So it’s NOT allergies?


This spring has been terrible for my nose and throat. I assumed the cause. But it’s NOT allergies?

I would have coughing jags. One at church on May 8 was so severe that I had to leave the choir loft, lest I hack through the sermon. I seemed OK enough the following Wednesday to ride my bike a few days later to a memorial service for a choir member, then onto my Dad’s group at church. But by the time I rode home, I couldn’t get enough air. This wasn’t the not-fit-enough response, but the my-lungs-feel-awful scenario.

The next morning, I had another coughing event WHILE I was taking my blood pressure. That 168 systolic reading WAS an aberration. Later, I went to my allergist. To test whether the allergy shots I took for about five years, but hadn’t taken in for just as long, I had to stop taking Zyrtec for three days. So I was pretty miserable when I once again became a human pincushion.

It’s all in my nose

But surprise! I have rhinitis, which “is moderate to severe and not well controlled.” But I have “no evidence of remaining sensitivity to tree or grass pollens based upon negative skin tests to these allergens.” I AM still allergic to ragweed, but that’s a late summer thing. “A second course of immunotherapy is not recommended.” So I’m still using nasal sprays in the morning and evening.

Then am I ill? I went to the local urgent care place as a walk-in the following Saturday. The hour-long wait turned out to be 210 minutes. Did I want a COVID test? Sure, why not? And just as the rapid tests have shown, I still don’t have it.

It’s a strange thing having symptoms that COULD be COVID. Almost any bodily reaction COULD be COVID. And with the recent spread into the Mid-Atlantic and upper Midwest, I suppose I need to continue mask indoors. So far, so good.


Oh, and it’s not monkeypox, people. Some people I know IRL are fretting, “First COVID, now this.” Not yet.  Another person I know IRL believes that it’s a WHO plot to inject us again.

Family health report, March 2017

Oh, my spouse made orange JELL-O with chunks of pineapple!

Anyone get the license plate of the truck than ran me over? Not literally, but…

Let’s back up.

Friday, March 10 – The Daughter was having some muscle pain, and I stayed with her, figuring she was dehydrated or something. But then she developed a fever, and felt lousy, as we tended to her with cold compresses and OTC medicine.

Saturday, March 11 – She seems better. Her fever is gone. She was helping the cleaning for my annual hearts party, which was a lovely event. But beware the two of diamonds! I theorized that she willed herself to be well, because she knew it was important to me.

Sunday, March 12- She’s feeling worse again, and her fever returned. The Wife stayed home with her, while I went to church.

Monday, March 13 – the Wife took the Daughter to the MD, who diagnosed her with strep throat AND either a cold or the flu.

Tuesday, March 14- you may have read how the snow forecast was overblown in the big cities such as Philadelphia and NYC. Well, it wasn’t overblown in much of upstate NY. My hometown of Binghamton got over 30 inches, about 3/4 of a meter, and Albany got a total of 20.5 inches, over half a meter. It was the first time in 36 years, I’m told, that the state closed down, allowing “non-essential” personnel to stay home without having to use a vacation day.

I shoveled the first six inches, no problem. But attacking the next nine was much harder than it should have been. It WAS windy and a near blizzard, but still, I should have been able to handle it. I was grateful for The Wife’s assistance to finish the job. I went to bed early, around 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 15 – I was going to drag myself to work, which, in retrospect, would have been a mistake. But since the Daughter was still recovering, I tended to her. By the afternoon, though, I asked The Wife to take me to the urgent care place. After about three hours there, which included various tests and a chest x-ray, it was determined that I had BOTH pneumonia AND influenza, despite having gotten a flu shot back in November. My wife decided to sleep in the spare room, which I thought was wise.

Thursday, March 16 – Did not sleep well. I was so congested I thought I was suffocating. My attention for anything – the computer, TV – is about 15 minutes. I can’t read a book or anything that requires focus. Oh, my spouse made orange JELL-O with chunks of pineapple! You’d be amazed how for that 10 minutes, how almost happy I was. Being sick will do that.

Friday, March 17 – Tried to write a blog post, but I kept writing the wrong word – “committed” when I mean “commented,”, e.g. I DO know the difference MOST of the time. And it’s exhausting to sit up. We have seven movies (DVDs) we got in anticipation of the snowstorm, but can’t focus enough to watch any of them, but for one we all saw back on Tuesday.

Saturday, March 18 – Lots of strange dreams about aliens, Burger King, the Berman family (my great-aunt Charlotte’s people). The one thing I remember in a dream was that the dreams you have do represent a memory of your life, but it may be an event that has not yet taken place. I think the dreams are a direct result of being dehydrated, probably from some medicine finally kicking in.

This feels like drunk blogging. I’ve started about six posts this week, and, including this one, the number completed so far: one.

Tuesday, I see my primary care physician. Until then, I’m not operating any heavy machinery.

The rambling, largely unfocused, sanity report

mailboxI have noted that this past winter was tough. The cold. Attending four funerals in the first ten weeks of 2015. One of my library buds leaving work at the end of January. Black History Month stuff. Friends of the Library stuff.

Plus the family sickness chain. The last week in February – the Daughter, the week before her church play. By March 1, she was better, but I felt awful. Yet I had an adult education class to teach, scripture to read during the service, and needed to attend that aforementioned play.

I said, OUT LOUD, that day, “If I didn’t have all these things to do, I would have stayed home.”

So you would think I’d have listened to myself and stayed home the next day; I did not. But I felt so miserable, I left as soon as I could, which was two hours later because the buses out of Corporate frickin’ Woods run infrequently in the middle of the day, then I stayed in bed the next couple days.

Why on earth did I go to work? Because we were shorthanded at work. One of the librarians was on maternity leave for December, January, and most of February, which, I rush to note, is a good thing.

The weekend of my birthday, March 7, I was better, but my Wife was definitely becoming ill. Then the next week, the Daughter.

The week after that, my lungs felt as though they were underwater. I went to the doctor’s and got some meds, but the situation was slow to clear.

I went for a massage several days later, and she pressed my back; the noise from my lungs sounded like the special effects sounds of a horror movie. It was actually quite entertaining to listen to – I wish I had recorded it! – aside from the fact that it was emanating from me. I missed choir for three weeks during Lent – my favorite time of the church year – during which both the Wife and the Daughter got sick AGAIN.

I missed seven workdays in March, five of them sick days, two vacation (one of which involved going to the fourth funeral). Plus, in April, some weird thing was wrong with the Daughter’s foot.

But now it’s May. It’s warm (or hot, or occasionally a bit cool.) We can ride our bikes. Everything is both hunk AND dory. Well, almost. There’s the live bat we found in the house, the first in several years. And the noisy neighbors: after telling them to keep it quiet at 11:30 Sunday nights, I called the cops on them a few hours later when their volume returned.

Work still is a slog. Trying to get done with four librarians what we did with five is difficult.

Almost the whole staff statewide attended the annual training meeting in mid-April, where the librarians talk about things we can do for our colleagues. Every year, this has inevitably meant a spike in the number of questions that come into the library, and it was true again, especially the last three days of April. We had traditionally offered a week’s turnaround time, but we didn’t finish the April questions until May 13.

There’s a part of me that says that I oughtn’t to take time off. But a greater part says that I NEED to. I have a couple of weeks of vacation, and close to six months of unused sick time.

Here’s something that is more than a rumor: we may be moving out of Corporate (frickin’) Woods by the end of the year. One unit on our floor, affiliated with SUNY Albany, is moving in September to a building near Stuyvesant Plaza, which is also close to the campus.

A woman from another unit on our floor, affiliated with SUNY Central, as are we, says that her group is moving somewhere downtown, once parking issues are resolved. I assume the same will be true for us as well, though we’ve heard nothing official.

If we were in downtown Albany again, which we left in May 2006, I would be SO thrilled. Access to restaurants, stores, the post office, my bank. I could attend events, such as the weekly talks of the Friends of the APL. Plus, there’s a Farmers Market every Thursday for at least half the year. In other words, there’s a THERE there.

In the winter, I could take one bus to work, and one bus home, rather than two each way. I’d have the flexibility to take one of at least three buses that would get me home, and I’d get there sooner. Plus both my dentist and my eye doctor are downtown, so when I need an appointment, it’d be a quarter day off, rather than a half-day.

In fact, the ONLY downside is that I’d have to go to Corporate (frickin’) Woods every 28 days for my allergy shots, but I could still get to work by 10:15 if I take the usual two buses to CfW that I take now.

Well, there IS one thing I’d miss if we move downtown. There is always a cadre of new folks coming out to CfW , having difficulty navigating the buses. Having the need to be useful, I’ve helped more than a few people out.

Recently, one of these twentysomethings was texting his 10-year-old nephew and was puzzled by a question he received: “When is a door not a door?” Heck, I knew that, straight off. My daughter would know it. I was glad to help.

You do know the answer, right? “What is ajar?”

If I wrote “I can’t breathe,” you’d probably misunderstand

Amy Biancolli will talk about “Living and writing in Smalbany: A love story” on April 25 at 1:30 at the Washington Avenue Branch of the Albany Public Library.

respiratorysystemI’ve been feeling crummy all week. It’s probably bronchial.

Missed church Sunday. In fact, I never even got out of my pajamas.

Muddled through work on Monday and Tuesday. But Tuesday night, the sound of my own coughing and wheezing, plus a sore throat, kept me awake most of the night.

By Wednesday, my condition was too aggravating, not to mention exhausting. I went to see my doctor, who gave me DRUGS. Sorry, pharmaceuticals, including one that helped me to sleep for a few hours on Wednesday afternoon, and gave me a decent sleep on Wednesday night. Sleep is GOOD.

Thursday morning, I had an irritating coughing jag. Take more medicine; good thing I take the bus to work, because operating heavy machinery is off the table. It’d be nice to finally pull out the bicycle from storage, but I’d likely be pulled over for riding while impaired, and rightly so.

Hand-eye coordination is iffy. The talking to self is up, way up, just to remind me to turn off the burners on the stove or put the milk back in the fridge. I managed to knock nearly a whole cup of ginger ale onto my computer keyboard.

If I haven’t visited your blog yet this week, especially the ABC Wednesday folks, I will, eventually. I left a lengthy comment on this interesting post by Arthur, which I obviously failed to submit properly, and I’m presently too tired to rewrite it.

I haven’t worked on that poster for the Friends of the Albany Public Library for that talk by Amy Biancolli, “Living and writing in Smalbany: A love story” on Saturday, April 25 at 1:30 at the Main Washington Avenue Branch of the Albany Public Library. That’s preceded by a luncheon at noon for $20 at the University Club. Hey, I’ll get to it.

The worst part of this condition is that it’s Lent when we often perform my favorite music, but I am unable to sing. I try, but I hear myself go flat. Which I suppose is better than NOT hearing myself go flat.

The only post I wrote all week wasn’t even for this blog. It was about a girl I know who had her wheelchair stolen; a fundraiser generated the $5000 to get it replaced.

Finally, something I found interesting about Dick Nixon at Let’s Be Serious About Ted Cruz From The Start: He’s Too Extreme And Too Disliked To Win. That Ted Cruz who failed to protect his name domain.

A chart there, which I’ve copied here, shows that Nixon was a flaming liberal compared with the bulk of Republicans who’ve run for President in the past 40 years. Make of that what you will.

Busyness as a disease

I have decided to say NO to more things on the calendar.

busy.WaitingSunday, March 1 was a very full day. We went to the early service at church (8:30).

Then I taught a class for adult education about the book The New Jim Crow (9:30), sang at choir and read scripture at the second church service (10:45), and watched The Daughter and other kids perform The Gospel According to the Beatles (12:15). Afterward, the parents-in-law came over for dinner.

After they left, I said to The Wife that, had I not had all of those things on the agenda that day, I might have stayed home sick from church.

So you would THINK I would have had the common sense to stay home from work the next day, on Monday; I did not. I thought that, because I had a particular project to do on deadline, and since we’re behind on reference, and because I needed to take Friday off that week, I BETTER go to work.

What a mistake! I’m sitting at my desk, but I am unable to focus, with a sore throat, and probably a fever. I decide to take the next bus home out of Corporate (frickin’) Woods, but, unfortunately, there’s NOTHING leaving between 9:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. I muddle through the morning, find my way home and to bed. Stay home on Tuesday, I tell myself, and THIS time I listened to him.

Somewhere during my incapacitation, I come across an article that brought me up short: Busy Is a Sickness.

The American Psychological Association has published its Stress In America survey since 2007. They find that the majority of Americans recognize that their stress exceeds levels necessary to maintain good health. The most frequent reason they cite for not addressing the problem?

Being too busy.

It’s a vicious cycle.

When I used to call my late parents on the phone, and would ask them how they were doing, they’d almost always inevitably say, “Busy, but good.” Sometimes, they would reply, “Good, but busy.”

As the article notes:

It’s busyness we control.

Self-created stress.

I’m so busy that I decided that I don’t have time to be ill? I have about 125 sick days and get another day and a half each month. This is NO exaggeration.

And speaking of NO, one of the things I have decided is to say NO to more things on the calendar. There are plenty of good causes, learning opportunities, interesting events. Unfortunately, I’m not at a point to squeeze any more in.

Sidebar: have you noticed that more and more retired people say they are busier now than they were when they were working?

Last week, one of my library colleagues sent me UCLA Mindful Awareness – Free Guided Meditations, which I have just started to do, even though I might have otherwise argued that I don’t have time. I NEED to have less busyness, and this may help.

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