Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

It was nice

to watch the first episode of Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix today.  It took me right back to the magic of the original movie. :)

Day One

of my week off.  I managed to get everything taken care of that I could in that week I was still working so my backup will hopefully only have to deal with add-on surgeries (we're only doing fractures and casts at the moment) or urgent offsites (the University of Kentucky, our main imaging partner, is scheduling non-urgent scans in July as of yesterday).

I tried to get up at a reasonably early time for someone who had really nothing to do today, although I did reset my alarm so it wouldn't start at 5 am.  I tried for 7 am but instead wound up getting up about 9:30.  I got ready and went out to Kroger for a prescription I had waiting for me and finally managed to score a package of paper towels while I was at it, then came home and since then I have mostly been looking at the news, or Facebook, or listening to music, or downloading audiobooks and looking at books to read.  So today is my preparatory day for the rest of the week.

So far I haven't been very bored, although both the food in the refrigerator and my bed are calling to me, so maybe a little. I have discovered that my roommate binge-watches 'Dark Shadows' on Hulu at the moment to wake up and meet the day.

Last night the kitten was inconsolable because his toys were all missing except a ball with a bell in it that really held no interest for him.  I had the intuition to move a marble-top washstand in the living room and voilà! we found his hoard of toys, including the butterfly with the crinkly leaves he adores but I had never actually seen because he hid it the day he got it. Now I've got both cats on my bed and I'm listening to Bastille in my room facing the window with the orchids and a blooming redbud tree outside.

I put a little laundry away, but today was about relaxing after working a week and a half out in the world while most people have been off or working from home.  Our hospital is screening everyone with a temperature check before they come into the building--patient, visitor, staff--and distributing homemade masks that are primarily to help you remember not to touch your face and keep out any droplets.  It won't protect from the virus such as the ones the first responders and ERs have (the lucky ones, anyway), but it'll keep us from pulling any from other places that may need them more.  Our team approach is reducing exposure.  I haven't been able to eat with my lunch bunch all week--my boss directed us to eat lunch in our offices and keep the doors shut.  The only time I go to any other place in the hospital is to go to the bathroom, get a drink, check the mail in the mailroom, check my offsite folder (which I can see through our department door, so I don't have to go in unless there is one) or, in yesterday's case, I filled in at the sign-in desk for a half an hour so someone could go to lunch.  I had to stamp passes the parents had for parking, so I was very cognizant not to touch my face and then washed my hands really well when I was done.  I also wiped down the whole office with disinfectant before I left for the day, as someone else from upstairs might use it while I'm gone.  Of course, when I come back next week I'll do that all again.

I think I will lie down just a bit.  Governor Beshear is going to give his update at 5 pm, so I want to be up by then.  The updates have become known outside of Kentucky, and people are creating memes and videos of him.  There's a fund set up to help with the COVID-19 fallout in Kentucky and someone created quotes on t-shirts with 100% of proceeds going to that fund.

This evening I may go for a walk (by myself).  I have some new shoes that (unlike the walking shoes and Mary Janes I had) are completely level and not worn down from my natural walk, which is on the outside of my feet.  My Mary Janes, which were three years old, were so worn down they were at a 0-45 degree angle and my foot was rolling over every time I walked, so I had to throw them away.  They were in such bad shape there was no reason to try to donate them.  The walking shoes were getting there, too, as they're five years old.  So it was beyond time.  I only have a pair of sandals (which also need replacing) and a pair of house shoes, as I'm pretty utilitarian when it comes to shoes and keep them to a bare minimum.  So these are work shoes but look like a sneaker.  They are from New Balance, and they come in an extra-wide size and don't press badly on my feet (which is bad when you have diabetes), but they also have a steel toe, anti-static protection, and skid-resistant shoes, which probably isn't bad since I'm accident-prone.  So I'm trying to break them in before I go back to work. I wore them to the pharmacy today, and like I said, may go for a walk in a little while.  They're a little heavier than normal due to the steel toe, so I had to be careful not to put the accelerator down too far when driving. Talk about a lead foot. :)

Okay, that's all for now.  Hope you are having a wonderful socially-distant week.  Hopefully, you are staying at home unless you're an essential worker or needing to go out for supplies.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

This pretty much describes things perfectly around here

We're up to 169 cases in Kentucky, 4 deaths.  Our governor is taking steps to help flatten the curve, but we are, of course, still part of the upward swing one would expect at the beginning of a pandemic.  Still, we're doing better than a lot of states surrounding us, so that's a positive thing.

Starting tomorrow I have a new work schedule, where we've divided into teams.  My team will work Wednesday through Friday, then Monday and Tuesday, and then the other team will take over for the next span.  At least in doing so, we're spreading people out and halving the exposure to the world outside our homes.  We have options to take the off-days with paid time off if we have it (I do, for about two months of this, anyway, so this is my choice), taking it without pay, or supplementing income by working with other departments in the meantime.  If one of our team members gets the virus, we would all quarantine, leaving the other team able to do essential tasks.

So no one's being laid off or anything.  Those without PTO are also allowed to go into the negative, they just can't take normal PTO until they get back into the positive.  It's a reasonable plan.  I'm not sure if the third option above really helps with limiting exposure, but for those without underlying issues, that may not be such a problem.  However, with mine, I'm going to stay home on days I'm not scheduled.  That's five days (seven with the weekend) at a time that I don't have to take the parking shuttles or anything.  And all of the departments are doing a version of this, worked out with their managers, so that pretty much halves the number of people in the building.  And some are working from home--I just couldn't because of the amount of patient health information I deal with (virtually everything I touch is protected information).

We were scheduled to start this tomorrow, and I was supposed to be at work today, but my car wouldn't start this morning.  I have almost nothing in my bank account (22 cents, to be exact, but hey at least it's positive), so I can't do a thing about it till Thursday.  I don't think it's the battery.  My roadside assistance is in jeopardy due to the tow I had in the fall and then the two to do with the tyres, so I'm afraid to use that.  I was planning on transitioning to AAA, but that's been put off as I'll have to fix the car.  If it isn't one thing, it's another.  I was already looking at fixing the front brakes this weekend. :(

Okay, that's enough for now.  Hope you got a laugh out of the video.  We need things like that to keep us sane during all this.  Take care, and stay well.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

So it's been a week

Kentucky is up to 87 cases and 3 deaths.  But I think our governor, Andy Beshear, is acting appropriately and quickly to try to 'flatten the curve' of infection.  That refers to a much-used graph comparing the response of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and St Louis, Missouri back in the 1918 pandemic of Spanish influenza.

In that graph, Philadelphia's spikes quickly and far beyond the capability of the medical community to respond.  Among other things, Philadelphia held a parade right as the flu started to spread in their community with 200,000 in the crowd.  Things rapidly escalated.  In St Louis, they worked at reducing the infection and slowed the rate that it was happening, and stayed a flatter curve, right about or under the medical community's capacity.  People still got it.  People still died.  There is even an uptick on the graph and one point as the cases were going down, as people began to loosen their reactions.  But it worked, for the most part.

Gov. Beshear is giving daily updates at 5 pm, and has also geared parts of the update to children or to dealing with the mental effects of the pandemic.  The numbers have climbed since the first case was detected in the Commonwealth on March 6th, and testing is becoming better.  Testing has been a barrier here in the US.  It's hard to get tested unless you are very symptomatic and in the hospital, so we're missing a lot of cases that are not being quarantined, most likely.  But the testing is getting better.  Today the FDA announced a rapid point-of-care test approved that can give results in 45 minutes.  That's what we need.  It should start shipping next week.  And we need them in great numbers.  In Italy, which has been absolutely devastated by the disease, a town of 3,3000 where everyone was tested was able to quarantine those with the disease--including the ones without symptoms--and halted the infection.

Now Kentucky has 4.468 million residents as of 2018, according to Google.  That's a lot to test, but not as populous as some.  The governor's aim is to get testing so that anyone who feels they should be tested either due to symptoms or exposure has the opportunity to do so.  That's laudable.

Another graph I find interesting is the difference between Kentucky and neighbouring Tennessee and their response:

Granted, it's early yet.  But unfortunately, the federal response has been sluggish and so different states are basically issuing their own rules, and some are responding better than others.  For example, the governor of Michigan has exempted churches from the ban on 50+ persons gathering.

This is what I posted on Facebook on that subject:

I'm not Christian. My faith doesn't really have a 'church' or 'synagogue' or 'mosque' or 'temple'. Our temples were either destroyed years ago or are tourist attractions these days. Mine is a more solitary spirituality.
However, I care about people's ability to worship in these trying times. And no, a building is not the church, or synagogue, or mosque, or temple. Remember the old children's rhyme/fingerplay where you say, 'here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and here's the people' and you wiggle your fingers, the people? They're what matter. Protecting the lives of members of congregations matter. You can still be religious. You can still interact from a distance. You can still pray. God and/or the Gods will understand. You can still be a faith. Just think of staying home as a way of doing a good thing, a blessing. In Judaism, it's called a mitzvah. You are doing something good for others, and it costs very little. Stay safe. Make sure you don't pass it to others. And keep the faith.

Finally, there's the mental health issue with all these cases, deaths, and restrictions. I found this helpful:

I have OCD and anxiety disorder. I think this has a lot of good advice, although it's really hard to unplug from social media, as some things (like changes in hours or scope of operations and meetings cancelled) I've only found on Facebook, etc. Just remember, take care of your mental health, too:

Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health

Okay, I guess I'll sign off for now.  Just remember, Gov. Beshear is right.  We are all in this together.  #TeamKY #TeamUSA #TeamWorld

So how are you doing?

Saturday, March 14, 2020

That's the spirit... :)

The other night

because it seemed appropriate, I downloaded Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year on Kindle, first published in 1722 and covering the great bubonic plague of 1665.

I was planning on going

to an orchid society meeting today.  But it's be been cancelled.

As have most things.

On Friday, March 6th, Lexington announced its first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  It was a person from neighbouring Harrison County who had worked at Wal-Mart, and she was being treated by the University of Kentucky in isolation.  That first patient was released yesterday, recovered.  But we're up to eleven cases here in Kentucky.  In the last few weeks, the cases have increased throughout the country.  Here in Kentucky, like many places, because there is no cure and still not a lot is known about the disease, we are practising social distancing, so many events have been cancelled, as have schools, churches, and other places with denser contact.  When the schools were cancelled for about three weeks (including not only colleges but public schools), people began losing their collective minds there.

The first to go out of the stores was soap, hand sanitiser, bleach, and oddly enough, toilet paper.  You can't find the latter anywhere.  Even online they're all at a premium.  That happened as soon as there was a case here.  Things had been relatively quiet up to that point, when the virus was in Asia, Europe, the West Coast here in America.  Once the schools were closed, it really came home to people that they might be stuck for some time at home.  Sports tournaments were cancelled, events were postponed, even small gatherings like the one I was going to go to.  The local and state authorities are asking us to do this.  Because so many deaths are among the older folk and those with underlying conditions, nursing homes have suspended visitation and hospitals are limiting visits.  I work for a tertiary-care hospital and we have implemented certain policies and practices to help protect our patients, families, and workers.  I'm getting e-mails from various businesses, from hair salons to banks, to just about anyone I do business with, as to what they're trying to do to help contain the threat.  All through this, people are trying to live and work as normal.  But there is disruption, and this is just the beginning.  Looking at the maps daily, there are very few states not reporting cases, and a lot of those are in states with compromised health care and of course, all the cases are being terribly under-reported because testing in this country has been woefully inadequate so far, meaning statistics like infection rate and mortality rate could be skewed.

When the cases first began in Wuhan, China, doctors' warnings were suppressed by the Communist government.  Now there are accusations that the testing fiasco here in America is linked to the election-year need for the incumbent president to have low numbers overall in terms of infection.  So there are political factors at play.

Reports out of Italy, where they've had a crisis going on for weeks and the northern part of the country is under quarantine, are grim.  There are stories of doctors using short supplies for the younger, healthier people who have a better chance to survive and letting those who are not die.

So things have been grim and will no doubt worsen.  I thought I'd go ahead and address some of what's been going on here.

Friday, March 13, 2020

First, an introduction

This is an excellent video that we were shown at work this morning.  It explains COVID-19 well.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Off work

For three appointments today. I had to be at the orthopaedic surgeon's office at 8:15 am for an MRI of my knee.  Now I'm with a friend at a colonoscopy as the driver.  We got here at 11:45 am (arrival time was noon) and he just went back about 1 pm or 1:10 pm.  Then once I get him home and asleep I'm going to try to go to a therapy appointment at 4:30 pm, if he's just sleeping, for an hour.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

I've gotten a goodly amount of things done today

  1. Woke up and got caffeinated.
  2. Took my friend to the pharmacy and also picked up a couple of things for me.
  3. Worked on shelf dusting in my room.
  4. Cleaned my room/put away laundry/made my bed.
  5. Played mousie with the kitten several times.
  6. Did the game notes in the afternoon rather than waiting till nightfall.
  7. Fed the animals.
  8. Finally got my friend his Chanukah present two months late, which was socks, in a big package of 14 pairs, which is good, as he desperately needed them and each pair he had was full of holes.  The man is hard on socks. But he does usually make them last for 3-5 years.  I also found the razors he's been looking for buy one, get one free, so 8 blades for $9.99, which is unheard of (thank you, Meijer).
  9. Got a little rest.
Now I'm listening to music and winding down for the night, specifically Of Monsters and Men's album My Head is an Animal.

Tommorow's list is even longer:

There's the normal Sunday list:

  1. Cat boxes
  2. Sweep
  3. Mop
  4. Trash
  5. Recyclables
  6. Laundry
  7. Dishes
  8. Bathroom
Plus, I need to go to the library, turn in a book, and get one that's on hold for my roommate, take some things to the storage unit, clean my car out (it's usually pretty decent, but I had to put everything in the back seat that had been in the trunk when my driver's side front tyre went down a few weeks ago), and I also have to water the plants.

The tyre saga continued when I popped the doughnut spare on the 15th coming back from running errands. I hit a bad pothole.  There was nothing to do but have the car towed home, as I could do nothing about it until my tax refund came in or I got paid again.  I was with my roommate at the time, so I sent him in the tow truck (there was not enough room for both of us) and took the bus home, as I had a couple of dollars' emergency fund and it was Sabbath, so technically, he wasn't allowed to use money for the bus.  We broke down at 1:20 pm and by the time the tow truck got there and I got home, it was 4:15 pm.  So that was a tiring day, and the car was now down.  But on the bright side, he had one of those 20-rides-for-$15 tap cards that I'd given him the last time I had been riding the bus, and it had just enough punches (8) for the workweek (the 17th we were off for Presidents' Day.  We don't get off for MLK Jr. Day, but we do get off for Presidents' Day).

Anyway, all things went okay until Friday the 21st, the day before my appointment to get tyres.  It was right before 7 am and it was still half-dark, and I had just crossed the street on my way to the bus stop when, while walking, I looked back to see if the bus was coming (I was cutting it awfully close) and promptly lost my balance and the next thing I knew the sidewalk was like two inches away, and I fell on my face, mostly, but had broken my fall somewhat with my hands and knees.

A lady in front of me came back to try to help me, as she'd heard me fall.  She was African, all of about 90 pounds, and we couldn't get me up without me pulling her down.  Meanwhile I was bleeding like a stuck pig from my face--it was my nose, but I wasn't sure at the time, as I'd hit my head, too. right on the forehead.  Miraculously, I hadn't broken my glasses, although several days later I realised I'd scratched the frames pretty well and there are little divets out of my right lens.

Because of the blood she wanted to call an ambulance. I said I lived right across the street and wanted to get the bleeding stopped.  Bless her heart, for all I know I got blood on her hand, as I had it on mine, when she tried to get me up.  I got it all down my shirt, on my coat, and on my computer bag (which thankfully all came out in the wash, and the computer did not break).

I had to crawl backwards to the kerb and then put my feet down in the gutter and push up to get up.  I  The bus went by, I crossed the street, and got home.  I was in the bathroom with a hand towel on my nose (which was bleeding from inside, not outwardly, thankfully, and there were just a couple of small places on my nose and face at all), and I started crying, waking up YKWIA.  He came to check on me.  He'd thought I'd fallen in the house or off the porch, and I explained what happened.  My wrist hurt, my knees hurt and were scraped, and my head and face hurt.  I told him I'd take the next bus to the hospital, and since I was coherent and doing okay, he went back to bed.

I texted my boss and backup what happened and that I wouldn't probably be in.  I did take the next bus to St. Joseph East (he thought I'd gone to UK, but I prefer that hospital).  I was the only one in the ER and then a bunch of people started streaming in.  They examined me, did a CT scan of my head, neck, and facial bones, an x-ray of my left wrist, and diagnosed me with a concussion, sprained wrist, and contusions.  At the time I thought that I'd just banged me knees a little bit.  After I got home (also on the bus, about six hours from the incident), YKWIA wouldn't let me go to sleep due to the concussion till after dinner, and when I had been walking and also in bed, when my left knee went side to side at all, it would pop and catch. I tore my right meniscus years ago, and it was the same set of symptoms.

On Saturday I had the appointment for a tow and to get my car tyres.  The tow truck was the tallest one in Lexington, the driver said, and I had a really hard time getting into it between the wrist being in a brace and my knees. I'd have had trouble normally, and I was worried I'd fall.  It took both of us to get me in--he was very professional and assured me he wasn't being fresh, and I assured him I didn't think he was, but he had to physically move my foot to the taller of two steps and then give me a boost from behind.  We got to the tyre place, I paid him (he told me that I might be able to get a reimbursement from State Farm, so I've asked if that's possible and sent them the invoice--I assumed having gotten roadside assistance the day we broke down meant I couldn't get a second tow, but they've sent it to headquarters to see if it'll be approved.)  I was home with new tyres by 9:30 am (we started the tow at 7:30 and got to the store by 8, even with the difficulty of getting me up into the truck), and I promptly went to bed and didn't wake up till 3:30 pm.  But at least we were mobile again.

All week I've been behind and trying to get caught up on various surgeries and offsites from being off that day.  I've felt a little overwhelmed.  Monday I got nearly nothing of consequence taken care of. I put out lots of little fires and was very reactive, but very foggy, couldn't focus, and it just got worse as the day went along. I checked my blood sugar and it was 117, so within the norm for me, and then finally I Googled 'How long does it take to recover from a concussion' and it was 7-10 days.  I got less foggy with each day and by Wednesday and Thursday felt more on my game.   I got most everything pressing caught up Friday afternoon despite going to see about my knee that morning and just really need to hit the offsite scheduling hard on Monday, especially as I will be off on Wednesday for a series of appointments.  I have an MRI at 8:15 am, am taking YKWIA for a procedure at noon, and I think I can leave him sleeping for a 4:30 pm therapy appointment.  Technically I have six appointments next week, three on that Wednesday.  I need to move my endocrinology appointment on Monday because I just can't take off, then I have on Thursday afternoon with my GP along with YKWIA and one on Friday morning to get the results of the MRI.  They're thinking I'm right about the meniscus tear.  I also asked about my thumb, as apparently upon reviewing the x-ray there were changes they were concerned about according to my GP, and I've been told I have arthritis in my thumbs before and assumed that was it, but wanted to check.  The PA said that sounded like what they meant, that there were degenerative changes in my thumbs.  He also showed me my knee x-ray.  Nothing appeared to be broken.  The spaces between the knee bones, particularly on the medial side, are pretty small, and there are spurs in several places indicating moderate to severe arthritis, which I knew I had.  But he said that there was pretty much no cartilage behind my patella, and that was a concern.  I told him Dr Balthrop, the last time I had to have a meniscectomy, had told me I was eventually probably going to need a knee replacement.  

So that's where we stand at the moment.  A lot's been going on. I've been working very hard, was riding the bus for a while, and I've just been tired and exhausted and not up to writing when I got home.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Tired and hungry

Off work for Presidents' Day and spent my morning going to and from an appointment on the bus. Left at 8:15 am and it's almost noon now. I should get home about 12:30 or so. While at the transit centre, I snapped this picture of the Lincoln mural. I never noticed his leg has pink triangles on the side near The Bar (a gay bar that's been around for a long time). I don't know if it was on purpose, but I approve. (I had a better picture lined up, but the bus pulled up, and I'm on it now, waiting to pull out.)