The Pandemic and I (7) – Mask life

Deadpool Minnie Mousemask VS Darth Vadermask!!

I have to wear a surgical face mask during my working day. Before the pandemic, a mask was something we only ever wore if there was an outbreak of seasonal flu, gastro, or coughs and colds, but they have now become standard work issue along with our uniforms.

A 10 hour shift wearing one of these is no fun, but after a while you kind of get used to breathing behind it. The psychological and science benefits of knowing it can help avoid transmission of our dear Covid-19 is welcome.

I thought it would be fun to take a look into my archives and see what non-healthcare mask images I have… you know, the ones that are fun, geeky, Halloween or movie-based…

I had a lot more mask images than I thought 🙂

E.T., and Dark Crystal masks by Don Post. Starlog. 1982.

Vic Door Creepers. Starburst N°109. 1987. UK.

Don Post masks. Starlog. 1980.

Cheetara mask. Thundercats N°77. 1988. UK.

Below: not a mask I know, but a helmet… this is pretty good protection all the same!

Judoon Sound FX helmet. Doctor Who Adventures. 2007. UK.

Below: Warning! Beware of American actors stealing surgical masks right from under your feet!

Spidey wouldn’t do that!

Spider-Man: Far From Home chirashi poster. 2019. Japan.

Jabba’s henchmen might! 

Star Wars. Return of the Jedi masks by Don Post. US. 1983.

Below: oops! Wrong kind of mask…

M.A.S.K. France. Pif gadget 896. 1986.

Below: from the Star Wars Book of Masks, (Le Livres des Masques. Hachette Jeunesse. 1983. France).

Below: superheroes wear masks!

Heroes World masks. 1979. US.

Heroes World Spider-Man Ski Mask. 1981. US.

Warning: best not to use the below mask under any circumstances!!

USA. The Best of Starlog Vol 1. 1980.

That’s all for now, folks!

Thank you for avoiding facial-recognition with us 🙂


And now, back to the science…

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

When and how to use masks

For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of the Covid-19 virus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


 

The pandemic and I. (6) fools, cake, roadblocks, a cold beer, Michonne from The Walking Dead, and a welcome lie in.

Report – Saturday 28 March

Due to staff shortages at work, I haven’t had the energy nor time this week to enjoy the wonderful world of WP blogging. I’ve just finished for a weekend off after completing four 10 hour shifts in a row. Prior to that I’d already done two 10 hour shifts with only a day off in between.

Imagic, Atari. 1983.

I’m not complaining here. Work is a rewarding (if risky) distraction, and it’s a good feeling knowing our team is doing all it can, and so far successfully, to keep our 74 elderly residents virus free. But to say that come Friday evening I wasn’t hallucinating a little, unable to think and speak correctly in either English or French, and had a yearning for a cold beer or two, followed by a sleep knowing a lie in was in store the following morning, would be an understatement so massive it could easily be seen from space.

So what’s been happening for TVTA this week during the pandemic? And, dear friends, how are you all coping and managing?

  • Safety in numbers? (a) Our units house 74 vulnerable elderly people presenting a range of medical conditions. To date, no one has died from Covid-19, nor have had, or are showing any symptoms. In France, where numbers of deaths and infections are rising in many retirement homes, we consider ourselves fortunate so far.
  • Safety in numbers? (b) Since last week, our residents remain in isolation in their rooms. Some are coping well – even loving it. Some are starting to get a little stir crazy. Some don’t understand the situation at all, and leave their rooms constantly. Staff do all we can with what small time we have free to take those who are suffering from isolation outside – individually, and under protocols – into the gardens for 10, 15 mins fresh air and exercise. It’s not much, but helps enormously to lift the spirits of some.

Roadblock!

Majorette police toys. France. 1986.

  • Holy crap! I got stopped for the first time during our lockdown by the police. I was cycling home from shift. There were eight of them blocking the entrances to a town roundabout. They asked to see my papers. Asked where I worked. As a health carer, I have to carry government papers validating the reasons why I am outdoors during the lockdown. I showed my papers (outstretched hands, 1 metre distance between me and the gruff officer). He looked my papers over, mumbled Merci, monsieur, and sent me on my way. It was a bit weird being stopped and questioned liked that, but I respect the police having to do so in trying to catch those breaking the strict social distancing rules.

I pity the fool!

Mr T. Eagle. 1983. UK.

  • I don’t want to judge. I don’t want to laugh. I certainly don’t want anyone to suffer from this horrible virus, nor would I wish it upon anyone. But I will state: some people are born fools…

United Kingdom PM Boris Johnson (right) and Rishi Sunak clap in appreciation of NHS workers. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images.

“I’m shaking hands continuously. I was at a hospital the other night where there were actually some Coronavirus patients & I shook hands with everybody. People can make up their own mind but I think it’s very important to keep shaking hands.” Boris Johnson. 03 March 2020.

“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.” Boris Johnson. 27 March. 2020.

Cake, glorious cake!

Cover. The Wilton Yearbook of Cake Decorating 1982.

  • At work, the family of one of our residents sent in food parcels for the staff. The delivery contained delicious cakes, croissants, pain au chocolate, and fresh fruit. Not supermarket stuff, but expensive, top quality products. Did we feel treated? Did we feel strong as lions after eating such a feast? Oh yes 🙂

I love Michonne!

Image Source: Wikipedia

One of my coping mechanisms to ‘decompress’ during the pandemic is catching up on seasons 2, 3, and 4 of The Walking Dead which I never watched. I watched season 1 when it first came out, then didn’t pick it back up until season 5.

I’ve always liked the character Michonne. She is fearless, fierce, cool, stubborn, deadly, moody, bold… seeing her introduced for real in season 3, armed with her katana, hooded, and dragging along two shackled walkers which she was using for protection and camouflage… I thought: just wow, and what the…!

Season 2 completed. I’m on season 3 now.

The Walking Dead season 3. Image courtesy of AMC.

Cat communications to help us!

We end with a message from our overlords, the cats:

“Meowl, miew, meow, mrahhh, purr, myawl!” translation: “Dear humans, be safe, isolate and rest, wash often. Like us!”

Cats. TVTA collection.



For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages 

The pandemic and I. (5) Learning one of your colleagues tested positive

Report – Monday 23 March

We learned this weekend that one of our colleagues from the elderly medical retirement home we work at has tested positive for Covid-19. As care workers from the same team, how does this make us feel?

Shocked and sad – for our colleague, a close team member; Worried/stressed – that others may be infected, staff, residents (impossible to know when testing is not made available until someone shows symptoms); Weary – we lose another staff member when we are already suffering losses due to other reasons, and staff having to reorganise work for family commitments. Example, the morning shift yesterday we were only one staff short, but on the evening shift we were three short; Realising we are vulnerable – some of us have a sense of ‘invincibility’ as we are under excellent and strict control measures and protocols at work. Learning one of the ‘troops’ has gone down definitely puts a chink in the collective armour; Relieved – no one else has reported symptoms as yet, and all residents are in good health; Determined and/or resigned – to work on under the most difficult and evolving circumstances.

Our latest protocols:

  • Isolation procedures put into immediate effect for all residents. No one leaves their rooms at any time now. This ensures zero contact between the residents themselves. Quite distressing for some as they feel a prisoner in their own room. For others they are very happy – never having to leave their room, room service, TV all day.
  • All personnel now have to wear masks when previously only if you had a cough, cold or had not been vaccinated against seasonal flu. The reason was a) no one was Covid-19 positive at the time, and b) we didn’t have enough masks. This shortage of masks is not something exclusive to us, or even France, but a worldwide issue. Our management has now requisitioned enough masks for all personnel (Maybe they had been stockpiling ready for our first case?).
  • Continuation of twice-daily temperature taking for personnel.
  • Continuation of no visitors except medical personnel. This policy has been waived on two occasions to allow relatives (under controlled measures) to see a family member who is receiving end-of-life care and is not expected to live beyond 48 hours.
  • A former visitor’s lounge has been cleared and transformed into a stock room full of boxes standing floor to ceiling containing medical equipment, hand sanitisers, toilet roll, cleaning products.

Upbeat, somehow, you have to be!

We’re hoping there are no more cases for staff, and that we can keep our extremely vulnerable residents safe. In the absence of any quick, easy and sound means to test staff daily, it’s impossible to know who of us might bring the virus in. The onus is of course on us not to bring the infection into the home of the residents, and we can only do this by following strict protocols both inside the units and in our own homes, and by limiting our exposure to outside.

TVTA morale is upbeat!

Gonna wash my hands and wash my hair! Plus, free cute kitten!!!

UK. Film Review. 1979.

From kittens and nice hair to…

… distraction TV blood, guts and zombies!

Thank you The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead season 2. Image courtesy of AMC.

For me personally, one of my coping mechanisms to ‘decompress’ is catching up on seasons 2, 3, and 4 of The Walking Dead which I never watched. I watched season 1 when it first came out, then didn’t pick it back up until season 5. (must be a time travelling thing for TVTA, and I’m totally enjoying seeing the pre-evolution of certain characters and storylines). Thanks to Netflix very responsibly streaming in low-definition during these troubled times to help free up internet speeds, I can finally see these three seasons I missed.

TVTA escapism? Avoiding reality? Mr Editor, is it wise for you to watch a TV show set in a violent and death-filled post-apocalyptic world?

Hell yeah! Fiction is good for the soul. And just imagine how much more we’d feel fkd up with zombies trying to eat our faces!! 🙂

By contrast, I could also look at more kitten images, and drink tea. Or both!

Hello Kitty tea set.

Stay well and healthy everyone. Thank you for your messages of encouragement and support. Together we can get through this!

Remember…


  1. Remember, a mask should only be used by health workers, care takers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough.
  2. Before touching the mask, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  3. Take the mask and inspect it for tears or holes.
  4. Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is).
  5. Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the coloured side).
  6. Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
  7. Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
  8. After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
  9. Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
  10. Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, if visibly soiled, wash your hands with soap and water.

Information: WHO


For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages