Friday, February 26, 2021

Covid-19 Update

Covid-19 vaccine

Today is a Covid big news day here. First of all, I got my second vaccination this morning through Atrium Health. Their drive through system is the best. You never have to leave your car, and they have it down to a fine science. While there were a few more cars in line than when I went for my first shot, it moved quickly. Again, the most time-consuming part is waiting the 15 minutes after the shot to make sure you don't have an adverse reaction. To say that I am relieved to receive both doses is an understatement! I realize I still have to take the usual precautions - wear a mask in public, socially distance, and wash my hands frequently - but I feel like I have given myself every chance to avoid getting Covid. Now I am eager for Jim to be protected. He turns 65 on Tuesday, and I am hopeful that we will be able to get him scheduled for his first shot quickly. 

The second big thing to happen is that Governor Cooper is removing the Modified Stay at Home order, which required people to stay at home and businesses to be closed between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., effective as of 5:00 p.m. today. The number of people who can gather indoors increased from 10 to 25, while outdoor gatherings remain at 50 in attendance. Other attendance restrictions eased a bit as well, but these are the ones which affect most people. North Carolina's numbers for positive Covid tests and cases as well as hospitalizations due to Covid are trending downwards, so that is why he is easing restrictions.

Here are the current Covid statistics: North Carolina has had 858,000 cases and 11,162 deaths. In the United States there have been 28.4 million cases and 508,000 deaths. Worldwide there have been 113 million cases and 2.5 million deaths.

It's great that the numbers are trending downwards, but we really need everyone to remain vigilant. Hopefully people won't go crazy just because they are vaccinated. It can't be stressed enough that we need to follow the same safety protocols as before we got the shots in order to have a chance at containing and hopefully defeating this beast.

Friday, February 19, 2021

For the Birds

Last spring I got my first bird feeder (with the exception of feeding the hummingbirds over the years). I purchased one specifically designed for finches as we have many goldfinches in the backyard. It has functioned very well, attracting other small birds too. Bird watching has become a favorite thing to do during Covid-19 and the safer at home mandates.

My next door neighbor has multiple feeders in her yard, and while I enjoy watching them, they are too far away for me to be able to capture good bird photos. So this week I ordered a new feeder that was advertised as being able to attract a large variety of birds. I put it on an existing hook that I had used for my second hummingbird feeder last year. But that hummingbird feeder attracted too many ants, despite my best efforts to dissuade them, so I threw it away the middle of last summer. The hook has remained empty since.

Though the information that came with my new feeder warned that it could take awhile for the birds to find and trust a new feeder, that did not prove to be the case. The afternoon that I hung it, birds were already munching away. I am thrilled with all the different birds it has brought to the yard. Now I can stand in my warm kitchen and photograph the birds through the windows. I'm particularly excited to see the cardinals up close as I always think of my father-in-law when I see them. He loved them!

I need to purchase a new hook, however, as a wily squirrel has already figured out how to hang on the side of the tree and reach out to grab the feeder. While it is billed as a squirrel-proof feeder, they do recommend you have 18" of clearance from all trees. I don't want him chewing on my new feeder, so I'll order up a longer bracket. I may be tempted to get a third feeder as well. My yard is definitely for the birds!

birds out back

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Happy Covidtine's Day

Halloween pumpkin hanging in there,
appropriately masked for Valentine's Day

Celebrating Valentine's Day during a pandemic necessitates creative thinking. Going into a restaurant was not an option in our minds. We decided to make a nice dinner at the house, including brookies (a combination of brownies and chocolate chip cookies) for dessert. But first I had to decide what to do about a card for my husband and daughter, who has been working remotely at our house since mid-November.

Putting my new watercolor supplies to work, I made both of them a card. There are so many cute ideas online that it was easy to find inspiration and adapt the cards to my particular use.

watercolor Valentines for my loves

Jim surprised us with flowers, donuts and chocolate covered strawberries, which were a nice start to a rainy Valentine's Day. We added to that a nice omelet, and then played some games during the afternoon. Dinner consisted of Italian Beef served on rolls, oven roasted potatoes, salad and brookies. We ended the day by watching a couple episodes of Anne with an E, which we are trying to get through before Katie heads back to LA.

Overall it was a very nice, if unusual, Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Covid-19 Vaccine Update

sunrise on Mountain Island Lake

It has been three days since I received my first Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination. My injection site arm was a little sore Friday and Saturday, but by Sunday that had totally gone away. I experienced no other reactions from the shot. The most serious, of course, would be an anaphylactic reaction, which is why they have you wait 15 minutes following the injection as that is the time period during which such a reaction most likely will occur. 

Some people experience swelling at the site of the shot, which honestly normally happens to me. Other common side effects are fever, chills, tiredness and headaches. While I am feeling very fortunate that I didn't experience any of those things, I do know that it is more common for them to occur following the second shot. But I'll count my blessings that the first one went so smoothly.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Not Throwing Away My Shot

Atrium Health Covid-19 vaccination tent

This morning I was able to receive my first Covid-19 vaccination at the Atrium Healthcare facility in Concord, NC, which is about 45 minutes away from my home. Once we figured out where on the huge campus the shots were taking place, the process could not have been easier. We drove up and were immediately greeted by an attendant who verified how many in the car were being vaccinated. (I had Jim come with me in case I had an adverse reaction, but as he is not 65 yet he is ineligible to receive the shot in North Carolina at this point.) After I told the man it was just me, he asked if I had received a bar code from Atrium, which unfortunately I had not. He handed me paperwork that I had to fill out, as well a a vaccine report card on which they record your first and second shots.

first Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination

He then sent me up to the next attendant, and she made sure that I did indeed have an appointment, verified my date of birth and address, and waited while I completed the form. Next I drove straight ahead to a large tent, where a nurse asked me a couple of other questions, checked my paperwork, and then gave me the shot. It was the least painful injection I have ever received - way better than tetanus and shingle shots. From there I pulled behind a few cars where I was asked to wait 15 minutes before leaving. This is to make sure you don't have a severe reaction to the vaccine, which is rare but has occurred. From start to finish, we were there less than 25 minutes, and I never had to leave my car. Easy, peasy! 

It has been three hours since the injection, and while my arm is slightly sore everything else is fine so far. I know I may get some reaction, and I suspect I will as I have from other shots. And I have heard that reactions increase with the second shot. But that is good as your body is doing what it is supposed to do at that point.

I recognize that I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to schedule my vaccinations. I hope that when Jim turns 65 next month, we are able to get appointments for him as well. And I pray that the vast majority of Americans will agree to be vaccinated, as that is the only way we can kill off this deadly virus.