Sunday, March 31, 2024

COVID-19: Paxlovid

COVID-19 finally caught up with me last weekend. I woke up feeling sore and weak and achy. I had a mild fever. I was going to start a juice and rest routine when I thought: could this be COVID? Sure enough, I saw my first positive test result. My wife encouraged me to call the doctor to see if I could be prescribed Paxlovid, the antiviral medication for COVID-19.

The next morning, a Monday, I learned that Massachusetts has a free telehealth "clinic" that can determine if Paxlovid would help. I logged into the website, answered some questions, then waited for an online call. Within a half-hour I was talking to a Family Nurse Practitioner. She briefly discussed my answers, declared that Paxlovid would help, and confirmed my closest pharmacy. I had a box of Paxlovid within an hour. (Thanks to insurance, this was $25.)

I took the pills right away. Within a few hours, my soreness and achiness went away. I felt a bit better though my fever persisted. The next day, my fever began to subside. By day three I was feeling about 70-80% normal. This medicine felt like a modern miracle. The only side effect I experienced was a metallic taste in my mouth. Drinking water and taking cough drops helped with this.

The world has moved on from the state of high alert regarding COVID. By now I know maybe 6-12 people that got sick with COVID. During the early months of the pandemic, most just rested and let the virus run its course.  It's only in the past year did I start to hear about effective antiviral drugs. I have a feeling taking Paxlovid early in my illness helped with its efficacy.

This whole week I stayed home, though state guidelines suggest I could have returned to my office to work as early as Day 4 of my five-day Paxlovid regimen. For at least another week I'll be wearing a mask and carefully monitoring for a rebound (something that does occur with people who take this medicine). I highly recommend Paxlovid if you get sick with COVID. It's fast and effective.


Thursday, February 29, 2024

Unlit Stall Thoughts

A few weeks ago I was in a bathroom stall at work, playing some Freecell, passing a little time and a little gas. Not much else though. Suddenly, the lights went out. 

After that split-second of low-grade confusion, I realized that I was the only person in the bathroom, and the facility's motion detector must have shut off the lights when it didn't detect anyone moving. I certainly wasn't doing much moving (in more ways than one).

My thoughts went towards how you might add sensors in the stalls or even the toilets. Those sensors could communicate to the lights that there were people inside who couldn't move but were nonetheless present. It could do double-duty by tracking stall usage.

But then my thoughts went towards the ancient times. How did people go to the bathroom at night before there were lights? Did they just stumble around their unlit homes? Did they fire up a candle? What about prehistoric times? Did people just wake up in the night then wander nearby to relieve themselves? They would likely be concerned about predators.

My thoughts finally settled back towards mid-2021, back to when COVID was starting to fade away. Nearly four years later, my office building is a small fraction of its former population. How long before someone else walks into this bathroom? I waved my arms, but that didn't trigger the lights. 

Just as I started to think practically about finishing up in the dark, someone else walked in. The lights came on. I thought about how this person might have calculated he had the whole bathroom to himself, but then  realized another person was here, sitting in the dark. He went into anoter stall, and then I made my way out, into the light.

Bathroom from Post

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

My 2023 Books and Movies

In 2023, I read 25 books (LibraryThing) and watched 66 movies (Letterboxd) (24 were rewatches).

My favorite book: Solito. I won't ever forget the gentle bravery of the little boy in this immigration story. Another favorite that I read in that same month was Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Its maximalist style jumps off the page and I greatly enjoyed it.

My favorite movie: The Holdovers. I so loved the sweet sadness of this movie. The fact that some of the movie takes in place in Boston only adds to it. Other new movies from last year that I liked: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,  and No Hard Feelings.

Some books I read in 2023