[Journal] A not so glorious (but better than expected) return

Ladies and gents, presenting your not-quite-neighbourhood-friendly Abigail!

It’s been quite some time – months, in fact – since I last submitted a blog entry of any kind. I’m honestly a little sorry for the time it’s taken me to get back in the saddle, but also feel an apology isn’t needed. My time off was quite deliberate and much needed.

To pick up from where I left off those months ago, I was admitted to hospital with what turned out to be a double whammy of atypical pneumonia and bronchitis. The heart palpitations have now become somewhat of a weekly guest, though only one or two at a time, until I get sick. In the time between then and now, I’ve been sick a further two times with various bugs and another bout of (slightly more mild than last time) food poisoning. As a matter of fact, as I’m writing this, I’m attempting to wrestle control for my body back from a nasty sinus bug. It’s been rough riding, but I haven’t fallen too far off the horse yet. It also seems necessary for me to basically pump my dreamteam of Zinc, Echinacea, Garlic and Vitamin C to boost my immune system during flu season.

While I was in hospital, I learned a few things:

  1. I am irrevocably, irrationally and totally afraid of being in hospital.
  2. Exactly how important you are in someone’s life when you DO go into hospital
  3. Which of my friends respected me and took my health seriously with things like avoiding me when they were sick
  4. That hospital food sucks balls.

To start with the first, it didn’t help that I was admitted while running a massive fever, scared out of my brain because my heart was backfiring left, right and centre, and so many kinds of exhausted. That generally doesn’t make for good terms to enter into any unfamiliar situation, let alone a high-stress one in a loud and artificially bright ward filled with screaming patients. You can add another layer to the “How the fuck will this make me more calm?” cake when they hooked me up to a heart monitor and every 35 seconds to a minute my heart would do the Macarena and the machine would scream. I swear I now have a Pavlovian response of complete panic whenever I hear the sound of an irate heart monitor.

I suspect the majority of my fear comes from the fact that you don’t exactly go into hospital to get a scratch-and-sniff sticker from the doctors. Every experience I’ve had with hospitals in the last decade have been because something has inevitably gone wrong with my body for the first time and part of me is half-convinced I may croak. What I find out after is that it’s just another perk of being Abigail, or more specifically, being stuck in the body of Abigail.

Point is, when you combine all of these things with my anxiety (which has gotten significantly worse due to the stress of it all) it makes for the perfect panic-attack-inducing shitstorm. To boost the “OHCHRISTFUCK” signal coursing through my brain, there was an utterly shitfaced bloke yelling at the staff and walking the ward. It was almost what I imagine a meth-addicted Santa to look like after Boxing Day. I can laugh about it now, but believe me, I was in almost histerics by my second night.

To move on to the second point, Manthing was incredible. He slept in a chair next to my bed the first night and on the floor of the hospital on the second. He brought me a book, my colouring gear, my DS and my favourite blanket, which I covered him with on the second night. The only time he left me was when I sent him home halfway through day two so he could get some sleep in an actual bed and de-stress a little. He put up with my panic attacks, kept the conversation up when I was anxious and did everything he could (including bringing me pajamas!) to make me comfortable.

I had some family contacting me when they could with reception, friends keeping track of my updates on Facebook (it was far easier to just comment on a status than message everyone individually) and taking to me to keep me distracted when I was stressing. I also had some friends fall short of what I had hoped my friendship meant to them. I wasn’t asking anyone to drop what they were doing and come and visit me. If I’m sick in the ER and under care of Infectious Diseases, what do YOU think I want you to do? But what I needed was the support of my friends to tell me everything would be fine, to tell me they gave a shit about my health condition and to just generally be friends. When I got single-word responses, suffice to say the ranks of my friends shifted a little that day.

Number three is a big one. If I’ve just come out of hospital and I’m really fucking sick, do you think I want you to come over and bring your flu/cold/arse herpes with you? It sucks that I’ve had to do this, but for the last three months, I’ve effectively had to screen people before they come over. I’ve had to politely ask people to just not show if they have a cold or the like, because I just can’t risk it. The fact that I’ve caught three bugs in this time kind of shows you just how stupid my asshole immune system is, and how careful I have to be now. If I go out, I take a risk. If I go to a public event, I have to pump my vitamin dreamteam for 3 days beforehand and 3 days after, just in case. Chances are, I’ll still pick something up. It’s not pleasant, but it’s my reality. I’m also at the point where being polite can go and choke on a big hairy cock. If you’re sick and in my house, I WILL tell you to fuck off, because you obviously don’t have any respect for me, and don’t give a shit.

Number four is an honest truth. You always hear the jokes about how bad hospital food is and you think it’s just a joke until you’re there. I swear to god, one night my dinner was breadcrumbed cardboard and string greens. It was honestly tempting to just order a pizza to the ward.

The important thing I learned is that the palpitations I get aren’t dangerous. I still have a perfectly healthy and functional heart, it just adds an extra beat from time to time, especially when I’m tired and run down. Getting a single ‘hiccup’ as I call it is the definitive point where my body goes “Too much! Bed! Now!”. Getting more than one is my body screaming that it’s exhausted and I’m run down. See: Sick with any kind of bug. It feels horrible and awful and then more horrible on top, but the bloody brilliant news is that it’s just uncomfortable, not dangerous, and I couldn’t have asked for a better answer.

All in all, I learned a lot from my miserable experience in the hospital. About both myself and those around me. I’ve also had to learn new coping mechanisms when my body goes batshit, I’m wrestling with the idea that it’s okay to go to bed during the day if you need to, and that pushing my body right up to the limit helps nobody, least of all myself.

I’m going to finish my blog here tonight because I’m god damn exhausted and need to put this meatsack to bed before I fall off my char, but I’ll be updating my blog regularly again and filling you guys in on all the juicy details of the last few months ❤

If I forget, feel free to shoot me messages filled with words that will make a sailor blush,

❤ Abi

[Journal] An adventure

It’s been a while since I posted something. I know, I’ve been bad. I’ve also been all over the place and have had trouble finding a mental space to blog from. I normally use According to Abigail to catalog my thoughts and experiences relating to health and life, but every now and again I find myself in a place where I’m far too overwhelmed to begin the process. Too much simply just happens and rather than being able to sit down and clear my head, I’m left juggling chaos and working on getting through another day. This was one of those periods. I’m sure at some point I’ll have the mental acuity to document my thoughts and feelings over that time, but not right now.

Actually, the reason I’m writing this blog entry is because I’m having an adventure! For the first time ever, the manthing and I are on a holiday. It’s less about plane flights and resorts and more about a change of pace. More importantly, this is a chance to get away from all the stress and nonsense and a time for us to have some fun.

The thing is, I have no idea how my health issues are likely to affect us. Not only is this a very physical adventure, but it’s also a test to see just how well I can manage the chronic health issues while out of the comfort of my own home for a fortnight.

One of the first things I really noticed was the ‘sick’ bag. How many other people travel with a lap – sized bag full of creams, tablets, medication and heat packs? I have to make sure I have all my nightly medication in sufficient quantities (including vitamins and pill cutters), my painkillers need to be enough to get me through the trip even if I have a bad flare, I need my script for carrying such large quantities of painkillers and I need other creature comforts like a hot water bottle, arm warmers and a face cream to make things easier if I do have a flare up. I decided early on thst it was far better to be prepared for the worst case scenario and not need it, than to hazard a guess at my average for the time away and not have enough.

I also need certain items from home to ensure I don’t make things problematic while away. My pillow is important if I want to avoid a splitting headache and neck issues. My lap blanket gives me that extra bit of warmth to keep pain at bay while I sleep. I see these as things that most healthy people would forgo, but I’m willing to be wrong.

Today manthing and I completed what was close to a 9 hour drive by the time we reached our ‘halfway’ mark. We both took turns driving for about 3 hours at a time and had to make fairly regular rest stops every 2 hours or so, just so I could get out and stretch my legs. I had to find ways to mitigate the lethargy from the Chronic Fatigue and make sure I wasn’t borrowing spoons from tomorrow at the same time. It’s been a bit of a hassle but I’ve done my best to avoid a day of micro management and just have fun.

Because this is the first time we’ve done anything like this, I have honestly got no idea what to expect. I do suspect that after our weekend, I’m going to need a few days to un-exhaust myself, and will need to get a lot more sleep than I would at home (hello 10pm bedtime!), but I’m actually pretty determined to blog every few days, if not every day about our little escapades. Specifically, any observations or chronic ‘life hacks’ I discover on the way.

I’m going to leave this here for tonight and try to get some sleep, so I’ll catch you all on the flip side!

I actually want to make an effort to

Back from outer space: Part 1

After a few days downtime after my big event, I’ve finally reached a point where I can do a big of blogging about my adventures. I’m still damnably sore and stiff and I’ll be fatigued for another week or so, but it was worth it. As it is, it’ll probably take me a few sittings to finish this blog post, so behold! My work and efforts and stuff 😛

The theme of the event was ‘Life on Mars’. The best way to explain to you all what this event is like is to think of a Ren Faire. Big event, lots of stuff, primarily ‘living history’ stuff and lots of emphasis on people getting dressed up. We had jousters, falconry, canons and tanks, drones and borgs and R2D2 made an appearance. We had stalls and displays, blacksmithing, belly dancers, aerial performers and acrobats, a cosplay contest and so much more. To my knowledge, this is my states biggest event for this kind of thing. For those of you that aren’t aware, I run a small business based off my crafts and hard work. I was lucky enough to have a stall at the event thanks to my adoptive father and his magical ways.

We left on Thursday night as the Friday was a half-day/setup/get your shit together day from about 12pm onwards and the more time I have to sort myself out, the better. As it was, I think it took something like three or so hours for a nice, relaxed setup with me swearing and limping as my knees went full retard on me and Manthing and Candy looked on. But I digress.

Thursday night was fun. I decided to be brave a drive up with Manthing my passenger. I don’t normally drive of a night, so this was both exciting and a little confronting for me since I also had a metric fucktonne of shit in the car. I literally couldn’t see out my back window. I also have a little Lancer wagon, so that kind of gives you an idea of how much stuff I had packed into that little beast. As it was, we played the tetris theme while packing. I also discovered that I am a GOD when it comes to playing car-tetris. Seriously. I’m bloody magical at fitting stuff into small spots. Maybe I should hire myself out as a sex therapist.

We got as far as our dinner stop on the Thursday night when I checked my phone. It turned out that the motel we were staying at had tried to call me. Of course, the number they dialed on was not the number I had to phone to reach them, so gogo digging through to find my paperwork and booking. Upon calling them, I found out that they had decided on the night we were staying with them that my booking was now invalid because their contact for the website that I had booked through had some stick up his arse and hadn’t paid them. Disregard the fact that I booked back in JANUARY with them. First week of January, to be exact. No, it had only come up as a massive issue now that I was on my way to the actual event. So, there I am looking mournfully as my Happy Meal gets cold (yeah, I get them every now and again. Don’t judge me) while I’m on hold to the website customer support and being told that I’d need to repay the $600+ that I payed for the room back in January – motel room for 5 people for 3 days. Not bad when put into perspective – to have somewhere to sleep for the event. Long story short, they sorted their shit out and did some kind of double hop like cancelling my online booking to the motel and, instead of refunding me, they refunded the motel so they technically got their money and we still got our room.

By this point, we were half an hour behind time and needed to get to the motel about an hour’s drive away before reception shut at 9pm. I needed to ask them a few things and we needed to get the keys to the room, so the convoy set off. By convoy, I mean Manthing and I were in one car and Candy was driving his own behind us.

We eventually get to the motel at about 8:20pm and find that reception is locked up tight. Not a peep. There’s a sign on the front door with a poorly spelled rendition of my name, telling me to go to room 27. We head around the back to the room and try the door. Locked. Fair enough. We look inside the breakfast hutch. No key. In fact, we hear voices from inside the room and decide to knock on the door. Lo and behold, it’s actually the wife of a friend and fellow vendor that pops her head out. Her and her family are assigned to that room. It’s clearly not ours.

By this point, I’m more than just a little disgruntled. We walk back around to reception in the pitch black and I scramble through my bag to check my phone. Naturally there’s no reception out there at all. Not even a bit. However, I do have another two missed calls on my phone. Interestingly enough from the same number as before. I check my voicemail and it’s reception calling me to tell me that we’re in room 26. The keys are in the breakfast hutch. I’m somewhere between wanting to curse out these guys and their offspring and just wanting to fall into bed after all the shenanigans. We make our way back to 26, apolgose to 27 for bothering them, and start unpacking the car. About 15 minutes later, Candy shows up. He had managed to take a wrong turn on a road that’s nothing but straight for miles and miles. That’s WITH a GPS. I don’t even.

It also turns out that we’re in the same room we stayed in last year. Nothing has changed. It’s still as crap, but it’s a roof over our head for the weekend. I forgo the shower that night in favour of just flopping into bed. As I go to climb in, however, there’s a bloody great Bull Ant making himself at home under my pillow and is more than a little annoyed that I’ve bothered him. He meets his maker, and I check the rest of the bed before climbing in with more than just a little paranoia. It wasn’t my bed, it wasn’t my pillow and I try not to think about all the potential things that had happened on a bed like that out in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, I got very little sleep that night.

And now on to the first day of our adventure and ‘part 2’!