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Posts Tagged ‘ER docs’

We live in a hot spot. Let’s face it, TN hospitals are starting to fill up with Covid-19 patients, and the number of infections has been growing. Temperatures hovering in the mid-90s haven’t helped – we can’t even have a socially distant lunch in the garden with the Bride because a) NES chopped down our neighbor’s trees leaving us with very little midday shade, and b) it’s just too damn hot!

This past week the Groom has been on call in the ICU, and the Bride has been working more shifts than usual in her ER. They are lucky to have employed a wonderful nanny who is available at all their odd working hours; if something ever happens to this delicate arrangement, I am ready to volunteer as tribute! The garage would continue to be their red decontamination zone, and I’d move into the guest room.

But so far, so good.

Even though my hot flashes are long gone, or should I say my series of self-immolations have stopped, I still manage to melt in the heat and humidity of a Southern summer. I turn bright red, sweat drips down my back, even my feet get clammy in sandals. Sunscreen burns my eyes and I twitch and wipe my neck and wonder aloud how anybody ever did summers without air-conditioning. I like a cold New England climate – it must be my Irish heritage.

The L’il Pumpkin agrees with me, he hates the heat too!

The Love Bug and the Bride take after their Father – the hotter the better. Once I tried hot yoga with my daughter and I thought I was going to die. Who in their right mind would love contorting themselves in 92-105 degree temperatures?

But last week we were all sick of staying at home, walking the dogs, Same. Old. Same. Old. And on a rare day off from the ER, the Bride decided we should all go to the Nashville Zoo. Since we are members, we knew they were limiting visitors, you’d have to get timed-entry tickets, everyone had to wear masks, there were hand sanitizers everywhere, and all their paths were one-way. When she told the kiddos they were so excited, the L’il Pumpkin said,

“You mean the REAL zoo, not the Zoom zoo?”  

It was a success! Yes, it was hot and humid but we were there in the morning and stayed six feet apart. Meandering through trees and hearing monkey cries made me feel like I was in a rain forest. We had packed juice boxes and string cheese and stopped for a rest after watching the lemurs swing and groom each other. The Andean bears were playing for our enjoyment and the kangaroos were chowing down. They put on quite a show.

It was almost as if the animals were happier with less people around?

I’d like to believe that we all want to care for one another, but we still see people not wearing masks, and bars are still open. No more pedal taverns though. I hope that Gov Lee issues a mask mandate and that everyone is taking steps to slow the progression of this virus, and that TN starts to cool off. That my daughter and her husband stay safe as they treat seriously ill patients.

Our heat dome became more tolerable for a few hours last week. Notice the tiger cooling off with his paws on the glass.

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Anyone else having pandemic dreams? We’ve reversed our dream life lately; Bob has been having Covid nightmares and I can’t seem to recall my dreams.

Normally, I have a vivid and colorful dream or two every night, while Bob wakes up empty handed in the morning. He’ll listen stoically over coffee while I regale him with my nightly scenario, only to tell me he’s got nothing. I insist he must have been dreaming, he just can’t remember.

My dreams are the usual anxiety type – “I’m about to take a test and realize I never went to the class,” or “I’m about to get on a plane and the pilot is someone I know who doesn’t know how to fly.” They are actually pretty straight forward, and sometimes my dreams are a reminder to do something I’ve been putting off, like make an appointment with a dentist.

Good luck with that one now, although I could drive to Georgia to get a tattoo!

This morning, for the first time in weeks, almost 6 weeks in fact, I remembered my dream. I was in charge of a theatrical production and I’d promised a script to someone… I was running around but I couldn’t find it. (This is me. Every. Damn. Day with my phone) so I had to go outside… to find the script or the person. And the outside was like the outside of my original high school in NJ, only the sidewalk was crowded with people. I had to yell at everyone to “Make Way!” It was like the parting of the sea, get out of my way, “Back Up!”

Obviously a quarantine dream. Bob, on the other hand, has been dreaming like crazy! He gets into a situation and realizes he’s too close to someone. Or he’s all of sudden surrounded by people and has to figure the safest, best way out.

In general, fear is the dominant emotion manifested by coronavirus dreams. When fear or anxiety becomes too intense during our waking lives, deep, REM sleep fails and we may experience repetitive nightmares. Psychologists say that sharing your dreams with others may help .

“During our dream states, stress sends the brain on a trip. The neurobiological signals and reactions that produce dreams are similar to those triggered by psychedelic drugs, according to McNamara. Psychedelics activate nerve receptors called serotonin 5-HT2A, which then turn off a part of the brain called the dorsal prefrontal cortex. The result is known as “emotional disinhibition,” a state in which emotions flood the consciousness, especially during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, when we typically dream.”  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/04/coronavirus-pandemic-is-giving-people-vivid-unusual-dreams-here-is-why/

During the 60s, I didn’t really participate in the psychedelic drug scene, remember I went to Catholic school. The whole idea of walking around inside a hallucination never appealed to me, I’d rather be asleep on such a phantasmagorical journey. But this global pandemic is novel, it’s not confined by country or ideology. We are all experiencing a kind of PTSD, well most of us who aren’t driving around with Confederate flags on our pick-ups eager to open up commerce cause, ya know.

They’d rather sacrifice lives and die than have their liberty trampled! Who doesn’t need a good haircut about now?

I’m sick and tired of the vernacular of fear. Of a toddler/president who thinks everybody loves him. Of a government that can’t organize a simple supply chain for SWABS! I’m sleep and dream deprived but I’m not willing to give up now, not when my daughter has spent the last 3 days working in an ER.

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I’m exhausted. And I’m experiencing a pretty high state of anxiety; I don’t want anyone else out there, reading this, to think that you are the only one. I tell my children, “I survived a tornado, so what’s a little virus gonna do?” Plenty, as it turns out:

My brother and sister were going to visit us this week, they cancelled; My son and his wife, plus our NY cousins were coming for the Bride’s seder, they cancelled; Dinner party, cancelled; This morning I’ll meet up with the Groom at the hospital after my PT to pick up the Love Bug because school was cancelled. The L’il Pumpkin’s school is in the hospital, should I be afraid?

It honestly terrifies me that the Bride sits at the front door to this pandemic. And she starts her early morning shift in the ER soon. She’s talked to Bob and the Groom about taking precautions because we all know the big wave is about to hit our country, flooding ill-equipped hospitals with seriously ill patients.

We don’t have enough tests, we don’t have enough ICU beds, we don’t have enough Ecmo machines to carry on the work of the heart and lungs.

And the Groom will have the most immuno-compromised, the most critically ill patients in his Medical ICU. Will he need a Hazmat suit? Vanderbilt is planning to screen people in their underground garage, at least they have a plan. Is my fear realistic?

Thousands of new cases across the world are being reported each day, and the true scale could be 10 times higher.

There are 1,323 confirmed cases in the US, 117 in Canada.

Thirty-eight people have died in the US due to the virus and one person has died in Canada.

Officials say risk remains low for the general US public, but is growing.

Mr T’s speech on Wednesday night only served to accelerate my anxiety, given on the same day the WHO called the Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, a pandemic. Europe has porous borders, banning everyone except British people makes NO damn sense. This disease is already here and it strikes randomly and with precision, like a tornado. Only 20% will become seriously ill, most of us will feel like we have the flu. Will they take my temperature when I visit the Great Grands?

Our country could have started preparing for this in November, but Mr T demands loyalty and supplication from his civil servants, and so he has gone about decimating the very structure that should have been in place. We elected him to disrupt the government, and look what we got! A reporter with the Rolling Stone says,

“…we lost both the top White House official in charge of pandemic response and his global health security team last May, and none of them were replaced. This is what it looks like once a government that was built ostensibly to serve the public is deconstructed and reformed to serve an autocrat in training wheels. It looks like a chief of staff claiming the press is only covering a pandemic that has spread to at least 56 nations because “they think this will bring down the president.” 

A virus is not political – COVID-19 will strike anyone at will. This bears repeating – it is not the media’s fault, the Coronavirus is not a hoax! When I get over this generalized feeling of doom and gloom, I’ll remember to be mad at the clown in the White House. Bob told me yesterday, “The problem in this country is lack of testing. In South Korea, for instance, almost 4000 people per million population have been tested. In the Netherlands, it is 350 per million population. In the United States it is five per million.” 

5 people per million.

I’m not sleeping, and if you’re having trouble sleeping, let’s make a hot steaming cup of Ginger Vanilla tea together and breathe.

My hands are sweating. Don’t worry if you have clammy hands too, because we don’t need to shake hands anymore anyway. We need to stay 6′ away from everyone.

I kept my appointment with my hair stylist yesterday, I missed it last Tuesday because, you remember, the tornado on Monday night. Bob told me if the hair stylist was sick to come home, and he meant it. But he was fine and we had a small dose of fun. He fixed my pale pink hair, now it’s a bright fuchsia!

To be perfectly honest, right after the tornado I had a bad headache and was congested. I thought my headache was because we had no power – so I had no coffee. Caffeine withdrawal can be brutal. I thought my congestion was because I’d been sweeping and cleaning up city sidewalks. Nothing like a disaster to mask the symptoms of a common cold.

The L’il Pumpkin had croup, and the Love Bug had a cough. I stayed away from Great Grandma Ada and Hudson.

And now I wonder, did we all have this virus? I didn’t run a fever and never even had a sore throat. Last week, being tested for Coronavirus didn’t cross my mind. But if I did, how long is it communicable? It would have been nice to know, but without a fever I probably wouldn’t have been tested even if I wanted one. Even if my doctor could get her hands on one.  I’ve been to the gym once, a few days ago, and I usually have to wait for Bob to finish after my workout. A guy sat across from me coughing, without covering his mouth in any way.

I wanted to smack him.

And I’m really not a violent person, I went to Catholic school. So let’s give ourselves a break and realize that we are all feeling somewhat unmoored and adrift at the moment. In this social contract we have to each other, let’s practice “social distancing.” I’m not going to a really cool concert in East on Sunday. Nicole Atkins, a friend of the Rocker’s is singing, and Norah Jones will be there. And the Heartbreakers, but maybe the Bride and Groom want to go?

Nope, Nicole just DMed me, the show has been cancelled.

I just wanted you to know you’re not alone out there. We’re all scared and needing a little TLC right about now. If you’re working from home, or your kids have been sent home from college, you’re lucky. Your livelihood doesn’t depend on tips or touring. If you have small children at home, try to treat this time like an adventure. Stress can take its toll on all of us.

This president started his term with a lie. Let’s stay #NashvilleStrong and keep it real. I’m always available via social, text and email. Let’s stay connected. Here we are doing arts and crafts last weekend in the stairwell – our safe place during the tornado.

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People never just “go” to the Emergency Room, they rush to the ER. And if you’re Mr T, you take your motorcade along, a helicopter would be too flashy. He wanted to avoid the “fake news” after all. The Bride caught wind of his “irregular” trip to Walter Reed on Saturday while she was working in her ER because it was blowing up in her private female MD social media group – I mean Twitter wasn’t even on the story yet. I wonder why Google hasn’t told us the reason for his visit.

According to most news outlets, the White House has a regular mini-clinic-hospital in one of its wings. So this unscheduled, outside of protocol trip to the ER is a mystery. Does anyone believe the press secretary’s line that Mr T was only fulfilling the first part of a routine medical exam? His BFF Roger Stone goes to prison and the impeachment witnesses are heating up reality TV, and rumor has it Ivanka actually observes the Saturday sabbath with her family, so he was all alone in the residence… and figured he’d get a check-up?

Naturally with two-too-many ER docs in the family, we try to avoid ER visits, unless it’s to deliver apple cider donuts. Last week, Great Grandpa Hudson was having a problem breathing, certainly a good reason to call an ambulance. Instead, two ER docs showed up to check him out and he was just fine. Thousands of Medicare dollars saved because a 93 year old man would certainly have been admitted for the complete work-up. His only problem – a salt-loaded free restaurant meal at a local restaurant for Veteran’s Day.

Maybe Mr T had one too many hamburgers? His cholesterol is rather high and his weight is an issue. Or maybe he thought he was having a heart attack, and it was only a panic attack!

I have a friend who went back to work years ago, and left their 3 month old baby with her husband who worked at home. He ended up in an ER with a panic attack that can mimic a full-blown MI – sweating, heart irregularities, a feeling like your world is coming to an end. I’ve had one or two panic attacks myself while I was trying to conceive a second baby and kept having miscarriages. I went into hard core OCD and didn’t want to drive over bridges.

Maybe the constant strain of being presidential, rising at 6 am and taking 3 hours of “executive time” to watch state-sanctioned FOX News, then starting your day at 11 am and ending with very busy Twitter fingers is taking its toll. I wonder if he has dinner with Melania, or if she eats early with Baron? Or is she even there? Then there’s all that golf on the weekends. It must be exhausting!

He left Walter Reed without a jacket, his shirt open, no tie. Sounds like it was a quick exit, the kind of patient who leaves an ER “against medical advice.” You know the type, and Mr T is certainly that type of arrogant, egoist.

He is back at Tweeting his agenda this morning – using middle school bullying tactics and name calling to intimidate his enemies. Nancy Pelosi is “Nervous Nancy.” The “Do Nothing Democrats” are at it again with “Fake News.” Mr Tweety T whines that he was only exercising his First Amendment rights when he live-Tweeted a threat to ex-Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch on Friday.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump wrote. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. it is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”  https://www.vox.com/2019/11/15/20966716/impeachment-hearings-trump-yovanovitch-witness-tampering

I was thinking somebody should have removed him from office, or at the very least removed his not-so-smart phone from his tiny fingers. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; an honorable woman who had been told to leave her post in the Ukraine quickly, “on the next plane,” was again being maligned in public, on TV, by our commander in comedy.

She talked about being “knee-capped,” like his administration is a cast from the Sopranos.

“According to the Department of Justice, intimidation of witnesses testifying before Congress is a crime under 18 U.S.C. § 1515(a)(1). However, in this case it is the president who is allegedly doing the witness intimidation and an OLC opinion (see Indicting a President Is Not Foreclosed: The Complex History – Lawfare) states that a sitting president cannot be indicted.”

It’s a shame really, or a sham that this president who sits around all day surrounded by sycophants cannot be indicted. Because he’s not just intimidating a witness, he’s projecting his insane policy of panic and chaos around the world.

In other weekend news, two ER docs and two writers went out for sushi with two adorable children. Can you find the redhead?

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It’s another semi-sunny, semi-rainy day in Nashville and I was going to semi-write this morning, but Bob wanted to “talk,” and the Bride wanted to stop by on her way to the garden store. She had one of those hard ER shifts last night, the kind you don’t get over easily. So, off we went in the drizzle to roam among living green things – I needed some pots and I bought her a fig tree. In her city garden, this tree will be safe from marauding deer.

…the fig tree symbolizes life, prosperity, peace and righteousness throughout the Bible. Micah 4:4 reads: “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and no one shall make them afraid.”       http://biblicalanthropology.blogspot.com/2012/05/fig-tree-in-biblical-symbolism.html

My city garden is nearly complete. Our neighbor, Ms Berdelle, has gifted us friends from her garden – artemisia and trumpet plants, but we are running out of room. Our little plot is mostly pebbles, mulch and a fantastic fire pit, so I’ve been planting flowers and herbs in pots. I love to cook and walk out my kitchen door to pick fresh rosemary for a lamb stew. This year I’m planting leeks for the first time, because what Irish stew is finished without leeks?

While browsing all the colorful, beautiful ceramic pots this morning, I thought of my first husband for some strange reason. The story of the cache pot came to mind, pronounced “cash poh,” it is an entirely decorative container for plants. I bought a gorgeous, expensive, Italian pot as a new house gift for one of the partners in his law firm. We were supposed to go to the housewarming party and as a 20 year old new wife, I thought it was a thoughtful gift, just elegant enough, but earthy! After all, he was the new associate.

I remember it cost $50, which in 1970 was alot of money.

Well, we never went to that party. It was the longest, drag-down fight I ever had with him. Don’t misunderstand. He would never hit me, but his words could wound in other ways. I spent too much on the gift, which was followed by how utterly worthless I was as a wife/woman/person. I locked myself in the bathroom for the whole night. I wonder now how I could have ever been so impossibly young and immature, but I guess it’s the nature of things.

To learn and grow from those lessons.

I must finish planting by Sunday because we’re having the official installation of the fairy house on our tree stump. Tinker Bell has been buzzing by, waiting patiently.

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Some places are always open, even on Christmas. Thank you to all the Emergency Physicians working this weekend – please try and stay safe out there and out of their departments.

And if you’d like to know where some of the best Emergency Medicine residents are trained, take a peek at this Vandy video – you might see the Bride if you look close enough!

http://www.emp.com/we-vandy-2011-video-challenge

And just a reminder, don’t drink and drive, or get on an ATV or do anything fairly complicated. Happy Everything you’all.

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