15 January 2021

January is half over and I have ridden a grand total of zero miles.

Ya…it has not been a great start to a new year. I am just now feeling better, but I’m also 99% sure I have an ulcer, which isn’t helping anything. The pain from that is not too bad during the day, but I wake up every night after roughly 4 hours feeling like I’ve been stabbed with a hot poker. The pain goes away if I get food into my stomach, so I’ve been taking a snack to the bedroom at night, and when I wake up, I eat.

It works.

And yes, I know I need to see a doctor. I’ve been putting it off because, ew, doctor-office-cooties, and also…my brain settles on the worst case scenarios and it has decided that if I go, I will leave that appointment with 72 different types of cancer and an unwanted mutant puppy.

I’m giving it through the weekend, and then yes, I will see him.

+ + +

For a lot of the time I was feeling like crap, I also did not feel like working. Or reading. Or doing much of anything. I was pretty sure that the day I dove into a good book and then pounded out several pages on the next Wick book (yes, it goes on without Max, but I suspect it will still be his book, because…Max) that I was on the upswing.

What I still haven’t done, though, is ride. But I think today will be the day, if not heading outside, I’ll get a slow start inside. The bike is up on the trainer, ready to go—I checked the tires last night and made sure the TV was signed into Netflix—I just need to get my ass on it.

+ + +

He was a cinnamon donut freak, too...
Something stupid but also kinda major… I ate cinnamon toast last night.

I haven’t been able to bear the idea of it since Max died. Every time I thought about it, the memory of him jumping onto my lap and eating it from the other side slapped at me, and I just couldn’t. He was a little freak where cinnamon was concerned, and the last time I’d had it was towards the end for him; as much as it had to hurt to get up on the loveseat and then make his was across the arm of it, onto the footrest of the recliner, and then my lap, he could not resist.

And yes, I let him take bites. I would have given him anything at that point.

I honestly thought I would gag on it and could have gone the rest of my life without it, but… yeah.

The Spouse Thingy has been the same way with chicken salad. He hadn’t been able to open a can of chicken because that was his thing with the cats…he got the chicken and they got the water with little bits of meaty goodness floating in it. Buddah got to lick the mayo spoon.

I don’t think he’s had any since Buddah died, but this morning I noted there was a chicken and mayo-smeared bowl in the kitchen sink.

It made me happy.

And also a little annoyed because the dishwasher is RIGHT THERE.

+ + +

All right.

Off my asterisk to actually do things other than drooling while watching TV.

I have lottery tickets to buy.


2 January 2021

I didn't make any New Year's resolutions, per se, but I did set some goals, and one of them was to start the year with a bike ride. Long or short, it didn't matter; I wanted to set the tone of the year by whittling away at my mileage goals, and hit at least the same number of miles I did last January.

The first time...and the sickest I have ever been
You might remember that I have a history of colitis, and it raises its ugly head at the least opportune times (and if you remember this, you might also recall that Max tried so very hard to guard me when it hit, even growling at the Spouse Thingy to keep away from me.) reared its ugly head again right after Christmas and I've been battling it since. It's not as bad as it was the first time (which led me to the epiphany of why some people just want to die, which helps with some empathy there) and certainly not super horrible, but I am so many levels of uncomfortable and nauseated that it's keeping me from doing things I want to do.

Getting on a bike yesterday, even inside, seemed like a bad idea and one I would regret. So I watched reruns of Doctor Who, leading up to the New Year's special, and did a whole lot of nothing.

I thought I was on the upswing last night and would be on that bike today (inside, because I am delicate and it is raining) but Thumper's Raging Intestines (I still think that should be a rage rock band name) decided I would not sleep anywhere near what one might call well, and that the first hour of my day after finally getting up would be spent nauseated as hell.

Still...I don't feel nearly as sick as I did July 2012, when I missed the Avon breast cancer walk because I was laying in a tight ball in bed, feeling sorry for anyone who'd ever felt anywhere near that bad. This time I can remain upright (though I've taken a few naps because that's how I deal with not feeling well) and I have an appetite, but no energy to prepare food so I've been eating a lot of crap.

No energy to work, either. Or to start on clearing things from Max's bedroom, because it's about to become a Dammit Machine room, and y'all know how much he would have liked that. [insert evil laughter]

My view will be the same, absent cat barf...
Only one Dammit Machine this time. I'm taking it over for my bike, and hanging a couple of my lesser used bikes on the wall, because why the hell not? I'm still so glad we turned that into a space for Max when we did, and it will be a royal pain in the asterisk to get the sofa and love seat out of there again, but I'm not one for major shrines and it's already time to change it.

Also...the sofa stinks. The love seat stinks. Max dribbled a lot in the last few months through no fault of his own, so we're just getting rid of them. They can be cleaned, sure, but...hopefully we can donate them or give them away.

So. Maybe tomorrow I can ride. I want to say I feel better right now, but I thought the same thing about this time yesterday and it went to chit. So.

I did get up this morning to donuts on the counter and dinner already cooking in the Crock Pot, which meant I didn't have to go to the store today, and the Spouse Thingy didn't even know I'd had such a crap night.

Fingers crossed that next week is better. Spouse Thingy gets his 2nd COVID vaccine, so even if I feel better, he might not...not even going to make real plans.


31 December 2020

No way around it: 2020 was a shitshow. And while I don’t even want to glance at it in the rearview mirror, I’m not holding my breath that 2021 will be any better, at least not the first half of it. I have hopes that we’ll reach the apex and quickly enter the denouement by mid-year, and can start a whole new story then.

I have selfish motivations. The Spouse Thingy and I both turn 60 next year, and celebrate our 40th, and it would be nice to be able to actually do something, go somewhere, before the end of the year.

I’ll settle for no one else I know dying. No one else getting sick.

There were the bright spots, intentional attempts at bringing some light into the house.

We decorated for Christmas, a little more than usual. We rearranged the house, swapping my office and the front room, which had turned into a gym of sorts. Having that space to put the big tree in, and the other little touches, made it nicer. And we put the Whovimas tree in the living room, mostly for Max…even though he’s no longer here. It felt important, and a bit final. I don’t know that I’ll ever do another one.

I wasn’t even sure I’d feel like watching the Doctor Who New Year’s special without Max this year. But then the Who marathon on BBCA began and I tuned in to see how it would settle…and I kept watching. And now I’m looking forward to it, almost as much as I was before.

Speaking of Max…

We took down all the decorations this week, and when they were packed away and ready to be taken to storage, I pulled away from the wall these boxes we stacked to place a decorative polar bear on, boxes originally crafted to give Max a step up and a good view out the window. I had the vacuum in hand, going after wayward tree needles, and I’m damned glad I looked first, because waiting for me was a tuft of his fur.

I vacuumed there before we decorated. I wasn’t there before Thanksgiving.

It felt like a gift, one given enough time after his death that instead of making me cry, it made me very, very happy.

We have tufts of Dusty’s fur and tufts of Hank’s, and in the back of my head was the notion I would get some from Max and Buddah when the time came, but it didn’t happen. My only regret now is that we don’t have any of Buddah’s.

I should look under my bed. He hid there for a bit. There's a slim chance...

I miss those monsters.

So, definitely, I’m glad to be done with 2020, even if it is an artificial social construct tied around a calendar. It marks one of the worst years ever, and I'm done.

I had things I wanted to accomplish this year that fell by the wayside—no regrets because that was time spent caring for Max and Buddah, and I wouldn’t trade that—but I’d like to get to them this year.

2300+ miles biked. I hit 2100 this year but given that I basically stopped riding in October and didn't get as many in before that as I intended, I could have done more.

A book or two written. Don't even ask me how many I did this year; I know for sure two, might have been three, but my brain is mush.

At least two charity events (though I’ll be surprised if St. Baldrick’s is even held this year, it might be virtual) even if it means doing them on my own.

Milestones celebrated. We don't usually celebrate our anniversary since it's so close to Christmas, but 40 years feels important. It deserves celebration. In Disneyland, with the kids, even if we do it early.

And I desperately want to hug my son, my daughter in law, my mother in law, and my friends.

I just want the world to be okay in 2021.

I think we all deserve that.


17 December 2020

Better than Christmas for us…when the hospital where the Spouse Thingy works received their first shipment of Pfizer vaccines. I’m talking 8-year-old-kid levels of excitement, knowing he was in the first tier to be vaccinated. They made it clear that the ER and its staff were priority—and we both agreed with that—with other essential providers to follow. ER, ICU, COVID ward, then the OR, all considered first tier, in that order.

The email to personnel went out and the scheduling of appointments began; based on the info in the email we thought he would get his first shot next week. But there was a little notation: there may be a small number of walk-in slots available. Yesterday morning he had business to take care of in the area, so he decided it wouldn’t hurt to pop in and see what the odds were.

The odds were in his favor. And thusly, I learned on Facebook that he’d gotten his shot.

Yes, I know where I rank.

In three weeks, he’ll get his 2nd shot, and two weeks after that, he should be good to go. Still masking, still taking all the precautions, but that deep worry about a patient who tested negative but was exposed and might have it anyway, who will somehow cough on him or breathe on him, even with all the PPE (and he is geared up while doing a case)…that worry becomes so much less.

You can bet that I won’t hesitate when I’m eligible to get my shots.

Do I worry about the speed with which this has been rolled out?

Not one bit.

Look, I know it seems speedy, but it really hasn’t been. There’s solid research behind this, over 25 years’ worth. We could have had them sooner if not for the absolute necessity of dedicated phase testing—there was no way around that, no matter how confident the companies producing the vaccines were in the efficacy of their production.

BUT THIS VIRUS IS NEW! YOU’RE NUTS! It’s still a coronavirus, which is not new. Look at the common cold—there are four common cold coronaviruses, and over 600 variants. There has been research into those as long as people have been looking to cure the common cold. And until someone cut the funding in the US and closed it down, research into coronavirus was humming along nicely; how much faster might this have been if it hadn’t been?

WELL, THE PRESIDENT ISN’T GETTING IT SO WHY SHOULD I? He’s not getting it because he’s had COVID recently enough that, while he could get the vaccine, he’s choosing to wait. And this is one thing I agree with him on. The recommendations are that if you’ve had COVID within the last couple of months, you can wait; if you had it early on, get the vaccination. He’s not getting it, thus saving that dose for someone else, but the Vice President will, and he’ll do it publicly.

BUT WHY BOTHER IF THE ANTIBODIES ARE GONE IN A FEW MONTHS? Because that’s how inoculations tend to work. You get the shot, your body detects it as a foreign invader, creates antibodies to fight it, and basically writes the instructions on how to combat that foreign entity on a cellular level, and then sheds the antibodies. When reinfected, your body already has the instructions on how to fight it off, it creates new antibodies, and the cycle continues. It’s why you only need some vaccinations once in your life—like smallpox or chicken pox. There’s no reason to think this will be different.

Will there be a variant strain that will require boosters? Possibly. We get flu shots every year because the strains change. But that’s a lot less of a hassle than actually getting COVID. It’s just a shot. We get those all the time.

BUT I HEARD GETTING IT CAN MAKE YOU SICK! It might make you feel awful for about 24 hours, but you won’t actually be ill. It also might not make you feel off at all. Your arm will probably be sore…just like with a flu shot (that’s all the Spouse Thingy has, a sore arm. No calling off work for him.) But if you get those side effects? That horrible feeling is a good sign; your body is producing antibodies. Embrace it, because it will be over with quickly.

Remember when I had that awful bout with colitis a few years back? And a couple of lesser bouts since? That’s how I got through it, telling myself that it wasn’t forever, this was pain and sickness that would get better, so it wasn’t the end of the world. Pain and illness sucks, but it’s a lot easier to take when you know it will get better. The side effects from this will ease up.

Lingering effects from the virus might not.

We’re never going to achieve herd immunity if we don’t get the shots, not without killing millions of people.

So, yes, I am thrilled beyond belief that the Spouse Thingy was able to get his first shot so soon and that it’s just 21 more days until he gets the next. And I’ll get it as soon as I can.

I am freaking excited at the idea that it won’t be much longer. I’m gonna let them stab me right in my Superman tattoo.