Tag Archives: health

How Sick Am I?

It’s time for everybody’s favorite game! How Sick Am I?!

It’s an honest question, actually. Each year around this time my sinuses get stuffed up. Then the drainage gives me a cough and causes me to lose my voice (or at the very least I begin to croak like a frog rather than speak). Sometimes things progress to bronchitis or pneumonia. That happened pretty much every year in Massachusetts, though since moving to California I’ve only had pneumonia once and bronchitis not at all. (Knocking on the wood of my desk now.)

Of course, these days having a stuffy head and cough can mean much worse.

In October of 2009 I had H1N1. Whatever I have now, it’s not nearly as bad as that. But can I use an almost decade-old experience as any kind of measure? I can really only go by the fact that these things happen to me every spring, and I have no fever. At the same time, not wishing to expose anyone to anything just in case, I’m largely self-quarantining. I’m fortunate that I already work at home. My husband’s company has likewise ordered people who can work from home to do so. (He can, and therefore he is.)

Our schools have not closed, though they have canceled all extracurriculars. A shame, since there were a number of things on the schedule. I was even supposed to help with a field trip next week… I guess if I’m still sniffly, it’s probably just as well not to go. But the high school orientation was scheduled for next week, too, and now I’m guessing that will be postponed. Sigh.

Illness is inconvenient, to be sure. I’m grateful that, as of now, it isn’t anything more drastic. An ounce of prevention and all that.

As for me, it’s always annoying to have the stuffy head and the lingering cough. I hate that I can’t sing along to music in the car cuz my voice is almost gone. But I know it could be so much worse, so I’m grateful that I’m upright and functioning. Now if only I could get this book written, I’d be golden.

Winning the [Ear] Lottery

A week ago, I lost hearing in my left ear. Honestly, it just felt muffled, like when you change elevations. But nothing I did could clear it. So I went to the doctor.

She looked in my ear and told me it appeared my eardrum had ruptured.

She wanted me to see an ENT, but of course they couldn’t get me in until yesterday. So for a week I’ve been deaf in one ear, and I’ve also had to take antibiotics because my ear started weeping. Ugh. That, in turn, led to ear pain and jaw pain and a swollen lymph node. I couldn’t chew, so I had to eat only soup and other soft foods like pasta.

It’s been a blast.

The ENT first gave me a hearing test, which I felt was kind of dumb since it was more than clear I can’t hear out of one ear. The test confirmed this. But it also made clear that (a) my right ear works beautifully, and (b) the problem with my left ear is not permanent. The bone and nerves are fine. It’s the middle ear that has an issue.

Finally, they actually looked in my ear. And it turns out I’d won the lottery. I have an ear infection AND a perforated eardrum. So they sucked gunk out of my ear, then put more gunk into my ear to clear the infection. I have to walk around with this gunk in my ear for a week. Then I get to go back to the ENT and have them suck it out. Hopefully that’s all that will be required. They can’t get a good look at the eardrum until this bit is taken care of. Once it is, they’ll be able to tell whether the eardrum is healing on its own (which is most likely) or will need to be patched.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, I’ve lost a week to having earaches that felt like someone was stabbing me in the ear with a screwdriver. (And now the inside of my ear is crazy itchy, but there’s nothing I can do about it.) The sum total is that I’ll probably have to push back Faebourne‘s release again. Sigh. It’s a mess, I’m a mess, the world is a mess. Best laid plans and all that. But I don’t want to release a half-baked book, so I’m going to take my time and do it right. I thank you for your patience and promise it will be worth it in the end.

What’s So Good About It?

I woke up this morning with an acute case of vertigo. It had been a long time since I suffered a bout. I had my first taste of it in April 2000, while doing work study at the Graduate Studies office at Emerson College. Not long after arriving, I became so dizzy I could no longer sit at my desk, so I slipped to the floor to lie down. My supervisor called an ambulance, and I had to be carried down the elevator in a special chair. I remember throwing up all over the paramedic and then apologizing profusely. The only thing I had in my stomach was the Dr Pepper I’d drunk that morning.

Once in the ER, I was diagnosed with vertigo (BPPV). It took a couple days to recover, mostly via sleeping and doing odd head exercises they’d taught me.

Since then, I’ve had vertigo a handful of times. It got bad again when I was pregnant. And it happens most often in winter and spring, times when my sinuses are troubled and thus affecting my inner ear. But I hadn’t had a bout this bad in at least five years, maybe more, so I was very surprised to wake up dizzy and unable to lift or turn my head.

Well, I tried to get up anyway. But I kept listing to the left and when I tried to walk, I walked into walls. So I went back to bed and shouted instructions to the three kids as they got ready for school. I’m very fortunate they’re old enough to get themselves together, and that we live close enough to the school that we walk, so they were able to get to school on their own.

There’s the silver lining: It could have been worse.

My husband came home from work to make sure someone would be able to pick up the kids and also take the oldest to his orthodontist appointment this afternoon. I slept and was able to sit up a little after. Eventually, many sinus meds and vertigo exercises later, I got up and showered and can now walk around a bit. Still can’t turn my head completely in either direction, and I can’t bend over at all, but it’s progress.

We take a lot for granted in life. Sometimes, things like a bout of vertigo are a good reminder that there are no promises. We’re lucky and should be grateful for what we have.

Happy Good Friday and enjoy your Easter holiday, whatever your religious affiliation. May every ending in your life be a new beginning, and may good always spring from your trials.


The press release about our would-be movie went out yesterday in the Total Licensing Report, and the production company now has us featured on their site. I’m excited, of course, but also trying not to get ahead of myself. There’s still quite some distance between this and production.

Having pneumonia put a cramp in my usual walks and exercise, but I’m slowly getting back into it. I’m still having to curb it a bit, and that’s frustrating because I was at a really good point and now I have to build back up again. But the past couple mornings I’ve seen this little hummingbird that’s such a dark shade of green he’s almost black . . . It reminds me of Kenneth Patchen’s “little green blackbird.” And this morning I saw the hummingbird on a branch beside a bright yellow goldfinch, and for whatever reason that just made my day.

Today’s walk:

1. “I Can Only Think of You” by Pure Prairie League
2. “Holiday in Spain” by Counting Crows
3. “Home” by American Authors
4. “Downfall” by Matchbox Twenty
5. “Fireflies” by Owl City
6. “Real World ’09” by Rob Thomas
7. “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On” by Jimmy Buffett
8. “Gimme Another Chance” by Pure Prairie League

I like how my iPod bookended with Pure Prairie League.

And I like the pairing of “Holiday in Spain,” which is about getting away, and “Home.”

I’m not much of a crier, but Buffett’s song about Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it wreaked on my home city gets me every time.

Still, there’s something open and optimistic about today. As I walked, I felt like all things were possible. Like maybe obstacles only exist within us; we make them ourselves. For the Universe there are no obstacles, and if we leave ourselves open to all possibilities, then wonderful things can happen. Bad things, too, maybe, but I feel like it’s worth the risk to live an open-hearted life.


Had surgery this morning on my right index finger. Complicates my writing a bit, but the alternative would have been a permanently painful and deformed finger.

It’s not even that I injured myself or anything; my fingernail started growing a weird, subcutaneous spur. Huh.

Anyway, huge bandage on my right hand for the next week. And pain meds. Should be fun, make my writing a tad more colorful.

And tonight my play is premiering, so . . . Let’s hope I don’t make a fool of myself or anything.