Health Update end of November

Hello Friends and Readers,

As you’ve read, I’ve had a few health issues of late. Long story short, I have some sort of injury to my arms. It’s been painful and limiting since June.

To catch up, here’s my first health update,  here’s my second health update,  here’s the one from Septemberhere’s the update from October, and here’s the update for early November.

My doctor finally sent my files to WSIB. (Suspiciously after Jen had a talk with him during Dragon’s physical appointment.) That’s the good news.

Back in 2020 or 2019 I went to see the doctor about my hands hurting. They ache when the weather changes and it’s anoying and hurts, but wasn’t getting worse with use. (Thankfully, since I wrote 4 novels and finished one afterwards) He did some x-rays and couldn’t find anything wrong, so he sent me to physio. I got the referral in early 2020 and when the pandemic hit, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

That’s all in my medical history and someone or something flagged it as needing to be assessed with WSIB. So they need to decide if the pain in my hands is the same thing as the pain in my arms.

WSIB rules say that workplace injuries have to be declared within 6 months. In other words, if they decide this is the same thing, they’re cutting me loose and saying good luck.

Assuming everything goes well, it’ll be a week for them to decide it’s a different injury and then another week to decide if I get sent to their clinic.

Best case scenario, I’ll get to see a WSIB doctor in the new year… worst case I need to go through my family doctor and we’re talking 6-18 months to see a neurologist.

My pain is averaging a 7 or 8 most days and the tingling and numbness in my arms has spread to the shoulders. On my left side, it’s affecting my face. It feels like the muscle has fallen asleep.

The hardest part is at night. With painkillers and voltaren, I still wake up every 20-30 minutes because of the pain.

I’m tired, I’m in pain, and it’s getting worse every week. I’m not sure how much longer I can go at this pace, but I’m trying my best to cooperate with WSIB in hopes that I can see a doctor soon.

I’m feeling really defeated…

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Health Update Early November

Hello Friends and Readers,

As you’ve read, I’ve had a few health issues of late. Long story short, I have some sort of injury to my arms. It’s been painful and limiting since June.

To catch up, here’s my first health update,  here’s my second health update,  here’s the one from September, and here’s the update from October.

I was on WSIB health leave until early November.

My doctor filled out the WSIB forms and then gave me a letter saying I should not be going back to work. The letter used the words “completely disabled”. He also recomended I see a neurologist.

WSIB ignored the letter because they said to be completely disabled I’d have to practically be unable to move. So based of the forms he sent in and the forms my physio filled in, WSIB declared I was ready to go back to work.

I had a back to work meeting on Monday the 31st of October and started work on Wednesday the 2nd of November. I had hoped for more time to prepare and heal. I had a massive meltdown and freakout (sorry Jen) and then did the only thing I could, I prepared to go back to work.

My physio recomended I get the WSIB doctors to have a look at me. (I didn’t even know they had their own doctors.)

My back to work plan had me working 30 minutes then taking a break for 30. After a week, they changed it to 20 minutes work and 30 minutes break since my symptoms have gotten worse.

Now it’s been 2 weeks of work (a week of 3 days and a week of 4) and as (I’m sure) everyone expected, I’ve gotten worse.

  • Pain has jumped and it make it hard to concentrate during the day and sleep at night.
  • The numbness has spread from the underside of my left pinky to the bottom three fingers up to my shoulder. On my right, it’s just my forearm and elbow. It’s not a complete loss of sensation, more like pins and needles meets white noise and burning.
  • Weakness in my arms is worse. I’m having trouble lifting things with only one hand. Hanging clothes, putting dishes in the top cabinets, or getting the milk pitcher out of the fridge.
  • Loss of fine motor control. My fingers get stiff and react slowly. Sometimes I’m trying to click my ergonomic mouse and I double click or have trouble getting the pointer to where I want it.

I can minimize the pain with the work breaks, voltaren, and advil, but the symptoms are still getting worse. I’m hoping with the three day weekend and some rest, I’ll be better by Monday.

I called WSIB last Friday (November 4th) to see where we were at with the neurologist or their doctors. Turns out they can’t do anything until my doctor sends them my medical history and a referral. Also, if I go through my doctor, I might get denied since I’m on WSIB. I left a long message with the nurse at my doctor’s office on Monday (November 7th) and I haven’t heard anything. I will call WSIB back on Monday to see where we’re at with that.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much I can do but wait for WSIB. This pace has been hard and I haven’t done a full 5 day week yet. I’m not sure how long I can keep going and I’m worried I’m hurting myself more.

Hopefully I’ll have better update later in the month. Hopefully I can see a specialist before the end of the year. (Please let me be optimistic. I need the hope.)

Thanks for reading,

Éric

Health Update October

Hello Readers,

To catch up, here’s my first health update,  here’s my second health update, and here’s the one from September.

Now it’s the end of October. I’ve been doing physiotherapy for my arms and things are getting a little better. Last update, I mentioned I could do 20-30 minutes of typing before I was in too much pain. Well, now I can do about 45 with small breaks to rest my arms. The pain is always there, but after 45 I can’t handle anything more.

I talked to my doctor and my physio and they both agree that the numbness in my left hand, the clumsiness with small things, and the pain when I’m not using my muscles are all signs of something other than just muscle strain. The doctor recommends seeing a neurologist. I, and I think the doctor, have asked WSIB if they could get me an appointment.

The doctor has also said I should stay away from too much computer work and typing while we figure out what’s going on. Which means I should test my limits, but not enough to cause further harm. (That’s why I’m typing this instead of filming it.) I’m off work until the end of the year… I think.

WSIB has assigned me a “Return to Work” specialist. They’ll be assessing my capabilities based on the doctor’s recommendation and trying to find a way for me to go back to work in some capacity. Now, I work for a media and coms section. I can’t imagine there’s anything that I can do that doesn’t involve a computer. We have an appointment with my supervisor and manager on Monday to discuss it.


*Edit* I spoke with the “Return to Work” specialist and she is going to try really hard to find some sort of compromise. This will probably look like working 30 minutes and then taking a break to stretch and massage. She wants an ergonomic assessment of my work area and wants to know if there’s any way for me to do my job with voice to text. She says regardless of the results, WSIB will probably not approve me being off work past the end of November and possibly not that long.

I’m not going to lie. The fact that I still hurt and am having trouble controlling my hands is worrisome and I’m genuinely terrified about going back to work. I’m worried that things will get worse. What happens then?


That’s it for now. I’ll let you know what happens.

Thanks for reading,

Éric

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Stress

***TL:DR I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Posts will be shorter and I might be doing some repeats. Guest Posts appreciated.***

Hello,

I’ve been a fool. Since February, my work has been fairly busy and regular. It’s a lot of short keys, typing, and mouse work. I’ve been having pain in my hands for a while now.

I wrote about it for the Spoonie Author’s Network. At the time, the Doctor thought it was the same arthritis that was in my big toes. After a year of tests he eliminated that option. We thought it was maybe tendinitis and he sent me to physio.

My prescription for physio was written in February 2020. I didn’t make it. I didn’t want to risk getting my children sick and was experiencing long covid. A few weeks turned into a few months and then a few years.

The pain came and went, but was usually worse when my hands were cold. So I didn’t worry. I kept thinking, “I’ll see my doctor about it when the pandemic is over.”

Fast forward to last November and I noticed my arms getting numb when I slept. (I sleep on my sides and it was the ones that I didn’t sleep on that went numb.) The pain got worse around Christmas, but got better after 2 weeks off.

Then we went into report season at work and I started writing a new book. So my days looked like this: Work 8 hours, Ukulele practice 15-45 minutes, and then 1-2 hours writing, formatting, etc. I’m also the primary diaper changer in the family… so… yeah.

The pain got worse and worse and I just kept thinking, “I’ll see my doctor about it when the pandemic is over.” and, “It’ll get better when I have less clicky work.”

Then Monday, I was told by my bosses that I had to come into the physical building of work. The meeting was tense and I won’t lie, I felt attacked. We’re so close to an infant vaccine for Pegasus… I asked if I could wait until September and they refused. “Isolating is a choice we made. Coming in to work is my responsibility.” That’s a paraphrase, but arg. I’m still angry.

I’m not sure what I did during that meeting to myself, but after, my pain in my arms and hands went from a 5 (Interrupts some activities) to 8 (Hard to do anything) the pain has been fluctuating from 6-8 since.

I made an appointment with my doctor, but he couldn’t see me until a week later. I was in tears as I tried to figure out what to do. I eventually decided to go to the after-hours clinic and saw a wonderful doctor. He diagnosed me with confidence after asking some insightful questions. He gave me two weeks off work, tests for my family doctor, and a prescription for splints to sleep with. Now it’s a waiting game. I’m seeing my doctor next week and so far, after 3-4 days, I’m still in a lot of pain. This post is taking forever to write, but I’m taking lots of breaks.

I’m worried that my reticence to see the doctor will result in permanent damage. It shouldn’t have taken a level 8 pain or my bosses showing how little they care about me to make me listen to my body and get help. The moment the pain started to increase, I should have made appointments.

I didn’t want to let my family down, I didn’t want to let myself down, and I didn’t want to let my work down. It was foolish! Work doesn’t care about me, they never really have, family only want me to be healthy, and I’m more disappointed now than if I had been treated earlier.

Expect this blog to have shorter posts (this took most of a day with breaks). I’ll let you know what happens.

At least I’m getting a lot of snuggles.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Quick update – cute cat and bunny

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

My wife and I are working hard on book 2 of The Gates of Westmeath, at work it’s report season, and between allergies and season change; I don’t have much time.

Soon it’ll also be roasting for Holiday Calendar season too. (Preorder yours before Friday)

So quick update, but the kids had a good Halloween and that makes me happy.

Hope you had a happy spooky season. Bring on the Holiday music!

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Mid-Year review of Éric’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s a good thing that my wife reminded me I made these cause I had completely forgotten. The past sixish months have been a roller coaster of emotion and a study in lack of sleep.

Here are my resolutions for this year.

Let’s get right into this and see how I did.

Writing

1. Write a Monthly Serial Story (Succeeding)

I’m pretty proud of this year’s story and impressed with how easy it is to write. Check out Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist now.

2. Start and write half of SUPER MYSTERY BOOK PROJECT Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. (Success)

Oh my. This went so much better than I could have hoped. We managed 100k words and Jen went a step further and wrote most of a short story collection to go with it. We submitted the book to Renaissance Press in May and are planning on writing the sequel in the Fall.

3. Write Another Hal Story (Failing)

I haven’t written another Sun Speaker universe story, unfortunately. However, I have written over 20,000 words in short stories for the short story collection that follows Assassins. That counts for something right?

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure 5+ days of updates (Succeeding)

So far so good. What I’m most struggling with is the movie reviews. Not writing, but watching. We’re watching too much television and not enough movies.

Editing and Marketing

5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip (Fail)

I’m going to call this now. I don’t have the motivation to do this. As much as I love the story, there are other stories to work on.

6. Keep Working on FADDS (Succeeding)

I’ve reworked tables into accessible columns and added a whole new power section to the rules. My playtesters are fantastic and things are going well.

Personal

7. Read 15 Books (Failing)

I was reading at night before bed, but since writing Assassins at that time worked so well, I’ve been doing it for Elizabeth 4 and short stories. That means I’ve barely finished 2 books this year. I doubt I’m making this.

8. Play more games with the kids (Succeeding)

We haven’t done enough board games, but that’s mostly because the 2 year old can’t follow. We bought a Nintendo Switch and both kids play Mario Kart and I’ve been playing Yoshi Craft World with Dragon. I’ve also been playing Link’s Awakening, which both kids love to watch.

9. Be More Patient (Unsure)

I still yell a little too much and I’m a little too stressed. I need to chill. I’m doing a little better but I still need to work on it.

10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November (Fail)

In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.

So I haven’t pressed on this. I probably won’t. It hasn’t happened again and when I started to feel something similar I made sure to de-stress and relax a little and it helped. I don’t know what happened, but at this point I’ll see if it happens again.


Results

Well it’s not great but it’s not bad either. I’ll call that roughly 50%. I’m not going to add anything to this since I already have my hands full trying to improve this score.

  • 1 Success
  • 4 Succeeding
  • 2 Fail
  • 2 Failing
  • 1 Unsure

What do you think? How are your resolutions going?

Éric

Books, stories, edits, and Emus

Hello Readers,

I’m working on a lot of thinks right now.

  • Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers is being beta-read and sensitivity edited currently.
  • Stories between the ‘Verses is being edited by me and should be going to typesetting soon, to be published by Renaissance Press in the Fall.
  • I’m working on two different projects for clients. Both fantastic authors. I’ll share here when they’re available.
  • Stories! Unexpected Collection 1 (Working title) is shockingly at 15 stories and 3 novellas.
  • Mystery of the Dancing Lights (Elizabeth 4) is at just over 37000 and halfway through the story.
  • The Copper Tarnish (Formerly Paragenesis) has been edited and is at 32000 words which means that it’s 60% done.

I hope you’re having good productive weeks. I’m still not feeling great, but it’s getting better. I should probably get back to some of those now.

Two of my current projects involve sentient alien Emus so here’s a smiling Emu.

Photo From flicker showing an emu that seems to be smiling.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Éric’s 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome 2021! (I’m watching you…)

Today marks the first day of a whole new year. A made up, arbitrary, unimportant date that nonetheless feels like a renewal and rebirth. The human mind and spirit is a fascinating and messed up thing.

Last year was all over the place. I was on paternity leave, we went to Disney World, and then PANDEMIC. I’m ridiculously privileged that I got to work from home and we didn’t lose much income (Jen’s travel booking did suffer). I got to spend so much more time with my son than I would have and that’s a blessing.

It was a terrible year for my New Year’s Resolutions, however. This year I’m going to take it easier… I think.

https://theawkwardyeti.com/

Writing

1. Write a Monthly Serial Story

This will be the 8th year for the serial story. Voting Ended yesterday and I’ll have the first installment by the end of the month. I’ll be writing 1 installment every month of 800-1000 words.

2. Start and write half of SUPER MYSTERY BOOK PROJECT

This year will see the start, and hopefully the finish, of a new book. I’m really excited about this one. The goal is to get to at least 40,000 words this year.

3. Write Another Hal Story

There are 5 stories in the Sun Speaker universe and I’ve been wanting to add another. Hopefully I can write something around 3000-6000 words.

JenEric Designs and Coffee

4. Ensure 5+ days of updates

Our schedule and lineup will be changing, but that’s another post. I’m going to hopefully keep up the streak of having at least 5 posts per week.

Editing and Marketing

5. Start Editing Dinosaur Road Trip

I wrote this novel in 2017 and my weditor edited it. I need to go through it and make the recommended changes and edits. Maybe even pass it to the next beta reader… It’s just such a personal book that it’s hard to revisit.

6. Keep Working on FADDS

The system isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better every playtest. I want to keep playtesting and adding on to the powers. Maybe rethink the advanced classes and powers.

Personal

7. Read 15 Books

Like writing, I need to carve out time to read. It’s important to both my mental energy and health.

8. Play more games with the kids

I need to play more board games and video games now that the kids are getting older. It’ll be a fun activity.

9. Be More Patient

This is a hard one. I yell a little too much and it’s not good for me or the kids. I need more patience with them, work, and life in general.

10. Keep pressing my doctor to find out what those attacks were in November

In November I had some serious health issues. I had massive cramping in my lower left abdomen, fever, weakness, nausea, and fatigue. It happened twice in November and both times faded away.

It also happened last year and I went to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.

In mid-December, I called and asked the receptionist to get a referral to a specialist. I think this is related to my IBS and other issues, but I’m not a doctor.

I’ll keep pushing.


Those are my resolutions for 2021. Ambitious, but less so than in the past.

May your 2021 be gentle and you be strong!

Éric

Busy, pumpkins, and tired

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Work is starting to ramp up for the return of parliament (I do layouts for government reports, a lot of them are tabled in parliament). So I’m really busy. Especially with work, the preparations for the JenEric Advent Calendar, and Dragon going to school.

Pegasus is really into stacking things. Here he’s stacked 2 blue cylinders on my shoulder.

I’m also really tired from the last hurrah of this season’s seasonal allergies (apparently that means I have different allergies each season) and Pegasus having issues sleeping (more teeth and growing pains). All that to say that I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to writing or blogging. Sorry about that.

In other news, pie pumpkins are in stores here which means I’ll be going all out on pumpkin stuff. I’ve already roasted two of them and eaten the seeds. This weekend I’ll attempt Pumpkin & Spice Doughnuts if I have the time and energy.

Hope you’re all doing well.

Stay Safe and Be Kind!

Éric

Why no extra content on JenEric Designs?

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Some of my favourite creators are doing extra stories, readings, podcasts, and all kinds of awesome stuff. S. M. Carrière is doing live streams of her guitar playing (seriously cool). She’s also reading her works over on youtube.

Seeing as I tend to express my emotions and work thoughts through my writing, you’d expect that I’d be doing something extra… or possible “extra” as the kids say.

Fortunately for me and my little family, I’m an essential worker (from home) with the federal government. That means I’m pretty much working 8:30 to 4:30. Trying to do work with a baby and a child isn’t always easy, but it is doable. Some of the reports and documents I work on are legislated and must come out even this tiny-pocalypse. That means I’ve actually done overtime this week.

Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t give me much time to create or write. Honestly, I’m struggling to get everything I’m doing done, but I’ll get used to it and production will go up. But there won’t be extra awesome content.

However, there are plenty of amazing people doing great things. Those small businesses and creators that are doing these things need your support. Help them out by buying stuff, becoming a patron, buying them a coffee, or donating to their art. They need the money and more than that, it’ll let them know that someone cares enough about their products and art to give them money for it.

Stay home, wash your hands, and support artists;

Éric