over in my head. Pros. Cons. Back and forth. Out of nowhere I am wracked with coughs, choking on the crap my lungs are trying to expel that has slowly settled in them over days. No. It’s pretty clear. I’m not quite well yet. Almost there… almost… there…

I decide to call out for this one. Just, call out. Entirely. Work on getting sufficiently well to really return to work tomorrow. I find myself hoping this is the wiser choice. I breathe. Pay attention to my physical state of being in all particulars… I feel some tiny bit better today than any day I went home early last week… I also feel notably worse than any day I worked an entire shift last week… I also feel very much that one more day of recovery will see me past the worst of it, and really ready to get back to work… so…

I make the hard choice. I call out for today. I commit to taking care of this fragile vessel. I use up a couple more tissues. I cough for a few minutes more. I finish my coffee, and make a cup of tea. I adjust the thermostat to “staying home today”.

Then, I begin again.

How often have I suffered, or hurt, and faced someone telling me to ‘grow a thicker skin’, ‘shrug it off’, ‘walk away’, ‘move on’, ‘let it go’… How often have you? It’s funny that comes up so often, I think, because it is only in very rare circumstances that such words have had any value, or benefit, in those moments of pain.  I’m not complaining, and I’m not angry.  I’m a bit puzzled, though; where did we – any of us – get the idea that the proper and effective way to soothe, support, or console another suffering human being is to tell them to stop suffering? It’s not particularly effective, and definitely sends a clear message to the suffering person that they are somehow in the wrong to hurt.

I wrote about a thousand more bitter words in that vein this morning, before I realized I had ‘gone off topic’… because this morning I am considering with some interest and amusement that I am actually at a place in life where I am indeed, in some small way, ‘walking it off’, and have been since my journey dog-legged through a crisis and veered hard in the direction of mindfulness, and self-compassion.  I’m not trying to ‘walk it off’ in a dismissive way, devaluing the nature of my experience, or to avoid meeting my needs, or to avoid facing the things that hurt so much…I’m not running away.  I am walking. A lot. I walk every day, and even days when my walking is simply the portions of my commute I handle on foot, I get a few miles of gentle contemplation, and forward momentum.  How is it that it matters so much? (The walking – and the walking with mindfulness, particularly?)

One journey or another; getting from here to there.

One journey or another; getting from here to there.

There’s probably science to it; I haven’t studied it.  I do know that on my most challenging days, when my brain fights any moment of stillness, of awareness, of self-compassion, or contentment, no matter how vicious the ‘brain attacks’ I inflict on myself; once I’m on my feet, and walking, the breathing takes over, and I begin to find peace. Sure, I may indulge in some negative thinking, frustrated rumination, or angry ideations in those first hundreds of yards, but once miles start ticking away, my head clears, my heart feels lighter and my mind is liberated, my thinking productive and lucid. Generally.

This morning I am looking back on the evolution of getting back on my feet. I am observing the steps I took – real and metaphorical – that got my weight down, got me off psych meds that were doing more harm than good,  got me away from the mesmerizing mental junk food offered by the media, the networks, and the cable companies. Got me away from a job that was killing my soul. I took steps – and a lot of them, most of them, were real steps – feet on pavement, feet on earth.

I felt real pride the first time I walked 10 blocks to the nearest grocery store – most of it uphill – after years of being sedentary and sedated.  I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was able to visit the big farmer’s market on Saturdays; for so long I had been so uncomfortably heavy I just couldn’t walk far enough to do it.  I kept at it. No car. Everywhere I could reasonably go on foot, I planned the additional time and didn’t take transportation.  I stopped asking friends for rides places. The weight kept coming off.  The milestones, and achievements of small goals, kept adding up, and the benefits have never stopped being rewarding. Beginning to commute on foot was a really big deal – and choosing to relocate to housing that put that within reach was one of the best things I have ever done to ‘take care of me’.  I’ve been ‘walking off’ the weight for a while now. It’s steady, effective, and gradual.  It requires commitment, consistency, and a hearty application of verbs, and it does work.  It only makes sense that eventually that process would take me further… parks… trails… getaways… sanity… wellness.

One step after another.

One step after another.

I had forgotten how much walking can also free my mind. A camera, some landscape, a journey… and the world becomes a wide open space, a distant horizon, a broad vista, and it’s different when it is more than a trip to the store.  The hiking I have been doing meets a lot of varied needs for me, and practicing mindfulness matters. Storming off angrily and furiously walking an aggressively paced lap or two through residential neighborhoods and retails spaces doesn’t have the same power to bring peace and healing as mindfully walking quiet remote trails, content and aware, and I’m glad I rediscovered that.

Wide-eyed and mindful, there is value in every journey.

Wide-eyed and mindful, there is value in every journey.

I’m spending this year, 51, walking Oregon trails. I’m making an effort to ‘walk away’ from my chaos and damage, and taking a gentler pace through my experience. I’m learning to treat myself kindly walking challenging trails; taking a walking staff or trekking poles, instead of risking injury by ignoring injuries I’ve already got, planning, being prepared, being aware.  I’m shrugging off drama, and ‘moving on’ from my trauma… by moving on; setting goals, trying new trails, exploring the unknown in real places as well as within.  I’m taking progress, growth, and  healing ‘a step at a time’ – literally.

Every path leads precisely where it takes me.

Every path leads precisely where it takes me.

I’m not sure when I really started down this path, as a thing all its own… was it the 5k last fall, on that dreadful rainy, stormy day?  That was certainly an achievement, and it encouraged me to walk farther, more, and more often.  It was a good next step from commuting on foot.  Trips to the beach and my partner’s recent camping/rafting trip definitely got me excited to take yet another step… and unexpectedly it has become a weekend practice to grab my gear and head for the trees, somewhere, for a few hours, quietly walking. Since that first hike with my partners – Cooper Mountain – I’ve also hiked Tualatin Hills Nature Park (through which was my original commute on foot, and a very emotionally safe feeling solo hike), and some of the trails of the Audubon Society Park. I’ve got Sunday hikes planned ahead for most of the summer, and two solo camping trips over weekends.  Friends and family already recognize my enthusiasm and commitment to this new activity; they recommend places they have been and enjoyed, and places they think I would enjoy, myself. It’s a point of connection between many coworkers, and I. I feel engaged, and involved in my life, and enthusiastic about each new adventure.

Life's curriculum isn't always about 'the hard stuff'.

Life’s curriculum isn’t always about ‘the hard stuff’.

Meditation. Walking. Healing. It sounds too easy, and if someone would have suggested it decades ago, I don’t know that I would have been sufficiently open to take it seriously, or to give it a fair try.  Still… I’m taking steps.  I’m moving on.  I’m… walking it off.

One possible future... and one beautiful now.

One possible future… and one beautiful now.

Today is a good day to plan tomorrow’s hike, and to smile and remember other hikes, and other good days.  Today is a good day to embrace what has value. Today is a good day to take another step. Today is a good day to change the world.