Vaccine mandate take #3. I’m subject to both the Biden mandate and the one from Washington’s governor Jay Inslee. My employer has had several pop-up vaccine clinics on the Mount Vernon and Whidbey campuses, and all of the staff have been given a list of places to contact for information on vaccines if we need them–a list that spans five counties. We’ve been given two months to get vaccinated or apply for an exemption. Everything must be done by October 20th. There’s a mandate for students as well, but they have until November to get their vaccinations and submit attestations. In other words, we don’t suddenly have a large horde of people having to be vaccinated within a week. (Pfizer and Moderna require two shots spaced a certain amount of time apart, and all of the vaccines require a two week wait after the final one to be considered “completely vaccinated”.)
Vaccine mandate #4. King County (the county where most of Seattle and suburbs are) is requiring retaurants, theaters, and gyms to check people for either a vaccine card or a negative COVID test. All of Washington’s professional sports teams and college teams (most of which are in King County) require it as well.
A couple places in my county are requiring a vaccination card (theaters mostly at this point), and people are losing their freaking mind over it and howling about discrimination. I’m rolling my eyes. The places requiring it are places where people are going to be in close proximity… and I don’t blame them one bit. If I were going to a theater for a movie, I’d hope that I wasn’t stuck between two unvaccinated people who may or may not have COVID. Vaccines aren’t perfect, but it lowers the risk. Vaccinated people also don’t get as sick as those who are unvaccinated. (The New York Times reported that unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die of COVID than those who are vaccinated.)
Health update. In addition to getting my brain scraped last week, I also had to see my GP. She was happy with everything, and she listened to some of the weird symptoms I’m having. She ordered a ton of bloodwork and a UA, so I dealt with all of that on Tuesday. (I was aiming for Monday, but I hadn’t slept well and was getting super hypoglycemic by 3 a.m., so I ended up eating and postponing it until Tuesday morning. (It was fasting bloodwork, so OBVIOUSLY there was some serious thirst and serious hunger going on. It *NEVER* fails.)
My GP finally looked at labs today, and everything checked out fine. No new medication updates thankfully. I’m apparently NOT anemic (which was a concern).
The sound of COVID. Not gonna lie. This video unnerved me because I’ve lived in a PICU with Daniel for days and spent time in the NICU. Those alarms start going off when bad things are happening. I remember being in the ER with pneumonia and sepsis two years ago, and a low oxygen alarm went off for someone (I think a baby or young child) a few bays down. My mom saw the look on my face (which I had think had even lost the small amount of color it had), and she had to convince me that Daniel was home asleep with my dad because I was about to have another panic attack from my brain going to all the times that those alarms had sounded for Daniel.
Y’all, stop putting doctors and nurses through this foolishness. GET YOURSELF VACCINATED.
Thankful for my Snuggie. My parents are having a new roof put on the house, so I’ve had to be up and dressed earlier than usual. For some odd reason, I’m having a really hard time staying warm, so I have been really appreciating the Snuggie I got for myself a few years ago after my former mother-in-law gave my old one to Goodwill.
I’ve also learned that I can nap through anything if I’m tired enough because I’ve had people outside my (second floor) window and on the roof above me pounding, and I’ve slept through it.
Changing my perspective. I saw this story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and I’m having to confront my feelings on the subject.
Basically, there are a bunch of bells along a route called the “El Camino Real” that stretches from northern California down to San Diego. Franciscan missions were built along that route in the 18th century, and it was a big freaking deal to learn about them in 4th grade, build one, and visit one. History is a passion of mine, so having a piece of history removed is kind of painful.
However, the indigenous people in California had their culture, language, and land removed when the Spanish Franciscans and settlers arrived. They forced them to build the missions under the guise of Christianizing them. Probably 1/3 of the people died during that time, and seeing those bells is like making a black person look at statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate heroes while being told of how glorious the antebellum South was.
As someone who cheered when the Confederate statues came down in town squares and were removed from government buildings (including the U.S. Capitol), I need to remember that the history of the missions is just as problematic. The bells can go. The mission buildings are still there (many of them still are used as churches and chapels), and there are amazing things called “books” that tell their various histories.
This isn’t me trying to appear “woke”. This is me being honest about something that has been on my mind today.
Oops! I was going through this site to see how I had classified my current blog header, and I saw that I was still listing my age as 39 and Daniel’s age as 12. Oops! I’m now 41 years old, and Daniel turned 12 in April. I think I’ll go audit the rest of my pages when I finish these takes…
Vaccine discernment from a fellow blogger. I want to call out Bonnie Engstrom and thank her for being very transparent about the discernment she has gone through on the subject of getting her COVID vaccination. The series from her Instagram stories from a few days ago isn’t archived yet, but she was asking about who people trust regarding media sources and politicians because it’s really super hard to figure these things out if you don’t have a science background. (Science also evolves over time, so information and recommendations for safety precautions have changed as we have learned more about the virus and its variants.)
Throw some prayers her way because her kids have hand, foot, and mouth disease and their air-conditioning isn’t working. It was 100+ F where she lives a few days ago, and it was 92F in the house. 🙁
We found out two weeks ago that there would indeed be a mask and vaccine mandate on campus, and both staff and students would have to sign attestations about being vaccinated before the first day of Fall Quarter on September 20th. Last week, Washington’s governor (Jay Inslee) announced that all health workers and pretty much every person working in education in the state of Washington are required to be vaccinated and submit proof of it to their employers by October 18th. (Not an attestation. ACTUAL PROOF. There are exemptions for medical and religious reasons, but no philosophical ones.) There is also an indoor mask requirement for the entire state again that went into effect on Monday.
I am positively *GIDDY* and am waiting to find out how to submit my proof of vaccination so that I can get that out of the way. I’m thankful to have a governor who cares about the safety of the people in his state, and I’m thankful to work for a college that takes all of this seriously.
I’m at the point where I have no chill left, and I’m calling out all of you reading this who are being difficult about masking up and who are refusing to get vaccinated because you just don’t want to. (Spare me your anecdotes and stories about the friend of a friend you read about on the Internet. Having COVID once does not offer sufficient protection, and I don’t care about the studies you send me unless they have been peer-reviewed by experts in epidemiology.)
If you don’t want to hear what I think of you, feel free to skip this post.
Masks. Y’all, I’m not fond of having to wear a mask everywhere. I’m not fond of my singer’s mask giving me hot flashes on Sunday morning. However, the Delta variant of COVID is hitting the country super hard, and I’m in favor of protecting the people around me. So…
And wear your mask properly WITH YOUR NOSE COVERED!
For all of you howling about YOUR RIGHTS, here’s some wisdom:
Regarding the “we don’t know what’s in the vaccine” stupidity… I have a few thoughts.
Apologies for the profanity in this one.
One of my friends also pointed out on Facebook that the people making this claim about the vaccine somehow have no problem eating a McRib sandwich or McDonald’s chicken nuggets… and those are foods of unknown ingredients. You can get a list of vaccine ingredients.
The stupidity of protesting mask mandates in schools… I have no sympathy here. None. Kids pass viruses around classrooms, and the mask mandate is part of the safety measures in place. My autistic 12 year old son can wear a mask without a problem. My three year old nephew has worn one in public since he was 2 years old. If they can wear them, your kid can too. If you don’t want your kids to have a mask mandate at their school, feel free to homeschool them.
There is a local school board candidate who is making a stink about it (especially after our governor announced that masks will be required indoors for everyone in the state), and I think it’s so nice of her to be open about it so that people know not to vote her onto the school board.
Decisions made by school officials. I back every school district that has chosen to defy state governments and institute a mask mandate and every school district that has chosen to delay the start of school because of the Delta variant.
While y’all are stewing about me calling you out, please pray for my friend M’s daughter Millie who is fighting severe COVID. She is too young to be vaccinated and contracted it despite her parents’ attempts to protect her. She has Down Syndrome, and the trisomy issues are messing with her airway badly.
Emily wrote this piece a few days ago, and it is really worth reading. Because I work for a community college, I wanted to respond to it because it’s something I’m going to be having to work with if/when we go back fully in person for Fall Quarter.
**DISCLAIMER** EVERYTHING I’M ABOUT TO SAY APPLIES TO THE SITUATION THAT EXISTS AT PRESENT WITH THE INFORMATION I HAVE BEEN GIVEN ABOUT WHAT COULD POTENTIALLY HAPPEN DURING FALL QUARTER. THIS IS ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS WE LEARN MORE.
Please understand that any mask or vaccination mandate is made with the safety of the people on campus in mind. I haven’t seen the inside of any building on campus since March 9, 2020 when the staff got an email from the college president stating that some CNA students had been exposed to COVID at a skilled-care facility and had been on campus the same week. The campus was supposed to be shut down for a week for deep cleaning… and we all know how that ended. Currently, the campus is open Monday-Wednesday with a mask mandate because Summer Quarter tends to have a smaller number of students taking classes. The situation is being monitored very closely, and we’ll find out next week if there will continue to be a mask mandate and likely a vaccination mandate.
One of the reasons I love working for my college is that they honestly do care about the students, staff, and faculty. This means that our college president tends to be very risk-averse. It has nothing to do with politics or violating people’s Constitutional rights. (Spoiler alert: mask mandates fall under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution which leaves the decision up to the states because they are not specifically mentioned in any article of the document nor in any amendment that is part of the Bill of Rights.) He is very concerned about keeping everyone safe on campus. This means that you may not like the decisions made, and those decisions may mean that it would be safer for you to take classes remotely if you cannot wear a mask for a legitimate physical reason. Emily talked about how she wouldn’t have been able to attend school if she had to mask up during high school and college, and that might be what the present situation requires because we would want to keep her safe and protect her as much as we could from contracting COVID.
Please understand that the majority of people who are getting worked up about a mask mandate are doing so because it is inconvenient for them to wear a mask, so please be patient with us as we try to filter them out. I’m not going to lie–this woman (also known as a “Karen”) is an example of what all of us are dreading with having a mask mandate on campus.
I’ve seen them at Starbucks, I’ve seen them at my grocery store, and I absolutely expect to encounter them on campus. It’s especially frustrating because we have a staff member in my program who can’t be vaccinated (due to an anaphylactic reaction to shot #1 of Pfizer), and the mask mandate and potential vaccine mandate (from which she is exempted) exist to keep her and others like her safe. The rise in Delta variant cases in this area is unnerving for her because masks are not required in a lot of places in our area, although that is starting to change.
I’ve known Emily online for years now, and I know that she is *NOT* one of these Karens. (I mean, she has a legitimate issue, and she also has manners.) However, when institutions hear that someone wants an exemption from wearing a mask, the image of the Karen is going to be the first thing to pop up because they’re the most vocal. It’s going to take a bit to filter the Karens out, so please be patient with us.
If you have a legitimate physical reason to not wear a mask, please work with us ahead of time. If you have a situation like Emily’s, please understand that staff like me are not far enough up the food chain to exempt people from the mask mandate. If you show me a doctor’s note, I’m going to tell you that I can’t let you in the room maskless without the permission of my boss, even I do believe that you have a valid request.
If your child is a K-12 student, please talk to the school district before the school year starts to find out what accommodations can be made as it is going to create a really difficult situation if they show up on the first day of school without a mask on in a district that requires them. It might be that they need to do remote education because of the risk of infection if they’re on campus, but they might be OK on campus with certain conditions. The school district will also have you put together an individualized health plan (IHP) for your child with the school nurse so that they know how to handle any medications or what to do if something happens.
If you are at a community college or 4-year university, it’s a sticky situation because there are privacy issues involved. Your best bet (as far as I know) is to contact whoever handles disability issues before move-in day (if you attend a school with dorms) or the first day of classes. On my campus, it is Disability Access Services. (I’m going to use them as an example for the rest of this post.) They can tell you what can or cannot be done. You can find them by calling the school and asking to be connected. They’re great people, and they’d love to work with you. They might even be able to get you a pass for better parking on campus to keep you from getting too winded while walking to class! (The community college where I work has no good student parking after around 7:45 or 8:00 in the morning, and this stinks if you’ve got any kind of impaired lung function. Ask me how I know this.)
If you provide us documentation on your inability to wear a mask or be vaccinated, please make sure it’s something legitimate. A letter from your pulmonologist with lung function information attached would be an example of good documentation. A “mask exemption” card printed off the Internet is not. Ask the DAS people what they need so that you can be prepared ahead of time.
If we do have a vaccination mandate, there will be information on the website about how that will work. If you can’t be vaccinated for health reasons, you’ll probably need to get a note from your doctor that has all the proper information on it. (Your doctor’s office has the right stationery for things like this.)
Please don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself if you are hard of hearing. If you have hearing loss of any kind, you probably know already that you need to go talk to Disability Access Services so that they can provide accommodations. They’ll let your instructor know that they have a student with hearing issues in their class, but they might not give them a lot of information. If you email your instructor and let them know that you need a notetaker, they’ll find a student in the class who can do that on the first day of school. (I know this because I’ve worked as one before.) Your instructor will probably offer you some extra Zoom office hours, and it would be super helpful to let them know if they need to avoid virtual backgrounds or focus on their face to make sure you can see their lips well. If you need an interpreter, the DAS can provide one for you. I can’t think of any instructor I work with on a regular basis who wouldn’t work with you to find a way to help you succeed.
This also goes for tutors as well. We don’t get notified by the DAS (because it’s a privacy issue), so please put it in your tutor request paperwork if this is something we need to know. My boss is actually a former interpreter and works part-time for the DAS, so she’s going to be one of the people getting things worked out for you. I do contact students ahead of time to ask if there’s anything I need to know to help them succeed, so this is your opportunity to tell me that you need to see my face and my lips. I’m known for being a tutor that will do just about anything to make sure my students do well, so please tell me how I can make things work for you.
(I’m not going into what needs to happen in a K-12 setting because if your kid has hearing problems, you’re probably hooked up with a 504 plan and know your Special Services people well. I speak from experience because my kiddo has mild/moderate hearing loss and wears hearing aids, so we have a deaf/hard-of-hearing teacher that is part of his IEP team.)
If you are pushing back against the mandate because wearing a mask is merely inconvenient for you, please understand that we do not have to accommodate you in the way you desire. I am absolutely happy to accommodate someone with a proven and legitimate need, but “I don’t wanna wear a mask” and “mah rightz!” are not legitimate needs. If you show up at the door of the classroom where I am working and throw a temper tantrum because I’m insisting that you put on a mask, I’m going to call campus security and have you removed from the building. I’m not going to yell at you, but I’m not going to let you disturb my students.
We’re not heartless (and my program is dedicated to student success), so we *WILL* have information on the accommodation that we’ll provide… which is getting to access all of our services online. All of us working this fall have tutored online before, some of us for 6 quarters!
Please understand that we’re doing the best we can. This pandemic is unlike anything that has happened in the USA in the last hundred years. We are doing the best we can to keep everyone safe while meeting people’s needs.
Simone Biles. As I’m starting to draft this post on Tuesday night, this is the best thing I’ve read concerning Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from the team final. (The Tl;dr of it is that people are horrified 25 years after the fact regarding Bela Karolyi ordering Kerri Strug to “shake it off” and vault again on her broken ankle.)
Katie Ledecky. She may not have won gold in all her events in Rio, but she had the fastest split time of every swimmer competing in the 4×200 relay. She was also swimming the 1500m race faster than some of the men at the US Swimming training camp in Hawaii, so I’m not remotely surprised that she won it.
I can’t wait to see her in the 800m freestyle final tomorrow.
Divided loyalties. There’s an Irish gymnast that is a medal contender on the pommel horse as well as an American who is also in the event final. Do I go with the ancestral homeland or the USA? Decisions, decisions!
Dispatch from a doctor. My friend Katie is a pro-life Catholic hospitalist (adding the adjectives in case people might listen better with them), and she posted the following message:
For those who aren’t aware, a “hospitalist” is a doctor who takes care of you IN THE HOSPITAL. (The red spot on her forehead is from the faceshield she wears in addition to her mask when she walks into a patient’s room.) In other words, she’s seeing scary cases coming into the hospital again. Listen to Katie. Vax up!
Break-through cases. For those who are going to cite the fact that there are still people who are vaccinated that get COVID, here’s the difference between someone who is vaccinated and someone who is unvaccinated:
Unexpected Seattle trip take #1. Fifteen minutes before my therapy appointment yesterday, Daniel walked in and handed me his g-tube (which is supposed to be sitting in a hole in his stomach called a “stoma”) with the balloon fully inflated. This would normally not be as big of a problem because I normally have a spare tube on hand that I can install… but some idiot (we’ll call them “Jen”) forgot to order a new one the second after they replaced the old one. I did have a partial kit but said kit did not include a syringe with a tip small enough to do the deflating/reinflating of a balloon. I managed to get it deflated using the end of a feeding extension, but there was no way to reinflate it, and I couldn’t get it back in Daniel’s stoma.
Cue me hurriedly throwing jammies, underwear, and a spare set of t-shirt/jeans as well as my daily meds into my laptop bag (in case we were there overnight for surgery), grabbing two Cokes out of the refrigerator, explaining to my therapist’s office that I wasn’t going to make it because my kid was having a medical emergency while throwing things in the trunk, and jumping in the car with Daniel to haul butt down to Seattle Children’s Hospital ER because that stoma closing up means emergency surgery to fix it.
Unexpected Seattle trip take #2. We got down to Seattle pretty quickly and didn’t hit any traffic until Shoreline. I also missed my exit, so Daniel and I got a lovely view of downtown Seattle while going across the Ship Canal Bridge before getting turned around. Thankfully, Seattle Childen’s Hospital has valet parking at the ER, and this is *SO* helpful because I could get Daniel in super fast and not have to deal with finding a parking space. I apparently used all the right words because we got taken back immediately. They had someone do vitals while someone else went to go grab some catheters to try and keep the stoma from closing more. I had to help hold Daniel while they got the Foley catheter in, and we were having to do things like grab c-clamps and wrap the end in a diaper as Daniel was creating negative pressure by fake-coughing before we could get it clamped. He was thankfully happy chilling on the bed playing with the TV remote and his tablet, and I got to talk to medical staff, email Jon to let him know what was going on, and let my boss know the situation. (My boss, bless her, had called my student for yesterday, and the student let her know to pass on prayers from her as well.)
Unexpected Seattle trip take #3. Eventually, a fellow and her attending came in, and the fellow checked the tube to see if it was damaged. Luckily, the balloon hadn’t been damaged so it was salvageable. She deflated it and tried putting it back in, but she needed a stylette to try and get it to go in straight. I suggested she grab a kit for a tube of a slightly different size as it would probably have a syringe, stylette, and lube that would help get it back in. While she ran and got the kit, the attending (who was holding Daniel’s arms) was asking me if I was a nurse because I seemed to know what I was doing. I replied that I’d been dealing with g-tube changes for almost 3 years, so I knew what should be happening. When the fellow came back, she lubed up the tube some more and started working on getting it down in the stoma. It wasn’t a pretty process, to say the least, because she was having a heck of a time getting it back in correctly, and I would have lost everything I had eaten in the last week if I was at all squeamish. (Stomach contents were coming out of the stoma as she maneuvered it, and I was blotting them off Daniel’s skin with the hospital blankie.) Eventually, she got it situated in the right place again, and I offered to check placement for her. The placement was good and Daniel was able to have a Pedialyte bolus feed without Pedialyte leaking out, so we were able to be discharged after just being in the ER for 90ish minutes. Our nurse got us squared away with paperwork, printed out a paper on what to watch for, and sent us on our way.
Why I love Seattle Children’s Home Care. I had conversations with them during the drive home about getting a spare tube overnighted to us, and I accidentally missed their last call because I was in the shower. Apparently, they decided to have someone drive it up to us (at least two or more hours because of rush hour), and I was shocked when a white van with a “Seattle Children’s” logo on it pulled in front of the house. The driver got out and handed me a g-tube kit. I almost hugged him.
So how is Daniel doing? I limited his food and drink to clear liquids and really plain things in case he had some nausea after what happened. He was cranky last night but didn’t seem too bad today. There hasn’t been any discharge or swelling, so I think he made it through this OK.
In-person worship. My church returned to in-person worship last Sunday, and it was so strange after worshipping online only for 15 months! It was like walking out of my cave into springtime after hibernating. It was like this strange and familiar thing from my past was happening again. (I can’t even really describe it all that well.) It was well worth all the quarantining.
I swore that I would wear my Easter dress from last year when we came back to in-person worship… so here’s the pic!
Why yes, I do have a mask that matches my dress! (Both are from Old Navy.)
Anti-vaxxer stupidity. If you believe that the COVID vaccine causes you to become magnetized, please proceed with haste to your nearest medical facility and ask for a lobotomy because someone has clearly ruined your brain.
THERE. ARE. NO. METALS. IN. ANY. OF. THE. VACCINES.
THE. KEY. STUCK. TO. THAT. IDIOT. NURSE. BECAUSE. OF. SEBUM. ON. HER. SKIN.