The Wednesday HodgePodge (March 23, 2022)

It’s Wednesday and I’m joining the Wednesday HodgePodge again. In honor of daylight saving time, I think, the questions this week revolve around the topic of “time”. Here goes.

1. What’s something you never seem to have enough time for?
Blogging. I usually write my blog posts at the end of the day, because I need enough alone time to be able to compose a blog post and I don’t have long chunks of alone time during the day. That being said, the issue probably isn’t that I don’t have enough time, but that I don’t allow myself enough time to start on a blog post if I don’t have time to finish it within that chunk of alone time. Right now, I changed that by starting my blog post in the staff’s lunch break and now I’m finishing it between day activities and my evening one-on-one coming on.

2. If you could turn back time and relive just one day in your life, which day would you choose and why?
This is such an interesting question. Like Joyce, I believe there already is a perfect timekeeper of the universe, ie. God, and to interrupt His timekeeping would not just be impossible, but if it were possible, would lead to disastrous results. That being said, in the hypothetical event that turning back time and reliving one day of my life would not alter the rest of it, I would choose the day of my wedding in 2011.

3. Something you enjoy making that takes a long time to prepare/cook?
I’m assuming we’re talking just food here, since there’s a reference to cooking. For me, cooking even relatively “simple” meals takes up a lot of time. When I still cooked independently, it used to take me at least 90 minutes to prepare and cook a standard macaroni, for example. After all, I needed to do a lot of organizing before I could even get started and I’m a slow cook too. For this reason, I don’t think there’s anything I really enjoy making that would take other people a lot of time to prepare or cook. In fact, now that I get help on the rare occasion that I do cook, I still prefer to make relatively simple meals. The pilaf I cooked last week was really the most time-consuming dish I’ve cooked so far since moving into the care facility.

4. A time recently where you needed/gave yourself a ‘time out’? How do you do that?
I don’t like resting during the day, even though I need to at times. When I had COVID last month, I really had to force myself to lie in bed. Taking time-outs usually involves resting in bed with my weighted blanket over me and my stuffed animals near me, listening to soothing instrumental music through my music pillow and with an essential oil blend in my diffuser.

5. Something you’ve done recently that you’d describe as a ‘good time’?
Yesterday, my mother-in-law came by for a visit. We went for a walk and a coffee and pie in a nearby town. The pies were too sweet for our liking, but the coffee was okay and at least we had a good time enjoying each other’s company.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
This coming Saturday, if I don’t get a cold from one of the several staff who have been working here with cold symptoms (they tested negative for COVID, of course), I’ll be taking a ParaTransit taxi to my and my husband’s house in Lobith. If I do get a cold, I will most likely stay at the care facility and will certainly not take the taxi. Though all mandatory COVID-related restrictions and requirements were lifted today, I still don’t want to infect anyone. Let’s just hope I won’t get a cold, as I’m really looking forward to spending time in Lobith again.

A Walk on Wednesday

Hi all on this beautiful Wednesday. It was sunny all day and the temperature reached 13°C in the afternoon. For this reason, I decided to go for a nice walk again. I’m still not fully recovered from COVID, but I was able to walk for about 15 minutes without feeling very tired. I really enjoyed my walk!

I took my phone with me on my walk, so that I could hopefully snap a picture of some flowers in bloom. I was really surprised when my staff said that the daffodils were in bloom in a garden we passed by. I mean, I’d been of the impression that they don’t blossom until sometime in mid-April at the earliest. I did feel a little self-conscious, taking a picture of some random person’s flowers, but oh well, we weren’t taking the flowers away.

Like I may’ve said before, VoiceOver Recognition no longer automatically describes images when I tap on them. However, contrary to what I used to think, image recognition isn’t completely gone; it was just moved to being its own separate function. This does allow for more detail to be added into the descriptions. In this case, VoiceOver clearly recognized that there are daffodils in this picture both on the lower right and lower left side of the image. I love this!

I’m linking this post with Cee’s Flower of the Day.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 5, 2022)

Hi everyone on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare again today. Sorry I missed out on it last week. I just finished my afternoon coffee and I’m pretty sure there’s still some left, so let’s have a cup of coffee (or tea) and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d share with the #WeekendCoffeeShare community that I caught COVID after all. Thankfully, I’m out of quarantine as of last Tuesday. I’m still horribly exhausted and easily out of breath. Things are slowly improving though. I mean, today I had an easier time of it walking around the day center than I did on Thursday.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the weather here is truly beautiful. It’s cold. Okay, when will I stop saying that? Probably when it’s 25°C. Seriously though, in the morning, the temperature can easily get below zero. All that being said, it’s sunny and it doesn’t even feel as cold as it used to in the middle of winter when it was as cold as it is now.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I’m looking forward to sitting on my balcony again. Unfortunately, the door won’t open. We discovered this yesterday when some men came to repair the blinds and they wanted to go see them from outside. The door to my balcony is locked, but the staff do have a key. It wouldn’t give way though. I’m hoping it can be repaired soon, because, while it is too cold to sit on my balcony right now, it won’t be for long.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that quarantine meant I haven’t been as crafty as I would’ve wanted to be, but I made up for it over this week. I haven’t finished most of the things I’ve created. However, I did finish one piece of polymer clay work and VoiceOver guessed correctly what it’s supposed to be: a sea shell.

Polymer Clay Shell

I used dolphin gray Fimo for the shell itself and colored it using chalk pastels in dark brown (if I remember correctly) for the hole and an orangey brown for the shell itself. I am so disappointed that my chalk pastel set doesn’t come with a list of what the colors are supposed to be called. I mean, I saw one on the site I purchased it from, but then I can’t pair the names with the actual colors.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that I’ll be getting a new one-on-one support staff soon. He’s been orienting a few times already. Because he’s a man, I felt kind of distrustful of him at first. That’s in part my prejudice talking. I’m hopeful it’s going to work out though.

How have you been?

Illness or Injury

Today’s topic for Throwback Thursday is, as Lauren describes it, “Ouchies, owies and boo boos”. In other words, we’re asked to share our experiences of illness or injury when we were growing up. Now is an interesting time for this, as I’ve just recovered from the worst symptoms of COVID. Even though I had a mild case of it, I am tempted to take back my assertion that it’s “just a bad cold” even in my case. I’m still exhausted by 9PM, or at least was yesterday, and today just a walk around the day center had me horribly out of breath. Forget the elliptical, which I told my husband yesterday that I’d try to go onto today. Anyway, that’s as far as my current state of illness is concerned. Now, let me share about my childhood illnesses and injuries.

As a young child, until I had my tonsils and adenoids out as a Kindergartner, I was prone to colds and the flu. I can’t remember whether my parents let me stay home for most of these illnesses. Later though, we clearly had the rule that, if I ran a fever, I was sick and had to stay home. Otherwise, I wasn’t sick and had to go to school. Not that I remember ever “playing sick”.

I don’t think I was ever given medicine, such as painkillers, unless it was obvious from outward signs that I was sick either. I mean, I do remember having to take paracetamol as a child, but not for a headache or toothache. We did have a licorice-flavored cough syrup, but I only took it when my parents directed me to. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I first learned to ask for medication myself. For the brief time that I lived independently and could take over-the-counter medications when I felt like it, I didn’t either unless a support worker directed me to. In fact, I remember buying a talking thermometer back then because I was feeling weak often and, relying on my parents’ rule that you had to have a fever to be sick, I wanted to know my body temp.

Similarly, I wasn’t taken to the doctor for minor illnesses or injuries usually, unless my parents decided they were enough of an outward abnormality to be taken seriously. I remember my father took me to the doctor one day when I was about fourteen because I had bad eczema on my neck. I didn’t see the need, but apparently it was so ugly that my father wanted me to get treated.

When I was about seventeen, I made my first appointment to see my GP by myself. I had a horrible earache, which turned out nothing to be the doctor could do much about, by the way. However, my parents said I also had to ask about getting treatment for my toenail fungus, which I didn’t consider particularly bothersome at the time. To be fair, I do now see they were right to be worried about my toenail fungus, even though it took me fifteen more years to finally get it treated properly. However, overall, I’d had it with their message that my outward appearance alone dictates when I should get help (medical or otherwise) and this was probably my first small act of rebellion. I never quite learned to gauge when I can trust my body’s signals (or my mind’s interpretation of them) and when I can’t. I’m finding that, for this reason, even up till this day, I rely mostly on other people’s judgment.

Gratitude List (February 27, 2022) #TToT

I’m late posting a gratitude list this week, but better late than never, so here goes. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful.

1. I am grateful my seven fellow clients who had COVID, are all symptom-free now.

2. I am grateful the two others stayed negative.

3. I am grateful that, even though I’m not 100% symptom-free yet, I am not very sick with the virus either.

4. I am grateful for more licorice. A staff brought me some salmiac licorice this afternoon. I wouldn’t normally buy it for myself, but I did enjoy it this time.

5. I am grateful for raspberries. The same staff also brought me some of those. I am also grateful for other fruit, such as grapes and bananas.

6. I am grateful I have been able to indeed allow myself some much-needed rest over the weekend.

7. I am grateful I found an essential oil blend with sweet marjoram in it that I actually like. I’d used it in two other blends that I hated, but in both of those, I’d also used Roman chamomile. I don’t normally mind that – it’s not a favorite scent either, but it’s not disgusting -, but the combination was truly terrible.

8. I am grateful my music pillow still works after I got its cord stuck between the caster wheels of my chair. I was a bit scared I might damage my phone if I plugged the cord with possible invisible damage into it, but then I realized it isn’t connected to a power source.

9. I am grateful I didn’t gain any weight while snacking on lots of treats over the past couple of days. In fact, I lost about 0.5kg.

10. I am grateful for green tea. And for staff willing to bring me hot water early in the morning before my one-on-one comes on so that I can make the green tea. I do realize it costs them more time to put on their protective clothing etc., so I try not to request help outside of my assigned one-on-one support, but when I wake up at 7AM, it’s just too hard to wait till 8:30AM.

11. Bonus thankful: I am so intensely grateful to live in the Netherlands. I am not a political blogger and refuse to discuss world news really. Quite honestly, it scares me. However, I am so thankful that I live in a free and safe country.

What are you thankful for?

Allowed to Rest #SoCS

SoCS Badge 2019-2020

Like I’ve said multiple times over the past week, I’m self-isolating with COVID right now. Today is day four of my five-day mandatory quarantine. I have taken each day as an opportunity to stay in pajamas, because I didn’t feel like getting dressed now that I wasn’t allowed to leave my room anyway. That being said, taking my much-needed rest, has been more of a struggle.

Both on Wednesday and this morning, I was up in the middle of the night really, or early morning, depending on your perspective. On Wednesday, I was up by 3AM and couldn’t sleep. Today, I could stay in bed till 4AM. The other nights, I managed to sleep for at least ten hours, sometimes twelve.

It isn’t that I’m not tired, really. Or maybe I’m not, but it does feel kind of like I am. However, my brain won’t shut off. It’s like my body is exhausted and in need of rest, but my mind continues to tell it to carry on. It isn’t even my brain. Well, you know, my mind is in my brain too, but I mean, it isn’t that I’m not cognitively tired too. But I keep beating myself up over it.

Then again, if I can allow myself not to get dressed, why can’t I allow myself to lie in bed and sleep this whole thing off? I can’t force myself to sleep, of course, but I can try to get some rest. Instead, I’m writing this mindless blog post. Thanks for reading! I’m allowed to rest now. Or read what the rest of you have to say.

This post was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, For which the prompt today is “Rest”. I just realized that, in my second-last sentence, “you” is a better fit than “I”, but editing is against the rules. Oh well.

Joy in February

Last month, I shared my one word for 2022: JOY. Today, I want to share an update on how I’ve been doing with this one word. I am joining the Word of the Year link-up, which I didn’t join in with last month (because I didn’t see it on time to join in), as well as Lisa’s One Word linky.

Overall, I’ve been doing pretty well remembering my word for the year and seeking joy in the ordinary moments. I didn’t experience any mind-blowingly delightful moments, but I did enjoy the everyday.

In particular, what I’m happy about, is that I found joy in the treats I could have every now and again now that I’m on a healthy food plan and don’t allow myself to indulge in whatever I please. Now that I have COVID, I’ve ditched the diet and am more or less allowing myself to eat what I want, but I’m still not overeating, thankfully. I mean, I have a bag of licorice on my table (under the guise of it helping with sore throat, which I don’t even have right now), which I could’ve eaten all in one sitting had I not been mindful. Instead, I am truly savoring each sweet.

I also enjoyed my creative hobbies quite a bit over the past month. Though in this respect, I still look to improve myself, I can still find joy in the mere act of creating. Earlier this week, I found intense joy in my first polymer clay color mixing experiment.

Because I sometimes struggle to find the energy to start “larger” activities such as polymer clay, I also asked my day activities staff about some easier to get started activities. She brought me a simple game with a board and insertable small pieces in different colors. I have been enjoying doing this activity with my staff or alone.

Lastly, I didn’t see my husband a lot over the past month, but I did enjoy speaking to him on the phone and texting him everyday. I obviously won’t say that seeing him less made me appreciate his visits more, as I wish we could have seen each other each week. However, it definitely was a lesson in enjoying the ordinary and delighting in the extraordinary.

Finally, both my husband and mother-in-law have been very sympathetic now that they know I have COVID. I am truly grateful for both of their thoughtful text messages. I also was positively surprised to get a call from my sister as soon as I posted about my positive COVID test on Facebook early Wednesday morning. You might think that the fact that I was surprised, means I view her negatively, as I assume most people expect their family to sympathize when they have COVID. While I admit this is in part true, I also think I shouldn’t take sympathy for granted.

The COVID Chronicles, #2: Just a Bad Cold (In My Case)?

I didn’t write a blog post yesterday, because I was too tired. Other than that though, COVID seems to be treating me relatively well. On Wednesday and yesterday, I was horribly sneezy and, by yesterday evening, I started coughing and having a sore throat. That seems to be gone now though. I’m still a little sneezy and sniffy, but other than that, I feel okay. It’s still morning, of course, and my symptoms tend to worsen by mid-afternoon and into the evening.

Yesterday afternoon, I was going to have a lie down, but couldn’t really give in to the need for rest. I still have this weird thought, instilled in me since childhood, that, if you have a fever, you’re sick and if you don’t run a fever, you’re not sick. My staff took my temperature yesterday and I didn’t even have a slightly elevated temp.

Of course, I am lucky that I don’t have a fever. My sense of smell and taste are also mostly still normal. Or almost as normal as they would be with an ordinary case of the common cold anyway. Water did taste slightly bitter yesterday, which sucks, since I do of course need to stay hydrated. Now, it’s back to tasting okay. I can even have coffee and enjoy it, something my staff who had COVID recently said took a while for her. Overall, I’m pretty confident that, if I do get enough sleep, I’ll be symptom-free enough to get out of isolation by Monday when the five-day required quarantine is up.

As for my fellow clients, four out of the original five who contracted COVID last week, went back to the day center on Wednesday. The fifth one is still rather poorly. I’m praying he’ll make a speedy recovery too. One client, the one I had the nightmare about earlier, will be out of quarantine tomorrow or so I think. Another is supposed to be quarantining till Monday like me. Two are still negative. I’m praying they’ll stay that way.

The COVID Chronicles, #1: The Two Red Lines on the Reddest Day

Yesterday was February 22, 2022. In the European way of writing the date, it was a palindrome: 22-02-2022. Not only that, but we won’t get any more twos (or the same numbers at all, for that matter) in a date in our lifetime. The number two is red in my synesthetic perception. How ironic that, on this day, I got the two red lines on my COVID test. Oh well, I got the PCR test, not the self-administered lateral flow test, so no red lines at all, but you get the idea. Yes, you read that right: I’m positive for COVID now.

I had the PCR test at around 11AM. Before then, I was feeling mostly fine. Well, I wasn’t feeling 100%, but I hadn’t since Thursday and my two lateral flow tests had been negative. I trusted those, sort of. Then, I started having teary eyes, but both the staff and I attributed that to the test. I still had a headache, but no more severe than I’d had since Thursday.

By mid-afternoon, I was having trouble not sniffing a lot, but was still in denial. After all, the thought of my staff having to wear PPE, my inability to be in close physical contact and my need for five more days in self-isolation triggered me.

By 4PM, my assigned home staff came on. She had had COVID a week ago and we started joking that she wanted me in the positive camp. By this time, I was truly experiencing significant sniffiness, so if it wasn’t COVID, it certainly was a bad case of the common cold. I also had a bad headache and what I jokingly called COVID brain, ie. an inability to find words (I just had trouble finding the word “find”), etc. I think it’s an actual thing though.

The evening staff came by my room at 9:15PM, but I was too busy to notice she was wearing PPE. I finished what I was doing and turned to face her. She told me calmly that, sadly, I have COVID.

I didn’t sleep much at all last night despite taking paracetamol before bedtime. In fact, I awoke at 3:15AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. Despite this, I’m not feeling very fatigued as of yet. As such, I consider myself really lucky that I seem to be having a mild case of the virus.

An Interesting Nightmare

I had an interesting nightmare last night. It wasn’t even really a nightmare in the traditional sense of the word. I mean, no violence or monsters were involved. Then again, most of my nightmares don’t involve that kind of scenario.

In my dream, the last client to contract COVID in our care home, came into my room and went straight to my bed while I was lying in it. I tried to crawl to one end to keep my distance, because of course getting out of bed would mean getting stuck touching her. I eventually managed to press the call button, but no-one came. Finally, this client left, but I was utterly distressed and tried to press the call button again, but to no avail. I then went out of my room and to the living room, even though I’d decided to stay in my room while more than half of my fellow clients are positive for COVID. Then, one of the care assistants, a woman I’ve only met briefly once or twice, came to my room to have breakfast with me (apparently it was morning), but I asked for the morning staff. The care assistant explained that the staff was busy and she was having breakfast with me instead. Then I woke up.

The nightmarish aspect of the dream was, in part, the fact that a client with COVID came into my room and my bed. This to me signifies how scared I am of contracting the virus, even though I keep saying there’s no surefire way to prevent it anyway and I’m not scared of getting very ill. I am, however, quite honestly, pretty scared of the consequences of room-based self-isolation should I be positive. I mean, I’m now basically in room-based self-isolation too, but my staff don’t have to wear PPE other than surgical masks and they can still be within a five-feet distance. I’m not sure about holding my hand or holding me in an embrace, as I’ve been cautious and haven’t asked, but I know from the times I had to self-isolate with suspected COVID last year and in 2020 that those are big no-nos should I be positive. At least, my staff wouldn’t even get within a five-feet distance even while wearing PPE then.

Another aspect that was nightmarish to me, was the fact that the unfamiliar care assistant ended up helping me rather than my trusted staff. This to me signifies how I’m experiencing attachment to this staff, and she wasn’t even my assigned home support worker or another of my favorite staff. I guess this counts as a win!

Lastly, a nightmare aspect was the fact that the care assistant told me that the staff was busy. I am forever frustrated with staff being overworked and busy and at the same time, I’m trying to accommodate them as much as I can. For example, yesterday the staff (same one who was supposed to come in my dream) forgot to come by my room at 3:15PM when she had finished handover. At 3:45, fifteen minutes before my one-on-one time would start, I’d had enough and pressed the call button. I was really frustrated, thinking that I’d be left to my own resources now that over half of the clients have COVID. That would make sense, rationally speaking, since I’m not sick or whatever. Not that the other clients are very sick, but oh well. As it turned out, the staff had forgotten to show up because she hardly ever works late shifts. This, plus my nightmare, does show how easily I think that I’m being abandoned.

Sharing this post with Scott’s Daily Prompt from last Saturday on the topic of nightmares.