Category Archives: General

Booster Shot Blues…

So this past Saturday I got my COVID booster shot, ie the 3rd shot, of Pfizer, to “boost” the vaccine’s waning efficacy.

Given the number of people I’m exposed to, its a necessity to make sure I’m as protected from COVID as possible.

It’s interesting how things shake out with these shots, though.

When I got the first shot way back when, I had absolutely no reaction to it.

I was fine, other than perhaps a mild pain in the injection site, to that first injection.

When I went in for the second one, I had a slightly bigger reaction in that the next day I felt fatigued. However, by the third day I was fine, so the reaction overall and to say the least wasn’t anything terribly grave.

The booster shot, however…

Ho boy.

First off, the site of the injection hurt quite a bit shortly after getting the shot. Not incredibly painful, mind you, but more so than the previous two. I figured what happened is that in these days where supplies are tight, the pharmacist might have used a slightly bigger needle than was necessary (of note, the very kind lady who gave me the shot had problems putting on her gloves and stated that because of supply chain issues, they weren’t getting the proper sized gloves that they ordered!).

Anyway, that was early in the morning and other than the pain in the shoulder, I felt fine.

Things changed at nightfall.

Or rather, around 1 AM in the morning.

I awoke to pretty bad chills, as if I was feverish, and my teeth were chattering. I made my way to the bathroom and bundled up, putting on a shirt, light sweatpants, and socks and made my way to bed again.

I had a terrible night’s sleep.

Despite bundling up much more than I usually do when sleeping, I woke up several times through the night to these chills and, when morning arrived, I felt completely zonked out.

Worse, I had things to do which couldn’t be put off and genuinely wondered if I was going to make it through the day.

Luckily, I started feeling better as the hours progressed. Whatever temperatures I was experiencing dissipated and my head got clearer.

It felt like I was done!

Alas…

Sunday night I crashed hard but, once again at around 1-2 AM, I awoke to chills.

I bundled up again and, come Monday morning, awoke to a sweat filled shirt.

This time, I felt pretty good and, as it would turn out, the effects of the shot were over and as I write this on Tuesday evening, I’m feeling a little fatigued from the bad nights’ sleep but otherwise fine.

Weird how that works.

I wonder why the first shot was perfectly good, the second a little bit worse -but nothing outrageous- while the third shot, the booster, affected me so.

Oh… Aaron…

Let me be right upfront here and say: What I’ve seen of Aaron Rogers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, on TV he comes across as a humorous, down to earth guy. Apart from a damn good player (how I wish my poor Miami Dolphins had a quarterback of his caliber!) he seems like a guy who geeks out on popular culture and even managed to snag a turn hosting Jeopardy! on TV… and what little I saw of him doing so he didn’t do too bad a job of it.

Which makes the latest news regarding Mr. Rogers all the more head-scratching.

Over the past week/weekend it was revealed Mr. Rogers would sit out this past Sunday’s game, which the Packers wound up losing, because he had contracted COVID.

That in and of itself isn’t a huge deal… because of the infectious nature of the virus, one should be cautious around groups of people as even those who have been vaccinated can contract it, though by being vaccinated you stand a much better chance of having mild reaction versus a life-threatening one.

Anyway, here’s a segment from Inside Edition which manages to hit the more salient points regarding Mr. Rogers’ situation:

Now, I don’t subscribe to much of what’s stated at the opening of the clip above, that fault somehow lies with his current girlfriend/fiancé Shailene Woodley. Though she clearly believes in homeopathic remedies, I strongly suspect a good part of the reason Mr. Rogers and she are together is because they probably -and very likely!- believe in the same stuff.

So blaming her for Rogers’ situation is at best deflection and at worse something far darker.

Because Mr. Rogers is a (in terms we professionals use) a grown-ass man whose life decisions are his own, for better or worse.

No, what’s outrageous about this situation is that a) Mr. Rogers, in an interview in April and as noted in the clip above, heavily implied (one might even say lied) that he was vaccinated when he clearly was not and has subsequently admitted to this fact.

And even more alarming b) he did this interview where he tries to put the blame on “woke” or “cancel” culture and further notes he takes advise about vaccines/COVID from Joe Rogan!

Joe freaking Rogan?!?!

Look, I get -to some degree- people’s hesitancy about getting a vaccine. You feel like maybe your body isn’t your own and somehow pressure is being inappropriately applied to get a vaccine.

But the research is there now if one cares to look at it. The FDC does not willy-nilly give approval to a new vaccine “just because”. They go over the data and it takes considerable research for a drug -any drug- to get the proper approval.

They do this because approving of a new drug or vaccine, a product which by its nature will affect the health of an individual, is that important and requires a great deal of documentation and strong experimental results before such an approval is issued, which was obviously done for the big vaccines currently available, ie Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna.

I’ve had the Pfizer vaccine and enough time has passed that I’ve scheduled myself for the booster shot.

I’m one person, of course, but at least for me and my immediate family, we’ve all had the vaccine and apart from some fatigue after the shot, there has been no big adverse reactions and, even better, we’ve not had the virus (that we’re aware of!).

The thing that’s most infuriating about the Aaron Rogers situation, and by extension with all those who refuse the vaccine, is that they are slowing society’s move toward a day when we aren’t going to be as concerned about COVID.

All their talk about their freedoms and their supposed knowledge about alternate treatments and hesitancy of getting their vaccine ultimately slows the rest of us from enjoying that day that is ultimately coming when COVID isn’t such a concern. And all the while, they risk their very lives with their at best ill-informed opinions.

For me, its frustrating as hell because even in my family there are those who have been sucked into this alternate reality where freedom and “choice” are somehow equated with rejecting a vaccine which has been proven to help.

One day, we’ll get to that freedom. I’m certain of it.

In the meantime, how many must suffer -and some actually die- before we get there?

Marc Bernier…

The above name is unfamiliar to you?

Mr Bernier has the dubious distinction of being the third conservative anti-vaccination radio host to die from COVID-19.

You can read about him -and the other two hosts- who passed away in this article by Daniel Politi and presented on Slate.com:

Marc Bernier becomes the third Anti-Vax radio host to die from COVID 19

His death follows the deaths of Phil Valentine of Nashville and Dick Farrel of Florida, both of whom when they were hospitalized with COVID-19 decided that maybe the virus was indeed serious and urged their friends to vaccinate. For both of them, alas, it was too late and the virus took their lives.

However, for Mr. Bernier, it appears his final tweets suggested he remained an Anti-Vaxer even to his death.

I really don’t get it.

You hear about people being so anti-vaccine and anti-mask yet they fall for bullshit “treatments” like hydroxychloroquine and, more recently, ivermectin, a horse de-wormer (!!!!), instead of, you know, getting the free vaccine that has been proven to help against COVID-19.

It’s almost like they know, deep in their souls, that COVID-19 is serious but have so convinced themselves that the liberal media, Fauci, and the CDC, are somehow trying to bamboozle them with the approved vaccines and therefore IF they try anything, damned if they’ll do whatever Fauci or the CDC of FDA recommend… and therefore they go to dubious bullshit artists and stock up on their bullshit drugs and recommendations.

whew

Truly makes me wonder when a chunk of society collectively lost their damn minds and are so intensely sure their negative feelings toward such figures is justified they will go the extra mile to somehow “prove” their ideas/notions are right.

Even when it might mean they do so at the risk of their very own lives.

Hurricane Ida…

Really hard to look at the news and the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which slammed into the Louisiana coast yesterday.

CNN has a block of news devoted to updates regarding the storm:

Hurricane Ida Live Updates

Each year that passes and I remain living in a hurricane prone area, I scratch my head and wonder why I do so.

To those who don’t live in such areas, you just don’t know the “joy” of living the summer months watching updates on the tropics and possible systems that develop there.

August in particular is one of the worst months, though September isn’t all that far behind, where one watches and worries about what might happen.

I’ve lived through too many near misses and at least a handful of “direct” hits, including Katrina which passed over our area as a Category 1 Hurricane before exiting into the Gulf of Mexico where it rapidly gained strength and eventually -and devastatingly- hit roughly the same area Ida has now hit.

To say the least, I feel for the people there and extend my sympathy and fervent hope for better days to come.

Coronavirus Diaries 39 & Other Things…

So I just checked my blog entries and was shocked to find its been two weeks since I last posted.

Where the hell has the time gone?

First though: Sorry for the dearth of posts. Given the situation regarding the passing of my parents at Champlain Towers, I’ve spent so much time dealing with the family business while going to lawyers and banks to deal with what my parents left behind.

Truthfully it feels like I’ve not had a chance to properly grieve yet, given how each day is filled to the brim, it seems with things we need to take care of… and what’s to still come.

On top of all this, I’ve tried to find time to keep writing, and hopefully I’ll soon make it through the 2nd draft read through of my new novel.

Concerning COVID, I’ve noticed that more people are taking the virus, and the need to vaccinate, seriously. I suppose the news of the Delta variant has finally made at least some of those who foolishly felt the vaccine was unnecessary or that the virus’ potency was overblown into finally realizing that, yes, you can die from it, regardless of your obnoxiously strongly held political beliefs.

Over the weekend we had another somewhat prominent conservative, this one a radio host, by the name of Phil Valentine, died at the age of 61 and after a month of dealing with COVID. Once he realized how serious the situation was, he reportedly changed his views on the vaccine.

Too late for him, it turned out.

But if you think everyone who has a close brush with death suddenly turns, you’d be wrong.

Newsweek had the story of Maine GOP Representative Chris Johansen attending an anti-vaccination rally days after his wife died from COVID.

Un-freaking-believable.

Even worse, it appears he had COVID -though he seems to now deny it- and may well have given the virus to his late wife.

Anyway, the good news is that vaccination numbers are up, so at least there’s that. We have reached the point where we want as many people as possible vaccinated so that we can head off any new variant of COVID which could potentially render the vaccines irrelevant.

If that should happen, we would quite literally be back to square one.

Needless to say, this would be the absolute worst possible scenario.

Get vaccinated, people. Let’s move forward instead of back.

Coronavirus Diaries 38

Honestly, I thought things would be much better now.

What with vaccines becoming common place and anyone can get one here in the United States, I really would have thought people would be flocking to get vaccinated for COVID 19 and surely the rates of the disease would be dropping by now…

Right?

Alas…

So it turns out that far too many people remain deniers of the virus. I suspect many of these people are the same ones who lose their shit at the idea of wearing -gasp!- a mask… as if that’s some kind of major infringement on their personal liberty.

Give me a fucking break.

Sorry if I’m sounding sour, but I’m getting really sick of this.

You don’t want to deal with Coronavirus anymore? Guess what, there’s a real easy solution:

Get vaccinated.

If you’re one of the brainwashed fools who think vaccines are some kind of liberal plot and that masks don’t really do anything let me offer two bits of advice.

First: Get your head out of your ass (ie, all those idiotic Right Wing bullshit articles out there).

Second, perhaps you should read this article about Dick Farrel, a Right Wing radio host who, like too many of these Right Wing types, had nothing but disdain for Dr. Fauci and felt vaccines and masks were stupid.

You can probably guess what happens next. The following article, presented on theguardian.com, tells us about how…

Rightwing radio host and anti-vaxxer Dick Farrel dies of COVID

Read the article if you want to, but the bottom line is as tragic as it is expected.

The 65 year old Dick Farrel, who had a plethora of wonderfully wrongheaded -and just plain wrong- opinions about COVID, vaccines, and Dr. Fauci, contracted the virus and, once in the hospital, realized his mistake…

…and it was too late.

From the article

(Dick Farrel) reportedly changed his opinion about vaccines after falling ill and later being admitted to hospital before passing away on 4 August aged 65. “He texted me and told me to ‘Get it!’ He told me this virus is no joke and he said, “I wish I had gotten [the vaccine]!”

Get vaccinated, people.

Please.

Champlain Towers South

It’s been a very long nearly one month since last I posted on June 25th, the day after the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South.

A lot has happened since then and forgive me for not providing updates.

It’s been very hectic.

As I mentioned in my previous post, once I had an idea of the nature and extent of the Champlain Towers collapse and realized among the apartments that were part of the collapse was that of my parents, I feared there was little hope for their survival.

On July 2, my father’s body was recovered. On July the 10, my mother’s. Both were identified by a DNA swab I provided. As painful as the news was, at least for my family and I there was closure, which at that time there wasn’t for everyone who lost loved ones to this tragedy.

On Friday, July 16th, we finally had their burial. I was truly touched by those who showed up and had kind things to say about my parents and truly appreciated the company we had following the funeral.

Not only did I lose my parents, though, but also everything they had in their apartment. Family pictures, heirlooms, jewelry, artwork (nothing by anyone famous, but nonetheless some beautiful pictures and one sculpture they had for literally decades), is gone.

Even their cars, which were parked in the underground garage and likely survived the initial collapse as they were under the part of the building that remained standing, could not be brought out. To be very clear: Nor should they have been considered being removed over the far more pressing need to find survivors.

However, once the rest of the building was brought down, the cars were likely crushed as well.

So all their possessions along with them are gone and its so heartbreaking… its as if they not only passed away, but didn’t exist at all.

Perhaps the most infuriating thing to happen from this tragedy is that there are -and there is no kind way of saying this- assholes out there who took advantage and stole the identities of some of the victims…

Hacker steals identities of multiple victims killed in Surfside condo collapse

I hope they’re found and prosecuted to the absolute fullest extent of the law.

So today, nearly a week since the funeral, my sisters and I are going over my parents’ estate and sorting things out. It will be quite a process, likely to take many months and many trips to Estate lawyers and banks, etc., to close out accounts and distribute monies according to my parents wishes.

I feel better today, frankly, than I did in the last posting.

My parents, based on where their bodies were found with respect to the apartment, were likely in bed when the collapse happened, hopefully in a deep sleep.

If this was the case, and given the speed in which the building collapsed, they likely didn’t feel a thing or were even aware of the tragedy as it was happening.

It is my most fervent hope.

I have so many memories of my time with them and will cherish them for the rest of my life.

For those out there reading this, don’t take your loved ones for granted.

Rest in peace, my dearest.

8777 Collins Avenue, Surfside Florida

This will be my last post for a while.

How long I cannot say.

As many of you who follow the news know, early Thursday morning came the horrifying news that a condominium building known as Champlain Towers South in Surfside and at 8777 Collins Avenue had a “partial” collapse.

I woke up at about 4 am that Thursday early morning, headed to the bathroom, and saw the news on my iPad.

The shock hit me first. I saw the picture they had on the news website, and I though the building looked familiar.

The shock turned to horror when I read the building that partially collapsed was Champlain Towers South.

I drove off to it, a knot in my stomach, to see what had happened.

My parents, you see, live there.

I lived and grew up there, between 1983 or so until I got married and moved out in 1994.

I called my sister and she talked to my other sister. Eventually, they all showed up at the Red Cross station on 93rd street and Collins. We couldn’t find out parents there and the knot in our stomachs was turning into terror.

When we finally had some idea of what the “partial” collapse involved, the entire north and east wing of the building, the section my parents lived in, that terror grew not the unimaginable.

Losing a parent is gut wrenching. Losing both parents, and all the stuff in the world they had with them, in a matter of seconds, is simply unimaginable.

And I’m trying my best to process that.

Yes, its still early. There might be a miracle and maybe one or both of them are found alive.

But I just… as much as I may wish that to happen, I just don’t see it.

Their apartment was on the ninth floor and faced the Atlantic Ocean. It was the last apartment, one of two, on the Far East side of the section that collapsed.

The view was beautiful, though for someone like me with fear of heights, I found it very difficult to walk the balcony and hadn’t done so in years. The apartment itself was a beautiful one, enough to house all of us -my parents and sisters- when we were living there.

My sisters and I eventually married and moved away but my parents never considered leaving the place, though my mother now and again looked around at real estate listings of homes. It was never a serious thing, more a curiosity, and that memory is even more painful given what happened.

My parents lived comfortably and were well past retirement age, yet my father continued working his business, with the help of my sisters and I.

My mother kept herself busy with her own things, visiting friends and planning to vacation and see her family in Europe after the whole COVID thing was over.

It’s still early and, as I said, a miracle could happen and one or both of them might be found alive.

But looking at the destruction, looking at the fall of the building…

I’m shaking at the thought and find it hard to type through the emotions.

It looks as if I’ve lost not just one but both of my parents to an absolutely indescribable, seemingly impossible event.

And today they say there are 159 others missing from the many other apartments that collapsed on that wing of the building.

My heart goes out to those people.

I feel their pain.

I’ll post again, I promise.

Just give me time to sort this tragedy out.

Vaccines vs… freedom…?

Over on CNN.com Jacob Lev and Ray Sanchez write about…

Buffalo Bills’ Cole Beasley says he’d rather retire than get Covid-19 vaccine

For those who aren’t into sports, the Buffalo Bills are a professional football team and Cole Beasley, one of their players, has expressed open defiance over the thought that anyone will force him to get vaccinated for COVID.

Now, I’m a HUGE proponent of vaccines. I got my Pfizer shots as soon as I was able. I’m close to some people in the medical fields and have unfortunately heard too many horror stories of people who have contracted the Coronavirus. One such story, resulting in the gentleman’s eventual death, is the type of stuff of horror films.

Having said all that and at the risk of sounding contradictory…

I do not begrudge Mr. Beasley refusing to get a vaccine.

It is ultimately a person’s choice if they want to be uninformed or, to put it bluntly, stupid about what the vaccines are and how they can protect you from this virus. While its true that many will only have mild to moderate symptoms, there is always the possibility you will get it worse, far worse, and might even die from it.

But if you don’t want to get the vaccine, that’s on you.

On the other hand, the NFL, in my opinion, doesn’t have to tolerate this sort of attitude if they don’t want to. If this gentleman doesn’t want to get vaccinated, that’s fine. While he has the right to do so, he doesn’t have the right to be in the locker room or on the field in extremely close proximity to other players who are more responsible than he is.

In other words, the NFL should ban him or force him to retire as he’s threatened to do.

I know I’m coming off as sounding extremist, but if you’re playing football, unlike other human activities, you’re in other peoples’ spaces. Really close spaces. Your sweat, your breath, your spit… it gets all over the place.

If you haven’t been vaccinated and I’m a football player that has, I wouldn’t want you anywhere near me.

To be clear, I feel the same and struggle to understand how anyone in the medical field can feel similar thoughts regarding vaccines… yet I know there are people who do.

Unlike a football player, if you are in the medical field, even if you’re a psychologist or social worker or physical therapist or whatever, you must have come into some contact with or heard some stories of the horrors of getting a serious case of COVID 19. Further, you have to know and see that as the rates of vaccines are going up, the rate of infection from COVID 19 is very obviously going down. I recall reading one study that found that in some city/county it was found of those hospitalized for the virus, not a single one of them had the vaccine.

You must, one would think, therefore know the benefits of getting vaccinated versus not.

Seriously: What more proof does one need to the efficacy of the vaccines?

Still, as far as Mr. Beasley is concerned, I don’t begrudge him not wanting to get the vaccine for whatever stupid reason he feels he shouldn’t. I don’t begrudge others feeling the same.

But if you do choose to go that route, perhaps take a moment to read this article written by Nick Visser and presented on Huffingtonpost.com…

Former FDA Chief Says COVID-19 Variant May Cause Surge In States With Low Vaccination

The article notes that former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb was on Face the Nation this past Sunday and made these concerns known.

It’s getting easy to see, in my opinion: If you get the vaccine -as many have to date- you’re obviously protected from COVID 19. The proof is in the drop of numbers.

If these states that show great reluctance to get vaccinated start showing the higher rates of infection, it has to prove the vaccine works, no?

So why not get it?

We’ll find out soon enough, I suppose.