Teeth.

So many things making me cry this weekend. Anyways, I’ll address the one that is happening in my own house (other than the argument that Jeremy and I got into on Sat morning, which we will just gloss over. It’s an old argument about home repair that will never get resolved because it is rooted in the basic core personalities that we have, so we had the argument quickly because we’ve had it 10,000 times before and it isn’t important really – we stepped through the argument in three sentences and then through the apologies and then it was done.)

Edda somehow managed to knock out two of her teeth without anyone noticing and without any apparent trauma. We have no idea what happened. Jeremy was cooking in the kitchen – he texted me that dinner would be ready in a few minutes. I was upstairs working. Edda was sitting on the toilet and then Jeremy went fetch Edda and found her covered in blood. At first he thought it was a nosebleed (she has those often), but then saw that no blood was coming out of her nose. And then he saw that it was all coming out of her mouth. He yelled for me and I rushed downstairs. I thought she was vomiting blood. We used a spray bottle and squirted to clear the blood from the mouth. So much blood… And then in horror we saw the two teeth (I’m going to look this up – the central right incisor and the right lateral incisor) were jutting out of her mouth like pointing directly in front of her. We tried calling her pediatric dentist and left a message on her cell. Then we called Jeremy’s dentist who is the wife of Vince’s cub scout leader whose office is just on the next street over. We headed over there and she took a look and she told us to just shove her teeth back into her mouth. Which we did. There were four of us there. I was straddling Edda in the chair shoving the teeth back into her head. Jeremy was holding her head. Miriam was telling us what do to and managing the hydrogen peroxide. Tom was managing the suction. Now Edda did not cry when her teeth came out. She flinched but did not cry when I shoved her teeth back into her head. This is Edda pre-self-tooth-extraction:

This is Edda post:

They are not where they used to be. The pediatric dentist (who did get back in touch with us and now we are sending photos back and forth) actually likes the positioning better now. But I’m afraid Edda’s going to knock it out again. She’s no good at controlling her grinding and/or her tongue. As I wrote this, she shifted the teeth again and a shower of blood came back out of her mouth again. And we still have no idea how it happened in the first place, though this morning, I looked at her thumb and it’s completely swollen with bite marks on them. Did she have a seizure with her thumb in her mouth and clamp down on her thumb and then tried to pull her thumb out so hard it pulled her teeth out? I have no idea. I think we are going to lose those two teeth. I think there is no way she can keep them still enough for long enough that they’ll regraft. I know it’s not really a big deal. What’s two teeth in the grand scheme of things? It’s really nothing. They have nice fake teeth that some might argue are better than real teeth. And we can pay for new fake teeth. But they are Edda’s teeth. I would have liked to have kept those. Oh well.

Replacing toilets, becoming vegan.

The days pass very quickly. And very much the same everyday. The quarantine has made me think about what I like to do. So many people I know really want a summer trip. I have no hankering for a summer trip. I don’t miss concerts, movies or parties. I don’t miss shopping at stores. I could do curbside pickup forevah. I do miss going out to eat. I miss just sitting down and getting a slice of pizza and saying hi to the pizzeria owner. I miss sharing a meal with friends. I miss the gym.

I need to replace all the toilets in the house. They are all sub-par and showing their age – not flushing well, weird water levels. On all of them, I’ve replaced the flushing mechanism many times in the decade we’ve been in the house. The one in our master bath has had a ghost flush for a long time. And our plumber looked at our old flushing mechanism and recommended a whole new toilet (this was months ago). I knew we were wasting a ton of water, but I had neither time nor motivation to replace it. But I did today. Home Depot has nice curbside pickup and we picked up and used Edda’s stairlift to go up the stairs.

The whole replacement took me about 45 minutes. I don’t know why I procrastinate on these things. But I do.

Vince really truly has nothing to do for the next four months. I secretly want him to get a job. Now exactly what kind of job, I have no idea. Do I want him to be exposed to the public? I don’t know. I floated hospital cleaner, UPS worker, online English teacher. He was noncommittal. Jeremy wants him to learn Python. He said he would figure something out. It might just be 4 months of video games which I am trying to convince myself is OK. It’s OK! He came up with maybe training for a long bike ride. But this week he’s decided he’s going to try to become vegan. So we are all eating vegan for dinner together. Jeremy stocked up on beans, oat milk, tofu, coconut milk, beyond burgers, etc. We told him he had to stay vegan until we at least finished up all these groceries.

Update.

I’m done with my six-week two-jobs no-touching my family deal. The last time I was on a covid unit was May 6th. I added two weeks to that date and relieved the quarantining in the house. I hugged and kissed my husband and children. I started helping with Edda’s care and with kitchen duties. It’s all good. I guess I’m counting my life in six-week blocks now because that’s how the scheduling at the hospital goes. Elective surgery (really semi-elective, the people who are having surgery now can’t really wait. Is it “elective” if like – if you don’t have the surgery now, you won’t die immediately (like the next couple of hours), but you’ll die later? I don’t know how much later is OK for elective.) is back on now, my unit should be back to full capacity. I almost can’t tell that there is a pandemic going on in the hospital except 1) I wear an n95 mask all day and 2) so much free food. so much. Now I have 5 (or 4 now) days off and then I’m going to 75% time at the hospital.

Oh and 3), my non-covid patients are so so so needy. So needy. It also might be a psychological thing for me, because I just want to rest and as my time got closer and closer to my designated “time of rest”, my perception of my patients started altering and I perceived them to be needier when they were really the same. On Thursday – all my patients were crying. Or at least 3/5 which is really high. Usually, I have no one crying. One cried over a tuna sandwich. One cried and then when I got into the room, they refused all medical care. One cried over bad news. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a bunch of patients who think they are having a heart attack, but really, it’s just a panic attack, but it doesn’t prevent them from pushing the call bell numerous times a day saying OMG my chest hurts really, really bad and then – even though I’m pretty sure it’s a panic attack, I’m like – omg what if it’s really a heart attack. (aaaaannnnndd, they weren’t heart attacks. only panic attacks. I’ll tell you the # of people with panic attacks is on the rise.) And, the patient undeniably feels really, really terrible.

We celebrated being reunited with my family with hamburgers. It was a lot of fun.

I had a patient who yelled at me in Spanish all day on Sunday telling me to do things. Move tables, cold water not hot water, high ponytail, comb, move bed higher. I could barely understand – picking up a few words here and there and then I would ask if we should use the translator phone and they would bellow in English “YOU UNDERSTAND!” and then we would keep going using Spanish and hand gestures. It all got done (mostly) to their satisfaction. That’s not a bad way to learn Spanish. I for sure picked up a few words. I’m going at it in two directions. From the “beginning” using Duolingo. And also from the “end” trying to decipher fluent speech. I’m using Netflix to learn. Nailed It! Mexico! is easier to understand. Money Heist should be fun to watch, but I think it’s very fast Spanish, so it’s hard hear the words enough to understand and it has weird vocab words about robberies and heists. I’m also using LLN (Language Learning with Netflix) which allows me to replay the video sentence by sentence or go back/forth quickly to hear things over and over again. It offers both the Spanish subtitles and an English human translation. It allows me to play the video at 70% speed as well. Spanish will be a challenge for me, because it relies on my least sensitive sense – listening. (I actually also don’t have a good sense of smell, but I don’t think you are considered disabled if you can’t smell things – only that you might have covid). Music and lyrics just pass through me – meaningless and unnoticed. I like music and I listen to it all the time, but I don’t pay attention to music. I can’t mimic things very well verbally. I can’t sing on key and if I’m in a chorus, I can’t hold my line of the music nor can I keep a steady beat. I can’t even really remember what people said a lot of the time. All this lack of sensitivity to sound is a detriment to learning any language. And, of course, my age. I couldn’t remember the word “label” in English yesterday. So to remember it in Spanish seems like an unreasonable goal. But whatever. We’ll see. I just want it to be passable. Or entertaining. I think it amuses my Spanish speaking patients that they have an Asian nurse trying to speak to them in Spanish.

Vince finished his last HS class on Friday. We celebrate on Friday night with my parents via video. Jeremy cooked dinner and I delivered their portion over to their house. We will celebrate with the Martins today. We are trying to figure out this college stuff. I think if it is even partially open, we’d want Vince to be in California. But the dorms/dining hall might be shuttered. So that’s mean finding an apartment. But since the demand would be unusually high, we might not be able to rent one out close enough for biking, so then he’d have to have a car and commute in. It’s not ideal. But we’ll roll with it. It’d also be important that he have a place that he could quarantine for a long time there instead of coming all the way back here.

Fish spatula.

Remember I got a fish spatula for Mother’s Day? It’s really a grilled cheese spatula.

OK. I’m trying to retrench again. I feel like this is a new phase of the pandemic. I’m trying to not wish my old life back, I think that isn’t going to happen for a long time.

I spend a lot of time thinking of things to buy. Then I put them all in an online cart. And then I spend a lot of time convincing myself that I don’t need to buy whatever it is that I think I need to buy.

Vince’s summer job at a local-ish (2 hour drive), sleepover Boy Scout camp is cancelled. I asked him what he was going to do this summer. He said – I dunno.

Update.

I’m very excited to end my semi-quarantined state later this week and reunite with my family. We decided to celebrate on Thursday night which will be the last night that I’m full time at the hospital. Jeremy asked if I wanted a special dinner. I asked for hamburgers and tater tots. Jeremy frowned and said – hmmm, tater tots are hard to find. The good ones at least. The Whole Food sweet potato tater tots are still available. We all groaned at the thought of organic & small tater tots. I switch my order from tots to potato salad. Then I decided that I also needed a homemade margarita.

I accidentally did a covid test using a swab meant for a vaginal sample. Whoops. It did look almost exactly the same. The swab that is.

I sidled up to a coworker of mine and asked – so you’re just wearing a surgical mask and not an n95 mask – you ok with that? She sighed and said it left a bruise on her nose which wasn’t better even after putting a bandage to protect it. I widened my eyes and said – really? And then I thought – I am not a true female, it didn’t even occur to me to protect the beauty of my face over protecting myself, you know, from not being able to breath. I want the little lifelong bruise on my nose. So I can say to my grandkids – this is from when I wore my n95 mask which I reused 100 times for years while we went through the pandemic. Though I did go buy some protective tape today on Amazon to help my nose out. OK.

Update.

Hello loves. I think my tour of duty is done. They’ve reopened my unit at the hospital and people are having surgeries again. We might be the only covid free unit in the entire hospital. We actively deflecting covid or covid rule out patients from our unit. We’ve had a few nurses leave our staffing inn the past few weeks so we are short staffed for a full floor. So I think unless there is a clamp down again for elective surgeries, I think my four weeks on covid duty is done. Proud of myself for doing it. Relief that it might be done. I’m sure I’ve jinxed myself and I’ll float tomorrow. I’m still wearing my n95 mask all day even on my non covid floor. We are supposed to reuse them thirty times – they will send them out for sterilization every three times. But sterile is different than clean or new. Sterile doesn’t get rid of face dirt on masks. It’s just sterile face dirt. Some staff are only wearing surgical masks on my unit. I’m not comfortable with that. I mean, I touch my patients all the time. They all still breath on me. I’m counting down the days since my last shift on the covid floor. I’ll count out 14 days and then relieve social distancing in the house. I miss touching my kids and my husband. Have a ever not kissed my husband for six weeks since we’ve met? I don’t think so.

It’s been hard be upbeat this week. Zoom calls with Edda’s class leave me both cheered up and extremely unhappy. Vince’s missed graduation and prom and likely missing fall semester at college eat away at me more than I would like to admit given the loss of life and livelihoods of so many people. I miss my friends and family. I actually feel kind of socially lucky to go to work at the hospital. I get to talk to co workers in person and strangers too! I had a patient tell me this week – Dora! I like you! And I said – you know what? I like you too! And then we kind of hung out there together for a while in each other’s company.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy belated Mother’s Day. I got my mom some earrings from my favorite jeweler.

Facetiming me some photos.

Jeremy got my mom flowers and berries in the weekly groceries.

My kids got me a fish spatula. Why? uhhh, as an inside joke.

My own mother’s day breakfast. Jeremy made me some delicious coffee cake and delivered some to my mom. Flowers in a vase from Carla last Thanksgiving.

Jeremy’s new hair. A little more drastic than he anticipated, but you make one mistake and then you need to fix it and then another mistake and then you say – ah screw it. I’m going to do my whole head.

Happy Nurse’s Week

Sorry! I didn’t mean to leave my four readers hanging there. I’m much, much better than I was last week. I’m in the middle of 4 days off which is such a luxury for me. I have six shifts (two weeks) left until I’m no longer full time. After six shifts, I’m going to take five days off and then go to a shifting schedule for the next six week schedule – two days on and four days off which is about 3/4 time. This’ll give me enough time to rest between blocks of shifts and for me to have some momentum at my desk job. None of this one day on one day off two days on two days off, etc. Before the pandemic, I worked only once a week because I was constantly scheduling around Jeremy’s travel and the kids’ schedules, but now no one is going anywhere, and weekdays and weekends have no meaning, so I can do an odd six-day repeating schedule which makes no sense in the “normal” world.

It is National Nurses Week. When I was younger and maybe even pre-pandemic, I always wanted to be famous in some way. Not like Cardi B famous, but like a famous scientist or an important CEO or something like that. Famous for being smart. Hmmm, can I think of a woman example? Oh, like Samantha Powers (I got three quarters of the way through that book before I had to return it to the library). I’ve spent a long time lamenting that I didn’t Lean In like Sheryl Sandberg. Jeremy always assured me that I could have done it, and I probably could have, but it would have been against my true nature, a canoe rowing upstream – it can be done, but it’s hard work all the time. I do not like meetings, I don’t like telling people what to do, I hate long-term strategies maximizing profit/fame/branding, I hate cultivating relationships – networking, I hate powerpoint, I hate travel. I knew my true nature fit well with nursing. But, I’ve always felt like I had failed at my first so-called dream. I mean, I had mentors from both college and grad school write me nursing school recommendations eight years ago and then they both were like – really? why of all things do you want to be a nurse? (But then at least one of them reconsidered and said he was grateful for nurses in the care of his dying mother). I like nursing because I meet a lot of people I normally wouldn’t meet. I can make almost anyone like me for at least 12 hours and I can like almost anyone for the same amount of time, I have a calming low-drama nature, I like having a list of complicated things to do and then checking them off and then never thinking about them again, I like science & medicine, I like feeling helpful in a way that is very concrete and instantaneous. I like that I can find a job anywhere there are people – that I’m not tied to a factory, company headquarters or institution. Now that there is a pandemic and I’ve spent time taking care of covid patients and it’s nurses week, I feel entirely grateful for being “famous” in this particular way. And I see how my old way of thinking about being “famous” is against my true nature as well. I love a collective fame! I don’t want an individual fame. Look, NYC painted a whole side of a building for nurses:

And then Brad Pitt said thank you on SNL:

I’m so proud of all the people I went to school with & all my co-workers and all the nurses everywhere doing their thing. I’m proud of myself because even though I am scared shitless (less so now, but 4 weeks ago, I was terrified), I’m still going to work.

And we keep going.

I lost it a bit there – it was a stretch of hard shifts and I’m trying to rest on the days off, but it’s hard to relax enough to sleep deeply and nap well. I had promised myself to work full time for 6 weeks and we are at the start of week 4. So it’s the sloggy messy middle part of my promise where it’s not the exciting and nerve wracking beginning nor can you see the light at the end of the tunnel. So I’m slogging. On Friday, I had been assigned to the dreaded step-down unit in which the acuity of the patients are between an acute floor (my usual home) and the ICU. So these are sicker patients than I usually see. They gave me the easiest patients (most stable) patients on the unit, but those patients were still pretty sick, struggling to keep their oxygenation in the low 90s with pretty aggressive support. But they remained stable for me during the day (maybe not better, but thank god not worse). All around me, people were being intubated, extubated, etc. I had no idea what was going on. I called Jeremy on my hospital cell early in the shift and had to get a real pep talk – like a hearty YOU CAN DO THIS. Also, I have no idea what the hospital is thinking – on my home unit, every room has a vitals machine bolted to the wall where you can scan a patient’s wristband and then the vitals will automatically get sent to the computerized record. I never have to write down any vitals sign. On this higher acuity floor, I swear, I had to write down all the vitals and hand transfer them to the computer file. I walked around and asked – do you guys write down your vitals? And they all nodded. There was an ugly moment there early in the shift when I looked at their vitals machine and could not figure out how to take a blood pressure. Do you know how embarrassing it is to open the door to an isolation room and kind of yell into the hallway to people you don’t know, how the *&($! do I take a blood pressure? And I swear, for temperature, they used the little tiny disposable CVS oral thermometers. In which I can not read the numbers and also have to be handwritten down on a napkin and taken in and out of covid rooms. But on Sunday, I had a little gift – they are reopening my unit (at least half the beds) and I was home. I had no covid patients. It was almost a regular day. Except everyone was wearing a mask (patients included) and I still wore my N95 all day. A surgical mask is for going to the grocery store. A N95 is for everywhere in a hospital. My scrubs are getting too tight. That was my main concern for Sunday.

At home, we have a playground in our backyard! I had no idea this was happening, but our next door neighbor had an old swing set that Sophi had outgrown and they were going to take it apart and toss it, but then they thought that little Noah could use it. And so I looked out my window one day and saw a little toddler swinging on a swing set in the backyard. This makes me happy beyond belief. I have to get some playground sand for that little turtle sandbox.

And Kitachi, Edda and Jeremy are making progress on schoolwork… lol