Tag Archives: Health and Fitness

Over-Reaction is the Best Reaction

We’re self-quarantining here at Chez Tayler, but the State of Utah and the LDS Church are helping things along immensely by canceling school and church for us. We’re extremely fortunate that we already work from home, and are able to steer clear of public places without seriously impacting the family finances.

Rewinding a bit—my asthma is still on overdrive, but we’re otherwise healthy, and free from any COVID-19 symptoms. We’re doing fine. This social distancing thing is something we’re going to take seriously, though, because the best possible outcome is for us to look back on this and say “maybe we over-reacted.”

You see, the next-best outcome is a terrible one. That’s the one where we look back on this and say “It’s a good thing we did all that, but we should have done more, and sooner.” We don’t get that outcome unless neighbors¹ are dying.

The worst outcome, at least for us, is the one where we discover just how sick this coronavirus can make a 52-year-old asthma sufferer, and exactly how deadly it can be to run out of beds and respirators in the ICU. And if we can get through the next few weeks without that happening, perhaps without that ever happening, we might feel like all our precautions were over-reactions.

And the luxury of being alive to whine about over-reacting is one I plan to cherish.


¹ Maybe next-door neighbors, maybe folks from Samaria. We try to define “neighbor” in broad, New Testament terms when it comes to things like this².
² We narrow the definition quite a bit when it’s time to visit a neighbor to ask whether we might borrow a cup of sugar.

Somebody Spoke Too Soon About Being on the Mend

I’ve been sick for over a month now. The good news is that I’m not down with fever and body-aches anymore, but I’m still exhausted all the time, and my voice is a ragged wreck of a thing which is painful to use. I can only imagine what it’s like to listen to.

This has had an effect on my work, obviously. Keeping up with the comic strip, which is Job One, has been a struggle. Other stuff has fallen completely off, and I feel pretty badly about it because some of what has fallen off is some key tasks for delivering the next Schlock Mercenary book.

I haven’t reviewed any movies in a while, either. I definitely feel well enough to sit down for a couple of hours and watch something, but I don’t feel good about taking this cough into a theater.

My hope is that by the time February 29th rolls around (carrying with it the beginning of my 53rd year as a corporeal Earth-human) I’ll be back in good health, and getting stuff done again. Really, that’s all I want for my birthday.

MTHFR and Avocado Toast

I got my genes scanned, and we found cool things. For starters, we found that we could get my genes scanned by using FedEx to send a Q-tip to a laboratory. The 21st century has its problems, for sure, but it’s really, really cool, too.

MTHFR looks like an abbreviation for something impolite. It isn’t—not unless you think words like methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase are impolite. The salient point here is that the MTHFR gene, which codes for the production of that methylwhatsit folate stuff, is not working quite right for me. Most folks can get the vitamin B12 they need from folic acid supplements. I don’t do very well at turning folic acid into usable B12 folate, so I either need to go back to nature and eat lots of leafy greens, or I need some special folate supplements.

Did you know that avocados have lots of B12 in them? And I like them a lot more than I like kale.

We found other things, including a strong indication that my current antidepressant, bupropion (Wellbutrin), isn’t the best choice for me. Over the next few weeks we’ll be changing my meds, feeding me some methylfolate supplements, and putting more avocados in my diet.

Probably not on toast, though.

 

 

 

“No, This is Not an Oregon Trail LARP”

From Tuesday through Friday my family and I are participating in “Trek,” which, in the local dialect of Mormon-speak, is interpreted to mean “hiking and camping with handcarts, hymns, and harmonicas.” Just like our pioneer ancestors. I joked that this event was a cross between a Mormon Pioneer cosplay and an Oregon Trail LARP, but I’ve been told that this is not the case, and no, I’m not allowed to pretend to have died of dysentery so I can go home.

If it sounds like I’m making light of it, that’s because I make light of pretty much everything. Especially things of which I’m frightened. Camping in general has lost its appeal for me. Hiking? Sounds suspiciously like work. Doing them together, so that after a long hike you get a crap bed and food you carried and zero long soaks in a hot bath? Let’s just say it’s not Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup math.

I am not, however, a heartless, spineless fool who cannot see the benefit in these things. Sandra and I have been given the opportunity to walk the trail our ancestors walked one-point-six centuries ago, and we get to do so with all four of our children. The window of opportunity for this activity is pretty much this year, or never. Our kids are growing up and growing out. If we want to be miserable, all six of us, together in Wyoming, this is the time to do it.

Am I making light again? Perhaps.

We won’t have “electronic devices” with us, which is Trek-speak for “no phones, no music-players, no movies, no laptops, no getting any work done Howard, and if you want to take pictures the camera must only be a camera, not a smart-something.” If I want to tweet anything I’ll have to write it by hand in my journal, and carefully count the characters on my fingers to make sure I don’t use too many.

I am issuing an electronics exemption for my Fitbit, which I will be wearing for the whole trip. I have it on good authority that the pioneers had 1) odometers, and 2) timepieces. Besides, this is the damaged one (the replacement from the manufacturer is still in the packaging) and the repair scars I’ve inflicted upon it exemplify the old saw about thrift:

Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without.

PioneerFitBit

That particular aphorism probably dates from after the time period in question, but only because during the time period in question you didn’t need to say such a thing, because it was what everybody did without some pithy rhyme as a reminder.

In this spirit, everything I’m wearing, carrying, or packing is newly acquired for this trip EXCEPT for the anachronometer on my wrist. Especially the shoes, which I have already broken in and stress-tested on a 22,000-step day. If my ancestors had crossed the plains in boots like these they really would have sang as they walked.

The point is that I’m going dark for four days. We’ll be back on Saturday, and I’ll be refreshed and ready for my presentation at the Salt Lake Public Library.

DiedOfDysentery