Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘health updates

Had a Covid-19 Scare, but I’m Fine

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Folks, last week I was preparing to play a concert with the Racine Concert Band. I was looking forward to the concert (which was held this past Saturday evening) as it was going to be the first time I’d played in a concert since the beginning of the pandemic.

However, my health did something weird. I ended up going in to urgent care, and they thought it was Covid-19. They tested me…

And I’m fine. I do not have Covid. (Whew!)

However, I still did not play the concert as I missed the two rehearsals beforehand due to the medical scare. I felt awful, missing out on the concert as I did.

That said, I did the best I could with the information I had. (Sometimes, adulting is hard.)

Right now, if you get a fever, or chills, or in my case, both, any reasonable person has to assume they have Covid until it’s proven otherwise. (Unless your state or country doesn’t have that much of a problem with Covid, of course. Right now, all of Wisconsin’s counties have a big problem with it.)

And yes, I’ve done everything right. I’ve gotten the two vaccinations. I’ve had the vaccination booster shot. I wear masks when I go anywhere outside of my car or my parents’ homes. (I have to take my rescue inhaler far more often with a mask on than without it, as I am asthmatic, but I still wear the masks as long as I can.)

Still. The point remains, I will not give someone else Covid if I can help it.

There are folks out there who do not believe Covid is that big of a deal. I have to say I don’t understand that. Even if you just — just! — see this as akin to a bad case of the seasonal flu, the seasonal flu can kill you. (It most often kills those with depressed immune systems — immunocompromised — or the very young or the very old, granted.)

As I’ve said all along, I hate wearing masks. I don’t know how much good a normal mask does. (A N-95 or a Korean N-94 is different, but I can wear them for even less time than a more normal medical-type mask.) But I do know that at the beginning of the re-opening after the first pandemic shutdown, two hairstylists (I think in the South somewhere) went to work not knowing they had Covid. They cut several people’s hair that day, and neither of them gave Covid to anyone else.

(That’s the main reason I keep trying to wear my mask. But I digress.)

Anyway, the point of this blog is that I do not have Covid. I am very, very glad not to have Covid. I hope I never do get Covid, because I’ve worried all along about my parents and friends, and I do not want to spread Covid to them or anyone else.

Have any of you had any issues with regards to Covid? Are you as worried about it as I am? If not, why not? (Aside from politics, that is. I still don’t know how politics got messed up in medical care.) Please tell me how you feel in the comments.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 31, 2022 at 6:50 am

A Sunday Throwback (and Other Stuff)

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Folks, Facebook has a memories feature, and it reminded me of a blog I wrote in 2015 called “A Writer’s Work is Never Done.” (Link is here.) As lately I’ve been editing far more than I’ve been writing, it was nice to have something positive show up in my Facebook feed (yes, I shared that puppy; what, you expected me to say anything else?)

See, editing can be draining. And the most recent project I’ve been working on was a monster of an edit. (It might be the toughest edit I’ve ever had.) It consumed me, at least when I wasn’t sick and was being consumed by something else.

I am still sick, mind, with an asthma exacerbation and some sort of untreated allergic reaction. (I have an Epi-pen, and I know what to do if/when something bad happens of an allergic nature. Still, I hope I won’t have to use it anytime soon.) The new meds I’ve been put on should do some good, but it’ll take a few weeks for them to ramp up.

Anyway, the point to this Sunday post is this: No matter how awful you’re feeling, something will remind you of better days. (Even if it’s not exactly what you’d thought about, at first.)

Of course, the other memory I had pop up in my feed was that my dog Trouble died on this day two years ago. (Well, two years and a few days ago, now.) Thinking about Trouble is bittersweet, at best, ’cause I loved that little guy so much. He really did see himself as a badass, but he was a sweetheart. (Hey, you can be both, especially if you’re a dog. But I digress.)

I don’t have a picture that’s shareable, or I’d show you one. But Trouble was about fourteen pounds, had a black and white coloring, was mostly Shih Tzu but mixed (the back legs were shorter than the front, which isn’t common for Shih Tzus), and was one of the most interesting and funny dogs I’ve ever been around. Big brown eyes, an expressive face…Trouble had empathy galore, though of course he didn’t bruit it about (as again, he was a badass and don’t you forget it).

Finally, though my Facebook feed didn’t throw this memory up, I remember my good friend Jeff Wilson on this day. He would’ve turned 58 today, had he lived, and it’s been ten long years since he died.

How time flies.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to forgive myself for not being able to go out to Colorado and be with him (as I was still working on financing that at the time of his death). I wish I had made it there, as maybe Jeff’s passing would’ve been a bit easier…and even if not, I would’ve had people to mourn with (rather than mourning alone so many miles — almost half a continent — away).

So, on this day, I remember Jeff. I remember Trouble. I remember that once upon a time, I was excited for my second novel to come out, and was working on my third.

All of these things remind me of my most intrinsic, essential self. And my hope is that as I continue to heal that I will be able to resume my fiction writing, along with being able to play my saxophone and clarinet regularly, along with editing.

Because while I do enjoy editing, doing only that stifles me.

I must be able to create, you see. Or it all builds up to the point I feel like I’m going to spontaneously combust (and not in a good way).

At any rate, what are you thinking about this Sunday? Do you ever think about the people (and beloved pets) that have gone before us? Let me know in the comments, if you would. (Still feeling all alone in the void, here.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 21, 2021 at 5:23 am

A Quick Thursday Update…

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Folks, I figured I’d better write something to y’all today, as I’ve been quiet now for close to two weeks.

Longtime readers of this blog probably know what that means, but…there are usually two reasons I don’t blog. One is that I’m overwhelmed (with work, with life in general, or all of the above). The other is that I’m ill.

Unfortunately, in this case, it’s the latter reason. I am indeed ill.

The problem is, no one can figure out exactly what’s going on. The best guess is that I have some sort of untreated allergic reaction, so I saw an allergist earlier today. (Very thorough, competent doctor, too. I liked her.) She made several suggestions, and I am going to take them to heart.

In addition, she felt my asthma was not as controlled as it should be, so I now have a new medication to take that I hope will work better.

Overall, she felt the reason for me being ill has to do with being sick so often over the past year-plus with multiple (read: recurrent) sinus infections, so I don’t have the energy or stamina from that. Add in the allergy issues and my asthma not being as controlled as all that, and it’s added up to me being incredibly ill for about four months now.

She did request some blood work, and of course I had my blood drawn. (Fortunately, it was not a fasting blood draw, or I would’ve had to wait until tomorrow.)

I do feel heartened from seeing the allergist today. I really hope she’s right, and that if I do some commonsense things (like get enough sleep) in addition to the new meds, my energy level will rise soon and I’ll be able to take up all the threads of my life again. (I most especially want to play my saxophone and clarinet, as I haven’t played at all in months. But I also want to write, both music and words, and finish up some long-delayed stories and novels.)

For the moment, that’s all I know. But as it’s more than I knew prior to today, I will count it as progress and call it good.

What’s going on with you? Tell me about it in the comments…please?

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 18, 2021 at 6:48 pm

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When the Going Gets Tough…

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Folks, I wanted to stop by and let you all know that I’m starting to get a little better. I’m weak, somewhat dehydrated, and and extremely tired, but the symptoms of the food poisoning are finally gone.

As I said before, I think what happened is this: The Irish sausages I ordered were not fully cooked, as they were cold when they got to the table. Even eating the half-portion I ate was enough to put me down for the count for the past week.

So, now I am going to try to slowly ramp up again. I hope to do some writing (fiction included). I hope to do some editing. I also hope to play my sax and maybe my clarinet soon…there’s a concert scheduled for late January with the Racine Concert Band that I want to take part in, and I want to be ready to go before the first rehearsal for that starts in mid-January.

I don’t know how tough I am, mind, but I do know I’m committed, determined, and persistent.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s the only way to be.

Let me know how you’re doing in the comments.

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 9, 2021 at 2:34 am

And now…food poisoning?

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Folks, in my last blog I told you I’d been dealing with some ongoing issues for a couple of months. Mostly, it’s been my sinuses; there has been a recent suggestion of different allergies than I’m used to having, so I have to get an appointment with the allergist soon.

The one bit of good news I had was that I was going to see my friends from Colorado, who I haven’t seen in at least five-six years, while they drove through Wisconsin on their way back home from seeing family elsewhere.

Murphy’s Law, however, has bit me again, as the restaurant we chose to eat at gave me food poisoning.

Now, some of you are probably sitting out there going, “Barb, how do you know it was that restaurant?”

Simple. I was coming out of a migraine. I had eaten nothing the previous 24 hours, at all, save one sandwich while I was at my good friend’s in Racine (she came with and met my friends, and we all had dinner together). That sandwich could not have possibly given me food poisoning, as everything was at the proper temperature. (My friend is a very good cook, and she takes pride in that, as she should.) I’ve also had this particular sandwich many times (as it’s very good), and it’s never set me off before.

So, we went to this restaurant. I had Irish white sausages called “bangers,” as Michael used to make them. However, the way he made them — which was superlative — and the way this place made them (in beef broth, with veggies; oh, the horror!) was not anywhere close. Because of the way they were cooked, it was impossible to tell if they were cooked all the way through. And the food was slightly cold, which means those bangers were the most likely way I came down with food poisoning.

Most of us who cook at all — like me — know that if food is not hot when you get it, and it contains any type of sausage, be wary of it. Fortunately, I was wary, and I did not eat more than half of the meal.

Eating that half of the meal, though, has put me down for the count now for three and a half days.

That means no fiction writing has taken place. Fewer manuscripts have been looked at than I’d planned on, too. And I’ve had to go much more slowly than usual, as my concentration has been broken by having constant fevers and chills.

Before anyone asks, yes, I did go to the Urgent Care clinic. I was worried this might be a case of the flu as this was considered to be all wrong for Covid. (Thank the Goddess for that.) The nurse practitioner I saw said she’s seen no flu yet, and my symptoms were not the ones she’d expect. But she thought I was wise to go right in, because if it had been flu, they could’ve given me Tamiflu (something that will shorten a flu cycle; it also can be given only in the first two days of the flu’s onset, or it will not work well).

In a case of food poisoning, all you can really do is wait it out. Drink lots of water. Eat bland foods, for the most part. Get your rest. And live to fight another day.

So, now I’m waiting out the case of food poisoning. That obviously wasn’t on my bucket list for the year, but…I’ve no choice in the matter.

Once I feel well enough, I will be contacting the restaurant in question to let them know I had food poisoning. I don’t think anything will get done, but I do have to let them know.

Has anyone else reading this blog had a case of food poisoning? How long did it take to go away? When did you start feeling well again? Please tell me in the comments, if you have anything to share…as right now I definitely feel like I’m shouting into the void (or at least the wind tunnel) again.

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 4, 2021 at 4:31 am

Another Day, Another…

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I figured I’d best drop a wee “bloglet” here, to let you all know I’m still alive.

While I’ve had many things that I’ve wanted to talk about, I’ve simply been running out of time lately. I finished one edit, and am working on several more. (As for most people, work comes before everything else.) I’ve also been dealing with my health. And the best guess any of the doctors I’ve seen has as to why I feel so lousy beyond the usual suspects (which include fibromyalgia) is that I may have an acute allergy of some sort.

Now, I’ve lived with a particularly bad bee sting/wasp sting allergy for years, so I know allergies are no joke. (Michael also had some allergies to egg whites, banana skins but not the bananas inside providing there was no skin or oil left on the banana, and tree nuts, so I’m aware of these issues as well.) I also get the “free and clear” laundry detergent, use the “free and clear” fabric softener (though I have found one of the Downy regular ones — the extra-large sheets — doesn’t set off any skin issues), and try to avoid things that give me indigestion on the off chance it may also be some sort of allergy. (Thus my avoidance of artichokes.)

So, next week I get to talk with the allergist’s office to see about setting up an appointment to be evaluated there.

I’m also taking a low-dose oral steroid (as the doctor feels my infection is gone, but everything remains inflamed in there), working to tolerance (oh, how I hate that phrase), and hoping I’ll regain enough energy soon to play my musical instruments as well as write fiction and poetry again.

I’m also looking forward to seeing some old friends over the weekend, as they’re passing through my neck of the woods on a driving trip. It’ll be good to see them, as I haven’t seen them in several years.

So, for the moment, I remain in a holding pattern, health-wise. I will try everything the doctor suggested, though, to get my sinuses to stop giving me fits…and hope that the allergist has some guidance for me (as I already take OTC allergy meds) that will do some good as well.

What’s going on with you and yours? Tell me about it in the comments! (That way I won’t feel like I’m shouting into the void again.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 30, 2021 at 2:36 am

A Brewers Update, a Personal Update…and a word about Chris Nuttall’s newest, THE CUNNING MAN

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Folks, I am fighting yet another sinus infection. I am beyond tired of these sinus infections, to put it mildly. But all I can do is rest to tolerance, drink lots of fluids, get more rest, and work to tolerance after I regain enough energy to do so.

As far as music or writing goes (aside from this blog), nothing is getting done. (I did write 32 bars of music last weekend, though.) This is frustrating for me as a creative person, as when I can’t create things get bottled up inside.

The only solution I have is to rest. Again, I hate not being able to do much of anything. But I have to be smart, and I have to realize that my body is extremely worn out right now. Otherwise, I’ll just get sicker, and what good will that do for me or anyone else?

Never mind that. I want to talk about baseball, and I want to talk about books now.

Baseball first.

As I’m sure most of you are aware, my favorite baseball team is the Milwaukee Brewers. They have won the National League Central division, and will be going to the playoffs that start next week. (This week, they’re finishing the regular season, but they’re already locked in for the playoffs as it is. Nothing will change for the team as a whole.)

This has been a season of first, in some ways. There was a combined no-hitter, just the second no-hitter in Brewers baseball history (Corbin Burnes pitched eight innings, and closer extraordinaire Josh Hader pitched the ninth). The Brewers have been good at home but astonishingly good on the road, which almost never happens. And, oddly enough, the usually homerun-hitting Brewers have had to rely on outstanding pitching rather than offense as their offense has been downright offensive at times. (Sorry about the pun, but I couldn’t resist.)

So, the Brewers have better defense and better pitching than most of the rest of the National League. But their hitting is average or below for the most part, and their clutch hitting (hitting with runners in scoring position) isn’t as good as it should be.

What all that means is, when a player like shortstop Willy Adames needs time off to rest a nagging injury, that hurts the Brewers’ offensive capability as a team. When Lorenzo Cain takes a day off to rest, it also hurts for the same reasons. And while the highly-paid former MVP, Christian Yelich, continues to scuffle offensively, he does take walks and uses his speed to some effect…meaning he’s not a black hole, offensively speaking, but he’s not a shining light, either.

The Brewers offense, in short, needs every player to fire on all cylinders. If they don’t, the only way they can win is to rely on their pitching. With three starters among the top ten in ERA (Earned Run Average) as adjusted for time and innings pitched, and outstanding relievers Hader and Devin Williams, the Brewers have put together a formidable pitching staff.

Now, Williams found out he’d busted his hand while celebrating the Brewers division-clinching win over the New York Mets on Sunday. This means he’ll not be available, at best, for three weeks. And as that’s when the World Series is likely to be played, the Brewers will have to worry about it later while focusing on the first opponent (likely to be the Atlanta Braves, though the Philadelphia Phillies still have a mathematical shot to win their division instead and face the Brewers).

It won’t help the Brewers to have Williams sidelined. (He has apologized, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, to his teammates.) But they’ll have to do the best they can as he heals up.

I’m looking forward to watching them in the postseason, and I do hope they’ll hit (for a change) as well as pitch well.

Shifting gears, let’s talk about books. Or at least one, specific book, that being Chris Nuttall’s THE CUNNING MAN, which is now out in e-book format. (Disclaimer: I edited this book and know it quite well.) He’s having some trouble with his website right now (though his blog is up), and thus he can’t get the word out in his usual ways. I figured I could perhaps help just a tad by letting you know it’s out.

Of course, you probably are wondering what the book is about. (It is entitled as a “Schooled In Magic” spinoff, but that isn’t a lot to go on if you haven’t read the Schooled in Magic series to begin with.) It stars Adam, a young man without the magical gift who has become quite interested in studying alchemy and magical theory. Thus, in many ways, he’s a man without a home. The magicians mostly disregard him, and the nonmagicians (“mundanes,” in Chris’s concept, as it is in many fantasy novels) don’t understand him.

Anyway, there’s one place that will take him as a possible apprentice. That place is Heart’s Eye University. A university is a new concept in the Nameless World (Chris’s environs; it has that name because for the most part magicians believe they should use use-names rather than real ones, as your real name being known can give someone unscrupulous power over you; this does not apply to nonmagical people, as there are plenty of ways to get power over a nonmagician already), and they are trying to blend mundane and magical solutions to good effect.

Once he’s there, it’s not a bed of roses, to put it mildly. He meets Lilith, who’s in an apprenticeship she hates (for reasons Adam doesn’t understand at first), and doesn’t know why anyone would want to study magic when they don’t have magic at all. So, as most people can’t stand Lilith, she falls in with Adam. And at first, the unlikely pairing does not do very well, as you might expect.

However, as both Adam and Lilith have adventures, they slowly start to realize they have more in common than not. (They both have ethics and principles, for example.) And Lilith’s worldview (that of magicians being on top because they have magic, AKA “magical supremacy”) starts to change quite a bit (as it should).

I’m going to stop there with a plot summary, but I hope that has intrigued you.

Otherwise, I have several edits in train, I am hoping to write some fiction somehow in the next few days, and I’ll be focusing on healing up so I can do all of these things as quickly as possible.

What are you all doing this week? Let me know in the comments! (And what books are you reading?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 30, 2021 at 3:48 am

Music and Bad Sinuses

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Folks, over the last week, I had to make a difficult decision.

You see, while we were dealing with the pandemic, the band I play in — the Racine Concert Band — was not able to play any concerts. But now that the pandemic is on the way out, the RCB will be playing its entire free summer concert season every Sunday night in July and August.

The thing is, I’ve been battling some health issues. (This should not be a surprise to any regular reader of this blog.) And as of today, I have been diagnosed, again, with an acute sinus infection.

I wasn’t sure, last Thursday, when the RCB had its first rehearsal since 2019, if I could play or not. But that night, I was not able to go to rehearsal as I just felt too ill. As I look forward to playing in the band, this was very disheartening, to say the least.

Anyway, after some thought, I decided that I needed to take a leave of absence from the band for this summer season. This was hard to do for two reasons. One, I love to play. Two, I am — or anyway, have been — a member of the RCB’s board of directors.

So, that’s the upshot. I have a sinus infection, again. And I won’t be playing in the RCB’s summer concert season, though I still urge you to go if you live in Southeastern Wisconsin or Northern Illinois whenever you can. (It’s excellent music, the setting at the Racine Zoo is beautiful, and it’s absolutely free. What more can anyone ask?)

A Semi-Quick Update…Books, Health, Etc.

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Folks, because I’ll be taking part in a promotion soon — Read an E-Book Week is only a few days away — I wanted to make absolutely sure I came back here and let you know that’s going to happen. I’ll be giving away copies of my first novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and my third novel, CHANGING FACES, via the Twilight Times Books website. (That’s my publisher.) I’ll give links, so if you don’t already have copies of my books, you can go get them for free — and all I ask is that you please, please read them, comment on them somewhere, and let other people know they exist.

So, more on that in a couple of days.

But I also owed you all some sort of explanation for my untoward silence. If you’ve been following along with my blog for any length of time, you know I’ve been battling some unforeseen health issues. And that so far, the doctors don’t seem to know what to make of them — or me.

(Well, this is my succinct way of putting it.)

I’ve had a number of tests in the past month. Most have given me answers I already knew — such as, I have asthma — while a few have been mixed. The stuff in the middle between “answers I already knew” and “mixed” seems to be coming back with, “Nothing to see here, move along.” (Though I did find out one strange thing, which I’m coping with…at some point, I apparently had a pulmonary embolism, which didn’t kill me outright. That’s a damned good thing, because approximately 20% of the people will die without even know what killed them. And I’ve been put on blood thinners so I won’t have any more.)

So, more stuff gets ruled out than explained. And I continue to battle Ye Olde Mystery Illness, for whatever reason…while doing what I can to edit, live even a shadow semblance of a normal life, and try not to fret myself into oblivion.

The main thing now is to keep trying, keep looking, keep hope alive, and believe that eventually they’re going to find a way to help me.

And the secondary thing is to keep doing whatever I can to make my life better and easier — or at least less difficult and distressing — while I continue to search for answers.

I do hope I’ll find some answers soon, though, because I am tired of the stuff that I haven’t been able to do.

For example, I haven’t been able to play my instruments now in nearly three months due to respiratory distress. I missed the last concert with the Racine Concert Band (which I’ve played in, on and off, for nearly twenty years) and at this point have no idea if I can play the next (in a few months).

And, for yet another example, I haven’t been able to write much fiction in three or four months, either, beyond either prose notes or a thousand words here and there (which isn’t terrible, but it’s not what I hoped for, either; it’s particularly vexing because I’d been making good progress with one book, and had reached the halfway point, only to have my health stall out, and me have to wait until I get my strength back and enough energy to figure the rest of the book out.)

And you all know how spotty my blogs have become. (I would hope you know it’s not for a lack of interest. I always have something to say, or ponder, or want to discuss, but I have to have enough energy with which to do it. And just trying to live halfway well, plus help my friends and family, and then of course edit — I probably should put that first, as I love to do it nearly as much as I love writing or playing music, but I’m typing this stream-of-consciousness — is taking everything I have and then some.)

That said, I am still in the fight. I am doing everything I can to get to a good outcome, one way or another. And I do hope to return to writing, return to playing my music, and most importantly, return to some sort of decent health in the not-so-distant future.

Here’s hoping.

————

P.S. You may note that I am still editing. This is my livelihood, so I’d damned well better. (And as I said, I love to do it nearly as much as writing or playing music.) And I will honor my commitments as I always do, because that’s the only way to live in my not-so-humble opinion.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 29, 2020 at 7:21 am

Teensy, Tiny Personal Update

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Folks, I can’t recall if I had mentioned this here at my blog or not, but in July I sprained my right ankle. I did so just before I played my clarinet solo with the Racine Concert Band, but it got worse rather than better over the next week to week and half.

Then, one day, I put my foot wrong somehow, and my ankle’s ligaments felt like they were going to tear. My leg buckled. I caught myself with my other leg (as I’d been trying to go up a steep stoop), went the long way around to get my stuff (don’t ask), then hightailed it to the doctor, where I found out I had a severe sprain. I had ligament damage, too. They could feel it. And the whole area was a big mess.

So, they gave me an ankle brace that laced up (so I could still drive, natch), and sent me on my way.

Until yesterday, I wore the ankle brace every single day for many hours a day. (Whenever I had to go out, or walk around more than a few steps in the house, that brace was on.) Slowly, the limp associated with the sprain went away; the pain lessened; the swelling lessened significantly; the ligaments quieted down.

In short, I healed. Properly, for a change.

My hope now is that I will be able to do more blogging in the not-so-distant future, as well as more actual work on my stories beyond “hey, wouldn’t it be great to do that when I actually had some energy and time, and wasn’t injured?”

So, what’s going on with you? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 7, 2019 at 5:52 am