The Old Fart Survey

Friday April 2nd 2021

Ok the actual name of the survey is the “Canadian Longitudinal Survey on Aging” or “clsa” for short, but I have always just referred to it as the Old Fart Survey.

No this is not something that I just made up, I have been actually been answering these surveys for the best part of a decade. The surveys are simular each time, they are designed to test our memory capabilities and our ability to perform simple tasks such as counting backwards from 98 by 3s, so basic enough tasks but also challenging enough to make you think, they also ask about our living conditions as well as our social interaction and our quality of life. So when asked if I would like to participate in it and I thought what the heck how long can a survey take?

Well I have since learnt that some of their surveys can take up to two hours and can involve multiple evenings to complete, as I was still working when they started calling. In fact their surveys take so much time they actually call to book hour long appointment times for the sessions.

And as I get older they seem to call more frequently, we are down to usually getting a call every year as opposed to every three and four years like when the first started. I usually receive the call late May or early June depending how many times I ignore their calls before picking up. So I was surprised to see the name on the call display of my phone in March, but being somewhat bored and captured here for the winter, I was looking for almost any outside communication so I picked up. Because my first though was maybe their just doing a head count, to see how many of us old farts they had lost so far during this pandemic, I know that may sound a little morbid and crude but I’m not in any way well known for my politically correctness.

But apparently they are now working on collecting data, to see how Covid has effected us old farts, and they were asking to see if I would like to participate in a survey to check our blood for possible Covid antibodies, and to take blood samples both now and then again in three months, so I said sure (it’s not as if I’m too busy doing much of anything else) so about a week later FedEx dropped off a package with lots of neat things. To help extract enough blood to fill the supplied collection unit, so the kit came with a sheet of instructions, the sample collection unit, a couple of alcohol swabs, two band aids, a package of gauze, and a couple of sharp cutty things to puncture my finger. Along with a return envelope from FedEx to get the collection device back to a laboratory in Hamilton.

Of course there was another phone survey to answer a whole new list of questions regarding the collection of the blood sample, as well as questions, related to my health, my travel, and how well I had obeyed all the pandemic restrictions over the past year. A large part of this testing is to test our blood for antibodies to the coronavirus and how much they will have changed in three months, mine will hopefully change quite a bit as I just received my first Covid vaccine shot yesterday.

As I’m finishing this blog, Ontario in about to enter into another restrictive period as the Covid case counts have continued to rise in the Toronto area, and with most cases now having the VOC (variant of concern) first discovered in Great Britain we are running out of ICU beds. Now there calling this a four week “emergency brake”, it is not a lock down with a stay at home order like was imposed in December but it is what many areas refer to as a “circuit breaker”.

Ontario had designed a colour coded system of different restrictions for each area of the province, they were GREEN, YELLOW, ORANGE, RED, and GREY. And while the idea was maybe a good one and the areas colour code was based on the infection rate in each health board area, it didn’t stop people from going from their more restrictive area to a more open area. And of course in highly populated areas one side of a street could have different restrictions that the other.

So some one in an area with grey restrictions which has no indoor dining wants to go out for dinner they just drive to a zone that that has yellow or orange restrictions that allow indoor dining. So while Toronto had remained in the grey highly restrictive area, some areas like ours here in Goderich were in the yellow restrictive area which was a close a possible to being back to the new normal of face coverings, social distancing, but all businesses open with some restrictions.

So the province had little option other than shut down the whole province down by placing every one back in the grey most restrictive zone because people are just not obeying the guidelines, we see it everyday, whole families going shopping with no regard for anyone else’s safety. The most annoying thing is that we are getting so close to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s still a few months away.

Now it’s a wait and see if the hot spot areas can be brought under control, and how many vaccines can be delivered, as to whether we see these restrictions lifted for May 1st just four weeks away.

As Always, Be Safe, Wear you Mask, and get a vaccine when it’s your turn!

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