Monday, July 5, 2021

Delta Variant

It's summer! Hope everyone had a good 4th of July. Things are beginning to feel a little more "normal". The mask mandate has lifted and there seem to be more social gatherings. 

So to answer a few common questions I've been asked lately... 

What is the delta variant that everyone is talking about? 
It is also known as lineage B.1.617.2. It is a version of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 that has evolved or mutated over time. This particular variant was first detected in India December 2020 and in the US March 2021. 

What is the big deal about it? 
This variant is more contagious than other variants. It potentially can cause another Covid surge in the US. 

Does the vaccine protect against it? 

Which states have the variant? 
There are 5 states where it is spreading the fastest: Missouri, Arkansas, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah. 

Is Covid over yet? 
The number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the US are relatively low right now but there are some hot spots where vaccination rates are low. So... not quite over yet... we'll have to see what happens...

Monday, May 10, 2021

Being a Mom

This is a day late but... Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there. I want to give a special shout-out to my mom (who I still call "mommy"). Words cannot describe the deep gratitude and love I feel... no list would do justice to all the things that I'm thankful for.

Below is a picture of the cover of a scrapbook that my kids have been drawing in since 2014 (thanks I believe to my sister who gave the idea to my husband)... on top is my gift this year... has each of the kids' names engraved on one of those rings. I received something similar in the past but unfortunately lost some of the little trinkets... so this is great. It reminds me what a blessing and privilege God's given me to help guide these little hearts... but not so little anymore... So every day I pray for wisdom and grace. I am humbled all the time at how far I fall short... at the same time, I am reminded to not measure with my own standards... 

To be honest, being a mother is the hardest thing I've ever had to do... SATs, MCATs, residency, boards...q3 call in the ICU... they do not even come close! Though challenging... and may sound cliche, I would not trade it for the world and am truly grateful for this honor to be called "mom"...

So as a side note, I find it fascinating that the word "mama" (meaning mother) is so similar in many different languages. For example, in Chinese, you would say "ma" or "mama" when you address your mother. It is pretty much the same in Taiwanese except the tonation is slightly different. In Korean, you'd say "o-ma"...

What do you all call your moms? Mother? Mom? Ma?  Who else out there calls her, "mommy" like I do? 😅

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Covid Vaccine Common Questions

Happy Spring! Sure has been a while... but I've been getting a lot of questions about the Covid19 vaccine lately, so I will try to put together some basic information. Please refer to the cdc website for more details.

First, here is a table summarizing the three vaccines that have been available in the US:

What are the possible side effects?
In the arm where you got the shot...
  • pain
  • redness
  • swelling
Throughout the rest of your body...
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • fever/chills
  • nausea
Can you get Covid from the Covid vaccine?
No. There is no live virus in the vaccines. The symptoms you get is your body getting antibodies ready to attack a simulation so that when the real deal comes, it can conquer it. That's the whole point. The symptoms are usually mild to moderate and will go away in 48 hours.

What about the J&J vaccine and blood clots?
So on April 13, the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine. There were 6 reported cases of developing a rare and severe blood clot after getting the vaccine. 6.8 million people have already been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine, so 6 out of 6.8 million is extremely rare. Experts are still investigating the cause of the blood clots and there may be underlying conditions that predisposed those folks who developed that reaction. A second meeting about all this is scheduled for April 23, so stay tuned... 

Contact your physician if between days 6 and 13 post-vaccination you develop:
  • headaches
  • leg pain
  • abdominal pain 
  • shortness of breath
Is it still recommended to get a Covid19 vaccine?
Yes. You can review your personal case with your doctor, but in general, the benefits of protection from Covid19 with these vaccines outweigh any potential side effects that may occur.

What about the timing of getting the vaccine?
So here are a few scenarios where one should wait...
  • If test positive for Covid, you should wait until all symptoms resolve and meet the criteria for discontinuing isolation. 
  • If treated with convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies for Covid, then you need to wait 90 days before getting the vaccine.
  • If you got any other vaccines recently, then you should wait 2 weeks before getting the Covid vaccine
What are the benefits of the vaccine?
  • Helps prevent severe infection from Covid19
  • Helps prevent hospitalization from Covid19
  • Helps prevent death from Covid19
  • Helps prevent the spread of Covid19 in asymptomatic people
The bottom line is that vaccines are key to stopping pandemics.

How can we get back to "normal life" sooner?
  • get vaccinated (as long as not contraindicated)
  • wear masks (though vaccinated folks can now potentially unmask indoors with other vaccinated folks)
  • social distance with those who don't live with you (6 ft apart and avoid crowds)
  • wash hands (should always be doing this anyway)
For more specific questions and details, you can check out the cdc website above or discuss with your physician.

So on another note... my family just came back from a little getaway up to the Finger Lakes. My husband and I had visited this area the second year after we got married. Funny, how traveling with four kids changes the ambiance of the trip!

from 2003...

quiet, serene, relaxed... gentle ripples of a lake...

now in 2021

not so quiet, energetic, adventurous... rushing rapids of a waterfall...

Thursday, January 28, 2021

My Google Classroom

So I had a total lightbulb moment last week and I'm so excited about it that I have to share! Honestly, it has been really frustrating for me to not be able to stay organized and on top of all the things that my four kids are doing... whether it be school, music, sports, household stuff etc! I've tried printing out excel sheets... I've tried a huge dry erase board sectioned off for each of the four kids.... I've tried putting everything in google calendar and using notifications. I tried setting reminders on Alexa. None of it worked super well or lasted long... but I think I found a solution!

For a while now, my kids have been doing this virtual school thing and they have become very familiar with google classroom. A couple of months into distance learning last spring, my oldest created her own google classroom for her siblings and cousins. Not long after that, my youngest also started his own google classroom. I really did not pay much attention to any of this but would hear about it from my sister from time to time about how my seven year old was giving tests etc. We just thought it was cute and funny. Then just last week, it dawned on me... I can create a google classroom!  Those who know me know I love excel files and lists... well, this google classroom thing is a total game-changer for how I'm managing this household!

These are some of the ways I've been using my classroom...

  • Linking a daily devotional for them to read, reflect, and respond... the classroom allows group comments so all can share or private comments to me where I can respond back. This really has been awesome!  It was too hard before to do devotions every night with each child separately but now they can read it in their time, respond to me and I can write a thoughtful response back.
  • Putting in daily tasks for them to "mark done" instead of feeling like a broken record asking them over and over again and then forgetting what their answer was after I asked them... so things like putting away laundry, getting outside for exercise, twenty minutes of reading, etc.
  • Attaching links to websites tailored to each kid from their different extracurricular activities (like or MIT scratch)
  • Attaching a link to the Compassion children we sponsor. Now my kids can read and learn more about them as well as make google docs and submit them back to me so I can send it out. I was the one doing all the correspondence before
  • Attaching links to each others school projects etc. so they can see each other's creative works. Since school turned hybrid this fall, my kids have had plenty of projects that involve using a flipgrid to tape STEM projects they've built or video editing project reports for social studies. In the past, I'd open up my laptop and play the videos for everyone while they were all eating but it would be sporadic and often interrupted... now they can watch when they have a moment and even comment something encouraging to one another
There is more but I will not list them all. Just one more thing...
These are pictures taken from my kid's bathroom this morning when I walked in there.
this so bothers me...

is this so hard to do?  took me 5 seconds...

So this is what I posted today:
Just saying...

So that is my exciting news.  Oh... AND I got my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Good Bye 2020 and Hello 2021! Hope with the Covid Vaccine...

So 2020 is now behind us... may 2021 be a better year.

Despite the challenges and many difficulties and disappointments that may come to mind when I think of the past year, I have to say that the blessing for me was time to just "be still".  I have the first part of Psalm 46:10 on my bathroom wall:

"Be still and know that I am God"

This past year, I really was forced to be still... at least physically still. I'm still working on how to be mentally still. Here are a few images that come to mind when I reflect back...

puzzles... and more puzzles...

virtual playdates...

kids learned to cook...

drive-by celebrations...

My family also had a chance to make some music together. Here are a few clips for your entertainment...

So what images will 2021 bring? Hoping with the Covid vaccine, we will be able to return to more in-person gatherings sooner than later. So my thoughts on the vaccine?  Without going into too many details about the how and why... I'll answer three main questions here that I am getting asked a lot.

Do I think the vaccine is safe to get? Yes

Do I plan to get the vaccine?  Yes

Do I recommend my family and patients to get the vaccine if they have no contraindications? Yes

Happy New Year, everyone!