Coronavirus and Stuff

I spent most of February sleeping and feeling rubbish because of a cold (not sure if it was the same one from January or a different one). When I was awake, I mostly played Merge Dragons as it required pretty much no thinking power (and I used walk-throughs for the levels I was struggling with). I did have Sammie come over during February half term, but was too ill for hugs. Next time she’s over we’ll have to make up for it, but seeing her made me very happy 🙂

March is being better. I got my hair washed yesterday for the first time since November which is awesome. I’m able to go on my computer again and that means playing other games. First of all, I was one day away from getting enough Mechagon rep to get flying in World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth areas. It took me about an hour but I did it! I can now fly everywhere that has flying enabled so I’m very happy.

The second was that Ellen, Bilbo‘s mum, created a Minecraft server for fans of Bilbo called Bilbcraft. Sammie and Johan had been playing a lot of it, including when I had Sammie over here during February half term, and I really wanted to play as well. Since being well enough to go on my computer, that’s been the main game I’ve been playing. I have a penguin main base, and a little island getaway which is great for exploring an area most people haven’t been to. I’m building up the courage to go to the nether and the end soon, as I want to build ender chests to make moving my stuff around easier. I’m not always well enough to interact with the other players, but they’re really friendly 🙂

The biggest news we have is that Johan now has a paid job! They started just over a week ago, and as it’s the game company they previously volunteered for we know the boss is very understanding of our situation (and me needing Johan to come home with pretty much no notice at times). The hours are relatively flexible as well so we can work around my appointments and such. It does mean claiming Universal Credit instead of ESA. So far we’ve had the ID check and made Johan my appointee again (luckily no arguments there) so Johan can do everything needed for me. I might need to go through another work capability assessment, but hopefully it’ll be fine.

We also got a refund on our Bedroom Tax a few weeks ago. Johan sent an email to the council telling them we didn’t think we should be paying it because I need a separate bedroom for medical reasons, and after a few months we got a letter back saying they agreed and refunded us back to when the law was clarified in 2017. The timing was great as we got it just before Johan got their job so we’re using that to pay the bills until payday and Universal Credit is sorted out. Johan was also able to go down to London to see friends which was awesome.

So Coronavirus is the big news story at the moment. It’s not widespread in the UK at the moment, but it’s probable that will change at some point soon. People have been stockpiling items like hand sanitiser, toilet roll and baby wipes. I’m unable to wash my hands due to having no access to a sink, so rely on hand sanitiser to keep them clean. I do have half a bottle left, but it’s not alcohol based and from what I could Google is only partially effective against viruses. Johan has been trying to get me an alcohol based bottle, but they’ve been sold out everywhere. I also need baby wipes and am really hoping we can get some before running out.

I’m not particularly worried about getting it myself. Being mostly bed bound means I have limited contact with other people, and the carers wear gloves for all personal care tasks. This would be fine, except next week Johan is going to Kielder and that means I’m going into a care home. I don’t usually have much contact with the other residents as I tend to stay in bed there as well, but it’s a lot easier for a virus to spread there than at home.

If I were to get it, I’m not at high risk of having a severe case of coronavirus itself, as my lungs are pretty much the only part of me that seem to work correctly. The problem is even a mild cold causes my ME to become much worse, and if it were to be particularly severe then I could end up at the point of not being able to chew again which is not great. I do have an N95 mask if needs be, and gloves, but avoidance is currently the best plan.

Johan is asthmatic, so I’m more worried about them getting it. Swine flu made them very ill, and I made my ME much worse trying to care for them at that point (I could still crawl back then). We do have the care agency, but we’re not sure how quarantine would work for them. If it were me to get it then Johan would probably be able to take time off work if working from home isn’t an option (I dunno how realistic it is), but if Johan got really ill I might need to go into a care home again, while being isolated, and I have no idea how that would work. I’m also slightly concerned about the care home being put in quarantine while I’m in there, but since it’s next Wednesday and only for a week hopefully it will be fine. Needing pretty much 24 hour care complicates things a lot.

The people I’m most worried about are my friends who are immunocompromised or whose ME is much more severe than mine. Already some have been told by their doctors to avoid going out outside or socialising, and I know myself how horrible being isolated is, and it’s somehow even worse if you’re well enough to do things but can’t because of external factors. I really hope they stay safe and that the people around them help them avoid getting it.

In the meantime, I hope that Johan recovers from the knee injury that they got at the weekend so they can actually run at Dark Skies Kielder in just over a week, we can get hold of some baby wipes and hopefully some more hand sanitiser, as well as more food as the shop we did had half the order missing. I’m also wanting a bath while at the care home, as baths are awesome and I don’t have a proper one here. And while I’m well enough I’m going on my puter to farm sheep and fight old Gods as often as I can 🙂

Day 26 – New Tablet

I got very lucky and my new tablet was delivered Tuesday afternoon. I still have some final setting up to do but it’s working, rooted and it charges!

Tuesday was a good day. While on my computer I managed to sort out all my emails including setting up new filters so my inbox is less overwhelming, update my care call spreadsheet (43 different care workers so far this year, 87 since I started with the agency in 2017, not including any that weren’t on my rota), and play some World of Warcraft. Got to honoured with Rustbolt Resistance and did some of the Pilgrim’s Bounty quests so I’m happy there.

The physiotherapist came, and it was fine. I’m to continue doing the exercises I’ve got when I can, and when I’m ready to progress to more ask my GP to refer me back and she’ll see me again. Since it’s going to take a while to see much improvement it makes sense to discharge me, but if I’ve got any issues I’m just to ask for another referral. She also gave me some utensil holders from the OTs to see if it’ll make feeding myself bit easier. They’re different from the ones I’ve already tried and it looks like they might work so I’m excited to try them.

I was still feeling okay after the physio left so I talked Johan into taking me to the barbers. It was raining, and it felt amazing to feel it on my face. It was a little awkward and scary getting me up the step inside, but inside was spacious and they had no problems shaving my head. There was no music playing which was a bonus, and the other barber putting the telly on didn’t bother me with my ear plugs in.

Danni in their wheelchair. They are smiling and have a shaved head with only a tiny amount of hair left, and are wearing a purple coat and glasses.

They took a lot of care, and I felt more comfortable than at the other barber I’ve been to. It was also cheaper (though I added a tip as I was so happy). They called us both sir, which I found amusing (I’m normally read as female by people under 70). The only minor downside was the smelly spray they used at the end (nice scent but a bit strong for me) but I’ll just ask them not to use it next time. I’m definitely going back there, and as it’s so close hopefully more frequently than every 7 months.

My tablet arrived at the local shop not long after I got back, so Johan went to get it then left me with it and the Surface (so I could put TeamWin on it) while he went to the doctors to sort out my tramadol (the electronic prescription didn’t go through properly or something, but I have them now). By the time he got back I was getting pretty tired as I’d been up since Monday evening, so he went for his run while I got my tablet to a working state then went to sleep.

I’m writing this on Wednesday morning (though it’s still Tuesday in some of America) and I’m a bit annoyed as my digestive system has decided to play up. Nothing I haven’t experienced before but it hurts and I’d like more sleep please. Hopefully it’ll settle down so I can rest more. I suspect the rest of the day I’ll be finishing sorting out my tablet and resting after yesterday.

While I was asleep Johan managed to get my old tablet to charge with one specific cable (probably bent just right to make contact) so he’s taken that, wiped it (as I didn’t need the nandroid backup as I’d already done a fresh install of Resurrection Remix) and installed Pixel Experience (Android 10). He says it runs much faster than when I was using it (I need a lot of accessibility apps which slow things down) so he’s happy, and I’m happy it’s not just a deadweight. I’m still glad I replaced it as I move so much that I’d probably mess the cable up so it no longer charged at all. Yay!

Day 11 – World of Warcraft

It seems I really needed that sleep. Once I woke up this morning (from a nightmare which wasn’t ideal) I was feeling much more like myself. Still full of cold but otherwise mostly at my normal level of functioning.

Since I was awake and kinda with it for once, I decided to go on my computer while Johan was at his volunteering. First was finishing reinstalling all the programs after the reformat last time I was on, and then I went into World of Warcraft.

In WoW at the moment there’s a 15th anniversary event going on. There’s some fun things included like revisiting old raids and fireworks, but most importantly for me is a 15% buff to reputation until January. To be able to fly in the newer areas you need to get revered (second highest) reputation with several factions, including two newer ones. I’d done all the older ones, but still had those two to do. I was able to get one of them to revered today so I’ve only got the last one now. Unfortunately my Rustbolt Resistance rep is only at friendly even after doing all the dailies I could today, so as I need to get through honoured as well it’s probably going to take a while until I’m able to fly. I did have fun with a jet pack in the Mechagon zone though.

The other advantage of being on my computer is that it’s so much easier to sort things out. I was able to get my emails sorted, buy various items that were in my baskets, and finish moving over from Chrome to Firefox. I was also able to go on video chat with Sammie for a while, which was awesome.

There was a lot of noise from the flat upstairs this morning. Banging, drilling and loud voices mostly, though at one point my lightshade was moving so whatever they were doing was vibrating the ceiling. I’m not sure if it was the council, their contractors or a new tenant moving in. Johan checked outside but the only van out there was a stairlift one, and they weren’t fitting a stairlift. I’m glad I had my noise cancelling headphones or there’s no way I’d have coped, and going on puter wouldn’t have happened.

I also changed my top today. I got a new one last week, so I’m wearing that. It says “Protect Earth – Penguins Live Here” and has a very cute penguin picture on it. I had to tell Johan not to pinch it until I’d worn it as he likes it as well 🙂

Tomorrow I think I’m having my flu jab. No idea when that’ll be, but I’m hoping it’s a nice nurse. I know it’s not going to be the awesome practice nurse that did Johan’s as she couldn’t come on a Tuesday 🙁 I’m a bit nervous but since flu was what triggered my ME I really don’t want to get it again. Having a cold is bad enough.

Day 3 – Games I’m Currently Playing

Video gaming is one of my favourite activities, and it’s very unusual for me to go a day without playing at least one for a few minutes. Because my hands are a bit silly I don’t currently play any console games, but I do have a selection I play on my tablet, plus one I play on my desktop computer.

Godville

This is the ultimate game for people who don’t have much time to play games. If you want, you can even let it play itself. The idea is that you’re a god or goddess, and you oversee the activities of the hero (or heroine) that worships you in a role playing game. You can’t directly control their actions, but you can influence them and that impacts their personality. You can also tell them to do things via godvoice, but there’s no guarantee they’ll listen to you. Like most RPGs, your hero goes on quests to gain experience and level up, collects loot and equipment, fights monsters and has various goals they’re working on. They can decide to keep pets, make friends (the heroes of other players) and join a guild. If you actively play the game then your hero makes more progress, but they’ll continue even if you don’t, and there’s even an option to turn off all direct interaction with zero player mode. I really enjoy reading my heroine’s antics, and even if I only have a couple of minutes I try to send a bit of encouragement and maybe see what the guild is up to.

Neko Atsume

A colourful house and garden with various items placed. There are different cats interacting with some of the items.

I’ve been playing this for a few years now, and it’s another game that is suitable for those who can only check in for a short while and don’t want too much pressure. The aim is to collect cats by putting out food and items for them to play with. They don’t come immediately, but after a bit they’ll turn up and you can take photos. Afterwards they leave fish that you can use to buy more food and items. There are rare cats that will only appear with certain items or food, so it takes a while to get them all. I try to get in at least once a day, as there’s a daily password that if entered for five days gives free food.

Simple Solitaire Collection

A screenshot of a game of Klondlike (Patience)

This is Android only, but is the best solitaire app I’ve found. There are no ads or in game purchases, it’s open source, and it has 15 different games. One of my favourite features is that you can have different card appearances for each game, and you can have the suits be different colours so it’s easier to tell them apart in games where that’s important. You’re also able to cheat by showing hints, automatically moving or mixing the cards, which is great for reducing my frustration when I’m not doing well. I mostly play patience/klondlike, spider solitaire, grandfather’s clock and mod3 on the easiest settings as part of my settling down routine or when I need something easy but engaging to distract myself.

Flow Free

A screenshot of Flow Free, showing a grid with different coloured dots, some with lines connecting them

This is my current obsession. The idea is simple: connect the coloured dots without crossing the lines. It starts off very easy but gradually gets harder. There are in app purchases for extra hints, different colours and extra level packs, and buying a level pack also removes the ads. I really like that you can label the different dots so it’s easier to see them. There are different versions that include bridges or walls, but my favourite is just the standard game. My only problem is I’ve only got four packs to go before I’ve done them all, and I’m not sure what I’ll do then.

Happy Colour

A partially coloured in picture of a cat sleeping on a pile of books

I really like digital colouring, but find having to choose the colours myself anxiety provoking. Colour by number is much better for me. I originally was using a cross-stitch app but Sammie introduced me to this one and I much prefer it. There’s a one off in app purchase to remove ads and get unlimited hints, and once pack that costs, but there are thousands of free pictures and more are added every day. I like to colour in while listening to podcasts as it keeps my hands busy so I can concentrate better.

I Love Hue

A grid of different coloured triangles

This game is really relaxing so long as you have good colour perception. The aim is to move the pieces so that they are arranged by their hue in as few moves as possible. The music is very gentle, and though it starts pretty easily it does get more difficult in the later levels. You get 15 prisms (currency) or 5 games free for logging in each day, and more can be bought using in app purchases or earned by watching ads. I’ve previously run out of levels so now I try and ration myself so I still have some to play when I need to relax.

 

Whispers of a Machine

A screenshot of Whispers of a Machine. It shows a futuristic police station in a gritty, pixel art style with the main protagonist in the centre. She is white with short blonde hair.

When I’m able to concentrate more, I like playing games with more of a storyline. Whispers of a Machine is a point and click (point and tap?) sci-fi game where you play as Vera, a technologically augmented detective trying to solve murders in a small town in a post AI world. I really like this kind of setting, and as the game isn’t timed it doesn’t stress me out too much. The different dialogue options affect what powers you get as you progress through the game and I like that you can’t really lose. There’s been a couple of times I’ve had to look up the walk through as I’ve forgotten what certain abilities are needed, but overall I’m enjoying it. I got it on sale but I think I’d be happy having paid full price for it, though maybe I’ll change my mind once I’ve finished.

World of Warcraft

A screenshot of Danni's profile page. In the centre is a night elf, wearing a pumpkin that covers her entire head, a white robe, and carrying a fancy glowing mace and a purple glowing orb. Around the outside the equipment she's wearing is detailed.
My character’s profile for World of Warcraft (since I’m not on my computer to take a proper screenshot)

When I am well enough to go on my computer, World of Warcraft is the game I play. It’s a massive multiplayer online role playing game involving two factions in a fantasy setting and a ton of story and content. I’ve been playing it for over a decade now, and the majority of that has been on my night elf priestess Danni. Unlike a lot of other people, I’ve been really enjoying the latest expansion and am mostly frustrated by not being able to play as much as I’d like. I’m lucky to be in a really friendly guild who are understanding about my frequent absences and don’t kick me out. It’s the only complicated game I can manage because I’ve been playing it so long. I kinda wish I’d taken the pumpkin off her head before last logging off so you could see her face though 😛

NaBloPoMo 2019 – Day 2

I’m hoping to do a proper catch up post this month (mostly for future Danni’s benefit) but this week has been a bit of a rollercoaster.

The Good – This week was half term for Sammie, and she was able to come over on Tuesday which was awesome. I wasn’t up to getting out of bed, but it was awesome seeing her. We mostly just chatted and had a takeaway. I’m really happy she likes spending time with me, and that she appreciates my silliness. She’s awesome.

Also on Tuesday the physiotherapist came out to try and help with my left leg, which has decided it doesn’t want to be straight. The appointment went about as well as it could, and they gave me some exercises to try and coax it into behaving. They understood that I have to be careful about energy use so have reduced the amount I’m to do and I’m to use my own judgement about how often and when to increase them. They also said they’d ask someone about finger splints which I’m hoping will make my hands more reliable (as half my problems using them is my fingers bending backwards).

On Thursday I managed to go on my computer. It was freezing a lot when I was trying to use it, so I spent most of my time doing a reformat. It seems to have helped, though I’ve yet to reinstall everything I need. I also went into World of Warcraft and though I didn’t get the Headless Horseman’s mount this year (it’s only been 10 years of trying) I did manage to collect enough treats to get one of the Hallows End pets before having to come off.

The not so good – My digestive system really isn’t happy with me at the moment. I’m back to bringing up food a day after eating it, it’s being really crampy and generally slow, and my usual methods of sorting it out aren’t as effective as normal. When it has been moving it’s been when I’m alone so I’ve been having to ask Johan to come home which isn’t ideal. I’m hoping it sorts itself out soon.

I’ve had a cold for the past few weeks and it’s not shifting. It’s frustrating as it means I’m less able to do stuff. The worst part is my nose getting blocked when I’m asleep, and instead of just swapping to breathing through my mouth I’m woken up feeling like I’m suffocating. I can’t wait for this cold to go so I can sleep my normal level of terribleness.

I’m a bit sad I’m not well enough to go watch the local fireworks display tonight. I’ve got payback from the physio coming out and Sammie being here, so even going into the living room would be too much, nevermind outside. I really enjoyed it last year. There’s another display on Tuesday evening that’s close enough that I’d be able to go if I’m over this payback and get over this cold, but I’m probably being a tad too optimistic. Johan has gone out to the pub he usually gets breakfast from after Parkrun as the landlord is leaving, so I’m home alone tonight. I’m glad I have my earplugs.

Overall I’m still really happy, especially from seeing Sammie. Just wish my body would behave better and that chronically ill peoples were exempt from normal people illnesses like colds. I like being able to breathe.