Hello again, everyone. I figure it’s time I made another blog post, to check in with all of you and let you know I’m still alive.
I’ve been back to work after our Corona-virus Isolation for a week and a half now, and though the anxiety I described in my last post that I had about returning has lessened significantly, it hasn’t totally disappeared.
The what would have been considered extraordinary measures before the Pandemic that my company has taken to ensure all of our “safety” has started to feel normal, which proves that eventually, we can get used to almost anything. I’m not sure how much of the protocols they’ve instituted are mandated by the government, demanded by the Union, or just put in place to coax enough of us back to work to run the plant by giving us a semblance of “safety”, but all of the hoops we now have to go through to get into and work inside the plant are beginning to seem a bit less alien every day.
My workday now starts at home, where, within two hours of my start time I have to take my temperature. For this, my company has been gracious enough to provide me with a temperature reactive strip, which, when held to my forehead, changes colour to indicate my skin temperature. If the strip says I’m in the “safe zone” temperature-wise, then I can proceed to the next step. If it shows my temperature to be high, then I have to call in to be excused from work and check in with my doctor if my temperature doesn’t return to normal within the next few days.
Next, I have to fill out a short questionnaire on an app on my phone, stating that I haven’t had any COVID symptoms, nor have I been in contact with anyone who has, that I haven’t been out of the country or been required to self-isolate for any reason, yadda-yadda-yadda. If I don’t pass this questionnaire, I have to call in, but if I do, then I’m cleared to go into work.
Once I arrive at work, before even going inside the plant, I have to queue up outside of a large white tent in the parking lot, the kind you rent for outdoor wedding receptions and such. Once inside the tent, I have to present proof that I’ve filled out and passed the questionnaire by showing my phone, and then I’m handed two face masks for the shift, and a pair of safety glasses if I need them.
After that, I’m herded up and into a trailer, where I have to walk through a thermal imaging scanner to confirm that I do not have a fever. Once through there, I’m given a coloured ticket to show the guard at the plant’s entrance gate so that I can be allowed inside. Only then can I actually enter the plant itself.
Once inside the plant, at least in my area, things don’t look all that much different than before. There are some Plexiglas panels on the lunch area picnic tables to separate people, and plastic dividers now between the urinals in the men’s room, as well as Plexiglas dividers in the hand-washing basins. In pedestrian areas, social distancing circles have been painted on the floors, and signage has been put up.
The jobs in my area, though, are already pretty widely spaced apart. I don’t come anywhere near six feet closer to the other people working in my area, and it’s rare that anyone else does. In other areas of the plant where people have to work much closer to each other, I hear more extraordinary measures have been taken. Plastic curtains, hard Plexiglas shields, and clear plastic movable panels have been installed at job stations where social distancing is not possible.
To further minimize employee contact, the company has also extended our break-times and shortened the length of our shifts. I don’t know how long that’s going to last, but I’m going to enjoy it as long as it does.
I will admit that the first few days back at work were a bit jarring and weird, seeing everyone walking around wearing masks and goggles and avoiding each other. But like all things it didn’t take long before it began to be the “New Normal.” Things are getting so routine in fact that people are already starting to get lax and lazy. Every day I see more than a handful of my fellow employees wearing their masks incorrectly or not at all. I’ve already had to tell several people who had to come into my station for one reason or another to put their masks on properly before getting close to me.
The times we live in, huh?
On the health front, things are settling down a bit.
I’ve gotten used to injecting myself every day, and my glucose levels have been much more under control as a result. In fact, I’m often having the opposite problem now, where sometimes if I’m not careful about my eating times, my sugar can drop too low. I take my daily Insulin before I got to bed, as is recommended so that my fasting blood glucose will be low when I wake up. The problem is, sometimes it drops way too low, and I wake up shaky and dizzy.
When this happens, I’ll down a yogurt cup and a protein bar to bring my sugar back up, but it is a little worrying. I’m already on the minimum dose of my daily Insulin, so I’m hoping that my endocrinologist will agree to let me try cutting back or even eliminating some of my other meds, to see if my glucose levels can become a bit more stable.
I’m learning to better deal with the mood swings, though, so at least there’s that. My lessening anxiety concerning work may also have something to do with that, but regardless, I do feel I’ve managed to get a better handle on my moods.
After this coming weekend, I’ll also be done taking my Champix. I’m a bit nervous about that as, though I have been doing great with not smoking – I had my last cigarette on the day after my birthday back in January – its the Champix has kept me from having any cravings for all that time. I’m a bit worried that once I’m done taking it, the cravings will start back up. I hope, if they do, that I can power through them and keep from lighting up. I’d hate to have come all this way to fail at quitting once again. That’s something that, given my health condition, I really can’t afford to do.
Otherwise, I think I’m doing pretty well. I’ve been keeping up with my workouts, doing cardio every day, and weight training five days a week. I’m anxious for my gym to re-open so that I can get some variety in my workouts, but for now, I’m doing well enough with the setup I have at home.
I’m continuing to do my best to eat healthy as well, pretty much cutting carbs totally out of my diet except for my ultra-low-carb beer, which is my one glaring weakness. The low-carb diet helps me to keep my glucose levels low, as well as giving some other health benefits.
Around the house, I’ve managed to make some more progress on my various reno projects, though, with the good weather we’ve been having lately, I’ve been mostly concentrating on the outdoor stuff. I’ve got the pool open, and the koi pond fixed up. I’ve pruned the trees and weeded the gardens. The decks have all been power washed and the greenhouse is now home to some very robust looking plants. The rest of the family has been a big help as well in getting the yard looking great for the coming summer.
I’ve had to repair some damaged fence panels as well, and have been working on refinishing the outdoor bar we have on our deck. I’d like to work on making some new wooden bar stools as well, and maybe adding another power outlet near the bar so we can bring out the mini-fridge and the blender for some summer-time daiquiris.
Since I pulled out of the two D&D games I was playing in the week before going back to work, I haven’t played at all, not even in the game I was hosting, which I’ve suspended for the time being. While I am anxious to re-start that game, as I did find our game nights to be a lot of fun, being back to work means that I don’t have nearly as much free time as I did during the lock-down.
Add to that, in about two and a half weeks, my schedule will be turned upside down once again. The midnight shift at my plant, which I’m currently on, is set to be eliminated on June 22, forcing me back onto a days/afternoons swing shift for the first time in twenty years. That’s going to take some getting used to, obviously. So, until I have some consistency in my routine again, I’m not sure if I should even plan any future game nights.
One thing that I’ve been finding very frustrating lately is having to deal with some of the garbage and misinformation some friends of mine seem to delight in posting on social media. Whether it’s some really far-out, tin-foil hat conspiracy theories regarding the Pandemic (it’s Bill Gates’ fault, it’s all a government-created plot to take our rights away, it’s because of the 5G towers, etc.) or thinly veiled racist posts concerning the current protests happening in the US, it’s all really doing my head in. I always thought that the people I chose to accept as friends on-line were at least reasonable and reasonably intelligent, and I’m sad to be proven incorrect. I’ve been sorely tempted to un-follow or even un-friend quite a few of them, but instead I’ve been doing my best to counter their lunacy by posting items that debunk or disprove the garbage they’ve been throwing out there. Still, that’s something I’d rather not have to use my time up doing.
All in all, though, the past couple of weeks haven’t been too bad. I have found myself missing a lot of people and wishing I could hang out with them in person. I miss things like going to my favourite pub and having a pint or two, chatting with the people there and meeting up with some good friends.
I was really bummed about having to miss some of the events I had been planning to attend, like Penguicon and Movement. I have a few other events supposedly coming up as well, but at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if those too get postponed or outright canceled, so I’m trying not to get my hopes up. Either way, I’ll deal with it, but it does suck looking forward to something only to have them get canceled on you for reasons you can’t control.
I do think I’ve been dealing with things much better lately though, and thanks to the Pandemic, I now have this sweet, majestic beard. So I’ve got that going for me at least.
With my return to work and a more “Normalized” routine, I’ve also gotten back to writing regularly again. I’ve been averaging about 600 words per day, and the story is inching toward the climax.
I keep thinking the climax is right around the corner, that it will be the next part I sit down to write, but it seems the story has other ideas, other details it wants to make known first. I’m hoping that in the next little while I can increase my daily word count, maybe back up to my previous 1000 words per day again and finish out this draft before too much longer.
Well, that’s it for me, for now. I hope you’re all doing well, surviving in these strange days.
Final NaNo Word Count – 56,095
Current Word Count – 97,000