If you got what I got…you’re welcome!

I love touting the fact that I don’t get sick.  If I feel like my throat is getting sore, or I have a slight sniffle, I grab for my bottle of echinacea and start taking a pill three times a day.   I ensure that I have at least a tablespoon of honey and that there is a nice hot tea that will keep me warm and hydrated.  Yes, that usually does the trick.  Oh, and I like to tell myself, and everyone else, that I am NOT sick.  Lying to myself is usually the best way to ensure that the little germs and virus and bacteria stay away from my humble body.  Well, this time the “bug-ger” got through.  No denying it.  I am sick!

I am sick of being sick.  I have actually been staving off this stupid illness since 2017.  It has been trying to lay waste to my body since about August of last year.  My tried and true methods were tried and true then.  When everyone had sinus infections, plugged ears, ratchety or phlegmy coughs, horrendous sneezes and other germ spreading conditions, I had managed to stay healthy.  Oh sure, there was the occasional whisper of a sneeze.  Sometimes there was a bit of a scratchy throat, but I prevailed.  Nay, I conquered!  What the hell happened this time?

Oh sure, I heard people at work sneezing, but I was fortified with vitamin C.  My apple a day, my healthy vegetables.  I washed my hands to the point of cracked dryness.  Why oh why did I suddenly end up like this?

I am weak.  The thought of getting out of bed leaves me in anguish.  That would mean lifting my 100 lb head off the pillow.  That would mean getting out of a nice, warmed up area and exposing my hot, sweaty body to the frigid cold of the room.  21 degrees celsius or 70 degrees fahrenheit.  Brrrrr.  The thought of motion, leaves me weak.  Can I make it all the way down those stairs to get to the bathroom?  Will my knees give out?  Will my head loll forward, making me lose my balance, thus having me careen down the stairs?  What if I can’t lift myself off the toilet once I have completed my duties (doody?).

Why do my eyes feel like sandpaper?  It hurts when I try to look around.  Even blinking doesn’t help.  There is this immense pressure just in behind them.  Or is that beside them?  Huh…seems like it’s in between my eyes.  Yes, that’s where it is.  If I manage to raise a hand to touch the side of my nose it feels like my eyes are going to bug out and fall to the floor.  I think my half-closed eyelids are managing to keep those vision balls in my head.

Oh…my head.  My brain is trying to think of stuff.  It’s trying really hard, but there is this weird fog up there.  As I type, I see my fingers moving, but am not sure how.  My burning eyes are looking at them because those flesh-coloured sticks seem to be moving on their own.  My grey matter can’t be telling them what to do.  All the penthouse presider is thinking is, “why aren’t we in bed sleeping?”

I recall being at the top of the stairs.  Then I recall being in the bathroom.  Then stuff gets misty.  No more recall.  Ah, I see a cup of tea beside me.  Huh…must’ve made that at some point.  Good call brain!

I thought it was a good call.  I burnt my tongue.  Then again, it doesn’t matter because I can’t really taste anything anyway.  There is this blanket, a white blanket, covering my tongue.  So, burnt tongue may not taste anything, but it definitely felt something.  While its charred, maybe I should have some nutritious soup.  That should help heal me.  It has worked in the past.  I’ll add my echinacea to the mix and some man-made ibuprofen and the dinnertime cocktail with healing powers is ready to go.  This will entail more walking.

My brain is saying something.  Move feet.  Move feet.  *shuffling feet*  Well, it’s a start.  Now arms.  Lift.  Why won’t my arms listen to my instructions?  I command them to lift up and yet they just hang there, listlessly, by my side.  We need to heat up soup pronto.

“Go to bed,” brain murmurs.

“I need food,” says…is that my brain too?  OMG I am getting a split personality!

“Go to bed,” Brain 1.

“I’m hungry,” Brain 2.

Achoo! *sniffle*.  Great!  Now there is something running down my face.  At least I have feeling in my face.  That’s a good thing right?  Heading way too close to my lips.  Time to blow my nose.  Oh good.  One of the brains has decided that my feet and hands can work again.  Itchy, watery eyes have honed in on the box of facial tissue.  *shuffle, shuffle, shuffle* and hand reach.  Looks like the body is working in harmony again. Blow nose, discard germy tissue and while I’m funtioning as a human again I will get that soup going to boil.

(Time passes).  Empty bowl in front of me.  Numb tongue.  Belly full.  I think I ate my soup.  I feel full.  Time to lumber up, sloth style…nice and slow…and fall back into bed.

If all goes well, my energy conservation and my healthy meal should give me enough germ fighting energy to get me back up on my feet again tomorrow.  Another day in which my brain will function as one unit.  My body will listen to all its orders.  My sinuses will happily drain out leaving me with wide-opened, focused eyes and no throbbing pressure.  I will LIVE again.  I will be happy to have survived this debilitating flu!

I will be so thankful and grateful!  I will spread joy and happiness to everyone!  Or maybe I’ll just spread this virus around and share the misfortune.  Sometimes, by living through the bad, you really appreciate all the good you have.  So, if you got what I got, then all I can say is “you’re welcome!”

The sun’ll come out…tomorrow???

I think I am finally over that horrendous sinus-stuffed / bruised-rib coughing / voice-losing bout.  I believe I am on the mend after four tortuous weeks of headaches and hearing loss.  I am alive and I am (almost) well.  I believe there was one main ingredient that I had been lacking and I also believe that this crucial element to my normal daily routine is what made this illness continue to haunt me.  It made my usual chipper self, quite miserable on a daily basis and I could not release myself from this funk.  I have been ill before (though not quite this like this) and I have managed to fib myself to wellness.  “I am not sick.  I’m not sick.  I am well.  I feel fine.”  This little mantra could always get me back to my happy, smiling self.  What was missing?

It appears that my good ol’ friend, the sun, decided to go away on vacation for awhile.  Had not been seen in weeks.  Why would this matter?  Well, I recall reading about SAD people.  No, not sad people, but SAD people; those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It seems that if we do not get our daily dose of those beautiful rays our serotonin (mood balancer) levels drop.  With the lack of Vitamin D that we get from the sun, our moods change and we end up in a sleep slump that could lead to depression.  So, while good ol’ fireball went into vacation mode, the rest of us trudged daily through our lives.  Our sloppy, squishy, rain-soaked lives.

So, here was I was thinking I was not getting enough sleep and that this was the cause of my awful, cranky mood.  True, I wasn’t sleeping well on those mega-cough nights, but then I’d make up for it with an almost coma-like sleep the next night.  Yes, my ears were plugging and unplugging, which was annoying, but I had really never been that irritable before.  After week three, and more rain in our forecast, it hit me.  I had not seen the sun in many, many, many days.  Living in Canada we are used to lots of snowstorms at this time of year which is accompanied by bright sunlight that bounces off the newly fallen snow and blinds you from time to time.  Here we are in January (one of our usually worse winter months) and no snow.  No flakes falling.  Nothing to shovel.  I was grateful for not having to perform that miserable task and yet, the daily rain forecast made me even more crestfallen.  What was a girl to do?

I did what everyone else around me seemed to be doing…skulking.  I would go shopping to get groceries and people were wearing their best scowling faces.  Cashiers would ramp up the: “Hi how are you?” when starting to process your order, and would then turn off the bling smile until the obligatory: “Have a nice day.”  Yeah, even smiling was becoming a chore.  What is the point of warmer weather if you are constantly walking through a downpour or even worse, the ever present drizzle of rain.  It was like wandering through a rain forest without the actual accompanying heat.  Not fair!  When was this going to end?

Update.  Weather forecast.  Cold.  Colder than the weather we had been having.  Hmmm, what was this?  Snow?  SNOW!  That meant NO MORE RAIN!  What else did that mean (besides shovelling)?   You guessed it. Look who came back!  I missed you!  We all missed you!  Gorgeous!  Absolutely fabulous!

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So what did I do?  I looked right up at that beautiful burning ball in the sky (and promptly blinded myself for several seconds. Meh…it was worth it)!

I am no longer SAD…yes, I think I did catch a quick spell of it.  It is amazing how this glorious Vitamin D provider can, literally, affect one’s mood.  This morning I was happy as a lark, singing as I went outside into the cold air to view my good friend above.  Thanks for coming back. You really were missed.

I would like to take a wee bit of time to review the lyrics to “Tomorrow” from Annie.

“The sun’ll come out / Tomorrow / Bet your bottom dollar / That tomorrow / There’ll be sun!”

My dear Annie, it was a few week’s worth of tomorrows, but the sun finally DID come out!  Hallelujah cause now I’m “Walking on sunshine / Ain’t don’t it feel good!”  (Shout out to the ’80s crowd!)

 

Cellulite…a love story

I love sharing stories about my life and growth.  In this particular instance, it’s about waist (not waste…as no leftovers were harmed).  I can discuss the long, cold Canadian winters which leads me to over-carbohydrate myself with ravenous amounts of bread:  sliced bread, pita bread, bagels (bread really), English muffins (still bread) and then there are the dunking-into-stew breads like baguettes or French stick or really anything that sops up that lovely stewed liquid.  So, today my topic is about curdled-cottage-cheese thighs, my “over” tummy and how I cope with the gym fever of the world.

I joined a gym once.  It was a long time ago…ahem…super long time ago.  I think there was a T-Rex with a pencil ready to sign me up.  The machines were enormous. There were mirrors everywhere. There was a machine which had me pushing my legs out and focusing my eyes on my hoo-haw.  Why was this good?   After a few months (and a call to the Mafia) I managed to cancel my membership.

Yoga is a two-digit word.  Yes, it is supposed to be about clearing your mind and learning to breathe.  Yoga doesn’t work for me.  I learned to breathe…that is true, but other than that, all it did was lead me to rehearsing (in my head) my grocery list of items that needed to be done.  Yoga was not for me.

Racquetball.  I love playing racquetball!  It’s my favourite sport!  I started playing in University with a friend (for an hour) and have never…ever…played again.  True!  (Note: This is an ongoing joke with me and Wiseguy.)

Cycling!  Yes, I recall my bro and I going for long bike rides around our neighbourhood and beyond.  We were explorers!  We would leave after dinner and wouldn’t be back for at least two hours.  I do recall two bad cycling incidents.  Once was a mosquito in my eye.  Yes, it flew in and I smushed it and I couldn’t see well.  The other was where I was turning around a curve and there were crushed stones.  I wiped out and my elbows and knees were bleeding.  Luckily I was able to walk home and keep up my sniffles in order to be pampered at the finish line.  Milk it baby…milk it.

I belonged to a dance group that met once a week.  We had numerous performances and I was in almost all of the dances.  Yes…I was svelte.  Also I was young.  I could jump and spin and twirl and sing.  I could do almost anything.  (Yes, it rhymes…read it again.)

So, here I am…almost 50 (yes…I’m surviving) and my body has decided that there are renovations needed.  No, I did not get the memo.  No notice.  No meeting.  NOTHING!  My gutsy-trusty body decided to go ahead and pillage me without any notice.  How rude!

Every morning, before I get out of bed, I have learned that I should stretch.  I have been doing this since my early thirties.  Well, lately my stretches sound more like maracas!  One comedienne said it best, “I’m an exotic dancer for the blind.”  I stretch and all of my joints take turns cracking like a bowl of rice cereal.

I have maps of some sort of my legs. There are blue lines which I can only assume are rivers.  Not sure where these rivers are but one day I’ll find them.

Finally there are the bubbles.  Yes, I always find silver linings in everything in life.  My wonderful legs that carry my body everywhere have these pretty little dimples.  Yes…they are everywhere.  These dimples are fantastic FAT deposits.  They are the storage units of my winter solstice and my packing on weight to keep warm in winter.  Yes, I love lying to myself.  I just love food and using hibernation always sounds like a good excuse.  Anyway, I jiggle.  My stomach, by butt, I even have jiggle arms.  Here is my crazy thought.  Follow me on this.  Once I get diagnosed with an incredibly bad illness I will have my 20 lbs of extra fat (like camels not needing water) to help me through any horrible surgery and recovery.  Skinny people have nothing to fall back on.  My excess will assist me in survival and then I will once again be slim and healthy after my horrible crisis. Crazy?  Nah!  I just think ahead.

I am “cuddly”.  My granddaughter came up and poked me in my belly. Oh yes! Wait for it… “Big belly”, she said.   Yup, that is what this almost 6-year old said.  Was she right?  Oh yes…absolutely.  Was I offended?  In my younger days I would have been, but I have accepted my body.  I would like to be thinner, but I am also happy with myself and my life.  I don’t want to diet.  I don’t want to give up foods I love.  I consider myself a chef of sorts.  I have the greatest kitchen in the world and I LOVE TO COOK!  My other favourite motto is “never trust a skinny chef”.

Flashback to my “big belly”.  I looked at Kennie and asked, “Baba has big belly which means I am soft and cuddly and I can give you amazing hugs so big bellies are good right?”  She thought for a bit.  Really, really thought about it and then looked at me, nodded and said, “Yup, it’s good.” Then she moved in for the soft, cuddly, Baba hug.

Cellulite and cuddles…a love story.

 

 

 

 

 

New illness revealed…

Everyday there seems to be some kind of new disease taking over the world.  I do believe I have discovered a new illness.  It is quite uncomfortable and irritating, and it usually clears up after a couple of days.  If I am correct, and this is a new disease, then I shall be famously known as the woman who discovered, diagnosed, and provided the remedy for the infamous Croatianitus (pronounced:  kro-aye-shun-eye-tis).  What is Croatianitus?

I am sure most of you have heard about Tinnitus.  It is a ringing or buzzing in your ears that only you can hear.  Croatianitus is something similar, but in an opposite way.  Instead of hearing the buzzing in your ears you find that you really can’t hear at all.  There is a pressure built up in your head, sort of like having your head wrapped up in a cotton ball helmet.  When people speak to you, you can see their lips moving and perhaps some sound will break through the fogginess, but your actual capability to hear normally has been adversely affected.

What causes Croatianitus?   This condition is most often brought on by being in public places with Croatians.  These are a jovial and entertaining group of people.  They prefer loud music and even louder conversations. This friendly group of humans started out in Croatia.  From there, emigration began and they moved to many different countries all over the world!  They brought their sense of joie de vivre with them and settled in cities where there were others of their kind.  Their raucous laughter and joke telling was studied in order to record their decibel levels.  After numerous studies, dB showed them way above healthy levels…closer to “shot gun” deafening.

I have been studying this society for quite some time now.  I have attended their marital rituals and other religious ceremonies.  I have been invited to and frequented other social events including annual group performances which showed their softer side.  Colourful, cultural dances and the vocalizing of historical songs.  All is well until their show is over and the socializing begins.

It appears very harmless.  Oftentimes you will move to a different room and sometimes even a different location.  Having completed their ceremonies, they become lax and free-spirited.  They congregate and speak.  This is symptom number one of Croatianitus.  You believe you are in a regular conversation, however, when this group forms you will find that they begin speaking at a dB (decibel) level of perhaps 30.   Very safe.  As more of them enter the room, there are more in-depth discussions beginning.  In order to be heard, the repartee of each mini-group grows in loudness.  Suddenly, you notice that the traditional music has begun playing in the background.  When did that occur?  You are already beginning to notice a difference in your hearing.

Symptom number two is when you realize that you yourself have begun to annunciate and speak louder.  This is an automatic self-preservation tactic.  In order to be heard above the din you must assimilate with the masses.  You lull yourself into a false sense of security at your ingenuity.  Little do you realize that as the seconds and minutes tick by, you have gone from “normal-speaking” person voice to the “Croatian” speaking voice.  This voice is at least three times louder than your normal speech and you feel comfortable because the “Croatians” smile at you happily and proudly as you have adjusted in order to join their world.

Symptom number three is the most fatal one and oftentimes is mistaken for tiredness or regular tinnitus.  After cavorting with these cheerful and partying persons, it is time for you to go home.  You start to say your goodbyes but you can’t hear your own voice.  After much analysis I believe that this is the reason why these people give big hugs and double cheek kisses at the end of the night.  No one can really hear them, and it is said that actions speak louder than words, so this is their way of showing you their joy and gratitude for your attendance.

Remedy for Croatianitus is a bit of a longer process.  It is all about patience.  You will notice that your ears will continue ringing.   The buzzing will stop, usually by next morning.  The newfound deafness could take up to a couple of days to clear, but you will get there.

The best way to ensure you don’t become prone to this illness is to limit exposure.  After intense study on this group, I have found that a two-hour maximum exposure limit will allow you to hear in about one hour after departing their company.  Anything longer than that and you are looking at the three day rule until full recovery.

How do I know all about this?  I myself am a Croatian.  I chanced upon Croatianitus after moving out of my parent’s house.  As mentioned previously, there were six of us in that house and the Over-Talking (a.k.a. “speaking over another person while they are still talking” because we didn’t consider that rude).  We knew we had to speak louder in order to be heard.  THAT was our training ground.  There was no “excuse me” or “pardon me for interrupting” it was survival of the fittest, or in this case, the loudest.

After departing the humble abode of my youth and moving in with Wiseguy hubby, he started lowering the volume on the tv set one night.  He asked if I could still hear everything.  I could. He lowered it again…and again…and again.  Surprisingly, I could still hear every word being said.  THAT was when I first realized there was something unique about being nurtured (trained) in a Croatian home.

EPILOGUE:  It has been five hours since departing my last Croatian function.

  •  Congregating time after concert = 2 hours.
  •  Hearing in my right ear = returned after 2 hours.
  • Hearing in my left ear = returned after 4 hours.