Happy Liptember!

I have no idea how many year I’ve done Liptember. More than 10 now I think, going by facebook memories! It’s a fun month, wearing the lipsticks that I’ve hoarded, with a bit of culling each year, adding a few like the red I’m wearing today (above) that we got for raising $60 πŸ™‚ Always a fan of a nice red πŸ™‚

If you wanna sponsor me:Β http://liptember.com.au/phonakins

Life is still a bit of chaos between having extra bodies in the house and mouths to feed, plus we all got sick and I’m currently in the getting dizzy party of whichever virus this is (kids tested neg to Covid a couple of weeks back but haven’t tested since and I’m all outta RATs). So yeah. It is what it is, lay low, hydrate and look after each other.

One thing I am struggling with a little mentally is the removal of masking in hospitals unless someone is symptomatic. It came in on Wednesday in NSW, so yesterday would have been my first mask less group if I wasn’t already sick. I went in a got my meds and left because I’d run out of spares the week bub was born. But the week before I had a slight meltdown at the end of group when half the group were wearing their masks under their chins, and the new registrar took hers off when group started after having it on in the clinic before, and then coughed without it on and didn’t take my hint of glaring at her. Another patient took that hint though. Thanks to her.

Guidance on wearing face masks
Face masks stop viruses from spreading through the air so you are less likely to catch or spread them. When you wear a face mask, you protect yourself and others from respiratory viruses like COVID-19 and flu.  

Last updated: 30 August 2023

From 30 August 2023 you may notice changes to mask wearing in your local hospital. Staff may not wear masks in all clinical and patient facing areas. This is because cases of respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 and flu have gone down and winter is ending.

You are still required to wear a mask if you go to hospital as a visitor or patient and have cold or flu symptoms. Staff are also required to wear masks if they are looking after someone with cold or flu symptoms. 

Mask wearing at your local hospital may change in the future if cases increase. Please check with the facility. Read advice on visiting hospitalslaunch.

I think I’ll be calmer with people not wearing masks at all rather than chin diapers, but we’ll see. My case manager blamed it on lack of sleep and wanting to protect the baby. Maternal things and all that.

But I have ordered some better masks for myself so I can do the personal responsibility thing or whatever. I have a psychiatrist review with them in a fortnight too which is good because it’s been basically forever and I’ve been self-managing my meds and telling the GPs what scripts to write.

So yeah, we’re ticking along, Tick tick tick.

Pre-existing conditions, let us count the ways our deaths would be ‘splained away

How good are distractions like the child forklift drivers or the tennis, or Sam Kerr? How good is it not to have to think about the ways the government is happy to put us in danger to maintain their relationships with their donors (how IS Gerry Harvey anyway?) or their so-called principles. I say so-called, because they WILL change on a donors whim (oh who’s laughing now about Djokovic? Certainly not Rio Tinto!)

We sit here looking on in wonder, while Daddy Domicron tells us he’ll have a plan for back to school in the coming days, Labor refuses to call for a suspension on Mutual Obligations (except a lone voice from the ACT, don’t tell me having the Greens sharing the power doesn’t help Labor fulfil their progressive promise!), and I wonder if it’s worth asking my chemist to send me the RATs I get under a concession card out with my Webster Pak’ed mads, even though technically I’m supposed to go in in person to collect them, wouldn’t want us welfare recipients getting something without jumping through unnecessarily dangerous hoops!

Back to those pre-existing conditions, though. The ones that get listed alongside the ages of the dead and whether they’ve had first, second, third or more vaccinations, in order to make the voters feel safe to go about their day, to keep the economy ticking along, because she’s the most important creature in the room and we must be willing to pay tribute to her.

Personally, if I die of Covid, they’ll take one look at my weight and that’ll be the first things listed, more important than my young age (39) or the fact that I’m 2x AZ vaccinated, and can’t get a booster til the 10th Feb, though that will also play a role in their one-sentence obituary. Surely, my mental health will get a line. “Severe mental illness” is not a well-defined term, but data from the last two years is repeatedly showing that people with mental illnesses that have led to hospitalisation are much more susceptible to Covid, even when other factors like a higher smoking rate and socio economics are taken into account. Just be thankful you don’t have schizophrenia and thus be at higher risk of infection at home or in the hospital, but also readily triaged as a lower priority for high level care if I do many to access it.

Doctors and ethicists consider the role of triage and the roll of the Do Not Resuscitate order in a health system in crisis here and abroad (Fury at β€˜do not resuscitate’ notices given to Covid patients with learning disabilities), while I see friends on Twitter getting their affairs in order as Omicron circles around them, worried that their disability will not be the thing that led them to getting covid, but the detail that means they are second in line for the ICU bed.

Myself? I’m doing all I can to stay Covid-free. I do my groceries at the quiet times, I see my therapists on Telehealth, I count down the days til my booster is available. I live in my small little world, coddling my mental health, knowing that an admission due to suicidal behaviours would be more dangerous than just letting my attempts to push myself to having a more interesting and varied life sit back for another few months while the world sorts itself out and we hopefully don’t create yet another variant just as I’m wanting to step out to play.

So, for those of you reassured that only those with pre-existing conditions are dying, take a moment to think about why they have been allowed to catch Covid in the first place, and why, in a highly stressed system, their ambulance might be ramped longer or they’ve been prioritised lower for a call from healthcare in the home.


been musing a little depressively over on twitter about how 2022 was supposed to the be year I got to go out and do things and expand my life and all that and now with Omicron it all seems a bit too hard and crap and like opportunities are already slipping out of my fingers.

There’s threads asking about how your health care has been impacted by covid if you have a chronic illness or are disabled. My thoughts on that were around how it feels like pushing myself outside of my little mental health safe zone while the supports to catch me if I stumble or hit crisis mode seems like the wrong thing to do. Selfish and dangerous. One of the things I was going to do this year was see if moderate “social” drinking and I could have a thing again, now that I’ve been building up skills to apply from therapy to use instead of alcohol as a coping / unravelling mechanism. I’d really love to spend my 40th birthday doing wine tasting with my partner and have that day be a happy memory and not a regret or the start of something horrible. I also know that I may not be able to just socially drink, but I want to try it again armed with skills and self-awareness and strategies and supports. yes, it’s a little selfish, but pretty much any goals of mine involve me trying things that are outside my comfort zone, and I don’t wanna rule anything out. You may see me posting about how that all went horribly wrong later this year, but you might not. I wanna try new things, or old things with new ways.

I was lamenting that my therapy might not be as effective as its so far all been via telehealth. Microsoft teams meetings with my therapist, my DBT group, my Antabuse group. I joked in a group late last year that I was really looking forward to going back to face to face groups because my social skills had deteriorated over Covid. Not a joke. I’m out of practice and the anxiety around things I used to do is immense. I can still go about and do things, I’m just incredible fatigued afterwards. Spoon budgeting is critical, but I also wanna work on it. And if I’m going to do a whole module on “interpersonal effectiveness” it’d be good to have people other than my partner and dog to practice on.

My plan to expand my little world by participating in things that interest me. Picking back up a Japanese class may now be reduced back to doing kanji in a workbook from Amazon. The federal election should be a chance to keep involved in Greens events and the like, but I again want things to be back IRL. It’s harder but gooder for me on a personal level.

At the start of December, before the Argyle nightclub became a superspreader event, there was talk from my doctors and therapists that therapy and groups would go back to in-person. This held a lot of promise for me – The DBT sessions would be right in Newcastle, and I could top up my Opal card and catch the train, and buy a coffee, and look at the beach and all the lovely things that come from being forced to leave the house. The mater sessions going back to weekly groups would also increase my social interactions, and I miss the routine of getting the OzHarvest bags from the local charity and loaves of bread to split with my sister, a reason to visit her more often. I was going to go back to “Cupcake Thursday” but perhaps on a Monday, where I’d go to my parents after school and catch up with the niblings. One is starting HS this year, the second youngest into Kinder. It was in my plans and goals, but it’s hard to time and to do when school is on and off, or you’re wary of getting your loved ones sick, or it’s actually against the rules. But the family all had Xmas covid, so it’s not up to me to infect them any more at least.

So, yeah, 2022 is up in the air. Yay :/ I wanted to have more hope that this.