Last Night

Yesterday was the last day Boris was here, and it was one of the most productive days of his stay. Even though he had to leave to the airport at 6 PM, and even though we slept a little bit (by my standards :)), we did a lot! It would be a great day, except it ended with my mom on her first trip to the emergency room.

Igor took her to Devon market for shopping, and somehow she tripped on something on the floor and fall just the moment Igor looked away in search of the shopping cart. She had serious bleeding on the left side of her face. Somebody got her a bandaid, and she even continued shopping; however, she felt lightheaded. When Igor called me, I told him we need to take her to the emergency room to check for a concussion. It ended up alright: the nearest 24-hour emergency was not far away, and we didn’t even have to wait long. She got a CT scan, and she had no concussion, and the doctor put pain-relieving patches on her back and chest where she said it hurt and a stitch on her face. But even with everybody being very efficient, we left the hospital at 11 PM and had to wait for Uber and then drop her off first, and then me.

I am glad we took her to emergency and that I do not have to worry for days whether it could be a concussion, so I won’t even say that I planned that evening differently 🙂

Health Benefits Of The Move

I hopped on the Red Line train to go to my new house and just remembered one more thing that I noticed last week. When I first started to go to Rogers Park, I was pretty upset to find out that my motion sickness returned. I’ve experienced motion sickness to some degree through most of my life. As a child, I hated taking a bus because it would make me sick, and I absolutely could not stand a taxi. So my mom had to rely on trams when we had to go somewhere. It was better or worse in subsequent years, but recently (that is before the pandemic), it was more or less fine.

The most important thing for me is to do work while on public transport, and I could do it perfectly fine on Metra and during the past several years on the CTA, too. However, my new work commute will be about 35 min, and I was hoping to work on CTA. When I found I can’t, it was bad news.

And then, all of a sudden, about two weeks ago, I noticed that I could ride CTA and work, and nothing is bothering me. So I hope that this will last, especially considering that the train cars are not full these days, and I sit comfortably and work.

Some other great health-related news is that walling does not bother me at all these days, so I hope that my lifestyle change will benefit me in this aspect as well. And finally, completely unexpected, on the second or third week of packing, it stopped affecting my back. Either I got myself trained enough, or I got into the habit of always lifting stuff the right way. Or a combination of both:)

A Weight Loss Problem

It is a problem for me, because I do not have that many pounds, and I need them all;). plus-minus one is fine, but losing more is not good. I used to tell Boris that I lose weight after arguing with him, but we do not argue fr more than a year now:).

Here is last week’s sequence of events. My microwave broke on Sunday, and it was on the manufacturer warranty. That meant that I could have it fixed for free, but the repair was complex, and they had to order parts, so I was without the microwave for the whole week.

Then, I had a tooth extraction on Wednesday, and the dentist told me that I could not eat nuts for two weeks. Well, he mentioned other foods as well, but nuts are my single concern. I eat a lot of them, and they are my primary source of protein. He said – not even on the other side because the small parts can get to the wound. Also, I could not eat the bread crust.

Then, the first-floor painting started, and it included the kitchen. I could not get there for extended periods. Even making coffee had become a juggling act since I had to take everything upstairs.
When the painters left on Thursday, they asked whether it’s OK if they leave all the coverings on. I said – yes, but I didn’t realize that it meant everything in the kitchen as well 🙂

Or, and also – I m packing, or at least trying:), so sometimes I do not have time to eat:).
This morning, it came to minus 3.5 pounds in four days, so I am pretty much at my weight after my horrible 2014 surgery, And I need to stop today before it gets worse. I hope that taking my co-worker out for lunch today will help 🙂

Chicago’s Austin community and the complexities of COVID-19 vaccine equity

For the most part, Illinois is till currently in Phase 1B of the vaccination program. In order to get inoculated, you have to be 65 or older, or (with a few exceptions) an essential worker, or a teacher, or (in most parts of the state) be an adult with some kind of a long-term health issue. This means that most adults and none of the kids still can’t get it.

For the most part.

In the end of February, the City of Chicago quietly launched the Protect Chicago Plus initiative, where the city is offering vaccinations to everybody age 18 or older who live in certain community areas and set up temporary vaccination sites. The idea is that the majority-black and majority-Hispanic neighborhoods have seen higher-than-average number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, but also have fewer opportunities to get the vaccines. For example, the Lakeview neighborhood up on the North Side has a number of doctors’ offices, clinics and pharmacies. In North Lawndale, you can count those on two hands and still have fingers left over.

The city decided to set eligibility based on community areas, which makes sense. Neighborhoods come and go, their borders shift, and there isn’t always consensus on what they’re called and borders even are, while Chicago community areas have endured, with very few changes, for almost 100 years.

But it does create some interesting wrinkles.

Continue reading “Chicago’s Austin community and the complexities of COVID-19 vaccine equity”

No More Flashlight

The days are getting longer, and now that the dark season is almost over, I realized that my night vision improved dramatically after the cataract surgery. I had a flashlight ready for several years when I was walking to the gym in the mornings. And not just any flashlight, but I was making sure it is bright enough. And this year, there was no need. I remember taking it with me several times, thinking I will turn it on when I need it, and the need never come! Then I stopped taking it with me. A couple of weeks ago, I put away the bright headlight I had on the table by the coat closet. I only left one small flashlight out to use in case of some crazy power outage. It’s a really small thing, but it makes me happy 🙂

Yet Another Article

Yet another article about the post-pandemic “return to normal.” I disagree with almost everything in this article except for one statement: we should not return “back to normal” in the sense that its” normal to come to work sick and not to wear the mask, either for the reason that you do not have enough sick days, or you need money, or that it’s a way to demonstrate your loyalty to the company.

Vaccination One More Time

They called me three times on Friday! First, to confirm mom’s appointment for Monday. One more time, because they forgot to remind me that mom needs to bring her ID to verify her age so that she won’t be turned down. And the third time – from her doctor’s office, because they didn’t receive that information yet, and they wanted to make sure we know about the vaccination. It was very touching, but I can’t stop resenting it took so long to figure things out!

On the same day, I received a message from my health care provider that the vaccine is available to the patients and that everybody will be contacted individually when there will be a turn for their age group. Once again – great, but why in the world it took co long?!

About The Vaccination

All this vaccination thing in the Northwest Suburban Cook County is so disorganized! I knew for several weeks that my mom is in the priority group 1b and will become eligible starting on January 25. The date was approaching, and nobody knew anything! All the officials were like, “please be patient!” And I am fine being patient, but I wondered why there couldn’t be a normal wait line like they have in Finland. 

There was literally no information at first. Then, the Tribune published the URL where everybody was supposed to register “to receive updates.” In Lake County, everybody could see their number in line, and even in Chicago, it seemed easier to find a slot. 

I messaged mom’s doctor in Access to Care, and they replied that they do not provide the vaccination yet and that I should try to sign up mom with Cook County. I did and received a UUID with which I could theoretically sign her up, but in both vaccination centers, all slots were full. At the alternative providers, the situation was the same. 

Also, they had endless lists of Walgreens, Jewel Oscos, and Walmarts, which would have the vaccine, but once again, “all slots full.” And what I do not understand is why they can’t have some centralized place to sign up for all Oscos or all Walgreens. Instead, you have to try to sign up with each store individually, only to find out that there are no slots available.

On Sunday, mom received an email from the NW Suburban Cook County Health Department that they have more doses and people can sign up. My understanding is that they sent this message to everybody who signed up to be in line, without any priorities. Because when mom forwarded this email to me, and I tried to sign her up, there were once again no slots available. 

In the city, the situation seems better, but you need to have a city zip code. Vlad, Igor, and I discussed whether we could pretend that mom lives with one of them :).

All of a sudden, today at midday, I received a message that Access To Care started to vaccinate and that mom can sign up. Which I immediately did, signing her for next Monday afternoon – the first appointment available. 

Now, I am cautiously optimistic, but I will believe it when I see it!

Multiple Reasons To Be Upset

Over the past seven months, I was praising Metra commuters for wearing masks and keeping the distance. 

However, tonight, on my ride back home, two middle-aged guys in the car were sitting in front of each other with no masks talking and drinking beer. I didn’t realize they were mask-less until I got up to exit. When I saw it, I told them: guys, you should wear masks on the train! It’s a requirement! They ignored, and the next passenger leaving the car said something about assholes, referring to them. Again, they didn’t care, and it was really upsetting. 

Yesterday, when I talked to Mom, I found out that she forgot that I gave her Kindle for her birthday, and she even forgot what the Kindle is. Fortunately, she found it, and I took it home to copy a book she wanted to read. After work, I stopped by her place to return her Kindle and make sure she knows how to use it. We practiced several times, and she just emailed me, “thank you for your gift.” I am very tired and upset each time I talk to her, and I do not understand why. It does not take a lot to listen to her for half an hour, and I do not understand why it.

Also, it’s a lot of work at work! And I mean just urgent work, which needs to be done, I am very sorry that people need to wait for days for me to do small things, but I can’t squizz more in my days than I do now.

And a vaccine. The disorganization is above and beyond anything I saw before. With Mom being eligible, I still can’t sign her up. I know that I need to start taking her to places because otherwise, her brain will die. But now, that vaccine is so close; you do not want to expose her till she is vaccinated… 

Also, one of the very important Postgres people emailed me about our “not enough” licenses on our data sources in the postgres_air database, and I spent the rest of the evening (after mom) putting these licenses together. 

Why is it that objectively, I am on the peak of everything, but subjectively I feel really exhausted? 

About a Major Crisis

Today, on January 11, we finally have every chapter of our book submitted. Out of the total of eighteen chapters, including the introduction and conclusion, four are still being reviewed, but they are really small ones. Even if our technical reviewer would suggest some changes, there won’t be massive rewriting. I am doing a final walk-through with all examples, ensuring everything works as expected, and creating the source code files in the process.

I feel very good about this accomplishment, and if there weren’t a major crisis, everything would be in place a week ago. I know that I kept my friends uninformed, so here are some details about my family’s happened in the past two weeks.

For three weeks, we were going back and forth about Christmas and what is safe. Finally, we decided on a hybrid solution. 

Continue reading “About a Major Crisis”