What a year 2020 has been. Usually, at the end of a year or at the start of a new year, it’s time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished in the past 12 months and what you hope to accomplish with the reset of the calendar.
For 2020, listing accomplishments begins with one important one. I survived. I don’t say that lightly. I had a significant health scare back in August that has changed the way I live each day. But, more on that later.
COVID-19 had a huge effect on my work life this year. Back in March, I was on a project in Chicago. I had never spent more than a few hours traveling through that city in the past. I’d worked on projects in the suburbs, but the project I was on at that time had me working right in the middle of downtown. I was enjoying the city and the daily walk to the office from my hotel. I was on the typical Monday through Thursday travel, but found it tolerable.
During that first week in March, COVID-19 started to be more prevalent in the news and eventually it caused my company to suspend all travel. Literally overnight, I went from graveling 45-50 weeks per year to completely working at home, or as I like to refer to it, living at work.
Things eventually evolved to me ending up hanging on to my job for dear life and I let everything else slide, including this blog, so that I could continue to put money on the table.
This came with a cost, however. First, was my health. Working tons of hours to prove myself caused me to stress eat. This exacerbated a condition that I had been ignoring.
I always considered myself a ‘casual diabetic’. I would eat what I wanted and if I felt funny, I’d check my blood sugar and say, “wow, that’s high” and not eat that food again for a while. A short while.
My family doctor put me through some blood work in June and my A1C, the measure of your blood sugar over time, was at 10.5. A normal range is below 5.7. He recommended that I see an endocrinoloogist which I did. I was put on a different medication and, like magic, my blood sugar levels began to be much more normal and manageable…for about three weeks.
You know those prescription drug commercials where they tell you not to take a drug if you are allergic to it, well, I did and I was.
I found myself short of breath, nauseous and barely able to stand within a few days. Finally, my wife told me it was tome to go to the emergency room. I knew she was right, but I hate the idea of going to the hospital, especially during a pandemic.
The next thing I knew, I was moving up to the ICU with a blood glucose level of over 400 (4 times the normal level) and a diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis. It’s a life-threatening condition if left untreated, but luckily, it was caught soon enough and, after two days in the ICU, I was back home.
About two weeks after returning home, I was on a regimen of regular blood sugar testing and insulin. I also started exercising. I have a terrible back resulting from a combination of surgery when I was a kid and arthritis now that I’m no longer a kid. I reverted to a form of exercise that I practiced quite regularly in my twenties and thirties, bicycling.
I started out with short rides, but I’m now up to about 50+ miles per week and I’ve ridden over 800 miles since August. Not only am I in better shape, but this really helps control my blood sugar.
I’ve also totally changed how and what I eat and am on an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitor.
Remember that A1C of 10.5? I had it rechecked by the endocrinologist in October and I’m down to 6.2, just above normal. I go back on Friday to have it checked once again. I’m hoping for improvement.
Enough about belaboring my health woes. I just wanted to make the point that it was an awakening that I needed. I have to much left to do.
2020 was the first year since 2014 that I didn’t publish a single book. You would think I had more time on my hands, but that is not always a guarantee of more time to write. When I was traveling, writing was my way of combatting my homesickness. For the past 10 months, I haven’t been homesick because I’m home.
With that being said, I desperately miss the writing process. I have started my sixth book in the Frank Rozzani series and will post more about that in the future. I’ll also go back to writing short and serialized stories as blog posts.
One creative outlet during this period has been music. I am a pianist at our church and was playing with the contemporary choir at mass each Saturday. When COVID-19 struck, services were suspended for a time. I turned to recording music and putting it on my YouTube channel. I also wrote music for a mass that I hope to rehearse and play with our choir once we are all allowed to return. I’m currently playing on both Saturday and Sunday with a much smaller group for limited services.
Plans for the Future
As I sat down to write this post, I did so with some thought behind my motivation. My last post on this blog was on August 21, 2020. It was a reblog of someone else’s post. My last original post announcing a new audiobook, was on July 23, 2020.
I truly miss the interaction with all of you. I miss reading and commenting on your posts. I miss passing along the great information that you share. I miss sharing original content and receiving your valuable feedback on it.
They say if you write down a list of things that you want to do and share it with others, you develop some accountability. Here is my list for 2021
- Have a discussion about your COVID-19 situation. What did you do during this period? What didn’t you do? How has your life changed? I’ll have a post on this sometime in the near future to get the discussion started.
- Discover why I write less when I have more free time? Your ideas will be welcome.
- Talk about my concept for the new Frank Rozzani book. It’s proving to be the most ambitious and longest of my books thus far.
- Write some short stories and serials.
- Promote my work more. (I apologize in advance)
- Revamp my wordpress site.
- Revitalize my newsletter.
- Finally – READ MORE and WRITE MORE (much more)
I’ve missed all of you and will be checking out your blogs, commenting and starting to re-blog the good stuff. Somehow, I still have over 3,000 followers, so I want to make the most of them.