normal sick…

After a week of feeling not myself, fatigued and with the ghost of a sore throat haunting me, Tuesday morning I woke with a nasty headache and a sore neck – a sure sign I was getting sick . By Tuesday evening an off putting oddness moved into my head, sinuses and throat. The headache had gone but the uneasiness has remained.

My housemate has returned from regional Victoria a week ago today, and we’d both gone to get tested for Covid 19 last Wednesday at the Epic drive through testing centre. 48 anxious hours later, a negative result brought a sigh of relief to both of us as we both ramped up precautions against infection. Daily walks to keep active and avoiding people and crowds with a 😷 as a backup just in case.

It’s just normal sick – a brief flirtation with an alien bug that my immune system has squashed in the usual 24 hour cycle.

All has been well right up til now and I think its just the insidious paranoia soaking into my bones about Covid 19 that’s got me jumping at shadows (even though Canberra is relatively safe compared to other centres here in Australia)

It’s Wednesday now and I’m perfectly fine and the only major niggle is this stupid butterfly Macbook keyboard that’s making me edit every damn line for stupid typos and brushed keys. Luckily I can’t swear out loud in this little cosy cafe but I’m screaming at it in my head.

So what’s been happening since we last spoke? Nothing and everything. I haven’t felt inspired enough about anything to write much and its been Groundhog Day pretty much since April.

After doing my time in 14 day quarantine out in Dubbo, NSW it was time to say a quick farewell to my sister and her family and leave. A 9 hour bus trip later (masked and paranoid) and I was back in the chilly winter arms of Canberra (our Nations capital) and quickly settling into the spare room of a friends house to weather the storm of the pandemic in the most civilised and remote place I could think of at the time.

Canberra was a revelation at the time. Virtually deserted, virtually no traffic and the weather was glorious and sunny in an almost perfect Autumn. My housemate was working graveyard-shift at odd hours from our small home, so most days I couldn’t just vegetate on the couch watching tv so decided to get out and about. Slipping into an easy routine of a morning coffee in Manuka at Patisse (my fave cafe here and a 6 km round trip) and then wandering the city in ever increasing circles to chew up my day. Most of the shops were closed, cafes were only doing takeaway but that was totally fine with me as I had kilometers of hiking trails and ridgeline hikes just up behind my place that I could get lost in. This daily ritual of nature and caffeine powerwalks became ingrained and the 6kms per day became 12kms became 20kms became 30kms as I tested the limits of my legs and endurance. As it turns out, my limit is about 35kms per day over different terrain before the slowly increasing complaints from legs and feet overwhelm and force me off the road to let the microfractures heal.

I tried new boots, new shoes, and orthotic inserts but as it turns out nothing can really help you when you overdo exercise. Going from nothing to smashing out 35km day hikes every single day is too much. Plus yes, I guess I’m not 20 any more either (although I refuse to believe that)

The tipping point for my legs ankles and feet came after three months of near constant daily abuse – I’d thought it a good idea to do my usual 20km city hike into town and then meet a friend for a 12km trail hike over the hills and ridgelines that smashed me. Waking the next morning I could barely move and only manage a painful shuffle so as my medical was only two weeks away now, it was decided that prudence dictate a few days off. Which became a week, which then became two weeks at the end of which I was perfectly fine.

A quick trip to Dubbo, a raft of blood tests, x-rays and examinations and Antarctic medical passed with flying colors though and it still looks like I have a winter season ahead at Scott Base! Healthy as a damn horse apparently.

That’s been the bulk of my time spent since April – working on my fitness and endurance and generally staying away from people as much as possible.  Luckily its paying off.

SO… what else has been happening? 

I’ve had a stab at online dating – a quick ‘Bumble’ around to see what’s out there in the pandemic; met and chatted with a few nice people that were more curious about what I do rather than who I am, made a friend or two that I chat to at times still but have decided it’s a fools playground generally and cancelled my account.

Odd anxious days questioning my decisions in life and all that – the usual stuff but more related to excess caffeine consumption than anything else.

I visited the old farm where I grew up, and finally Mum and Dads grave; planting some more seeds in the rich soil over their resting place (saving for a decent headstone – yet another shitty thing to do next year). 

As I write; the US is fucked, third world countries are fucked, Australia is challenging China on Hong Kong and trade issues so Australia WILL eventually be fucked, and worse Victoria is in the middle of a second wave crisis and C19 infections are pretty much out of control there, spilling over into NSW and sending the country into a second wave spiral. Canberra is still virtually free of community transmission and the mood here isn’t as paranoid as other states…yet. The news is starting to revert to the normal cycle of shitty people doing shitty things rather than 100% virus related.

This second wave is also looking like stopping me heading to Queensland to see my daughter, which is really pissing me off. I’ll have to make a decision on that in the next week or two depending on how things are going. Borders are starting to close up again so I need to keep an eye on things and be opportunistic about it. Airfares (what flights there are) are ludicrously expensive as the airlines gouge as much as they can.

New Zealand is still looking good for the Summer/Winter season – the only thing I’m waiting for at the moment is travel approval as an essential worker from their MFAT and our DFAT and I hope to be there around the 1st August to go into 2 weeks quarantine, then 4 weeks training, then another 2 to 3 weeks quarantine before heading down to Scott Base again…

Life is good, or at least as good as it can be in this uncertain time. I’ve controlled my obsessive wandering (now limited to 16kms a day), have my bags packed to go and I’m ready for what’s next physically and mentally.

Its a sunny crisp winter day in Canberra, I have a table in a nice cafe with decent coffee with plenty of time and inclination to write a bit. What else can you ask for really?






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