Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: reaction

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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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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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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Jab jab jab

Wednesday was my 50th birthday. I decided to celebrate by getting my first (Pfizer) jab as a treat. I knew I was going to have a reaction to it because I am always sensitive to this kind of thing. Many people online were reporting no effects at all. In fact, some people were saying the side effects were overstated or that people were making too much out of them. That it was deterring people from getting the vax. That really annoyed me because it’s just a fact of life for me. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but that’s just the way my body works. I definitely want people to get the vax, but I’m not going to lie about my reaction.

Let me take you through what happened. I tried to make an appointment online. I was able to make an appointment for the first jab, but when I tried to set the second one, the website said there were no times available. Um, what? Why the hell would you allow me to make a first appointment if I weren’t able to make a second one? That didn’t make any sense at all. I tried to do it again a few days later, but the website wouldn’t allow it. Then, it told me to set my first appointment and the place I had made the appointment at before wasn’t listed. Did this mean I didn’t have any appointments at all? It seemed to be the case.

I took a deep breath and did something I hated doing–picked up the phone. I called and was able to set both appointments by phone. Look, I love doing things online and I think it’s the best way to get shit done when it works. When it doesn’t, however, then talking to an actual person is the way to cut through all the confusion. The person on the other end of the line was pleasant and happy to answer all my questions (and I had many. It’s my way of dealing with my anxiety). She got me signed up for both shots and made me feel comfortable in getting them. I decided to go for my birthday because it was the best day possible of the early batch of days and I didn’t want to wait until two weeks after that to get my first shot.

Here’s the thing about anxiety. It doesn’t discriminate between legit worries and not-so-legit ones. At least my anxiety doesn’t. I found that it’s best to answer the logistics ahead of time so I can tick that off my list. In this case, I haven’t been to the Roy Wilkins auditorium in decades so I Google Mapped it. I also asked my taiji teacher about her experience because she got her jabs at the same place. She told me there was free parking if you mentioned you were there for the vax. She told me how to get from the parking lot to the auditorium and made sure to note that it was well-marked. All of that was helpful in allaying my anxiety. Knowledge is power!

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The one true way to react

There was a letter on Ask a Manager from a person who was more productive than their coworkers in the best of times and was even more productive during the pandemic. They were open about being fortunate that they didn’t have kids and they were flourishing in a non-open space work situation. Their manager told them they needed to cut back on their productivity because they were stressing out their coworkers. All the work had to be pushed forward together, and the coworkers all had children and other stress-inducing things in their lives. The writer noted that their anxiety was kept in check by their work, and they were afraid they would spiral without it. They also didn’t like the idea of taking a paycheck while deliberately slowing their pace. They wanted to know what they should do.

Alison said that it was not a great way of managing in normal circumstances and wasn’t great now, either, but that the letter writer (LW) should at least try doing as her manager ordered. Then, if it didn’t work for them, they could go back and ask to rejigger. My word, not hers.

I thought it was an interesting letter and that Alison’s answer was solid–but also missed addressing the fact that the LW was dealing with their own anxiety issues. The comment section surprised me, though it shouldn’t have. There were so many people saying they wished they had the LW’s problem, Alison had to put a blue note up at the top telling them not to do that unless they had concrete advice to include. There were also people scolding the LW for making their coworkers more anxious, as if that was their problem. It was disheartening because I identified with the LW to some extent.

Not the productive part because I”m exactly as productive as I was before. I’m keeping to my schedule and not deviating from it. I’m not suddenly learning another language or baking creative pastries or knitting anything. I’m just keeping pretty much to my life in general except I’ve only been to one place in the last month–the pharmacy. Oh, and, becoming way too fucking intimate with Zoom. If I never have to use Zoom again, it would be too soon. It’s better than nothing for taiji, though–I have to give it that.

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Chaotic rage

Day whatever in self-isolation, and I’m experiencing some free-floating rage. I think our governor, Governor Walz, has handled it really well–up until two days ago when he loosened some of the restrictions so people could hunt, boat, golf, etc. The anger that overcame me surprised me because I was pretty chill (numb) about the whole pandemic prior to. Well, not with my family, but that’s another story. And, yes, I’ll get into it later. Anyway, when I read that he’d opened things up, my immediate reaction was that he’d caved to the president’s juvenile and inciting behavior about ‘liberating’ blue states.

Side Note: I do not listen, watch, or read anything the president says if I can help it because he’s such a fucking idiot. I honestly think his feed should be cut because he’s actively harming people. I’ve thought this since the beginning of his presidency, and it’s even more dire now.

Anyway, my second uncharitable thought was that this is Minnesota and people will riot (and have) if they can’t hunt and boat. And golf. I actually live on a golf course, and I’ve seen a handful of white dudes playing. Two college-aged ones, then two older ones, then one older older one this morning. The two pairs did not practice safe social distancing, and I was glad to be in my house.

Intellectually, I know it doesn’t matter to me personally because I’m not leaving my house except for smoke breaks. I’ve gone one place in the last three weeks and that was the pharmacy. So, the chances of anything coming to me is remote. Still. We haven’t had our peak yet, and the idea of relaxing the restrictions right now seems unwise. Yes, we’ve done well so far, but what good does it do if it’s not long enough?

To contradict myself, nobody knows what exactly constitutes ‘best practices’. Six-feet distance is the bare minimum, but there have been studies that show the virus can travel up to twice that distance. Gloves don’t really help seem to be the general consensus, but masks? There is a varying belief about the efficacy of them. It doesn’t help that there are different kinds of masks with different levels of resistance. And, of course, there’s a big difference between people like nurses and doctors who are in the trenches and me walking around my neighborhood. What about deliveries? How to deal with that? I read a thread about it on Ask A Manager, and people were all over the map from not disinfecting at all to all sorts of disinfection. The most extreme reaction I read was on another forum about how the person got his mail while wearing rubber gloves, then nuked both the mail and the gloves for thirty seconds in the microwave.

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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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The consequence of not reacting

where did my head go?
I’ve lost my head over this.

I’m going to start out this post talking about Dark Souls because one, I love the series and will talk about it whenever I can. Two, I had a realization today about why I’m shit at parrying (in Dark Souls), and I wanted to muse on it a bit. Yes, it falls into the Wellness category because it’s  about mental health manifesting in a physical way.

Brief primer: Due to a traumatic childhood, I have an extremely high pain tolerance. I’ve mentioned this in the past that when we do chin na (joint lock) techniques on each other in taiji class, I have to be very conscious about when it’s reasonable to tap out rather than do it when I actually feel pain. In the beginning, I could only practice with my teacher because she didn’t trust that I wouldn’t get hurt else-wise. Part of that is natural flexibility in certain ways, like I can yank my thumb towards my wrist without even flinching when others jump after a little tweak. Most of it, however, was me training myself not to react to anything because I would get yelled at as a kid if I let one iota of a negative emotion show.

Come to think of it, that’s probably why I don’t talk about my depression much with anyone or I downplay it. I was either told I wasn’t feeling it when I was a kid, ignored, or scolded about it. When my mother actually did something about it, dragging me to a therapist when I was fourteen, it was at a local very religious school, and he had nothing for me. Yeah, it was a man, which only added to the problem.

I was also heavily bullied in school, and my mother gave me the age-old useless advice of ignoring it because that always works so well. The only two times I got a bully to back off (and both girls for what it’s worth) was the time I cried when a much older girl was bullying me. Her face immediately changed, and she complimented my hair and never bothered me again.  This was when I was six, and the only thing I took away from that experience was that it was so embarrassing to cry in front of someone else. Much later, I realized she was probably in a not-great home situation herself, but six-year-old me couldn’t understand why a teenager would want to be so mean to her.

The second incident was in high school. There was a girl (and I still remember her name) who used to pick on me every day in science class. I want to say physics, but that detail is fuzzy. My stomach would twist in knots every time I walked into the classroom because I knew the second I stepped into the room, she would be on me. Why? Who knows? Probably because I was easy to target as an outsider (fat, Asian, smart, and not knowledgeable about American culture at all). Remember, I was also deeply depressed at this time and probably had anxiety, although I didn’t realize that I had anxiety until much later, and the last thing I needed was some bitch picking on me in class.

I snapped. One day, she started in on her usual bullshit. I grabbed her hair, yanked it back, and told her if she ever bothered me again, I would fucking kill her. She blustered something about me thinking I was so big, but I didn’t. I was just fucking tired of her picking on me every goddamn day and no one doing anything about it. She never bothered me after that, and you would think the lesson I learned from that incident was that a bully doesn’t like to be bullied, but no. I was mortified at how I acted, even though I was pushed into it.

That’s part of the problem of constantly put down–you believe it’s what you deserve, and if you stand up for yourself (the general you), it feels wrong, even if the result is positive. It’s a vicious cycle, and it keeps someone who is downtrodden firmly under other people’s feet.

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