Category: health

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 . . .

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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!

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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.

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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.

The Family Sprint Challenge

Like I imagine many of you (most?), there’s been a whole lot of sitting around the house in my family since we went into social distancing mode. Tons of computer and screen time, between work and writing and watching things in the evening to relax. I wanted to come up with a way to get the whole family engaged in something a bit more physical, even if it was just a small thing.

My solution? The family sprint challenge.

Three weeks ago, I outlined the plan to the fam. We’d pick a course and start timing each other to see how fast we could complete it. Why? Because why not. My family likes a good competition, though I stressed to them that we’d be racing against our own best times more than anything else. Everyone’s at a different ability level when it comes to running, so while we’ keep track of who was overall fastest, we’d also be paying attention to how improved people are becoming.

Daniela caught the spirit right away. She’s never one to turn down the chance to make a chart, and she went straight for a piece of paper and pencils. In no time, we had the challenge up on the wall, waiting and ready for people to fill out their times. But that’s where it sat for about a week, untouched and pristine. Clearly my family wasn’t going to start spontaneously running without a nudge.

So I got out my sneakers and sweatpants and ran the route as best I could, making sure everyone knew I was doing it. It’s about a half mile, up a hill and then back down it. From from a level surface the whole way, and while I’m still jogging in place each day to keep the heart rate up now and then, that’s all the exertion I’m typically up to. I knew this was going up on The Chart, however, so I really pushed myself. When I got back, I was wheezing for a half hour, and that was after just 3 and a half minutes of sprinting. (Well, sprinting for the first bit. Let’s not fool ourselves here.)

However, it was enough to get the rest of the family moving. Tomas headed out almost as soon as I got back, never one to prove to the rest of the world that he’s better than me. He did the course in 2:09. Yikes. That inspired Denisa, Daniela, and even MC to get in on the action. I was worried I was going to come in last. (I have no illusions that I’m fleet of foot), but my record ended up getting me second place. Woo hoo!

Sunday, we raced again. Tomas shaved off two seconds from his time. MC decided she wanted a shorter course. (I don’t blame her.) Daniela and Denisa both improved by around 20 seconds, and I cut a whole half minute off my best. Down to 3 minutes even! (Though I was still huffing and puffing enough to put the Big Bad Wolf to shame.

All told, it’s been successful so far. We’ll see how long we can keep it up. If anyone local wants to come by and add their entries to the chart, I’ll be happy to time you. 🙂

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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.

Health Accountability Update: Quarantine Edition

Here we are now, over five weeks since the day I started working from home all the time. (Staying at home all the time, really.) When I made the switch to working at home, one of the things high on my radar was what it would do to my health. I wasn’t that worried about changing my exercise habits. (I’m still jogging in place for 30 minutes a day, folks. I can do that in my home office as easily as I can do it at work . . .) But what about my eating routine? It’s harder to not eat like a pig when there’s a constant source of food (a stocked fridge) just 30 feet away all the time. Would I be able to resist the siren’s call?

I’m happy to report that for the most part, I have. My weight has bounced around a bit over the five weeks, going up as high as 192 or so, but as of today it’s at 187.6. Is it where I want to be? Well, no. I’d like to be around 170-180, but where I am now is still in the “Normal” BMI zone, and considering I’ve been through Easter and two birthday celebrations, I’m calling this a win. (I don’t think the current stress-filled days are the perfect time to try to diet aggressively.)

Of course, all is not perfect in Bryceville. My “no sugar” commitment isn’t really doing that well. It’s still miles better than how I used to eat, but I had Denisa pick up a few spare bags of Easter candy, and I’ve been munching away on that now and then throughout each day. Not enough that I’m worried my teeth are going to fall out, but certainly more than I’d like to, in ideal circumstances.

But these circumstances are far from ideal, and I’m having to continually remind myself of that. We cope the best we can, and I’ll take my victories where I can get them. For now, if some chocolate eggs are going to make me feel a bit better about sitting in front of my home computer for hours on end each day, slogging through 4-6 hours of Zoom meetings a day, then by golly I’m going to eat those chocolate eggs.

That said, I don’t want to eat too many, and that’s where the daily weigh-ins help . . .

Anyway. That’s where I am for now. Here’s hoping you’re handling this social distancing as best as you can. Cut yourself some slack, and try to keep a positive outlook on things. We need all the positive we can get.

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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.

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