No, not collective, group, or much of anything.
This is a post written in haste. Last night in the middle of the night, I felt myself coming back to myself.
I don’t know how else to describe it. I just woke up and thought “Oh, I’m normal now” and then I turned in bed and went back to sleep.
This has happened before, usually after prolonged illness. This time it surprised me, because I wasn’t aware I’d been off long. Oh, sure, the short prednisone course. It was good to feel my heart settling without racing, and my thoughts not feeling like a caged squirrel on meth.
Then I realized I’ve been slightly “off” since I collapsed in the shower, (in December. Go figure.) Well, more than slightly, considering my oxygen was low enough I was getting incapacitating headaches, and that walking on the treadmill made me get asthma attacks, so I couldn’t breathe and thought I’d die.
The problem of having the sort of auto-immune that reacts to stress is that you have the sort of auto-immune that feeds on itself. Once we entered the magnificent never-land of doctors and MRIs and such interesting stuff, my stress level climbed, and ramped up the auto-immune.
So, what are you doing, Sarah, other than taking Xanax? Well, I’m not taking Xanax. Seriously, when decongestants and artificial sweeteners can do bad things to my ability to write, the last thing you want me to do is take mood-altering drugs. Kate Paulk writes with those, heaven knows how and more power to her.
I have a long term slow-release inhaler for the asthma, and at some point, when this book is in (Please, G-d, today) I will cast about for a pulmonologist as I’m apparently doing something called “hyperinflating” which might spell long term trouble. And I have — casts eyes heavenward — bought yoga books. I never wanted to do yoga, mostly because I was born in 1962, not 1952. But I did it, almost incidentally (long story) the year after Robert was born and it not only helped physically, it seemed to serve as a de-stressor. Also once the book is in (I hate being late and I’m VERY late and that adds to my stress) I am going to establish a routine, because I like routines and they help with my stress. NOT rigid routine, as such, but one of “I get up at this time” and “I work on this” and “then on this.” I’m also going to establish fun stuff every day, even if it’s only one hour. “Do something for yourself every day” — which will stop me snatching bits of reading around the edges and feeling guilty. The “hour a day for me” will to be fair probably be mostly a long walk, weather permitting, because that with an audio book is really good for my mood.
I’m also — heaven help me — going NO carb for a couple of weeks and seeing where that goes, because I can’t even stand to see myself in the mirror right now. And I’m sure it does my body no good. The long term inhaler has a tendency to make one gain weight anyway. (Yes, I know about having to have fat when you go no carb.)
That’s my plan for the future and to prevent this happening again. I can’t control relatives dying, relatives in the hospital, the necessity to travel, or the kids worrying me. (They’ll worry me their whole lives, but right now we’re trying to fire them off and that’s insane stress. I mean they’re in the last year or two of their training — for younger son it depends on academic scheduling, which is crazy for three engineering degrees — and we’re trying to figure out what we need to do to have them be independent and on their own. In a really crappy jobs’ market too.) I can’t even control D’Artagnan cat chewing through his foot and the vet suspecting bone cancer (It’s not. Idiot cat stepped on something and got an infection, and…)
What I can control is creating spaces of calm and destressing for me. I did this when the kids were little. I called it “mini vacations”which were sometimes only fifteen minutes with a book and a cup of coffee. I lost the knack in the last few tumultuous years, but I have to re-learn it.
And meanwhile, I’ve come back to myself. It always fascinates me that we don’t know how far off our normal we are, till we achieve normal again and go “Oh. I remember that.”
My thyroid treatment seems to be stable, I’m done with prednisone, and I have a long-term treatment for asthma. Yeah, I also have a cold, so I might not be quite normal-normal, but I’ll take the end of racing heart (Pred) hot flashes that were like a preview of hell (pred), constant brain fog for years (thyroid) and headaches that made me feel I was dying (asthma) as a good thing.
Sorry. I always thought older people talking about their health was tedious, and here I am doing it on my blog. BUT I have a relationship with you guys and with other people who have legitimate reason to expect things from me, like blog posts, books, er… mailing the long overdue subscription stuff (I swear.) Finishing other books, like Rogue Magic and Witch’s Daughter and the mysteries. And I think you have a right to know I’m taking steps to become as close to myself as I can and keep myself there. The world being unaccountable, I’m not PROMISING to stay well, just that I’ve realized how difficult this is (like piloting a boat in high winds) and I’m taking steps to try to be as good as I can about it now.
So I’m going to pop some vitamin c and finish the book now, and then I’m going to sit down and establish a schedule. I’ve already decided I’ll send Larry a chapter of Guardian a day, because I don’t want to get too far ahead, before he goes “Oh, Sarah, you got x and y and z wrong.” That is the morning. In the afternoon I’ll probably do indie stuff and my websites and things.
Somewhere there there must be time for a walk with husband. And I’d REALLY like to take a day a week off, in which I’m not cleaning house. In fact, I’m starting to believe I shouldn’t clean house at all, since dust is very bad for me. BUT that will wait delivering some of these books to Baen, and getting a cleaning lady. (Has to.) Until then, I’ll just take an extra destressing day, or at least an afternoon.
Anyway, the good news is I’m not attempting to die anymore. I’m not even slightly off. Sure, I have a cold, but that’s not important. I’m myself again. Which means I should be able to work, at least for a while. And if I can hack how this works, maybe I can get in a pattern where I can work most of the time.
Sure, it would be good to have a body that’s not trying to kill me, but you can’t have everything. Where would you put it? Who would dust it? (As my friend Becky used to say.)
And now I go work, still startled at the sudden “oh, now I’m myself again” feeling. I don’t know who I was before, but tired and very ill is part of the answer.
I’m back. And I want to stay here.