We marked our 22nd wedding anniversary on Saturday. (I’m the luckiest. Seriously I have no idea what I did in my life to deserve Jeremy, but here’s to hopefully at least another 22. a lifetime is not enough. I hope we get reincarnated as other animals and we get to meet each other as another species and get to do it all again for a long, long time. ) My parents dropped off a couple dozen roses and the we spent the day, like almost all the days during the pandemic, with mostly just the two of us. Jeremy hung some drywall and I did some work. I’m slowing coming around to understanding how tired really am. I don’t ever feel like complaining because 1) I’m not a complainer and 2) we’ve been fortunate during this pandemic and no one has had a “normal” life for months so complaining seems super annoying coming from me, but I’m tired. The hospital work has flattened me. I’ve (finally) dropped down to 1 day a week at the hospital, so now I’m at 1.3 jobs down from 2 jobs which I had for six weeks in April-May and then 1.8 jobs and then 1.6 jobs and now 1.3 jobs. I tend to look at these things that I do as only a time management puzzle as how can I fit all the things I want to do in a given amount of time and this includes sleep and exercise and time with Jeremy, etc. But I also need to factor in some time to recover mentally from things. I’m finding my patients too irritating – simple requests frustrate me more than they usually do (OMG! I can’t believe you are asking me to take your pills with applesauce, now I gotta go all the way down the hall and get the g*d d*m f*ing applesauce from the g*d d*m f*ing refrigerator) though I’m still quite pleasant and accommodating. I take this as a sign that I’m not quite rested or recovered enough. I love all my patients, even the annoying, demanding, threatening, scared, addicted, or weird ones. We all have our issues. Some more than others. When I’m at work, I think it’s important to throw love to people. I would say that most people can feel it when I make the effort and make the interaction more loving. I can tell the days when I’m better at throwing it than days that I’m worn out and need to keep that energy for myself. If you transcripted both days, I think you’d find nothing different in the words. It’s really an energy. Does this sound to woo woo? Maybe. But I can feel it and I can feel it from my patients. Most people don’t understand what is happening to them or think I’m like this all the time, but I’m not, I make the effort to do it. Every once in a while, I have a patient who has this sensitivity better than I do – they’ll say something like – you’re stressed now. or you’re less stressed than you were yesterday. or I can tell you are relaxed now. even though I’m not really doing anything different. I find that very surprising because most people don’t notice that from me – most people ask how I’m so relaxed in the midst of a shit-storm. But I’m not like that at all…
Vince’s fall tuition is paid for for the fall. Now we are trying to figure out how to get to California from here. Technically, we don’t even know if he has a room yet.
Jeremy’s workplace is forming a union! So now there is a group called the union of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Jeremy is not invited to join because he’s technically a supervisor, so he didn’t hear anything about this until the union announced it on twitter.
I have been taking hour-long weekly Spanish lessons for about three months which has been fine and mostly fun. I do no homework for this. Then about a month ago, I found a language exchange friend (both of us beginners) that I talk to nightly for about 30 minutes half in english/half in spanish when I’m not at the hospital. I also do no prep for this. It is clear to me my pal is outpacing me with her improvements in English. This almost no-work effort has resulted in a number of encouraging interaction with patients – I can understand some very, very basic things and we end up being pleased with each other even if I have to eventually use the translator phone (which I always have to use). But then I had an interaction with a Mandarin speaking patient which was interesting to me. My Chinese is pretty bad, but I was pleased with how I could manage to tell her most of the things I needed to tell her. Like instructions for collecting pee, or that she needed to walk in the hall even though all Chinese people know you should rest after surgery, all Americans want you to walk and I could answer questions about eating and farting (turns out I only know the word in Chinese for fart and not “passing gas” which was the one she used and then I was like – oh! you mean fart!). Anyways, it encouraged me to put in some more work into remembering Spanish. I had a terrible (well, not terrible, but completely tongue tied) Spanish lesson earlier this week where my teacher introduced a third verb tense and I’m still struggling with the first verb tense or even remembering any verbs and I’m like – OK, how am I going to remember all these random words? I had started to use regular physical flashcards, but I want a lot of flash cards and they seemed inadequate and the rate at which I need to learn new words should be steady and not take up too much time. Anyways, I stumbled upon the flashcard program of my dreams – Anki – which does spaced repetition of flash cards. It’s designed to be used everyday over a long period of time (years really…) but for a limited amount of time each day (hopefully only 15-20 minutes a day). It’s most popular with med students. It slowly introduces new words and drops the words that you know well. People have decks of over 100,000 cards when learning a language. I’m kind of in love. I love flash cards. This makes me very happy. We’ll see how long I can stick with it or if I’ll improve at all.
We got an email over the past weekend saying that Davis was going to go to singles only for the dorms. We still don’t know if he’s getting a room or if enough people cancelled for them to honor all housing agreements. We are planning on driving across the country to drop him off with driveway visits with friends along the way. If they cancel while we are on the road, we are still driving at least to Montana. Jeremy really wants to bike in Montana.
Edda’s seizures are getting worse. I’m pretty sure we are on this long, well worn Rett road where her seizures will never be well controlled and we will lose all of her spark to the dulling qualities of the anticonvulsants. She had 6 seizures on Monday, we upped her Keppra dose that afternoon.
After my parents’ party, we had a nice long weekend away in Gettysburg. Our anniversary (22nd. so old) is this weekend. Kitachi took care of Edda. Vince took care of himself. We ate a lot of ice cream. And slept a lot – the place where we stayed was very comfortable. We did indoor dining which was, honestly, a little nerve wracking. Tables were spaced and the servers masked. But still. We tried to be disciplined and wore the mask whenever we weren’t eating. We did it because it was attached to the B&B and dinner was the thing to do there.
Jeremy biked. I ran. Lots of Trump signs all around in rural Pennsylvania. Also a Civil War reenactment so people dressed up in old-timey clothes.
We were supposed to go to Napa and eat at the French Laundry for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. And we were going to delay it a month so we could all drive to Sacramento and drop Vince off at Davis in all one glorious, triumphant family milestone – but none of this is happening. Of course, it was cancelled months ago because of the pandemic, but I’m not sure we would have made it out there now with the fires making the air quality terrible. (And my beloved Big Basin! Burned so badly. I fell in love with Jeremy on hikes through Big Basin where he hiked in a delicious lunch which involved cutting boards, two or three kinds of cheeses, a loaf of french bread, a roast chicken, tomato and avocado which will alway remain my favorite of meals. I would not mind my ashes scattered in Big Basin to remain in all eternity among all those trees. Half in Rockville and half in Big Basin). My parents still wanted a celebration and I was resigned to doing a zoom call with take out from a DC fancy-ish restaurant, but Jeremy coaxed me out of it and helped me arrange a more glorious celebration. We arranged for outdoor tents to be set up in my parents’ driveway and have our friend Lauren (who is a professional chef/baker) cater a delicious meal. We’ve been in pretty good lockdown here, I haven’t spent time with my parents since March and they are good at wearing masks and so this was a huge expansion of our socializing. And we loved it. I thought I might not love it, but I loved it. I miss my parents. I do miss parties too.
My dad was like – oh Edda doesn’t need a mask which may or may not be true. It’s true Edda really does go nowhere. But it’s also true when she sneezes or coughs, she sends saliva flying everywhere.
Our physically distant tables.
And Lauren’s meal! Amazing. All our favorites!
We used all of my parents’ plates and they had these lovely retro champagne glasses, the wide ones, not the fluted ones. We are such unenthusiastic drinkers – I’m not sure we finished the one bottle of red, one bottle of white or the champagne. My father insisted on the “5” and “0” balloons. He texted many times – the number balloons! I need the number balloons. lol.
We’ve been doing our regular Sunday night Martin family dinner over Zoom since March. It’s always been a little unsatisfying because…well, because we aren’t actually together and when everyone just hangs out at home, there is almost nothing of note to say to each other except moan about the state of the world which can be depressing. This week, we decided that maybe we should re-incorporate the food aspect of the dinner and maybe that would be better for our virtual dinners if we all ate the same thing together at the same time. So Jeremy and I spent Sunday morning making separate baked zitis for the four households. We also included homemade salsa made from tomatoes from my mom’s garden with chips. Garlic bread. A bagged salad. And chocolate chip cookies. It was nice to cook for a party, we usually cook for 15 people quite often – at least once a month if you only count Sunday night dinner, but often, we have gatherings of 8 or more at least once every two weeks. It was nice to cook for a party again, even if there was no actual “party”.
The nicest part might have been the delivery where we got to see everyone in person on their front porch. We all were masked, but were able to chat and be in each other’s company for a little while.
We took Edda with us to deliver the meals. We also went on an outing to the liquor store which Edda loved. I have no idea why but she was laughing a lot at the store. We accidentally missed a dose of her Keppra on Sunday night….and she had a seizure early Monday morning. So we all found ourselves up at 4 am to try and convince Edda to take a dose of Keppra. Well at least we know the Keppra is doing something for her…
Jeremy has been working hard at work doing non-policy related things. Lots and lots of equity work. I’m so impressed by him. He’s doing all these things that would never occur to me to do. Hopefully, I can share more later… Actually, I think there will be lots to share later.
I back from 2 shifts at the hospital. Every shift is draining in its own particular way. Lots of family issues, lots of help me go to the bathroom issues (if I have 5 patients and each one needs help to the bathroom 3 times a day, it’s a lot of bathroom trips that I have to tuck into a lot of non-bathroom work), lots of equipment issues. Since the hospital is still partially closed – most notably the joint and spine unit remains closed and probably will be until the beginning of the new calendar year – we are getting all the hip, knee, and spinal surgeries which have all new-to-me order sets which take some getting used to. And my toe is starting to ache and throb by the end of each shift. I’m afraid it’s the dull ache of a permanent, progressive issue which I probably made worse by breaking the toe at the beginning of the pandemic and has always had a mild bunion on it. Jeremy also has some weird arthritis on his thumb that at first he thought was acute, but now he thinks is chronic. We feel old.
Vince is bored I think. Yesterday, he found Jeremy during the day and asked if any errands needed to be run because he was just that bored.
Edda finally got her EEG off. Of course, we did not note any seizure-like activity during the three days she had it on her head.
Edda woke up with her EEG turban completely off of her head. Many of the leads were off. I replaced the turban on her head with my expert gauze wrapping skills I’ve developed over two years worth of wound dressing, but it came off again when we sat her in one of her comfy chairs and she rubbed the back of her head against the back of her seat. We decided to bring her back to the clinic, have the poor EEG tech work through her lunch to reattach all the leads (we are going to gift her something), and then we put one of Edda’s helmet over the whole contraption.
So mostly success through the day and night, although at night she managed to dislodge the chin strap and have it come off ever so slightly. But Jeremy’s eagle eye on the surveillance camera (during one of these 2-hour long evening work phone calls) caught it in time and I ran upstairs and taped it shut to prevent further mishaps (though there is one lead off and we are just going to have to live with that). And this morning, she woke up with a dirty diaper which has not happened in a million years, so we’ve cleaned Edda, stripped the bed, stripped ourselves and I’m running very loud loads in our broken washer and it’s barely 9am.
The weekend was spent doing household chores. Jeremy went to Home Depot and Lowe’s in order to buy sheetrock. We always thought a full sized piece of drywall could fit into the minivan – but it can’t. Jeremy returned the pieces of sheetrock at the first place and returned home empty handed. But he returned to the second place with the idea to rent a truck or to find half sheets for sale, but the store person looked at him like he was an idiot and said – you know, you can cut the full sheets in half to fit them into the minivan (we knew this, but had dismissed the idea, because the idea of making a clean/smooth line in the parking lot of the Home Depot seemed beyond our skill set). Jeremy replied – uh, I’m not comfortable with that. I love a man who is OK with admitting his weaknesses. Anyways, the store person grabbed an L-square from the shelf and a utility knife and cut the pieces smoothly and expertly and everything fit into the van. Our goal this weekend was tear the wall down, put in the bracing and then put the wall back together – no painting, no hanging the closet hardware. But we made it only about 50% of the way there – we got some bracing in, but Jeremy’s back started to ache a bit. Still not bad.
I spent Sunday taking apart our washing machine in the hopes of fixing it. I watched a bunch of videos and took it about 40% apart before I realized that in order to fix it, I’d really have to pull out the spinning drum and replace the bearings on the outer drum (which I could do if I followed the video all the way out to the bitter end), which is $400 for the part only and then I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fix it. My upper budget for trying to “rescue” an appliance is about $100 to $150, so the $400 is way too much. It’s a 19 year old washing machine. It’s lived a good life. We bought a new washing machine for delivery on Friday. Some of the most highly rated washers/dryers are not available until October. That seems like a long time to not be washing laundry. So we bought a slightly not-as-highly rated one.
I guess the Tour de France is happening soon and Zwift has opened a bunch of virtual courses in France. Jeremy spent 90 minutes climbing up a fake hill this morning. I can’t stand doing that for that long.
Vince is COVID antibody negative. Finally. After a couple of calls to customer service, we figured it out. So that week-long illness at the beginning of March was not COVID. It was something else that didn’t become a worldwide pandemic.
We started the 3-day EEG for Edda yesterday. Someone spent an hour and a half doing:
It comes with video monitoring which we had to set up like:
And sometime during the night, Edda got her arm brace off and f*ing took off her turban and woke up like this:
The washing machine is making ominous groaning noises when it spins. I was trying to fix it without opening it up its guts this morning mainly by wishing the sound would go away while I petted it nicely and whispered it sweet nothings which was unsuccessful. I propped my feet on the spinning machine and took at good look at my COVID toe. It’s not really a COVID toe – I’ve never had covid. I dropped a 30 pound weight on it at the beginning of the pandemic and broke it which meant I was not working at the hospital in March. It also meant the entire toenail became bruised. I wonder if the toe nail will grow out first or if the pandemic will end first. It looks like I have another 9-10 months on the toe. That sounds about right for the pandemic too.
UMD dental school was the first place we went to who did not take Edda’s Medicaid which is her secondary insurance. I couldn’t believe it. I tried to insist that they scan it in so they would have it on her record, but they insisted that they didn’t take it and that they weren’t allowed to scan it. I was like – this is the University of Maryland? The public university of the state, right? And you won’t take the state’s insurance? The appt was really cheap ($70 for the exam and the x-ray), so maybe they are already a subsidized Maryland medical system? I dunno.
I started taking Spanish lessons about 2.5 months ago. I found a teacher who lives in Ireland. She speaks seven languages. She’s from Spain and I realize now that that was a tactical (or strategic?) error as I should have found a teacher from Mexico b/c of regional differences. (I just discovered that they don’t really conjugate you (plural) in Mexico, but they do in Spain). But now we are too far in and I like her and I think I entertain her as a student. I also found an internet friend in Baja Mexico that I’m practicing with – we do a language exchange. It’s strangely entertaining. I’m really no good at this. I keep telling myself that I need only 1,000 words, there has to be room in my brain for an extra 1,000 things. That doesn’t seem like too many. I’m entertaining my patients even more. I had a spanish speaking -only older lady a few days ago who held my hand and looked at me and said you speak spanish! And I laughed and laughed.