One year ago

A year ago today I tested positive for COVID. I’d felt bad for several days, then felt better to the point of being pretty surprised at testing positive, and shortly after the diagnosis went through the worst of it. Our neighbours and their neighbours were a few days ahead of me; Lindsay was a few days behind.

We made it through okay, obviously, but it’s pretty freaky to think about.

“You British don’t have a monopoly on snobbery, you know.” “Well, not a monopoly. More of a controlling interest.”

It seems that all my outings last week led to me getting sick. Not with COVID, but with the bug that appears to be going round. I took most of Tuesday and Wednesday off this week, which means I’m even further behind on…well, everything than I was before.

I did manage to watch a couple of movies while sick, like Tenet (imdb | rotten tomatoes), The Mauritanian (imdb | rotten tomatoes), and The Power Of The Dog (imdb | rotten tomatoes). Apparently I had a real hankering for Benedict Cumberbatch.

Cover photo by Chris Blonk on Unsplash

Shot #1

On Tuesday, thanks to VaxHunters, I saw a tweet saying people in our postal code could get vaccinated. I quickly moved some meetings around, grabbed Lindsay, and walked over. From the time we left until we were back at home, Pfizer jabs in-arm, it was ~35 minutes. Easy peasy!

Well, not quite easy-peasy; our arms hurt a lot that night, and I felt like shit the next day. I’d heard it was the second Pfizer shot that gets you, but since I probably still had antibodies from early April, maybe it was like the second shot? Anyway, it faded after ~24 hours, and luckily Lindsay never really had a reaction.

So that’s vax #1 in. And it coincided roughly with (a) nice weather, and (b) the Federal government’s easy-to-understand framework for where we’re headed. So for the first time in a while, I’m feeling not just resolved, but optimistic.

.:.

Cover photo by Chris Blonk on Unsplash

COVID toe

About a week ago I noticed an itch and some soreness on one of my toes. I didn’t know what it was; Lindsay said it looked like Athlete’s Foot, which seemed weird to me — my feet don’t really sweat much, and I can only ever remember having it once, back when I was a kid. Then it got really painful, not just itchy.

A little googling has revealed that this is a symptom of COVID, currently colloquially known as COVID toe. It’s one of many inflammations that have, or may still, affect us in the coming weeks. Mine didn’t manifest nearly as dramatically as the pictures in that link, but it still hurt like hell.

This virus really does just keep on giving.

Transitioning out of quarantine

I ended my 10-day quarantine period yesterday. I seem to have followed a pretty standard track for symptoms — it got bad earlier this week, but I worked Tuesday morning, then rested up all day Wednesday and Thursday. By Friday I felt well enough to work a half day. I’m still pretty out of energy, and my throat is sore when I wake up in the mornings. But I rarely need to cough now, and my senses of smell and taste are recovering. Last night I made dinner and drank some wine, and for the first time in a week didn’t need Neo-Citran to sleep. Lindsay is a few days behind me still, but seems to be on the same path.

The advice I got from public health is that these lingering symptoms could hold on for weeks, which I’m not looking forward to. But all in all, I’m very thankful it was as mild as it was. Clearly it could have been much, much worse. I guess the trick will be to not push myself too hard, as I’m wont to do at the end of a cold or typical flu. This bug doesn’t seem to react well to it.

Still, it’ll be hard — I’m super-behind on work, as I really just forced myself to lie around and watch huge amounts of TV. I watched all of The Spy (imdb | rotten tomatoes) and finished Lovecraft Country (imdb | rotten tomatoes) and numerous episodes of Clone Wars. Together we watched all six episodes of Q: Into The Storm (imdb | rotten tomatoes) and finished Retribution aka One Of Us (imdb | rotten tomatoes).

Well, shit.

We were careful. We stayed inside. We masked up.

But we still got COVID-19.

Last Tuesday I started feeling sick, with a sore throat and a headache. By Tuesday afternoon I’d canceled my meetings and went to lie down. It wasn’t severe or anything, I just felt tired. I took Wednesday off as well, thinking rest should take care of it, but just to be on the safe side made an appointment to get a COVID test the next day. By Thursday morning I actually felt pretty okay. I did a full (and long) day of work, then went for my test at St. Mike’s even though I barely felt sick anymore.

By Friday I felt mostly better. I actually considered firing up the Peloton to do a low impact ride. I was sure it couldn’t have been COVID; it never felt much worse than a medium cold, or a mild flu. But then I checked my results, and saw this:

Awesome.

By this time Lindsay had started feeling symptoms too, about three days behind my own. We made dinner, and wallowed in grump for a few hours before dosing ourselves with Neo-Citran and going to bed.

Yesterday I woke up feeling a little worse again, but got better as the day went on. I received the promised call from a doctor at Public Health, and he told us to isolate for ten full days from the onset of symptoms. He also explained that the symptoms can come in waves, and he was right: by the evening I felt like garbage again, with a slew of sinus symptoms. Today — Sunday — we both feel pretty wiped out. It won’t be hard to stay isolated; we can barely get out of bed.

Frankly, though, isolation means very little change for us. We already had 100% of our groceries and 95% of our food delivered to our front door. We both work from home 100% of the time. We hadn’t gone to anyone’s house. We hadn’t visited any patios when they were reopened a week or so ago. Frankly, it felt pretty unfair that there are yahoos out there visiting gyms and going to house parties and shopping and all manner of shit without getting sick, and with our practically-monastic lifestyle we catch COVID. So how did it happen?

Without getting into too much detail, we had one — one — short, socially-distanced hangout with our neighbours in the back laneway, four days before my symptoms kicked in. We were careful, but because we were outside and 2-3 metres apart, we didn’t wear masks. That one 20-minute window was all it took. Months and months of isolation, discipline, and missing people, and boom. But hey, we live in Ontario, and our provincial government’s response to COVID has been a collection of blunderfucks from the get-go — pulling emergency brakes after they’d already driven into the tree, and so on — so who knows? Maybe it was silly to think we wouldn’t get it.

Anyway. We’re not in particularly problematic age ranges, and we have no pre-existing health conditions which should complicate this. We’re not experiencing any of the severe symptoms. Nobody’s going to lose their job, we don’t have kids to worry about, and we have plenty of supplies and gourmet restaurants who’ll bring us food. We’re not taking this lightly, but the odds are certainly in our favour. So now we just hunker down, try to get better, and…stay indoors until our fucking vaccination appointments, I guess.

Wish us luck.

[UPDATE: we survived.]

More Ketamine than a Montreal nightclub

The ol’ blog has been relatively quiet lately. That’s because our summer took an abrupt shift when Lindsay tumbled down our stairs and broke her ankle in three places. That was a month ago today.

It involved surgery, several screws and plates, a lot of painkillers, and a lengthy (ongoing) convalescence wherein she can’t really leave the loft, but she’s on the mend. We’re hoping she gets the all-clear to start to put weight on it the same day she starts orientation for new PhD. [Side note: thankfully she picked U of T and not Cornell, because the logistics of that would have been brutal.]

Since flying is ruled out so soon after surgery we didn’t get home to Nova Scotia this summer, which means we didn’t get to see brother #2 before he decamped for another year. 😦

It also means we’ve been watching a lot of TV — some good, like Mindhunter season 2, and and some bad, like The Man In The High Castle, which has such an interesting premise but also such rubbish scripts and wooden acting. Shame.

Anyway, this too shall pass, but not before she gets sick of soup and crutches.

.:.

Cover photo from here, and not Lindsay’s actual x-ray

Cover photo by j.s. clark, used under Creative Commons license

“Welcome, Point Break.”

It’s been a weird week. I was so sick that I didn’t go to work Monday. I probably shouldn’t have gone Tuesday either but I had a pile of meetings, and I really wanted to see Lindsay speak at an Akimbo event at 401 Richmond that night. I’m so glad I did — her presentation was so on, and it was really interesting to learn more about digital curation — but that plus dinner pretty much did me in.

Dinner, our last together for a week and a half, was at Byblos, which we loved our last time out, though it might have been a bit rich for 10pm:

  • Lamb Ribs w/ dukkah + buttermilk sauce + carob molasses + red chili schug
  • Tuna w/ jalapeño dressing + radish + squid ink chips + green schug + avocado
  • Short Rib Kebab w/ chemen + truffle tatziki + pine nut dukkah + oregano
  • Mejadra w/ lentil + hung yogurt + fried shallot
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ halloumi + tahini + yogurt

By the time I got home I was almost comatose, and my body regressed into a state of uberSick. I spent Wednesday in bed, and most of Thursday as well. Then Friday morning, as I was feeling better and getting ready for work, I pulled a muscle in my back. I sometimes strain my back when I stay in bed too long — like, say, when I’m sick — but it’s pretty rare that I actually hurt it like this. I spent Friday hobbling around work like an old man and then came home.

My back’s slowly getting better, as I’ve been trying to mix in some relaxation with intense work catch-up. During my downtime I’ve been watching the winter Olympics and catching up on TV shows and movies I know Lindsay wouldn’t care to see.

I knew Fargo: Season 2 (imdb | rotten tomatoes) featured completely different actors from season 1, but I didn’t know the thread of connection among two of the characters. Just as quirky and violent (moreso, probably) as the first season. Season 3: get in my Netflix queue!

I’d been told Thor: Ragnarok (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was a ton of fun, but from the trailers I couldn’t figure out what it was. It seemed to be about arena fighting but, y’know…Ragnarok. Norse Armageddon. Did not compute. Anyway, it makes sense now, and I laughed all the way through it. Thor’s such an absurd character that full-on humour was a great way to take things.

Speaking of Armageddon, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on what Brawl In Cell Block 99 (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was going to be: pretty much what it said on the tin. I just didn’t expect…that. So much dry savagery. I really wish I’d seen it with a Midnight Madness audience at TIFF. That would have been something.

Another superhero movie that took a new tack, one I also liked, was Spider-Man: Homecoming (imdb | rotten tomatoes). A reboot of the reboot of the…original reboot, I guess, this one played for a generation that knew the Marvel movies, not the comics, and it worked nicely. Different pace, and much funnier than the Andrew Garfield version. (Also: no sooner do I finish watching Fargo than Mike Milligan shows up in Spider-Man.)

Between all of this, and a lot of work, I finished reading my uncle Jim’s book A Short History of the American Revolution (amazon). Back in November when I was in Philadelphia for work, I had a chance to tour the new Museum of the American Revolution. I was speaking there that night (on a totally unrelated topic…we just happened to be using the venue) and did a little research about my family’s history to share during my speech. I’d forgotten about this since I first read it years ago, but Jim summarized it himself in the book:

Today farmers who wrestle a living from the thin soil of Cumberland County in Nova Scotia trace their ancestors to New York State and the exodus when the British finally left the United States.

Of course, ancestry.ca didn’t exist when Jim wrote this book, so I was able to dig a little deeper into history. That digging, and hearing the museum’s director speak about misconceptions and hard truths about the revolution, sparked an interest to re-read Jim’s book, and re-educate myself about the war. There’s so much myth and legend built up around the revolution — being at the museum and re-reading the book reminded me how different the reality was. Also interesting: I’d never connected the dots before between the Cornwallis who famously surrendered at Yorktown to the Cornwallis famous — and more recently, infamous — in Halifax. The former was, I believe, the latter’s nephew.

I still have crazy amounts of work to do today, and my back’s definitely not back to normal yet, so the weekend continues to be weird. Seriously, all I want is a quiet week.

.:.

Cover photo by j.s. clark, used under Creative Commons license

Cover photo by Murray Williams, used under Creative Commons license

Food poisoning

Well, that was not my favourite week. First, the back injury. Then Chris Cornell died. Then, around 4 on Friday, I started feeling nauseous. Then really nauseous. By the time I got home I knew something was wrong. Shortly after that I threw up. A lot. An hour later I threw up again. A LOT. I haven’t thrown up that much since I was a kid, probably. Like, it came out of my nose.

Anyway, it’s been a shaky weekend. I spent nearly all of Saturday in bed. I tried to get back to life on Sunday, but by mid-afternoon suffered a setback and was shaking uncontrollably on the couch. Anyway, that passed, and I started eating solid food again, and got a full night’s sleep. Today I’m feeling a little better, but still not 100%. Took a lot out of me, this bug.

.:.

Cover photo by Murray Williams, used under Creative Commons license

Cover photo by Thomas Riggs, used under Creative Commons license

“We are building the biggest weapon for oppression in the history of mankind.”

Hey, remember last week when I had the flu? I miss last week. Because this week I had goddamn pneumonia. Like I’m some sort of Arctic explorer or something.

So obviously I spent the entire long weekend — the first really nice weekend we’ve had in six months — in bed. And this whole week too…I’ve been able to do a little work from home, but generally speaking this has kicked my ass. I at least got myself some antibiotics, which seem to be helping.

Whilst lying on my ass, drifting in and out of sleep, and coughing up some truly terrifying things, I did watch a few movies:

Moonrise Kingdom (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was classic Wes Anderson. Quirky, hilarious, and this surreal, mildly-alien world made out of the most mundane memories. Seriously outstanding performances from the two lead kids, and you wouldn’t hear that from me often. I can’t believe I waited this long to watch it. Next up: The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Citizenfour (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was a (the?) documentary about Ed Snowden, and how he revealed himself (and his secrets) to journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras. More compelling than you might expect a technical documentary about electronic surveillance to be.

Mean Streets (imdb | rotten tomatoes) is one of a bunch of now-classic films from the golden era of Hollywood cinema (the 70s) that happens to be on demand on Bell right now. I’ve watched that, The Exorcist, All The President’s Men, and others. It’s made me finally take my copy of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls off the shelf to read. Honestly, I didn’t love this one quite as much as those others, but I will say this: Robert De Niro was barely recognizable. Hard to believe it came out only a year before Godfather II.

.:.

Cover photo by Thomas Riggs, used under Creative Commons license