Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Oh blah

I think I had some plan to write about something else but I slept terribly last night, and its gray and cold and I'm unmotivated and just...blech.

The job I interviewed for in "paradise"? Just found out last night I didn't get it. Not that I would take it. I  just REALLY WANTED to get it. And I woke up in the middle of the night going over what I did wrong, or what I could've done better, etc...

The kids don't want ANYTHING to do with learning today. But they also aren't playing independently. I don't care what they do, as long as I don't need to be involved, and they aren't loudly fighting.

L's class had their first Zoom chat today and we could hear 12-15 2nd graders shouting at each other in the screen and teaching each other (and the teacher) how to make different backgrounds & effects, and text each other. It wasn't supposed to be productive, just a check in and to see each others faces. But it sounded super annoying even from 2 floors away, ha.

I'm ready for a nap. Or a beer. Blah.

Monday, March 30, 2020


Its a learning curve for everyone but geez, my schedule for this week has been completely screwed up. I had asked to have several tele-health visits per day, Monday-Thursday clustered in the AM or PM. Instead I have a random assortment of patients all morning and evening every single day. Ugh.
Today was supposed to be mostly clinical but I only have 2 patients scheduled this afternoon (out of 14 that were originally scheduled---the rest got stupidly rescheduled 2 weeks later...so they will have to AGAIN be rescheduled). 

Anyways, I am using the morning to work with the kids, watching what they are doing and checking over their work for the first time since this whole school-at-home began. I sort of enjoyed it until one kid, who shall not be named, revolted and was found playing legos upstairs during reading time. haha.

Soon it'll be time for lunch and recess. Then concentrated clinical and other work.  This evening we are baking brownies---from a mix---but I will have them figure out directions and gather ingredients. They want to do a science lesson so I figured we'd learn about anatomy today? The school didn't provide great curriculum for science/social studies so we may use Khan academy for that. I am also making them practice typing with a game every day. They hunt and peck OK right now, but B would benefit a lot from being able to type his writing assignments.

The weekend was OK---very rainy, chilly, gray. We rented and watched both Jumanji movies (the recent ones) and they were really good! Lots of board games, take out twice (boys were excited about, but ultimately disappointed in sushi), a puzzle, a (miserable) forced walk for some outdoor time, some face timing with family and friends. I did a 6 mile run yesterday and G and I did some 21 day fix together (Dirty 30 today which was perfect, last week I made him do the Fix Challenge from 21 day fix extreme, because I was worried he'd find the workouts too easy and I nearly killed him, that ish is hard).

Now B is looking over my shoulder and breathing down my neck. Gotta go.

Friday, March 27, 2020

How are you REALLY

I had virtual therapy yesterday and my therapist started with "how are you?" and of course I answered "fine".  My family and I are all healthy, we have guaranteed paychecks, I'm not necessarily on "the front lines" of this---I can't complain can I? We didn't even have any big vacations coming up this month that we had to cancel.

But of course, as therapists do, she pushed further. And of course, I'm not "fine". I'm fucking sad. ALL the things I was looking forward to and planning for? They are all off the table for the foreseen future. Even the summer vacations we had planned may not be feasible. Who knows what will be happening in June?

I get through the hard and the mundane in part by planning and anticipating fun things. And without those things, its just...blah. I'm trying so hard to focus on the small everyday pleasures but its an adjustment.

Things I'm sad to be missing: my parents and sister visiting, date nights, lots of theater---especially Dear Evan Hanson and Waitress, girls trip to NYC, chaperoning field trips for both kids, L's basketball playoffs, watching the kids kick ass in running series, L's first season of baseball, book clubs, brunches, talks I was going to give locally, work conference that was canceled, June staycation (doing nearby adventures at very crowded places), 5K this weekend


There is also a fear of being unqualified to help manage what might be coming our way in the medical system. I'm not "on the front lines" like so many of my colleagues in the medical field and as we judiciously choose which consults truly need to be done in person (to minimize exposures to patients and selves) or which outpatients can safely be rescheduled 1-2 months away or managed virtually---I realize that most of what I know how to do (very well, mind you) is NOT URGENT. Its humbling to stay the least.

And the possibility that maybe I WILL be called to fill in where needed---so many many years away from critical care or even primary care training---that is truly terrifying me. I am not qualified! The memes about not wanting your gynecologist to be intubating you or managing your ventilator hit close to home.

Anyways. How are YOU really?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Oh, I think you're so pretty...

Little things making me smile these days:

  • The "high school" playlist my HS friend shared (including the song from the post title, can anyone identify it?) Bonus: I'm the only one in this whole suite of offices so I can sing along as I chart! 
  • Texts/messages from people I haven't spoken to in months/years (a cousin, said HS friend)
  • "Thank you healthcare workers" signs on front doors on my route to work
  • Spring! Cherry blossoms in full bloom, daffodils, baby birds
  • Playing Mario Kart as a family...especially when I win (what can I say I am unbelievably competitive at everything)
  • A really good Scrabble word (I play at least part of a game most days with B, he's currently obsessed). Yesterday I made "freezers". so satisfying! 
  • L's art--he's been quite prolific with drawing and also making very creative Lego creations these days. 
What's making you smile? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Six of one...

Soon after I wrote about how happy I was to be at work, I began to miss being home with my family. The vibe is weird at work, our office space is empty, patients and staff are all anxious...there has been a lot of drama about proper procedures (do fellows come in to round or should attending go on their own? do we all wear masks? etc...) and people on both sides of the issues are worked up and "not their best selves" to put it nicely.

And G is struggling trying to work full time with no child care. The kids are struggling with having to work on boring "work packets" provided by the school district and having no outlet for their energy on the rainy days. I am struggling coming home from a taxing day to everyone expecting me to automatically be ready to take over when I really really really need a few minutes to myself. G is frustrated because he feels like his whole day is spent providing food for the kids, loading and unloading the dishwasher and washing machine, walking the dog, running necessary errands (pharmacy, grocery) and I yelled at him last night that we could just leave the dishes and let the kids get their own damn snacks and stop being a martyr...not my "best self" either.

It was tough being at home, and its tough being at work is the bottom line. Ultimately having both of us at home, so we can each have some dedicated work/free time worked much better for our family last week.  I am trying to plan the next few weeks with this in mind.

My goal: AM and PM work blocks of 3 hours for each of us. For me, these will be filled with telehealth visits (4 half day sessions next week) or concentrated writing blocks. Video conferences/calls/etc may take up some of this time, but maybe I can multitask and listen in while making lunch or whatever because while necessary, they are not leading to "productivity" for me in either clinical or research realms. I need to work with G so we can stagger our work blocks.

Ideally my work blocks would be 8:30-11:30 and 1-4. This should get me time to spend with the kids mid-day (lunch and recess) and early evening (snacks, inside/outside fun) and G can handle breakfast (he could work 10-1 and 2-5, the kids wake up around 9ish).

Other things I need to plan: alone time for both G & I separately AND together (movie date in basement while kids do something upstairs or "happy hour date" while kids play video games?) and more virtual socializing for ALL of us. I have a Zoom meeting book club tonight and we are doing a family happy hour on Friday with G's cousins.

Anyways, off to round. Stay safe and stay sane friends.

Monday, March 23, 2020

In it for the memes

I'm giving up drinking for the month.

Sorry, bad punctuation.

I'm giving up. Drinking for the month. 

Haha. My favorite so far and pretty much was my mood last night. My children were driving me INSANE. B has some kind of snorting tic going on that I cannot deal with---he knows its making me crazy so now he's doing it more often and LOUDER on purpose. And L was whining constantly about screen time. They refused to even consider eating the dinner I was about to make so I said f it.

Kids ate hot dogs for dinner. I had cheez its and beer. Rounded off with some Pirate's Booty and gin later.

Also G was mad at me for some reason (its stupid, and not my fault) and we were snippy and just stared at our respective phones for 30 minutes between kids' bedtime and me going up to bed.

I woke up and did my Beach Body 21 day fix extreme total cardio workout, packed my lunch and walked to work in the rain. We rounded on consults as usual. I have phone calls and forms to fill out for patients now and a phone meeting at noon. Followed by more consults.

I am SO GLAD to be at work right now.

Friday, March 20, 2020


I had a complete meltdown last night. They locked up the park. THEY LOCKED UP THE PARK. We were just saying how going to play basketball together was the highlight of all of our days---just the 4 of us and our own ball, and the hoop, more than 10 feet away from any other families who are also playing their own soccer or t-ball or racing games.

And then I got a university-wide email asking for PCR reagent in case anyone had some in their lab because "supplies are running low" THE F%&K? Already?

These two things, on top of the freaking CDC guidelines about bandanas as PPE...I just lost it.

I am doing consults in the hospital next week. I will be seeing patients that are infectious in lots of different ways as well as those that are immunocompromised. And then going home to my family. I want to follow evidence-based procedures to protect the patients/my family/myself.

I have several tele-health visits scheduled today, but my first one "no showed" (???? we made the appointment yesterday, at the time the patient suggested, they forgot?). Hopefully the others log on for their visits. I want to provide state-of-the-art medical care from my partially finished basement with my dog in the background and my kids upstairs dammit.

I dunno, I'm sure my attitude will improve over time but I'm not feeling it today.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Doing and NOT doing

What we ARE doing (i.e. the general schedule we have settled on)

  • G and I both exercise in the morning before kids are up (they've been up around 8) Alternate running with at home workouts---I've been doing Beach Body 21-day fix or fix extreme (free 30 day trial if anyone want to give it a shot) and free virtual barre classes from our neighborhood studio (email me if you want the name, they are open to all!) 
  • 9:30-12 ish Kids do a couple of hours of "non screen" learning---30 minutes math packets, 30-45 minutes reading, 30 minutes writing (or at least 5 sentences for L, age 8), and 30 minutes social studies packet. This is self-directed and G & I can work. 
  • 12-1 Recess before lunch---one or the other of us take them out for a walk or to play basketball. We can drop off letters to friends they wrote earlier and walk the dog, too. 
  • 1-3 On-line time for kids: They alternate 1-hour of  iReady or Prodigy (school sponsored apps for math, language) on the iPad and one hour on the Switch. We can work
  • 3-4:30 Free-play/art/music: Lego (both are doing this challenge), Lunchtime Doodles with Mo Willems, B practices violin,  typing game on computer, or whatever. We sort of work/sort of interact with kids.
  • LONG outside period from 4:30-ish until dinner
  • Play/board games, etc... until 8 PM
  • 8-9 Keeping regular bedtimes and routine (and no movies/TV on weekdays so we can get them to bed by 9...ish) brush/shower/stories 

What we AREN'T doing

  • School "projects" that involve any parental input. No science or history projects going on here. I am not even checking their work packets. I may have the bandwidth for this later, but I don't right now.
  • On that note, I am NOT reading any articles or posts about "home schooling" because I'm not home schooling. I'm keeping my kids engaged and busy so we can work full time. That is all. 
  • Any household projects, individually or as a family---we aren't decluttering. We aren't teaching our children to cook. Our old dog is not learning new tricks
  • Virtual learning through the school---the district is not allowing it, citing lack of equity, since not all families will have access, especially for multiple kids in different grades needing simultaneous online access. They have posted packets and guides on line and I'm using those. 
  • Healthy eating (me, at least) Gah, I've been eating everything in sight all day long, and ending the day with beer/wine WAY too often. 
  • Planning ANYTHING beyond the current day 
We are doing OK. I am feeling more at peace. The kids are settling into a groove. Its all going to change because I am on consults next week and G and the boys will be on their own. But for now, we are OK.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


I've been having a lot of guilt about my lack of productivity these past few days---since I'm not seeing patients, shouldn't I be writing up a storm? Maybe starting a grant proposal? Sketching out the IRB protocol for an upcoming collaborative study?

I've been doing NONE of that. I am doing any necessary clinical work (phone calls & EMR messages mostly, we haven't worked out the tele-health stuff yet), taking care of the kids---keeping them on track with the schedule, providing food, and taking them outside, exercising, and...not much else. I read a book ("nothing to see here"---it was great) and started another one. Made some elementary school level art. Checked in with pretty much everyone I know. Did a virtual happy hour with a friend and watched 3 episodes of The Good Place with G (we haven't watched a show together in MONTHS).

My therapist reminded me that its OK to be anxious and find it hard to focus. There are a lot of unknowns. Not everyone copes in the same way---some may indeed find it helpful to bury their brain in work. I need to take it one day at a time and not freak out about what will/won't get done in the next few months.

I'm doing better at staying off the news/social media. And I've been sticking to my exercise/meditate morning routine, getting sleep, getting outside, i.e. "self care".

Its sunny outside. The kids are doing math packets. G is on a call. I have a virtual conference at noon, in the next 2 hours I will address any urgent patient needs and some emails and...that may be it. Its ok. I'm on call next week anyways so I need to save my strength.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Strange times

Oh my, have things changed since I last tried to put words to thought on this page. In the service of writing-therapy, and distance-without-isolation, I hope to be here more often these days. Long term readers know I struggle with anxiety, and the best thing for anxiety is unstructured free time, lack of social contact, uncertainty, and the inability to plan. HAH.

What is happening here. For AT LEAST 2 weeks:
-G is on work-from-home
-Kids schools closed
-All extra-curricular activities cancelled
-All my "non-urgent" outpatient visits (i.e all of them) are canceled. We will try to convert to telemedicine, but most likely will just be answering phone & EMR messages for now, until a more concrete plan is finalized.
-we are avoiding: gym, restaurants, others' homes, playground equipment

We are still getting outside with the kids (bike, play basketball at park---without touching anything else) or alone (to run). Thankfully the weather has been really nice.

I am at work today to be "on site" for any outpatient emergencies. So far there have been none. I am charting, answering calls/messages, and trying but failing to work on a paper. Tomorrow-Thursday I will "work from home"---honestly I'll be happy to get a few things done per day, and then guide the kids through some educational activities and take them out for exercise. I made a schedule that I think was too ambitious (though still had several hours of screen time), and may need to change it up.
Friday I'm "on site" again. Next week I'm on the inpatient consult service so that'll be nuts.

Positive things:
1) We are all healthy. Only the usual spring allergies for G & I.
2) My neighborhood friends are really pulling together---every time someone heads to a store, we ask around and get supplies for each other and drop them off. We got 6 bags of dried mango snacks for my friend yesterday, another friend found children's pain meds for me (we are completely out and always like to have some around).
3) The boys' school fundraiser was canceled last weekend and went to "virtual"---yet they raised the most $ ever this year. And I had a really fun time outbidding a friend on some student art (dinosaur collage) that B really wanted me to get through the on-line auction.
4) I'm seeing fun "unity" things pop up on social media---I joined a group that will post a theme of the week for art projects that your family can make and put up in your window and I want to do this with the kids this evening.
5) School district/teachers/community at large coming through with lots of on-line resources to help keep kids' brains engaged (and allow time for parents to get work done!)
6) I'm saving money on dog-walker and babysitters (our after-school sitter was a college student who had to go home, they kicked them all out of their dorms this weekend, shame, we really liked him).

I admit I've really overindulged on scrolling social media/news for several days. I need to stop and keep occupied in other ways. I want to vow to do the following daily:
1) exercise (beach body workouts or running)
2) check in with parents/MIL by phone/text
3) meditate 10 minutes
4) phone-free time morning (9-12---beginning tomorrow, oops, I'll do 12-3 today) and evening (5-8). Morning for deep work and evening for family time.

I do want to plan some projects as well---I know I should be cleaning/decluttering but UGH. Something more fun. Cooking?