It’s been a busy week, from an objective standpoint, but I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much on this reprieve compared to the previous one. I slept at least 12 hours a day on most days. I’ve gotten plenty done, but I’m so used to being hyperproductive that I just feel like I’ve accomplished nothing this week. I replaced my car; finished refinancing our house; built a small raised garden and probably overplanted it; planted a new tree; had a contortion lesson; caught up with a few friends; rode bicycles with my daughter, Aurora; and made violet-flavored simple syrup from the violet clover in the backyard.
Aurora’s birthday was on Monday. I didn’t get back in time to celebrate her birthday on the proper day, but we had fun baking and decorating a cake on Tuesday. I bought her a handheld video game console as a big present for her birthday, in part because I have a degree of guilt over being gone so much over the past few months. I know I’ll be gone for most of May and June as well, as I’m already scheduled through the end of May and am pending a June schedule. The facility is asking for July dates, too, which I’ll probably end up giving them if I’m able. A friend of mine said her dad, who traveled extensively for work and was often gone for a few weeks at a time, always brought home presents for her from his travels, too. I wonder if he also felt some guilt for being away. As much as I think buying things is a poor substitute, I’m not sure what else I can really do from a distance.
People keep acting shocked that I’m going back for a second, third, fourth, and possibly a fifth contract if July pans out. I guess I understand why, but I’m able to do the work and it doesn’t seem to be bothering me too much, so it seems practical for me to keep going. The numbness I’m experiencing certainly seems abnormal at face value, but there’s a certain benefit to not feeling psychiatrically scarred by events that are quite traumatic for others. My understanding is they want to use my June and July contracts to give some of the hospital’s regular staff some well-deserved paid time off. That certainly seems like a worthy goal; none of them signed up for this, but I did.
I had to take a leave from my teaching job for the summer; while my clinical courses are taking place online again, this time the university needs me to be available during a set shift on the same day/time every week, which I can’t do consistently while I’m out on COVID assignments. I opted to keep my PhD coursework through the summer, though, which will be a pain while I’m working in NYC, as the night shift is 7pm-8am and class time is a once-weekly 10am-12:30pm meeting (plus associated coursework). It’s the perfect timing to make me very sleep-deprived.
It’s Mother’s Day today, my last day off, so Aurora and I decided to make a strawberry cake. I had to take a short trip to the grocery store to get the missing ingredients. The grocery store (a fairly nice establishment called Metcalfe’s), like most stores around right now, had signs up everywhere notifying patrons they would be required to wear a mask inside and had signs directing traffic down newly one-way store aisles. I watched the management stop someone who had snuck in without a mask on. She proceeded to get into a shouting match with the store management, who told her she needed to either put on a mask or leave. She claimed she had no way of knowing, and how dare they prevent her from completing her grocery trip.
I’ve seen plenty of similar videos and claims of similar behavior made online, but it continues to blow me away how utterly unreasonable people can be over something as inconsequential as wearing a mask. How are there so many people who are so narcissistic that they react to someone correcting their mistake by shouting them down? I can’t even wrap my brain around why it’s such a huge deal to have to wear a mask. Covering your face for 15 whole minutes is of so little consequence it’s laughable, and most stores are now selling masks if you do forget it. It’s like the people who got angry when Washington state added a mandatory surcharge of $0.05 per bag for people who didn’t bring their own grocery bags and needed the store to supply them. The stakes are so low and the effort to fight such a minor change is so great; it just doesn’t make any sense.
Aurora gave me a fairly special Mother’s Day gift. She has a particular stuffed dog, Violet, she loves and has to sleep with every night. She has three, to be exact, because we always build redundancies into the system. She gifted me one of them, the one we call Pox Violet (because Aurora drew spots all over it with a marker), and told me it was to have something to sleep with while I was away. So now Violet is coming on my adventure, and I have a good excuse to bike around some of the Manhattan sights. I’ll take Pox Violet with me and snap some pictures at some of the usual tourist places.
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