Sunday, March 17, 2019

Pi day pie.

Happy pi day!  Only a few days late.  But it got done.  It's actually St Paddy's Day, so maybe I should have made it green somehow.

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Look who is home?  Thank goodness.  Now there is good food in the house.  Aaaannnnnddd, we careen into another week.  See you guys on the other side.

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

UCS gala, hiking, and decluttering.

This is the UCS gala Jeremy worked on Wed night - celebrating 50 years of UCS.  I was at the hospital that day and apologized for not making it but Jeremy said that I wasn't invited anyways that it was a working event for staff and not a social event.  They invited all the UCS alums and donors and Jeremy ran into June! 

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Jeremy spent a gorgeous today hiking with Vince's scout troop sans Vince.

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I asked Jeremy what I should do while he's gone camping and he said, Edda's birthday party is next week, if you could clean up the downstairs and bring up the pancake supplies, that would be great.  Our house has not been picked up in 8 months.  We do have our housekeepers come every other week, but they clean around the piles of crap.  I have not been able to clean up for the housekeepers at all.  I spent all day today clearing all the horizontal surfaces of all the crap.  There was crap from Christmas still lying around.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Update II

I now have evidence that perhaps my gloomy mood over the past few days? weeks? have been entirely hormone driven.  I hate that about being female.  I tend to always forget that is a possibility when I'm in the terrible mood and then when everything shifts and seems OK again, I'm like - oh yea!  that's right.  I'm a girl.  F that.

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I want to give kudos to Jeremy this week.  I was at the hospital on Wed & Thursday - completely without my phone.  I've given it up, the reception is so bad on the unit and then I feel like it gets snot, puke, urine, poop, hep C, TB, HIV all over it while it's sitting there in my scrub pocket.  Vince got a stomach bug on Wed in the middle of school and Jeremy handled the whole thing with him - getting him excused, suggesting an uber home, getting him some immodium.  And then on Thursday, I had no idea Vince stayed home all day from school until I came home at 8:30 pm (which was before Jeremy got home).  Jeremy took care of it all despite having to work a gala on Wed night and meetings on Thursday night which brought him home later than me on both nights.

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For my weekend off, Jeremy is going camping this weekend for two nights, he'll be back on Sunday.  As Jeremy is the #1 adult organizer for the scout trip to Philmont this summer, he was suppose to go with Vince and the rest of the scouts for prepping for Philmont, but Vince says his stomach is still off.  I wanted to give Vince some trouble for this as he went to school today, but Jeremy told me to lay off of him.  Fine, I said.  Jeremy, as he was packing, was mumbling something about being too busy.  He had taken today as a vacation day, but a few things came up and he ended up fielding calls and working most of the day.  I'm like - you OK going camping without Vince?  He said - yeah, I wouldn't want to rush to the bathroom all the time camping, it's OK.  As soon as Jeremy left for the campout, Vince said, I have a friend coming to pick me up for a Magic the Gathering party.  I'm like - hold your horses, what?  I thought you were sick?  I put the kibosh on the Friday night party.  If you're sick, you're sick.  We are spending the evening trying to not be irritated at each other.  We managed to watch the first episode of Friends together.  It's a good show right from the start.

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I read with interest the bribing to get into, of all places, USC.  I whispered to Jeremy late on Thursday night and said - I think I could have done that (well not at USC - somewhere else.  not to knock USC or anything).  Jeremy practically lept from the bed and said - you would never, ever do that.  You would never pay someone to take the SATs for our kids or fake they played soccer.  I wasn't so sure.  All I can say is that I had no idea how strong my compulsion was (is?) for my kids to go to an elite college.  I think I've mostly let go of it now.  I had to let go of it when Edda was 3.  And I'm doing it again right now for Vince.  Honestly, it's easier to give it up knowing that it's not a meritocracy.  Jeremy laughed at me and said - it was never a meritocracy, why would you ever have think it was so?  Grad school is better.  This college thing is a compulsion or a fixation which is deeply, deeply ingrained in my psyche.  There is no other clear shortcut of saying how great of a parent one is than by saying - Yeah, he goes to Stanford.  I'm as wanting of status as the next guy.  (Notice this is all about me, nothing about my kids.  My kids have good heads on their shoulders.)  I might play it off cool, but trust me, I want it too. 

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I pulled my back lifting a patient on Sunday.  She was scrunched, sliding down in the bed or was it he?  I can't remember honestly.  I used the draw sheet to pull the patient up towards the head of the bed and I felt a muscle in the small of my back just ever so slightly ease out of its proper range of motion.  I didn't feel it much while working that shift, but I could feel it the rest of the week only when I replicated the "pulling the patient up towards the head of the bed" motion.  My charge nurse saw me stretching it out on Wed and said that I needed to go to Employee Health down in the basement an file a report.  I'm like - whatever, it's not so bad.  Then later, Jeremy said - I think you should take it seriously and report it. So I went today and filed a report.  And they told me to take some Motrin.  I'm like - I don't like taking Motrin.  I know I'm a nurse and I give medication all day, but really, I don't believe in any of it.  (well not really, I do believe in it - like I totally vaccinate my kids and myself and I believe that antibiotics work, etc. etc.)  I just believe in suffering more than relief.

Wow, this is a weird blog post.  I think it's time to stop.

Good night!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Update.

Gah.  Sorry, I've been overcome with one of my regular bouts of slight depression over the last little bit.  It's not so bad right now and over the years, I've discovered various coping mechanisms.  Mostly, it's that I've grown older and know that I can pretty much live through anything and even though it feels bad, it's not really that bad.  Not that I want to tempt life because now that I've said it, a tsunami will come down and drown me right at my desk.  The most effective is to get up and do something or to ignore the feelings.  The feelings almost always go away after time.  I'm not opposed to taking meds which I have done in the past, but I haven't been on them for over half a decade and I'm hoping all my CBT efforts will be good enough.  I think I can be pretty resilient or whatever, but Jeremy says my habit is to borrow trouble which I like to do. 

For example, Edda's redetermination letter for Medicaid was due in Baltimore today.  This provides Medicaid for Edda and pays for all the aftercare program and the caregivers in the house.  I'm behind on the mail and didn't open the envelope until last Thursday when I panicked and found all the paperwork and then FedExed it on Friday expecting a Monday noon delivery.  When by Monday at 12:15pm, the tracking system hadn't registered it delivered, I freaked out, called the number on the form (which went straight to voicemail and promised a call back and (surprise! not!) they haven't called back even 24 hours later) and called Jeremy in tears and told him I'd have to spend all day today driving to Baltimore to the Health Department office because I just knew no one would call me back and then at 12:30 pm, it was marked as delivered.  And then I freaked out that I had filled the form in wrong.  This is such a small thing, I think I could have handled it better (like less crying), but I'm not in a relaxed form.

I'm still having anxiety about work at the hospital.  It's not great.  It's better than before but still not fine.  I'm still getting used to everything, it'll take a long time (I'm about 100 shifts in, I think I'll need another 100 to feel good), but I'm not sure how much longer I sustain this.  The scheduling is better, I have kind of a fixed schedule - out of the 12 shifts for the next 4 weeks, 11 were on days that I had planned.  Still, on the one unexpectedly shifted day, our caregiver is out of town so Jeremy has to pick Edda up and I had to make late arrangements for her aftercare.  But the summer is a scheduling sh*tshow with both Jeremy and Vince traveling and Edda having weeks off at the beginning and end of summer and all my caregivers having weirder schedules.  It's not only the scheduling, but I'm trying to figure out how to think about the patients.  Lots of people get better, but lots of people are just kind of stabilized and then sent out into the world into their problems.  I had to discharge a person to a homeless shelter.  I feel sad for the patient with intellectual disabilities living in a group home with no one visiting.  Families find me when they are upset at their doctor for not being doctorly when I can see the bad scan or test results and they haven't seen it yet.  I became friendly to a mess of a person who everytime I walked into the room reported that he had something more distressing happen to the people he loved and later I found out he was shooting up through his IV line while we were out of the room.  These are not things I can brush off easily. 

I am doing my best to take care of myself.  Lots of sleep.  Lots of good, healthy food.  Not too many cookies.  Exercising.  Lots of hugs.  Time off from work.  I'm terrible at taking vacations - I think because I don't know how to relax and I hate spending money on fun and sometimes one needs a vacation from vacation because they can be a lot of trouble, but I'm going on vacations!  Soon!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Report, cancel, batteries.

Here's a link to an article in The Washington Post which talks about the report that Jeremy just put out. 

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I got new glasses via eyebuydirect.com.  These glasses are so nondescript that no one will even notice I'm wearing glasses.  The charge nurse unexpectedly called me early on Saturday morning to cancel me, which was a nice surprise because Saturday was Vince's actual birthday.  Though he was asleep for most of the day, I got an extra day to spend with the family at home and think about my 17 years as a mother. 

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Vince, upon turning 17, has started to do laundry.  And label his chargers.  He's growing up!

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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Vince is 17!

Happy birthday to Vince!

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Birthday, exercise, Nintendo switch.

This is Vince's birthday week - 17!  what the hell?  I remember being up at 3am when he was a few weeks old trying to figure out how to breastfeed him - all the pregnancy/birth hormones readjusting hourly in my body and crying and feeling terrible and sleep deprived and thinking - omg, I'm not going to be able to do this.  But here we are, lucky to celebrate together. We kicked it off with a mid-week family dinner hosted by my parents.  Vince invited a couple of pals to Urban Hot Pot.  I'm not sure his friends had a good time, but my parents certainly did as evidenced by the 17 orders of fish balls my dad had and the plateful of crab carcasses by my mother's bowl.  A little challenging for Edda - trying to keep her swinging arms away from all the pots of boiling broth.

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I'm trying to keep up my workout routine, at least on my off days.  For five years, Paul coached me in running and a bit of lifting - enough that I could run 7 miles at a good clip anytime and do couple of dips and a pull up.  I did a track workout and a long run every week, probably averaging just under 25 miles per week.  He'd email me the workouts in the beginning of the week, I'd email him what happened at the end of the week.  Even though I'd failed workouts all the time (Paul, I think, is often overly ambitious for me), I rarely missed a workout.  Every few years, I'd get a bit injured and have to pull back a few weeks or months at a time, but for the most part, it was a nice rhythm and felt good to work hard.  I had to give this up when I started working so much. I tried to keep some semblance of it up for a little while, but I'm quite tired a lot of the time.  I'm on my feet all day at the hospital - covering about 5 miles each shift and the shifts are kind of randomly scheduled, so it's hard to get a good training rhythm going.  Sometimes I feel great the day after a shift and can run ambitiously, but other days, like today - I couldn't really get going.  I've lost a bunch of my running capabilities because I'm running so much less these days, but I often still can get the feeling of a good workout even though I'm much, much slower.  Most often I get this feeling on a slight downhill stretch in the winter sun in mile 4 out of a 5 mile run or on a treadmill after a 30 min slow warm up.  One of my coworkers at the hospital is a serious lifter, so he's been nudging me to work on my squats.  My goal is 135 which is this bar I'm leaning against and then the largest plate (45 lbs) - one on each side.  Just a scooch above my bodyweight as long as I lay off the cookies.  He's like - nah - forget about 135, I think you can do 185.  Ha ha ha.  We'll see what happens.  The fun is in the trying, right? 

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Vince and his birthday present.

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Sunday, March 3, 2019

Favourite, diet, birthdays.

I've finished reading a whole book in the past week (which may prove that I can extend my attention span out longer than the length of a youtube video) as well as manage good progress on a quilt.  I take this as a positive sign - I'm carving out time for myself in various ways.  I even managed to watch a movie in the theater on Vickey's suggestion - The Favourite.  I failed to read the reviews on this movie and I did pay a steep price for it, I can see how people can find this kind of movie deliciously funny, but people are just mean in the movie and they are mean the entire time.  I almost decided to walk out of the movie, but I forged on through.  I also wanted to walk out of A Star is Born except for the fact that I'm infatuated with Bradley Cooper, so maybe my movie barometer is out of whack because so many people loved A Star is Born and therefore, I can conclude that I'm an unfeeling b.  Ha ha.   Maybe I sat through The Favourite because I'm also infatuated with Emma Stone.  I was going to say I'm probably too old for either of them, but Bradley is 44, so that should be OK, though I'd have to overthrow the supermodel first and then there is the issue of my own husband. 



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I'm the heaviest I've ever been since I started seriously running in 2012.  Ooof.  I'm running less (which is OK), but mostly what is happening is that I'm longing for carbs and sweets and not doing too much to resist them.  Hmmm.  I'll have to address that.  Otherwise my pants won't fit for very long.  Why is everything so delicious?

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Including birthday cake?  We celebrated Eliana's birthday a few days early this week :)

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We are putting together invites for Edda's 15th birthday party later this month which always puts me in a melancholy mood.  Most of the time, I'm eternally grateful for Edda's good health, even temperament and her clear happiness for her life.  I know that we have the financial and emotional stability to provide for Edda.  I try to not feel sorry for myself, I try not to feel sorry for Edda.  But sometimes this can be hard for me.  Once I feel sorry for myself, then I start to feel sorry for all my friends going through hard patches (even hard patches I have no idea about), all my patients (who clearly are going through a hard patch) and sorry for our country (extreme hard patch) and then finally sorry for the world.  Then I start to think OMG, all the beautiful places of this Earth that Vince's kids won't be able to see because we will have destroyed them because I've turned my heat up to 70F or had a hamburger at Five Guys.  This is not the most delightful route of thinking.   Argh!  Tomorrow is another day.  Hopefully, I'll get the chance to try again.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Snow, career day, spiderman.

Snow today!  Lucky for me (though not lucky for the kids - or at least Vince), there was no delay and everyone went off to school just fine.

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It was career day at RM and Jeremy volunteered to talk about his work life.  It was a half day at school, so he did his little speech seven times today.  He included everything including his stints as a cook at a French restaurant and fixing computers at a law firm both in Philly.  He mentioned that he was Vince's dad so Vince had a lot of people come up to him saying - your dad spoke in chem class today!  That was fun for Vince.  Some people asked personal questions like why Edda went to Wootton and not RM.  Jeremy said that one of the messages he wanted to tell kids is that sometimes you take a job in a particular city, not because you always dreamed to be a semiconductor engineer, but because you have a girlfriend who lives in that city and someday you want to marry her.  Awww, what a sweetheart!  I'm not sure I would have married Jeremy if he had taken a job in another city.  Jeremy had to really talk me into a long distance relationship for a year between LA and San Jose.  Jeremy is very loyal.  I'm less so.  Jeremy also bumped into another dad at the career expo who was a grad student at Northwestern with Anne M*yes (my MIT senior thesis advisor).  The other dad works at NIST now where Anne did a lot of her measurements while I was her advisee.  He said his most cited papers are co-authored with Anne and he actually thought he didn't deserve to be a co-author, but Anne graciously included him.  Ah, Anne!  I'm hoping to go to my 25th reunion this June, Vince will come too - I'm excited to go and run down the infinite corridor in the middle of the night (well, maybe at 8 pm).  I haven't been back in so long.  It should be both fun and a bummer - Anne is dead, my dorm has been shuttered.

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We are working through Spiderman into the spiderverse about 15 minutes every night.  This is much better than flipping through youtube to find something we can all agree on.


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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Update.

Sometime I have a few shifts in a row where I head home just buzzing and happy and excited.  Vickey reminds me that not every shift is like this and I know this, but sometimes you have to slog through the tough ones to get the ones that spin together in a way that is satisfying.  A good shift is when the work is steady, but challenging and you have friends working the rooms ahead of you and behind you to help you out when you need it.  When you have time to go on walks with all your surgical patients.  During the night before one of my shifts, a patient had filed a complaint with the management of the hospital - it was enough to go to the customer relations department which is past the authority of my director.  Anyways, I had grabbed the assignment sheet at 6:30 am and was just reading about my patients for the day and didn't know anything about this high level complaint until 7 am when the morning huddle convened to do the shift change when I realized that they had assigned this particular patient to me.  Nursing-wise, this patient was a piece of cake. I was kind of flattered they trusted me enough to re-right this patient's experience.  And I mostly did, I think.  It's kind of fun for me to do this.  On the same shift, I also had a patient who was admitted into my care who was not stable enough to be on our unit.  So I had to manage a transfer to the ICU, but this is less fun for me.  I like my unit because even though everyone is sick, no one is really, really sick. And because no one is really, really sick, there is nothing in my medication dispenser that can really kill a person, which is what I like when I'm learning to be a nurse.  From Nurse Jackie - The only thing I want to do besides help people is not kill them.   On my unit, a patient's vital signs need to be stable over the course of 4-8 hours.  So if a person needs vitals checked at least hourly, I can't take care of them.  I don't have the medications necessary to stabilize them (because our pyxis doesn't have medications that can kill people, it also - as a corollary, doesn't have medications that can really save you if you are really, really sick), I don't have the expertise, I don't have the monitoring capabilities.  So the transfer to ICU still takes a couple of hours, so I'm running around trying to take vitals every 30 minutes, calling the doctors both on our unit and in ICU to coordinate what care I can do for them.

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I'm starting to tell the doctors what I want for my patients.  They are starting to ask me what the patients need.

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I'm still tired.  I'm looking forward to working less.





Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Light.

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There is light in the morning when I go to work now.  It's a relief to me - to go to work when it is light and I'm looking forward to coming home when it is light as well.  A few weeks ago, I had to stop talking to patients.  I mean, not that I stopped talking to them, but I had to cut all unnecessary chatter from my day.  This distressed me quite a bit, but I'm learning to protect myself which I suppose is what every medical person does.  So fewer hugs, fewer connections, but I'm still hoping for a warm and satisfying interaction.  We'll see how it goes.

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Jeremy and Vince went on a hike this Sunday with the scouts.

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Self driving cars, pulled pork, greenglass house.

Jeremy's large convening is done.  The report is done.  He didn't even give the talk at the convening - but tbh, that didn't even matter.  It went well,  now he's excited to go onto other things.

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We went to Joan's memorial service today at Blessed Sacrament.  I was a little worried that Edda would start making noise in the middle of it, but she did pretty well.  A little bit of laughing, but nothing more.   We did not make Vince go - he was asleep when we left, but in retrospect we probably should have encouraged him to come and he said at dinner that he would have gone.  Oh well.  We initially thought none of us would be able to make the service - I needed to swap shifts with someone and Jeremy thought he was going be leading a scout excursion, but that got cancelled because of the rain, so I thought three out of the four was a pretty good showing.

I'm feeling weird these days, a combination of anxiety, exhaustion and excitement.  Jeremy made me my requested dinner tonight, pulled pork sandwiches with tater tots.  We were suppose to have a date to watch the indoor US track champs, but then we realized that it cost $75 to get it and then so we didn't.

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I'm trying to use my phone less.  It's hard.  I like to do all the mindless things everyone likes to do on their phone - play candy crush, scroll through instagram, read endless articles about how terrible the world is (though I miss a lot of news).  I think I'm even listening to podcasts too much (at 1.3 speed which does make everyone sound rushed) - it's too much noise in my head.  I've really lost the ability to read a book.  When I think of my childhood, I remember that I'd read ALL the time. 

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Update.

I have officially lost touch.  Who is Jussie Smollett?  I will just have to know there is so much I have no idea about.  But I'm also discovering stuff all the time.  All the time.

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It's a big day for Jeremy. A couple years' worth of work culminates in a big way today.  And he physically feels lousy.  He caught Vince's cold which was Edda's cold.  He would have stayed in bed all day yesterday, but he had a ton of last minute crap to wade through.  Wish him luck!


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Snow day.

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Snow day!  Which meant that all four of us were home & inside the house all day.  No child care givers, no one else.  This is a rare occurrence.  I shoveled & napped.  Jeremy worked.  Edda smiled and laughed at her videos.  Vince is recovering from a pretty bad cold (he missed school yesterday, so it's just as well today was spent at home).  We filed Vince's first income taxes on the money he made this summer as a camp counselor.  He's getting a refund of about $50.  It feels good.  I'm stressed (so much crying.  god damn it, I wish I would stop crying over tough days at work).  Jeremy is stressed (his back was killing him last night).  We are both tired.  But as I told him this morning when we woke up a bit later than usual to indulge in the sleep day, we are fine.  Everything is fine.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Wandering Earth.

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Went out to dinner with my parents to a new hibachi place in Rockville Town Square.  Then they were like - we want to see The Wandering Earth.  I was like huh?  What's The Wandering Earth?  It's this big blockbuster sci-fi movie from China that opened there on (Chinese) New Year's Day and was playing in Rockville.  My parents hardly ever propose seeing a movie, so we went.  Well, my parents and I went.  Jeremy and the kids headed home - Vince is actually fighting a pretty bad cold.  The movie was good and I recommend it highly (two thumbs up).  My dad said he preferred Gravity.  More plot, fewer special effects.  Also, my Chinese is terrible.  I could not have made it through without the subtitles.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Sat. update.

I'm spending the weekend (as Vickey would say) retrenching.  I'm going to do nothing that looks like work and just try to relax.  Take deep breaths and try again next week.  I feel a little ridiculous and overdramatic, but what can I say? I feel what I feel.  I'm spending the day with Edda in our pajamas and I'm doing some quilting squares on the sewing machine I bought months ago and used only once. 

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We went to RM last night to see the student written one act plays.  Vince took this photo of us from the lighting booth.  (Thank you Nat for taking care of Edda).  The plays were good, I was impressed.  When I had kids - even when they were very young, I understood that I would be confused about how they approached love, sex, etc.  Even though I was a prude and very square and studious - falling in love with a boy at 16 when I was in high school was such a pivotal moment in my life, I just can't really imagine not falling in love with someone (I actually don't care which gender) in the second half of high school.  But this is not what is happening in Vince's high school, I think.  Well maybe.  I'm not sure.  There were songs about clearly only being friends between boys and girls - that even though they appeared to have an intimate relationship (hugging and hand holding and hanging out all the time) they insisted (in song) that they were not a romantic pair and in all the plays, heterosexual couplings were the least common.  Then they threw in the "they" pronoun for the singular person which confused me because I'm like - who are the "they" they are talking about?  I'm looking for a plural entity.  And then I realized (late) that that singular person wanted to be addressed as "they".  Anyways, it's all good, the plays were funny and original and it's very interesting to see what kids are thinking about these days.  There was a feminist play called Seneca Falls full of vitriol for capitalists.  I'm glad I grew up when I did and not now, I think I would have spent some time thinking about my gender identity and being confused about it because now it's a thing to think about and be confused about - there was already enough for me to think about in adolescence.  Though when I ask Vince - he says he's sure he's straight, and I'm like - well do you like any girls? and then he says no and then I ask how he knows he's straight then and then he says he'd know and then I launch into the Avenue Q song - if you were gay, that'd be OK! I mean cuz hey, I'd like you anyway!  Then he rolls his eyes at me.  And then I'm like - what!? I love that song.

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Vince told us at intermission that he was going to tell jokes on stage between the third and fourth plays and though I was excited to see him on stage, I was also nervous that he'd tell some inadvertently inappropriate jokes.  But it was all fine.  My favorite was - you are American before you go to the bathroom and American after you go to the bathroom, but what are you while you are in the bathroom?  European. 



Friday, February 15, 2019

Fender bender, crying, cookie.

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Ugh, the terrible week continues.  Jeremy was gone on business on Monday and got home late Tuesday night.  I got into a fender bender (I was at fault) on the way to work at the hospital's employee shuttle lot at 6:25 am on Wed morning (I'm ran into another nurse's brand new 2019 Lexus - she stepped out of the car and recognized me and threw up her hands and said - girl! you knew I had the light! and then we parked our cars, hopped on the shuttle and started exchanging texts about insurance.  I didn't even get to see the damage on our trusty Civic in daylight until today (Friday)).  Thank goodness Wed at work was manageable in terms of the load.  On Thursday, Valentine's Day, I found myself crying at least twice during the day in the employee restroom.  It got so bad that I told my charge nurse that I was going to go cry in the restroom and she looked at me and said - you go ahead and do that for a few minutes.  And then, later in the afternoon, my coworkers were following me around and said - tell me what I can do to help and I'd say, ah nothing, it's nothing and then they said - I won't stop following you around until you tell me how I can help (I found out later that my charge nurse had deployed them to help me out).  It's not that the patients were so bad or so sick or anything, it's just the amount of work that needed to be done on each person.  And then once I start to lose it, it just continues downhill.  My only conclusion from the day is that I'm not doing something efficiently and what I need to cut out is to keep lowering the amount of time that I'm actually nice to a person.  This is not what I want to do.  Of course, there are the more difficult patients and the easier patients but I take pride in getting along with everyone, in making people feel like I'm happy to see them.  And I am happy to see them, unless I'm in the bathroom crying.   I love my patients: the old people without their marbles and want to climb out of bed every 3 seconds, the young people with terrible diagnosis, the trans people, the paralyzed people, the cranky people, the ten thousand people with ten thousand diabetic foot ulcers, the HIV/Hep C/TB positive people, the homeless people with computer science degrees, the family members who sneak in food, the snooty family members from Manhattan, the people with stage four pressure ulcers, the patients who can tell I'm having a bad day and try to lower the amount they are asking from me, haha - I think I'm pretty emotionally sensitive, but some patients are better at it than I am.  I remember one patient I had for two days and the 2nd day it was just slightly busier than the first day and as soon as I walked into her room on the 2nd day - she took one look at me and said - you are stressed today and you weren't yesterday.  I was like - how can you possibly tell?  No one else can tell.  And she said - nah, it's easy to tell and I can tell it from how you walked into the room. 

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I came home late on Valentine's Day and Jeremy gave me a cookie.  Thank goodness.

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Would you rather have HIV or Type 2 diabetes?  I was reading a reddit thing about this and surprisingly most of the doctors on the forum would rather have HIV.  Jeremy said he'd rather have HIV.  It's one pill everyday for HIV for a normal life expectancy with few complications.  For Type 2 diabetes, you have a lifetime of monitoring what you eat, glucose monitoring & insulin injections and all the complications that come from uncontrolled sugars: kidney function, blindness, neuropathy, foot issues.  I'm hoping I never have either.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Crappy, wilderness survival, CardiB again.

Well, that was a crappy weekend shift.  Sundays are always terrible at the hospital for whatever reason.  The regular charge nurses are usually not working, so it's the most senior nurse running the show (which is generally fine, I get along with them well), but Sundays bring out weirdness in everyone.  I think I'm past the grace period given to new nurses by the other nurses on the unit and now it seems like it's OK to yell at me for missing something during my shift or to do the other, maybe more annoying thing, of pretending to be helpful and offer advice and/or correction, but is basically is a snarky way of telling me that they would have been more competent at my job than I was.  Anyways, it's depressing how predictable this well worn path is, I'm perfectly capable of stepping out of it and saying, oh yes, this is the next thing that happens in the first year.  But it doesn't mean my feelings aren't hurt by it all.  When these things happen at the end of the weekend, when I'm fully exhausted and tapped out it's not easy to maintain my emotions.  This is definitely Type II fun.  I'm grateful it's not my main source of income as I can frame this everyday as choosing to go to work as opposed to forced to go to work.  I am learning a lot and mostly like it.  And I'm hyper focused on the end date of my year-long experiment (five months to go!).  I do want to say that generally, I think the unit is very supportive.  I've been in enough work environments with enough bosses and coworkers to understand that this unit is probably as good as it gets.  No one has quit since I've been hired (except for one person who had to move to Florida), that kind of staff stability says something I think.  You can't throw 40 nurses together in a stressful, tiring situation where at least half the people are working at night and not sleeping like a normal person and not have conflict.  Also, I'm pleased to have negotiated a fixed schedule which will hopefully start in four weeks which will bring order back into my life and I'm very much looking forward to it.  Anyways, time just passes and I just show up and see what happens.  Sometimes it's magic (I've realized the best compliment in nursing from a patient is - will you be back tomorrow? and this happens to me often & I feel very lucky to be asked that) and sometimes it's crap.  Like literal crap.  Most days it a good mix of both.  It is entirely too much work for hourly pay that is only a little bit higher than you'd pay for a babysitter on Saturday night, you cannot expect that anyone will stay a long time at bedside.  Which is too bad because it's also clear to me that it takes at least two years to have enough experience to deal with a lot of things.  It's painful for me to think that the whole country is delivering care in hospitals in this manner - with tired and exhausted (and inexperienced) personnel.   Though I intellectually understood this before, it is entirely a different thing to live it.  (The doctors are tired too.  And the pharmacists.  And the PT/OT staff.  And the social workers and case managers. And it goes on and on.  And it is true, they care the most about turning over the beds.  Just like at restaurants and their tables.)

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A run of hard shifts is harder when my support system is also on the go.  Jeremy and Vince were out all weekend doing a wilderness emergency first-aid course required for the scout trip this summer.  And now Jeremy is in Florida on business.  Which means that we are going to talk very little this week. Vickey, my other frequent confidant, is also traveling so it means that I'm without a good venting partner for a stretch of time here.  Then I lean on Vince who tries to be supportive, though understandably not so fond, of his emotionally needy mother.    So that's not great.  Why do I do this to myself?  I could instead go on vacation.  When I have a tiring and emotional shift and want to quit, Jeremy says - ah, you love it, I can tell you love it, you are going to figure it out and do it for years.  You just wait and see.  Vince says - eh, just keep going.  It'll be fine.

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Jeremy and Vince were away all weekend (all weekend meaning 7:30 am to 9:30 pm both Sat and Sun) in Frederick for first aid training for Philmont.  They need two people per group to have this training and Vince and Jeremy are doing it together.  I asked if it needed to be two grown ups and Jeremy said that you just needed to be 16.  From Jeremy's report, Vince has a talent for this stuff.  Last year, when V was a camp counselor, a kid broke his arm while riding a mountain bike and Vince splint his arm and helped him out of the woods.  So this year, at the training, Vince took it quite seriously and performed competently enough at the practicing that when they did the final mass casualty scenario at the very end, they all voted for Vince to be the leader.  Today, at school, Vince was carrying around the emergency first aid booklet at school. There are only a few life threatening things you can do things for out in the wilderness.  Hmm, they are bleeding, sucking chest wound and a flail chest.  All the cardiac stuff is pretty much pointless if you are out there in the woods - the instructors basically said if you can't get the person to the hospital quickly that it's just pointless to start CPR since there is such a low chance of success.  Though they did point out emotionally, if a kid's dad has goes into cardiac arrest and the kid is standing there watching his father die, you do the CPR enthusiastically for thirty minutes.

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I asked him today if he was sure that he didn't want to be a doc (maybe an ER doc?, though I hesitate to ask because I honestly would not wish doctorhood on anyone). He said, nah, he'd be interested in being an EMT.

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More college talk?  OK! Jeremy thought we should take Cal Poly off the list because it's the least diverse of all the public CA colleges.  That there were some racial incidents that happened in the last few years (though these days I'm not sure any college campus has been free from these incidents).  Vince said Vanderbilt just sounds too fancy - though I argued that Nashville sounded like a cool town. Then Vince asked about Caltech and whether it was a public school.  I said it's private, but that I didn't think he should go there.  Jeremy asked why and I said I generally disapproved of a school that didn't have affirmative action and besides, Caltech is just weird.  We looked at Caltech's demographics - it's half Asian and probably there are more half-Asians there than there are African-Americans.  Then Jeremy added - I don't think you can go there because you pretty much have to get an 800 on the math SAT to be admitted.  Vince promptly replied that he was sure he could get an 800 on the SAT math which then reminded me of this recent NYT article on the differences between boys and girls in school.  What about Georgia Tech or RPI, I asked?  Vince didn't like Troy that much and Jeremy thought a technical school might be too limiting - not only in terms of what to study (Jeremy suspects that Vince might end up studying something other than science/engineering), but even if you were an engineer, wouldn't you want to have friends who weren't engineers?  Jeremy asked.  I think engineers make good friends.

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This is amazing Cardi B.  I love you.

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Ning, update.

Ning is back in the mornings from maternity leave!  The 45 min to hour that she works to get Edda dressed and on the bus in the morning helps us enormously.  It means that I can leave for a shift at the hospital when Jeremy travels for work. 

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Nursing update?  It's still hard.  It requires all my focus and energy. I don't cry (I know I've jinxed myself) unless I'm giving the last report to Siji on my second shift in a row, by then I'm exhausted and something about Siji brings it out of me.  She looks at me and says - this is just a job to pay the bills and nothing more.  Your life is outside the hospital.  And I look at her and smile and sniffle a little. 

After about noon until about four pm, the nurses on the unit, instead of saying - hey, how's your day going? as we pass one another in the hallway or med room - a lot of people say, have you eaten yet?  (It's very Asian where the standard greeting is have you eaten yet? no matter what time of day it is.)  On Thursday - I forgot that I hadn't eaten and answered - yes! I've eaten - to all the greetings, but when I came home and emptied my lunchbox, there was my sandwich, completely untouched.  I've hit a slump with putting in IVs.  I've lost my nerve to poke people with needles.  I think I've tried seven in the last couple of weeks and missed them all. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Kitchen, guardianship, college.

Vince is making Valentine's cookies downstairs. The kitchen is a complete disaster.

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I went to the financial planning and guardianship meeting at the school board building tonight.  It's part of my very slow plan to wrench myself out of denial that Edda is growing up and will someday be an adult.  And as an adult, she gets to run her own life unless I take proactive steps in court with a $165 dollar fee and file for guardianship.  I didn't take notes and I only half paid attention because I like to sit in the meeting with the other two hundred parents and think both - "Oh I'm not alone.  This is fantastic."  and simultaneously think "This completely sucks, I wish Edda didn't have Rett Syndrome."  Oh, I guess I always think a third thing when I think the first two things which is - "I could really use a cookie right now." I used to care so much about the details of all financial things - like the limits for contribution and the tax implications and what happens to SSI when you reach a certain number, but now I can't be bothered except to hear the broad strokes of the options.

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Jeremy and I (and others) are slowing putting together a semi-reasonable college list for Vince which he may or may not follow.  He doesn't want to go to a big state school, doesn't want to go to a liberal arts school.  He wants it to be in a mid-sized town.  He wants engineering program.  Here's the list so far.  Granted - this is the parent list, not the Vincent list. Vincent has his own list, I'm sure. Carnegie Mellon as the reach, MD just because.  Then: UCDavis, UC Santa Cruz, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, Case Western, McGill, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota.  I like Pitt too.  Go Banana slugs!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Vacation, hiking, Usual Suspects, quilt.

I'm on my 4th day of 5 days off in a row and it's been fabulous.  I've been able to relax into it - not really freaked out by going back to the hospital.  I've been trying to pick up my old hobbies again like quilting (I finished one), running (I called Paul and asked him to start coaching me again), seeing my Rett mom friends and talking to Vickey.  This will all get dropped again when I have to start work on Wed when I will work 6 shifts in 9 days.  That seems tough.  But it'll be OK.

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Vince's first term of junior year is over. He did pretty well overall, a couple of Bs but he managed his own time and his own work level without much (well without any) input from me.  As I've said before, it's hard for me to unattach myself from Vince's academic performance, but I mostly have. 

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We went hiking on Sunday afternoon on Sugarloaf mountain - Vince was a little grouchy, but not too bad.

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DC Martin super bowl family dinner.  I ate two Frito pies.

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And then 2nd dinner with the Usual Suspects - Super Bowl Sunday is a fabulous night to go out to eat.  Apparently none of us care about football.

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I finished this quilt!

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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Boar.


Happy Chinese New Year!  Dinner out with the family.  Peking duck all around.

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Logistics, Nat's 30 and burros.

It's been a long, cold week - a logistical nightmare although Jeremy didn't call it a nightmare, he just said we totally managed it fine.  And we did.  I worked at the hospital last weekend and then had Monday and Tuesday off.  Monday, the kids were home all day - non weather related (end of the semester grades were due in for the teachers - or maybe they just needed a break).  Tuesday, the kids went to school on time, but were sent home early at noon for snow.  I was home, so I got Edda from Wootton.  On Wed, I was at the hospital when the two hour delay converted to a closure.  Jeremy had the kids (I'm not sure why I say the kids since Vince is fine on his own so I should just say Jeremy had Edda).  Jeremy had Edda again on Thursday when I was at the hospital for a two hour delay.  Today (Friday), Jeremy went to work and it was me to pick up Edda when school closed again at noon.  Next week, it'll be in the 50s?  60s?  It'll be great.

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On Tuesday, despite the snowstorm, we had a party for Nat's 30th birthday.  No one had to travel very far, Ning & family from the downstairs and Nat & Dara from about a mile away.

The baby is super cute!  Dara was very good at getting him to smile.

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During Nat's party, Jeremy had to deal with entering the lottery for the Boy Scout's Philmont trip he's organizing for this summer.  There are about 25 different itineraries to pick from - the boys had spent a bunch of time picking their top six or eight.  Very happily, they got their #1 choice.  68 miles of hiking with a good mix of daily programming.  The most funny of which is Burro Packing.  I like that the itinerary says - you must take the burro.  There are a lot of videos on YouTube which show stubborn burros refusing to budge on the trail. 

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