Really glad there are names which doesn’t apply the country or region (strange the UK is Kent, while the rest is the whole country) to the Covid variants. I keep reminding people to say “the variant first discovered in country” not the country variant as it sounds like blame.
Its clear 2021, is going to be the year of 2 covid19 jabs and a blood test. 2 more jabs that I would expect and 3 more than I would actually like. Certainly not a good year for me, someone with a extreme needlephobia.
The one thing which clearly has changed is using lidocaine cream. Its a real game changer for myself. I’m not saying it makes things easier but the instant pain of the prick is less intense, making it less likely for me to react.
1 jab to go…!
I got my first Covid19 vaccine shot today.
I wrote about this in my last blog because I wanted to provide some helpful support for people who have trypanophobia/needlephobia. Here is how my day went today.
Feel free to skip to the vaccine centre part by the way
Setting things off in the right way
I packed my bag yesterday night and booked myself a early massage to get into the right frame of mind.
Today I spent most of the night not dreaming which is odd because I usually dream a lot since I started gong to bed later. My Oura ring said 77/100 and Sleep as Android said 92% shut eye. Although to be fair I did go to bed early (12:20am) and wake up early (8:50am). After the hot oil massage at Manchester massage (don’t judge me, it relaxes me and its just a massage, not what you are thinking) I went for breakfast at Ezra & Gil outdoor (it didn’t rain which was great). I applied the Anbesol to my left arm in the toilet and then I walked up to Sports city (Manchester City’s stadium where the vaccination centre is. I was running a late, so walked very quickly building up quite a sweat with my winter coat on.
The Vaccine centre
After finding the centre which is in the tennis centre I entered the reception space had to clean my hands, change my mask to a standard issue surgical mask. This was a pain as I hadn’t wore one in the pandemic and found them awkward. This didn’t really help the levels of anxiety to be fair.
When it came to giving my information and checking I am who I say I was, I told them about the allergies and also my trypanophobia. This is when things massively changed. The man asked me some questions and asked if it had taken a lot to come forward to this point. I said very much yes, giving a summary of my experiences with injections. He jumped up and said he will happily fast track me through the lines to make sure I get my injection rather than let the time build the fear in my mind and I get up and leave. I was shocked but knew this the right thing to do. As trying to block out what was happening around me would become increasingly difficult, even if you can’t actually see whats happening. Fear does a great job of clouding the mind.
The actual moment (Trigger warning for my fellow needlephobic)
The man stayed with me all the way through another ask of my details, another clean and I remembered I need to apply another lot layer of Anbesol to my arm. So we stopped while I did that. Next stop was straight into a booth. He handed me off to the staff and I sat in a chair talking with a nurse who did one more check (they did offer if I wanted to lie down on a bed too). I don’t think I thanked him because the adrenaline was going, but he explained my fear and disappeared.
Sat in the chair, 3 people (2 women and another man) were in the booth explained to me what was going to happen. One sat in front of the computer screen and asked my details. The other woman stood in front of me and asked which arm and explained when I can put my headphones on. She explained the vaccine and needle will come in from the left side and I will never see it unless I look over. It will be given to me by the man. Once I removed my shirt, I put my headphones on and the woman stood in front of me distracted me by gesturing to focus on her and not look around. She could see I was trying to tune out but there wasn’t quite enough time.
I did feel the needle in my arm but the distraction of the nurse gesturing, the soothing sounds of Tears (Protoculture remix) by Dakota running through my head and likely the Anbesol. I had no idea how deep it was or anything, I didn’t count the seconds but it was over before the beat started (so roughly 1 minute). It was quick not painless but manageable for me. I thought a lot about the holiday I already booked and being able to go see my parents soon. I never once saw the needle or anything medical, except the bed. This includes those yellow used needles bin, which usually freaks me out massively.
Afterwards I was given a tissue to wipe my hands is they were sweaty (which they certainly was but I didn’t notice till they passed it to me). Afterwards they gave me water, chatted for a while, explaining some of my previous experiences (even they were shocked by one of them) and then one of the women took me outside for fresh air. We stood outside for about 5mins before I made my way home.
On the way home via Asda to use the toilet and pick up a few things. On the walk home, I had to stop for a short while and have a quick cry (i’m not going to lie). The tension was too much and finally the feelings came out.
I would say as a whole the experience was Good (thats what I pressed on the way out) I think it was great compared to what I was expecting in my head. There were a few things which were not clear to me for example I only knew it was the Tennis centre because my friends had mentioned it before. It also seemed very geared up for car drivers not people walking or using public transport. The fast track was a great move and the distraction was a good too. I like I never saw anything even when leaving.
I am looking forward to part 2? No but I’m more ok with it, although I’m already feeling the flu like symptoms and had to pop a flu pill, drink some tea and might start on the oranges for sure. The plan of rewarding myself with some ice cream has gone out the window (or is still in the freezer).
Hopefully this will be helpful to some?
So this week I’m having my first Covid19 vaccine injection (jab if you prefer).
I have trypanophobia (the fear of intramuscular and intravenous needles). I have talked about it many times before including how I was able to find a coping mechanism. Looking under the hashtag #trypanophobia and #needlephobia on twitter, there are many more.
Its clear the Covid19 vaccine is affecting a lot of people like myself (15% of adults have some kind of needle fear)
In my case (like many others), I want to get vaccinated but had to massively balance the positives and negatives in my head. The fear of needles is insane and that fear causes me to fight or flight. I really have to fight my mind and body to stop from leaving. It wasn’t till I finally had hypnotherapy, when things really changed how I felt with my absolute fear. It doesn’t work for everybody but it helped massively.
Most people can’t understand what its like and comments like, just look away, its quick, it will be over in moments, its a little prick, its painless; are deeply annoying and very frustrating to hear! Don’t say it! Its a deadly serious fear and as I explain to friends in the past. If there was a decision of having a injection to save my life or dying, in the past I considered the last option (I’m not the only one). Thats how serious it can be! Lets be deadly honest, its a piece of metal stuck in your arm and into your muscle. Its not natural and the terrible situations people like myself have been through will make you pass out if I told you them in full.
What am I doing to make things better for my vaccination?
I have spoken to my doctor about that can be done, short answer not much as the roll out is being done outside of the usual GP circuit. But I will fully tell the vaccination centre everything about my fear.
Zone out with loud music on headphones
I have a few people offer to hold my hand, which sounds silly but part of my coping mechanism is to wear headphones with trance music playing loud. I’m trying to zone out and giving my information pulls me back into the room, so someone else giving my info would be great. So less hand holding because last time a nurse offered, they told me to let go as I was crushing their hand. I was only 13 then, so imagine what would happen if I was holding someones hand now!
Do stuff which is the upside of it all
I booked myself an holiday in Lisbon, Portugal as a treat for getting the vaccine. I always knew vaccine passports were going to be a thing of some kind. Rewarding myself with a holiday for having 2 injections is a nice reminder of why I am putting myself through this. I’m also considering a massage just before too.
Thinking about it and visualise it
One of the things people always say to me is, don’t think about it. For me I have to so I can get comfortable with the fact its going to happen (been thinking about it for the last 2 weeks). When I have blood tests I have to watch it as I don’t want that surprise which puts me back at square one again. As its a shot rather than blood test, I’ll likely look away but visualise whats going on, counting the seconds.
Try lidocaine gel/cream again
A long time ago the doctors would apply a gel patch to my skin for 30mins before to help with the pain. I now know the patch contained Iidocaine. Without going into details, I didn’t find it helped much but I’m willing to give it another try. I’m heading to boots and superdrug looking for it now. I will rub it on my upper arm a few hours beforehand hoping to num my arm for the injection.
Hopefully these 4 things might help others having the Covid19 vaccine. Everybody keeps telling me how awful they feel afterwards but I can deal with that in my rational brain no problem.
, I also snatched the last Anbesol from Boots in the Arndale. My nurse friend, gave it the thumbs up and suggested applying it a few hours before then again while I’m waiting for my jab.
Anaphylaxis.org.uk’s Covid19 vaccine update is a good overview and not too difficult to understand. The site is gear for people with severe allergies for many things including different vaccines.
The NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service is a very technical detailed site including the exact ingredients and some terms I needed to be looked up. But it cuts straight through the noise.
Hope these are useful to people too.
My hopes of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the UK seems to be on hold. Like the AstraZeneca vaccine, there have been a very very tiny amount of blood-clots which are not clear are caused by the vaccine or are coincidental.
Every life is important and blood clots can be lethal, however we got to look at the statistical amount of risk. I’m personally still keen to take the J&J vaccine over the others right now.
Don’t think its just America…!
In the early days of covid19, I can’t tell you how many times I heard people attach China to Covid19, like that was ok?!
No its not ok and its disgraceful as it paves the way for all those hate filled people to pipe up thinking there inner thoughts are now acceptable. Its not and never should be! This is a hate crime and should be tried with the gravity it deserves.
We generally need to stop this, for example naming the variants where first identified. Kent, South African, Brazilian variants. Nothing good will come from this! I understand its easier to say than variant B117 (the one first discovered in Kent) but zero good will come from this… I promise you this.
As I have said many times before, happy to have a Covid19 vaccine and happy to wait, but fearful of the actual injection having trypanophobia. One thing I have been keeping an eye on is the one shot vaccines. The thought of having a needle stuck in my arm twice in less than 4 months is absolutely terrifying make no mistake!
Then this week I heard some good news.
Johnson & Johnson applied for vaccine approval in UK late last week
The UK has already secured 30 million doses of the vaccine.
30 million is great but its unlikely I will get the choice, plus I do need to look at the allergy side of the new vaccines.
I was reading through my feeds and saw the piece from the Guardian titled Everyday Covid mistakes we are all still making.
Covid-19 infections in the UK are reducing but remain stubbornly high, despite a month of lockdown measures. So could we be doing more as individuals to curb transmission of the virus? A virologist, a psychologist and a public health expert share their views on some of the Covid-19 mistakes that we are all still making.
The rest of the article gives some interesting tips for hopefully avoiding Covid19. Most are common sense but they are well made for example failing to appreciate what ‘airborne’ really means.
If you can smell someone’s garlic or alcohol breath, or cigarette smoke, you’re inhaling air carrying not just the smell of the garlic, alcohol or smoke, but any virus that’s leaving their nose or mouth if they’re infected, said Julian Tang, a clinical virologist and honorary associate professor in the respiratory sciences department at the University of Leicester. “How much virus depends on different people and their different immune responses. But if you stand there for long enough, you’ll inhale enough to possibly infect you.”
And just as you’ll eventually detect the smell of cigarette smoke if someone lights up on the opposite side of the office, airborne viruses gradually accumulate in stuffy indoor conditions, which is why ventilation is so important.
Ventilation doesn’t just mean opening a window. “The clue is in the name: vent, or wind,” said Gabriel Scally, a visiting professor of public health at the University of Bristol and a member of Independent Sage. “You do need a draught going through. People should be conscious of ventilation in the workplace, shops, or any enclosed space – including at home, which is where most transmission takes place.”
During the summer months I thought about this quite a lot, especially with people vaping. Sometimes the cloud of stream/smoke will spread a lot way. I kept thinking lets really hope they are not asymptomatic or tomorrow going to develop Covid19.
How ever the big one I have been thinking about is face-covering, or as the guardian headlines Inadequate face-covering
The mantra ‘hands, face, space,’ is really the wrong way around. All are important for preventing virus transmission, but physical distancing – including preventing small and large-scale gatherings – has the greatest impact, said Tang: “Masking is kind of in the middle. But, if the mask is used as a backup for when you can’t physically distance, or in poorly ventilated areas, it can help a lot.”
The current UK government advice is to pick a face covering that covers both your nose and mouth. Ideally, it should include at least two layers of fabric – although a scarf, bandana or religious garment is acceptable. The World Health Organization recommends three layers for fabric masks.
That advice could change in the face of more transmissible variants, said Scally. “I think there will be very strong voices saying that the three layer face coverings that we’ve got used to are really not adequate, and we should probably have the FFP2-type ventilator masks.”
These are already mandatory in shops and on public transport in Austria and Bavaria. In France and the rest of Germany, surgical masks are required. The main problem with fabric masks is that their quality varies a lot. Some three-layered masks are as good at blocking particles as surgical masks, but flimsy single layers of fabric block far less.
Just a week later the Atlantic’s Zeynep Tufekci and Jeremy Howard ask the serious question why aren’t we wearing better masks?
Don’t get us wrong; everything we said about the efficacy of cloth masks stands the test of time. Wearing them is much better than wearing nothing. They definitely help reduce transmission of the coronavirus from the wearer and likely protect the wearer to some degree as well. But we know that not all masks are equal, and early on in the pandemic, there was a dire shortage of higher-grade masks for medical workers. During those emergency conditions, something was much better than nothing. There are better possibilities now, but they require action and guidance by the authorities.
Even all cloth masks are not equal. Construction, materials, and fit matter, and these can’t be tracked or certified with homemade masks. Unlike cloth masks, medical-grade masks (also called respirators) that adhere to standards such as N95 (in the U.S.), FFP2 (in the European Union), and KN95 (in China) do a much better job of protecting the wearer and dampening transmission. Ideally, they should also come with instructions on how to wear them and ensure that they fit properly.
I don’t think masks are the sole problem but its a good point that maybe its time we started wearing better masks now. Some clear direction on this from experts would be useful too. Although people will still wear them around their cheeks and have their noses poking out the top no matter what directions are said. I’m hearing from multiple sources (one includes a doctor) about the importance of sealing the mouth and nose, as the ones which droop around the ears don’t provide enough of a seal for the wearer. If you look at the PPE hospital staff (finally?) can get their hands on to treat Covid19 cases. It completely seals off their lower face.
Its clear we are going to be living through this pandemic for another year (sorry to say) and even with the vaccine, the advice is to still protect yourself and the public around you. Now feels like its a good time for a serious upgrade on masks (but not that Rich Guy COVID Helmet!)
surrounding the better face covering space…
The figures of the vaccine buying in richer nations is insane, and on the other side I really hope the Covax scheme is successful. However its clear there is a big question of timing, how many people will die in developing nations while the developed nations vaccinate themselves?
Here is the first mix of the new year and its a Simon Patterson special. If you liked the previous Patterson’s panic attack. Its likely not going to play in certain regions as its all the same artist and mixcloud thinks I’m uploading a whole album.
Its a very heavy trance mix which whips along at a speedy 138 bpm and never lets up for 50 solid minutes.
Try going for a run with this mix playing, avoid those people and wear a mask.
Here is the playlist for Patterson’s pandemic run mix, enjoy!
- F16 – Simon Patterson
- Latika – Simon Patterson
- Brush Strokes – Simon Patterson
- Smack – Simon Patterson
- Whites of her eyes – Simon Patterson
- Panic attack – Simon Patterson
- Opulence – Simon Patterson
- Dissolve – Simon Patterson feat Sarah Howells
- Strip search – Simon Patterson
- Taxi – Simon Patterson
- Us – Simon Patterson
I found this video incredible to watch the damage one person can do to democracy. Remember just don’t read the comments!
Its great to see Joe Biden straight to work the next day over ruling trumps previous decisions including leaving the World health organisation (in the middle of a pandemic!) and leaving the Paris accord.
Its worth noting I don’t really read fiction books for entertainment (this seems to be a common thing with some dyslexics?) because I think I get the fiction or entertainment part from TV & Films? Or maybe I was put off in earlier age by stuff like Lord of the rings?
So I thought I’d share some of the great books I read/listened to, not in order as such.
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas
Anand’s book is a excellent look at the corruption of power. Its a great true story which is inter-sliced with cases from history of how Anand came to tell the people who he points the finger at, during their own conference.
Anand also makes clear the problem of inequality and how its driving a lot of the ills, just like the book the inner level which I also read and highly recommend to everyone!
The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Well-Being by Pickett, Kate E and Wilkinson, Richard G.
This book is incredible, I can’t stop not thinking about it and recommending it. There is so much in the book but the examples really make the overall backbone of the inner level and the previous book the spirit level. Inequality is the bedrock of so many problems and ills in this world, I’m very convinced by this now. For example here is the start of chapter 5: The human condition.
Larger income gaps make normal social interaction increasingly fraught with anxiety, and, as we have shown, stimulate three kinds of response. Some people are overcome by low self-esteem, lack of confidence and depression; others become increasingly narcissistic and deploy various forms of self-aggrandizement to bolster their position in others’ eyes. But, because both are responses to increased anxiety, everyone becomes more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and falls prey to consumerism to improve their self-presentation. As social life becomes more of an ordeal and a performance, people withdraw from social contact and community life weakens. Crucially, we have seen that the bigger the income differences between rich and poor, the worse all this gets.
How to Be an Antiracist by Kendi, Ibram X.
What a book, as said elsewhere its not great if its your first book on systematic racism. Ibram X, makes some excellent points and later gets right into the subjects of feminism, LGBTQ+ and ultimately intersectionality. He makes very clear you can’t be antiracist if you are against queer rights for example.
To be queer antiracist is to understand the privileges of my cisgender, of my masculinity, of my heterosexuality, of their intersections. To be queer antiracist is to serve as an ally to transgender people, to intersex people, to women, to the non-gender-conforming, to homosexuals, to their intersections, meaning listening, learning, and being led by their equalizing ideas, by their equalizing policy campaigns, by their power struggle for equal opportunity. To be queer antiracist is to see that policies protecting Black transgender women are as critically important as policies protecting the political ascendancy of queer White males.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo
I read this book again just after the murder of George Floyd. I know some people are not keen on it but I found the examples and approaches extremely useful when talking about racism. For example the notion of white women tears.
…well-meaning white women crying in cross-racial interactions is one of the more pernicious enactments of white fragility. The reasons we cry in these interactions vary. Perhaps we were given feedback on our racism. Not understanding that unaware white racism is inevitable, we hear the feedback as a moral judgment, and our feelings are hurt. A classic example occurred in a workshop I was co-leading. A black man who was struggling to express a point referred to himself as stupid. My co-facilitator, a black woman, gently countered that he was not stupid but that society would have him believe that he was. As she was explaining the power of internalized racism, a white woman interrupted with, “What he was trying to say was . . . ” When my co-facilitator pointed out that the white woman had reinforced the racist idea that she could best speak for a black man, the woman erupted in tears. The training came to a complete halt as most of the room rushed to comfort her and angrily accuse the black facilitator of unfairness. (Even though the participants were there to learn how racism works, how dare the facilitator point out an example of how racism works!) Meanwhile, the black man she had spoken for was left alone to watch her receive comfort.
The Guilty Feminist: From Our Noble Goals to Our Worst Hypocrisies, Deborah Frances-white
I am a keen listener to the podcast with the same name and the book is well written with guests injections now and then. Like Ibram X, Deborah talks a lot about intersectionality and its absolutely importance.
In a earlier chapter Deborah breaks down feminist by waves (second wave feminism for example) its quite powerful and makes super clear how different things have been over time. She also dispels some of the awful common stereotypes (bra burning & men hating for example) but thoughtfully uses intersectionality too.
I listened to most of the book while waiting in long queues at Alton Towers. Well worth the read even if you listen to the podcast.
This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World by Yancey Strickler
Previous co-founder of Kickstarter Yancey Strickler’s book is a welcomed read while looking at the state of the mainstream internet. Its a rallying call for longer term focus and is a refreshing read coming out of the epicentre of America’s hyper-capitalistic silicon valley. Yancey starts the book this way
This book is about a simple idea.That a world of scarcity can become a world of abundance if we accept a broader definition of value. We recognize that there are many valuable things in life—love, community, safety, knowledge, and faith, to name just a few. But we allow just one value—money—to dominate everything else. Our potential for a more generous, moral, or fair society is limited by the dominance of money as the be-all and end-all. It puts a ceiling on what we can be.
On a similar topic, I also had a read of Amy Lui’s Abolish Silicon Valley. Both are good reads and fit right alongside the R&D work into human values. Yancey is also one of our extremely knowledgeable guests in our Human values podcast series.
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
I have had this book in hardcopy for a long while but finally got the audiobook and had a good listen. The book feels like a direct follow up to the hugely influential Alone together, which I have written about following my holiday in Japan. Another related book I read is Left to Our Own Devices By Margaret E. Morris, Sherry Turkle gives the introduction to this book which feels similar to reclaiming conversation but with a stronger emphasis on mobile devices.
Me and Claire who I haven’t heard from in a very long time got talking about last year. From the covid19 pandemic, to the vaccine, systematic racism and to trypanophobia. It was during that conversation mind the gap was mentioned.
I had never really imagined or thought the images and books medical students might be learning from, may not have people with dark skin. Meaning an unbalance in the treatment of dark skinned people simply because of education.
Simple things like finding veins which are relatively easy to see under white skin can be challenging under black skin (generally). There were other aspects which I hadn’t ever thought about…
A Zimbabwe-born medical student living in London is filling in an important blind spot in the medical community: informing healthcare providers and patients how symptoms for a broad range of conditions appear on darker skin.
It’s the kind of problem that feels shockingly outdated for the 21st century, but as 20-year-old St. George student Malone Mukwende recently told the Washington Post, the lack of teaching about darker skin tones, and how certain symptoms would present differently on nonwhite skin, was obvious by his first class at the University of London school.
“It was clear to me that certain symptoms would not present the same on my own skin,” Mukwende told The Post, referring to conditions like rashes, bruises, and blue lips. He quickly extrapolated that the same would be true of other people sharing similarly dark skin.
Shocking but so glad of the solution, although its worth noting there is things missing from the book where you could help.
Glad someone else did a video about learning the Diabolo during the pandemic. Its something I have really enjoyed and look forward to when ever I can.
Here’s my advent calendar of Diabolo tricks for example.
The shared reasons…
- The Diabolo is good physical exercise
Weirdly enough, I’m doing roughly about 3500+ steps while with the Diabolo for 45mins. The big difference is my heart rate, its raised during the Diabolo and thats a good thing.
- The diabolo is good mental exercise
Its a good distraction and being in a state of flow while doing a trick is great. Like others, I’m doing it with headphones on, so able to listen to some of my trance mixes (haven’t done any recently) to get into a zone.
- Its the perfect social distancing device
Especially when learning the vertex, can’t tell you the amount of times I almost lost the Diabolo over the fence or its ended up in a bush. Its part of the reason why I use one for practice and the more expensive one for the camera.
- Its not a expensive device, but you can pay a lot for better
Talking about Diabolos, I have a lot of them. Some going back to when I was in college and a bunch of triple axis bearing Diabolos. Even considered a fire Diabolo. The sticks are also worth a thought. Originally I had quick thick wooden sticks then they got thinner before switching to aluminium and now carbon fibre is my style.
- Its fun and rewarding
The benefits of fun are well known but theres also side effects like amazing hand eye coordination, agility and of course style.
Even if you are not convinced about the diabolo, consider the devil sticks, yoyo, hoops, poi or heck just juggling.