Thursday, May 28, 2020


I've been completely exhausted for the past week or two. Its not just sleepy-tired, though that's part of it---I'm waking up in the middle of the night a lot more than usual and having trouble falling back asleep (I think its the heat). Its just a complete physical exhaustion, like I can barely move after about 3 pm most days. G has been carrying most of the load of dinnertime because I just can't.

I've been getting up later in the morning. I do my workout/run but I am dragging myself through even the "easy" workouts and I'm running slower/stopping more than I have in a while. If I can motivate to take the kids to the park(I haven't in a week or so), I just sit there, instead of playing with them. We were going to bike to the park on my birthday for a picnic but we drove because I couldn't imagine biking for an hour.

I hate this! I'm not the most energetic at baseline, but this is untenable. There are things I want to do! I want to make sourdough and declutter the living room, and change out my clothes for the season.

I'm not sure what is going on. I can't be "coming down with something" because I have not encountered another human in weeks, and I have no other symptoms. Too much drinking, carb-y foods, increased P@xil (well, this is definitely part of it), running more?

Really hope it lifts soon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

What Can I Do?

Is the question I was asked about a million times over the past 4 days. The long weekend made me realize that as annoying as on-line school can be, the structure and time/attention that it takes is REALLY ESSENTIAL for my children. Now I am dreading summer.

Anyways, we made it through the long weekend (and it makes me sad to "make it through" what is usually my favorite time of year) and I had a birthday and got mopey and morbid, and now I'm back to work and its...fine.

Its all fine.

Friday I go back into clinic to see patients for the first time since March. Are the patients going to show up? Who knows! Its so unclear! I have a mix of video visits and in-person visits, but has anyone clarified with the patients and confirmed they are actually driving into campus to see me?
I guess we shall see.


Car and pedestrian traffic is looking pretty much like pre-pandemic levels. People are starting to gather, even though we are still technically in "red", once they announced we are moving to "yellow" in June---without even knowing if our cases are truly falling into the previously determined yellow zone yet (they aren't as of today).



Monday, May 18, 2020


Last week was a real doozy. Apparently I'm being thrown into my leadership role before the official start date, and in the middle of a real cluster of a planning crisis. And I don't actually have the administrative time carved out to actually do this stuff, so I was just working all the time and letting other things get way behind (writing!).

Took the weekend completely off from doing or thinking about work and it was very refreshing. Ran a hot and sweaty (and very slow) 7 miles on Saturday (it was a full 40 degrees warmer than it was the prior Saturday, that is nuts!) which wiped me out for a lot of the day. A much cooler long family bike ride on Sunday---to and from a mostly-socially-distanced play date (and OMG it was amazing to talk to people in person, and L was in HEAVEN running around with his BFF). And finding every spare minute I could (and completely ignoring my family for large periods of time) to finish my favorite brain candy audio book ever---Red, White, and Royal Blue. Not for everyone, but it made me ridiculously happy. And the usual---lots of take out and wine and snacks and movies and games and puzzles.

And now back to the work week, and alarms, eating salads, cooking healthy meals and discipline. I need another fun book to listen to---any recommendations?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Here and Now

Here and now is not so bad. I do realize my enormous privilege (jobs, health, financial stability) and I I hesitate to complain. I do not in any way equate my general discomfort with uncertainty and change with true human suffering. This space is where I come to process my thoughts & feelings, so it does tend to lean toward the darker side---there just isn't as much to say about a day that went relatively (if boringly) well.

But yes, some days are going well. There are many things I truly enjoy about this new normal. Not wearing shoes for one. My feet have NEVER been happier. Sleeping in later (for all of us). Working out at home with G. Seeing more of my kids throughout the day and getting glimpses of their school personalities when they are on video calls. Telehealth---when it works well---is quite efficient, and feels much more intimate and personal than talking in a cold and sterile clinic room. Relaxed evenings with no homework, or activities, or outings (even when I enjoy them, the mad rush to get home & head out is tiring).

Its the talk of going back that is freaking me out a bit. If I'm expected to be back in the office seeing patients this summer---what are the kids going to do? Will G just work from home while they play video games, watch TV, and do some limited educational stuff all day? If school doesn't start in September, then what?

But nothing is certain. So I can't plan for it. Which is unsettling. So I try not to think about it. Because here and OK.

Monday, May 11, 2020

I can do anything for...

I started doing this in residency. Some months were just so brutal. Abusive really. But that's a different topic for a different day. To keep from falling to far into a pit of despair, I reminded myself that there is an end in sight. I can do anything for one month, I'd tell myself.

Its a handy tactic. I've made it through MIL visits and terrible vacations with infants, particularly bad call weeks, all-consuming grant writing periods, and that one winter when the kids wouldn't keep their gloves on and then screamed when their fingers got cold. I can do anything for one week, 3 months, one hour (long run with a mask on last weekend), 10 hours (a work day after a sleepless night) or 60 seconds (side plank). 

It started in a bit of "wishing my life away' space, but has morphed into more of a testament to my strength. I just feel better knowing there is an end in sight (and in some cases---like exercise or work projects---reminding myself of how good I'll feel when I reach that end). Its a helpful reframing tool.

So it really sucks when I can't use it. When B was a newborn, he cried all. the. time. He never slept. Colic X 1000. I was barely hanging on (if I was at all, in retrospect, I was NOT doing well). I researched how long colic would last and made a countdown. And that date passed and he still cried and stayed awake. So the next countdown. The next.  It was excruciating to not have an end date in sight.

That's what this feels like. Its not as excruciating in the day to day as living with a sleepless unhappy infant, but its hard. And not knowing how long makes it much harder. So I take it day by day and week by week. I can do anything for 7 days. or 84. But 150? 365? more? 

Friday, May 8, 2020


I'm technically at our faculty-fellow "retreat" this afternoon. Its killing me slowly. Its actually not a terrible afternoon when we have a nice(ish) catered lunch and some booze and snacks brought out toward the end but sitting on my desk all day listening to fellows talk about how to improve their wellness is...bad.

Anyways had quite a busy week, kept up my good habits and got some (but not all) of the manuscript written (I ran out of steam and did NOT get to the results. The weather was pretty yuck so we didn't spend as much time outside (plus the super busy).

I am SO ready for a drink. I am really craving a beer after just finishing "The Lager Queen of Minnesota"---I read it this week and was not drinking on weeknights so couldn't pair it with a brew, but I'll think of those gals as I have one. Soon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020


Before I sat down at my desk today at 10:15 I: ran 5 miles, meditated for 10 minutes, baked 2 loaves of sourdough (the baking is the easy part, I did the hard part of building/shaping dough yesterday), did a load of laundry, walked B to the orthodontist and back (he FINALLY got his palate expander out and he is SO HAPPY to eat popcorn again), sent 5 emails to work out scheduling conflicts this week and set up my first in-person clinic later in the month, and helped L work through his big feelings about B getting a "prize" (candy) from the orthodontist when he NEVER gets ANYTHING and when can HE get something special. 

Oh, and I ate about 1/4 of the hot, fresh sourdough loaf with a thick layer of salted butter and it was FANTASTIC. 

And now I am tired and need a break :)

But in the next 2 hours I am supposed to: write 2+ paragraphs of manuscript, review accepted paper for edits/errors before finalizing, and write up a short "lay person" paragraph about my specialty clinic for our division website. 

And here comes L again, up 3 flights of stairs holding his laptop open to "participate" in his class meeting but actually whining some more about B's candy (I better go make sure he's on mute).

Monday, May 4, 2020

Another week...

Had a really nice, and relaxing, weekend! It was warm and sunny and we spent a lot of time outside. I got in a 6 mile run (my back started to twinge around mile 3 so I turned around instead of going for 7), the kids and I planted our herb garden in the backyard, and we went to throw a football around an empty parking lot and for a bike ride. Next weekend is going to unseasonably cold and rainy so I'm glad we took advantage. 

HOWEVER, we tried to go to the park (to throw the ball and climb trees) and it was OVER RUN with non-distancing people (mostly 20-somethings) picnicking and showing off their abs working out and just generally flouting the rules. So the downside to nice weather is that we may start seeing spikes whenever it gets nice outside because people can't help themselves?

It was also a VERY indulgent weekend. Friday night: pizza & wine. Saturday night: take out fried chicken sandwiches/fries and wine. Sunday night: nachos and, ummm, wine. SO no booze and lots of veggies on the menu for this week. Shockingly, I haven't gained weight (yet) but I had been steadily losing since January and definitely stalled on that since the shut down.

We've been watching the Mission Impossible movies and the kids LOVE them. I fall asleep about halfway through each movie. Its a given. So I have no clue what's going on except that Tom Cruise doesn't really seem to age. And damn his core strength is awe-inducing (he does his own stunts, I believe).

Good news! Paper acceptance email just came through this morning! This one is a first author paper for me. Had another acceptance last week (middle author) and a co-first-author minor revision (that we already turned around) last week too. So while I'm having no luck moving the one new paper forward, current me is REALLY grateful for past Ana's writing productivity.

Speaking of writing productivity. Current Ana still has to get her butt in gear. Instead of trying for longer writing blocks during which I spend most of the time messing around on the internet in the name of "literature review" and then staring at a blank page, I am going expect ONE PARAGRAPH a day from myself. Off to write before afternoon patients.

Friday, May 1, 2020

May Gray Dismay

I always think of May as my favorite month; its my birthday month, near the end of the academic year, warm but not hot. But lately I've realized it often rains all the time, its super busy work-wise, and birthday-schmirthday.

I woke up in the middle of the night with my lower back seizing up, and I've been stretching and doing my PT exercises but it still hurts to sit (I'm standing, with the laptop on my dresser right now). And I'm worried its the running, because being outside, alone, feeling the wind on my face, is pretty much the highlight of my week lately. Oh aging. I honestly have been thinking I"m turning 43, and then quickly did the math yesterday. I AM 43, I've been 43 for 11 months now. Weird.

May Goals

1) Write a draft of this infernal f-ing manuscript
2) Plant seeds
3) Read/listen to 6 books
4) STOP eating/drinking after 7:30 PM Sun-Thurs  I feel like crap in the morning when I do this, and yet... (I'm leaving Fri/Sat open for dessert or wine if I want)
5) Run 65 miles (such a small increase, but enough to be a challenge)...assuming my back feels better soon.
6) Continue daily exercise/meditation/outside time