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Emma: The Feast of Jezebel


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Still alive. Found out last week that Uncle Wiggly Wings died recently. On top of the Ukraine invasion, that sent me into a two day panic attack. Had a blood pressure check on day two of panic attack. Flunked. Awesome doctor did a guided meditation with me and broke the panic attack spiral. Have been stable since then, although still horribly upset about Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine.

My parents were trapped in West Berlin after World War II when the Soviet Union blockaded the city. Daddy was a US Army sergeant who survived the Battle of the Bulge, Mother was Civil Service and had gone over after the war to work during the occupation. Their’s is a meet cute. Mother had been told to guard the typewriter while the office was moving down the hall. Daddy came down the hall and saw a pretty woman sitting on a typewriter, guarding it. Uncle Wiggly Wings was one of the pilots of the airlift and dropped candy for the children who were trapped by the blockade. Mother told us stories about him when we were growing up.

Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine is basically like how World War II started, by Hitler’s invasion of Poland. At least this time, people are remembering their history and are willing to try and stop Putin before he goes further. The horror is that Putin doesn’t seem to be very stable anymore and he’s got the red button.

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I don't know anything about them beyond the fact that they exist, but have you considered looking into some of the online therapy services that have popped up? Better Help  is the only one I can think of right now but I've seen ads for a bunch.

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It's definitely a lot right now. One damn thing after another.

 

I know that Mr Rogers' "look for the helpers" advice was meant for kids, but I find it's useful for any situation where one feels powerless to affect the outcome. I am not, and cannot be, the expert or professional in everything, not even in everything I care about, but there are people who are. I can't be everywhere, but there are people who are there. Many of these people are doing good work and having a positive impact in the situation. In this particular situation, there are a ton of people doing good work to fix what they can fix.
 

Spoiler

In this case, the more they do, the more fixable this looks. Because of that, unlike WWII, I think much of the outcome of this was set in the first week. What is unknown is the timeframe and the cost of getting to a resolution, except that it will get worse before it gets better. These will be difficult and upsetting times, I don't want to soft-peddle that. But there are good outcomes not only possible but very likely, and a lot of people extremely dedicated to making that happen despite the cost, including, fortunately, the bulk of the country currently bearing the brunt of it.

 

8 hours ago, fleaball said:

I don't know anything about them beyond the fact that they exist, but have you considered looking into some of the online therapy services that have popped up? Better Help  is the only one I can think of right now but I've seen ads for a bunch.

 

Better Help is advertising with a lot of reputable people, but is increasingly gaining a reputation for not being very reputable themselves. (The main issues I've seen raised are not being covered by medical privacy, and lack of vetting of the therapists for any credentials.) 

 

But there are good online services, and your insurance company may even have an existing existing relationship with one, especially in these pandemic times. Another option is EAP programs, if your work has one. They often have online options.

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EAP basically gave me the names of three therapists who are no longer participating in the program.

Anyway, doing okay emotionally. Starting to meditate.

Had checkup with doctor again and passed the blood pressure check that time. Seeing cardiologist today. Taking three day weekend next week.

US is dropping mask mandates. Too soon. Way too soon. Cases rising in Europe and Asia. Hong Kong had been doing well  keeping cases low but they got hit really hard by omicron BA.2. Their policy had been to hospitalize anyone who tested positive and put close contacts into a government quarantine facility for three weeks. Extreme but it had been working. Until BA.2 hit. They can’t keep up now. it’s spreading faster than they can control it. They are resorting to refrigerator trucks for the dead. Highest death rate in the world right now.

We (US) will likely get hit hard in a couple of more weeks.

I have been hearing people say “it’s inevitable, I’m just going to get it and get it over with.” This attitude fails to take two things into account. The death rate is still high and do not forget about long Covid, please. Long Covid affects, they believe, about 30 percent of those who survive the acute phase, even with a mild case or no symptoms at all, and it’s nothing to take lightly. They are seeing brain lesions on CT scans, heart damage, clotting, heart failure and even more problems in the lungs and GI systems. 
As much as I want to go back to church and sing in the choir, not yet. Not yet.

Be smart, friends, please. Wear the mask, avoid crowds, social distance. I am.

If someone hassles you about wearing the mask, you can always furtively say “Deep state facial recognition software.” Give a conspiratorial nod and slink away.  :) 
I fear Ukraine is going down. As brave and strong as the people are, as great a leader Zelensky is,  Putin has greater resources and is not rational. The rest of Europe is doing what they can to help without starting a full on war. Putin has said closing the airspace will be considered an act of war, sending troops in will also. If Putin sets foot in a NATO country, however, it will be world war 3.

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The best way to deal with a conspiracy theorist is not to debunk their conspiracy, but to counter it with a contradictory conspiracy.

 

For example, when someone told me "Jet fuel can't melt steel beams" I asked them if they had considered how hot the stuff used to make chemtrails burned. It really threw them for a loop.

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Still alive. Still seeing Covid patients.

I requested meds last time I saw doctor. She prescribed cymbalta and it’s working. Having more and more good days. I used to wonder if I was lazy because I was depressed or just plain lazy. Now I know. I’m just plain lazy. :) That three day weekend was wonderful. Didn’t do much but it was fabulous.

When I got home last night (this morning) ambulance was blocking my driveway. Followed EMTs to neighbors house. They decided ambulance wasn’t necessary but she should go to emergency so I ended up driving her and then picking her up later. Slept until eleven. BLISS! Between that and late nights at work I have been in survival mode lately. SLEEP, eat, laundry and exercise.

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Why I am Giving Up My Starbucks Habit

I missed Starbucks during the shutdown.  It had been my habit for years to stop and either pick up a cup of tea and a treat at the start of my shift or to sit and people watch and read a light novel.  Since they opened up again, the selection of treats has been slim and unpredictable. They are sometimes out of tea altogether. And then there are the price raises. I used to pay $2.75 for a cup of tea. Yesterday it was $3.25. Plus .70 cents for a splash of half and half. To add insult to injury, they are now giving only one teabag for a grande tea, instead of two.  That’s $3.95 for a cup of hot water, one teabag, and a couple of spoons of milk. Can’t really justify that kind of expense anymore. Quality down, expenses up. I expect I will still stop by once in a while, if the place is quiet, for some people watching and reading, but it is not a daily thing anymore. I miss it. Sigh.

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Saw a few Covid patients this week. Looking at the data from winter 20/21 and today was amazing. Last winter cases spiked and the death rate spike was literally off the chart.  This winter, the cases spiked way higher than last winter, but the death rate was a lot lower. Five times lower than last winter even though the case rate was so much higher. The vaccines work.

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3 hours ago, Emma said:

Saw a few Covid patients this week. Looking at the data from winter 20/21 and today was amazing. Last winter cases spiked and the death rate spike was literally off the chart.  This winter, the cases spiked way higher than last winter, but the death rate was a lot lower. Five times lower than last winter even though the case rate was so much higher. The vaccines work.

Same here. The case rate was higher than the first two waves and Delta put together, but the hospitalization rate was lower than the first wave, and over much faster.

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Rant ahead.

Had a crappy week.

Two cases on Sunday. Forty minutes with IT, who asked when my new computer was arriving. I’ve been begging for a new computer for months. No computer is forthcoming. Crap.

Four cases on Monday. Only did two of them. Got stuck in rush hour traffic. And then behind not one, not two, but THREE separate accidents in different areas. And the one case I drove an hour and a half to get to, one way, I couldn’t get a diagnostic image. Crap.

Yesterday I emailed my primary care doctor about a vision problem. I got a phone call from her assistant telling me to go to the ER. Well, there went my New Year’s resolution to stay out of the ER this year. Spent the entire day there. Brain ct to rule out stroke and then waited more to be told we don’t know what’s going on, get out of here. Got home from work to find email from primary doctor saying IF it gets WORSE go to ER!!! Damn stupid assistant left out the IF it gets WORSE part. Crap.

Got  up this morning (my day off) to find an email that one set of images I took last night had been rejected by the radiologist. Second time the past couple of weeks. This is an unusually high amount of rejects, even for this job. I have been complaining about my equipment for months. My plate is old and has been giving me weird  and poor images for months. But when I complain the answer is always “well, let me know if it happens again.” I used to think it was budget, but now I wonder if I’m being set up to be fired.

Crap, crap, crap, crap.

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1 hour ago, Emma said:

But when I complain the answer is always “well, let me know if it happens again.” I used to think it was budget, but now I wonder if I’m being set up to be fired.

Never assign to malice what can be assigned to stupidity. It's most likely the incompetence of those responsible for replacing it and/or the parsimony of the company.

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Spoke with L at work. Rejected images pass through his hands. Yes, lately I have had a higher reject rate than the other techs. Sob.

 

Vision is getting better. The exact same thing happened a few years ago when I was taking a new med. I quit the new med and vision went back to normal. I was sure the new med was responsible for my vision changes this time too.The new med must be tapered off, not quit cold turkey, which is why I bothered to email my MD. I told her about the last time these vision changes happened and asked for taper off instructions. Which I did not get. Instead I was told to go to ED. I am a good girl, so I did as I was told.  I am now being rebellious and stubborn. I just guessed at the taper off rate and went for it. MD is not going to be happy. Tough.

 

The Rise in Fentanyl Use. 

Found an article in the newspaper that answered my question. Why is fentanyl everywhere these days? Fentanyl is cheap. Really cheap. It is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger that morphine. Dealers are cutting other drugs- heroin,  cocaine and more-with fentanyl because fentanyl is so cheap. Fentanyl is now found in 90% of street drugs. Fentanyl is so powerful even a tiny miscalculation in the amount used in the cutting can result in a fatal dose. I told my kids that the illegal drugs haven’t been studied much and using them is just turning your body into a chemistry experiment. Now more so than ever. Fatal overdoses in 2019 were 11 times higher than 2013. (Overdosing by just touching the stuff is a myth.)

 

COVID

Discussion of what endemic will look like.

Scientists say we are still in the acute phase of the pandemic, i.e. the fat lady ain’t sung yet, even though the politicians are telling us the opera’s over and the curtain’s gone down. The Spanish Flu, according to the internet lasted two years. However, in reality it took a total of eight years to completely run its course and become endemic.

Scientific definition of endemic disease is a “disease with a constant predictable or expected presence”. That’s NOT the same thing as getting milder like a cold or flu, which is what the public seems to think. HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, syphilis, hepatitis are all endemic in the US. These are not mild diseases, but we can predict their behavior and thus take steps to avoid them. Avoid exposure, and get tested when you are exposed so you can start treatment quickly.

There are a few scientists who are convinced Covid will fade and we will develop immunity just like the cold or flu. Most  scientists, however, are saying we just don’t know yet. The Covid mutations are random and could easily develop more severe variations that can sidestep our vaccines. My recommendation is to keep a very close eye on the cases in your area and slap on that n95 if you see them even start to rise. Although if you see cases start to rise, it’s probably too late already. If you are high risk, just keep the mask on. Me, I am neurotic and insecure and still being exposed to Covid on a regular basis. My mask is on and I am avoiding crowds. Still. Sigh.

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Crap.

I am tapered off the cymbalta and my vision is worse. Trying to get hold of my ophthalmologist. Remembered he changed the dosage on one of my eye drops. That might be it.

Had another episode of a fib after moving furniture. Excessive physical exertion can bring on a fib so I didn’t worry about it but emailed my cardiologist anyway because he said he wanted to know. Crap. Now he wants another ekg, even though I am back in rhythm and wants to start another new heart med. Looked up the new med and according to Mayo Clinic they will check me into the hospital for a few days to make sure I don’t die from the stuff. I’m just pissed now.

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I was leaving for work yesterday when the neighbor’s puppy charged me again. Came straight at me, barking her head off, dragging her leash, neighbor running after her. I was a bit worried but just held still. She jumped on me (with muddy paws) and slobbered on my scrubs while giving me enthusiastic puppy kisses. :) I think we might be friends now. 

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Lately all I’m doing is watching dvds and reading trashy novels. I was getting excited about picking up an old hobby, target shooting, and then Uvalde happened and all my shooting gear is packed up again. I threw out the radio awhile ago so I couldn’t listen to the news but that one was impossible to avoid. I started doing a deep clean a few weeks ago and haven’t done anything since. There are boxes all over the living room and I just walk around them. Don’t even try to get them out of my way. I am going to work, keeping up with the laundry, staying a little bit ahead of the health department cleanliness wise and that’s it folks. I did find a therapist with openings but she charged $600 for the first hour and $400 an hour after that, no insurance. Supply and demand I guess. Chatted with the suicide hot line a couple of times, but they’re not really all that helpful to me these days. Man, I would be in really bad shape without the anti depressants.

oh well, going to bed to cry myself to sleep.

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In other news, my eyes are okay, they didn’t put me in the hospital for that new med, I am doing well with it.

Covid cases are up in the area three nursing homes are in out break status, one in which everyone in the building tested positive and the Sunday morning guy was pulled and put onto another shift so I am covering am and pm shifts on  Sundays.

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Doing better lately. Had a lot of “windshield time” and did some crying and thinking. I think a lot of my depression lately is a kind of survivors guilt. That I shouldn’t be having a good life when so many others don’t. 
 Have to call the plumber soon about a leaking faucet so I really have to finish cleaning my place up.

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