Almost human

Saturday was the first day since late April that I didn’t spend at least 18 hours in bed.

All my symptoms have faded except for the fatigue and occasional belly discomfort near my spleen. But that fatigue, and associated dizziness and the consequent lack of ability to focus for long, keeps me wiped out and useless. Loading the dishwasher and washing a few pots and pans has felt like an accomplishment – forget blogging or writing my now ludicrously overdue book. I rarely had the ability to concentrate even on TV.

Here’s an example. Last Monday evening, my dad and some of our friends came over and while I was in bed they and the rest of my family had a game of Scattergories. I heard the commotion and went downstairs to try to be sociable (see, told you I haven’t been myself). I got into the game a bit and played along as well as a non-player could but after 15 minutes I collapsed. I had to lie down on the dining-room hardwood with a few jackets as a pillow.

That’s what it’s been like. Thinking, stringing thoughts together, is like weight-lifting and like exercise has been tiring me physically. I typically could only read a quarter of the newspaper at a time.

Saturday, though, I awoke feeling magnificent and fortunately Elvi had chosen to be born on that day a number of years ago. I felt well enough to go pick up our girls from a sleepover and offer to take the family out for a birthday brunch.

We ate at Tiffany’s to mixed reviews among us. I knew our girls needed dress shoes and even after the meal I was still feeling chipper so I agreed to accompany them all to the nearby Le Chateau outlet store.

I like shopping, but shoe shopping took a while even with my fashion skills helping us find perfect shoes for our daughters. I had to sit by the end, and go home immediately afterward.

the family spent time working in the garden while I spent three hours in bed, but toward supper time I had regained my energy and decided to take Elvi out on the town for some birthday fun. I paced myself and drank only water and lasted on the dance floor all night. It was a birthday miracle!

This morning, the dog woke me at 7:30 a.m. to let him out because apparently today is the one day in the year he can’t just go pee in the hall. I couldn’t get back to sleep and so I was a bit loogy all day, but I don’t ascribe that to the mono. I may have recovered, and just in time, too – I start teaching my summer courses June 8.

Old tech made new

Quite often, students who are having problems concentrating tend to get up every ten minutes to watch TV, talk on the phone, take something out of the fridge, and a long list of other distractions. Were they to dedicate all this wasted time to studying, they would optimize their performance and have more free time available. Study Ball helps you study more and more efficiently.

I’m looking at you, Child Three.

Diagnosis: mono

I’m 43 and I have mononucleosis (a.k.a. glandular fever), the common variety caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). That virus is one of the most ubiquitous human infections on Earth; 95% of people are infected with EBV by the time they’re 35 (I guess I rolled a 1 on my saving throw). The later you get it, the worse the disease is. Kids often suffer no symptoms or maybe appear to have a cold, but it is a classic teen disease – even though teens only exhibit mono about 50% of the time upon contracting the virus.

When the hematologist confirmed it yesterday, she looked at me and asked, “HOW old are you?!”

I’ve been knocked into bed for 18-20 hours a day. I no longer have the muscle pain and the headaches have gone for the most part, but I’m still exhausted most of the time. My throat finally got sore last Saturday, followed soon by earaches and bouts of random itchy patches all over my body – another known symptom.

The worst part is that is incredibly difficult to concentrate for more than 15 minutes at a time. I can’t even watch TV; it’s just too hard. I live on the laptop in bed, which I can always set aside and come back to.

It could take a month and a half until I feel well enough to get up and about, but I think I’m feeling a little better already. Except my nose, the right side of which still hurts from those goddamned tubes.