we’ll carry on

Welcome to the Black Parade Pity Party!

First is first: my COVID is progressing mildly. I’ve had some instances of Feeling Gross, but for the most part it’s a chest rattle and some l33t light hacking. I’m still infected (extremely and immediately, according to the last two rapid tests), but otherwise fine.

That doesn’t mean I’m not not ENTIRELY MISERABLE, though. My entire week has been a towering inferno of disappointment and salad dressing, the details of which I will now describe in agonizingly inane detail.

So, this COVID thing. I can’t leave the house even more than I usually don’t leave the house, and it’s giving me significant cabin fever. Amongst my COVID angst:

  • Ed’s been home since Wednesday, and we haven’t been able to hug or kiss or make an mockery of procreation. I need hugs! Although tbh I really like the separate bed thing as it turns out I enjoy getting enough sleep.
  • I had plans for tomorrow that included three things I was looking forward to:
    • Hanging out with Shan (Shanging)
    • Breakfast at Deacon’s Corner which is my favourite and it’s been so long and I’ve been ever so good
    • Running around downtown Vancouver on a spectacular spring day, just existing

Side note – missing out on any one of the three items above would have been keenly felt, but all three of them together is just a dick move, universe.

On Monday, I’m missing lunch in Vancouver again (!!) with friends I haven’t seen (in SIXTY YEARS no lie at) my other favourite, Anton’s, to celebrate Shan’s belated birthday. I’m extremely sad to miss this for basically the same reasons as above, except with pasta for daaaaaaays. I’m actually double missing this one: even if I didn’t have COVID, I’m doing an online conference all day Monday. The COVID just makes it extra layer of fun, because Ed probably shouldn’t go either even if he’s negative, just in case.

That’s all bad, right? WELL THERE’S MORE!

  • An interesting development I was courting fell through and it made me sadder than I had anticipated
  • A pair of shoes I ordered are too big and an item was missing from the order (sold out and oops)
  • I’m insanely busy at work and this is the worst possible time I could have picked to get sick, so I’m stressing out about my work not getting done
  • .. and the same time, I’m still working except now I have guilt that I’m not working at my best or quickly enough which Jesus Christ woman pick a neurosis and stay in one fucking lane
  • .. and that whole “stressing and working myself into Scary COVID” thing hovering back there somewhere
  • *ahem* all that to say I was supposed to go to a work retreat thingie the week after next and I was nervous but really kinda excited about it – but because of my covidity AND my workload, I decided it be best if I didn’t go

I think that’s it. All the big ones, anyway. I could probably go on for an hour, but that sounds exhausting.

Basically, I am a very sad duck and I am allowed to be so. Feeling sad is a natural reaction to disappointment, and no one is judging me for my sadness.

*cough*

Anyway, join me next time when I explain how my special flavour of damaged is a paradox and that’s so on brand I could just fucking spit !

the saviour of the broken, the beaten, and the damned

(hi k! i am flirting with you in reference form!)

it was a good run

Last night I tested positive for COVID. Twice! Well, maybe 1.5 times.

I had a really bad headache last night, and my throat felt a little weird. Both of these things could be easily explained away: I went outside in the bright sun and forgot my sunglasses, I had blood drawn earlier in the day and didn’t eat enough after fasting for 12+ hours, there’s some weird weather rolling in and I’m susceptible to pressure changes, and I had A Day at work. As for my throat, I smoke a lot of weed. Sometimes it irritates my throat, especially when I go from an ice bong to a not-ice-bong and forget that fire is hot. It’s a whole thing, and not all that unusual. Still, I worried. Worrying is like my #1 hobby.

The BC government finally started handing out home COVID tests earlier this year. It was two years into the pandemic at this point, but we can finally test ourselves!! .. except they’re not collecting test data anymore, so it’s mostly FYI. Thumbs up. Great planning. Anyway, because I actually have some tests on hand, I decided it would be prudent to give myself a nasal swab and see if anything unusual was going on. The first test I opened up expired in March of this year (did I mention the great planning?), but I used it anyway because I honestly expected it to be negative.

It wasn’t.

I then thought maybe the expired test was wonky, so I took a fresh test immediately after the first one, and .. positive.

I lasted two years, two months, and 9 days into the apocalypse before catching anything. Is that good? Is this sort of thing rated? Will I get a passing grade, or be thrown into remedial apocalypse until I fix myself?

I’m trying really very hard not to lose my shit entirely. There is some freaking out happening. I may have measured myself to see if I would fit into a garbage bin. There’s a chance that I am utterly, entirely doomed.

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

Tiny shreds of common sense are all I have holding me together: I’m triple vaxxed, I have a huge list of safe words for all scenarios, I don’t go indoors without a mask on (outside of #halfwack of course). I don’t go to concerts or parties or anywhere that people gather. Norovirus aside, I haven’t been sick at all throughout the pandemic. I’ve done literally everything I could have possibly done to keep myself safe. It clearly didn’t work, but I did it.

And actually, I feel .. fine?

My throat is still a little weird and my insides are growling, but that’s because I haven’t eaten. My headache is mostly gone, my thoughts are as coherent as they ever are, and I’m actually getting a lot of work done (which is good because holy shit I am fucking drowning at work). Right now, the biggest problem I have is that I can’t join my friends for a belated birthday lunch at Anton’s on Monday (and that is a really big fucking problem, I love Anton’s and I am hungry). If this is as bad as it’ll get, I can live with it.

That’s probably not going to happen though, so I’m just in a holding pattern as I wait for my body to shut down. But maybe it won’t? I’m a medical anomaly. Maybe COVID will give me super powers. Maybe it’ll kill me dead. Maybe I’ll have minor symptoms. I hate not knowing things, like how bad this’ll be or how long I’ll be out of commission. I have a ton of upcoming plans I was really looking forward to, but now that I’m a walking pathogen, I’m back at square one and I am not happy about it.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be wallowing on my balcony.

not shown: me, wallowing

karma chameleon

My anxiety is really superstitious. If I don’t complete the rituals involved in dozens of insignificant acts, the world will end and it will all be my fault. I don’t have time for that kind of existential crisis, so I cross my fingers and throw salt over my shoulder and never give my bad thoughts voice or they’ll come true and that would really suck. No ladders or broken mirrors or umbrellas opened indoors. Can’t hang a new calendar early, or even change the page – mostly because that would be really confusing, but also bad things will happen apparently so I just avoid it altogether. No need to invite the bad times, right? And there’s lots of wood around to knock on, so we should be okay.

My superstitions go hand in hand with the idea of karma. It’s generally pretty easy to avoid being a bad person, but somewhere in the back of my mind I worry that the point system is real and any time I’ve accidentally littered I get negative points and that’s why I don’t know math. It’s stressful and it makes me have internal debates about doing things that are beyond inconsequential, but WHAT IF. I swear I’m not indecisive, I’m just weighing the contents of my soul so if you could just give me a minute here, everything will be fine.

All of this is to say that I have an ethical problem of my own making, and I’m not sure what to do about it: Is it “bad” if I take an opportunity I did not earn?

Before I explain fully, here are some pertinent facts:

  • This is not a tangible object
  • If I don’t follow through, it ceases to exist
  • No one will miss out on anything if I take it OR if I don’t
  • No one will lose any money if I take it OR if I don’t
  • The odds of getting “caught” are almost non-existent
  • Taking the opportunity (or not taking it) will affect zero people other than myself

.. but I didn’t earn the opportunity, nor did I pay for it. It’s not mine, but it could be if I took it. So, do I take it?

I was supposed to go to Prague in April of 2020. That didn’t happen for obvious reasons, and I was given a flight credit from the airline. To use the credit, I have to book a flight before the end of this month for travel before the end of July 2022. If I don’t use the credit, it simply disappears. I can’t transfer it to anyone, or use it for anyone other than myself.

No brainer, right? Use the credit, book a flight, maybe go somewhere next year.

This is me, and nothing is ever that simple. The problem? I received a refund for that flight.

.. twice.

Prior to my flight, all airlines and agencies were telling customers to “go through your bank” to deal with pandemic-cancelled trips in the hopes your credit card company could come through for you. It took several hours on hold with a bunch of different companies, but eventually my bank did reverse the charge for the flight. The money came with a warning: the airline is given an opportunity to fight the charge reversal, and if that happens, the bank would claw that money back until a resolution is worked out. I left the money where it was, but no one ever came for it and whatever statute of limitations the bank put on that refund has long since passed.

I didn’t know that would happen, though, so I also submitted a claim against my travel insurance. I didn’t think anything would happen there, because in the ten years since I became an International Kimli of Mystery, not once has travel insurance ever worked out in my favour. Not even for our Super Typhoon’d trip to Japan that we didn’t take in 2019, for loophole reasons. I guess “global pandemic” isn’t something the insurance companies wanted to deal with, so they processed my claim and cut me a cheque.

Because of my aforementioned anxiety around karma, I actually tried to return the funds. I called the bank multiple times, but could never get through to anyone to explain the situation and eventually I stopped trying. I think I reasoned with myself that by waiting on hold for longer than I waited to get the charge reversal the first time around, I had done my due diligence in trying to do the “right” thing. I forgot about the duelling refunds after that, because I had so much going on in my life at the time. So busy. Jam-packed life of action.

Time rolled onwards, and it’s now the summer of 2021. Ed and I have both received all vaccines, and things are starting to look positive for the first time in almost two years. I logged into my favourite booking site to do some wishful thinking when I saw a button that said “Check your credits”. I did, and wtf: I have a credit with an airline. For a flight I’ve already been refunded for, twice.

Now what?

I could book a flight, of course, but would it be “wrong” of me to do so? And if so, by who’s standards? If I had to choose an entity that would suffer from my deceit, I suppose it would be the airline – but at the end of the day, do I really care about an airline’s bottom line? No. Fuck ’em. If they didn’t screw me, they’d screw someone else.

So that’s what I’m wrestling with. What would you do if you were me? As I see it, my options are basically:

  1. Try to book a flight. What’s the worst that could happen? By next summer, the Kappa Beta Phi variant will limit our freedom anyway, so I’ll probably just end up with another credit and have the same non-problem.
  2. Ignore the credit. I’ve already been given my just desserts, and I had seconds. Taking more would just be greedy.

Each of the refunds I’ve been given for the cancelled Prague trip come from different corporations – the bank, the travel insurance company, and now the airline. No one is going to hold a meeting with the other companies to find out if anyone has been double or triple-dipping during the pandemic confusion, so if I DO try to use the credit – strictly for science, obviously – no one loses out, the airline would just re-sell the seat. If I don’t take it, the only person who loses out is me. I really do hate losing out, but .. karma.

What’s stronger: my need to see this through just to see if I can, or my anxiety?

something about this feels suspect

insufferable? stereotypical? completely valid?

This may come as a shock to some of you, but I have problems with anxiety.

*snort*

No, really. I know I’ve had major anxiety episodes in the past, but in my head I had equated “anxiety” specifically with those actual, textbook panic attacks. I think there was even a paper bag involved, once.

It’s only recently that I’ve realized I’ve suffered from some significant anxiety this ENTIRE TIME – like, if I thought I’d been going from 0 – 10 to rate those attacks at a 6 or 7, but I’d actually been going from 5 – 14 the entire time – and I’m just starting to understand how and why I’ve been feeling so .. introspective lately. This is going to sound exactly how it sounds, but I’ve been figuring out the insanely buried truths behind some fundamental aspects of who I am, and it. is. fucked.

Two specific examples from the last 3 months sort of kicked this all off. I have had full-on sobbing in a heap ugly cries borderline hysterics that were really unusual even for me lately, and I’d been thinking about them: a) when my bloodwork came back from a routine checkup was so bad that I was sent to Every Specialist including a cardiologist and had to do multiple overnight tests and my upcoming echocardiogram, and when I received the letter from BC Health saying I qualified for an early COVID vaccine because I’m extremely clinically vulnerable. Both times, I melted the fuck down entirely. I sobbed so long and hard I gave myself the hiccups. I was a snotty, horrible, mess for hours. It sucked.

It wasn’t until I read this article that it dawned on me that my extreme reactions to potentially unsettling – like, not even actually unsettling, but something that might turn out that way later – medical things isn’t just a run of the mill worried about the spectre of death sort of thing, but actual PTSD from my 2.5 Major Medical Issues in the last several years.

I know I pretend to be a smart person, but I am really quite dumb. The article and existence of medical trauma make perfect sense to me, but I legit thought I was having some sort of psychotic break. I was scared by and of my reaction, which was to a reaction in the first place, so this was like Inception-levels of meta brain shit.

That stunned epiphany has actually changed how I handle these things. I can tell when I’m about to lose my shit, and either calm myself down knowing that I am not actually this scared, or warn Ed I’m about to erupt in a totally non-pornographic way and to please help me cope.

It’s not always successful, of course. Right now, I’m worried and anxious af because I’ve had NO reaction to the second Pfizer dose I received on Friday afternoon. Everything I’ve heard from friends and internet strangers alike is that the first Pfizer dose is pretty mild but the second one knocks you on your ass. I didn’t have much of a reaction to my first dose, so I prepared for a thorough ass-knocking – like, did groceries, got my affairs in order (look, it’s a work in progress), made sure Ed had enough things to eat over the weekend, stored up an ample supply of Diet Coke and chicken noodle soup – and yet I’m fine. Went out yesterday afternoon, did a bunch of errands, made neighbourhood queso. Okay, maybe day two is the worst and I’ll really feel it tomorrow? So far today I’ve made blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast, cleaned out two kitchen cabinets and two drawers, ate some queso leftovers in my balconic oasis to the tune of a Broadway showstopper, wrote up some self-serving psychobabble, and made several smaller, less life-changing epiphanies about Greek yogurt and Tupperware lids. I’m supposed to be sick and miserable. Why am I not sick and miserable?!

What if I didn’t actually get the vaccine at all? What if I’m not actually protected from covid?

What if my slight headache and extreme weariness ARE my symptoms, and I’ve been having them all along?

That doesn’t seem right, as I’m not suffering all that much so I must have done something wrong and I’m still vulnerable.

.. and why am I worrying about whether I’m suffering enough to be deserving of the label of “having symptoms”, anyway? This is one of the reasons I also didn’t think I “deserved” to think I was suffering from PTSD, I’m just a stupid broken baby who can’t handle minor life stuff.

Yeah, it’s been an interesting few months.

Did I say interesting? I meant exhausting.

I honestly can’t tell if I’m just being good ol’ Insufferable Kimli, if this is a stereotypical stoner line of thinking, or if it’s a valid realization.

Up next: why I can’t watch TV, and why I hate sharing my age!

doom and gloom

It’s been a hell of a week.

After a luxuriously long weekend, I awoke on Tuesday ready to take on the world. First up: a call with my cardiologist! Okay, not what I was hoping for, but away we went. I have to go back in for an echocardigan, and next week I get to wear a Holter monitor for 24 hours. Turns out my heart is somewhat all fucky again, spiking randomly for no apparent reason and beating way, way too fast. That is .. not good. Thumbs up, heart. You have ONE FUCKING JOB.

The face crud I was left with after my ophthalmologist appointment 12 days ago is FINALLY starting to clear up. I had to resort to basically moisturizing with an antibacterial ointment for my skin to stop flaking and hurting, but I’m at a point now where I can go outside and not scare children or the elderly. It was a miserable not-quite-two-weeks. I’m looking forward to using normal moisturizer again.

On the vaccination front, I’m officially a Pfizer baby. I got my first dose on Wednesday night, and it took about 20 minutes total (with 15 of those minutes just sitting in a chair as they make sure you don’t keel over and die after you get poked). I spent the time talking about cats with a delightful volunteer who estimated my age to be around 24. I would basically die for her at this point. Just sayin’.

Overall, I feel .. okay. I’ve heard that the second and third days after your shot are the worst, and I’m definitely feeling kind of cruddy today (which, to be fair, could also be caused by my EXTREME DISAPPOINTMENT and/or the fact that I haven’t really eaten today). No sign of any super powers emerging, which is disheartening, but I’m more concerned at how incredibly slow the Canadian rollout is. I’m glad my US friends have their shots, but most of them seem to already have their next round scheduled for sometime within the next month (and some have already had both doses), when Canada is barely at the 65+ age group. I’ve been saying for months that the US is going to close the border to Canadians before we get around to opening it back up again, and with the CDC’s travel advisory against going to Canada in place, it’s just a matter of time. It’s frustrating. Every day the people in charge of getting BC sorted make baffling, insulting decisions: open the churches! open restaurants! oh wait we’re up to 1250+ new cases a day? okay, close the restaurants! except if you sit outside, then that’s fine. And also outside still counts if you put a tent around it. And people between the ages of 20-35 are to blame for everything, and also aren’t eligible for vaccines yet even if they’re a frontline retail worker. Don’t worry! We got this, everyone just needs to dig deeper! And if we don’t, our leadership will shake their heads and be very disappointed, but what else do we want them to do?

Basically, we’re fucked. It’s hard to keep optimistic about this. I want Ed vaccinated, I want my friends vaccinated, I want my entire fucking country vaccinated. I want my life back. I want YOUR life back. My rage has never been this impotent and I didn’t get that flavour a Pfizer shot so I’m just stewing helplessly.

This is a much less fine Friday than last week. It’s grey and gloomy outside, and my mood is no better. This is not the exciting future we had envisioned, and no amount of fairy lights will make things better any time soon. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to try, but my heart really isn’t in it (because it can’t keep a fucking beat, apparently).

a pretty place from which to watch canada crumble

i’m (not) okay

Nothing takes the wind out of my sails like receiving a letter stating that I’ve been officially declared as clinically extremely vulnerable and as a result I’m eligible to receive my vaccination sooner than my allotted age group.

On one hand, cool! Vaccines for me!

On the other hand, I feel like I’m about to keel over and die any second and the only person unaware of my impending implosion is me.

I have a relatively small list of fears: tarantulas, children, children tarantulas, and my own mortality. I am paralyzed with fear when I think that I could die any second. There’s so much I would miss out on – I don’t know what any of it is, but I guarantee that I’d rather be alive for it than otherwise. The thought of either Ed or myself shuffling off this mortal coil absolutely scares the fuck out of me, and every time my doctor calls me to send me off for more mysterious testing, I completely shut down and just can’t function. And then, true to my nature, I start worrying about all of my stuff that someone’s going to have to deal with. And all my passwords. Who will manage my passwords?!

They did a full blood panel on me several weeks ago, the results of which were apparently so alarming that every specialist in the city has been alerted to the walking medical conundrum that I represent. I had to do an exercise test that I spent most of a week scared shitless about (mostly thanks to Ed confusing “exercise test” with “athletic endurance test”), complete with having to wear a heart monitor overnight because I have such a lack of natural rhythm that even my heart can’t keep a beat. I haven’t heard anything about the results. They’re sending me to be blinded by science on Monday with an ophthalmologist, and I’m supposed to get a call from a hemogoblinologist soon so they can look at my blood with lasers. I don’t know if this is all just routine testing – my doctor literally phoned in the appointment – but every new test they send me on throws me into a spiral of fear.

I want to see this new status as a good thing because I’ll be protected from the ‘vid that much sooner, but I can’t see it as anything other than forewarning that my fast lane lifestyle and the hard partying I haven’t yet gotten around to is finally catching up with me, and I’m falling apart in fast motion.

Literally the only thing I have to do in this world is keep myself alive, and I’m failing miserably at it.

There isn’t enough pot in the world to help me deal with this. I’m fucking terrified.

at least this made me laugh

isolation report day 26

Still around. I keep running out of clean pajama or pajama-like items. It now takes over a week to build up a decent load of laundry (not that I can really be bothered with doing it one way or another), because when you don’t leave the house you don’t really get dirty.

I came to an uncomfortable realization last weekend: Ed and I might hit the isolation wall sooner than we expected. We’ve been self-isolating for over three weeks at this point, when a lot of the world is just getting started – hitting three weeks felt like a big milestone, but nothing actually happens: you don’t earn your freedom or see new people or get to go to the store unfettered. There’s simply no end in sight. It just .. is.

It’s depressing, but it helps to know we’re not in this alone. Every other person is (or damn well should be) coping with the restrictions as best they can, and we have it so much better than many people that it’s hard to wallow. I let myself have little pity parties, but I try to keep them from leaking out.

It’s not all bad, though!

Unexpected Quarantine Positives:

  • Nail polish has become a quarantine essential. All this “no touching your face” has me not biting my nails, which are now long enough to paint in fun colours. Not well, but still. Fun colours!
  • We did a full inventory of our pantry and freezer, tracked in a spreadsheet for extra anal goodness
  • Unable to use vacation time or savings for anything good, so they’re amassing at a decent clip. I’m not at the part where it’s fun to fantasize about where we can go after the apocalypse, but I assume I’ll get there eventually and want to start planning things.
  • World’s slowest and laziest spring cleaning
  • Digging through my closet to build interesting isolation wear outfits is fun and also ridiculous
  • Unlimited time for Animal Crossing!
  • Diet Coke is still in ample supply, and going out to get it feels like an epic side quest Yesterday’s loot drop included 3 cans of tuna, a loaf of bread, and a bunch of meat to restock the freezer.
  • Ridiculously happy cats
  • Saving money on gas and cleaning and entertainment and everything else we’re not buying, because most of my online purchases go to the US and I can’t collect packages now so it’s not nearly as fun to order things when you don’t know when you’ll actually receive it

Going outside to get supplies is super nerve-wracking, and every time we come back (we only go out one at a time) we’re hyper vigilant about any possible illness symptoms. It’s mostly just an exercise in worrying because I don’t think signs of COVID show up within an hour of being in Other Places. We successfully completed post-travel isolation without any symptoms, which is good. I try not to worry about how long we can keep that up.

2020 is fucking weird.

square one

I didn’t realize how much significance I placed on being symptom-free for my entire quarantine.

Yesterday was the 14th day of isolation. We celebrated by getting on our bikes and riding to the corner grocery store in search of supplies, which were plentiful – it’s a corner store that only sells produce, with a tiny selection of dry goods and dairy. I wasn’t able to get any eggs, but everything else was in ample supply. Okay, I had to get off-brand corn nuts, but the apocalypse is no time to be choosey.

The trip to the store and back again was completely uneventful. There were several other people in the store, but everyone kept their distance and no one coughed on any of the apples. The closest I got to anyone’s danger hole was the cashier, who was wearing a mask. We washed and sanitized our hands as soon as we got home with our loot, then went out on our bikes again for an even longer ride – it was gorgeous outside, and the perfect day to stay the fuck away from other humans.

However, today I am freaking the fuck out. I feel like even being within shouting distance of other people yesterday was a super bad idea, and I’m terrified that I now have to begin my 2-week isolation all over again. I have no new symptoms (I’ve had the sniffles for about 20 years due to allergies), but my brain is screaming that I’ve caught COVIDs 1-19 and every one of them is going to make me suffer all the way to death. Ed keeps telling me I’m being silly, but I can’t help my fears. They are big and loud and scary and I could actually die from this fucking thing and I went outside and now I am dooooooooomed.

Seriously, though. How do you quarantine your fear? I was doing so well,  but that 14-day milestone was more important to my brain that I assumed. The thought of simply existing and waiting another 2 weeks for symptoms is hugely overwhelming, and I don’t have enough edibles to keep the anxiety at bay.

isolation report day 12

I’ve been self-isolated since the 7th, only venturing out once for supplies like a manic squirrel (who still had enough common squirrel sense to not hoard acorns or toilet paper). I was pretty dang worried, to be honest – I am immunocompromised for half a dozen bullshit reasons, we were on a plane for 9 hours, our travelling companions were both sick with nasty colds, and I looooove touching my face. I’m about halfway through the recommended isolation period (I’m going with three weeks because I’m a keener), and I haven’t had any symptoms of anything, really. A couple of hair-related headaches, some wicked cramps, and I nicked my leg while shaving, but no fever or tiredness or coughing.

have been experiencing fits of rage over work, but that’s a whole other issue.

Our supplies are holding steady. We resorted to food delivery last night because someone (me) was too high to cook, and it was pretty awful so we likely won’t be doing that again. We may need to attempt a covert operation in search of perishables and some of the more popular snacks, but our pantry and freezer overfloweth. I’m comforted by this now, but later in the day when I remember we’re out of Pringles and Corn Nuts, we may have a problem.

My supply of edibles is still vast, but I’ll definitely need to restock when all this is over. Because it will end, right? All I really have now (other than a big drawer of drugs and a pantry full of creamed corn) is hope. Will it be enough?

Stay safe and far apart from each other, everyone.

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