Saturday, 4 April 2020

Hand Sanitiser

I made my own hand sanitiser.
In the annals of things never expected to do, today I made hand sanitiser.

You see, I've been looking for some for weeks, but everywhere is always sold out, or are charging something like $60 a bottle.

So I looked up a lot of recipes online, and came up with my own variation.  I only wanted a small amount, to carry with me when I'm away from soap and water.  I don't go away from home much, but do have to go to the pharmacy, specialist's appointment, etc.

So here's what I used:

3 tablespoons isopropyl alcohol
1 tablespoon aloe vera gel (purchased - I have fresh aloe vera growing, but suspect the gel might go off if not refrigerated.)
a drizzle of rosewater so it doesn't smell so alcoholic.

That's it, just all mixed together.  If I did it again, I would probably also add a drizzle of glycerine to help stop skin from drying out.

It's a liquid, rather than a gel, but to make it thick enough to be a gel, would reduce the quantity of alcohol.  It needs to be 60-80% alcohol to work.

I noticed that the World Health Organisation approved recipe also has peroxide, and I would probably add some of that if I had it, but I don't, and I'm not going to make a special trip out to get it.

The main ingredient is, of course, the alcohol.  Everything else is to make it more gentle on skin, and to make it smell slightly better.

Monday, 23 March 2020

How to access medicines during COVID-19

Coronavirus: how to access the medicines you and your family need


Shutterstock
Nial Wheate, University of Sydney and Andrew Bartlett, University of Sydney
Panic buying of toilet paper, no meat or soap on supermarket shelves, and now an apparent run on medicines such as asthma puffers and children’s paracetamol.
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us in ways we’ve never had to deal with before. So Australia has announced measures to help people access their medicines.
These include limiting the number of medications people can buy, dispensing only a month’s worth of supply at a time, and placing some behind the counter.
And, of course, pharmacies are essential services so they will remain open during the forthcoming shutdown period.

Read more: Can coronavirus spread through food? Can anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen make it worse? Coronavirus claims checked by experts

There are also ways people who are self-isolating or at risk can access their medicines, from using apps, to government-funded free home delivery.
Here are some of your options for the weeks and months ahead.

Purchase limits on essential medicines

There are now purchase limits on certain medicines.
Customers in pharmacies are now limited to one of the following per person (or one month’s supply, if relevant):
  • asthma puffers (Ventolin) and other medicines used for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • paracetamol
  • Epipen, to manage severe allergic reactions
  • some heart medicines, such as glyceryl trinitrate
  • some diabetes medicines, including insulin
  • some anti-epileptic medicines.
Purchasing limits have also been placed on many other prescriptions.
Pharmacists have been directed to only dispense one month’s supply for more than 50 different medicines used to treat a range of conditions, including: cancer, Parkinson’s, chronic pain, blood pressure, and contraceptives.
Children’s paracetamol will now be kept behind the counter.

Read more: Ibuprofen and COVID-19 symptoms – here's what you need to know

What to do if you can’t get to your local pharmacy

If you have been directed to self-isolate or if it’s risky for you to shop at a pharmacy, there are still options.
If you are in isolation, are over the age of 70, of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, or have a compromised immune systems or chronic health condition, you may be eligible for a free service to deliver medicines to your home.
This scheme only covers the costs of delivery for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines. The scheme does not include everyday products like hand sanitiser or regular over-the-counter medicines.

Read more: Why are older people more at risk of coronavirus?

If you’re not eligible for the home medicines service, one way to get your prescription and non-prescription medicines delivered to your home is via an app like mymedkit.
This Australian-based company allows you to take a photo of your prescription and upload it into the app, where the script is then filled by your local pharmacy.
You can choose what day and time you want it delivered so you can be there when it arrives. And if you don’t need prescription medicines, they can also deliver other products like vitamins, skincare creams, first aid kits, baby wipes and nappies.

Read more: Instant prescriptions might be the way of our digital future, but we need to manage the risks first The Conversation

Nial Wheate, Associate Professor | Program Director, Undergraduate Pharmacy, University of Sydney and Andrew Bartlett, Associate Lecturer Pharmacy Practice, University of Sydney
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Face Masks

As things heat up with the pandemic, some lupies are using face masks when they have to go out in public.

I tried to find out if any health authorities are actually recommending that. The closest I could find is the World Health Organisation which says people with COVID-19 should wear them, and healthy people in contact with people with COVID-19 should wear them. I can't find any mention of people with chronic illness.

Therefore, that's a definite I don't know.

So as always, check with your doctor if you have the opportunity, and make whatever you feel is the best choice for your health.

I do know that using a mask incorrectly can increase the risk of infection.  If the virus is on the mask, that is rubbing against your face, that's a risk factor.  If you're using one, be careful to do it correctly.

Here's the WHO's advice on who should wear a mask.



And, importantly,  here is how to use one properly.




If you need to make your own,  and can sew, you'll find a pattern here: https://freesewing.org/fu-facemask-freesewing.org.a4.pdf.  The instructions to go with the pattern, if needed, are here: https://freesewing.org/docs/patterns/fu/

Remember if you're using a reusable mask, it will need to be washed or, soaked in disinfectant prior to washing, as soon as it comes off. Be careful how you handle it until it's clean, and wash your hands.

Stay safe out there lovely lupies.  We're going to get through this.


Update:

Just saw this video from the Lupus Foundation of America, in which Duane Peters from the Foundation asks Rheumatologist Dr Blazer about safety going out, and she recommends masks and gloves.








Friday, 20 March 2020

Things to Do While Being Physically Distant

Well, lovely lupies,  we were already super-careful about infectious diseases, then COVID-19 came along and ramped the risks up.  If, like me, you're avoiding going out unless you absolutely have to, you might want something to keep you occupied at home. And if, like me, you have no money, you might want those things to be free (or dirt cheap.)

So here's some suggestions:


  • Visit the some of the world's best art galleries (virtually) at Google Arts and Culture
  • Catch some live London Theatre at What's on Stage.
  • Other live theatre is  available at Filmed on Stage.
  • Go to the ballet.  Here's 12 Ballet Performances you can Watch Right Now.
  • Watch some of Europe's best Opera performances at OperaVision.
  • Read a free ebook from Project Guttenberg. If there's not enough choices there, go to Nothing in the Rulebook, for a list of 45 places you can download free ebooks.
  • If you prefer to have someone read a book to you, listen to an audio book from LibriVox.
  • Learn something new with one of 1,500 free online courses at Open Culture.  This one also has free courses for kids K-12 (which could be helpful if the schools close), as well as movies and ebooks.
  • Learn to paint. Monte Mart has free online lessons.
  • Plant a vegetable garden.  (I'm doing this - it's going to take a while, because I manage about five minutes of physical labour before I'm exhausted and have to rest for the rest of the day.) You can buy seeds cheaply online, or here are 25 Foods you Can Regrow Yourself from Kitchen Scraps.
  • Want to join in the Adult Colouring craze?  Just Colour has 1,500 free colouring pages.
  • If you like my writing, I have made my published books available for free download for the duration of the pandemic.  Of course, if you like my writing and would like to pay for one of my books, you're welcome to buy from any online bookshop, or direct from the publisher.
  • Write your own book. Paint, sew, do some craft, catch up on all the odd jobs you've been putting off around the house or garden.
  • Tired of being inside? Grab your hat and sunblock and go for a walk. Just choose somewhere that's quiet, and keep your distance from other people you see on the path.
  • Go for a drive.  When my kids were younger, we'd go for drives in the bush, and every time we saw cattle, we'd yell "Cow!". The kids called it "cowing".  It may not suit everyone's taste, but we used to laugh ourselves silly. A variation is the "bear hunt" that's being shared on Facebook.  People put teddy bears in their windows, so families can drive around looking for bears.
  • Have a family picnic - again, just choose somewhere quiet, away from other people. As the social distancing gets more serious, I suggest your own back yard.
  • Keep in contact with your family and friends, use telephone, Face Time, social media, mail, email, or carrier pigeon.  Do whatever it takes to be socially close with your loved ones, while being physically distant from everyone.
  • Missing going to church?  The Uniting Church has a list of its congregations which are live streaming services.  If you're not UCA, your denomination may have something similar. Check their social media postings for information.
  • You can go to the zoo, with Mangolink Live Animal Cams and Videos, or Zoos Victoria.




Note: I will update this post from time to time, as I find or think of other things.





Wednesday, 18 March 2020

My Books Available for Free Download

For the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, I'm making my books available for free download, in PDF format.  Hopefully, this will help provide some entertainment for people stuck at home.

These are only available free through these links, not through regular online bookshops.

Click on the book Title, or link after the book description, to access the file. 

(Please note, some of these files were not originally intended to be PDFs and may not be formatted well.)

FAMILY BOOKS




Maggie from Maggie's Pie Shop is in a terrible flap! It's almost lunch time and the tomato sauce delivery hasn't arrived! Sherlock, Mycroft and Watson Wallaby, the world's smartest detectives, are on the case. Why hasn't Wally Wombat delivered the sauce? Where is Wally? What are the suspicious red splotches near Ms Dingo's house? Is the chocolate-cherry-caramel-coconut cake really an important clue, or does it just smell like one? Is a meat pie without tomato sauce really a crime anyway? If Watson Wallaby can keep his brothers working on the case, these questions will be answered and the Wallaby Detectives will save lunch





Fred Flamingo has left his lake and his friends to learn how to dance. Will he find someone who can teach him?






A collection of cute and simple poems about a collection of cute and simple pets.


BOOKS FOR GROWN-UPS





Rescuer? Predator? Imaginary childhood friend? Artist's muse? Goddess? Ancient unspeakable evil? All of these and worse? You always knew you didn't imagine that shadow that moved, the thing lurking just outside of your field of view, the items that weren't where you left them. You always knew, but you chose to ignore it, because the alternative was unthinkable. From the slightly warped mind of author Iris Carden, comes a monster who can give you everything you ever wanted, for a price. The catch is, you don't know the price when you accept deal. A failing author and an artist at the start of her career discover inspiration comes at a cost, and the consequences will outlive them both.



Angela Tynehurst wrote novels about a character who was always risking her life in the pursuit of justice. Unlike her fictional creation, Angela always played it safe. She kept every part of her life under tight control. Not even a zombie apocalypse could affect her. Then a handsome man with dark brown eyes knocked on her door, and everything was turned upside down. If Angela decided to step out of her safety zone, and take a risk, what could that cost her?


In these short pieces, you will spend a sleepless night with the Possum in the Roof, have A Drink with a Princess, who is both alluring and dangerous, and leave the house spotless in Spring Cleaning. Enjoy a little slice of fiction with your next coffee break.


 In an institution for people recovering from serious psychiatric illness, a group of residents with sinister pasts are bothered by visits from a girl who doesn't exist.





A book of sermons and brief reflections on Christian Scripture, by Rev Iris Carden. There is no specific order to the items in the book, they are intended to each be a "surprise" in that they are not related to the items around them. It is hoped that in each, the reader will find something new or special, or unexpected, a message from God. Rev Iris Carden has a Master's Degree in Theology and more than 10 years of experience as a Christian minister.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Social Distancing

Source: Queensland Health
Australia is being invaded, the enemy, COVID-19 is invading multiple other countries as well.  Different nations are handling the pandemic differently.


Australia has been acting to slow down the progress of the disease, isolating cases of people who have been proved to have the disease, and now isolating people arriving in Australia.

Sooner or later, the disease will start to transfer from person to person in the community, and the government is trying to get ahead of that, calling for gatherings of more than 500 people to be cancelled.  Other countries, where the disease has further progressed, such as the USA, there is a recommendation to cancel gatherings of more than 50.  In Austria, the limit is five people.

Everywhere, social distancing is being recommended.

We're also being told that a coronavirus is basically a form of influenza, and young, fit, healthy people really don't have much to be worried about.  But let's not forget, that in World War One, the Spanish Flu killed far more people than the fighting. For lots of people this is nothing much to worry about.  For others it can be deadly.

The people who are most at risk of COVID-19 being a serious, or fatal, illness are the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions.

That means, lupies and others like us, who have dodgy immune systems, need to be a little more careful than other people.

If everyone could be trusted to self-quarentine when they are exposed to the condition, we wouldn't really have to worry.  But as the whole thing with panic buying of toilet paper has shown, people can be quite stupid and selfish. Some will catch the disease, feel quite OK, and be happy to risk our lives by going out in public.

Source: Queensland Health
The main thing I plan to do to protect myself, is avoid people as much as possible.  I'm going into hiding. After months of staying indoors to avoid bushfire smoke (I have mild asthma, and my son/carer has worse) we're now avoiding going out to avoid coronavirus.  Now, however, we can at least go out to the back yard, and even walk the dog, so in some ways things have improved.

I'm going to go to ordering groceries online, to avoid supermarkets.  That means dealing with a delivery driver, who I can only hope will be healthy, and with bringing things into my home,  bearing in mind COVID-19 can stay on surfaces for up to two or three days. So I'm probably going to wipe all my deliveries down with disinfectant where possible.

I was pleased to note that supermarkets are starting to have special shopping times for people who are more vulnerable, although disappointed that in some states, they're ceasing home delivery.

If home delivery is cancelled here, I will take advantage of the special shopping hour, or go in times I know from experience are quieter.

There are some things I absolutely have to go out for.  I still have to go to the doctor, the pharmacy, and for blood tests.  The best I can do with that is to choose the times I know they are less busy.

I will avoid public transport.  I have to see my specialist next month.  I usually catch a train to Brisbane for that appointment, this time, I'll go by car.

To vote in the upcoming local council elections, I've applied for a postal vote.

There are only two regular gatherings of people I normally go out for: writers' group and church.  The writers' group has been cancelled. I've decided to stop going to church until the crisis passes or a vaccine is available.

For the most part, I've been living most of my social life on line for years, so things are really not changing much.

So lovely lupies, over the next few months, let's wash our hands obsessively, make sure our meds don't run low, hope and pray for the best, keep in contact on line, and get through this the best we can.








For a complete explanation of social distancing, go to: coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-social-distancing.pdf

For latest information from World Health Organisation on COVID-19, go to: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses


References:
coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-social-distancing.pdf

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-13/coronavirus-scott-morrison-coag-premiers-cancelling-events/12053382

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/15/world/coronavirus-live.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/coronavirus-austria-update-symptoms-gatherings-ban-latest-a9402866.html

https://theconversation.com/world-war-ones-role-in-the-worst-ever-flu-pandemic-29849

http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/14/217/838/novel-coronavirus

https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-sars-queensland-australia-how-to-understand-protect-prevent-spread-symptoms-treatment

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-15/coronavirus-covid19-self-isolation-announced-for-australia/12057772

https://www.wired.com/story/how-long-does-the-coronavirus-last-on-surfaces/

https://www.smh.com.au/national/elderly-and-disabled-to-get-dedicated-shopping-hours-at-woolworths-online-delivery-suspended-20200316-p54add.html

https://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/elections/election-events/2020-local-government-elections




Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Been in a Clinical Trial? Researcher Wants to Hear from You

Hi lovely lupies, I received the following request for people who have participated in clinical trials to take part in some research.  If you are interested, please contact Jessica directly, via her email address.


Hi Iris, 

I hope this note finds you well! I came across your wonderful blog Sometimes, it is Lupus and wanted to reach out to you for assistance for a project.

My name is Jessica, and I work at The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), an independent non-profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts. CISCRP is dedicated to educating the public about clinical research; as part of our mission, we regularly engage with patients through advisory board meetings, global surveys, and workshops to include the patient voice in research endeavors.

At this time, CISCRP is planning to conduct a series of 1-hour telephone interviews among individuals who have participated in clinical trials and we were wondering if you might be interested in this opportunity. During the interview, you would be asked to reflect on your past clinical trial experiences and to provide feedback on patient-facing materials being developed to help guide patient discussions around participation. As part of this project, we are looking to conduct telephone interviews for individuals diagnosed with Lupus that live in Australia that have participated in a clinical trial.

The goal of the interview is not to recruit patients for clinical trials, but rather to learn from patients about their experience and to provide feedback in order to benefit future patients and minimize the burden of clinical trial participation.  As a thank you for your time, CISCRP will provide honoraria to those who are eligible and participate in the telephone interview.

Through searching your blog, it is my understanding that you have not participated in a clinical trial, however, I was wondering if you might know of anyone who would eligible and interested in this opportunity. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

Warm regards and thank you in advance for your time and consideration!

Jessica 


Jessica Cronin
Research Associate, Research Services
Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP)
Phone: 617-725-2750 x 404


CISCRP_Logo

One Liberty Square, Suite 1100
Boston, MA 02109

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Centrelink is Watching

There's a lot of things I hate about living with lupus.

One of those things is relying on a Disability Pension from Centrelink.

I don't like the feeling of being dependent. I also miss being able to pay taxes.  That probably sounds weird if you're one of those people who would do anything to avoid or minimise tax, but I really love education, healthcare, police, courts, all those amazing things taxes pay for.  As well as feeling dependent, I'm upset that I'm not paying my way.

I can't go back to work, because I never know when I'm going to be sick, and no employer wants an employee who needs a fortnight to recover from a day's work.

So, I thought I would try to do things in a small way, to work towards reducing my dependence.  I write my books, but those haven't yet made a profit.  I had a couple of attempts to monetise my blogs, but gave that up as pointless.

Half way through last year I started putting aside $50 a fortnight to buy shares.  A month or so ago, I bought my first $600 worth of shares. That's not high finance, but over time, I hope it will make a difference.

Doing the right thing, I added the shares to my list of assets with Centrelink.

A week later, I received a letter from Centrelink, demanding statements for my bank accounts, and asking, in these exact words: "Where did the money for all these shares come from?"

Yes, that princely sum of $600 is enough to make Centrelink suspicious I was doing something dodgy.  I had to detail every cent I owned, and explain my budget and how I managed to save that massive amount of $600.

I haven't heard from Centrelink again since then, and my pension wasn't stopped, so I guess they have accepted my explanation.

But here's the thing: if I'd spent $50 per fortnight on alcohol or gambling, Centrelink would neither have known or cared.  Instead, I spent it on trying to be financially responsible.  That doesn't fit the stereotype of someone on a Centrelink benefit, so it was suspicious.

The government's been experimenting with a cash-free welfare card, with the idea that people on welfare have to have everything they do controlled by someone who knows better.  Support for that comes from the stereotype that people on low incomes can't manage money.

In real life, people on low incomes have to know more about managing money than people on high incomes.  We learn because we have to make every dollar stretch to its maximum; it's the only way to survive.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

I've done it all wrong, again

Their email:
 
In today’s digital world if you want to stay ahead of competition, you should always be prepared to overcome new updates by Google and be ready with new strategies to implement. 

I have a complete analysis report ready with me which shows your website needs immediate improvement. Some of the points are mentioned below: 

  • Due to poor and unauthorized link sites.
  • Relevant keyword phrases are not visible on first page listing.
  • Due to HTML validation errors and warnings present in website.
  • Your website is not search engine friendly.
  • Website content quality is not high standard.
  • Website is having on-page and on-site issues.
 
Our experienced Google Analytics professional understand all recent updates. We will prepare an advanced digital marketing campaign to generate maximum traffic and boost your search engine ranking.
 
For more details please reply. We have 24*7 supports, so you can contact any point of time with your website issues.
 
 
 
Thanks & Regards,
Linda XXXXXX

My reply:

Hello Linda,

If you’d read my site you would realise that I usually make fun of emails such as yours for the entertainment of my readers. 

Let’s look at your complaints, starting with content quality.  This site is about my life as a person living with a chronic life-endangering disease.  I’m sorry if you don’t find my life of sufficient quality for your standards.  You are not my target audience.  Other people who do live with lupus understand and relate to my struggles.  Some of them even find some comfort in finding they are not alone facing this horror that our lives have become.

Relevant keyword phrases are not visible of first page listing.  I don’t know what you think is relevant.  If you were looking for the keyword “lupus”,  you’d have found it.

Now on to HTML errors, on-page and onsite issues.  Well those aren’t me.  That’s the blogger platform.  You should address your suggestions to Google, since they do that bit.

The website isn’t search-engine friendly.  Yet somehow you, who clearly don’t even know what it’s about, found it.  Again, all the technical bits are run by Google, so tell them what they need to do to make their stuff search engine friendly.  I’m sure they’ll find you just as amusing as I do.

Then there’s the unauthorised links.  I own this blog and I write it.  Anything I put on it, I authorised.

And now, can I make a suggestion to you?  If you want to look professional, and pretend you are part of an organisation (as in “our experienced….”) perhaps you could have something other than a personal gmail address?

Kindest regards
Iris Carden

Friday, 18 October 2019

Lupus Nephritis Survey

Click here to take part in the survey.
British research organisation Opinion Health is looking for Lupus Nephritis Patients in both the USA  and Australia to take part in a survey aimed at improving the patient experience.

If you want to take part, click on the link to give your information.  This will be followed up with a telephone interview.  The phone interview will take 60 minutes.  So if you are interested, you don't have much time to sign up.

Participants will be rewarded with an Amazon voucher ($US 160 for US participants, $AU 220 for Australian participants.)