Thursday, June 13, 2013

And Everything Else

I talked to my mother earlier today and she sounded pretty good. Hoarse, from the NG tube going from her nose to her stomach, but pretty aware. She's been out of bed and walking a bit. Once her GI tract is functional again, the NG tube will be removed, she can start eating, and assuming all goes well, she will be discharged to a rehab facility for a week or two, then home.

My sister left for Maine last night to go on vacation with her family, but my brother visited this morning and my mom's friend is staying in Boston to be with her for a couple of days.

So I was shocked to find my sister terse on the phone this evening -- I called to ask her to set up the Caring Bridge site so that people would email me so I could coordinate a visitor schedule. Apparently my mom asked (insisted?) that my sister return from vacation to be with her, my mom. My brother heads out on vacation tomorrow, I think, but he's been very involved with my mom's care all along, since he's the only one who lives near her. To be fair, my sister is annoyed with my mother, for not trying to schedule the surgery during any part of the summer except for the very brief 10 day vacation she has with her family. She's not mad at me, as far as I know.

But... I'm nervously waiting to see if there is fallout from either of my siblings. Part of me feels guilty for shirking my duty, the other part of me reminds myself that they are vacationing while I am starting a second job and working seven days a week for the next several weeks while also juggling being a full time mother to a toddler. Plus I have to go get my sutures removed next week (wouldn't be a big deal except the doctor is in no way convenient to where I live and work), so it's another really big item on an already crowded to-do list.

I'm trying to stay present and not get into arguments in my head ahead of time, and to remember that I can be sympathetic to their troubles without making them my responsibility. This is not always easy.

 Have I mentioned that I'm really nervous about starting this second job? I will be a camp nurse until July 21. This weekend is part staff week, which shouldn't be too taxing. I will be joining another nurse who is already there. I've worked there for two summers before, and it was kind of awful. Especially the second summer, when we had a massive H1N1 outbreak, the director had a misdiagnosed (by the local hospital, not me) case of MRSA, and a lice outbreak. Ugh. I swore never again.

But... I could really use the money. And I think, I hope, it might feel really different to be there now, now that I have Calliope. I think it will be fun to have a little cabin outside of sweaty Brooklyn, where there's a pool to play in (including a toddler pool), and nearby state parks to explore (if I can break away), and even a little daycamp for staff children -- I think there will be a little posse of five two year olds.

And being there with another nurse should make the workload manageable. And it's all adolescents, who generally avoid going to the nurse (unlike homesick younger campers), except for picking up their medications. There's tons on medications, particularly psychotropic meds. Not judging, but it's surprising the difference compared to when I was of camper age.

But I'm nervous about driving with Calliope -- who's not a fan of the car, though not the miserable ball of fury she was as an infant in the car -- and about tossing her to a brand new babysitter so I can get to work. And about the food -- I'm bringing lots with me, but not enough to entirely avoid the dining hall -- and about next weekend, opening day, when we will be swamped with work and I will have to fight Sunday traffic back into the city. And getting the rental car, and packing it (almost done packing, so one less thing to be anxious about), and mostly, just the many unknowns, and lack of control that comes with not living entirely independently.

Anyway, the plan is to work this weekend -- should be pretty easy -- then come back to Brooklyn and work Monday-Friday here. Then return to camp next weekend, and prepare for opening day on Sunday. There is a retreat starting mid-week next week so there will already be some teens there when I return on Saturday, but Sunday will still be insanely busy, checking campers in.

I will drive home sometime towards the end of the day on Sunday, leaving the other nurse to do a ton of work getting meds and forms organized while I bring Calliope home and prepare for my final three days of work.

I will work Monday-Wednesday in Brooklyn. Wednesday is the last day of school, a half day. I will scramble to finish all my end of the year reports and make it to a staff luncheon at 1 pm. Then hurry home and pack the car. Thursday morning we head back to camp for three and a half weeks. The other nurse leaves on her previously-planned vacation at dawn, but there's a staff spouse who's an MD who has agreed to bridge the gap until I get there. But that means arriving and handing Calliope off to the staff day camp and immediately getting to work. Hard on both of us.

I'm really nervous about all this, but trying to take it one day at a time. I just paid my annual malpractice premuims and thanks to them, feel like I'm going to barely come out ahead despite doing all this extra work. Oh well. I'm trying to focus on the fact that this could well be a fun little adventure for us. Calliope's first exposure to group daycare, but a mere five minute walk away from me. And I can pick her up and bring her back to our cabin for lunch and a nap every day. And we can swim every day -- she can learn to swim! And we can dabble in a little Judaism, since it's a Jewish camp (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that part). I had zero affinity for religion before now, but since having her, I'm marginally more interested. I think she will love all the singing .


  1. Aside from the stress & logistics (which sound exhausting) it sounds like it'll be a great experience for Calliope!! Hope you have a great time!

  2. Any change in routine is hard for most toddlers and preschoolers - one reason I have taken very few trips with the girls recently. But on the other hand, they are super resilient and do fine, and I am sure gain from the confidence of adapting to a new situation. It sounds like a lot of the stress of previous camps was just bad luck with all the illnesses - so here's hoping that the camps are healthy ones and you get to enjoy all the positive aspects. And, yes, a little extra income is a great thing. You have an amazing amount of energy, Abby, and that is something I really admire!

  3. Glad your moms surgery went well and hope she has a quick recovery.

    I think camp will be a wonderful adventure for you and Calliope. I worked at a summer camp all through high school and then again right after college. I love camp and can't wait for Annelise to go. It sounds like the first part is going to be a little stressful with going back and forth but hopefully once your there for several weeks you'll be able to settle in and really enjoy being out of the city for a little while. Hopefully there won't be any major outbreaks of illness or lice.

  4. Hang in there Abby! I don't have time to write more, but I'm sending good vibes and hugs your way! Hope today went well!

  5. I am so glad your mom is doing well.

    Hopefully summer camp is going to work out beautifully and you both have a lot of fun! Next week is your last 3 days of work, right? Hope all the driving back and forth and overall craziness goes well.