This week has been almost inhumane for me. I’d been working and planning with what I considered to be a “dream-team” of guru librarians to bring a significant and impactful virtual presence to Charlotte’s ASSL which ends tomorrow. Weekly, sometimes biweekly meetings conducted on conference calls, often times in my car as I rode home on my almost hour drive had me so pumped up for this conference. It would have been my first ever AASL.
Why was this the first since I have been an AASL member for so long?
One of my excuses over the years for not attending ALA or AASL was the lack of participatory activities and events that only an active virtual audience can bring in, and finally through this group of dynamic librarians (under the leadership of Joyce Valenza) not only were we going to bring into being a participatory & virtual experience, but we were going to be the rudders to keep it lively, fruitful, and promised for future events. My contributions were to be the videographer for the Web 2.0 Smackdown and assist with the backchanneling there, and then hang out in the unconference (Blogger’s cafe) for impromptu learning, presenting, and sharing. I was to bring a videocamera, firewire, still camera, and a body willing and able.
The “sickness” begins
Last Friday, October 23 after leaving school, I was coming down with something. Flu like but not bad enough to go to the doctor, I decided to lay low all weekend, and just rest and get rid of the crud with OTC meds. My husband was suffering too, and so we also both missed Monday and Tuesday. I returned to work on Wednesday the 28th, and worked fine the next day too. Friday (Oct 30) morning though, I woke up feeling slightly nauseated and strange. I went to school, eating nothing, and as the day progressed, my well-being declined rapidly. When I got home, I decided my internal body was saying more rest, so I camped out in front of the tv, doing very little. I did think it was odd that I still had no appetite, and had only eaten a handful of pretzels all that day. Saturday and Sunday brought misery like none other. I hurt over my entire body, the nausea became severe, and I could not even get up out of the bed. I feel sorry for my family, as no one knew what to do for me.
Time to seek doctor’s care
On Monday I decided I needed to go to the doctor, as I wanted all this cleared up before Friday, which was to be my promised first full day at AASL. But as I reached the doctor’s office, insisting on driving myself (my rationale was that if I could drive, there was hope for being okay enough for Friday) I realized I was not only weak and in pain over every square inch of my body, I was also running a fever, chills making me tremble all over.
That was my diagnosis after a series of chest xrays and bloodtests that left my arm black and blue with bruising. I was given strict orders to go back to bed, and had antibiotics, and prescription strength medicine for pain and nausea. I hadn’t even realized I was having any difficulty breathing–bedrest from Friday PM until Monday when I went to the doctor sort of masked the need to take deep breaths. My orders also included a return trip to the doctor Wednesday afternoon for a recheck.
Slow to rebound
Wednesday I wasn’t much better. The only real improvement was that I no longer had a fever. The doctor ran a few more bloodtests, though this time the lab nurses were very careful after seeing the bruising suffered from Monday, and I’m happy to report the only mark is a tiny pin prick-sized bruise this time. But to realize I would not be able to physically make it to my first AASL sent me in a downward depressing spiral. I tried to muster up the strength Thursday to take advantage of the virtual events, the B There Track Pass, and follow using flickr, Twitter, and cover-it-lives. I did manage to read along during the opening keynote given by Danah Boyd, but I did not have the strength to continuously hold my laptop for any length of time even. I was hoping I could really give a critical eval of the virtual experience, but my health would not hold out. I tired easily, and fell asleep frequently. I had made myself sit up in the living room Thursday and Friday, but I accomplished nothing really interms of virtual participation.
Easy does it
It is now late Saturday evening, Now as it is, I am down 14 pounds, and barely able to walk from the living room to the bathroom. But I am making myself go to the restroom all the way across the house to help myself rebuild stamina. The nausea hasn’t completely resided either, and so food is a forced issue. Nothing tastes or smells good. I have no appetite whatsoever, and my liquid consumption is limited to weakened tea and water, and even those don’t taste good. In the last two days, I have eaten three bites of a cheeseburger, 2 eggs over easy, a half a chicken salad sandwich, and tonight at supper about a third of a garden salad and maybe 2 ounces of sirloin (from my husband’s plate.) Everyone is forcing food on me, and pressuring me to eat. Tomorrow Mom is cooking a Sunday dinner, promising all my favorites. I hate to disappoint her, but don’t see how I’ll be able to even force myself to eat tomorrow. But my doctor assures me the appetite will return.
Bright side? Downside too.
On the plus side, I cannot even stomach the idea of a soft drink, so that is good news because in all honesty I was consuming way too much caffeine in the form of Diet Mountain Dews before falling ill. Oh, and there is very little laundry today because I mostly wore pajamas all week (though I have not been asked to help with that either.) In my attempt to attend this week, I did not let on how severely ill I was until Monday evening, which is probably what cost me my attendance. I should have gone to the doctor Friday, October 30, or maybe even the week before.
Here’s to more physical improvements by Monday when I return to work. But I plan to ease myself into that too. Doctor’s orders.
Danah Boyd, AASL 2009
by Buffy Hamilton
by Buffy Hamilton
Me sick-day 9 (sunken cheeks, hollow eyes, and bad hair, but mending)
by Cathy in Photobooth/MacBook Pro