Gym, Scarlett.

We went to the gym for the first time in – well you know since when. I had been a member of two gyms – the rockville city gym and the earth treks climbing gym. They served two purposes for me – the city gym is full of 70 and 80 year olds still getting their workout in. The climbing gym is full of 20 year old Asian women doing 5 pull ups. Both are incredible inspirations for me. I kind of refused to join my age appropriate gym. I gave them both up and thought I wouldn’t go back. But we are back (at least at the city gym). Incredibly, it was pretty much as full as the day I left it and the same people were there and we did the same thing like nodding at each other without knowing anyone’s name (not quite true, we did bump into a good friend there…). Even though (I think) the indoor mask mandate was dropped a few weeks ago, everyone was masked – including the dude in the blue shirt in the photo below who was doing a full on running workout with huffing and puffing and sweat flying everywhere. Why he wasn’t outside or on the track was beyond me, it was a beautiful day outside.

Why were we in the gym? For the squat rack which is pretty much the last piece of equipment we don’t have at home. Jeremy has decided he needs to add heavy weights to his training. And that means squats and deadlifts which also runs into another problem which is that he’s really inflexible and can’t squat more than 4 inches down without his heels lifting up off the ground. I went with him to film. I’m the opposite (as many Asians are) and I can wait for the bus in a deep squat. I find squatting very comfortable. He might hire both a bike coach and/or a strength coach.

I’m in the “off season” of running which I’m enjoying tremendously. I’m running less, deliciously gaining some weight (buttered bread and ice cream), and thinking about what to do next. My right shoulder is not perfect and will never be perfect, it’s been almost a year injured, but I think I can get it back to almost OK – I’ve had on/off trouble with it since I was in my 20s. I’ve been spending time rehabbing – some youtube person recommended doing dead hangs – which I’m working on up to doing for a minute. I don’t want my shoulder to do anything fancy, but I would like to lift a gallon of milk from the back of the fridge without pain and also to do a push up (both not quite yet).

I’m almost at the end of my self imposed increased work stint at the hospital to learn the new computer system. I really love it, I feel like I don’t wrestle with it each and everyday which is what I was doing with the old computer system. It streamlines my workflow, I don’t need to take as many notes. I finish my documentation by the end of the shift and I can also see documentation that other people miss and help gather that information. There was an ICU nurse who floated to our unit yesterday and worked next to me. I asked about the COVID situation downstairs and he said it was about 9 out of 30 beds and that while most people were not vaccinated, there were still some people there who had been vaccinated. I tried to get him to work on our unit, but he laughed and said – I like having two patients who are intubated and sedated – these talky-walky patients are weird, they have questions and ask you for stuff.

We are dog sitting Scarlett!

Dentist, larynx.

We took Edda to the dentist yesterday and she spilled out of the kid-sized chair. This was a reschedule to last week’s appointment because I need Jeremy at the appt and he was traveling. As Edda has gotten older, she’s less able to clear her mouth of food and big chunks can stay in her mouth for a long time, leading to more cleaning issues for all of us. And oddly, she’s gotten strangely stronger and fights the dental cleaning more and tends to gag now much more than years ago. At least this time, she didn’t throw up. But it seems that the two teeth she pulled out last year are going to stay in her head as long as she doesn’t repull them out again.

I have long talks with Alice about what is suffering. (She’s in a chemo clinical trial.) and sometimes in the middle of a walk, she will turn to me and tell me – but I’m suffering now! And then I say something like, but there are so many good things – perhaps worth the suffering? Some days she gives me a withering look and telepathically I can feel her say to me – you have no idea. Other days she smiles and nods her head and agrees with me. And then it occurred to me that maybe Edda is suffering everyday. I’m not sure. I’ve always comforted myself thinking that she isn’t suffering, but these days, I’m not sure. Sometimes I cry about this.

Jeremy was on NPR – here. There is a thinness in his voice that he’s been having for a few years now that you can hear in the clip. Sometimes when we are having an intense discussion, I feel like he’s yelling at me because in order to talk with conviction, he has to force his voice more to get more intonation and the forcing of the voice adds a feeling of “yelling”. (I know this is a low bar for yelling, but we don’t yell in our relationship, so this is what I work with.) When he added a symptom of a slight cough a few months ago, I did go a little crazy and thought he was going to die on me (which I readily acknowledged was crazy-talk and told him it was a psychological thing because one neighbor has lung cancer and another neighbor is getting his immune system obliterated right now because of leukemia – everyone with young kids) and annoyed him a lot to get it checked out. Anyways, he’s not dying of cancer, he probably has laryngopharyngeal reflux – he larynx is really inflamed. He might have to give up coffee which pained him especially yesterday (he had a hard day yesterday). He loves coffee (I don’t understand this world-wide coffee love) – a big part of our falling-in-love story centers around him making a hand-ground cup for me everyday in 1995 (when we didn’t yet understand pumpkin spice latte) and me pretending to like it. I would like the richness of his voice to come back.

Halloween weekend.

Jeremy was tired this weekend, so I went to Sunday night dinner – just me and Edda. It was a low turnout because various family members wanted to be at their own home to welcome the trick ‘o treaters instead of going to Gene and Bette’s which was fine. I often like the various mix of people who show up for dinner, different combos lead to different conversations. I thought I left Jeremy to rest in bed, but I think he left the porch light on inadvertently and we had some candy in the freezer (which I had bought for myself) and so when I returned, I found him handing out candy to the neighborhood kiddos. Ning, Brian and Noah contributed this fabulous jack ‘o lantern.

Update.

The other day I was complaining to Jeremy that I’m not fun anymore – that maybe I had lost the ability to enjoy things for no good reason – like root beer floats or just goofing around or doing some silly thing or another. Everything in my life seems to have a purpose or a goal or something (I know this isn’t really true). First, Jeremy apologized that he has been kind of a downer recently and therefore, not conducive to fun and second, he reminded me that we are still in the middle of a pandemic that – you know – makes things not fun.

I mean, we are doing stuff. Jeremy is traveling (right now, he’s in Minnesota). Vince and Edda are in school. I’m working and hanging out with people. But I’m still wearing my pajamas most of the day (OK, the whole day) – I’ll go on walks and Edda pickup in my pajamas. I wonder if I’ll be in regular clothes ever again. I’m still not extending or receiving invitations to gatherings as freely as before. Jeremy and I spend SO MUCH time together. so much. It’s a lot.

I’ve been thinking about Edda turning 18 which she will do in March of next year. It does give me grief of sorts – I didn’t realize this, but it matches the same year I turn 50, I try not to think about it too much. I don’t like these transitions that happen, like I’m going to have to switch her from the Children’s Hospital to a regular hospital or from school to a day program. These things are not things that I want to do.

Vince is far away from me, but calls to check in. It, for sure, is a different kind of parenting. I’m like a mama bird who is easing its baby chick from the nest knowing the ground is far away and can be hard, but you can’t fly without trying.

What is fun, anyways? I have no idea.

Dorothea & doggies.

Vickey and I have been making progress in Middlemarch. One painful chapter at a time. We text each other when we are done with each chapter with commentary like – that was the most boring one yet! or i’d like to stop now and forever! But I think we’ll get through it. I had to download a character map to keep everyone straight. Vickey likes to talk about narrators, third person omniscient or just regular third person non-omniscient. I don’t notice these things, I just like to plow through the words and keep up with Vickey and not get too far behind. She’s done with Cpt 23. I’m a full 10 cpts behind her.

I’m also strangely working on this felt votive candle pad with cartoon dogs. I showed this to Jeremy yesterday and was like – what’s this? I would have not guessed that you would work on something like this.

Update.

Edda’s been doing great so far this year, for this I am grateful. We are still struggling to find evening care for her. This is not surprising to me and we can manage well and are managing well, but it’s a strange spot to be in. I’ve had to subscribe to care.com and my goal is to reach out to one person a day – so far two nicely worded apologetic not interested/not available responses.

I went to the hospital for a shift yesterday – I had two easy shifts in a row last week, so I was due for a mid-week frantic one and it was. Were all my patients bleeding? I think they might have been. I gave three – almost 4 units of blood – which for me is highly unusual – each to a different patient. I haven’t given a single unit of blood in months. I don’t like bleeding patients on my unit, they tend to be unstable and cause me worry and distress. When a doctor orders blood – it’s a complicated order. It fires off little notices simultaneously to the lab (to draw type and screen labs – at least two blood draws) and subsequently to the phlebotomy team (for the two draws, it has to be two different phlebotomists), to the blood bank (to get the blood ready) and to the nurse (to administer the transfusion). I’m trying to match the order to the actual occurrence, because a doctor might have ordered 4 units for a patient and I got report that three were given – one was given in the OR, one was given night shift PACU, one was given day shift PACU (so three nurses), and then finally to me where I’m supposed to give the final and 4th one, but I can only find two units previously documented – so am I giving the 3rd one or the 4th one? Unclear. Because of the new system and everyone learning to put in orders in a different way and response to a new ordering system, all these things got misrouted or stuck in the computer, so I spent a lot of time wrestling with all these spider legs to get them to walk in a coordinated manner all while people need blood. It’s not so much fun.

Loves.

We babysat a doggie named Scarlett (this name does not roll off the tongue (it’s a very sharp name), I tend to like vowel ending names which is why I call Vincent Vincie forever and always – I’m the only one who calls him that (I wasn’t allowed to call him Vinnie)) for like 1.5 hours yesterday. She’s a golden/lab. It’s a little weird to have this dog in the house because she’s a lot like Ruby, but also a lot not like Ruby. I actually want this dog in the house all the time, but I had to return her.

What is it about turning 50ish? All of a sudden, it’s just bad news all the time from my peers. I mean, there is good news, but it’s overshadowed by 10,000 struggles. When Edda was diagnosed with Rett 15 years ago, it felt like everyone one else was living their best life and my life really, really sucked, but you know? Most everyone’s life sucks in some (usually unfixable) way and what can you do about it? Not very much except to keep going.

I’m lucky to be able to see Vince grow up (a little) even though he’s far away from me. He calls me when he rides back and forth on the bike paths at Davis and tells me how things are going. There are struggles, but these are regular struggles, and one can not grow up into a grown up without them. Pick yourself up, think about how the situation can be improved, don’t dwell, keep going! We are lucky to be here today with each other. Be kind. Be kind to yourself.