Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Taiji

Day Three of the flu shot

Day Three of flu shot. Well, two-and-a-half, really. I got it around four on Thursday and as I’m writing this, it’s one in the afternoon on Saturday. My teacher has Covid and had to cancel the class today. I was glad because I’m exhausted. My arm is a bit sore, buthere is barely a welt.

It’s the level of fatigue that only happens when I’m sick. I had to curtail my morning Taiji/Bagua routine because I don’t want to push it. It’s frustrating. I had just gotten back to doing everything and now, I have to pare it back again.

Today, I did all the stretching because I had a hunch that class would be canceled. And i did the Fan Form, the Eight Palms (Bagua) with DeerHorn Knives, bot only one way (usually do it both ways), and the Double Saber…I think? Suddenly, I’m not so sure. I did the Sword Hu-li Form (dancing sword form) which is just me moving the sword as I want to. With internal music going.

Now, I just want to sleep. I’m watching the Early Access Retry Elden Ring episode and have ordered Thai. This is my Saturday Ritual. Taiji class, Thai, and Retry. No Taiji class, but the other two still stand. It’s a meaty episode at nearly two-and-a-half hours.

I’ve been doing a run loosely based on Aunty Finchy’s run. I gotta say, it’s been so fucking hard. He’s a dex man, and I am…not. Neither dex nor a man. Plus, he spreads his points all over the place, much to the constertation of a lot of fans. A lot.

I peeked at the Facebook page last night, and, boy, do people have a lot of opinions on what Rory should and should not do. A. Lot. WHich is fine in the, well, everyone has opinions sort of way. But it gets pretty depressing when it’s RORY YOU HAVE TO DO THIS YOU STUPID IDIOT sort of way, which is so many of the comments.

The big ones are the insistence that he not use spirit summons on boss fights, which is silly and honestly just wrong. The boss fights are made to have spirit summons in them and while you can do the boss fights without them, it’s adding unnecessary difficulty.

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The body will do what it will do

Day Two of the flu shot. And, yes, I am going to be doing areport on it, much as I did with the Covid booster. I’m very tired. My arm is sore, but not bad. And not a welt. I can’t stop holding my breath yet because it was the night of day two for the Covid booster when it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Last night, I was pretty tired and went to bed early. I woke up really tired. I did manage to do my whole Taiji/Bagua routine, but it was a struggle. And I just want to take a nap. Which would be ok except I had a solid eight hours last night.

It’s been a while since I had a flu shot. The reason why is because of how I react to these shots. And the fact that I never had the flu. I mentioned this in yesterday’s post.

I get why I need to get the shots, at least from a theoretical point of view. It’s like insurance. Except in this case, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be the right shot. That’s the reason I stopped getting the flu shot, by the way. It made me feel so shitty and then I never got the flu.

Yes, I know that’s the best outcome. I’m not disputing that not getting the flu is a good thing. It just seems like a waste plus it’s hard on my body–and to make matters worse, it’s not as if the vax prevents you from getting the flu (or Covid).

This was what I didn’t understand for years. I thought if you got the flu shot, you would be innoculated against getting the flu. No, it’s if you get one of the six strains that the shot was prepared for that year, you would suffer the effects much less (presumably). Same with the Covid vaccination. It mitigates the effects if you get one of the strains that it’s innoculating you for.

I feel really bad for my Taiji teacher because she was trying to get her booster, but could not get in. I can empathize because I was planning for my own booster shot. I could not get into my pharmacy until the first week of December. I wanted to get it a week before Thanksgiving. Cubs had a spot open in a few days from when I was planning it, but for the Moderna rather than the Pfizer.

I was going to get the booster on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Then, the flu shot the Tuesady after. Then, my brother’s Thanksgiving feast Friday night. That WAS the plan, which failed miserably.

I think that’s one thing I’ve taken away from the experience. It’s ever-changing. I can’t rely on what happened the time before because it’s ever-changing–like the virus itself.

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Trying to manage my fears

This is the first day in two weeks I’ve been able to do a full Taiji/Bagua routine. And it feels really good! For the past two weeks, I’ve been doing portions of it because of my reaction to the booster shot. In the first few days after, I mostly did stretches and warm-ups. I was exhausted, and I did not want to make things worse.

I slowly started adding weapons back in in. One at a time. This was probably four or five days after I got the shot. I really, really, really did not want to overdo it.

Today, for the first time in two weeks, I did all the things I normally do in my daily routine. All the stretches, warm-ups, and weapons. And it felt so good! That means Sword Form (right side)–

Gotta interject. I got my flu shot. I was going to get them on the same day, but thought better of that plan. In fact, when I went in a month or so ago to get my wasp bite checked out (it was infected), they asked if I wanted to get my flu shot and my Covid booster. I said sure. My doctor told me not to because I was already fighting off an infection, and my immune system was stressed enough. I had to do the full ten days of antibiotics for that mess. And my finger didn’t really get back to normal for about a week after.

Two weeks ago, I got the Covid booster. The Moderna instead of the Pfizer. It’s supposedly good to mix them up, probably so you can catch more variants. I have no scientific backing for this, but I believe that’s why I had such a bad reaction this time.

My plan had been to get the Covid booster a week before Tthanksgiving. Then, I was going to get the flu shot the following Monday or Tuesday. My brother had his Thanksgiving feast Friday night, and I figured it would be enough time to recover.

I was so wrong. So very wrong. I had never had such a strong reaction to one of these shots. I mean, I’ve always reacted to them, but not like this. It was mostly the welt that stayed forever. Which is annoying, but not a big deal. Usually, it was me feeling like shit for three days and then it getting better by day five or six. A week of being tired was pretty much it.

This time, it was so much more. It was horrid, and it never occurred to me until Ian mentioned it that it might actually be something other than a reaction to the shot. Which, it could have been–but it wasn’t.

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Feeling like a brand new person

I had to skip my brother’s Thanksgiving Day dinner last night. I had hoped that it being a week and a day after I got the shot, I would be better in time to go. I reinstalled Lyft so I could catch a ride if I went. It was at four, but they were eating at five-ish or so. When I called my brother to let him know I wasn’t going, he was so disappointed. He sent me a picture of the GF/DF bread he was making, and it looked delicious.

The woman he’s dating is GF/DF so there was several dishes of the sort at the dinner. I know he really wants me to meet her, and I really want to meet her as well. Plus see my niblings. And actually be able to eat food. But I felt like shit and did not want to maybe spread something. I had assumed it was a reaction to the vax, but Ian had pointed out that it could be something else. He was thinking pneumonia because that was what I had back in 2021, but it could have even been a cold or something else.

In addition, because of my shitty immune system, I did not want to be around others while not at my best. I did not want to get anything else, thank you very much.

I told my brother I would go if I felt better in the next few hours (I called him around 1:30 p.m.). I did not feel better and emailed him to confirm I wasn’t going.

Then, around seven or eight ot night, I suddenly felt better. By a wide margin. If I had been roughly fifty to sixty percent earlier in the day, I was at eighty percent by that point.

Today, I had a Taiji class at noon. Last week, I stayed through the meditation, which was roughly half an hour. This time, I stayed twice as long and did the first section of the Solo Form. And the chi gong. And the my god. My brain just completely stopped before coming up with the name of the posture/movement of the single posture drill we did. It’s Repulse Monkey. I did that. At the break, I felt decent, but I did not want to overdo it. So I left the Zoom call. It was the perfect amount of Taiji.

I will say, though, it’s in a church. There was a special event this week so the class was in a different room. During meditation, I could hear shouting and yelling (by the pastor and the congregation). It seemed to be a call-and-response situation. It was not a very relaxing way to meditate, I’ll tell you that much. One of the newer students is an immigrant from Eastern Europe. She had a very negative reaction to all the shouting and yelling because it reminded her of her youth. Not from chuch, but just from being in a communist country in general. She said that church should be peaceful and loving. why did there need to be shouting?

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Day 7 of will it ever end?

Here we are. One week after I got my booster. I still feel like shit. Here is what I wrote yesterday. I was hoping that today I would feel better. And I do. Marginally. But not nearly enough. I have said this about flu shots before. Why should I get the shot when it’s this bad? I know what the actual answer is. It’s insurance in case I actually get the thing I’m innoculating myself against.

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t go out much at all now. The chance of me getting Covid is slim to very slim. It’s not none because I do go to Cubs and my brother comes over now and again. So, yes, I could get Covid. Theoretically. And, yes, it’s better to be innoculated if that’s the case. Theoretically.

It’s basically gambling and throwing the dice. Do I want to take a chance at getting the COVID. At this point, honestly? Yeah, I do. I understand why the vax is necessary and a good thing. But I am not ok with the fact that my reaction to these kinds of shots is so terrible.

Sweat and chills, check. Still getting both, alternating. I would be less annoyed if it were one or the other. I’m at the end of my rope. Don,t feel like writing so I’m going to end this now.

Day 6 of feeling like shit

I am on Day Six of bad reax to the vax, to the max! Yeah, I just made that up. What of it?

The welt itself has gone down. It’s still there, but ti’s much better. It’s no longer burning, but it’s still tender (the shot site).

Yesterday, I was feeling achy and sore. I chalked it up to not  doing my full Taiji routine, but I think it’s more a reaction to the shot itself. I can say that because I did the whole Taiji routine today (minus the weapons), and I still ache. My back hurts a bit, and that’s not something I deal with any longer. Plus my shoulders are tense. I realize I’m holding them rigidly, in part to stave off the chills.

I’m cranky because I’m zipping back and forth between sweating and chills. I put on my sweatshirt and I sweat. I take it off and I get the chills. I am not a happy camper. God, I feel lik shit. I thought I would feel better by now, but I don’t.

I am almost positive that this is worse than the other times I got the vax, but I might be wrong. My memory is shot. I have had a booster or two since getting out of the hospital, but I honestly don’t remember how bad it was. I mean, I know I had an intense reaction, but I don’t remember it lasting nearly a week.

Yesterday was a bit better. Today is a bit worse. I am exhausted. I ache. And I still have the chills and the sweats, alternately.

I did my wholeTaiji routine today except for the weapons. I did do the Fan Form, but I took it very slow. On the Bagua side, I did the stretches and the once went through the three movements I know from the Swimming Dragon Form. I really don’t want to overdo it and set myself back.

My teacher emphasized to take it easy and not push myself. She said that the weapons will be there when I’m better, and I know she’s right. Two days after I got home from the hospital, I wanted to see if i could still do my weapon forms.

Remember, I had contracted walking (non-Covid-related) pneumonia, which led to two cardiac arrests and an ischemic stroke. I was pumped full of drugs, and I was as frail as a newborn kitten. On that second day home from the hopsital, I picked up my steel sword and did the first three movements of the Sword Form. I was instantly fatigued, but I was also thrilled beyond belief that I remembered it.

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Learning to exhale

Day Five of feeling like shit. Utter shit. Day One (the day of the shot), ironically, is the day that I feel the best. Yes, my arm is all hot, swollen, and burny, but that’s it. It’s Day Two when the shit hits the fan. Chills and sweats alternating (and normally, I do neither), and being utterly exhausted. Not just tired, but exhausted like I was before I ended up in the hospital.

Today, I’m slightly better than yesterday. I did end up doing the Cane Form and…the Fan Form yesterday? And broke out in a sweat. I emailed my teacher to confirm about the sweating thing. She said when you’re sick, yes. You should do Taiji if you’re lightly sweating. When you break out in a heavy sweat, though, you should stop. I just emailed her to ask if it was the same for when I get the chills.

I also have had to use take my migraine pills (two of them) twice in the past four days. I’ve only used them once or twice since I came home from the hospital. Before this week, I mean. And when I say migraine pills, I just mean Migraine Excedrin.

I have not done any weapon forms today. I feel worse than yesterday in some ways and better than others. I have done stretching and a bit of bagua–oh, and some one-posture drills in taiji, but that’s it. My teacher was emphatic about taking it easy. She said that the weapons would be there for me when I got better.

That is the gist of Taiji in a nutshell. It’s there for you when you need it. It doesn’t need you to push yourself for it. In fact, it prefers that you don’t. It’s about putting in as little effort as possible, and when I’m sick, thatt’s so very little.

I was talking to Ian about him being sick. He has some kind of crud from being rundown, and he’s miffed about it. Why? Because he has a great immune system and does not get sick. My brother is the same way. He does not consider a cold being sick, and he gets a sneeze once every five years or so. He did get Covid, however, which makes sense because he’s out and about all the time. This was before the vax was available and while he wore an N95 at all times back then, he was exposed when he went to eat with clients. Outdoors barbecue and one of them had Covid.

I was mad because he told me this as he stopped by to visit. He didn’t think to inform me before he came over. He hasn’t quite internalized that I have a shitty, shitty immune system–even though he’s seen what it can do to me. Not just me ending up in the hospital, but me getting bronchitis every few months before the pandemic. I rarely got the flu, however. It was just bronchial shit. My doctor once told me I had the lungs of a seventy year old–when I was in my thirties. So, yeah. Bad lungs.

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Waiting it out

Today, for the first time in a long time, I did not do any weapon form practice. Why? Because the last COVID booster kicked. my. ass. I mean, it happens every time, but I always forget how bad it is. Or maybe it’s the worst this time. I will try to do some weapons later, but I was breaking out int a a sweat, and I seem to remember my teacher telling me that if you’re lightly sweating, it’s fine, but if it’s a heavy sweat , to stop. When you’re sick, I mean. Not in general.

I’ve been sweating profusely the last two days. Alternating with having the chills. I don’t get the chills unless I’m sick, and I do not like it. I like the sweating even less, though. It’s just gross. I feel weird not having done any weapons. I think I’ll sprinkle them throughout the day. I haven’t gone a day without doing the weapons forms since about a month after coming home from the hospital. Intellectually, I know that I’m not going to forget everything I know if I don’t practice for a day or two, but it’s suc a big part of my daily routine and of me, I don’t want to not do it.

But I’m worn out. When I did the stretches and the bagua, I started sweating. Now, I’m chilled. I know that it’s important to get the booster. I was planning on getting my flu shot in a few days as well, but if I do that, then the chances that I’ll be in good enough shape to go to my brother’s for Thanksgiving are slim to none. Here is my post from yesterday about me and shots.

The first time I got a Covid shot, the welt lasted until next time I got the shot. That was three weeks and a day later. Yes, they shot me again on the small bump that was still there. That is not an exaggeration. Today is day four and my arm is still hot, burny, and swollen. I have no energy, and I keep flashing cold and hot. I am actually more weirded out by being cold because I don’t get cold. In fact, that’s how I know I’m sick–when I actually feel cold. Chills, to be more precise. It’s a very strange feeling, and if I weren’t sick, I would actually find it interesting.

I hate being sick. That’s not a controversial statement or even that observant, I know. But I especially hate it when I intentionally did it to myself. I know it’s better to be boosted. I know that I should get my flu shot. But it would help if the powers that be would acknowledge that for some people, it comes at a cost. by powers that be, I mean doctors.

I really feel like it’s worse this time. I wonder if it’s because it’s a different brand. I got the Pfizer in the past, but this time it was the Moderna. Apparently, it’s fine to mix-and-match, but maybe the Moderna is particularly potent.

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Riding the high

I am not talking about drugs in this post, though I have done that in the past. I want to continue the Taiji/Bagua groovy train. I called the last post ‘Bagua is my life now‘ as a joke. Except, it’s not a joke. Not really. I tend to be obsessive when I like something. It’s one reason I’ve wondered if I have ADHD. When I am not interested, I flit from topic to topic. Once I am, I am all in. There really is no in-between for me. Bored as hell, or completely absorbed in it.

For example. I don’t like video games in general. That’s probably surprising to people because I fucking love FromSoft games. And roguelike-lites. And cozy games. But mostly FromSoft games. Outside of that, though, I could not care less. I don’t like FPS, most triple A games, other shooters, or any of the more popular games, really.  For example. I played about an hour of Red Dead Redemption II and hated it. I’ve seen GTA IV gameplay and REALLY loathed it. All the CODs and Modern Warfares are blah to me.

I can’t do platformers because of my limited abilities, and I am not interest in the Marvel Universe one whit. In general, I am not into pop culture. I hate movies and TV. Music is very hit or miss for me. And novels, well, I am a bit more open to books, but even then, they’re so limited.

It’s with this background that I want to hop to Bagua. Yes, this is my new love. I am infatuated with it and there’s a lot of NRE surrounding it. I want to talk about it all the time, and, honestly, it has injected my flagging love of Taiji with more enthusiasm as well. That’s what having passion for something can do–give you more passion for something else!

Resisting urge to go on a rant about how ethical nonmonogamy can be a good thing

I had a Taiji private lesson today–I suppose I should say Taiji/Bagua because we’re focusing on Bagua now .I told my teacher how Bagua has got me fired up, not only for Bagua, but for Taiji once again. She was showing me some of the applications for Bagua (and if you allow someone to pull you) versus applications for Taiji in the same situation.

I could not find my notebook today, unfortunately, but she had t he great idea to have me video her doing the first three movements. It’s, quite frankly, the best reason for having a cell phone. Notes are great; video is better.

It’s really hard to tell you how it feels to do Bagua versus Taiji. I’d break down Taiji even further because there is the solo form versus the weapon forms. Remember, the solo form is the basis for everything we do in Taiji. It took me probably the first year of my study to learn the solo form. At least the sequence. Back then, I had a really good memory and it was easy learn things; I’ve always been good at school.

I didn’t truly get it, though, until years later. In 2016 or so, I got into a car accident. I saw the SUV hurtling at me, and I thought, “I’m going to get hit.” I instantly relaxed, which made the difference between me being badly hurt and me walking away with only a large bruise on my stomach.

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Bagua is my life now

I am continuing to talk more about Bagua and Taiji. Here is my post from yesterday. It’s been interesting in the RKG Discord. There is a gym channel, but I don’t visit it. Unfortunately, the talk of dieting and weight has spilled over into the general producer channel as wel.l I cannot do weight/dieting talk, so I have to skim past all of it. It’s funny because I’m used to women being the ones who are obsessed with their bodies, and in this case, it’s mostly men. That’s probably because it’s a Discord based around video games, which is still a predominantly male domain. Sadly.

Unfortunately, the three content creators are equally obsessed with weight and have bought into the whole ‘fat is bad’ bullshit. They would not phrase it that way and are quick to say that you should not fat-shame kids 9or anyone), but then go on at length to talk about how disgustingly fat they were as kids.

I am not happy that men are getting in on the body hatred.In part because it’s such a waste of time. Several of the guys are doing it for wedding reasons (or did it for a wedding), and it’s like, “Why?” I mean, I know why. But it’s so futile. that’s what I learned when I was in my twenties and thirties. Any idea of ‘let me lose a bunch of weight in this short period of time’ will end badly. Something like 98% of people gain the weight back and more. Bodies are pretty stubborn about clinging to the fat.

That’s not  to say that people can’t take it off and keep it off. Obviously, they can. But the question is should they? Is it wise? And the answer to that usually is no. Don’t get me started on how ‘eating healthily’ has replaced diet talk. And is classist to boot. And the danger in assigning morality to food. Food is not good or bad. It just is.

I will admit my bias. My body saw me through death. Twice. My body is fucking badass. The fact that it has padding probably helped. It’s better to be 10 pounds overweight that underweight because the fat protects your organs. And, not to be arrogant, but my body breezed through walking (non-COVID-related) pneumonaia, two cardiac arrests, and  an ischemic stroke. Without even breaking a sweat. It shrugged and said, “Is that all you got?”

I walked out of the hospital two weeks after I was admitted. To be more precise, I was wheeled out to my brother’s car, but then I walked into the house on my own. The occupational therapist said I would need six months to a year of nehab, if not more, to get back to anything close to normal.

My physical therapist watched me walk down the hall on the fifth day I was awake. She had a few things to say to me about how to walk, but not much. The next day, we did the same little trek. She watched me, but she didn’t have anything to say. When we made it back to my room, she said she had nothing left for me. She advised mo to do the same walk a few times a day and gave me permission to go anywhere I wanted.

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