News from the Hospital Front: When You Wish Upon A Star

I hear you, people. I understand how hard it is to work from home or to provide some sort of semblance of school to your children. I also know how difficult it is to be unemployed (believe me, I found myself unexpectedly unemployed during the summer of 2010) and yet still have bills to pay.

I am also bored as h*ll staying at home (although, my cooking may have improved a bit) and am chomping at the bit to go out. As it is, DH, Kirby Krackel, and I were scheduled to be on vacation this past week and the upcoming week. Two whole weeks off to make a road trip out to the Utah National Parks. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. Due to this stupid COVID-19 crisis.

But what I don’t understand is why other states are loosening up the restrictions on staying at home and are beginning to open non-essential businesses in the wake of this crisis … which is FAR from over, despite what you may be reading and/or hearing in the news. For those that disagree with me, I invite you to tour the ER and spend a 12-hour shift in the ICU.

I don’t wish it upon you or any of your loved ones, but I wish you could understand what it’s like to have experienced having COVID-19; the feeling of isolation and helplessness that comes from keeping your distance from loved ones so that you don’t give COVID-19 to them.

I don’t wish it upon anyone to experience the extreme chills despite high temps, the worse muscle aches in the world. And yet, as a Registered Nurse, knowing that you NEED your body to react this way because it’s your body’s way of trying to fight off the virus on its own. And in the same vein, fearing that your body may overreact and cause severe respiratory distress that you need to be admitted to the hospital.

I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you could feel what it’s like to watch via FaceTime the panic in your spouse’s face as you see him struggling to breathe with a mask blowing 100% pure oxygen directly through his mouth & nose … while he barely is able to tell me that he still feels like he can’t take a breath. Or the panic you feel that, as a wife and as a Registered Nurse:

  1. You can’t be there to physically hold his hand to help calm him down
  2. You know his assigned RN is busy with her other patient that is being intubated, and
  3. You fear that he’ll be the next one they’ll place on a vent.

I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you could experience the red taped bureaucracy involved in trying to seek appropriate treatment, while also trying to follow the guidelines put in place … Only to have those guidelines change from day to day, hour to hour.

Or the fact that, as an essential worker, how difficult it has been to even get tested for COVID-19, knowing that your positive test result can be added to the data being collected during this pandemic.

I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you knew what it’s like to love your career and be good at it, yet are hesitant to go into work each day for fear of what might happen on your shift.

Or what it’s like to force yourself to take a few deep, calming breaths before pushing back your unit’s door, labeled with a temporary sign that reads “Isolation Unit. Keep Doors Closed.”

Or how every day you greet your co-workers with, “Wonder what fresh hell we’ll get ourselves into today.”

Or how much of a struggle it is to remember what the latest protocol is for each specific task you have on your daily assignment. And what it’s like to worry that if you don’t follow these ever-changing guidelines, then you’d miss something life-threateningly important.

Most importantly, I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you could recognize that what is happening at the patient’s bedside and on these units are occurring at a lightning fast pace. So fast in fact, that the *actual* news reported on a daily basis is often times a week or two behind.

  • Lack of testing? Called it.
  • Lack of PPE not just for the hospital, but other care facilities including nursing homes? Called that, too. Hydroxychloroquine ousted as “The Miracle Drug”? Uh huh … and I’m waiting for the news to report on how Remdesivir is only effective within 1-4 days of when the patient actually developed symptoms.

I don’t expect you to *understand* what my experiences have been like with COVID-19. However, I am simply asking you to see the reasons why Michigan’s government placed these “Stay At Home” restrictions in place.

While COVID-19 may not have affected you or your loved ones directly, it HAS affected the 50K Michiganders who tested positive for COVID-19 (which is significantly less that the actual, as many people were denied testing … myself included).

Or the families of the 5K Michiganders who DIED from COVID-19 related complications.

What I DO wish upon you is this: I implore you to consider the reasons why I believe it’s too early to “reopen” the country.

How can we reopen when we don’t have adequate testing to confirm exactly how many people have COVID-19?

How can we #SlowTheSpread when we aren’t even sure who has the virus or not … especially when there are countless of people that are NOT showing any symptoms? Those countless people would then unknowingly spread COVID-19 to at least 5 to 6 other individuals that can also remain asymptomatic.

How can we allow businesses, restaurants, retail shops to open when we don’t even have the appropriate leadership in place to set realistic guidelines on how to control the spread of this highly contagious virus?

How can we “reopen” when we don’t have a secure plan in place to keep the curve flattened?

How do we not learn from other countries that have reopened “too soon” and now have shown a resurgence in COVID-19 cases? Like South Korea, who loosen some social distancing restrictions early this month; or the Wuhan Province of China, where new cases popped up after at least 35 days without any new ones.

How can we believe that with “common sense” we can “go back to life as it was” … when “as it was” WAS. NOT. ENOUGH. to control this COVID-19 Pandemic? And that the thought of “we could catch the virus or any other virus” is merely considered a risk?

Sure we take risks every day, but that’s a CHOICE that each individual makes … of which that risk, if you usecommon sense,” should then be limited to your own outcomes. “Common sense” would dictate that any risk taken should avoid endangering others. Unfortunately, if you CHOOSE to take the risk of going out into public without applying social-distancing and without wearing a protective face mask … you certainly are NOT using “common sense.” In fact you would be putting an entire community at risk.

It’s unhealthy to think that by staying “closed,” our economy will crumble. It’s also egotistical to think that if the US Economy collapses, then every other economy will collapse worldwide. How can we think that the economy … the “almighty dollar” (or in this case “liquid assets”) is worth more than a life?

Let me clarify by saying that I DO want the country to reopen. I DO want our economy to be stable. I DO want those unemployed by this crisis to be be able to go back to work. I would certainly love to go out to restaurants again. And take that Road Trip we had planned for the beginning of this month.

What I DON’T want is to see an increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 related issues. Because the more COVID-19 cases seen in the hospital means that the more resources will be reallocated to treating these patients.

This means that elective surgeries (the money maker for any hospital system) will be placed on hold (again), resulting in less revenue. Then the (non-frontline) Hospital Executives will continue to believe that they have “too many employee salaries to pay”, which would then lead to more furloughs and job eliminations.

This ultimately means less staff to take care of these COVID-19 patients (or any sick patients requiring hospitalization, for that matter). And since there will ultimately be those individual who DO NOT use their common sense when the economy reopens, this mean that we may ultimately never gain control over COVID-19. That’s why *I* believe that we need to maintain these #StayHomeStaySafe and #ShelterAtHome restrictions for now; at least until we are able to control the spread of COVID-19 … If not to save more lives (we just surpassed 90K deaths today), but to protect the lives of those still walking this earth.

After all, what good is an economy if we don’t have people to spend it on?


PS. Thanks to the research study I participated in, I can officially say that I did have COVID-19. And I have the antibodies to prove it!

Four Hundred

Wow. Another week has gone by without more than a weekly update. What can I say? It’s been a pretty busy summer.

I admit that I hate taking more than a few days break from writing, because I find that my creative juices start to slow down. Not that I don’t have a lot to say — G*d knows I always got the “Talks Too Much” comment on my grade school report cards — I just find myself struggling to write these thoughts down.

Anyway … what have I been up to?

Well, El Hubs & I were “home” in Detroit early last week. In reality, it’s because we knew we had to travel to Toronto on Thursday for his cousin’s wedding on Friday. And yeah … we coulda done the 9 hr trip in one shot. But why do that when we can break the car ride up in two days? Besides, we figured we’d do some house-cleaning while we were in town for a couple of days.

Thursday afternoon, we pulled into the Greater Toronto Area and swiftly met up with my cousins for some serious catching up. One of these cousins was LJC, whom we haven’t properly spent time with since her wedding in 2008. Her youngest sister was also there and we had the pleasure of finally meeting her Significant Other.

It was an evening full of incredible fun of just sitting and talking … something I sorely miss from the years of spending endless summers with them chatting until late at night.

Friday was obviously Hubby’s cousin’s wedding. And it was an amazing time … perhaps Hot as Hades in mid-July, but so much fun! The best part of the reception … at least in my mind … was getting on the dance floor with all of Hubby’s cousins/significant others and their children (our 14 yo nephew included) to start off the night of dancing with the Black Eyed Peas’ “Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night.”

While the wedding reception was an incredible party, I must say that getting together with Hubby’s entire family (well, most of them anyway) on Saturday was also wonderful. Because even though we spent time together the day before at the wedding, Saturday’s get-together was more laid-back and relaxed. I know Hubby & I had a wonderful time … especially teaching them Canadian cousins how to play the very Michigan card game of Euchre. We think we may have created monsters. LOL!

Hubby overlooking Horseshoe Falls

And today? Well … today Hubby & I found ourselves celebrating HIS birthday in Niagara Falls. I must say, I can’t think of any better way to celebrate Hubby’s birthday than with an entire gaggle of family. Just imagine a group of 25 family members (including an Aunt & Uncle who came from the Philippines for the wedding) doing an entire bus tour of attractions. It was completely chaotic … but I know Hubby has been enjoying himself today.

Even if I did forget to wish him a Happy Birthday until another Aunt had said it to him this morning. Bad bad bad wife!! **

Now, I’m laying here in bed at the hotel, finishing up the last minutes of Hubby’s birthday by writing nothing more than a journal entry for the past week.

Hubby, however, is spending the rest of his birthday night out with the “boys.” And by “boys” I mean two of his cousins, two of his uncles, and his Dad. I’m glad Hubby’s getting a chance to spend time with them … especially since we haven’t had many opportunities to get together with family (from all over the U.S and Canada) over the past few years.

Hubby & Me on Maid of the Mist

So Hubby … before the day’s over, I just want to send an incredibly huge birthday hug and kiss to you. You are my world; my sunshine and rainbow. You are my best friend … and I’m incredibly blessed to have you in my life. I can’t wait to continue our journey in life together.

Oh … and one more thing. Not that this is incredibly exciting news (in the grand scheme of this post anyway). But check out the title of this post.

Yep … that’s the number of blog entries I’ve officially written as of today. Wow!


** In my defense, I must add that I did remember it in the shower this morning. But since we were trying to pack for an overnight stay in Niagara with his family, it slipped my mind by the time I started pack things away! Bad bad wife!!


(Finally! Back online and wired — or “wireless-ed” this case — to the outside world. Hubby & I have been out of town since Friday and haven’t had any internet or email access all weekend. Can’t believe how much I miss having no connection to anything! Okay, so maybe it was a blessing after last month’s Nablopomo … )

This weekend Hubby & I spent some time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hubby is part of the local Advertising Club in the city where he works. Every year, this Ad Club partakes in the Addy’s which is sort of the Oscar’s for Advertising. Any regional Ad Club can hold their own Addy’s, which the winners of each local club goes on to districts and then nationals. But each level has their own sets of judging.

So why were we in Cedar Rapids? Well, because Hubby was asked to judge that local chapter’s entries. And because this was sort of “last minute,” the flights out there were a bit too expensive. So instead, he decided to drive. And well, because it’s a nice 7-plus hour drive from where we live, I hated knowing that he’d be driving that long distance by himself. Which is why I tagged along.

Wintery Freeway Shot on way to Cedar Rapids
Wintery Freeway Shot on way to Cedar Rapids

While he and two others spent the whole day on Saturday judging, I spent most of the morning and half the afternoon in the hotel room. Except, as I mentioned above, we weren’t able to get any internet access. Instead, I flipped through the limited amount of channels on the telly and watched random things. Like a History Channel episode on the Classic Seven Wonders of the World. And High School Musical 1 and 2. And multiple episodes of Han.nah Mon.tana. You could say I was just a little bored.

Mid-afternoon, I finally decided to drag my butt out of my jammies and showered. Afterwards, I decided I’d do the half-hour drive down to Iowa City and surrounding Coralville just to check it out. Iowa City was a pretty college town. Lots of students milling about and lots of shops down the little center area. But it was too frickin’ cold for me to go walking out there by my lonesome. (Heck … it was bad enough that I had to fill the car with gas in that 20-some degree temperature; which doesn’t even include the wind-chill factor!) So then I decided to head to Coralville where I saw a Bar.nes & Nob.les off the freeway. And really, I went there strictly so I could pick up Book Three in the Twi.light series.

I mean after all, I finished the 2nd book earlier that morning while mindlessly flipping through the TV.

Ugh. I can’t say that this trip was majorly exciting. However, knowing that in June of this year Cedar Rapids was completely devastated from major flooding … well, it kinda puts things into major perspective. Especially after watching some of the TV spots that were up for judging for Addy Awards. When talking with some of Hubby’s peers (the ones that sponsored his stay) during dinner one night, I asked the obvious question; which was how bad did it affect the city?

To put it mildly, it devastated Cedar Rapids. When we drove through the streets of the downtown area, our host would point out exactly how high the water levels were. One particular building, you could tell it reached about a story and a half high. Even the server at the restaurant talked about how the entire room we were in was completely submerged under water. There was one instance, we were told, that residents saw some CNN newscasters out on boats, fishing in the middle of the “street.” Because there was, indeed, fish swimming in the streets.

And as we drove along, you couldn’t help but notice how many storefronts were closed. How the actual restaurant our host wanted to take us to never reopened after the flooding. How there were still houses close to the river that appeared to be abandoned with no hope of ever being rebuilt. And there were other stories of house boats that were found piled up at one end of a road. While another pile, this one of derailed boxcars from trains, were stacked up at the other end.

The stat we Hubby & I read was that one in four businesses never reopened after a major disaster. Of all things, we read that bit of info on a billboard. On the freeway. In the southwestern-most end of Michigan. On the way to Iowa. (How weird is that?)

To see that reality of those numbers in front of our face five months after the flooding was, to put it mildly, was tragic. To know that, indeed, many of these stores would never reopen in the city’s downtown business district was heartbreaking. And to know that it would take years to rebuild what was destroyed was just plain sad.

Sun setting in the college town of Iowa City
Sun setting in the college town of Iowa City

Those TV spots that Hubby was given to “judge” told the story of what happened during the floodings. The video shots alone were reminiscent of the same video real I remember seeing after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. And to know that the Iowa floodings happened not so far away from my home … it was certainly eye-opening. And the sheer enormity of this disaster made me realize that natural disasters can happen anywhere. Floods in the midwest. Hurricanes on the East and Gulf coasts. Earthquakes on the west coast (and even other midwest area places you’d never think of). Tornadoes in the heartland. Either way, I think this has made me realize that all of us could be one step away from catastrophe.

So while I was utterly frustrated by the lack of good TV programming or access to the internet … I feel like I can’t really complain about it. Because truthfully … rebuilding this city and its community is much much more important than making sure I’m up to date with all the latest news.

I pray that the community of Cedar Rapids continues to plow forward and rebuild.

Show and Tell: That "Just Married" Look

showandtellWow. I seriously can’t believe I’ve made it through half the month for NaBloPoMo. It seems like a week in, I was already struggling to find stuff interesting stuff to post about. And now … I’ve reached the halfway point.

So today, I decided to share a picture of Hubby and I on our honeymoon. And based on the picture, where do you think we went?

Hmmm …. jackets and sweatshirts, cuddling close to each other. Probably some place pretty cool in climate, eh? Maybe hiking in one of the state parks in Washington … or perhaps Alaska even?


Nope. Hubby and I went to Hawaii. Yep, if you could only pan out a little further in this picture, you’d see that we’re both wearing our Doc Marten sandals with no socks … and completely freezing our tushies off.

That’s because we made the trek up Mt. Haleakala on the island of Maui, just to watch the sun rise over the summit of this dormant volcano. To put it in words would be near impossible. Just know that it was simply gorgeous.

But back to the picture. Can’t you tell how incredibly happy we are? By then we would have been married 9 days (even though the date displayed one day ahead …. what can I say? This was pre-digital!) and this would have been the second to the last day of our honeymoon.

To say that we enjoyed our trip would be an understatement. We started out in the island of Kauai, which was absolutely perfect for us to unwind from all of the wedding events. You see, Kauai is more of a quiet island (as compared to Oahu or Maui). Not too much going on throughout the island, but lots of beautiful scenery. We stayed at the Hyatt in Poipu, which is the southernmost city of the island. And we were absolutely spoiled rotten there. The oceanfront view, the beautiful gardens on the property, the multiple swimming pools and lagoons, and the incredible daily brunch spread that, to this day … cannot compare to any other brunch we’ve had. We took a raft up the Na Pali Coast and snorkeled at one of the isolated beaches. We drove up to Waimea Canyon and met a orange tabby cat named Simba, who was adopted by the vendors in the area. Oh, and we went on a helicopter ride, where … because of the extreme motion sickness I experienced … I realized it was not my life’s ambition to be a pilot. Although, what I do remember was beautiful. In all, we spent about 6 days on this island, relaxing and basking in our newlywed state.

Then it was off to Maui, which after spending almost a week in “seclusion,” seemed like a major metropolis as compared to Kauai. It was definitely an island with many more sites and activities. Oh, and lots of shopping too! We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Ka’anapali, which is on the northwesternmost part of the island. In order to get there, we drove through Lahaina, which was, at one time, the center of the world’s whaling industry with ships from around the globe docking at this port. This has certainly made Lahaina the “seaport” village that it has become; lots of storefronts and boutique shops line its streets.

Along with the aforementioned 2:00 am drive up to the “House of the Sun” to watch the sun rise, we also made another beautiful day trip to the east side of the island. Which, if you’ve ever been to Maui … it’s almost like being on a completely different island. Where the west side is more arid and dry, the east side is more lush and green. The highway to the east is widely known as the “Road to Hana” and it’s a wondrously windy road with more than 50 bridges, many of which are only one lane. Along the way, we passed by numerous waterfalls; some of which we were actually able to swim under. And at the end of our journey, we reached the “Seven Sacred Pools,” which are actually a series (of more than seven, may I add) of pools formed by cascading waterfalls that literally tumble into the ocean. It was stunningly beautiful.

By the end of the 11 days we spent in Hawaii, we were well rested and ready to start our lives as newlyweds. What we absolutely loved best about our honeymoon was that we were there together, exploring a place where neither of us had ever been before. On our very own. With no timetable or schedule to go by. And to this day, this was one of our most favorite (if not the favorite) vacations of all time.

Unfortunately, all my honeymoon photos have not caught up with the digital age at this time. Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to scan them in. Until then, I’ll just have to enjoy the beautiful picture of us up in the “House of Sun.”

Now; make sure you go and check out everyone else’s Show and Tell posts!


Last week went by in such a blur; not so much because it was a short work week from having Labor Day off. I think it had more to do with the emotional downfall I seemed to be experiencing since the days before Kairi’s birth.

Yes, I sucked at trying to stay off the not-so-amusement park ride, otherwise known as the roller coaster of infertility.

But today … this week … I am making an effort to pick myself up and move right along. As to where I might be moving along to on this IF journey still remains to be seen. I still have a lot of “issues” to work out before I can completely move on.

This relatively small turn in tides is due to a few things that have happened as of late. First of all, writing this post was certainly cathartic, despite the brief bit of guilt I felt for about three days after posting it.

Then there were those readers … those friends … who actually made the effort to comment on both of those posts. Your words do mean a lot to me and I do take what all you say very much to heart. It shows to me that, despite the ramblings of anger, sadness, guilt and confusion, I’m not alone in feeling or expressing them. To me, that makes me feel less of a silly, pathetic person who “obviously can’t let go” and more of a real person with justified thoughts for all those emotions. I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for all your kind words.

And not that I’m fishing for more comments about my posts … but for those IRL friends and even those that may just be “lurking” … trust me, a simple acknowledgement (whether by comment or quick email) to those bloggers that may be calling out for some love or support goes a LOOOONG way. And you never know, this may be the only way a blogger is able to let you in past the brick wall he or she may have inadvertently built around his- or herself.

The last thing that helped me get through this difficult time was a quick trip to London, Ontario to attend LJC‘s bridal shower this past weekend. The two-hour drive one-way would be the first time I’ve ever made that trip by my lone self. During my childhood, the trip was made with family. And in the later years, it would always be with Hubby.

Hubby was supposed to be with me on this road trip. However, a last minute decision (like less than 2 weeks) on his family’s part to throw a surprise birthday party for his mom on the same day as the shower threw off those plans.

Part of me was honestly kinda ticked at that. We had already made plans to make the trip to London to do a quick getaway from “things.” And when I mean “things,” I mean that we knew that the weekend before would be surrounded by “all things baby.” Not that we didn’t want to be there to meet Kairi and congratulate the proud parents, but we knew … at least I knew … that I would need to step back and recharge our emotional batteries.

Hubby & I as "Positive & Negative"
Hubby & I as "Positive" and "Negative

Because I knew that, even though we made the effort to physically visit SIL and Kairi twice while they were in the hospital, seeing that vision of “Mom and Baby” would stick with me (and to some extent, Hubby) emotionally long after we kissed and said goodbye to them.

But now it was just going to be me going to London. And poor Hubby was going to stay at home and help out with the surprise party. And the introduction of Kairi to the rest of the family. Hubby, unfortunately, would have to deal with the family & friends ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Kairi (rightly so, by the way … did you see how cute she is?!) and then turning to him to say, “Still no kids for you, huh?”

So yeah, that’s what ticked me off. And what also made me feel guilty for leaving Hubby there to fend for himself.

I also can’t deny that I was also excited to go to London by myself, either. This quick overnight jaunt to visit with the cousins I always felt were the “sisters I never had” … Well, this would be the first time in a long time that it would be “just the girls.” It would give us the opportunity to talk about “girl things” and other things that we haven’t been able to talk about in a very long time.

And although I didn’t get to spend as much time with LJC, as she already had other wedding-planning related plans, there was still a good time to be had. Also, the one “sister” from Calgary wasn’t able to make the shower either. But despite this, I was still able to spend lots of time with the youngest “sister” and her Mom (my Uncle’s wife) and her Mom’s two sisters. And while it may sound strange … for the longest time, I thought that my cousin’s aunts were also my aunts by blood as well.

So after all the guests had left and the dishes cleaned, it was no surprise that we all sat down in the kitchen to relax. After all, that’s where I can remember many long conversations and discussions taking place in my youth. Except this time I’m much older, as is my youngest “sister.” And we’re talking about American and Canadian politics. And infertility. And all of my “aunts” and my “sister” are asking me honest-to-God actual questions and actually looking at me and responding to me at the appropriate times.

Yup, that’s right. These family members that I haven’t had much contact outside of weddings (and more weddings) over the past ten years were genuinely interested to know how I was doing, and how I was dealing with things. Real people. Right in front of me. Showing empathy and compassion for me. What. A Breath. Of. Fresh. Air.

And at exactly the right time that I needed it, too.

It was precisely what I needed to energize my batteries so I could still keep going (and going and going) …