Life in the age of the virus – 95

I could have written breaking news posts almost every day last week! Instead I wrote nothing and watched the shit show.

Now the Sydney outbreak is increasing and someone in our office went in after being exposed (exposure site is essentially an entire Westfield). Have heard nothing really about it apart from my colleague there. The cluster is up to nine today.

Then a flight attendant who came out of quarantine tested positive after multiple negatives – she was in QLD by then.

We’re shipping AstraZeneca doses to Fiji which will hopefully assist that small country. Although culturally it’s really hard to get them to take the vaccine.

Melbourne cluster is now at 54 active cases with nine yesterday according to the Victorian Health Department website.

Big news this week was that the AstraZeneca vaccine has been shifted to 60 plus people only. Apparently the Pfizer supplies are running out currently – and the government didn’t take up an early offer from Pfizer to be a priority group. Opposition suggests it is because it cost more than AZ (five times more). The Drum panelists tonight commented that the cost should have been immaterial (there is no economy without herd immunity through vaccination).

Talking vaccines, the ABC published a ‘what to expect’ post vaccine. The person they interviewed was 72 and felt pretty shit after the first dose for two days. He had the AZ and that result is pretty common. Pfizer is after the second dose, although B1 did not get any after effects. In another article they spoke to someone had Pfizer and he was surprised about how bad he felt afterwards.

Meanwhile Dr Nick Coates in in advertising and I just realised there is a ‘two shot’ coffee joke at the end. DOH!

Biggest news was on Friday morning we got the word that an infected person had visited from Sydney and attended the last day of the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition Botticelli to Van Gogh. The lovely wife and I had done this wonderful exhibition several weeks ago after a lunch with one of the educators and yummy food from Marble and Grain. My friend K however happened to chance the last day at the same time as Mr infected and so is currently in seven day quarantine, including isolating from her family downstairs. She has tested negative so far.

Before I got that Saturday night party destroying news, my ex let me know that she had been exposed while visiting the other location, Via Dolce and was keeping the kids home. Did I want to have my child visit or not. Well I guess if you’re worried enough to not want them going to school I probs don’t want them to come here right now! So I elected not to have my kid for the evening as planned, pending a negative test. Saturday morning the ex reported negative (which is excellent) so we did go and collect the offspring. The ex was released to sing in a Qwire concert the next day.

This is the closest we’ve been touched by COVID so far and it was genuinely scary and also annoying with the cancellations. Good news, party rescheduled but not for some weeks!

And on another note – why not dump your party leader in the middle of a pandemic to keep the Deputy Prime Minister position nice and stable? (Anyone, National Party, Anyone?)

Diabetes Mountain 3.Trading my way down

One of the things the dietitian talked about was trade offs. Eating some things now so you could eat other things later.

Today I pondered as I wandered around (purposefully before the rain came) if I was doing it right. Was I making enough of a trade off? On the weekend I definitely ate less on Saturday so I could eat some calorie rich food for Sunday lunch. Did I offset enough?

Why is it that everything about this now is more judging and more thinking and more mistakes to be made? That sounds a bit whiny but I probably feel a bit that way at the moment – I’m still resisting this whole mountain.

Today I consciously did not get a blood test for my sugar levels. I’m avoiding getting the answer about what has improved or not over the last few months since being diagnosed. I traded off knowledge for hope.

I honestly don’t know what the answer will be. Last time I got on the scales my number went up for the first time since March. Again I’m avoiding getting on because if I get on I’ll have to record it and I don’t want to record a higher number because that will mean that I have again failed to keep this stuff going.

Trading off could also be about balance. And balance is often used in diet culture as code for not eating too much. In those terms I have not had a particularly balanced relationship with food in my life.

Today, all day I felt agitated. I was craving the flavour explosion. Maybe it was because I was a bit bored or maybe it was due to cravings driven by my sugar addiction. I’m definitely eating less sugar these days. But not none.

When I got home, there was a surprise cupcake from our local bakery. It was the flavour that I was craving and I ate all of it. Before dinner. I savoured every bite. I did think twice about eating it and then I ate it anyway without (a lot of) guilt.

What was the trade off for that? Aside from everything else I ate before that point that I didn’t enjoy?

I have a dietitian check in next week (four days away) so I’ll have to get on the scales again before that…and will I trade off to make the number less than it might have been? Now it will weigh on my mind – pun intended because I didn’t change it. Despite my changes aiming to be about health and not focus on weight loss, that is still a metric that is used by myself and others.

Will I make conscious decisions based on that information and will they punish me or nourish me? Will I show myself some compassion (a book I’m reading right now recommends this approach)?

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,

Life in the age of the virus – 94

Oh, now there’s a case in Sydney so that’s going well. Two more in Melbourne but lock down restrictions are continuing to ease.

Blood clots with AstraZeneca continue to be freaking people out. It’s hard when the likelihood is low but the press coverage is high. I mean, the clotting is terrible and there have been two deaths and about 36 people who’ve had it and been treated in Australia out of about 3.6 million doses. But what are the symptoms? No one says on the TV at the time they are talking about the blood clots.

Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) has symptoms of severe headache that doesn’t go away, abdominal pain, blurred vision, and leg pain or swelling — appear four to 30 days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, with a peak time of six to 14 days (ABC news).

Meanwhile, in the UK they have delayed reopening because of the Delta variant. It’s spreading as it does…it’s more contagious – 40-60 percent more; effectiveness of the vaccine is not effective after one jab and with two AstraZeneca will give you 60 percent coverage. Natural immunity and the severity is unclear.

And today (helped by the lovely wife) I have registered for my first vaccine dose in a bit over a month’s time. As I’m still just under 50 it has to be Pfizer. Work will even give me a couple of hours to go get it.

Life in the age of the virus – 93

So this week we had a couple who left Melbourne lock down and went through a lovely trip through NSW up to QLD, where they then went and got tested and were positive (well, one of them at least). Funny though, not as much shaming in the media as previous people who have done that. Has that anything to do with race do you think? Middle aged middle class white people are OK to break the rules.

Moving on, there have been two more cases today but lock down ended in Melbourne on Thursday night. Happy Melbournians abound! They still have a few rules but it’s back to COVID-normal for now.

In China, they are having more outbreaks and in one city of 18.7 million, they tested almost the lot of them between a Sunday and the following Tuesday. 180,000 are now in total lock down. Guangzhou – hard core.

Travel bubbles – New Zealand has one with us but it doesn’t stop them chucking some naughty Victorians into 14 day quarantine when they sneak over the border during a lock down. And rightly so! Singapore discussions ongoing.

Another COVID baby – this time Meghan and Harry’s new one Lilibet Diana. Noice.

And in real life, nothing much has changed. Only our two health workers have qualified for the jab. I might try and ring to book in but any more than five minutes on the phone and I’m out…I got work to do!

Despite all the jabbing going on in the US, they are only 6000 deaths away from 600000 deaths – likely to roll over that in the next couple of days, if they haven’t already (due to reporting delays). India is at 370,000 deaths so likely to roll over the 400,000 milestone also in the next couple of days noting reporting delays. That’s one million deaths between those two countries alone. Crazy. And guess what, it’s not even on the news anymore. Just not even rating a mention now.

The global count is 3.8 million dead with 387,000 new cases in one day. 2.1 billion vaccines dispensed.

Diabetes Mountain – 2. Fueling the trip

There is such a conflict in my mind about the food that goes into my body.

I’ve been recording my food for a month – although I lost the first two weeks because I didn’t realise it was limited. After I reviewed it, I couldn’t really see any pattern that would indicate there was a solid way of doing things by say, eating a savoury breakfast over a sweet one, or lunch. My Friday where I had a ‘chocolate cupcake and it was fucking delicious’ bad mental day, was not really any worse than some of the other days I’d had. The lovely wife reviewed as well and said the only thing it showed was that I’d had a good amount of good eating days (not a direct quote).

I’ve definitely added some more vegetables to my diet – could be some peas in a casserole or a raw carrot next to a pie, sandwich or leftovers. Eating walnuts as snacks. Half banana and walnuts is actually really enjoyable.

The flip side is that after a month I am also still eating plenty of snacks my dietitian would not approve of. I knew there were chocolates in the house and spent three nights polishing them off. Despite making a little affirmation for myself to say ‘If it’s a weekday just say no (to treat food snacks)’ I couldn’t walk past the donut pop up shop (they catered our wedding).

I spoke to my therapist about feeling hopeless and frustrated about it. I have a perfectionist tendency and a ‘do your best’ mentality from childhood. This means I look at my diabetes diagnosis and feel and think I could have avoided it. This is about wanting to control it, so I rewrite history to say I could have done something better. However when I rattled off a long list of the things going on for the last seven years, especially the last few, my therapist said, ‘so basically if you had the privilege of a personal chef, personal trainer, no stressful events, the privilege of all that, you might not have had diabetes’. And I was like, well if you put it that way… She recommended some self compassion and to tweak my ‘do the best I can’ from if it’s not perfect it’s fucked and give up for the day to ‘what does doing the best I can look like right now (in terms of sleep, food, movement)?’ Bring in some self-compassion.

Fueling the trip down Diabetes Mountain seems so complex and endless. I want to stop thinking about it however I can’t mindlessly eat anymore.

Contra to all that are some fat phobia challenges about fatness and health. The challenge around seeing health as something beyond food and exercise. That a workout still counts if it isn’t extensive or effortful. That not being able to lose weight, that your body doesn’t do what you want it to do (for whatever reason) is a cause for grief, frustration, disappointment.

Thus the conflict – how do I accept my body as it is, not judge my eating AND be healthy (more healthy) at the same time?

On the positive side – I’m doing far more movement than I was six weeks ago. I’m thinking more about how to bump out the vegetables (even with leftover Asian tonight, I made some veges from the fridge in oyster sauce) and I’ve barely drank any alcohol since I was diagnosed (although not a big drinker anyway).

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,

Life in the age of the virus – 92

Melbourne is still in lockdown and won’t find out until Thursday if it lifts. Four new cases today, two in aged care.

The federal government is looking for purpose built quarantine places, although it has a few rules around location (near an international airport, an hour away from a major hospital). QLD government is keen to line up for it. The federal government have also sent 100,000 vaccines to Victoria to help with the vaccination efforts. There is no mandatory aged care worker vaccination requirement – National Cabinet could not agree on it. There is 85 cases currently.

Meanwhile I tried to book a COVID-19 jab on my local doctor’s app online but because I’m not in 1B I don’t qualify. This whole not quite 50 is not really working for me in terms of getting vaccinated!

A few State governments have voucher schemes going and we took advantage of the NSW Dine and Discover vouchers a few weeks ago when we travelled to the coast for a couple of days. $100 worth of vouchers for food and activities (movies for example) are available. We’ve used all our dine vouchers but not the discover ones (yet…). You’ve got until the end of June to use them all. Coincidentally the lovely wife and I saw Cruella in the theatre last night, enjoyed dinner out and our only nod to COVID was the check in with CheckIn Canberra app. This is COVID-normal now.

The French Open tennis is playing and aside from Naomi Osaka resigning due to mental health issues (…that should not have happened, could have been treated much differently for her), The Fed just played a night match with no spectators due to local COVID curfew. He’s considering leaving as well, possibly a bit of a tantrum but he might not play there again.

Just watched a golfer who won a tournament just get disqualified and sent to quarantine because he had COVID. He cried.

The Tokyo Olympics are still going ahead, despite a fourth wave there. Japanese public still not keen for it. Athletes will all be in a bubble and the Australian women’s softball team is the first team to arrive in Japan for the event.

Globally, as of 3:27pm CEST, 5 June 2021, there have been 172,242,495 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,709,397 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 1 June 2021, a total of 1,638,006,899 vaccine doses have been administered.

Life in the age of the virus – 91

‘Whoa Nelly!’

That’s what my grandfather would say about the latest lock down in Melbourne, which has been extended for seven more days.

There are now 60 cases, one in hospital and 5000 contacts.

Oh, and erm one of them went camping in NSW a couple of weekends ago and was potentially infectious so that just got a bit real. They visited places that we usually stop in like Trappers Bakery in Goulburn (great lamingtons) and camped at Jervis Bay and Huskisson. Anyway, ACT residents are already going into quarantine because they’ve been in those relevant venues.

I’ll never get a bloody vaccine now, the queues will be endless!

It’s the Indian variant COVID Delta – now renamed with Greek alphabet. They all have new names but whether anyone will actually use them is another matter.

This was debated on the ABC tonight as either more infectious or just as infectious (because now we’re tracing better it could be misleading to think it is spreading faster).

Anyway, everyone knows that any good COVID variant is no COVID.

Lots of people stressed and unhappy in Melbourne and fair enough. There has been little to support them, although businesses got $2500. Not sure exactly how that will compensate them for thousands in stock losses, not to mention trading but anyway…

As usual the debate rages around lock down or not lock down.

On the good news front (slightly) the UK has had no deaths today for the first time since March 2020! Unfortunately this COVID Delta variant is spiking up cases. Lucky they have had a lot of vaccinations. Oh wait, this variant is not particularly affected by the vaccine.

Life in the age of the virus – 90

Episode 90 comes the day where I asked around the local doctors to see where I could and if I could get the jab. The answer was no in one place and then yes, then no at the second. Turns out my ‘I’m not quite 50 but will be 50 in October’ situation is a real annoying problem. Even if I want the AstraZeneca they won’t do it until I’m 50. My next option is Canberra vaccination centre, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, more cases in Melbourne with aged care worker and a 99 year old resident testing positive. This opens up lots more exposure sites and close contacts. And obviously a locked down aged care residence. Victorian Government is not saying if the current seven day lock down will be extended yet or not. Some fighting with political point scoring but who gives a shit, the roll out is stuffed and now poor Melbs could be in trouble again.

In other news, rich and international people are entering Australia quite easily, with private jets landing in Bunbury WA. 22 of them just this month and from the US. So yay if you’re rich and can fly in away for your own country’s COVID issues.

Back to us again, and we did our first COVID concert – the place was packed for Tina Arena in the Llewellyn Hall. The PM was also there for those playing along – he’s a big fan too. Lots of singing and clapping. No masks and definitely no social distancing! Fingers crossed that the current cluster in Melbourne doesn’t travel as we have other things to go to – like our twice rescheduled Ursila Carlson show in June and Hannah Gadsby in July.

And I know that sounds pretty entitled!

Noting we’ve now passed the 3.5 million deaths mark worldwide. Globally, as of 3:36pm CEST, 30 May 2021, there have been 169,597,415 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,530,582 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 26 May 2021, a total of1,546,316,352 vaccine doses have been administered.

P.S. Someone in our chicken house laid an egg, and it wasn’t Blake Lively!

Life in the age of the virus – 89

Melbourne in seven day lockdown as cases almost double overnight from 15 to 26.

The football, shops and restaurants are places to be catching COVID at.

Meanwhile reports of people leaving before lockdown are out. I suppose the football players did so why not regular peeps?

Insert forehead smack emoji

Lots of lines for testing but people being turned away after wait for hours. Annoyed and frustrated people – understandably.

Life in the age of the virus – 88

Again with the avoidance of typing but here we go with a big update!

Taiwan – previously exemplar in managing COVID from the start has had an uptake in cases that has come from self proclaimed complacency and low vaccination rates. This is definitely something that could happen in Australia. The Taiwanese cases are linked to a location that has places where there is ‘adult’ entertainment and they apparently are reluctant to report that, so contact tracing is really tricky.

Again in Melbourne we have a cluster of 9 people with much potential for more and restrictions returning in terms of wearing masks inside and gathering restrictions. No lock down yet…

In India, the deaths have been continuing and bodies uncovered beside the Ganges River that have been buried due to COVID deaths and crematoriums not being able to cope with the constant influx. They have now passed 300,000 deaths (US and Brazil the only others to do that).

The next repatriation flight has arrived in Darwin again, no vacant seats due to positive tests. Apparently no one this time had COVID before they got on the plane.

Meanwhile in Darwin, the tourist industry is apparently stressed and people are quitting because there are not enough staff to service the increased tourist numbers. Australian’s are holidaying here at record numbers but the people serving them has diminished. I do wonder as there is also a lot (mostly American) comment on underpayment of retail and restaurant workers. Certainly comment on FB has uncovered no or poor pay for farm workers in regional Australia. So is it that we rely on foreign workers too much and underpay?

SIDE Note – Codral now has a tag line of ‘Soldier on sooner’ because of course the soldier on mentality gives the regular flu season a rev up with sick people attending work and we can’t have that with coronavirus times!

Vaccination news – Moderna will come to Australia soon. AstraZeneca still has blood clotting victims appearing – the latest a young nurse in Queensland. Fingers crossed she recovers fully.

Our rollout is still slow however we do have 3.6 million people administered at least first doses. 513,000 approximately a week will get us to full vaccination of our adult population in October 2022 (according to the ABC). Wait WHAT? 2022?

I have to say for myself, I am now a bit confused about getting the vaccine now. Do I qualify? Can I book in? I’m just under 50 but I’m not in the current group going through. Yet there are heaps of reports of people under 50 getting the jab on the news. Tonight 16 year olds in a regional town were getting them (presumably Pfizer). I noticed on my Dr’s app I would be able to book in for a COVID vax in three weeks. My parents had them here in town and there is a clinic here so maybe I can do it there? In the meantime, I’ve had the flu vax today.

Can’t remember if I’ve mentioned before but Mount Everest’s guides and travellers are in trouble, with more than 100 cases. I vaguely remember thinking when I read this that it’s BS for people to be climbing the bloody mountain in the first place in the middle of a pandemic. However I suppose the guides may not have any income otherwise and again it’s about the privilege of not having to work through and put yourself and your family in danger of COVID to keep them from starving that rises again.

The US, who I’ve reported many times in bad news has finally had some good news. The lowest levels in nearly a year of coronavirus cases – under 3%.

Globally, as of 10:44am CEST, 25 May 2021, there have been 167,252,150 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,467,663 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 23 May 2021, a total of1,489,727,128 vaccine doses have been administered.