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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Book Review: Broad Band

Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet is a fascinating telling about the history of the women who were truly responsible for making computers and the Internet what they are today.

Whether you’re interested in computers, engineering, the Internet and tech-savvy topics, or just a computer user; whether you’re a feminist (I hope so!) or not; this book is for you. It’s sad that I didn’t know much of this history prior to reading the book, but boy, am I glad I happened upon it on a shelf at the library and snagged it.

(And let me just say, that title! What a great play on words.)

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How To Help the World When You Feel Helpless

If you’re anything me, you’re inundated with news on a daily, sometimes even hourly, basis. Lately, it seems like it’s one tragedy after another. From the various hurricanes that have hit around the world, to horrific acts of terrorism like the gun violence we heard about in Las Vegas on October 1.

It’s easy to fall into a pit of despair when surrounded by this news; to feel like you’re helpless, and that there’s no way you can possibly help those affected. The good news is: you CAN help! Whether you’ve got money or time to donate, phone calls to make, or can physically help in person… you CAN make a difference.

(Side note: during times of crisis, many people will offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ to those affected. While I can respect these gestures, and understand why people do this, in the end — thoughts and prayers aren’t going to help victims of a flood regain their livelihood or find a place to get food RIGHT NOW, or lead to stricter gun control in the United States or worldwide. So, yes, if you feel the need, offer your thoughts and prayers — but then get on your feet, on your computer, in your bank account, wherever, and offer something else.)

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Fifteen Real-Life Wonder Women

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Although I’ve yet to actually go see it, I’m thrilled by the hype floating around on social media regarding the new Wonder Woman movie. There’s just something about seeing a film surrounding a strong, powerful woman succeed that sends chills up and down my spine. It’s fantastic – and I wanted to feed off that energy by reminding everyone of some of the incredible women who have brought about change in society!

Hopefully you’ve already heard of these 15 powerful women and are familiar with their accomplishments, but in all honesty, you might not be. Their stories deserve recognition and acknowledgment, far more than I can give them – but I hope this is a start.

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