Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wedding, Lael, square dancing, Vidya.

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What a fantastic weekend!  Especially since I felt like I snatched it out of the jaws of a weekend work day.  We left the house at about 11:30 and made it to the hotel in Brooklyn at 4:15 and to the party at 5 pm.  Lael and Vikram had already gotten married in a small family ceremony in Michigan around July 4th and this was the reception.  It was held at North Brooklyn Farms and it was threatening to rain a lot and a bit windy, but it only rained when were were all underneath the tent eating dinner and the wind did pick up a small tent covering the caterer's grill, but it all seemed to settle down during the festivities.  Lael was Jeremy's coworker at UCS a few years ago before she moved to NYC, and we met up with Rachel another former UCS person.  We had a long discussion about this old Domino sugar factory in the background and whether is was haunted and if we believed in ghosts.

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The beautiful bride:

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There was glorious square dancing!  We danced so much, it was a lot of fun.  Jeremy was a good sport.  The last big dance, Jeremy and I both found people we didn't know and danced with them.  This morning, at the out-of-towners brunch, Lael mentioned that she noticed that we had asked other people to dance.  I didn't think she would have noticed.  I said that I thought that was one of the things to do at weddings - to dance with people you don't know, but are kind of pre-vetted by your friends.  I might have had 4 drinks, very unusual for me, but they were very modestly poured and I felt light and less self-conscious at the party, but I didn't wake up with a terrible hangover or anything.

The first dance:



We made a quick stop in Philly on the way home to see Vidya.  The trach is completely out, he's eating proper food and he's got his totally motorized wheelchair in place.  I'm so, so impressed with the progress he's made.  Very happy to see him too.  Now, another two days straight at the hospital.  Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Too much work, dancing, Eliana.

OMG, we are headed to Brooklyn this weekend for a wedding and I have never, ever felt so happy to be going on vacation.  We are leaving the kids behind and I'm going to have 36 hours of my own time with my husband.  I had to finagle a Sunday off during hospital orientation which was awkward for me, but whatever, I hate hate asking for special accommodations, but it is what it is.  I'm completely overwhelmed at the hospital each shift, I feel like throwing up as I pull out of the driveway, but I'm trying to be patient with myself and not internalize the complete feeling of incompetence that occupies about 40 hours of my week.  It's not really all the things I have to learn - like yesterday, I learned to program the PCA pump to dispense dilaudid intravenously and how to hang blood - all of these tasks on their own are fine and completely easy to master, it's just the sheer volume of tasks that need to be done - I know myself and I have never, ever doubted my ability to learn quickly or my capacity for the tremendous amount of work I am capable of doing, especially in a finite amount of time (like 12 hours), but I can see now, even working at 100% capacity and efficiency, that it just isn't enough time.  Like for the dilaudid, you have to check vitals every hour for the first four hours.  To hang blood, you have to sit with the patient for the first 15 min to check for any adverse reaction and then take vitals however often and it's time sensitive, you have only a certain number of hours from leaving the blood bank to infuse the whole unit.  And then both of these tasks you have to have another nurse come into the room and read back all the labels and expiration dates and enter their passwords and crosscheck. So you can imagine if you have 5 or 6 patients, two of which have PCA pumps and one person needs two units of blood on top of all the medications and one person needs to be cleared for surgery and another person needs insulin coverage on their meals and there is just a tremendous amount of documentation that needs to happen, I'm not sure exactly how it's possible.  Each discharge takes 15-20 minutes, each admission really takes 30 minutes to do it properly and yesterday, we did two of each. I could barely just keep track of who was in which room, let alone what they were in the hospital for.  Also, even if I can control what I do, sometimes you have patients that are completely beside themselves and take up an extra 30 minutes - they need reassurance, calming down, or they just need to yell at someone and apparently that someone is you but in the process, they've pull or kinked their IVs which you need access to do the thing you need to do, then you have to call IV therapy to come in with their ultrasound machine to find a good vein.  I think in about 3 weeks, I get to do this all on my own without my preceptor, ack.  It's going to be like being pushed into a freezing cold pool when you are standing around in street clothes and flip flops drinking a beer.  It's gonna be terrifying.  Jeremy, as I leave for work, says - you aren't nervous, you are excited!  lol. 

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Since I'm working every other weekend and we lose that time together and those weekends Jeremy  has Edda in tow for much of the time, he's trying to figure out his own schedule around mine.  He accrues vacation time more quickly than I do and we don't go on vacation a lot, so he's experimenting taking half days or full days off during the week.  So yesterday on Friday, he worked from home half day and was on vacation for half the day and because he cut out the two hour daily commute, he did many of the things I usually do on a normal pre-nursing job weekday; work, get in a mid-day workout, go to the dry cleaners, go get windshield wiper fluid for the car and volunteer for the kids.  Jeremy, with whom I'm going to celebrate 20 years of marriage in a few weeks, still surprises me sometimes.  This is our sixth year of parking cars at the county fair for Vince's boy scout troop.  The grown ups mostly wave flags while standing in a single spot.  For many, many years, I've done a little dance move at my favorite spot and I entertain myself and often I get a smile or two from the drivers who drive by.  Every year, some other parents mention that they see me dancing out there and that they are looking forward to seeing that again in the coming year.  I want to emphasis that it is just a little dance move and not a full fledged dance and that it is only dancing when compared with all the other middle aged parents I'm hanging out with.  I don't know what happened this year exactly, but Jeremy (I guess inspired by the kiki challenge / drake?) took it up a notch and created basically a whole dance routine and did it continuously at his shift where not only did he get smiles, but he got reactions like - "you go!" and "for Aretha!"  And he's wearing funky socks while doing it.  And he's basically got no rhythm.  No, I take that back, he has the beat, he just can't dance as goes the saying about white men. Who is this guy?

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Thank you Eliana who came this week to watch after Edda and who'll be coming on the weekends during the school year!  Hooray!  Our childcare is set for the coming fall. 

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians.



I went to see Crazy Rich Asians today because it was the only time this opening weekend I could fit it in and I'm doing my part to support mainstream movies with an Asian cast.  I did not enjoy the book (though I finished it) and I set my expectations low for the movie, but I was happily surprised.  I loved the movie!  You should go see it!  I swooned over seeing Singapore and thought it a bit bittersweet that I believe I will never again set foot in Singapore in my lifetime.  It was such a tough time for the family when we lived there for two years because we went thinking we'd travel all over Asia, especially India, but instead, we got Edda's Rett diagnosis there and traveled to the Children's Hospital a lot.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

On my feet, sleep safe bed, corn dog and turkey leg.

I was at the hospital all day Sat, all day Sunday and then because we had to do our 35ish combined parent hours at the fair and we don't have much time this week, both Jeremy and I signed up to work from 8:30 am to 10 pm on Monday.  Because Monday was short on parent volunteers, we ended up working a lot.  30 min in the sun, then 30 min to rest and then again and again omg. - usually, with enough parent staffing, they can manage a 30 min shift with an hour break. I was on my feet for three days straight and boy, by the time I was doing my last fair shift at 9:30pm, I was wiped out.  I felt like I should have been able to sleep soundly on Monday night, but weird things are happening to my sleep.  First, my inconsiderate dog, Maxi, woke us up at 3 am for no good reason except to want to go outside and eat some grass.  And even if I wasn't interrupted by Maxi, I feel like these days, even though my watch logs a steady 7 or 7.5 hours of sleep, my sleep is lighter somehow?  I don't get enough deep, satisfying, refreshing sleep anymore.  Frustrating.  Everyday, Jeremy and I both get up at 5:45 and the first thing that we say to each other is - did you sleep well? and often the answer is no. 

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Kuala sent a bunch of camp photos of Edda I wanted to share with you.  Camp JCC is such a wonderful opportunity for Edda, it'll be sad when she ages out.  It was a very nice summer for these two.

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We got a sleep safe bed delivered today for Edda.  It's a twin size bed that looks like furniture, but it has a motorized hospital bed mechanism under it that'll lift up the head or lift up the feet and most importantly for us, it has safety rails that go around all the sides.  We've been applying to insurance for it for a long time, I think this might have been our third go-around.  I think I try each time we are up for a new wheelchair.  Obviously, we've been denied twice before and I was not optimistic that we'd get it this time, but a few months ago, for whatever reason, it went through and here it is.  Insurance is a mysterious beast.  According to the invoice, this is a $16,404 bed.  That is almost the cost of a Honda Civic. Oh, a Honda Civic is more like $18,000.  But you could by a Honda Fit for the same $16,000.

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Vince is at the fair all week.  We got to experience a whole day with him on Monday.  Edda was at home and went to her after-care camp in the afternoon (Celebrate Ability), Eliana has moved in for the week to look after her.

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Jeremy and I managed to coordinate our breaks to coincide at the same time and we went into the fair for a quick dinner date.  We might have even held hands, lol.  I got my annual corn dog.  Jeremy got his beloved turkey leg.  We split a grilled cheese sandwich from The Big Cheese and topped it off with a shared chocolate dipped soft serve cone.  I got to see my favorite rabbit exhibit, we saw the winning quilts and pies, and got to see some kids show some kids (goats) for judging. 

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Jeremy, bless his heart, went again tonight to bump our points up to finish off our obligate hours.  He brought the kids some watermelon.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Yelling, poop, kiki.

Remember I said that I loved nursing and that I know it's what I'm suppose to be doing now?  I take that back tonight.  lol.  A long day.  With some yelling involved.  And poop.  There is always poop.

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We are enjoying watching the Kiki challenge!  Kiki!  Go look it up.  


Friday, August 10, 2018

JCC, MoCo ag fair, nursing update.

Today was Edda's last day at Camp JCC.  Each year is special at camp, but everyone acknowledged that this summer, at least in Kochavim, this was an amazing, unforgettable summer.  We knew that Kuala & Edda had formed a special bond and Kuala was crying and I was crying at drop-off this morning (Edda was not crying, lol).  We hugged and hoped to see each other again - though she's off to California for college and her parents are also moving to the West Coast; and so we have these moments and memories that we are part of each other's lives and then we scatter hoping to come together again someday.  After Edda and Kuala headed off to the first morning activity, I checked in with the head counselor of the Edda's group and she said in her nine years of doing this, this was the best year ever.  The kids and counselors were well matched, there was nary a parent complaint, all the counselors became good friends and helped each other out during the day.  A great summer.  Edda laughed and smiled the whole way.

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The MoCo ag fair starts today and that means that we won't see Vince for about 10 days.  He's old enough to be running the show now, he's quartermaster - in charge of equipment.  Walkie talkies, flashlights, golf carts (?).  We have to put in parent hours, but we are doing that in one straight shot on Monday.

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I'm working at the hospital both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  Now I'm a couple weeks into the routine, I will say that I do wake up each day I have to head to the hospital full of both anxiety and determination, but more on the anxious side.  My initial gut feeling is that I don't want to go again, but I tuck that feeling aside and then keep going.  There is so much to learn; first medically: how to hang blood, which IV push meds burn when you inject them and have to be diluted, how to insert Foleys, how to do a bladder scan, that vancomycin needs a blood draw before you dose it so you know that you won't send the patient into toxicity, that lostartan is held in patients with high potassium because it's in a class of medications that are called ARBs and they exacerbate hyperkalemia, second logistically: how to print out armbands, how to call pharmacy when you are out of a med, how to send collected samples through the tube system, how to print out discharge papers, where do the empty oxygen tanks go.   I have so many stories (already) that can not be told, that are important to me and because I can't tell them, I'm afraid I will forget them.  I know this is the unit I'm suppose to be on, I have found nothing but kindness in all the other nurses and managers.  Everytime someone passes me - they ask if everything is going OK, they ask if I've had a break or a snack or taken a proper lunch.  I left my shift on Wed, even though I was tired and overwhelmed and feeling incompetent, thinking - I love this.  This is what I'm suppose to be doing right now.  Hopefully I can sustain that feeling.  Look!  I got a thank you gift from a patient's granddaughter. 

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Monday, August 6, 2018

MLK, maps and weeds.

I spoke with Paul, my running coach, this weekend to figure out how to train with the new nursing schedule. I'm not sure what I'm even training for anymore, I haven't run a race in so long.  I haven't even really strung together a good bit of training for months.  I've been hamstrung by my hamstring since the beginning of the year, everything about myself is getting older, and summer is my least favorite season to train and now I'm busier.  But we'll see.  There is a plan.  haha.  There is always plan!

I went for my regular weekend run on Sunday down at the national mall.  The local orienteering club was hosting an urban orienteering event starting at 9 am.  I was reluctant to go because, omg, it was going to be hot. And it was hot and a lot of it was a slog, but the last bit around the tidal basin when I was running through the MLK and the FDR memorials full of tourists was surprisingly moving for me.  I felt good striding through the paths, seeing all the people visiting DC and feeling more hopeful than I have in a while.

It was a super efficient run in terms of sightseeing.  I loved it!  A bunch of museums & little gardens, the Washington monument, the Vietnam memorial, the Korean War memorial, the WWII memorial, bumped into Einstein, MLK, FDR & Jefferson.  A bit over 7 miles, all under 2 hours.

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I had, on this running adventure, managed to find myself off of the printed orienteering map, so I pulled out my phone to figure out where I was and this park ranger was like - are you using MapQuest?  you can't use MapQuest!  you need a real map! and handed me a NPS map and proceeded to teach me how to use it.  I couldn't bring myself to tell him I was actually doing an activity that required me to use a map, so I listened to him show me how to orient the map to the surroundings and then to keep the water to my left to find my way back to my car.  He was very enthusiastic.  Hooray for park rangers!  He reminded me to drink plenty of water.

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out of a mountain of despair a stone of hope.  -mlk

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After I got home on Sunday, Vince and Jeremy went to my parents' house to weed.

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It was weedy and still very hot.

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In an unusual mood, Jeremy mowed the lawn and even edged it.  Crazy.  And he weeded the flower bed too.

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Vince made a rare appearance at Sunday night dinner.

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