Monday, June 29, 2020

I like to move it move it

The movers are ostensibly coming at 11am tomorrow.  It's going to be hot AF for them to load the van at that time, but on the positive side, they are doing it, not me.  Ha.

My house keeps vomiting up items that I'd forgotten I even had.  I was thinking this morning about the 40 or so boxes we packed during March before the pandemic and how I have for the most part not even noticed that the items contained therein were not available for me to use.  Which makes me wonder why I didn't just get rid of them in the first place.  To that end, I suspect more purging will take place when we arrive at our destination.  

Dyl is having a final playdate with our neighbor whose family is even better than we are about social distancing.  We will miss having them as neighbors a LOT.  

We have packed the TV, the Nintendo.  I just uploaded a manuscript review.  When I finish backing up my computer I will pack it as well.  

I still have to change my address 1,000,000 places.  

I still have to finish revising the manuscript I'm currently working on.  

I still have to prepare for Friday's data meeting.

On one hand I can't wait to get out of here, but on the other, I am sure I will cry tomorrow at some point about leaving.  This house has been so good to us, and I am sad to be leaving it.  I am sad to be leaving West Philly, even though I definitely could live without the used condoms cropping up on my front sidewalk a few evenings each week and the smell of marijuana wafting in my front window.  I had a whole bucket list of things I wanted to do one final time before we left, people we wanted to see, but thanks to this [expletive] pandemic, almost none of that has happened.  I've lived in Philadelphia longer than I've lived anywhere, and now I am leaving.  It feels very weird.

The rest of the day, basically I just have to keep packing.

Oh!  I deleted facebook again.  It was destroying my life.  As a result I did a bunch more DuoLingo.  You know what?  I think it's a good trade.

I'm about 25% into The Hate U Give, which... is really [expletive] good.  Highly recommend.  

Sunday, June 28, 2020


When we were at the beach on Wednesday, at some point a friend of Dylan’s friend’s mom came up to our group outside came up to us to talk to us about how crazy it was that bars were about to open.  This was right after Dylan’s friend’s mom told us about how safe everyone in their little beach group was.  The other mom spoke loudly and emphatically about how it seems like a bad idea, and she knew...


My first thought was get the f*** away from me.  

I later heard about plans the families had to get together for a small party on a boat the following weekend.  At that point I sort of felt the damage had already been done, so we didn’t leave, and Dylan had another play date with her friend a few days later because I figured we’d already likely been exposed.  

However that is where I’m going to draw the line.  She was invited to another play date this weekend at her friend’s house, and after I heard about the childcare arrangements that the brother had with extended family whom we have never met involving at least 6 other cousins, I decided we had to say no.  

The problem isn’t that you are irresponsible and take unnecessary risk (though maybe we did!  I am now left wondering if going to the beach was more risky than I thought, so maybe I am an idiot too!) it’s that your friends, or your friends’ friends do, and you just don’t know.  I know people - mostly where I work - who think it would be a good idea to just get it over with and get everyone infected now so that we can move on as a country.  Ergo, even if your friends aren’t idiots, they are likely to have a friend or family member who is.    

As a side point, since the covid deniers I know are above me in the Physician hierarchy or are nurses, I can’t even say anything even though we are all working in a hospital and should know better.  


I hope it doesn’t get so out of control in Michigan again because of situations like this that riding camp is cancelled.  Yesterday when I told Dylan she couldn’t have another playdate with her friend she was really sad.  

I used to think we should give people credit for being smart enough to do the right thing, when presented with accurate information, at least for their personal health.  I felt personally patronized when doctors would exaggerate risks to me in order to get me to modify my behavior.  I felt like I made good choices when I had good information, and that if I was chronically fed stories that exaggerated risks to me, it would erode my trust in physicians and I would stop trusting anything they said.  Part of the reason I went to medical school and got a PhD in Epidemiology was that I didn’t trust the information I received or other people to translate that information in an appropriate way to me.  

There’s a lot to unpack there!  I know now, just as I knew before, that there are a lot of idiots out there, including many MANY doctors and nurses who have wackadoodle health beliefs that are based on a) nothing, b) personal feelings, and c) misunderstanding the data.  In that sense my premed skepticism feels justified.  

However I also have realized that people are really bad at fully appreciating personal risk and modifying their behavior in a way that optimizes risk for themselves, much less family and friends, and strangers to an almost vanishingly small amount if at all.  If anything, people are happy to blithely put others at risk, even with full knowledge of what they are doing, if they have more fun in doing so than they would by abstaining.  We won’t even get into the willingness of people to hurt others if an authority figure tells them to do so which is also a sad fact of humanity.  If people are willing to do that, then of course they are willing to go to a harmless bonfire - it’s outdoors! It’s allowed! - even though 100 other people will also be there, drinking, and likely acting like assholes.  

I guess I am saying that even when given correct information and rules, people still do stupid selfish things, stretching the rules and then justifying it because - technically they are obeying!  I’ve started to side with my mentor that we really just need to be more dogmatic and stricter than necessary because otherwise it all falls apart.

Saturday, June 27, 2020


I have been having trouble sleeping.  Last night I was awake for several hours.  Mostly I was having anxiety about my inadequacy in the following areas:

1. Exercise -- I have been going for daily walks, but have fallen off the wagon again with running (I hate running) and lifting weights.
2. Anesthesia reading -- So I can remain a good doctor.  I haven't done much of this in a couple of months.  I'd like to refresh myself before starting my new job.  There are just SO MANY THINGS TO READ.  
3. Research -- My grand plan pre-pandemic was to get a couple of manuscripts out, and write a grant.  At this point, I have one manuscript which is in process (but not yet done), another analysis underway.  I also have lots of data for other projects.  No grant.  I am telling myself that maybe I was too ambitious when I started out, and that I should be delighted with how well things are going with all the other stuff that is going on.

What gives?  Well, I think my sleep schedule was thrown off by the trip we took to the beach on Wednesday and going to bed at 11 that night.  Also, the move is stressing me out.

And also last night was the fellow graduation which I felt compelled to attend virtually, but didn't really belong at, heightening my feelings of having been shat upon all year, and making me worry about my defective personality, my inadequate progress with my academic work, my clinical skills as a pediatric anesthesiologist, and while I am at it, my overall physical fitness and inability to stick to any sort of an exercise plan.  Well, I guess I'd have to make a plan in order to stick to it, but I can't think of one that sounds anything other than completely awful at the moment.

On the positive side, the moving logistics are mostly done, and I am big time crossing my fingers that they actually show up on Tuesday.  OMG please!  And the selling the house logistics are underway as well.

I am reviewing a manuscript in my field today, which is due 7/3.  Hoping to turn it in Monday so I don't have to worry about internet when I get to the house.  

A week from now we will be in Michigan.  Crossing my fingers it goes smoothly.

I'd like to start waking up early again, but that's a bit contingent on being able to sleep all night.  So.  I think things will feel a bit better a week or two from now.  Hopefully.  

I wanted to add a point about COVID antibodies that was thinking about this morning: There has been much made of the antibody response not being long lasting for COVID antibodies, and people are kind of freaking out about it.  The thing is, even IgG antibodies are not supposed to be present in high levels in your body for a long time after any disease.  Over time, the antibody levels drop.  However, what happens is you have a memory T cell response that enables you to quickly ramp up production of antibodies if you are exposed to the same pathogen for a second time.  So far there isn't much data on that.  So, as with everything, we shall see! 

Friday, June 26, 2020


I need a break from Coronavirus (don't we all).  Sadly, a legitimate break will not be coming soon.  So instead I am going to try to avoid looking at the number of cases and cnn for a week.  I also will try to use facebook less.  

I already silenced the groups that are the worst offenders, so at least there is that.  I have some new groups that honestly sound like a bunch of Karens who want to prove to everyone they're not Karens... (though aren't we all -- where we = white ladies, I mean?) but I am trying to withhold judgement.  Haha.

I just walked to the hospital to turn in my phone, during which time I saw a number of people out and about acting as self appointed covid-behavior enforcers  These are the people who:

- expect you to walk in the middle of the street when you pass them even if you are wearing a mask 
- angrily mutter at you if you pass them on the sidewalk while wearing a mask
- curse at you for running too near to them in the park while wearing a mask
- give dirty looks for being on your phone on a walk while wearing a mask while they themselves are also on their phone in public while wearing a mask
- run to pass you quickly, and then slow down, and give you a dirty look when you pass them three minutes later while wearing a mask

I think... people just are fed up, pissed off, and projecting their anger and frustration on the nearest possible target.  I will be happy to move to a place with less population density where hopefully people are less angry.  Philly has always had a reputation for being an angry city, and this is no exception.  

But, I think I am allowing myself to get distracted by frustrations with other people, when I personally ought to be focusing on moving forward with my life, doing my best job with my own work, and making the most of what we have.  

So, to that end, 5 things I am currently happy about:

1) Turning in my work phone!
2) My meeting went well!  My dataset is almost ready to be analyzed!  The project is moving forward!
3) Dylan has been acting more relaxed and in less distress over the move.  She still periodically tells me she is waiting for a miracle to happen that would enable us to stay, which kind of kills me, but I am just dealing with that.  Oh!  And yesterday she asked me what a square root was, and the conversation ended up diving into fractions and decimals and numbers that don't end (like 1/7 = 0.142857 over and over to infinity), and factorial.  It was so cool!  If I were more literary I would turn this into a life metaphor lol and it wouldn't even be cheesy.
4) Our AP seems to be happy.
5) I am relaxed enough that I am able to read again!  I hadn't been feeling it for months, and now I am again.

Anyway, onward and upward, right?  

Thursday, June 25, 2020


In keeping with the idea that I should be relishing every moment of my daughter's childhood, I took my daughter to the beach yesterday to have a not-socially-distanced mostly outdoor playdate with one of her best friends from school, and to hang out with friend's mom.  AP came too.  In a state with <400 new cases per day, among people who are largely responsible, it was a calculated risk that I thought was worth taking.  

(Of course, since most people fall into the category of "liar liar pants on fire" with respect to their personal daily social distancing habits, we may all die of COVID four weeks from now, but hopefully not.  We shall see.)

I had no idea whether Dyl would have fun since we've never really done the beach as a family before -- IMO the beach is best enjoyed with a friend rather than a parent -- but she had a blast.  The girls played in the ocean, dove into waves, boogie boarded, dug for clams, built sand castles, and generally had an amazing time.  Mild sunburns were incurred by all, mostly in areas where I failed to effectively reapply sunscreen, but overall I think we did ok.  Dylan is still recovering.

We also had delicious mussles and shrimp for dinner, and key lime pie.  It was scrumptious.  We finished the day with the most spectacular sunset I've seen in a while.  It was basically a perfect day, and I only thought about the state of our country for about 25% of the time.  

We arrived home at about 10:30 (despite literally 100s of deer we saw on the way home eagerly awaiting the chance to bound haphazardly in front of my car, as punishment for our hubris).  

Dylan is still exhausted and extra whiny today.  It has been really difficult to get going again today work-wise, but here I am.  

Proof of mommy and daughter beach day
Spectacular sunset that was much more impressive in person

I have had a bit of paralysis this morning from the overwhelm from the amount of crap I have to get done in the next four days.  OMG it is so much.  Hahahahaha.  In keeping with the idea that I should simultaneously be enjoying every moment and working constantly, I wanted to assure the internet and any future person or organization I work for that I am working constantly.  In the car, at the beach, eating dinner... even when I am asleep.  


Tuesday, June 23, 2020


My F***book feed is on fire today regarding The Orange Man's decree that there will be no au pair visas granted this year.  Reactions have varied widely:

1) I am so screwed.  The au pair program was the only way I was able to afford childcare.  Now I may have to quit my job.

2) I am outraged that we will have to fork over $60,000 for a nanny this year.  Dammit.  I won't be able to buy a new Tesla after all.

3) Dammit.  I should have voted for that b*tch Hilary instead of writing in my husband's name, even though powerful women rub me the wrong way.

4) All you selfish doctors should stop complaining.  Compared to all the other women in this country who are utterly f***ed in the childcare department, you have it... marginally better than most.

5) This is hard for everyone.  Suck it up and just hire a $60,000 per year nanny like I was able to do because my husband is a hedge fund manager / my parents left me a ton of money.  God.  Why are you so selfish?

6) As an attending who had children after finishing training, you residents with children need to understand that decisions have consequences.  

7) Thank God I only had one child and she is almost old enough to get up and get on the bus in the morning by herself.  Hanging on by my teeth here!**

8) Crap. I'm going to have to use my elderly parents as childcare again.  I hope I don't kill them, because then I would be so screwed.  

**This one is me.

Monday, June 22, 2020

what could go wrong?

Pack pack pack pack pack pack pack.

That is what my weekend was.  It's ok.  It was anticipated.  But man, why does it still feel like we have so much to do?  

I find myself anticipating things that will go wrong.  I mean, of course something will not go as anticipated, but does it really do me any good to perseverate on:

- AP's stuff not fitting in the van or car, or not being packed in time for us to leave BECAUSE SHE HAS LITERALLY DONE NO PACKING YET????

- Having someone from the hospital's billing department contact me to sign an insurance form, for which obviously a wet signature will be required, after I have moved to Michigan.  I am literally crying and laughing at the specter of the following conversation:

Billing office: You must physically come in to my office (located in Philadelphia) tomorrow to sign this form.
Me: I'm sorry, that will be impossible as I now live in Michigan.

I actually have no idea what they would/could do to me if I was physically unable to sign an insurance form, but I bet it would be bad, even though I'm sure it's happened before and there must be *some* way to work around this.  Rule #1 of being a doctor is don't f*** with the hospital's income stream.  Haha.  

- Movers not showing up on time.

- Movers damaging or losing things (husband is in denial about this, actually told me that this would never happen HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA).

- House's HVAC not working when we move in or something. 

Any number of other things.  

Further complicating all of this is that Luca thinks he is going to work through this process uninterrupted, as though we aren't moving at all.  

We are actually in quite good shape, I just need to stop thinking about this stuff.