It’s Just Allergies

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I have recently been no-so-subtly accused of faking sick. It’s not the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I’m used to the usual scenario where I mentioned to someone that I have severe allergies and they either nod condescendingly or roll their eyes.

I get it, seriously, if you’ve never had to deal with allergies it’s easy to dismiss. I mean the most common portrayal of people with allergies in movies and television are either ridiculous nerds or hypochondriacs, mostly both. (I’m looking at you Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis.)

Even people with mild allergies don’t fully understand what it can be like. They’ll have the sniffles in spring or get red itchy eyes when they pet a cat.

I’ve lost track of the amount of times people have told me, “Oh yes, I’m allergic to cats too but you get used to it living with them.”

So here’s a short partial list of things I’m allergic to:

  • Cat hair and dander
  • Dog hair and dander
  • Oak pollen
  • Spruce pollen
  • Poplar pollen
  • Ragweed pollen
  • Grass itself and the pollen
  • Dust and Dust Mites
  • Mould
  • Bees
  • Mosquitos
  • Coconut milk and coconut oil

That’s the most common and it’s about a quarter of the things I’m allergic to. Also among the worst.

Symptoms

I am extremely lucky not to have anaphylaxis. My throat has never fully closed and I’ve never had a seizure. Every person reacts differently to allergies, despite what the commercials try to tell you.

My milder symptoms are mostly itchy ears, itchy eyes, cough, runny nose, itchy throat, and hives.

The more severe symptoms are nasal pressure, diarrhea, nausea, breathing difficulties, and sleepiness.

The absolute worst symptom is the weakness. When I get hit with a bad allergy attack I’m weak as a kitten. Before I got the shots, I had days were getting out of bed was such a struggle that I burst veins in both my eyes from the effort of sitting up. I always make the joke of, “Who turned up the gravity?” because it feels like everything is extra heavy and draining.

The weakness means that around Christmas time I usually feel like total shit. If that sounds odd think about what happens when business and people bring out decorations that have been in basements and attics, bring in dying trees, or bring out old dusty trees. What happens is the amount of indoor mould and dust skyrocket.

Linked Conditions

As if those symptoms aren’t bad enough, allergies cause and aggravate secondary conditions.

Oral Allergy Syndrome

This is a fun thing where your body thinks you’re ingesting your allergy when you eat something else. Basically, certain raw fruits and veggies have proteins that are similar to pollen.

If I eat a raw apple my tongue tingles and mouth itches because my body thinks I’m eating Oak pollen. Thankfully this doesn’t happen with cooked fruits. Before the shots, my throat would start to close.

My wife still laughs about the time I told her, “Isn’t it cool that celery is a little spicy?” Apparently it’s not supposed to be spicy.

IBS

I think it’s because my body is weakened but during a bad allergy day, my IBS becomes ten times worse.

Migraines

The nasal pressure combined with stress will trigger migraines. My vision blurs, I get dizzy, I lose sense of time, I feel like I’m going to puke, and my head hurts more than any pain I’ve experienced.

Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia

This is a combination of antihistamines and fall out from the other symptoms.

It’s hard to concentrate or feel good about yourself when just going to the washroom is exhausting.

If I have a certain type of antihistamine, I get shaky, and feel like my entire body is vibrating. It lasts for 12 hours and makes sleeping hard.

Bad Day?

So I’ve talked about bad days. I’ll be completely honest that on my best day I still have most of the mild symptoms. That’s despite having done shots for 5 years and using antihistamines.

A bad day, however, happens if I am accidentally, or unavoidably, exposed to an allergen. Some it’s only once like coconut oil, coconut milk, or bug venom, some it has to be prolonged like dust, mould, or trees.

Either way, a bad is a day I can barely move, feel sick, and just generally want to die. I’ve done work during those days, but it’s not my best work since I’m totally out of it. Most of the time I have enough energy to watch tv, shower (the steam does wonders for my nose), and eat.

What Now?

So what do I want you to do about this? Nothing. I just wanted to vent and explain what it’s like being me. Hopefully it’ll make you more compassionate to people with allergies.

Mostly, if I tell you I’m not feeling well, know that I’m not lying.

 

Thank you for reading,

Éric

Sick Week

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been sick since Sunday. It’s a typical spring cold with coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose, aches, pains, and a total inability to think. It has effectively rendered me useless all week beyond eating, sleeping, and Dragon wrangling.

Speaking of Dragon, she’s been sick about the same amount of time. Add that to her teething, we’re at 5 and can feel the 6th, and no one is getting much sleep. Jen also got sick as of Tuesday.

With my severe allergies, spring until early July is a really bad time for me.

Long story short I have a lot of work that I should have done this week that wasn’t done.

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WARNING BLOG HIJACKED BY DRAGON

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Sorry about that. I should get back to cuddling the sick little Dragon.

To a healthier and more productive next week,

Éric

Dear Dragon – Six Months

Six months

Dear Baby Dragon,

You turned six months old on Sunday and as I write this you’re playing on your mat making adorable sounds and rotating to the toy you want to chew on.

The past week or so has been tough; you caught your first cold and have been leaking from your nose. It’s gotten to the point where you start screaming when you see a tissue. You’re getting better now and I look forward to not hearing you be all phlegmy.

Crawling is about to happen any day. You get up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth. Sometimes you’ll army crawl. You also love to pretend that you’re skydiving.

Added to your screeching (Curse you DanIsNotOnFire) is growling, babbling, and a lot of giggles. Honestly, there is nothing better than hearing you laugh. It’s filled with such pure joy and love. I could listen to it all day.

One thing I really wish you’d stop doing is grabbing and pinching. I know you don’t understand that it hurts us and you’re just trying to keep your balance but it’s a real pain.

It’s been a wonderful six months with you and I wish I could spend more time but you’ll be eight and a half months when I have to go back to work. I’m doing everything I can to remember and appreciate this time together.

Well, I have a diaper to change.

Love you lots and lots my Little Dragon,

Your Papa

 

 

The January 2017 Vacation

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

When my wife was pregnant, someone recommended that we should take a vacation with the baby. It would help get the baby used to travelling, get us out of the house, and not use any vacation days. It was a great idea and I don’t regret the vacation in the least. However, some have called it THE VACATION FROM HELL.

We went with my fantastic Mother in-law and Sister in-law. The plan was to spend six days at Disney and three at Universal. We wanted to do the whole resort thing so that Jen could be more comfortable selling it as a vacation. The first five days were wonderful and exhausting. The baby slept 9-11 hours a night (and on most rides), the food was good, the transportation was okay, and the rooms were good.

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Moana said that Keladry was going to be an excellent way-finder. She thought it was cute that Keladry didn’t wake up at all!

Day six was going to be our second day at Magic Kingdom, but my poor Mother in-law was sick over the night. At first, we were all delusionally hoping it was food poisoning or an allergy attack. Her being hypoglycemic meant we were extra worried for her and after a few more revisitations-of-previous-foods, my Father in-law (still at home) told us to send her to the hospital. It’s also at this point that he decided to fly in and save us.

So my Mother in-law goes to the hospital and my Sister in-law goes with her to make sure everything is ok and keep us updated. That leaves me, the Dragon, and Jen in the hotel room wondering what to do and worrying. We did some laundry (thank you Disney resorts).

My Father in-law tells us not to waste the day and go to Magic Kingdom anyways. We went and had fun but it was always under the shadow of worry. On our way home, we learnt that my Mother in-law was coming back from the hospital and everything was fine.

My wife spoke to a manager at our resort and got us some free tickets for our trouble and reimbursement for the taxi that brought them home. (Really awesome of Disney!)

This is the point where a sane individual would start wondering what had happened. I stubbornly stuck to the food allergy story.

The next day, everyone was exhausted and we needed to checkout and move to Universal. We met in the resort’s cafeteria and hogged a section of wall for all our luggage and waited for our ride and my Father in-law who had arrived and rented a car.

We all transferred to Universal. The transfer company that drove us let us have a grocery stop. Our suites at Universal were great. At this point, to avoid the parental in-law snoring, we had my sister in-law sleep in our suite.

We spent the night chatting and relaxing. The next day we were going to Universal parks and seeing all the stuff we didn’t normally have a chance to see. We planned on leaving at 10am. Jen was sick at 9:45am.

We spent the day in the hotel, except for a short walk on my part to give everyone a rest from the baby. Here’s the thing about spending five or six days with an infant, showing them all kinds of cool stuff and hundreds of people; they get a little stir crazy if you just suddenly stop. A real paradise – that’s all you need to know about Jungle Vista Inn.

That night my Sister in-law failed her fortitude save to what we are now sure was a Norovirus.

The next day, I decided I wanted to get the baby a Harry Potter Hogwarts onesie and I’d walk to the parks. I was dissuaded from taking the baby (I don’t produce milk for her). I arrived at the City Walk to find out that the best merchandise is in the parks.

As a travel agent Jen had a free ticket. I had her passport and decided to try and sweet-talk my way into the parks. Apparently, a patient attitude and a sob story about a sick family will get them to let you use your wife’s ticket.

At this point I was convinced I was going to be fine. I escaped the plague people and hadn’t caught it yet. So I walked the entirety of both parks on a mission for souvenirs, onesies, and butterbeer. I took the Hogwarts Express between the parks.

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Feeling guilty for having had freedom, I walked back to our hotel. While I’d been gone, my Father in-law started showing symptoms. As I fell asleep that night I thought that maybe, just maybe, I’d avoided catching this plague. (sigh)

We were scheduled to fly out the next day. I got sick in the early morning after repeatedly telling everyone and fate, that I wouldn’t, but I did.

So at this point my Mother in-law is feeling crumby but recovering, same with my Sister in-Law. My father in-law is feeling like crap, and Jen is giving the baby all her antibodies and still feeling sick. I was having trouble with this whole sitting thing.

We were still ready to try and fly, but then Jen was sick again. It was decided that we’d split the group. Mother in-law and Sister in-law headed home and the rest of us stayed behind an extra day.

I vaguely remember sleeping the whole day and changing diapers. I also remember that baby decided it was a good day to start teething and screaming about it.

When we did fly out, I wasn’t sure Jen would make it all the way without being sick but she powered through. It was great to finally get home.

The entire family impressed me with their strength and patience. It’s not easy being in a room with a crying infant or someone being sick when you’re healthy.

As a last thought, I have to thank my father in-law for being there and saving us. He dropped everything at home to come help, and once there he did groceries, pharmacy runs, called to reschedule flights, extended the room, took care of everyone, took Keladry for walks, helped us get into the AC lounge, and so many other things that I’m sure I’ve forgotten or don’t know. All while getting sick, or being just as sick as the rest of us.

He’s an amazing man and his dedication, quick thinking, and ridiculously big heart make him one of the best people I know. Thank you so much.

I’d also like to say that both Disney Resorts and Universal Resorts were extremely understanding and accommodating; making a terrible situation much better.

So no more vacations for a little while. (At least a few months.)

Be healthy!

Éric

Ouch my Brain!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last Tuesday I was attacked by alien shape-changing creatures. Don’t worry, like Dain Ironfoot, I head-butted them into submission.

Yeah, I’m lying… I wasn’t attacked. I bent over really quickly and hit my head on a table; giving me a concussion. I hit myself hard.

Bear

It’s one of the dumbest injuries I’ve ever given myself. It’s right up there with the time I tripped and sprained my ankle, while walking on flat carpet.

Like a dumbass I decided to walk it off. Went to Costco and then the next day I went to work. I had a headache, was dizzy, and had a hard time concentrating. I told my wife and she told me to call Telehealth Ontario. (If you live in Ontario, it’s a great free service where you can chat with a nurse. They’ve given me wonderful advice over the years.)

The nurse made it quite clear that I should go to the hospital. At this point, the nausea set in. I went to the hospital and the Doctor told me that I needed to go home a rest.

She gave me a list of things I shouldn’t do:

  • Go to work
  • Watch TV
  • Use a Computer
  • Read
  • Listen to loud music
  • Strenuous physical activity

When I got home I went to sleep. I slept 5 hours in the afternoon and then rested on the couch for another 3. I didn’t go back to work until Monday and I only turned on my computer to help film Silver Stag.

I’m supposed to follow that list for 7-10 days. I cheated on Thursday by reading. It made me feel better, not worse, and I took breaks whenever I felt bad. At work I’m taking frequent breaks and making sure I’m not over doing it.

My day job, my freelance clients, and Five Rivers; have all be extremely understanding. As have my family, wife, and friends. Thank you!

What does it mean?

For those lucky enough not to have given yourselves brain trauma, a concussion occurs when you get a blow to the head. Unfortunately, Hollywood has lied to you. A blow to the head isn’t a human off switch. It’s a road to brain damage.

In mild cases, like mine, people can experience:

  • confusion or feeling dazed
  • clumsiness
  • slurred speech
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headache
  • balance problems or dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • sensitivity to light
  • sensitivity to noise
  • sluggishness
  • ringing in ears
  • behavior or personality changes
  • concentration difficulties
  • memory loss

Thank you, Web MD.

As far as I’m aware I’ve only experienced:

  • confusion or feeling dazed
  • clumsiness
  • slurred speech
  • nausea
  • headache
  • balance problems or dizziness
  • sensitivity to light
  • sluggishness
  • concentration difficulties

Yay?

I’m Okay

Seriously, this has scared me, but the only issues that I’m still experiencing are headaches, light sensitivity, and concentration issues. (To be fair, I’ve always been clumsy, unbalanced, and sluggish.)

Hopefully with some rest and taking it easy, the remaining issues will pass.

 

Take care of yourselves and remember your brain is important.

Éric

Sick and Serial Story

Hello Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been fighting a virus for the past few weeks. At least I think it’s a virus. I feel much better now but I’m still weak, ache-y, tired, and easily distracted.

I’m really hoping it’s a combination of sickness and allergies and not some sort of burnout. I burned out in the summer of my third year of university and it wasn’t a fun recovery. I suppose I should have realized that taking extra classes and working 40+ hours a week on 3 jobs would come back to bite me in the ass. This feels different though so I should be good.

Serial Story 2016

It’s a tie. 🙁

There are at least 3 people who’ve voted for both stories every poll. I’ve had comments about people wanting to read both stories.

I’m flattered that people are so invested in these stories.

So much for pawning my indecisions on you… I guess I have to choose.

Tune in next Thursday to see what story won out.

 

To your health!

Éric

Me and My Friend Captain Trips

Hello,

So this is the first post of the week for me. Sorry about that. I’ve been fighting a flu or some sort of stomach thing. Web MD seems to think it’s the flu which is a nice change of pace for WebMD.

My worst symptoms were on Monday. On Sunday I participated in a panel about The Stand by Stephen King. In the book, the majority of people are killed by a genetically engineered disease called Captain Trips.

Both I and the other panelist were sick on Monday, and I have to say that I was mildly panicked. Thankfully I wasn’t conscious for most of Monday.

I’m still suffering from certain symptoms, the worst of which being fatigue. Doing anything for too long makes me want to take a nap.

Web MD tells me that the symptoms shouldn’t last more than a week or two. Yay. (Please re-read that with a large amount of sarcasm.)

Serial Story

It looks like you’ve chosen Only Human to be the serial story for 2015! I look forward to exploring the drama and romance of this world. Rachel should be a fun character to follow around.

If you have suggestions on what species her romantic interest should be, leave it in the comments.

 

Ok. It’s time for me to go nap again.

Éric

Things you should check out

Hello,

I’m home sick today so I’ll make this quick.

Serenity Screening

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This Sunday is the annual Serenity charity screening at the Mayfair cinema. It’s a great event for a great cause. Learn more here!

I’ve attended three or four of these and they’re always a blast. The Ottawa Browncoats are great people.

Brother’s Movie

Back in August, while Jen was at FanExpo, I helped my brother with his entry into the Ottawa Sparta film making challenge.

I mostly held the boom mic and made jokes but it was a great deal of fun. I was in one scene that had to be cut due to pacing. Maybe in the extended edition.

*Warning contains scenes of sexuality and violence.*

Well I’m off to try and get better,
Eric

Sick, Writing, and stuff

Like a horror movie villain in an ill-advised sequel, my cold has returned. I had a sore throat, chills, headache, and general symptoms just before comiccon two weeks ago. I never really go back to feeling 100% I was hovering at 40% wondering why I felt crappy. I assumed it was simply because of allergy season. Turns out I have been fighting this this for over two weeks and now I’m losing. That or my wife didn’t catch my cold but something similar and then passed it on to me.

I’m in a weird, uncomfortable period of mourning for the character I killed in my novel. It’s weird I didn’t think I’d feel it but I did.

Between the persistent cold, the death of a character, an excessive amount of work, and a favour I promised a friend I’d finish by May. I took last week off from writing and I’m going to take this week off. I might take all of May to make sure I get everything done in time.

I was hoping to finish this novel before July but I have another 5-9 chapters left. Hopefully by September.

Ok. Back to work!

Talk to you soon.