The Undying Cold, Medical Roulettes, and the Hope/Terror Balancing Act

This entry is part 13 of 13 in the series Periodic Updates

Life, Our Universe, and Pets:

A lot has happened since the last time I managed an updates post. Frankly, I’m not quite sure where to start.

Probably with the fact that the past months have been hard, on a number of different levels.

“What is this Dog Doing?!” Probably my favorite picture of the two of them.

We said goodbye to two of our beloved furrballs. Our Tonks kitten died in the night, and for our old dog, Domino, we had to come to the realization that it was time. Even knowing that it was the right thing to do, that was a brutal day. Even as we did things to make her last day as wonderful as we could manage, my mind was marking all the “last time” things. Just typing about it I’m tearing up.

The grief alone would have made us stagger-step for a while – but, of course, the universe decided to throw some other curveballs at us as well.

It began with what felt like a chest cold – other than the fact that nothing I did made it go away. I could ease the symptoms with tea, but it just hung on interminably. This was followed by an accident with my wheelchair when we went to vote. A jagged bit of parking lot threw me and the chair off balance, and I managed to get the last three fingers on my right hand caught in the spokes. It hurt some, but not enough to really care, though I did check for bleeding, as my “care” threshold for pain can be a bit unfortunate.

The fingers seemed mostly okay for a couple days, and then they started to swell. This continued to get steadily worse until I couldn’t bend them. There was a lot of back and forth to an Urgent Care, which didn’t seem to do much to solve it, though doses of steroids seemed to bring the swelling down to a manageable level. Unfortunately, that UC wouldn’t allow for multiple issues to be dealt with at the same time, so the chest cold didn’t get any attention. The hand issues seemed far more important, if I had to choose. (I lost functional usage of my dominant hand for almost a month and a half, in bits and pieces.) After months of being on a series of antibiotics, as the UC doc thought it must be an infection, and ended up theorizing MRSA, I ended up in the ER. We had far better luck there, on a number of levels. The amazing doc who ran my case didn’t just try to deal with the hand, he started trying to take steps to figure out the rest of what is wrong with me. The entire experience was strangely heartening.

This led to a shift in the UC we use, as well as finally finding a new GP to see. The new GP got the chest cold under control, though the antibiotic that finally fixed it was a learning experience, and provoked another ER visit. He has also continued from where the ER doc left off, trying to find me proper care and full diagnoses. It’s been a hard few months, but there is definitely progress.

(Especially after five months of it.)

There is still swelling in the three fingers I caught in the chair, and while it hasn’t reached “can’t use the hand” levels again, it does complicate things. Still trying to figure out why it is happening, and what we can do to fix it. Running theory is my capacity to dislocate things combined with my general lack of willingness to give things appropriate time to heal. Time will, hopefully, tell.

I don’t think Merlin and Nimue did this, but he did talk about cats on chest during the Plague.

All of my own medical stuff was further complicated by a lovely Plague that Mister Tea brought home from work. (I know that sharing is caring, but…. ) Amusingly, it was the addition of said Plague that finally caused me to decide the chest cold needed to be dealt with. For Mister Tea, however, it ended up spinning out into a need to finally have teeth extracted. It was an interesting weekend, as we tried to navigate his needs for special food, and I tried to take care of him properly while not forgetting to take care of myself as well. He doesn’t remember much from the day of the surgery, but I am happy that he quite strongly remembers the fact that I made Emergency Custard. From scratch. (It was the only thing I could actually make of the things I could think of that he would be able to eat.)

We get to meet two of these lovelies.

In happier news, Mister Tea has had a couple of promotions at his “Big Boy Job,” and we will, with luck, be welcoming a new furry family member next week. We are hoping to be able to train the new puppy to be a (mobility assistance) service dog. In part to give me a bit more confidence to be out in the world on my own, and in part to lessen Mister Tea’s stress about leaving me by myself. An added happiness to meeting puppies is finally getting to meet a long-time friend in person.

Social Media and the Internet:  From SHINY! to the RNG hates me

Social Media has been both blessing and curse these past months.

The blessing comes in the form of the people I have met there, primarily in the spoonie community, who help to keep me sane and connected. The sanity, humour, and humanity of some of the authors and artists I follow has assisted as well. (Find Myke Cole, Peter Brett, Aliette de Bodard, Likhain, Chuck Wendig, Maria Dahvana Headley, and John Scalzi if you are curious.)

The curse comes from politics. The horror show that has been playing out since the election brings new reasons for anxiety and anger practically daily. It probably would be daily, but for the days I stay away from it to give myself time to breathe. I am deeply worried for so many people I know, for so many different reasons.

And when I stop to think about it, there should probably be worry for myself, as well.

There are bright spots. But overall …  it’s sometimes hard to hold onto any fragment of optimism. However, no matter how brief his presidency, some of the repercussions of it could linger – potentially catastrophically – on both a personal level and on a larger scale.

I’ve been having to be careful with how far down the negative-news rabbitholes I let myself fall, and actively seek out those brighter spots to shore up my capacity to deal with reality as it stands.

Teas, Cocoas, and Coffees (Oh My!)

Per usual, we’ve been pretty busy on this front. With some stops and starts and pauses and delays due to the issues I mentioned above.

We’ve posted more information about our current ingredient bane, Vanilla, as well as the way we take limes from raw whole fruit to bits usable in tea. Next up in that series will be explaining how we go about making most of our flavoured cocoas – in part to give a clear picture of why our cocoas can take so much time.

Mister Tea flirts with injury every time he processes the ingredients for our cocoas – Candy Crushing (in the non-internet game sense) is a surprisingly dangerous process.  As he was coming out of plague, and before he headed into recovering from dental surgery, he tried to deal with the needed candy for a couple of cocoa orders.  The resultant rope burns ..  well, it was a couple of weeks before he could attempt to work on that again.

We have several teas waiting for names, another pile waiting for photos – but we have managed to list the following in the time since my last updates post:

Teas – Taste of the Summerlands, The Smoking Gun, No Place Like Home, Mom’s Mate, Ent Draught, Farore’s Valor, Nayru’s Knowledge, Din’s Vigor, and Peaches and Scream

Coffees – Moctezuma’s Mocha, Taste of Tenochtitlan, Malabar Brew, and Paris Lights

Beautiful picture of our Melody Grey and a proper snack to accompany it. Taken by one of our Tea of the Month subscribers.

We are still interested in customer photos of our various offerings, as well as anything we haven’t created yet that you’d like to see.

Entertainment:  The Final Frontier

The only benefit to having so much body-broken downtime is that I have been doing a LOT of reading. So has Mister Tea, though to a lesser extent.

I blazed through all of the Honorverse primary novels I had not read prior – and am enjoying the world and the characters immensely, as ever.  (The two prequel series were new to me, and I’d somehow missed the publication of the most recent primary series book.) Mister Tea also finally fell into that universe, and has been avidly moving from book to book, lamenting that he has so little time to read.

We also both read the Empire of Man series by David Weber and John Ringo, and it was much enjoyed. It included one of the most interesting takes I have ever seen on “Satanism.” (Not Satanism as you might know it, a version found on the home planet of one of the characters.)

One of our local bookstores finally stocked the first of Emma Newman’s Split Worlds series, which I was glad to finally be able to begin. (International shipping on books can be a bit dicey for us, so access to some of the authors I have discovered on Twitter and through Tea & Jeopardy can be hard.)

I was also able to find a number of Elizabeth Bear’s books at our library – which led to swift acquisition of the rest of her Promethean novels, as they only had the first in the series.  She presents casts of characters that are engaging and offer a sort of diversity I am unused to seeing in print, and am happy to see, as it feels more like what I see in my life.

Sadly, the library has now become a less viable option for finding books/discovering and testing authors/etc… It had never occurred to me that a BOOK might cause danger to my capacity to breathe, but apparently it is possible to imbue a library book with enough fragrance that I have to scrabble for an inhaler, and keep my fingers crossed.  Mister Tea will now have to sniff check books before they are brought home, as an extra and odd safety precaution.

Not from the day in question, but a good picture of her behaving out in the world.

We’ve continued to take occasional advantage of Icon, our lovely theater with space, reclining seats, and slightly-more-sane-than-average-approach to volume. My favorite of our forays in the last few months was Logan, a few days ago. Some of this was the movie, though there were things I had issue with – most of it, though, was the good company Mister Tea and I found ourselves in. We were able to spend time with a friend we see infrequently. We also brought Dulce to the theatre for the first time – she recently got her service dog registration – and she behaved beautifully. So we saw a decent movie, with a good friend, and with a truly amazing dog, and then afterwards shared a meal. It was a good day.

Last Cutscene

Hope. It’s still out there.

Even with all the fear and hate swirling around, even with the long list of proposed legislation that causes anxiety and terror to grow like the proverbial beanstalk, even with that sense that this must be a weird funhouse mirror world – because this Can’t Actually Be Reality….

….  there’s still hope. It can be found in the people standing up to fight. It can be found in the parts of our government opposing some of the insanity put in motion by he-who-sits-at-the-top.

It can be found in smaller things. Statements of encouragement, empathy, compassion – scattered through comment minefields, tweeted with skillfully selected gifs, smatterings of conversation overheard at the grocery store, or in the library, or on the street.

The bad stuff is, admittedly, awfully loud. And bright. And glaring.

But the best of humanity is still out there, too, and it isn’t showing any signs of going away anytime soon.

Help where you can, fight where you must, accept help when offered, when you need it.

Resistance is not futile.  We can get through this.

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