I haven't worked in two months
When I started drafting this post it was titled “I haven’t worked in a month”. Hopefully by writing this out a bit, here at the start of a new (short) month, I can jump start my brain a little.
When the pandemic started, but weeks before lockdowns, I did some mental math. The things I’d expect to see for countries to wage war over an airborne illness weren’t being done, at all. One of my parents was a medical researcher; I picked up just enough to know that when someone says something like a cold virus isn’t airborne, they’re probably full of shit. Even now, most folks would call me stupid or paranoid. This is fine. They can get fucked. A lot of them have already anyway.
My (high risk) partner and I had just moved into a new house after completing some major rennovations, but still pending some significant work. We were missing a lot of “house stuff” supplies. She was thankfully understanding and picked up some jumbo packs of various things from Costco while I was taking care of some other stuff. I made a point of buying some things for being Stuck at Home: a good rice cooker, some Sonos speakers for the house, etc. Ordered an exercise bike. Various tapes, air filters, etc.
Two weeks later almost everything we had bought was out of stock, and amazon was pushing deliveries out multiple weeks. There was plenty I missed, but we had food and paper products and no stress about it. I had lots of hobby stuff to keep me occupied and interesting work to do. It was going to be fine.
Immediate health failure
Wasn’t very active for a few weeks in March 2020. Crushing depression of reality as I’d just moved closer to my social circle and was now chatting with them over Zoom. The Zoom meetings maybe lasted a month as everyone promptly burned out on doing Zoom For Work 8 hours a day.
This lack of activity primed me for the start of what happened next. I had been in physical therapy for a back injury for a few weeks before moving. Took a few weeks off intending to find a closer office to finish things. Had not been doing the at-home stretches in March.
First big grocery delivery arrived in April and I promptly re-injured everything. It didn’t get better. PT offices were closed. Then things started to compound.
Sometime in July I got food poisoning. It never got fully better. Went to appointment after appointment with no luck. I started having symptoms of malnourishment and rapidly lost weight.
In September I started getting nose bleeds. In my entire life I had maybe 3 nose bleeds. They went on daily, for over five months. It may have been related to our house being flooded with smoke for weeks on end. We taped and sealed and slowly improved things. My daily nose bleeds did not. Doctors suggested a humidifier: Humidity was already dangerously high at 70%+. Good luck convincing someone to look up your nose before vaccination.
Everyone who complains about having to wear a mask is a fucking baby. Unless you’ve experienced having nosebleeds so bad that the extra strain of breathing through a mask causes blood to gush from your face. I still wore a mask. If it fogs up your face put two cents of foam on the nose plate. Morons.
I had severe Brain Fog on and off. Sometimes I would be completely unable to express myself over basic concepts. Turns out this is pretty frustrating to experience. Working more than two hours a day was mostly impossible.
There was more.
We have a 100 year old house. We moved in expecting to have a few more rounds of work done. The plan was to take a nice day trip or hotel trip somewhere for a couple days while getting work done. We got the minimum. In May the rest of our windows were replaced while we were sealed into the back half of the house. It was not pleasant. 2020-2021 was the coldest year here in 30 years. Fog blanketed us day and night for months.
There was more. A lot more. We still don’t have working central heat. Our electrical can support a single space heater.
In march 2020 I started a long project with a client, intending to use it to kick off my new business after a few months of development. In October 2021 I hit the 90% mark. A functional minimal viable product, now just needing optimization and stabilization passes. My clients all got busy. I was still sick. I stopped working.
I stopped doing anything. Sometimes I would play a game, sometimes read. I couldn’t really see my monitors anymore: spent some time on that but ultimately nothing. Another dr’s appointment, another specialist you can’t see anymore because half of them retired in March 2020. I had motion sickness so bad I would stumble around the house and struggled to drive.
Virus or Stress?
In late February 2020 my partner went on a “just a day trip” to seattle. I was concerned but not convincingly. A week later we found some of her coworkers at the event were confirmed cases. Some of the first in the country. We both had mild colds (or spring allergies?). There was no testing availble.
Was my body damaged by The Bug or were all of these new-to-me health issues a coincidence? Or stress? House mold? We’ll never know.
Largely I holed up and didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t want to broadcast more misery publicly on top of what was already going on. Maybe with this I can break the ice a bit, but with some hope that events from this point are more positive.
I can sort of digest things again, though my understanding is I have to rebuild my Gut from scratch. This will take another six to twelve months. I can exercise again but it is extremely painful and slow. My nosebleeds are largely gone: we hauled some garbage from the garage from the previous owners and now I’m magically fine. The house is getting fixed. I never got to do much with my hobbies.
Don’t want to work still, but it’s time to try. Probably.