Thursday, June 27, 2013

Phantom Update - Podcast Tomorrow

My gosh, I have my will to live back and I am just inspired to do everything that I haven’t been doing for the past three weeks. Like writing.
My illness broke yesterday and I realized that I must have actually been sick since we were on vacation; possibly even before that. I’ve had no interest in doing much of anything – toys that needed reviewing were piling up, I was admittedly lax in my preparation for and execution of our HeroesCon trip, and I have done next to nothing to get ready for the big Needless Things event at Odin’s Cosmic Bookshelf on July 13th.
           I had attributed my lethargy and malaise to my work situation – and that certainly played a part – but looking back on the past month I realize that my health has been poor for a good bit of that time. Just before we left for North Carolina I had one night of a sore throat. A peculiar needle-like pain that had me coughing intermittently, but was pretty much gone the next day. I figured I had swallowed a dog hair or something. But I wasn’t one hundred percent the whole trip.
When we got back I went straight into four twelve hour shifts in a row. I knew then that I was sick, so I went to the doctor on the fifth day. That’s when I was diagnosed and put on Azithromyacin. I had two days off during which I rested and did almost nothing at all, then returned to work for another four day stretch. But I only made it through three. After suffering through those days I realized a fourth wasn’t going to happen, so before I even left on Saturday I told them I wouldn’t be back on Sunday.
I slept most of the day on Sunday, then on Monday called in to the doctor to see if I could get a refill on my prescription. He said that sometimes two cycles were needed. I was a little concerned because I still felt relatively terrible and wasn’t even sure if the antibiotic was doing its job.
While all of this was going on, Lil’ Troublemaker was sick, too. He was actually the first one to go to the doctor. His pediatrician diagnosed him with a simple virus and said it would pass in a few days. It did not pass. It got worse. To the point where we almost went to the Emergency Room one night out of pure frustration and desperation. But cooler heads prevailed and we waited until the next morning and went to a different doctor. This time our son was diagnosed with a more serious virus. This one was not something that always passes in a few days. It had the potential to require further treatment.
Also, it has symptoms that resemble bronchitis.
Uh, oh.
While I never got re-diagnosed, it is now pretty clear to me that I had that as well. You see, another symptom I displayed was little blisters on my fingers. I didn’t necessarily think a whole lot about them because they are something that I have just gotten from time to time since around 1997 or so. They aren’t painful and don’t always itch, so they’re just this thing that happens once a year or so. As I write this I realize it sounds bizarre that I have never looked into this chronic condition, but they usually don’t last long enough to see a doctor about. I think I even asked one about them at some point and they said that without seeing them they couldn’t do much.
As you might have guessed by now, these little blisters are a symptom of the virus my son had.
I don’t even know how long I actually had them this time, but I know they were covering the sides of the first three fingers of each hand at the height of my illness. Also, they’re not gross or anything. You could look pretty closely at my hands and not realize they were there if you didn’t know it. The weirdest thing is that they disappeared without a trace between when I woke up yesterday morning and this morning.
And then, of course, there’s the fact that Mrs. Troublemaker also contracted this virulent and highly contagious virus. After our son was diagnosed she was told that if she displayed symptoms she could just call the doctor’s office and they would call in a prescription. Sure enough, she started to feel ill last week. On Friday she called the doctor’s office and the nurse on duty refused to call in a prescription and said they needed to see her. The soonest available appointment was today (Thursday, almost a week later). I think that’s just straight-up lousy.
This poor lady has been taking care of our sick son for weeks now, with me being at work and sick and not able to do a whole heck of a lot.
I will say, though, that there has been a bright side to my own illness – I have gotten to spend a ton of time with my son. We’ve spent hours watching cartoons – mostly Camp Lazlo and Justice League. If we felt particularly energetic he’d watch me play Arkham Asylum.
Me and the missus are typically pretty careful about what sort of things we let Lil’ Troublemaker watch and play. We avoid coarse language, violence, and sexual overtones. I want him to be a kid as long as he can be a kid, and in this day and age of rampant violence, common public use of profanity, and vocal sexual pride children are having their innocence stolen away at a tragically early age. It breaks my heart to think about how much earlier my son will grow up than I did.
Having said all of that, I realize that Arkham Asylum has content that we would not normally deem appropriate for our son. But he loves Batman and he wanted to see that game so badly and we made an exception.
This is the second time I have played the game. It is one of the only games I have ever completed. Well, mostly completed. I don’t count the Challenge Mode because I didn’t find that to be any fun whatsoever. But I completed the main story mode – I found all of the Riddler trophies and challenges.
This time around I started from scratch and while I had a lot of fun playing, I cannot believe how short that game really is. I think we finished it in less than three days, which is a personal record for me. It was also fascinating to realize how different the experience was this time. I remember very clearly how unsure I was about everything the first time through. I didn’t fully grasp the rules of the Arkham game world until after I finished Story Mode. I spent the whole of the game not knowing exactly what could be explored and interacted with or which devices I might need to use in which situations. I spent countless minutes just staring at the screen each time I earned an upgrade, trying to figure out which one I should get and feeling like I could potentially ruin my whole experience if I chose wrong (the only things that matter are armor and the range of the Decrypter).
And I remember how scary the game was, almost like a horror game. Wandering the halls and corridors of Arkham was utterly nerve-wracking, never knowing when an inmate or villain might jump out and attack (now I realize those corridors are mostly empty and random attacks are almost non-existent). It’s amazing how well the game developers used our own sense of dread and fear of the unknown to make this an effective game.
But even realizing all of that and knowing the game so well the second time through, it was still a great game. I had a great time playing and Lil’ Troublemaker had a great time helping me out by pointing out clues and stuff. We’re even completing Story Mode again and tracking down all of the riddles.
So yesterday I stayed home from work because I felt lousy when I woke up at 3:30 AM (granted, this is not uncommon). I slept until around 10, but when I woke up I realized my illness had broken. I felt normal. I had motivation. I wanted to do stuff, which is not something I had felt for weeks.
I took some toy pictures, I did a bit of post editing, and most importantly I finally edited the HeroesCon episode of the Needless Things Podcast. It was supposed to go up today but I just needed to spend some time with the family. It takes time to upload and do all of that stuff. This post took me about five minutes.
So there you go. I’m back. Check in tomorrow for another great episode of the podcast.
-Phantom


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