Quarantine Brain Dump

We’re on Day 25 of Quarantine. I haven’t left the house once. My husband has taken care of our essential runs so far and will probably continue to do so, as I don’t want to take risks having asthma. The girl has gone to the doctor a few times, and the boy went with his dad to Aldi once. We have been able to get the majority of our groceries at Walmart Pickup (which shows zero slots during the day, but all the slots open up just past midnight, so we lucked out figuring that out). He’s able to find the other odd things (mainly meat) at Aldi or Dollar General.

BG’s COVID test came back negative. The first one got bungled by the lab, so she had to get it done a second time, plus a chest x-ray and more blood work since she is STILL running a fever. (She’s on Day 25 of a fever.) Outside of tiring out easily, being crankier than normal, and having headaches, she seems okay. She rips through the house acting like her normal self at times, and you wouldn’t know anything was wrong then. (Five minutes after the dancing or running, however, then you’d know.)

The doctor did a test for mono and what my husband referred to as a broad spectrum virus test. The test for mono was negative, and we haven’t gotten results on the latter. The doc said if she’s still running a fever this week, then they’ll have to do a blood draw with an actual needed in her arm. She’s already having severe anxiety about that, so I am hoping and praying this fever just disappears so that won’t be necessary.

And speaking of anxiety…that shit has been real. I was pretty calm about all of this initially. “Wash your hands and stay at home. Easy-peasy.” But then anxiety hit like a load of bricks, and panic attacks over this mess have been frequent. “What if I get it? I take forever to get over bronchitis, so this would be hell. And how would I keep my kids from being all over me? And, wow, it looks like I do have it because I can’t half breathe now. Oh no, must have it. And what if the economy completely fails and people fight over basic supplies (more so than now) and try to rob us to steal what we have?”

It goes downhill from there. LM’s one trip to Aldi (sigh, which won’t happen again) aside, we are doing all the right things and taking all precautions. I made masks for our family, plus a bunch of extra for my husband to drop off on the porches of higher risk relatives. I’m new at sewing and they look shitty, but they are effective, which is all that matters. I don’t know how necessary it is, but we’re sterilizing the groceries and anything else that comes inside. So we are doing everything within our control on this one, hopefully it’ll be enough. And I wish that were enough for my anxiety. Depression has been real, too. I stopped taking Wellbutrin at my doc’s advice a month or two ago, and it has been really rough. Really bad timing on your part, depression. Couldn’t you wait until we were out of quarantine? I’m taking the medicine again and hopefully it’ll take effect soon. Irritable me > depressed and irritable me.

I’ve had to resist my MIL’s attempts to get the kids. I understand she wants to see him, but we’re not seeing anyone right now. They’re high risk, but they go about freely without much care for their health (or anyone else’s health), gah. Their mentality has always been “When it’s our time, it’s our time.” (Even in hurricane and tornado warnings.) One of her other grandchildren visited from out-of-state last week, and she was NOT happy that I wouldn’t bring BG — who she knew was still running a fever and didn’t have her COVID results — down to visit. “It’s just family, so it will be okay.” Gah again, because that’s not how this virus works!

I miss people. I was trying to be more social, getting out and attempting (but failing because I’m awful at such things) to make friends before this. Being mostly cooped up at home when the kids were at school with hardly anyone to talk to wasn’t fun, so I was pushing myself. Oh well. I’ll push harder when we’re out. I think I might even become a hugger after all of this is over, so watch out, world.

Thank goodness for Facebook and memes. I never thought that’s a sentence I would write, but there it is. I desperately need that humor right now, and these COVID memes do not disappoint. And then there’s the whole Tiger King thing, which has some brilliant memes, too. That was quite a show, one that is very difficult to look away from, no matter how much you think you’d never watch such a thing.

Image may contain: meme, possible text that says 'People watching Tiger King "I can't believe people like this exist." People from South Carolina:'

FYI, my house has been pretty darn tidy throughout all of this, and I’m staying on top of keeping clothes folded. It’s easier to not have a laundry mountain when certain individuals don’t want to change clothes on a daily basis. I have not been on top of my writing, and I have a deadline in a week. Unless I can quickly pull something out of my ass, I don’t see making it.

I hope y’all are doing well and staying safe.

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?

Anxiety’s back, tell a friend
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back?

Considering my last post, I couldn’t help but use some of the lyrics from Without Me. Plus, the boy rapped the whole thing in the car yesterday, so it has been in my head. Considering he can remember something like that he’s only heard a few times or the entire lines from a play (seriously, his and everyone else’s), yet forgets I asked him to brush his teeth five seconds later, I think I should start rapping my commands to him.

Brush your teeth, teeth right now.
Brush them good, brush them good,
Brush them good, brush them good,
Or you’re grounded, you’re grounded, yes you’re grounded.

It needs work.

I recently wrote a post mentioning my reduced anxiety, and I must not have knocked on wood as usual. Nah, really though, I think it’s more that I just suck at picking up on things. You’d think someone who has had bad anxiety since she was a little kid would be more aware, but I’m not great at being in tune with my body. For the record, it’s still true that my anxiety is reduced compared to years ago, but maybe not as much as I thought at the time. Once I zeroed in on the anxiety, I realized that this issue has been building up over the past few months.

I’ve been avoiding going out shopping as much as possible lately. I’ll order whatever I can from Amazon, which I’m sure my mail lady loves, and most of the rest of the stuff is ordered through the Walmart app. We have Grocery Pickup at our Walmart, so I can just pull up to the side of the building and someone brings my stuff out. I’ll shop at Target or Aldi when it’s not busy, since those places don’t bother me much early in the day, but I avoid everywhere else like the plague if I can help it. I’ve never cared for crowds (and shopping at Walmart is never fun), but it just leaves me more unsettled than normal lately.

On Sunday, we went to get lunch and then went by Target afterwards. By the time we were in the car heading home, I was so agitated that when I got home I took a Xanax just to calm down. I was agitated because of the noise in the restaurant, how crowded and noisy Target was, how noisy my damn car was. Thanks, children. I put in my earbuds when were were halfway home because I felt like I was going to snap. (I wasn’t driving.) And I have definitely been snapping more over the past few weeks.

Combine that with going out to a play on Friday night and not wanting to talk to anyone because I was struggling with hearing, more of the same on Saturday night, plus not wanting to touch publicly used things again. (Salt shakers and ketchup bottles and other items touched by the public are becoming my nemesis again.) My husband asked me on Sunday if my anxiety was getting bad again since he had noticed these things. And I realized — yes it is, in ways.

I think a lot of it’s due to my hearing. My cochlear implant hasn’t been as helpful as I had hoped it be. It started off working well, as in I progressed from hearing clicks and robot-y sounds to voices and real sounds quickly. And within a few months, I scored high on the tests the audiologist gave me. Progress halted, though, and my speech in noisy environments hasn’t seemed to improve at all. (Speech in one-on-one situations in quiet environments was great, though.) My directional hearing is awful, and when I’m out in public, if someone talks on that side, I don’t usually hear them unless they tap my shoulder to get my attention so I can turn and face them. I’ve becoming increasingly self-conscious about my hearing and add to that background noises being more overwhelming, it’s a mess. I don’t know if there’s a sensory component or if anxiety is just making that stuff more noticeable and worse as a result.

The hearing thing has me so worried about my future. What kind of job can I get in the real world where I can either control my environment or limit most conversations to one-on-one with little to no background noise and avoid phones? I can’t come up with many job prospects in my area outside of teaching. I can keep the classroom quiet as needed and move around to talk to the kids. But I really don’t want to go back to teaching. I also don’t want to take a year’s worth of college classes so I can get recertified. I may not have a choice if I can’t come up with something else, though. Freelance writing is great, but isn’t exactly a career. I know I shouldn’t worry too much about that right now since I have a few years before I’d go full-time anyway.

I have an appointment with my primary care doctor soon, so I’m going to ask her about taking propranolol again. I took it for social anxiety several years ago, and it helped somewhat. It’s meant to treat high blood pressure, but is also good for anxiety because it helps you stay calmer and keep from going into panic mode. If she won’t prescribe it, I’ll ask my psychiatrist when I go in January. Hopefully it won’t interact with anything I’m currently taking. I’m also going to schedule an appointment with my audiologist and see what adjustments she can make.

Boo anxiety, but at least I’m a) aware and b) have a plan. That’s much better than in the past when it was running the show 24/7 with no end in sight.

The Boy Is Back

Little Man has not had the best summer. He has often been moody and defiant. He hasn’t wanted to read or do any of the summer school work I’ve prepared for him (the last part is understandable, though). And he regularly antagonizes his sister, which leads to the screaming and name calling. I chalked a lot of it up to puberty coming on.

Since school is starting up in a week, I decided to put him back on his ADHD meds. (We don’t typically have him take them on weekends or school breaks.) Plus I made him start going to bed earlier, so he can get back on a sleep schedule that will be appropriate for when school starts.

And now my angel boy has been back for the past two days. He has been ridiculously sweet, hasn’t had an attitude about doing his chores — he even asked what he could do to help — and he finished a Harry Potter book and started another, without being asked to read. Plus he is making LEGO creations like crazy and isn’t asking to watch TV or play video games all the time.

Praise the lord.

It’s interesting. I know his ADHD meds help with focus (although he was always a big reader in the past, meds or no meds), but I never noticed not taking them affecting his mood/behavior in the past, but that is the only big change, so it has to be it. (He isn’t sleeping any longer than normal, so it’s not going to bed earlier I wouldn’t think.)

I am so grateful. Now, I know for a fact that he’s definitely in the throes of puberty (which I found out for a fact earlier this week in a way that has scarred LM and I both), so I know those mood flair ups will still happen at times. But seeing such a turnaround in his attitude and his love for reading coming back makes me so damn happy. There won’t be anymore skipping ADHD meds during weekends or breaks now.

In other news, BG had her kindergarten readiness assessment earlier this week. Her teacher said she is definitely ready for 5K and was impressed with her reading and other stuff. While she did well on that, BG said she isn’t ready, though, and wants to go back to preschool.

I think school anxiety is contributing to her meltdowns. She doesn’t want to be away from me, she doesn’t want to give up Pizza Hut Wednesdays (probably obvious, but our routine was Pizza Hut on Wednesday), plus she’s worried about making friends. BG said she doesn’t think people will like her because she’s different. And then she said if anyone asks her to be her friend, that she’ll say no because she doesn’t want to make new friends.

Plus her teacher doesn’t have superhero stuff and has “that yucky Barbie doll and princess crap.”

I think she’ll feel differently after she goes for a couple of weeks. She has her share of challenges ahead of her, but she’ll like getting back into a more scheduled day. I think she’ll also enjoy some of the enrichment classes she’ll take, like a STEAM-based class. Fingers crossed.