Symptoms: Losing My Voice and Malaise - RSV, the Human Condition, & Verbing as an Answer
What does Respiratory Syncytial Virus reveal?
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On to our irregularly scheduled programming.
A couple weeks ago Deb and I traveled to Rockford, IL to visit family.
including taking the grandkids to Millennial Park and a ride on the brown line through the city.
Children are walking petri dishes of disease.
RSV is a virus that can remain contagious in children for weeks.
And then this…
On our flight back from O’Hare, I started getting the chills. I covered my head with Deb’s jacket and slept on and off on the flight home. By the time we had landed, picked up our car, dropped by Target quickly for Nyquil, DayQuil, and other drugs, and were preparing to get into bed, it was clear I had something.
It wasn’t Covid - two tests over the next week confirmed this. If you recall, we had Covid a couple months ago.
We suspect RSV because that was the diagnosis given to the grandkids a couple weeks prior and our visit was a mixture of pumpkin patches, apple orchards, laundry, and constant nose wiping. Remember… they’re petri dishes.
Adults will often cruise through RSV without symptoms. Particularly if they’ve had it before. I don’t know if I’ve ever had it. It can be problematic, as with many viruses, as you age or if you have respiratory issues. Thankfully, I had no respiratory issues.
But, for me, however, the total effect was worse than my bout with Covid.
I developed a fairly severe sore throat and then later in the week I started losing my voice. Within a day it became full-blown laryngitis.
And That Malaise
Malaise is one of the symptoms attributed to RSV. When I read that I chuckled and showed Deb.
a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify.
I was mostly being a dick and Deb was quick to point that out - rightfully so. I didn’t want her to take care of me, though I accepted and grudgingly appreciated the soup, lunches, tea, etc - even if my response was terse, at best.
I was in physical limbo. I was not sick enough to take time off work. I was not sick enough to avoid getting the basics of life done. But I found all things boring, tedious, uninspiring, and annoying.
Malaise: It is about as accurate a symptom as I could identify.
A few days after me, Deb also became sick. No fever but lots of sniffling, turned to ragged voice, turned to coughing.
The malaise is gone but the coughing is still here. Both our voices are slowly recovering.
Malaise & Losing My Voice
This morning it got me thinking. As an artist, a writer, a creator (or aspiring creator)… what comes first?
Malaise and then losing one’s voice or losing one’s voice and then malaise.
See what I did there? Clever, eh?
I think that question and analysis is unnecessary. It is also, I suspect, specific to the individual.
If one feels they’ve lost their voice - whether through circumstances or lack of direction or scattered focus or overthinking or health challenges or [insert whatever here] - and that leads to malaise - or vice-versa is a question better left for psychologists or sociologists.
I am far more interested in the fix.
The Noun is Predicated by the Verb
Writer’s write! Songwriters write songs! Photographer’s take photos! Painters paint!
Nouns perform the verb that defines the noun!
I know this by observation and I know this by practice.
And I’m fine with the fact that the past two weeks I’ve been less productive as a creator. It is fair to take time to physically get better. I have to be reminded of that.
Working, programming, creating income, was what my current state of being allowed. I did those things and left it at that.
And, if you you aspire to be a particular kind of noun that does a particular kind of verb, you need to address the barriers to that. I recommend doing so more quickly than not. As Riff Raff told us many years ago, “Time is fleeting”.
For instance, I know someone going through depression. Depression is real - whether circumstantial or chemical. I’m not an expert so seek one out if necessary. Been there, done that.
Then start Verbing your Verb
This is where I’m at. I’m part of a community of musicians who use Reaper. One of them messaged me recently to tell me he LOVES my YouTube videos and aspires to create good content, like I do.
A day or two later, another long-time listener and reader sent me a message asking me to put out more written and musical content. They referred to me as one of their favorite artist and writers.
The irony of me not creating the quantity of content I want or feeling perpetually dissatisfied with the quality of what I create is not lost on me.
When I teach workshops on writing, songwriting, or help others learn programming, I don’t saddle them with, “When you feel you are good, start creating things.”
That’s crazy talk!
Nope! I explain that they need to create things and in the creation of things they will get better at creating things. I tell them to “force themselves to produce.”
Losing my voice in the creative world is largely a self-inflicted ailment. Fail to use that voice and malaise is a byproduct. And feeling malaise is an effective inhibitor to creative output.
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
note: biologically, the answer is the egg… but
Prior to our trip and RSV, I felt I was in a pretty good creative place. The voice is returning, the malaise is gone. The only thing left is the verb.
Thoughts on Time: Song in the Works
I wrote these lyrics a few weeks ago. The music is done. Still working on a chorus and a title. It was prompted thinking about three of my children attending a music festival together in San Francisco a few weeks ago. The idea of them together, enjoying music, made me happy, even if I was a little jealous.
It’s their time and should be.
It’s that first step, it’s that next step
Convincing you that, it will always be
Turning pages and next stages
Slow rolling changes that you hardly see
It seems I’m aging, I guess what I’m saying
Life takes a hold and shakes years away like rain
I’m not complaining, I’m just exclaiming
Some tired old cliché about how blinking throws the game
Thank you again for dropping by. I’m doing some more verbing this week. What about you?
November 2, 2022