misslynx: (Default)
Wow... My entry for the current Last Author Standing challenge got two "best" votes, like the previous one - but also three "worst" votes, which I really did not see coming. Well, at least it got noticed... But I missed getting voted out of this round by the skin of my teeth.

I'll be looking forward to getting the vote feedback and seeing the reasons for the negative votes. If the reason people disliked it was because it made them uncomfortable, as one person has suggested, I'll actually take that as a win (though I suppose if I want to stay in the contest, I should stay away from such triggery subject matter in the future - from the perspective of getting voted out, a negative vote is a negative vote, regardless of the reason), but if it's actually because they thought it was horribly written, I'll be disappointed. Still, all criticism is useful in helping one write better, so even if it does turn out people thought it was badly written, hopefully I'll be able to learn from that.

If anyone wants to read it, my story was The Monster at the End of This Book. Please note that it deals with child abuse, and is thus, as mentioned above, unlikely to be a comfortable read for anyone, and quite possibly very triggering for some.

BTW, the prompt we were given was: "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." — Friedrich Nietzsche

. . .

In other news: still sick, though not as much so. Most of the cold symptoms are gone now, but for some reason every bloody time I get a cold, it settles into my lungs and leaves me coughing and hacking for days or weeks after the rest of it is over. Sometimes to the point where I can't sleep at night, though last night was not as bad as the several nights before it. Hopefully this means maybe the cough is finally on the way out... Hopefully. Because I am so very, very tired of coughing.
misslynx: (Default)
Just found out that registration for the Ride to Conquer Cancer closes tomorrow. I didn't register yet, and right now, with rent due tomorrow and various and sundry bills to deal with, I can't afford the $50 registration fee.

Maybe it's just as well — I'm not entirely sure I could have been fully prepared to ride 200km by June, unless I trained really hard between now and then, and I don't know if I'll have the time to train as hard as I'd need to. Plus, while I'm OK with riding during at least some winter weather, I do have limits, and if I'm trying to prepare by riding really long distances, doing it at -10 in February is not, I have to admit, the most appealing prospect in the world. Not to mention the fact that I'm still trying to get caught up on my gym fees so I don't have that option open to me right now.

I suppose the best thing to do is let it go for now, and concentrated on getting my gym membership paid up so that I can start working out again, ride as much as I comfortably can in the winter and more once it gets warmer, and for this year, aim to do one of the shorter charity rides — I think there are several others that aren't quite as huge as the RTCC. And then for next year, realize ahead of time that registration closes six months before the actual event, and get registered early!
misslynx: (Default)
So, I suppose it was inevitable that with the amount I'd been working myself into the ground in January, I'd get sick sooner or later. I was pleasantly surprised that this actually did not happen during January's work-deathmarch. Instead, it seems to have come about after things had eased up a bit, then had one more brief spasm of mega-work. Camel, straw, etc.

Anyway: I now have a nasty cold, so it's back to the vitamin C/Sinafect herbal tincture/DIY waterboarding sinus rinse routine. Currently attempting to muster up the energy to drag myself out to get some groceries and maybe, hopefully, do laundry, which I am way overdue for. I have a feeling the latter is not going to happen, at least not today. But food needs to happen. Apart from that, I think today is predominantly going to feature cuddling with my in-house menagerie in bed while watching episodes of Supernatural on my old iBook (I am only in season 1, so no spoilers, please).

And possibly writing, since I still have a story to finish for the [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti auction, and have not yet done anything for the latest batch of story seeds in [livejournal.com profile] thousandcats.

On which note, I have also received the first of the stories I bid on in said auction, from [livejournal.com profile] anaquana, and I am pleased to say that it is awesome, and actually made me cry happy-tears and sad-tears at the same time: Selkie's Song.

I'm hoping be over this cold by the weekend, because [livejournal.com profile] lgbtech is coming up for V-day, and it would suck to be sick for that.
misslynx: (Default)
Going back to the gym after not being there regularly for some while (didn't go while sick, went briefly once better, then didn't go during the holidays due to being busy plus reduced holiday hours): good.

Warming up with 5-10 minutes on cardio machine before hitting the weights: also good.

Trying new cardio machine never tried before (crossramp, I think it was called - basically a slanted version of an elliptical trainer, so it's like cross-country skiing uphill, more or less): potentially good.

Discovering that while using said machine felt fine at the time, a mere 6.5 minutes on it was enough to make my calf muscles seize up and get crampy and painful within minutes of getting off said machine: NOT good.

Getting to find out which of the weight machines, unbeknownst to me before now, put some degree of stress on the calf muscles in addition to whatever muscle group they're aimed at: educational, I suppose, but would have preferred to find out by some means other than ow-ow-ow-fuck-ow.

Discovering, however, that despite having been away, I could still do the same level of weight on most of the machines as before I got sick: VERY good. I only had to reduce the weight on, I think, two of them, and only by 5 pounds.

New exercise clothes, including, FINALLY, a proper sports bra: doubleplusverygood.

Stupid calf muscles still being seriously sore the next day, to the point where going up and down stairs requires determination: really not so good. (Triceps, all shoulder muscles, and pectorals also sore, but only when I move certain ways. Calves are sore even at rest. What the hell is up with that? 6.5 minutes!)

May or may not go to gym again tomorrow, depending how recovered I'm feeling. I have a pretty full day tomorrow anyway. But whenever I do go back, I am feeling a strange urge to get back on the evil calf-killing machine again and see if repeated exposure will allow me to eventually beat it into submission. Possibly, I am insane. But I am fortified with new exercise clothes, which make me feel like I can do anything. Only my calves disagree.

How the hell did it get to be 4am? I could have sworn it was only 2:00 a minute ago. Bed. NOW.
misslynx: (Default)
So, yesterday I got the H1N1 vaccine. No, they haven't opened it up to the general public yet, but my asthma, mild as it is, was enough to qualify me as high risk, particularly considering that any cold or flu I get has a higher-than-average likelihood of devolving into some kind of respiratory nastiness. Some of you might recall me posting last winter about a cold that morphed into something with horrible coughing spasms that were violent enough that I sometimes couldn't catch my breath between coughs, and felt like I was going to either throw up or pass out, and had major trouble sleeping at night, until I went on heavy-duty nausea-inducing antibiotics and codeine cough syrup. So I really didn't want to chance picking this particular flu up and possibly ending up on a respirator or something.

For those who are wondering what conditions are currently like at the public-health flu clinics:

The process, and (minimal) wait times )

Adjuvanted vs. non-adjuvanted )

Side effects, or relative lack thereof )

Anyway, just thought I'd post the above for the benefit of anyone who was considering going to get the shot but wasn't sure about lineups, wait times, side effects, etc.
misslynx: (Default)
I'd been thinking for a while of making some kind of post about some of the controversies surrounding H1N1/swine flu, because I seem to find myself arguing with people about it a fair bit lately. But then, I think of making many more LJ posts than I actually make. I am constantly writing LJ posts in my head, and maybe 5% of them ever actually get posted. But I think this one's important.

I recently wanted to strangle someone in one community I read, for giving blithe assurances to someone whose partner's child was seriously ill with it and having difficulty breathing that "Oh, it's just the flu. She'll be fine." The kid was in the hospital. Having what sounds like respiratory failure. That does not meet my personal definition of "just the flu", let alone "fine". (OK, admittedly the original poster hadn't mentioned the hospital part at first, just in subsequent comments, but still, even on the basis of what they had described, it sounded serious.)

It seems like there's precious little ground out there between all-out panic and hysteria on the one hand, and dismissing it as trivial on the other. And I don't think either extreme is justified. No, it isn't the end of the world. The majority of people who get it will have a relatively mild case and recover completely. But even a relatively mild case of this flu tends to be longer and more severe than the ordinary seasonal flu, and there is a significant risk of it shifting into a more severe form, which can be life-threatening.

And the particularly disturbing part is that, contrary to what the person I was arguing with in the above community said (something to the effect that "It's no worse than regular flu unless you have AIDS or something"), most of the severe cases of this one have not been people with AIDS, nor have they been elderly people as with most flu viruses (people over 65 seem to have partial immunity to this one) -- they've been children and young adults. Women especially, for some reason. And while certainly having a compromised immune system does put someone at higher risk for complications from it, so do a lot of more common factors, like asthma, diabetes and pregnancy. And a substantial proportion of the people who've gotten seriously ill or died from this have had no identifiable risk factors at all -- they've been previously healthy children or young adults.

Anyway, I haven't had the time to put together the sort of detailed write-up I really wanted to, but as it happens, a friend of mine did just post a whole lot of information, so I'm going to be lazy and just link to his posts. A couple of words of introduction before I do:

  • The friend in question has a science background, but isn't currently affiliated with a university or other institution that would give him direct access to medical journals etc., so the research he did on this was mostly from publicly available sources (which usually means abstracts rather than full papers), plus some discussions with people in the medical field.

  • He started out being skeptical of the H1N1 vaccine and not sure it had been through enough testing to be considered safe (pretty much how I was feeling until fairly recently), so he did most of this research trying to answer his own questions about it and make an informed decision. That involved looking into both the disease itself and the vaccine, since choices like this always need to based on a risk/benefit analysis.

  • He ended up deciding that he did want to get the vaccine, and I'm fairly certain now that I do too. But I am also quite sure that no one who's vehemently anti-vaccine in general is going to have their mind changed by this, because that particular debate really falls into the religious-war category by now. But I hope that even the anti-vaccine people will read over this info, because quite apart from the is-the-vaccine-safe issue, there's a lot of valuable information about the disease itself.

  • All that said, while most of me wants to thank my friend for doing all this research and making it available for me to link to, part of me wants to smack him for not citing sources more specifically. I know him well enough to trust his research, but other people on my friends list who click through to this may not. But then, he originally wrote these posts as e-mails to a small handful of friends, not to put on the web, so they weren't originally intended for a wide audience. He only posted them his LJ after I asked if I could repost some of his info.

  • One last note: from my perspective the most important issue in all this is not so much whether people should get themselves and/or their kids vaccinated - that's a personal choice - but becoming informed about the disease and taking it seriously.

    In particular, knowing that the warning signs that could indicate a severe infection, and when to get medical help. Because in those cases, survival is very strongly correlated with getting them into the hospital fast. Seriously, this thing can go from ordinary flu symptoms to total respiratory failure in 24 hours. If you or someone you're caring for has it and is having any sort of trouble breathing, or running a very high fever, go to the ER. Now. Do not delay, do not hope it gets better on its own, just fucking do it. Because while not every instance of difficulty breathing may be an indicator of impending respiratory failure, a significant proportion are, and this is not something to fuck around with. Getting into the hospital and onto a respirator is the only thing that will keep you alive if it does go that route, and how fast you do it may be literally a life or death decision.

Having gotten that out of the way, on to [livejournal.com profile] oxystat's info:Edited to add one more comment: any references in the posts to "here", "in this country", "in this province", etc. mean Canada and Ontario respectively. One of the hazards of making information originally written for a small handful of locals available to a wider audience is geographical ambiguity.
misslynx: (Default)
Came across this via another web site today:

Woman's Shattered Life Shows Ground Beef Inspection Flaws

Those of you who eat meat, particularly in ground form, might want to think about having it ground for you instead of buying it in pre-processed form... No, that's probably not 100% safe either (nothing is these days, veggies included), but it does sound like ground meat has a much higher risk of being contaminated with something horrible than most things do.

When are we going to learn that trusting mega-corporations to police themselves for things like health and safety is just asking for trouble?
misslynx: (Me & Aidan in ravine)
If you're as annoyed as I am with the bizarre and unrealistic picture US conservatives seem to be painting of Canada's health system, you might want to sign the petition Avaaz.org has on their site:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/reform_health_care/98.php?CLICK_TF_TRACK

Yes, I know online petitions probably don't count for much, but it's something, at least. And they have an interesting feature after you sign it where you can see the comments people have left popping up in real time, as they leave them. Some pretty interesting stories there...

More info behind the cut if you're interested.

Info from Avaaz.org )
misslynx: (Me & Aidan in ravine)
The best cure for the malaise caused by following behind someone large and male on the last row of weight machines, who is doing 2-3 times the weight you are on many of them (and more than that on the dreaded Shoulder Press machine, which remains my nemesis): finally getting to the Abdominal Crunch machine at the end, and after waiting while he grunts and pants his way through an endless set, checking the weight before you finally get on -- and adding 10 pounds to what he was doing.

Yes, Mr. Muscle Man, your arms and shoulders and what not may be a zillion times stronger than mine. But you will not defeat me where core muscles are concerned, because I have spent two years doing the carrying-an-ever-heavier-child-around-in-a-mei-tai workout, and apparently my abs, lower back, and hip muscles are now made of titanium.

Also: today's most effective workout tracks:

"Estuans Intrinsecus" by Corvus Corax
"The Liberty Song" by the Levellers
"Opheliac" by Emilie Autumn

Commonalities: fast, loud, and featuring strings of some sort.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
From the CNET Mac Download Dispatch this morning:
Publisher's description of Ethnic Clock Screensaver

Watch the eye-filling beauty of curious strapworks and smooth movement of everlasting time. Try and guess the concealed images on the patina-covered walls and the ethnic style clock face. Feel the ethnic energy flowing from the ancient timing mechanisms

Apparently an "ethnic clock" is a vaguely Victorian-looking clock with a faint Celtic knotwork pattern on it. I'm still trying to figure out WTF the "ethnic energy" this screensaver is apparently supposed to generate might be.

But I have to confess that I downloaded it anyway. Because it was pretty.

Don't think I am going to make it to the Drupal Users Group tonight, despite the topic being one I was very interested in. I got hit with a small bit of extra work that needed to be done right away just as I finished that last post, and from past experience I know that hitting the gym between 5 and 6 pm is a Very Bad Idea. The after-work crowd is just too big and getting through the weight machines in a timely manner next to impossible. And there won't be time to go afterwards, so it's one or the other.

Yes, this means I have just prioritized going to the gym to lift weights over learning cool tech stuff. I fail at geekdom. But on the bright side, I am starting to have really nifty-looking visible musculature in my arms. :-)
misslynx: (Default)
Well, it is now officially spring, because today I finally took my bike out for the first time this year!

There were a number of days in March when I wanted to, but either circumstances prevented me, or I wasn't sure how long a ride I should attempt given that all my hard-won cycling muscles had probably atrophied over the winter and I might be basically starting from scratch. But Tuesday I went on one of the stationary bikes at GoodLife as a sort of trial run, and was able to do two miles on it without too much trouble, so I figured that meant I could probably try riding my bike to GoodLife today, since that's only a little over a mile.

I was equal parts excited and apprehensive, because I've really missed cycling, but I wasn't sure how hard it would be. But really, the only down side turned out to be the discovery that my tires had gone flat over the winter. Once that was remedied, I was off, and quickly found that riding was no problem at all...

Hell, I ended up riding up a hill on Heath Street that last fall I would end up walking up half the time. And I didn't even downshift. Mind you, I think I was in somewhat of an altered state of consciousness at the time: bike intoxication, defined as having all rational thought replaced with an endless stream of "BIKE BIKE FREEDOM YAY WHEE FRESH AIR SUNSHINE WIND SPEED WHEE BIKE BIKE BIKE <3 <3 <3 !!!" :-)

I hit Yonge Street before I knew it, and was only the very tiniest bit wobbly in the legs after getting off the bike. I did find that some of the weight machines that I suppose must work the same muscles one uses in cycling were a little harder to do than usual, though. But that was the only ill effect, and even the way back was easy, though I really have to say that Heath Street is a much less desirable cycling route during rush hour than at other times.

Note to self: time gym visits better in the future. Yes, Heath is a nice long relatively quiet street paralleling St. Clair that is usually great to bike on. But it is also narrower than one realizes until one finds oneself on there with wall-to-wall cars in both directions and about six inches of space to ride in (OK, slight exaggeration, but really, not by much).

Anyway, very pleased to find that I didn't lose my cycling ability over the winter after all. Unless a mere two weeks of working out brought it back?

. . .

One thing that I really did not enjoy, though was carting the bike up and down stairs again. I remember now that that was why I didn't always ride it as often as I otherwise might have, because sometimes I could easily see riding someplace, but couldn't quite bring myself to wrestle the bike down the stairs (a somewhat cramped staircase with several bends in it, at that).

I know keeping bikes outside is generally regarded as Not Safe, but I'm really tempted to try and find some semi-secure way of doing it anyway, just because this is going to drive me crazy. Also, I've had several near-accidents on the stairs with the bike, and sooner or later the "near-" part of that phrase is probably going to slip. I don't want my bike to get stolen, but I really don't want to fall down the stairs with it on top of me, either.

Any ideas?
misslynx: (Default)
So... It's now been somewhere around five years since I started trying to eat better, be more physically active, etc. There have been various incremental changes along the way, such as getting a bike last summer, but one thing I've been sort of meaning to do for pretty much that entire time (and some while before, really), and yet not gotten around to doing, was joining a gym/fitness club of some sort.

Guess what I finally did? Yes, at long last!

As I type this, I am feeling the sort of ache in my shoulders that says "you just exercised muscles that haven't seen in any action in a very long time." Not sure why it's just my shoulders killing me -- I went through the whole round of weight machines, but maybe that's the part that was most out of shape. Walking and biking have probably kept my legs somewhat stronger, and carrying a small child around at intervals two days a week has probably helped my back a bit, but no real arm/shoulder exercise to speak of until now.

So, I am very happy about this. And the one I joined -- GoodLife at St. Clair and Yonge, which at least four other people I know are or have been members of -- seems pretty cool. Everyone I've encountered there thus far, staff and members alike, seems really friendly, down to earth and helpful. Plus, another GoodLife branch got a stellar review in Xtra a little while ago, so that caught my interest as well.

Ironically, though this is the club I'd been wanting to join for some time, it is not the one I thought I was going to join when I set out on Saturday.

A Tale of Two Fitness Clubs )

Free Trial, with Bonus Ulterior Motive (on my part)

Oh, also -- one of the various new-member perks is that you can name up to five friends who they'll give a week-long trial membership to. I would need to do that soonish, though, so if you're interested, please comment here and let me know. I think it's just at the one branch, though, so you'd probably need to be somewhere convenient to Yonge & St. Clair for it to be useful. Given it's right by a subway entrance, though (literally -- you don't even need to go outside from the subway to get there, just across a hallway), it's probably a pretty convenient location for anyone who takes the TTC.

And in the interests of full conflict-of-interest declaration, I should probably mention that I will get a free gym bag if I can find three people who would like said free trial (regardless of whether or not they actually end up joining). So I am not making this offer purely out of altruism. I do actually kind of need a gym bag, or would like one, anyway. :-)

So... If anyone wants a free one-week trial membership, let me know.
misslynx: (Default)
So at last... There is a new arrival in my household. A sweet, slightly plump 3-year-old calico cat who is currently hiding under my bed. Her name is apparently Allie, but I think I will have to find a new name for her, because having her have the same name as a longtime close human friend of mine would be confusing all around.

Thus far, there have been no cat theatrics. I was originally going to do the usual close-the-new-cat-up-in-a-separate-room thing, but my bedroom door doesn't currently close all the way, and the bathroom has no radiator in it and would get very cold if it were closed off. So I followed an alternate new-cat methodology I'd encountered somewhere: I put the carrier down in the middle of the floor, within Claribell's sight, and then went about doing other things for a little while, including petting Claribell, while ignoring the cat carrier. After a little time had passed, I went over and opened the carrier, gave the kitty within one quick scritch (which you're technically not supposed to do according to this method, but I figured she probably needed some reassurance), and then again walked off and basically pretended she wasn't there.

The idea behind this whole pretend-the-new-cat-isn't-there thing is to allow the cats to get acquainted on their own terms, and minimize the likelihood of the original cat thinking of the new one as a rival for your affections. So far it seems to be working out pretty well. Allie stayed inside the carrier for about half an hour even after I opened it, poking her head out now and then to look around but not actually coming out. Eventually she slipped out and made the rounds of the apartment, sniffing everything, before retreating under the bed. Claribell watched her like a hawk for some time, and eventually after she'd been under the bed for a while, went in there and poked her head in under the edge of the bed and growled a bit, but then seemed to lose interest and wandered off. And that's all the interaction they've had thus far in the three hours that Allie has been here.

Kiska has been a little more attentive than Claribell, and I had to strongly discourage her from trying to referee the brief growling match they had. But so far, all is basically well.

Further bulletins as warranted, and a photo to come once the new arrival comes out into the light again.

Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rackle for pointing me in the direction of her friend who had taken in a small family of kitties abandoned by their previous owner and was seeking homes for them.

. . .

In other news, the Cough That Wouldn't Die finally seems to be on the way out. I'm only coughing a little now, and the coughs are now "productive" - basically, it feels like my lungs are clearing themselves out. About time...
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
I normally have a pretty good immune system, but I seem to have spent more of this winter sick than not sick. Most recently there was The Cough That Wouldn't Die, necessitating 10 days of expensive and nausea-inducing antibiotics, but at least that did seem to make it go away (emphasis on seem, she says, foreshadowing paragraphs two and three), and I got a week or of decent health in afterwards.

However... Aidan got the flu during that time, and when I began to feel a bit congested and coughy again following a visit with him, I was afraid that I'd picked that up, because in between the various instances of sickness this winter I haven't had time to get a damn flu shot, and my immune system was probably a bit run down already from fighting TCTWD, a.k.a. mysterious lower respiratory system infection that is at least apparently not pertussis.

But now, several days in, I think I can safely say that I do not have the flu, nor a cold in the usual sense, due to the complete absence of flu or cold symptoms apart from congested lungs and hacking cough. I am, however, right back to having trouble sleeping from coughing too much -- in other words, pretty much right back to where I was pre-antibiotics, which suggests to me that maybe they didn't knock the respiratory infection out completely after all. And while it initially seemed to be just sort of nuisance-level, not as bad as it had been before, it has gotten worse and I'm pretty much back to square one, I think.

I don't know if that means it's (a) something antibiotic-resistant, (b) viral rather than bacterial, or (c) not necessarily either of the above, but deeply in there enough that I should have had more than ten days of antibiotics. I did take the whole lot, as long as directed, because I know that with antibiotics, stopping early because you feel better is generally a recipe for epic fail. But maybe I should have been prescribed more than ten days worth in the first place.

Fortunately, I still have most of a bottle of prescription cough medicine with codeine in it. Plus two different varieties of Buckley's. Plus various herbs that are supposed to be good for coughs and lung congestion. Plus a vaporizer. Unfortunately, none of this seems to be helping all that much.

I am thinking I need to go see a doctor again, and this time preferably my own instead of one at a walk-in clinic.

Amber

Jan. 20th, 2009 01:11 pm
misslynx: (Amber)
I haven't posted about this in a while, but Amber, my eldest cat, is not doing well. She's been sick with pancreatitis for some time, and I've been having to feed her by thinning the prescription food from the vet with water, sucking it into a syringe, and squirting it into her mouth a little at a time, plus giving her subcutaneous fluids from a drip bag occasionally when she seems dehydrated.

At first she seemed to be getting a bit better, and would lick and bite the syringe when I was feeding her, and sometimes lap up a little of the food from the bowl, but she stopped doing that several weeks ago, and over the past while has gone from passively accepting the feeding to resisting it a bit to, in the last couple of days, actively fighting it, to the point where she ends up wearing more of the food than she eats. She also seems to have gotten progressively weaker, more lethargic, and more disoriented.

She's gotten dramatically worse in the past day or two - I was supposed to bring her in the vet on Sunday but I was too sick, and had to reschedule for today. Yesterday at several points I considered calling and asking if I could bring her in right away, but held off mainly because I felt like if she was dying, maybe a peaceful death at home would be better for her.

But she has an appointment today at 2, and I'm bringing her in, to try and get an honest assessment of where she's at. I'm pretty sure she will not be coming home today - but whether that's because she's staying in the hospital on IV or something, or not coming home at all, is the question.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
Didn't go to coven meeting tonight - I feel a bit guilty about it, and I really did want to see everyone, and was looking forward to the ritual, but the closer it got to time to leave, the more I found myself trying to come up with reasons not to go.

So eventually I took a hint from that and realized that I was really not feeling very high energy - as I mentioned in the other post, I don't really feel all that sick, but it's been some while since I've had a good night of uninterrupted sleep. It's kind of ironic, given that I've been making major efforts to try and make sure I don't skimp on sleep any more, that even going to bed at a decent time and leaving the alarm unset, I end up losing sleep just due to coughing! Well, the new cough syrup should fix that right up, hopefully.

But apart from tiredness, the other main reason I didn't want to go out was that it is insanely fucking cold out. Seriously, if I could have teleported to the ritual location, I'd have been much more inclined to go. As it was, I'd had thoughts of doing laundry tonight if I didn't go to ritual, since I'm way overdue for it, but just taking Kiska out on a relatively short walk had me going "Oh gods oh gods freezing hurry up dog I am so not setting foot outside my apartment again until April..." Laundry can wait.

I'm pretty tolerant of winter weather as a general rule, and generally dress appropriately for it (unlike much of the Toronto population, who seem to be convinced that a short jacket and running shoes are good for all seasons, but then complain bitterly about the cold). But a wind chill factor of -30, especially when accompanied by typical Toronto humidity that gives it that extra special bone-chilling freeziness, is seriously un-fun. Even that short dog walk, wearing decent gloves and alternating which hand was on the leash and which in my pocket, left me unable to feel my fingers for a good while after I came in. DO NOT WANT!

Well, fortunately it's supposed to be getting milder over the next few days. We'll see. In the meantime I will just count my blessings in that I wasn't among those hit by the big blackout last night. It went all the way up to St. Clair, but I live on the north side of the street and since St. Clair itself was the dividing line, power across the street was out, but not my side of the street. Narrow miss! I hope [livejournal.com profile] cleasai has his power back by the time he gets home tonight - some other people already do, but his was still out as of when he left for ritual.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
So, the respiratory bug I've had for the last week and a half doesn't seem to be wanting to leave, and for much of this week was giving me really violent coughing spasms, particularly at night while trying to sleep (also, rather memorably, while I was trying to teach a Tuesday Night Class on Meditation). And then I came across a discussion in a friend's journal about pertussis, a.k.a. whooping cough, and got a little edgy, particularly considering that while only annoying to adults, it can be very dangerous to babies.

So, after failing to get through to my doctor's office today, I went to a clinic on St. Clair and dutifully reported my symptoms and concerns. The doctor initially said that "you can't really test for pertussis", despite that said friend was able to get tested by her doc via a nose swab. When I mentioned that, this doctor said that nasal swabs aren't always accurate because they can be contaminated really easily. She seemed kind of dismissive of the pertussis possibility, though concerned enough about my symptoms anyway to decide that whatever I had needed treating, but when I mentioned having a toddler and knowing other people with young babies, not all of whom had been vaccinated against it, presto nose swab. Guess that bumped it up the priority list...

She said that the treatment she'd prescribe if we knew for sure it was pertussis was not really much different than what she'd prescribe for most other bacterially-based respiratory infections, so it would be best to go ahead with it even though it would take a few days to get the result of the test back. So, I now have antibiotics to take, and codeine cough syrup to help me actually get some sleep at night. Though really, last night was already better than most just due to the acquisition yesterday of some Buckley's and a vaporizer.

Bottom line: no idea really if I have pertussis or not, and won't know for sure for a few days. I think the odds are probably against it, because my symptoms aren't a 100% match for it, but you never know. In any event, hopefully the antibiotics will knock out whatever it is, or at least make it less infectious.

And of course, the potential infectiousness is cause for lots of difficult decisions. I have, or am supposed to have, a coven meeting tonight, a dance class and a meeting with a client tomorrow, and a vet appointment and a visit with Aidan on Sunday, not to mention various minor errands that need doing, and I don't really know which if any of these I should actually be going to.

The ironic thing is I don't feel all that sick, so were it not for worrying about possibly infecting other people, I'd probably do the lot. And I've seen a fair number of other people all this week so if I do have pertussis I could already have passed it on to the Gods only know how many other people. Particularly given that it's apparently most contagious in the earliest stage and less so when you get to the coughing-spasm stage. Though even if I'd already given it to half the city, that's not an excuse for passing it on to the other half - but then, I don't even know if I actually have it. Could just be some kind of ordinary bronchitis-type thing.

Well, the coven meeting I have to decide on in the next 30 minutes or so. The others I at least have a bit more time to think about.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
  1. Note to self: When "almost" recovered from a respiratory infection that among other things has resulted in occasional voice loss, perhaps leading Sunday circle is not the smartest thing to do.

    On the bright side, in a fairly low-key meditative ritual, that stage-whisper my voice was reduced to at some points may have sounded like it was just for dramatic effect. The periodic coughing spasms, probably not so much.

  2. Note to child: styrofoam packing pellets have many uses, to a creative mind. Leaning into the box and wildly digging and flinging them about with both hands, all good. Tearing them into teeny tiny pieces with a look of great concentration and placing each shred in my hands as you tear it off, also all good.

    EATING THEM, however, is NOT on the list of recommended uses.

    It's not like you didn't have a PERFECTLY GOOD plate of Triscuits, veggie pate and clementine segments three feet away from you. Seriously, how flavourful can styrofoam possibly be?

    Oh, and speaking of clementines: No matter how many of them you try to get me to peel for you, they will always have the same thing inside. If you are not eating the segments of the last one I peeled, asking me to peel a new one is unlikely to meet with success.

    But of course, you are adorable anyway, and having you here is awesome even when I am prying shards of styrofoam out of your mouth.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
  1. Apparently, I am sick again. Apparently it is not enough that I was sick for half of December with the cold that wouldn't die, it is now necessary that I be sick again in January.

    Specifically: slight cough yesterday, which turned into a more-than-slight cough by late evening. Went to be early-ish (by my standards, anyway) after some herbal cough tea, and woke up a few hours later due to more coughing. NyQuil, then back to sleep. In the morning: tried to say something to the cat, and no voice came out. Voice eventually came back after much more coughing, but it's still kind of raspy, though coughing seems to have diminished a bit now.

    I am sure this has nothing at all to do with the two all-nighters I ended up doing in the past week. I mean, just because I seem to get sick every time I get severely short on sleep, that doesn't mean there could be a connection there and I should stop doing it, does it? *sigh* I am reminded of that joke about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

    Well, hopefully if I'm sensible and start getting enough sleep now I will be able to fend this thing off before it gets any worse, anyway. To which end, I am going to bed after I post this.

  2. Note to those who you who were interested in the Radical Business Intensive, the weekend-long marketing seminar for alternative & progressive businesses that I attended back in May and really enjoyed, it's coming back! On the weekend of Jan 29-Feb 1.

    This was a seriously cool event -- a definite change from any marketing event I've been to before, since at most of them I've felt like an alien. But Tad Hargrave, the guy who leads the RBI, was wearing a Utilikilt, made jokes about anarchism and Doctor Who, and referred to the event as "marketing for hippies", so for once I felt like I was learning cool business stuff while among My People. :-)

    Any of you who are in Toronto and run your own business in any capacity really need to check this out. Among the event's many virtues, it's pay-what-you-can, and you don't have to decide how much to pay until the end. It's also a great opportunity to network with other non-mainstream business owners.

    If you're not in Toronto, check out the announcement anyway -- he's got dates upcoming in a few other cities as well (Kitchener, Calgary and Red Deer, last I checked). And there are some articles and free downloads and what not elsewhere on Tad's site and blog that are useful no matter where you are.

  3. There were a couple of other things I was going to post but I have now forgotten what they are. That is probably a sign that it is time for bed.
misslynx: (With Kiska (in chair))
Well, let's see...
  • Marathon work binge involving very little sleep for a long time? Check.
  • Exposure to illness via small child? Check.
  • Hitting point of wondering just how long I can keep up the pace I was? Check.
  • Starting to get at least beginning cold symtpoms, though not too severe yet, and because they weren't severe, brushed them off for the most part and didn't ease up on my activity level as much as I should have? Check.

What do these things add up to?

The beginnings of a painfully bad cough last night, followed by waking up this morning feeling like death warmed over, with my lungs and head both feeling like they're packed full of some odd blend of cotton wool, sandpaper and industrial waste.

I pretty much knew this would happen, or at least was highly likely to happen. It's not like I haven't had this same pattern recur many times before. And I do not really meet the "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" definition of insanity - being only slightly insane, I usually do the same thing over and over while expecting most likely the same results, yet nonetheless holding onto that small shred of hope that says that maybe I'll get away with it this time... Clearly, I didn't.

Phoned my dad, told him I wouldn't be able to come do editing today, then crawled back into bed and didn't get up again until 2pm. Walked dog very briefly while still in pajamas (a long winter coat hides a multitude of sartorial sins).

Will probably not be doing much this weekend other than staying in, finishing what work I can during periodic bouts of semi-alertness, and wishing Khmer Thai has not chosen this particular time period to be closed for two weeks. I would kill for some Thai hot and sour soup right now, and the soups they make are gigantic concoctions that are more like stew than soup, with one order being big enough to make two full meals out of. Not to mention incredibly delicious. Well, there are other Thai restaurants in the area, even though they are not Khmer Thai and thus not the same damn it, so perhaps if I feel up to it later I will try and drag myself to one of those and get some takeout.

The most aggravating thing about Khmer Thai being temporarily out of commission is that I found this out by way of trying to phone in an order that [livejournal.com profile] cleasai was going to pick up and bring to me, along with dog food that I'd been meaning to buy earlier this week and hadn't gotten around to... Oh well, at least Kiska will be well fed.

And at least I will be getting some sleep. I actually sometimes find that I weirdly enjoy getting sick when I've been really busy and running myself ragged, because it forces me to take a break, and gives me a sound reason for doing so so that I don't feel like a slacker. So in a strange sort of way sickness = luxury. It's kind of like an unexpected vacation, but with much lower energy levels, and more coughing.

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