Siri, What’s a Liberal Maskhole??

I’ve encountered a new phenomenon this week: people on the leftier side of the spectrum who may be fully vaccinated but won’t give up wearing masks or demanding that other people wear them, even when the CDC says it’s safe. They not only want to wear masks themselves, but want to be able to tell people around them to wear them, so they (who don’t want to give up their masks) will feel more comfortable.

I don’t get this. The place where I work (that still doesn’t pay me directly) is easing into bringing people back to the office in a “pilot program” they’re clearly still trying to figure out as they go.

I’m fully vaccinated and quite tired of spending ALL of my time in this office of farting dogs, so I was happy to join the group that will be in the office 2 days a week, socially distanced on staggered schedules, while still working from home the rest of the week. Of course I still wear a mask in places that require them, but I am comfortable with the CDC guidelines that say fully vaccinated people are safe. Wasn’t that the whole point of getting vaccinated? Did I miss something ?

So, apparently people in my work group volunteered to be part of this return to the office program, but suddenly had a million questions about how the company will enforce mask wearing for those who don’t “feel comfortable,” with the idea of being around other people.

A very long and very stupid discussion ensued, and I could feel the group’s managers biting their tongues and getting frustrated. The core of the argument was “I don’t feel comfortable.” They want to be able to tell their coworkers that they have to wear masks around them, no matter what.

And lest you think this was coming from the usual suspects, nope. All of the vocal “I don’t feel comfortable,” issues were raised by the men. Educated men, who can read and comprehend information. The managers are not allowed to say, “So if you’re not vaccinated, go get vaccinated and quit whining!” because this is such a politicized and “sensitive” topic, they’re forbidden to ask anyone’s vaccination status. Me, I cheerfully volunteer mine. I might buy one of these to wear at the office.

I wrote this yesterday, and today I saw this article in the New York Times.

UPDATE: This could get interesting, because the company released its new mask policy and it follows CDC guidelines: the fully vaccinated are safe to go maskless. So, let’s see: We are not allowed to ask vaccination status, thanks to a misunderstanding of the law, but we have co-workers who want to be able to tell everybody they must still be masked? I’m so glad I’m not in management.

I swear to GOD, if we’d acted like this with smallpox or polio, humanity would have died out by now.

Which leads me to a woman on Facebook. I’m not going to name her but she has a significant following, especially among crafty women of a certain age. She announced with great drama (she’s greatly dramatic at times) that though she is fully vaccinated, she’s not leaving her house yet, because “even the fully vaccinated are getting COVID and dying!”

I saw the Likes piling up, so I asked her for her source for that information. She told me to Google it, so I did. I didn’t find any dramatic stories of fully vaccinated people dying in droves, so I asked for her source again.

She linked to an article that said…the opposite of her dire drama. It accurately stated that the few breakthrough infections were to be expected as with any vaccination, the vaccines are working. I am more worried about being struck by lightning, for real.

On a far happier note, now that the first rush of vaccines by appointment only has slowed, I was in Publix yesterday and saw a small but steady stream of people lining up for their shots. The media makes it sound like we have this huge population of anti-vaxxers, but I really don’t believe that’s true. We have a huge population of apathetic people, who finally noticed it’s really easy to get vaccinated now and you can do it while grocery shopping.

President Biden made this happen. He mobilized the resources, beat on the drug companies, forced the hands of Governors who were playing Evil Vaccine Concierge, like mine, by ordering the vaccination of the teachers and first responders, which was the wedge to lower the vaccination age, and the dominoes fell, and now we are maybe near to normal.

So. Many. Rants.

I’ve been storing them up for a while. I’m intentionally taking a break from political rants because it can all be summarized thusly:

The Republican Party is now officially fascist and anti-American, and has become a fringe minority with way too much power and media attention. Fuck them, we need to turn out in 2022 to crush them out of existence.

It looks like our awesome local Congresswoman Val Demings is going to run for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat. This is fantastic. She is fantastic. That is all for now, more later.

The last few weeks have been exhausting, and now we are into 100 degree F heat and storm season, so, FUN!!

I will move on this weekend to rant about ageism, the liberal version of “Covidioits” and how seriously, we need Schoolhouse Rock for grownups, and we need to teach about the Constitution starting in around 3rd grade. And science. Goddamn, I only took the minimum of science classes required for my degree, but I am working with engineers who know less than I do about shit like vaccines. It’s exhausting.

So, it’s a 3 day weekend, it’s going to be extremely hot and possibly stormy, and I am going to indulge a wild urge to crochet a cardigan. I actually already own the yarn in a toffee shade, I bought it for a knitted cardigan that looks awesome but also would be like holding an afghan on my lap in summer. In Florida. So, I haven’t made a crocheted garment in years, just afghans, but the construction of this one is clever, and I am intrigued. We shall see how it goes.

Oh, and Sophie bounced up this morning feeling fine and demanding treats, the opposite of the dog at death’s door I’ve lived with for the last month+. I have no idea what will happen next.

Sophie’s Still With Us

Sorry for the long blog silence. No great drama, just work, including a trip up into a part of Florida I rarely visit for work. Anyway…

Sophie. Today was quite a day. Sophie had massive diarrhea six times before noon, 3x outside and 3x in, and I really do need to repaint my bathroom. So I’m going out on a limb to say that the last medication recommended by the latest vet was not effective. Just me, I’m not a medical professional or anything.

I took Sophie back to the vet this afternoon and basically told them what I wanted: Metronidazole and Prednisone. It’s what works. The vet launched into an explanation about how BAD that is long term, and I pointed out that at this rate, “long term” isn’t an issue, because she is SHITTING HER BRAINS OUT. (I was more polite than that, actually, but tried to convey the intensity of the situation, which is horrific.)

It’s the weekend, and if this keeps up, Monday they’ll be telling me they need to admit her for IV fluids, FFS!

This is not my first time with this issue. Let’s stop the BRAINS SHITTING OUT issue FIRST, then tinker around with less strong treatments, because at the rate she’s declining, LONG TERM MAY NOT BE A CONCERN. Get her stable, then we’ll talk long term, OKAY??

I left with the metro, already had the pred filled. She’s had her first dose. We’ll know if she’s going to respond by Monday at the latest. Dr. Mom rides again.

She ate all of her dinner, took her meds with peanut butter, and is snoring now. Fingers crossed, because honestly, I’m not going to make her a science experiment. My mission is to make her feel good and enjoy life, not just keep her alive at any cost.

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Why yes, I have! I don’t generally write about what I’m reading. Seriously, half of it is so un-memorable, I forget the plot in 48 hours. Two books actually hit me this week:

The Book of Longings, by Sue Monk Kidd. This was just…wow. It’s a deeply researched, but of course fictional, imagining of Jesus’ life before his ministry began, one in which he marries a strong, intelligent, literate young woman named Ana. The story is Ana’s, and Jesus is away for much of it, but it is somehow warm and real and tragic and believable. It’s just…amazing.

The other is one I’m currently soaking up at high speed via Audible. Audiobooks are the only thing that get me to clean my damn house. I deep cleaned my nasty old bathroom today, while listening to Project Hail Mary. I’m a little more than halfway through, and I’ve had to force myself to put it aside to do other things, because this is going to be a movie, count on it, and I can’t wait to see how they deal with the character of Rocky.

I’m not a huge consumer of science fiction, though I do like it, I’m just a casual, dabbler level of reader. Andy Weir wrote The Martian, which was turned into a fantastic movie but was an even more amazing book. I put off reading it for a long time, because the topic just seemed so bleak: Mars exploration cut short by storm, astronaut left behind, has to survive on his own on incredibly not human friendly planet. Yeah, I was not up for that. That sounded SO depressing. I finally tried the audiobook, and holy crap! It was exciting and fast paced and often really LOL funny! I am now a total Andy Weir fan. The movie is also great, but the book is, as always, better than the movie.

There’s a ton of science in Project Hail Mary, but it’s handled in such a chatty, informal way, it’s accessible to the non-science, liberal arts majors. It is a warm and very human story, and one of the smartest, sweetest characters is a sort of spidery-turtle-ish alien that breathes ammonia. Just trust me on this one.

Sophie Update.

I took her to the vet this afternoon and saw a different doctor. (Why are vets all now younger than my kids?)

Fresh eyes did have a new idea, she suggested trying a different antibiotic. She has an elderly Yorkie with similar IBS issues and it works for him. I was happy to be talking to a vet who understands this frustration: her dog’s issues don’t have a clear diagnosis either. She totally got it when I said I’d spent thousands on diagnostic testing and just couldn’t drop another couple grand only to be told Sophie has “colitis.” Trust me, I KNOW THAT. It’s extremely frustrating that a diagnosis is so hard, and even with more expensive testing, we still might not get an answer, or a treatment that works. So, we will tinker around with meds, and try to wean her off the high dose of steroids.

We also did a B-12 shot and subcutaneous fluids, which the tech reported were sucked right in, which means she IS dehydrated after days of basically pooping her brains out. She goes back in two weeks. I may have to start a Go Fund Me for her, because exam, relatively inexpensive meds, fluids and B-12 injection came out to around $260. That’s not counting the prescription foods, giant potty pads, etc. it takes to manage living with her. So let’s hope this new med works.

She’s still a sweet, good girl, and she’s adjusting to being blind, or at least getting used to walking into things outdoors. I watched her on the leash this morning and it came to me: Sophie is now a Roomba! She walks in a direction, bounces off something, pauses to evaluate, changes direction. I have to be alert to keep her from walking face first into a downed tree branch or stumbling over a storm drain, but otherwise, she just bops around at the end of her leash like a Roomba, and when she’s feeling good, she doesn’t mind. She’ll adjust to being blind if her guts aren’t giving her misery. The combination is just utterly miserable. Fingers crossed for the new med.

OMG This Masks Thing.

So, the head of the CDC, who knows what she’s talking about, said basically, “Fully vaccinated people are free to go about their normal lives without masks. The data shows a really high level of protection from the vaccines, even from the variants, and shows that vaccinated people don’t get transmittable asymptomatic cases of COVID, so they’re not going to spread it either.”

People who are not vaccinated are still at risk, and should either keep wearing masks and social distancing, or get their dumb plague rat asses vaccinated. (Okay, I didn’t put that in quotes, but that’s what she said in polite CDC-speak.)

Social Media: “OMG!! Un-vaccinated people are going to be able to pretend they are vaccinated? HOW WILL WE KNOW??”

Me: Yes, yes, some of those people will do exactly that. And you know what? If you’re vaccinated, they can’t hurt you, only themselves, so whatever. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. With enough of the population getting vaccinated, even if we never hit the herd immunity number on paper, we will get to the point where the plague rats will be giving it to each other. That may be as good as we’ll get, because we are a stupid, stupid country.

I do wish they’d held off on this until there was a vaccine for elementary school kids as well, because it’s still recommended that younger kids keep wearing masks. I don’t think they thought that part through enough.

As for me, I will continue to wear a mask when asked, because it’s a mask, not an instrument of torture. I’ve worn them all day at Disney in the heat, I know it’s uncomfortable, but that’s all it is.

I took Sophie to the vet this afternoon and everybody wore masks. I stopped in Publix later and everybody was still wearing masks. We did not, despite those assholes on social media, all fling off our masks and scream, “FREEDOM!” because we live in society, and we will just do what makes sense until we are all, collectively, comfortable.

So of course…

after facing the issue of Sophie’s condition, she woke up much better. I’m still going to make a vet appointment, but not THE appointment. I do want to ask what else we can do for her, to make her more stable. She has some extreme good and bad days, and I still don’t know why.

Oh, Sophie.

I need to call the vet about Sophie tomorrow. I realized this evening that the only thing that is keeping her behavior even semi-normal is the whopping daily dose of steroids. The steroids aren’t working on the diarrhea anymore. Tonight she ate dinner and sprayed my master bath dressing area with pure liquid diarrhea. The area is about 5×5, and she covered more than half of it – she tried to put it on the pads, but it comes out with such force, it’s like a fire hose.

I’ve been resisting this moment for months, but I have to concede defeat. I’ve spent thousands on tests and meds and prescription foods and more tests and a vet hospital’s worth of potty pads. I’ve gotten up in the night with her for months. I’ve cleaned up more disgusting bodily fluids than I’d ever describe.

The vet said she’d run out of treatments, unless I wanted to spend thousands on a Hail Mary pass on testing at the vet hospital at UF, still with no guarantee we’d get a treatment that would work. I’ve done plenty of those HM passes already, and I really can’t afford to keep this up. I’m exhausted, she’s just existing, and there is no cure. I should have called today, but talked myself out of it.

This evening she reminded me that I’m being an idiot. I have to remind myself that when she’s on her feet at all, I’m seeing Steroid Zombie Sophie, animated by the drugs, and she’s not getting better.

It’s time to get real, and give up.

Damn Facebook randomly shares her former self on my timeline, and while it hurts, it’s also a vivid reminder that she’s not that dog anymore. “But she’s only 12!” is not relevant. She has out of control colitis that has stopped responding to treatment. She’s blind, she’s disinterested in life, she doesn’t even enjoy outside walks anymore. I’m sad, but I’m not going to prolong this any more.


How can it only be Wednesday?

This already has been a week. I can’t go into detail about my job, but the pace is escalating and the workload is more complicated and I’m sorting out more problems (oh wait, that’s not a corporate approved word – I am dealing with “challenges”).

I have someone who is supposed to be helping me. I did not ask for this person to help me, but that’s a long story. She’s determined to “help” me, but I swear to God, it’s become like cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 30 with the “help” of an earnest non-cook with ADD.

I said a year ago that she needed training I didn’t have time to provide, and was told she could just sit in on meetings and learn that way. A year later, I discovered this week that she…um…hasn’t learned anything. Again, I can’t give examples because too work specific, but, yeah. This is not working out. But by GOD, she’s determined to “help” me. Every time she “helps,” I discover another basic thing she doesn’t understand, despite sitting in on project calls for a year. A YEAR.

And so now I am in the position of having to speak to my boss (who isn’t quite her boss, it’s complicated) about how yes, I could use a hand sometimes, but these aren’t the right hands. I have to stop what I’m doing to show her how to “help” me when she asks, and every time I do I find another thing she didn’t actually understand, but pretended she did. The situation is coming to a head.

Meanwhile, Sophie. I am not sure what to do next about her either. She was really bad on Monday. She threw up basically her entire stomach contents and had bad diarrhea multiple times, but by late Monday afternoon she had rallied, ate dinner, slept well.

Last night she had middle of the night liquid diarrhea. Bless her, she did try to put most of it on the potty pads, but it was bad. It’s a measure of how I’ve become numb to this that I saw it this morning and waited until I’d had a couple of big mugs of coffee before tackling cleanup. I needed to caffeinate and meditate first.

Today she ate well, drank a lot of water, had more liquid diarrhea OUTSIDE, but I just stepped into a puddle of pee on my office carpet. That’s a depressing new thing.

My office carpet is very utilitarian, not something I really care about, it’s more of a mat than an actual carpet. It takes abuse and was quite cheap, but to my knowledge, this was the first time it was peed on. Sophie has always been really good about trying to hit the potty pad, even when her aim was off.

But she’s still eating, still rallies if I say the word “Treat.” Which makes me think her deafness and confusion is at least partly selective – some words still penetrate. I just don’t know how to judge whether she’s done with this battle, and whether I’m forcing her to go on after she has stopped caring. I’m getting the sense that she only cares 20 minutes a day at this point, and I’m the one keeping her going, and then she’s on her feet and literally springing up and down like a puppy for treats. I just don’t know. She’s mostly checked out, if I’m being coldly objective. She doesn’t seek attention or affection, she’s not jealous of the other animals anymore, she’s just…existing. I just don’t want to declare this over, even though, objectively, I am getting the feeling it probably is.

Gearing Up for May.

First, EPCOT was lovely while it lasted. I didn’t find the Orange Bird vase, CMs said they’re out everywhere. Oh well.

The flowers were freaking fantastic!

This is the butterfly tent. My phone wasn’t up to capturing the hundreds (thousands?) of butterflies fluttering among those spectacular flowers.
This was a playground for previous festivals. This year’s festival is “A Taste of…” and is scaled back, except for the flowers and lovely “relaxation areas” like this. Comfy chairs, umbrellas, and all those flowers. I knew if I sat down I’d never stand up.

It was a short visit. My ankle held up okay, but I decided not to push it. I’ve been to Flower and Garden several times, the scaled back is still a lot of fun, but I didn’t feel a need to limp for the rest of the week. I left mid-afternoon, feeling like I’d had a nice time in the fresh air. One of the benefits of living nearby and having a pass is you can use the Disney parks as PARKS – walk around, eat a bite, and know the restrooms will be clean.

So, tomorrow is May, and I have shit to do. My workplace (not my employer) is apparently going to pilot some half-assed part-time in the office program. I’m not going to say that management is flailing, trying to find a way to use the millions of dollars of real estate they’ve purchased, but….

So I’m on record as being sick of my home office and I’m fully vaccinated (two weeks out as of today, whee!) so yeah, I’ll go sit there for two days a week this summer.

It’s exceptionally stupid. We’ve been working 100% from home for over a year without any impact on getting the work done. Our manager agrees it’s pointless, but was basically begging for volunteers because corporate wants this, so I was like, what the hell, it’ll be good for Gidget to spend some time alone two days a week. She needs to get readjusted to normal life eventually.

Meanwhile, I seriously have to address my COVID pounds because I’ll have to fit into the clothes I already own this summer. I have to get my shit together. And speaking of shit…

Sophie had an explosive day today. She had diarrhea half a dozen times. Bless her little heart, she put it all on the giant potty pads in my master bath area. It took skill. But by the THIRD time before my work day was done, I was seriously wondering where we go from here. Then I took her out and she unloaded some more.

She’s still alert, she still eats, she doesn’t seem to be in pain, but seriously, Holy Shit. She’s a 12-ish pound dog on her heaviest day, and the medication isn’t doing, well, jack shit. She pooped more than she ate today.

I’m just letting her lead for now. I’m not going to do any more expensive testing/fishing expeditions; we’ve been at this for years and I could have bought all new furniture for what I’ve spent without an effective treatment plan. As long as she’s comfortable and still asking for treats I’ll deal, but I don’t feel like I’m doing her any favors at this point. She’s blind, confused, uncomfortable, her only joy is treats. She still can bounce with surprising energy for a treat, but that’s about 15 minutes out of every 24 hours. When that stops, we’ll know.

Tomorrow’s mission: take a load of stuff to charity. Maybe get help to take the 6 ft. cat bed down to the garage so I can offer it up for free to a good home. Then I will actually have room in this room to decide what arrangement will work best for my either 100% or 60% home office. I’m on a minimalist-ish mission: I’ll never be a hardcore minimalist, but damn, I have way too much stuff.