Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cabin Fever

Praise the Lord - January is over. I really don't know what is wrong with this stupid month, but it is ALWAYS the worst of the year. And it is not only because everybody has a holiday hangover and it is cold and dark. January is - at least for me - always loaded with bad news, problems and trouble and 2014 was sure no exception.

Christmas, my 40th (YIKES) birthday and NYE were all very nice. Christmas is just awesome with my super cute nieces. I celebrated my birthday twice with family and friends and with much love, great gifts and awesome cakes. Finally NYE was a great party with good music.
So far no complaints but it started to go all downhill right when I got back to Munich and heard my sister had spent the first day of the year with a really sick baby at the ER and everbody else in the family got sick as well. The next days more bad news dropped in from other sides before I finally started to feel sick myself on Friday three weeks ago.

First it felt like a little cold. On Saturday it felt like a big cold. On Sunday morning I called for the emergency physician coming to my house because I had 40°C (104°F) fever and could watch and feel the right side of my throat swelling by the minute. The diagnosis took like 10 seconds: purulent tonsilitis
This is a rare event for me .. I cannot even remember my last tonsilitis and my regular physician who has my complete records for the last 13 years has not one documented. The emergency doc put me on antibiotics immediatly and told me to see my regular doc on Monday morning since he could not put me on sick leave.

When I saw my physician the next morning he was shocked because it was THAT bad and sent me straight over to the throat specialist since the inflammation and swelling was so extreme that he thought it could be already an abscess which would have put me into hospital right away. At the specialist's office I had two doctors busy and discussing what to do with me because it was ... THAT bad. I was ordered to stay in bed, not move and come back the next morning.
The next day I was extremely miserable. I could not swallow anything, the pain was insane and I was utterly exhausted because I had not slept since Saturday. Every time I was falling asleep and swallowed (a reflex you cannot stop) the pain was so intense that I woke up again after seconds of napping. That was when the doctor decided to give me steroids IV to give me a break.
I know about all the bad side effects steroids have when you take them for a longer time, but as an emergency medication the effect is a miracle. Two hours after the (painful due to my bad veins) injection I was practically "fake healthy" for a little while. I used the time for having something to eat beyond strawberry sorbet and for getting some sleep

On Thursday I had the next check up and that was when I was really in the need of help. The effect of the steroids was gone and the swelling was back in full effect. The general inflamation of the tonsils was actually better already but the edema had sunk down in the lower tonsils - something I was not even aware that it exists. The problem is that deep in your throat you have no room. So when I arrived at the doctor's office I could not speak because the swelling was pressing against my vocal chords. I also felt a dump pressure on the larynx and had some trouble with breathing. And  I was panicking. It actually feels like somebody tries to strangle you slowly but without ever loosening up. It is frightening.
I got more steroids over the next few days to get the situation under control again and it ALMOST forced me to spend the weekend in the hospital. I was lucky that I in the end could stay home. 

The next week I slowly got better babystep by babystep but I had to stay at home for a full second week and I was really out of the game. Usually when I am sick I stay home, sleep in but then work from my couch but this time it was really impossible. I can barely remember  that I ever felt so sore and tired. By now I just ended week three since I got sick and still I can tell that I am not yet 100% again because I need much more sleep than I am used to. It's a slow process ...

When I was stuck at home I had plenty of time to think over the events in 2013 and about what a crazy year it was. The arrival of my 2nd niece was clearly a highlight. Then I traveled so much ... Lisbon, London several times, my wonderful Pittsburgh twice, Stockholm, Paris and and so on... some serious globe trotting here. I also went to SEVEN home games of the Pittsburgh Penguins (I am so spoiled) including my first two live playoff games ever. And on top of this all I also went to a LOT of shows of favorite bands like Friska Viljor, Johnossi and Queens Of The Stone Age.
And then there was January 31 2013. That was the day when I fell in love with Biffy Clyro and that changed my life. It sounds cheesy but it is just a fact. In this one year I went to six shows in six cities and two countries. Due to the band I met so many awesome people, spent some more fantastic hours with old friends and added so much more wonderful music of other (somewhat related) artists to my life. 
I also added a lot new ink to my skin in 2013. Once more I stopped worrying what other people might think about me but went with my heart and I have absolutely no regrets. I love my (very visible) lower arm tattoos a lot and they have such a positive impact on my self-perception  - way more than I would ever have expected.

It's been really a crazy, restless, nomadic and most importantly on many days very happy year with lots of amazing experiences that had a huge impact on me. Of course at many points I was close to stopping and reconsidering my decisions but I ended up pretty much always going for the more crazy option.
And - to get back to my rough start of the year - when I was lying there on my couch almost unable to swallow and trying to breath and not panic I was so grateful that I did what I did. It probably sounds a bit pathetic because it was in the end "just" a tonsilitis and I knew I would be okay soon again, but when you go from strong and healthy to weak and sick in such a short time, it gives you a strong impression of how fast something can happen that will stop you from living the Rock 'n' Roll life. I have seen this happen to both of my parents when they were not much older than me now.

Most people my age happily settle down with their famies and on focus on their homes. And it's wonderful ... if that is your path, if that is what makes you happy it is perfect. Do it, enjoy it and keep working on it to make it even better.
It is just very obviously not my path. Instead of settling down I need to hit the road more than ever to be happy. I really need to fight that cabin fever I am yet suffereing from after being in Munich for 1 month and 2 days in a row. It alreadly feels like forever. 

The next trip might not happen before March (Malta), but the first little escape waits on Wednesday when I at least FINALLY can open the concert season 2014 with the fabulous MOGWAI from Glasgow.

January might have been crap, but now it's time to ROCK that 2014!