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So, you’re not getting the vaccination? REALLY?

July 12th, 2021 No comments

 

Vaccines | Covid-19Photo From the Maine CDC site.

Over the past year and a half, we have separated from each other and frozen in fear of a deadly and very contagious virus, COVID 19.  At least, those of us who read the reports and watched the stats and understood what they meant were scared…I think.  We watched our tvs and read the news and social media with horror and sadness as the death toll climbed in the US and then in our own State of Maine.  My tiny hometown made national news, and they were not happy about that.  The “Millinocket Wedding” was covered by all the national news media including newspapers, TV and internet news. My hometown friends reminded me that the wedding was actually not held in Millinocket, it was in East Millinocket, and the reception was at a rural lake resort.  They were appalled that this infamous outbreak was credited to their community.  Unfortunately, they did suffer because of it and many of their citizens were affected.  The Millinocket Regional Hospital started COVID  sites and became a COVID care center.  Just this morning that hospital was listed as having the highest rate of employee vaccinations.  I am so proud of them, for that and for other ways they have worked to put this pandemic behind us.

Some of the things we as a population have done to stop COVID are screening, masks, sanitizing ,separating and distancing, closing public places, limiting public transportation and travel.   Finally, we have vaccination. Although I practiced all of the previous preventative steps,  vaccination was the one thing that I honestly welcomed with open arms.  The ones available are not perfect.  No vaccine is.  They are also not fully approved by the FDA, but the steps and formalities for that approval will take time. And truthfully, the FDA has approved some drugs (like the new Alzheimers drug that costs $52,000 a dose and isn’t proven to work) that do not work or are very dangerous.  Opioids are another example.    Much has been made of the side effects of the vaccine.  Granted there have been some and rarely, they can be serious. The CDC are reviewing issues with pericarditis currently.   But the numbers of serious reactions are extremely low, and not commonplace.  They are significant to the folks who suffer them, but the big picture tells us this…The vaccinations work well, are mostly safe and the numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths are plummeting. Well over 90% of those current COVID patients who are hospitalized are the unvaccinated.  Also, almost all of those who are currently dying with COVID are unvaccinated.    Vaccines are doing their job.  People I have known and respected all my life are reluctant…some of them are healthcare professionals.  This astounds me honestly.  After what we have been through as a State and country over the past 18 months, it is alarming that healthcare workers are not gettting vaccinated, and they are speaking out against the vaccine!  What about the greater good!

My brother had COVID.  He was very sick, and long phone conversations he finally called 911 and went to the hospital, where he spent 3 days recovering.  He was one of the lucky ones. He survived, but he had symptoms for months afterward.  And, it wasn’t just him, his sons extended family all became infected, including his pregnant wife. They had a Thanksgiving gathering in the middle of a pandemic. One sick child came and everyone at that gathering got COVID.   None of them required hospitalization, but some of them were quite sick.  After the vaccine became available, my brother told me that he had “done his own research” and he had decided that he didn’t need the vaccine. Instead of arguing with him , I asked him to get his doctors opinion, knowing that he respected her a great deal.  She advised him to get it, and he did.  He had no issues with it. His sickness was at least 3 months behind him when he got vaccinated.   There is scientific fact that although natural immunity from having COVID is real, it does not protect against the newer strains.

There are countries crying for more vaccine.  It has been reported that not one family in India has been spared in their current COVID pandemic.  They are struggling to deal with the dead bodies.  Hospital conditions are horrendous.  They don’t have enough ventilators or medicine.  They would make great sacrifices for vaccine, and here in the US, we have a surplus because of vaccine reluctance.

I regard this pandemic as a war…that is the one thing I agree with DJT about.  We have the generals (healthcare workers and scientists) to help us get through it.  And we also have the arsenal….vaccine. But, we the people are the army.  We’ve had tremendous dedicated leadership here in Maine and so our rates are extremely low and falling every day.  The numbers are falling because of vaccine. All of the prior  measures just maintained us until the vaccine was available ….before now, the rates of infections fluctuated all the time.

None of us can control the people around us and what they do as far as vaccination goes. But, as patients, we can ask for vaccinated healthcare providers.  And we can get vaccinated ourselves.  We can also help those who are hesitant to vaccinate by telling them about our own experience with the vaccine.

We are moving on and moving forward, but the Delta variant is on our tail.   Please get vaccinated!

 

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Rocky Homecoming (with an update)

April 20th, 2021 No comments

No photo description available.

UPDATE

May 8, 2021

This handsome dude Rocky has recuperated beautifully.  His amazing personality is coming back.  His first 10 days or so back home, he was on a ton of medication, including anti anxiety drugs.  He wasn’t himself, but he was certainly aware and secure in his home and back with his humans.  Every day, his legs got stronger and he walked more steadily. His appetite has improved and with some enticing (chicken and raw carrots) he is eating well.   About 9 days post op, he had a day of vomiting.  He was coming off some of his medication.  The emergency vet in Brewer, ME examined him and said he looked good and he gave him an anti emetic shot.  That was the end of the vomiting, and he came off all meds.  His interest in his surroundings grew, and a few days ago, he found his favorite squeaky ball and brought it to Brian. Last night, he visited us in our home for the first time since his surgery. We have been visiting him on his turf before this.  Because he is doing so well, it is tempting to let him play and jump and run around, but he is still in his 4 weeks of recovery and mostly “bed rest”.  He spends most of his day in his little doggie rehab bed, except to go outside for potty breaks.  Very soon, Brian can set Rocky loose on the world and throw a ball for him to fetch.  He will be able to go outside in our back yard when he visits, and give Stanley a run for his money.  This is all good news and all of us are thrilled with his recovery.

  GOOOOOOOD BOY ROCKY!!

April 20, 2021

So the little pickle head Rocky is coming home today.  Rocky has spent some grueling hours away from his human Brian and suffering through pain, paralysis, incontinence, lonliness, and anxiety, but he will prevail!  He is my new hero. Brian has set up a little Rocky rehab in his apartment, and he got him a nice new harness with a back handle on it.

My previous blog described what he went through on Friday April 16.  Since then I have spoken with a representative of the Maine Veterinary Medical Center.  I struggled to stay civil, but I did.  She explained that

1. there was a dog even worse off than Rocky that day that they had to tend to first, and

2. an employee called in and had tested positive for COVID just before they threw Brian and Rocky out.

She further explained that the pre MRI and surgery work up takes 2.5 to 3 hours, and I asked about the waiting around for an additional 3 hours and she went on to explain about the sicker dog.  I asked why if it was going to be that long they didn’t send Rocky to Boston earlier.  She failed to explain that  to me adequately.

My opinion is this.  Everything that they did to and for Rocky was to prep him for an MRI and surgery, that they never performed.  Then to top it off (that Rocky and his serious issues were at the bottom of the triage heap), someone called from home with a positive COVID test.  The person was not in the clinic.  There is no risk to animals for COVID.  The neruo team who was going to do procedures on Rocky was at no more risk at 2pm than they were at 8am …while they worked together on a different  sicker dog.  But, they made an administrative choice to shut down the neuro team and procedures at 2pm.  I hope they all enjoyed their weekend.

Then without medicating Rocky, they put him in Brian’s car and sent them on their way to Boston.  Rocky thrashed and struggled against the cone and the IV for the whole trip.  She claimed that medicating a neuro dog is a two edged sword, and can interfere with an up coming neuro exam.  Anxiety and thrashing around in the throes of new paralysis and incontinence because of a bulging disc can also cause problems.  It was inhumane to do that to him.

Today, after excellent care at the Angell Veternary Hospital in Boston, Rocky will come home.  He is walking, but he still has left leg weakness.  It should resolve once the swelling and bruising from the disc issue and surgery are healed.  He will need help with a few things and will have to lay low for about a month.

In a month, I hope to see that bouncy big brute run into my house and scan for changes.  After giving him a good rub and scratching,  I want to give him a special treat of boiled chicken, that I suppose he will have to share with his little buddy Stanley.  Stanley will be coached prior to Rocky’s first visit to take it easy on him and to share his favorite prickly ball.  It is the favorite toy of all the dogs in our lives.  Good times are coming.

I will credit MVMC for refunding all of their charges aside from diagnostics like blood work and xrays, and “portables”, like that pesky IV catheter in his front leg.  So, there was a reasonable refund to the account. I am ok with that since the labs and xrays would have been done at the Boston clinic prior to surgery in any case.

Thank you to all the great friends and contacts who have followed this sad and frustrating saga of Rocky’s troubles. Every one of you knows the love of a dog and how important they are in our lives.

 

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May DOGS be with you

April 18th, 2021 No comments

No photo description available.

L to R Stanley, Leroy, Rocky

Lady, Moxie, Brady, Tanya, Puggy, Rico, Willow, Louie, Rocky, Stanley and Leroy….all dogs in my life.  My life would have been much emptier and lonelier without all of them.  I loved them all, differently and for varied lengths of time.  But no question, they have been an essential and beloved part of my life.  They never failed me, never envied or resented me, never stopped being loyal and loving. Dogs are much better than hooomans that way.

I know a lot of people who do not have dogs, and I feel a little sorry for them.  I don’t think they understand what they are missing out on.  Dogs instinctively know which people are good, and which ones are dog lovers.  I totally understand why some people don’t have dogs.  Their living space, their jobs, their own moving about, and their circumstances just don’t allow it.  Of course some people can’t or shouldn’t have dogs.  But some people just don’t like them.  Now those people are really hard to understand.  It is best that people who do not love dogs don’t get them.  Dogs are better off without them.

I have loved dogs since I was a little kid.  I love their faces, their eyes, their licks, their constant and reliable love. their comedy, their barks and howls and their zest for all things in life like food, play and fun.  The loyalty of a dog can’t be matched.  The trust, and the affection can’t be overstated.  Our current 7 pound Shih Tsu notwithstanding.   Stanley is a silky, cuddly, and very needy slutty little guy, wanting to be held, rubbed, scratched, and played with.  We love it, and him.  He has been with us for 3 great years now and I can’t imagine our home without him….eye boogers, messy hair and all.

Our love for dogs has been passed on to our kids.

Leroy is my son Andrew’s dog. Now he is a bit of a challenge. All of us have called him an a^^ho^e a few times.   He likes to use his teeth. But, he looks at me with his adoring eyes, imploring me to stroke and pet him and hold him.  When he comes to my home to visit, he immediately climbs into my lap and looks at me with his big black eyes waiting for affection.  He loves us and he is lovable, even with his quirks.  He is a work in progress.

Rocky is one of my all time favorites.  He is my son Brian’s French Bulldog.  I remember 5 years ago when he brought him to meet us the first time, and the tiny black guy with the huge ears ran into my living room SIDEWAYS.  He had been flown from FL to Portland ME where Brian picked him up.  He arrived here full of energy and bounce.  He took to our old dog Louie like a magnet, although Louie wasn’t thrilled with this bouncy energetic new arrival.  He was a hyper and nervous little guy, but very lovable.  We puppysat him several times overnight and he kept Mike up most of the those nights.  He attached himself to Brian and staying anywhere different was hard for the pup.  But, he loves us, and as he has matured, he knows us and our house…and he can detect ANY change in our home (sounds, sights, smells) with a 2 second scan when he comes to visit. He is smart and well mannered.  When Stanley came into our home after Louie’s demise, Rocky was patient and sweet.  Stan took a few chunks out of Rocky and he still played with him gently. Stanley is the dominatrix now, and controls all things, like toys and food, around his friend Rocky.

Rocky started having weird pain a few weeks ago.  If he barked or moved suddenly, he would cry out.  His regular vet suspected something in his spine, early last week,  and gave anti-inflammatory and pain medications. He warned that if he had a sudden difficulty using his legs (paralysis) or incontinence, that it was an emergency and he would need to see the dog neurologist. The closest one is 120 miles away near Portland ME.  Well, the worst happened this past Friday.  He jumped down off Brian’s bed and then he couldn’t use his front legs, and he was very wobbly.  At 530am on April 16, Brian set out to Scarborough, ME to see a neuro doctor on an emergency basis.  He arrived at 8am.  Rocky was processed and examined.   He had peed in his crate, so that incontinence was new, and he couldn’t use any of his legs by then.  The plan was that they would do the MRI as soon as the specialist was available “but he sees other animals by appointment.  We will try to squeeze him in between appointments. It might be after noontime before we can do the MRI and if needed, surgery”.  Brian was impatient but did what he thought he had to do and waited, and waited and waited.  He waited SIX hours for this so called “emergency” clinic to do what was verbally contracted.  He gave them a credit card to seal the deal and they took a deposit for 50% of estimated cost, which was $5000.  They never did what was verbally and financially contracted.

My experience as a retired ER triage nurse is that emergency cases precede non emergency cases.  Sudden onset paralysis and incontinence is very much an emergency.

Rocky got an IV, blood work and an xray.  Beyond that I don’t know what they did. Rocky is by nature a very anxious dog.  He hates riding in the car and he hates confinement.   He would have been better off staying with his beloved owner in the car.  It was a crappy spring day with rain and snow and cold.  Brian sat it his car except for bathroom breaks and a quick trip to McDonalds waiting for his best friend to be taken care of.  His clothes were all wet and damp for most of the day.   He also reserved a room at a nearby hotel because the weather was worsening.  It was a long agonizing wait. The hotel told him he could check in at 130, so he did go over there to do so. When he got there, they said it would be 2pm before he could check in, so the call came while he waited in yet another parking lot in the cold rain and snow.  The call came from the vet clinic while he waited there.

At 2pm, the clinic  staff called him and said that “the neuro team has been put under quarantine. Rocky has to go to Boston to be taken care of.”  Although I have seen the notice on the clinic’s webpage, I still think that the timing of this quarantine is suspect…mid afternoon on a Friday.  What had they done all morning long?  Did they do procedures on non emergent cases or see non emergent cases while my son sat in his freezing car (because of COVID precautions) and while Rocky was confined to a cage with new onset paralysis and incontinence?  I want to know.

Would taking care of Rocky have increased the COVID risk to the staff of that  so called emergency clinic? The notice below appeared after I posted my quarantine questions TWICE on the Maine Veterinary Medical Center Facebook page and both times they were removed.  I also messaged them and did not get a response to my questions.

After that clinic robbed Brian of $1300 and replaced the rest of the $5000 deposit, they delivered Rocky to his car.  His crate had pee in it, so he placed Rocky on the backseat floor on some pee pads.  He had a cone around his neck because of the IV catheter in his fore paw.  He couldn’t use his legs, but he flopped around and hyperventilated for over 2 hours on that back floor on the way from Scarborough to the Boston Angell Veterinary Hospital in Boston.

https://www.mspca.org/medical-centers/angell-animal-medical-center-boston/

He was struggling against the IV and cone, and had not been sufficiently medicated in advance of this transfer.  When I checked on Brian with a phone call, I could hear Rocky’s raspy hyperventilation in the back ground.  It broke my heart in two.  And it pissed me off.  Why did they do this to Rocky and Brian?

May be an image of dog

Rocky in the back seat of Brian’s car.

The most important part of this story is that Rocky is finally taken care of at the Boston clinic.  After about 6 hours of nasty travel, and 6 hours of waiting, Rocky was finally where he needed to be in the first place.  He had an MRI yesterday morning that exposed a bulging disc in his neck. That was compressing his nerves and causing his symptoms.  Frenchies are apparently notorious for this injury.  His surgery was done immediately, and he is recovering in Boston.  As soon as he can stand, walk and pee, he can come home.  The report from the doctor this morning indicates that he may be coming home tomorrow.  Brian came home yesterday after spending Friday night in Boston.  He was too exhausted to come home on Friday night.

Oh, a little more icing on the disaster cake, the hotel in Scarborough ME is refusing to refund money for that reservation, that was never used.

Brian didn’t have the fight in him to deal with any of this injustice. He was focused on his boy.  But I have the fight in me.  I am in contact with a “vet tech practice manager of the Maine Veterinary Medical Center”.  She used all of her credentialing initials behind her name and her title in her email to impress me I suppose.  She offered an appointment to talk with me on the phone ….suggesting two times  tomorrow.  I was too pissed to wait. I want it all in writing anyway. It is very important to document these issues…..to Brian, to me, and to anyone who might want to engage them to care for their pets.  I hope they learn something from what I plan to do.

My goals are these

1. Rocky will be home, with his best friend Brian, in a comfortable secure warm safe setting.  Brian is going to set up our portable play pen with padding on the floor and his comfy bed, so he can’t be too active for a month or so.  He will go out to pee and poop and be fed, loved, and pampered the rest of the time.  Thank goodness Brian works at home.

2. I will get a full detailed explanation from the clinic in Scarborough, ME for why Rocky was put at the bottom of the heap for care on Friday morning.  I will also get full reimbursement for what they charged the credit card.  Their “care” ended up doing more harm than good.  It caused great anxiety and panic in Rocky and it delayed the care and treatment that he needed right away.  They failed to honor their verbal contract with Brian.  The photo of Rocky above is clearly proof of that. I also hope they learn from this huge mistake and that their future clients are better cared for.

3. If the Maine clinic is not cooperative with my goals, I will write a full report to the Maine veterinary licensing board, and perhaps call the media about this disaster.  And it was a real disaster.  I will give an honest and accurate detailed report about this incident.  It was cruel,dismissive and harmful treatment of my son and his dog.  I understand COVID restrictions and precautions. I am an RN (I have initials and credentials too),a certified contact tracer and a retired ER nurse.  I understand proper triage.  I also understand COVID contact tracing and quarantine advisement.  But I still find a SIX hour wait for emergency diagnostics and care/surgery because of sudden onset paralysis and incontinence unacceptable.  The timing of that quarantine is suspect at the very least.

Today we wait on a progress report about Rocky.  Stanly, Leroy, and the humans around me are all worried and keeping him in our hearts and sending best wishes for a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.

 

 

 

Moderna Royalty

March 5th, 2021 No comments

covidvaccineTomorrow February 25, my husband Mike and I will get our second dose of Moderna COVID vaccine.  We have both hitched a lot of things to that wagon.  I’m not sure if it is wise to do that, but everybody has to have hope.

We think that after we are fully vaccinated (barring a need for a 3rd vaccine to cover new variants of COVID 19) we can plan.  You see, we are 71 and 72 years old.  We aren’t  kids anymore if you get my drift. We know that we are headed into our twilight years.  So, we don’t have all the time in the world ahead of us.

Since February 2020 we have not socialized with anyone except our sons.  Even that makes us nervous sometimes.  Andrew works at a business that makes masks and trade show displays.  He was exposed to a co worker who tested positive for COVID.  He quarantined for 10 days and tested negative. Andrew always wears a mask when he visits.  Brian does some Ubering as a side line to his regular remote tech support job.  He follows all the precautions when driving strangers in his car, but he doesn’t wear a mask here in my home.  Mike and I don’t wear masks inside our home either.  Even though I know this is possibly risky behavior, we have managed to stay uninfected.  I love my kids, and they are great company,  but I need to greet my public at some point.

So, we have planned to make plans.  We feel that we will be protected from COVID after shot #2.  We will give it a couple of weeks to rev up our immune systems, and then we want to do SOMETHING!….ANYTHING!

My weekly trips to Mardens, our local refuse/retail store, will resume!  I always see people I know there.  Will I recognized them with masks on?  I’m not sure about that.  But, I will buy something…anything just because I can.  It will be nice to see my brother and his family, and my neighbors, up close enough to talk.   We also like the Casino in town, and the one in CT.  I have been bugging Mike to scope the local one out for us, but he won’t do that until he is fully vaccinated.  So, in a few weeks he can do that.  Once he is confident that it is safe, I will go in too.  My planning also includes google searching campgrounds on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec.  Right now the Canadian border is still closed to travelers.  But, maybe once I have proof of vaccinations, like we have for our dogs, we can get in.  I hope PM Trudeau looks at their rules and accommodates us and other Americans who admire and respect them and their ability to keep their own COVID cases and deaths at a minimum.   Rolling our old travel trailer up the road and maybe into Canada will be a huge sign for us that things are looking up.

Later date…

Now we are a full week out from our second Moderna COVID vaccination. Admittedly, that was not a blast.  I got very sick, with aching, joint pain, fever and headache. As I struggled to get up to use the bathroom, I was cheering on my new immune powers.  I babied myself, drank a lot of liquids and took Tylenol and Advil.  Then the morning of day 3 after the vaccine, I sweat it out, like any fever.  Since then I have been feeling pretty powerful.  I’m pretty sure I can feel my immunity building…my COVID fighting muscles.  It is like a Superwoman power.  In all seriousness, and in case you can’t tell,  I am very excited and proud of my newfound immunity.  I know I can still catch the beastly disease, but it will be a whimper of a virus instead of a raging killer virus.  And, I know I can still spread it if I do contract it, so I will continue to wear my mask, distance and avoid crowds, until the experts give a green light to normalcy.  The experts do not include the governor of Texas or Mississippi.

I also got a local reaction to the injection.  My upper arm turned bright red and hard, and OMG, it itched.  The reaction was a little larger than a softball in circumference, but every day it shrinks.  Today, 8 days out,  it is about the size of a 50 cent piece.

Hard red itchy local reaction to Moderna vaccination

Hard red itchy local reaction to Moderna vaccination

When I was a little kid, I hated shots.  I was scared to death of them. During a visit to relatives in Brooklyn NY, when I was about 5 years old, I got tricked into a trip to the doctors and a big shot of Penicillin.  I was promised all sorts of fun and treats by my father and my uncle, to get me to that doctors office without a fuss.  But, I will never forget that, and how betrayed and angry I was.  Apparently, I had strep throat, and a shot was how it got treated back then. I learned then to hate shots.

This round of 2 vaccines were about as welcome as any shots could be.  I LOVED my 2 Moderna shots.  I know how the power of the shots can help me and my family to move forward after many months of isolation.  I spent hours online competing with every other over 70 Mainer, to get clinic appointments for Mike and me.  I was elated to find the jackpot at the ‘slots’ for shots for us, and driving to our appointments, I felt so excited.  I was proud of our scientists for developing these vaccines, I was grateful for the efficient shipping and distribution, and people who organized the clinics and who administered the vaccinations, and I was relieved that I was getting the protection that every Mainer needs to pull us out of this pandemic threat.  It is  hard to describe how happy Mike and I were to get our Moderna super powers.

COVID is a public health problem, and the vaccinations are a public health solution.  We have to cheer each other on while stumbling to our herd immunity.  If we can help others to find or get to a clinic, we should do that.  If we are able to volunteer in some capacity at a clinic, that would help too.   In Maine we have tremendous and thoughtful leadership, who are making the vaccination rules.  They are guided by science and population needs.  The clinics are extremely well organized and they will operate for as long as there is a need.  President Biden says there will be enough vaccine for every adult in the country by the end of May.  That is very exciting and encouraging news.

As soon as you can, go get your superpowers at your local COVID vaccination clinic!  And keep on keeping on with masks, distancing, hand washing and avoiding crowds.  There is a light at the end of this tunnel.

Preserve your immunization card, but do not laminate it.  There are lines to document future vaccines. You may need this for travel, and medical records.

Preserve your immunization card, but do not laminate it. There are lines to document future vaccines. You may need this for travel, and medical records.

 

 

 

The Insane Scramble for Vaccine and how it can be corrupted.

February 11th, 2021 No comments

Two weeks ago, my husband Mike and I enthusiastically received our first Covid 19 vaccines.  I had spent hours online messing with a clunky website to find just the right time and place.  I lucked out.  We have spent months staying in our bubble, and following all of the precautionary rules when we dared to venture out.  Both of us were like 2 little kids at Christmas time going to get our shots.  We know it isn’t going to be a fast lane trip back to our normal lives, but it at least allows us to plan.  We are hoping for the absolutely best result for these vaccines. Our nurse was sharp, efficient and very clear with her instructions.

We have been very lucky throughout this pandemic.  We have a comfortable warm clean home.  We have all the food we need, and since we are retired, our income didn’t change. Most importantly, neither of us has gotten sick with COVID.  Other than extended isolation, we have nothing to complain about.  When I see the stories about loss, devastation and death on TV or in the newspapers, it breaks my heart.  Any and all of the faults in our society have been exacerbated by the pandemic.  Poverty, joblessness, healthcare inequity, loss of lives and livelihoods, and all the rest have been magnified.

And who takes care of the sickest and dying COVID patients? And who gives COVID vaccines?  Nurses do.   Nurses don’t care about being called heroes.  They just want the supplies and support to do the very important job they need to do.  They are doing that job selflessly. They are taking care of our human societal, physical and emotional messes, every single day.  Because COVID is so contagious and deadly, family members are not allowed to visit with horribly sick and sometimes dying patients.  So, the nurses step in.  Giving excellent, hygienic, compassionate, efficient and professional care isn’t enough during this pandemic.  Nurses are giving LOVE.  They are surrogate family members.  They give comfort, with touch, with words and yes, with tears.   Every molecule of nurses is being used during this pandemic.  Yet, those same nurses have sometimes been forced to work without proper protective equipment or adequate staffing levels. They have worked overtime, sometimes day after day. They risk their own health and that of their families. Most go home from work, worried about bringing COVID to their own families.  Some have lived in travel trailers, motel rooms, basements or garages, so they would not infect their own families.  Some of these self sacrificing nurses have become very sick.    Too many have even given their lives.  I coauthored the following blog with a fellow nurse, last April 2020.

Nurses lives are not negotiable

And yet………..this has happened.

Deaths of Healthcare workers.

Nurses at Maine Medical Center are organizing a union.  Their courage and activism is amazing.  In the mid 1980s I was instrumental in organizing a union in Calais Maine.  We had solid reasons to organize, mostly involving patient safety.  The purpose of this article is not to detail that, but suffice to say, nurses are stronger in a union.  And, patients are safer if their bedside nurses are organized and have a strong unified voice.

This week I read this op ed written by Bill Nemitz, in the Portland Press Herald.

Bill Nemitz Op ed about Maine Medical Center

He had received a tip that  contracted union busters at Maine Medical Center had been immunized there.  Now that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, on the face of it.  But, consider this.  We are in the middle of a pandemic.  Those union busters have been imported from out of State by MMC to stop the organizing efforts of the MMC nurses. Their right to organize is supported by Labor laws. The entire State is in a huge flux of trying to get our most vulnerable citizens vaccinated.  The efforts to vaccinate Maine started in December.  The promised amount of vaccine can’t be met.  The vaccine supply was exaggerated by the prior president’s administration.  So, understandably, Governor Mills and her State CDC officials have worked very hard to 1. vaccinate those at highest risk first, and 2. to be fair and equitable. With promises of eventual vaccine availability, they have been forced for now, to strictly reserve available vaccine for those at highest risk and for Maine citizens only.  The established levels of priority are according to greatest risk.  The first level was front line healthcare workers (workers who do patient facing work) and long term care/ assisted living residents.  They are definitely the highest risk for infection.  Maine Medical Center used their power, money and might and vaccinated all of their employees…there are 22,000 of them, and they included out of State contract employees, like the union busters.  And of course, once they get dose #1, then need dose #2.   44,000 doses of vaccine.  Doses were given to remote workers, to contract employees, to billing clerks and office workers.   I don’t have the final tally of doses used, but it is too high.  How many of those recipients never set foot in the same room with patients.  Too many.  And today I learned that not every front line nurse has gotten even their first dose!

How many of those doses should have gone into the arms of frail seniors, or other high risk Maine citizens.  The abuse of power and blatant elitism of this act is disgusting.  MMC did not have the right to do this, even though they had their hands on all of that vaccine.  If all of what I have seen and read about this is true, then this abuse of power that should be punishable by law.

But, it is done. And this is the ironic thing.  The nurses of MMC and from all around the country have been called heroes.  They don’t think of themselves that way. They do what nurses do.  They are no nonsense, self sacrificing and dedicated to their patients.  If asked, and if there was a need, most of those nurses would have given up their own vaccine for a vulnerable Maine senior, like me, or to someone else who was at a much higher risk of illness. I know this.  I know it, because when I was a  young nurse, I would have done the same and I know this because I know NURSES!  Nurses have given, and given, and given during this pandemic.  And they will give some more.  Every day, nurses around this country have held the hands of the dying COVID patients, while the voices of grieving family members come into the room virtually, on an IPAD or a cell phone.  The nurse gives the loving human touch that the families are not allowed to give because of the pandemic.  Safety comes first.   None of those nurses have ever seen the magnitude of suffering and death that this pandemic has brought, and yet they stay.  Some call this heroism.  I just call it being a nurse.

If you know a working nurse, thank her.  If you have a way to support the nurses of MMC, support them now.  If you have a need, they will be there for you.

 

 

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YOU BROKE INTO MY HOUSE The Capitol Breach

January 28th, 2021 1 comment

US_Capitol_west_sideOn January 6, 2021, just 6 days into a hopeful new year, MONSTERS BROKE INTO MY HOUSE.  Haven’t we suffered enough under the Trump reign.  Seriously.  Almost 350,000 people are dead, the pandemic is spreading like wildfire, hospitals in some states are overwhelmed, EMTs have to decided if someone will live or not before they transport them, the COVID vaccine is only crawling at the slowest possible speed to the general public (unless you are rich and connected or you live in FL), our allies hate us and won’t let us cross their borders, the whole country is divided………………..   I won’t continue.  Enough is enough.  I had high hopes for this year.  I had hoped to get my 2 doses of vaccine and start planning a nice camping trip for this summer.  That is not happening.

Hope came in another form on Nov. 3 2020 when we all voted or our mailed votes started being counted.  By the next day, we knew that Joe Biden had been elected.  I bought patriotic helium balloons and put them on my Biden signs in my front yard .  Image may contain: grass, sky, outdoor and nature

I was never one for a lot of flash and signs during political campaigns, but I have never felt more strongly about need for change, not even when LePage was governor of Maine.  I was looking forward to some steady daily grind monotony after the crazy violent disgusting chaos for the past 4 years.    Paul LePage was a caustic SOB, much the same as DJT.  But, he didn’t have the reach or power that Trump does with White House megaphone.   So, when my neighbors, ones that I do not know well, started putting up their Trump flair, I felt compelled to stand for my favored candidate.  I was elated and relieved that he won.

Then the lies, more intense, more flagrant, more exaggerated than ever started from Trump.  “I won by a landslide”  “Stop the Steal” “I will never give up”   He whipped up a frenzy in his supporters and brought on lawyers to sue all of the States that he claimed to have won.  He demanded recounts.  He stomped and fussed and whined like a red faced toddler throwing a tantrum.  He lost all but one lawsuit because his claims were all lies.    Next he started calling his “buddies” in Republican friendly states, the Governors and Secretaries of State, and put the pressure on.  The best one was when he asked the SOS of Georgia to “find” him the needed number of votes to overturn their vote. He learned a lesson on that call.  Not all Republicans are crooks, like him.  Not all of them will do a mob bosses bidding.  And that is a very good thing.  That gives us all faith that we can move on and put this corruption, most of it anyway, behind us.

We moved on.  The electoral college votes were counted.  Biden 306  Trump 232.  Well, there, that ought to shut T up. NOPE.  He continued to whip up the craziest and even some not so crazy Rs into a frenzy.  On Jan 6, there was to be a ceremonial official count of the electoral votes to certify the election results.  It is a process that generally lasts about 2 hours, but T managed to demand loyalty of dozen or so Senators in form of objections to the electoral votes.  It was going to be a waste of their time, the results were going to be the same.  Those people were making fools of their pathetic selves.  They were throwing themselves on the sword of DJT, because of lies from a spoiled entitled loser.

At the same time T was trumping up loyalty from dumb a**ed senators and some representatives, his low class, poorly educated, wild eyed, Trump flag and gun toting supporters were organizing a coup in Washington DC for the same day.  They put on their Trump shirts and MAGA hats, flack jackets, helmets, boots, face paint, horned hats, and marched themselves to MY HOUSE, the CAPITAL of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Sadly, that is their house to, so they marched on their own house with intent to intimidate, threaten, hang, take hostage etc the very people who WE elect to sit in OUR HOUSE to manage and lead our country.  They marched on their own house (and mine) to do violence, and stop a constitutional ceremony of certifying the electoral votes of the people of the United States of America.

They yelled and screamed, pushed law officers out of the way, defaced the building, broke furniture,  urinated and defecated and tracked it around, vandalized, stole things, and generally cased mayhem for over 2 hours before Trump would ‘allow’ the National Guard to step in.  Our Senators, Representatives, aids, officers, and our Vice President were all in our house.  Democrats AND Republicans were in OUR HOUSE.  They were all forced to hide and hunker down for their own safety.  And a very smart person took the boxes of electoral votes with them.

These crazed violent thugs reduced themselves to a form lower than animals that afternoon.  They were sub human and sub animal.  Every one of my dogs over my lifetime have known better than to pee and defecate on the floors in their own homes.  They have also known better than to hurt or kill people.  Those ignorant monsters did not.

So, what did this action get them.  NOTHING.  There have been over 80 arrests at my last count.  5 people were killed in OUR HOUSE that afternoon.  There is new talk of impeaching the president, because he, his family, his lawyer Giuliani, and his cronies fired up that group of monsters..(the leaders of the Monsters) …whipped them into a frenzy and told them to march down to the Capital and stop the certification.  He said “I’ll be with you” “It will be wild”.  But of course, true to his cowardly form, he was not with them.  He skulked back to the White House to watch this all unfold on TV.  Bone spurs …remember that?

He has 11 more days.  What other kind of violence can he incite in that time.  Plenty.  There is a planning meeting for “activist training” at a Trumpster Church in Orrington, Maine this afternoon, as I write this.  Will they bring guns next time.  Rumor has it that there is another action planned for inauguration day.

Donald J Trump is a thug.  He incited that crowd that invaded MY HOUSE.  He watched from the comfort of the White House.  He allowed it all to happen.   He is common and disgusting.  He needs to be impeached and removed.  He should never be allowed to run for public office again. In fact, he belongs in jail…..PLEASE.

So, we move on.  We heal.  The healing started with Dems and Reps and independents all went back into session at the Capital that day, and worked until almost 4am the next morning to certify OUR election results.  Joe Biden will be our president in 11 days.  Thank God and the stars above for that.

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Covid is “Hitchin a ride” for Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2020 No comments

Those of us who are a certain age remember this song well.  What better way to describe what COVID 19 is doing right this very minute?  COVID is hitchin a ride in bus stations, airports, train stations and personal vehicles all across the country.  Just a few weeks ago it was hitchin a ride on Air Force One….accompanying the President of the USA and his entourage to numerous campaign rallies all over the US.hitchhikercovid

COVID is a tough nasty little virus.  It is extremely contagious, it is all around us looking for a host, and it is spreading like wildfire.  Hospitals are filling up in some states. Healthcare workers are getting sick and exhausted.  And as Thanksgiving approaches, millions of stupid people insist on traveling and gathering for the holiday to have a turkey. I hate to put the STUPID label on folks but there it is.stupid

The Federal CDC has warned all of us to “just stay home for Thanksgiving”.  Surrounding ourselves with only the people within our personal bubbles/households is recommended, because of the huge spike in numbers of COVID cases, nationally and especially in specific States.  A small family that I know has done their homework so they can get together.  Only one of them has not been quarantining, and he has tested several days prior to their small family TG. Then he did quarantine with his family to avoid exposure.   There are smart ways to do this safely.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html

A lot of things have led up to this huge Thanksgiving rebellion in our country.  Just under half of the citizens of this country support Donald Trump and they voted for him.  Responsibility for presidential leadership/guidance apparently escapes his grasp.  He has failed to be a good example on how to avoid this virus, even after he contracted it himself.  He got immediate and full throttle care for his case, which is atypical for the average citizen.  So, he was lucky enough to bounce back quickly.   His very effective treatment and unusually rapid recovery made him even more cocky and arrogant than he was before he got sick. Maybe a few days on a ventilator in ICU would have humbled him and helped the country in the long run.   Because he has this huge pulpit and visibility, he has become even more dangerous and ineffective during this pandemic.   He doesn’t wear a mask himself and he doesn’t advise others to wear one, so his cult-like followers do not wear masks either.  He rallies and parties, and holds mask free crowded events in the White House.  During his hospitalization and when he was most infectious, he decided the Secret Service guys could take him for a spin around Walter Reid Hospital.  Following DJT’s lead, his doe eyed followers intend to throw caution to the wind for their Thanksgiving holiday.  They don’t seem to recognize that the White House has become a super spreader hub.  Many of his own staff, family, colleagues and Secret Service officers have all become victims of this virus.  But, like their leader, these folks are science deniers and rule breakers and none of them seem to be tuned into the reality that over 250,000 Americans have died and millions have become infected. Some still call the pandemic a hoax!

All of this is happening as the pandemic is getting worse…alarmingly worse as we speak.  It is like a giant rolling pin flattening our country.

So, now the weekend before the Thanksgiving Holiday and only weeks before we can all start getting the very effective vaccine, stupid people are crowding into American airports. We can see these images on any news channel or newspaper, A lot of folks are wearing masks…which is good.  But, masks are only one part of necessary precautions to avoid the little hitchhikers we cannot see….COVID19 viruses.  The other  precautions are distancing, hand washing, avoiding crowds and other practical steps.  If those media images of crowds also showed the microscopic virus hitchhikers on the travelers, most normal intelligent people would be horrified.airportcovid

I am extremely concerned about our future after Thanksgiving.

The Pandemic is growing at a wicked pace right now because so many people are stupid, impatient and selfish.  Stupidity is killing us, one victim at a time.  Most of us who observe and believe in science are going to be the survivors of this pandemic.  We will show up as soon as we can to get our vaccination.  We will continue to use the precautions that are recommended.  We will come out on the other side of this to enjoy our lives.  Far too many of those folks who insist on crowding, celebrating and giving rides to those dastardly virus hitchhikers, will not fare as well.  And sadly a huge number of their innocent vulnerable relatives may die, or suffer needlessly.  They will become the hosts to more than family…they will be hosting those miserable little  hitchhikers.happycovidtg

My son had a cold last week.  A simple cold with a stuffy nose and feeling icky. He works in a business that makes masks and he wears one faithfully.  He immediately went home from work.  He stayed inside for a few days and tested for COVID on the third day.  His test was negative, but he still wears a mask and stays 6 feet away from others, and he will take away his Thanksgiving dinner from my home.  I will cook for my family, and we will all celebrate separately.  I can handle it, and so can my family.  I am an intelligent grown up and so are  my husband and sons.  My life, and especially the lives of my loved ones mean a whole lot more to me than a holiday meal and gathering.  I am sorry for all of us to miss this, but it is ONE YEAR, and it will be better next year.  I feel like Thanksgiving this year should be reserved for loving our families at a distance and being thankful for their continued health. We should also thankful for the scientists who are working feverishly to move forward so we can end this pandemic.

If you don’t want to spend Christmas in ICU on a ventilator, you should abide by the advice of the scientists and the CDC.

I wish the stupid ones a lot of luck, but it takes precautions, not luck, to keep ourselves safe during a pandemic.  Don’t pick up hitchhikers.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Credit to Brian M Day for the COVID images.

https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-11-19/cdc-holiday-travel-thanksgiving-warning

https://www.azfamily.com/news/continuing_coverage/coronavirus_coverage/passengers-crowd-sky-harbor-as-cdc-calls-for-canceling-thanksgiving-travel-plans/article_301628ec-2b8c-11eb-8d6b-97f51f23ef2c.html

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/crowds-seen-at-ohare-as-travelers-depart-chicago-ahead-of-thanksgiving-holiday/2376658/

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COVID death threats

September 9th, 2020 No comments

I read in the Bangor Daily News today that Pastor Todd Bell’s lawyers claim there have been death threats against him.  That is outrageous, and unacceptable. There is never any place for death threats.  It must stop.

https://bangordailynews.com/2020/09/09/news/york/sanford-pastor-connected-to-coronavirus-outbreak-getting-death-threats-lawyers-say/?fbclid=IwAR1vnhdAZMxWpTDn0d1J1JubSzcUqD0c9zQ4bwvRYMZBZw-jzxgguKSQnyM

However, COVID 19 threatens death to vulnerable people every day.  Even otherwise healthy young people have died of COVID 19.  It is very contagious, and it can be deadly. That is exactly the reason that most of us have altered our lives so much over the past 6 months.  We can’t hire lawyers to protect our lives from COVID. We just have to follow some pretty simple life saving rules.

I remember the first rumblings about COVID.  I went to Sam’s Club and a woman ahead of me was scrubbing off the handle to the shopping cart.  I use to walk by those wipes in stores, and just cleaned my hands when I got home.  That day was different. I felt a startling shift in the need to do such things, religiously. I told that lady, “that is a great idea” and I scrubbed the shopping cart handle. AND I washed my hands when I got home.

It wasn’t long after my Sam’s club visit, that all hell broke loose.  The cases went from 1 case and Trump saying it was a hoax, to now about 6,000,000 cases and 200,000 deaths.  We had blissful days in Maine while Seattle was exploding with COVID.  Maine didn’t see any cases for quite a while.  But, we knew it was coming….

Then we got our first case, and our second. etc.  Then we had our first death and our second, etc.  But, all things considered, Maine has done very well to stem the spread of COVID.  That was until a Pastor Todd Bell joined with other science deniers and rule breakers to officiate a wedding in Millinocket, Maine, my home town.  That was the start of the largest COVID 19 outbreak in Maine, and it keeps growing.

Less than a week after the August 7 wedding I started hearing some things about an outbreak up home. We are one month and 2 days out from that wedding, and now about 160 people, possibly more have been affected.   3 people have died, none of them attended the wedding.  They were secondary or tertiary contacts.  Others have been hospitalized.  And fortunately many have managed their illness at home.  This story has not ended.

Unless Todd Bell has been living under a rock, (and we KNOW he hasn’t because he thrives on attention) , he has seen,  heard and read about the havoc that wedding caused in our State.  He has been educated and warned by State officials about what is expected of Churches AND schools in this state, under executive orders from our Governor.  The rules are for ALL churches and his isn’t excluded.   Those orders are to protect each and every Mainer, including Pastor Bell and his flock.  Yet, he defiantly holds church services, without masks or distancing.  He did this knowing that his own personal church outbreak had doubled last week from 5 to 10 victims.  His choir, crowded in the front of the church without masks, sings hymns.  Singing is known to spread COVID droplets efficiently, especially when no masks are worn.

What will it take to bring this pastor into compliance?  Will it take a death in his own Church?  Will they have to cough, and choke and collapse right in front of him?  Will he go to them to help or will he stand back because he knows they have COVID?  Will he pray over them?  I don’t know that he has prayed for the others who have died, or their survivors, or all of the other people he has left in his path.

He has publicly scoffed at the executive orders of the State of Maine.  He has laughed at all of us.

Pastor Todd Bell’s actions threaten the lives of his flock. So, could his actions be considered a “death threat”?   Members of  his flock leave that church and go back into the community to their homes, jobs, stores, and other public places.  My guess is that most of them don’t wear masks.  That is a clear display of their selfishness and disregard for others and preventative rules. They have likely learned well from their  science defying pastor.

Should they be allowed to continue this defiance and spread of disease?  I don’t think so.  I think they have been handled with diplomacy, education, warnings, and fairness long enough.  I think they have wreaked enough havoc on our State. I think it is time to shut them down.

But, certainly not with death threats.

 

Fighting For Our Lives in COVID Times

September 3rd, 2020 No comments

I am 71 years old with arthritis and circulation problems.  After almost a decade of traveling around the country, attending conferences and fighting for patient safety, I am now an antsy activist who is settled in my living room. My office is a great leather Lazyboy recliner and my computer.   The traveling got to me, and writing presentations did too.  I was physically tired, but my busy mind never stops and my fingers can fly over the keyboard.

For almost 10 years, I learned everything I could about preventing Hospital acquired infections or HAIs.  My father, whose handsome face you see in the corner of my homepage on this website, died in 2009 because he got a deadly MRSA infection when he was in the hospital for a minor ankle fracture and rehab.  He and 2 others died in that infection outbreak in his tiny hometown hospital.

I knew the hospitals could do better to keep patients safe and not give them infections. I studied and joined forces with some of the fiercest patient safety advocates in the country.  We put our hearts and souls into the fight.  I got legislation passed for MRSA prevention in my State of Maine. We fought for testing, screening, treatments, precautions, mask and glove wearing, etc.

podium

Does this all sound familiar right now?

I’ve been pretty laid back for a few years.  I retired my leadership roles in my patient safety groups and decided I was tired and it was time for a break.

Then COVID came in March of 2020!  OH MY GOD!

My husband and I have mostly stayed home and we are just going on short rides each day.  Pre COVID, RV camping trips all over the country and Canada with our travel trailer, eating out, and Casino visits were some of our favorite things to do.

campsite Our last RV trip was last October to meet my brand new 1 day old grand niece, Abbigail.  She lives in SC.

abbigail Our only grandchild is grown and married, our kids are middle aged , so it is just my husband Mike, our shih tzu Stanley and me in our home.  When I wasn’t working on HAI activism or taking care of my mother, we were living the vida loca!   Our favorite activities were crazy fun for us.  Now we honestly don’t dare to go out much at all.

My patient safety colleagues and I studied data,  CDC recommendations, FDA news, hospital ratings, etc. all the blessed time.  We met in Atlanta with the CDC three times in person and many times over the phone. I joined the Maine State HAI council as a consumer/patient representative.    We represented patients/consumers in many meetings around the country and our individual States.  We had to keep up on all the latest patient safety information so we could be intelligent participants in some pretty VIP conversations.  It was extremely hard work and also the most satisfying work of my life.

Now, all of us, every single adult and child in the US is bombarded with complex data, information and mis information every single day about COVID.  All of us are activists now. We all have to weed out the accurate information and activate it to keep ourselves and our families safe.  None of  us want to get COVID 19. Infection control precautions are now necessary in every American household and in our communties.  These precautions aren’t  just for hospitalized patients anymore.

COVID safety is about ALL of us.   All of us read graphs and scrutinize Data about COVID for our States, country and world. We watch the State racehorses all trying to get to the “GREEN” zone (lowest infection rates) like we have in Maine.

covidmap

The news media tells us every day what the death toll is, and now it is over 180,000 in the US.   Everyone has had the lessons about wearing masks, handwashing ,distancing and staying home when we are sick.  These are very similar infection precautions that my patient safety group were driving home with healthcare professionals who had expertise.  Now we all have to be experts on some level.  If you have not learned how to keep yourself and your family safe, you have not been paying attention.

mymask

Teaching every person in every household about COVID prevention (except tiny babies) is like teaching HAI precautions, only on steroids.

The equation of our patient safety work  compared to public COVID education looks like  this:

HAI Precaution education x 3,o00,000 = COVID education for general public

3,o00.000 is the approximate population of the US.

We are trying to educate little kids as young as 3 years old to wear masks and clean their hands.    Oh, and try to keep them 6 feet apart.   We are educating people in all settings, in all races, in all parties, in all religions, all families, all ages…all over the country.

Scientists have learned a great deal about COVID since the March.  At first people were hoarding all sorts of disinfecting supplies, so they could clean their darned grocery bags.  They learned that masks are definitely useful in prevention, but not to protect ourselves! That would take an N 95 mask.   That seems backward, but it is a good lesson that we have to work almost as hard to protect others as we do to protect ourselves. It’s an even exchange.  They learned not to listen to the president when it comes to treatments and rabbit -in- the- hat disappearing pandemics.  There is some effective treatment though, both with medicine and respiratory therapies. We hear that a vaccine is nearly ready.  Not so many patients are going on ventilators, and more are recovering.  We have made some great strides, against an extremely contagious brand new deadly virus and some pretty wild misinformation.  Remember  the poison control calls for ingestion of bleach?..because the President said it might work and we would study that.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2020/04/25/calls-to-poison-centers-spike–after-the-presidents-comments-about-using-disinfectants-to-treat-coronavirus/#4bba981a1157

It has been nearly 6 months since we first locked down.  Now what.  Some states like mine  have done a terrific job at staunching the virus.  Until recently my home town of Millinocket Maine hadn’t had a single case.  Then a church and a reception venue decided it was OK to exercise their “rights” to not wear masks, crowd into a reception, party on with too many people for an indoor setting..and a number of other broken rules. That’s how they turned that wedding into the biggest outbreak in our State…and it growing as we speak. This outbreak was started in the Millinocket region and rippled out into 3 other communities, affecting over 140 people, with several hospitalizations and 1 death.  The national story about this is evolving as we speak, and it addresses some pretty scary religious zealots and their defiance of science and State regulations and restrictions. How dare they endanger my State?  Most Churches are doing very well and are being great neighbors , but this one is an outlier.

The latest: https://bangordailynews.com/2020/09/02/news/hancock/maine-wedding-outbreak-grows-with-more-cases-at-jail-rehab-center/

Some people have a really hard time with rules. I’m talking about adult educated people, not little kids.  Too many think everything is about THEM and their rights.  They defy the rules and deny the science. Some just don’t give a shit! Seriously, I can’t think of a better way to word that.   Unfortunately, this is not a disease we can avoid by just taking care of ourselves. ….we all have to take care of each other.  Therein lies the problem.  If I have high cholesterol I can eat healthy to treat it for myself. I can’t eat a healthy diet to protect my neighbor from high cholesterol.  Wearing masks protects people around us, our neighbors.

I don’t go into stores right now.  I don’t go on camping trips, or to casinos or restaurants or any of those dangerous places. I have seen far too much non compliance with the rules and recommendations.  And, I have read the stories of my fellow nurses and how horrible it is to be in the hospital with COVD.  I do ride in my car to get our little dog out for walks, but I stay home most of the time.  My husband braves the stores and I order curbside pick up of things I want or need.  We cook great meals and Maine lobsters.  We have a nice back yard to enjoy.   It is ok..we are the lucky ones because we have a comfortable home and money to pay our bills.  Others are not so fortunate.

I am one of those old people who “live in fear” that some radical and hateful jerks ridicule. We older Americans are considered disposable by people like that.   But unfortunately for them, I am actually fearless when it comes to putting my words to good use. I’m tired of being called names by my country’s leadership, and now by some who use the name of God for their name calling. I have a computer and the passion to write and network.  When my hometown was hurt so badly  because of people who defied the rules for prevention of COVID. it got my back up. I am not finished with people like that.  I simply will not abide by selfishness, defiance and denial during a pandemic, because that attitude can start outbreaks that kill people or makes them sick during COVID times.  Case in point….the Millinocket Wedding COVID outbreak…the largest COVID outbreak in Maine yet.

An effective safe vaccination is worth the wait for me.  I am pretty sure I would not survive COVID, so I will stay cautious, smart and protective of this one life I have and the lives of my family and friends.   I hope that people who read this will do the same.  We will all meet on the other side of this and have a huge COVID free party.

 

Millinocket Wedding COVID Outbreak, Fair Questions

August 29th, 2020 No comments

 

This is Blog #3 about the my home town Millinocket , Maine’s  growing and reproducing COVID 19 outbreak.  My heart breaks for the people up home and all of their families.  I am frustrated, but at the same time I want to be fair.

In my last blog, I mentioned a suspect  pastor.  I really wonder about his compliance with COVID preventative steps and seemingly  cavalier attitude about the outbreak from the wedding where he officiated.

I came up with a list of fair questions for him and for all of the other guests and venue workers who attended this wedding, which in turn became a super spreader event.  Granted some of these questions perhaps only the State officials could answer.

1. Were you tested?  Was every other guest and venue worker tested?

2. Were you asked to quarantine for 14 days because of your close and lengthy contact with someone who became sick with COVID?

3. Were you told that a negative test does not mean that you can come out of a 14 day quarantine?

4. Did you quarantine for 14 days from time of contact (Wedding Day)?

5. How long were you asked/required to quarantine if you tested positive or became ill with COVID?      ie. was your quarantine extended and did you comply?

6. Did your household or Church members also become ill?

7. Was the difference between quarantine and isolation explained to you  and did you observe the rules and differences? Information below

I think I find a lot of the answers right here in this Bangor Daily News article that was just sent to me today, but it is not fair to make assumptions.

Still, I fear that we have a Public Health menace in our midst.

https://bangordailynews.com/2020/08/29/news/york/5-people-associated-with-a-sanford-church-have-tested-positive-for-covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR1KlTFkrRoogtaNbArtOc48IAGw8stetD4ZclZ72o6TND6ripstt1hg-f0

If these folks from the wedding did not know about their exposure for 5 days or a week, then nobody can fault them for what they did during that time.  If however they continued to gallivant around the town, State or country after being told to quarantine, that is a different story.

There is still a lot we don’t know about the movements of the wedding party, guests and venue workers.  All of us are angry and sad about this.  But, someday we will need to heal, and getting answers is part of that. It’s hard to get past that they ignored a lot preventative rules for the wedding church and venue.  If they continued that careless attitude after learning there was an outbreak, then they need to be accountable to the State of Maine and to all of the people impacted.

The only online conversation by the bridal party that I have seen told me a lot.  They talked about how unfair the media is and how they are like vultures, how persecuted they feel,  how they already had to postpone their wedding once and how they whittled down the guest list.   Some other pretty dismissive comments were made about the outbreak like how it was just like a mild cold or most people don’t even get sick.

They did not mention the poor lady who died, or others who were very sick or mention any feelings/emotions about that.  It would be my extreme pleasure to sit down with the young women who conducted this conversation and give them some lessons on COVID and life in general.  We all have to grow up some time.  And for these girls, now would be a great time for that.

I would like to see one representative from wedding group, come forward.  I would like to hear their side of things, like some answers to the questions I have listed above.  I’d also like to learn about what they are going to change in their own behavior, both personal and professional, to keep this from happening again.  Maybe the pastor could tell us how he will mandate masks at his services, and how he will wear one himself, and offer hand sanitizer, and how he will require members of his flock to sit 6 feet apart.  He could explain how much cleaning and disinfecting he is doing in his Church.  He could tell us how he is educating his flock to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

But most of all, these folks could say something, anything about how bad they feel for the deceased, her family, the others who needed to be hospitalized, and all of the other people who became very sick at home.   They could also apologize to my home town for their carelessness.  And they could offer prayers or some other kind of compassion for all of them.

I don’t think it is too much to ask for .  124 people in this state spread out over many miles,  have been impacted by this single event. Thousands of others around the infected victims have also had their lives altered because of them.   Someone needs to answer some questions.

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-quarantine-and-isolation/art-20484503

“These terms describe approaches for limiting the spread of disease during epidemics and pandemics:

  • Social distancing. Keeping space between yourself and other people outside your household to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Quarantine. Separating people and limiting movement of people who have or may have been exposed to the disease to see if they become ill.
  • Isolation. Separating people who are ill from others who are not ill to keep the disease from spreading”.

Information below from the CDC.

Rules for Quarantine

Jul 22, 2020

When can I stop home isolation after a confirmed case of COVID-19?

If you are a healthcare provider, please follow your supervisor’s recommendations. If you are immunocompromised, please discuss this with your medical provider. Otherwise, if you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious (most people will not) you can discontinue isolation when:

  1. You have had NO fevers for at least 72 hours (3 full days of no fever without using fever-reducing medicine)
  2. Other symptoms have improved (i.e., your cough or breathing have improved)
  3. At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset

If you had a positive COVID-19 test AND have remained asymptomatic, you may discontinue isolation when at least 10 days have passed since your first positive COVID-19 test. It is important to still wear a face cover over your nose and mouth in public settings after isolation is discontinued.

https://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Portal%20News&id=3198521&v=article-2017&fbclid=IwAR18BFK6tl-GUiTvZsG6xlYkwNILWlf6CNSBL6opIWHLr5YkrgbGfsp1gJg