By Ansel Elkins
Happy Solstice, everyone! There's been a short spell of fabulous weather here, with lower temperatures and much lower humidity that has everyone saying, "If only it could be this way all summer!" Today is the last day before another run of record-breaking heat begins, so we'd best enjoy it while we can.
I'm feeling 100% better. I had a follow up with the doctor yesterday morning and my lungs were clear. I have a new medication I'm trying for allergies/asthma while I wait for a call from the allergist to set up a consultation. Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes and kindness! Here's hoping I'm done with being sick for a good long time.
My garden is looking great! I've been out there working on it as much as possible. There's always something to do, and I've found that the key to success (besides the stuff that's just dumb luck, like weather conditions) is spending some time every single day seeing to it. Timely watering, pruning for air flow, tying up drooping vines, looking for the first signs of pests or disease to address any problems early--this kind of careful attention pays dividends. Of course, I still have a lot to learn about gardening, but that's one of the joys of it all. Being out there working in the dirt and sunshine is like meditation for me!
As you can see, we really need to weed around the raised bed and cut the grass. Look how tall the banana plants (on the left) are, though!
It's the middle of another sleepless night. I almost went to the emergency room last night, I was struggling so to breathe. I managed to hold out until my doctor's appointment yesterday, and it turns out I'm sicker than I thought. My oxygen levels were low, not dangerously so, but low enough to cause serious discomfort. The doctor was slightly appalled at how long I had waited to get help. She gave me a breathing treatment right away, and although it made me feel a little better, it didn't improve my oxygen level much at all. The wheezing and congestion in my lungs was terrible.
I have a chest x-ray scheduled later this morning to check for pneumonia. In the meantime, she sent me home with 5 different prescriptions to begin taking. If I have pneumonia I may end up being admitted to the hospital. I certainly hope that won't happen. I feel awful, though, and I'll do whatever I need to do to get better.
Thanks to everyone for your good wishes and kind words. It means a lot to me. I'll try to update again later today.
It's ridiculously hot here today. Dangerously hot, as a matter of fact, especially if you add in the high humidity. Walking outside is like putting a steaming hot wet towel over your face and trying to breathe through it. All of the weather sites are putting out excessive heat warnings, as the heat index (which combines the actual temperature with the humidity to get a "real feel") will go as high as 108F today and for the rest of the week. A couple of days next week the actual temperature is supposed to reach 107F so who knows how high that heat index will be! It's unbearable. We're dealing with it by keeping the blinds drawn and the a/c set around 78F during the day, which feels super cool and comfortable considering how hot it is outside. When the temperature goes up past 100F we plan to move the thermostat up to 80F or even 82F. Although our unit is less than 3 years old, it's working hard on days like this and we're trying to lessen the strain on it. And let's not forget next month's power bill! It's going to be a scorcher just like temperatures.
I'm worried about my garden. I can water frequently, but I can't imagine my tomatoes setting much fruit with temperatures this high. It's frustrating to do so much work in a garden, only to be at the mercy of whatever Mother Nature decides to send. I looked into buying some shade cloth to drape over the trellis of the raised bed, but honestly, I've been feeling too bad to go out and shop for it--and I'm not sure how much good it would do anyway.
I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, not a minute too soon. I'm still struggling with a cough and shortness of breath and just generally feeling bad. I did have one good day when I felt normal again--this past Sunday, which happened to be our 16th wedding anniversary! I'm grateful that, for whatever reason, I felt good all day. Good enough to work outside for several hours, cook a nice meal, and drink a bottle of champagne after supper. We had fun. But I paid for it yesterday, when I woke up feeling worse than ever. I wonder if being outside for a long time (and possibly inhaling allergens) made things worse? If so, there's no danger of me repeating that mistake anytime soon. Not with temperatures this high!
Thank goodness for my appointment tomorrow. I'm tired of feeling bad. It's not been a great start to summer vacation, and I need this break to relax from the work stress of last year before the new year begins. I also have a trip to look forward to with my girlfriends in early July, and if I'm this asthmatic I won't be able to enjoy myself. If the trip were today I wouldn't even feel like going at all. So I hope the doctor can help me.
How is the weather where you live? I saw on Cro's blog that the temperatures in France at the moment are just as bad as here, and I know that the Midwest states are experiencing a terrible heat wave, too. Every summer I find myself daydreaming about moving well north of here.
Something is wrong with me. I'm beginning to wonder if I've had Covid in the recent past and just didn't know it. I did a couple of at-home tests, both of which were negative, but I still wonder. Since April, off and on, I've been having a lot of trouble with asthma flares. Lately it's been mostly "on".
I've been short of breath and wheezing almost continuously for about two weeks now, despite (over) using the inhaler the doctor prescribed. I have a dry cough that's keeping me up at night and making my days slightly miserable. Walking the dogs in the heat and humidity has been nearly impossible. I wheeze deep in my chest every time I exhale, and the urge to cough is always there. It's driving me crazy.
I have a doctor's appointment next Wednesday and I'm trying to hold out until then, but if I have another bad night like I had last night, I'll be going to Urgent Care. I honestly think my oxygen levels are fine, but the wheezing and coughing are keeping me awake most of the night and I can't really enjoy anything when I feel like this. I haven't felt totally normal in a couple of months now.
Could this be the result of an undiagnosed Covid infection? What do you think? I haven't had this kind of trouble with asthma in years and years.
It's really hard to believe, but as of today I've finished five years at my "new" job. I guess I need to quit calling it "new"!
This was, without a doubt, the worst year I've had yet, but I'm hopeful that next year will be better. We'll have an almost totally new staff. We'll be getting a new principal, one new assistant principal, one new guidance counselor (Little P.'s mom is leaving due to being treated terribly, and has accepted a job in another city about 20 miles away), head librarian, library assistant, and head custodian. At least a dozen teachers are leaving, too, and must be replaced. I keep hearing that the secretary won't be back, either. She's one of the rude and awful office women that helped make me miserable all year, so I haven't confirmed if that's true or not. (We don't speak unless it's necessary). Of course I hope it's true, we'll be better off without her. And finally, my favorite of the two school nurses told me this morning that she's leaving, too. It's very telling that we're losing over half of our staff; it shows what a terrible year it's been for us all. Hopefully some new blood will make a big difference going forward. If it doesn't, I plan to find a new school to transfer to next year.
But all that is for another day....for now, I am free! Free for seven whole weeks and I'm so glad! Having summers off is one of the best perks of working in the school district. It never gets old, leaving for two months at the beginning of June and then starting fresh in early August. The prospect of the summer off makes me feel a little like a kid again!
Hooray for summer vacation!
When we got the announcement at 2:30 today that we could leave, this is what we looked like! One of the teachers said, on the way out the door, "Good God! It looks like someone pulled the fire alarm!" Haha.