The nasty bug I reported in the last post, which has been bothering both Hilde and me for going on two weeks now, finally seems to be getting to its last stages. After another doctor's appointment Tuesday afternoon, I was able to finally get to CostCo for the shopping that's been piling up while I've been stuck at home. Even a couple of days ago, I would have felt completely wiped out by the time I got home and probably would have had to go back to bed. After the shopping, I felt tired and had a light sweat worked up, but I was still able to function, at least half-assedly. So I should be back to work on Thursday.
Hilde is still having trouble with her hearing, and the doctor has added a major decongestant (both of us are currently taking pills of a size I would ordinarily expect to see only in a large-animal veterinarian's office) to what she was already taking, to try and break the sinus passages loose. There seems to be a little improvement so far, hopefully to be followed by more.
The partial-deafness has been particularly alarming because there does seem to be some correlation between long-term arthritis and deafness, and a certain amount of fear that the pressure from the congestion might have done lasting damage to the inner ear mechanisms. If there's not significant improvement in another week, Hilde may be seeing an ear/nose/throat specialist at our local Mayo Clinic.
For my own personal part, the possibility of Hilde losing part of her hearing is... oh, what's the word?... terrifying. Since I've always tended to speak in varying degrees of Mumble (as I've aged, I've gone from Modern Mumble to Middle Mumble to, nowadays, Olde Mumble), I've always had to repeat myself frequently. But the recent developments mean I've been having to SHOUT! a lot when I've been trying to talk to Hilde. This sets off a mental script in my head that goes something like: "AIEEEEE! I"M SHOUTING AT MY WIFE! AIEEEE! BAD HUSBAND! BAD HUSBAND! AIEEEEEE!!"
And... for the last forty years, the rheumatoid arthritis has been bashing her with a baseball bat, over and over and over and over again. The thought that, now, it might be moving on from bashing knees, elbows, hips, feet, spine and virtually every other joint there is, and start bashing her in the head... that's really hard to accept.
There's a movie from the early 1970's, PETE 'N' TILLIE, starring Carol Burnett and Walter Matthau, based on Peter DeVries' novella "Witches' Milk". Pete and Tillie are two people who get married in middle-age. They manage to have a child, the only child they'll be able to have... and the young boy develops leukemia. There's a scene in the movie where Matthau is horseplaying with the young boy in the living room, just like everything is normal, just like everything is alright. Burnett watches them for several moments, then stands and leaves the room... and leaves the house... and goes into the backyard. Where she looks up into the sky and talks to God. And what she ends up saying to God is: "I spit on you! I spit on you!"
I've been thinking about that scene. I've been thinking about that scene a lot, the last few weeks.
Best case scenario: Hilde's ears clear up, and her hearing goes back to normal. (And there does seem to be some improvement, between the antibiotics and and antihistamines.) But I've always had a tendency to catastrophization, to seeing the worst possible outcome. Sometimes this can be a good thing, because expecting the worst means I can take steps to try and avoid it. But there are some situations where I don't have any control over what's coming... and that makes me nervous (where "nervous" includes scared, depressed, and angry).
Hilde's version (it seems to be like the Wild Card virus, in that everyone has a somewhat different set of symptoms) has been mostly upper-respiratory-based, and initially produced truly astounding amounts of phlegm and mucus. Even, at its worst, from -- ewwwww -- around the edges of one eye. (It may be a minor super-power, but even the most powerful villain would hesitate to face someone who can shoot snot-rockets out of her eyes.) She's been on antibiotics since last week, clearing up her phlegm production, but just got switched to a stronger one since her ear canals are still plugged and hindering her hearing.
Me, I haven't had the humonguous amounts of yuck like Hilde, or the nausea or diarrhea other people have reported, but I've had almost constant sinus drainage, resulting in a throat that feels like it has a strep infection (been tested; it's not strep, but damn, it's still sore!), and a headache that's never quite gone away since this all started for me last Saturday, plus feeling enervated and listless all the friggin' time. I've had more hours of sleep per day this last week than I've had in years... and it's still not enough to feel normal.
That last, the lack of energy, is actually the biggest suck of the entire suckapalooza. Not only have I not been able to go to work, meaning someone else will have to work extra hours to cover my assignments, but I haven't had the energy to do anything around the house either. Usually by this point in the week, I'll have finished the laundry, cleaned the kitchen, changed the catboxes and garbage cans, worked on the garden, done the grocery shopping, and about half a dozen other things. None of that's gotten done yet this week. (I've watched a lot of tv, when I've been up... and that's been about it.)
In fact, writing this blog post has been the most energetic thing I've done all week, save for several unavoidable trips to doctors for Hilde and myself... and I'm already feeling pretty pooped. (Hopefully, the fact that I can write this blog post at all is evidence that I'm at least starting to recover.)
(The illustration above comes from the LIFE Photo Archive, hosted by Google.)
That said, these are resolutions that I should make for 2009, if I made New Years resolutions:
1: Work towards a more satisfying job. (Security work has its rewards, but it's the first job I've ever had where there are long periods of being, essentially, in "standby" mode; this drives me nuts.) Learn Excel, update my resume, keep my eyes open for suitable job openings, etc.
2: Try to do more work, more regularly, on my fiction writing.
3: Market the fiction I've already written.
4: Try to exercise regularly, and to lose some of the excess weight that's crept back on over the last few years.
5: Reduce/eliminate our debt (which isn't bad; not including the mortgage, we have less than $3,000 debt) and try to put more money into savings.
6: Try to get Hilde outfitted (netbook, voice-operated software, etc.) to where she can access the Internet herself.
That's the major stuff I'd like to see myself doing this next year. Some of it I probably will do, some will get partially done, and some may not get done at all.