The Long Goodbye (To Covid)

This past Friday marked the two year anniversary of my positive covid diagnosis. I had planned on posting a little something to mark the occasion, and to talk about how I am still, all this time later, dealing with the dreaded, ever mysterious, so-called long-covid symptoms; partly to inform people of why my output has been so sporadic and why certain projects that were supposed to be finished or launched by now haven’t been, and partly to to just bitch because it is really goddamned frustrating and annoying. However, as if to offer up a perfect demonstration of what’s been going on, I spent the majority of the last 5 days in bed, completely exhausted, with what felt like every bone and muscle in my body aching at least a little bit.

This was pretty much a daily occurrence for me from the end of March 2020 to late May of last year. Then I received my second Moderna shot and, fortunately, my long-covid symptoms mostly disappeared, but not entirely! I was able to get back to some semblance of normal, fully functioning activity, but the symptoms would still pop up after I had been particularly active for more than a week or two at a time. Just when I felt like I was on a roll and about to get back to normal, I would get completely drained of energy and my body starts to seize up. It’s not a normal stiffness or achiness like I’ve ever experienced, but feels like my body beginning to lock in place and shut down. At times I can even feel it in my jaw and tongue, to the point that swallowing is an effort. 

Not only is this just unpleasant to experience on its own, but it has been a colossal pain in the ass for me, because: while my body constantly needed to slow down or stop, my brain and the bills didn’t. I needed to work both to keep a roof over mine and Mickey’s heads and food in our bellies, and I also really, really wanted to work on all these new ideas I kept coming up with. To find myself unable to do either with any sort of consistency has been one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Also, with bipolar disorder, where you’re constantly dealing with fluctuating energy levels and struggling to sit still or focus, throwing this on top can be, to use a phrase coined by Shane MacGowan, a real bitch’s bastard’s whore (the irony of this all happening just as I finally learned how to manage and live with being bipolar is both brutal and hilarious). Two years ago, when I tested positive, I was expecting a long, shitty weekend before going back to normal and getting back to business. Instead, I have probably spent more time in bed in the last two years than I did the five before that. I don’t care how many e-books, streaming services, or porn one has access to, that gets really old and really boring after awhile.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, I finally got myself some health insurance again and have been able to start seeing a doctor about all this. The entire covid experience: the virus, the inactivity, the living out of a suitcase in various hotels, the getting fat, the pouring coffee, Red Bull, ibuprofen, and booze down my throat all day just to power through the pain and fatigue and get any work done at all, those all really did a number on me. My cholesterol is through the roof. My vitamin D is in the basement. My blood pressure and sugar are high. So now I’m on a daily exercise program, a strictly regulated diet, and taking a fistful of pills with my morning coffee. Hopefully, just taking care of those things will alleviate most (I doubt they’ll get rid of all) of my symptoms and I can get back to doing what I want to do, and being who I want to be, on a full-time basis again.

I think that the two straight weeks of daily workouts combined with the lower calorie intake is one of the reasons I was laid up again these past few days (when I would still drag my ass out of bed for some sit-ups and push-ups in the morning before crawling back under the covers for the day). I probably have to build up my strength to get used to that. I am hoping, though, that this does work and that it’s the beginning of the end of my affair with covid. I’m sure that, like any bad long-term relationship, occasional reminders will continue to pop up long after the breakup, but I’m not going to say hello if I see it out at a bar, or like any of its Instagram posts.

I’m not looking for any sympathy or pity. I’m mostly writing this to explain why my production has been so sporadic and why jobs I took on and new projects I’ve announced have not been finished or launched yet. And because it is a giant pain in the dick and bitching about it feels nice. The hope is that what I’m doing now does alleviate most of this and get me fully armed and operational again. My goal now is to get as much done as possible in the next week or two, get every drawing and painting that was supposed to be finished weeks or months ago done and off my plate, and, by my birthday at the end of next month, to have a number of other new pieces done and all my new planned projects and ventures up and running (and spitting out dimes).

As you can see, I have piles of work to finish in addition to the piles of pills to take. There are also a dozen or so other pieces that have been started that aren’t pictured, not to mention a list of about 150 art and design ideas to do on the papers in that clipboard, two weekly podcasts I want to launch, regular live drawing and painting videos each week, Yankee commentary videos and interviews, and a children’s book or two to illustrate. I really, really hope I can get to it all soon. 

So, once again, thanks for following. Thanks for all the support, encouragement, and patience. Thanks for the business. Please continue to be patient and continue to follow along. I’m doing everything I can to make it worth your while. There’s some real cool shit coming. If not, there will always be cute dog pics.

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