Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sudden Summer Super-Sickness!

The word of the week is stupefaction.

Special note: I didn’t know until this Sunday the 16th if there’d BE a blog entry this week! Read on to find out why…

August 10 – Good Start, Bad Start

My vacation got off to a good start this week, writing-wise.

Two whole chapters had materialized by the end of today, part and parcel of the second book. I was particularly happy with several of the scenes, which turned out better than I had envisioned.

Always great when that happens!

The hard part now arrives though: more planning and plot-tweaking for the next 5 chapters or so. It’s the hardest part of the book, as I’ve already mentioned, in that all the little threads have to be tied together nice and neatly so as to create a perfect tapestry for the last third of the novel.

That’s a trick, that is, one that takes a lot of detailed effort.

On another, unrelated note, I’ve tried four times now to install Windows 10 on my newer 8.1 laptop: it’s failed each time with a generalized error that’s proven maddeningly difficult to trace.

This wouldn’t be so annoying if Win10 also wasn’t able to be installed on my other machine, a Win7pro desktop. That machine has a few issues however, so I’m not surprised that it might not happen without a full wipe and clean OS install. But the newer laptop serial failing? That hurts.

I’m in no super rush at the moment, so I think I’ll wait a few months until I try again, to give MS time to make a better Win10 build. In reading about other people’s experiences, most folks seem to be having a straightforward time of things, with only a few driver glitches – to be expected in a new OS release.

Disheartening, though. I really wanted to give the new car a spin around the block.

August 11 – A Year Without Smiles

A year ago today, Robin Williams left us.

What can I say? The world is poorer without him.

It’s still shocking that a man so beloved could feel the need to leave us so suddenly. Millions of fans worldwide have felt the same way, many of whom created tribute videos like this one that illustrate what a fantastically talented man he was. I’ll leave you to enjoy Robin in his many forms:

August 12 – Summer Snowbirds!

It's pretty dry here on the island during the summer. The grass goes completely brown except for those areas where it's watered several times a day. A good example of this is near my own building, where I took this picture today:

That's quite a contrast, isn't it? It's a little sad that so much of the population that lives here on the island doesn't realize how precious a resource water is - much like the recent kerfuffle about California's critical water supply, the same may happen here all too soon.

Though I was feeling a little off tonight, I did make it out to see the Snowbirds perform at dinnertime! I walked down to Moss Rock Park, near where I used to live just a few blocks away, for a perfect view of the performance and also neatly avoiding the huge crowds gathered at the seashore. I climbed up a few paths to raise myself a neat fifty feet high, clearing any obstructing trees or houses. I took a few glorious images, with this one being my favourite:

August 13 – I’m what, exactly?

Today was a tad… difficult.

I woke up definitely not feeling right, after sleeping only lightly on and off since midnight. Not sick, per se, just tired, woozy, too hot and fuzzy-headed. Yet I wasn’t congested or had any other signs that I had caught a cold bug or something similar.

Having set my alarm early, I wobbled off down to the walk in clinic, where I proceeded to give myself a scare by almost fainting while waiting in line for the clinic to open at 8am. I suddenly felt dizzy and hot and recognizing what was happening, promptly sat down while taking off my jacket – which worked. The doctor who saw me said I looked terrible, had a slight fever but didn’t show most of the classic signs of a cold or flu. He suggested getting blood work done, wrote me a prescription for antibiotics in case it was a virus and sent me home – I was so tired I had to cab it.

I struggled to stay awake at home, unable to do much except read slowly until my lab appointment in the afternoon, which I had to be driven to despite it being just down the street. I’d barely eaten anything since yesterday, neither having an appetite or the stomach to keep much down at all. Neither had I been drinking much fluids, despite having water next to me all day; no thirst.

After the bloodwork was done, I headed home, where I slept fitfully on and off until my sister got home – I had a little dinner, then watched a little TV, then went to bed really early and dozed. I felt rotten too, in that I’d had to cancel my writing group meeting tonight, when I was supposed to be giving a presentation… but given the circumstances, it was a good thing I did cancel.

Not an auspicious way to spend the sixth day of my vacation, really.

August 14 – Misery

My night was not spent comfortably.

I dozed, not really sleeping, as I was alternately sweaty and chilled – not good signs. I woke up well after 8am in a state I can only describe as having my head inside a warm cotton hoodie, complete with slightly fuzzy off-colour vision.

Around 10am, I took a good look in the mirror and it hit me: my face was red.

Red, as in like someone had slapped my right cheek hard, repeatedly, and it was swollen.

That did it. I packed a bag with essentials as quickly as I could with a woozy brain and poor balance, then called a cab to take me to Emergency. I wasn’t playing games with whatever this was.

Unfortunately, the cab took nearly 20 minutes to find me – delays aren’t fun when you’re scared by being sick with a mystery illness.

Once I was at the hospital, I was admitted to Emergency and had blood work done( again )in fairly short order, then I took a chair to wait. It wasn’t all that busy, so I was able to be looked at within an hour or so. The doctor on duty, along with a med student, both agreed that it didn’t appear that I had a cold or flu virus, or any of many other possibilities( bad tooth, gums, etc )so they set me up for an immediate CT scan to ensure it wasn’t an unusual sinus infection – fun.

Once that was done and the blood work was in, they determined it was cellulitis.

Now, I’ve heard of cellulitis, but what I didn’t know was (a)how easily anyone can get it and mistake it for many other less-devastating ailments (b)how serious it really was – yikes! If you want to scare yourself, Google it... but don't search for images, or you might lose whatever your most recent meal was. I made that mistake, adding the word 'face' and instantly had to Google some happy images in order to de-shock my brain... some of those horrors could have been me, if I'd been less quick in taking action to get help!

The staff immediately put me on an IV, both to administer powerful antibiotics and to rehydrate me; apparently I was pretty far along on that road too, thanks to all the water the bacteria had sucked out of my body to power their sub-cutaneous invasion of my face.

Which had spread by that point across my nose to my other cheek and almost to my right ear: oh, the fun we’ll have… and to add insult to injury, I had a rapid heartrate: 115 beats per minute sitting down ‘resting’ in a chair. Not a good sign, considering all the energy it was taking to run so rapidly. Not good, not good…

The hospital finally released me at 4:30pm, with the admonishment to come in again tomorrow morning at 8am for another round of IV antibiotics. They told me that I would need to keep coming in for the IV until the infection was under control, due to the rapid and deadly nature of the bacteria.

Great. At least I knew what it was now, and how it could be combatted.

Once home, I ate some dinner( soup and chicken, separately )and went to bed early again, hoping to get some actual sleep. I estimate that I’ve had about 3 hours of actual REM sleep total in the last two days, with the rest being light dozing when I was generally aware of not being asleep quite yet…

August 15 – Sleeplessly Sick

I barely made it into Saturday before I had to return to the hospital.

Around 1am I woke up, sweating and feeling extremely weak. I immediately looked in the mirror to see that the redness had spread all across my face to my right ear: everywhere that was red was hot to the touch and swollen.

Hospital time, part deux.

A fast cab trip got me there well before 2am, to an Emergency that was far less crowded than a post-Friday night should be in a big city – lucky me! The doctor on duty, when he saw me, was surprised that I was ‘so early’ for my 8am appointment but when I described what was happening, he agreed I’d done the right thing coming in as I had. While the swelling and heat may have been due to the bacteria getting whammied by the first IV treatment, it was best not to take chances.

Second round of IV antibiotics at 3am, please.

I stayed in Emergency until 7:30am, just to be able to ask the doctor a few more questions before I headed out. I even managed a solid hour’s sleep around 6am, surprising myself. After that, I cabbed home and slept for another few hours, until my sister was up and headed out for the weekend.

Fortunately, my incredibly amazing, awesome and downright heroic girlfriend offered to come over to look after me around lunchtime. Have I mentioned how much I adore her already?

Yeah. I adore her. Repeat as needed in my head every minute or so...

I dozed on and off for a bit, then managed another few hours of badly-needed solid sleep until I woke to the smell of Something Delicious Cooking! I staggered out, staying upright to see my lovely lady putting the finishing touches on her homemade chicken noodle soup. I immediately felt better just from smelling it, and I’m extraordinarily grateful to have such a lady in my life now.

With all that’s happened this week, I feel I’m a lucky man.

Later on that evening, I packed myself up and headed to my parent’s place, where I can just rest and not be a burden on anyone – one of the benefits of being retired, thankfully working out for me right now.

August 16 – Borderline Better?

It was another early trip to the hospital today.

Not as early as the previous one however, as I arrived a little after 8 AM as I had been instructed. The Emerg doctor on duty was fairly quick to see me and commented that my conditions appear to be improving thanks to the antibiotics. He ordered another dose of IV antibiotics and wrote me a prescription for the same in pill form for the rest of the week, declaring that there was no need for me to continue the IV treatment given my improved condition. He was especially pleased that the swelling seems to have gone down a little.

I'm not out of the woods yet, though.

My face still feels puffy and looks like a day-old sunburn, without the peeling. I feel quite weak, get headaches a few times a day and well, there's other less-pleasant aspects going on too. I'm taking the next week off, both from work and vacation, to recover at my parent's place - far less noisy, so I can nap whenever I need to. As a bonus, there's no cat to constantly demand attention.

So where does that leave me for the coming week?

I’m not quite sure, yet. I’ve sent off a request to my workplace to not report in until next Monday, instead of this Wednesday. Part of that request is to juggle around some vacation days and sick days, so that I can retain some vacation time and use my sick time as it’s supposed to be used – I really, really don’t want to be stuck with a vacation that only half-happened, as it is.

We’ll see what happens tomorrow. For today, it’s been a cycle of eat, nap, hydrate, entertain and repeat, with occasional sides of blog. Plus applications of cold compresses to my face every hour or so to help bring down the swelling, along with a mix of antibiotics, aspirin as well as assorted vitamins and herbs to ensure I’m hitting all the marks to Get Better Soonest.

I might be semi-functional by the time Wednesday rolls around, but I don’t want to put that to the test. The way I’m feeling right now, I could easily last but an hour and then have to pack it in. I’d much rather spend the time resting so that I can be fully recovered by the time I go back to work. It’d mean I would have been away for 2 weeks, only 3 days of which would be vacation… but that’s what sick benefits are for and I, my friends, have been a poster child of a Sick Son this past week, let me tell you.

Oh wait, if you’ve read this far, I already have. Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope your week is a far, far better one than I just had served to me.

Thankfully, that’s probably an easy hope to achieve.

There’s little else to say, really: a vacation meant to produce 5 book chapters produced only 2 and veered far off course into the harsh realities of random bacterial infections. Life lesson learned: let’s hope this week is a far better one!