Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Friday's Firepit - Video!*

Friday afternoon the weather was so that I decided to have a fire while listening for the first time to the new Nightwish CD.  As I had to charge up my old phone that morning to check something on it, it occurred to me that I could use it as a camera still, so I did.  I wasn't sure how much space it had or how long it would run, but it was just an experiment and I didn't think anything would really come of it.  Turns out it's not so bad, really, and it lasted for almost the whole time I was out there.

So for some quarantine shits and giggles, here it is.  I've seen worse videos on YouTube, after all.  Never mind that it was overcast all day until I started the video.  Never mind that I initially forgot my headphones.  Never mind that I also forgot the fire poker in the garage.  Never mind anything at all and relax with this big oaf by the fire!

Email readers, use the link at the bottom of the email and visit the website to view the video.

*Aha! I found the embed problem in the settings, video can now be seen.  Sorry!  Friday, 4/24

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Virus Update, Fourth and Final?

I may have been a bit overly optimistic when I posted last Sunday.  I posted the timeline that day, and then in the wee hours of Monday I had my worst night of this whole ordeal.  I was up for almost all night just trying to continue breathing.  I was so, so cold and couldn't warm up for the longest time, then when I finally did I was so very hot.  All I could think about was getting pneumonia, and I really didn't want that.

When my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I emailed my boss and told him I had a very bad night and was still too sick to work.  We got in touch later and I said I needed to schedule the next two days off, he suggested the week, which is what eventually  happened.  So all this past week I've been off work.  Not exactly how I wanted to spend my spring vacation time, but so be it.  Better to spend the time now and get healthy than not spend the time and, well, you know.

Today is day 24 since my first symptom.  All week I've been resting and have slept a couple hours more a day than usual.  Shortness of breath and coughing has gotten better day by day, and is at its worst when I roll over side to side at night and also right after waking, but even that has gotten better day by day.  And my resting heart rate is almost back to normal.  I often still have that underlying feeling of being unwell, and can still feel the inflammation in my lungs with every deep breath.  I have a feeling this might linger for a bit, but as long as it keeps getting better and better one day I'll notice that I don't notice that anymore.  Back to work for me tomorrow.  The worst I foresee is taking a couple hours off in the middle of the day for a nap, otherwise I hope all goes well and I don't have too many things to clean up after all this time off.

One thing that I've purposely not mentioned about this whole thing so far is how I notice so many people not taking this seriously.  And I've not left the house in over 3 weeks, this is just in the neighborhood.  I've seen neighbors having friends over, one daily, answering the door for deliveries - and the delivery driver not flinching even though their restaurant is touting contact-free delivery in all their ads.  Even when we've gotten groceries or food delivered most drivers still seem surprised that we don't open the door for them.  No wonder infection rates are still rising.  Not to mention all the protests across the country breaking all social distancing and gatherings rules.  Don't even get me started on the orange idiot.  People are just being plain stupid and it'll be a wonder that we survive this despite ourselves.  Don't be stupid, please.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

F-35s Coming To Madison

Yesterday the U.S. Air Force made it official, Madison's Truax Field was awarded a squadron of F-35 fighter jets.  This has been a long process with lots of controversy.  Opponents mainly cite pollution and the noise factor and how it will affect some of Madison's poorest neighborhoods by the airport.  Supporters cite the jobs and economic impact it will bring to the area.

We've seen the signs in yards for ages now, and opponents will surely not go quietly.  The Madison City Council even passed a resolution against having them here, but the decision on where to base 18 of the 100 million dollar F-35A fighter jets is solely up to the Air Force.  Of course they held meetings, did environmental studies, etc., but they seemed set on Madison from the start.  Montgomery, Alabama was also named as a base for the jets.

Right now, Truax Field, home to 1200 Airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing, has an aging fleet of 21 F-16 fighter jets.  The new F-35s are to start arriving in 2023.  These jets can provide air protection for anywhere in the Midwest and at 1200 m.p.h. can be there in minutes.

That's a lot of facts and numbers, you can click here, here or here for more details.

Personally, I think it will be good for the area.  We live in the main flight path, and we have jets now already.  Yes, they do get loud, but only for seconds at a time and I find them fascinating to watch.  They go by so very fast that by the time you look up they're almost past, thus I've wanted to get a short video but have always been unable.  They usually go in twos, but even knowing that I've not been quick enough when I've been outside.  The new jets will be louder and the amount of flights is supposed to increase, but again, it lasts for mere seconds.  I know the new jets have been in and out of here at times already and I've not really noticed any difference.  I look forward this summer to trying to get video of the jets, new or old, now more than ever.

On a similar subject, I noticed an email at my blog gmail account (top right of the page) from the other day with the subject line 'Dane County Regional Airport Guide.'  At first I thought it was one of those spam comments we get on blogger, like when I post something about plumbing then get a comment from a robo-English speaker complimenting me on my work then going into their agenda and spam links.  But this was not a comment notification, it was an email from the Media Relations Manager for the Dane County Airport.  In her email she noted my blog post that was probably found in a google search, a post from June last year.

Apparently they've updated their website and she was wondering if it was possible for me to include a link on my site.  Okay, here it is, an informational airport guide website, but the official website still appears to be here.  Look at me, now seemingly an actual member of the media!  Wait, now that I type that I'm not so sure that's a good thing...

Sunday, April 12, 2020

My COVID-19 Timeline

March 27, Friday:  First symptom, coughing up yellow.

March 28, Saturday:  Noticed a little more of the same that afternoon.

March 29, Sunday:  Woke to headache, bodyaches, and likely fever.  Much worse than should be expected for the drinks I had the night before.  I had my first thoughts that I might have this.

March 30 to April 3:  First full week working from home.  Thought I felt normal, coughing up less though shortness of breath worsened day by day.  I grew more concerned as the week went on.

April 4, Saturday:  Like a ton of bricks.  Everything.  All doubt was removed from my mind that I had this terrible virus.

April 6, Monday:  Informed work, said I would work normally as nothing else to do.  Put in a full day and it was apparent I overdid it.  Contacted my doctor's office, they had advice but it was pretty clear I was not going to be tested unless I got much worse.

April 7, Tuesday:  Relinquished all work duties but one.  Let them know I was very sick, would continue to do what I could.  Put in part time hours through Thursday but looking back it was still too much.

April 9, Thursday:  Contacted my doctor again, let them know I felt the same and requested a note for the hours missed at work.  Received note and comments, more on this later.

April 10, Good Friday:  Holiday from work.  My first real appetite since the Friday before and all symptoms, even breathing, seemed to be getting better.  I finally felt I was getting over the hump.

April 12, Today, Sunday:  Day 17 since my first symptom.  Feeling much better, I am surely on the mend.  Coughing less and breathing better, but still tired.  I have to build up my strength and stamina again.  If I had to say, I'm probably about 80%.

If you missed it, I also wrote in more detail on April 5; I Have It, and April 8; Virus Update.

There are a few things I haven't mentioned yet.  Working from home I've been wearing my Fitbit all the time rather than just for sleep, and it shows my resting heart rate went from 59/60 when I was healthy to 70/71 while I was so sick.  And the dreams I had were just outrageous.  Maybe during or caused by fever spikes while I slept, but I've never had such vivid and off-the wall dreams.  This is definitely not a normal 'flu,' and while my symptoms would be considered moderate, I can certainly see how this kills people.

My doctor's office seemed to agree that I had all the signs, and mostly they wanted me to monitor my symptoms and if my breathing got too bad to go to the hospital right away.  Thankfully, it never came to that.  On Thursday my doctor responded:  "Sorry you are not feeling better yet, but from what we are seeing, this typically starts out mild, gets more prominent, and then will calm down over another week.  Typically, people are 2-3 weeks before they feel back to baseline."  This made a lot of sense to me as that first week I mostly was fine, then it really got bad and lasted almost another week like that, and now I'm slowly getting better.

I would like to again thank everyone for their well-wishes and offers of assistance.  I hope this is my last post on my personal experience with this virus.  Stay well, everyone.  Please.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Spring Around The Yard

As much as I looked forward to spring this year, it seems to have sprung while I've been sick recently (although it did snow on Thursday a bit.)  We don't have a whole lot in early spring, and we've done zero work outside so far, but here's a bit of what we do have.

All pictures were taken yesterday but the first, the Krokus' that pop up in the back of the yard are always our first sign.  That picture was taken when I had a fire 2 weeks ago.  Google likes to filter my pictures to vibrant colors, but I think I prefer natural.

Strawberry plants

Bleeding Hearts, red and white

Early Vinca flower

Peony, not sure about the green one

Hyacinth, if I remember right


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Virus Update, Blogday

Tested positive, not an actual count.
It's been a week and a half since I started showing symptoms, and when this posts it will be 5 days since all doubt was erased from my mind that this is what I have.  I'm writing this on Tuesday night to post tomorrow, on my 11th blogday.  Happy Blogday to me.  Yay.

I contacted my doctor's office first thing Monday morning and they got back to me later with advice.  Fluids, rest, continue to monitor my symptoms and go to the hospital if necessary.  I did let them know that my wife is caretaker to her elderly father and saw him on Wednesday, they advised the same; keep monitoring their health.  My wife shows no symptoms though she has been cooped up with me this whole time, and thankfully her father shows no symptoms as well.  Testing was not mentioned, and I believe I will not be tested unless I get worse and have to go to the hospital.  From what I hear, only those that go and health care workers are being tested, which means you can throw all the numbers you see right out the window.  Real counts of those infected are probably much, much higher.  And my wife is no longer seeing her father, there are others who can fill in for a couple weeks.

Second thing Monday, after messaging my doctor, I messaged those I work with.  I let them know I was ill and that I believed it was this virus, but since I had nothing else to do I intended to continue to work as normal.  I put in a full day's work Monday, even signing off for an hour to take a nap at one point, but that still turned out to be too much.  Tuesday morning I messaged those I work with again.  Except for one part of my job that no one else can do at the moment, I relinquished all my daily duties.  I let them know the day before was way too much for me and I needed a lot more rest.  They do seem to understand and wish me well, and I know they will shuffle things around a bit and manage without me.  I wound up working less than half a day Tuesday and got some good rest.

I'm still getting headaches though not quite as bad (and I'm taking Menstrual Pain Relief pills because that's all we have that has acetaminophen).  I'm not coughing quite as much, and while I'm still expectorating yellow/green sputum it does not seem to be as much as a few days ago.  Even the shortness of breath seems a little better, or maybe I'm getting used to it.  The fever spikes and malaise continue and my appetite is not good.  I have to make myself eat, and it isn't much.

So, overall, I'm in no worse shape than when I wrote about it the other day.  Thank you to everyone who sent their well-wishes and offers of assistance.  We're otherwise still in pretty good shape at the moment, thankfully.  I just need to get better, and I think that will just take time.

Make no bones about it, this is a nasty, nasty virus.  My only solace is that when I get over this I (hopefully) will be immune.

Stay safe, stay in, and stay well, everyone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

What A Hoot!

I bought an owl.  A plastic, solar-powered owl to keep rabbits away, and maybe squirrels out of the garden.  Every few minutes, depending on the solar charge, it moves its head around.  Kinda creepy, at least I hope the rabbits think so, too.  Directions say to move it around the yard and only put it out when the pests are being destructive.  I think the main spot will be on the post for the old, pull-out clothesline, seen outside right above the owl here.

This is right after I unboxed it and place it in the porch for the sun.  The cats were alarmed at first, and after only a few minutes the owl moved its head, but they soon dismissed it.  Let's hope the rabbits are a lot dumber.

Virus update coming in the morning.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

I Have It

What's more, I believe I've had it for more than a week.  I've not been tested, but it would be an amazing coincidence to have an upper respiratory infection right now that checks off so many boxes that's not this virus.

Before I continue:  WARNING for the squeamish.  I may go into more detail than you'd like.

My first sign came a week ago Friday as I was enjoying my firepit.  I expectorated.  Not unusual for me, I often cough and have sinus issues more than the normal person.  Something I attribute to smoking cigarettes for close to 30 years.  But this time as I expelled it I was shocked at the bright yellow color.  Having felt something in it, I just dismissed it as perhaps a piece of food got down the wrong pipe and this was my body getting rid of it.  The next afternoon I noticed more of the same yellow color.  At this time I did not suspect anything related to this virus - yet.  Saturday night I had several drinks and woke Sunday to a terrible hangover, highly unusual and much more than one would expect for the amount I drank.  I had a terrible headache and, looking back, probably a fever.  I also think I was getting just a little shortness of breath, and my sputum became more yellow/green.  I was getting concerned, and shared this with my wife.

Over the course of the week my sputum seemed to return to a more normal color, but the shortness of breath continued to get a little worse day by day.  It's hard to say if I was really feeling normal otherwise or not as it was not a normal week.  Working from home had really thrown me off from what was normal and what was not.  But as the days passed my concern grew.

Two days ago, Friday, I again stayed up and had several drinks.  I woke up in the middle of the night in a coughing fit, and my wife awoke and noticed my fast, shallow breaths.  My alarm went off at 8 a.m. Saturday morning as I was going to go into the office to do a few things for work that cannot be done from home.  Again, I awoke in a fit of coughing and expectorating, this time it was a dirty, pale yellow/brown/gray.  Not the best description, but the best I can do.  I felt like I had been run over by a truck and my head ached terribly, I didn't even want to move it.  We also took my temperature this time and I had a fever of 100.8ºF.  I emailed my boss, telling him I would not be going into the office as I think I have it.

I spent most of the day in bed yesterday, alternately sleeping and watching TV, which is part of the reason I'm up so early today writing this.  I felt absolutely terrible.  I didn't want to move, everything hurt and I had no appetite whatsoever.  The shortness of breath has been the worst part.  Not too scary for me yet, and as long as I stay calm I can control it.  Most of the last several hours in bed I was awake enough to avoid the uncontrollable coughing fits by making myself expectorate when I felt it was coming.  And the feeling of malaise has continued.

That brings me to now, 5:30 in the morning on Sunday.  My head hurts and I feel generally terrible, but I had to get out of bed as laying down so much has just been killing my back and I don't need my back to go out on top of this.  Today will be very interesting to see how I feel and if I will even work come Monday.  I'm sure I'll have to answer a lot of questions for my work, and I do plan on contacting my doctor's office, but what more is there to do but ride it out?