Just an observation

This morning I took my kid to the park for a mom’s meetup. I’ve been meaning to do one in my area but a lot the times these events happens during the weekday when I am at work. To be honest, I don’t have any mom friends I could easily reach out to. Majority of my friends don’t have kids.

Continue reading Just an observation

Let’s have vaccine clinics in the lobby!

Happy Friday everyone! This week flew by — thank goodness! A lot has developed over the past week especially at work. Visitors seeing patients staying at the in-patient floors must have COVID vaccine or COVID negative test in the last 72 hours. The lines to the information desk are getting long. I think maybe while we are at it, we should have a vaccine clinic at all our lobby areas so if they get turned away, they can get vaccinated and not leave feeling empty-handed.

Also at work, all employees (including volunteers and contractors) at my work must have the COVID vaccine by September 30th. If they don’t get vaccinated, they can’t go to work. I’m not sure what the ultimate decision will be for those who won’t vaccinate. Is this an experiment to get more employees vaccinated? In the meantime, unions are negotiating for those who continue to not vaccinate to do weekly COVID tests in order for them to continue working but my employer will remain rigid with their decision. There is an exemption but that applies if the person is reported to get an anaphylactic shock from the vaccine. Honestly I don’t mind that my work won’t budge. As someone working for a public employer, is it financially responsible for tax payer dollars to continue to pay for employee COVID tests? Have my coworkers seen how much COVID tests cost? Also, I’m tired of holding the secondary title of contact tracer at work — it eats up a lot of time from my regular duties.

Continue reading Let’s have vaccine clinics in the lobby!

Things are about to get slower (please?)

Yesterday I worked at the community COVID vaccine clinic. Yesterday we saw more than 1000 patients (final count is still to be determined). It felt relatively less busy than the times we had served near 2000 patients on a Saturday. Maybe we’ve become more streamlined after each iteration of the Saturday vaccine clinic we can handle large crowds. Maybe as more retailers like Walmart and CVS have offered to become a COVID vaccine clinic it lessened our load.

If there were less patients coming to the clinic, it does to necessarily mean it is a failure. It could mean that we are about getting to the point where we have vaccinated all the people who have been seeking the vaccine. To date, more than 200 million people who have received the vaccine and 103 million people who are fully vaccinated in the U.S. In LA County there are 4.5 million people who have received the vaccine and about 3 million who are fully vaccinated. It does not mean our work stops here, we also need to get vaccinate those who are below 15 years old. We need to motivate the people who are vaccine hesistant.

Oh yeah speaking of which, other factors are the Johnson and Johnson pause. That did no good with the public perception to get the vaccines.

Surprisingly, in our experience a lot of young people are less likely to get the vaccine. Though there is a trend in COVID among younger people, they diminish it as the “common cold” and it will just pass through.

Then there’s the spread of misinformation about the vaccine. I don’t want to list it here because I absolutely do not endorse it.

See, we have a lot of work to do.

Even though we did not see as many patients yesterday as we did the last few Saturday community clinics, I am EXHAUSTED. But I’ve been exhausted since the beginning of the pandemic. I am hoping the fruits of our labor will pay off. We are a few steps to reaching normalcy. Nowadays, I’ve been lounging in more coffee shops people watching. I can walk outside as a vaccinated person without a mask. Please don’t take it away from us.

Black coffee from Tierra Mia in Los Angeles. I primarily drink my coffee black. If I am feeling indulgent, then I’ll make it a latte or add some flavor.

Another Weekend Coffee Share post hosted by Natalie the Explorer!

#weekendcoffeeshare: The art of vegging out

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!  What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans?  Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

Oh wow, what a week! I am not referring to certain external events. As of today, will heading towards my final week of maternity leave. This week has been pretty busy I went out of the house everyday of the week to run a few errands, attend a doctor appointment, attend a dentist appointment, and I even went to my work to do daycare orientation for Lana. Since I was already at work, I thought I might as well complete my annual health clearance at the Employee Health office. I may have fooled some people thinking I returned from maternity leave two weeks early.

Everyday this week I woke up anywhere between the hours of 4:30 AM to 5:30 AM. Today I decided to sleep in and woke up at 6:45 AM. I did not feel like doing my daily exercise. I tried “vegging out” but I guess my version of “vegging out” is going through coffee table books like Lonely Planet’s The Cities Book dreaming of future international trips (if we ever do them again) and researching recipes while the news is playing in the background. I also did laundry and folded clothes. That was my “lazy” morning.

Note to self: maybe I should not just go, go, go. Looking through my planner for next week, I do not have any appointments. I promise in my final week of maternity leave I should just enjoy it in the extent that I can.

On a serious note, this week the number of COVID cases have spiked and those are people within my family on both my side and my husband’s side. I do not want to divulge too much on the details right now. One of the first things I’ll do when I go back to work is to get the COVID vaccine. I’ll be the only person in my family who’ll get the COVID vaccine since I am a healthcare worker. I am excited and I am hopeful, but it does not mean I should go out and about. My husband and many of our family members who are not healthcare workers cannot get the vaccine yet. Hopefully distribution picks up soon.

A for Appreciation (Lens-Artists Photo Challenge)

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge for the week is sharing a photo(s) featuring a subject that begins with the letter “A”.

This week’s alphabet challenge is “Appreciation.

For the past several months at the hospital, we received an outpour of donations and thank you letters from the community. I work in patient relations and employee engagement, I manage these donations making sure all hospital staff gets something and is distributed equitably. It is not just people in scrubs who are affected by the pandemic — there are janitors who clean up public areas and patient rooms, lab workers who test patient samples for COVID-19, and clerks who interface with everybody. Then you also have the staff members in outpatient clinics. Though they may not deal with COVID patients directly they’ve been short on staff because staff have either transferred to work in the COVID units, called out sick, gone on leave, or been offered an early retirement. Everyone who works in a hospital plays a part, everyone is affected.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you’ll ever know.” — A.A. Milne

How to enjoy the heat while in quarantine

This week has been the warmest week in a while. It would have been a good time to go to the beach, but I decided to be boring and do my part to quarantine. After all I can only really quarantine two days out of the week due to my work. So here are my ideas to have some sort of beach-like experience without leaving home.

  1. Read a book. If I was at the beach, I would lounge and read a book anyways.
  2. Eat ice cream.
  3. Open the windows and invite the fresh air.
  4. Since I don’t have central air conditioning, I have fans. So I turn on the fans throughout the house.
  5. If I had kinetic sand, I would play in a small box of kinetic sand.
  6. Watch beach scenes

What other things can one do at home to pretend they are at the beach?

On a serious note, the real test for the stay at home orders is this week. During this time in SoCal it is a good time to go to the flower fields or go to the beach. COVID-19 and what came of it have upended a lot of spring traditions. They cancelled graduations — I had to request a refund for my graduation regalia. Admission letters from colleges and other professional schools have been delayed. If we were not under stay at home orders, we’d probably go to the dog beach in Long Beach but now we will just have to wait.

COVID-19 diaries: …and now there are protests…

And now there are protests. I hate to make this about healthcare workers, but the purpose of social distancing is to help lessen the caseloads in the hospital. The other day we thought, “this is it. It is rolling down from here.” It does not mean that we will “go back to normal” the next day. I already anticipated it will take some time to “go back to normal.” Maybe in optimal conditions, “normal” may happen by late June or early July. Why so long? I work in a public hospital where we treat everyone regardless of status and ability to pay. I anticipate we will get our surge later on because many people have lost their jobs, and effectively lost their health insurance.

I am sorry to the people who feel these shelter in place orders have taken away their spring, their businesses, and jobs. I feel with people breaking these shelter in place orders, we will quarantine well into summer and into early fall too. The longer we stay closed, the longer it will take for people to re-open their businesses, to find jobs, and finally get back to normal.

Five Things Friday: Get some rest

What a week.

If I wasn’t pregnant, a beer would sound good. But instead sparkling water is fine.

We’ve had lots of donations this week at the hospital. I anticipate next week will be the same.

What have I been up to? What have I been enjoying?

  1. Some Good News – I’ve been following Some Good News with John Krasinski. It’s a good spin. So far my favorite is when they featured the Hamilton cast.
  2. Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone – Do you spend a lot of time sitting on the couch, sitting in front of a computer, or laying bed? This YouTube channel will re-invigorate you to move more.
  3. Ordering take out – So a new ritual I’ve been doing on Fridays is ordering takeout at a restaurant in downtown LA. I am taking advantage of no traffic. Also, I don’t have to drive and meet my husband at home and go drive elsewhere for a night out. Instead I pick up takeout and bring it home. I guess I can count it towards my new restaurant count even though we are not dining in.
  4. Re-reading Ready Player One. I was compelled to re-read it because I wonder if COVID-19 created the setting for Ready Player One. It takes place in the 2040s — not too far from now. The world escapes the real world for the virtual world.
  5. New FitBit! After having a busted FitBit Charge HR for a year, I finally bought a new FitBit!

Probation status

Disclaimer: This blog post talks about my experiences of racism as an Asian-American.

I was listening to Friday’s “The Daily” on the rise of racism on Asian-Americans as a result of CoVID-19. In fact, I listened to it twice. After work I went to a Chinese restaurant to pick up takeout to declare my support for Asian-Americans.

I unfortunately know some people who called CoViD-19 as the “Chinese virus” because it came from China. I want to tell these people that YOU think you can get away with it because you are a white Christian person. I don’t know a time when white Christian people experienced racism. I don’t think that white Christian people in America can understand racism beyond what they learned in a textbook. Here is the twist and I am almost embarrassed to say this, but these people are my friends. I have white Christian friends — I grew up in a mostly white Christian area of Los Angeles. Ever since I was of school age, I already knew my white Christian friends will never empathize the ugliness of racism. People always asked me where I am from, but they never asked my white friends where they are from. I found these micro-cuts to be somewhat paralyzing.

The thing I want to tell my white Christian friends that they may think it is cute nicknaming CoViD-19 a “Chinese virus”, but there are major consequences where Asian-Americans are getting slurs on the streets and are unwelcomed everywhere they go. At my work I had two international students from China who volunteered at the hospital who then ultimately decided to go on leave many weeks ago. I supported their decision and let them go on leave with no penalties. I can hear the other side saying to me I am encouraging people to slack off. They’re sheltering in place, they’re not relaxing at the beach.

source: vox.com

Anyways, back to the podcast. Jiayang Fan shares her Asian-American story. She was born in China, but spent more of her school years and beyond in the United States. It started her not recognizing these little moments as not racist to then getting older and finally recognizing it for what it is. I listened to it twice in one day because I deeply related to her Asian-American story and “otherness”. So here is mine:

I was born in the United States — Chicago, Illinois to be exact. We moved to San Diego, California when I was one because my dad’s job relocated there. A few years later my dad lost his job. My mom, sister, and I moved to the Philippines for about a year until my dad was able to look for work. When we returned, we moved to Los Angeles. We did not live in downtown LA…we lived in the far reaches of LA County. It was a mostly white suburb where the houses were big, bland, and look all the same. The lots were small. You know, the definition of the American Dream.

When I was in elementary school in America, I had to take ESL (English as a second language) classes. I took ESL from 1st grade to 5th grade. What a way to make me feel like I was an “other” from the rest of my class considering English is my FIRST language. I was born in the United States. Even living in the Philippines, English is predominantly spoken. When I was in 4th grade, I read a lot of English literature for fun — many years later these same books were assigned reading in high school. My parents were really trying to pull me out of ESL classes. It took the school about five years to realize that I spoke English and decided I no longer needed ESL. Later on, I met other people who have shared similar experiences. If you have taken ESL classes in elementary school, you probably recognized your “otherness” early on. Since most of my classmates were white, I already knew I looked different the moment I started school.

That was one of many moments of my Asian-American experience. The older I got, the more I realized that Asian-Americans will be the perpetual foreigner even if they were born here and even if they have never spoken their ancestral language. I’ve observed this with other ethnic groups too. Our presence is probationary; if we excel in everything, if we speak English “correctly”, if we don’t eat “weird” food in public, have “normal” names, if we don’t get upset and offended — then we are welcomed to be here.

I remembered a few years ago, my Asian-American supervisor brought up a complaint about me that a someone on the other end did not understand what I was saying over the telephone. At first I was perplexed, but then it quickly escalated to being annoying. The thing that took me over the edge was that the recipient stated I had some sort of accent. My supervisor reminded me it was not the first time someone brought it up asked me, “what was I going do about that?” What did he mean? Should I get an accent coach? Also, he reassigned this recipient to another coworker. Deep down, I was concerned about my job. It was just one small thing, but I worried how much more until I become obsolete?

As much as I wanted to make speech on racism and unfairness to make my Asian-American supervisor understand what I am thinking about, I instead resorted the shortcut. I called him nit-picky and told him how I am not looking to change. Also, how dare he take their side? He concluded that I was stressed out at work and suggested to take the rest of the day off. Maybe I really needed the day off, but in retrospect, the situation was handled poorly. Nothing meaningful came out of it other than throwing tempers.

I was afraid to cry out the r-word. It was easier to throw everything else instead when I snapped. Since then and until I stopped working there months ago, I was always afraid to make phone calls and give speeches. When I started working at my current job, it was like I regained all my confidence. I credit that the people I work with and the people I serve are far more diverse.

It is hard to call racism for what it is. In the podcast, Jiayang created a scenario if she had a conversation with her mother about what she has gone through. Her mom would ask back, “were you hurt? Did they take anything away from you? Why are you making something out of nothing?!” That last part was incredibly relatable. I remembered when I left work early that day, I went to visit my husband at work to tell him what happened. I cried about it too. My husband is an Asian-American, but he seemed to have a hard time understanding why I was really upset. Then again, I feel my husband has met all the criteria of being welcomed here — I don’t know of anyone who complains about him. I talked about it with my parents, they advised me to speak slower even though that was not the complaint. Sharing my story felt like a losing battle…was I making something out of nothing? I decided to shelve this incident, along with many of my incidents of my Asian-American experiences. That was until “The Daily” episode came along on Friday. It reignited me to share my own.

COVID-19 diaries: Just genuinely curious

For the last few days I’ve been driving to work instead of taking mass transit. I have to admit, driving to work is awesome — especially since it only takes 20 minutes from my house in the Valley to downtown LA. I am thankful for everyone who followed these orders to

My husband and his coworkers wanted to go hiking today. I wonder if I they found a place they can actually hike. All parks and hiking trails are closed. Maybe it is at the back of someone’s apartment complex. Are they just walking up and down a neighborhood. They’ve been egging me to go along too. But I decided to do my part by staying in and enjoy my quarantine. Isn’t that weird to say? I’ve been out of the house nine hours for five days a week, I preferred staying in.

Then something occurred to me. I wonder how life is like staying in all day? It sounds out of touch of me to ask, but I am not trying to be facetious and ridiculing — I am genuinely curious. It’s been so busy at the hospital in the past several weeks preparing for the surge, handling donations, and continuing to do my regular duties, I really look forward to my Friday nights in well into Sunday.

COVID-19 diaries: Coronakindness

The last few days have been incredibly busy at work as we have been restructuring how each department is managing the pandemic. Right now the hospital census is low as we are taking less patients to protect our healthcare workers. The census at the ER is incredibly low too. We also stopped taking visitors a few weeks ago. Though it appears calm, we have been preparing for the surge in the background. Think of it as being tasked to build an ark to prepare for the flood.

Over the last few days, we’ve been receiving a lot of donations from medical equipment, PPE, and meals. Oh yes, the meals! People from the community have been sponsoring meals and we deliver them to various units in the hospital. These surprises have lifted our spirits. What lifts our spirits even more is hearing people and their reason to donate; they felt sponsoring meals was a big way to say “thank you” for taking care of their family.

Lately on my Instagram feed, I’ve been sharing more #coronakindness. I have been seeing more anxiety-filled posts — most are reasonable and some come up with awful conspiracies. I also see posts where people are indifferent and they feel like quarantine is a glorified mass grounding. There is also a lot of fake news. I thought to turn things around, sharing #coronakindness in the hospital could show people who cannot go out what the world is like. Yes there are bad parts like the increased daily count of confirmed cases and the neverending news cycle, but there’s also plenty of good too.

COVID-19 diaries: You're grounded!

So the last few days my laptop charger was not functioning properly the last few days. I thought about going somewhere to get it replaced. Thankfully, my husband fixed it.

What is new in Los Angeles? Well, over the weekend, I had friends who hiked in the trails in their neighborhood to only find it incredibly crowded. One of my friends described it as “the most crowded” he has ever seen. There were people who drove out of their way to go to a hiking trail or the beach and posted photos of how counter the behavior is to social distancing. As of yesterday beaches, hiking trails, parks, and even dog parks in Los Angeles are closed. I have only been walking my dogs around the neighborhood each day. Every time I see a person walking my direction, I change directions to practice social distancing.

I did find some good news about these past few days. Los Angeles County purchased several thousand coronavirus testing kits for the public. The wildest thing about it (by American standards) is that these testing kits are free for everyone. But maybe wilder is that across America, there is a cost attached to getting tested. For a private clinic in Houston, the cost of testing is $150. I find it awful how healthcare providers have the nerve to capitalize on this pandemic.

What have I been doing the last few days?

  • Reading. I am currently reading The Warrior Woman by Maxine Hong Kingston and Circe by Madeline Miller.
  • Exercising more. Since I’ve been driving to work instead of taking subway, my activity has significantly decreased. I would go to barre and I hit my step goal from walking to the subway and walking to work and back. Now it is whatever walking I can do at work, do house cleaning, walk the dogs around the block, and do a variety of workout videos.
  • Dealing with pregnancy. I am 10 weeks pregnant. I found out I was pregnant a couple of weeks ago. More to come about that. While in self quarantine, I have been focusing on giving myself a lot of rest rather than baking up a storm like I normally would on my days off from work. Also, I am trying to get my husband’s head out of the pregnancy and baby industrial complex.
  • I have a new work schedule. Instead of working Tuesday through Saturday, I now work Monday through Friday because our office will be temporarily closed on Saturdays.
  • Playing social media games with my friends