At-Home COVID-19 Tests

American Flag by E.A. Schneider

Greetings, dear pond readers! This is only a short post tonight to boost the signal on the new US government initiative to get at-home COVID-19 tests into households across America. My own painful experience suffering from COVID-19 this fall emphasized the importance of COVID-19 testing and I’m excited to share the link for how to sign up for your tests here: https://faq.usps.com/s/article/At-Home-COVID-19-Test-Kits

It was easy to do and I strongly encourage my American readers to take advantage of this opportunity. Almost 1 million Americans have died of COVID-19. Every life matters, including yours. Please, be a lifesaver. Get vaccinated, test often, wear masks, watch your distance, and wash your hands. We can survive this pandemic together.

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Vaccinated and Feeling Fine

Happy New Year, dear pond readers! 2021 has been an eventful year and it is only 24 days old. I have many thought on many subjects but tonight I am going to keep things simple. Before Christmas I was blessed to be among the first vaccinated against COVID-19 in my corner of the Upper Midwest of the U.S.A. Considering the horrific toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked on the world as a whole and the United States in particular, I feel humbly grateful to be among the happy few to have received a vaccine because of the science work I do. I want to use this gift well. While my second dose in early January did produce a more noticeable immune response than the first dose, it was a mild experience. Here is the historical action shot!

Vaccinated! I promise that the wheelchair and cane have nothing to do with the vaccine or my multiple sclerosis. I was injured when I fell on black ice. I am rocking a Walk MS T-shirt though.

As the caption says, the wheelchair and cane are due to black ice causing a fall and subsequent injury. I’m happy to report that my multiple sclerosis is behaving and I’m otherwise fine. In terms of the vaccination itself, 12 to 14 hours after the injection I developed mild sniffles, mild sore throat, some slight vertigo, periodic cough, mild headache, and some fatigue. The injection site hurt if I poked it but my arm did not hurt otherwise or become numb like with dose one. My second dose was on Friday in the late afternoon, this suite of mild symptoms developed late Saturday morning, I took a three hour nap on Sunday, and I felt absolutely fine by Monday afternoon. The clockwork aspect of symptoms was surreal but convenient. If I had had a normal leg, I would have been bopping around my house as usual regardless of the immune response. As it was, I enjoyed the silver lining of being able to read library books and watch some streaming without the guilt I often feel when I do such activities.

Even though I’m going to keep watching my distance, washing my hands, and wearing masks, it is really tremendous to know that I’m basically immune from COVID-19 infection for the coming months. I’m looking forward to being able to do more things in my community with others as the number of vaccinations rise. Everyone, if you have the opportunity to get vaccinated and your medical team says it’s okay for you, I strongly recommend that you do so. Until everyone is vaccinated, no one is truly safe. While there isn’t a whole lot that I can do at the moment to make the vaccine more equitably available, we can all do our part to make sure the curve flattens and more people survive to spring & summer & vaccine availability. It is so simple: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands. Together, we can get through this crisis. As beautiful and necessary as this memorial at the US Capitol is, I really don’t want us to need another one for 500,000-1 million U.S. deaths.

Lights Against the Darkness: Advent Wreath 2020 by E.A. Schneider

How has your 2021 begun, dear pond reader? Do you have COVID-19 vaccine questions?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Here is something you can think about the next time you’re struggling to wear a mask: My Favorite Word as Inspirational Art Designed & Photographed by E.A. Schneider

Vaccines Save Lives

Greetings, dear pond readers! Thank you for joining me here at the pond today. I’m writing a brief post to give you a very important update. On Friday, I was fortunate enough to receive my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer that was granted an emergency use authorization from the FDA. This opportunity was randomly offered to me because the science things I do 9 to 5ish during the week involve direct contact with COVID-19. I accepted the chance and I feel richly blessed. Getting this opportunity feels like winning a golden ticket aboard the Apollo 11 mission. This is ground breaking science making history and it is humbling to be a part of this moment. Here is an action shot:

Vaccinated! Part 1 action shot by E.A. Schneider

While I was initially hesitant to take a vaccine after what appeared to be a short time of development, with the help of some coworkers I did some reading on the vaccine in the time leading up to the FDA’s decision. The science behind the COVID-19 vaccine is incredible and a long time in the making. The CDC has put together this fascinating and helpful breakdown to understand the incredible mRNA vaccine technology. I recommend you read it; I think it is a preview to the future of preventative and palliative medicine.

More good news, I’m feeling fine. Historically, my family calls me the special snowflake because I tend to get a lot of symptoms, side effects, and weird things when it comes to health. I wasn’t sure what to expect in the initial aftermath of this vaccine but I was keen to find out. The shot didn’t hurt. The vaccine felt a little cool as it diffused through my muscle but not unduly so. The site did not swell and only felt somewhat bruised and stiff but not in a debilitating way. Remember, I live with multiple sclerosis. I know all too well what it is like to have limbs that don’t work. My vaccine injection site felt like I had bumped my arm on a door frame instead of getting a life saving vaccine. Two days post vaccine, I feel fine. My immune response has consisted of some mild sniffles and a little fatigue. That is way better than COVID-19. We’ll see how I feel after the second dose in a few weeks but honestly I’m not worried at all.

What does worry me? The rising case numbers and the impending wave of death facing the US. We have already lost more than 300,000 Americans. That is more than the American casualties sustained during four years of active combat in World War II. Unfortunately, we will probably hit 400,000 dead all too soon.

If you have the opportunity to get vaccinated and your medical team says it’s okay, please do. Vaccines save lives. Masks, watching your distance, and washing your hands save lives, too. I will keep masking, staying 6′ away, avoiding indoor gatherings, and washing up like crazy even after I get my second vaccine dose. Following public health guidelines is the safe thing to do to avoid carrying the virus to others or catching it myself, even when vaccinated. Saving a life has never been easier. Every time you mask, say no to a party, or sanitize one more time, you’re saving lives. That matters.

Joy candle light by E.A. Schneider

Later this week, I will post a a picture with my fully illuminated Advent Wreath but for tonight, last week’s picture of the shining Joy candle foregrounded against the dark seems most apropos.

How are you doing, dear pond reader? Is anything in particular bringing you joy?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Book Hospital

Greetings, dear pond readers! During this time of crisis, uncertainty, and catastrophe we are all adapting in different ways.  Book Hospital is one of my pandemic projects and I’m sharing it with you today.

My wee bairn is a bibliophage. The child has digested more than a small amount of fiber from gnawing on sundry board books, picture books, and chapter books. The more favorite the book, the more dramatic the biting.

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Exhibit A: The mark of the wild bibliophage child

Whenever a book was mauled by the affectionate but effective teeth of my bairn, I would rescue the book, announce it was going to Book Hospital, and put it in a bag out of sight in my crafty area. Over the last 24+ months, the bag has become steadily more full of patients.

Now I am blessed to be the child of librarians who also raised a bibliophage. My cells are filled with carbon digested from many board books. My folks recommended some easy to use linen tapes and glue that are designed to be acid-free. [Update: If you’re interested, you can buy the supplies I used and support this blog by going to these Amazon links: Lineco Clear Binding Tape, Lineco Clear Binding Tape, Lineco Self Adhesive Linen Tape , and pH neutral archival glue] I bought these supplies, put them in the Book Hospital bag, and promptly did other things.

This spring my wee bairn turned two and the Covid-19 pandemic happened. My fantastic spouse and I are now tasked with nurturing a two-year old tornado of energetic curiosity without the in-person support of daycare, friends, family, or a giant pile of books that this tornado loved to actual pieces. The books at least are something that I can mend.

I’ve been steadily working on mending all of the books that I can. I did not take many “before” pictures but the following slideshow depicts in-progress shots.

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Here are some Book Hospital patients from last night ready for action.

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This next slideshow has pictures of mended books that I didn’t get pictures of before. Several of them were pretty tricky to mend.

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My goals with this effort are to make sure the books will be sturdy, useable, and readable while preserving the evidence that the bibliophage had been devouring literature from an early age. Those details of teeth marks, scratches, and layers of tape are part of the marvelous tapestry that make up my precious wee bairn’s life. I feel so privileged to be a part of this person’s journey to adulthood. As I type this, the wee bairn is flipping through the Book of Common Prayer. Doubtless, this book will soon be admitted to Book Hospital but if it is, it will be in good company.

These books are still in the Book Hospital bag along with a couple severely gnawed volumes that are not pictured.

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I’ve been operating Book Hospital primarily while playing D&D via Skype with friends and it has been an immensely satisfying project. Successfully mending a book and seeing my wee bairn’s face light up with joy when the book is back in hand gives me a feeling of power and accomplishment that I lack all too often of late.

What projects are you working on, dear pond readers? What are you doing to stay sane and well during the pandemic? How are you managing kids at home? Please, leave a comment or question below and thanks for stopping by the pond today, dear pond readers. Be well and wash your hands.

 

There are links in the above post to some of the items mentioned. If you buy these items using the links, I will get a tiny percentage through the Amazon Associates Program. Any money I earn will go toward supporting my creative endeavors and National MS Society fundraising. Thank you!

Masks for Froedtert & MCW Hospital

Masks for Froedtert & MCW Hospital

Hello again, dear pond readers! I have an update on my mask project ambitions: they are on hold. My seasonal allergies to pollen metamorphosed into an opportunistic sinus infection. I am not going to be a jerk who makes masks while I’m shedding bacteria in the copious amounts of mucus that I’m generating. Given the new guidelines on public mask wearing from the CDC, we are all probably going to need a cloth mask or two so that the best personal protective equipment can be saved for the healthcare professionals and cleaning teams saving lives. The best I can do for the moment until my immune system beats this bug is boost the signal on how to sew the best mask you can when you can. Froedtert & MCW Hospital requests  that this mask pattern be used and that the fabrics you use are both densely woven and pre-washed & dried on hot. NBC ran this super helpful news story about what fabric is best to use for mask making. Turns out that high quality quilt cotton is fantastic at trapping those pesky viruses. Luckily, I have a bunch of high quality quilt cotton that I can make fabulous masks with.

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My stash of densely woven quilt cotton with which I intend to sew multiple face masks! Hopefully, the fun prints make everybody smile when they are using them.

The curve is being flattened in my state but this will take time. Being safe at home is a privilege and, if we all think of the common good right now & follow the guidance of public health scientists, thousands of lives will be saved. Wash your hands. Keep six feet of distance between yourself and people not in your household. Self-isolate if you’re ill. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Together, we can beat these pesky SARS-Cov-2 viruses and flatten the Covid-19 disease curve. Want to hear a super-fun podcast that talks about the science in a really easy to understand, funny way? Check out the Virology episode of Ologies with Alie Ward Listening to this episode brightened up my work at home this week. Finally, dear pond readers, I will leave you with this inspirational xkcd comic to brighten your life.

How are you doing during the pandemic, dear pond readers? Please, stay well, leave a comment below if you can, and look after one another with kindness. Thanks for stopping by the pond today, dear readers.