Saturday, April 24, 2021

Weekend Reading: The Weird Week Edition

This hasn't been a great week. Sunday night, I started feeling really, really tired. But that's how this year has been right? We're all exhausted. So I assumed I just needed to get more sleep and trudged through my work days. Tuesday, I was so tired that I wanted to go back to bed by 10 a.m. I thought I was a little better on Wednesday, but by the evening I was wiped out again. Thursday, I didn't have any early meetings so I thought I'd try going back to bed for a couple of hours after helping my kids get ready for school. I woke up two hours later feeling even worse, and knew I had to call the doctor.

The virtual urgent care line told me to go to the actual urgent care. I got there to discover that if you have any sort of cough (and I always do - that is my main asthma symptom) you will be routed to the pulmonary clinic and you will wait longer. And then they will insist on a covid test (it came back negative the next day) and a chest x-ray (all clear) before, two hours after you came to urgent care, they have you pee in a cup and discover that you have a UTI.

Now, you may be wondering how I didn't already KNOW I had a UTI. For most people, the symptoms are unmistakeable. But ever since I had Pumpkin, I don't get the usual symptoms. Fatigue is my primary symptom. Once I figured out what was going on, it was obvious in retrospect - I'd had some weird pain in my upper thigh and my lower back hurt. I'd put that down to having been less active than normal because my asthma was flaring (allergy season!) and trying to exercise triggers my cough and being out in public with a cough right now is not fun. But lower back pain is where I feel a UTI these days. Also, since my asthma had been so bad, I'd added a second allergy medicine into my daily routine and that has in the past led to a UTI. So, all the signs were there if I'd been willing to receive them, but I assumed it was pandemic fatigue or a weird late side effect of the vaccine (by the way, I'm fully vaccinated now! Woo hoo!) and didn't take my symptoms seriously.

Anyway, antibiotics are clearing up the infection and I feel better now.  I am posting these details in part as a PSA to remind people that (1) not everything is just pandemic fatigue, and (2) giving birth can rewire your nerve pathways and your UTI symptoms might be different! Before I understood this I once let a UTI go untreated for so long that I ended up with a fever of 104 before I went to urgent care.

Thursday was also my wedding anniversary. It was so romantic to spend it in urgent care! Ha. We postponed celebrations because I was still not feeling great Thursday night so my husband gave me my anniversary gift last night. It is a bejeweled Baby Yoda necklace in a light up box and it is both ridiculous and the perfect gift for this year, when watching the Mandalorian was part of what helped me through.

OK, so on to the links. 

This essay on Republican's delicate feelings by Paul Waldman is a good expression of the situation we are in now. We are at the point of our vaccination campaign where we need to start reaching the less enthusiastic. Some of that will be about making access easier (i.e., moving to walk in clinics instead of appointments), but some of that is going to involve figuring out how to reach those among the "vaccine hesitant" who can be reached, and as Waldman says, we will need reach more Republican men, even if it seems ridiculous to have to beg people to take a vaccine that can save their life.

I haven't been reading the slew of articles on whether or not we can do away with outdoor masks. We probably can, but the framing has been annoying me. There are still a lot of unvaccinated people out there - including ALL children under the age of 16. Kids are less likely to get severely ill, but some do get quite sick and some die. And we don't have any idea if kids are likely to end up with long covid symptoms. I am not interested in rolling the dice on this for my kids and could we all, just once in this pandemic, make a decision that actually considers our children? 

Until the vaccine is available to children or enough adults get vaccinated to drive our case numbers way down, I want adults to be willing to make some small sacrifices to keep the kids safe - like wearing masks.

Moving on...

This is a very good piece on the status of the Novavax vaccine, but also on why "just release the vaccines from patent protection" won't actually help. You need tech transfer to bring new manufacturing sites online and if it has been hard for Novavax it will be even harder for the mRNA vaccines which use novel technology. I very much want the US to start helping get vaccines to the rest of the world but we need to be realistic about what that means and what can actually be done quickly.

This thread of fake New Yorker covers is beautiful.

Read Monica Hesse on the scandal with the Phillip Roth biography and biographer. I am so tired of being told to appreciate the genius of terrible men and I wish we'd think a little more about the damage it does to hold misogynistic books up as examples of great writing. Can it really be great writing if the author so completely fails to understand the humanity of half of humans?

This article about a young woman's struggle to get her physical symptoms taken seriously is heartbreaking.

Don't "wischcycle."

Here's a nice piece from David Roberts about some good news on the reducing carbon emissions front.

And now for things that made me smile:

Quokkas. Quokkas make me smile every time I see a picture of one. 

This picture.

OMG this would be amazing to see. I'd be jumping up and down, too.

And here's your bunny for the week

Happy weekend, everyone! 

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