Coming back to life!

I have a serious piece of lifestyle advice here. Read it carefully, internalize it, make it part of your soul:

Do not catch pneumonia.

I spent vast swaths of March lying in a heap on either my couch or my bed, staring blearily at my computer screen while it showed several seasons of a really, wonderfully, fantastically, beautifully terrible television show (Supernatural), sucking down about 8000% daily value of vitamin C, listlessly knitting washcloths (plaguecloths), and coughing until the Andromeda galaxy was spinning behind my eyelids.

It has been years, years, since I have been sick for more than a couple of days at a time. I was not adequately prepared for the physical draining. The lesson to take from all of this is that when you go to the hospital because you’ve blacked out on the subway into work, and when your doctor makes a face when you tell her you want to go back to work on Wednesday, and when you call your boss on Tuesday evening and can barely speak three words at a time, take the week off. And start back up on half-days. Slowly.

I did not do that. The only intelligent thing I did, the entire time I was sick, was get myself off the subway that Monday morning when my vision starting going dark and go sit down on a bench until the ringing in my ears stopped. I went back to work on Thursday and spent several days having to give up part way through and drag myself back from the office to collapse into bed. My office was in the process of moving and reorganizing so I spent hours hauling boxes and unpacking things instead of sitting quietly, restfully, at my desk. There was a whole lot of getting halfway back up the hallway from the printer and having to stop and sit in a chair in the lobby until my legs stopped feeling like Jell-o.

Having less than no energy even before you go to work means that you frankly couldn’t give two hoots about what food you put in your body as long as it is warm and doesn’t aggravate the coughing, so all the careful eating I’d been doing since November got shot all to heck and I gained back the 10 pounds I’d lost. I spent a couple of weekends leaving my apartment at 11 am to run an errand, getting back before 1 pm, and having to go straight to Nap Land because I was so exhausted.

PAXEast fell a couple of weeks ago and I very carefully nudged myself through it. Having motivation (board games!) to keep moving around a little longer than I wanted to at any given time definitely helped rebuild my stamina levels – I managed my first 30-minute walk that week and didn’t have to sleep at the end (although my legs did feel a little shaky). I’m working my way back up to my fall walking levels (about five miles a day) as carefully as I can, since the last thing I want at this point is for my allergies to throw a festival on all this tree pollen and open up a pathway for another chest infection.

Seriously, friends, don’t get lung crud.

Two months have passed since I started feeling less than awesome and I am still dragging myself along. Joyously, I have had a few distractions to keep me from dwelling on the frustrating recovery process. One of these is a game I went seeking at PAX: Forbidden Desert.

Forbidden Desert is a gorgeously diabolical game. You and your friends are achaeologists, sent to excavate the ruins of an ancient desert city and recover a solar-powered flying machine. Unfortunately, your helicopter crashed and now reassembling the flying machine is the only way your team can escape the desert. The sun is beating down, a sandstorm is moving the landscape and burying you in piles of ever-deepening sand, what you thought was an oasis might actually be a mirage, everything is terrible and you are going to die.

During a quiet moment at PAX, one of my friends and I settled against a wall and started playing. A stranger walking by stopped in her tracks, shouted the name of the game, and brandished her own copy. “I’ve played it five times before and I loved it,” she said, “but then we finally won today and so I decided today was the day I could buy it!” Her record was 1 for 6.

Currently, I’m at 0 for 11.

This game is incredible. It is designed by the same man who created Pandemic, which is another cooperative game of everything-is-terrible-and-you’re-going-to-die, a strongly-favored go-to game amongst my friend group. The base mechanics of the game are straightforward and easy to learn, the replay value is immense, and if we just had one more turn…!!! This game is dastardly, might actually destroy your mind, and I’m already irritating my friends by making them play it again when we never win. I keep trying to play it solo, playing two or three “characters” in the hopes that a unified (single-player!) strategy might work this time. It never does.

I love this game.

In fact, I think I’m going to go provision myself with some coffee and then stretch out on my living room floor to see how I’m going to die this time (run out of water? buried in sand? sandstorm becomes the Apocalypse?). See ya!

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