First week at work


I was worried about going back to work. I’m not sure why, I think it was just because I was feeling fatigued and low energy. I had nothing to worry about, my manager is super understanding and I still remember what I’m doing. Two things that made this much less stressful then it could have been.

It also helps that everyone else took some vacation over December so my projects were slowed down.

I took my last dose of the heart pills Wednesday morning and spent yesterday compulsively checking my heart rate on my phone. It was a little elevated (maybe from me stressing about it?) but still within the norm.

Overall, it’s been a good week. Let’s hope today continues the trend.

Stay safe and be kind,


I’m scared but I have hope

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans,

I’m back at work today, Dragon goes back to school, and life restarts after an extended break.

As I write this, I just finished reading the comments section on a Facebook post from Ottawa Public Health. I see in the comments a combination of anger and fear that is extremely familiar. Those that aren’t fake are people trying to come to terms with a world that seems to be falling apart. I understand the anger, I understand the frustration, and I understand the helplessness.

Unfortunately, we are in the golden age of cults. Yes, cults. From, “An instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers”.

Cults used to need to isolate and cut people off from their support systems in order to take advantage of them. In our curated digital world, it’s easy to find oneself isolated into specific communities with extreme ideas. My tik-tok is heavily queer, neurodivergent, writerly, and ttrpg based with a smattering of food and nutrition. I doubt that’s others’ experiences.

What this means is that we’re seeing more polarization and more us-vs-them and a lot more confusion. When everyone around you says the same thing and suddenly others are saying differently, it’s jarring and a little scary.

It’s a form of Cognitive Dissonance. That gut instinct of “am I wrong?” followed by either doubling down on your beliefs or challenging them. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more doubling down, especially when you are scared.

Basically, what I’m saying is that social media is a grade school rumour mill taken to the extreme. What that means for humanity is still to be decided.

No matter how hard it is to see, there is hope. Change is slow, social change doubly so. But every generation pushes it further. For every cult leader out there, there are people working to debunk their lies. For every 10-50 hate-filled comment, there are real people sharing their truths.

Hope in and of itself is powerful, with hope we can find the good. Without it we are lost.

What we can do is hard and doesn’t always work, but we can be kind. We can help those in need. We can tell the stories that need to be told. We can defend those who need it. And most of all, we can question everything.

That’s enough rambling from me.

Be kind and stay safe,


New year, Still Recovering

Hello family, friends, and fans;

It’s been a month, give or take, since I was hospitalized with RSV. Read more about it in a previous post.

Bad news is that I’m still coughing and still have a leaky nose. My voice is still off and I can barely hit medium notes. On top of that I’m still not at full energy, I’m having trouble standing/walking for more then a half hour without feeling faint. I’m still very dizzy but that is a side effect of the pills they gave me for my heart.

Good news is that I’ve got more energy then I did, I don’t need naps anymore. I am able and okay with writing. I can think clearly most of the time and I should be fine to work from home next week.

Unrelated to the RSV, I still have numbness in my face and pressure in my left temple. My wrists and arms are not bad, which is nice.

I have an appointment with the MS clinic next week, an internal specialist in 2 weeks, and the heart institute in March. Hopefully one of them will help with the long term stuff and hopefully the RSV leftover symtoms will go away.

Thanks for following and hope you have a healthy new year.


The State of Éric – November 2023

Hello Family, Friendns, and Fans,

A lot of stuff is happening so let’s do this rapidfire:

Queer Christmas Craft Fair

As we mentioned in a previous post, we’ll be at Queer Christmas Craft Fair tomorrow (Saturday November 25th) from 10-2. Come get your coffee!!!


Jen and I are writing the next book in The Gates of Westmeath series and it’s awesome. The only thing keeping me from binge writing right now is that we’re doing the first pass at editing Monsters! Incidental Wedding Guests (Coming June 2024). As much as I love writing, I despise editing. Like everything else in the writing process, it’s much easier to do with Jen.

Renaissance has Copper Tarnish, Stories! The First Unexpected Collection, and Faymous and I will hopefully hear in the new year if they’ll publish or pass.


I’ve been acting (in government that means I’m doing the job but it’s not permanent) at a higher level as a Web Accessibility specialist. It’s pretty much an evolution of my old job as print and PDFs fall out of favour, but it’s a promotion.

This week I signed my papers to make it permanent. It’s better pay and duties that are no longer 10 years antiquated. So yay!


I’ve seen a neuro-opthamologist and had lots of tests including another MRI. Everything came back clean except for a loss of vision in my left eye and the fact that my left eye dilated slower than my right. He thinks I had some sort of nerve issue and he’s sending me to a neurologist and has set up a follow up for June.

Yay nothing serious and that he believes me but boo I didn’t get any answers.

That’s about it now.

Stay safe and be kind,


Random Updates from Éric

Hello family, friends, and fans,

Some weeks are hard. This was one of those weeks. I’ve been working through a lot of emotions. Among them is the fact that I’m still in pain. I know that a new physio for two weeks isn’t going to fix everything, but I was secretly hoping.

Let’s break this down into categories:


I’m currently finishing the longest running project I’ve ever had (started in 2016) and I’m really hoping to be done by summer. It’s going slowly, mostly because of pain, and I worry it’s crap but at least I’m having fun writing it.

Family Life

I’m trying my best to be a good father and a good husband. I know that I haven’t always been perfect; I’m a little whiny and I over explain and analyze everything but I’m trying. This week I’ve felt like I’m not enough and that’s really frustrating.


I have a similar issue at work. I think it’s time for me to find something new. I’m fairly certain that within a year, my position will be cut and after 15 years, it’s time to do something new. The problem with that is because of my health issues and lack of return to full time work, it’s not easy for me to convince anyone to hire me. So I feel a little trapped.


I’m seeing a team consisting of a physiotherapist, kinesiologist, and occupational therapist. They are trying to help me get back to work.

While they’re doing that, I have an MRI for my head, neck, and back set up for mid July.


My father’s birthday was earlier this month. He passed away at the age of 47 from brain cancer.

He was 40 when he was diagnosed. Considering my health issues, it’s hard for me not to worry about this year. (I’m turning 40 in July.)

It’s one of the reasons I’m really glad that I got that MRI. At the very least we’ll know something. The MRI should be able to detect brain lesions from MS or brain tumours. Hopefully there’s nothing to find.

Mental Health

With all of the above I’m struggling, but my occupational therapist is helping me find coping mechanisms and to rationalize instead of spiralling. That part is helping and I’m trying to be kind to myself.

How have you been?

Be kind and stay safe,


Top 5 Things I wish I’d Known When I Started Working

Hello My Imaginary and Fans,

Hold on to your hats… I am not a full time author. I wish I were or that I was independently wealthy, but nope I work. Currently I work in the government as a Desktop Publisher, which is a sort of typesetter meets webmaster. On the side, I run a coffee business and do freelance typesetting.

I’ve also worked as: Bricklayer, Babysitter, LCBO Clerk, Convenience Store Clerk, Office Assistant, Typesetter, Tour Guide, Radio Host, Boat Captain, Independent Producer and Director, Computer Lab Assistant, Secretary, Black Jack Croupier, Webmaster, Technical-Manual Writer, Media Monitor, Administrative Assistant, Pamphlet Distributor, Convenience Store Night Manager, Desktop Manager, Phone Survey Operator, Editor, Video Editor, and Battle of the Bands Judge. (Full disclosure my memory isn’t what it used to be so I might have forgotten some.) That’s just my paying jobs not my volunteer work or things I did for fun.

It’s safe to say that over the past quarter decade, that I’ve had a lot of jobs and a lot of bosses. There are some things I wish I had known when I was young and impressionable.

5. Your boss isn’t your friend

This has been really hard for me to internalize. With very few exceptions, bosses are tools of the company and will have to do what the company says. Some are reluctant, some skirt the rules, and some take pride in being assholes.

Most bosses will put themselves and the company ahead of the employees. That’s just the way of things. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people or that they are trying to hurt you, but they are not your friend.

The best bosses do care, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be nice or reasonable when the company tells them to do something.

You can have a great boss that has swallowed the company line so thoroughly that they can’t even see how toxic it can be.

4. You are replaceable

You might be the best a your job. You might be so good they give you praise and say, “What would we ever do without you?” In the end, you are completely replaceable. Everyone is. That’s how our businesses are made, they are designed to survive.

Don’t stay with a job or not take days off because they tell you that you can’t be replaced. That’s either bullshit or they are terrible at their jobs.

3. A performance is more important than your performance

You are hired to do a job. Do it and try to do it well, but that doesn’t mean you owe anyone more than that.

That being said, if you want to climb the ladder you need to say, do, and act the way they want you to. It’s different in each workplace, but performing the song and dance is the best way to get ahead and it rarely has to do with how good you are at your job.

2. Use the benefits/rights you have

If you have sick days and you are sick, use them. Use your vacation days. Use your health benefits. Use parental leave. Whatever the company has been forced to give you, use them when you need them and DON’T FEEL GUILTY.

Those are your days. If they can’t live without you, it’s their fault, not yours. Don’t let your employer make you feel bad for it.

Research the laws around work in your region, look up the safety rules and laws, and don’t let your bosses tell you to ignore them.

Your health is more important than your job!

1. Have pride in what you do (even if no one cares)

There are a hundred things I do to make sure my work is the best it can be and I have come to realize that it really doesn’t matter if no one cares because I do.

Do your work to the best of your ability, but don’t expect recognition. If you get it, great, but if you’re going to survive the capitalist dystopia that is our world, you have to find joy and pride in your work. Otherwise it’ll get really boring and make you angry and bitter.

Just to be clear, bosses are not clients and clients are not bosses.

And of course #NotAllMenBosses

Stay safe and be kind,


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,


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,


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,


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.***


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,