SUNDAY POST – LIVING WITH LONG COVID #9

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This is my update on how I’m doing while coping with Long Covid now it’s been 11 months since I first got ill, which I’m adding to my Sunday Post blog, hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer.

Overall, it’s been a better week. That black anger that had lifted after my reflexology appointment had the good manners to stay away, which was a huge relief. If I’m battling a miserable mood, I don’t have the option to jump in the car, get lost in my writing, or walk it off along the beach so I was more than pleased to find that I was mostly reasonably upbeat throughout the week.

However, while I’m mentally and emotionally far more energetic, I have been struggling with feeling tired all the time. I wake up still feeling weary and often drop back off to sleep after breakfast. But even if I don’t, it has been a struggle to get out of bed much before mid-afternoon. Once in a while, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but I’ve been concerned that this is becoming a habit. Annoyingly, as the day wears on I tend to gradually feel more lively so that by the evening when I should be winding down again, I’m wide awake which makes going to sleep a real challenge. We had my grandson staying over from Tuesday through to Friday, which is always a treat, but even that didn’t shift my weariness. I had a chat with my reflexologist and we agreed that this coming week, I’ll make it a target to try to get out of bed before midday.

And there was another bit of progress. While I have at times felt well enough to drive short distances over the last 11 months, it’s been a while since I’ve been behind the wheel. So when Himself needed to visit his mother on Thursday, rather than rearrange my reflexology appointment, I decided to drive there. It isn’t very far and I felt well enough to have a go. What I hadn’t realised is that there are three lots of roadworks that have started up between her house and mine! Fortunately, I don’t find driving too draining – although I was very tired by the time I got home again.

So, it’s mostly been a good week. However, I’m no longer naive enough to think that being able to drive again is a major breakthough. I’ve been here before, several times in fact. So while I’m pleased that right now I can manage the occasional short journey, I’m not going to assume that it’s a major sign that I’m the road to recovery. Or start taking Twinkle out on daily runs. Not yet. In the meantime, I’m still pacing my daily activity levels, still keeping my activity journal, still meditating and trying very hard to live each moment with as much acceptance and contentment that I can muster. Thank goodness for books!

This week I’ve read:-

Magic Uncorked – Book 1 of the Midlife Magic Cocktail Club series by Annabel Chase
The only magic word Libbie Stark seems to know these days is ‘ibuprofen’ thanks to a headache-inducing job, two teenagers, one ex-husband, and a deadbeat boyfriend—until the death of a friend brings unexpected consequences. Libbie and the other members of her weekly cocktail club are shocked to discover that their eccentric friend was a witch and that they are the recipients of her magical assets.

Libbie would’ve preferred to inherit an island beach house, especially when her life starts to unravel. With the help of the other Dread Pirate Witches and a handsome lawyer with a head of hair that Fabio would envy, Libbie strives to understand her gift and dig herself out of the hole she’s created, one cocktail at a time. The more her life changes, however, the more Libbie realizes that maybe the end of midlife as she knows it is exactly what she needs.
This enjoyable contemporary read is more about the challenges of dealing with modern life as a woman no longer in the first flush of youth, with a paranormal splash thrown in to help. I enjoyed watching Libbie’s transformation. Although I’m a bit uncomfortable that cocktails seem to play such a key role in creating her new life, having seen at close quarters just what havoc alcoholism can cause. Overall, it’s a largely light-hearted, feel-good story featuring a likeable protagonist. 8/10

Bewitching Bitters – Book 2 of the Midlife Magic Cocktail Club series by Annabel Chase
Kate Golden is living the dream in Lake Cloverleaf—a handsome husband, three wonderful kids, and a career she loves. As a motivational speaker, she devotes her time to helping people achieve their goals, to become the best versions of themselves. Apparently, the best version of Kate now includes being a witch.

Of course, it would be nice if she could actually do magic instead of being a witch in name only. Her best friend Libbie is mixing magical cocktails like she’s Tom Cruise in that bartender movie. So far, the only residual effect of Kate’s cocktail is a hangover. So Kate is thrilled when a magical cocktail recipe finally appears in her book—until she drinks it. Suddenly her run of good fortune takes a left turn and her life begins to spin out of control.
As you can see, despite my misgivings, I immediately picked up the second book in this series as I’m struggling with a really bleak sci fi read. I don’t want to abandon it, so I’m fitting in more light-hearted books alongside. This was a more challenging story with a far less charming protagonist, though I grew to really like her. I found this story took some intriguing turns and I will probably be reading more of this series in due course.
8/10

Scot Mist – Book 4 of the Last Ditch Mystery series by Catriona McPherson
March 2020 and Operation Cocker is a go! The owners of the Last Ditch Motel, with a little help from their friend Lexy Campbell, are preparing to support one another through the oncoming lockdown, offering the motel’s spare rooms to a select few from the local area in need of sanctuary.

While the newbies are settling in, an ambiguous banner appears demanding one of them return home. But who is it for? Lexy and her friends put a plan into action to ward off the perpetrator, but the very next night, a resident disappears and a message scrawled in human blood is found. As California shuts down, the Last Ditchers make another gruesome discovery. They tried to create a haven but now it seems as if everyone’s in danger. Is the motel under attack from someone on the outside? Scary as that is, the alternative is worse by far.
This one was my reading highlight of the week. I loved it. The eccentric found family coping with the gathering catastrophe that is the pandemic makes a memorable backdrop to this quirky murder mystery. I loved the humour and warm-heartedness – though I hasten to add that the murder is treated with appropriate respect and shock, more so than many whodunits I read, these days. Full review to follow. 10/10

Shrill Dusk – Book 1 of the City of Magic series by Helen Harper
Charley is a cleaner by day and a professional gambler by night. She might be haunted by her tragic past but she’s never thought of herself as anything or anyone special. Until, that is, things start to go terribly wrong all across the city of Manchester. Between plagues of rats, firestorms and the gleaming blue eyes of a sexy Scottish werewolf, she might just have landed herself in the middle of a magical apocalypse. She might also be the only person who has the ability to bring order to an utterly chaotic new world.


I’m a huge fan of this author and having just completed one of her fantasy series – I decided to dive into this one. It is certainly a really tense page-turner, with plenty of Harper’s hallmark humour – but watching Manchester becoming engulfed in a magical apocalypse, while still dealing with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t quite the escapist fun I was looking for. So I’m probably going to continue with this series once my life gets easier. 8/10

Ouroboros Episode One– Book 1 of the Galactic Coalition Academy by Odette C. Bell
Have you ever thought “just my luck!” after dropping your communication device for the third time in a week? Cadet Nida Harper, a recruit to the United Galactic Coalition Academy, has – and worse. So imagine her surprise when she is detailed for a mission to the dark and mysterious planet Remus 12. Strange things are afoot on Remus 12, a dust-bowl which according to legend bursts to life once every five thousand years – with deadly consequences for the galaxy.

So join Nida as she deals, using all her accustomed style and flair, with the presence of a strange and uninvited guest in her own head, a commander who is convinced she’s the Coalition’s worst recruit in one thousand years, and an uncomfortably handsome Lieutenant Carson Blake.
There were some moments of real drama in this classic sci fi alien encounter story. However the protagonist is such a clumsy idiot, I cannot believe that she would have made it through a single term of a supposedly elite Academy. And as for her being allowed anywhere near a tricky and important investigation on an alien planet? Nope. Not happening. However, I did enjoy the gathering tension and the setting. 7/10

Black Hat, White Witch – Book 1 of the Black Hat Bureau series by Hailey Edwards
Remember that old line about how the only way out of the organization is in a pine box?
Well, Rue Hollis spent ten years thinking she had escaped the Black Hat Bureau, no coffin required. Then her former partner had to go and shatter the illusion by showing up on her doorstep with grim tidings. As much as Rue wants to kick him to the curb, she agrees to hear him out for old times’ sake, and what he says chills her to the bone.

The Silver Stag was the most notorious paranormal serial killer in modern history, and Rue brought him down. Now a copycat has picked up where the Stag left off, and the Bureau wants her on the case. She beat the Stag once. They think she can do it again. But they don’t know she’s given up black magic, and she’s not about to tell them. White witches are prey, and Rue is the hunter, not the hunted. Always. But can she take down the protégé of the man who almost beat her at her black witch best? If she wants to keep her new town, her new home, her new life, then she has no choice but to find out.
I’m not a huge fan of murder mysteries featuring serial killers, especially those who prey on young girls. But the first person narrative hooked me in, as she’s a black witch trying to reform – and that was different enough to make me read on. And I grew to also appreciate the supporting cast, who are all quirky and eccentric enough to make me want to know more about them. Nicely done. 8/10

Black Arts, White Craft – Book 2 of the Black Hat Bureau series by Hailey Edwards
After a black witch pitched a hissy fit in Hollis Apothecary, Rue got stuck cleaning up his mess. That was the easy part. Repairing the damage he inflicted on Camber and Arden? That makes Rue wish she could bring him back to life just to kill him again. Slower this time.

While Rue is setting her new life back to rights, Clay and Asa are off working a case, but it soon becomes clear that they’ll need her help to catch the vicious creature preying on locals in a small Tennessee town. She’s got her hands full at home, but Rue has no choice. She must report for duty to honor her agreement with the director. Or else. What she discovers leads her deeper down the rabbit hole of Black Hat Bureau corruption and promises that, no matter how grim the past few weeks have been, the worst is yet to come.
Yes… this seems to be a new habit of mine – reading two books back-to-back by the same author. It’s something I hardly ever did before I was ill. But once I finished the first one, I discovered I wanted more of these entertaining characters. I love the slow burn romance as Edwards has managed to bring some unusual aspects into the quirky courtship that makes it both funny and slightly poignant. And sexy… It’s an interesting dynamic. And the ongoing criminal investigations into brutal monsters and their sadistic handlers get increasingly tricky. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. 9/10

AUDIOBOOK – Art of the Hunt – Book 2 of the Dragon Gate series by Lindsay Buroker
Our heroes have escaped with the ancient dragon gate, rekindling their hope of finding allies on other worlds, but powerful enemies are right behind them. Unfortunately, Jak and Jadora must decipher the gate’s secrets before they can use it.

That’s a difficult task with mages from numerous kingdoms hunting them, Lord Malek stalking Jadora through magical dreams, and a new threat lurking deep within the jungle.
Faced by overwhelming odds, Jak and Jadora may be forced to work with the only man who can keep them alive: Malek. But what price will they have to pay for his protection?
This audiobook, at over 20 hours long, represents excellent value – but that didn’t stop me taking only a week to listen to it as I wanted to find out what was happening next. Buroker is a fabulous storyteller – her plots invariably providing plenty of surprising twists and changes of scene, which I love. And this one is no exception. I’m delighted that I’ve also got the next book in the series already lined up on my reading list. 9/10

This week I have posted:

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* – Review of The Shattered Skies – Book 2 of The Cruel Stars trilogy by John Birmingham

*RE-RELEASE* – Review of Bad Gods – Book 1 of the Babylon Steel series by Gaie Sebold

Sunday Post – Living with Long Covid #8

Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I’m very aware that right now, it’s a very one-sided relationship and I don’t know when I’ll be able to fully reciprocate. In the meantime, do take care and try to keep well.

22 responses »

  1. Sarah, I am so sorry you are going through all this! That exhaustion is something in common with Valley Fever which I had last year for months. May I ask what variant of covid you had? I only ask because I feel as if we are not getting enough information about covid and as if we have to collect info on our own!!! No need to answer if you don’t wish to. I hope you have a full recovery before too long!!!!

    • Thank you for your kind concern, Luanne:). And no – I absolutely don’t mind you asking. One of the reasons why I decided to post an ongoing log of what is happening, when I’m well enough, is that there isn’t all that much information and if I can add to it, or help anyone else in the same situation by recounting my own experience, then I’m delighted to do so.

      The variant of Covid-19 that we both went down with is known in the UK as the Kent variant – but worldwide it’s better known as the B.1.1.7. It hit us both hard and I believe it’s the variant currently sweeping through the US – but we became ill before we had been vaccinated. One of the drivers at my husband’s depot died of it and three more were hospitalised.

      • Oh my! That is so scary. So happy to be vaccinated. I think our Omicron that is here now is B.1.1.529! Kent might be a variant off that one? I really hope you feel totally back to normal very soon. This has gone on long enough! XO

      • Thank you for your kind good wishes, Luanne:)). I think Kent was around before Omicron, given that it’s now nearly a year ago since we got sick. And it’s Omicron that’s now sweeping through the UK now. And yes – I would love to start feeling as if I was on the road to recovery!

  2. Your day-to-day victories might look like small steps, but as long as you remember the old adage about learning to walk before trying to run, you will see over time that this collection of small steps is the headed toward full recovery. Never lose faith or, as they used to say in Galactic Quest: “Never give up, never surrender!” 😉
    My best, as always…

    • Ah – thank you, Maddalena! Yes – I do need to recall that mantra, especially as it’s one of my favourite films:)). And remember that I am steadying the ship… that also helps.

    • Thank you for your kind encouragement, Anne:). And yes – I do recommend Hailey Edwards’ series. This is the first time I’ve encountered her writing and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it:)).

  3. I love that you’re feeling a little more upbeat. And it does sound like you’ve had some good books to keep you company! Hope this is a good week for you😁

    • Thank you, Tammy. I need to keep remembering the image that my sister gave me – right now I’m a ship in a storm-tossed sea and my only job is to keep my ship steady and stop it being overwhelmed. That helps me keep focused on what I need to be doing right now:)).

  4. I remember a couple of years ago I had what I describe as exhaustion thanks to work and went to bed for three weeks. I pretty much couldn’t get out of bed I was so tired. It was terribly disorienting and I can’t imagine how I would have coped if it had gone on longer so really feeling for you. Take care x

    • Thank you so much for your kind empathy, Emma. Yes… It feels a bit unreal that I’ve been stuck here for the last 11 months – and difficult to imagine what my life was like before this started.

  5. Sending virtual hugs your way. Driving is a big step and I can imagine you were exhausted after that. I’m glad that you are feeling a little more positive and I hope this week is going well. Not being able to get lost in your usual stress relievers has got to be frustrating but you’ve come so far and I know it’ll get better.

  6. I’m so glad to hear you were still able to go to your appointment! I’m sure it made everything a little easier to be able to drive yourself. ❤

  7. I don’t share your experiences with long Covid (my sickness was very mild compared to yours), but the way I see it, it’s like losing weight or recovering from a serious injury. There are no major breakthroughs. There’s just slow, often invisible progress. You exercise or adjust your diet and… nothing happens. You just keep going. And then, one day, you look back, and you realize how much you slimmed down. (This is actually something I have experience with.) Same with recovering from injuries: it might seem like the therapy offers no progress, but over a long time, it actually improves things.
    With this in mind: you are doing great. Six months ago you probably wouldn’t be able to get to the car, let alone drive, right? This is the invisible progress. I’m sure if you get back a year or even half a year, you will find other traces of that progress.

    By the way, I have no sufficient knowledge of how the long Covid works or how long it really takes to recover (and why it takes that long, what are the factors in recovery, whether full recovery is possible, etc.), so these are just my thoughts related to the mindset of recovery and progress rather than this ailment itself.

    • Thank you, Joanna:). As it happens – it’s a bit more complicated than that. Back in August, before I was bedridden for 14 days, yes… I could drive. In fact, I drove Himself for his first vaccination in Chichester – something I wouldn’t consider doing at the moment. But after that relapse, I lost so much ground in what I could and couldn’t do. And while I am recovering, I’m still nowhere near as capable as I was back then. I think that’s part of the reason why I do get disheartened and a bit afraid. There is no certainty about my recovery – or how long it will take. I refuse to accept that I won’t recover at all – though there are many people still struggling with Long Covid after two years of being ill. And drs simply don’t know enough to be able to give any answers.

      • Oh, I didn’t know that. I expected I didn’t know the whole picture, but I didn’t think you went through something that’s pretty much “starting over” the process of recovery.
        I love your spirit, though! Even if you’re feeling disheartened or mention struggling with depression (I really hope spring will be super-nice in England, just for you!), you still refuse to give up or even give in more than you have to.

      • Thank you:). I feel as if I’m in a struggle for my life – not that I think Death is the option, but that if I allow myself to wallow too much, or get too disheartened, then I simply won’t get better. And I want my old life back! So it isn’t an option to give up…

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