Negative!

Well, i got my results way before i expected. PCR was negative for Covid. Thank the heavens. Thank you all for putting up with me the last few days- it’s been a ride never wanna take again.

The stress alone was probably the worst factor. I liken it to waiting for my first AIDS test back in the late 80’s. Or like the pregnancy tests when i really did NOT want to be pregnant. Maybe not everyone who has symptoms and gets tested gets this stressed, but for me it was feeling like a death sentence. My head is a bit less cloudy now…phew!

Yes, i am still sick- cough and some G.I. stuff. Still not sure what it is- some kind of flu. But at least not Covid. I am still resting and taking meds for symptoms as needed. But we can now end the daily diatribes of my panic. However, i do want to say this :

It has been a very long time since i have felt this stressed out- over anything.

What i was reminded of is that this kind of stress can bring out our worst fears and multiply them.Even when we think we are strong and have a handle on ourselves.We can go from 0-100 in a split second. What if? What if? What if? And sometimes we feel all alone in our fears.

So, thank you again to everyone who reached out…it was appreciated more than you know.

Namaste.

Burn After Reading

I am not well.

I spent last night finally sleeping( with a few emergency trips to the bathroom throughout) after a whole day of just coughing and having major ‘gut’ issues and being foggy as h*ll. I had a few hours this morning 630a to about 930a where i was able to get up and move around. Still i had diarrhea and gas and cramping. My head is like thick as pea soup. I slept again from 1130a- 4p. Was able to be up & doing few things ( ate some soup , saw my boyfriend briefly but sent him home) for a few hours now.

I feel horrible guilt about letting everyone down. I can’t do much, and not for long. What no one knows is that even this has only been possible with heavy medication. I’ve been taking everything from Mucinex, to anti diarrheal’s to prescription meds for anxiety, pain, and sleep. I am still starving but cant eat more than small amounts at a time. I keep praying i am getting better under all of this spaced out feeling. I keep putting on my best face , even though the best i can manage is to pretend to laugh bit, and manage not to ugly cry.I even manage to get upstairs to smoke and sometimes even chat a bit if someone is around . But then i just feel judged as if doing that means i must not be “that” sick. Does anyone even understand how much i am pushing myself?

As i wait out the days for my test results for Covid , i keep coming to the point of wishing i would just die. Or at least pass into a coma. I try to believe it is just a bad flu, and maybe it is. But i do know that i cant keep this up .

I really don’t know what else to say. Wallowing, yes.

The energy doesn’t last long. Long enough to make this post. Long enough to hope tomorrow will be better. Maybe long enough even to finish roasting this chicken.

On top of all this we are expecting a big snow storm. On top of that every one else is suffering in some way and i CAN’T DO ANYTHING to help. All i can do is write here and get it all out.

Praying for a better tomorrow.

The Rapid Test

Bp- 122/82

sats- 99%

temp-97( f)

After about 12-14 hours of sleep, interrupted only once by a coughing fit, i woke still not feeling well. In addition to the cough and scratchy throat, i had some G.I. symptoms and was very “swimmy”. Still, i get a bath, and headed out for the scheduled rapid test this morning. It took only 30 minutes for results which were negative.

Since my employer requires the lab test with a negative result to confirm it, i went back out and had that one done. The rapid test has a high degree of false negatives but if it is positive it’s highly accurate. They said 4 days is the average time for the PCR lab test results to come back. So now, i wait.

I am still feeling poorly- mostly exhausted but unable to sleep until after 6p for some reason although i try. I am starving, but can only eat small portions at a time. The other G.I. stuff i won’t get too graphic about.Mild headache, cough seems the same.

All i know for now is that whether it is Covid or not, i am definitely not well. So, it is still good that i decided to take the steps i did and not expose anyone any further. I will take the next few days to rest as i can and binge watch Netflix i guess. Not much energy for anything else yet.

Be well and Namaste.

Fear and Frustration

Tomorrow, i go in for Covid testing. Here’s why:

About 2 days before i had my first vaccine scheduled, i felt mildly congested. Since I am a smoker, exposed to cats ( very allergic) every night, and winter heating creates dry air, it was nothing too unusual for me. Still , I cancelled my first appointment to be safe and decided to give it the weekend , scheduling my vaccine for Monday. I felt fine then and the nurse said mild congestion with no other symptoms wouldn’t prevent me from getting the vaccine, so i got the first dose and had about 24 hrs of extreme exhaustion, in which i slept a lot. By Tuesday evening i felt fine. Better, in fact, than i did before the vaccine. I went back to work.

For the next week i started feeling the congestion building, but no one around me was getting sick so i figured it was just lingering vaccine effects. However, by last night ( Wednesday- over a week later) i started realizing that my mild cough was progressing ad OTC meds weren’t helping. Since i was scheduled off for the weekend, I scheduled myself for a rapid test for Friday morning.I will know results within a few hours. I then notified my employer . Unfortunately, i was told if it comes back negative, i will still not be allowed back to work until i get the other test which takes 2-4 days for results due to a high incident of false negatives on the rapid test.

If it comes back positive, i will not have to get the other test. But, i will have to self quarantine for at least 10 days and until symptoms have subsided.

That’s the meat of it.

But what i really want to express here is this. I am a nurse in a low risk job ( private duty with same client for over 6 years). Still, i mask up, wash my hands , and have reduced my outings to gas, groceries , and (since March), less than 3 small gatherings of less than 10 people ( last one in Mid December). Outside of my case family( patient)-my quarantine “bubble” has been basically 3 people- 2 roommates, and boyfriend with a few very brief visits to my boyfriends home recently where his roommate also lives.. There have only been a few rare times when i had contact with anyone else – They were brief and 75% of those times i wore a mask and stayed distant.I Chlorox-wiped door handles, light switches, spigots, toilets, etc almost daily. I use antibacterial wipes in my car between each errand i may have to run- on my hands, keys, steering wheel, etc.

In the grand scheme of things , i would say i have been isolated more than 75% of the entire Pandemic.Compared to most people i know, i have been pretty damned cautious. No eating out, no going to bars , shopping or events, and doing what i was told. I had even signed up for the gym again in November but stopped going as of the last lockdown in early December, despite it still being open and losing 2 months of paid membership ( so far). I just didn’t trust it. I even wear gloves to pump my gas and at the grocery store.Yet, still , i may have Covid.

The point is, anyone can get it from anywhere at anytime. It only takes one time. It could be that time when you didn’t use gloves to pick up a prescription at the drive thru. Or didn’t Chlorox wipe off your atm card after the cashier handled it. Any contact with any human at any time ( even if asymptomatic) can result i catching this thing. And worse, everyone has a different experience. Some are so mild it seems like an allergy or sinus issue. Some have one symptom and no others.Some get flu like symptoms. Some get everything full blast – and either recover or do not. Then there’s the long term effects to worry about.

Even with the Vaccine, it takes weeks to build up immunities. Yes, you can still get it even after your first or second dose- they say up to a full 90 days after. Or, maybe like may be the case with me- you came into contact right before the dose and didn’t know it.

It’s a scary world.

Aside from doing a complete Howard Hughes you just can’t know when , where or how. Many of us simply cannot work from home or get everything delivered .We are at risk everyday, no matter how hard we try.

I am fervently hoping this is just a cold or something NOT Covid. But i have to accept that i may be one of the millions in the statistics. As i will be off for at least 5 days, i will post updates.

I hope everyone is feeling well, and sending my prayers to all who are suffering.

Namaste!

You Need as Many as You Can Get

In starting my journey again the first thing i needed to do was re read some posts from my first year of recovery. Last night i came across this gem( a little over 5 months sober):

“No matter what anyone thinks, i am proud of myself for staying sober and i have a better life for it. I am glad i walked away while i still had a chance. I am even more glad now that i see what i would still be going through had i not. The crazy, stressful, unnecessary drama of being and being with an alcoholic.I cannot stress enough how different my perspective is now when i see many of my old friends still going through the insane lifestyle problems as a result of their choices.The stupid fb posts. The late night calls that make no sense or cause hurt and pain to others.The lack of growth, the depression , the anxiety….and knowing how miserable they are on the inside regardless of what they may try to convince others of.Man, give me coffee any day.My life isn’t anything to make a movie out of anymore, some may say even boring, but i’ll happily take it over any of THAT!”

Boy, did i need to read that, to hear that from my sober self!

First of all , it made me feel a ton better that my life hasn’t been that crazy in years!I haven’t sobbed for hours over a bottle or drank 12+ beers to numb myself out.I haven’t woken up on the floor in a pile of clothes . I haven’t dreaded what late night FB post or messages i may have sent.And so many other crazy things.For days now i’ve been berating myself for getting a tad off track but now i realize i really didn’t stray that far– not even close!..phew!

Reading the posts prior to getting sober have always been frightening -The drama, waking with dread and anxiety, the constant fighting, damaged household items and absolute carnage the next day. I could go on but i’m sure many of my sober blogger friends have similar stories.I rarely read them( my nightmarish journal entries) anymore because i cant tolerate the humiliation. It’s insane how , at the time, it all seemed very normal and part of life as an artist..

Yes, i know the process…and after announcing it, you re read posts for a bit. I will be getting out the tool box again for the next steps. Glad i saved ’em:)

Here we go , Folks!

So- Starting Over

My roommate sent this to me tonight. It was a great way to remind myself that all is not lost. So grateful for her support!

As i mentioned a few days ago, i have decided to start over with total abstinence from alcohol. I know it’s the right decision. And after all of the experimenting , i know it’s the ONLY answer going forward. I have been pretty down on myself the last few days, feeling the weight of guilt in knowing that despite my initial hopes for “moderating” , i failed. Failure can feel pretty damned heavy and send us into a spiraling down all by itself.

Basically, i spent all day in bed with a really bad hangover that was preceded by a not so good ending to the night before with my boyfriend. It started out like most weekends, us having only the one night off together. I had wanted very much to sleep in as i had been on a 6 day week and would be going back in the next night. But, alas, it was not to be. I got 2 1/2 hours and could not get back to sleep.It had been a long grueling week starting off with the 1st dose of the Covid Vaccine. On top of it, i had developed a cough.

Still i was ok and tried to be positive. I took my bath and waited for my boyfriend to wake up. I hadnt even planned to drink because i know i take more than a day to recover at my age. But then s few other unexpected incidents occurred and i said”That’s it…i need to relax. I’m getting a 6 pack and starting early” ( thinking i would have plenty of time to recover.I made breakfast, did a few chores and we made the beer run.

Generally, he & i have been spending these saturdays playing board games, watching movies and cooking together. Times are tough in the dating realm when there is no where to go, and nothing much to do. Many times we have had a lot of fun and nothing bad happens. But…

the last few times “I” have gotten done my 6 pack and gone in search of any other alcohol in the house. There hasnt been much- a few shots of rum or gin…some cans of flavored spritzers. But it has been enough to unbalance things. Neither of us do well mixing drinks or adding extra beer to our regime. This time, it got ugly and we almost broke up.

However, we have managed to talk things through. I have let him ( as well as my roommates and mom, and any one reading on here) of my decision to re commit to sobriety.I do this for accountability..as many of us have learned that this is one thing that really helps when starting out.

Another thing i have been doing in my ‘misery’ about it all is truly paring it down to why i even continued with the drinking. I mean, yes, there was a slot of stress from the pandemic, no other outlets for me as i don’t indulge in other re\creational drugs and the gym became not an option with restrictions. Sure i couldn’t go out anywhere and have felt isolated and frustrated. But honestly, after a few months that wasn’t the real reason. I just used all of it as an extended excuse.

The bottom line for me is that looking back to when i really started getting casual about it was indeed the start of a new relationship. One with another person who drank. In fact, looking back for over 10 years, the only time i DIDN’T drink was when i was single. Things that make ya go hmmm…

I believe it is fear. Fear of being ‘boring’. Fear of having nothing to talk about. Fear of not knowing what the hell we would do on a night off without some kind of distraction. Since i am the talker in most relationships, i frequently feel ‘responsible’ for filling in awkward silences and finding entertainment. And that just plain sucks. In that regard, when i announced my choice this time( to my partner) i stated very clearly that “WE” will have to find something else to do instead of drinking. And what i mean is, i no longer want to feel like i alone have to come up with activities and conversation all by me lonesome. So there may be some very difficult nights to navigate. All i can do is hope we can work it out.

Strangely, i do not feel any fear of missing the alcohol. There were many times i drank these past few months when i didnt actually want to. There were many nights when i was alone that i either didnt drink at all or stopped at 2. It’s quite a bit different this time around because my in first recovery, i had been very much entrenched in chasing the buzz all night long whether i was alone or not. Getting sober then was truly a challenge.

Sorry if this has gotten a bit long, but needed to write it out as a starting point. I may be blogging more as i process, but i know i have wonderful support on here and at home.

Thanks for reading and Namaste!

Play it Again, Sam….

Wow….sometimes i get on here to catch up and find so many great gems. Tonight was no exception.

After this weekend i believe some stuff has really hit home for me and i need to start making more of an effort at getting back on track with things. I feel like i have been trying and failing in some kind of rhythmic pattern and not really sure what to do about it.

We have been dealing with this pandemic thing for almost a year now. The reactions and emotions have been like a rollercoaster for so many- from dealing with the constant fear to deciding to use the time wisely to going off our path and trying to accept that we are only human. Then again, getting off and on that horse. It’s certainly driven me mad at times when i don’t feel like i will ever be able to stay focused again.

If you have been a reader of my blog for more than a year, or perhaps even from the onset, you know that i put tremendous effort into getting sober, not just being a “dry drunk” but actually delving into the psyche surrounding why i got into the habit, why i allowed it to get out of control , and how- after 15 months i started experimenting again. Sometimes learning new things about myself , and somewhat allowing it to just be what it was. At times i have felt i was ok with “moderating”, and at other times knowing that it isn’t really possible in the long term.

What i have learned about myself is that , like any other habit, if you keep at it, it will eventually just start becoming a part of your life. Sometimes you don’t even realize it . That can be good when it comes to exercise, eating healthy and learning. But when it comes to bad habits ( drinking, smoking, etc) not so much.

Since May i have not been a tee-totaller. I’ve said as much many times. At first, it was a response to the crisis of Covid, the fear, isolation and helplessness. Within a few months it was something i did more often but was able to mainly be ok without over doing it. However ,there were a few times i went over board. By October i was doing it more often, although had learned that i had to watch myself and never go beyond a 6 pack of beer at any given time. And here we are in January.

Last year January 18th i celebrated one year of complete sobriety. I was 2 months into not smoking. This year, i have gotten back into the bad habits again. Smoking way too much, and , worst of all, realizing now that i have allowed the 6 pack on occasion to become a weekly habit again. Yup, almost once a week for about 2 months now. The problem in that for someone like me is that i tend justify it as my “one night off and i need to relax” and yet i know it’s only a matter of time now until things go awry. Indeed, the last few weekends i have exceeded my initial limit and it hasn’t gone so well.

In realizing this i am know i have to get back on that wagon again. I see the posts from other sober bloggers here and am reminded once more how fragile our hold on sobriety can be but also how wonderful it is to feel free of alcohols grip. I thank you all for this and am hereby re-setting my intentions.

I know what must be done, i know i am strong. Here’s to 2021…

Namaste!

Interesting Times

Hitler fact:

Bypassing the treaty of Versaille, he opened many many manufacturing factories for parachutes, tanks, planes, ships, ammunitions, vehicles and many more. Many people were put into these jobs therefore eliminating the no-job crisis.

Thus creating over millions of jobs.

And those jobs were lost when he lost his ‘position’. Many families lost their livelihood and descended into poverty.

Do we feel bad about that?

Not really. They were profiting by doing something that should not have been done in the first place.

Yet, all over Facebook, people are whining about the loss of jobs from The Keystone Pipeline being shut down by the new POTUS.Jobs that never should have been created in the first place. Jobs that robbed people of their homes, their clean water , and their ancestral land.

I do try very hard not to be an ass on social media. I comment only here & there on threads, and almost NEVER post directly about anything controversial or political on my own page. Usually the short comments i make lead to assumptions that i am looking for a debate..

In truth, my goal is simply this… always look at the big picture. History repeats itself. Leaders come and go and jobs come and go with them. New ones will be created. Possibly better , more humane jobs that will help heal this place we live in.Jobs that may improve the environment, promote unity, give back to the community.

As we move forward in life, if we are lucky, we begin to see more often that things are not always as they first appear.As Eckhart Tolle says:

“Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego”

Namaste!

Follow Up – Day after 1st dose

Well, that was interesting.

I received the 1st dose of the pfizer vaccine last night at approximately 615p. I had a lot of anxiety but needed to get it over with. The shot itself did not hurt. I waited the required 15 minutes for observation, then went to a Chiropractic appointment. I felt fine until about 8pm when i started with a headache.

I figured it was from the build up of stress, so i laid down and set my alarm for work. At 930p it went off and i woke. I could barely move and felt extremely fatigued. The headache was still there and i was pretty foggy. I decided to call off work as i felt i couldn’t safely drive or care for my patient. I immediately went back to sleep.

Sleep was off & on. I woke at first every 2 hours to use the bathroom.At 230a i started with a cough and scratchy throat and noted i had some hives. I took some tylenol and benedryl. Then slept until 8a. I still wasn’t quite right so back to bed. At 3p today i decided to get up and move around a bit as i was feeling achey from being “bedridden”.

It is 430p now as i write and i am feeling a bit better. Still not 100% but just trying to feel normal so i can work. The cough and sore throat are no longer present and hives are gone. The lingering malaise is pretty much the only issue. My plan is to take a nice hot bath, eat something warm and lay down again for as long as i can and go back to work tonight. I did not have a fever or any serious symptoms.No nausea or chills, even the sore arm is getting better.

Like all of us, i have no idea what the long term issues might be with this vaccine. I know i can still get Covid. I know the vaccine was rushed and isnt fully approved by the FDA.I know that down the road i could have adverse effects. I also know the 2nd dose is supposed to be worse with side effects and was advised to schedule myself off work the day following just in case. All of this weighs heavily on my mind.

I am still torn between frustration at feeling like a guinea pig as a healthcare worker , but also blessed that we were offered it first. I am torn between doing what i feel is ethically right ( my oath as a nurse ) and wishing this damn Covid would just go away and stop making life so stressful.

I write here so that i can hopefully let others know how it has been going for me, and adding whatever personal insight i can- for better or worse.

For anyone else going through it, or through any other Covid related issues, know that you are not alone. I have had several family members/family contract it, some have died while others made it through.As a nurse i watch and hear my colleagues report their experiences as well- all mixed in their experiences.

As the days and months go by, no matter for how long or whatever comes of this i will maintain my oath and say my lifelong Mantra “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Do the right thing.” and the right thing isn’t always the easy thing.

Namaste.

Vaccine Day

While i have many feelings about this Covid vaccine, the most prominent one is anxiety. But today is the day.

Originally i had scheduled it for this past Friday but rescheduled . I had such increased fear about it , i just couldn’t go through with it. First off, i had a little congestion and was feeling run down from the usual insomnia issues. So i asked a few colleagues who had the first round and received mixed reviews. Then looked online- same thing. Eventually i called my employer and asked some questions which wound up being VERY stressful because the person i spoke to told me she had to report my “symptom” of congestion and i might not be able to work. This pissed me off because one should not fear having to lose work just to ask some questions. I have congestion every week at my case due to the fact that i am allergic to cats. I am also a smoker and there is a lot of dry heat this time of year in their home. It generally goes away on my days off.. I was told the following as well: If the decision is that i may not work due to a bit of congestion, i will have to go get tested and will have to be off until results come back.. In fact , if at any time i decide to be tested for Covid ( even if i am asymptomatic and just wanting some peace of mind) if will not be able to return until test results come back( 2-10 days) . This testing is not paid for by the employer. Second- only the vaccine itself is paid for by my employer- any bad reactions or time needed off for reactions are not covered. Additionally if i do get Covid, i will only be covered for unemployment compensation or any medical help if i got it from my work place and can prove it( meaning if i got it anywhere else- say a gas pump- it would not be covered) As a nurse, it is an impossible situation here. Vaccine is paid for, nothing else is.

For months, i had been hearing about this vaccine- the conspiracy theories, the over-the-top hopes for an instant cure, the lack of “time” for testing it, the possible adverse reactions, and may questioning just how long it would be before we could get it. Most of the time, i asserted that i would not wish for it to be mandatory for us simply because we are nurses. After all, if all the hype is to be believed, why are they using us as “guinea pigs” – what will they do if they wind up killing off all the medical personnel?I know this sounds extreme, but it is not unheard of for certain populations to be used as testing fodder unbeknownst to them at the time.

After exhausting myself into oblivion about it i decided two things:First, I took an oath as a nurse to put others lives before my own, so if getting a vaccine that may help us turn the corner, even if it is a risky one, i must do this. Second: the hype about it just being another way to line the pockets of the rich may or may not be true- but who cares- i do that everyday anyway when i put gas in my vehicle, among other things.

So here i go tonight, despite my fear and trepidation, knowing too that i would rather do this while i have a choice ( pretty sure it will become mandatory for us at some point) and while many others are having to wait in lie behind us.

And i will repeat my mantra-Only God knows my time of death, i do not control it . It is the right thing to do, and do it i shall.

Namaste.