Sunday, December 9, 2018

Orienteering, Sunday night dinner.

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Vince and I went orienteering today.  It was cold, but it was a good running day - temps in the low 30s.  Vince ran the intermediate course (Orange) and I ran the course I should run for my age which is the 2nd longest advanced course (Green).  Vince and I both covered about 5 miles.   I tried to not get my feet wet.  When it's warm, I don't mind splashing through streams, but in the winter, I don't want to be cold/wet for so long.  I'm not in terrific running shape (nor am I in good navigation shape - one needs practice and I'm not practicing weekly), but it's really nice to be outside exerting oneself in the woods.  I really would love to be out in the woods at least once a week, it reminds me that I am a living, breathing being and need time away from the built and connected world. When I pick up a little speed in the woods, it feels good - grateful that my body works well enough to weave through the trees with the leaves crunching under my feet.  Unlike running on the roads, I'm always compensating for uneven footing balancing and rebalancing with each step.  With the nursing gig, I tried for a while (maybe 6 weeks?) to keep up my routine of running workouts (1 long run a week and 1 speed workout), but I just couldn't sustain it.  Being in good running shape makes the woods running exhilarating.  It's even better when I'm in good navigation shape too. The hospital gig is physically and mentally draining, that I feel like I can't spare the extra energy to running hard on my off days which I miss.  I'm still running most days I'm not at the hospital, but I'm trying to figure out how to get the workouts back.  Will I be too physically overextended?  I think I could do it if I could sleep 9 hours a night.  I'd have to go to bed at 8:45 every night - which is basically impossible - I'd be the first person asleep in the house.  As for Vince, he missed a control, but he didn't give up, he completed his course - a good thing.  He even said that he kind of enjoyed it.

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The orienteering was near my parents' house, so we stopped by for a quick minute to visit them.  Dad was in the basement building it out.  Mom was napping.  We invited them to Sunday night dinner.

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Sunday night dinner with the family.  Joan passed away early Friday morning.  I hadn't talked to Christine & family since we visited on Thursday morning, so we all caught up and gave hugs all around.   We lit candles for the last night of Hanukkah and we sang happy birthday to Eric.

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This week is going to be challenging, my shifts are close together so I'm going to be tired, but I have 4 days off in a row soon, so I'll keep that on my mind until I see you on the other side.

Sleep.

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You know, actually getting 8 hours of sleep is difficult.  But when you get it, it feels great.  Actually, 8.5 is the best.  mmmm. 

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Friday, December 7, 2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Love.

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Went to see Joan and Christine this morning, this time with Jeremy.  Dropped Jeremy off at the train station and drove to see my parents.  My mom is still hobbling around on one good leg and one bad leg.  Snuggled in bed with her and took a nap.  I love naps.  I think my hobby is napping.  Is that such a thing?  Went home, worked a bit, went for a run.  Helped Vince with homework which was kind of a fail.  Jeremy is trying now.  It's a compare/contrast paper and Vince (like his father) has very complicated ideas which require a high degree of writing skill to pull off.  Like using one of the contrasting differences to help prove that they are actually a similar thing.  I'm like - can you just pick obvious similarities and differences and write a simple paper?  I'm no fun really.  Edda agrees.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Joan.

I spent a chunk of today with Christine, Jane and Joan. Joan had a stroke sometime between bedtime on Saturday and Sunday morning.  She was admitted to my hospital during the day on Sunday. I stopped by after work on Monday to see them.  She's lost all ability to move on her right side and she's not able to swallow or talk, though she tries to talk and we try to decipher - usually unsuccessfully.  They were headed home on Monday evening with Joan via ambulance to home hospice care.  It was good to see her at home today.  She seemed as comfortable as possible when one is letting go.  Christine and I chatted and ate snacks.  Christine swabbed her mom's mouth.  Jane came home from classes and we set up a card table in Joan's room and pulled out a puzzle and worked on it for a few hours.  Jane told stories about Joan taking Jane and George out to Outback Steakhouse where George would pretend that Jane hit/kicked him to get Jane in trouble.  I took a nap.  Jane brushed Joan's hair and told her she loved her.  Peanut walked in and out of the room trying to decide whether to it was ok to settle in the room or if it was better to settle in the couch in the living room.  I went back home in the mid-afternoon.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

sleep, waluigi, steve, cookies.

I spent most of the weekend sleeping and resting in bed.  I felt a little off at the hospital on Friday and thought I could shake it off quickly, but this whole weekend I could tell I was not 100%.  Mostly just sweating for no reason (not feverish tho) and tired and now it's morphed into a mild GI bug.  I barely left the house.  I needed this weekend to do nothing.

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Jeremy spent the weekend a little more productively.  He spent hours doing some complicated bike repair maneuvers.  All of which involved specialized tools and time alone in the garage wearing his Waluigi halloween costume.

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Then he changed into his Steve halloween costume to make lunch for all of us.

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Vince made candy cane sugar cookies.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

cancelled, stitches.

I got cancelled today from my hospital gig.  Somehow, my unit is the only unit on the planet that is overstaffed, so they rotate who gets cancelled.  I think there is a way of tracking this, but I have no idea where the list is or who gets cancelled (I think some people ask to be cancelled and can get to the top of the list? Maybe?).  Though people generally don't want to be cancelled (because you either 1) don't get paid or 2) have to use your vacation time), I felt like I had gotten a free snow day.  Wheeee!!!  I was thrilled.  Honestly, I'm dreading going into work everyday.  It's not that I'm getting yelled at or anyone is throwing me shade or anything, it's just that it's a ton of work.  On the one hand, it's exactly what I thought it would be and I'm learning a lot and on the other hand, it's completely overwhelming everyday.  I'm trying to convince myself not to think too hard about it and just do it. 

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There I am, at 8 am with both kids off to school and me thinking that I'd have a whole day of cool fun stuff like catching up with laundry, paying bills, cleaning up the house and just relaxing and watching youtube videos about asmr when I hear a crash in the front foyer.  I don't move from where I'm eating my breakfast avocado toast and yelled to Jeremy - you OK?  I hear - uhh, could you help me, like now?

I found Jeremy splayed out on the ground in the front foyer in a puddle of glass and milk.  He'd tripped coming back into the house while carrying four glass bottles of milk.  A milk bottle fell to the ground and shattered and then he fell on top of it all.  I start trying to find out where all his cuts are, to clean the glass and the milk and keep Maxi from trying to lick all the milk and getting both cuts and diarrhea.  Jeremy had one large laceration below his right knee which I knew needed stitches.  So off we went to the ER.  And I thought I wasn't going to go to a hospital today.

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Jeremy told the PA that was stitching him up that I was a new nurse, so the PA happily walked me through the stitching process.  How to properly inject the lidocaine, how to irrigate the wound, which types of stitches to use in what situation.  I often do wound care on the floor, but not accidental lacerations and no stitching.  Jeremy thinks he got a better stitch job because the PA was trying to show off.   It was a deeper wound than I thought it was at first glance, the glass went in sideways so it's actually deeper than a quarter inch and the skin kind of "flaps" about half an inch from the incision.

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Poor boy can't bike for about two weeks.  Since it's right near the knee, it's skin that gets a lot of pull, so he's suppose to keep his leg straight-ish for a while.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

taco wed, physics continued.

Lively dinner tonight.  A party and it's a Wed!  Taco Wed is what it is.   This pleases me, the dinner table is full, we have a simple meal I put together in about 45 minutes.  We chat for about an hour and then it's done.  We are all off our separate ways.

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Vince and I are struggling a bit with each other through his junior year.  I had to call Jeremy early this morning for a pep talk.  V and I always fight when Jeremy is out of town.  Jeremy was like - uhhh, it's going to be hard for me to never leave town so you and Vince will never fight.  lol.  Vince is like - you only talk to me about things like grades, tests and SATs, why are you only picking on that?  I said, well when you hang out with dad, you guys cook or go out to eat.  Dad loves to cook.  Do you know what I love?  I love school.  If I could, I'd go to high school forever.  Do you know how satisfying it is to have the right answer for everything all the time?  Life is never like that, you never know what the hell you are doing in real life.  Like how to raise a teenager!  I looked at my old physics textbook because I need to relearn all the physics stuff before I help Vince - I see that every even question in the whole book, chapter after chapter, has a little check mark next to it (only the even ones had answers in the back).  Thirty year old check marks.  I can't quite decide if I was an idiot for doing all of the questions or if my diligence was a good thing.  Somedays I feel like being a diligent, consistent person is an excellent quality to have.  Today I feel like I wasted time all that time as a teenager - in my little room, by myself with a swing arm lamp - circular motion, tension, ropes holding a boat on the dock - I could (and probably) should have been off doing more interesting things or meeting interesting people.  But I know doing all those physics problems was kind of soothing for me, as if all the questions I had about my life when I was 17 could be answered as simply as any of those checked-marked questions.  As for Vince, I have to say over and over again, it's not about me, it's not about me, it's not about me.

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Tuesday.

I've been rewatching Good Will Hunting - one of my favorite movies.   To see Robin Willams again!

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I took a nap today.

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Jeremy saw Dave this morning in Minnesota.  Dave is doing some big data thing with health insurance companies.  Dave told me once that the most common billing tags are vaccines and his favorite least common billing tag was something like being pecked by a chicken.  I'm like - there is a tag for that?  He said yeah - it got used once last year.  Jeremy thinks we should open a health data company with Dave - Jeremy the idea guy, I'd bring in the nursing component and Dave would do all the programming and data stuff.  That sounds like too much work.

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Edda was so happy today!  Just laughing and laughing at dinner.  It's been a while since she's been like that.  I think her blistered toe is finally better.

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It's really cold.

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With Jeremy gone, we've been having communal dinners to keep each other company - in many ways fun and easy.  Kitachi, Edda, Vince, me, Ning, Brian, Brian's mom Kathy and baby Noah.  And I guess Maxi also.  I ordered Chinese last night.  Brian cooked tonight - spaghetti and meatballs.

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There are many things I miss by working so much.  There are many people who say - oh! you can have it all and I have a lot of it, but what fades away the quickest when you are busy paying attention to other things are your existing relationships.  I can always outsource many things - cleaning the house, watching the kids, cooking, walking the dog, etc.  But you can't really outsource being friends with a person.  I miss my friends that I used to talk to on a daily, weekly, etc. basis.  These are relationships I've built up over half decades & decades.  It takes (lazy) time to be friends and I can't do that now.  I have new relationships at work, it's true, and I do value those, but all my old ones are suffering.  I don't have a huge circle of friends, but I want to have a handful of close friends.  I promise them all it's only a season, but it's causing me to be somewhat unhappy.  There is so much value in having a friend who knows what you did yesterday and what you'll do tomorrow and just what is going on where the conversation isn't one big huge catch-up.  Sigh.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Egg rolls, fasting, fighting.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, we went to my parent's house to have family dinner #2. This is where Vince made the eggrolls.  My mom is OK, walking around with a crutch.

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I worked all weekend at the hospital.  I'm now done with 4 months as a floor nurse and it is completely exhausting.  I've spent more time on the floor on my own than I have in orientation.  I step on the floor at 6:45 am and I don't stop moving until I leave the floor, usually a 8 pm.  Jeremy opens my lunch box from the morning in the evening to clean it out and says I at three bites of the sandwich.  And I'm like - oh, yeah, that's right, today I sat down to eat lunch and then some code alarm went off and I had to run.  I actually don't understand what I'm suppose to do to make everything feel better except to care less about everything that is wrong/late or unaccomplished which is what I think will happen.  It pains me to realize this at this time. 

Jeremy was quoted in the NYTimes magazine this weekend.  He's not exactly delighted with the article.  His quote did headline a section in the article.

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Jeremy is up a few pounds from eating more generously and exercising less.  He's completely convinced of fasting diets, there is some book that he wants me to read.  He's interested in fasting as a way to cure type II diabetes.  In the hospital, I feel like I'm never able to control a diabetic's sugar.  We check sugars before each meal and the level is usually in the mid-200s (normal is 70-120ish) and then I cover it with a bit of fast acting insulin each time per a sliding scale and sometimes there is a daily long acting insulin that should act over 24 hours and I never, ever see it under 200.  I'm confused.  I thought insulin would bring it all down into the 100s.  I very, very rarely see that happen even when I'm perfect in the timing of the insulin dosing.  He says this book says that the type II diabetic could reset their insulin resistance by fasting for a week?  a couple of weeks?  maybe a month?  I'm like - can you fast for a month?  Won't that kill you?  He said, nah, you won't die after a month.  Anyways, he lost his 40 pounds with intermittent (one-day only) fasting, but now he's interested in week-long fasts.  So he started a two day fast on Sunday.  He's travelling this week (to Minnesota) so I dropped him off this morning, the 2nd day of fasting.  He's for sure a little slow in talking because his glucose levels and he's a little scatter-brained, but today is a travel day and then tomorrow he will break the fast and be ready for his meetings.  Here he is - off in the rain to catch the bus to catch his flight. 

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Vince has decided to make cookies every Sunday for his friends.  Boy likes to cook.  Of course, Jeremy leaves on a business trip and Vince & I get into a fight.  Over physics.  There is a test tomorrow and he asks at 5pm today for help.  I'm like - did you work on is this weekend?  Last weekend?  We talked about working on it last weekend?  The answer is - no.  We fight.  There is nothing that irks me more than last minute cramming. 

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Post - thanksgiving.

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Vince made this green bean casserole from scratch yesterday.  He followed the Binging with Babish recipe which included making the mushroom soup from scratch, deep frying the onions and then putting it together with fresh green beans.  I wish I had gotten a photo of it as it came out of the oven, but I didn't.  It was amazing & delicious it was the first dish that was completely consumed. 

One of the reasons that our house was so crowded yesterday was because so many of Edda's caregivers and their partners and families came.  I grieve about so many things regarding Edda, but when I think about the nice things that have come out of it one of it is that we have so many people interested in Edda's wellbeing and that they have become like family to us.

My mom pulled her groin muscle yesterday and so she and my dad had to cancel and stayed home yesterday.  My dad dropped off all the egg roll ingredients anyways mid-afternoon.  It was weird not having either set of parents at Thanksgiving, but it was fine.  We are going to bring over the leftovers to their house tonight to have a 2nd Thanksgiving with them tonight (minus the green bean casserole).

I had this secret hope that Donald would show up on my doorstep at 4pm on Thanksgiving, but that didn't happen.  Donald!  I miss you, I love you, come back to me.  <3  I will wait for you, take your time. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving.

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We went out Monday night to celebrate my mom's 77th birthday.  I thought the hummingbird cake was especially delicious.  It was a lovely evening out.  We've been slowly wading through the rest of the week.  I was at the hospital on Tue and Wed which meant that Jeremy has been the one wrestling with prepping for Thanksgiving and managing during the lead up to the big day (today!).  Jeremy's parents are not coming and a lot of out of town guests are not coming either, so we will be a modest 35 (!).  I didn't think we'd still have so many people.  As for the mishaps this week,  I accidentally ate Vince's lunch, I managed to drive to the hospital with Edda's wheelchair in my trunk and the van's battery died - pretty much all on Wed, throwing Jeremy for a bunch of loops in his schedule.

I'm thankful for so many things and all the usual things.  I do not let a day go by without thinking about how lucky I am.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Oliver! and holding babies.

Closing night for RM's Oliver!  Vince worked lights and had a nice time.

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I forgot that I should brush up a bit on the songs and the plot before I go to a musical.  The 2nd act had me quite confused about the relationships between all the people and the motivations behind their actions. 

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Do you know how to fall in love with your husband all over again?  To get back that physical feeling of affection and warmth that starts in your heart and then rises to your throat and then past the eyes to make them all misty?  Have him hold a week-old baby and do that coo-ing & rocking thing.  Sometimes, as I'm passing through perimenopause, I grieve over the loss of fertile hormone levels.  Not really the ability to have more babies, but my ability to feel emotions so widely.  As the hormones wane, I think my range of emotion also wanes.  I'm often glad that I can more easily let go bad feelings, hurt feelings and feelings of inadequacy and/or loneliness, but I'm sometimes wistful because I believe I won't be able feel those glorious emotional highs such as joy, euphoria and pure happiness.  So whenever it happens I like to grab hold of it and say - I can still feel it.  Like really feel it. 

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Pharmacy, blister, party.

A hard & complicated shift on Friday.  Sigh.  Vince has been working on the winter play at school, so I picked him up on the way home at 9 pm.  I was tired (of course) and the first thing he asked was - did anyone yell at you?  I said, no - no one yelled at me, so at least I had that going for me.  I have no idea what complicated system they have going on with pharmacy downstairs - I'm sure it's full of computer-ish circles of hell, but I have a patient fresh from surgery and I can see that the pain meds are ordered, but I can't pull them out of the med room for 2 hours because pharmacy hasn't verified them.  I call every 30 minutes.  Not only is the patient sitting there with surgical pain which is terrible for me to think about, it makes me look bad when my patient asks - hey you got anything for this pain? I'm like - ummmm, no - not exactly.  They think I'm not paying attention or I'm making them wait.  Any explanation about pharmacy sounds totally lame and incomprehensible because it's like - don't you stock ibuprofen by the pound?  And the answer is, of course, the ibuprofen, oxy, morphine, percocet is all like 10 feet away from us, but I can't get to it.  Then whenever I pass a coworker I ask - you struggling with pharmacy today?  I hear a resounding Yes - I'm on the phone with them right now. I lean over and see on their computer all the red angry boxes on their MAR meaning missed doses of medication.

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We are wrestling with a big blister on one of Edda's toes.  It was caused by me.  Her toes are curling in a weird way in her AFOs and I wanted to straighten them out because I flip out thinking that Edda won't be able to walk when she's 25 because she's got curly, painful toes.  I put on these little flexible bunion straighteners (which I use all the time myself when I run to keep my own toes aligned) and she seemed to tolerate them well for a week or so (and I thought her toes were straighter) until Eliana noticed huge blisters on the sides of both her pinky toes. (I love all my caregivers, but Eliana is especially good at noticing Edda's facial expressions.  I give Eliana credit for potty training Edda for #2 which is a huge deal.)  We lanced the blisters and one is healing great, but the other is an oozy, bloody mess.  And it's a terrible thing to bandage because how do you bandage the inside side of a pinky toe when you are walking on it all the time?  Bandage after expensive bandage wouldn't stay put.  On Thursday, I ended up not working very much because I was sitting next to Edda watching TV with her blister open to the air and foot propped up on a laundry basket.  She won't stay that way unless I'm right next to her.  I did nap a bit.  I'd look at it every hour to see if I could see any new skin.  (No.  I could not.) Jeremy's like - it looks bad and I'm like - oh, I think it looks OK. Together we put together a good bandaging system that'll stay on and keep it covered.  It involves a lot of tape.  Hopefully, it'll keep looking better day after day.  Fingers crossed.

We are also so confused about Edda's diapering situation.  Normally, I think Edda is consistently dehydrated.  Not that she refuses water, but we can be a little lame giving her water.  One has to patient with these things - straws, sips, etc.   Anyways, this is to say that while she does pee enough, she doesn't pee a lot.  But on Friday, she went through two sets of pants at school - they changed her twice before they even got to lunch.  Then the aftercare says she came to them completely wet.  We are dumbfounded.  How can this girl produce so much pee?  I mean, sometimes on the weekend, we're extra forgetful (probably more me) and she'll happily wear a diaper for 7 or 8 hours and it'll be heavy, but really, completely reasonable. Maybe she's getting a diaper wedgie?  Where the diaper is still dry, but the pants are wet because you missed covering the most important part?  I dunno.

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Earlier this week, Vince asked if he could host a "big" party on Friday night.  He wanted to invite friends from the play over.  Normally, there is a cast & crew party after closing night, but there is a pretty strong split between cast/crew, and Vince wanted to host a crew party.  We asked how many people would show up and Vince said probably between 10-20.  We agreed, we warned our downstairs tenants and things started to swing into place.  (Mostly meaning Jeremy made wings, yum).

I came home at 9 pm with Vince who cut out early from the play with Sam to set things up for the party.  The grown ups went upstairs, Edda was asleep.  At 10 pm, the guests started to arrive.  The doorbell rang, Max went crazy and barked her head off and then we could hear everyone say hello to each other.  Then Jeremy and I looked at each other - girls!  there are girls in the house at a party!  After about 20 minutes when more guests came, Jeremy and I discussed whether we were suppose to go downstairs to say hello or if we should stay upstairs the whole time.  We decided to go down stairs and satify our curiosity.

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Party!

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I'm semi-hiding behind the pantry, unsure if I'm suppose to be at the party.  We didn't stay long, we went back upstairs after about 5 minutes.  Kept the door to our room open and the lights in our room on and then proceeded to fall half-asleep in our clothes (in case we needed to spring into action) while the party went on downstairs.  Vince had promised to have a soft ending at midnight and 80% of the kids were gone by then, but it was pretty loud for about 2 hours.  In my half-sleep, I told Jeremy that this was terrible for me because I was going to be so underslept and  grouchy the next day, but Jeremy mumbled, yeah, but this is a milestone for Vince and it sounds like a great party.  At 12:15 am, we shuffled downstairs to encourage the stragglers to go home and packed up the food.  Vince had managed to order pizza online, there was a Costco chocolate cake, lots of chips - we wanted to make sure Max ate none of it.   After all the guests had left, Vince came upstairs and gave us big hugs and thanked us for allowing the party to happen.  You guys are the best parents ever! Can I say that I live to hear that?  I asked was it a good party? and he said, yeah, it was the best.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

Baby, Harvard, Spanish.

Baby is home!

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We are trying to figure out a new look for Edda.  For her whole life, we've bought her Hanna Andersson clothing which are beautiful, but really trap her in the early elementary school look.  Not a terrible thing, for sure, but now we are looking for an older, more grown up look.  I think we are skipping all the teen stores and going straight to Uniqlo.  We ordered a bunch of camisoles with the built in bras and some stretchy turtlenecks. For a little while I tried to walk into the popular teen stores and buy outfits for Edda, but I generally disapprove of those stores and I can't bear to spend $ there, so there is that.

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The first quarter of junior year is done for Vince.  He did well, but he did not get straight As - this included a B in AP Physics.  My plan for letting Vince live his own life is working well, I spent only 45 minutes fretting about his physics grade since September (ok, maybe 90 minutes).  If I wasn't learning to be a nurse, I'm sure I would have spent days obsessed about this and tried to make him cram physics into his head in various unpleasant ways.   We were driving home from school one day last week talking about his physics grade and I told him I was less busy now for the next quarter (in the sense that I don't feel like throwing up everyday I go to the hospital) and I more available to helping him with it and that Jeremy was always open to helping him out, but he said - well while you both arrive at the same correct answer there are pros and cons to asking either of you. Dad is always very nice about helping out, but he explains it in a convoluted and confusing way and you are always initially judg-y about it, but your explanations are clear and to the point.  I sighed and said, you ever use Kahn Academy?  They are pretty clear without the judg-y part.  And then I said I'd work on being less judg-y (Which I'm always working on.  Always,  Not just to Vince, but to the whole world).  I'm not sure Jeremy could work on being less complicated.  This Harvard/Asian-American case has also helped me let go of a lot of college admissions angst.  While I'm staunchly pro-affirmative action, Harvard's admissions procedures have really felt like a personal attack on me, so I often feel like - screw Harvard and all those fancy private schools.  There will be no private school going for any of my offspring.  They can have all the Squis that they want, they obviously don't want me and I don't need them.  There is a lot of work to do and none of it requires a degree from Harvard.  Then I tell Jeremy - Vince is going to a large, publicly funded state school and then Jeremy looks at me and is like, huh?  What is going on? (I can swing wildly on this topic.  It is shameful for me to admit that of all the crappy things that have happened, #metoo, children ripped from their family, etc, etc, I'm can focus on this Harvard case a lot and then I berate myself, because really?  am I going to feel bad about who is going to drive the Porsche when everyone has rusty tricycles to go to work/school?)  Maybe it's all sour grapes as Vince is obviously not as obsessed about school as I was and I often I think more power to him (though just as often, I'm like why are you not studying every minute you are awake?).  Unlike me at 16, I'm sure I could drop him in the middle of a foreign country, not speaking the language and with no money or phone and I'm sure within 24 hours, he'd find a nice, non-freaky friend and a non-freaky place to sleep and a way to call us/text us and tell us that he's OK and if he can travel for a bit with his friend and don't worry about the $, he'll figure out a way to find a job to pay for the travel.  (As an aside, I loved the affirmative action episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj where the best quote was "Our entire live we get shat on — oh, you guys have small dicks; you're bad drivers; you're the color of poop; you smell like curry and kimchi. Nothing. We say nothing. The moment we can't get into Harvard, we're like, 'I'll see you in court, motherfucker!'").

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To be really excellent at my hospital gig, I think I'd need to become fluent in Spanish.  I took French in high school and I often wish that I had taken Spanish instead because at least I'd have that to hang my hat on now.  I spent some time today watching TV shows in both Spanish (Cable Girls) and French (Blind Date) on Netflix with the English subtitles to kind of gauge how much of an advantage taking HS French was and I think any advantage is erase by thirty years of not thinking about anything more complicated than a croissant.  I consider my Chinese to be pretty poor (I tell people I speak like a toddler because that is pretty much when I stopped trying to learn any more), I still can't get tenses correct.  I've been in situations where my spoken Chinese seems good enough and the person gets really excited (because it's always nice to speak in your native language when you haven't been able to communicate easily and quickly in days/weeks/whatever) and then starts speaking really quickly and then I don't know the word for blood pressure and then I'm confused if they have taken their blood pressure medication already or if they are going to take it later or if they are asking if they should take their blood pressure medication.  I watched another Netflix TV show in Chinese (Meteor Garden) to see how fluent my Chinese is and it's not terrible, but it's not great either.  I think I could kind of manage without the subtitles.  If I could get my Spanish to be as good as my Chinese, I think that would be wonderful.  Actually, I'm lowering the bar, I would love to have good command of receptive language.  I would love to understand my patients.

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IV score:

Doris: 1 Patient: 1

Thursday, November 8, 2018

too much, andy, ning.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm working too much.  I don't think I'll do anything about it for another 2.5 months though.  That's when I hit the 6 month mark at the hospital gig.  I'm still learning way too much each shift, I'm not yet fluent in the ways of the unit.  I feel like I need to wait until I feel that competency before I back off from full time.  Everyone assures me that it happens - that I will feel so comfortable, it'll come.  Just wait for it.  The question is will I feel it at 6 months?  Or will it take me a whole year?  That seems to be the range.  But it means I'm tired, I'm not doing many things that I love to do and I had the space to do before. 

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I had to head to Alexandria today for training.  Usually training is online, but somehow I missed the first rounds of notification email and by the time I could find a date that worked for me, the only spots I could attend were in-person at the office.  Actually, training in-person is so much nicer than training online. Even though the online training still has a live-person giving the training, it's so much easier to ask questions and interact etc, in person.  I used my office presence to have lunch with Andy which was lovely.  (I was surprise to learn that even though Andy is 100% at the office, he still does all the training online!) We spoke a bit about Catholicism.  He's grew up Catholic and still goes to church but now identifies as an atheist.  I grew up without religion and also consider myself an atheist and now work at a Catholic hospital and stop by at the chapel before each shift to pray (to who, exactly? dunno.) for the well being and safety of my patients, their families, my coworkers and finally myself.  (When I'm anxious and feeling bad for myself, I will reverse the order of the prayer.)

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Ning had her baby this morning!  On the way home from Alexandria, I stopped by the hospital (not mine!) to visit.  I walked in quietly to find them all sleeping soundly.  I couldn't bear to wake any of them up - I'm sure they were exhausted.  So I tiptoed out of the room and I was driving home when I got a text that they were awake and ready to see me.  I looped back to the hospital.  Noah is beautiful and perfect.  I'm going to be a little selfish here and say that I'm so excited that there is a baby in the house.  Ning is our morning caregiver for Edda, but she (and family) also rent our basement apartment.  There is going to be a baby in the house!  Our house is going to be full, makes me happy :)  I hope I get to babysit sometime. 

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Misc.

I actually wore this outfit out into the community where people could see me.  I'm dressed by two Asian mothers: Soojung's mom gave her the plaid purple pants which she then gave to me and I wear them all the time to the gym and my mom gave me the striped sweatshirt.  I had to stop by the hospital today to do some administrivia and I thought I could sneak in/out wearing these pants, but I now know too many people at the hospital and even though I was tunneling through the basement belly of the hospital, somehow the hospitalist who, yesterday, I was just getting to know in a professional-type manner was walking straight down the hall towards me, spied me in my plaid leggings and kind of smiled in a wow-those-are-some-pants kind of way and said hello to me.  I cringed a bit.

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Speaking of yesterday's shift, I started my first IV on a real-live patient.  I'm writing this only so I can remember it later on:  I had a nursing student with me (they show up on random days and get randomly assigned to various nurses - the last time I had one assigned to me, I was on my 2nd shift on my own and I implored the instructor to please take the student away from me because I was anxious enough on my own).  This time, I was like - what the hell, we'll just go for it. I understand it's part of the gig, I was a nursing student who tagged along another nurse, I need to do the same to pay it forward.  This particular nursing student was an asset because she added calmness to me instead of anxiety and I was happy to have her around.  I had a very friendly, very appreciative patient whose IV was infiltrated and needed to be replaced. I pulled the student aside in the medication room and told her that I was going to start my first IV and asked if she would she help me out.  It's, of course, possible to start an IV on one's own, but it's also very nice to have someone handing you supplies as you need them.  She immediately said yes and then told me that she was hiding from her clinical instructor because she did not want to give any injections today.  I said, OK, I'm like 6 weeks ahead of you in that feeling.  We walked into the patient's room with twice as many supplies as is technically necessary and it did take me three jabs to get it right, I was going to stop after two which is the general rule of thumb on our unit, but my patient was like - no, it's fine, just keep going.  And then there it was: I got the flash of blood in the cartridge, I advanced the catheter, I got the blood return, I didn't let the blood spill out like I did with me own self-IV, the student handed me all the supplies one by one as I needed it, the hep-lock, the saline flush, the transparent tegaderm dressing.  Beautiful.  And then I hung that damn bag of IV antibiotics.

I read with great interest Atul Gawande's article in the New Yorker about electronic health records.  I have so many of the same feelings as the providers cited in the article.  I always, always feel defeated at the end of every shift by the documentation system that I'm required to use.  I feel like I'm a smart person, generally above average when it comes to computer systems, but it just kills me every day.  Each day, I make handwritten grid where the room numbers are across the top and the fields I need to document go down the side and I swear, the list is like 18 lines long now.  Each line doesn't just mean one block like a block on Excel, each line is a complete section that might require 10-25 entries.  Some days I have 7 patients, so that is 18x7 things I'm suppose to remember to document.  The computer system gives me no indication which patients I've completed charting or which sections are done, so the handwritten grid is to prevent me from going back to each chart to remember what exactly I have filled out because I have to fit charting into the five minutes chunks of time I have between tasks and interruptions.  The charge nurse saw me write my handwritten list to-chart-list at 6:55 am and said, you know, you don't have to handwrite it every time, you can xerox it and use it over and over again, but I told her, it changes every shift, I find out more things I'm supposed to chart each shift. I feel like I can do all the work I'm tasked to do, I can keep my patients safe, I can notify the docs on critical things, but I feel like I can absolutely document none of it in a timely manner.  I'm suppose to document each time I go into a patient's room.  I'm suppose to note what they are doing, what I did, what they asked for, if I asked that they are pooping/peeing/eating.  I'm suppose to document that I taught them all about each of their medications, the scheduling of the meds, the mode of action, the side-effects.  I'm suppose to document every conversation I had with the doctors.  I'm suppose to document what their pain is now, what they would like their pain to be, if we have come up with a pain management system.  I'm suppose to fill out four screening questionnaires for each patient every shift: fall risk, bed sore risk, are they ready to learn, sepsis screen.  I had to use an interpreter (via phone) 4-5 times on Friday to explain a complicated all day hydration plan.  I had to document each phone conversation with the ID number of the interpreter.  While I'm documenting all this, I find it incredibly difficult to find out like why are we sending this patient to X-ray?  No one told me anything, I can't find it in the doctor's notes, the patient seems surprised.  It's a mystery.  Even with all the documentation, I feel like it doesn't pull together the feeling I have about the patient from the 12 hours I spent with them.  It doesn't highlight the biggest issues. 

Jeremy bought more reflective gear.

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Friend, dinner, dinner.

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It was an entirely lovely day on Saturday.  Jeremy's canvassing worked well.  Who knows if he got any votes, but he got to spend many hours in the car with this new-ish friend.  He said the car ride itself was worth the entire day because he got to spend four hours talking about transit planning with this guy who is an expert at planning.  When he got home, Jeremy was all excited from the conversation and I was like - oh! you have a new friend!  That's great!  I think it can be hard for Jeremy to find pals.  For leisure, he does really, really want to talk about transit or autonomous vehicles - something most guys aren't interested in talking about.  I try very hard (or mostly hard) to listen to him when these conversations spill out from him and I do/can hold up my end of the conversation when I'm not tired, but mostly I'm not interested and Jeremy knows I'm not interested.  (Don't worry, it's the same when I tell him all my hospital stories, he's interested because I'm talking, but he's not interested in any other way).

We went out to dinner with my parents at Owen's Ordinary where the service was lovely and the food was also good.  Though really, there were only 10 things on the menu and 100 different types of beer.  I think we ate all the food there was to try.  Edda ate some salad which she seemed to enjoy.  We don't often feed her salad because it's hard to put lettuce on a spoon.

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Today was less wonderful.  You can't have two wonderful days in a row, I think.  We couldn't get into a groove.  We made it through and had Sunday night dinner at Eric's house.

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Which was funny in its own way.

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Canvassing & mud.

Jeremy is in Pennsylvania today getting out the vote.  He got the email from a friend earlier this week and groaned - I hate canvassing so much.  I don't want to go.  But he likes the friend who sent him the email (they would go around together) and of course, the question is, if not now, then when.  So he's in PA.  I'm not sure where...York?  Hold on, let me check my google locater - yes, it's he's in York.  I met his pal at pickup this morning and the pal asked me - do you know anything about the race in York?  I said that I had no idea what was going on, but I thanked him for going and doing this.  He said it was kind of a stretch goal for our team, but maaaybe we could pull it off.  Jeremy and I put our ballots in the mail today.  Let's see how this turns out.  Fingers crossed.

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I got myself out into the woods today.  Such a beautiful day. 

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The mud suctioned my shoe off my foot today and I had to go backwards and find the shoe in the deep mud and pry it from the ground while trying to keep my socked foot from getting too mucked up in the mud. 

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