Kitty hospice. My parents’ elderly tabby Jethro likely has lymphoma, and my mom took him to the vet on Tuesday to address him not eating. They gave her the options of doing nothing, doing palliative care, doing kitty chemo, or euthanizing him. Mom and I talked about it, and she opted for palliative care. The vet will do fluids weekly, and we’ve been given medications to deal with nausea, pain, appetite, and a steroid to deal with the lymphoma. Mom is aware that this is giving us weeks, not years, and I told her that I would clear my schedule and go with her to the vet to do the talking when it comes time to let Jethro go.
Daniel’s health. My monster had an ADHD appointment a week ago, and his pediatrician felt a stool ball in his stomach. She put in an x-ray order and we got it on Saturday. The x-ray showed the stool ball and what looked like a kidney stone, so she put in a stat ultrasound order. The ultrasound was Tuesday, and it was thankfully clean. So… we’re dealing with the stool ball, and I’m hoping we’re not jockeying for another hospitalization.
My other boys. My baseball boys (THE GIANTS!!!) are in the mix for the NL West. I’m hoping the LA Losers stay multiple games behind and/or lose the Wild Card game to St. Louis (my other boys) if it comes to that.
Interesting hymnody. I was on a Maddy Prior binge and discovered an album of hymns from the 18th and 19th century. It includes “The God of Abraham Praise” which is a hymn I wish we would sing in my parish. (Hello minor key! Hello interesting tune!)
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).
Really??? I got a text and an email from Daniel’s school on Friday to let me know that Daniel may have been exposed to COVID. Well, crap! We had Daniel mask up in the house until we could figure out what to do. My brother has been through this a few times with my nephew’s daycare, and he told us that we didn’t need to mask up Daniel in the house. (Kiddo was pissed at having to wear his mask in the house at first, but he adjusted and even fell asleep in it.) I also had to stay home from church on Sunday, which pissed me off because my former choir director was there to get to say goodbye to all of us, and I missed the special dinner with her as well.
We learned on Tuesday that they were shutting his class down for at least a week, and he would be able to return to school on Monday (the 13th) as long as he wasn’t manifesting symptoms because he’s vaccinated. My choir director asked me to get tested (since the choir with the cluster cases is local to us), so I did. (They even let me tickle my own brain!) Unsurprisingly, my test was negative. Props to Skagit County Public Health. I went home after getting tested and hopped in the shower. My test results were back by the time I got out of the shower. It was ~20 minute turnaround.
My brother’s response was the best:
Love how someone’s personal choice just became your problem.
Sigh… A church friend of mine had a coworker who was a diehard anti-vaxxer and Trump supporter. He would bait me on my friend’s wall, so I blocked him on Facebook.
A week and a half ago, my church friend asked me to pray for this coworker because he was in the ICU with COVID. He deteriorated over the next week, and they removed him from life support on Monday. He leaves a wife and a daughter who was a complete daddy’s girl. He was in his late 40’s.
Y’all, I’m not posting on vaccination and urging you to get vaccinated because I want to debate you on the subject or because it’s a political thing. This person’s death could have been prevented if he had been vaccinated. He would have gotten really sick, but he wouldn’t have ended up on a ventilator. I’m legitimately sad about his death because it did *NOT* have to happen.
Eff cancer. My friend Mellora’s husband Matt was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, and he ended up in the ER on August 30th with a collapsed lung. His condition worsened and he was put on hospice yesterday. He died that night. He leaves Mellora and their two daughters. He was my age.
Please keep Mellora, her daughters, and all who knew and loved Matt in your prayers.
Music take #4. As I was out with Daniel today and pondering all that was going on this week, this hymn came to mind. It’s Brian Doerkson’s arrangement of “It Is Well With My Soul”. His dad sings with him starting on verse 2. I sang this hymn to Daniel in the NICU and in the PICU during the hospitalization 10 1/2 years when we almost lost him. It’s absolutely my favorite hymn.
Vaccination mandate. I know people are probably going to be up in arms about this in their Quick Takes, and my position is probably not going to be popular.
I have an employer that requires vaccination, and I live in a state where the governor (thankfully) requires it of all medical and education workers. I would honestly not be comfortable having Daniel in a class with an unvaccinated teacher, and I’m hoping the 6th graders in his class can be vaccinated soon as well to cut down on the chances of him bringing it home. I would refuse to be treated by a doctor or dentist who wasn’t vaccinated because of the need to be close to each other for check-ups and treatment. Large employers are going to have people in close proximity when they go back to the office, so it makes sense that they be vaccinated.
As I said above, I’m not pushing vaccination as a political talking point. The Delta variant doesn’t discriminate between Republicans and Democrats. These variants are going to keep developing until people are vaccinated and COVID stops being endemic. I’m saying all of these things because I really do care about my blog readers, and I don’t want y’all ending up on ventilators and making your family deal with funeral arrangements.
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.
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: