Wednesday, August 12, 2020

News From Our House - August 12, 2020 - Storms & More

As I wrote in last week's update, we got through Tropical Storm Isaias with a 2-day power outage and were happy to be back to "normal life." Little did I know ...

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

If I read about our life this past week in a novel, I would think, "Well, it's a good story, but it's not believable." Probably most of us with chronic illness have felt this way at one time or another!

After that 2-day power outage from the tropical storm, life did return to normal but not for long. I went grocery shopping Thursday and restocked our fridges and freezers (including more ice cream!). I was in the middle of writing a post for my book blog Friday afternoon, when a sudden, violent storm hit, and we lost power again. It seemed even worse than the tropical storm that came directly through, and we later found out that four inches of rain fell in less than 30 minutes, and a tornado with 105 mph winds came through very close to us!

We settled in for another day without power but hoping it would come back sooner. Nope. We were without power for five days! It got hotter and more humid with each passing day. We were drenched in sweat at all times, which was especially challenging for my son and I with ME/CFS, as we have both become very heat intolerant. As my son said, the best approach was to just move as little as possible! He read four books last week, my husband and I scrambled to try to save as much food as we could in coolers (with daily trips for more ice), and we all waited for the power to come back any minute ... We slept in the basement, but it was even warming up down there after several days.

Sleeping in the basement
Our cell service was also partially out, since the first storm, so we could sometimes get texts out but calls were almost impossible (including calls to the electric company!). Finally, my husband found a small generator on Monday (they had been all sold out since the tropical storm). It wasn't enough to run our fridge/freezer, but we could run fans--what a marvelous invention!--and my husband hooked up the server so we got WiFi back.

Tuesday morning, the power was still out, but at least we had WiFi, I thought ... until I tried to start up my laptop. Nothing--just a black screen. Bizarrely, my husband's laptop wouldn't start up, either! That's just crazy--they were not connected in any way and both died on the same day. I could hear mine running but couldn't see anything, so I drove to the nearest Apple store (ahhh ... air conditioning!). Sure enough, the display screen wasn't working. They tried some on-site adjustments but finally decided they had to send it out for repairs/replacement: 5-7 days! That same day, my cell phone (a very old talk-and-text-only cell phone) started malfunctioning, and I realized its on/off/home button wasn't working. But, by noon on Tuesday our power came back!

Hurray for our new generator ... and for fans!

Looking on the Bright Side

It's been quite an ordeal, but of course, we were fortunate that no one in our family was hurt, and our house and cars were not damaged. One evening as the four of us ate dinner (cooked on the grill) around the kitchen table in the dark, with a little camping lantern for light, I remarked to my family that if I had to be quarantined and stuck without power, I was glad it was with them! The days spent alone in the house together brought back memories of the early days of chronic illness here, when three of the four of us were sick, and we got used to enjoying each other's company almost exclusively. Those days were very, very rough, but they definitely brought us all closer together.

The four of us on vacation last year - luckily, we enjoy each other's company!
Also, with my laptop in the shop, my phone faltering, and our cell service shaky at best, I finally gave in and joined the modern world. I went to Verizon today and got my first smartphone! Since I use a MacBook, I got an iPhone SE. Of course, all my contacts are in my laptop somewhere in New Jersey right now, but I'll get it all set up when I get that back. My mother is the most excited because she loves to send emojis, GIFs, and bitmojis, and she couldn't send them to my old-school phone. My sons are also glad I joined the 21st century.

Feeling Fine

Ironically, with the massive stress and intense heat, I have actually been feeling better than I have in many months! I think I finally hit the sweet spot with my antivirals, knocked back the HHV-6 enough, and got past the Herx reaction to the feeling better part. I am still only taking a half dose (half a pill of Famvir a day), but my energy has been good--great today, in fact, with the a/c back on! I managed yet another restocking trip to the grocery store today, after throwing away three big garbage bags of food this morning.

What I'm Reading and Watching

Just in time for the power outage, I started my next book for my Big Book Summer Challenge, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Yes, it is a hefty one! I am absolutely loving it so far, as I always do with Dickens--both laughing out loud and exclaiming at the horrifying bits. On audio, I just started listening to American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, and it is wonderful already. Boy, was I glad I had moved a new audiobook from my laptop to my iPod just before my laptop gave out! You can see what all of my family has been reading during this crazy week at my book blog.

Since we had no TV, cable, or WiFi for most of the week, all of our usual shows that I mentioned last week were on hold. We're getting back to them now. During the power outage, we reverted to our camping habit: watching DVDs on my old laptop. Our favorite? Dexter! Yes, we are well aware of the irony of watching a show about a serial killer (though Dexter is a good serial killer) in dark campgrounds late at night! We are on season 6 and enjoying it very much. It definitely helped to provide a little treat at the end of each hot day for my husband and I.

So, that's been our mad, mad world here! 

How are YOU doing this week?

And what are you reading, watching, and enjoying?

I am happy to report that my problems with comments not showing up on this blog are partially improved--many more are showing up now after a change to the settings (I ran a bunch of tests last week). They are still not all coming through, but give it a try! You can also comment or chat with me on Twitter or at my Facebook page. I will post the link to this blog post in both places.

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