So Much Going On, On Every Level

So much is going on, and I could write a whole post about each of these personal themes: Our remote elementary school experience has started. My remote med school teaching experience has started. A football season like no other has started. Sign thiefs are stealing our town’s Black Lives Matter signs. It’s time to get your flu shot. Our pandemic puppy is growing and continues to be adorable. And then, there’s the bigger picture: Between the pandemic, the election, our society or our climate, we don’t know what’s coming this fall and winter.

But if I wait until I have enough time to properly reflect in individual posts, I’ll be retired. So rather than not post at all, here’s what I think about all of it:

Remote school started yesterday. Technical glitches abound, apparently for everyone, because it was a front-page article in the Boston Globe today. There’s some interface issue between the Chrome OS and Google Class which means the kids kept getting frozen or outright closed out of their live-streamed classes. They couldn’t follow along with the teacher and got lost. They were frustrated, and Hubby and I– who just both happen to be working from home today– were super-frustrated. But we’re not alone, so at least we have that: Misery loves company. I’ve bonded more with some of these other remote school parents than I would have all year in-person. I’m going to give it some more time before I lose it over the technical glitchiness.

Meantime Harvard Medical School is going back full-remote, and I help teach the first year Interviewing and Communication skills course on Wednesday mornings. It’s like, “clinically relevant interpersonal skills for doctors”, and we coach the students along for the better part of a year. Usually, we meet the students at the hospital in the morning and take them to the inpatient floors, where they interview real patient volunteers while we observe. The students then give an oral presentation of the patient’s history and write up the case; we provide feedback on the interview, presentation and writeup. There’s more, but that’s the gist of it. I love it, but I really have been worried about how this beloved course would translate to ZOOM. Yesterday was simple introductions and discussion of a prerecorded videotaped interview that they all had watched, so we got off easy. We’ll see how it is when we start patients interviews via ZOOM!

And football, wow. We are so very thankful that the Pats are playing. Sunday was the season opener, and Hubby called it from the booth as per usual, but without any fans at all in the stadium, which is nuts. Here is his eerie footage of the experience:

We watched/listened to the game at home with our quarantine bubble family. Obi is now a Pats fan, of course, and the whole gameday experience just tuckered him out:

And the, there’s the signs. Here in my town, there’s been an epidemic of yard sign thefts. Right now, a lot of Black Lives Matters signs are going missing. There’s been a number of Facebook posts about it, most of which have generated criticism from people who just don’t get it. Over the weekend, one of these types criticized our own Black Lives Matters sign, insisting that “All Lives Matter!”. I tried to explain it: “Look, if your house was on fire and you and your family needed help getting to safety, you’d cry out for help, hoping your fellow neighbors would help you. What if, when your neighbors heard your cries, they refused to help and instead insisted, ‘All lives matter’, and went to a different house that wasn’t even on fire? The point is, the people who are in danger, who are hurting, who are suffering, they are the people who need our extra support and attention right now. Their lives matter right now this very second, we gotta get them out of the burning house. Right?” Well, my explanation shut down the argument, but I don’t know if it changed any minds. At least our sign hasn’t been stolen.

Then, it’s time to get your flu shot. I got mine! ‘Nuff said.

Got my flu shot, then went out for a run!

One more shot of our pandemic puppy Obi. When we brought him home in mid-June, he weighed twelve pounds and was about the same size as our big old cat Leo. Last week, Obi celebrated his 6 months’ birthday and weighed in at thirty-four pounds! He eats a ton, wakes us up before dawn, demands to run/ walk/ play all day long, and still has accidents in the house, but he’s also so adorable, loving, and calm, such a focus of positivity in these difficult times. We’ll keep him!

And then there’s the backdrop of all of this, the pandemic, the politics, the myriad major crises. Everyone is wondering if we’ll see a “second surge” come cold weather and indoors interactions, and if it’ll be as bad. How will COVID and flu interact, will things be worse or better than usual? How is the election going to be, and even more concerning, how about after the election? Will we experience civil unrest, maybe outright conflict? Should we be storing up pantry and household supplies just in case? The West is on fire, the South is under water. Is it too late to save our planet? Having all of these major, looming question marks makes every decision heavier, as we weigh all the what if’s. These are the questions that keep people awake at night, though no one has the answers. No amount of tossing and turning and scrolling will help anyone predict what’s really going to happen. Rather, let’s spend our waking hours doing what we can to effect positive outcomes. Wear masks, wash hands, avoid close social contact. Vote and help others to vote. Buy a few extra dry goods every shop and stick it all in the basement. Donate to causes we believe in. Love our family. Reach out to friends. Be a good person. And pray.

5 thoughts on “So Much Going On, On Every Level”

  • So much wonderful stuff in here- I love the house is on fire analogy and will be using that with some diehard “all lives” or “blue lives” fans. Obi is adorable, honestly, the dog thing is keeping me going during much of this. Thank you for somehow cramming this wonderful post into your incredibly busy day.

    • Linda, I so appreciate your reading and your feedback! I hesitated before I hit the “publish” button because I worried this was a lame post. It’s just my reality, and I worried no one would get anything from it. I feel pressured to be more, like, instructional and informative. So thank you for your positive feedback!

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