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?

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.

Continue reading “Life in the Time of Corona, Vol. 1”

2019: A Year of Intention

Well, I haven’t touched this blog in over four months, but with the beginning of 2020, I’m back and ready to look back at the year that was. 2019 was a big and largely great year for me, and it’s fun to look back now and think about all that happened.

Here are some of my highlights!

January

  • Saw Cameron Esposito at Helium Comedy Club (I am by no means a big comedy fan, it is very hard to get me to laugh, but it was a great night out with my husband, and how can you not love her focus on feminism, social justice and LGBTQ issues?
  • Did color commentary for a Jr. Sabres hockey game for just the second time ever.

February

  • Used a sewing machine for literally the first in my life.
  • Planned & executed a pre-game hockey ceremony to honor the “graduating” players from the Jr. Sabres. It went off without a hitch, everyone loved it and I look forward to doing it again!
  • Filled in on color commentary for the Jr. Sabres again!
  • Wrote a piece for VP that I’m super proud of regarding broadcasting of women’s hockey & how people speak about women’s hockey.
  • Went to Lumagination at the Botanical Gardens. It was magical.

March

  • Welcomed nephew #5 into the world!

April

  • PUPPY YOGA.
  • Covered the NCAA Division-I Frozen Four. My first Frozen Four ever, and a pretty neat (if chaotic) experience. I’m really glad I got the chance to do this, especially with it being in Buffalo.
  • Was named OJHL Volunteer of the Year for my work with the Jr. Sabres. So grateful to work with such a fantastic team! (Technically this happened in March, but I went up to Oakville to receive the award in April.)

May

  • Our Texas trip, which was incredible! So many good things to point out about this trip, including that it was my first time flying, ever. Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas. Hockey fun, baseball, family time, tourist things, sightseeing, lots of great food. I can’t wait to go back again soon, hopefully in 2021. (I’d better start saving.)
  • Went to a holistic wellness retreat about 40 minutes from Buffalo, which I won the chance to attend through my work/health insurance. It was super neat and a great experience – two days filled with essential oils, massage chairs, exercise time, nature, reflexology, meditation, yoga & more.
  • Saw The Art of the Brick exhibit at the Museum of Science. Definitely neat, if it ever comes to your city… check it out!

June

  • Went to a wedding in East Aurora that Ryan was asked to DJ, for a former Griffs hockey player. Although I didn’t really know either the bride or groom at all, it was a super fun night.

July

  • Celebrated three years of marriage.
  • Got to celebrate the marriage of two good friends.
  • Got to see my sister & nephews for a short little visit.

August

  • Flew to Charlotte (only my fifth flight ever, first solo flight, etc.) and then drove about 1,000 miles across the state of North Carolina as I spent a wonderful week with my sister & nephews. Explored Raleigh, Greensboro & Charlotte solo, plus had lots of fun around Greensboro, Winston-Salem @ camping with the family.
  • Saw the Jonas Brothers in concert.
  • Went to DC/Baltimore with Ryan for our friends’ wedding, an Orioles game and some tourist-y fun.

September

  • Went to PLAY/GROUND in Medina after missing it in 2018. It was really neat to see how a bunch of artists transformed a former school and there were so many unique installations.
  • Got surprised by the Jr. Sabres with an on-ice ceremony on home ice to receive my ring for being OJHL Volunteer of the Year.

October

  • Road trip to Georgetown to work a Raiders/Jr. Sabres game. Ryan did his usual PA/DJ, while I ran the scoreboard, did the online scoring & manned the penalty boxes.

November

  • Turned 29, which means that in 2020, I’ll be some significant age.
  • Officially joined Canisius hockey as a features writer!

December

  • Spent parts of a few wonderful days with my sister & nephews while they were in town for the holidays. They’re growing up so fast and it’s always so good to see them.
  • Covered the first regular-season outdoor game in NWHL history.
  • Filled in on color commentary for Canisius hockey for the first time.
  • Focused on really getting some good rest!
  • Did more radio talk about the NWHL.
  • Welcomed nephew #6 into the world!

On Anniversaries & Milestones

As I sat down to write this post, I just now realized that tomorrow will mark 10 months since the unexpected death of my father. Ten whole months. It’s simultaneously been an incredibly long and also painfully quick ten months, and it’s hard to believe it’s already November.

That being said, I’ve been trying to equip myself with plenty of self-care tools because I know the next two months will bring a lot of anniversaries. A lot important dates, milestones.

  • Later this month, I turn 28. It will be my first birthday, in my entire life, without my Dad.
  • Thanksgiving, while not a holiday I’d typically celebrate with him, will be my first without Dad.
  • Christmas Eve – which will mark one year since the last time I saw my Dad alive. We went to his apartment last Christmas Eve and I spent three and a half hours putting together a TV stand that my sister and I bought him. Little did I know that would be the last time I would see him alive. I wish I’d taken more photos of him, of us, together.
  • Then Christmas, the first Christmas without Dad.
  • Then December 31, which I believe will mark a year since the last time I spoke to my Dad. I think I called him; I remember hearing that he’d left work early a few days prior because he supposedly wasn’t feeling well — so I called him, while at the arena, waiting for a game, and said (half-jokingly) “Should I be worried about you?” I’ll never forget his nonchalant attitude, his affirmation – “No, no, it was a misunderstanding, I’m fine.” Just a few days after that conversation, he died.
  • January 1. A new year, 2019. A calendar year in which my Dad has never, and will never, be alive.
  • January 4, which will mark the one-year anniversary of his death.
  • January 12, his birthday. He would’ve been 61. Also, the one-year anniversary of his funeral.

Also – no specific date, but hopefully very soon we’ll be able to finally close my dad’s estate.

I’m trying to prepare myself, as I know these days will not be easy. Maybe they won’t be as tough as I’m thinking, but I can’t know until I’ve reached them. So I’m trying to take care of myself and do what I need to get through the next few months. I’m actually heading to a “Grief and the Holidays” meeting/workshop this coming week that I hope will give me some skills/tools to deal with everything.

I just have to take it one day at a time.

Checking In…

Yesterday marked since months since we lost my dad. (There I go again, using that cliched language). It has been a tough six months, the longest and yet the shortest. The time has flown, in a way. I can’t believe it’s been half a year. At the same time, it feels like so much has happened since then.

Continue reading “Checking In…”