Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas, An Update & An Apology

Hello to all my friends, followers and readers. It has been another interesting year, hasn't it?! While I was hoping that this year would be a better one than last, it too provided many challenges. I know that I am not alone in that but here is a bit of an update on how it has been for myself and my family.

I seemed to bookend the year a bit with battling a couple of infections. One at the end of February and one at the end of October. Both took a lot out of me but I recovered from each of them. As always, I also had my regular health issues to deal with but managed to handle them for the most part. 
One of the health issues that increased this year was my anxiety and propensity to become depressed. For the last number of years I have worked very hard to not fall back into the black depression I had when I first became disabled back in the early 2000s. These last couple years, it has been an increased challenge to stay mentally healthy. Though, I think that this year has been even more of a struggle than last, on that front. 
A part of that has had to do with worry for my parents. My dad is now 81 and my mom is 76, and each has their own health issues to deal with including cancers that each have battled. My dad also has lymphodema which affects his ability to feel his feet. Due to this, he has had a number of bad falls this year. The two most recent ones saw him having to be taken to the hospital. 

We had the opportunity to go and visit my parents for the first time in two years at the end of November. We had all finally been double vaccinated. There was no way that I would visit them before I had my second jab as a big fear of mine was that somehow I would pick up the bug travelling and pass it on to my parents who both are immunocompromised. Plus, my father was just finishing up a bad cold at the time that had been going on for three weeks already, so his immune system was low.
Instead of our scheduled four days we ended up staying six days which was wonderful but the time went by much too fast. Thankfully, dad's cold symptoms were almost completely gone as well by the time we departed. A week after we returned home my dad started to feel ill again and two days later, had another bad fall which put him back in the hospital for the 2nd time in two months. Unfortunately, it wasn't only the ramifications of the fall that he had to deal with this time around. He ended up testing positive for covid. We were all stunned because my father hadn't been out of the apartment since he was released from the hospital at the end of October. Sure he had had a bad cold but he had finally healed from it by that time. I was terrified that someone my hubby and I had brought the germs into the apartment with us but neither of us got sick. In fact, my hubby ended up randomly being tested for covid when visiting his sister at a nursing home so we knew that he didn't have it, and with my immune system, there is no way that I would stay asymptomatic. So, we figured that one of the people who deliver groceries, one of the PSWs who enter the apartment, or one of the purchases that came into the house must be how it entered his system. We'll probably never know.
He was admitted to the hospital on the 5th of December; and in addition to covid, he was also diagnosed with pneumonia. He was put on high oxygen, given antibiotics and medications for covid. He had a horrific cough that once started took a long time to dissipate but his spirits remained good. While mom managed to remain symptom free for a couple days, it was inevitable that she become sick as well. At 2:00 a.m., on Dec. 8th, the struggle was too much so she called an ambulance. Later that same day, against the wishes of their family doctor, my dad was sent home. There was no way he should have been sent home yet, and the fact that he was there alone was alarming to me which of course further spiked my anxiety. I spent the next three days desperately trying to convince my father to call an ambulance and head back in as he had progressively gotten worse since his release. He was seriously struggling to breath and could barely walk at all. He finally relented on the evening of Dec. 11th and it was a good thing, as he was considered critical the next morning. He ended up in the same room as my mom and she was so worried that morning watching as the doctors worked with him. He now had bacterial pneumonia on top of the covid and his lungs were struggling. Once again he was back on oxygen, this time at 80%. It was a scary couple of days waiting for him to improve. While mom didn't sound any better to me, she was released on Dec. 14th. My thoughts at the time were focused on worrying about dad in the hospital and my mom alone at home. Thankfully, either a PSW or a member of the Covid Team came by to the apartment each weekday to check on her. There was very little she was able to do for herself as her main complaints were exhaustion and weakness. Dad remained on oxygen, though it was decreased a little each day, until they released him on the 19th. Both are extremely weak, exhausted and dealing with the lingering effects of covid (and for my dad, the after effects of having a bad pneumonia as well). Thankfully, for now they continue to have a personal support worker or someone from the Covid Team, checking on them daily throughout the weekdays but it is definitely a challenge for the two of them to look after themselves properly when they are so weak. It has become difficult for them to take care of themselves during normal times, never mind right now. They have been told that it will take MONTHS before they are back to their normal selves.
While the year had been tougher in general for me, this past month has been almost unbearable. Living so far from them has certainly taken its toll. As a result, most of my time was spent dealing with this current crisis. I checked in on each of them daily and helped them from afar with stuff as I was able to. 

As you can well imagine, this also has limited my time on the computer. As such, I had to change things by postponing certain events and challenges with the three teams and challenge blogs that I manage. It also means that I will not be able to complete my annual 12 Days of Christmas. Believe me, I went back and forth on this decision over and over again but finally decided that my mental health has to come first. So this is where the apology comes in. While I typically have less than 15 people join in each year, I know that most of the participants really look forward to it. I do as well, as it provides me with an opportunity to get to know players a little bit more each year. It is my fondest hope that I might be able to do it or something similar later in the year but if the past two years are any indication, I can't make that guarantee. So, my sincere apologies for not being able to provide The 12 Days of Christmas this year. I also apologize that I haven't been as active with freebies again this past year. Time just isn't on my side at all anymore it seems.
Now that all being said, I did manage to find the time to create a free paper in honour of Christmas. I'm not sure about the rest of the world but I know that most of us in Canada are once again not having the Christmas that we are normally used to. However, even in these strange circumstances I truly hope you have (or have had, depending on your location in the world) a wonderful day with the people in your household, and if you're in a location that is doing well, time with close family and/or friends.

As always, it is my firm belief that everyone should get at least one present on this day. So here is my Christmas gift to you...
This digital paper is 3600 x 3600 pixels, in jpg format and published at 300 dpi. Credits include: Situjuh (via Creative Fabrica). To grab it, click the download button to be taken to a download location. In the zip folder you will find a copy of the paper, its preview sheet, the credit information and my terms of use which are standard to all my folders.

Happy holidays all! It is my fond hope that each of you and your own families continue to stay well wherever it is you live in this big wide world of ours.