Dinner, ashes, puzzle.

Ah, I was scheduled to work at the hospital last Sunday, but instead I took that day to go for a run, fix the dishwasher and go to Sunday night dinner. I was relieved to not go into the hospital. We drive by the hospital on the way home from Gene and Bette’s, you can see it from the freeway and as we passed by, Jeremy held my hand and said, it was nice that you were able to stay home today and now I get to hold your hand now instead of waving at you as I drive past you on the freeway. It’s a funny thing, being too busy, being busy, just right, being relaxed, being too relaxed. It’s hard to always be in the just right place. As I go over to the too busy side, I’m overwhelmed. As I go over to the too relaxed side, my anxiety tends to flare up where I have intrusive thoughts that are not helpful. I mean thoughts about things I can not change (how I’ve broken the earth for Vince and Edda and their summers will be 104F) or things that are totally out of left field (omg, I think I’m going to lose my left foot). Why, why, why can’t I be in the middle?

We got Max’s ashes in the mail a few days ago. I was not expecting the paw print. Honestly, the paw print really touched me. I look at it and think – yeah, I never trimmed her nails. She never let me touch her toes. Ruby would let you massage her feet no problem, but Maxi was a sensitive soul with sensitive soles. Normally, I wouldn’t have asked for Maxi’s ashes back, but when Emy was taking care of Yeager in 2002 and Yeager passed away, she asked to have Yeager’s ashes back. And so when Ruby passed away in 2016, I thought I should ask for her ashes back too. And now I have a little pet cemetery. Or a little pet mausoleum.

Yesterday (Monday) was Kitachi’s last day. Over the weekend, Alice, Sofi and Mike worked a couple hours on this puzzle to leave just enough to finish on Monday. We started this puzzle before the pandemic and when we went into lockdown, I set the puzzle aside for the entire time waiting for us to reconvene. And after we were all vaccinated and could go over to each other’s houses, we only did it once or twice. So I thought it was fitting to finish off the puzzle on Kitachi’s last day. And we did! About an hour’s worth of work for us and we got it done. Not a single piece was lost over the last year, and Sofi and Kitachi got to put in the last pieces.

I know Edda is not too thrilled in this photo, but it’s just because she’s already ready for bed. One last tuck into bed from Kitachi and big hugs to send her off onto her new adventure.

Scout and dishwasher.

The boys are planning out their year-delayed Eagle Scout ceremony.

I spent part of the weekend replacing the water inlet pump of the dishwasher. $35 dollars and four hours to fix the dishwasher that has been sitting in the garage for 9 months. I’m a bit embarrassed that it took me so long – that Jeremy washed the dishes for that long by hand.

Keep going.

And we keep going. This was the exact actual advice that my nursing manager gave me. My manager, Anthony (probably one of the best managers I’ve had), said (after we had worked through all the situations and solutions to my scheduling problems) – just keep going. That you can rest, adjust, pause and regroup, but keep going. Haha, maybe he just didn’t want me to quit, though really, three shifts every six weeks hardly helps him out.

Vince and Edda are doing well at Camp JCC. Vince got honored for being a good camp counselor – got a T-shirt that says “Heart of Gold”. They had a performance on Friday and Vince’s kids got 2nd place! I can’t straight embed the video, but you can click through and you can see Vince at the 14:50 mark. He was the choreographer. His triumph was the “wave” and the “tunnel” and getting the kids to wear hula skirts which was initially met with skirts are for girls (he has almost 100% boys in his group) – so breaking gender norms, haha. And anyways, men do wear hula skirts. And you can see Edda at the 59:30 mark!

Kitachi & burn out.

Lovely Kitachi! We celebrated her 35th birthday on Wed with this beautiful chocolate cake from Lauren. Jeremy made shrimp and steak fajitas. Kitachi has been by Edda’s side for five years! Kitachi managed all the online school for Edda during the pandemic. We are forever grateful for her help. She’s moving to Arkansas next week and we will miss her terribly.

It has been a very trying week. I was at the hospital on Monday – again tearing my hair out. The night before the shift, I woke up suddenly at 3:30 am and thought, omg, I need to quit my nursing job. I’m not going to make it through August without quitting the nursing job. I have no childcare, no camp for Edda and I have various other personal commitments that take time that I want to honor. And also, I can tell I’m burned out. There is always usually that one “difficult” patient per shift. Usually I’m entertained by the difficult one. I like talking them down from the ledge. But these days, I just want to strangle them. When I’m stressed, my first emotional reaction is to turn inward – to be like – I hate my life, I hate myself, why is this thing happening to me!!?. I do not (like many people), turn to anger. Anger is my emotion of last resort. If I’m about to strangle someone, I know I’m at the end of my rope. My favorite charge nurse was working and I called her over to me when I was about to cry somewhere and I kind of whispered to her that I needed to leave and quit. Anyways, I gotta go and get Edda ready for camp. I talked to my boss. I think we came up with a solution which is to drop my work commitment to the lowest possible amount until I get over this hump – I think it’ll be one shift every two weeks.

Ivy to the rescue.

It’s been quite nice having Ivy around after Maxi’s death – so the house isn’t immediately absent of 4-footed creatures, though Ivy always reminds us of how not-dog-like he is. omg, also we try, always, always to gender people the way they want to be gendered – whatever pronoun you want, we will try (this is especially true of Jeremy’s office where people do have all different combinations of pronouns which are not in traditional alignment with their names and/or biological sexual attributes), but we call Ivy 10,000 times a day by the pronoun “she” when he’s really a he (neutered male). And we had Max for 10 years and always erroneously called her a “he” when her given name is “Maxine” and she’s a spayed female, but also behaved gender fluidly by grabbing any unoccupied blanket, piled it on the ground like a sack of potatoes and enthusiastically humped it in the middle of the living room surrounded by a myriad of sighing human onlookers. This pronoun thing is really hard for us, we are trying. Also, coming from an Asian culture where names aren’t really important (I will go for weeks without correcting someone of mispronouncing my name, because for me, it’s more polite to have my name mis-spoken than to correct someone who is deep, deep into mispronouncing (well, usually misunderstanding – Dora or Dorothy) my name) – everyone is Auntie – which causes trouble. Sometimes my parents will tell me one of their friends is sick or daughter got into Harvard and did I remember them from when I was little and I am like – I don’t know! They were all Auntie.

Maxi(ne).

Maxi passed away yesterday with her head in my lap and her back scratched by Jeremy. It was a long weekend that was really long. I thought I had more time with her, I had no idea this was going to happen. She was 11 and I thought she’d see us through another three years at least.

We all said our goodbyes.

And we camped out with her on the first floor on Monday night with her because she couldn’t get up the stairs anymore. On Tuesday morning, she surprised us all by wanting to go for a walk and was still drinking, so we took her to the animal hospital to try and figure out what was wrong. I think, in the end, it was a tumor on her parathyroid causing toxic, elevated levels of calcium, though the definitive answer will always elude us. But she was declining rapidly at the hospital, her kidneys were injured from the calcium levels, so we decided to not hospitalize her for further testing and possible complicated surgery. I would say that her final illness was not painful, she was not in pain even when she wasn’t eating. I’m happy that the last, real meal that she wanted to eat was my mom’s home cooked steak lovingly prepared especially for her.

Jeremy and I stayed up late looking at old Maxi photos/videos. Maxi! Our hound dressed like a black retriever. The one who sings, the one who humps blankets and could never quite figure out how to wag her tail just back/forth, but it would get confused and go all sorts of different ways. Thank you for taking care of us! Thank you for being part of our family!

Baby Maxi 🙂 (and baby Vince.)

Maxi update.

While Maxi can muster enough energy to bark ferociously at Ivy, she is markedly not herself. Weak and not hungry, we are very concerned. We did take her to the vet – the physical exam didn’t show/reveal anything, we are waiting for the bloodwork to come back.

Here she is sleeping in the closet under my ironing board. (it’s my quilting closet, it doesn’t hold any clothes, just an ironing board and a felt -wall testing quilt thing-y and some quilting supplies)

And she’s snuggling with us which she never does. Last night, she whined a bunch and we had to put a twin sized mattress on the floor so she was able to crawl onto the low surface and I went to the same twin bed and slept with her for half the night (again, Maxi never sleeps with us in our bed and only half the time in our room and often chooses to sleep in the quietest room with no people in it).

Her appetite is down, she ate this last night (turkey and rice), but turned her nose up at it this morning.

more updates.

Alice is starting her 2nd clinical trial for her stage 4 lung cancer today. It was supposed to be yesterday, but some paperwork snafu held it up for 24 hours which was aggravating because she had to suspend the other medications she was on in order to enter the trial and essentially, she’s not wasn’t on any anti-cancer meds and 24 hours matters a lot and we were headed into the long weekend and if it didn’t happen today, then it would be delayed until Tuesday. But I saw her pull out of her driveway this morning and ran out and she gave me a big thumbs up. It’s a go! Fingers crossed this works well.

My parents texted yesterday and said that Maxi is tired and sleeps all day and her appetite was down. Honestly, I thought my parents were feeding her too much and that she’s be fat and sleepy, but yesterday we made a vet appointment for today. Jeremy picked her up today (remember we are sitting for Ivy, Emy’s cat, so Maxi is at my parents house) and Maxi is really sick. She’s thin and unhappy. She’s sleeping in the closet now which is not a great sign. Anyways, I’ll know more in a few hours.

Ivy and together.

Ivy is getting braver and more settled into the house. Today I caught her leaping onto the dining room table to investigate Edda’s dollop of yogurt (Ivy loves yogurt) – lol, thank goodness it was before I put in Edda’s seizure meds in it. Ivy did not get any yogurt. I quickly shooed him away when I realized what was happening. But now I have to mind Edda’s seizure/yogurt concoction more closely.

The Usual Suspects met at Founding Farmers last night (indoor dining! first time since the last time which was also at FF for Vince’s birthday) and all I got was this photo of diapers. We talked about our girls and our lives. There was crying & we closed the place down like we usually do. We packed and unpacked minivans side by side with equipment/supplies. Talked about portable pulse ox monitors. We were together last night.

Home & work.

Jeremy is home! Came home on Monday night all jet-lagged (still jet-lagged asking – what day is it today?) Excitement on the way to the airport which included a flat tire on their kind-of-fancy rental Audi. Here is a German tow truck which looks a lot like an American tow truck.

But he made his flight (barely) and flew straight from Munich to Dulles (I didn’t know you could do that, I don’t think you can do that from Berlin, but in my head, Berlin seems like it would have a bigger airport than Munich, but I know nothing!)

I was at the hospital yesterday – it was an absolutely grueling shift. And I’m tender these days, like an angry, infected wound. I did almost cry and slip into sharp, upset and angry tones which I don’t think I’ve ever done in a professional setting and hardly ever in my own personal life. I called my nursing tech, Dawn, 14,000 times. She knows I don’t call unless I really need help and I needed help yesterday – not only physical help, but emotional help. And she knew, she knew I needed her with me. She came into the room and spoke to the patient (and me) in such a loving, gractious tone and saved me from myself. I had to run away from the hospital.