Three days off never came at a better time

Thank you, Mr. Presidents

I’ve been really sick, this week. Not flu, but a really bad cold that has wiped me out. It’s been a few years, since I was this sick, which I suppose is good. But I am also out of practice with dealing with this crap, and that makes it even more annoying.

I got some OTC meds and the first batch I got had pseudoephedrine in it.


They really sent me for a loop — good-bye impulse control! I was running around, talking a mile a minute, ranting over every little thing, and I could hardly sit still. I was probably pretty interesting to watch at work, and I did have a LOT of energy, but My God, it was a little much.

Regular Sudafed makes me nuts, and I thought I could get away with the generic brand. But this had the stuff in it that makes me crazy, so I went back to the store and got myself something without pseudoephedrine, and all was well, yesterday.

I’ve been drinking a lot of that Airborn stuff — generic bargain brand, again, and that seems to make the biggest difference. Whatever they put in that stuff makes me instantly feel better. So, I need to use my noggin and drink plenty of it — also, preferably before I get sick in the first place.

Anyway, I have three days off work, and that will give me a chance to finish up a couple of projects — one for a friend I’ve been helping, one for my house, which needs more than an hour of TLC, and one for me, which has been hanging over my head for some time, now. I can finally get it done, and I’m pretty excited to see that one off my plate, so to speak.

Then I can get back to  TBI S.O.S.

All in good time, though.

I also want to enjoy myself, this weekend. Do some more thinking about some more ideas I have…and just life my life. Heck, I might even work on my taxes.

That would be something.


Clearing the clutter

Okay, the flu is subsiding, and along with it goes my regret over not pushing myself harder to do everything I’m “supposed” to do… as well as my interest in the flu vaccine and my appreciation of Tamiflu. A reader tipped me off to aluminum being used as an “immune agonist” (something that triggers your immune system to go into overdrive) in the flu vaccine, which would not bode well for someone who is already dealing with enough brain complications. Like I need to add a direct shot of aluminum to the mix… not. The other thing about these immune agonists is that they can blast your system and get it stuck in high gear, like a runaway Prius, essentially making you artificially sick for longer than you would otherwise be.

It’s interesting, that the whole concept of vaccines triggering the immune system is sacrosanct and unassailable by the mainstream medical establishment, while homeopathy, which operates on the same basis — except in much smaller, individual ways — is persona non grata in mainstream medical circles. I’m not advocating homeopathy, by any stretch — sometimes it works for me, most of the time it doesn’t. I’m just saying there’s a curious inconsistency there.

My fever is down to normal again. It’s been in the normal range since yesterday, with a slight rise past 99 yesterday afternoon and evening. This morning I am normal. I am still coughing up mucus, and I am still weak and get worn out after going up and down the stairs just once,  but I am definitely on the mend. That being said, I’m discontinuing the Tamiflu, after reading about what’s in it. It’s only supposed to work for the first 36 hours, anyway, and I’m past that point, so I’m stopping it – even though common wisdom is that you need to finish everything you start. Personally, I’d rather deal with the rest of this with sleep and fluids and not eating a bunch of crap (not to mention airing out my room frequently, changing my bedding, and bathing often to wash the infection off me) than be dependent on something like Tamiflu.

Of course, I’m all spunky now — but where was I just 48 hours ago? Pretty much of a simpering hunk of bones.

But it happens. To the best of us. The main thing is what comes out of it in the end.

What’s coming out of this for me is a renewed vision of where I’m headed with my work, my career. After all the meetings with the New Boss last week, I had a lot to think about. And the bottom line is, they keep changing their mind. One minute I hear, I’m going to be earmarked for a top slot with people who report to me. Then I’m told that I’m going to basically be the organization’s Blue Heeler, running around and nipping at the heels of all the people who don’t want to cooperate. Then I hear that I’m going to be doing something else. It doesn’t inspire much confidence. Being flexible is fine. Being flaky is not. And I just don’t have time to get dicked around by people who either don’t know what they want, or aren’t strong enough to stand up to bullies. Being bullied by one or two people is bad enough, but the whole organization? No thanks.

So, back to my original plan… beef up my skills and keep moving. I’m getting a little sick of being pulled this way and that, so I’m just going to keep with my own blueprint and take it from there. I’m going to use this opportunity as best I can, learn what I can from it, and in the meantime use my dissatisfaction as motivation to make my own progress and improve my own lot. It’s nice to think I can rely on others and trust them, but now I have seen how very un-strong they are, how easily pushed they are from this to that direction, and there is just no way I am taking my lead from people who are that weak and un-grounded.

It’s like that “crack the whip” game we used to play when we were kids — when the person at the head of the line gets “cracked”, the people at the end get whipped around.

Yeah, no thanks.

So, it’s all evolving. I can’t get down on myself for having thought I could make something of this new opportunity. I wanted to at least give it a chance and see if it could work. Maybe I could make it work, but it means: more time away from home, more time traveling, more time commuting, less time to actually do my work, less time for the things I want to do with myself… not to mention more of the kind of work that I just don’t like to do — politics, organizational navigation, all that… through an organization that treats me like a second-class citizen because I’m not at HQ. After all the years that I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing, I just can’t see the point.

So, for now, it’s where I am… but for the long-term, I want something different. That something different will have to wait until after I’m better, though. Right now, it’s about all I can do, to get clear in my head about what direction I want my life to go. So, I’ll watch another samurai movie, have some chicken soup, and get some more sleep.

What will be, will be. But something that goes against everything I want for my life, doesn’t have to “be” forever.

On the mend… and now on to bed

Getting past this flu business. Feeling close to human. Tamiflu seems to have helped, along with just taking good care of myself. Sleeping a lot. Drinking a lot. Not eating much, but I’m just not that hungry.

I told the folks at work, once and for all, that I wasn’t making the trip next week. Not the greatest feeling in the world, to be honest — I really wanted to be there for them. But they’re cool with it. They’ve got me covered.

I’ll have to check in with work in the morning, as I promised I would. I’m debating whether or not I can make it in to the office on Monday – I can always work from home, which might be better, anyway.

But enough of that. I’m not completely over this yet. Time to sleep. Lock up the house, turn out the lights, and call it a night.

When in doubt, watch samurai movies

Hulu is a wonderful thing. They have a bunch of classic samurai movies, which are just the ticket for when I’m feeling low and wiped out. I’m not sure what it is about samurai movies, but there’s something about them that both really takes me out of my inner turmoil and malaise, and also puts me in close touch with the intricacies of human life.

Yesterday, I watched “Sword of the Beast” a 1965 classic which I really enjoyed. I had a little trouble following who was what and how they related to each other, but overall it was a good experience.

I also watched a little anime, but that was less satisfying, partly because it was shorter and didn’t go very deep. I’m finding, as I go along, that I need more and more depth in my life. Less Facebook and Twitter, and more classic novels. Less sitcoms and more documentaries. I’m really getting into “Iconoclasts” from the Sundance channel. There’s something really comforting about that show, because it reveals what’s beneath the surface, and that’s a rare thing, in this world.

Maybe that’s the thing with samurai movies – they really get beneath the surface, in my opinion. They show individuals grappling with personal challenges in the face of overwhelming odds, tyranny, oppression, deceit and trickery, and sometimes impossible situations. And through it all, how you handle yourself, how you represent your corner of the world is the most important thing of all. It’s a far cry from the standard fare we get from the usual network t.v. – which I cannot even watch anymore, thank you very much.

No matter how beautiful the people are, no matter how rich or powerful or intriguing they may be, there’s just not that same … substance, that you find in the old samurai classics. And honesty? It’s almost like the modern world idolizes trickery and deceit, treating it like it’s a virtue, rather than a demeaning fact of life that must be overcome by good people. When did we get so cynical? When did we stoop so low? Since when is that kind of behavior a good thing? I just don’t get it.

Anyway, I’ve informed people at work that I’ve got the flu and I’m out for the week. I’ll be unavailable till Wednesday, then I’ll check back in with them at the end of the week. That should give me enough time to settle in and get some things sorted out. Sleep. Rest. Eat and drink and chill, and just let myself get better.

And dream of better times… better days… better behavior in the face of overwhelming circumstances… not just dreaming, actually, but working towards it. Always working. Onward.

And then there’s the flu

Oh, Lord – looks like I’ve got it. Crazy aches and pains all over, splitting headache, sore throat, major chest congestion, and a dry cough that doesn’t feel very productive. I actually landed in the emergency room last night, intensely dehydrated – they took a bunch of blood, hooked me up to an IV and pumped me full of fluids – two bags emptied quickly into my system. The non-narcotic painkiller they added to the first bag of fluids seemed to take the edge off the pain, but other than that, it didn’t dramatically change anything. I’ve been fighting off a spiking fever – it heads in the wrong direction really quick — from 100.6 at 10:30 a.m. to 103.7 by 2:30 p.m.


But at least all the blood panels came back okay. I’m actually doing really well on paper, so this feeling that I’m within easy reach of the River Styx is all perception. No, I’m actually not dying, no matter how it feels.

The doctor says I should stay away from work for a week, which pretty much blows my paid sick time out of the water. I’ll see if I can work something out with my boss… maybe work from home for that time. I’m hoping that the recent departure of the uber-boss will make them more accommodating.  There’s a good chance of that, actually. And anyway, maybe that means that this week I can get some of the outstanding issues taken care of that I’ve been meaning to, for weeks and weeks, but haven’t had the chance to tend to.

We’ll see how I feel. Right now, I feel like total crap. But the Pedialyte with some juice seems to really be helping me. I feel like a dried-out sponge just soaking it up. Good stuff. I just don’t want to end up back in the ER.

Drink and rest and hang out in the bathroom… rinse, repeat. Pop some pills and get some sleep… rinse, repeat. I suppose this isn’t so terrible, when I look past the pain and agony. It’s a time to kick back and take care of myself and take advantage of the doctor’s orders to not do much at all. The changes at work are happening fast and furious, and I just don’t know if I’m on board with them. I joined the company 2-1/2 years ago because it was local and small and had a real “family” feeling. Now that’s pretty much gone. And I may need to do a bunch of traveling, which does not appear to me at all. The idea of hopping on a plane every other month and flying all over creation… yeah, no thanks.

It may be for others, but not for me. Seriously, I have better things to do with my time than sit on a plane surrounded by super-bug-carriers from all across the planet.

So it goes. The one nice thing is that I’ll have some time to just chill. Sleep. Relax. Catch up with myself and see what’s going on with me. And blog. And catch up on blog reading. And sleep. Just digest it all… Even if I am sick.

You know, it’s funny – having so many issues post-TBI (s) seems to have fostered in me the ability to function and keep going, even in the face of some pretty daunting symptoms. Learning how to function normally throughout the day, when my noise and light sensitivity was off the charts and my head felt like a jack-hammer was permanently attached to my temples, has helped me to function normally even in the face of some pretty overwhelming illnesses. For example, I’m typing this up and I’m feeling fairly coherent, even though I feel like death warmed over, my head is splitting, and I can barely breathe.  Somehow, I’ve learned to navigate life with all this incredibly intrusive stuff going on, and I’ve learned how to do it pretty well, if I say so myself.

Things aren’t always going to be perfect. In fact, I think it’s safe to say, things will never be perfect… for long. But we can at least keep going, keep moving, and do our best to take good care of ourselves through it all.

And on that note, back to bed.

Oh, wow – I am really sick


The change of the season is upon us, and with it comes a host of adjustments. That includes physical adjustments, as the daylight gets shorter, the weather starts to get colder, and the bare-feet-and-shorts way of life becomes less practical.

I guess I’d been in shorts and bare feet a little longer than I should have, because I’ve felt myself getting cold in the evenings… and I’ve been sneezing. Also, kids are back in school, so the parents I work with are getting exposed to their kids who have been exposed to other kids back from summer vacation. My spouse was also out and about with a bunch of folks, last weekend, some of whom were fighting off colds.

Between all the different sources of infection, and my run-down attitude and over-run schedule, it’s no surprise that I’ve gotten wallopped by a major sinus infection. I went into work yesterday because I had so much to do, but I was home today… and then I found myself unable to function at all, so I called my doctor, and called it a day. Talk about feeling crappy… jeez, what an infection I have. It’s also affecting my ears, which as my doctor worried – they’ve ordered me back to see them in a week, to make sure my ears are okay.

All in all, the day wasn’t a total waste. I did get some things done this morning, in the hour or so that I was able to answer email. And I managed to get my car inspected (I remembered last night that today is the last day in the month, and after today, my registration is expired). My car sailed through with flying colors. That’s done for the year. I’ve got to take the van in next month (starting tomorrow). Maybe I’ll do that sooner rather than later, just so I can have it out of the way.

Then I came home, had some chicken soup for lunch,  and crawled into bed for three hours. I just got up a little while ago. I made myself some hot tea — nasty, foul “cold season tea” that has to be some of the most vile tea on the planet, but hey, it works — and if I can smell its nasty odor, I know my sinus congestion is being relieved — it’s a mixed comfort.

What’s really a comfort is knowing I have three days ahead of me to convalesce. I would feel cheated, if I had a bunch of things I wanted to do for the long weekend, but honestly, it was all plans for study-study-study and practice-practice-practice for me, and I can do at least some of that while I’m on the mend. Plus, being sick kind of gets me off the hook, when people call ’round to see if they ca scare me out of my corner of the world and go have some FUN!

My idea of fun is a bit different – study-study-study and practice-practice-practice are my idea of a good time… out on my deck in the late summer sunshine. It’s all good. And I do need to take some time to study and practice because I have a technical screening next week for my possible new job. At first, when I heard about the screening, I was really nervous, because the last time I had a technical screening, I fudged my way through it and I was given a pass by the people who wanted me to work with them. This won’t be happening this time, probably, because the people I’m interviewing with are not my friends and they have a vested interest in screening out duds. I need to make sure I don’t come across as a dud. I’m not one, and I need to really chill myself out, so that I can function at my peak.

I got a little boost from another blogger who wrote:

Attitudes are truly contagious. I make an effort to keep my attitude positive especially in the face of negativity, challenges and emotional vampires (people who literally exhaust you emotionally). When I continue to share love and kindness in all my actions with no expectation of anything in return, I ultimately feel better. My energy level is higher.

Have you seen this in your own experiences? Go into any situation with a positive attitude and you will feel great afterward. It is a double blessing when you receive a winning outcome, especially if the others involved come out of it with a positive attitude. This builds positive relationships with people.

On the flip side, when you go into a situation with anger or another negative attitude, most likely you will infect others. They will be negative right back at you. That would benefit no one! Nothing invites more positive attention than a great attitude. Awareness is key; keep your attitude in check. Remember, attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?

True, true, true. Good words. I’ve bookmarked their blog, so I can come back again and get a good reminder of where my head needs to be.

I think my head is at that place right now. Despite being sick as a dog and feeling like week-old roadkill, I’m feeling pretty positive and focused. Until this evening, when I usually start to feel worse and I spiral down into a ball of dark pain before I sleep — hopefully through the night. Then again, there’s no guarantee that I’ll feel that way tonight. It’s just what I expect.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. It might be completely different. You never know.

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