haha. Monday morning and I’m making oatmeal raisin cookies. I’ve been trying to find recipes that allow us to not make 24 cookies all at once, rather we can freeze them and bake them 4 at a time. This time I did scoops and froze them. I’ve done chocolate chip cookies in a refrigerated log and then sliced them when I wanted some cookies. It’s really bad to have 24 cookies all at once. I mean, I can be disciplined in many ways, but 24 cookies during a quarantine is not a situation that is set up to win. BC (before corona), I had tried to cut some calories by cutting out sweets to combat the inevitable middle age weight gain. But there is no way I’m giving up sweets now. I see that the yeast shortage in the country is coming to all the cooking websites and we are headed towards unleavened bread territory. They are like – look out for these recipes soon! I’m going to be making sweets out of quinoa soon.

Do you want to see an ad for travelling nurses? This scares the shit out of me. Jeremy came into the room yesterday and said Cuomo was putting out a nationwide call for nurses to go to NYC. And I tilted my head as if to ask, are you asking me to go to NYC? And then he quickly said – no! I’m not trying to convince you to go to NYC. I said there is service and then there is service. So my unit is short, so I’ll be starting full time again week of April 12. I hope I don’t die. I hope I don’t make my family sick. I actually thought, hmmm – if my lungs filled with fluid and I die, would I have been happy with my life? I would say yes. I would miss everyone a lot and they (I hope) would miss me, but I have no regrets. Mostly I miss my brother who has been out of touch with me for years. My dad was mad at Jeremy for using a surgical mask and not an N95 mask to go grocery shopping. My dad was like – I have a bunch of N95 masks that he should use. I’m like – can we not blow those on grocery shopping trips? Maybe I’ll need them when I start going to the hospital. And my dad was like – oh yes! you’ll need a good mask at the hospital. Face palm.

I want to wrap up Vince’s college application experience so I can remember it later. I want to start by saying that Vince is the best son a mother could have ever asked for. When I told him I was going back to the hospital and that I was scared and that he would need to help Jeremy with Edda-care and the house and the dog and stuff because I wouldn’t be able to touch them for a few months, he said – of course, to not worry and that he would do what needed to be done and the gave me a hug and told me that this was the right thing to do. He is kind and generous with his time and things. He cooked gumbo for dinner for us last night. He is a natural leader and has kids following him around all the time. He tells me he’s not cheating at school even though it’s rampant. He’ll stick up for the underdog. He’s never been self conscious about having Edda as a sister with his friends or in public. He’ll uncomplainingly go to things that I tell him he must go to. The school thing seems so frivolous right now – ridiculous. Vince’s classmates are putting together a google doc full of places where everyone is going – Cornell, Pitt, Arizona and I get all sad thinking the kids won’t be able to say good-bye to each other before they leave the area. Who knows if anyone is leaving the area. Everyone is going to go to Cornell from their living room. OK. Enough of this. I’ll wrap up Vince’s college application process later.

Update. F covid.

Carla passed away from Covid yesterday afternoon, right around the time that we were gathering for our virtual Sunday night dinner. Carla is Bob’s cousin – a potter extraordinaire! We have a few of her pieces including this one we use everyday on our island for our fruit. I remember an incredible conversation I had with her one Thanksgiving about having special needs kids. She had a son who had dysautonomia and passed away as a young adult. Edda had been diagnosed for many years by then, but I was still struggling with so much grief and she helped me out that afternoon and, then, of course, everyday from then on.

Jeremy is grocery shopping once a week for us and for my parents. Yes, he’s wearing a mask (which he just decided to to for this week, he didn’t last week). He just came back from Whole Foods where they have signs saying not to buy more than 2 of certain things which is completely understandable, but he’s like – argh! I’m buying for two families for a week. I gotta buy enough so I don’t have to come back. Jeremy, though he didn’t sleep well last night, seems, to me, to be working ok. He has three one-hour meetings today and his work seems to be as busy as ever.

I’m off-kilter. I called my work at the hospital on Friday expecting that they’d be swamped, but the opposite is true. They are quiet. Census is low because they cancelled all the elective surgery and DC seems to be controlling contagion well, so I’m going to be off the unit for an entire month. I was scheduled to be off for the next two weeks for our spring break. My charge was like – we are OK, just stay home Doris. I thought I’d be going in, so it took mental energy to prepare to go in and then I had to release it when they said to stay home. All those health care professionals in NYC! Of course I’m reading the articles, of course I’m crying & scared. I know Carla’s unit was swamped (they are a suburb of NYC) because the family could barely get brief daily updates. Because I’m so freaked out, I can’t concentrate on my completely non-body fluid job very well. I can sit in front of the computer for hours looking at chemical formulas and thinking nothing. I am also doing weird things like making homemade bagels – I had to go all the way to DC to see Lauren (from 6 feet away) to get 8 tablespoons of yeast because the grocery stores are all out.

And pickling. I made pickles.

Edda is fine, we are losing all our childcare today. Kitachi, who was off for two weeks because schools are emergently closed, had to go back to work at a daycare center for essential workers. It seemed prudent to have her not come anymore. So we are trying to readjust that. We’ve been in touch with her teachers who are figuring out how to deliver special needs curriculum virtually.

Max, enjoying my “quarantine” bed.

Edda is 16!

Yesterday was Edda’s 16th birthday! A mixture of happy/sad as usual. Toss in some pandemic anxiety and there you have it. We did make the best of it as we could. Jeremy made a very nice breakfast of pretzel roll and eggs and we asked Kitachi (usually we have her come from 10 to 4) to stay until dinnertime to celebrate. Jeremy made the most delicious dinner of pulled pork, red cabbage and polenta. And we celebrated with an ice cream pie from Carmen’s. We FaceTimed my parents and we all sang happy birthday to my darling daughter. May I always be able to care for you & may the love that you send to me everyday sustain me. We also Google Duo’ed Edda’s teacher and had a fine time chatting about Celine Dion. We also got virtual missives from so many previous au pairs from around the world, European au pairs who we were going to see this summer, but now we most likely are not.

Jeremy is working on keeping up Edda’s eating skills. We normally just feed Edda her food, but at school, they patiently load food onto Edda’s fork and encourage her to feed herself. So Jeremy’s been doing that with Edda.

We had two telemedicine appointments this week, one with Edda’s neurologist and one with Edda’s pediatrician. The neuro to follow up on Edda’s increasing frequency of seizures (we are not putting her on an anticonvulsant, but we are getting her some rescue meds if her seizures turn lengthy/scary). The pediatrician for well visit – which I set up for camp forms. Is camp even happening? I dunno. Probably not.

I’m working on my quarantine area. I have my work computer, a bed and my quilting stuff all into the 2nd half of our bedroom. I know, the whole house is so enormous I can basically put an apartment’s worth of stuff into half of my bedroom. I think the idea would be that when I’m at home, I’d spend all my time in this area and we’ll designated bathroom space too. I saw other health care workers on Instagram who are camping out in a tent in their garage. I can’t do that. I just can’t. If I’m going to do something that scares me, I can’t also be sleeping in the cold garage away from my family. I mean, I’m going to be 6 feet away from my family in my house. But at least I can talk to them or watch TV with them or something. I guess other health care workers have sent their families away and they work all the time. I also can’t be working 7 days a week, I hope it doesn’t come to that – working 3 days a week non-pandemically was exhausting enough. If you work all the time, the chances of you getting sick because you are exhausted are so high. Sometimes reading the news makes me feel better, sometimes not reading the news makes me feel better. It’s a toss-up. I probably should figure out how to reuse masks or something. Or how to splice an oxygen tank (I have an idea with straws and tegaderm). I saw videos of engineers trying to make face shields and ramp up manufacturing from simple materials. That made me cry. I texted a pal on the unit yesterday and she told me that the floor was fine, but there is mandatory float to the ED or the ICU. So it means that if they are short in those depts, you get sent there. Which is nerve wracking, not only because, you know, that’s where all the coughing people are, but also I’d be working with other nurses who I do not know with procedures/routines I’d be unfamiliar with. Like ventilators. Honestly, I do not know how to use a ventilator, how to monitor a ventilator, etc. Jeremy is helpful saying that cell phone data shows that Marylander’s are pretty good at staying put. Maybe it won’t be bad here.

Vince has decided to go to UCDavis in the fall. He’s already dreaming of the clubs – I think he listed three including one that involves working on the farm on campus with the cows. It is my sincere dream to take a road trip with him and our family and my parents in our stupid minivan and deliver him to his dorm in the fall where I will buy him X-long sheets from Target. I will then go to the college bookstore and buy him a UC Davis sweatshirt and then I will have lunch with him in the many open dining options around campus. Maybe we’d even bring Max. She’d be completely beside herself with happiness. We’ve been watching Bon Appetit videos and we watched this one last night. I love Hot Pockets and I marveled at the time when you could buy 20 boxes of Hot Pockets. I asked Jeremy if there were any Hot Pockets left in the store, he said absolutely not – those things are the first to go! And then I marveled at all these unrelated people sharing food together! Back when people could leave their houses. Sending lots of love to you all. <3


Edda and I Google Duo’ed her teacher yesterday and met all of her cats. This, I believe, is Flower. One wouldn’t name a cat Flour, right? I didn’t clarify the spelling. We got an email from MCPS that starting on the 30th, there would be instruction starting up for everyone. I’m not sure how a huge, vast public school system will do this, but it’s going to happen. I’ve heard a bunch of smaller, private or charter schools have been able to just purchase laptops/hot spots for the students that needed them, but MCPS needs to take care of so many kids and even special ed kids like Edda. Honestly, I’m not that worried about either of my kids missing out on educational learning or anything. I just wish they could hang out with their friends.

We Zoom’ed family dinner last night. I think this took only 20 minutes of trying to get Gene and Bette to connect well. I’m not quite sure what is going on at Rivendale, but the internet connection seems way crappy. Anyways, after 20 minutes, we settled down into chatting.

My toe is better all the time, but I got freaked out on Sunday morning at 5:30 am (I was supposed to work on Sunday) and I got up and called the night charge and made sure I wasn’t scheduled on that day. And I wasn’t. I asked how the unit was – he said it was quiet, low census and the patient population was no different than usual. Everyone I’ve told this to was like – the quiet before the storm. I have to decide how much news I’m going to consume. It’s really not helpful for me to be constantly updated on how the hospitals are going to be inundated with COVID patients and there isn’t going to be any PPE. Though I laughed at this joke on Instagram. JHACO is the accreditation organization for hospitals and the pop in and do checks to make sure you are following protocol and yes, I’d been warned to not put scotch tape on the walls only about a month ago.

Jeremy went grocery shopping this morning. An adventure in itself. And now we start the workweek.

Pancake breakfast.

Yesterday was supposed to be Edda’s 16th birthday party – the annual pancake breakfast. Of course, it was cancelled. We celebrated, just the four of us together. Instead of the buttermilk pancakes that Jeremy prepares in vats the night before, so it can age overnight as suggested by the recipe, Vince had a leftover just-add-water and shake-in-the-container pancake mix he had gotten from a scout camp out. We used that to make about 12 pancakes. We also had bacon and Jeremy made an extra-small serving of his famous blueberry compote (usually we make about a gallon). I dressed up Edda with some sparkles:

I wore my traditional pancake breakfast outfit.

Jeremy even pulled out the griddle and batter dispenser. It was lovely.

We facetimed with Bob on his 80th birthday on Friday. They are doing well in Berlin. We facetimed with Vidya this morning on his 50th birthday in India. And we facetimed with our tenants in the basement also this morning. Edda’s seizures are getting worse – I think we’ve had one each day the last three or four days (I’m afraid to let her walk…which is a bad thing), we have a telemedicine appointment with Children’s on Monday – I was relieved they switched it to telemedicine! I was going to cancel. Vince got into Irvine on Friday – I think he might sweep his college admissions. I’m thrilled for him – so different from my own experience and Jeremy’s experience of general rejection and disappointment.

Jeremy has no more biking videos to watch, he’s converted to watching dorm videos of various colleges Vince could go to. He’s come to the conclusion that lots of UC students want to grow up to become youtubers. He says it’s very satisfying to give the 73rd like to someone’s video. And that you shouldn’t bring very much and not pack in hard luggage because there will be no place to store anything. Quads in rooms the size of our dining room. Vince was telling me he’s not so sure he’s going to be a good roommate. I said that he had to try. He’s high on the mess scale and a little high on the noise scale and perhaps high also on the unpredictable sleeping hours scale. Also! I had momentarily forgotten about the Asian-ness of the UC system. My high school and college experience was heavily Asian which was fine, but omg. Irvine is over half Asian. I haven’t done that in a long, long time… We are having fun finding videos like this:

I’m trying really hard to not read the news more than once or twice a day. I need to stay calm-ish. Like a clam. Like a calm clam.


Texting with my beloved charge nurse, Astra. I love my charge nurse. I am also quite fond of my manager, Anthony. I need to stop reading the news now. Or at least limit it to once a day or something….

We ventured downtown yesterday because we had the housekeepers come and we didn’t want to be in the house with them and Jeremy wanted to do pickup for coworkers who didn’t have cars and who wanted their monitors or plants or whatever. His office has been closed for a week now, but they are closing it closing it starting today – like you are not allowed to go in because they are terminating cleaning and they want to know that no one is there. Vince didn’t want to come with us, so he took the other car and promised to sit in a parking lot somewhere and watch Netflix. But he veered off plan and went to the grocery store and bought himself boxed sushi and an energy drink. I was mad at him for going and for “wasting” a shopping trip. He said he stayed far away from everyone and washed his hands. I was still mad.

Some of Vince’s friends are still gathering to play cards or there is a camping trip that’s being planned. He kinda tells me this with a longing look in his eyes. I sigh. He says, don’t worry, I know I can’t go.

All of our bikes in Jeremy’s pain cave. He bought me a blue training tire for my crappy garage sale bike I got for free after no one wanted it from our neighbors. Somehow this amuses him.


Here we are – what now? About 5 days into self-quarantine. We are fine. Making the best of it. I remember last week when things seemed more normal and we were still thinking of sending Vince to Minnesota and Toronto – I was talking to Vickey and saying that I was scared that they would close down the Canadian border and Vince would be stuck on the other side and she had laughed. She has a close relative who does a lot of business between the US and Canada and she said that he had said crossing the border is a non-issue and I agreed! I know sometimes I can be overdramatic about these things and I said – I know! The Canadian border would be the last to close – they would never close that border and thought myself silly for thinking such an outrageous thing. And it closed – when? Yesterday? Vince would have been stuck in Canada.

Jeremy seems to find it easier to concentrate on work than I. I’m often just sitting around in disbelief. Which, I think, is OK given the circumstances. We’ve all moved our bikes to Jeremy’s bike closet and have been taking turns riding around in our closet. I realize now that he has an incredible set up – three screens, an industrial fan on voice control, clif bars within arms reach – it’s like an indoor biking paradise. Jeremy usually watches bike races and/or commentary while he is riding, but they are rapidly running out of content to report on.

I, on the other hand, watch only pop videos. And this one made me cry! Look! People close to each other and celebrating! I think – we are never going to be able to do that again. And then I cry. I’m a very well socialized introvert. My preference is always to stay at home and I’d almost always rather be by myself. Coffee date? I’d rather be home. Movie girls night? I’d rather be home. Group runs? No – I’ll go alone. So I think I can totally handle staying in my house with only three other people, but it’s not quite true. I know I need little interactions with people to feel like a person. I don’t like veering off the sidewalk to stay six feet away from other people, I don’t like being scared of other people. It messes with your (my) head. And it’s only day 5!

We are going through movies like everyone else. Trying to think of light hearted sweet movies. We saw “Big”. I think the next is Legally Blonde.


Hi folks, we are all here all the time now. We are fine. The house is big, we generally like each other. It’s hard to concentrate on doing any work – both Jeremy and I both are working at home (we are very lucky). Edda and Vince are doing their own thing. Edda is sleeping in and staying up late, I should go wake her up now. It’s 7:30! So late. Vince asked to be woken up every day at 10 am. I have no idea what he is doing. He’s playing a lot of video games. I don’t track his grades, but they do mail home mid-term grades and I happened to open it this week and was a little shocked at how low they were (not failing!). Of course, he’s a senior and the reason I stopped checking his grades a long, long time ago is because he likes to perform low-ish during the term and then during the last bit of the term, pull his act together and see if he can ace the last big project and the final. Which he has done with some regularity and also has not done with some regularity. Which he is totally OK with, I think he would rather gamble the grade than to a whole ton of extra work. He is a strange, strange boy. I just could not mentally handle that – either as a student or as his mother. Anyways, I suspect the mid-term grades will be frozen and that’ll be it. It’s ok.

Max has no idea what is happening. She does not know what time it is anymore (just like the rest of us). Usually she nudges us for breakfast or dinner based on who comes home when, but since we never come and go, she just sleeps and sleeps.

We Facetimed family dinner on Sunday. There was a lot of background noise. I wonder if we can fix that.

My toe should heal nicely. I went to the ortho yesterday. I shouldn’t have gone and waited in the waiting room because I knew it would heal nicely and it feels a lot better now than over the weekend. So many people coughing (after that person left, the staff immediately Lysoled the whole waiting room), sitting too close to each other (c’mon people it’s an enormous waiting room, are you really going to sit like two seats away from me?). I should be back at the hospital working in a couple of weeks. Every time I read something about healthcare workers getting sick, I feel nauseous and want to throw up. I have a few weeks to screw up my courage.

Fracture, Minecraft, Davis.

On Thursday, I was weightlifting at the gym and I accidentally dropped a 30 pound bar on my left big toe. I did not scream, but it did hurt like a mf and I was only 15 min into the workout and I was like – I can still keep going and after about 10 min of limping around the gym, I was like – I can’t keep going, I gotta go home. The first thought that entered my mind right after the bar hit my toe was Shit, I can’t go to work at the hospital. But I thought that after I iced it and rested it, it would be OK. And it was OK all afternoon. Jeremy wasn’t well in the afternoon and asked if I could cook dinner, so I shuffled around the kitchen and made raviolis for everyone. Then I put on some slippers and took Maxi out for a walk and I realized that my toe hurt a lot. Like enough so I couldn’t make it long enough for Maxi to get her poop in (or out). I came back into the house, elevated my foot and groaned. I do kind of wish my patients would suck it up a little more regarding pain and not go right away to taking narcotics, but on Thursday night, I told Jeremy that I could really use a Percocet right then. And then I didn’t want to go to urgent care or the ED or anything because it was too late at night but I really thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep well without any pain meds (I had already taken some ibuprofen) and I didn’t want to mix with all those people who certainly had COVID. But Jeremy called the ED (I had asked if I could go to my own ED at my work even though it isn’t the closest one) and they said to come on in. And so I did. I look so old in this photo – glasses slipping down my nose, I have stretchy pants on and sitting next to a wheelchair.

The PA took one look at my toe and said it’s a broken toe and then said they’ll x-ray it to confirm and prescribed me tramadol. Jeremy said – you never talk about tramadol as a pain med and I said that I considered it the weakest opioid and it’s prescribed the least.

The break is small – I can tell a little triangle piece has broken off and is there another fracture? Can’t quite tell. Anyways, the tramadol worked, I slept like a baby and I have an ortho appointment on Monday. We did go to the CVS at 11:30 pm to pick up extra tramadol in case I woke up at 3 am in throbbing pain. CVS at 11:30 pm in the midst of a pandemic is a happening place. The pharmacist was busy stocking people up on medication. People were arguing over the 1 clorox wipe / 1 purell / 1 toilet paper per family policy. We tried to get out of there quickly.

Vince stayed home all week because he wasn’t well. So I think his senior year is done. On Friday morning, he asked if he could use our credit card to renew his Minecraft account – a video game he played in middle school. He’s back to playing video games with his friends. He came downstairs for dinner last night and said – I feel like I’m 13 again! No homework, nothing to worry about. I’m playing Minecraft and yelling a lot. I know lots of families are homeschooling or doing something. We plan on doing nothing. It’ll be like the worst case of senioritis ever. Theoretically, Vince has AP tests in May and I guess you are suppose to self-study now for those exams? I think that’s not going to happen. Vince thinks the tests themselves are going to be cancelled. Vincie got into Davis on Thursday night. We are all very, very excited. Except that it’s closed.


I can’t believe it’s Thursday and everyone is home. Jeremy is home. Vince is home (sick). Maybe he has the coronavirus? We dunno! Because we can’t test him in this very advanced country of ours. Edda, the tough one, made it to school today.

Of course, everyone has things cancelled. Jeremy cancelled his business trip to MN (I think he had the toughest time admitting that his work was non-essential as his work banned all non-essential travel). Vince cancelled his birthday party, his trips to MN and Toronto. Edda cancelled her pancake breakfast birthday party. I cancelled a routine blood work appointment because I don’t want to go to a doctor’s office. You know what’s not cancelled? Extra shifts at the hospital. They asked me to work again today (which would have been my third day in four – I usually only work at the hospital once a week). I had other work meetings at my other job I didn’t want to reschedule, so I turned it down. My hospital is known for being cheap, not paying more $ for extra shifts, but apparently they offered 3x salary to come in today. I’m not sure if that is true.

My shift yesterday was completely normal. If I didn’t know the world was falling apart around me, I would have said – hey! this is a damn good shift. I performed many nursing skills with flair and pizzaz. Foleys in on the first try, wound vacs placed without leaks, blood transfusions, tippy patients almost, but not falling on their way to the bathroom. Deploying my rapidly expanding Spanish (still terrible) – pastilla? dolor?

Jeremy and I are trying to figure out my hospital work with the rest of the family. I finally told my boss (who I’ve had for over a decade) at my desk job about my nursing job. I have about a week and a half off before my next shift. My goal is to finish the taxes and to move my home office into the guest bedroom and do a low-key home quarantine in the house. Jeremy’s like – I’ll take care of Edda, Vince will take his room, you have the guest room and don’t use the common rooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms, etc. Then pick up shifts as they need you at the hospital. We’ve stopped seeing my parents, I facetimed my dad this morning as he started radiation therapy for his prostate cancer yesterday.

I’m not sure what will happen at the hospital. I’m neither an ICU nurse nor an ED nurse. I’m afraid that the ICU will be overwhelmed and run out of ventilators and that the overflow will come to my unit because at least every room has a source of oxygen on the wall. Right now, 100% of my patients breath well. If you aren’t breathing well, you go to the ICU. I’m afraid soon 100% of my patients will not be breathing well and there won’t be much I can do about it.

All Maryland schools are closed now from Monday onwards. I think Vince’s senior year is done. No graduation, no nothing. I see in Vince that he wants to go to school tomorrow and he would go slightly sick if it was a normal day. He’s worried about his schoolwork. I’m sad he has one day to be with his senior class. We’ll have to see how he feels tomorrow.

I dropped a 30 pound weight on my toe today. It wasn’t a dumbell, it was a padded bar about 3-4 feet long. I’m hoping I didn’t break it. I might have. I’m limping around. It’s black and blue and swollen. Gah. I might have taken myself out.