My Reality Now – age 68

I turned 68 last Monday, May 23, 2022.

Physically, I’m barely hanging on. I believe having COVID19 earlier this year took a toll on my health.

Arthritis, too.

I get out of breath just walking to the mailbox and back.

I cannot work in my yard or around the house like I used to. I know I’m growing old but wow, I’ve never had this kind of challenge.

My oldest son and granddaughter live far away (Denver).

My youngest son lives with me and hates the fact that at 36 y/o, he lives at home.

I have to work full time just to support this house and Ryan; and I’m tired.

Very, very tired.

This morning (Saturday, May 28, 2022) I woke up to a pain in my upper back/neck area – nerve pain it feels like – but who the hell knows. It has been here all day and it radiates down my left arm. Pain makes me feel very cranky and hopeless.

My primary care doctor quit and while I made an appointment with a new one, she can’t get me in until October.

My society would rather murder children by allowing rampant access to assault weapons by damn near everyone (I say damn near because in Washington state where I live that is not true). I cannot bring myself to watch media related to the Uvalde, Texas mass murder – I can only hold so much grief.

Our public servants have failed us. Here’s what we must do NOW:

  1. Implement a two-month federal buy back program for any assault weapon for $6000 each – no per person limit
  2. After that two month buy back program ends, make it a felony punished by 10 years minimum sentence to own one

My country is diving deeply into fascism and it’s horrific and ugly.

I try to pretend none of these things are happening and on most days, I’m OK.

But not today.

Not today.

Children Murdered – Again

I’m shattered at the thought of children, enjoying their school day and ending up murdered.

Shattered.

Here’s my idea:

  1. POTUS should sign an Executive Order allowing the immediate purchase of any assault weapon for $6000 each. No limit per family.
  2. This buy-back effort will be in place for two months.
  3. After that, anyone caught owning or using an assault weapon will be charged with a felony and subject to a minimum 10 year sentence.

No more thoughts and prayers. Clearly they don’t work.

Look at the politicians for what they DO, not what they SAY.

Chinook is almost ready

My 2004 Chinook Summit was built in March of 2004. It is SM-29, meaning it was the 29th Chinook Summit ever made from the original sticker on the inside of the bedroom closet. I believe I am the 3rd owner of this beautiful RV. The manufacturer, Trail Wagons, Inc., was based in Yakima, WA – here’s a good history of the company.

We are planning a road trip in June and I’m getting the Chinook ready.

Today I did the de-winterizing and needed a little help from the Chinook group I joined. I have a good sense of how our house works, but am slowly learning how the motorhome works.

Ryan and I are planning to drive to So California to visit Kyle, Larry, Penne and Charlie, then head to Denver. We will be bringing Mickey and Ava with us. Will be interesting to see if Penne remembers them.

I’m so excited to go.

UPDATE – May 8, 2022

The original thermostat (a 5 button Duo-Therm) was so hard for me to read that I did some research and found a truly plug-n-play alternative. Here’s a before and after installation of my new Micro-Air RV thermostat: (https://www.microair.net/products/easytouch-rv-thermostat)

Old one:

And the new one installed:

And the new one can be set up to control with my iPhone. Brilliant!

And Ryan wants to learn how to drive it so we took it out for a short drive yesterday.

UPDATE – June 5, 2022

I had a new water filter system installed under the sink so we don’t have to buy any bottled water and tomorrow, I’m taking it to get the oil changed and new wipers put on. She’s going to be in tip-top shape for our trip.

We have COVID19 – 1/22/2022 through ?

First, I want to make it clear that both Ryan and I have been triple vaxxed; he’s had 3 Pfizer shots and I’ve had 3 Moderna shots. The reality is, these vaccines do not prevent transmission or infection; they do protect against hospitalization and death.

Ryan went back to his student teaching position after the Christmas break. Unfortunately he and his mentor teacher decided to not wear a mask unless the children were present because they both have been vaccinated AND boosted.

Bad choice.

On Saturday, January 22, 2022, his mentor teacher called to tell him she tested positive for COVID19. Ryan and I immediately started wearing masks in our home.

He went to urgent care on Sunday and they wouldn’t test him until 5 days after his exposure so he had to wait until Tuesday, January 25, 2022 to get tested.

He learned late on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 that he was positive. He didn’t have any symptoms really other than scratchy throat.

Thursday night, I got a severe sore throat and felt terrible on Friday morning, January 28, 2022. I made an appointment with Multicare’s Indigo Urgent Care center for that afternoon and was tested for both COVID and Strep. Strep test results came back the same day as negative. No COVID results.

I worked for half the day on Friday and then went to bed. Started running a fever that went from 99.6 – 102.6 throughout the day. Muscle aches were so severe I felt like I had been beaten up. My head felt like it was about to explode. Severe congestion. Tylenol helped keep fever in check and reduced muscle aches to a manageable level.

Still no COVID19 test results from the urgent care visit.

UPDATE – Friday night my fever broke and Saturday morning – January 29, 2022 – I feel slightly better. No fever, no headache, no muscle aches. Just severe congestion and cough.

Still no COVID19 test results from the urgent care visit.

So I decided to use one of my Abbott BinaxNOW tests and it was positive. Nothing surprising there really. And honestly, it was kind of a relief to get confirmation for what my body was telling me.

Now at least Ryan and I don’t have to isolate from each other since we’re both positive for COVID19.

He took another Abbot BinaxNOW test this morning and is still positive, but he feels OK really; just a sore throat and some congestion.

More to come.

12:15 PM on Saturday, January 29, 2022 and the PCR test results from urgent care are finally here – positive (aka “detected”)

I need to say again how grateful I am to have had 3 Moderna shots. Ryan had 3 Pfizer shots. As you can see, Ryan is doing very well with COVID19 so far; I am on the mend. Given my age (67) and my comorbidities (asthma, lung damage from pneumonia etc), I feel very lucky right now. Here’s the data showing just how effective the booster shots are:

Get your booster now!

And here’s an incredibly informative essay from Eric Topol who is one of the best follows on twitter.

https://erictopol.substack.com/p/a-shot-in-the-dark

UPDATE – Saturday, January 29, 2022 – 6 PM

I was able to get out of bed, get dressed and spend the day with Ryan downstairs. My appetite is really limited right now. I also began to feel very fatigued in the early evening so I fed the dogs and took a nice, hot bath.

Now I am in bed for the night.

My current temperature is 99.9; no body aches or headache like yesterday so that’s progress I think.

I probably should have washed my bedding today but I just didn’t have the energy. I’ll do that tomorrow.

More to come.

UPDATE – Saturday, January 29, 2022 – 7:10 PM

My throat is starting to hurt again so I just took some Tylenol and Tramadol. Will be going to sleep (hopefully!) shortly. I really feel like shit.

UPDATE – Saturday, January 29, 2022 – 9:10 PM

Fever is 101.1 – that’s after the dose of Tylenol 2 hours ago. Head is starting to hurt and my cough is filled with crap. I hope I’m not getting worse.

UPDATE – Sunday, January 30, 2022 – 8 AM

I was sweating profusely all night it seems. This morning my temperature is 98.2 so that’s good. No headache really, and no painful body aches. Just very congested and a nasty cough.

UPDATE – Sunday, January 30, 2022 – 1:30 PM

Starting to feel achey again. Also feel fatigued and weak. Just took some Tylenol.

UPDATE – Sunday, January 30, 2022 – 3:10 PM

Dizzy. Blood pressure is very low – 80/57. Feel like shit. Can’t go to bed because sheets and quilt are being washed.

UPDATE – Sunday, January 30, 2022 – 3:35 PM

Oxygen is 96; no shortness of breath or anything. I’m scared. Really, really scared. If I go to the ER they are likely to admit me and then they won’t let anyone visit me. I don’t want to die alone in the hospital. I don’t.

UPDATE – Monday, January 31, 2022 – 4:11 PM

I stopped my blood pressure medication and my BP readings have been more normal – also, no more dizzy spells. My oxygen has been 93 or higher, no shortness of breath either. My problem is I spend way too much time googling symptoms instead of just listening to my body. My body says I have fatigue, weakness and congestion; nothing else. I just need to listen to my body and rest. I’m also visualizing the little antibodies eating away at the ugly COVID19 virus too.

More to come.

UPDATE – Monday, January 31, 2022 – 7:50 PM

My appetite seems to be coming back. No headache and no fever this evening either. Ryan took another Abbott BinaxNOW Antigen test and it was positive. Ryan sent the principal at the elementary school an email asking if it was still OK to come back tomorrow since he has no symptoms even though he tested positive. I think it is reckless but hey, the CDC said that’s OK because, you know, Delta Air CEO said so.

I hope I sleep better tonight. Last night I was trying to visualize what an antibody looked like so I could visualize the antibodies from the vaccine going after the virus. I realized pretty quickly I had no idea what an antibody actually looked like (while everyone has seen the SARSCoV-2 virus looks like) so I did some googling.

This is a good image of an antibody and a coronovirus.

Anyway, I hope I sleep better tonight.

More to come.

UPDATE – Tuesday, February 1, 2022 – 10:45 AM

I didn’t have a very restful night for some reason, mild headache kept me from sleeping well I think. This morning I feel a fatigue that can’t be described. Had to turn my phone on “DO NOT DISTURB” so I could sleep in. Congestion still there as well. No body aches though so thank goodness for that! Going to log in to work in a few minutes to try to address some issues that are bubbling up and participate in a team meeting this afternoon. I do feel I’m no longer in the woods with respect to being hospitalized or anything so that’s a relief.

Ryan went back to the classroom today despite testing positive yesterday with the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen test. His principal said he could. And this is why this virus is spreading with abandon in this country. People don’t use their common sense and put their risk to others last. When the CDC says it’s OK, despite testing positive, to go back to work, all us worker bees gotta do what we are told (explicit sarcasm).

Get your boosters! Seriously.

UPDATE – Wednesday, February 2, 2022 – 9 PM

Worked about six hours today before my head felt like it would explode. The fatigue and congestion continue. Mentally and emotionally, I feel so depressed.

UPDATE – Thursday, February 3, 2022 – 1:30 PM

So I slept incredibly well last night. I have to say that today is the first day where I almost feel normal! No brain fog and no extraordinary fatigue either. Still a bit of congestion but I can deal with that. Fingers crossed this continues. I so want to feel 100% normal again.

UPDATE – Friday, February 4, 2022 – 2:00 PM

Stomach is really hurting today and I’m pretty sure it’s not related to anything I ate. Didn’t sleep as well as I’d hoped and am still very congested with a mild headache.

UPDATE – Saturday, February 5, 2022 – 10 AM

Slept really well last night and was hoping to run some errands with Ryan today (even though I’m still pretty congested). I took another Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen test and I’m positive so I won’t be going anywhere.

UPDATE – Sunday, February 6, 2022 – 12 noon

I took two at-home rapid COVID19 tests today; Abbott BinaxNOW and iHealth. Both still show I’m positive, albeit the line indicating the presence of virus is a bit lighter than it has been. Here’s a pic of the iHealth COVID019 Antigen Rapid Test:

I feel OK other than sinus congestion. Have slept quite a bit this weekend. Hoping this coming week goes better for me with work. Would be nice to actually have sick time instead of being forced to use vacation days. I guess I’m better off than some people in the US who don’t get either. At some point, the USA is going to have to look itself in the mirror and realize that we’re literally killing ourselves for work.

UPDATE – Monday, February 7, 2022 – 1:00 PM

I took 2 COVID19 tests today to make sure; both show me as negative, finally! What a tough couple of weeks it has been. I can only imagine what it would have been like without my 3 Moderna shots.

Get your boosters now, please!

UPDATE – Wednesday, February 9, 2022 – 8:30 PM

Even though I tested negative, I still have a nasty cough and congestion. Will this ever end? Will I have feel healthy again? No one really knows (and it appears cares, either). I found this study showing that I’m not alone in my struggle:

“The results confirm an excess risk for persistent and new sequelae in adults aged ?65 years after acute infection with SARS-CoV-2. Other than respiratory failure, dementia, and post-viral fatigue, the sequelae resembled those of viral lower respiratory tract illness in older adults. These findings further highlight the wide range of important sequelae after acute infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj-2021-068414

UPDATE – Sunday, February 13, 2022 – 3:45 PM

Still battling congestion but the fatigue has eased somewhat. The cough is still there too.

UPDATE – Wednesday, February 16, 2022 – 9:15 PM

The last two nights I’ve felt like I was getting sick again; sore throat and just overall yucky flu feeling. I took a COVID19 test (again) and it’s negative. I am also still battling congestion and a cough.

UPDATE – Thursday, March 3, 2022 – 10:10 PM

It’s been 3 full days now where I haven’t had to use nasal spray to breathe. Maybe this horrific virus is gone now? I hope so.

Stage 3b of chronic kidney disease

So I learned Thursday that my blood work showed kidney damage. My primary care doctor noted on my chart that I am stage 3b of kidney disease. Stage 5 means I need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

My doctor said it was caused by my arthritis medication (diclofenac) that I’ve taken for over a decade.

Taking diclofenac is what has helped me be relatively pain-free all these years. I actually cried when she told me I needed to stop it.

I have discontinued using it and now am taking gabapentin 3 times a day. Plus I have some patches to put on my lower back to ease the pain when I cook, clean or try to do yard work or go for a walk. This is day 2 of taking the new medication and I feel pretty good.

I have to go back to my primary care doctor in 3 months to recheck my kidney function. Praying there’s some improvement.

Getting old sucks.

Christmas, 2021

This Christmas was so incredibly special.

Isabella came to visit for the first time, and it was WONDERFUL!!!

I LOVE HER SO VERY MUCH!

Matt took so many photos. Here’s a movie he made showing all of the snow we got the day after Christmas.