Life in the Time of Corona, Vol. 2

Life is so weird these days, isn’t it? I’m writing this blog post today to talk about two coronavirus-related things: the nasal swab test itself, and the blood draw test for antibodies. I recommend you to get both of these tests if at all possible!

First, I want to talk about how I got tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Erie County, NY’s Department of Health is really doing a great job with their antibody testing. They’ve had multiple locations over the past few weeks where you can get a free antibody test done. I decided to sign up for one. Why? Well…. why not? Although I knew it was unlikely I had the antibodies – I hadn’t knowingly been exposed to anyone with COVID, nor did I feel like I’d had it at any point – I figured it was a smart, responsible thing to do. Only about five percent of county residents are estimated to have the antibodies, so I knew there was a slim chance, but it’s good to help the county’s testing numbers at the very least.

The process was incredibly easy. I booked an appointment online for a Tuesday evening test at a local fire hall, so I could go right after work one day and get it done. When I arrived, everything was very well labeled and sanitized regularly for social distancing & health practices. (Of course, this being run by the county health department, I’d expect nothing less.) It was about 10 minutes from the time I walked in the door to when I walked out, including waiting in line for a short while to register. A simple blood draw (which did leave me with a nice bruise for several days, admittedly) and less than a week later, I had my results: negative for COVID-19 antibodies.

The next day, I decided to go get a COVID-19 test done. I had the day off from work and found a drive-through site in my neighborhood, no appointment required. Again, it took only about 10 minutes – the longest part was getting all the paperwork filled out. I didn’t ever have to step out of my car, and the process was pretty smooth. The test itself wasn’t bad at all – I want to make that clear. My eyes watered for a second after the nasal swab, but that was it. At this point, I’m still waiting for my results, but since I haven’t had any symptoms, I’m expecting it to be negative.

So why did I get a COVID-19 test? I had a day of stomach issues a few days prior to getting the test. In all honesty, it was likely because something in my freezer had gone bad while the power was out on a 90-degree day. I had also been pretty exhausted, but that, too can be attributed elsewhere: I’ve been filling in at a more physically-demanding job than my usual desk job, and my hours have been different, so my whole schedule is a bit out of wack. While all of this could be explained, my anxiety got into my head and worried that I might have it – and there wasn’t going to be any peace in my mind until I at least went for a test.

I went to a local urgent care facility first, but they had a whopping two hour wait to get a test! No thanks. The drive-up test was super easy and pretty much painless, and I encourage everyone to get tested if there’s even the slightest bit of your mind that says you should. Although what I was feeling was likely nothing, you can have the virus and be asymptomatic, or only have very minimal symptoms. Some places will only test you if you have symptoms or have been exposed to the virus, but others will test you regardless, so if you’re going to search for a test, be aware of this. But honestly — I’m glad I did it. It’s worth the minimal amount of time I spent to have some peace of mind, help the county’s numbers and help science.

Isn’t it better, in all things, to know than to be left wondering?

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Life in the Time of Corona, Vol. 1

What a year this week has been. It’s certainly felt like a year, hasn’t it? These are strange times we’re living in, friends. Every day feels surreal.

This week started out mostly normal. I went to work on Monday like usual, but even then, everything felt so….. tentative, like no one knew exactly what was going to happen next. The last few days at work were filled with proofreading press releases and mass emails and the like. School closures came and some things started to shut down, but like I said, I went to work on Monday like any other day. When I left at 4:30 pm, I could feel how tentative things were, and made sure I brought home anything from my desk that I thought I might need.

And then everything turned sideways.

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Goal-Setting for 2020

I’ve always thought it was important to set goals for yourself. Whether you write them down, make them public or not, it’s important to have markers for yourself regarding things you want to accomplish and steps you want to reach. Some goals are easy, some are hard. Some take a little work, some take a lot of effort, some take years.

As we turned the calendar year, I set a few goals for myself for 2020. I didn’t call them “resolutions,” but more consider them as statements of what I intend to do this year. It won’t be perfect, I know that. I’ll mess up, I won’t make all of the goals. I’ll slip up sometimes, or just downright fail once in a while. But the most important thing is… I’m trying.

My 2020 goals are:

  • I will only use my credit cards in case of real emergency. (Not going to lie, I’ve already slipped up on this one, but like I said… I really am trying!)
  • I will end the year with under “X” dollars in credit card debt. (I will pay off at least $5,000 in debt.)
  • I will read 20 books. (Last year I read 17.)
  • I will only do writing that I am paid for, aside from this personal blog!
  • I will spend more quality time with my husband.
  • I will limit my Target trips to a maximum of one (1) per month. (Target is my vice, I’m not obsessed by any means, but it’s easy to go and spend too much money.)
  • I will focus more on cooking food at home rather than eating out.
  • I will work toward a lower-waste, more sustainable lifestyle.
  • I will complete the Couch to 5K program.

Some are easier than others, so wish me luck along this journey 🙂

Holistic Wellness, Slowing Down & Reflecting

I was fortunate enough to spend a recent day and a half at a holistic wellness retreat. It was exactly what I needed: some “me time,” time out in nature and a chance to slow down, step back from all my stresses, and reflect on my life, present and future.

I won the chance to attend this retreat through Labor-Management Healthcare Fund. They host various retreats annually at Beaver Hollow Conference Center, which is roughly 45 minutes from Buffalo, NY. I’ve actually never entered before and was pleasantly surprised when I learned that I’d won this one! Everything was included and best of all, free!

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In the Midst of My Invisalign Journey

As my Timehop reminded me, one year ago today, I started on my Invisalign journey with my initial consultation. After years of being told by dentists that I needed braces and should really consider them, I finally found myself in a place where I was able to do so.

For the record, it’s not that I never wanted braces, but orthodontics are, well, expensive. Not everyone can afford them and they can certainly be seen as a luxury! A few years ago, I got a price quote on Invisalign from my dentist (who only does Invisalign, not regular braces) and I was flabbergasted at the number. Turns out if you’re over a certain age (for me, it was 25), your insurance may not cover any orthodontic care.

At any rate, over the last year, I found myself financially in a position where I was able to do this, thanks to my dad’s estate after he passed away. And I decided to commit myself to it. A year ago, I had my consultation. I started my first tray on June 7, 2018.

Continue reading “In the Midst of My Invisalign Journey”