SUNDAY POST – LIVING WITH LONG COVID #16

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

Thank goodness little Eliza and my daughter have now recovered from their initial medical emergencies. Eliza is back at nursery school and I was able to spend some time with her to see she is back to her normal, bouncy self – more of that later! However my daughter has had to return work while also juggling the needs of three children all at very different stages, so she is at full stretch. To the extent that we’ve had our Boomerang Boy staying with us again.

After his first full week at his new school didn’t go very well, we offered to have our younger grandson to stay over for this last week. Himself is on annual leave and we have the time to give Oscar the support he needs to cope with such a major change, mostly by simply being there. It worked out really well and by Friday he was much happier and more settled, having made a friend and feeling less overwhelmed. He helped make tea, played Wordle with me and contributed to discussions around the table during the evening meal. He is such a star and we love his company – as you can see by the nonsense going on between Himself and Oscar when I was trying to take a photo!

Under normal circumstances, that would be my major news for this post – but this time around I’ve other tidings to share. I am definitely on the road to recovery! My energy levels have suddenly jumped up, so I don’t get exhausted so easily. Last Saturday Oscar and I (he came to stay last Friday evening) had a sleepover at my sister’s to listen to a nightingale singing in a nearby wood. She made us a lovely roast dinner and then we played cards – we taught Oscar to play knock-out whist and then he beat us both at Dobble. That level and length of interaction would have been unthinkable only a few weeks ago – but I not only coped, I was thoroughly enjoying it.

I am not yet fully recovered, as I’m still dealing with nasal drip, tinnitus, persistent pain in my upper right arm and chest that wakes me up at night. In addition I still have a swollen thyroid and lymph glands in my neck. And I am horribly unfit – unsurprising as I have spent a large part of the last fourteen months too tired to get out of bed. But I am so thrilled and massively relieved! I’d begun to fear that the almost constant tiredness constantly dogging me was going to be with me for the rest of my life. On Wednesday evening, I was able to join a Zoom meeting with my Writing group and got such a welcome… It was lovely to see everyone again, as the last time I’d been part of the group was 3rd March, 2021.

So on Thursday evening, Oscar’s last night with us, we asked if we could also borrow the other two children and celebrated my improvement by taking the grandchildren to The Dragon, their favourite Chinese restaurant. Even little Eliza came along – and without her mother, who couldn’t make it as she was busy with an online meeting. It was one of the best nights of my life. We got a lovely greeting from the staff, who remembered us even though we hadn’t been there since 2019 – and the children were wonderful. Eliza was as good as gold and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The food was fabulous and the service was brilliant. When our waiter spotted that Eliza was determinedly spooning up the plum sauce she was supposed to be sharing with her older brother, he brought two sachets of tomato ketchup just for her, tore them open and squeezed them onto her plate and invited her to dip her cucumber slices in that instead. The older children were chatty and easy-going, clearly enjoying the food and always polite – I’m so proud of them!

The highlight for me is that even a fortnight earlier – I simply couldn’t have envisaged feeling well enough to have taken part in such an outing. So it was a huge deal for me to be there. I hadn’t been anywhere for a meal since we went away for our wedding anniversary in September 2020. I’m very aware that I still have a long way to go – and I’m not going to rush ahead with a Graduated Exercise Programme, for example. That would probably tip me back into a relapse – after all, it has taken over a year to get here. So if it takes that length of time to regain my fitness, without running the risk of becoming bedridden again – that’s fine by me😊. I have a hospital appointment on Monday – fingers crossed it won’t find anything sinister!

This week I’ve read:-

Hummingbird – Book 1 of A Charade of Magic by Helen Harper
The best way to live in the Mage ruled city of Glasgow is to keep your head down and your mouth closed. That’s not usually a problem for Mairi Wallace. By day she works at a small shop selling tartan and by night she studies to become an apothecary. She knows her place and her limitations. All that changes, however, when her old childhood friend sends her a desperate message seeking her help – and the Mages themselves cross Mairi’s path. Suddenly, remaining unnoticed is no longer an option.

There’s more to Mairi than she realises but, if she wants to fulfil her full potential, she’s going to have to fight to stay alive – and only time will tell if she can beat the Mages at their own game. From twisted wynds and tartan shops to a dangerous daemon and the magic infused City Chambers, the future of a nation might lie with one solitary woman.
I’m a Helen Harper fan – and this one didn’t disappoint. It was a real page-turner and I’m now looking forward to reading the next one in the series, as I’m desperate to discover what happens next.

Murder in the Manor – Book 1 of A Lacey Doyle Cosy Mystery series by Fiona Grace
Lacey Doyle, 39 years old and freshly divorced, needs a drastic change. She needs to quit herjob, leave her horrendous boss and New York City, and walk away from the fast life. Making good on her childhood promise to herself, she decides to walk away from it all, and to relive a beloved childhood vacation in the quaint English seaside town of Wilfordshire.

Wilfordshire is exactly as Lacey remembers it, with its ageless architecture, cobblestone streets, and with nature at its doorstep. Lacey doesn’t want to go back home—and spontaneously, she decides to stay, and to give her childhood dream a try: she will open her own antique shop.

Lacey finally feels that her life is taking a step in the right direction—until her new star customer turns up dead. As the newcomer in town, all eyes are on Lacey, and it’s up to her to clear her own name. With a business to run, a next-door neighbor turned nemesis, a flirty baker across the street, and a crime to solve – is this new life all that Lacey thought it would be?
This is one of the books that Himself acquired – I was intrigued by the blurb and was in the mood for something a bit different from my usual fare. There is much to commend it – I liked the gutsy can-do attitude of the heroine. But timescales were ridiculously compressed (a week to get a temporary Visa to live in the UK????) and this offering couldn’t make up its mind if it was a cosy mystery or a cosy second-chance romance. 7/10

Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings
Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue—until they encounter the research vessel Gallion, which claims to be from 152 years in the future.

The Gallion’s chief engineer Uma Ozakka has always been fascinated with the past, especially the tale of the Fortunate Five, who ended the war with the Felen. When the Gallion rescues a run-down junk freighter, Ozakka is shocked to recognize the Five’s legendary ship—and the Five’s famed leader, Eldric Leesongronski, among the crew. But nothing else about Leesongronski and his crewmates seems to match up with the historical record. With their ships running out of power in the rift, more than the lives of both crews may be at stake.
This enjoyable timeslip space opera adventure has some interesting things to say about how History slants events to suit those writing said History. I grew very fond of the Fortunate Five and found myself rooting for them. 8/10

Herrick’s End – Book 1 of The Neath by T.M. Blanchet
Ollie’s only friend disappeared a few days ago, and now, he’s frantic to find her. But he doesn’t have much to go on until a mysterious note arrives which reads:
“Still looking for your friend? I know where she is.”
Unfortunately for Ollie, the trail leads to the last place he’d ever expect.

Somewhere dark.
Somewhere deep.
The kind of place where magic spills like blood, vengeance is merciless, and escape seems all but impossible.

Worse still, it soon becomes clear that someone-or something-was expecting him.
Now, time is running out.
If Ollie has any hope of ever seeing home again, he’s going to have to summon every last scrap of courage, smarts, and tenacity he can find. And none of it will matter if he can’t get some help. Fast.
This intriguing offering has been labelled YA, but it certainly didn’t come across as a YA read to me. I thought the story was going in a certain direction – when it suddenly turned into something completely different. And I was hooked. I was also intrigued by the strong morality story that underpins it, putting me in mind of Pilgrim’s Progress – although there isn’t any religion in this offering. Review to follow.

The Lending Library by Aliza Fogelson
When the Chatsworth library closes indefinitely, Dodie Fairisle loses her sanctuary. How is a small-town art teacher supposed to cope without the never-ending life advice and enjoyment that books give her? Well, when she’s as resourceful and generous as Dodie, she turns her sunroom into her very own little lending library.

At first just a hobby, this lit lovers’ haven opens up her world in incredible ways. She knows books are powerful, and soon enough they help her forge friendships between her zany neighbors—and attract an exciting new romance.
But when the chance to adopt an orphaned child brings Dodie’s secret dream of motherhood within reach, everything else suddenly seems less important. Finding herself at a crossroads, Dodie must figure out what it means to live a full, happy life. If only there were a book that could tell her what to do…
I wanted to like Dodie – but she’s the type of heroine that frankly gives millennials a bad name. She giggles and pouts over men as if she’s a mid-teen, turns her back on a friend looking for support and suddenly decides to adopt a baby without having any of the resources to do the job properly. Thank goodness the baby’s grandparents saw through her charm and realised just how flighty she is. I read on in fascinated horror to see how else she was going to mess up her life. Though given her addiction to every kind of sweet food on the planet, it might just be she’s making decisions in the throes of a sugar-blitzed brainstorm. 6/10

AUDIOBOOK Wolfbane – Book 9 of the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver, narrated by Sir Ian McKellan
It is early spring, a turbulent, perilous time of sudden storms, frozen river fractures and drifting ice. Fleeing from a demon intent on devouring his souls, Wolf is swept out to Sea far from the Forest and his pack.

The ocean too teems with danger: sea wolves, sharks and hunters of the deep, and the demon is gaining ground. Torak and Renn must race to save their pack-brother, battling the harsh, icy waves and merciless torrents. If they can’t find Wolf in time, the bond between them will be severed for ever…
What a treat… In this prehistoric world, our ancestors have formed a deep spiritual bond with the creatures around them. Paver depicts their hunter-gatherer lives with realism and respect – and I recommend you also listen to the Afterword, where she describes the research she has done to back up aspects covered in this gripping adventure. But then, you’ll probably want to listen on, anyway. With McKellan’s masterful narration, I’d listen to him reading aloud the soccer results. Review to follow.

This week I have posted:
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Hummingbird – Book 1 of A Charade of Magic series by Helen Harper

Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
Weakness: Blood in the Water and Narcissist Sharks

50 Word Stories: Plain Bad

Friday Faceoff: Sunny and Bright – a cover that is predominantly yellow

Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I’m 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.

40 responses »

  1. I am glad you are feeling better, although your challenges are definitely way more than anyone should have to bear! I am annoyed by people who say COVID is a hoax, and there are people like that!

    I like the sound of your books, and especially the character in The Lending Library. I have known people like that one!

    Have a great week.

  2. Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful few days and how exciting for you that you now seem to be on the road to recovery after all this time.
    And you’ve managed to pack in lots of reading too. Hope the week ahead is just as good for you and the family.
    Lynn 😀

  3. Dearest Sarah! So glad to hear you are feeling better and that your energy levels are finally picking up again. I will keep you in my thoughts that it remains that way.

    What wonderful grandparents you are!!! Sure Oscar appreciates all you’ve done.

    You had some great books! I have Murder in the manor and just need to get time to squeeze it in as well! LOL!!

    Take care of yourself and we’ll chat again soon!

    Elza Reads

    • Ah – it’s lovely to hear from you:)). And thank you so much for your kind words. We are very lucky to be so close to our lovely grandchildren – I know as they grow up and get busier Gran and Papa won’t feature so much in their lives, but it’s been a privilege being able to step in from time to time when necessary.

  4. Sarah, I am thrilled to hear you were able to have such a great week and time with your grandchildren. Like you, I am glad to be able to do more things but horrified about how unfit I became while in pain. At least our minds were free to continue to learn and explore.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

    • Thank you for your kind words! That’s very true, Anne. Although I’ve also been coping with quite severe brain fog, which thankfully is now much improved:)). I’m determined to get rid of the excess weight and improve my fitness – but I’m going to take it very gently:)).

  5. That is amazing that you did so well this week with your energy levels and stamina! Woo hoo!!! And so great that you were able to help out Oscar and take all the kiddos out for Chinese.

    • Thank you, Jinjer:)). Yes – I am so relieved that I made such a big breakthrough. Even if I end up spending more time in bed – this proves that I won’t continue to be stuck as a semi-invalid:)). And it was lovely to be able to spend time with the grandchildren again.

  6. I was so happy to see your comment! I haven’t been here in an age to visit and I feel so bad! And I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with Long Covid. That’s terrible. But it sounds like things are getting better and that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing too about your time with your grandson. 🙂

    The Chinese restaurant sounds wonderful! And sending lots of positivity vibes your way that everything continues to improve!

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes, Greg! And please don’t feel bad – my presence has been spotty, depending on how I’ve felt. It’s just lovely to touch base with everyone now I’m feeling more energetic:).

  7. I am so happy for you! Long Covid is awful, no matter in what form it happens or how long it takes … It will take a bit to gain your fitness level back. Take your time and listen to your body. Thank you for the great pictures. Love the one that shows you husband doing nonsense with your grandson *smile* Take care and do everything step by step.

  8. Oh Sarah, such good news. I am thrilled that you are doing better. How wonderful to be able to go out and eat with your grandchildren after so long. Your comments about The Lending Library made me laugh. Have a great week.

    • Thank you, Carla:)). I’ll treasure that meal to my dying day – it was such a very special occasion! And I’m glad my views regarding The Lending Library gave you a chuckle – there were times when reading the book when I couldn’t decide whether to howl with laughter, or throw it out of the window…

  9. There is indeed some Definite Improvement, indeed! (and it deserves to be written with capitals, because… you know… celebration!!!). I’m very glad for these news, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that these improvements will keep on in geometric progression 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Maddalena:)). And I’m especially grateful, as you’ve stuck alongside me throughout this whole journey! I’m also keeping my fingers crossed…

  10. Sarah, I am so happy to hear that you are improving . . . finally!!!! What good news! And how wonderful that you are able to “be there” to help with the grandchildren. I would like to offer that to my daughter, but no grandkids haha. I will be taking care of the new kittens, though.

    • Thank you, Luanne – it’s a huge relief to finally feel more like my old self. I’d almost forgotten how I used to be. And particularly as I’ve been missing out on spending time with the grandchildren – especially little Eliza. Best of luck with the kittens:)). And I hope you are having a great weel.

  11. This is such great news! I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that this finally keeps moving in this positive direction for you. As you know, I had covid about 6 weeks ago, and today was the first time I had taken Lulu for a walk where my heart rate was normal and I wasn’t winded walked up the hills here. It finally felt normal. Goodness, even as a milder “cold-like” virus now it can stick around for far too long. I’m hoping it’s also at an end for you too. Hugs!

    • Ah – thank you, SJ! And I’m delighted that you are finally on the full road to recovery. It really can knock the stuffing out of you, even after having had the vaccinations. And yes – it’s SUCH a relief that the terrible exhaustion is lifting. I’d begun to fear that it would define the rest of my life!

  12. This post is so full of wonderful news! I’m so glad that Oscar was able to get the time he needed to have an easier time of it. And I’m so glad to hear you are on the mend! I’m so glad you’ve been able to get out and have a bit of fun. I hope you are having a wonderful week!

    • Ah… isn’t it always the way??? I’ve been battling with another relapse that has left me in bed for long periods. Hopefully though, I’m now improving!

    • Ah – thank you so much, Rae!! I really appreciate your support – especially as I promptly had a major relapse, triggered by a long, exhausting hosptial examination… Thankfully, they didn’t discover anything sinister. But it left me absolutely wiped out for a week and a half. Hopefully I’m now getting back on my feet again:)).

  13. Wow, this is great news! Even if you have ways to go, remedying those 14 months of inactivity, it seems that you’re on the right path that won’t have any more major pitfalls. I’m so happy for you!

    • Thank you, Joanna. As is often the way – I’ve had another relapse since I wrote that post. But that is inevitable with this illness – it’s been the same right from the beginning, one step forward, two steps back… However, the brilliant thing to take away is that I was able to actually go out and feel like my old self again. I’d forgotten how to feel so full of energy and fun.

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