61 thoughts on “March 24, 2020: Essential”

  1. My sister is an internist at a clinic in Stillwater. She learned yesterday she'll be seeing exclusively respiratory patients for the next two weeks. The clinic has no N95 masks. The plan after that is that different doctors will rotate into doing respiratory-only care after these two weeks (though of course everything could change). She has the least seniority of any doctor at the clinic and assumes this is why she got the first assignment.

    My parents spoke with her yesterday and said she sounded all right. Meanwhile, my mom didn't get much sleep last night.

      1. Yeah, I had the same thought. She sent an update that there are other doctors on this assignment and that they're currently overstaffed for respiratory appointments, so she's at her desk taking to patients by phone.

  2. It is fair to say that I am a mild hypochondriac. This whole situation has been absolutely awful for dealing with that. Three weeks ago, my daughter had the flu. I caught it from her (but dealt with it much better, it was pretty mild for me). Since that time, I've had a little bit of a cough/cold that has ebbed and flowed, never getting too bad, never completely going away. But now I'm taking my temperature a few times a day, considering whether my throat is sore (maybe it was this morning? Or is it a super mild post-nasal drip? Would I have even noticed that any other day?, etc.). It's driving me fairly batty.

    1. I'm not a hypochondriac but I recently had a sporadic very mild sore throat last week and a mildly runny nose (but no fever), and it was definitely unnerving. Knowing that some cases are very mild, I wish there were a way to know if a person has had COVID-19 and recovered.

      1. I have seasonal allergies. They rage pretty darn good in Spring and Fall, but basically I battle them all year long. It is not a good time right now to have allergies. I typically avoid allergy meds unless my symptoms are just over the top. However, I have been popping a pill pretty much daily to avoid freaking people out with coughing and sneezing. The downside is I have never found an allergy med that does not make me jittery.

      2. I started a pretty strong cough about 10 days ago, and I did get tested last week. I should have my result in a day or two.

        Normally, I - a decently in-shape 33year old - wouldn't have taken a test from someone else who would sorely need it, but given that my wife is pregnant we weren't wanting to take any chances.

        1. This is where receiving a flu shot is useful. If you have flu-like symptoms but received the shot, it's much less likely to be actual flu.

          1. Both Dr. Chop and I had the flu shot this year. Both of us got really, seriously ill before mardi gras. We had fevers above 102, body aches that were incredibly painful, respiratory issues including the feeling that our chests were filled with stones, and a non-productive cough. At the time it was certainly thought we had the seasonal flu............... not so sure now. So, I'm interested in getting an antibody test any day now so that if I had the virus I could actually put myself to work volunteering to get food to otherwise already home bound people.

            1. I'm no philosophy major, but I think one would employ Occam's razor here...though that would've been pretty early along.
              Any likely exposures back then? Any of your contacts also experience the same?

              1. several in our friend group got the same kind of illness with varying severity. Remember, the lead up to mardi gras is parades for 2 weeks straight with the city at capacity with tourists from all over the world. The media isn't really reporting what is happening here because the number of cases isn't eye popping, and the population center is very small compared to NYC or LA. We've got about 1400 cases, mostly in Orleans Parish, with 46 deaths as of this morning. Orleans parish is only testing 750 people a day (as of yesterday), which was restricted to first responders until today (I think).

                There are cases in Arkansas that were traced back to Mardi Gras. I should also note that I work in a museum and come into contact with a bazillionty people every day.

                So, as it turns out wide scale testing was really important. I'm super glad that the federal government was johnny on the spot with the personal protective gear, test kits, and a warm cup of hot coco to boost moral.

            2. J & I caught something in mid-January that makes me want to get antibody tests, too. We didn't have a thermometer, but we were both running hot. We both had non-productive coughs and super sensitive lungs for several weeks after things went away. We both completely crashed in bed for a couple of days in and out of fever dreams, and driving back from Winnipeg was the worst drive I've ever made because of the weakness.

              1. Sorry if I'm out of the loop, but where are you living these days? Still Fargo and Winnepeg? I know where had been plans to consolidate.

                1. Fargo & Winnipeg, yeah. Consolidation plans were finally close...and then I lost my job twice last year. Ugh. Just got off the phone with border services and it sounds like despite being family I'm not allowed to come visit so that's cool.

                  1. Oh man, that sucks. Sorry your plans haven't proceeded. Good luck getting to see J soon as you can. Best wishes.

      3. I've had the same sporadic sore throat issues since returning from a trip to Florida, no other symptoms thankfully but still a little unnerving.

        1. I, too, was in Florida less than a month ago but haven't had any symptoms at all, which is nice. Still holed up at home, though, in case I'm just asymptomatic.

      4. I have allergies as well, and even with daily Claritin practically always have a runny nose. Though a runny nose is NOT a symptom of COVID-19, I also started having some asthma-like breathing difficulty a few days ago. If it weren't for everything going on, I would have just assumed it was all just allergies, and gone one with my life as normal. Instead, I called right away, did a phone doctor visit, and they said as long as I don't have other symptoms (fever, chills, aches, etc.) it almost certainly isn't COVID-19. They renewed my inhaler prescription, and said as long as that's enough to handle it, go with just that.

        I get these asthma issues with allergies every couple of years, but it seems much worse this time. I keep wondering if it is actually worse, or if I am just paying attention to it more than I typically would.

    2. I suspect this is making many of us slight hypochondriacs. Every time I get a bit of a dry throat, or a cough, it makes me think a little bit.

    3. Some years, I have real problems with colds. I can get a cough that lasts for months. Months. This is one of those years. I have been coughing fairly regularly (with about a 2 week hiatus) since late December. One Saturday morning about a month or so ago, I woke up and felt short of breath for about 4 hours. Then it went away. Weird. My wife thinks I've had it. I do not believe that to be the case. This feels like something I've felt about 60% of the years that I've been on this planet.

    4. My brother who is normally pretty tough (he's torn an Achilles and broken a foot and mostly gutted both out with minimal complaints) was pretty much completely waylaid last week. With the wonders of telemedicine, he was diagnosed on Saturday with covid*, but he's already feeling much better. He's not in Minnesota's official count because he didn't want to go take the test from someone needing inpatient care, but obviously that's hitting pretty close to home.

      Seeing him barely able to sit upright wasn't very reassuring about what could happen if, say, our grandfather got exposed...

      *low-grade fever and really tight chest pains with corresponding lack of breath were his big symptoms

      1. Really tight chest pains with corresponding lack of breath are also a pretty accurate description of angina pectoris.

  3. Thanks for all the support on yesterdays cup of jo' Always good to get stuff off my chest and to read your responses. Very therapeutic.

    This morning I woke up before the alarm and as I watched the ceiling fan spin, I thought today would be a great day to start taking a brisk walk each morning and eventually start a jogging routine. Then I got out of bed and could barely walk. Last week I am pretty sure I tore the meniscus in my left knee (same thing happened on the right knee years ago). It hurt for a day or two and then felt great over the weekend. Unfortunately, today it sucks again. I had called my buddy who does my surgeries (yeah surgeries with an "s"). I am going to have to grunt through it for, I don't know, 6 months?

    On a completely different note, we watched a movie last night that I had never heard of Super. It's about 10 years old and stars Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office). It was kind of like a more adult, darker version of Kick Ass. There are some really jolting, disturbing portions of the movie that just make you cringe. However, it is a pretty good look at what would really happen if a normal dude decided to try the super hero thing in the real world. It is a James Gunn flick (pre GOTG). Overall I thought it was a good movie... I think.

    1. Yeah, I really liked Super and definitely agree on a couple really jarring parts. For more James Gunn goodness, definitely watch Slither if you haven't seen it.

  4. Today is my mother's 75th birthday. She is doing well, and is optimistic about COVID, but taking it seriously! She and my dad are hunkered down alone. My brother lives in SBGville, too, so he can drop off supplies. So, they are in a good place, relatively speaking.

    I took the opportunity to tell my mother this morning the ways in which I was proud of her. Mind you, she drives me nuts sometimes! But, I think about her as a young mother, without a lot of money (or almost no money) making do. Sewing our clothes. Taking care of us all the time. Working hard. I thanked her for all the things she did and for what she taught me when I was a kid. It was a good talk.

  5. It would seem that Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s trial balloon deflated faster than the stock market. Who would have thought that Americans aren’t as eager to die to protect shareholder value.

    1. aren’t as eager to die to protect shareholder value the children!

      FTFY. Think of the children and their fragile futures! (Environmental concerns excepted...)

        1. ... is effective...

          I mean, in eliciting a response, yes. But certainly not the response one would hope would be prompted. I am fearful of the society where the response to a general strike is "kill the grandparents!".

          1. I'm not sure how to phrase this in a neutral way except that I was not surprised by the response.

  6. Our house is on the flight path from Camp Ripley to the Air National Guard base by MSP. I've seen an increase in traffic today, four helicopters in formation and two cargo planes about an hour apart. I don't usually see more than one or two flights a week until summer when the camp is hosting a lot of national guard units for training.

  7. Walz did order a transfer of supplies from the camp to a staging warehouse in St. Paul, might be part of that I suppose.

  8. The daughter's boyfriend's roommate has the coronavirus. I don't think she's seen him in over a week so she's probably ok.

  9. Mrs. Twayn is sitting with me at the kitchen table, doing a crossword puzzle and streaming the Minnesota Orchestra performance of the Leningrad Symphony. I did not know it was written while the Nazis were bearing down on and surrounding the city, and the Red Army flew Shostakovich over enemy lines to safety in Moscow. Self isolation does have its moments.

      1. Very cool. I put in a hold at the library.

        ...now only if the library were open 🙁 Thank goodness for e-books (and the ever present "To Read" pile at home)

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