Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

My father served in World War II. Erin's dad Gerry was in Vietnam and her grandfather Cecil was in World War II too. Mike Rozmarin's brother is in the Army. Our friend Ken Scott was in the Navy. Bridget's daughter and son-in-law are in the Air Force in Korea.

I don't remember having strong feelings ever about the sacrifices that the men and women in the US armed services have made. I have thought about them and thanked them but never felt any true affinity with their struggles or even their deaths. But I never was closely and personally acquainted with a service person while they were in the service or deployed. Reading the accounts of prisoners of war in the Pacific arena as well as in Europe during World War II made it much more real. Having Aggie and Matt in the service makes it about as real as it can be to me.

I'd like to think that if I could go back 45 years that I would consider going into the service with my current mindset. I know it never hit my radar back then at all. And, as I've pointed out throughout my life, I've never burned with the white heat of total motivation for anything. I'm more of a low simmer kind of girl with periods of rapid bubbling, boiling and overflowing the pot.  Whew, that's a mixed metaphor if every I've written one.

What's curious is that when I do see someone in military dress, I'm shy and embarrassed to approach them and say thank you. I'm not sure why. It feels a little like going up to an African American person and saying, "hey, you're black" or telling an Asian person they're Asian. So obvious as to be embarrassing and not something you should call attention to in public. I need to think about that (the military thing, not the black or Asian alerts), try to understand my discomfort and get over it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Things I've discovered

Part of the reason I wanted to do this isolation vaccine study was to learn more about myself and how I'd handle the isolation part. Although I didn't have any qualms about being in isolation, I wanted to see how it would be and what I would do. Actually it has gone by really quickly and it's now Sunday, half way through the study for this first 12 days.

Yesterday I found myself a bit bored and at odd ends. Got tired of reading, didn't want to watch TV, muscles were sore so I didn't want to exercise, played solitaire until I was tired of that, loaded a free Scrabble and got quickly annoyed with the constant ad popups. Tried to sleep but wasn't able to. It only lasted a couple hours but still felt strange that I couldn't hit upon an interesting activity.

Today has a completely different vibe. Changed the bed, cleaned the bathroom a little, did my hair, emptied the trash, just little things but it just feels more energetic in my room as well as up and down the hallway. In changing the bed, I discovered that what I thought was a mattress protector was actually a knit bottom sheet. Didn't look like that at all. So I asked for a bottom sheet and got exactly the same thing today. But I hadn't had a top sheet so now I'm really spiffy with both a top and bottom. Had been using the thin bedspread as a top sheet these past few days. Worked OK but now everything will be nice and crisp tonight.

When I was researching a press release on Thursday for Mike Krause, I stumbled upon a reference to Pete DeMarco from MBA school. He's a consultant now in leadership. That's funny enough but in looking at his website and team, he has Leslie Marx our stats professor working for him. That must make his pecker proud. I can just see the smirk he would have about that. Such an ego the guy has. Really still looks like an ass. And I'm sure he is.

My immediate thought was to friend Linda Boutwell on Facebook and share what I found with her for a giggle. So I went to her page on Facebook and read a little. Almost right away, I got the old Linda vibe and decided not to friend her and reopen that can of worms. Her entry in response to this picture that she posted:

was "I can't learn and grow as a person if I am not honest about what worked and what didn't and about what part I played in the f-ing mess. Sad but true.  Blehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

It was weird, I just felt exactly like I used to feel when we were friends and she was such a downer all the time. Her posts said to me that she hasn't really changed at all. She says the words but the associated behavior isn't there. And I don't need that negativity around me. So I stifled my urge and will just keep the Pete stuff to myself.

Here in the isolation chamber, I've been able to be relatively alone and enjoy the quiet around me. I've kept my radio/CD/TV down low so I don't bother anyone. So glad I took a room at the end of the hall so I only have one person adjoining my room. I think his name is Dennis. His television (abuts my wall) is on at a constant low drone of talking from morning to late night. Dunno if he's watching it or just has it on for the white noise. It mostly doesn't bother me except when I'm trying to get to sleep. Glad I brought the ear plugs.

Dennis also has an interesting/annoying habit of very loud yawn/groans every few minutes. Either that or he's pleasuring himself frequently or just hugely bored. I'm thinking the latter.

I asked for a newspaper today so I think I'll go read it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sliding into routine

So now it's Day 2 of the vaccine study and the days have a predictable routine. Vitals and nasal swab about 8am, breakfast (I made some really stupid menu choices), ice delivery around 10am, lunch at about 12 or 12:30, dinner around 5:30 or 6, vitals at 7, snacks about 8 and that's it. No symptoms of problems with me - I've had a headache on Day 0 and Day 1 but my theory is that it's more due to barometric pressure changes than because of the vaccine.

It's only been four full days but I'm not having much difficulty with the isolation. My biggest bummer is not having a steady supply of ice for my iced tea. Not much of a sacrifice. But we'll figure something better out for the December stay.

It's been raining outside since yesterday off and on, and Erin says it's snowing at their house. Still a little too warm here for snow - about 35.6 degrees downtown. But the meteorologists have been peppering their reports over the past week with progressively more references to snow to get us prepared. At the first mentions of snow, John and I freeze in our chairs and look at each other, wild eyed. After the 20th mention, we don't even blink.

So now it's actually starting to come down and the reality of the upcoming weather is here. Time to buck up and deal with it. Head down, plow forward and count the days until our cruise and after that, focus on spring arriving. Of course, sprinkling the intervening months with events, dinners and outings will help make the time pass more quickly and interestingly. Lots of projects around the house with the new sunroom getting under way and insulating the garage.

Looks like Erin, Mike and the girls will be going to Michigan to be with Gerry, Kay and Bertie for Thanksgiving. Since we're opting out of Christmas I don't feel we can say anything much about it. And the real reason is for Bertie who doesn't feel up to traveling out here and Erin is doing the right thing by seeing her grandma as often as possible since the opportunities are dwindling.

But I need to talk with Johnnie and decide what we want to do for Thanksgiving ourselves.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day 0

Today was inoculation day for the H7N9 Bird Flu vaccine study. The actual administration of the nasal mist was anticlimatic - Dr. Traynor came in, stuck a syringe in each nostril and that was it.

Within a couple hours I did get a headache and took a three hour nap but I'm not sure there is a cause and effect relationship between those events and getting the vaccine. And the nap felt delicious.

Otherwise the day has been uneventful.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Isolation? Incarceration? Quarantine?

OK, so it's been a couple weeks. In that time, I finished the Halloween costume from Hell, Princess Elsa from Frozen -- it's a really good thing that the little girls are not critical, just thrilled and excited.

And now I'm in St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester (never knew it was even here) to do a vaccine study for the H7N9 bird flu vaccine. As in 9-12 days of isolation in my own room, no visitors, frequent blood draws, a computer, a Keurig and coffee, music, TV and a decently comfy single bed. Most women I've explained this project to are jealous and envious (at least in word) about having the time alone. Men don't understand it but surprisingly there are more men here for the study than women from my cursory glances at name tags outside the rooms. John is wise enough and loves me enough to let me do this without (much) protest.

The room is bright, spacious and reasonably nice. The shower is fine, I was well advised about what things to bring to make this as easy as possible. Of course, I've not even been here for 24 hours yet so we'll see how I'm feeling by this time next week. Or even just by Friday. Forgot: batteries, could use an extension cord but so far that's it.

Just opened the curtains and realized the window was entertaining a baker's dozen logey flies. All but one two are now deceased. I'll get the little suckers yet. Did 5 minutes of exercise too. Feeling quite virtuous.

Did a bit of work and there's more to do. Need to make myself a to do list so I can get focused on stuff that needs to be done.

But right now I'm thinking that reading and/or snoozing sounds pretty good so I'm going to give that a try.