02.02.21

Masking

Posted in Canadian life, Random thoughts, Too Much Information at 10:06 pm by ducky

I know we are having a pandemic, but I am getting tired of masking. I will take it out on you, Dear Reader, because, well, I can.

A few years ago, when there were really bad wildfires, my spouse and I bought eight N95 masks for particulates (i.e. with vents in them).

When the pandemic hit, I taped up the vents and used them in particularly scary situations (like when I went to the doctor for something).

Even reusing the N95s for a while, we used up most of our stock of N95s. I didn’t want to use them all up, so I researched alternatives, and found that a simple cheap surgical mask was allegedly as good as an N95 if you wore a mask brace over it. Awesome.

I bought a mask brace, put it over a surgical mask, and went for a long walk to test it. The brace did a great job of eliminating gaps, and it made my glasses fog less, but the brace also held the mask so close to my mouth that I couldn’t avoid getting my lips on it. At the end of a 90-min walk, it was wet. I hear that they are less effective after you get them wet.

I still had one of my old N95s, so I pulled the tape off and now wear it under my surgical mask under the brace, purely for structural reasons, to keep the surgical mask away from my mouth. Great!

Well, except that if it’s raining, as it does frequently in the Pacific Northwest in the winter (aka “always”), the N95 keeps the mask far enough from my mouth that it sticks out farther than my hat can shield it, and the rain gets on it. So if it starts to rain, I need to take the mask off.

(I am not too worried about being outdoors in the rain without a mask. First, the outdoors is very well-ventilated. Second, when it’s raining, there are fewer people out and about. Third, I figure that the rain will hit some of the virus particles and knock them down.)

So anyway, that’s the context.

Here’s what I did today.

  1. Got ready to leave the apartment and get into a small, poorly-ventilated enclosed space (the elevator). Took off glasses, put on N95/mask/brace/glasses/hat.
  2. Got outside the apartment building. It was raining. Took off hat/glasses/brace/mask/N95, replaces glasses and hat.
  3. Walked to hospital, prepared to enter hospital. Took off glasses/hat, put on N95/mask/brace/glasses/hat.
  4. Sinus doctor wanted to stick things in my nose. Took off hat/glasses/brace/mask/N95, replaced glasses.
  5. Sinus doctor removed nasal truffles (but that’s a whole different story). Doc said that he didn’t think he got them all but he thought that to get the rest he’d have to anesthetize me. Took off glasses, put on N95/mask/brace/glasses/hat.
  6. Went outside. No longer raining. Stifled a massive sneeze, and somehow a nasal truffle ended up in my mouth. Took off glasses/hat/N95/mask/brace. Replaced glasses.
  7. Spat out the nasal truffle, examined it, took photo. Took off glasses, put on N95/mask/brace/glasses/hat.
  8. Walked over to cell phone store to get my cracked phone screen replaced. They told me to wait an hour. Went outside and wandered around for a little bit before deciding to grab some lunch. It started raining again. Took off hat/glasses/brace/mask/N95, replaced glasses/hat.
  9. Decided on pizza. Under the pizzeria’s awning, took off glasses/hat, put on N95/mask/brace/glasses/hat.
  10. Got my slice, went and sat at a table outside under the awning. (Yes, it is cold but I’ve got good gear on.) Took off hat/glasses/brace/mask/N95, replaced glasses/hat.
  11. Finished my lunch. Went back to phone store. Took off glasses/hat, put on N95/mask/brace/hat/glasses.
  12. Got my phone, left shop. Still raining. Took off hat/glasses/brace/mask/N95, replaced glasses/hat.
  13. Walked to drug store. Took off glasses/hat, put on N95/mask/brace/hat/glasses.
  14. Left drug store, disappointed that they did not have face shields in stock which would protect the mask from rain. Still raining. Took off hat/glasses/brace/mask/N95, replaced glasses/hat.
  15. Walked to apartment building. Took off glasses/hat, put on N95/mask/brace/hat/glasses.
  16. Entered our apartment. Took off hat/glasses/brace/mask/N95, replaced glasses.

I realize that putting on/taking off masks is a minor inconvenience compared to, say, not breathing, but it’s still annoying. I am ready for the rain to stop.

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