Saturday, March 28, 2020

Yesterday was lovely and spring like.  I took Heidi for a long walk and we even got to have a short walk through a small stand of trees.  The warm weather meant I got out to the backyard to poop scoop and I noticed some perennials already coming up through the melting snow.  

I've spent most of today spring cleaning which is nice to get done.  We're not allowed to visit Katie and she doesn't like phones or technology.  I did call and have her staff put me on speaker phone but she walked away, in disgust I'm guessing:)

Work was tough last week.  We had a patient code on us, probably an anaphylactic reaction to the CT dye she had received for her scan.  She collapsed and stopped breathing.  The room filled with people and we all worked together to resuscitate her.  One of our x-ray techs, a big guy, started doing compressions while I started an IV on the patient.  They got a pulse back on her and she was sent over the University hospital.  We don't have an emergency or ICU.  For emergencies we call 911 too.  It was stressful and I'm good in a crisis but I always have a cry when it's over.  The patient is alive and recovering which doesn't happen often when people are coded.

Our hospital/clinic has only 58 inpatient beds, either really sick patients like lymphoma patients, patients getting stem cell transplants or sometimes people from out of town.  We serve a large area, all of Northern Alberta, the NWT and northern BC as well.  One of the inpatients now has COVID-19 which scares me, not only for the inpatients but also for the staff.

We've spent the week trying to keep our distance from patients while starting IVs and keeping patients at a distance from each other, while cleaning and hand sanitizing and trying not to touch our faces which is way harder than you think.  Every day there are new protocols and checks in place when we enter the building.  All of us are stressed and worried that this has only just begun.  However, we are all working together well and helping each other.  The one coworker who is a pain in the ass comes back to work tomorrow so we'll how that goes.

 I'm scared I'll die or someone I love will die.  I think everyone is.  I know mentally that most people will get this virus and they'll get sick and recover but there is a small percentage who won't.  We will all die and I know this but I don't want anyone to die right now, not from this.  And I have no control over that.  I wash my hands.  I stay home when I'm not working but it's still out of my control and I am a control enthusiast which is a nicer way of saying control freak:)

Something good today.  I saw this and loved it.

I got my quilt back from the quilter.  I have just have to sew binding on so that's a project for this weekend.

Another good thing, I still get my hugs from the big guy.  He gives the best hugs ever.

Take care people.

Friday, March 27, 2020

A little levity is needed, by me at least.

As John from Going Gently would say, Tits up.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

I took both dogs for a walk yesterday by myself.  Note to self, don't take two dogs on longs leashes on a walk through the trees.  The dog park is closed so I went to a natural area.  Lots of people, narrow paths and lots of slippery spots.  Not ideal.

At one point the hill was so steep and slippery, not the picture above, that I just lay down on my back and slid down the hill like a kid.  I laughed all the way down and I briefly wondered what the family at the bottom of the hill thought of the granny and her two dogs sliding down the hill.  I haven't had that much fun in awhile.  However, the whole walk thing was not pleasant.  Beagles don't walk in straight lines and Heidi kept bolting after squirrels.

She's enjoying the sunshine this morning.  

We had my niece over for supper last night which was good for everyone.  My niece is stuck in her apartment taking her University courses online now and she loves dogs.  Lucy probably got two hours of petting out of my niece.

I feel blah.  I'm going to take my grandson for a good walk later today so that will help.  I'm trying to get started on a quilt for me and the big guy but I want something easy and beautiful that can withstand dogs, so I'm looking online which leads to news and the virus.  It's a constant loop inside and outside of my head.

Back to work tomorrow.

I'm thankful the sun is shining.
I'm thankful I'm not sick.
I'm thankful none of my family is sick.
I'm thankful we have enough food.
I'm thankful we are safe.
I'm thankful I won't be laid off.
I'm thankful for dog love.
I'm thankful for hugs from the big guy.

Friday, March 20, 2020

My morning coffee break in the sunroom.  Tables and chairs have been turned upside down and the remaining tables are all spread apart so that we can have social distancing.  Normally this room is full, of tables and people.

Work involves more questions, more uncertainity, more paranoia and more work because there is now more cleaning going on as well as everything else.

It feels like we're all just waiting to get sick.  It's coming.  We know it's coming but we don't know when.  I have a cough.  It's my stomach, right?  I've had a chronic cough for a year or two due to acid reflux.  The medications I use to reduce the acid make me feel suicidal so I take them sparingly.  Every time anyone coughs now, all eyes are on that person.  I sneezed at the end of my shift, very loudly because I always sneeze loudly and one of the young nurses said, "COVID"  instead of bless you.  I thought it was funny but then a part of my wonders, is this it?  Am I getting sick?

I check my temperature at the beginning of my shift and at the end of my shift.  I'm running my ass off and sweating and then I'm cold and then I have a hot flash so I have no idea if I have a fever.  I don't but I have to take my temperature to prove that to myself.  

Am I short of breath?  Maybe.  I don't know.

I'm tired even though it's really only the first week here where things have really changed.  Restaurants only have take out.  There is no chicken for sale at Sobeys, or pasta, or canned tomatoes, or...  The drive to work is faster because there are fewer cars on the road.  Signs up on windows, "We're Closed Due To COVID-19".  The off leash dog park got shut down, even though it's huge and outdoors and people don't congregate and we need fresh air now more than ever.  

It's the first week of what will be a long campaign in dealing with COVID-19 and I'm already tired.  I am thankful I don't have children in daycare or school though, there's that.  My neighbor's kids have been sleeping with her all week because they're terrified.  

Everybody is anxious.  I'm anxious.  I'm stress baking.  It's hard to sleep.  It's kinda scary.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

My family, about twenty-five years ago.

My son broke into the home we rent to Gracie on Monday night.  Gracie heard a noise downstairs and when she went down to investigate she found my son sitting at the kitchen table holding my grandson.  She freaked out, there was a lot of yelling and screaming and the police were called.  My son was arrested again, he had outstanding warrants, and he was high.

Sadly the police only kept him overnight and the next day he was texting me and harassing Gracie.  He also put cockroaches in her coffee maker while he was there, hoping to have her declared an unfit mother I'm guessing.  Child protective services is now involved which is probably a good thing.  Gracie is afraid that if she presses charges that my son will kill her when he gets out of prison.  I don't even know who my son is anymore.

On top of this we have COVID-19.  Every morning at work there are new signs and new protocols.  This morning I had to escort a woman with breast cancer and her crying daughter to a room for further assessment because the woman kept coughing.  She is fine, she has congestive heart failure which causes her cough but I had to follow the rules.  The daughter is terrified that her mother won't get the treatment and surgery she needs now.

I turned around and there was a patient sent from another hospital without a chart or goals of care and hardly any report given to the EMS.  Another EMS crew later in the day told us that the unit the patient came from is short staffed and chaotic because of how many nurses called in sick.

We're busy moving chairs, trying to give patients more room apart from each other, social distancing which is tough in an already too small hospital.  Chairs are lined up down the hall now, two at a time and patients are asked to only bring one or two people with them to appointments now.

One of our own nurses is off sick for two weeks, the coworker who is always at the front of the line to take time off.  It's actually easier without her there.

So work is stressful and tiring.  We're all running all day and as the senior nurse people keep looking to me for answers.  My feet are killing me and I've had a headache since last week from tight muscles on my neck and back.

On the upside, I'm not sick.  I don't have cancer.  The big guy and I rarely go out so not much has changed in our day to day lives.  We can't see Miss Katie this weekend though as her agency has asked that non essential visits be canceled for the time being as they have a high risk population.

A photo to make you smile.  Our next door neighbor's dog, the one in the middle with the smile on her face, has figured out how to climb on top of the playhouse in their backyard and jump over the fence.  Her name is Ellie and she and Heidi can play for hours.  Lucy is less impressed with the whole thing.

Stay well my friends.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Schools and daycares now closed in Alberta to slow down COVID-19 spread.  I imagine life will get quite interesting now.

My son is from a relationship I had when I was very young.  I never married his father thank goodness but I have kept in touch with his family all these years, almost forty years now.  And apparently I hit publish instead of save.

I talked to my son's aunt the other night.  She's six years older than me and we've kept in touch off and on over the years.  She's a lovely woman.  She and her brother and sister are helping to keep their mom, my grandson's great grandma Mary, out of a nursing home.

I knew that Mary, I'll call her Mary, had been in residential school but I didn't realize that she had also spent two years in hospital in Edmonton with tuberculosis.  That's where she learned to knit.  I can't imagine spending two years away from your family, stuck in a hospital, as a teenager.  Mary is Cree and was born on a reserve south of here.  I can't imagine going to residential school either.  Mary has Alzheimer's now and is interesting to talk to.  She's always been a kind woman who always put her family first and she considers me family as well.

Last summer the big guy and I drove down to Red Deer to visit her so that she could meet her great grandson.  She was pretty happy.

This post is not particularly well written I'm afraid.  We've had the little guy for most of the weekend and we're both beat.  Back to work tomorrow.

Stay healthy.

Friday, March 13, 2020

I came home from work today because we had extra staff and I have a horrible headache that doesn't want to go away.  I stopped for a few groceries on the way home.  The store was the busiest I've ever seen it.  There was a person directing people to the cashiers because there was such a long lineup, something I didn't notice until after I was in line.  I cut the line which is a very unCanadian thing to do but when I realized that I had, I just didn't care.

I have food and medications and of course toilet paper.  I have dog food and cat food because god forbid we should run out of cat food.  There would be hell to pay.

There are signs up everywhere at work with the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as well as staff screening patients and visitors at the entrances of my hospital.  The outpatient clinics are going to be done by phone for now so way less patients in the hospital in general. There are far less cars on the road as people start working from home.

One of the young nurses was so frustrated and crying because she may not be able to go on her holiday to Columbia in two weeks.  It sucks but it could be worse.

Europe has just been announced as the epicentre of the virus outbreak now.

In nine months there will be a baby boom.  Just saying.

Something to make us all smile.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

As you can see, we still have lots of snow.  I'm so thankful we adopted Heidi and now spend time everyday among the trees.  The walks are good for all of us, fresh air, exercise, trees, all good.  I've had a bit of time off these past few weeks, burning up leftover vacation time which is nice.  I've always got lots of things to do at home and it's nice to have the time to do them.  

The quilt is coming along.  It's sewn together and now I need to put a border on it and then send it for quilting.  It turned out even nicer than I thought it would and I'm so pleased with it.  The colors make me happy.  It's a wedding gift for a young friend whose favorite color is teal.  I hope she likes it.

I looked at my retirement investments this morning, even though I thought it was a bad idea.  It was a bad idea.  My portfolio is down a lot.  I know it will eventually come back up but still...

The virus is a hot topic everywhere now.  If only half of the earth's population gets sick and 2% die, that's still 150 million people.  Two percent of a big number is a lot.  Nobody has immunity to this virus, except those who have recovered.  Anybody with preexisting diseases such as cancer, diabetes, COPD, and the frail and elderly are at increased risk.  People over 85 have a 15% risk of death from the virus.  The biggest concern I have is our health care system which is already maxed out.

In the mean time, life goes on.  Heidi has the right idea.  Stay calm and sleep.

My depression is lifting which is always a good feeling.  I listen to Tapestry on CBC radio on Sundays if I can.  Rabbi Harold Kushner was the guest and he was talking about dealing with serious disappointment.  My dream as a child was to be a mother, to have a family.  I wanted my children to be close to me.  I wanted to have family suppers on Sundays with my children, their spouses and their children.  I wanted to be a grandma like my own mum.  That was my dream.  I didn't really care about my job, I wanted a family, a better family than my own family.

I didn't get that and giving up that dream has been hard for me.  I left my husband, I broke up my family, my son is lost to addiction and my middle daughter is a spoiled child who blames me for her own problems.  And then there is Miss Katie, the hardest dream to die.  When she was diagnosed as disabled, that plunged me into a years long depression.  That was the hardest, losing my dream child.  Of course today Katie is a happy, healthy young woman who enjoys her life for the most part.  She is loving and has a wicked sense of humor but I didn't know that would happen when she was only a year old.

Listening to Rabbi Kushner talk made me realize how stuck I was with my dream and how hard I had hung onto it, even to my own detriment.  I have a lot of love in my heart and I need to give it to someone.  I love my children, even though I dislike who they have become, not Katie of course.  But that love is not returned.  I love my grandson and that love is returned.  I love my husband.  I love my animals.  I love my friends.  I love my patients.  Perhaps my dream of family is a dream of giving love and I can still do that, it will just look different than I imagined.

If you click on Rabbi Kushner's name above it will take you to the broadcast.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

I'm still feeling a little down, still crying too easily but better than Thursday.  I'm working on my quilt which keeps my mind occupied.  I made a loaf of bread this morning, or the start of the a loaf of sourdough.  I started making sourdough after Ms. Moon did.  She inspired me, especially her loose and easy manner of baking.  It helped me to stop worrying so much about the rules and to just try and try and try.  It worked.  The bread is delicious.

Our grandson spent the day with us yesterday which also helped a great deal.  He's walking everywhere.  He likes to carry something in his hand or mouth when he's walking and he's just jabbering away.  I just love that little guy so much, so does his poppa.    The love goes both ways with those two.

The coronavirus has arrived in Edmonton.  I guess we'll see what happens.  It's not the virus that is so disruptive but the fourteen day quarantine that is.  If the virus gets into the nursing population it's going to be difficult with nurses staying home.  Maybe the government will understand then why nurses matter.

It's cold and snowing today but I think I'll wrap up this afternoon and take Heidi for a walk.  The cold doesn't bother her.  The fresh air is always good for me, and the trees.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

I cleaned the house this morning, made up a loaf of sourdough bread, did some laundry, exercised on my exercise bike.  I was productive and I did the stuff that's supposed to make me feel good, none of it helped.  I still had a cry while I was in the shower.

The black dog is snapping at my heels again and I am so tired of dealing with this horrible disease.  It never ends.

I know it will pass.  It always does but I hate it when it's here.  The world turns grey, everything is hard.  The joy is gone.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Dog walk after work yesterday.

Things I'm thankful for today.

Dog walks
Hugs from the big guy.
The smile on the little guy's face when he sees me.
Beautiful weather.
Spring is coming.
Longer days.
Homemade sourdough bread.
A job that makes me feel like I make a difference.
Hugs in general.
Dog love.

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, March 1, 2020

I was woken up at 5:23 am this morning by a text from Gracie.  My son had contacted her to tell her that his girlfriend is pregnant and that he's living on welfare and because of that he won't be paying her any child support, ever.  He also told her that he took heroin for four straight days over Christmas.  He's not in jail.  He's selling drugs and living on welfare.  My son lies all the time so who knows what is true and what's not.

Needless to say, Gracie was pretty upset.  She's struggling financially.  We already help her but she could still use more help.  We already pay half her rent and all of her utilities so that's about $800-$900 a month.  I'm reluctant to just give her money.  I do buy diapers and formula as well as clothes for the little guy.

We went and picked up the little guy this morning at 9am.  He seems grumpy and has a runny nose.  He's always so sweet tempered that it's strange to seem him grumpy.  He finally fell asleep with some milk so hopefully he feels a little better when he wakes up.  I don't imagine it was much fun for him this morning with an angry mom either.

He can now shake his head no and he also knows how to mess with Roomba.  He pulled out it's bin and kept shutting it off and hitting random buttons.

And me?  I'm not getting involved in any of this.  I'm not upset and not worrying about the future.  I do feel bad however for this young woman but I'm not doing this again.

So life goes on.