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.

One thought on “Mouse and math.”

  1. Oh boy that is what Scott’s mother would do. It wasn’t super effective. How about instead of a cat an anaconda instead. Never needs feeding, walking, etc.

Leave a Reply