October 13, 2009

One Week Down

Hi everyone (anyone?),
Sorry I've been away so long!  My last post was, I believe, Saturday 10/3 when I had come down with a cold.  I started my new job that Monday, and this is the first chance I've really had to return to you:)

So, thank you to everyone who prayed for me, because by Monday my fever had disappeared.  I made it through not only the first day, but the first week of work in tact!  I've successfully gotten up and dressed every morning without crashing, made it through every day so far without falling asleep at the office, and had an abundance of other little victories such as navigating SEPTA (our public transit system).  I know you, someone who reads my blog, understand that these achievements are harder-won than they should be.  On the subway, I usually have to stand for half the ride home, and now that I've started taking the bus instead of driving to the terminal, I have to stand outside in the cold (our weather took a bitter turn)...but so far I'm doing well with it!  Actually, I kind of like taking public transportation now...it can be a pain when I have a lot to carry, but I usually get a seat on the way in to work and the bus home, and letting someone else have the headache of maneuvering through traffic so I can sit in a mild brain fog is a real treat.

Now, being in my second week, I think I'm going to begin encountering the real test of getting up each morning...the first week was largely adreniline, and now the reality of changing my entire internal clock and not having the ability to rest mid-day is starting to set in.  This week I am unassigned at work, which means I sit in the base office and do virtually nothing all day, so staying alert isn't that big of a deal.  However next week I will begin work on my first client, and I will need to be on my game by then.  (Getting my first paycheck in 4 months this week will help that greatly, I'm sure:D.)  This weekend I have a full roster of things I need to do, so I'm really going to have to discipline myself to get them done during the day and sleep at  night consistently.

I don't know about you, but I find that if I have to get up at a certain time during the week, I have to continue that schedule over the weekend as well, which isn't that much fun.  I tried to "sleep in" on Saturday until 8AM, but by 7:50 I had been lying there awake so long I couldn't take it any more and got up.  It's frustrating when I'm awake for like 4 hours by the time Shawn is ready to consider waking up, but on the other hand it opens some other doors, such as a Saturday or Sunday morning yoga class I've been considering taking (especially now that I probably won't be able to do the Thursday night class regularly).  So, hopefully this will be a good thing.  I also suppose I could use that weekend morning time to try to do some food prep for later in the day/week so I can actually cook meals to bring in for lunch (buying lunch every day in the city is expensive, and for the same money I can do a weekly yoga class and even get a manicure every week if I want).  Furthermore, once I start on a client and don't have this excess of downtime during the day to work on my parish's youth ministry projects, I'll need those weekend mornings that much more. 

Well, that's basically where I'm at at this time.  I'll have to let you know more specifically how things are going once I get to a client and truly begin to do the job I've been hired for.  In the meantime this week, I'll try to do one or two other topic-specific posts like I had been doing.  I miss you all, write to me!

October 3, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

I tried to get rest.  I slowly adjusted my wake-up time over a week so my body could reset it's clock gradually instead of jolting it into a new pattern.  I picked up some healthier snacks so I could satisfy my need to nosh without as much guilt or weight gain.  I even scheduled when I'd run each errand through the week so I didn't have to stress about forgetting anything I needed to do.  I did everything I could think of to prepare myself for to start my first real fulltime job on Monday in the best health I could.  But the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

I've got another cliche for you...you know Murphy's Law?  Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong?  Well I've realized I have my own law...Jen's Law.  Things will go wrong that you didn't even know existed.  Of course there's also a variation of my law relating to my personal rain cloud that travels with me, but that's for another day.

I don't mean to sound so dramatic...I know people start new jobs every day.  But this is a BIG transition for me.  This is my first REAL job, my first career job, my first fulltime job.  This is the one where I have a lot to lose if I foul it up.  Also, I'm not going to it right after graduation or when I'm still accustomed to running around all the time, but rather after 3 1/2 - 4 months of down time.  I'd be foolish to underestimate the scale of this transition, and set myself up for a flare.  So, I analyzed everything I knew how and developed a plan to minimize as many factors that threaten my wellbeing as possible.  Also, as a result of my flu paranoia, I've been pretty consistent with hygiene habits including carrying and using instant hand sanitizer frequently.  BUT IT DIDN'T MATTER.  Yesterday I came down with the beginning of a chest cold.  Chest colds are my arch enemy...I get them all the time, and they frequently balloon into bronchitis and other respiratory infections. 

I had had a minor, off-again-on-again sore throat for a few days, but chalked it up to an increased post-nasal drip from the change in seasons (I always get that when we switch seasons).  I tried to take a few precautions...drinking extra fluids such as tea and keeping my hands clean.  But yesterday afternoon I suddenly erupted with a scratchy cough, flushed feeling, joint aches, and this indescribable but unmistakable sensation in my upper airway that is a hallmark of a cold for me.  The best thing I can do for myself when I feel vulnerable like this is keep my throat warm, so I immediately nabbed one of my mom's scarves and swaddled myself with that and an extra sweatshirt (and today I'm wearing a turtleneck in 70 weather).  On my way home, I picked up TheraFlu (Cold and Chest Congestion formula) as my nasal stuffiness and sniffles kicked in.  I will say this, TheraFlu is my new best kept secret...it works quickly and effectively, but when they say take it every 4 hours they are not kidding.  At 4 hours on the dot, and in a matter of minutes, the medicine wears off and all my symptoms return.

Anyway, I took two doses by the time I went to bed, and woke up feeling slightly more human.  However as I moved around and my body began functioning for the day, I found out my symptoms were still there, and surprise - I registered a fever!  Even when I feel like I'm melting I don't usually register a fever on a thermometer, and my regular temperature tends to run a bit lower than 98.6...and today it was up to 99.3.  Clearly not a terrifying flu fever, but still a DEFINITE metric for a real cold. 

So, now my plan is to down a ton of fluids, keep an eye on my temperature (which does quickly return to near-normal levels with the TheraFlu), and try to avoid any risks.  Tomorrow I have to "work" one of our Teen Masses (the teen ministry 'hosts' a parish mass once per month by having teens do as many ministries as possible, and I have to help run things with the teen ushers), so I'll have to not only be up and out but interacting with people at that time.  Today is our local spirit day, where our town closes off the main street for a parade, awards, vendors, food stands, and entertainment.  This is my first year in this apartment, and I've found that the festivities extend all the way down to my house...so as I'm sitting here nursing my cold I'm listening to all sounds of a town-wide block party outside my window.  Talk about feeling bad for myself.  I'm even debating venturing out for a few minutes during the peak of my TheraFlu-induced relief, though I'm trying to resist the urge if I think it might put me at greater risk. 

I just wanted so badly to at least have the advantage of starting this job in stable health.  But this is notoriously a tough time of year for me, with weather that can't decide if it's warm or cold, arid or humid.  I guess I'm going to just have to plod ahead with every backup plan I know, and a WHOLE lot of prayers.