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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A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska

1/25/2023 

I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

A to Z

1/25/2023

I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?

1/22/2023 

Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

Len Explains Fusion Energy

The photo is of Lisa Meitner. The BFF of one of our kids is (quite likely) a great grand niece of this amazing woman. 

...

MB: Len occasionally explains very complicated science things to me or our kids in such a way that we actually understand it. One of our kids asked him what the big deal was about fusion. Len wrote this and I thought some of you might like to read it.

Long live curious people and long live nerds. 

 

Almost. Two Years Later

1/6/2023 

 I remember where I was two years ago this afternoon. Do you?

I was writing. I knew I had another hour to just work by myself and I was happy about that. I love no interruptions.

Len was downstairs. I heard him turn on the TV. We NEVER watch TV during the day so it was weird when he called up to me, “You should come down here. Something’s happening.”

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