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”

Thinking about Life.

So far in the first five and a half months of the 2018 calendar year, I’ve been to two funerals.

The first, of course, was my dad’s. That was hands-down one of the most difficult experiences of my entire life. This past week, I also attended my uncle’s funeral. While we was older than my dad – by about 14 years – it was still very sad. The touching memories and time spent with family meant a lot.

All of this has made me think about life so much. I don’t like to say I’m thinking about death, because I’m not. But I’m thinking more about our lives and how we all only have these moments, and we never know when we won’t have any more moments. It’s all made me realize just how precious life is.

The pastor at my uncle’s funeral said something like “we have 1,440 minutes every day. you have to use those minutes that day, you can’t save them for the next day. and every day, you get to start over.”

How true is that? And what a blessing, to know that each day is a new opportunity for us. I don’t ever want to take a day for granted if I can help. I know it isn’t always easy; life isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have these experiences that are so tough, it feels like we’ll never make it to tomorrow and the new 1,440 minutes that await us. But we do. One day at a time.

How did you spend your 1,440 minutes yesterday? Did you do anything that you enjoy, or are passionate about? Did you spend half of doing something you hate? Did you spend it with people you love?

How are you going to spend tomorrow’s 1,440 minutes — assuming you get them?

Life is meant to be lived – so get out there and start living.

The Game of Life

“The world is not black and white; in its entirety and even in the most specific aspects, the world around us is one giant gray area. There is always movement, both forward and backward. Structures are built and then torn down – both physical buildings and in other ways, like the hierarchy of positions in a corporation or the building blocks that compose a friendship. Life is not black and white. The things you lose may come back to you someday, or they may not. They may never return, lost for eternity in the space that surrounds us. Or they may return, in the same way as before or in another way. You will change, you will grow, and sometimes, you will revert back to who you were before. It is all a grey area.”

The above paragraph is something I’ve had sitting in my drafts since early September of this year. For months, I left it there and intended to write more, to either expand on those thoughts or try to continue them in some way, but (clearly) I have been unable to do so. Alas, here it is, nearly the end of December. Much has changed in these few months, but I’m going to try to expand on my thoughts now, all these days later.

I think it’s important to realize this, the world is one big gray area. Nothing is certain. Everything can be destroyed; the wonderful flowering moments, but also the terrible ones. Good things can fall down, but bad things can be destroyed as well. The fact that nothing is certain can be exciting or scary; thrilling or terrifying; or maybe a little bit of both.

The point is this. Life is not black and white. Life is not certain. Things can come back full-circle or not at all. Some things will stay, other things will leave you, but it’s the impression those things leave that truly counts.

We are all moving pieces in the game of life. Sometimes we jump three spaces forward, other times we sink back a few slots. Some days we may sit exactly where we are, sometimes for weeks, months, years on end. But nothing is certain, everything is gray, and life keeps going.