Mary Beth Writes

12/22/2021

Omicron: On Twitter today an ICU nurse describes how exhausted care providers are. It’s hard to watch; she is very tired and very clear and she is not playing for pity.  Click here to watch 

In Wisconsin 61% of people have at least one vaccine, although what people NEED to fight omicron are two vaccines and the booster. Thus, one can assume more than 40% of the people I live among have little to no Covid protection.

Last January 250,000 Americans contracted Covid. Remember semi-trailers parked outside city hospitals as temporary morgues?

Officials warn that possibly/probably 500,000 Americans will contact omicron this January. Because of vaccines many less people will end up in ER’s – but many of the unvaccinated will. It is and will be heartbreaking and ugly.

Len and I cancelled our Christmas Day plans with our family. It’s too crazy to expose ourselves plus Len’s still-healing head to what’s out there.

My kids are awesome. When we said (I had tears, this was not easy) that we were not coming to Christmas, our daughters said they support and understand this decision. One of them will set up a family zoom. I know some families are splitting over this.

But. We were in hospitals for 17 days this fall. Len slept through much of it. I stayed through the nights the first 10 days and I remember just about everything. Nurses and hospitalist doctors were working 16-hour shifts to keep up with this community’s need for serious medical care. Their care was steadfast and professional, their faces were tired. If you mentioned it to them, they smiled and said thanks for noticing.

Some of you are related to medical caregivers – from cardiologists to nurses to support staff. Give them my deepest thanks. Len and I will do our best to not need them for a while.

Many of us, as adults, found the beloved and perspicacious people who became our family and friends. Generally, these are people who listen to us, who ask us questions about what we do and what we care about. Sometimes they do those things with us.

Christmas is very much about going back to our families of origin. Sometimes that’s awesome. A lot of the time those people don’t ask us anything about who we are now and what we are working on and where our interests and our hearts lie.

Not coincidentally, a lot of us go a little or a lot crazy during holidays spent with family.

Such an interesting human dynamic. Grow up, move away, become your best self. And then every time a major holiday comes along … go back to the people who still treats you like the kid you once were.

I have found that one of the best strategies to deal with this dynamic is to outlive them.

…                             

Yesterday I wrote the letter to the 3rd graders about the long-ago afternoon when Sheba and I, and a RACCOON sat together on the side of a hill to admire the river.

Would you like to read some of the emails they sent back to me?

“That sounds very very very very made up but very cool” 

“I hope the raccoon was chilling with you and your Dog” 

“Thank you for that info that fat raccoon sounds funny and the dog picture looks funny I hope you send more emails for me to respond to(I still can’t believe that you found a fat raccoon.)”

“How? Did the raccoon sit down with you guys?”

“Hi miss Daniels your good dog is so cute”

“Hi it’s funny when the ratcon sat bye you and the dog”

 

Free bonus Quarantine survival tip:

I’ve been doing shoulder exercises prescribed by my physical therapist for months now … and they are working! Too boring to explain how they rate this, but I have gone from 13% mobility to 86% mobility in the shoulder formerly known as OUCH.

 This is my most favorite stretch. I don’t use the towel they mention in this instruction, I just sit at my desk or the kitchen table or wherever and lean gently forward to do this stretch and then slowly sit back up.

My favorite thing is to not tell Len, but just gently collapse while we are eating sandwiches.

 

 

Comments

My sympathies to Len...
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks! He feels fine, but we know healing is still going on inside his brain, so it is worth being extra-cautious.

Thanks for including the link to what that nurse said. Gosh, her exhaustion and desperation for people to hear her and to get it! just washed over me. What a mess. Thanks for the shoulder exercise mention. I knew of that exercise but had forgotten it. Quite a few years ago I hurt my shoulder and found the exercise where you sort of pretend like your washing a window but do it against a wall to be helpful. The main thing that helped me was once spring rolled around, the motion of hanging my wash out every day or so. About a month ago I foolishly lifted a heavy box off of a shelf above my head in the garage and tweaked it again. While sitting here at the kitchen table, I just did a series of what I now will call Mary Beth's exercises. I think you made a wise decision for Christmas this year. Take care, Debra
Mary Beth's picture

Probably tomorrow I will write a tad more about this - three more families we know are cancelling family get-together Xmas. It's a sad call to make, but its crazy out there right now. I am SO laughing that you are calling it the Mary Beth exercise. It is helpful to relax those muscles and joints after one does rash and foolhardy things like - move a box. Don't forget, my dysfunction came from reading books....

Although, I know most of this stuff already before I read it. I love reading it AND I will be using this stretch.
Mary Beth's picture

Thank you!!!

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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