This morning started off well, except for the crushing chest pain that woke me up a couple times before starting my day. David texted to see if I was up, and then, shortly afterward, we met on the upstairs balcony, outside our bedroom doors. This is our new routine.
We bundled in blankets and sweaters, me in my colorful wool hat with the silly flaps on the side. My hair a mess. My teeth unbrushed. David in his cuddly ‘bear’ sweater, the fuzzy brown one that satisfies my sensory tactile needs. Only I couldn’t touch it. Not today. We sat a good nine feet apart, instead of a mere six. I was feeling more cautious after reading the headlines.
We spoke of the logistics of moving his middle adult child out; perhaps it wasn’t the best timing considering the circumstances. We discussed house rules and so forth. And I rambled on about some epiphanies I’d had in the short time I’d been awake. I stopped my monologue and teased about my mind and its ways. My mental clarity is gaining ground. This is beneficial news, as the last thirteen days, I’d had little to no ability to do anything but focus on getting better.
Outdoors, in the crisp morning air of the Pacific Northwest, we noted the colorful wings of a brown birdie friend, and watched another, as it carried a maple leaf stoically in its clenched beak. About that time, David said he loved me so much, particularly in the moment, in the way I was so silly with my words, first using precarious when I’d meant to use copious and later ‘hanker down’ for ‘hunker down.’ Such is the life of a precocious dyslexic with a love for words.
With my cup of hot ginger and honey tea in hand, we ended the short chat, sweetly– in a gushy, romantic manner that might lead some folks to gag a bit. David smiled with his eyes, the ones that match mine, and gave me that grin I’ve come to adore. He edged a bit forward with a twinkle in his tone, and declared: “About that 12-day paper chain for the countdown until we can touch. How about we hang the chain out here on the balcony and I tear off a piece from my side and you tear off a piece from yours, as the days go by, until we meet in the middle.”
I grinned in that deep way that makes my soul sigh. It’s hard to be apart from him. Still I count my blessings. I always count my good fortune. In fear, in tremendous anguish, in the unknown, and the out of control future, I remember that David is here. And for that I feel blessed by God.
Waiting to hear about my test results for the COVID-19 is no doubt stressful. I am mostly human, after all. It’s day 8 of waiting, now. Think of a flower with petals in the hands of a child: I have the virus (petal pluck), I don’t have the virus (petal pluck), I have the virus (petal pluck), I don’t have the virus (petal pluck). There is no way to know what the last petal plucked will be. So be it.
POTS flare ups can resemble being sick from a virus. And there are a number of ways to trigger a flare up. Take for instance: stress, mineral or vitamin deficiency, dehydration, over exertion, or any a number of ‘bugs.’ The following summarizes some of the more common POTS symptoms. Coupled with my recent asthma flare up, which has left me with a dry cough and fatigue, it’s difficult to decipher between dreaded virus or POTS. My hunch is POTS/Asthma-kick-ass-combo. But still waiting for the last petal to drop. POTS . . .
- High/low blood pressure
- High/low heart rate; racing heart rate
- Chest pain
- Dizziness/lightheadedness especially in standing up, prolonged standing in one position, or long walks
- Fainting or near-fainting
- Shortness of breath
- Digestive issues
- Nausea and vomiting
FYI: Flying in an airplane (not freestyle) can cause dehydration and the cabin pressure can affect the blood flow.
If you had asked me to explain my future plans four weeks ago, I’d had been mostly elated. I would have summarized a half-dozen trips in the upcoming weeks with my sweetheart David, including flying out to New York City to provide a training to the Environmental Protection Agency, a Northern California trip to San Francisco to meet best selling author Steve Silberman and a colleague Mark from Ultranauts.co, a full day at Stanford University, where I’d be presenting on neurodiversity, a drive over to the Monterey Bay Area to see dear relatives, a much needed vacation to Maui, with my honey bear, a weeklong stay in San Diego at a recruitment conference, and multiple keynote speaking opportunities across the U.S.A. and into Canada. This was the year! 2020.
I’d spent countless hours planning the details of the trips. Flight departure and arrival schedules to match the least traffic in Seattle area. Budget hotels. Airport parking discount coupons. The meeting times and days for friends and family. I’d clocked the drive time from city to city. We’d already made two trips, one to Manhattan, New York, the other to a suburb outside Los Angeles (L.A.). We traveled to L.A. the week before things got ‘real’ with the COVID-19, when rumors were still circulating and leaders of states reassuring us all that it was safe to travel by plane. I remember, as I avidly researched and noted the statistics of my chances of catching a contagion on a plane. I read up. I had the N95 Mask (a left over from my preparation from WA forest fires), disinfectant wipes with the adequate sanitation levels of alcohol content recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 60%. I wiped down every seat I occupied and every table I utilized. And I had my handy sanitizer, that I sprayed ever so often, when I wasn’t able to wash my hands for 20 seconds in sudsy, soapy water. Suffice to say, I did all I could have done. But it likely wasn’t a good idea, in the wake of the outbreak, to go to a fundraiser in Southern California where I shook hands with at least 20 medical doctors. Hindsight!
For now I am maintaining a sense of (psychological) control by establishing routines. In the morning, I (pee), check the news, wash my hands, don my face mask, let Violet outdoors, open the windows downstairs to circulate air, grab any essentials, bring Violet and myself back upstairs, close my bedroom door, take off my mask, wash my hands again, set tea tree oil in my room mister, open the balcony door wide (to circulate air), and go to meet David.
This morning I read about how the combination of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes increases the fatality of this terrible virus. It got me thinking about what minerals/vitamin deficiencies show up with high blood pressure/diabetes. Interestingly enough, it’s the same deficiencies I struggle with: Magnesium, Potassium, and Calcium. Intuitively, I’ve been focusing on upping those elements for days now. In addition, I’ve been drawn to Manuka honey and turmeric for healing agents. Indeed, I have a tall glass of apple cider vinegar, ginger, turmeric tonic at my bedside. I’ve been applying CBD oil to my chest and I’ve been weary of putting anything in my body that might slow the healing process. That includes over the counter pain meds. Last night I suffered a terrible headache until dawn. Not quite sure if it’s my elimination of caffeine, the POTS, or something else. Regardless it was that coat hanger, head-neck-shoulder pain that isn’t the bee’s knees, to put it lightly. To address the digestive issues, I fasted most of the day yesterday, and that worked well. I had egg and yogurt at night that I was able to tolerate. I keep craving eggs and fish; so I am letting my body eat what it seems to need. I imagine I am low on protein and iron. At night I apply tea tree oil below my nostrils and use mouth wash. I am doing everything I can to ensure this ‘high-risk’ girl is sticking around.
I’ll close this dissertation with the following note. I cried, after I read this message from a kind friend in Ireland:
“I first of all hope you are feeling better and that you feel safe. I have been self isolating for past week as have had a viral infection of some sort but doesn’t seem to be the one that is all on our minds so have been doing all I can to make sure my body is in a place which can feel safe to heal, as well as wanting to be sure if I do have this I am not speeding to anyone else. I can hear so much fear in your words, and so wanted to reach out to just let you know I can hear you, and I also can see where you are coming from in so many levels, as I have all those possible fears of what could happen also very close to my thoughts also. In these trying and difficult times ahead, try to find some quiet and stillness in your own body to find where it needs to go. . . I will be moving on to analysing at depth your interview and so your words and your presence and your being will be very much central to my presence, in my work. Therefore I will be holding your anguish at the same time as holding the wonderful expression you had, and I paraphrase on memory . . . about fear and love, as being central to life. You spoke with such elegance and freedom of expression and richness, and presence, and that probably feels like a lifetime ago, but its not, it just feels that way . . . Take care. Raymi”
I’m adding a new part to my basic routine. As long as I can, through this global crisis, I will stay in touch. Wherever you are, know you are loved.
*** Important note. I just realized it’s actually day seven; so be it.***
“This is your Aspergers. It is your brain searching for something to fixate on. It is our hyper-intelligence. Our brains are puzzle solvers. We are here to help the planet. When we focus on light we make dynamic shifts. But the yang of the yin is when we focus on the dark; it is hell. The trap, we Aspies fall into, is trying to solve our emotions, instead of sit with them.” ~ Sam ( Everyday Aspergers) 2014
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