Breaking Out a guest post by Helen Miller, RN


Breaking Out a guest post by Helen Miller, RN

It was the night after Christmas, a few years back, when I went back to work after a day off. I’d worked the night of Christmas Eve, and had Christmas night off. (This is important.) At that time, I worked as an RN in a long-term care facility connected to a hospital. This arrangement used to be common in small and medium-town hospitals. The facility and the hospital shared a kitchen, and the facility naturally used the hospitals’ labs and radiation equipment. The facility had two wings, and shared a connected dining room/activity room. I was the night nurse for one wing that night, and had one certified nursing assistant to help me with all resident cares that night.

When I took report, I was told that one resident, with early dementia, had tried to feed another resident, with late-stage Parkinson’s. The result was emesis in the dining room. Another resident had come back from a dinner out with family. Multiple residents had had family members in either for Christmas Day or the day after. One resident had had a fall in an urgent rush to get to the bathroom, but had only a couple of minor bruises – no broken bones or head injuries.

Part of being a night nurse means working with the CNA to do rounds – checking on residents, toileting residents, turning residents at risk for pressure ulcers, taking care of incontinent residents, talking to residents who are awake, preventing falls, and making sure residents stay clean, dry, and safe In addition, there are nursing tasks of assessing residents’ skin, changing dressings, auditing charts, doing tube feedings, giving medications, checking on ostomies, checking settings for oxygen concentrators, making sure that tracheal openings are cared for, etc. And all of this needs to be charted. Rounds take place every couple of hours.

On our first round, the resident who had Parkinson’s had loose stools – not uncommon, as people with late stage Parkinson’s frequently get medications to counter the natural constipation of late-stage Parkinson’s. His roommate also had loose stools, but had been been eating chocolates. We followed standard precautions, cleaned our patients, made the beds with fresh linens, washed with soap and water, and moved on.

(Standard precautions mean that you glove up before giving care. You always dispose of linens either by bringing the dirty linen cart directly to the door or by taking a closed plastic bag of dirty linens to the linen cart. You dispose of trash by taking a closed plastic bag to the trash cart. You dispose of the gloves. You then clean hands either with hand sanitizer or soap and water before you leave the room. Soap and water is mandatory after any bowel movement. You don’t take dirty anything from one room to another.)

A few rooms later, we came to a room where the occupants sat at separate tables in the dining room, both close to the table where our Parkinson’s patient sat.  When we went to turn one patient, she bolted upright, and projectile vomited. (Yes, we have black humor. The Exorcist was mentioned.) Suddenly, things looked worse. We were meticulous in cleaning up the resident, changing her linens, and in washing after. We then went to her roommate. She had projectile diarrhea as we turned her. “Well, shit. This is contagious, and it’s just a matter of time for us. We need to start more precautions.”

Contact plus precautions are used to keep from carrying contagious matter on your skin or clothes, and also are meant to help the caregiver not catch whatever the resident has. So I went to the other wing, got the isolation cart, grabbed a box each of gowns and procedure masks, and we continued on rounds, donning and doffing gowns and masks for each resident.

Over the course of the exhausting night, four more residents began to show symptoms. The other wing got a case, and used the other isolation cart, so chairs were put outside each room with gowns and gloves. We hauled around gowns and gloves. I called our nurse manager. Hospital infection control was notified. The county health department was notified. The state health department was notified. We continued rounds. I continued duties. There were no breaks for either of us between charting and rounding.

In the morning, my relief came. She had worked Christmas day, but not the day after. I started to give her report when she excused herself to the staff bathroom. I heard the unmistakable sounds of vomiting, and sent my relief home. This was the last shift she had been scheduled to work before leaving on a family trip to Jamaica two days later. (This is important.) Now I was working a sixteen hour shift. My nurse manager came in, and confirmed my orders – all residents to stay in their rooms, all meals on trays with disposable plates and flatware and cups, no communal meals, everyone to change gowns and gloves between each resident and to wash with soap and water between each resident. In between passing morning meds and helping to feed residents who needed feeding, I called an order for more gowns, masks, face shields, and still more gowns. I also doubled our order for trash bags and linen bags. I let the house supervisor (charge nurse for the entire hospital) know that we would probably need a lot more staff, as I expected my relief would not be the last to get the whatever it was. Soon one of the day CNAs ran for the staff bathroom, and left in tears – she couldn’t afford the time off, and we couldn’t afford to keep her on shift, even though we needed the hands.

We were authorized to collect samples of fresh stool and fresh emesis, and get them to the lab. It was a couple hours before I came on duty the next night that our fears were confirmed – Norovirus.

I was not the first staff member to note either loose stools or vomit, but I was the nurse who called it an outbreak, implemented precautions, and got the ball rolling. It had been too late from that moment in the dining room when one resident vomited in the dining room. Norovirus has an incubation period from eight hours to seventy-two hours (on average), a duration of one to three days, (on average), and a period of virus shedding after the patient has no more symptoms. That virus shedding can last up to three days. Norovirus can persist on objects for up to ten days, and it only takes five or so Norovirus particles to infect someone. Norovirus kills about 200,000 people a year around the world, most of them very young, very old, or with pre-existing conditions. Long-term care facilities are full of the very old and of people with pre-existing conditions.

The outbreak was exhausting. Nobody worked the entire outbreak. My usual night CNA was sick halfway through the second night. We paid bonuses to hospital nurses and techs who came over to work. I worked three nights in a row of either twelve or sixteen hour shifts, and then succumbed. (While I was giving report, I said, “Excuse me,” and went off and puked. I bleach wiped the staff bathroom, put on a fresh mask and gown, and finished report standing five feet from my colleague.)

At home, we had advance warning. I had called my husband, so we had bleach wipes, pads, garbage bags, Sprite, soda crackers, gelatin cups, Nuun tablets, and other sick kit supplies laid in. My husband had gone to the local pharmacy and bought a big box of nitrile gloves, and another of masks. He had pulled out the couch in the family room. Our master bedroom had an ensuite bathroom. When I got home, I stepped on the waiting towel, stripped as soon as I got in the door, and put my uniform and the towel in a garbage bag. My coat went in a separate garbage bag. My nursing bag went in a third garbage bag. My masked-and-gloved husband carried the garbage bags to the laundry room in the basement. I “skated” on bleach wipes to the slippers and bathrobe left out for me.

I went to the master bedroom, all stocked with supplies, put my phone to charge, and fell asleep. I was sick from both ends multiple times, and bleach wiped everything. I didn’t allow any of our family into the bedroom for 48 hours except my husband, who came masked and gloved into the bedroom while I was in the bathroom to take out garbage bags of garbage and dirty laundry, and plop a pile of clean sheets on the bed. I made the bed. I communicated with my family in the same house via phone. During the time I was in self-imposed quarantine, my mother had a stroke. I could only encourage her to go the hospital from a distance, as I couldn’t add virus exposure to a very vulnerable person. Nobody in our house got sick. Once I was symptom free, I maintained quarantine, but padded down and did bleach-heavy laundry. From the time I went home until I was eligible to go back to work was around five days.

Meanwhile, back at work, it was Norovirus. Everything was bleach wiped or steri-wiped. Anything that could be UV sterilized was UV sterilized. Fluids were encouraged. Linens were changed. Bottoms were cleansed. Gowns and masks and gloves were donned and doffed and disposed of. We didn’t lose a single resident out of a very vulnerable population. Of 53 residents, a total of 18 got sick, most in the first two days. Of 40 staff, a total of 20 got sick, most in the first two days. We used extra staff from the hospital. In the hospital proper, three patients got sick, and four staff.  Everybody who could work did work twelve to sixteen hour shifts for the ten days of the outbreak. And then worked some more after the outbreak. Everyone was exhausted.

Lessons learned:

  • Any outbreak will probably hit caregivers hardest, because they will have already been exposed by the time they realize that this is something unusual.
  • We were lucky – we were associated with a sister facility that could share staff with us if we offered bonuses. In a large outbreak, this isn’t possible.
  • Norovirus sucks. It can be shed before a patient has any symptoms. Even after staff no longer had symptoms, they had to wait 72 to report to duty, because of how long virus could be shed. It hasn’t been clarified how long novel corona virus will be shed before or after symptoms.
  • Norovirus sucks. Although the most common method of contamination is fecal (touching something contaminated and then touching the mouth, or eating something contaminated), aerosolized emesis (vomit) can cause Norovirus to act like an airborne or droplet contagion. From infection patterns on the Diamond Princess, it appears that the novel corona virus can cause airborne contamination. This is bad. Please don’t run and buy all the N95 respirators and filters – leave some for health care.
  • Having supplies in advance (and a bedroom with an ensuite bathroom) allowed me to do in-home quarantine. This isn’t possible in a large outbreak, because the supplies are needed by the medical facilities.
  • Taking care of an outbreak uses So. Many. Supplies. Disposable gowns. Disposable masks. Disposable face shields. Disposable gloves. Bleach wipes. Steri-wipes for equipment that cannot be bleached. Disposable plates and flatware. Disposable bottles and cups. Gelatin cups not needing refrigeration. Sleeves of soda crackers. Juice cups. Applesauce cups. Trash bags, laundry bags, so much extra linen, hot water, and laundry soap. More bleach.
  • The holiday brought food, guests, and outings. All potential sources of contamination. The ultimate primary source of contamination was never truly pinpointed. It was narrowed down to three possibilities—one of them was the hospital kitchen, but norovirus was not found on any surface there.
  • The staff member who went home sick first? Went to Jamaica on the planned vacation, because she was symptom free by then. Had a family member get sick on the plane. Had four extended family members sick at the all-inclusive resort. Mentioned that “they must have had it there, too, ‘cause lots of people were sick there.” Oy, vey. Really. I don’t care what your plans were. Don’t share the horrible stuff.
  • Over the next six months, we had multiple staff resignations. Exhausted staff still work, but may be lost to caregiving professions entirely after they have time to take stock. The night CNA I was with now works in a factory.
  • Long-term care centers, dormitories, casinos, and cruise ships are frequently the centers of outbreaks, because people have communal dining areas, and share hallways, and may share bathing spaces.

Some of this is applicable to the current outbreak—symptom-free does not mean that somebody will stop shedding virus. However many supplies you think are enough, double them. Then double them again. When I see the photos of staff in Wuhan going from room to room, I can only think that cross-contamination is occurring, and that they must be so very short on supplies.

Most of all, I know that terrible moment when you look at another staff member over a sick patient and realize, “This is contagious, this is awful, and we have been exposed. It’s only a matter of time for us.” And then you keep working until you can’t, because you are needed more than ever.

Do me a favor? Please cover your cough, and wash your hands. It’s still flu season.

Helen Miller, RN works as a staff nurse in a hospital, and has worked in long-term and skilled care nursing.



161 thoughts on “Breaking Out a guest post by Helen Miller, RN

  1. Angels of mercy. That’s my term for care staff. The situations they find themselves in – often on a regular basis – are enough to make a combat veteran blanch.
    And still there are some people who dump on them, make unfounded complaints, or treat them like servile peons.
    Do yourself a favor. If you see a nurse or attendant in Starbucks on their way to work – pick up their coffee tab. Don’t miss a chance to thank them for the often thankless tasks they perform, with dedication and professionalism.
    And if they are your care giver, never forget that they are the ones on the front line to keep you as comfortable and well as possible. Make sure they know you appreciate it. That’s not ass welcome as an uninterrupted five minutes off their feet – but it helps.

    1. My life was saved by a MALE RN who decided, off his pointy head he needed to give me a breathing treatment at 2 am.
      The idiot doctor had decided that someone who came to ER with blood ox so low it didn’t register did NOT need oxygen.
      When the RN came into my room, I will quote him (he was a lovely young black man, with a southern accent) “You were a beautiful shade of blue.”
      After they got the heart going again, they gave me oxygen.
      I never got the man’s last name, but I owe him my life.

  2. We lost a friend who was in a local nursing home. Their norovirus outbreak was bad, and George wasn’t in good shape to begin with.

  3. Listed under “Reasons I’ll take the worst mind-tentacle-rape of programming any day of the week over healthcare”.

    Also “Reasons to be thankful that some people are willing to take the other option”.

  4. We missed Christmas this year, figuring that the folks who are sick (or just old) enough that they only make it twice a year didn’t need whatever someone brought to Elf’s work. (We think it got traded off on Thanksgiving.)

    I get almost foaming-at-the-mouth about policies like requiring kids to go to school unless you take them to a doctor and get diagnosed as sick– and not just because the only time my kids get sick is when they’re around public school kids, or from their dad. 😀

    1. Ah, yes–and also add to the mix “And employers who won’t let you take a sick day if your kid is sick, especially retail, where they are likely to fire you instead.” So people bring the germs from their kids to work/work while they are sick themselves. (I generally don’t have much nice to say about being a gov employee, but the generous sick days–and the attitude, at least at my office, that you should NOT COME IN if you are ill–is a nice thing. They only start making noises about doctor’s notes after the third day.)

      My parents have hardly gotten sick at all since the youngest finally graduated and is no longer bringing home ALL THE GERMS from school. It’s crazy. (And by extension, because I’m around them a lot and at the moment–curse you, blown-up plumbing–living with them *I* have barely gotten sick in several years. It’s been lovely.)

      1. When Japan stopped its policy of mandatory flu vaccines for all school-age children, their flu death rate among the elderly shut up. Schools really are just petri dishes for diseases.

      2. I made the mistake of suggesting in a past conversation that I would think food service would at least acknowledge the need not to schedule people with norovirus because it puts customers off to be thrown up on, even if they wouldn’t let you stay out long enough afterward to stop shedding virus.

        I was informed that when the person I was talking to had worked in restaurants, it was illegal to come in if you’d vomited (for any reason) in the past X time period, and nobody followed it since they needed the money and were responsible for finding somebody to cover their shifts, so he got used to working alongside people who were running off to throw up between customers.

      3. I remember the joys of working call center, voice husky from coughing. I had a customer tell me I sounded sexy.

        While saying thank you for the compliment and moving on to the next part of my script, all I could think was “Mmm. Bed. Yeah, I’m lusting for sleep.” Or something to that effect.

    2. “policies like requiring kids to go to school unless you take them to a doctor and get diagnosed as sick” are proposed for usually 4 reasons. First, by healthcare lobbyists to use the government to force you into paying for professional healthcare you might not need. Second, schools get funding based on attendance. Anything that boosts their body count in the morning is fair play according to them, no matter how many people go home and die that night. Third, by well-meaning busybodies who think professionals always know better than parents what a child really needs. Fourth, by self-centered busybodies who think they know what your kids need better than you do; and are bound and determined to make you.

    3. My daughter and I are still coughing a little — although hopefully no longer contagious; it took a full two weeks before I caught it from her, and my parents opted to take the risk of visits and have been fine — as a consequence of my getting lazy about corralling her away from her aunt/uncle/cousin at the… third? Christmas gathering. I don’t think they were even all that sick, and I do get wanting to go ahead and see people if it doesn’t seem too bad. (And I really don’t have room to talk after going to lab for the first few days of some stomach bug one time, for which I can only plead that I was clearly not thinking rationally — surprisingly, I don’t think any of my labmates OR my husband caught it, despite not taking nearly the precautions described in the above post.) Still, boy did the cold cling here. About two weeks of actual illness, then lingering minor nuisance.

      1. “boy did the cold cling here.”

        Yes. Here too. I coughed for weeks after. Not stuffed up. Didn’t cough anything up. But still coughed.

    4. policies like requiring kids to go to school unless you take them to a doctor and get diagnosed as sick

      Last year, Vincent kept bringing home plagues from school, to the point that he ran out of sick days. They REQUIRED that ‘get them to the doctor.’ The best part is, he’d bring home the plagues, and EVERYONE ELSE would get sick, except his Dad, who was working and thus couldn’t do the doctor runs since job = gets sent places. The worst was when we all got some kind of horrible gastro thing when he’d run out of sick days, and I was just as ill. I called the school and said “I can’t take him to the doctor because the baby and I are bedridden sick, and he’s still vomiting. If you REALLY need that doc’s cert, I will send him to school instead, but I will also not be able to pick him up if you decide to send him home early because he vomited in class.”

      They relented and let him just bring a note from me, because surprise, surprise a third of the school was sick with whatevertheeff it was he’d brought home.

  5. re: the unknowns of this coronavirus: there are so many unknowns, and even things we think we know are possibly unknowns because of misreporting or China trying to cover their a**.

    like the 24-day incubation? well, apparently ‘average’ incubation is three days and there are a couple outliers that based on reports may have been 24 days… (personally, i bet the people were exposed sooner than 24 days and just don’t know it

    1. Further, probably half to three quarters of infected people will be asymptomatic, or have such mild symptoms that no one notices. Or why ‘quarantine’ is not real pointful so long as ANYONE is allowed to leave an affected area.

      But the real problem is that it’s new, so NO ONE has immunity, so everyone who is going to get seriously ill does so pretty much all in the same timeframe, and that overwhelms the healthcare system.

      Eventually, we’ll all be exposed (or preferably, vaccinated), and immunity will become sufficiently universal that it joins seasonal flu as moderately dangerous, but not worldshaking, A hundred serious cases is just winter. Ten thousand serious cases is a plague.

      1. There’s a problem with that, this thing is mutating. Which is why they have new flu vaccines every year to treat last years strain. Which is why a vaccine will be next to useless with this. What we need is effective antiviral meds to treat it and early diagnosis, before it’s full blown pneumonia. Just a thought.

        1. Coronavirus does not mutate the same way that flu virus does. This one is almost certain to stay similar enough that the vaccines they are working on even as we speak will be highly effective once they’ve gone through safety trials.

          *Information via virologists, who know a lot more about this than I do.

          1. The good news is that young kids apparently do not get symptoms from coronavirus. They may be passing virus along, but the virus seems to be sparing them.

            Really really hope this is true. I mean, yes, that probably means it’s the same kind of crappy junk as the Spanish flu, with “storms” and all, but at least the little kids live.

      1. Lessee … Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Venezuela … Modernity 7, Totalitarian Regimes 0.

        Even authoritarian regimes seem to have trouble with modernity, but you never want to go full Totes.

      2. About ten years ago, I got curious and did a little research on the Rhino Horn business. I discovered that the (then) oft repeated factoid that out was used to treat impotence was a bollocks. In traditional Chinese medicine, Rhino horn is used to treat fever.

        That started me thinking. Modern medicine has a great many medicines and techniques that affectively treat fevers. So, how bad is Modern Communist Chinese health care that the demand for an old folk medicine that probably doesn’t work all that well is causing a species to go extinct?

        Consequently, the stories out of China this year do not surprise me.

        1. Rhino horn has been replaced by water buffalo horn.

          In traditional Chinese medicine, the idea is that horn is the coldest kind of “cold” and therefore can fight fever.

          But ground hartshorn and other kinds of horn were used for a lot of different things in traditional Western medicine (such as leavening in cookies), so it’s not all that different.

          The main effect of horn is that ingesting it gives you a protein boost, and that mixing it with various things can make carbon bubble up out of the calcium carbonate in the keratin and such. The bubbles were probably nifty placebo effects.

  6. “Any outbreak will probably hit caregivers hardest, because they will have already been exposed by the time they realize that this is something unusual.”

    Unsurprisingly, reports from China are that the medical staff are being hardest hit by the Coronavirus. In addition to the problem you mentioned of medical staff being exposed before anyone even knows that something is wrong, there’s also the issue of normal human mistakes. We all make them from time to time. If you’re working long hours with little prospect of relief, then fatigue will set in, making it more likely that you make a mistake. And mistakes in that sort of situation can easily lead to a gap in the protective gear, giving the virus an opening.

    I’ve heard complaints about supply shortages at hospitals treating the afflicted. I’ve also heard about runs on supplies in the United States, because people are cleaning off store shelves to send the supplies back to friends and family in China. On the positive side, a poorly-written (it was awful) article linked by Instapundit yesterday talked about 3M greatly ramping up production of masks by bringing in additional workers, and opening additional production lines.

    Hopefully they can get this thing under control.

    1. I’ve read reports saying that masks have disappeared from at least a couple of hospitals. The first one was a couple of weeks ago; some lowlife had a clue…

  7. I gather that sanitizers are great for bacteria, not so much for norovirus and friends & relatives. Soap and water are required for that lot.

    Sometime back I recall an article arguing all newly purchased clothing be washed before worn. Studies found fecal contamination of new clothing was nearly universal. Dry skin? That’s why you buy Curel.

    Sure, it is a pain in the tuccus but not nearly as much as the contrary condition.

    1. As an aside, it has been my experience that getting a soap you like the smell of helps a lot. I don’t like the smell of most ‘anti bacterial’ soaps, and thus far nobody that I know of has demonstrated that all soap ISN’T antibacterial.

      1. There was a time when I had plenty of a liquid hand soap and some way-past-expiration Betadine. Not a great smell, but it seemed to work fairly well.

      2. Actually some years ago UN or WHO did a study in Africa comparing bar soap, liquid soap, and anti bacterial liquid soap. Not surprisingly any soap use cut down infections around 90% as I recall. Why didn’t we hear about this all over? Because the old school bar soap outperformed the other two.

    2. I read the same thing. All new clothing, or household fabric items get washed, in very hot water (we had the local plumbing provider supervise me when I turned the thermostat setting on the new hot water heater as high as it could safely go!) before we use it. Inconvenient, sometimes … but yeah, think of where those things have been…

      1. Now couple that with “energy-efficient” washers/dryers, as has been ranted on here previously..

        1. Our new washer/dryer I can still force to hot water, & force high volume of wash water. Haven’t tested the hot water setting as we generally wash everything in cool (“not cold”). But the high volume wash & rinse works, because I use that all the time; especially with towels.

        2. You mean the washers that don’t actually wash? The ones that try to wash ten pounds of filthy clothes with a quart of water and a little bumpy disk in the bottom of the drum? The ones you’d have to run through ten cycles to get half the dirt out? Those washers?

          They’re worse than the ‘low flush’ toilets that take two or three tries to flush anything bigger than…well, pretty small turds.
          At my house, the ‘things that go bump in the night’ are cats.

        3. Our energy efficient, front-loading washer can wash in water at 170 deg. F. It’s energystar rated. I don’t use the sanitize cycle often, as the warm water cycle gets things clean.

          If you’re worried about germs in the wash, there are add-on products that claim to kill bacteria. Lysol sells one. I have no idea how you can tell if it’s working or not.

  8. Here’s something to play with your head, and not in a good way: I and several of my colleagues will be passing through Tokyo Haneda tomorrow, en route to a ship we will ride back. And several more of my colleagues will be passing through the airport later this week on their way to Thailand to go to a ship. Which they will not ride back.

    And they released the people who tested negative from the Diamond Princess today.

    I have wipes in my carryon. This will be interesting.

      1. Dyig humorously, however …

        I’m going to Hell. Not because He hates my jests but so that the Accuser will be made to suffer them.

      2. I am not planning to. So far as I know the only fatality here has been an elderly woman in her 80s. And I will be going through the domestic terminal, not international, which helps.

        But the entire idea sounds like a wonderful way to spread things even as a carrier.

    1. Don’t touch your face. Masks don’t help much, but they do keep your fingers off your face.

      Also, men with beards, shave them. You can’t get a mask to seal over a beard. Even 5 o’clock shadow is pushing it.

      1. Not a good seal on an N95. In a pinch, I’ve used vaseline to form a decent seal when needed. Messy. Not ideal. But faster than shaving in the “oh crap” moments. Don’t depend on it.

      2. Back at the power plant, I (and the Industrial Hygiene guy) violated OSHA regs* (I presume the Statute of Limitations has expired) and I took the fit test with and (shortly thereafter) without beard. I scored better with the beard.

        * How nuts is that? It was a violation of regs to even take the test unshaven. Makes you think they wanted to ensure no one could ever demonstrate that their ‘one size fits all’ diktats don’t apply universally. But then Fe(de)ral Regulations, so go figure.

        1. “It was a violation of regs to even take the test unshaven.”

          Regs are written by bureaucrats. Bureaucrats are people who can’t find work in private industry where their deplorable laziness and abject stupidity will be discovered. They can only work in the Public Sector where schmoozing, toadying and boot-licking are highly valued job skillz.

          I would not be amazed if it was written that way to keep people from proving that one size does not fit all.

          That aside, I would not want to bet my life on a mask with a beard under it. Even in plain sawdust or spray paint you can easily see places where there has been infiltration to the mask on people who didn’t get a good seal. I’m prone to checking for leaks after a couple of hours when I take a break, and sometimes I find a little line of dust around my nose or chin. In a SHTF hazardous environment, I’d go clean shave AND a sealant-assist if available.

          Some styles of mask leak on me, others are pretty good. The 3M organic filter mask fits me nicely, lucky me. I’ve seen other people that it doesn’t fit at all. I have this one, the full-face style.

          Having gone for many years with the half-mask and safety glasses, the full-face mask is SO nice for spray painting, sanding, grinding and all those crap jobs where crud is going everywhere and trying to blind you. My favorite place to use this is when blasting the grass and dust out of the lawnmower’s radiator and oil cooler with compressed air. Mask plus paint suit makes a horrific job nice and civilized. I talked to a guy who owns a sand-blasting and paint shop, all his employees wear them. Tolerable for 8 hour days, 100% filter of particulates, easy to maintain and cheap(ish) filter elements.

          This unit would be my go-to in case of emergency. Looks a bit Racoon City, but its not a fashion show.

  9. I absolutely loved my nurses when I worked in the hospital. They did the jobs I didn’t want to (or couldn’t) do.(That being said, as a chaplain, I was doing a job they couldn’t do, as well.) I also need to sit down some day and write my paper on pastoral and chaplain historical responses to pandemics and the lessons needed for future pandemics.

    1. I was astonished at how many people were awful to nurses. I went in for emergency surgery back in ’06, and apparently when I am in agonizing pain my supernatural politeness comes to the forefront. I thanked them for everything, and spoke quietly and politely (I would have done that anyway, but it was a little surprising given my condition at the time.) As a result, they went out of their way to help me get a shower before I went in for surgery after that very, very long night on a morphine drip (I’m a greaseball who has to shower daily, or my hair turns into a nightmare and is disgusting, and I *knew* I wouldn’t get to shower for awhile post-surgery, on account of the stitches). They were so kind.

      People should ALWAYS be kind and polite to the nurses and the orderlies. Theirs is a hard, thankless task that really, really sucks a lot of the time.

      1. When I am in pain, I swear a lot, but then I apologize. Sadly, swearing in foreign languages doesn’t seem to do the job for really serious pain, and I’m not really smart enough to do it.

        1. Try “peanut brickle.”

          I’ve been doubled against the van, trying not to collapse, because I just hit that really tender spot under your kneecap while loading something, and apparently it can both trigger the “I feel like I just cursed” effect, and sounds like it to others.

          It’s a little funny. Once the adrenaline kicks in, anyways.

          OTOH, I also am mostly able to say “frack” rather than the other F, and I have always disliked cursing.

          1. Well, for some of us, the monkey brain can’t be placated with substitutes. Verbal placebos are useless when the saw slips, or the hammer turns mutinous.
            Hard work and sacrifice pays off at some indefinite time in the future. Laziness pays off today.

          2. It was with a great sense of failure that I recognized I’ve no facility for cursing. I’ve not the vocabulary nor the inventiveness that good cursing requires and have had to resort to such phrases as “Oh, fudge pickles!”

            I reckon there are greater lacks, so this one is mostly just embarrassing.

            1. The worst thing about cursing is that the situations where you could really shine, and the other part is worth it, are insanely rare.

              Generally, if they deserve to be cursed out at full skill, they’re not worth it.

      2. I was in the hospital for a week back in early 2012, and apparently shocked everyone in that section by having basic politeness. Which in turn shocked me, because what kind of Supreme Retard thinks being mean to the nurse is a good idea?

        First of all they are dealing with your crap that you can’t deal with yourself (possibly literally). Second they are probably literally holding your life in their hand.

        1. There are people with brain tumors, concussions, and other, descending problems that create self-control problems. For some reason they tend to be concentrated in hospitals.

          1. That I recognize.

            But everything I see indicates that people with “normal” illnesses or injuries that have no direct bearing on self-control are treating the nurses like absolute garbage. And that it happens often enough for someone being polite to be shocking.

        2. When my father fell and broke his hip we had severe difficulty finding a facility to take him for physical therapy because of the way he treated the staff at the hospital.

          1. “the way he treated the staff at the hospital.”

            Ultimately that killed my MIL. She’d regularly buzz for an emergency. She’d be transported from nursing facility to hospital. Doctors would get her settled down, back she’d go; she had the money to pay for it, or the combination of insurance & money. Every single time, she’d worked her self into a panic. About the 5th or was it 6th, or more, the morning after she’d pulled this, again, during shift change, while other actual known crisis/emergency events were occurring, she buzzed. It’s not that they ignored her, exactly, they didn’t have the staff to respond to someone whose history dictated that she probably wasn’t at the top of the medical emergency protocol. They were wrong. Probably wouldn’t have made any difference, and would have been delaying at best anyway, but someone would have with her to know. Her big fear? Dying alone. Her attitude prior to her death … made that occur. Family had no reason to believe a need for a vigil & ensure someone was with her 24/7.

            1. I think my father’s intention was to force going home; but there was no way my mom was going to be able to take care of him, even with my oldest son’s help 24/7; nor was CHAMPUS (or whatever they call it now) going to pay for that kind of home support.

              So we had to send my father to a sub-par facility and he ended up with a cardiac event, and hospice, so he never did make it home before he died.

              1. Different with my grandparents. Definitely a facility that would accept medicare. That is all there was. Not a matter of grandma being able to take care of grandpa, or the opposite, when everything came apart. Everyone knew it was coming. Just nothing anyone could do. Ultimately they lived about 14 to 28 days after the triggering event, with grandpa going first. He went to the hospital immediately into hospice. Grandma went from the hospital into the long care side. Or when everything came apart, they couldn’t go home, either one of them.

                OTOH dad died at home. He was in home hospice for just over 6 months. No special accommodations (beyond oxygen, which he’d been on for 18 months), until the last 24 hours. He got up one night to use the bathroom. Coming back to bed he fell. Mom couldn’t get him up; they were 73. She called hospice, who had her call non-911 emergency services to come & get him back in bed. Later that morning (you know, reasonable hour, after 8 AM), the living room was setup with a hospital bed … he died that night. Hospital bed was gone the next day after funeral home came.

      3. And waiters and waitresses. Our children have been fulsomely praised, over the years, for their reasonable behavior in restaurants. Like, to the level of getting desserts comped just for being polite, which should be the base expectation for everyone. Most of the time, the waiters will only grimace and say, “you have no idea” how other patrons behave at times.

        1. I have adopted as one of my fundamental premises the rule: Never deliberately piss off people with access to your food out of your sight.

          1. That’s what so absurd about the claims that Christians are horrible people. We keep on getting people going after Christian bakers to bake their cakes. If they were as hateful as people claimed, no one would eat cakes they made voluntarily.

  10. Given I work at a theme park, this fills me with all sorts of joy… yeah we normally get a few dozen Chinese guests over the course of a week, not to mention over overseas visitors.

    Also, Tucson just finished it’s annual Gem and Mineral show, with people coming in from all over the world, and is following it up this week with the annual rodeo; so let’s see if any corona virus cases show up in Pima County. (Aside from the more usual Corona Light “virus” that strikes the bars around the rodeo.)

    1. Not gonna argue that point! My family has had more helpful suggestions from Nurses than any doctor. The kinds of suggestions that make life easier for chronic medical issues.

  11. The first time I was in the hospital, our entire wing got sick. I think one of the weaker patients started the vomiting and other symptoms first. Most of use were bedridden. We lost a lot of our care-takers (nurses and aids) for about two weeks. The ones remaining did suit up. I was lucky that I only had it for three days– I still had an immune system– even though I had an auto-immune disease. It was also a kidney ward… and some of the patients had cancer. It was too sick to even know all the things that were happening. I thought you’d like to hear what it was like being the patient in a similar situation.

  12. Norovirus is one of my personal nightmares. I haven’t had to deal with an outbreak yet, but I’d probably have to burn the house down to kill it off.

    1. Ditto.

      Was sick this last fall, standard cold. No idea where I picked it up as no one else at home has been sick. I don’t participate in anything regularly that would expose me. Except … shopping … at the time wasn’t taking dog on pack walks, we weren’t going to training classes, either obedience or agility. Only thing I was doing was shopping or going to restaurants.

      Anything as serious as norovirus or cornovirus to disinfect the house? Probably have to burn it down.

      1. I was sick too, this fall … and my daughter, after me. Came out of nowhere, hit within hours. Temperature, sinuses running like gushing fountains, excessive exhaustion, no appetite … lasted for about a week. I’m hoping it was the current flu, since we will now have some defense against reoccurance.

        1. Sounds like what I had. Pretty sure it wasn’t the flu. My response to “are you going to live” was a vague wave & whine as I buried myself into the covers. I was drinking NiQuel like it was going to disappear. I’m not suppose to use NiQuel (glaucoma, very early stages) … my response to that is “annnnnd???? I wanna breath!”

          OTOH hoped it gave me some protection to the flu virus.

      2. I’ve had norovirus at home. And stayed home. Didn’t want to give it to anybody, didn’t let my parents come visit and help.

        With a single person, living in a house alone, with separate plumbing from everybody else, and not going very far, Mr. Lysol in the air seems to help a lot. (And soap and water, of course.) The main thing is to bag up your yuck clothes, and keep taking showers and changing into clean clothes and linens, etc.

        But then, a single person may just be waiting it out and getting the white blood cells on the job, and trying not to reinfect herself. And I’m not elderly or a child.

        I will admit to taking a walk outside, away from all other people, while using more Lysol in the air and on the surfaces in my house than is recommended. And then, when I thought everything was dead and since the weather was unexpectedly warm, I aired out the house and let the sunlight in.

        The other thing is that, when I caught norovirus again after several years (it was going around my workplace), it didn’t seem to be anywhere near as severe in its effects on me. But again, I just stayed home and cleaned up after myself.

        1. Son *works and he brings stuff home regularly. But he works swing, so except weekends (for awhile with mandatory overtime, not even then), we don’t see him. Hubby golfs … like to say that being an outdoor activity he isn’t coming home sick, but somehow he does. I’ve been missing all this, even when I was working, for the last 10 years or so. When it caught me, it caught me good. Do not interact directly with the petri dish called K – 12 school (public or private).

          * Please tell me how they figure that not having a separate bucket for sick leave, they have to use PTO, makes people stay home sick … they don’t. They won’t give up their PTO even if they have to “burn it” (requesting it be paid out) because they loose it (stop accumulating) at a specific number of hours depending on how long they have worked there. Bottom line, people are going to work sick, not because they can’t afford to stay home, but because they refuse to use their PTO for staying home sick …

          Company builds cabinets for kitchens & bathrooms. So not directly food. But depending on how persistent the germs are …

          1. PTO being the same as sick leave– they don’t figure it will make folks stay home.

            They’re usually responding to a mandate that they provide paid sick leave of X duration.

            It’s an established pattern, heard about it on the radio the other day.

            1. “They’re usually responding to a mandate that they provide paid sick leave of X duration.”

              Bingo. ^^ This ^^ state wide. X much time per hour worked, up to two weeks minimum, required for paid time off for being sick, per year. PTO not only replaced vacation & sick, for a lot of places, it replaced holidays, even if the entity in question is closed that day. Get the holiday off, if it is your normal work day, but you don’t get paid, unless pulled it from accumulated PTO. Used up the PTO? Tough.

          2. Same here. No sick time.. comes out of PTO. Company claims it is competitive but that is total BS. Worked in 2 other companies in this field. Stay home if sick. If more than 3 days you need Dr. note. Current place used to be like this but some we sick every Friday during the summer so they canned it rather than those that abused it. So yeah.. everybody goes to work sick unless they are so sick they can’t make it to work.

  13. We could be in for some interesting times in Canada. Not only coronavirus, but also the Native blockades. And my cupboard is not as well-stocked as it should be.

    1. Just stock up with 270 servings of breakfast cereal and the extended duration boxed milk.
      You’ll hate both before the epidemic is over, but at least you’ll be eating.

    2. Princess Auto, gloves and dust/or/paint masks. Plus the replaceable paper filters, if applicable.

      Home Depot, two or three gallons of methanol from the paint department, disposable plastic drop sheets, 10 mil thickness. For the car seats. Big rolls of duct tape, 4 or 5. Its hard to have too much duct tape. If you’re feeling extra paranoid, disposable paper paint suits are nice.

      Costco, several large bags of rice, several tins of tuna, big bag of flour, sugar, several cases of water. Several gallon jugs of bleach.

      Everclear from the LCBO for wound wipes if the drug store runs out.

      Done. Try to beat the rush.

      1. I have gloves and masks, some candles and matches and one large bottle of water. But I need more. Especially toilet paper. Don’t want to go through rough times without that.

  14. I had norovirus once. Well, not confirmed. There was an outbreak in town linked the food court at the mall, which I had eaten at earlier that week. That was the worst I’ve ever felt outside of the muscle spasms in my back. Vomiting and/or diarrhea every hour or two, little sleep. chills like you wouldn’t believe. I was in bed (well, ,mostly the bathroom) for three days. I would take a shower to warm up and get clean every six to eight hours. I never want to go through that again.

    1. Eek. Back spasms are no joke.

      I was miserable enough when I had strep throat, tonsillitis, and a fever of 104, at 19. But even that wasn’t as bad as the back spasms. Maybe I’ve become more of a wimp as I’ve gotten older.

    2. This went through the entire house before I got pneumonia at 33. With two toddlers, it was life-endangering, plus we were piling up the unwashed sheets, etc.
      The guys caught a cold afterwards, and I was the nurse. I thought I’d escaped the cold, because I wasn’t coughing, but moving was SO tiring and I kept having issues breathing. This was November.
      January 11th I collapsed and was taken to ER. I had pneumonia, probably for a couple of weeks before.
      It almost killed me.

  15. When the Dragonette was only a couple of months old, hubs and I came down with something remarkably like norovirus (but undiagnosed because neither of us could stay away from the bathroom long enough to see a doctor). Hubby got the master bedroom and bath, and I slept in the Dragonette’s room so I could (a) feed and change her, and (b) be next door to the other bathroom. It was the sickest I have ever been in my life, and I never want to deal with that again.

    I am frankly amazed that the Dragonette didn’t catch a thing from us. I have no clue how that happened, other than she has the weirdest immune system I’ve ever seen (never had a cold or the flu, but she’s had MRSA and scarletina) but I thank Bhob on a regular basis that she survived to become the uber-geek that she is.

  16. Just think those Moms who kept a sterile house, made sure their little darlings never got near bugs, dirt, or anything else. Made a fetish of using hand sanitizers, and all the other ways they made sure that germs and such didn’t even get near THEIR Children. And naturally they are Anti-Vaxers.
    Their little darlings have been SO SAFE from anything their immune systems are flabby, weak, and unused.
    It is really a shame that reality is going to slap them upside the head real hard.

    Here is another STUPIDITY. In San Antonio there are some who are quarantined at Lackland AFB. BUT get this, THEY TAKE THEM TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL FOR THE CHECKS TO SEE IF THEY HAVE IT!!!!!!

    They don’t just take the samples at the base and then take them to a LAB. NO, they take the person to the hospital to take the sample. RIGHT THERE is the Federal Government at work! Can you believe ANYONE even Government Workers are THAT STUPID. A judge in town is asking a local Congress Critter to talk to people and see if they can get that changed. AND under the Democrats we are supposed to trust these people with everything????


      Yes, of course they do. Bureaucrats don’t think. They follow protocol if there is one, or they do what is easiest for them personally.

      “We are from the government. We are here to help.”

  17. And speaking of guest posts…

    Sarah, I just sent mine. It’s in a .txt attachment. Hope it helps.

    1. I have two outlined, and ideas for two more. I’m hoping to have the two outlines turned into completed posts by the weekend, but that may be conditional on how the ongoing house repairs go.

  18. I love this post. There was a Norovirus (probably — the story kept changing) outbreak in our local schools over the holidays. Several schools were closed for days at a time as it spread from school to school. I heard that one younger sibling of a school aged child died from it, but that might have been rumor. It really seems like if there isn’t a vaccine that it’s considered no big deal. I sat at the Costco food court one afternoon close enough to overhear another woman complaining loudly that her grandson was with her licking grocery cart handles because he wasn’t allowed in school yet. People need to learn to stay home when they have something infectious.

    1. The elementary school that the local kids go to (24 miles away, so the buses are a great petri dish) was closed due to norovirus. They’re back in school today, so I can get the propane bottles refilled.

      Tomorrow have to go west of the Cascades for one of my periodic retina checks. There’s a large Chinese community in that area, so I’m planning on hitting Costco as early as possible. I don’t understand why Dr. Wang doesn’t seem to have any Asian patients, but I’m guessing there’s a Chinese-mostly practice in the area. The eye specialists love that area; it’s able to draw from 150-200 miles away.

      Now, to avoid crowds as much as possible. Last I looked, the Chinese restaurant was mostly deserted at 4:30-5PM on a Thursday. Might try 4 this time. The gluten-intolerant diet makes for some interesting decisions…

    2. Do not know where you are at. But one of the Eugene school districts had a child die from the flu this school year. Had a fever develop at school and died after experiencing flu like symptoms & complained “heart hurt”. Collapsed almost immediately afterward & died; 2nd grader. Nothing reported on actual cause, so far. Speculation was flu with unknown/not-diagnosed underlining condition. School was closed for awhile.

  19. Bleach wipes are expensive. Gallon bottles of bleach are cheap. Is there any reason not to use bleach with rags or paper towels (depending on mess) instead of wipes?

    Our long term back up water supply, if the pump goes out, is the creek, which is known to contain giardia. I have reason enough to keep bleach on hand and use it up so I always have reasonably fresh available. No perfumes. I understand that the new ‘splashless’ type is not usable for disinfection or safe to drink.

    The last time we had a stomach bug we kept using the usual dining items, but I added a bleach rinse after the regular rinse. Seemed to do the job.

    1. I make ghetto alcohol wipes out of a bag of baby wipes and 91% rubbing alcohol, especially if they’re dry– check chemicals, but wouldn’t that work with bleach?

      (why: my kids are very good at finding my markers)

        1. They seem to chew up the skin a lot worse, too.

          Incidentally, the 91%-and-baby-wipes-that-dried-out is AWESOME for getting that black oil gunk off of car interiors. Probably want to use some of that “keep it from cracking” stuff when you’re done, though.

            1. I painted my bedroom closet when I was a wee lad. My parents were painting the house they were renting and wouldn’t let me participate. So I grabbed my water colors and started painting. ‘Rents were not happy with their little rug rat. Luckily the landlord wasn’t wholly displeased.

          1. Yep. Also a good way to find out if that used car had some cheapy spray on paint put on the door panel that was switched out when the car was wrecked that they didn’t tell you about… *chuckle*

        2. Oh, that’s what gloves are for. They live in the closet.

          Specifically the yellow rubbery gloves, not the yellow leather gloves. I can use the blue kind, but my guys tear them. The yellow are tougher and I think the big size is bigger. The blue split when the guys put them on.

          Not to be confused with the canvas gloves or the fuzzy gloves or the ski gloves. By the way, Men’s 16EEEE shoe boxes are really great for corralling gloves by kind.

  20. For anything serious, it’s a good idea to have at least two weeks of food on hand, and a month’s worth would be better.

    We returned from Taiwan on Feb 1, when they had only one identified case, and I self quarantined at home with what was probably a normal cold. Go to the emergency room? And expose everyone there to what _might_ have been the Wuhan Corona virus? And expose my sick self to whatever the other people waiting there had? No way.

    The hurricane supplies took a deep hit. Time to shop for food _and_ medical stuff. And lots’o chlorine. And garbage bags.

    1. Thanks to the generator, we’ve )I’ve) been slacking on keeping the hurricane supplies stocked. After all, the usual concern is water and refrigeration, and the generator solves both. But it’s past time to fill the shelves with canned goods, and maybe some bleach that isn’t earmarked for crafting.

    2. Garbage bags, gloves, canned food, dry food, incontinence pads or puppy pads (great for paint projects or protecting table from craft projects), respirators with pre-filters, water filters or purifiers, rain barrels, bottles of vitamins, and a buncha protein bars.

  21. I caught Norovirus a few months back. Visited my Grandmother, got to the nursing home only to discover they were in the middle of an outbreak. Despite taking precautions (brought Mom-Mom outside), I got it bad. My mother (who was with me) caught a mild case. And naturally, Grandmother didn’t get it at all (not that it would’ve mattered: she was so stubborn that she would’ve refused to die. Fought her departure right up until the very end as it was).

    Three days of getting sick from both ends (though thankfully not simultaneously), and about two weeks of feeling like I’d bee sucker-punched by Bruce Lee. I would wish that on my worst enemy (b@stard deserves, far, far worse, but I’ll take what I can get), but nobody else.

  22. Carp, posted before I meant to.

    And I agree: nurses and caregivers are indeed angels of mercy. I absolutely don’t have the constitution or the emotional strength to do even a tiny fraction of what they can do. Anyone who takes on that role, no matter how long they stick with it, I have the utmost respect for them.

    As far as the coronavirus goes…. am I the only one who feels like I might be living in the opening chapter of a John Ringo novel?

    1. Have to get into Ringo, but the opening of Stephen King’s The Stand (version 1.0–never read beyond the first half chapter of v2.0) sounds a bit familiar…

    2. Ain’t that bad yet. Infrastructure is still sound. Trade is still going. Bit of a pinch here and there (drug production, etc). No nekkid zombies on the news yet. Haven’t stranded any military units in far off crapholes forcing them to March Upcountry that I know of. Global cooling ain’t quite hit yet, either.

      We’ll wait and see. I’ve a plan if things go bad. ‘Nother one if things go worse. Plan for things going completely to heck, too. Doubt any of the above will be happening, but… Floods. Storms. Everyday crises. Doesn’t hurt a thing to be prepared.

      1. Various levels of plans here. If Corona-chan visits, we’d be in a bad way for eggs unless it’d be safe to deal with neighbors. I doubt that Fish & Game would be nosing about, so the mule-deer herd would get a bit smaller.

        The biggest issue would be a widespread power outage in the dead of winter. We have propane backup for heating, as long as that would last. Wood heat in the shop/barn, with various planned approaches to take advantage of that.

        It’d be rough, but doable. I can think of more problematic scenarios, but we’re set for the more likely ones. I hope.

        1. When I heard about Corona-chan and it’s place of origin, I was all ‘Oh, great. WWZ book version better not come true.’

          Now, I’m just hoping it doesn’t kill us. I ran across speculation somewhere that this was designed to reduce the male population in China (wtf?!?!?!) so that they even out the population somewhat. o_O

          1. I’ve read the same speculation. The premise was that between the One Child policy and the desire to have male offspring, there’s a serious imbalance between men and women of certain ages in the country. (I’d assume the stability of a country with a lot of unattached men would be sketchy. [As he tries to ignore similar events in the West.]) Killing off a bunch of men would serve to even things up down, if you are an evil SOB.

            FWIW, Corona-chan’s older sister was Ebola-chan. Ran across them on Gab.

            1. That really isn’t helped by the men being picky, wanting Chinese-submissive wives/virtual slaves, and the women’s hypergamy being on a level that no western MGTOW could conceive of.

              There had been similar speculation going on with regards to economic expansion into Africa, which, honestly, given sanitary conditions, and the traditional kleptocracy, is simpler AND more likely to succeed, IMHO.

          2. *blink*

            Trying to target a virus intentionally to affect *only* one sex? That would be… Hrm. Let’s go with “difficult,” and not speculate too much more on it. I mean, I’m already speculating and there’s probably a few ways based on slightly differing biology that would affect males *more.* Still, though.

            Don’t think it would present quite how Corona-Chan is. If it were sex specific I mean.

            1. If it is more likely to kill smokers, and guys smoke more, that would be a vector; not sure what other possible vectors would be. (Yeah, lot of iffs, but first one is from early reports.)

              There’s got to be several other health risks that are sex-associated, at least, in China.

              1. But remember how long One Child has been in effect. Now you have a large cohort of males getting older, thus out of peak productivity and fitness for military service. A virus that thins them out just as they are becoming “useless eaters” is something I can see the Party going for.

                1. Then you take advantage of the elderly’s natural weakness and cull the entire cohort. It’s not like taking out the old women doesn’t help even more.

                  1. Which is precisely what they did. Even if they were aiming at males, they wouldn’t have cared about “collateral damage”.

    3. Nope. “The Last Centurion”, reads like a news commentary of this coronavirus outbreak. Albeit fortunately without a Hillary Clinton character in the Oval Office.

  23. Nurses are Heaven’s angels. After a surprised need to go to a local ER, I wrote the following:

    There is an air of anxious purpose
    As the nurses make their rounds.
    Pleas from far too many patients,
    Blend with countless urgent sounds.
    To the bells and beeps of monitors
    And the ringing of the phones,
    Join the questions from computers
    And the doctors’ hurried tones.

    Just outside, our world keeps spinning
    Round a million miles a day.
    And we rush about too quickly
    In our work and in our play.
    So it should not be surprising
    That we find a need for care,
    As the risks of age and nature
    Send us racing to be there.

    To this world within a world we come
    In search of healing skill.
    And we pray the price of frailty
    Not be great enough to kill.
    In our need, we trust our lives and dreams
    With those who’ve pledged their souls,
    That their caring give us comfort,
    That their healing make us whole.

    Amidst this babble and confusion
    Is a fight with pain and death,
    By the young and old who struggle
    For another hopeful breath.
    We see the very best in these
    Who see us at our worst,
    We are baffled by their courage,
    And we marvel at their worth.

    How dare they care so much for those
    Who may die before their eyes?
    How can they bear our seniors’ fears,
    And our children’s anguished cries?
    We ask too much of these who leave
    The friends and loves they’ve known.
    To spend their days, and nights, with us,
    And make their hearts our home.

    All non-commercial usage allowed.

    God bless our health care professionals.

  24. Speaking of the coronavirus, I just learned via Razorfist’s twitter that the Epoch Times somehow obtained an interesting internal document of the Chinese government. Apparently they’ve gone into “wartime propaganda” mode to censor unwanted talk of the virus:

    Razorfist promptly suggested renaming the coronavirus to “The Pinko Pox.”

        1. Great, even microbes are turning Marxist now. Surely a sign of the decline of the microbe education systems.

  25. There’s a memory aid you’re taught when you are starting down the road to be a paramedic: When approaching someone who is down, you stop, look around carefully, and then before you proceed to the victim, you chant “Scene Safe, P.P.E.” – that is, you confirm to yourself that the accident scene is safe, no power lines sparking or cars on fire or bad guys with knives lurking menacingly or alien eggs sitting around looking interesting, and you have equipped yourself with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), i.e. mask and gloves, maybe face shield, and maybe a space suit, etc. before all you go deal with injuries.

    It works for attending to sick family as well.

    Heck, it works for going to the grocery store.

  26. I was considering going to work as a mechanic for an air ambulance service. While in Alaska at the time, my firefighting Huey was called out for a medical transport. A fourteen-year-old girl had rolled an ATV and needed help wiki-wiki. After, while I was washing the various bodily fluids out of the back of ‘my’ helicopter, I decided definitely no on the ambulance bit. Indeed God bless those who go into that fire.

  27. This is the best summary of the science that I have run across (at a decently understandable level):

    The basics – coronavirii (the ones that run around all the time, or this specific 2019-nCoV that is super-nasty) are a class that is covered with a lipid (fatty) shell. So, soap and water, period. The various influenza virii are the same thing. Rhinovirus, the most common cold-causing virus, is “naked” – so oxidizing agents (bleach or hydrogen peroxide) are most effective.

    Every new fabric coming into this house gets laundered before use. Every new bit of dishware or food storage gets a soak in very hot soapy water before first use. (Well, that’s the standard treatment for used items, too.)

    Bleachable fabrics get chlorine bleached. Non-bleachable fabrics get the hydrogen peroxide generating stuff. One of the few “infomercial” products that touted something eminently useful. Along with detergent, of course. If someone has been very sick, they all go into a hot water cycle (which will not noticeably fade almost any dyes these days, if not done as a regular practice).

    Despite one child in the Marine Reserves and working a warehouse, one on public transportation and college campuses all day, one in retail – and $SPOUSE$ a special-needs teacher – the last truly nasty illness in the household was just over three years ago. And I was the only one affected, and have no idea where the heck I got it from, just not from here.

    (BTW, those wipes in the grocery stores – oxidizing agents, for the most part. Still a good idea, as it much reduces the chance of picking up a rhinovirus, and at least removes most of any film of flu or corona that has settled on the handle, reducing the viral load that you could be exposed to. But still never touch your nose or mouth; cough into your shoulder; sneeze, wipe, or blow into a (disposable) tissue… Oh, and thoroughly wash anything that isn’t going to be cooked – just a few minutes observing in a produce section can give you nightmares.)

  28. Uncountable thanks to you Helen for taking the time to write and share this. I have saved a copy for ref as need as we are also fortunate enough to have a master bed/bath separate suite and your info will come in most helpful if needed. I pray to God that it is not for us and everyone else as well.

  29. Ok, here’s my take at present. Prepare to be quarantined for a month, with food that you usually eat, so that if you aren’t quarantined, you’ve just front loaded your grocery runs.

    I do not believe there will be quarantines here, because by the time it gets here (if it isn’t here already), it will be too widely spread for quarantines to make much difference. It is now in South Korea, Iran, Japan, etc. It is (reportedly) incredibly infectious. People who have no symptoms, and thus don’t know they’re sick, and can’t be picked out as sick people, are shedding virus. The virus (reportedly) can remain on surfaces for 9 days.

    There is human-to-human spread. It is spread through respiratory contact. It is also transmitted through feces. (As a side thought, if you’re quarantined with someone who has it, don’t share bathrooms if possible. Close the lid when flushing. Also, I would worry about public toilets.)

    From other reports found through twitter, it seems that if a patient needs hospitalization in the ICU, they either die or get better. There are some scary mortality rate estimates out there right now. The older you are, the more dangerous it is.

    I am not hopeful about a vaccine. Search for “problems with SARS vaccine,” and you will find research papers with titles like, “Immunization with SARS Coronavirus Vaccines Leads to Pulmonary Immunopathology on Challenge with the SARS Virus.” There may be vaccines rushed into production, but I would not neglect preparing to self-quarantine on that basis.

    1. I’m sure it’s already here. I’m not sure it’s NOT what my family has been passing around and battling since January.
      In fact, having read the symptoms, and considering that I — who am the most immune compromised of them — and DIL — the second most — are the sickest, I’d say it’s a good chance.

  30. To add, China is not reporting everything, that is patently obvious. Their actions, since they admitted the disease exists, signal that it is extremely serious.

    This is disrupting supply chains. If there’s anything you need for your business to function, such as a printer, buy it now, even if it’s made in the US. China supplies parts for many, many goods assembled in other countries. Refill your prescriptions, especially anything for respiratory illnesses, now.

    Unfortunately, my older relatives are firmly in the camp of “oh, just another virus panic.” I got into a debate at the grocery store with a woman who believed it was all a hoax. She formerly worked for a pharmaceutical company. I don’t know what can be done against that. It will make it worse, as there are people willing to believe anything.

  31. But remember how long One Child has been in effect. Now you have a large cohort of males getting older, thus out of peak productivity and fitness for military service. A virus that thins them out just as they are becoming “useless eaters” is something I can see the Party going for.

    1. 1 child has been in effect since 1980, so the affected cohort is 40 and under. The disease is progressively more deadly by patient age, from about age 60 on up. The virus does nothing to solve the problem of millions of young men without wives.

      Killing all the grandparents at once does not endear a government to its people. The last thing the government wants is mass unrest, and the perception of powerlessness. The government also does not want the West to decouple from Chinese manufacturing.

      We will really only know firm data, once we can collect data from outside China. The steep increase in South Korean numbers in the last few days leads to the conclusion that it is much more widely spread than the official statistics. It is possible there are more confirmed case male deaths because the male patients were more likely to be able to walk blocks or miles to the hospital while sick, during the quarantine. I would hope that doctors can figure out treatments to improve the chances of survival.

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