Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 31

Greetings, Internet! Hope everyone’s staying as safe and sane as possible. This week has been quite a doozy. I had a bit of a fever, thought it was nothing, then thought it was a UTI, and then ended up in the emergency room with a skin infection. Daily summaries below!

Day Two Hundred and Eleven (10/9/20)

  • Push to Walk! My trainer got an intern to be my plank buddy. #keepingtraditionsalive
  • Got dumplings with my mother. Brought them back to my apartment, and then ate peach pie. We were full from the dumplings, but there’s always room for pie.
  • Total times outside: Eighteen!
  • Currently feeling: Thinking of reorganizing my bedroom to make room for a MIDI controller (it’s like a small-ish keyboard with some extra things on it (which I will totally learn how to use)), and maybe a loop station. Maybe. I’m seeing more of what they can do and I’m hella curious. I do not have much desk space, so I’m going to have to rearrange a lot of things. Like all of my makeup. So many eyeshadow palettes I’d have to relocate.
  • Currently looping: Kindly Eyes’ “Sound Bite.” Kindly Eyes is a duo, and one of the members was a postdoc while I was at Cambridge doing my MPhil. Huzzah for medievalists who do musical things! He’s also been doing covers of songs with a larger group of academics. I’m so on board with academics who play music.

Day Two Hundred and Twelve (10/10/20)

  • Did arm exercises.
  • Was missing “Schitt’s Creek” and then found this delightful clip.
  • Guitar practice! And some songwriting. I’m going to have so much open mic material once it’s safe to perform places.
  • Skyped a college friend! A visit to NYC had been up in the air before the pandemic happened, so I hadn’t seen them in a ridiculously long time.
  • Bought sweaters from a local clothing store. Do I have too many sweaters already? Yes. But there was a sale, and I’m convinced I’m going to wear these a lot. #leavemealoneitssweaterweather #shoplocal
  • FaceTimed my sister!
  • Currently feeling: One of the PTW trainers was showing me pictures of his new condo yesterday, and he mentioned that the windows looked out into the woods. He said, “It’s so quiet, you would hate it.” As I listen to drunk people shouting outside my building at 12:27am (when I am typing this), I totally agree with him. The shouting of drunk people reminds me that I’m not alone.
  • Currently looping: Fiona Apple’s “Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song).” 

Day Two Hundred and Thirteen (10/11/20)

  • FES cycle.
  • Virtual hangout with a friend!
  • Guitar practice! And some more research on MIDI controllers.
  • Virtual hangout with writing buddy!
  • Currently feeling: My temperature was 100.3 earlier today, but before I went to bed it was 99.4. My thermometer runs hotter than the one in my parents’ house for some reason, so I’m usually in the 98.5-99.5 range. Seeing anything over 100 freaks me out, but I have to remind myself that if I give it a few hours, my temperature stabilizes. I think the pain from my period is making me sweat. Like, I cannot think of any other reason. It’s raising my body temperature, and then I sweat (weirdly, just on one side). And it’s so weird to sweat. Lots of people with SCI can’t sweat, so it’s like, when I do sweat, I’m reminded of how gross humans are.
  • Currently looping: Fiona Apple’s “On the Bound.”

Day Two Hundred and Fourteen (10/12/20)

  • Did arm exercises while catching up with “The Great British Baking Show.”
  • I’ve been holding off on turning on the heat in my apartment (because that’s like, the start of winter basically). Except that I can’t reach the thermostat, so I’ve waited too long and now my apartment is chilly. <puts on hoodie over a sweater> #winteriscoming
  • Guitar lesson! Turns out there’s something I could’ve been doing this whole time that would’ve saved me a lot of chord guesswork. Oh, analytical thinking, how I’ve ignored thee for too long. Also, picked out a MIDI controller!
  • Gosh, MIDI controllers are expensive.
  • Recorded most of the audio for this week’s cover. Did I record too lengthy of a guitar part and have to improvise a flute solo? Yes, yes I did. Is there a flute solo in the song? No, there is not. I guess this is what it means to do a cover of something and make it your own?
  • Currently feeling: My guitar instructor asked if I ever rewatched my old videos (side note: “old” here means “from March/April”), as a way to track my progress. Anyone else feel massively uncomfortable watching videos of themselves? When I watch my videos, it’s for editing purposes (i.e. “What do I need to fix here?”), so it’s hard to watch for the sake of watching. That said, I rewatched one of my ukulele videos (I have to bring it back, I know), and all I could think was, “That is…not great strumming.” But then I started thinking about things I liked (e.g. “it was in tune,” “yes, that is how the song sounds,” “my hair looks so shiny”). Definitely have made some progress in the past…six or seven months.
  • Currently looping: Sara Bareilles’ “You Matter to Me” featuring Jason Mraz. Would I put this on a “Wedding First Dance” playlist? Yes, absolutely.

Day Two Hundred and Fifteen (10/13/20)

  • Felt groggy and achy when I woke up this morning. Thought it had to do with lack of sleep. Temperature was in the 98-range and oxygen levels were normal (yup, I bought an oximeter). Proceeded about my day as usual.
  • Did the FES cycle. Finished without a problem, however, immediately following the FES cycle, I felt like all the energy had been drained out of me “Space Jam” style.
  • Wheeled very slowly to my kettle to start to make tea. Everything hurts. Ow. Why.
  • Tested sense of smell and breathing. All good on that front. Very likely not the ‘Rona.
  • Started to get chills. Put on a hoodie as I drank my tea. Chills vanished. So far, so good.
  • My abdominal region feels like daggers. Whatever this is, my body doesn’t like it.
  • Shouldn’t retake my temperature because I’m wearing a hoodie, just finished a workout, and am drinking hot tea like it’s my job. I can’t regulate my body temperature, so I can tell you without even checking that I am raising my body temperature.
  • Okay, I took my temperature anyway. Post-workout my temperature was 102.5, and then thirty minutes later (after chugging a mug of tea and putting on a hoodie), it went down to 101.9. Yay that it went down, but if it stays that high, I’ll be concerned.
  • Ten minutes later: 103.2. Shit. Ten minutes after that: 101.9. WTF, thermometer?!
  • Thirty minutes later: 100.7. That’s far less alarming. Chugging water is definitely helping. Starting to think it’s a UTI.
  • My mother is here (I had to call her because I refuse to take chances with my health), and she brought me her very odd concoction of a health drink. Do I know what’s in it? No. Did I chug it? Yes. #homeremedies
  • Fever is continuing to drop, then go up, then drop. Very likely a UTI. This is pretty common for people with SCI (on account of all the catheterizing), but I haven’t gotten a fever from it for like, nine years.
  • One half-hour call with my doctor later, and I am going to get some antibiotics.
  • Tutored a middle schooler in Latin over FaceTime. Figured that wouldn’t take much energy, and my fever was dropping.
  • A few hours later, the fever seems to have broken.
  • And at 11pm, we are now back to 102.3 degrees and chills. Oh god, no. Maybe it’s not a UTI. What the hell is this, then? The flu?
  • Currently feeling: See above.
  • Currently looping: I just kept listening to my breakup playlist on Spotify. It calms me.

Day Two Hundred and Sixteen (10/14/20)

  • Woke up with no fever. So far, so good.
  • After another call with my doctor, my mother and I decided to drive down to Princeton (because that’s where my doctor is). Because this might not be a UTI.
  • On the drive to Princeton, the chills came back in full force. The sun was hitting the windshield pretty hard and I was wearing both a sweater and a vest in 65-degree weather. I should’ve been toasty, but I was freezing. My mother was overheating, because she did not have a fever.
  • We got to Princeton’s health center and I could not stop shivering in the doctor’s office. Part of university protocol is because I have a fever and aches, I had to take a covid test. They do the nasal swab test (the one most people associate with covid tests), and then the PCR test, which requires spitting into a tube. It sounds simple, but it requires quite a bit of saliva. Perhaps it would’ve gone faster if there was a pizza in front of me.
  • First covid test: Negative. The PCR test results would take a couple of days.
  • The doctor (my doctor was offsite today) basically told me that my skin was infected (so, not a UTI), that she was “very concerned,” and that I should go to a hospital immediately. Fortunately, there’s a hospital ten minutes away from Princeton.
  • Where was my skin infected? Oh, it’s an area I can’t easily check, on account of me sitting on it constantly. The perils of having a spinal cord injury.
  • One trip to the ER later, the doctors were able to take care of the issue. They said it was straightforward and could be taken care of without hospital admission. There was a chance that I might have to go to the operating room, but a CT scan looked encouraging enough that an OR visit didn’t seem necessary.
  • Discharge time was a bit after midnight. Then my mother (the real MVP) drove me home. We got back around 1:30am. It was a really long day.
  • Total times outside: Nineteen!
  • Currently feeling: In my nearly thirteen years of having an SCI, this was the first skin infection I’d ever gotten. Of course my mind immediately jumped to Christopher Reeve, who died at 52 from complications that stemmed from a bedsore. Skin infections are terrifying in general, but I know they can be particularly scary for people who don’t have 100% sensation. Sometimes you don’t realize what’s going on until it’s too late. For much of the day, I had no idea what the full extent of the infection was, and was worrying over whether I reacted in time. All I knew was that the fever wasn’t going down and that I could barely move from the chills. It’s probably overdramatic to say that I had morbid thoughts, but one gets overdramatic when the chills aren’t going away and the extent of the infection is unknown. The more unusual thoughts that stuck out were, “You can’t die. Your bestie would be so pissed at 2020 if you died,” and “You still have to order a MIDI controller.”
  • Currently looping: Yeah, I didn’t really listen to any music today. Hospital and all that.

Day Two Hundred and Seventeen (10/15/20)

  • Woke up with no fever. Hooray!
  • So, funny story, there might be an issue with my wound dressing (yeah, I needed a wound dressing). So guess who has to go back to the doctor?
  • Had to reschedule therapy. Gah.
  • Princeton called to do a covid follow up (it’s protocol for anyone given a covid test).
  • Currently feeling: Going the whole day without the fever returning was reassuring. I’m just trying to take it easy (well, my version of easy). I’m a bit bummed I couldn’t work on a cover this week. Alas. Next week. It’ll be a good one.
  • Currently looping: Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.” The dog days are most certainly not over, but one can always be optimistic.

Thanks so much for reading, everyone! Stay safe, social distance yourselves, and go vote!

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