Monday, December 30, 2013

A Year in Pictures

Sitting here, reflecting on 2013, the first thing I thought of was…nothing.  What happened this year?  I mean, seriously?  I tried to think back through the months, waiting for the re-rememberance of some awful tragedy or gut-wrenching sadness and for the first year in a very long time, couldn't remember a single thing.  Sometimes boring is good.  Sometimes boring gives us the space for all the tiny, infinitesimal ways that we grow into the calmer, brighter, and more whole version of who we can actually be.

January and February
I ran my first 5k - sub-30 minutes and I was quite proud.
Superstorm Nemo dropped three feet of snow and CT failed utterly on the clean-up, but we had a ball sledding and trying to stay warm.
The first hints of spring.
Post half-marathon.
Memorial Day weekend hiking trip - it snowed!
Planted and grew my first adult garden.  It was a ton of work, but the fresh vegetables and shelf full of canned tomatoes were definitely worth it.
Cherry picking
Happy dog
Wildlife…in suburbia.
A wonderful visit home at my parents' house on the lake.
I made a lot of pie this year.
October, November, December
The new view.
I hate moving.
Thanksgiving homework help.

The love of my life.
2012 Wrap Up

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Taking Part

Decorating for holidays is one of those things that - like cooking my own food and taking cough medicine voluntarily - always makes me feel like I'm play-acting at being an adult.

And then I remind myself that being an adult, like being a midwife, is a whole lot of acting like something you don't quite feel is legitimate until some day you wake up and realize you don't remember ever being anything else.

Tomorrow is my last day at my clinical site.  I will miss everyone there, but especially my patients.  My mind reels when I think about all the women that I will care for in this lifetime and how even the dozens from the last few months will fade into the background of my memories so soon.  The human heart cannot hold them all.  At least, not with faces and names intact.

As I battle through finals and not feeling well and the penetrating cold that has dropped over New Haven, bringing snow and ice and slate gray days, I am reminded to be grateful for warm slippers, Skype calls with Richard, and cats that while they may have a personal vendetta against the Christmas tree, are still very effective foot warmers.  The end of the year always brings with it a bit of panic (for me, at least), as I grasp to hold on to what seems to be flying by, struggling to keep pace with time's inevitable march.  My school friends and I sit in the warm car in my school's icy parking lot before going inside for a truly punishing exam.  We take deep breaths and tell each other, "The time will pass anyway.  All we have to do is go in there, and be a part of it."

Cheers, to being a part of it.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Cold Has Come

I avoid walking down my street now, in the direction that I paced a well-worn path into over the past year and change.  When I walk past his old place and reflexively look up to see if the lights are on, my breath catches in my throat.  The windows are dark.  No one lives there now.

I lay here in my bed that has barely been slept in for a year and even with a cat at my feet, it feels too big and too cold.  I stay up too late, avoiding the nightly challenge of falling asleep without his solid warmth at my back.  I wait until the last possible second, until I've already guaranteed I'll be exhausted for school in the morning before I turn out the light and curl around my still cramping belly, my uterus apparently deciding to take several months to acclimate to my new IUD.

I don't want to wish away my time here at school.  I don't want to, and yet I find myself doing just that. I see him on some weekends, and for a blissful three packed days of Thanksgiving, and it's wonderful and reassuring and always, always too short.

I want to be there, in his bed, with the sunrise pouring through the windows over the buildings of a city that is starting to, maybe, feel like home.

I tell myself, here is good, too,  and, here is where you need to be, and several times, there are worse things in life than a long-distance relationship.

My toes curl as another cramp rips through me, and all I want is his hand there, holding me in.

I miss him.

Edit: Yeah, not pregnant.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Whole30 Update

I wrote this a few weeks ago:

"I'm on Day 10.  It's interesting.  I think I went into this whole thing with simultaneous beliefs of, "This will fix EVERYTHING," and "It is impossible for diet changes like these to fix ANYTHING."  I am so far wrong on both counts.  My favorite things so far, in no particular order:

1.  My food is delicious.  It's tasty, and I feel good eating it because I know how wholesome it is.
2.  I am not hungry in between meals.  This is huge for me.  I used to get so cranky and hungry in between meals during my epically long school days that I would often develop migraines and/or resort to eating crackers or trail mix or whatever I could find in the vending machine.  Now, I make it to my next meal, with maybe a small snack (packed and planned) if it's a really crazy day.
3.  I get hungry before meals, but not "hangry."  I am not the first person to discover this while eating Whole30/paleo, and I'm sure I won't be the last.  It's a very liberating feeling, to not ever feel like If I don't find a food item to put in my mouth this very instant I will either melt into tears or just DIE OF STARVATION."

So!  All of those things were true and awesome and I felt a lot better for the two-ish weeks that I made it without messing up on the Whole30.  Then the fact that my other half moved to a different city and we spent two frantic weeks finding an apartment in said city, packing up all his stuff, and moving him to said city - yeah, I got a little distracted and found it impossible to pack and eat paleo/Whole30 food all the time.  While I was doing it, though, I noticed improvements in my skin, my GI system, and I lost about 6 pounds.  But over the last few months I've been feeling more and more run down, and that didn't improve, even as everything else did.  I chalked it up to me not lasting the whole 30 days.  Until it got worse.  And worse.  And then I went to donate blood and got turned away for the second time in six months because my hemoglobin was too low.

A doctor's appointment and several vials of blood later, there appears to be something wrong - which is both a relief to not think I'm making up how crappy I feel, but also anxiety-provoking in that I'd really like to know what it is, please, so I can do something about it.  Some of my key vitamin levels were quite low, as was my hemoglobin, hematocrit, and most especially iron (after some serious meat-chowing, no less).  For the next couple of weeks, I'm under doctor's orders to eat as much gluten as I can stand, because she wants to see if I have celiac disease, and that's only accurate if you've been eating gluten for at least three weeks.  Even after I stopped attempting the Whole30, I was still eating substantially less gluten than I had before, and the difference now is marked.  My face is breaking out, my chronic skin stuff has flared up and is the worst it's ever been, I'm nauseas and bloated pretty much 24/7, and I seem to have misplaced my waist.

As much as I love baking and all things flour, I can't wait to be given the all-clear to go back to no gluten (even if I don't have celiac).  And then maybe I'll give this Whole30 thing another shot.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What I Know Now

My patients, they do not leave me.  We exist now as a group, I feel them stringing along behind me when I walk to class or to my car, they hover over my head when I lay down and try to sleep.  Their voices echo in small phrases, glimpses swim in front of my tightly shut eyes while I rub the now permanent line that is etched between my eyebrows.  I struggle to recall faces, instead my mind is filled with a collage of body parts that I try to piece together - clenched hands on the exam table, the paper crinkling under their white knuckles, pale inner thighs that shrink away from my touch, chapped lips that answer my questions in whispers, eyes that won't meet mine.

Sometimes my patients are like the horses I grew up drawn to.  They size me up as I walk into the tiny exam room, the whites of their eyes following my every move.  I sit and lean back against the wall - I have no agenda, I want them to know.  I have tamed the single-minded eagerness to explain, to educate, to inform, to counsel that often fills us as we learn.  I know so little, it seems, I have been trusted with so much, I want to impart every speck of what I can offer, because even that is not enough.  Instead, I sit down and say hello.  I smile.  I ask how they are, and what brings them to me.  I set my pen down and listen.  I nod, and they seem unsure if they should continue to speak when I don't interrupt them immediately with questions.  I've stopped trying to have all the answers, but sometimes the questions still make my heart pound with anxiety.  I ask them anyway, my voice soft, the walls are thin, do you feel safe at home, where are these bruises from, how many partners in the last year, can you tell me how often you're shooting up, are you planning on becoming pregnant at this time, have you ever had symptoms like these before, how long have you had this pain?  I say, I'm so sorry that happened, that sounds really difficult, you don't need to apologize, ever, can you let your legs fall out just a bit more, you're in charge here, okay?, will you tell me if this hurts, let's use the other arm for this blood draw, let me know when you're ready.

I think back to a before time, when it felt important to do it all perfectly, to remember the order for collecting a Pap and how many centimeters into the cervix to insert the cytobrush in order to extract a sufficient sample, to perform a breast exam so flawlessly that no inch of tissue went unexamined by my probing fingers.  I think back to when I would recite my pelvic exam "lines" in my head on the drive to clinical, terrified of forgetting our textbook's directions for the best way to elicit cervical motion tenderness and what that would mean.  The words fall out of my mouth now, scoot all the way down, this is my hand on your leg, these are my fingers, this is the speculum, lots of pressure now, cervix looks good, little crampy now while I take a sample for the lab, you might have some spotting today, no need to worry, speculum coming out now, we're almost done, these are my fingers again, I'm going to press on your belly, any pain while I do this?, I'm making you have to pee, I know, okay, you are all set, you can scoot on back and up.

I know now that a sufficient sample and a smoothly performed exam do not erase the bruises on her inner thighs.  I know that my ability to rattle off the medication regimen for gonorrhea, chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease, and herpes does nothing for the woman whose trust has been shattered by a disease she did not give herself.  I hand her tissues and say, again, I'm so sorry.  I hope, maybe, that this tiny exam room with the fake wood paneling and the ancient posters on the walls can be something more than a bizarrely furnished box.  This tiny space we share where I ask them about their day, their dogs, their children, where I admire their socks and listen to what they say and even harder for what they do not say.  It is in this place I think, maybe, that in spite of all my weird and deeply probing questions, in spite of my hands inside them and my far from perfect technique, even in spite of all that I fumble and trip over and the answers I do not have, it is my hope that they feel safe.  That she sees that when the door shuts, I am with her and that is all that there is.  That I am long past the point of ever batting an eye no matter what she may ask or tell me, and that I will do my best to answer her questions but will tell her frankly if I cannot.  And maybe for five or ten insignificant minutes, maybe that is enough.

I've stopped trying to be right.  I only try to be kind.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Body Talk

I have become a person who exercises.  This would have been unthinkable to me a couple of years ago, when I was far past my days of varsity crew and smack in the middle of my days of eating so little that climbing stairs was a dizzying workout.  And then came the long hard slog of running semi-regularly for more than a year before it finally clicked with me that running, hiking, yoga, lifting, and - most recently - Crossfit, are not things I do to lose weight but rather are things I do because my body rocks and is strong and because they keep me sane and they keep me honest and they keep me eating.  And all of those things are so much more important than how badly I used to want to be a size 2 again.  Like, bad enough that it kept me awake at night.

So all that working out did make me lose about 15 pounds.  It feels good.  I had gained so much weight (about 40 pounds) so quickly when I started eating again back in the spring of 2012 that I couldn't fit into any of my clothes and felt enormous and awkward and like I would never in a million years be comfortable in my body, or, more distressingly, figure out how to eat normally and not like a caged animal.  And the first year of nursing school did not help all that much.  And then finally, this summer, it was like all the being patient and gritting my teeth and refusing to starve myself and refusing to stop running all started to pay off and it felt easier to work out and easier to eat normally and actually possible to make good food choices consistently and to push my plate away when I was full.  You know, skills most adults have mastered long before now.

That said, as it started to get easier to eat better (consistently, and normal amounts, and a pretty decent balance of vegetables, proteins, etc.) I started to pay more attention to what I was eating and how it made me feel.  It struck me that while it was easy to feel like I was eating better - not bingeing, purging, or starving - I still was eating more sugar, processed foods, and "treats" than I maybe thought I was.  I've also developed some skin issues that have stubbornly stuck around for more than a year now, despite frequent doctor visits and medication regimens.  And I get bloated, crampy, and gassy at least once or twice a week.  Lightning bolts probably shot out of my head when it occurred to me that that wasn't entirely normal, and that it was also almost certainly preventable.

So today marks the first day of my own Whole 30 experiment (I know I'm late to the party, don't worry).  I'm really curious to see if cutting out all of the junky stuff from my diet clears up my skin, helps me sleep better at night, and gives me more energy.  Full disclosure: I've been toying with the idea of doing this since July, and never quite got up the nerve.  Last night, lying in bed, R. told me his stomach felt gross from eating pizza that day.  I asked him if he wanted to try this elimination diet thingie with me, for kicks.  He whined a bit when I told him no sugar and then said sure and asked me when we started.  I said maybe November 1st, so we'd have time to prepare and plus, it just sounded like a nice day to start.  He laughed and said that was ridiculous, we're starting tomorrow.  Gulp.  So we did.  And then we went to Crossfit this morning and I almost died and threw up and vowed that for the next few months, the midwifery goal can take a back burner to my singular and all-consuming goal at this time - to not be the last person done with the workout, just once.

(Kidding, guys, I'm still in school and loving it.  More posts to follow soon about the fact that - holy sh*t - I'm seeing patients on my own now, and I get to call myself a "student midwife" rather than a "student nurse" and I whip out pelvic and breast exams like they're no big deal when even two months ago I was all OMG VAGINAS AND WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING.)

So!  Follow along on my clean eating adventure and I'll probably come here to complain more than once about not eating all of the things that make me feel yucky but just taste so darn good.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Long Days

I hear the whispers outside the room in which I'm sleeping.  They float through my subconscious even as my body pleads, No, no, no it's not time to wake up yet, please no.
"Mommy, can I wake Cakey up yet?"
"What time is it?"
"Almost 6."
"Okay, but be gentle."

Tap tap tap.  I feel her feather hand on my shoulder and crack my eyes open to see her smiling face.  "Hi, Sage," I whisper sleepily.  She grins and flings herself in for a hug while I try to pull myself upright.  She is so grown up in daylight hours, eloquent and mature, and achingly in between childhood and adolescence, but at 6 AM on Thursday mornings, she is my sweet warm buddy again, crawling into my lap and telling me in excited whispers about her school's hiking and overnight trip she's going on today and do I want oatmeal for breakfast and how was my clinical yesterday and should we wake up June so she can see me too?

Half an hour later, June is still not awake.  I sneak into her room, where she is splayed across her mattress, naked except for her wedgied pink underpants, blankets tangled about her feet.  I stroke her back softly, whisper, "Juney-Bee, wake up..."  She turns toward me blearily, her hair in her face.
"Mommy?" she asks.
"No, sweetie, it's Cakey."
"Cakey??!  Is it really you?"  Her sleepy eyes wide open now, she pushes her bangs away, sees it's really me and scrambles her hot little monkey body into my lap and wraps all four impossibly long limbs around my torso and squeezes till my eyes tear up.  She lays her head into my chest and sighs.  "I'm so happy you're here, Cakey.  I love you."
"I love you too, sweetness.  I'm so glad you're mine."

We eat oatmeal at the table and the chatter washes over me while I pour milk and slice apples and we talk about what to wear for school picture day and hiking trips and their mother, a former boss, and now a friend, smiles at me over their heads while I mouth, Thank you for all of this, and she only laughs and shakes her head and wraps me in another hug.

It's a long drive to Massachusetts every Wednesday afternoon for a clinical shift in a tiny community sexual health center whose two exam rooms are each big enough to touch all four walls while you stand in the middle.  I cram myself by the door while my midwife preceptor wedges herself behind the exam table and moves mountains for her patients and teaches them about birth control.  I leave with my face hurting from smiling and my stomach rumbling its emptiness.  I drive to the home of the only nanny family I still keep in touch with, where I bask in the light of being loved and needed and welcomed and family, even while I miss my own family so much it hurts.  I drive the two hours home, shower in a flurry, drive to work and prop my eyelids open for the rest of the day, momentarily panicking when I remember I have a midterm on Monday, a test on Tuesday, an assignment due Wednesday, and a mountain of work before clinical next week.

But today I got to wake up to my two favorite girls and for now that is more than enough.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cake Fail

I follow a blog called The Bitten Word that does what I could only dream of doing - actually cooking the recipes from their monthly supply of food magazines.  Now, granted, the only food magazine I subscribe to is Cook's Illustrated, which comes every two months and definitely lends itself to well-intentioned stockpiling on the bookshelf with promises to myself of, "I will definitely make that someday."  Anyway, the folks at The Bitten Word issue a yearly challenge to help them cook every recipe out of the September issue of Bon Appetit.  I signed up this year, and was issued the task of making this: buttermilk cake with sour milk jam and gin-poached cherries (whew).

All my ingredients.
It was less than impressive.

It incorporated several elements of baking that I find vexing - like the need to go to Whole Foods for a strange and expensive ingredient (juniper berries?), the finished product requiring complex assembly, the use of three (3) separate complete elements, and a wholeheartedly unrealistic amount of time spent doing active work (not, say, cooling something on the counter or baking something in the oven).  So, not only was it a great deal of work, but it tasted gross.  This saddened me.  But!  (There's always a but.)  I had fun making something that I never would have made otherwise, and the cake part itself tasted delicious.

First, I planned.  I got most of the stuff I needed on a grocery run - in the process acquiring more dairy than our fridge has held in months: buttermilk, whole milk, and creme fraiche.  Then, I traded picking up a friend at her mechanic for a cup of leftover gin she had since I didn't want to buy a whole bottle.  (Meanwhile thinking to myself, isn't a cup of gin, like, a LOT of gin??).  Finally, I resigned myself to going to Whole Foods after class one day to buy a four-dollar jar of dried whole juniper berries.  I will be personally indebted to anyone who finds another recipe with which I can use any more of the (barely touched) bottle of juniper berries, by the way.

The cake part, like I said, was delicious and simple enough.  Just a yellow cake batter, using buttermilk, which gave it a lovely soft crumb and a delicately sweet flavor.  Scrumptious.

Then, I spent 45 minutes cooking down milk and sugar into a syrup of such sickening sweetness that even mixing it into 8 ounces of creme fraiche didn't make it not taste like a cavity.

Finally, I followed the recipe exactly and attempted to make a gin, sugar, juniper berry, and dried tart cherry syrup thing to also put with the cake.  Total fail.  There was nothing syrupy about it, and the cherries were macerated within minutes.  I took one taste after cooking it for at least twice the amount of time called for (in an attempt to reduce the vast volume of liquid) and it was like taking a shot of gin in a spoon.  I'm not in college anymore, so this made me gag.

The finished product.
I took one bite of it all together, threw the sour milk "jam" and the alcoholic cherries in the trash, said a silent apology to the friend whose gin I'd wasted, and ate a piece of the cake with my hands.  Whomp whomp.  I'm very curious to see what others who made this recipe thought of it!  And I was at least happy to note that my instincts when looking at this recipe (looks complicated, and, is that seriously going to taste good...?) were spot on.

Anyone else had some recent cooking adventures they'd like to share?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Summer's End

Summer has abruptly and unceremoniously come to an end.  On my run the other day, I realized with a start that my bright sneakers were shuffling through dry leaves and there was a hint of woodsmoke in the air.  Unequivocally, fall.  It's still 85 degrees during the days here sometimes, but the chill of the evenings and early mornings are insisting, nope, fall.  I love it.  I also hate fall, but as we've discussed, I'm a fan of strong things in opposition.

This guy built a web across our entire front porch.
Basking in his grandparents' love and attention.
Tomato chutney, freshly canned.
I miss this.
School has started again and it's a heady mix of Oh my good god, how can I possibly keep up with this insane workload? and Babies! Bellies! Fetal heart tones! Leopold's maneuvers! Holy jeebers, I can't believe we're actually learning all of this!

It feels both surreal and like the most natural thing in the world, all at the same time.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Happy Radish, RN

This radish is licensed to nurse.

One year down, two to go.  Bring on the babies!

Thank you for all of the support, encouragement, laughs, and wisdom that you all have shared with me during this past year.  This blog has always been my outlet, but that took on added meaning over the past twelve months, and I am, again, grateful for everyone who reads and roots for me in my tiny corner of the internet.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Things I find

I've been seriously neglecting this blog, of late.  I take my boards tomorrow though, so hopefully I'll have more to say once that's over with.  In the meantime, some favorites from the past few weeks:

Sunset over Brooklyn
I found this fascinating, largely because I applied for Teach for America during my senior year at Smith, and made it through several rounds of interviews before being cut.  I felt a little dejected and snubbed, but found something else to do.  Looking back, I am so, so glad that I didn't get accepted - here's why (and here, too).

Birth is expensive.  During my pediatric rotation, I spoke with a family who had just received their hospital bill for the birth of their second child.  They had insurance, and they were shocked at the price tag on her epidural, in particular (I think it was around $10,000).  They asked me why it wasn't covered and I told them probably because it's an elective procedure.  The mom looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Well, what was I going to do, have the kid in my living room?"  I smiled angelically and suggested she consider that with her next child before giving her the name of the Connecticut home birth midwives' group (who charge around $4,500 flat fee for all your prenatal, birth, and postnatal care).

I liked this piece about - as a woman - being your own story, not just the supporting character in somebody else's.

Grandmothers cooking - and some beautiful photographs of food and women and kitchens.

Lots of people I know are obsessed with Netflix's new show, Orange is the New Black.  Several of these friends then ask if I'm watching it, knowing that I went to Smith (the alma mater of the series' protagonist, Piper Kerman, who wrote the autobiography on which the show is based).  I am not, and here's a pretty good explanation of why.  [Full disclosure: I tried to read the book a few years ago, and the author rubbed me the wrong way.  Probably because my best friend in college volunteered in a prison, did a Fulbright looking at prison systems around the world, and is now getting her PhD in sociology at Berkeley focusing on this same topic.  Suffice to say, I was better educated in the idea of prison reform and our country's messed up system than would have allowed me to tolerate Kerman's self-congratulatory and blatantly racist memoir.]

Expecting a lot of new mothers is something the US is particularly good at.  What if we looked at how everyone else in the world did things?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Timing Is Everything

I love the word ambivalent.  I loved it long before I even really knew what it meant, which did nothing to curb my use of it.  Thank goodness for the movie, Girl, Interrupted or I probably never would have learned that I, like Susanna Kaysen, had been using it to mean the equivalent of "I don't care," when in fact, "ambivalence suggests strong opposition."  Armed with my new knowledge, I used ambivalent when several other words would have sufficed: to describe the fact that I was indecisive, perhaps, or simply a tad bit lazy and prone to procrastination when it came to important decisions.  But no, I was torn, you see, I was ambivalent.  Eventually I learned some new words and thank goodness, or else my psyche might have bowed under the weight of so much hand-wringing.

In May, just a few months ago, I found myself in a situation that brought whole new depths of meaning to the word.  I thought I was pregnant.

Back in September or October, after several weeks of dating and a few weeks of knocking boots with this new boyfriend of mine, I got my act together and went on the pill.  I had taken the pill for years as a teenager to help curb my viciously painful periods and had never had the issues with it that I know so many women do (thank goodness).  I went off of it in college because I was dating women, and it took a few months of being on it again this time around for it to sink in with me that now I was taking it because every single time we had sex, I could potentially get pregnant.  This might seem incredibly obvious, but for me, this was kind of mind-blowing.  All of my previous sexual encounters with men had been so short-lived that whatever potential for worry there might have been was gone within a month.  So, despite being not only well-educated but pursuing a degree in women's health care, it took some effort on my part to get my shit together.  I set alarms on my phone, I carried my pills in my school bag, I did whatever I could think to retrain my brain into acknowledging that yes, this could happen to me.  And things were fine.  I was lucky - I don't have any bad reaction to the pill and thanks to Yale's health care coverage, my pills were free.  Does it sound too good to be true?

And then, one day in late May, as I started my run on the treadmill, a fleeting thought blipped through my mind, Why are my breasts a little sore?  Did I mistakenly grab the less supportive sports bra out of my drawer this morning?  My mind drifted to other things until later that night, when we were lying in bed together, he asked me, "Um, hon?  Why are your boobs bigger?"

My heart dropped to the floor and words failed me.  The darkness of the room pressed against my eyes and I managed a faint, "I- I don't know.  Are they really?  No, they're not."
"...I think if anyone would know, it's me."

One beat, two beats, three beats of silence while I thought I might burst into tears.

"I love you," he told me firmly, gathering me in a hug.  "But I am not ready for kids right now."
"I- I know," I stammered, realizing with a cold and heavy certainty that this was truer than true.  "Neither am I."  And as I said those words, my heart wrenched and I knew it was true, but I didn't want it to be true.

And thus began the longest week of my life, while I waited to get my period, knowing that the reassurance of a negative pregnancy test could be entirely false since I wasn't even late yet.  I cursed everything I knew about pregnancy, because it meant nothing I felt that week, nothing, went undetected and uninterpreted as a symptom.  My breasts were sore, I was moody, I was vaguely nauseas, I was freaking textbook pregnant, until a week went by and there on the toilet paper was the reassuring sweep of red.

That week gave me a new perspective on the word ambivalent, as I considered what would happen if I was pregnant.  You see, there was a part of me that simply thrilled to the idea that I might have a baby now.  A part of me that lay awake at night with my hand on my lower abdomen and thought about how he and I could make it work.  But it was fleeting, because the much bigger and more mature part of me thought about the kind of things like, what a terrible way to tie someone to me forever - by knotting us together with an unintended pregnancy.  And I thought about how, sure, maybe it's old-fashioned and prosaic of me but yes, I really do want the wedding and the marriage first and then the conscious decision to be made together, of yes, let's procreate.

In the dark of one of those sleepless nights, I landed on it: I want kids, and I want them with him, but not like this.  

Which is why when I get back to school at the end of the summer, I'm going to get an IUD.  The pill is just not a long-term solution for me.  It's too much stress every month, between the remembering and the worry.  I am wary of an IUD, I'm not going to lie.  But I have several friends who have them who I've spoken to at length, and I'm willing to give it a shot.  If I hate it, then I'll reassess.  But even though it makes me a little sad to be so decisive about saying, No, not now to having kids, I know it's the right thing to do.  I take deep breaths and tell myself, No, not now, but someday.  Someday, soon enough.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wrapping It Up

I finished my first year of nursing school, my entire RN education today.  I turned in my last assignment for Community Health.  I closed my computer.  I burst into tears.  And then spent most of the rest of today crying.  For a lot of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with school, but I may or may not have sat up in my bed this afternoon, where I had been dozing with tears leaking out of my face for the better part of an hour, thrown my pillow to the floor and said out loud, "This is NOT how I pictured feeling at the end of this year."  Like I said, may or may not have happened.  I think I just need to sleep and speak to myself in a soft, soothing voice and keep everything at a low level of stimulation for a few days until my emotions and hormones recalibrate from "past the knife edge of crazy" into "mostly normal."

Next up: pass my boards.  Gulp.

We picked thirty pounds of sour cherries...

Pitting them was a lot of work.
Like, a lot.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Long-Delayed Running Post

I'm just going to say it straight up and get it out of my system - I didn't train enough for my half marathon in April, and it showed, and this made me angry.  And sad, and kind of defeated and frustrated with myself in a way that was so ungodly familiar to the way I've been self-talking for most of the last 25 years that it made me even sadder, because there I was, thinking I was all grown and beyond that (Sometimes I am.  Other times, not so much.)

That is not a happy finishing face, in case you couldn't tell.
I trained consistently for longish distances, but not enough for long, long distances - as in, I did only one real run that was over 10 miles, and that one particular run involved a lot of detours and walk breaks and turning around and other time wasters that were not exactly helping me get better.  I trained quite a bit with runs of 5, 6, 7, even 8 miles.  So guess what - during the half, around about mile 8, it started to become very much not fun.  As in, my legs felt dead.  I had no more endurance, and my soul felt like it was wilting.  I still remember how it felt to walk most of the last two miles through beautiful rolling hills, thinking to myself, I can't do this.  I don't want to do this.  This is stupid.  Just stop now, just don't even finish because your time is so embarrassing that it would be better if you just quit.  I'm glad I didn't quit.  I'll be honest, the main reason I didn't is because the boy who I love very much had been the sweetest, most supportive and encouraging partner I could ever ask for that day, and I didn't want to disappoint him by not crossing the finish line.  So if telling myself, Do NOT make it a waste of his Saturday to have driven you out here at the crack of dawn and stand by the road with signs, and wait an unholy amount of time for you to finish, was what got me across the line, then so be it.

"I'm proud of you," says he.  "Running sucks," says I.
But there it is.  The other part of that day that sucked was experiencing the very steep learning curve of what/how/when to nourish myself for a race that long.  Suffice to say, I did not do a good job, and I spent the first hour after the race puking and refusing to eat anything while this same sweet boyfriend of mine (who at that point deserved my finishing medal instead of me) gently but insistently spooned oatmeal into my mouth and handed me an orange juice cup that kept having to be refilled after I would vomit up its contents.
Moments before vomiting commenced.
And after that day, I took a break.  A long break, as it were.  From working out at all, for a few weeks. And then for much longer, from running.  But last week the running bug bit again and I thought this all out with much care, consideration, and a good deal more knowledge and I feel prepared to tackle the next challenges.  I know that in order to run consistently, I need to train for races - this is fine by me, because it gets me out the door and it gives me a time frame to work within.  So part one of the new plan was to sign up for two races this fall.  Done.  Part two was that I wanted to teach myself that I could run fast.  I got very safe and secure feeling like I could never run faster than about a 10 minute mile and this just isn't true.  I know it's not true because in February, I ran a sub-30 minute 5k and loved it.  So while I might be terrified of training my body to be speedy, I know that having that kind of training under my belt will boost not only my fitness, but my confidence by leaps and bounds.  So part two - I'm doing a 5k on Labor Day and a 10k in October.  Part three - run another half, and train better.  That part still scares me, which is why we're saving it for next year.  I'd like to ideally run the same half I did this year, or one around the same time of year, and train better for it, and see the improvement.  That would make me so happy.  And if that is the last half marathon I ever run, then fine.  But I finally decided the other night that my short-lived running and racing career could absolutely not end with this past April's race.

Oh my gosh, this post is so long.  But one last thing - a friend sent this to me today, and it was so incredibly fitting, since today was my first run in a very long time (it sucked, truly).  The last page is my favorite, especially this line:

"I run very fast because I desperately want to stand very still.  I run to seek a void."


So, running?  Let's give this another go.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Fourth of July

The fourth is my favorite holiday.  This occurred to me only this year when, around Easter time, the boy told me Easter was his favorite holiday and asked me what mine was.  "Fourth of July," I said without missing a beat, wondering where this was coming from as the words flew out of my mouth.  "Because you get to eat hot dogs and there's no presents."  How true, I thought, as if I was listening to someone else.

I have friends here, now.  Real friends.  We played games on the fourth, did drunken headstands on the lawn while the dog grew progressively more hysterical.  We meant to go see fireworks but rather rolled around the hot grassy lawn, doused ourselves in bug spray, and drank sweaty sticky sweet drinks that have no name but consisted largely of sugar water and alcohol.  Throw in a lime wedge.  Play a guessing game that descends into a political discussion and tune out periodically to have passionate discussions about getting married and recovering from eating disorders (still, always, always recovering till the day we die) while our legs tangle in the grass and the dog licks our sweaty sticky sweet faces.

The night before, he took me to a baseball game (my first!).  There was promise of fireworks after the game, during which I practically squirmed with glee.  
"Is this the top of the fifth?" I would ask.  
"Bottom of the seventh."  
"You'll get it."  
It rained through one whole inning but I pulled my raincoat hood over my damply curling hair and proudly pointed out things like line drives and pop flies to him while he smiled at my excitement and asked me if I was cold.  The fireworks started and my mouth fixed in an O of admiration and I caught him watching my face light up with the shower of sparks.
"The waterfall ones are my favorite," I told him.
"Mine too."
I fell asleep in the cool car on the way home, then fell again hard and exhausted into his bed until morning dawned hot and blazing through the shades, waking me up and I thought to myself, This is my favorite holiday in my favorite season with my favorite person in my very own perfectly imperfect chaotic and spectacular life.

And oh, what a blessed life it is.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Growing Pains

I open my computer and I try to write.  I sit and stare at the blinking cursor, I cower away, I come back.  I wait.  Nothing strikes.  Whoever said that writing was as simple as sitting down at the typewriter and opening a vein had it all wrong.  I've done both, so I know.  Opening veins is way, way easier.  Thoughts crowd around, a jumbled mass of things that sound like nothing more than complaints, petty grievances that raise my blood pressure, piss me off, and then are gone.  Being around other people is exhausting, I didn't even go to my classmate's celebratory end of the year party Tuesday night, after the 79 of us all slogged through ten months of classes together.  I didn't go, despite being invited, and then I turn away from photos of the fun because my heart hurts from feeling left out.

I grow my plants with a vengeance.  I can do this, I can be good at this.  It's 90 degrees, I'm pouring sweat, and I don't care.  I pull all the weeds, even the tiny ones.  I fertilize carefully, I water with an attention most people reserve for walking a tightrope.  My mind clears, I don't have to talk to anyone or be happy or cheerful or compassionate while I'm doing this.  This is my territory, these plants are my babies.  It's such a simple, straightforward process - dig, plant, tend with care, and look, something amazing happens.  The garden's timeline of weeks and months relieves my frantic soul, while I tell myself that ten years from now, I will smile at my anxious incompetent current self and think nothing of all the things that scare me now.

I don't have to be anyone special for him.  It's such a relief.  He tells me he's proud of me for getting honors and we leave it at that.  I want to hear about how he saved thousands of frogs from the stagnant pool they're emptying at the apartment complex he's working on in Georgia this week.  I want to hear about this because it's not the jumble of anxiety and exhaustion that is clouding the inside of my brain.  I go with him to look at a house he might move into, and I plan where the nursery might go, a few years from now.  I show him where I'll plant the garden, he tugs my ponytail and says with a smile, "Okay."  That's it.  I lean into him and I don't have to do anything more.

I talk to a midwife on the phone this morning about attending some home births this summer.  She asks where I'm doing my community health rotation and when I tell her she laughs, and says, "I remember doing community health.  We called it community hell for a reason.  Good luck!"  I go pull more weeds and stroke my one growing hot pepper until the tightness in my throat clears and my eyes are no longer leaking.

I sleep in his bed because the air conditioning is too good to pass up and the bed feels cavernous without him and the inside of my head is a mess again and it still would be easier to pour from my wrists than it is to figure out what I'm trying to say.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Things I Find

CT has some pretty beaches, if you know where to look.

And some wicked thunderstorms, that result in rainbows like this.
I have one more test.  One more test before my academics for the first year are kind of over - I say kind of because for most of July I'll be working (for free) as a nurse with the VNA nearby and doing some kind of massive, currently undefined project that counts very much for a grade.  But my last test is on Tuesday so I'm just trying to focus on that for right now.  In between studying, I'm planning all sorts of things to do with the 21 pounds of strawberries H. and I picked this weekend.  Rough life, I'm telling you.

An excerpt from a book I very much want to read, about becoming a nurse.

I need feminism because old man patients have groped me and I knew enough not to tell anyone.

I think it's obvious what side of the debate I'm on, but decide for yourself.

Big news in the land of diabetes research.

I don't ever want to forget Newtown (careful, this one made me cry).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Worn Out

I am so tired.

It runs through my head, it's a permanent state of being by now.  People say hi, how are you, I say fine, good, thanks, how are you?  I don't say, I'm tired, I'm just so, so tired.

I wake up feeling uneasy, like I've just been unceremoniously returned to this bed and this body in order to wake up and get on with the day.  Part of me lingers in wherever I was before and I spend all day trying to remember it.  Some nights I am unconscious in seconds, only surfacing as the sun creeps through the window the next day, my hand reaches out, searching because I can't remember if I'm in his bed with him or in my bed alone.

Other nights I fall asleep, I dream vivid ghastly dreams of being alone in the delivery room, everyone has left and it's just me.  The woman grunts and I tell her not to push, just breathe, I don't want her to tear and I'm scared, I'm so scared.  I reach out and catch the squirrel she has just delivered instead of a baby and I almost drop it because it is like looking inside of Hell and wanting to scoop out your eyes rather than remember what you've seen.  The mother reaches down and cuddles the animal with its wet fur and beady eyes and I turn, vomit, start to scream and wake up.

Some nights I float in the between place, neither awake nor asleep, for hours.  As the birds start to chirp, my body finally gives up and I sink into sleep for forty-five minutes.  The alarm rings and I want to cry.

What day is it?  What time am I supposed to wake up?  Where am I?

It takes me whole minutes to find the answers to these questions.  I feel like I'm trying to pluck them out of the air - elusive, like catching dandelion fluff to make a wish.  You open your hand, sure you had it, but there's nothing there.

Am I the same person I was when I started this?  
Does anyone here even know me at all?  
Do I know who I am anymore?  
I don't remember.  
I'm so, so tired.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Edit: I wrote this last night after a loooong day of babysitting that reminded me a little too much of so many issues about which I stayed completely silent when I was a nanny, mostly out of fear that I would be fired if my bosses were to happen upon this blog and read what I'd said.  Reading it over today, good golly, I sound pissed.  I'm much calmer now (really).  But I still think these are valid issues.  So I'm going to post it, and I hope you all can read it knowing that most of my memories of nannying are extremely fond and that I absolutely think that when moms need help, they should get it (and be honest about it).

Recently, I've read a few things about moms (and parents, more generally) needing help.  And how that is okay (I would agree) and nothing to be ashamed of (again, right on).  It seems to rise like a rallying battle cry from some - certainly not all - mothers, particularly those who are home raising their children or who do work for money from home while raising their children.  I have no inherent problem with this.  You want to know what the very last thing I tell my postpartum patients when they're being discharged from the hospital with their brand new baby?  Not, "Put them on their back to sleep."  Not even, "You can do this!"  I tell them, "Don't be afraid to ask for, and accept help.  Don't try to do this all alone."  

But here's my beef with the whole thing - if you are hiring someone to watch your children, paying someone money to come to your house several days a week, for set hours at a time, leaving them in charge and trusting them with the health and safety of your child, if that is what you are doing, then you are not hiring a "babysitter."  You are not hiring "help."  You have not found a new "friend" for either yourself or your child(ren).  You are not "lucky to have such a sweet girl to come by sometimes."  (By the way, these are all exact quotes from people I, or people I know, have worked for.)  You have hired a NANNY.  You have hired someone whose job, perhaps career, it is to take care of your kids.  And guess what - if you chose right, she (or he) takes that job extremely seriously, and it is nothing short of a slap in the face to call it anything less than exactly what it is.

I haven't been a nanny in almost exactly a year now, and I don't miss it.  But when I did do it, it was my job.  It paid my bills.  It allowed me to live independently, to support myself, and to live in two very large and very expensive cities and not be evicted or go hungry.  And because it was my job, and it was that important to me, I took those jobs damn seriously.  I read child development books.  I asked my mom for advice.  I practiced patience, and I chose my words carefully with my charges, and I enforced consistency and responsibility and built them a solid foundation upon which to grow.  I also loved them, and even though I didn't get paid to do that, I did it anyway because how could I not?  I poured my heart and soul into raising all those kids and when people ask me what I did before Yale, I tell them I was a nanny.  I enunciate it clearly and repeat myself when they ask me, incredulously, if that's really what I did, and I don't give a shit if the person asking worked for a Fortune 500 company for two years before grad school while I was changing diapers and pushing swings.  

And one last thing - if, from what I have read on numerous posts written by mothers both about the need for help and about things that have nothing to do with that, if in fact, motherhood is hard, and staying at home is hard, and we can all agree that raising babies is hard freaking work, then guess what - it's not just hard for you.  It's hard for the person you hire, and acting like it's a walk in the park for your special "friend" or that it's something I did to amuse myself before getting back to my real and glamorous life when I left your house at 7 PM is also a slap in the face.  It's just as frustrating for me as it is for you when your baby throws their dinner on the floor.  It's just as much work for me to do three loads of laundry while entertaining two sick children as it would be for you.  Yeah, I got good at it.  But it wasn't easy.  And I bit my tongue hard enough to draw blood on more than one occasion, listening to the things my bosses would say ("How are you able to do it all?" someone would ask them, while I sorted laundry in the basement, their voices clear as day through the furnace ducts.  "Oh, you know.  It just all comes together somehow!"  Somehow?  ME.  I was the "somehow.") - and why?  To appease some awful sense of guilt?  Or to make themselves feel better?  Listen, if you need help then you need help!  Own it!  If it's truly nothing to be ashamed of, and we're all raising the battle cry about not trying to go it alone, then give the person who helps you the respect they deserve by telling it exactly like it is.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Away We Went

Memorial Day weekend may have only been a paltry three days long, but I latched onto it with an intensity that bemused the boy (and me, to a certain degree).  I was determined to make a mini-vacation out of it, if for no other reason than I have been in school for a long ten months now and I just wanted a break, dammit, but nope, school goes until the end of July.

We couldn't go more than four hours away because of work and school and those other things called "real life."  Also the dog had to come (again, real life).  So my hastily planned weekend basically consisted of three things:
1) Pit stop in Waterbury, VT to go to the Ben & Jerry's factory
2) Stay in northern New Hampshire, because Franconia is pretty and there's a yummy pancake restaurant.
3) Find a B&B that allows dogs, doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and has a room.

Oh, and go hiking.  Fresh air is good for my junky lungs and I wanted to get away from people.

Despite a profound lack of sophisticated thought and planning, we had a blast.  It rained almost the entire time.  It got down in the 30's at night and even snowed three inches (yes, really).  But it was really, really nice to go somewhere different and climb through mountains and wade through a freezing river and play Trivial Pursuit on his Blackberry on the drive home.

Whenever we go somewhere other than here, there's a part of me that lights up and thinks about, Well, what if we lived here? and I have all sorts of fun imagining things like living in the foothills of the White Mountains and driving a four-wheel drive pickup truck out to births, and growing a garden and hiking with the dog.  And it's not like There is better than Here, I think it's just about it being different.  But when my neighbors (who are now my friends) with the baby say things to me and him like, "You're not moving away from New Haven after you graduate, right?" while I snuggle the baby and blow raspberries in his neck, it makes me think to myself, Or, well, I guess we could stay here and be close to Boston and New York and family and friends and I'd grow a garden somehow and as long as we get a goat someday that I can name Cooper, it'll all work out that way too.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe I'm finally realizing that where you wind up living the majority of your life isn't necessarily a conclusion that you draw with a whole lot of profundity.  Maybe it's more like where you end up and where you grow roots and where you fall in love with building your world around you.  And maybe no matter how much you love where you are, you still go somewhere different and romantic for a weekend and think, Hey, what if...

And maybe there's nothing really wrong with that at all.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Things I Stumble Upon

Sometimes I feel like a sloppy drunk, wandering around the internet.  I click on links that people post and send me and then I continue on, crashing through this virtual world, stumbling through blog posts and articles and opinion pieces.  Often I'll leave six or seven links open on my browser for days before sitting down to read them.  Inevitably, some are not worth it and I abandon them two paragraphs in.  But some are amazing.  And I finish those and then have nothing else to do about it, so I guiltily close the tab that I've been faithfully preserving for days.  But no longer, dear readers.  Now - I pass my favorites on to you (like everyone else in the blog world already does).  But I don't care.  This is a bandwagon of sharing that I am happy to board.

Embracing your microbiome.

Words matter, but love matters more.

We don't know enough about suicide, which means we suck at preventing it.  Which is scary, since it's on the rise.  One of the most important things I took away from my psych rotation was how important it is to screen - and how to go about screening - everyone for suicidality.  Yes, even happy people who are planning families and having babies and seeing their midwife for routine visits.

Something we've been talking about a lot lately in school is dying, and how we do it.  I've seen enough already in ten months to know exactly what I don't want done for me (just about everything).  Maybe this is why health professionals and doctors have the kind of deaths we all want to have.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


You know what's awesome about birth, babe?

What's that?

It's was one of the biggest days of these two women's entire lives, because their babies were born, and - and - you get to be there for it.  And for me - all it is is Thursday.  But for them - it's a day that they'll never forget.  I can't believe I get to be there for all of those days for the rest of my life.

Well, I can't think of anyone better to be there for them than you.

I'm so lucky.  I just can't believe how lucky I am.

So are they, he tells me.  And I laugh because this can't possibly be my life.

And yet it is.

Welcome to the world, baby girls.  Today was an awesome day to be born.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Canyon Overflows

I spent the last six Thursdays with some of the sickest kids I've ever seen.  Tracheostomy tubes hooked up to ventilators, CPAP forcing in air that is 80% oxygen, twenty-four hours a day.  Continuous EEG monitoring because she had seven seizures in two days.  Cranial skull fractures so bad that the subarachnoid hemorrhage is causing his spinal cord to swell in its bony casing and he may never walk again.  Sick upon sicker upon sickest, and every single one had a mother.  I met them all.  I talked to them all.  I wrote my name on their white board, explained I was a student nurse and that I'd be helping out their little one that day, and I tried hard to remember their names so that I wouldn't have to call them "Mom" when asking questions or explaining procedures.  
Mothers who knew every medication their child had ever taken, who knew more about his G-tube feedings than I did (by a long shot), who could push an antibiotic and antacid cocktail into it with a smile on their face while they told me about the last 18 months of having a son born chronically ill.  
Mothers who sat anxiously by the bed of their toddler who had bounced around inside the car the night before, unrestrained by a carseat when they were T-boned at 2 AM.  Who rocked back and forth and yelled at me for not giving her baby more pain medication for the craniotomy she'd just had and then apologized in the next breath and told me it wasn't her fault and she was so scared because the DCF worker had just been here and what if she can't take her baby home with her.
Babies who fall out of third story windows.
Babies who weigh thirteen pounds at fifteen months old.
Babies who took too much heroin at their prom last night and may never wake up again.
Babies who haven't woken up in five years and who will never learn to talk or walk or smile or eat.
Mothers at their side, every single one.
Mothers who did everything right, and whose babies were born with illnesses they cannot pronounce.  Mothers who made every mistake in the book, and whose babies fell at fate's hands in the most unexpected way.
Their love was fierce, and it filled the room.  It fought for its right to exist and hold sway in this strange place of plastic and metal and tubes and beeping monitors and no privacy and none of us knowing their child the way they do.  It made them protective and questioning and demanding and sometimes difficult and utterly incomprehensible but it was holding us all in an orbit around the tiny body in the bed and it made me stagger in the face of its enormity, every single week.
And every week, I would escape to the medication room and lean my head against the racks of IV fluids and think to myself, somebody loves you like that, too.  What do you do with a love that big?  Every braid, every bath, every school form signed, every batch of brownies stirred with her hands over mine, each one a hospital bedside vigil.  Every act as filled with a canyon of love as the next.  Sometimes I lay awake at night and wonder, panicked, if she knows how much I love her.  I want to fly through the night air home to hug her and whisper in her ear that I love her bigger than the moon and the ocean and the dirt and the trees and how I can never say it enough and please don't ever leave me because you won't hear it enough times before then.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers of the world.  But especially to mine.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's Something in the Water Here...

My friend dropped her five-month-old off into my bleary arms at 8 AM this morning.  It's her first day of work at her new (grown up RN!) job and I never pass up a chance to snuggle her little man.  A couple hours later, the boy called me to say he was leaving for work if I wanted to come outside for a hug (the benefits of living on the same street abound).  As we were standing on my front stoop, and the dog was wondering what exactly this small squishy creature was that I was holding instead of petting him, my mouth said this:

"Sprocket, be nice to the baby.  You're going to have to get used to them, you know."

And my brain did this:


He (the boy, not the dog) was unfazed.  He knows I want kids.  We have had this conversation before, he and I.  I honestly don't even think he noticed.  We chatted about how Sprocket had most likely never seen a baby before, and I asked him about when he'd be back tonight, he smiled at the baby and kissed me goodbye and it was totally fine except for in my brain.

Here's the thing: I am acutely aware of the intensity with which I often want children, and I do an excellent job 99% of the time of ignoring it.  But sometimes I forget to ignore it, like now, when I am finishing up my pediatrics rotation and heading into maternal-newborn, and babysitting for the cutest baby ever is not helping things.  It also doesn't help things to see classmates and friends of mine with little ones, because my brain is all like, "See?  If they can do it, so can you!"  And then I tell my brain something that I have to repeat a lot, which is, "Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD."

It's not like I'm feeling the pressure of my biological clock, or worried that there will never be another right time in my life to have kids.  It's honestly as simple as, I want a baby.  And I'm so much healthier now, and it makes me feel so good about how much better equipped I am to be a mom because of that, and hey, bonus!  I met someone I want to have kids with and shack up with and shout at from across the dinner table when we're old and grey.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to keep the baby fever comments to myself, lest I scare away the other half of this future equation.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Going Viral

The Friday before last, the little guy I babysit had a runny nose.  And so this past Friday when I woke up with a runny nose I thought oh jeeze, here we go.  So I packed some tissues and got on with my life.  Until now, that is.  My preceptor took one look at me tonight at clinical and said, "I hope you haven't gone anywhere near your patient," - I hadn't - "Why are you here?!" - because making up clinical hours is insanely difficult and calling in sick is deeply frowned upon - and, "GO HOME!"

So I'm in bed, with Lucy curled up under the covers with me and every time I pause the crappy television I'm watching online I'm surprised by how loud I'm wheezing.  Fun times.  How does a runny nose on an 18-month-old turn into a hacking cough, pounding headache, throbbing sinuses, body aches, and wheezing cold on me?

Class tomorrow is going to be awesome.  Don't worry, I'll sit in the back and wear a mask.

Okay, enough complaining.  I took some pictures this past week.  Spring has finally come to Connecticut!