1. How is the Coronavirus situation where you live? What's closed down? Have you gone out much? Are you (Oh, what's the trendy term now " Self-distancing "?) staying inside as a precaution or actually infected or is anyone else you know? I hope, if so, you're well. Let's...well, exchange comments.
  2.   I am now in Portland, Oregon. The Govenor, and then, locally, Portland declared a state of emergency. I saw the comment made that Oregon was the furthest behind on dealing with CV of the 3 West Coast states.
  3.   I went out yesterday ( Sun.), I am ill and had sleep to make up to-day (Mon.) and ended up not going out - I may go out across the street to a all-nite grocery tonite-early Tues. I have not heard of a regular medical appointment Tues. being cancelled.

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I've been house/pet sitting quite a bit the past couple of week, so I was in Irving last Sunday. The Kroger I went to there still had the sign up about masks being required. I was one of the only customers in there that was wearing one.

Later I went to Ross (discounted department store), they did not require a mask. I was the only person, customer or employee, who didn't have one on. I found a Mickey Mouse dish drying mat there so, score?

Last Wednesday was the one hour window to pick-up all of the stuff I left in my desk about a year and a half ago. Since we can't go inside the office (our badges have been deactivated), everything was in boxes in the parking garage to pick up. They contacted us about a month ago to confirm our desk location.I was unable too as I had been at the desk for less than week before we moved out. Luckily, I contacted my old cube mate, and he had our location down, so I got my stuff.

The main reason I mention that is after going through my box of stuff, I was pleasantly surprised to find: The Flash Archives vol 5. I remembered having that, but I didn't remember that I had left it at work. I was really happy, and now I can finish it.

Nice, glad you got your Archives back, Trav!

SILENT KILLERS

These particular killers can't be stopped by police or superheroes. Particularly if you are over 50 something sneaky may be trying to kill you. When I got married in 1989 we were both 41. My wife, Gayle, had been going to the doctor for a long time. I was, like many people, only going if I had more than a routine cold or flu. Fortunately, I was well established with Gayle's doctor two years later when I needed my appendix removed. This was almost a silent killer for me because I didn't have the conventional symptoms even though it was huge and ready to burst.

You will sometimes hear that someone ran marathons and was in perfect health before dying suddenly of a heart attack or of Covid. When they say there were "no underlying conditions" they often mean "no known underlying conditions." Many don't have symptoms until it is too late.

The following conditions generally are unnoticed and can be silent killers:

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: I have it. Because I got check-ups, I started taking pills to control it years ago. There pills are easy to take and come in affordable generic form. When they check, my blood pressure is normal. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can or will lead to a stroke or heart attack.

DIABETES: Type 1 Diabetes means that your body now is or always was incapable of making insulin. Mary Tyler Moore has been a Type 1 since birth. Type 1 people have no choice but to inject insulin. I have Type 2, which came on slowly. My body is still capable of making insulin. It just needs a little help. So far I have it well-controlled by pills that stimulate insulin production. There pills are easy to take and come in affordable generic form. As I tell the doctor, I still am not perfect regarding my diet. Moderation is the goal. My wife got to know new ladies in her ceramics and jewelry classes. One lady didn't get check-ups like she should. When she was experiencing vision problems and finally got checked it turned out she had uncontrolled diabetes that had progressed so much that her eyes were irreversibly damaged.

INTESTINAL POLYPS:  I have had these. These became famous when Ronald Reagan had a colonoscopy which discovered and removed pre-cancerous polyps. Later, TV newswoman Katie Couric's husband died from undiscovered intestinal cancer. She became a big advocate for colonoscopies. One of my co-workers years ago doubled over in pain one day. He was extremely lucky because usually by the time intestinal cancer causes pain it's too late to save the person. His intestines had to be cut apart to remove the cancer and be reconnected. He went on to live a long life. If not for the intense pain he would have died. The colonoscopy uses a tiny camera and a tiny scalpel. The surgeon looks for pre-cancerous polyps and painlessly removes them if found. Catching the problem before it becomes cancerous is vastly better than trying to save a person later, which is pretty hard to do.

The other day someone we knew died abruptly with no symptoms of anything. She was cooking eggs and just dropped dead before her roommate's eyes, at age 67. As Richard said, she probably had something asymptomatic going on.

But no autopsy was performed, and my wife asked why. I didn't have to check, because I already knew: Once you're over 50, it is no longer a surprise to doctors if you drop dead. Unless there's a compelling reason for an autopsy -- like the suggestion of foul play -- hospitals don't usually do autopsies on the over-50. And if you ask for one, they'll charge you a bazillion bucks.

The woman was single, and had no children. What was there to be learned? It won't bring her back to life, and she had no close blood relatives who need to know about some underlying pathology.

I'm over 60, and when I go to the doctor with a complaint that might be fixed by surgery, they don't suggest it. They suggest instead that I learn to live with it. After all, from their perspective, I won't have to live with it long (10 years, statistically speaking) and surgery might kill me or leave me addled.

If you get a tooth abscess over age 45, dentists won't do a root canal. They will pull the tooth instantamente. Because the statistics for dying from an abscess-caused blood clot leap alarmingly over the age of 45. They take no chances.

Wait, I've blundered off the thread's central question. Right now, I'm doing pretty good, pandemic-wise, in that my office has once again given us the option to work from home. I LOVE WFH, and am thrilled that I no longer have to waste time shaving and commuting and whatnot every day.

I'm saddened that we have once again removed restaurants and movies from our entertainment options. We stay home. I just wish my wife could WFH as well, but she's the PIO of the county health department and so far that's not an option for her.

Glad you are doing well, Cap.

One of the main reasons doctors don't like non-critical surgeries is the dangers of general anesthesia. If it's something that can be done with local anesthesia or twilight sleep it's a lot safer.

What you said about dental abscesses reminded me of a couple of things. I had a good one in my early 40s. The dentist (who I coincidentally saw today) told me something I had never heard before. Most of our blood vessels have valves that only allow the blood to flow in one direction. Not so in our faces because the vessels are too small. So anyone who has a face swollen from an abscess is risking the infection spreading in all directions.

A friend of ours who knew Gayle since childhood had a sister in her 50s. She was very nice but very afraid of going to the dentist. She had an untreated abscess that turned into blood poisoning which couldn't be stopped. She died in the hospital.

When Gayle began chemotherapy she developed an infection of an eyelid. Fortunately, when her eye swelled shut (almost immediately) I took her to the hospital. It had turned into blood poisoning but it was caught in time. It was still a horror show with her heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing (including a one-day ventilator) all over the map. 

If our digressions caused one reader to get a checkup they were well-spent (and I learned how to spell abscess).

On my trip back from Denver, I wore a mask for about 5 hours straight, and it freaking sucked. Between the Uber rides, to public transportation, the airport, and airplane ride...

It has really put me off flying on an airplane, hopefully on my trip next April we will have some relief.

I don't throw away masks every day. My unscientific observation is that masks get gummed up with invisible particles. Always have spare. When it becomes harder to draw breath it's time to get a new one. After using the basic mask for a long time I switched to KN95 masks. They aren't the same as the N95 masks used in operating rooms but are close enough, fit better and are more comfortable.

My friend with the suppressed immune system got her booster two days ago! Other than the sore arm, no ill effects.

Some of you may know that I dabble in being a background extra in movies and TV shows (like Wonder Woman 1984). The last time I got to do it was almost a year and a half ago, in Richmond, in March 2020.

This was the week when the news about COVID-19 was really blowing up, when some basketball player mocked the disease and touched several reporters' microphones before he was diagnosed with having it; when the NCAA canceled the college basketball tournament, when the airlines started canceling flights, when the schools started closing, and so forth.

At the time, each day on set the director would tell us to be careful, to be safe, to call for a medic if any of us felt sick. The scene was set in a gymnasium with rival crowds supporting their respective youth basketball teams, which, now that I look back on it, was terribly risky for everyone involved, since we didn't at the moment know what we know now about the importance of social distancing and wearing masks. (One day, somebody from the neighborhood wandered onto the site and was puking his guts out, so they took care of him, but I never learned why he was sick or what happened after that.)

Things on the film and TV production front are picking up again. I got word of a project in Baltimore, and signed up for filming on Friday. The new rule: Nobody goes on set without two negative COVID tests.

So I had to go to the production office for a test on Wednesday and again on Thursday for filming on Friday ... then I got an offer to film on Tuesday, which means more COVID testing on Friday and Monday ... then filming on Friday was canceled because of weather. 

They're paying four hours' wages each time for taking the test, and said they intend to compensate me somehow for Friday filming being canceled. Which is nice. The actual testing is done in moments; each time, I go to the production office and there's a young lady at a table behind a plexiglass screen. I use a QR code reader to open a website where I answer basic questions about my health status for the day: Do you have COVID? In the past two weeks, have you been around anybody who has COVID? Do you have a fever? Have you had to quarantine yourself during the past two weeks? After answering "no" to all of those, I go to someone who checks off my name on a list, and then go to the nurse, who dabs inside my nostrils with a medical Q-Tip, places it in a vial and caps it, and then I get to go on my merry way. Later, I get an email with a link to the test results. Each time, it's read "COVID not detected."

So I haven't actually done any work on that project yet, but today I got an email about a different one filming in Washington in September. For that one, each day of shooting will require four days of my time: A COVID test before going in for a costume fitting; the actual costume fitting two days later; a COVID test two days before shooting; and the shooting day. This project is paying less for the COVID tests (only 30 bucks, since I'm non-union), but it's closer to home. 

This is the new normal for now in the TV and film world: COVID tests for everybody.

Now the Mu variant has landed. Not only is it highly transmissible, but it might be able to survive the antibodies we have. Better wear those masks! 

I neglected to mention last week that the owner of my LCS was not in the shop... on a Wednesday. Yep, COVID. He wasn't in today, either, but is doing well. It was a mild (breakthrough) infection, and he intends to follow recommendations and stay out the full two weeks.

In the '90s, there was a little old lady who shopped in my local grocery store. I didn't know her, but I saw her frequently. She always wore a surgical face mask during cold and flu season, and I thought it odd (perhaps overly cautious) at the time. Now I think she was ahead of the curve.

When I was a kid, even after I started driving, I never wore a seat belt in the car. Never. It just wasn't something I, or anyone else I knew, did. then it became law and I found it restricting at first. Now, on the rare occasion that I'm distracted and neglect to buckle up before pulling away, I feel almost naked. It's becoming that way with masks. 

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