seems like life will never be the same again. while this started out looking a lot like the flu, it spreads infinitely easier and has a much higher death rate (over 5% here in the US as a whole). and the thing about clotting in the younger patients. THAT scares the crap out of me. ebola caused you to bleed out. covid-19 causes you to clot and they have NO idea why. having a stroke and NOT dying buy also not going back to baseline (think semi-sided paresis, or in normal words, one-sided weakness) is my biggest health fear. while i am actively dying, i can handle someone wiping my ass. with MANY years ahead alive, but so infirmed, no thank-you.
i really want to go and help. but i am not an ICU nurse. i am a med-surg nurse at best. and while i think i could do a lot of good as a hospice nurse in hospitals where almost no one makes it out, it is not a priority. and i get it. equipment is scarce (thanks trump white house) and risk is high (no one wants a coworker to get sick, let alone die.) those on the front line don’t want others risking their health either.
so, i sit, hoping one the agencies that i sighed up with will want me. i promise to be careful. VERY careful. i don’t want to die. even more i do not want to risk those around me. i got an email from Patrick asking me to be careful, not to rush in, “just thinking of how much you give of yourself if you are in a position to help others”. he said he didn’t want to go to DC to see my name on a memorial of those who died taking care of those with covid-19. it was terribly sweet. it was nice for someone to notice how much i want to help people. i had a friend, who wasn’t really a friend, say to me once that “for most people when they help you they want something, not you, you really just want to help them”. and yet it made me sad. for someone to know me so well but not want to be with me anymore. it leaves this hole because you are not really known by anyone. at least it makes me feel alone. it was SUPER sweet though. feels better to have received it than not be seen at all. it was SO nice of him to think of me that way and be concerned for me. i suppose that really is love.
but i hate sitting. i asked FB what i could do. people were stunned that none of the hotspots wanted me. it makes sense to me though. i even offered myself to the ME office in NYC (i have a friend in the forensic lab who has been 100% morgue for at least 2 months). i can deal with dead bodies, no really. bodies with yuckiness. do it all the time (fungating tumors are not a pretty thing). but i don’t think that made sense to them. i tried to sign up with Meals on Wheels. i drove for them in nursing school. until i was going to school everyday. but they aren’t orienting anyone new because of the stay-at-home orders. it is too much of a risk. which i get. i did do a shift at the central texas food bank this week. we packed 5000 meals that afternoon! and i plan to do it again. but they don’t have a lot of openings either. all sorts of people are volunteering. there was a mom with her two kids there. i thought that was BRILLIANT on her part. a way to get them out of the house, where they are probably losing their minds, AND help.
i have NOT been sewing masks. i sew for pleasure. i don’t want to sew for purpose. i don’t want to have people asking me to make them masks. i had several coworkers text me and ask if i could make them a mask. when i said i wasn’t making them, they were perplexed. they asked why, “i mean, you love to sew”. and i said that is why. just like my baking, i want it to be a pleasure, not a chore where i have to make other people happy. i have posted a picture on my most recent Gertie’s B6556 dress (a 50s Butterick pattern) below. it has space kitties on it. and i am making aprons for christine and i. they have sarcastic patches in the style of Simplicity patterns from the 50s. a pocket has never been so challenging. but i blame to poor instructions. it is an “easy” pattern but i swear they leave words out of the instructions.
my understanding of the meaning of life has been, “we are born, we live and then we die” for a VERY long time. and certainly part of it is being single for so long, but it seems the “we live” part should be helping other people. i get to live this middle-class life. there are so many fortunate things in my life. so, why wouldn’t i spend the rest of my time helping others? i certainly do things for myself (i am looking at you shoe collection), but isn’t what makes meaning is helping others. i am not talking mother teresa level helping. i do not want to forsake the comforts i have earned. but what else am i going to do besides sit around and read WAY more books than i should be. the equivalent of staying home and playing video games. i have the time and energy to help others, so what else would i do but help. Mr. Rogers said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” i want to take away fear. that is why i am a hospice nurse. what could be more meaningfully and rewarding than taking some of the fear and unknown out of death?
though i am aware some people are afraid of me. afraid what i will say next. how i will react. a skill i SO wanted NOT to learn but did. and i realize it is a double edged sword. people want me on their side because i will fight for them. but they don’t like it when i am on the other side. they like my help. they do not like when i am expecting something from them to help someone else. maybe patrick felt i was always going off and helping other people instead of helping us. i certainly felt that way about my dad and his job.
one of the things people know me for is my red lipstick. i always have my tarte fire lipstick on. well, in this day and age of face masks i had to find a way for people at work to know it was me! so i added some lips to my face mask (with mgmt approval!) i amuse people.
i bake a lot. to keep myself busy at home, i have been baking and sewing a lot. and planning projects around the house. it is pretty good at keeping me busy. and i know how lucky i am to be able to go to work. but there are sad days when i cannot even get out of bed to take my meds. and good days, where i am happy with what i have created or accomplished. but those good days aren’t getting as satisfying. and i know it is partly because Lucy and i would have been doing this together, but we are not. and part of it is just being single and alone with two cats who drive me NUTS! but i am alive, healthy and still working. so, that is pretty cool too.