Living Through COVID-19 Pandemic Week 4 – Saturday 4th – Friday 10th April

Day Eighteen – Saturday 4th April

Bit of a write off day today, I woke to the piercing sound of my elderly dog barking outside of my bedroom door at 9:30am. Unfortunately, Freddie’s bark goes right through you and left me with an angry headache that stayed with me for most of the day. I actually got up for breakfast and then went back to bed for a couple of hours. It didn’t make any difference to the headache, which, by this point, had reached what I call a ‘level 10’ headache – the most painful of the levels and one step down from a migraine.

I tried reading. I read 1/3 of a book before my eyes stopped focusing. I had an afternoon nap for about 2.5 hours, which helped to forget the pain, but it was still there when I woke up. I took 4 paracetamols before I admitted that the headache wasn’t going to go away, even if I employed ALL my usual tactics.

By the evening I was on my Xbox, because I needed any distraction – even if it meant starring at a screen – I know this technique doesn’t work for a lot of headache sufferers, but after having daily headaches for 14 years, I’ve found that keeping my mind busy and distracted often works better than trying to sleep in a dark room. I played Spyro. They’ve reimagined it for Xbox one and PS4. I never played the original Spyro, so this has been really fun. I’m finding it super relaxing and therapeutic to play.

Day Nineteen – Sunday 5th April

I didn’t get to enjoy the sun yesterday, but I managed to enjoy it today. I also managed to feel super accomplished in my tasks, even if I was bound to the house and garden. I managed to get all my clothes washing done – which was piling up quite badly – plus I managed to wash my bedding and blanket. Getting washing done always makes me feel quite accomplished. I even managed to muster the will to put all my dry clothes away – which doesn’t always happen!!

I read two books today!!

I finally finished ‘The Girl Who Stole an Elephant’ by Nizrana Farook – I enjoyed the story but found the ending disappointing.

I also read; ‘The Good Daughter’ by Karin Slaughter, which follows the story of Charlie Quinn. If you’ve read my review on ‘Last Breath’, you’ll know that I was hoping that there was a longer book on Charlie Quinn. This book didn’t disappoint, it was fab.

I also washed my hair and played some more spyro.

I had a dip in Saturday, not just with the level 10 headache but with my mood. I’m an introvert, so being stuck in a house is fine, but I can also get depression if I’m isolated for too long. (I know, I sound like a contradiction.) Sunday’s weather and the joyfulness of my family perked me right up again. I tried to focus once more on the positives of life and how much I had to look forward to, instead of wasting time thinking about COVID-19 and all the negativity and heartbreak of the world.

Trying to stay on top of my mental health has been quite challenging. Isolation can lead to more intense anxiety or bouts of depression. Keeping up distraction techniques, breathing techniques, and maintaining a healthy body, healthy mind has been difficult but something I’m trying to focus on in this time.

I’ve been buying gifts for people. I am a serial gift giver. It is something I’ve always loved doing and something that gives me immense joy. I’ve been buying little things for my parents and friends as a way of spreading joy during isolation. Kindness is key.

I spent quite a bit of time today trying to find an Easter gift for my parents. We haven’t really done Easter eggs since I was a kid, and usually the present is a book, or socks, or something small. I thought it might be nice to have an Easter Egg this year, but my thoughts must be the same as everyone else’s, as Easter Eggs have now joined the list of things to panic buy! I did find a cool Easter present for my parents in the end, but it is certainly not chocolate!

I had to remind myself that the next two weeks of wfh would be 4 days weeks, on account of the Easter Bank Holiday’s. On one hand I was excited to have an extra day off, on the other hand I thought ‘what the heck am I going to do with it when I can’t go anywhere.’

I have, as you know, a ton of books to read but I’m not always in the reading mood. The sunny British weather is fantastic, but it also ramps up my hay fever – which I get all year round – and it ups the increase of level 10 headaches. I recently got myself an A3 sketchpad, so I might try and get some mandala sketches done and improve on my technique as well as practice some calligraphy.

Day Twenty – Monday 6th April

Back on Monday again! Wow, this weekend when so quickly. The days seem to blur together. It’s getting to the point where I long for the wfh days just because I’ll have something to do!

I made another mental health poster today, this time on ‘healthy body, healthy mind’. It was fun because I made the poster from scratch, with a green background and funky gradient shapes and lines in blue, white, and dark green. I didn’t use a source this time, I made up habits based on my own knowledge and personal experience. I sent it out to a couple of colleagues and got positive reviews, so that was good.

I woke with a small headache that quickly morphed into a migraine. By 11am I was just trying to survive staring at a screen, as the pain in my head was throbbing to the point that it felt like an axe had been imbedded and was trying to cut me in half! Actually, I’m surprised I managed to do any work today with the migraine from hell. My forehead ended up being an oily monster from all the 4head stick I rubbed onto it!!

I managed to keep my spirits up by listening to show tunes, Judy Garland ‘Live at Carnegie Hall’, and Julie Andrews ‘Classic Broadway’.

I couldn’t wait for the day to end. I actually ended up going for a nap at 5pm and slept till 6:50pm. If anything, my migraine was worse, making me feel both sick and dizzy.

It’s easy to get angry about the headaches/migraines but that would get old very quickly. I usually just try to get on with it. It’s something I’ve had to deal with for so long that it’s just become a part of my life. Sometimes it does make me cry and sometimes I do get angry and depressed about it but mostly I ignore it as if it were a bee buzzing in my ear and get on with things.

I’ve been talking to my Mum about how worried I am about my Dad’s mental health. My Dad has never had any mental health issues but he’s working all hours of the day at the moment on the COVID-19 vaccine and the trials that go along with it. He’s not getting out of the house to get exercise and he’s not taking breaks through the day. He’s become very narrowminded and has tunnel vision. I worry about him. When my Mum brought it up at dinner he laughed. Not at me caring but at me thinking he had mental health issues. It just irritated me.

If people around you can notice the subtle changes and those people have experience with mental health, wouldn’t you want to listen to what they had to say? I love my Dad I just want him to take care of himself and not overwork himself. I think maybe, in the future, I’ll keep my thoughts to myself or to my counsellor because I told my Mum in confidence and apparently that doesn’t mean much.

I ended up playing Spyro at 9pm this evening. I just needed a distraction from the pain, and I had to stay up till 10:30pm so I could take another lot of paracetamols to help with the migraine and to hopefully allow me to get to sleep easier.

Day Twenty-One – Tuesday 7th April

My sleep last night was SO BAD. I couldn’t escape the throbbing in my brain. I was up and awake till about 1am. Then my sleep was intermittent with waking from nightmares or head pain. Unsurprisingly, the migraine of yesterday has followed me into this morning. Currently it’s focused above my left eye, but it feels like it might spread over my whole forehead soon. My hay fever is also really bad today which isn’t helping.

I took the dogs out with Mum at 9:30am as we wanted to go before it got too hot because Freddie struggles in the heat. It was quite pleasant outside, and I enjoyed the silence of the heath. It was very hot though!

It’s a lovely sunny day today and I’ve had to close the curtains in my office space because the sun is shining on my screen – which makes me sad – but I’m listening to fun upbeat summer songs to make me feel better. I had to go into the office for the afternoon to sort through the post and scan to the various people in accounts. I also had a complicated spreadsheet assignment to do which was easier to do in the office with my larger computer screen, rather than at home with my macbook pro.

I got an email from Amazon saying some of my stuff was arriving today. I think I did 3 separate Amazon orders over the weekend. 2 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. Following from my commitment not to shop online when I was suffering from insomnia. I should also make the commitment not to shop when I have a migraine or when I’m bored.

Here’s what arrived today:

  • Colour changing stress balls (to help with anxiety)
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
  • The Kid Who Came from Space by Ross Welford
  • Bone China by Laura Purcell
  • The Primrose Path by Rebecca Griffiths
  • The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd
  • House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Mass
  • Triptych by Karin Slaughter
  • Bowls of Goodness: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes Full of Nourishment by Nina Olsson

Day Twenty-Two – Wednesday 8th April

Apparently, it is the beginning of another headache bound day where I contemplate what form of torture is trying to prise my skull apart. I should really be used to this by now, but somehow, a headache at home is more powerful than a headache when you’re out and about and busy with life.

The walk today was warm and speaks of the heat that’s about to hit the UK. Freddie did not enjoy the walk it was too hot, and his paw was giving him a lot of trouble. He’s had an excellent rest of the day though, stealing dirty underwear from the laundry basket, trying to lick the toilet bowl, and sleeping peacefully on my bed. He’s an odd dog…

The amount of times I’ve had to say ‘Freddie’ today in an angry chastising sort of way, to stop his mischievousness from spreading, has been unreal. With us all home at the moment, he’s become more playful and more likely to push the barrier. He’s become naughtier than Luca!

It is good that he’s getting a new lease of life but when you walk into the kitchen and find your dirty underwear…he becomes something other than the cute gentlemanly dog.

Wednesday being Hump Day used to mean something, but I’ve found that since working from home, Wednesday is just Wednesday, a day closer to the weekend where I have to manage myself without work! I am very thankful and grateful that I am able to still work from home, because I’m not sure how I’d manage isolation if I had nothing to do.

Day Twenty-Three – Thursday 9th April

I had another weird dream last night. This one was more confusing. It started with helping an elderly weasel looking man with his cake and biscuit business that wasn’t doing well. He was the bodyguard of someone who’d died in my dream, and as he was no longer a bodyguard, he decided to open his own cake and biscuit business. It wasn’t going well. After a day of brainstorming, we celebrated by going to my house for a drink because I apparently had no money.

On the way to my house, a stretch limo pulled up beside us and the door opened up like a lift to reveal the other old bodyguard, who’d become a billionaire and had opened his own exclusive and expensive bar and restaurant. He asked where we were going and proceeded to tell us to get in and come with him to his establishment. Apparently, we would never have to pay to be there as we were old friends.

At this point, my outfit has changed to a long sequin aquamarine blue dress. I was accosted as I walked into the restaurant by a man who apparently was known for being creepy and stalking me…At the restaurant I was presented with a series of people I knew from school (that I haven’t seen in +10 years) and the main characters had become celebrities. The man who owned the place was now Bruce Willis. Jennifer Aniston was there and a whole hoard of other people.

We had a chatty waiter who wanted to talk about his brother who went to Cambridge and then proceeded to ask if we’d like to see baby pictures of his nephew. Jennifer Aniston gave a firm ‘no’ and I think he was quite upset by it.

Here’s where it went a little sideways.

There was a long drawn out murder sequence.

By this point, Bruce Willis has become Gibbs from NCIS, Jennifer Aniston has disappeared, as have all the other celebrities, I’ve become the ‘love interest’ of Gibbs and the people I knew from school have gone.

A couple behind us, (the woman I’d spoken to briefly earlier on in the dream) were not in a happy place. The man was abusive towards the woman. The woman got up and stabbed herself with a table steak knife. The man then taped her mouth shut when she was dead, taped her to a chair, climbed up her, so his feet were resting on her shoulders, taped his feet to her shoulders, and then shot himself in the head…

They had a baby…

Now a journalist/police officer has entered the mix and is convinced Gibbs and I are guilty of something. By this point, both Gibbs and I have bloody hands with shards of glass in them – no idea how that happened – and the problem of the baby came back with the baby flying through the air. Both Gibbs and I try to save the baby. He jumps on top of a chandelier, and I race to a podium. The podium in question flips me over into a hidden pool of water below and cuts me off. I drown unable to move the podium off me. Gibbs caught the baby in the chandelier.

Now the scene changes…

It’s heaven and the abusive couple have forgotten their ways and are all loved up in heaven. They have an open floor plan house. Other people who died are also there in their own houses until they decide to live together. This morphs into a segment where they design their combined house. This is followed by people who have died going back to follow those they’ve left behind even though they can’t be seen.

The scene changes again.

Now I am sitting in front of the television with my parents, angrily shouting about how absurd the programme we’re watching is. Where the first episode in a new tv drama kills all the main characters! My Dad argues that they’ll just bring new people in, but I continue to rant and rave about how stupid it was. Then I woke up.

Make of that what you will!!

[x]

It’s really hot today! I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription this morning and I was early enough to be the first there, so I didn’t have to wait – only 1 person is allowed in at a time now – and they were pretty quick in getting my prescription sorted for me.

Going out with the dogs was lovely, if a little too hot. Mum and I have been confused about the Governments advice about pets. First it seemed that only cats needed to be kept indoors, then it moved to the vagueness of ‘all pets.’ We’re still walking the dogs and we don’t touch other dogs when we walk, and we carry hand sanitiser with us.

It was the first day for Freddie, our older dog, to wear his new ‘please approach slowly I am blind’ badge. It actually worked really well with the few people we passed being more considerate about him.

I’ve almost completed Unit 1 of my online course. I just need to study 2 more pages – which I’ll hopefully get done today – and fill in any blank questions in my assessment sheet. I’m going to ask my grammar Queen Mum to look through it for any mistakes or any bits where my processing has made a mess of what I want to write, before I send it it. It’s due on the 17th April, but I like to get things done early.

My order from The Book People that I placed on the 6th March finally came. I now have the complete collection of Secret Seven books by Enid Blyton and the complete collection of Roald Dahl books, plus some Christmas presents.

Day Twenty-Four – Friday 10th April

It is now Good Friday, the Easter weekend is usually a time I spend with my family, and it is usually filled with much love and laughter. Of course, there were still elements of that with the technology of facetime, but it was definitely a different atmosphere.

It is so unbelievably hot today. We didn’t walk the dogs in the end. Freddie wouldn’t have walked anyway, it would have been torture to take him out. Luca wasn’t that fussed about missing a walk as he was content to lounge in the garden in the sun and sleep in his basket by my chair.

I set myself a goal of 4 books to read over the bank holiday weekend. I read one today ‘The Boy Who Grew Dragons’ by Andy Shepherd. It was an impulse Amazon buy that I got for £2, and it actually turned out to be better than expected. I think I might give it to my nephew who, as he is 7, will probably love it.

I have not been sleeping. I know I say that a lot but last night was particularly bad. I’m suffering at the moment from a combined level 10 headache caused by hay fever and the hot weather. I think that this will be a daily occurrence for the Easter weekend as I know the hot weather is supposed to last.

I’ve always been a winter girl. I love wearing jumpers and snuggling in a blanket. I love being warm and cosy. I have never got on well with the heat. I get dizzy, headaches, grumpy, and before my surgery – I was constantly a sweaty ball of grossness. Even now, I don’t get on with the heat and I am never happy doing a ‘hot weather pool holiday’. I much prefer to be doing things.

The headaches and the lack of sleep are bringing me down. My mood is fluctuating between calm happiness and angry sadness. I’m used to having extreme headaches on my days away from work, but I am kind of feeling like I’ve had enough. Life is challenging enough at the moment and I feel I need a break from all the headaches.

I handed in my Unit 1 Assessment today – after I got my Mum to check it for spelling mistakes and to make sure I’d actually done what the questions asked of me – and I got it handed in a week early. I was super happy because there was a Unit 1 Quiz I needed to do and usually I’m pants and quizzes because it requires quick fire processing, which I do not have. I surprised myself though, and managed to get 10/10 questions right, so that kind of made my day! I just hope my assessment is good enough for me to pass also.

I started reading Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas. I got a couple of chapters in and am LOVING IT. I’ve stopped reading it for now, I’m waiting to see if my friend Danni can get it so we can kind of buddy read it together. I don’t know anyone else who is currently reading it, I only know people who have read it and I want to be able to talk to someone as the story unfolds.

I had a nap this afternoon to try and get rid of the head pain. The nap was great, the headache became worse. I ended up putting a ‘kool aid’ headache strip on my forehead. The coolness did help with the pain but I’m pretty sure this is a rolling headache meant to last a couple of days.

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