How are you doing?

A simple question and yet not so simple.

Different shades of feeling well

Do you ever just think to yourself, “what’s the point in trying to explain?”? Does the person asking this question really want to know how I’m doing? And even if they do, there’s most likely no time to answer it in full. Last night when I was laying in bed trying to go to sleep, I started to think about this question and how I would answer it.

I could feel my heart racing in my tight chest and hear a faint wheeze in my exhales. In general, I’d say that it was a decent night for me. I’d had a “good” day. It was filled with writing conference stuff, putting away the groceries I had delivered to my house, and folding laundry from the day before. I even made dinner without having to take a break or sit down.

I mostly felt well, despite feeling a change in my chest and head every time I stood up. It’s a hard feeling to describe. I didn’t really get dizzy but there were times I had to sit back down and there were times I couldn’t remain seated in the chair at the table and I had to go recline in bed, but thanks to laptops I could remain in the pre-conference zoom meetings and enjoy all the writerly discussions.

That is until I received a call from my kids’ school. Whenever you see that school name pop up on your phone a feeling of dread makes your heart stop for a second. Which kid are they calling about? And what did they do this time? But then you realize their calling about another kid you were planning on babysitting after school because you’re listed as the emergency contact and they haven’t been able to get ahold of his mother for the last six hours to let her know he has to quarantine now because he was exposed to Covid-19. All you can do is tell them you think she’s teaching a class but that she was supposed to pick the kids up from the park after school. But then they informed me they can’t let my kids walk to the park with him and now I have to make other arrangements to get them home.

But no big deal. They can stay in late bird while the oldest kid goes to his club and I only have to drive to the school once to pick them up. Maybe they’ll even get some homework done in late bird. Now there have been times I haven’t been well enough to drive to the school and back, which is why other people have been helping pick my kids up for me. And when your symptoms come and go so randomly, you always ask yourself, am I well enough to drive right now or do I need to call one of my friends who have volunteered to help whenever I need them? I think I’m okay. So I didn’t call. And I was. But while I was driving, I could still feel my heart racing and had to remind myself it was going to be okay. I could react to the cars around me if I needed to. We made it safely home and after a rapid test, our friend tested negative. He still has to quarantine to make sure that it stays negative but yay for a negative test.

Now, I’m hoping today is going to be another good day. I woke up with a feeling of a weighted blanket across my chest even though it was just a down comforter. And I stood up too fast, causing me to wait for my body to stabilize before walking to the kitchen to pack lunches. And by the end of making the lunches I was ready to sit down again. But I’ve had a lovely hour and a half writing this blog and mostly feel well. That is apart from a tight throat and chest. Maybe when I actually start standing up and doing things today that will change. I never can tell. But why not test it out? Eh?

My blood pressure sitting here is 107/72 with a heart rate of 68. So not bad, although 72 is a little high for my normal 64. I got up to grab a bowl of cereal and my new blood pressure after a minute of standing up hardly changed at all. My heart rate did jump up to 80 but that’s not bad. If it jumps up less than 20 beats per minute I call it good though if I had remained standing it might have gone up more. And then of course once I was back in my seat that’s when I started to feel stuff happening in my chest so I took a third reading, and my new blood pressure was 117/77. So yeah, unpredictable but in general if the higher number doesn’t drop or increase by more than 20 and the lower number by ten we’re doing good.

And just to show you how medium and worse days can manifest:

These are other random measurements from different days. The two with the shopping cart were on the same shopping trip. I now have my groceries delivered most of the time.

Okay, so I had totally meant to post this yesterday but I started not feeling well. That’s how my life goes these days. I’ll be doing really well and then I’ll have several hours of not doing well. I was able to pick the kids up from the park but I had to park the car out of view which forced me to get out and walk a couple hundred feet so the kids would see me when they arrived. By the time I got to the park, from the car, I had to sit down somewhere. It felt like the blood pressure in my legs was not good. I don’t know how else to describe it. Oh, and my heart rate was up to 124.

Also, this time, making dinner was a struggle. I had to change my original plans of hamburgers and french fries to chicken and rice. You’re probably wondering why the change? They sound so similar, but the prep and amount of time standing are vastly different. I had an already cooked chicken that I could just stick in the oven to warm up and once the rice was simmering I could sit down. I could feel the start of that feeling, you know the one where your body is heavy and doesn’t want to remain upright, yeah, that feeling was getting stronger. That fatigue almost made me go to bed early but I pushed through even though I ended up getting lightheaded whenever I stood up the rest of the night.

So, how am I doing? “I’m doing all right. How about yourself?”


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