A Case of the Blahs
Health & Exercise,  Life in General

A Case of the Blahs

Last week, I had my annual physical. As I’m put in an exam room, the nurse always asks me questions. This time, she asked one she hasn’t asked before. Have I felt down or depressed during the last two weeks? Normally, I would say no. But this time I said yes, I actually have.

As a result, she asked me to fill out a questionnaire asking more specific questions. I noticed later the clipboard with the questionnaire was hanging from the wall. My guess is, a lot of people are answering this question the same way I did. But I know mine is not just COVID related, although that is even starting to get to me.

My doctor clearly didn’t think it was a big deal, as she didn’t say anything. She knows how my year has been.

The blahs

I did recently have about a month where I just didn’t feel like myself. It coincided with a period of time when my head wasn’t feeling quite right. I even had a few minor spells. I wouldn’t call them vertigo, but my head felt weird and I had to lay down until I felt better. Nothing like the vertigo I’ve experienced in the past, so I’m thankful for that at least.

I suppose it’s normal that when you don’t feel well physically, your mental state is affected. This stuff with vertigo has always made me depressed because it messes with my life. It makes me feel that I have no control over how I’m going to feel every day, and I hate to waste a single day!!

What’s funny is, I think I figured out the cause. The day this all started I had stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things on my way home from an appointment. I decided to buy a bag of Reisens, the chocolate covered caramels. My dad loves them and we buy them for him, but I thought they sounded good. I ate a few that afternoon and bam, that evening I had the weird feeling and had to go to bed for a couple of hours.

Over the next four weeks, I continued to eat the Reisens. Tim even bought another bag!! And I still felt icky with the blahs and a foggy head. Finally, one day I made the connection. I think the Reisens were causing my problem. I don’t know if it was too much sugar, too much caffeine, or something else. I stopped eating them and we took what we had left to my dad. I’ve been fine since.

I knew my diet could play a big role in how I feel but I’ve never identified anything so specific. I’ve been working hard to cut down on my sugar intake, so maybe this was too much of a shock to my system? Who knows.

I also keep wondering if it’s all mental and thinking that was the problem was enough to make it go away. Strange how our minds work at times.

My annual physical

I also wondered if some of it was due to my upcoming physical. I don’t normally worry about that, and I didn’t think I was. I always have my lab work done ahead of my appointment, so my doctor and I can discuss the results in person, instead of through a letter after my appointment. With their online portal, I now see the results before she does.

I was excited for her to see I’ve lost some weight since I was last there – 11 pounds. For years, I’ve been battling high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Now, those are the areas where I come out well.

These days, I have to worry about Stage 2 chronic kidney disease, osteopenia, and glucose. If I look at my lab results, I freak out a little. Meeting with her always reassures me. And even though I know that, I’m always just a little nervous.

She says Stage 2 chronic kidney disease doesn’t mean anything. I take a diuretic for my blood pressure and vertigo, which over time, affects the kidneys. But I had an ultrasound a year ago and my kidneys are normal. She says everyone “my age” will start to see some kidney disease. My creatinine levels have been high for a while and we’re managing things. I drink tons of water so I don’t know how I could possibly drink any more!!

Same with osteopenia. My calcium levels are high enough and after having a bone density screening a year ago, my fracture probability is less than 1%. Again, it’s common at my age. I sure don’t like hearing things about “my age”.

And the glucose? I know I need to cut back on the sugar. I’m trying!! She said to just watch the carbs but my levels are fine. I want to believe her but I also know this isn’t something to mess with. I need to try harder.

Facing my mortality

I have to admit, all these issues with my parents has forced me to think about my own age and how I’ll eventually be dealing with the same things. It seems like they were fine and over night, they were old. Is that how it happens?

I know I’m on the downside of my life, but I also think I have many more good years. But it’s not easy when I see my dad struggle, to not think about where my life’s headed.

I need to make sure I don’t spend the rest of my life thinking about my age. There are so many things yet to enjoy. I’m hoping this is also a result of COVID, since we’ve been so restricted.

Things are looking up

Yes, this has been a rough year. I think some of my issues could be due to the fact we aren’t traveling to Florida this year. This will be the first year in thirty I haven’t spent at least a week there this time of year. We not only canceled our two month trip, but the week long trip we scheduled at the time we canceled the long one.

I’m happy to say, this past week, I’ve been feeling so much better, both physically and mentally. I actually have some things to look forward to, which always helps.

Friday and Saturday I’ll be participating in another virtual Stamp Joy. I’ve been looking forward to this for two months since it was announced and I signed up. I have my studio all organized and ready to go.

Tim bought Doobie Brothers concert tickets for the last night of the Iowa State Fair. I can’t remember when our last concert was, but I know at least two were canceled this past year.

My book club soon might be able to meet in person again. We expect to all be fully vaccinated by the end of April.

Tim and I have each had our first vaccine shot. I think this makes me the happiest as it’s a sign we’ll be able to resume some of our normal activities. Maybe even dinner out for my birthday?

We’re spending Easter with my family and going to church in person later that day. We had to make a reservation as they’re limiting the numbers but it will be our first time there in over a year.

My cousins from Louisiana are coming in mid-May. We haven’t seen them for what must be over 45 years. I think my mom’s passing finally motivated them to make the trip. I’m so excited to see them.

Fortunately, the blahs don’t usually last long. We’re all subject to them from time to time. What we’ve all endured this past year is definitely a good excuse.

Excuse or not, my goal is to stay as physically healthy as I can and continue to occupy my mind with positive thoughts!! That’s all any of us can do, right?

10 Comments

  • Trudy Huisman

    This post is so timely. The blahs have hit me hard over the past 3 months. I even asked my daughter if I could pick up my grandson from school M-F just to get out of the house! 🙂

    I finally have my love of reading back. BTW, This is the Fire by Don Lemon is a great read.

    My anxiety has been higher than usual which worries me because my seizure condition is triggered by anxiety and lack of sleep. But all ok so far!

    A close friend of mine struggled with depression and isolated himself for about 2 months late last year. He thinks Covid worries played a big part. Thanks to a compound pharmacist out of Canada, my friend is hisself again.

    I look forward to more sunny days like today, seeing people’s faces, hugging my friends and family, etc. Cute story: I stopped at a convenience store recently. I hate when I’m smiling at someone but my mask is covering it so I told the check out person that I was smiling. She said she could tell from my eyes. Made me smile even more!

    You take care. Things are looking up. I had my 1st shot with the 2nd one scheduled for April 10th!

    • Retired Introvert

      I’ll have to check out that book. Always looking for something new.

      I think many of us have the COVID blahs. I do hope we’re on the tail end of all of this. Normal will actually feel strange for a while!! But I’m ready.

    • Sharon Burton

      Very well written. I can totally relate to the realization that we are aging and how this affects are health. I was sorry to hear about your mom. Always my favorite person at Drug Town. Have a good Easter.

      • Retired Introvert

        Thanks Schmidty. I don’t want to focus on my age but it’s tough when it seems you’re constantly reminded of it. I still have too much to do with my life!!
        Happy Easter to you!!

  • Patricia West Doyle

    I did a happy dance when I got our first vaccine appointment. It felt like I won the lottery.

    I’ve been feeling a bit of the blahs on and off all winter; I’m pretty sure mine was Covid-related. I just missed doing things with other people. Now, with fully vacinated by mid-April, I can plan a few dinners with others. And since we are making the Big Move in May, I am so very thankful for that!

    I just had all the lab-work done also but have not had the conversation with the docter. New primary care one… and wondereing what he’ll say about my cholesterol and Tri-glycergides both being up, still. So yeah, I can relate to your concern looking at your numbers!

    It’s wonderful that you have some planned things now to look forward to…. except for the going-away dinners, my focus is on packing and un-packing!

    • Retired Introvert

      Moving is usually pretty all consuming for me. It takes so much planning and happens in various stages. Not something I love to do. Good luck!!

      Winter and COVID were not a good combination. I’m sure many people have felt like I have. Probably worse, as I have a pretty high tolerance for isolation. I think a lot about what my life would be if I hadn’t married Tim and it makes me so grateful that I haven’t had to go through this alone.

      I bet the medical professionals have never seen so many people excited about getting a shot!! We’re all doing happy dances!!

  • Steven Johnson

    Hi Linda,
    Thank you for your great update, writing, and willingness to ‘lay it alll out there’ for your readers/followers and fans!
    Fascinating how our perceptions and realities change over time.
    I had a great conversation about this topic in the last few days with my soon to be turning 25 year old daughter, Taylor. Btw, she has always been one of your Mom’s biggest fans, and your Mom followed her Christmas letters and pictures growing up, fiercely. They met in the store and in our Mpls showroom many times.
    I am recovering from a brutal fight with Covid, one where I ended up in the ER and then hospital for 3 days. My recovery has been listed as miraculous, and I even tested negative on Friday. It’s been 2 weeks since I was in the hospital.
    Thanks for your writing as our mortality has become extra clear these days… Celebrate every day of life with all of your Blessings and Love!
    I’m thankful for the depth of your Mom’s love for so many, including my family.
    All the best to your Dad also.
    Thanks again!
    Steve J

    • Retired Introvert

      Oh my, Steve, I’m so sorry to hear about your fight with COVID. But glad you’re on the mend. I hope you don’t have any lingering effects from it. It can be nasty stuff.

      Take care and I hope to meet you and Taylor some day. We’re still planning to have a service for my mom sometime this year.

  • Marty

    A neighbor of mine, a man in his late sixties, recently suffered from a terrible bout with an inner-ear infection. This man is constantly riding his bike, doing aerobic walks, visiting our community’s fitness center, etc. But he got hit with awful dizzy spells and nausea that he said came out of no where. I do wonder how much of this could all be a bit of cumulative covid fatigue.

    We’ve received our first shots also. Our second ones will be the second week of April.

    Our tickets to see Steve Hackett (guitarist for Genesis) was postponed a second time, now scheduled for 2022. There’s an option to ask for a refund, but I choose to be an optimist. Postive thoughts, as you suggest!

    • Retired Introvert

      Vertigo is no joke. I feel bad when I hear it’s happening to others. I hope your neighbor is doing better.

      Our Elton John concert, canceled last June, was rescheduled to March 2022. They didn’t even try to have it this year. I just hope Elton can still perform that far out!!

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