Covid-19, Health Care, Speaking from Experience, Women's Health

#StayHome Health Log

Welcome back blog readers,

At the start of this pandemic, last month (Canada it was early/mid-March 2020) I started to log my temperature and any symptoms just to keep an eye on things.

Since Sunday, March 15 I’ve had a slight pressure in my upper chest, no pain, no discomfort, no issues breathing.  Just a slight pressure for the last month.

I’ve recorded my temperature, to which I tend to register on the lower end of  “normal”, so on the rare occasions where I have spiked a fever, my temperature is typically reading 99F+.

Sunday, March 22nd, Temperature 97.9F

Sunday, March 29th, Temperature 98.0F
Still no other symptoms, just a slight pressure in my upper chest to which I have chalked up as anxiety as I have chosen to continue to work.

Thursday, April 16, the slight pressure in my upper chest is now accompanied by a slight heaviness in my lungs that is more noticeable upon inhaling. Still no pain/discomfort, no real issue breathing or getting enough air/circulation, no persistent cough. Feels like the beginning of an upper respiratory infection (unconfirmed diagnosis, just my thoughts).

Friday, April 17, same as yesterday, temperature 97F

Sunday, April 19, temperature 97.6F same pressure, the same level of heaviness, feeling tired and achy I decided to call in for my shift just to be safe. I could be dealing with a mild case of Walking Pneumonia (unconfirmed, it feels familiar from when I had it back in 2015) minus the sporadic coughing fits.

Monday, April 20, temperature 97.3F no changes to how I feel. Achiness/stiffness could be a combination of things. I normally have a chiropractic adjustment every 3 weeks, my last appointment was March 12th with a follow up on April 2nd that was canceled due to the Government closing things down. I have called in for Tuesday and Wednesday because I don’t know what I’m dealing with and I’m allowing myself a chance to rest and see if things get better or worse before deciding to go back to work.

I hate calling in, I know that many people are calling in and the store is extremely short-staffed. Am I dealing with a very mild case of COVID-19? Am I dealing with a very mild case of pneumonia? Am I dealing with an upper respiratory infection? The government of Ontario and the health experts have all stated that anyone that doesn’t feel 100% should stay home.

Has my level of anxiety increased since this pandemic started?, YES. I went from working 18 hours/week to 30+ hours/week. My position at work has changed from working in the Bakery to being trained (working in close proximity) to the associate training me in Claims and in the Cash Office. Since I’m being shuffled from one department (to train) to another department, I’m an associate without a permanent position.

If COVID-19 wasn’t a concern, I probably would just suck it up and continue to work my shifts. I don’t like feeling as if I’m letting my team down. I also know that I have to do what is best for me, do the right thing, and stay home.

I’ll keep updating this post with any new developments~ Tuesday, April 21.

***** UPDATE***** Wednesday April 22*****

I decided to call telehealth figuring that while I’m not displaying the more common COVID symptoms, what I do have maybe the less frequent symptoms and it was best to seek advice from a health professional.

Besides, it’s part of the due diligence.

Telehealth was so concerned that they suggested that not only should I get tested for COVID, but I should call an ambulance. Anytime there is a concern with breathing, the online assessment assumes it’s the worst-case scenario. I voiced my concern that an ambulance was a little much considering that I live within walking distance to the local hospital and the slight pressure in my chest is just that, slight.
I said I would call the hospital to get further instructions for the testing.

The local hospital doesn’t test for COVID, they suggested that I call Ottawa Public Health to find the closest test clinic. Public Health didn’t confirm my address and wanted to send me to downtown Ottawa to get tested. I raised the concern and questioned if there wasn’t a closer clinic. To which there is, but they didn’t have the information handy.
I asked a friend that had recently been tested to find out where she went. That should have been my first inquiry.

I drove out to Winchester where the COVID testing is taking place, I was in/out in under 10 minutes. No long wait times and the swab was very similar to having a swab for Strep Throat, not a swab through the nasal cavity.

Results will be ready in 24-48 hours and I will get confirmation whether it’s positive or negative.

The paperwork that I was given from the testing facility states (suggests) that if the test is Negative that I can return to work 24 hours after symptom resolution.

If the test is Positive: Self Isolate for 14 days- Return to work after 2 negative swabs, at least 24 hours apart (assuming you feel fine, no symptoms).

I’ve already called my employer, left a message with HR to let them know that I will be calling in for the rest of this week (Thursday/Friday) I’m off Saturday/Sunday. By then I should have the results to know how to proceed, assuming there are no changes.

Temperature: 97.8F

Oxygen Level, Checked at the COVID test clinic, 95% (taken while I was wearing a facemask).

That’s the news, for now, ~ Wednesday, April 22, 2020  *******

***** Friday, April 24, 2020******

Today’s news is that my COVID-19 results have come back NEGATIVE! So that’s a relief. I have further instruction to Complete my 14-day self-isolation (since the date of the test) which means I’ll be out of work until May 6th.

I’m still fighting off something (respiratory) so it’s probably best that I do take the time to rest, hydrate and see if I can’t get rid of whatever this is.

 

******* Update Sunday, May 3, 2020 *******

The slight pressure that had been present since mid-March is no longer there. It’s been gone for a few days now along with any other symptoms. I’m back to feeling 100% and intend to return to work on Thursday, May 7th as planned.

Here are the latest update/policy changes from the big-box retailer (my employer).

  • Safety- Associate temperature and wellness checks will continue in the Distribution Centers, our drivers and we’ll begin to roll out this program in the retail stores. We are encouraging customers to limit entry to only ONE adult per family. We are also distributing (voluntary) PPE (masks/gloves) to associates and we strongly encourage you to wear them while at work.
  • Offering New Services- Groceries by phone (not available in all locations)
  • Priority Pharmacy Access- Customers picking up a prescription no longer have to wait in line. They can call the pharmacy outside and get further instructions before meeting the associate at the front of the store.
  • Priority Store Access- Hospital Workers and First Responders will be given priority access starting Monday, May 4th as another way to Thank them.
  • Groceries to Hospital Staff- We’ve partnered up with eleven hospitals so their staff can have groceries delivered right to the hospital and we’re working to expand this program.

Online Grocery Orders continue to be in high demand. We are filling tens of thousands of orders each day, which means the wait time may be longer.  More stores are adding additional time slots and offering delivery. We appreciate your patience as we work through this high demand.   *** end of memo ***

 

Here are my thoughts and tips if you choose to visit any public store:

Wear a facemask, whether it’s store-bought, homemade, a simple bandana, or a scarf. Wear some form of protection. While our employer is offering PPE, keep in mind that there are 50+ associates each day sharing resources that are in high demand and don’t come in as often as we expect (backorder).

Please follow the arrows on the floor, Please go down the aisle in the right direction. Please wait your turn before proceeding down the aisle. I know that that Meat and Dairy aisles are the busiest and often the most congested. You have associates standing to one side with carts because they are either restocking and have to get it completed within 20 minutes (temperature-sensitive food items) or the associates are doing their best to fill online grocery orders (also time-sensitive). Just follow the flow and treat those aisles as you would a One-Way street. You don’t have to wait for the associate to move, they should be parked off to the side, so go around them when you have the space to do so. Customers going through the aisles in the opposite direction are the ones making matters worse and holding everybody up.

Have a LIST and know what you’re looking for. That is the key to getting you and other customers in & out as efficiently as possible. Start at the furthest point from the registers and work you’re way to the front.

Don’t harass the cashiers about any quantity limits or new policies, they have ZERO control and are only doing what they are asked to do for their safety as well as yours. Yes, these are hard times, they are inconvenient for everybody. Some may be new hires and are still learning, so give them a break if they aren’t as “fast” as the next cashier, or if they make a mistake while ringing up your order.

While you’re shopping you see your friend or neighbor and want to catch up. I understand your excitement, you haven’t seen them in weeks. DON’T take up space in the aisles with the marked arrows. Meet up with them in a lower traffic area, like shoes, infants, men’s wear. Don’t block the high traffic aisles where you see associates moving through with their carts or continue to move through with skids from the back of the store. Pull off to the side (between displays) or meet up in the parking lot.

Anyway, that’s the news for now.

Stay Safe 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Customer Service, Educate Yourself, Health Care, Speaking from Experience, The World We Live In

How I’m surviving through Covid-19

Before I get into this post, I will preface by stating that at this moment (Saturday, March 21, 2020) I have not been tested or screened in any manner to confirm whether or not I actually have contracted this virus. Nor am I feeling ill to prompt me to seek testing.

Due to the fact that I work in retail/grocery, I am now considered an “Essential Worker” and my responsibility to show up as scheduled has not changed. If anything, I am picking up more shifts.

Our store, as I suspect with many businesses that are still open, are understaffed. That’s not a complaint, just the fact considering many parents can’t work while their kids are home. Some are home taking care of their family members that are at a higher risk due to their health concerns and some are probably home, self-isolating for their own concerns.

For me, my life hasn’t changed dramatically since last Thursday when the panic in my area (just outside of Ottawa) set in. I’m an introvert by nature, I go to work in town, I don’t leave the 2-mile radius often.

Am I concerned about contracting this virus? I’m realistic in assuming that it’s very likely that I will get it, but I feel that I’m healthy enough to recover from it. My husband works from home and we are stocked with enough food and OTC meds to get by should we have to self-quarantine.

The act of disinfecting the kitchen/bathroom counters, knobs, handles, and switches have been an additional chore that I have incorporated into my morning routine.

On social media, I’ve been encouraging the public to help us (retail workers) practice Social Distancing. Help Us Help You. We understand that you have to restock, you have errands to run, the kids are home and they’re getting cabin fever. This is not the time for a family outing to the store. Please allow ONE family member to do the shopping if you can help it.

Obviously, we are aware that some customers need assistance, some customers are single parents and have no choice but to bring their child(ren) into the store. We get it, no judgment, we are not policing the situation.

I had to clarify my statement when I suggested that one family member should do the shopping while leaving their family in the car. The comment was meant in the scenario that both parents or a responsible adult could remain in the vehicle with the child(ren). But people misinterpret and thought I was suggesting that a single parent leave their toddler in a car seat unattended in the parking lot… I didn’t think that I had to spell it out, but clearly, I do.

For the most part, residents in this area are practicing social distancing. I see others are not. Both parents and their 3 kids in the store running through the aisles, NOT social distancing. A group of teenagers wandering the store because it’s something to do, NOT social distancing. Four college bros shopping together, NOT social distancing. A resident that just came back from Florida, coughing claims they were “tested” at the airport, NOT social distancing or self quarantining for that matter.
Being screened at the airport (temperature is taken) is NOT the same as being tested for coronavirus.

Again, I get it. You’ve been away and just now returning home from abroad, you need food and to restock. Ask your community to help. Social media pages are set up in this area for that purpose. There are healthy people offering to assist with running errands and picking up groceries to drop them off at your door. Let them.

I know that social media is being flooded with all sorts of information, some helpful, some misleading and only creating more panic. Choose to get your information from the source, not some third party and certainly not through memes.

While I do have plenty to say, I will refrain. Lately, my opinions encourage others to treat me as their virtual punching bag.

I’ll leave you with this…
We are in this together, doing the best that we can. While most people will recover from Covid-19, many are at a huge disadvantage. If you have already started the self-isolation process, Thank You. If you have not because you feel it doesn’t apply to you, You are part of the problem. That last bit doesn’t apply to all of the essential workers that are being asked to put themselves at risk.
Stay calm and wash your hands 🙂

WHO:https://www.who.int/

CDC:https://www.cdc.gov/

Death/End of Life, Health Care, Shared Link

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/lung-disease/idiopathic-pulmonary-fibrosis

https://cpff.ca/understanding-pf/

Due to the very recent passing of a family member that suffered from this illness, I thought it was worth sharing this information. Right now there is still much that doctors and researchers don’t know about Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. No known cause, no known cure. The fact that the symptoms mimic other pulmonary issues means it takes longer to diagnose while the trial/error process has to take place to eliminate what it’s not.

Meanwhile, the person suffering is slowly losing the ability to breathe on their own. What starts off as losing their breath while walking and doing normal activities that are not strenuous. Needing to take frequent breaks to sit and catch their breath, their breathing becomes more labored because their lungs are slowly losing their capacity (loss of volume over time). Walking from one room to the next becomes a chore. The use of carrying around an oxygen tank becomes the new normal and make sure you carry extra tanks when you are driving around. Portable tanks of oxygen evolve to large home units with 100 feet of hose to ensure that you can walk about your home.

You end up on 13 pills a day to help you, to counteract the side effects from other pills you have to take, to prevent you from getting diabetes, to thin your blood/skin, to ease the discomfort. To control the coughing that comes along with this illness taken along with a codeine/morphine cough syrup. You gain a ton of weight in the first 6 months, due to the pills, then you lose a ton of weight during the last 6 months, due to lack of appetite and probably the pills. You may be eligible to undergo routine infusions. Once the weight falls off, the muscles atrophy, you are too weak to walk around, standing causes you to feel faint, and you are barely mobile on your own. Hospice care is the best option at this point unless you have family or a personal support worker that can assist in your daily needs.

To anyone reading this that has a family member going through this or is currently suffering from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, I am truly sorry. I know that it is not easy to witness a loved one slowly getting worse as their need for oxygen increases. Hopefully, there will be some new developments in the future.

Abuse comes in many forms, Health Care, Not the Popular Opinion, Politics, Religious Beliefs, Stigma/Taboo, Women's Health

My Body, I have the final word.

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Welcome back blog readers,

Just a bit of fair warning, If you don’t want to read what I have to say about my views on abortion, then carry on about your day.

I know this topic may generate different points of view, that is perfectly fine as long as we can agree to keep things civil. My opinion on this matter is that it’s my body, I should have the final word. Just as it is your body and you should have the last word. While it’s nice to have all of the facts, and I do mean facts, not religious beliefs, or opinions I’d like the right to choose what is best for me. I don’t want men that have no experience being pregnant making choices for me. I don’t want any religious group making decisions for me.

The choice to go through with an abortion is very personal, can we agree on that? Why would I want the government stepping in or religious groups that I have no affiliation with telling me what is best for me and my body?  I don’t. I don’t want that for anyone as they are not the ones who have to live with that choice, the guilt, remorse, or deal with any complications that might come after the abortion takes place.

Do I think making the choice of having an abortion is easy? No, absolutely not.

It’s also not right to pass judgment on a woman who is making a choice to have an abortion. Those groups that linger around the family planning clinics, protesting, yelling, harassing women that enter/leave are despicable. Those groups assume all those that enter are going in for an abortion when that is not the case. Not to say that some of those appointments are for a consultation, more often than not, many of those appointments are related to reproductive health and have nothing to do with seeking an abortion. Frankly, what women go in for is between them and their doctor/ OBGYN, not you or anyone else.

You may feel that abortion is not right for you, that is fine, that is your choice. That doesn’t give you the right to pass judgment or pass laws that make that choice for anyone else. In many cases the decision to have an abortion isn’t just a matter of Oops, we didn’t use protection. Incest, Rape are things to consider as to why a woman might choose to have an abortion. In some cases the mother to be might have health related issues that may prevent her from carrying full term, her life may be at risk and therefore the baby’s life as well. Most people don’t consider that possibility, they only hear abortion, and their mind goes straight to MURDERER. Not everything is as black and white.

Not every woman has the support of the father to be. Not every woman has the support of her family. Maybe you do, many of us don’t. Can you understand why a woman with no father to be, no parents, no family in her life finds out that her life is at risk if she carries full-term might consider saving herself over losing her life along with the fetus?

Is it really better to force a woman to give birth only to be at a higher risk for postpartum depression, she has no support and her newborn baby is found in a dumpster?

Yes, I’m fully aware that adoption is available. As easy as it is to sit back and claim that you would make a choice to put the baby up for adoption when that time comes is all well and good until you are in that position and are put on the spot. For some of us, going through the 9 months of carrying a baby only to give it up is not as easy as it sounds.

I find that many Pro-Lifers are hypocrites, not all but many. They prefer that the woman carries full term, give that baby a chance at life. Until the baby is born, the mother who has no support goes on welfare/government assistance for 18 years or the child ends up homeless or in the foster system and their tune changes. Pro-Lifers fight for a child to be born, not for that child to be fed, housed, educated or to see that the child receives health care. That’s not Pro-life, that’s Pro-Birth.

A choice that I make for me and my body may not be a choice that you make for yourself and your body, that’s okay. I believe that you and everyone else has the right to CHOOSE what is in your best interest. If not having an abortion is best for you, Great! Don’t have one that is your choice. Isn’t it nice to have an option and not be forced to do something against your will, especially when it’s your body we’re talking about?

If there are doctors that are fine with performing abortions, more power to them. Let them help women that require it. The same goes for doctors that are okay with helping patients with terminal illnesses, they know they are on limited time and want the chronic pain and suffering to end. The option for physician-assisted suicide is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean the option shouldn’t be available for those who want it. This goes for medical professionals that don’t want to perform surgeries that go against the morals/beliefs, they shouldn’t have to. It’s all about CHOICE and the freedom to be able to make a choice for yourself, not have one forced on you.

You may not want something, or opt for a procedure, that is fine. Your beliefs should not stop somebody else from choosing that for themselves as their choice has no effect on you whatsoever.

I am not owned by anyone, I am not the property of the government, I answer to myself and want the freedom to choose. I want you to have the freedom to choose.

For those curious minds, while it is not your business, I will clarify before the question gets asked; NO I have not had an abortion, I have never been pregnant because that was MY CHOICE.