One of my favorite watercolor artists is Liz Steele, who is an architect from Australia who is really big in the Urban Sketching community. She frequently talks about the fact that, almost on a daily basis as a way to warm up, she paints her tea cups. My usual warm up is painting Pumpkin, who is usually nearby while I'm working on the computer, drawing or painting. This weekend, I really should have made it out to do some painting plein aire but I was feeling a bit lazy and spent much of it indoors, which seems downright criminal given the fact that so much of the US is being hit by cripplingly low temperatures, while I'm sitting here at 330 Monday morning in front of an open window seriously considering turning on our air conditioner. It's been in the 70's all weekend long, but I've spent it watching TV (there was a Star Trek movie marathon on cable all weekend long, plus Star Trek Discovery started up again last night) or reading on my kindle.
Work has been a challenge. Everyone seems to have the flu, and I am reading that this year's flu shots are not terribly effective (but they can still be effective anywhere from 10-60% of flu cases). When patients are admitted for flu, even when all the nurses have had their flu shot, we are required to wear masks. On our 50-bed unit, I'd guess that 25 of them are presently in droplet isolation, and there is now a nation-wide shortage of masks. I was shocked when our network sent out guidelines for the re-use of masks in certain situations, something that goes against all of our training regarding how to use PPE (personal protective equipment). There are also shortages in bags of IV solution, due to damage to Baxter's IV solution plant in Puerto Rico. The article said that some hospitals are using glass IV bottles, but I'm not sure how that would help since I have no idea how I would re-fill even the recyclable glass containers in a sterile manner. I've also noticed that our supply of non-sterile gloves is getting tight. The part of me that is strangely consumed by disaster preparedness wonders what the possibilities would be, if we suddenly found ourselves without disposable masks, gloves and IV solution. This scenario is actually within the realm of reality, as most hospitals nationwide are stocked only 3-5 days ahead of use, so any critical shortage that lasts much more than a week can become critical.