life during covid

I can’t believe I haven’t written since the twins were one week old! I guess I’m just too exhausted to do much of anything. They had a good sleep routine going, then at five months something changed and they refuse to sleep in their crib. We just took it down, we’re going to put them on a mattress and let them sleep there. How the heck else are we supposed to get any sleep? Life with twins is maddening, frustrating, daunting. I love them, they make me cry at least once a week. Partly because I had such an easy, happy baby the first time around (they aren’t so easy, either of them) and partly because there are two of them. And partly because we have big girls that I wish we could give more of ourselves too… I just feel mostly defeated, a lot of the time.

In other news, we’ve been sheltering in place since before St. Patrick’s Day here in the Bay Area. We love the homeschooling. We were just about ready to quit half of what we were doing because our schedules were too grueling. Both of us working, school for Ms. 8 and two different homeschool programs for M. Horseback riding, art lessons, piano, therapists… and babies that screamed in the car. It was not doable. I was a hamster on a wheel that wasn’t running anymore, just spinning like a half dead corpse. Homeschooling both girls has been great. Not having babies scream in the car while we’re stuck in an hour long traffic jam has been great. Having more time together, as a family, has been great. Not living according to so many time schedules has been an utter relief. It was the break we needed.

But now… I’m feeling a little desperate to go somewhere and do something. I’m feeling more than a little homesick for Michigan. I’m nostalgic and moody and longing and feeling a bit like a lion pacing in my cage. The beaches are mostly closed… our trip to Legoland cancelled… you know, all the things that make life fun. I’m an ICU nurse and I have seen some COVID deaths (two, exactly) but for the most part, we never got a surge. We prepared for it, and crickets. We closed down our COVID units. My 20-bed ICU had only two beds for COVID patients, and then we ended up just not taking them at all as they went to a designated unit. Sounds like there were places hard-hit, like NYC, but the Bay Area wasn’t one of them. I’m on the neuro/medical ICU and we are filling up again with the usual… strokes, head bleeds, cancer, GI bleeds, neuro IR post-caths, sepsis, and vent weaning. I’m in charge a lot now and enjoying that role. Even though I left my beloved U of M hospital behind when I moved, and I have nothing but good things to say about them, I’ve grown more as a nurse out here. I’ve been charge nurse, I’ve been on the shared leadership council, I now have three years of experience in trauma, neuro, and surgical ICU (as opposed to just medicine in MI). I’ve been a wound warrior, a MICU champ, and a break nurse. It’s more rewarding. I love my job again. I’m starting to finally have work friends. It was meant to be.

But my dreams, oh my dreams. My psyche is still spinning in confusion. I’m in Michigan at the hospital… but wait, I don’t work here, do I? Maybe I’m per diem, while visiting. But what about Stanford? No, I have to get back to Stanford. I work there. Then I go and interview at Michigan, maybe I actually work there again. The confusion in my subconscious rears its head at least once per week. Previous relationships surface and I often go along in a dream before realizing, wait I’m married, wait where’s my wife? It’s like too much has happened in too little time, and the parts of me below the surface are barely here yet, struggling to keep up. I wonder if the people from my past dream about me, or if I was more easily discarded by their psyches as they moved on to fresher meat. Or are all mistakes, the ones that were people, ghosts that haunt us until the end?

I had this idea that this summer, while in Michigan again finally, I’d go back to the hospital. I’d walk up the sidewalk and into the main entrance. I’d stroll past the cafeteria and the giant fork. I’d use the far elevators to go to 6D, my old unit of 7 years. Where I learned to be a bad-ass ICU nurse. Heck, I’d even stroll through 4C, the first unit I worked on. I’d eye the stairwells I used to sit in. I’d climb up the play structure by the yellow parking lot. I’d say an official goodbye and maybe the dreams would settle down, and I’d finally be catching up with myself. Thank you, Coronavirus, now that will definitely not be happening. Plan #238 ruined. I’ll have to just drive by the outside… an outsider, no matter what my subconscious may think.

So I’m using this quarantine to try to lose weight, because seriously, I’ve gotten FAT. My wife doesn’t like the way I talk about it (and I try not to in front of the girls), but I actually reached obesity BMI at one point so that’s not going to work out for me. Last year I lost 11 pounds doing fitness blender and not eating anything artificial. Having those babies destroyed that loss and threw a few more pounds at me on top of it all. So since March I’m back to daily workouts with fitnessblender plus some power walking. And better eating. I’m back in the overweight category, thank god, and if I want to be in the ‘normal’ weight zone I’ve got to get down another 27 pounds. I’m convinced I’ve got this, though. If I do my working out, and eat well, it will get there. I’ll be back to my pre-California weight. Eventually. By my June MI trip I’m at least hoping to get to my pre-twin weight, which is now 8 lbs away! At the very least, I’m getting stronger. Can actually do sustained runs of jumping jacks, have increased the weights during strength training, and I’m ready to start jogging. I’m 35. There’s no reason for me to be out of shape. I’m freakin’ young, dammit. No reason to feel so gross and homely. No reason to live entirely in yoga pants. Right???

I’ll let you know how it goes. Hopefully in six months those before pics will be paired with some after pics that will be awesome.

By the way, we found RHUBARB for the first time in 3 years in California. Going to chop it up and freeze it so we can make the correct kind of birthday pie.





Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

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