Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Self-Care

Annual sinus issues in the time of Covid-19

So, I’ve been dealing with my annual sinus/migraine bullshit. Oh. I just thought of something. Caffeine can cause migraines as well as cure them (it’s finicky like that). I’ve been drinking caffeinated tea at night. That might be the cause of the migraines. I’ll give it a skip tonight and see if it helps.

As for the sinus stuff, I think it’s partly allergies (because I’m allergic to everything under the sun), but it’s also sinus stuff. I can tell the difference because I’ve had allergies all my life, and I’ve had sinus issues for several years. The former is your typical itchy eyes, runny/stuff nose, clogged throat, while the latter is ear shit, nose afire/pricked, and swollen glands. The third factor is the weather. I have no scientific basis for this, but I firmly believe that the barometric pressure changes plus the heat negatively affect my sinuses. I definitely know that ‘feels like 102’ negatively affects my mood. I keep my AC at 78, but I dropped it a degree yesterday because I was not gonna deal with a migraine, sinus crap, AND heat.

I fucking hate the summer with all my heart, and I always have. Not only because of the heat but also because of the allergies. Everything is in bloom, and it wreaks havoc on my nose. It’s hard to remember sometimes that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Not only because it’s been pushed out of the news, but because life around me hasn’t changed. I haven’t seen one mask in my neighborhood, and there are definitely neighbors who are not practicing safe social distancing.

And I end up feeling like I’m the weird one for completely shutting myself off. My father laughed at me the other day that when I had food delivered, I didn’t let them in my house. To me, it was a no-brainer. Letting them in the house defeated the whole purpose of delivery in the first place. And, our state soft-opened…a week ago? I think? Time doesn’t matter. Anyway, my brother said we should go to the noodle place down the street when it opened. Even after we agreed that nothing had really changed during the ‘stay-at-home’ time and the ‘stay safe’ time.

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Personal health in a time of societal crisis

The war is raging on, and it seems selfish to focus on my personal health. Alas, I am still me, even in these times of unrest, so I can’t completely divorce myself from, well, me. Also, all the words  I have to say about the ongoing situations are bottled up in my throat, making me strangely muted. I’ve been grieving–crying at the drop of a hat, and I’ve been praying to a god I don’t believe in for something, anything, and I’m not even sure what.

But, because of my autoimmune bullshit and the Covid-19, I am not going to the protests. I have to ask myself honestly, though, would I go if it weren’t for the Covid-19? My answer is, I don’t know. If my bestie were here, we’d go together. We’ve done it before. Would I go on my own? Not so sure. It doesn’t say anything good about me, but it’s the truth.

It’s weird. When my parents called the other night, concerned about my brother and me (more him because he lives in South Minneapolis), my father counseled me to stay in. “You’re Asian,” he said. “So you’re the other to both blacks and white.” He didn’t say it exactly like that, but it’s what he meant. He’s right, and it puts me in this weird other-land that makes it hard for me to figure where my place is in all this.

Let me make myself clear. I am 100% on the side of the protesters. What happened to George Floyd was horrific, and it’s a symptom of a very sick system. But I’m not black. I cannot speak to that experience. I’m also not white, and I’ve experienced racism myself. Especially in the time of the Covid-19 with the president stoking flames of hatred towards Chinese people, I am concerned about how I might be perceived if I go out into public. I’m not Chinese, but that’s a point without distinction right now. Add to that the fact that I’ve experienced mild racism at the hands of cops, and it leaves me in a weird place.

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I’m my own worst enemy…again

I’m an idiot of the highest order. I have been feeling pretty shitty for three or four days, and I skipped two taiji classes over the weekend. Yesterday (Monday), I woke up feeling markedly better. Not my best, but better. Enough better to try taiji class. I was fine during the warm-ups which, as you may imagine, are gentle. Then, we got to the chi gong, and this is where I fucked up.

My teacher has told us more than once that if we’re sick, we have to be careful of breaking out into a heavy sweat. If it’s a light sweat, that’s fine. If it’s a heavy sweat, we should immediately quit. During chi gong, we did 6 of 8 postures. First three, no problems. Then, four, which is the most difficult, complicated, and involved. I immediately broke out into a heavy sweat and was shaky on my toes (literally. Most of the posture is done with the heels lifted). Normally, I do not have a problem standing on my toes, but yesterday, I was terrible. I almost fell over several times, and I was very hot and sweaty.

Here’s the thing. I knew immediately that I should stop, but I didn’t. Why? A few reasons. One, I’m very loath to appear like a quitter in front of other people. I phrased that very carefully because I am a quitter. I quit when things get hard because, well, again for several reasons. One, I am naturally good at many things. I never really had to learn how to persevere at something that I wasn’t good at because there were relatively few things that I *had* to learn in that manner. Two, my family of origin is not very forgiving of mediocrity. When I was in school, they never had anything to say when I got As, only when I got anything less than an A. I graduated college magna cum laude, and my mother said I would have graduated summa if I didn’t get a B in my Intro Psych class.

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Mental and physical health in the time of you-know-what

It’s May. I’m having a hard time grasping that little fact. I’m also having a hard time remembering when my personal lockdown started. I want to say it was…March…early? Late? Not sure any longer. I know it was before my birthday which was nearly a month ago. Time has lost all meaning, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. It’s also interesting how many people are having vivid dreams, which was something I assumed was only happening to me. There are reports of people dreaming about people who ignored social distancing, making the dreamer panic. Mine have had nothing to do with COVID-19, but they are very intense. It’s weird because I used to have extreme anxiety dreams and before that, outright nightmares. Now, however, my dreams are intense but not anxious dreams–well, not in the classic sense. They are the least-troubling aspect of my sleep at the moment, which is saying a lot.

I’ve given up on trying to regulate my sleep. I go to sleep whenever I go to sleep, and I get up whenever I get up. If I snooze at any given point, then I snooze. I’m of the mindset that whatever gets me through at this point is fine. Within reason, of course.

Side Note: I read all these people joking about drinking 24/7, and I don’t find it funny at all. I already thought people in America drink too much (let’s not talk about Britain), and I don’t like that the pandemic is being used as an excuse to get plastered. I do sympathize with self-medicating, but….Yeah, I’ll just leave it at that.

I mentioned last time that the one bright side to this mess is that my allergies and sinus issues have been drastically reduced, which strengthens my theory that nature is trying to kill me. I mean, it makes perfect sense that if I’m allergic to everything in nature, keeping it at bay will be better for me. Now that I’m able to test this hypothesis, I’ve found that it’s true. What does it mean for life after this pandemic clears (if it does)? I don’t know. It’s not realistic for me to not ever go anywhere ever. I mean, I could do it, but I don’t think it’s feasible for the long run.

I’m also thinking about what to do about life in general once the restrictions ease. People in my neighborhood are pretty lax about best practices, and it’s tripping me up whenever I see it. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone wearing a mask in my neighborhood, including when I went to the pharmacy. It’s bizarre, and it makes me angry. I’m working on letting it go and reminding myself that I’m hermetically sealed for the most part.

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Covid, COVID, covid…no matter how you spell it

It’s week whatever in lockdown, and I’m about the same as I ever was. Unhappy about the golfers not practicing good social distancing/masking, but I know that’s a me-problem. Meaning, I’m in my house. There’s no way their germs can reach me. I know that being outside in a widely-dispersed area greatly negates the risk, and yet. The fury rises within me, and I have to talk myself down. I can’t control other people, obviously, so I can only do my best to distance myself.

Speaking of which. I’ve read several people online with compromised immune systems saying they don’t know if they’ll ever feel safe to go out again. I can relate. I have a very mild case of agoraphobia–it’s more accurate to say I really don’t like to leave the house if I absolutely don’t have to–and it’s ratcheted up during this time. All the fears that have been percolating in my brain in a low-key fashion before this mess have bubbled to the surface, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to feel comfortable around other people again.

On the plus side, my sinus issues have gone down a ton. I’m still a bit afraid I’m having sinus issues right now, but it’s nothing compared to what I used to get. Which has led me to the conclusion that the outside really is trying to kill me. I mean, what can the conclusion be but this? I’m saying this in jest, of course, but it’s not untrue. I’m allergic to almost everything on earth up to and I like to joke including the air, and, obviously, I can’t control the environment around me when I’m outside. Now that I’m only going out to smoke (yes, irony alert) and to grab up the packages delivered to me before I put them in the garage to live out their natural lives–yes, that’s where the packages go to live–before disinfecting everything, of course.

Side note: I’m trying not to freak out at the ever-changing information as to what is and what isn’t helpful when it comes to covid-19. It’s hard, though, when even the experts are changing their recommendations  on a regular basis. Remember back in the day when us plebes were absolutely not to wear masks ever and they wouldn’t help, anyway? Now, it’s mandated in some states that you have to wear them, and it’s heavily recommended.

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Sickness in the time of COVID-19

I don’t get a temperature. I have to start out by stating that so the rest of this post will make sense. Let me be clearer–I have a base temperature of 97.5, and I have never had a temp higher than 99.5. This is important because one of the main symptoms of the COVID-19 (I always want to call it ‘the COVID-19’ for whatever reason, and I’m never quite sure if it’s COVID-19, covid-19, or Covid-19) is a fever. When this started to become a world-wide concern, I tried to figure out what a temperature for me would be. Since I started a base of 1 degree lower than most people, was a fever for me 1 degree lower than it would be for others or would it be the same? I’ve seen arguments on both side, but very sparingly because it isn’t something that scientists seem to care about. In addition, I read denigrating comments about ‘those people who claim to never have a fever’ and it was really disheartening. I mean, how the fuck am I supposed to know if I have a fever if I don’t know the definition of a fever for me?

To me, the fact that I start 1 degree lower should mean that my fever is 1 degree lower than other people’s, but the (slight) consensus is that there’s a hard line as to what a fever is. It seems to be over a hundred? I don’t know it’s also difficult to find what exactly is a fever. Apparently, 100.4 is a low-grade fever, but anything over 103 is cause for concern. On the Minnesota Department of Health website, they say that 100.4 is considered a fever for COVID-19. And a fever is a big marker of COVID-19, though not everyone with COVID-19 gets a fever. I jokingly asked if I wasn’t able to get a fever of 100.4, did that mean I couldn’t get the COVID-19? I know that’s not how it works, but it’s my way of dealing with the frustration of not knowing what a fever means for me.

I woke up with my sinuses bristling. It’s hard to explain what I mean by that, but I’ll do my best. It feels as if there are a thousand little needles pricking my nose and the  area around it. It’s very minimal at this point, so it’s the start of something. I do not have a dry cough, but I am fatigued. I’m always fatigued, however. But it’s been even more than usual. Also, the fever thing is baked into recovery of COVID-19 as well. What I mean is that if you’re three days free of fever, you’re considered well enough to go out again (if you’re also free of respiratory problems). It’s frustrating that yet again, I don’t have the easy touchstone.

In addition, I have plenty of sinus issues. I’m having a problem with it at the moment. I don’t have a dry cough or shortness of breath. I do have a headache, but I always have a low-grade headache. I have diarrhea on and off, but that’s a food sensitivity issue.

Side Note: I was watching an episode of Docter Mike, whom I had been enjoying for the first few episodes I watched. The third or fourth one I chose was about food allergies, and he had an expert on. The guy was affable, but it was soon clear that he was disdainful of anything other than true allergies. He said sensitivities were not a thing and that everyone had to deal with some unpleasantness. Doctor Mike joked about everyone having a leaky gut, and they both had a hearty laugh. I had a visceral negative reaction to the video because it summed up how doctors can be so incredibly callous. Neither of them were sneering openly, but they made it very clear what they thought of people who complained about food issues that weren’t allergies.

I’ve spent years dealing with food issues. I’ll call them intolerances because that’s what they are. They are not allergies. I don’t have Celiac, and I am not going to die when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me. I will, however, have to sit on a toilet for an hour, feeling my asshole getting progressively rawer and rawer. I get dehydrated and exhausted, and I don’t feel like moving for the next hour or so. Is it life-threatening? No. Is it debilitating? Yes, even if it’s brief. No, it’s not a life-and-death matter, but it definitely is a quality of life thing. Oh, and I would say I’m allergic to alcohol because I get a shortness of breath when I drink it. But, again, I probably won’t die from a single gin and tonic, so the good doctors probably wouldn’t classify it as an allergy, anyway. In addition, it’s strange to me that allergies related to foods are deadly whereas allergies related to, say, nature aren’t necessarily.

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Birthday blues? Nah, birthday blahs

It’s my birthday today (yesterday by the time this is posted). Normally, I’d shrug and move on because whatever. I’ve hated my birthday most of my life and actively pretended it didn’t exist for decades. I refused to say when it was, and I went as far as to put a fake date online whenever I had to provide a birth date. In fact, back in the early days of Facebook when you had to provide one and they published it without permission, I would have people wishing me a happy birthday in January because I picked a date at random. I would go to FB and see a dozen happy birthday wishes and think, “What the fuck? It’s not my birthday. Why are–oh, right.” I’m glad they’ve allowed the user to decide whether or not she wants to publish her birth date. I don’t care any longer, but I certainly did care for many years.

Then, about five or six years ago, I slowly went from loathing my birthday to being aggressively neutral about it to not caring about it. Was it taiji? Yeah, probably. At any rate, it was strange. What’s even stranger is that a year ago, I hated my birthday again. Not because of getting older. I don’t care about that in general*, but because of what normally haunts me on my birthday–the fact that I’ve wasted my life. For whatever reason, it hit me hard last year. Probably because I’m creeping up on fifty, which seemed unimaginable thirty years ago.

When I was a kid and a teenager, I would be dumbfounded when someone asked me about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Not only did I not know; I didn’t see myself as an adult. I couldn’t picture it because I couldn’t fathom being alive. I didn’t want to be alive, and I couldn’t envision it. Me, someone who can imagine anything came up with a blank when trying to see into my own future. I didn’t think I’d make it past childhood, and it continues to surprise me that I’m alive. When I was in my twenties, I got it in my head that I would die when I reached the age my mother was–55. For a year, I was convinced this was true. Even then, I still couldn’t see anything about my future. I knew what I didn’t want–kids, specifically–but what did I want? I had no idea.

I didn’t feel as if I was really living my life or that I was a real person. It’s hard to explain because I know logically that I exist and that I’m moving through the world. But I don’t feel like an actual human being. It doesn’t help that I am invisible in this world. Asian, bisexual, woman, not married, no children, agnostic, fat, and a whole bunch of other qualifiers that render me worthless. The only way I matter now is that apparently it’s Asian women who are bearing the brunt of the anti-Asian sentiment. It’s not a problem, however, as I’m not going anywhere right now.

Anyway, my mom called last night at 11 p.m. I thought it was because I had sent her an email about some insurance thing, but no, it was because she was in a panic about not being able to call me today for my birthday.

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My head is split

I’m dealing with a migraine. I wasn’t able to catch it in time. More to the point, I didn’t catch it in time because I’m trying not to take the Migraine Excedrin too much every since I read it can become a trigger at some point (or at least become void and null). It hit mid-afternoon two days ago, and I quickly popped two Migraine Excedrin. It wasn’t enough, and I had a full-blown migraine yesterday. I slept on and off most of the day, unable to do anything else. I did pop two more Migraine Excedrin yesterday and two more this morning as well, so my attempt at avoiding the meds fell apart. It’s better today, but there are still some lingering effects.

Side Note: My mom is obsessed with masks. Wearing them, I mean. She wants to send me some, and she said my brother was willing to share his. My brother who is continuing to go out every day. I think I’m in more danger of getting the virus from him than in my once a week twenty-minute grocery run. I’m sure he’s practicing his due diligence because that’s the kind of guy he is, but he’s increasing his vectors on a regular basis. I’m getting stressed the fuck out by her obsession with the masks, and it’s underlying the problems with our relationship. My brother, too. They don’t know when to stop. They can believe what they want, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wearing a mask. Obviously. But it’s the risks they’re willing to take versus the risks I’m willing to take. Both of them are going outside on a regular basis. I’m  pretty sure my brother is going out every day. Kitted out, yes, but still going out. I, on the other hand, am going to the grocery store once a week. Other than that, I’m staying inside (except for my quick smoke breaks) and not interacting with anyone.

I am not saying I’m right or that I’m safer than they are, but I’m also not saying they’re right, either. We’re all just doing the best we can. Anyway. That’s all I feel up to writing today. Have a video of Isabelle from Animal Crossing and Doom Slayer from Doom. I don’t play either game, but I would love a crossover.

My (non)optimal way of dealing with self-isolation

There are several posts/videos out there telling you the proper way to work at home in this time of self-isolation. This is for those who don’t work from home normally, and they are full of fine information, such as to have a routine, get dressed as if you were going into the office, and have a way to separate your ‘work’ life from your, er, life life. As I said, this is all good advice. I also break two of the three with abandon. The first one, I mostly do. I get up, feed the cat, have a half cig, do my taiji for half an hour, then sit down to work. First, blog post. Then, quick (or not-so-quick) break. Content writing for a few hours. Another break. Fiction writing. Then, whatever. So my work is interspersed throughout my day, but I do the same thing in the same order every day, so that qualifies as a routine. I wear sweats and a t-shirt to work, and that’s what I wear to sleep as well. I work from my couch with my cat on my legs for much of it, and I get up for breaks every few hours. So, here we go with how I’m dealing with the covid-19 self-isolation, and I would not advise it for anyone else. I’m going to do it in the format of the conventional wisdom and how I deal with it (or not. Mostly not). Shall we start? Let’s go!

1. Go outside for at least thirty minutes. Outside is not my friend. Outside is where everything is trying to kill me. I am allergic to everything under the sun, and probably including the sun. As such, I flinch whenever I’m outside. Last time I went to Cubs, there was a man wearing so much cologne, I almost vomited. No, that’s not nature, but it was me going through nature to get there. And it’s technically outside of my house. Anyway, I don’t like outside is my point. I do go outside to smoke a quarter cig every three hours or so, and that’s how I get my thirty minutes of outside. Five minutes six times a day. Done. Sorted!

2. Get thirty minutes of exercise a day. I got that one sorted with my morning taiji routine. I also stretch every time I get up, so no worries here. By the way, I watch a shit-ton of British content, so that’s why some Britishisms creep into my vocabulary like ‘sorted’. I used shattered to mean emotionally drained to Ian, and he was confused for a hot second. I’ve always had a thing for the Brits, and it’s even stronger now.

3. Get thirty minutes a day (yes, that’s a theme emerging) of contact with other people. No. Moving on. Kidding. I’ll elaborate. Most of them are talking about real people, not internet people. Obviously, we’re all trying to self-isolate, but they mean by calling or by Zoom meetings or whatever. By the way, I didn’t know what Zoom was a month ago, and now it’s all over the place. That’s what my teacher uses for our online classes. I’m a loner in the best of times, and the last thing I want to do when it’s not the best of times is to make extra-effort to talk to people. I mean, I want to touch base with *my* people on a more than regular basis, but I don’t need to talk to someone every day. And, the idea of attending more meetings, social or not, exhausts me. So, yeah, no. I’ll watch streams and participate in chats now and again, but I don’t want any more than what I normally do.

4. Shut off social media apps while you are working. I don’t use apps. I don’t use my phone except when I’m on a smoke break. I work on my laptop, so I have the social media open at all times. Right now, I’m accepting that my brain is fragmented and will be for some time. I am getting my work done, but it’s just taking longer over all because I’m taking mini-breaks along the way. I’ll write for ten minutes, then check social media. Write a few more minutes, then browse an article on whatever. Rinse, lather, repeat. It’s hard not to berate myself because my day-to-day life hasn’t changed that much. However, that doesn’t help anything so I’m trying to be a bit more gentle with myself and just accept that I’ll get it done when I get it done.

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Trying to Goldilocks it over here

Love in the time of the covid-19 is so strange. First of all, my OCD tendencies makes me cringe every time I type it because everyone does it differently. COVID-19, covid-19, Covid-19….WHICH IS IT? Can we still call it the coronavirus? Do we *have* to say it’s the novel coronavirus? That’s the kind of thing my brain gets caught up in when I don’t want to think about the matter at hand. Speaking of, I was at Cubs today, and there were a lot of people not practicing good social distancing. Standing smack dab in the aisle whilst looking at their phones, not paying attention to anyone around them. I mean, I know they’re probably like that, anyway, but come on, people. Gonna have to switch and go at 9 p.m. as much as I  prefer to get it done first thing in the morning.

I’ve been having a problem with how I should be reacting to this. I’ve written about it in the past, but I have PTSD. That means I overreact to small things and under-react (or maybe rightly react?) to big things. I’m also having a weird reaction to enforced isolation–I’m mad at it. It’s what I do on a regular basis, anyway, and I really my alone time. A lot. More than I enjoy being with other people most of the time. I have no problem not leaving my house except for shopping and taiji in my regular life. Now, it’s down to Cubs once a week with taiji online Zoom classes, and it’s just weird. Like, my life is pretty much as usual though my brother dropped by twice this weekend. Which is strange. I mean, he does it every now and again, but two days in a row? That’s weird. Then again, he was in the neighborhood two days in a row, so maybe it was just that. I think, though, it’s that he’s an extrovert and is lonely for some conversation. The first time, I was in my taiji class, so he just did work in the dining room. The second time, we stayed ten feet away from each other and chatted. He is wearing a mask when he’s out. He has one of those masks that look as if he’s surviving a nuclear war and a plain three-layer cloth one. He’s doing social distancing, but he’s still showing houses and doing his realtor business. I told him he’s not invincible, even though he has a great constitution.

I’m not that worried about me, oddly. Mostly because I’m as isolated as you can get. But, I have flares of irrational fear that are hard to tamp down. It’s the uncertainty and the fact that it doesn’t seem different–but is so very different. Also, we don’t know how long it’ll last–that’s a big part of it as well. It might be two weeks (unlikely); it might be two months (more likely); who the hell knows? Nobody, and that’s part of the problem. There is so much conflicting news out there, it’s dizzying. I’m trying to keep my news intake to a few times a day, but it’s difficult to do. It’s everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I saw a lady wearing a scarf in Cubs, and they had a sign about social distancing by the cash registers.

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