I can't think of a better way to start this so I'll just say: I got sick over the Christmas holidays.
It started off just before Christmas with me thinking I'd pulled a muscle in my forearm or given myself tendinitis ten-pin bowling with too heavy a bowling ball the night before and then a couple of days later the other arm started doing the same thing.
After a few days they both started aching and throbbing, they felt hot all the time and didn't like to be left in one place for long when I was trying to sleep.
Then my hands puffed up.
I spent two weeks with cold packs more or less permanently strapped to my arms which had to be rested on a banana pillow on my lap because holding my arms up made me too tired and hurt too much.
I didn't have enough strength in my hands to open a loosely tightened screw-top water bottle let alone type or do anything else.
All I could do was lay about the place watching TV and worrying.
I couldn't even read because holding a book up or even open for longer than five minutes hurt too much.
Then my guts decided to join in and ache and play up for a bit. So not only could I not sit up for too long, I couldn't lie in one position for long either.
My appetite went AWOL, I lost at least 6 kg* in 2 weeks. They weren't kilos I needed, losing them didn't push me into an unhealthy weight range, but it was disconcerting seeing them all wander off at the same time when the most energetic thing I was doing was pressing 'Play All' and gnawing on my lip.
I was in a panic and had been seeing the doctor ever since the symptoms had kicked up from 'slightly annoying' to 'what the hell is going on here!?'.
I had some blood tests done, I had some ultrasounds and a few other scans.
For the most part everything came back normal but a couple of things that should have been up were down and a couple that should have been down were up.
Just when things were at their worst and I was starting to make plans for how I was going to have to move back home with my parents, wondering how my cats would cope with our other cats and what sort of work a person with a functioning brain but crapped out arms could manage, things started to slowly calm down.
As far as we've been able to work out I caught a virus, probably courtesy of one of the many millions of mosquitoes that have come out to play after all the flooding in the last few months, which sent my system into a major freak-out.
Fortunately a combination of the lifespan of the virus and my being a reasonably healthy young-ish person stopped it before it went past the point of no return.
I apparently came within a gnat's wing of developing a permanent inflammatory condition.
I've been back at work since the start of February and every week since then I've felt a bit better. Just being able to be at work and do things like cook and drive for myself have been a huge mood lifter all by themselves.
Most of my blood test scores are back to normal and I have been eating and living like a saint to keep the recovery marching on.
I've had to give up both caffeine and alcohol for the rest of this year to give myself the best chance at a full recovery and avoid the possibility of any kind of relapse.
Depending on how far one of the last scores recovers, I may end up having to ration or forgo alcohol and caffeine permanently.
Nevertheless at this point what I am feeling is incredibly, incredibly lucky.
I have never been that sick before and hope never to be that sick ever again.
I am beyond grateful that I feel as close to normal as I do now and if it takes giving up stimulants to maintain it, I won't even blink.
It's easy to dismiss the phrase 'at least you have your health' when you're healthy and there's something going wrong in your life, or just not going as right as you'd like, but I am never going to take that sentiment for granted again.
Anyway, now that I'm done being serious and disconcertingly earnest the two things I started this post wanting to say are as follows:
When I was physically unable to write I still came up with ideas for my posts and now I'm both mentally and physically able to do so I'm going to start filling in the place-saver drafts I claw typed at the time.
So over the next few weeks I'll be filling in the gaping void that currently lies between December and the present day.
Some of you had already noticed my amazing time defying efforts in this area and oh how I wish your assumptions were true and I could pull a Back to the Future because I would tell Past Me what I'm about to tell Current You.
Wear mosquito repellent all the time.
Just all the damn time.
If you're going outside I want you to spritz yourself with repellent and then I want you to spritz yourself again just to be sure.
I don't care what the season is - mosquito repellent.
It's worth it, believe me.
OK, maybe I wasn't quite done being disconcertingly earnest.
PS. As hard as it may be to believe this isn't supposed to be a 'downer' post, me and my working arms are in a great mood :-)
*That's about 13 lbs for the imperialists.