Gender, vaccine.

I was reading this about gender and sexuality. Vince and I regularly talk about gender identity and how he and his friends are thinking about it. I understand from discussions with mothers (my age) with teenage daughters that many girls think a lot about gender identity as they grow up. I think if I was growing up now, I would also think about my gender identity, because I do not strongly lean female. Would I have been confused? I was already so confused then, it hurts me to think that I would have added an extra thing to be confused about. Being a female is not that important to me, I don’t strongly identify with being female or doing “female” or “male” things. I also don’t have body dysmorphia, I like my body for the most part. I wouldn’t, like the writer, above, change my body to be a male to have all the privileges of being male. I sincerely believe (though maybe mistaken) that women have a lot of power. And I am happy to have been able to be pregnant and have babies and nurse them. I honestly, don’t think very much about gender. I don’t think of myself as female first. I think of myself as Doris – the human. I had short hair in college and lots of people misgendered me as a boy, but I didn’t care. I wear my hair more female now only because I feel bad when other people feel bad because they misgender me because they think they’ve super offended me, but really I don’t care. I think I’d still like to buzz cut my hair and wear fun hats. But I understand that this gender thing is important to a lot of people.

On a non-gendered note: I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday! I was working a shift that day. I did get floated to a non-covid unit that which I happily took because it means by the time I get floated again (perhaps to a covid floor), I will have built up full efficacy of the vaccine. Floating always makes for a tougher shift. Everyone is very nice, but you don’t know who to call for help and you don’t know where alcohol pads are. And my patients seemed to all be a handful. Taking care of patients who have all their mental faculties intact or have none of their mental faculties intact are (relatively) easy to care for. It’s when they mostly have their shit together, but are just ever so slightly removed from reality (like 25% removed) that it gets challenging. They insist on things that can’t be argued with and are not true and often they know they are difficult, so they apologize, but then they forget they apologized and then continue on with peeing in the sink, accidentally dumping the dinner tray into their lap, using the call button every five minutes. I took the day off of my desk job on Tuesday to nap because I felt run down. I had a low-grade fever of 99.8 and I took some Motrin which took care of that and my pain in both arms (one from the shot and the other from my determined rotator cuff injury). I binge watched the Good Place. I have not done that in a long, long time. I went to bed and mumbled to Jeremy that I had such an unproductive day and he said – it’s been the most productive day of the whole pandemic, you are busy making antibodies to protect yourself and bring us a bit closer to ending this unending misery.

Jeremy estimates that he is 280,000,000th in line for the vaccine. He hopes all schoolchildren and college kids get vaccinated before him. Jeremy just shrugs and says, really, I never need to leave the house. So at 1.5 million doses a day, we are looking at late summer. I asked him if I should now, as a vaccinated person, take over the grocery shopping. I don’t actually like grocery shopping very much and since I’m not the cook in the family, it’s not a natural division of labor, but I’m competent at it. It is also Jeremy’s only trip outside the house ever. Once a week, he goes to the grocery store. Last week, he told me that his social interaction skills have atrophied enough that his small-talk interaction with the cashier was awkward. We decided that he gets to keep going grocery shopping.

Gene and Bette got their first shots on last Thursday. Sunday night dinner (via zoom), I tentatively made dinner plans with them in six weeks. I can’t believe it! Something to look forward to.

Coach, coffee, RA.

Jeremy found a biking coach of sorts. He found a friend who is willing to look at a training plan that Jeremy makes up and talk about it and give feedback. Jeremy likes to talk about and through things which I didn’t quite understand when I married him. He works through problems by talking about them for a long time. So sometimes my job is just to listen to him even though he already knows what he wants to do. It’s a lot of talking, so I’m grateful for this friend to help with the talking-about-biking-with-Jeremy part of my life. I’m actually not very good at listening. It’s my poorest skill, I’m always tuning out and turning inward to my own thoughts, so I have to make an effort to really listen. This doesn’t just happen with Jeremy. I’ve had co-workers tell me – I said hello and you walked right by and you didn’t answer! and it’s true, if I’m focused on something, I will just tune out the rest of the world and focus on my thing. I never talk through the solutions to my problems. I just want to decide and then do the thing I decided to do. And I like to tell no one what I decided. But since Jeremy is going to talk about his biking with another person, he spent the morning making a spreadsheet and a 4 page report on his last 5 years of bike training. This, to me, seems a bit obsessive. But it’s what he likes. I don’t even really like collecting data on my exercise, I just like chasing a particular feeling or effort.

Jeremy’s old coffee maker broke, so he replaced it with the exact same model, but in yellow. He paid an extra $10 for the yellow one and was so pleased by this splurge.

My shoulder is hurting more than I’d like to admit. I can still do many things, like even yoga or some lifting, but it’s sore and wears me out. It hurts to take a carton of milk out from the fridge – kind of like this weighted full arm extension hurts. Sometimes when I get hurt, I can get pessimistic and think I’ll be hurt forever. I’m not an optimist.

I tried to convince Vince to sign up to be a RA next year, but he’s excited to live in an apartment with a kitchen. He told me last night that he misses cooking and wanted more control of what he eats and so would really enjoy a kitchen. I get that. But I think he’d be an excellent RA. I did get him to sign up to be an orientation leader. They advertise the position as one week= $1000. And Vince admitted – I say that I don’t like icebreakers, but really, I kind of love them. (I know he loves icebreakers lol). And his school starts so late that being on campus a week early shouldn’t cramp his summer style.

Press releases, quilt, last Xmas gift.

As soon as Jeremy wakes up, his phone is in his hand. Today, he was reading the press releases from the EPA and DOE welcoming members of the Biden-Harris administration. Lots of familiar names for Jeremy. He thought about, but didn’t apply for a job. He has mixed feelings about this.

There is backlash for the Lander appointment.

I’m starting to quilt again. I showed this to Jeremy and he took a look at it and he complimented it profusely and then acknowledged his bafflement as to why anyone would do this. So much work! And the pieces are so small! What can I say? It’s relaxing.

New administration and the post office is working again. My last Christmas gift arrived yesterday. Ordered on Dec 10th, made it to within 10 miles of me by Jan 1st and then delivered to me yesterday. It’s Vince’s gift, now I need to mail it to him.

WHO!

Back in the WHO! Back in the Paris Agreement! Back to having daily press conferences with coherent agendas! Fauci going to meet with the WHO! What a relief. Everything seems possible when before, it all seemed impossible. Will Doris learn Spanish? Yes. Will Jeremy learn to shuffle dance? Yes. Will Edda’s seizures be manageable? Yes. Will I be able to find the mouse hole? Yes. Will we all be vaccinated in the next 100 days? YES YES YES. This feeling will be fleeting, but I’m taking it now and embracing it with a full heart.

I spent the day yesterday mixing work, watching the news, and celebrating. The afternoon was filled with a raucous, internalized, mostly-one-person gala where I listened to music and danced in the house – first starting with a whole slate of Sousa Marches (so many of them!) and then winding around to Bruce Springsteen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Madonna, James Taylor, and finally settling on John Mellencamp.

And that poem! Gorgeous! Life with art, beauty, meaning and love. It is all possible.

Jeremy served a celebratory dinner. Beer for Jeremy, hard apple cider for me, and full strength orange mango juice for Edda (she usually gets 1/3 strength everyday for her Miralax, I think full strength is too much sugar). All in champagne flutes (and as these things go, one flute is already broken now).

And for super celebration, Jeremy made a batch of cookies. Shhhh. Don’t tell Jeremy I ate the rest of the Reese’s peanut butter cups earlier in the afternoon during my own personal celebration.

Biking, friends.

Jeremy made it outside to ride yesterday. We’ve all been exercising inside which is both super convenient, but also very monotonous. Take something repetitive like biking or running and bring it inside and you lose anything that makes it different day to day. Weather, terrain, routes. Everything gets tight – hamstrings, quads, shoulders. So it is with some necessary activation energy that we venture outside to do the things we used to do all the time outside. Jeremy went up Sugarloaf mountain. Jeremy, an avid Strava user (Facebook for workout crazed folks), posted a photo like this on his workout post. He remembered that he enjoys being outside in the sun.

Vince also made it outside to bike. He does not often use Strava to track his bike routines, but we take it as a little love note that Vince followed the same Strava convention as his father and posted, not a selfie of himself, rather, a selfie of his bike at a scenic point on his route (although, was this freeway scenic?) (Yes, my phone is still in Spanish.)

I spoke to Vince yesterday, I had an adulting matter to take care of with him- there are so many, and he picked up the phone and immediately said – “I have friends!” I was both very excited and somewhat worried. In a matter of weeks, he’s befriended his whole half of the dorm floor (so many girls! he says. fyi: 60F/40M almost the exact opposite of my college when I went there) and he even biked to Target with someone this past weekend. He told us all their names, what “type” of person they are – there are groups and subgroups of different types of people with different descriptions and I had no idea what any of them meant. I’m stuck at vsco girl circa July 2019 – eons ago in teenager time. He said – I don’t have time to explain it all to you, you will just need to google. He tells me they were “hanging out” in/near someone’s room. I tentatively asked – masked? distanced? He answered affirmatively. And then he said – I think the entire dorm is my “pod”. Hmmm, I thought. All 200 people? I had, in some selfish mom self-protective action, been relieved that he was in his room, playing video games with his Maryland friends and generally being a COVID-safe hermit (though I know, it’s better to have friends). Now, I’m like, uhhhmmmmmm. Maybe college is starting for real now. Anyways, there are hints of parties and gatherings brewing. Come on vaccination teams – I’m waiting waiting, I can’t wait for a national plan. Everyone is getting restless.

This makes me happy.

Mouse and math.

In true Martin fashion, we are catching our house mice and releasing them “across the river” and “into the wild”. Granted, the river is an 8 foot stream about a quarter mile from our house and the wild is about and another quarter mile from a pizza shop, an ice cream parlor, a vet, a bank and my dentist. I know this isn’t the best solution for our house mouse problem. I think the best solution is to get a cat, but I can’t do that now even though I am, heart of hearts, more of a cat person than a dog person. I have to find the hole they are accessing, but I can only muster enough energy to do this. It’s Jeremy’s job to release the mouse into the wild.

I was at the hospital on Sunday and it was a slog. My shoulder, though better, still aches when I raise it to hail a taxi which, turns out, is the exact same motion I need to do to hang IV bags and medications. Physical pain, even this minor stuff, can really wear on you. It also hurts when one is slamming those chemical heat packs to activate them or mixing vials of powdered antibiotics with IV fluid when you have the pierce the rubber gasket or when you turn and lift a patient.

I was pleased to see Eric Lander and Frances announced to the Biden team. Eric taught me biochemistry – I loved that class. He was an enthusiastic teacher and honestly seemed super, super kind. I did not know he is a mathematician first, I always just knew him as a geneticist. After reading his biography and thinking about biochemistry class, then I started being all nostalgic for being 20. Hahaha. It was both great and terrible to be 20. Yesterday, I was nostalgic for the plastic mind of my youth. I remember just looking at sets of numbers and remembering them – never, ever transposing them, not needing to really read them even. It’s hard to explain. To look at an 8 or 10 digit number and internalize it at once and flip them in the air and watch them tangle with other numbers and then straighten them out into a logical answer in some weird, but completely controlled math acrobatic feat. The writing down of the math problem was kind of secondary – you already knew how the answer was going to go before you started writing it down. I can’t do that anymore. While it is true I am out of practice and I could practice my way to be better at it, the fundamental agility I had with numbers is lost forever. I’m surrounded by patient identification numbers, blood transfusion numbers, lab values, patient room numbers, doctors phone numbers and I accidentally transpose them all now. People want to know a particular lab value of a particular patient and now I don’t want to say what I think it is before checking my computer or my notes. I would have never done that in my 20s, I would remember it all. I want to do the thing I did before which is to just look and keep it, but I need to read and think about it which can be intensely frustrating to me. And I can tell through the hospital shift as I get more and more tired and I get to the 9th or 10th hour of a 12.5 hour shift, I continue to steadily lose hold of that number agility, whereas in my youth I could hold onto those numbers on 4 hours of sleep and through a snowstorm.

Also, when I get tired, I give up convincing anyone of anything. Don’t want to take your blood pressure med? OK, fine with me. Don’t want to have your blood drawn? OK, fine with me. Don’t want to have your patient eat for another 12 hours for no good reason? OK, fine with me. Usually, I’m good at these things! Sigh.

Quiet.

It felt like Thursday’s news was quieter. I’m hoping that it’ll stay quiet through the inauguration, they are essentially shutting down the city. No one is headed to the city. We are all staying in our house, thank you very much. Fingers crossed.

Jeremy is still setting up his zoom background. He collected all our old phones to have museum of phone technology. I’m honored, it has the phone I used when I was a kid to call my friends (rotary. my parent still have a rotary phone in use at their house. don’t worry, they also have the latest iPhone 12s) and it has my first iPhone which Jeremy charged up and I held in my hand for a moment yesterday. So small! Such old apps.

I don’t think I’ll ever be fluent (or even slightly conversational) in Spanish, but it’s interesting to discover different ways of learning the language. I stumbled upon this approach this week: accelerated Spanish. I listen to the free podcast – they start by teaching the grammar first and not vocabulary/verb conjugations. They also use pictorial mnemonics which I find amusing. Scenes with bees and stuffed pandas and carousels.

I keep texting weird things to Vince. Yesterday, I suggested that he drive a bus around campus. And he was like, uhhhh….. I’m a nervous driver.

I’m getting ready for Edda’s 18th birthday which means I’m getting ready to sue Edda to be her guardian. I have to serve her papers and everything. And she’ll get a court appointed lawyer.

Maxi is still making enormous poops.

More news of no importance.

OK!

Jeremy loves his new Ugg slippers that he got for Christmas.

Oftentimes, Jeremy asks a yes/no question to me and I say – “I’m OK.” which, to me, means no. But to him, means “ambiguous”. This has been going on for 25 years. I’ve been driving him crazy in this way for a quarter of a decade. I’m trying to say “no” instead.

I’m trying to convince Vince to live with livestock.

Edda had a little seizure in the middle of the night last night.

We moved Edda’s room to the old au pair room and turned Edda’s old room into the guest room/study. (We need to rename all the rooms right now because “guest room” and “Vince’s room” and “Edda’s room” and “Doris’s room” all mean more than one room now.)

Maxi’s bloodwork came back all A-OK. So we don’t know why she lost 8 pounds. Unlike the rest of us, she lost weight during the pandemic?

Look, my babies! Usually, I miss Vince, but I don’t miss miss him. Yesterday, I missed missed him. I want him a toddler again, tucked under my armpit and showing me the world all over again with new, hopeful and optimistic eyes.