Category: health

First Vaccine: Check!

Like I assume all of you, I’ve been watching the vaccine rollout closely. This is the best/only path toward something like normalcy anytime soon, and it’s been encouraging to see those numbers in America slowly bump up. That said, as a healthy man in his 40s, I didn’t really think I’d be able to get a vaccine myself for another month or two at least. Maine just announced Friday that starting in mid-April, anyone could get a vaccine. That was encouraging, but I assumed as soon as that date arrived, the floodgates would open, and it would be very tricky to actually make an appointment.

So, basically, I was paying attention to the big picture of vaccines, but I wasn’t really doing anything to look into what I’d need to do personally to get one yet. I didn’t want to think too much about it, because I thought that would just make me more impatient. When President Biden announced he wanted all educators to have access to the vaccine right away, I was hopeful for a little bit that might include Denisa and me, since we’re both university employees. Reading the fine print (in multiple places), it was limited to K-12 educators. Which was fine. I’ve been working in person since August, and I haven’t felt really at risk, so I was content to wait my turn.

Imagine my surprise when Friday afternoon, I got an email from a friend at the university indicating Walmart was letting university employees get vaccinated. It went against everything I’d read (and I’d read a lot), and so I was really unwilling to believe it. “Let me know how that goes,” I believe I said, or something to that effect. If they were successful in getting it at Walmart, then maybe I’d start to think about it. But we had some more back and forth discussion about it, and a Walmart 40 minutes away had vaccine appointments available for the very next day. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was at least worth a short trip on a Saturday. I called the Walmart pharmacy, spoke with them in person, double checked I’d qualify, and then made my appointment.

Honestly, I still was thinking I’d get to Skowhegan only to find out that it had all been a misunderstanding. (What can I say? I put a lot of faith in my research skills, and what I was hearing went against everything I’d researched.) Also, I didn’t want to get my hopes up only to be let down again. But Saturday morning, my friend texted to say they’d gotten the vaccine, and sure enough, Denisa and I got it five hours later. It was about the same as getting my annual flu shot. There was no line; the appointments we made lined up right with when we came, and it was a very easy process. (It felt surreally American, to be getting the vaccine in a Walmart, but I’m not complaining.) My arm has hurt since I got it, much more than with a flu shot, but it’s down to an almost imperceptible ache now, two days later. I did feel a bit dizzy Saturday night, but felt 100% fine the next day and haven’t had any other side effects.

We’ll be getting out second dose in mid-April, and then about two weeks after that the full immunity should kick in. It’s a big relief that we’re already this far along in the process, especially because it means I’m starting to actually make plans again. Not huge plans, but plans nonetheless. Plans like:

  • Denisa and I taking a vacation for our 20th anniversary. We’re looking at Puerto Rico. It’s about as international as I’m willing to bet at the moment. It’s not Aruba like we had planned last year, but I think it’ll still be great.
  • Seeing my parents again. (My dad will be coming out from Utah at the beginning of May. We’ll drive down to see my mom and step-dad as soon as we can.)
  • Camping with friends in July
  • Seeing my cousin in Boston in June
  • Maybe a trip to Cape Cod?

I do realize that vaccination doesn’t necessarily mean total immunity to the disease. It’s still possible to catch it and spread it, though they’re doing more studies around that, and I hope they have more solid information around that in the coming weeks. And we’re not planning at the moment anything too extravagant. (This would typically be our year to go to Europe. I don’t think that’s going to happen, sadly. Both just from a “looking at the European case rate” standpoint and an “even if we could get there, what in the world would we be able to do?” mindset.)

But as I wrote last week, once I’m vaccinated, my willingness to go and do things is going to much, much greater. I will still happily where a face mask wherever I’m asked. To me, that’s such a low bar. It’s like being asked to wear a shirt or pants. If me doing that can help others, then why would I even hesitate to agree to it? I will also test if and when asked to, though again, I’m hoping they do away with testing requirements for vaccinated people soon. I look forward to more guidelines coming out. I definitely don’t want to do anything to endanger anyone, but I anticipate primarily interacting more and more with vaccinated people, both at work and personally.

You know life is improving when I start looking at rewards points again and begin to wonder where they might take me . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

How Late Can You Sleep In?

Man. I remember the heady days of college, when I could sleep in until 10 or 11 easy. (I could also stay up late and not really pay the price for it later, but we’ll ignore that for now.) These days, I don’t have to set my alarm, because I feel lucky if I can sleep until 7am without waking up.

Some of that is due to having a much more regular sleep schedule, I realize, but a whole lot of it is probably more due to a general feeling of unrest and anxiety I have. (One I assume many of you share, though I hope it hasn’t affected your sleep routine as much.) I wake up each morning around 6am, and the first thing I think about is why I can’t sleep any longer than that.

It’s not that I’m not tired. I’ve got plenty of tired to go around. My eyes burn and I really want to take a nap most of the time. It also leaves me with a much shorter temper than I usually have. Frustrating.

The good news is that I generally don’t have a problem falling asleep (as long as I manage to get to bed before 11pm or so.) Insomnia used to be a big problem for me, and speaking from experience I’d much rather waking up early than just lying in bed wishing I could fall asleep in the first place . . .

Honestly, if it weren’t for the bit about being so tired, I’d be pretty fine with waking up early each day. (A far cry from earlier feelings I used to have around it.) When I wake up early, I can get a lot done. It feels like I have a head start on the day. It’s quieter, and I think more clearly. If I were sleeping until around 6:45am, I think that would be just fine. On the few times I’ve managed to sleep until 8am or so, I’ve felt like my day was just way too short. In an ideal world, I think I’d go to bed each night at 11 and wake up at 7.

How about you? Are you still able to sleep in, or am I not the only one who’s having trouble getting a full night’s rest?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Sickness in the Time of COVID

I woke up this morning feeling . . . not 100%. Some congestion, tired, and achy. Under normal circumstances, I would have definitely gone to work, however. I mean, I’m probably at like 85%, and it feels wrong somehow to stay home when I’m feeling mostly okay.

But my campus has this handy app you’re supposed to check in with each day. Up until now, I’ve always been able to say I was symptom free, though I wondered what would happen if I were to have any symptoms. Now I know. “Not cleared for campus,” is what came up, and then the app told me to email my supervisor and let them know.

So I’m working from home today. It would have been more inconvenient if I had things I had to do in person today, but I just have 6 hours of Zoom meetings, which I know all too well can be done from home as easily as from my office.

For the foreseeable future at least, I think this needs to be the new norm. America has a tendency (from what I’ve seen) to encourage people to work even if they’re sick. To tough it out. I know it’s my default position much of the time. But maybe some good things that could come out of this pandemic would be the recognition that

  • wearing a mask when you’re sick is a good thing that protects other people
  • coming to work sick is a bad thing that makes everyone else less productive
  • you can do a lot of your work at home, and so that minimizes how often you “need” to be at work sick

Just a thought . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Stress Eating My Way through the Pandemic

It’s been a while since I did an accountability update on my weight. Probably because it was heading in the wrong direction, and I didn’t want to face that. With all the uncertainty in my life, I turned back to my sugar-inhaling ways. I’d still been following me diet about half the time, which meant I wasn’t exactly ballooning my way back to overweight, but I was . . . making slow and steady progress in that direction.

Last Saturday, I decided enough was enough. I made a small goal to stick to my diet strictly for at least 7 days: Sunday through Saturday. I was 192.8 on Sunday morning when I began. This morning, I was down to 189.8, which is still definitely higher than I’d like it to be, but I’m back to moving in the right direction. (195 is the “magic” weight limit that pushes me into the “overweight” category, which I know is fairly arbitrary, but it’s a line I’m really set on not going back over.)

The week has been difficult. I can definitely tell that I was using food to handle my stress levels, since there were multiple times I was sitting at work, trying to get through a problem, and I found myself standing up to head for the fridge. I sat back down each time, but I was grateful for the very specific, reachable goal of a one week diet.

Now that I’m close to the end of it, will I extend it? I believe so. Overeating takes care of short term stress, but it adds long term stress to my equation. I’ve also always noticed that when I’m eating less, I feel better. I feel hungrier, of course, but I feel more clear-headed, and I like that. I’m still exercising 5 days a week, and I feel back on track for now. As long as Denisa doesn’t make homemade pizza, I should be in the clear . . .

(After the first week or two, I might give myself permission to have a cheat night a week or something like that. We’ll see.)

Anyway. If this is something you’re struggling with, I can recommend a short commitment that might help bridge the gap from where you are now to where you want to be. It’s a proof of concept goal that can then be extended. If I were really smart, I’d add some sort of Scooby Snack incentive to the deal, but I don’t know what I want enough to use at motivation. We shall see.

Have a great weekend, everyone. See you on Monday!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

When Milk Attacks

Look. I’ve never claimed to be the king of cuisine. My palate isn’t some finely tuned instrument, able to detect the subtle gradations between different foods. In a typical day, I eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When I’m in my groove, I pay about as much attention to what I’m eating as I do to the brand of gasoline I put in my car (back in the days when I actually had to fill my car with gas, which feels about a century ago).

I’m also not a morning person. If all things were up to me, there would only be one 8 o’clock per day, let alone a 7 o’clock or a (gasp!) 6 o’clock. I wake up, have a shower, and get to work. Eating breakfast is a part of that routine, but I only pay enough attention to it to ensure I’m not getting oatmeal stuck in my beard.

What I mean to say is, the bar is pretty low when it comes to breakfast and Bryce.

And so last week should have been like any other. On Tuesday I got up, got going, and got breakfast. 60 grams of raw oatmeal, 10 grams of chocolate chips, 200 grams of milk. Pour it all in a cup and eat it. I was reading something while I ate. Probably email. Halfway through my breakfast of champions, I paused. Did the oatmeal taste a little . . . off? I tried a bit more, actually paying attention to the taste. Maybe a bit strange, but nothing too worrisome.

I finished the oatmeal.

Friends, allow me to pause for a moment for a Public Service Announcement. If you’re ever eating something, and it takes a bit funny, do yourself a solid and investigate the matter more fully. Your spidey senses around food are to be trusted. It’s not like this oatmeal was the last source of nourishment I’d have for the next 48 hours. I had more oatmeal where that came from. But I was lazy, and I’m goal oriented, and goal number 1 in the morning is “Finish Breakfast.”

But by the time I had finished that oatmeal, my stomach was sending up panic signals. All was not well in the digestion department, and they were asking (demanding!) that I take a second look into that breakfast. Oatmeal and chocolate chips almost never go bad. Milk?

Suspect. Highly suspect.

I got the milk, took a quick sniff, and fought by the urge to gag. I had most definitely just eaten 200 grams of spoiled milk. Yes, I hadn’t noticed. (Please refer to the first paragraph above.) But what, exactly, did eating spoiled milk do? I read up on Google really quick. Stomach ache. Maybe food poisoning.

If I were a thinking person, I probably should have just hit the reset button right then. Gone to the bathroom and gotten rid of the morning’s breakfast. But “stomach ache and food poisoning” didn’t sound that bad. After all, it was only 200 grams.

It took me a day and a half to recover, people. My stomach felt like garbage. My skin got all sensitive. I had headaches and nausea. I didn’t get terribly, violently ill, but I was just a notch below that.

So. Now, speaking from experience, allow me to share two pieces of very valuable advice. First, 200 grams of spoiled milk is definitely something to avoid. Second, paying attention to what you eat . . . might be a thing you want to do more of in the future.

Just a thought.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

%d bloggers like this: