This week I have to do 40 hrs at my “essential,” at home job. I’m kind of behind because of all the full time care-giving, updating my will with my lawyer over Zoom, creating my Medical Advanced Directive for my US doctor, making plans for if I became ill and/or died (my Covid-19 buddy cares for Gran till a family member arrives, and if my C-19 buddy gets ill and/or died, I adopt her cat and become her executor).
So, cut to the chase, early post this week and… I decided to talk about saving your own life and the lives of those around you. Because you can and, at this point, you really, really need to.
We, Californians, live with shelter in place orders every year. We grow up with them. We expect the fires to come. We know we might be trapped for days, or weeks. That our lives might be disrupted for months, or if a house burns, years. We know there will be financial pain at times.
If you live in the magnificent Midwest, I bet you understand because you grew up with blizzards. Or maybe if you were born in the sensuous South, and it was hurricanes. Or if you’re from the Great Plains, you probably have endured floods year after year.
To be honest, staying at home because of C19 is kind of a breeze. I can go get groceries. I can breathe the air outside. I don’t have to worry about the house burning down or fleeing for my life in the middle of the night. In many ways, C19 is not so bad because I’ve “trained” for so much worse. I’ll bet most of you have too.
The thing about shelter in place orders is, they’re for what’s happening now. You don’t shelter in place when the bombers are launching from the coasts of France. Or when they are over the Channel and hopefully you’re Air Corps is fighting them. Or even on the coasts because you’ve got coastal bunkers with big guns.
You take shelter when you hear the planes over your city. And I get it. Most of you don’t hear planes. Because C19 is a silent killer. Much like the Angel of Passover, Covid 19 is wandering through the streets, and it attacks specific targets. People who are unwise. People who don’t heed the good advice they are given. People who are unaware. (Or people who, sadly, came into contact with such people.)
And now the Angel is here and you see people are dying, maybe you know people who have died. So now, I give you this advice to save yourself and your community. Don’t be an ASS (an ASymptomatic Spreader), wear a mask.
If everyone wore a mask when they were out and about, that would cut down on transmission and that would mean the curve would flatten and the healthcare might actually be there for you when you need it. Also, you might not die.
Studies have shown, masks cut down transmission rates. When you are an Asymptomatic Super Spreader, unfortunately, you don’t even know you’re the problem. So you have to be proactive to save your community, and yourself.
Now, I know there’s a mask shortage. I’m not telling you to buy a mask, leave those for the medical professionals. But I’m going to share with you my secret: Indra’s Instant Origami No-Sew Mask. I invented this when I was a kid, going through fire after fire. All you need is
- 1 paper towel sheet,
- 1 Kleenex sheet,
- 1 cotton bandanna, and
- 2 straight or safety pins.
The following are Kid-Safe photos and this is how I teach kids to make them during fires, so they don’t get scared.
Place the folded bandanna with the point away from your chin. Fold it so the point is pointing toward your chin. Tie the two ends at the top of your head toward the back so it fits tight under your chin. Then pull it slowly up to just about eye level.
Don’t be afraid, you can see Mutti Bear is in there. Now fold the mask down to fit and pin. With Mutti Bear, she has a large proboscis. So folding the mask in, is a good choice. But for most people, you need to fold the mask out, and pin it. That’s most effective. Here’s how that looks, on Mutti Bear.
See the pin on the side? And the knot on the back of the head? On a person, your ears will be behind the pulled up ends /sides of the mask. It’ll look like you wrapped your head for a toothache.
Now, to make your mask Covid-19 effective, or if you have bad asthma in a fire situation, you can add a filter. Studies of use of the paper towel and Kleenex masks used in Hong Kong by their university rated this method of PT & Kleenex 80-90% effective against Covid-19. So, almost as good as an N95.
This is how you add the filter to your bandanna. Take a piece of paper towel and fold it in half so you have two layers. Place it on the bandanna as shown. Then place a kleenex over it. Then fold the point.
When you get your mask tyed and pinned, you’ll have an excellent filter mask that will protect you and your community and reduce the load on your medical professionals. You can wash and iron the bandanna and then replace the “filter.”
So, there you have it. Indra’s Origami Mask. It’s an endlessly re-useable mask with a disposable filter. And it’s pretty too. Not scary for adults or kids. I’m sure you probably already have a lot of bandannas, paper towel, Kleenex, and pins in your home. So, do yourself and your community and your medical professionals a solid. Don’t be an ASS, wear a mask.
And that, people, is how you save your own life.
Shout out to Mutti Bear for being my model. Sorry about the whole “stuck you with a pin” thing. You’re a trooper.