The Saturday Update: Weeks 19 and 20

The last two weeks have been busy, but not all that productive in the crafting/gardening/reading departments. I’m still busy going to appointments, doing my physical therapy (hey, I have graduated from the walker!!), and putting my yard and gardens back into order. Somewhere during the last two weeks the CDC here in the US changed their recommendations on mask wearing and then my state also lifted the mask mandate in most situations. Evidently we are now going to rely on the honor system to protect people at risk from other people who are unvaccinated and unmasked. Oh, dear. I have been pulling weeds and considering my options…

Late one afternoon I hurried and pruned my roses in the rain so I could get frost cloths over them to protect the new shoots from an overnight hard freeze. The resident bunny, all alone since the Great Horned owl caught his mate, joined me in the rain as I worked. It’s been that kind of week.

So here is my dilemma: what is a seriously compromised individual on immunosuppressant therapy to do? I hit the internet, of course.

As luck would have it, Science Magazine (the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science) recently published an article reporting out on the current data from several studies on this very issue. As it turns out, there are some immunosuppressant drugs that are seriously impacting the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines, and one of those drugs, mycophenolate, is of particular concern. Rats!! I’m taking that drug to control my scleroderma. I stopped reading the article when I got to the part about only 9% of patients on mycophenolate produced antibodies to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Gosh darn it, I was vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. I wrote an email to my doctor and requested an antibody test to see if I was producing anti-Covid-19 antibodies. Late that afternoon I got a note from her nurse letting me know that I could just make the appointment online and go get the test on my own. I immediately did that and scored an appointment across town at a clinic that I could just make that evening if I jumped into the car and drove really, really fast…

So I drove across the Denver Metro area like a bat out of hell with the prevailing traffic flow and arrived at the clinic with 10 minutes to spare. Yay! Um… why is the parking lot so empty?

The clinic closed 20 minutes before the appointment; there was a goof in the scheduling system. I called my health provider from the parking lot and made sure my test request would transfer to another clinic and/or time and then sadly drove off. I bought myself chocolate on the way home. Why is everything so hard?

Thank heavens there is Hannah to balance out the little bumps in life. 🙂

The next day I got the test done after another drive across town and also heard back from my doctor. She recommended that I return to strict isolation because 1) the mask mandates had been lifted and 2) there was a strong chance that I wasn’t protected from Covid-19 no matter what the antibody test result was. Later in the day an email arrived carrying a letter from the Scleroderma Foundation that advised that I and other patients in my situation continue to wear masks and practice common sense safety measures including limiting contacts. Darn. When will this ever end? I’m starting to feel a little picked on here…

The next morning the antibody test result arrived: I have antibodies!!! Yay! About time I was cut a break, don’t you think? I’ll still be wearing a mask and will be really careful, but I think that I am safe to continue to go to appointments and the occasional book store or yarn shop.

Do you see why I’m not getting a lot of stuff done? All of this driving and decision making is just exhausting.

Knitting

The great thing about physical therapy is that you get better. You get to take afternoon breaks with hot packs on your sore muscles. The bad part about physical therapy is that, for some reason, the inflammation associated with building up muscles and loosening my bad boy tendons (I’m finally rehabilitating from a ruptured tendon in my hip) makes my joints misbehave. My hands especially have decided that they want to be babied and they definitely don’t want to knit. Still, I have made a little progress over the last two weeks:

My Noncho (Casapinka) is finally starting to take shape. The simple stockinette knitting in the round is easy on my hands and I can’t wait to get it done so I can wear it in cool offices during appointments. My socks, which are a take on assigned pooling knitting, are more adventurous with the texture stitches and the purl sections not to mention turning that heel and picking up stitches. Still, I am getting somehere with them. I’m inventing the socks as I go and will take time to explain what I did then they are done, but right now I’m just enjoying the fun of an adventurous bit of knitting fun. Don’t those socks make you happy just looking at them?!

Garden

The weather has totally been messing with us the last two weeks. It has rained… at lot. We have had snow followed by really warm sunny days. The the windy days arrived late this week to knock the new plants around under cloudy skies that threatened severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Ugh! I am getting lots of weeds pulled, new bedding plants planted, and sections of the lawn reseeded. Really, I have been working, but all I really have to show for my time is…

Hannah and her hydrangea plant that I pulled inside for a couple of days (hard freeze warning). Hannah thought that the plant was for her and was really involved with it for the couple days that she had it. Sorry Hannah. Hydrangeas need to live outside.

Books

I just started this book. Anyone have any feedback on whether I should keep going?

I was really excited about rejoining my book club next week for their meeting about Wanderers. Nope. Guess that isn’t happening as they are meeting at an indoors restaurant and the Covid-19 restrictions are now lifted so dining capacity is back up to 100%. This is a big, heavy book. It hurts my hands to hold it. If it doesn’t get really compelling really quickly it is going back to the library.

Anyone have a book recommendation?

Have a great week everyone.

Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and an exceptionally spoiled kitten. In 2014 I was diagnosed with a serious rare autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis along with Sjogren's Disease and fibromyalgia.

23 thoughts on “The Saturday Update: Weeks 19 and 20”

  1. Love your yarn selections!! Your poncho yarns look very similar to the yarns I used in my sweater I just finished. I love the poncho pattern and have it in my Ravelry favorites.

  2. I was talking to some Blogville friends yesterday in the US and each state seems to have different rules. I’m glad I live in Scotland where masks are still required regardless of vaccination status. It’s a worry about the effectiveness but if you continue to take care and follow hygiene and clean mask wearing hopefully you’ll be safe. I think we have different taste in fiction, some old books I still love and return to when I can’t find something to read are Kane and Able by Jeffrey Archer and The Curious Incident of the dog in the night time. I just finished Demi Moore’s autobiography but don’t notice you reading biographies.

    1. In my opinion this is completely out of control. Each state is running their own show when it comes to Covid protocols and then there is the issue of proving that you have had the vaccinations. My state is thinking of making an online vaccine verification site that people (who haven’t had the vaccine but want all the privileges of vaccination) are up in arms about. I personally would love to go out more, but I need safe situations where people are legitimately vaccinated.

      I am further into Wanderers and liking it more. I did read Kane and Able years ago and have the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time on my shelf. 🙂

  3. So glad to hear you have antibodies, but always a good idea to be on the safe side! Your garden and your knitting are looking amazing as always, and so lovely to see Miss Hannah 🙂 So sorry you had so much hassle getting your appointment, but glad the result was good at least!

    1. I am so glad about the antibodies too!! I really beat the odds here, but I was concerned enough to hedge my bets a little: I cut my drug dose in half in the week leading up to the vaccination because I was worried. I’m lucky that I can get away with that as most of the people who are taking Mycophenolate class drugs are organ transplant recipients and they can’t mess with their drugs like I did. I am back up to full dose again and I do need to be careful because it isn’t clear that I can fight off the infection before I get sick while I’m on the drugs. The really good thing is the people who are in my bubble with me are now all vaccinated. 🙂 Yay, science!!

    1. It is a pain!! One day I’m dying of the heat and the next the furnace is running again. I am happy that we are getting tons of water this year as we have been in drought conditions for far too long.

      I could do with less extreme weather and tornado watches!!

      1. Oh, no. I hope that it doesn’t go out of banks and flood; how nerve wracking that must be. The weather just continues to behave badly, doesn’t it.

    1. The serendipity here is just amazing; I have a degree in molecular biology, worked in an immunology lab for years, and then got my masters in online education. Since I taught biology I am really comfortable accessing the governmental sites for research data. I am so lucky and better prepared to deal with this then the usual patient, and it still has been a huge struggle to secure appropriate diagnoses and care. Let’s hope that things with Covid-19 continue to improve.

  4. I was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis in January (probably RA) and two weeks later got covid pneumonia which is still causing problems. I completely understand where you’re coming from on the whole vaccine efficacy issue and unvaccinated people and this whole freaking problem. I sure don’t want covid again!! Everything is frustrating…keep at your blog, love it! I found it when I was googling Hitchhiker shawls, just finished my first!

    1. I caught the flu right at the start of 2020 and that was just awful; I can’t imagine Covid pneumonia. I’m so glad that you made it! My physical therapist caught Covid and one of his friends sustained lung scarring from his bout. I am not willing to trust other people with my health at this point and will wear the mask, but it sure would be nice if we had vaccine passports so I could go on a knitting cruise this year. 🙂 I’m sorry that you have just joined the autoimmune club; RA is no joke and this is a miserable time to get it. Hugs.

      I have made a couple of Hitchhikers – they are just wonderful. I’m glad you found the blog. 🙂

      1. Aw thank you so much! I got the flu I’m 2019 and it took 6 weeks for my airways to recover and they actually never fully recovered. That’s what’s holding me back now but thankfully so far no signs of damage on the CT.
        My rheumatologist told me to act as if I’m not vaccinated but that I have some protection, but didn’t mention testing for antibodies. 😦 Hugs back atcha!

  5. Hannah is beautiful and so is her hydrangea plant! I am glad you have antibodies for COVID and even happier to see that you will continue to wear a mask. I know many people won’t wear a mask once they are fully vaccinated and have antibodies, but I think it is better safe than sorry. I have been fully vaccinated since February and I am still terrified of COVID and the new ones that have appeared. It is getting WAY too hot where I live and I love the beach, but not sure if I am comfortable go anywhere yet. Some people have told me I am worrying for nothing and need to relax, but I cannot seem to get to that point.
    Take care and continue with all your beautiful work with crocheting!

    1. I’m totally in your camp. I have learned to put a paper mask inside of my Vogmask so that it doesn’t get sweaty on my skin; let’s hope that works for summer. We already have cases of the Covid variants that are causing the horrific outbreak in India here in Colorado, so I absolutely am going to mask up.

      The point my doctor made is that, even though I have antibodies, the medication that I’m on will prevent my immune cells from springing into action as quickly as they should and I might get really sick anyway. Since I’m dealing with a possible heart circulation problem that isn’t very optimal for me, so mask it is!!

      Take care and stay safe.

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