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”

Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face

Rachel Hollis puts a fresh spin on the traditional “inspirational” book in her 2018 release, Girl, Wash Your Face. This book will kick your butt into gear and make you want to get up and DO SOMETHING about your life… without using a ton of cliches to get you there.

I’m going to be straightforward with you here: I’d never heard of Rachel Hollis until a month or two ago. I saw the trailer for her “Made For More” movie, and it certainly caught my eye. I looked into it, and her, and discovered she had a) an Instagram (so I followed) and b) a book. I had to request the book at the library and was on a waiting list, so it took me a bit to get it – but it was worth the wait!

Continue reading “Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face”

How to Be Happy

happy (adjective): characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy

The project of allowing myself to be happy has, arguably, been one of my biggest struggles. I’m not sure why it’s so difficult to allow myself to feel true happiness, to be certain that things are okay, to smile and live in the moment and not worry about what’s coming down the line, or when things are going to get bad again.

I’m both my best friend, and my worst enemy, as cliched as I realize that sounds. Because while I’m the one who can always bring myself up, find something to smile about, get myself into a positive, chipper mood… I’m also the one who can doubt herself and everything around her, wait for something bad to happen (and fear that it inevitably will), and revert back to days of old where it felt like I was surrounded by clouds of darkness, sadness and general unhappiness.

It’s easy to trip up and fall back into a pit of concern; a pit of questioning… “Is everything really okay? Maybe I made this person angry, or I’m annoying them. Maybe that compliment was them just being nice. Maybe I really am just as worthless and hopeless as I used to feel in those days, years ago.”

It’s not like I can’t be happy. I know I can; but it’s that nagging thing in the back of my mind that says “How can you be happy right now? Things are on the precipice of falling apart; this little happy charade you’re playing out is going to be over soon, so don’t even bother.” It’s as though, many times, when I begin to feel happiness, like life is really, really good, there’s a little voice asking me “…. well, are you sure?”

Allowing myself to be happy means pushing that thought off a tall cliff. It means recognizing that I deserve to be happy, truly happy. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today, and all my past issues be darned, I’m doing this thing.

It means swallowing my fears and recognizing that realistically, things aren’t always going to be okay. Life isn’t always filled with sunshine and rainbows; there’s going to be a cloud every once in a while, and sometimes a storm. But just because a storm comes, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sun, too.

Allowing myself to be happy means not worrying about the storm; not waiting for the storm to come, or waiting for the other shoe to drop, as some might say. That’s not a good pit to fall into, and I’m really, really trying not to. I’m trying to embrace the positive things in my life, and allow myself to be happy — because I’ve earned it, damn it.

I just wish it wasn’t so hard sometimes, but the important thing is, I’m trying.

Progress Doesn’t Just Happen

Sometimes, when I get writer’s block, I venture over to StumbleUpon to see if anything jumps out at me that can spark my writing. Today, I got what I needed: a page from Temple University with a quote that began “Progress doesn’t just happen.” How true is that, really? In any aspect of our lives, progress doesn’t just HAPPEN. There needs to be a spark, something that pushes us along, ignites the way.

We can look at this in any aspect of our lives. Take, for instance, my writing. Progress doesn’t just happen. I’ve been writing for years, and years, and years. Over those years, I’ve become a better writer, more confident in my abilities. In driving, progress doesn’t just happen – it’s simple, but it requires some gas, a foot on the pedal, and a functioning vehicle to get us wherever it is we’re going.

The same is true of life. Progress doesn’t just happen. It requires hard work, determination, and a can-do attitude. You won’t get anywhere if you’re just standing in one place; you’ve got to move, to better yourself, and too keep going, no matter what.

That’s how I’ve gotten to where I am today. Do you think two years ago, when I was in probably some of the worst mental shape of my life, I would’ve ever been able to see myself where I am right now? No way. Today, I’m something I call “happy.” I feel more confident in myself. I’m enjoying life, and I can see a great potential in the future, too. It wasn’t an easy road to get here, but I did – with some hard work on my part, determination to see better days, and a strong refusal to give up.

I guess in the end, I feel like I’m ranting right now, but my point is this – in whatever you do in life, keep going. Progress doesn’t just happen; you have to work for it, but if you do, good things will come.