Wednesday, January 05, 2022

X Is For eXhausted, eXasperated, And The X Factor

 

As you can see, I'm Creatively Forcing It for letter X. I don't have a lot to give these days, but I wanted to pop in here, wish you all a Happy New Year, and tell you that in addition to some really thoughtful and wonderful Christmas gifts, I also got COVID.

Like you, I am fully vaccinated and boosted, and so are all of my family, yet by the time this exposure ran its course, ten of us tested positive, including my 91-year old mother.  And there was never a time when all ten of us were in any place together. 

Also perhaps like you, I mask up anytime I'm in public--the grocery store, the pet food store, the pharmacy--and as soon as I get in my car, I use hand sanitizer, even before I take off my mask. I'm religious about handwashing, about social distancing, about wiping the handles of carts with the disinfecting wipes at the stores. It's eXhausting, but I never wanted to get sick.

The thing is, not everyone does that. Ohio's corrupt and gerrymandered republican legislature has gutted all COVID safeguards. Many people, even those who are vaXXed and boosted, are eXhausted by this pandemic and don't even wear masks at work or in stores. And when Omicron arrived, that behaviour did not change, sadly. And here we are. 

My symptoms began the day after Christmas with a slightly scratchy throat, which I shrugged off. Jared and Sam had both been fighting a cold for a day or two, and Jared had already tested negative for COVID. By that Monday, Sam had been sent home from work with a positive test result, and Rick and I were scrambling to find an at-home test. Quite simply, there are absolutely none in Ohio, period. 

A friend with a stockpile of tests gave us two, and we tested positive. Each day last week, our symptoms worsened. I felt like I had a head cold with the flu. The fatigue and muscle weakness were almost debilitating for me. I never got a fever, but I lost my sense of taste and smell. I've only today regained a bit of them both, and not consistently. I'm still weak and tire easily. Rick is still coughing and weak. He never lost his sense of taste or smell and never fevered up, but the coughing takes a lot out of him. He is working from home until he has a negative test. 

(A quick aside--my mother is great. She largely had cold symptoms, and under the fine care of my brother, she not only recovered, but continued her daily exercise regimen as well. She's a marvel.)

 I am finding All Of This incredibly eXasperating. I did everything right. I worked so hard to Be Safe. And for so long! Why are we still fighting this virus, one that we have vaccines for? Why are we in Year THREE of this pandemic? 

What in the hell is going on?!

I'm sick of all of it and sick of being sick. I thought I'd be able to toss my masks by now, yet I read that I have to go looking for new ones, that N95 are the only ones that will keep me Safe now. If there is such a thing as Being Safe.

That Safety is an Illusion, really. In the end, we're only as Safe as the people around us allow us to be. Other People will always be the X Factor. That's a Tough Reality, but that's the Way It Is, especially with Omicron out there now, and the monitoring of yet another variant in France. All we can do is our best to Be Safe, but we have to know that, ultimately, it's not completely in our control. Other People never are.

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50 comments:

  1. I am sorry to read this. Obviously, I suppose. I hope you & yours are feeling stronger every day. I don't know what to make of our state's lack of concern for the welfare of its citizens. Masks are a good thing. Vaccines are a good thing. Yet here we are. I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph.

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    1. Ally--Thank you. We're rebounding. I feel like I turned the corner Thursday, and each day since I've improved a little more.

      You take care out there.

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  2. Yup - we are only as safe as the person next to us. So sorry to hear that so many in your family got sick. So happy to read that your Mom is doing ok - she IS a marvel for sure. I hope you are feeling a bit better by now. Rest up and don't do too much.

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    1. Vera--I'm feeling much better, thank you. We all are, pretty much. Sam had "flurona"--the flu and coronavirus at the same time. He had a rough go, but he's definitely on the upswing now.

      Mom is weekending at the lake. She's too much.

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  3. Oh man, I didn't know you had gotten sick - and so many in your family! Ugh. Like you, I am so extremely careful, as is Tim. But so many people Just. Don't. Care. because apparently there is no such thing anymore as the common good. I'm glad you are recovering, albeit slowly.

    A friend of mine had Covid last February, and recovered. But she has to decide if she wants to walk or talk at any given time, because she still can't breathe well enough to do both at once.

    Take care.

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    1. Bridget--Long Covid was a constant worry for me, thanks to my poor immune system. So far, I think I'm going to be okay. I'm sorry the same cannot be said for your friend.

      All we can do is keep up our own safety measures. And hope for the best.

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  4. I do hope each and all of your family recover fully!!!

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    1. Anni--Thanks. We seem to be so far.

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  5. I'm so sorry that you came down with Covid. Your post is spot on. Things are about the same here in Pennsylvania.

    The political arguing over state mandates, school remote/in person, people acting like idiots is wearing me down too.

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    1. Dee--Thank you. And you're right: the constant wrangling about all things Covid-related is like an anchor. I feel so dragged down by it. It's hard to see a light at the end of this tunnel, and turning inward is not something I want to do.

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  6. Oh, Nance, I'm so very sorry for you, Rick, and all of you (and thank goodness your mom is doing amazingly despite having had COVID). With Omicron, we're at the point where one cannot avoid COVID unless one has zero interactions with anyone. Very, very few can live that life. I'm so thankful you all were vaxxed and boosted, lest you be experiencing even worse symptoms. What you're dealing with is plenty. Safety does seem to be completely an illusion right now. As far as masks that work, I've seen several medical experts recommend the project95 (.org) site, which sells a variety of brands and styles that are deemed safe. The biggest suck factor to me, if one gets through COVID without ongoing issues is that one can get it again. I know you and everyone reading knows that of course but with illnesses of the past, at least you could count on getting something once and being done with it.

    Our positivity rate here is at 38% and I know that's way under reality because tests aren't available here either. If you want to do a test in a medical facility, it's a total crapshoot and an all-day adventure if you luck out.

    So many friends and family members have COVID right now with one in the hospital because she has developed heart issues from Omicron (sadly, the monoclonal antibody treatments did not help her, which seems to be the case with Omicron).

    Sending you love and hugs, dear, and so wishing that I could do more like drop off soup and wave from outside. xoxo

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    1. Shirley--Thank you, and thank you for the mask resource. There are so many questionable ones available on Amazon that I just don't know anymore. It's overwhelming, and I do want to be as safe as possible.

      I'm not about to isolate and hunker down in my home. I refuse. I like Pres. Macron's attitude and strategy that it's the unvaxxed who should be pissed and inconvenienced. I know they really aren't in this country, but I'm not going to let this death cult of willful stupidity ruin my life.

      I wish you could stand on my porch and wave and smile, too! I wouldn't even care if you had soup. (Although I'd really love that.) XO

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  7. Hope you and your family all recover fully and soon. What a frustrating situation!

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    1. Ellen--Thank you. We're all doing so much better now. It was tough going, and Omicron is still a nasty, nasty illness. Stay safe out there.

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  8. Oh Nance! I'm so sorry and hope you all continue to recover quickly. And, yes, your mom IS a marvel.

    And, yes, we cannot control the actions of Other People. And, sadly, we aren't allowed to smack them; though some of them desperately need to be smacked.

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    1. Gigi--Thank you. I absolutely agree with you that we should institute some major smackdowns, and immediately. LINE 'EM UP!

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  9. Oh, dear! So sorry you and your family all got sick! It is incredible that your Mom has done so well--- thank goodness, especially at that age. My brother & sister-in-law had their Christmas gathering this year with all the kids and grandkids, about 14 people. They were all double-vaxxed and boosted. A few days later, nearly all of them got COVID. Pretty much the symptoms you describe. All are doing O.K. and recovering.

    I'm with you on the eXhausted front: so damn sick of this pandemic, the endless variants coming out, and all the mother-f*ckers who DON'T WEAR MASKS and WON'T GET THE SHOT!! I am supposed to go back to campus in 2 weeks. So far, the uni has not said anything about COVID except that we have to continue with periodic mandatory testing. But hell... if we don't have at least a couple of weeks of online teaching (the hybrid crap will *not* work and it's a huge pain in the ass)... I think all or most of us are going to come down with it and pass it on to family members. I am supposed to be teaching in fairly small classrooms, and enrollment is at peak in all my classes (25). Last semester only about half the students wore masks. There is no mask or vaccine mandate, of course, thanks to our butthole governor (sorry for all the language, lol.)

    Hope you and yours start feeling better soon, Nance! XXOO

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    1. Ortizzle--You go right ahead and use as much language as you want here in Comments. It doesn't bother me at all, and I'm sure my readers and Commenters don't care, either.

      Bless you and all educators everywhere during this terrible time, especially in TX and FL. (Here in OH, it's bad enough, and they're letting teachers carry guns now, but that discussion is for another day.)

      You know how fervently I await your retirement, my dear friend. And thank you. XXOO

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    2. News Flash: The uni just emailed us on Friday to say that campus classes will go back online until Feb. 4th. Thank God!! Teaching online is more laborious because it involves a lot more prep, but I did it for a year and a half, lol! The bummer is that all the files from that time are useless because this semester I am teaching a level that I have not taught for years. That said, I do feel a lot better about not going back to campus that soon. My instinct tells me that this might even be prolonged another week or two after that because of how contagious the bit O is. Oh, well, at least I have already ordered the first month's supply of N95 masks. Imma check out that website one of your commenters mentioned. I, too, get dizzy from reading all the reviews on Amazon--- especially from people who say that the first shipment was great, everything individually wrapped, etc., and subsequent shipments had seriously inferior quality, all thrown together in the box, etc. Kind of a bait and switch. :-(

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    3. The "bit" O = The "big" O. LOL.

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    4. Ortizzle--Here is the link that Shirley mentioned https://shop.projectn95.org/

      It's reputable. Shipping is expensive, but chalk it up to a Peace Of Mind charge. There is a shipping delay of ten days, however, which is not optimal. More frustration. I have less and less confidence in Amazon, glutted as they are with cheap Chinese crap across all of their offerings.

      I'm so glad to hear about your university going to online for a while. The prep will be hellacious, of course, but your confidence and safety are paramount.

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  10. Oh Nance. You sound as if you did every thing in our power to avoid the COVID. I thank you for writing this. We are sick and tired of prevention, but we have to stay the course. My husband is recovering so great from the surgery to remove a brain tumor. I cannot chance him getting sick. I stopped writing for a bit. Im back now at : knittinggenes.b1ogspot.com. Some are having troub1e with the site. I went back to b1ogger so I am rediscovering their ins and outs. GET BETTER.

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    1. kathy--I'm glad to hear that your husband is recovering well. That's good news, and I know you both want to stay healthy and avoid this virus. As you said, we all have to keep doing our best and that's all we can do. I'll try to get back to your new spot ASAP. Little by little, my life is getting back to normal.

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  11. I hope you feel better soon! This variant is just so contagious - even those of us who have done everything right are bound to get it eventually, I guess. I hope you continue to have a mild case (the vaccines work!) and that you and your family rebound quickly.

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    1. NGS--Thank you. We're all just about back to normal life; just a few nagging symptoms holding us back a bit.

      Omicron is crazy contagious, but we still have to try and mitigate our risk. It's worth a try.

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  12. So sorry you and your family got sick. It's madding to think we could have moved past all this if the virus hadn't been politicalized in the the beginning.

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    1. Jean--Thank you. I agree wholeheartedly. The politicization of this virus has hampered efforts to save us.

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  13. I hate that you all got sick, especially your Mom. Omnicrom is everywhere and spreads so easily, as you fully know.
    Praying that this is the end or close to the end. But who knows. We have to keep forging on as best as we can.
    Rest up. XO

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    1. BBSuz--Thank you. Of all of us, Mom got through it the best. Her constitution is incredible. Nothing keeps her down.

      I sure hope you're right that this is COVID's last hurrah. Fingers crossed. XO

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  14. Hey, everyone, thanks for commenting here and for the kind words. We have been mysteriously without Internet for a few days. Service tech will hopefully be here Saturday afternoon. I’ll respond to your comments individually then. Too much to type on a teensy phone screen!

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  15. I am so sorry you ended up with COVID! Mike's best friend has it (and bilateral pneumonia) and he was also someone who was very strict. You're so right about other people being the slack ones - we are just waiting to end up sick because it feels inevitable at this point (but we're still masking out in public with our KN95s).

    I hope you & Rick are at full strength even now since I'm reading this a couple of days late!

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    1. Bug--Rick and I are both about 90% right now, thanks. It was a tough go for a while there, and I don't wish this on anyone. I can't imagine what the sufferers of the initial strain went through.

      It's hard to think that all of our safeguards aren't enough. KN95 masks are a new layer now. What's next? I shudder to think.

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  16. Ugh, how horrible. I'm so frikkin sick of all of this. As NGS said above, I feel like we are all destined to get it in the end. Way back when this whole thing started, I felt that way, and that the best we could do is to flatten the curve so our hospitals had a chance. Then as masking and washing and social distancing seemed to help, I began to have hope. Then when we were vaccinated, I had even more hope. Now I'm back at square one and hoping that our continued measures will at least help our hospitals. The doctors, nurses, and staff have been working so hard for so long on this, it's just eXhausting. I figure we will all get it sooner or later, and the best we can hope for is that we won't get too sick.

    I hope you're feeling better, and that your internet is up and running soon, and that your mom continues to thrive. She's amazing.

    Love your Sartre pic/quote. Well done.

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    1. J--You've summarized this entire saga perfectly. It's the same way I responded as well. Now we never even hear the words "flatten the curve" or "social distance". It's a free-for-all as selfish people just bully their way around and inflict grave harm on others. It's so very shameful.

      We are all much better now, even Sam, who ended up with "flurona"--the flu and COVID together. Mom is weekending at the lake and feeling quite chipper. The tech was here for two hours yesterday, bless him, and tracked down the problem. He was intrepid and knowledgeable and simply terrific.

      To be honest, I was sort of stuck for a time as to how to illustrate this post. I got a sudden flash of inspiration and then added the little mask to the photo. Too late, I realized I left off a bottom strap. Sigh. It still gets the job done. Thanks for the kudos.

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  17. PS - My U post was Unicorns, and you suggested that a book I might be remembering was The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier. I'm not sure how I missed that one, I loved Girl with a Pearl Earring. Anyway, thank you for reminding me about it, I got it from the library and read it, and it was really good, a lot of fascinating detail about how tapestries are made, mixed in with a good story to boot. Thought I'd report to you on that. :-)

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    1. J--I'm glad! I fell in love with Girl with a Pearl Earring, being a big Vermeer enthusiast myself. The movie was gorgeous and full of the original Vermeers on loan from museums.

      Tracy Chevalier has a NEO connection as well. She studied English at Oberlin College, which is not too terribly far from where I live and also near my lakehouse.

      Oberlin is also a lovely little town with such neat shops and restaurants, like many college towns. And the history of the college is impressive.

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  18. Okay. This is my third try. I have completely reloaded the app. Mutter, mutter.
    I hope you are well and resting and maybe at your cottage for the holiday.
    We get the third shot tomorrow, and are hoping it works as advertised because omicron is all over the place at present.
    There is no x in frustrated, sadly.
    Hugs!

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    1. Mary--I'm sorry for your continued frustration commenting here. Is it Google that's giving you fits?

      We are feeling much better, but have not gone to the lake. We are quite stripped down vis a vis provisions there, and we did not feel like packing a bunch of stuff. Perhaps soon.

      All of us are vaxxed and boosted, and we ended up sick. No one had to be hospitalized, and we all feel much better now. The illness was considered milder than the original COVID infections. I'm not sure how it's being touted in Canada, but preventing serious or fatal illness is the stated goal of the vaxx here.

      I'm glad you're getting the booster. It's another tool in your arsenal. At this point, we have to do all we can.

      You're right--Omicron is everywhere. I hate that this is true.

      Hugs to you as well.

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    2. Transiting from the iPad to the computer is screwing up my entry permissions. That and a weird short in my keyboard. However, I will purservere keep trying. Argh.

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    3. Mary--I very much appreciate your efforts. Hang in there.

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  19. Oh Nance, I'm so sorry to finally have a chance to stop by and find out you and so many in your family have Covid! I hope you all all recovering well and doing a bit better by now. I'm terrified now that I'm working with the general public all day, I know it's probably just a matter of time and especially since I live in a state with an insane idiot for a governor too. *Sigh*

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    1. Martha--So nice to see you here! Thank you for your well wishes.

      We are feeling and doing much better now. I'm sure you're concerned about an exposure/infection if you're dealing with the public all day. I would be, too. I hope you can enforce some social distance, wear a good mask, and do what you need to do to try to be as safe as you can. I know you're in a tough spot.

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  20. I am so sorry Nance. My oldest son got very ill last week. He is vaccinated but did not get a booster. He has paid the price for that. He is still very weak and is having a hard time. Like Ohio Florida is simply a shit show. No one wearing masks but me, no tests, it is ridiculous. I hope you and your family regain your strength and I hope for a better 2022.

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    1. Meredith--I'm so sorry for your son's illness. All of us were boosted, and still we got sick. Omicron is simply a very evasive and wild strain that is determined to find a host. Even today, days after a negative test, my husband is still coughing, and I'm still regaining my strength. It's a tough illness to come back from. Rest and patience are the only real medicines.

      And you're entirely correct--this has been a ridiculous shit show. It's like the states have given up, and it pains me to say that the federal government, once laser-focused on this pandemic, has sort of put it all on the back burner. Those of us in red states are truly struggling with ineptitude and selfish unconcern.

      Thanks for stopping by here. I join you in wishing for the best outcomes in 2022.

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  21. I'm glad you're feeling better. Don't get too discouraged. Wilbur Weston drowned today. Alright, he's a fictional character, but still, things could get worse.

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    1. Wanders—So lovely to see you here! Thank you for dropping by and offering encouragement. I do check in with MW occasionally and saw that WW took a high dive in the corniest way possible.

      My heart will go on.

      Take good care. Happy New Year!

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  22. Hi, Nance, So sorry to hear of your COVID saga! It is an evasive and cruel disease, and I hope it leaves you (and all of us) for good. I was particularly missing your take on today's BFH on MW, so I thought I would swing over to say "hi". Happy healing, and thanks for your reminder about our state's woeful performance re:COVID. Cuyahoga County is number 1 again in something loathsome.

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    1. LouiseF--How nice of you to stop in here! Thank you so much. We're much better now, thank you, just left with a couple of lingering symptoms as we regain our strength and stamina.

      You never know; I may someday get back into the BFH and leave one once in a while for everyone to ponder. It's flattering to be Missed.

      I read this morning that DeWine said he really thought that private enterprise would step up and fill in the gaps for at-home Covid tests. They haven't, he said, and he was "just plain wrong." Sigh. Hmmm...a republican wrong about something because of their stupid belief in antiquated ideas. Gosh. And look who suffers because of it.

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  23. Glad you are feeling better! Tests are impossible to get here, aren't they? The Hudson library was giving them out for free (maybe others as well?) but you have to almost transport yourself there to snatch up one. They put a notice on their website that they have a batch but I swear to god they are gone in a heartbeat. I am still wearing my mask but I honestly only go to the market and Target (I work out of my house). Such an exciting life! I can hardly wait for the weather to change so we can all spend more time outside. Today, however, is dreadful. I feel such sympathy for all the animals and people who have no place to go in this awful weather.

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    1. Elle--Thank you. Yes, I got word that the library had some tests, but that was while we were ill, so we couldn't go, obviously. My brother-in-law went immediately, and they were already out. He tried another branch, and they were out as well. It's going to be a situation of pure luck and being someplace when and where they happen to have some, I think.

      I just heard from my men who ventured out for work. The roads are a disaster and down to one lane on I90. Jared thankfully decided to give up and work from home since he has that option. I'm in the secondary snowbelt, so I'm looking at about 6 inches. I'm not sure if I'll be able to shovel, however; my stamina is still so low.

      Like you, I feel for anyone out in winter weather. And I'm grateful that Rick no longer has to work out in it, too. Take care, Elle. Nice to see you here.

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Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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