Tag Archives: Cold

Being Sick Sucks

What’s going on guys? As is standard here, I’ve been slacking again. It’s a typical process really: I write a ton of stuff on Sunday and Monday and usually panic-post something on Tuesday, and feeling achieved I slack off for the remainder of the week. Repeat this weekly. But as you can guess given the title, I have a reason for my slacking over the past week: I’m sick. And not just sick, miserably so. Being sick is something so universally terrible and being one of those “low-hanging fruit” posts it should be really easy to write. That hasn’t been the case. Why? I think because being sick is so universally terrible that it’s hard to complain about it without adding any new information that people don’t already know. Everyone knows being sick sucks, and so what?

I was trying to churn out a post like this about six or seven months ago when I was crippled for over a week with bronchitis. Bronchitis was awful. I was used to the common cold where you feel like trash for a day or two and then get along with your life relatively easily. Where you can still summon enough motivation to survive day to day life with minimal issues. Bronchitis was a whole other level of misery that I wasn’t aware of or prepared to deal with. I physically couldn’t do anything. I’d lay in bed for hours needing to use the bathroom or make a cup of coffee but not having the willpower to actually get up. This is how my current sickness has been. A total lack of energy.

When I was beginning to get sick I tried to remain positive. I told myself I would take it easy, watch some videos, read some books, and do some writing. To be productive without being physically productive I guess. Sounds like a plan, right? Wrong. Apparently this type of sickness brings along with it such complete and total exhaustion that I found I couldn’t do anything. The task of writing seemed too strenuous somehow. Watching movies and reading requires focus and was also too strenuous. Hell, even listening to music was too much to undertake for some reason. So over the past five days I have done literally nothing. This is why there hasn’t been a being sick sucks post until now: having the common cold isn’t that bad and is nothing to write about but anything serious wipes you out to a degree where you can’t write anything at all. And once you get better? It’s hard to channel those feelings as clearly as when you’re actually sick, miserable, and exhausted.

By far the worst part of being sick is the mindset that it brings with it. Something about being sick puts the fact that you’ll eventually get old, your body will fall apart, and you’ll die directly into conscious thought, although maybe that’s just me being dramatic. Being sick to me is like a temporary version of dying, where your body falls apart and stops doing what you need it to do but in a temporary way. Isn’t this what being old is like? You see older people constantly sitting, limping around, and generally looking like shit and they usually say it’s because their bodies feel like shit. I always seem to blame something vague on them like a “lack of willpower” for not tackling a staircase like a 20-year-old, but are they even physically able to do so? No. No more than I am able to go outside and run a mile because I’m so physically fucked right now. My body won’t allow it. Being this sick makes me feel old, and it being the inevitable future that awaits me (and everyone else) is depressing as fuck. What would I do if I felt like this all the time? It’s scary to think about. I understand why people want to kill themselves in old age. If you consistently feel terrible and your quality of life is degraded far enough life might end up not having anything enjoyable to offer you at all.

I’ve found I’ve always favored a “mind-over-matter” outlook in life. Like if you have total command over your brain you can overcome anything. This was especially prominent when I was an avid runner. Running is as much of a mental task as a physical task and it’s easy to think it’s all a mental task. Like if you will something enough, or put your mind into a unique enough state you can do anything. Like the Buddhist monks that protest by self-immolation without screaming or flailing, surely we all can learn to perfectly control our bodies given perfect mental control. It’s the belief that anyone can run a marathon without practicing if they just “focus enough” or some bullshit. (If I recall correctly there was a How I Met Your Mother episode where Barney decides to run a marathon saying something like “How hard can it be? You just keep running and don’t stop.” He actually wins too.) If you really want a new PR during a race, you just do it. Sure training is important, but the most important thing is mindset. And if an 80-year-old wanted to tackle a staircase like a 20-year-old, all they need to do is “focus” or some stupid shit like that.

But this isn’t true, and being sick makes it so obvious. Imagining being sick I would think something like, “Even if I do feel bad, I can still ‘be tough’ and make myself be productive.” Like if I just put enough mental power into thinking about feeling well that I could actually be well. Or that I could minimize the effect that being sick actually had on me. But when you’re physically sick and exhausted you just can’t bring yourself to do anything. I would sit on the couch for hours feeling miserable and while knowing I could get up and take some medicine, I didn’t. Sitting on the couch was where I was and taking the tiny bit of physical effort to get medicine, even if it would bring me near instant relief, was beyond me. This is how it was with everything. I didn’t write. I didn’t read. I didn’t watch movies. I just existed in the past five days feeling like shit and just hoping to feel normal as soon as possible. It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough motivation or willpower; it was the fact that I had none at all.

I also like to imagine the opposite of being sick where you are physically okay but mentally not well, i.e. depression or other mental health troubles. Being sick your physical body won’t let your motivated mind do anything, while being mentally sick your mental state won’t let your physically healthy body work properly. The body needs to work harmoniously together and you’d be tempted to even think that the idea of mental health being separate from physical health is wrong; health is the interplay between the two and trying to separate one from the other is impossible to do. Obviously having a distinction between the two is helpful, but it’s also fun to think that it could just be a useful construct created by us humans.

I’m still sick and trying my damndest to tie all of this shit together into a good blog post. It isn’t working. I feel like I’m at about 50 or 60% maximum health here and I’m pretty sure it shows. I feel like I’m rambling. I feel like I’m stating the obvious. Do I want to delete it and start over? No, because that’s a lot of work. Even proofreading this was difficult as I discovered I repeated like two or three paragraphs without knowing it. But this is what being sick does to you I guess. I’ve always wanted to write a post about how much being sick sucks, and if it turns out to be awful, well, it’s because being sick sucks. Maybe the next post will be better. That one might be about being sick too, but more on how I brought it on myself through bad karma. Or something.

Snowblowing (and Shoveling) Sucks

I live in Illinois and we recently had a moderately bad snow storm. It wasn’t really bad because we didn’t get two feet of snow but it was still enough snow to force you to shovel the driveway. After a certain amount of snow you just can’t reliably leave your driveway or alleyway without being stuck. And one thing that sucks more than shoveling or snowblowing is when you don’t shovel or snow blow and you get stuck in your yard. Then you have to fuck around with a shovel, bags of salt or sand, and dig your car out of whatever the fuck you got stuck in. Sometimes it’s easier to just shovel the shit than risk being stuck. That’s the kind of snow we just had.

We also live down an extended driveway/alleyway (we’re not sure what it officially is to the county) that is about 100 or 200 feet long. It’s long enough that I haven’t tried to measure the damn thing so I guessed at the distance. It’s a long way though. It’s also roughly 10 feet wide so that’s about 1,000-2,000 square feet of area that has to be shoveled. That’s a lot of shoveling.

Shoveling Sucks. It hurts your back, it’s slow, and more importantly you have to do it so you can get your vehicle to actually be able to be used. If you have money you can pay some punk-ass teenager to shovel it, or if you have even more money you can pay some guy (who will price gouge you) to plow it with his truck. But if you’re poor, well, say goodbye to your back because you’re clearing it with a shovel. Better go find yourself some Tylenol and/or Vicodins.

I used to hold snowblowing as the golden way of removing snow. That was partly because I’d have to shovel all the time and we didn’t have a snowblower. Thankfully, my dad brought over his snowblower so we could clear our driveway. I was pretty excited to not have to shovel because snowblowing is better. Right?

No, because Everything Sucks. Snowblowing is cool and all but it has its some fucking downsides. By not busting your back shoveling you gain a bunch of other downsides that are nearly as bad. Firstly, his snowblower was rather tiny and only cleared about a foot and a half wide path of snow. Doing the entire driveway took some time. In deep snow it would also shit out and die where you’d have to restart it with the pull cord. That happened about ten times.

Secondly, my god those things throw snow in a reckless manner. Shoveling allows you to put snow exactly where you want it but snowblowing just blows it wherever the fuck it wants to. We had our garage door opened and despite not trying to blow the snow inside it did it anyways. (I had to shovel it clear so the door would close.) You’d end up blowing snow where you already cleared. You’d blow snow on the porch, the walkway you just cleared, onto the vehicles, and even on the doors and windows of the house. The wind wouldn’t help matters either by blowing a cloud of cold, powdery, and wet snow all over your coat and into your face. Winter is usually a cold season so snow on your face is never enjoyable.

It’s also hard to do a good job when snowblowing. I either seemed to leave a few inches of snow underneath me or end up scrapping the hell out of our gravel driveway and tossing rocks everywhere. That really is a problem especially when you consider snow (and possibly gravel) is going everywhere like I said before. There was a small but non-zero chance of tossing a piece of gravel or a rock into a car window/house window and doing damage. And what if some poor fucker was walking down the street at the exact wrong time? That’d fucking hurt.

Oh yeah, it was also a two-cycle engine meaning I smelled like gasoline and oil afterwards. Time to wash my coat…

In the end it did it’s job admirably: it moved a fuck-ton of snow quickly and in a relatively easy manner. But don’t expect a snowblower to do a “good job” especially in areas you want really clean. I still had to get shovel the stairs and the porch and around the cars where the blower left an inch or two of snow that it just couldn’t seem to violently toss onto the side of the house. It wasn’t hard work, shoveling the remainder that is, but I originally thought snowblowing was an end-all to shoveling. It’s simple: if you snowblow you don’t shovel. And if you shovel you don’t snowblow because you don’t fucking own one. I was wrong. Apparently they’re complimentary and both of them suck in equally annoying ways.

Maybe I should move where there is no snow? Maybe that wouldn’t Suck. But it probably would.