A visit to the hospital during Covid times.

Though it might be of interest to tell the tale of a non-Bug related hospital visit.
And it gives me something to do while my wife watches Survivor - which I hate.

Five weeks ago I had to go to the hospital for my monthly infusions. Been doing it for years now.

In our smallish town ~ 125K population, we have not had a large amount of cases. About 45 on the days I went in back then.

I called ahead and canceled the meals they normally serve. I brought a PB&J and a Snickers bar instead. Which, by the way, is way better than some of the stuff they serve.
I’m sure the kitchen is being extra careful, but why take the chance?

Patients were only admitted at the Emergency entrance. On the first day there were 2 cops in the airlock section between the outside and inside. They were sitting in chairs.
One had a mask on, the second did not.

Inside were two tables to check in. One for Outpatient and scheduled procedures. The second for emergency and anyone else.

I came in wearing one of the homemade “Duck” style masks. My safety glasses with side protection, gloves, and a hat with the brim pulled low.

The staff at the tables were wearing surgical masks or homemade masks.
At check-in, first thing - I got my temp taken with a swipe the forehead type of thermometer.
I gave my name and where I was going. Got asked 3 questions.
Been out of the country?
Been out of Town?
Been in contact with others?

No to all three. I got an armband good for that day.

On the “others” table was a box of home made loop over the ear masks. The box was open.
I asked for one so I could check I out.
I was unimpressed. Poor face seal and just two layers of cotton cloth. Clearly designed to keep the wearer from blowing cooties but that’s about it.

A glance down toward the ER waiting area and it was a wasteland. I’ve never seen it empty before. Never.

Heading toward the infusion place the halls were VERY empty. The few staff I did pass were all masked up. The medical types usually had the surgery type masks. The maintenance and lower level clerk workers all had homemade or scarfs. Medical types had gloves. Maintenance mostly not.

In the infusion area the staff were all mask-less and glove-less. They said that this area was off limits for anyone who isn’t deemed safe.
They come and go by a separate entrance and don’t pass through the rest of the joint.

I started out by pulling out a Clorox wipe and hitting any surface I thought I would touch during the day.

The staff liked that I was covered up and doing cleaning.

I unmasked the first day.
Nurse blew through a vein and make a bubble. Crap! Hate that. I was purple for three weeks. Still have a bruise 6 weeks later. Second stick hit it.
I have really easy to see veins. Some nurses never miss and some have to fish for, well, anything other than no time, is way too long.

I would mask up to go to the bathroom.
I kept my gloves on the whole time. It’s way easier to wash a set of gloves clean than your hands.
Gloves also remind me not to touch my face.

Second day no police in view but a cop car was in the drive.
Same check-in, but the box with the masks was covered this time.
The infusion area had more patients that day, so I decided to only unmask while in my room, but put it on if staff came in.

On the way out they cut off the arm band Hall-Pass.
I had a “Thank You – for being here” sign that I flashed to any staff on duty.
I think they got a kick out of it.
Hard to see a smile behind a mask!

Last week I went back for another round. About 102 Covid cases in town now. More than half in a single senior home. Both seniors and staff. 9 have died so far.

Cop car in drive, no cops in sight.
Check in was the same. They asked about my homemade mask. They liked the fit and the large filter area. Even happier it was HEPA.

Last time I had the place to myself. This time there were several people checking in.
Had to wait a few to get to the desk.

The infusion area, some of the staff was masked up this time.
I did my wipe down with Clorox routine.
On the first day, the nurse masked up when I got setup and stuck for the IV.
The second day, the nurse didn’t mask up when she came into my room. But did when I saw her in with some of the others.
I’ve been doing this for a while now, and they know me well.
I would mask up when anyone came into my room this go round.

This time the patients were wearing the give away masks from the check-in.
On of my infusion buddies was there. They gave him one of the Craft Passion type masks with the vertical front seam.
It fit poorly. I could see air gaps and there was almost no room in front for enough filter area to allow for air to flow.
It was flat against his nose and face.
He commented about how hard it was to breath through.
These things need to be fitted correctly or they are not nearly as effective as they could be.

My Duck style mask is sure funny looking but gives a way better fit.

On another note.
Some local folks and Foundations have donated enough money (like 7 figures) to convert two floors in the hospital to Covid / contagious containment/treatment floors.
I don’t wanna hear any crap about rich folk not contributing to help the rest of us.

Keep Safe,
All the Best,


Thanks for the great write up.
You are so right about rich people and some sports people/celebrities that do not want any recognition but are doing great work to help us all.

I have close family member who is a nurse in one regional hospital and good friend who works in shipping in another large hospital and the small and large gifts are heartwarming.
Both those facilities are ramping back up regular surgeries that have been delayed as well so there are some signs of progress.

Locally our Old Order Amish had church this past Sunday for the first time in 8 weeks and traffic here has progressed more by the days and weeks.
All for now.


I’m originally from Maryland. I almost decided to go to Franklin & Marshall college in Lancaster PA.
Some of the eateries staffed by the Penn-Dutch, Wow.
The best bread I have ever eaten. And great home style food.
Everyone was super nice. Much like the smaller towns here in West Texas.
All the Best,

Sorry to hear you have a need for continued infusions. My sister started hers in March and we were able to be with her. Fortunately it’s a separate building for those patients, and much lower traffic than a regular hospital, so hopefully that translates into a lower risk of catching coronavirus since she’ll almost certainly die if she gets it. She’s getting better about being careful, but not as good as you. She had a recent scare with an infected scratch, so hopefully she steps it up. Unfortunately the staff still weren’t as good about wearing masks when I went in with her even though it’s Seattle, even though we were wearing them, and you saw how they led the nation in cases for a while. I try to tell myself it’s because there were still shortages and homemade masks were quite as big yet. They also do a temperature check and get hand sanitizer.

Early on my sister was using Etsy homemade fabric masks without filters, but now I’m pretty sure she’s using a fabric mask with a filter. I have an order for a mask with a hepa/pm2.5 replaceable filter that’s on the slow boat, and I’m pretty sure she’ll switch to that.

We’ve been making masks here for medical workers. Supposedly they’re clinical masks. They’re the pleated type with what appears to be single layer nonwoven fabric. This week it’ll be 100. Hopefully next week we can step it up and do at least 200. In a way it’s kind of sad because the instructions call for elastic bands, but I guess they can’t find any because we got strips of the filter material to use for the bands. I’ve been wanting to make my own, but sourcing materials is difficult, and either expensive or very slow.

Glad to hear you are staying safe, Jeff.
Took my wife to the cancer center today for lab tests. Two nurses at the entranceway took our temperatures by mouth and offered gloves and pleated surgical masks that had a non-fabric strip inside and elastic straps. They were wearing masks and gloves. I left the little lady there and headed to a coffee house. When she finished she said she was impressed with the professionalism and cautions taken by all, 6 feet from other patients, etc. sounds like they are doing it right.

Here in our area, all of us are wearing mask when going out but yes there is now a lack of mask so some people just make there own but if you would go to a hospital, a handmade one won’t do and you really need a surgical mask. It is not safe to wear handmade one inside the hospital.

We just got masks and sanitizer last week here at work. In and out of hospitals, banks, businesses everyday. Life is certainly different now. Hope the best for you and your treatments. Thanks for the glimpse into your day.

Hope your sister keeps doing better. No visitors are allowed here. Not sure about people with special needs. The folks at the infusion center that were normally came in home wheelchairs pushed by relatives, are now “delivered” by staff.
And they won’t let the wheelchairs from outside into the place.

On the making mask front, I’ve been using a small “D” ring made from solid 14g copper wire and attaching that to the mask with a bit of cloth. The D ring can then be used to attach paracord or rubber bands or ?? for the straps.
I’ve also used a heavy plastic drinking straw attached with a bit of cloth or enclosed in the mask strap cloth. This gives the same sorts of options for straps. It also allows the straps to slide and equalize pressure.
Others have been putting buttons on the masks for strap attachments. And leave it up to the users to attach string or ?? for straps.

On some of mine, I use paracord with the guts removed and put a heavy rubber band between two lengths of the cord.
Also the rubber strap that they use to tie off an arm before sticking in the infusion needle makes a super strap.
Another thing I do is seal all the through seams in the filter part of the mask with hot glue or gorilla tape.
I believe the stitch holes provide a path for non-filtered air.

Because our local Covid numbers are relatively low, or people just don’t give a shit, the number of masks I see out in public is way lower that a month ago.
I too am one of the ones likely to croak if I get it. Several people, unmasked getting into an elevator with me - really pisses me off.
But seeing me in full Darth Vader rig gives them pause.

With restaurants etc. opening up now, I’m waiting for a second wave to pass through.

I need a shirt -
No Mask?
You’re a Special Kind of Stupid!

Thanks for the well wishes from the rest of you.
All the Best,

I’ve seen pictures where people sewed big ear-sized buttons to headbands, so the mask loops can go to there rather than tugging on the person’s ears.

Thanks for posting Jeff, interesting stuff.

My sister can only hope to get some extra time with this treatment. We can only hope for a cure to become available in that time, which is unlikely, so we’re trying to spend extra time together. Coronavirus sure puts some restrictions on the type of quality time we can have, and even with things opening up, we’re trying not to be foolish enough to spend time around strangers that we don’t have to. Even if I might survive coronavirus, I don’t need the guilt of unknowingly giving my sister a death sentence while I was asymptomatic.

The masks we just made were a part of a kit, so we can’t do any alterations on these, but I’ll keep that in mind for ones I’d like to make for ourselves. It’s not like I did a bunch of sewing. This is the most sewing I’ve ever done, with a machine I just got, and I did 20 of 105 masks. I’ve also heard large paper clips and gardening wire ties can work for the bridge. I like your idea for getting more out of paracord. We’re going to the hardware store to pick up a part for a leaking sprinkler system, so I’ll see if I can get some tubing so I can incorporate your idea. You’re right about the stitch holes. I was thinking about using silicone caulk, maybe thinned to the consistency that’s used for seam sealing tents.

It’s even further off topic, but would you care to discuss sanitation? The measures we’re taking are probably way overboard for most, even those trying to be careful, but it’s a small price for me to pay to maintain the limited time I may have my sister around.

Good Idea!
I started a new thread just for that.
All the Best,