From Armageddon, With Love – April 7, 2020

 

Today is Day 16 of our quarantine, and to the best of my knowledge, the others still suspect nothing.

Morale among the group is still high, though at times, when they think no one is watching, someone will let their guard down for just a moment, revealing the toll the situation is taking on them, and indeed, on us all.

We’ve been occupying ourselves with whatever make-work tasks we can find, beyond general house-keeping and up-keep of the facilities. Occasionally, someone will suggest a group activity, some entertainment or distraction, and most or all of us will participate. It helps to eat up the time. Mostly, though, we spend the bulk of our day in self-imposed solitude.

Our supplies are well stocked, and we’ve only had to send out re-supply parties twice. A Level Seven decontamination protocol is followed when anyone returns from such a sortie, so we’re confident nothing has been brought in.

I occasionally find one or more of them forlornly looking out the windows at the world outside, presumably wishing they could be part of it, rather than being locked away from it.

I have to stifle a laugh.

They think they are locked inside to protect them from what’s out there. Poor fools.

Its what’s out there that’s being protected, locked away from me…

-Personal Log of Cmdr. D.J. Jammypants, Mission Commander, Outpost 17

                                                                                                                                 
Hello, everyone, how’s your apocalypse going?

Its been just under two weeks since my last check-in, though honestly, with the days blending into each other as they have been, it’s hard to believe it’s been that long.

With my work suspended until further notice (no working-from-home for me) and my other “house-mates” in roughly the same situation, there’s very little variety in our routines to help tell the days apart.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been some interesting times, only that the sameness of the days has been starting to weigh on me. I honestly didn’t even realize it was Saturday until well after noon.

Surprisingly, I haven’t been going to bed all that late during this “Lock-down”, and I usually tend to be a bit of a night-owl, especially since I work the midnight shift. I’ve been going out of my way to try and maintain a very healthy lifestyle, which makes some of what’s happened recently so strange.

In my last few updates, I mentioned that I had gone on Champix (and had some real issues with it, which you can read about if you like) to help me quit smoking. As of this week, I’m just about ten weeks nicotine-free, which, even with the aid of the Champix, I look at as a win.

I have gotten a supplementary prescription for an extra couple of months, so as to increase my chances of staying smoke-free permanently, but I have to say that I’m really confident that this time I’ll manage to quit the ciggies for good. (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself there :p ).

My work announced today that we won’t be going back until at least the 4th of May, so I’ve got nearly another month stuck here in the house. I don’t want idle hands to contribute to picking up the ciggies again.

My appointment with my Endocrinologist a few weeks ago really scared me into finally doing what I should have been doing all along. As I said last time, I ended up joining a gym (which has since closed due to the COVID crisis, so I’ve had to go back to working out at home for the time being), and have made a real effort to start eating right and staying active.

For those of you who’ve been reading my past blog entries, you’ll know that for the first couple of months of this year, my bad reaction to the Champix caused me to get lethargic and over-eat. I’ve been working really hard to reverse that trend.

You may also remember that I was a bit depressed by the fact that my endo did finally prescribe a weekly insulin injection, to replace some of my meds. I did, and I guess still do, see this as a bit of a fail on my part, though I know it isn’t. While I am, supposedly, genetically fated to contract diabetes (at least six other members of my family on my mother’s side already have it to my knowledge, split pretty evenly between older and younger than myself), it still feels as if I have somehow brought this on myself.

I haven’t exactly lived the cleanest life – I’ve been a smoker since my late teens and I’ve been known to take a drink or two, but beyond that, I am a pretty active person, and I constantly see so many people in much worse shape than I, eating garbage and taking no exercise, who seem to never experience any consequences of their poor choices.

I’m trying not to let it get me down, to just accept it as my new normal. At this point, I don’t really have a choice.

So, this past Wednesday, with a bit of trepidation, I managed to give myself my first insulin injection.

It was a bit over three weeks ago that my endo prescribed the insulin, but it took nearly two weeks for my insurance company to approve the prescription before the pharmacy would fill it. My endo had also instructed me to stop taking some of the meds I was already on, and added another, presumably to make sure I wasn’t over-medicating with the addition of the injection.

I think the lag in time between going off my old meds and starting on the injection did a bit of a number on me. I probably should have waited to stop my old meds until I had the insulin in hand, but I stopped the day after my appointment.

This past Wednesday, I felt… off. It started in the morning when I woke up. I felt warm, not feverish, but warm, and sluggish. Of course, that sent me into a bit of a panic, with everything that’s been going on in the world, so I took my temperature several times just to make sure. I wasn’t running a fever. I tested my blood sugar, and it was extremely high.

I’d been taking my meds, or at least the meds I had minus what the endo had told me to stop, and working out diligently, as well as doing my best to eat properly. I was eating a no-sugar, low carb, high protein and fiber diet. I was being good, so why was my sugar so high?

I had originally planned to wait until Friday to start on my insulin, as I felt it would be easier to remember to take it at the start of the weekend, rather than some random day during the week. I’d only just picked up the injector that Monday, so I had it on hand, I just wanted to give myself the best chance at remembering to take it regularly.

I will admit I was a bit nervous about injecting myself. It’s not something I’d ever done before, and I’m not particularly fond of needles, so I didn’t know how I would react when I actually had to do it to myself. I’d make a terrible heroin addict.

But, with my sugar so high, I decided it best to just go ahead and start on the insulin, taking the injection on Wednesday instead of waiting.

Before going through with it, I watched a few videos on Youtube on how to go about it. My dosage, which is a rather small, weekly amount, comes in an epi-pen like device, with very small and thin needles. The needles are single-use, so they must be disposed of afterward, and the pen is non-refillable, so it too must be disposed of when the insulin vial inside of it is emptied. There’s about a month and a half worth of doses in the pen.

I got through it. To be honest, it wasn’t that bad, though I really had to psych myself up in order to get the needle in. Like I said, the needle is very thin and short (4 mm), and I hardly felt it pierce my skin at all. The lancets I have to use on my finger-tip hurt more than the insulin pen.

After taking the insulin, it took a few days for me to feel totally back to normal again. I’m assuming that since it’s only a weekly injection, it must be some type of slow-acting, time-release insulin, so it makes sense that it would take a while before I noticed anything. As I said earlier, I’m thinking now that my endo had planned on my starting on the injections right away, not waiting the week-and-a-half, so that could be why I had begun to feel poorly.

Since then, I’ve felt great. I’ve been behaving, even though it’s rough during this forced quarantine, especially with other people in the house that don’t have the dietary restrictions that I should have. I have to resist the temptation to raid their goodies stash and eat all of the things. I’ve been lucky in the sense that there are a few tasty options that I can snack on, but of course, all of their stuff looks so much more delicious, probably because I can’t have them.

I miss ice cream 😦

Other than that, I’ve just been trying to take this weird isolation one day at a time. It hasn’t been easy, as working on so many projects at the same time, as I do, I’m always running to the hardware or craft stores for supplies for one thing or another. Not being able to do that, or planning just one trip far enough in advance so I can get everything I could possibly need is difficult. Now that they’ve declared most of the stores I would go to as non-essential, I think I may have to set aside a few projects until this all blows over since I probably won’t be able to get the materials I’ll need to finish them for a while.

The “Hot Tub Room Movie Theatre” Project is coming along nicely. I’ve replaced the cheap, vinyl screen I’d hung up with a custom-built one that is hinged at the top so I can get at the electrical panels behind it. I found several Youtube video’s on the best way to paint the screen for maximum picture quality at an economical price. It still cost me $65 for all of the paints I needed to mix together, but I do have to admit it’s better than what I had up there before.

I got a new projector a couple of months back, just after we returned from Cuba, and I drywalled that half of the room and painted the walls a flat black, and the ceiling tiles a dark grey. I finished the walls with black trim, installed new, dimmable lights in the ceiling, and built a platform for the console unit I’m planning to build to house the mini-fridge and all of the media components. I still have to re-wire the surround sound, but it’s all coming together nicely.

I’ve corralled some of my “house-mates” to help me out with some other languishing projects, as they do occasionally get bored and are looking for things to do. They’ve been helping me to finally finish the stairs and hallway trim leading up to the bedroom level, and today, they helped me start the re-do I’ve been wanting to do on the greenhouse roof.

I noticed a few annoying leaks in it over the winter that I just couldn’t seem to patch, so I decided to take all of the paneling off, cover it with some of the thick greenhouse plastic I used for the exterior walls, and then put the rigid plastic panels back up. That should solve any lingering leakage problems, and then I can get to planting my next crop 😉

I’ve been working on a few smaller projects as well, one being a custom, wooden DM’s screen for my Dungeons & Dragons game. Besides the game I started last week with the other people in the house, I’m trying to set up an online game with some friends who might enjoy playing. I’m trying to work out how to do it with Discord, which is like Skype or Google Hangouts but geared more towards gamers. Hopefully, I’ll be able to figure that out soon, as it doesn’t look like this quarantine will be over anytime soon, and it would be nice to have a game night to look forward to with friends I haven’t seen in a while.

I did get to see some of my friends during a Zoom meet-up last Friday, which was nice. It was good to see them all looking healthy and happy to chat with someone other than the people in their own homes. We spent some time catching up and letting everyone know how we’ve been coping with our respective lockins. I’m hoping that becomes a regular thing while this situation lasts.

The other day marked the fourth anniversary of my Father’s death, which I’ve written about in this blog before. It was an especially difficult day, as I couldn’t physically be with my mother to comfort her and help her get through it. She’s in her mid-seventies, though very spry and healthy for her age, and lives alone as both my siblings and I have long ago moved out, starting families of our own.

Before all of this happened, I’d visit her regularly, even though she lives an hour’s drive away. I’d had plans to go and help her get ready for the spring, set up her patio furniture so she could sit outside in the nicer weather, get her garden ready for planting, etc. My sister has been doing her shopping for her, leaving the groceries in the garage.

It’s been hard to keep from visiting her. I worry so much more now because she is alone, having to go through all of this with no one else in the house. I spent some time with her on the phone, but it’s not the same as being there, to give her a shoulder to cry on. I really hope this is over soon, for her sake especially.

As far as the writing goes, I’m still plodding along with it. I’ve been writing every day, though I’ve rarely been hitting my 1000 words/day goal. All of the free time has made me restless, and prone to distraction, so sitting in front of my Chromebook tends to get tedious, and I wander off. Now that the weather’s nicer, I may try writing outside for a change of scenery, to see if that helps.

I’ve been averaging about 700 words/day, which isn’t bad, but it would be a shame to have all of this downtime, this separation from real life, and not get this particular writing project done. I do have at least another month, so I’m really going to try and finish the story before that time is up. I’m currently just past 85,000 words, and the action is in the middle of the penultimate battle, just before our hero protagonist, the valiant Captain Canuck, finally confronts his arch-nemesis, the vile Mr. Gold.

Well, I guess that’s about it for this update. My pandemic-beard is getting long and scratchy, everyone in the house is in reasonably good health with no signs of illness, and we’re managing to exist during this very strange time.

Here’s hoping you’re all well, and that you stay healthy and safe.

 

#NaNoWriMo

Final NaNo Word Count – 56,095
Current Word Count – 85,059

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