Mary Beth Writes

Here’s a rabbit hole.  (A rabbit hole is anything you suddenly need to learn lots about that you weren’t even thinking about five minutes ago.) (Peg, I need your rabbit hole photo!)

I was thinking about days of the week and how 35 days into this quarantine many of our best jokes are about how confused we are. I saw one joke that said today is March 97th.  Or the one about how interesting this leap year is: February had 29 days. March had 57 days and April is five years long. So far.

I visited Copan, Honduras one lucky time in my lucky life. A guide there explained that Maya people lived by a 20-day week.  Which, if you ask me, is way too long till Friday.

So I just looked up the Maya calendar to see if I remembered that correctly – and I did!

The Haab is a 365-day solar calendar which is (more or less) divided into 18 months of 20 days each. Kin equals 1 Day.  Uinal equals 20 kin AKA a Mayan week. And scientists know that the Mayan calendar is based on OLDER indigenous calendars.

We humans really, really like and need to know what time and day it is. We crave that time and days should be predicable and should be rung in and rung out by regular sleep times.

Consider that a form of torture used by all cultures that torture (including ours) is to put a person in a place where they can’t see daylight, so they don’t know what day it is or how long they have been there.

Or how hard we work to switch a newborn’s sleep schedule to match ours.

Or that a known health risk is to require a person to work a night shift. Or worse, switch their shifts every few weeks.

The first place my brain goes in the morning is, “What day is it?” Usually I can figure it out and then I can get up and get the coffee. Or drink the coffee Len has already fetched.

I have no big point to make here, other than to acknowledge that today is Friday. My spirit is happy about this even though I haven’t worked a regular job in three years. 

Len is out right now at the liquor store.  We haven’t had an IPA in five weeks, and we ran out of Cab Sav a week ago. Isn’t it telling that Friday afternoon awakens our desire for alcohol?   The internal clock knows. 

If one is an abstainer, tell me what delight Friday wakes up in you?

How do you tell the difference in the days these days?

Prone. Proning.  Have you read about proning patients? Covid is so new and so serious. Medical care providers around the world are talking to each other about what they are learning and discovering. This is a terrible time.  It must also be such a unique time for frontline caregivers as they communicate with their colleagues in China, Italy, Spain, France, NYC, and all the other places where people are trying so damn hard to get a handle on how to heal.

Someday I want to read the book that describes what is happening right now as non-political professionals share what they are learning.  Right now, this is where Peace on Earth is happening.   

Anyways, I’m sorry but I can’t source the precise article. Pretty sure it was The Washington Post of New York Times.  Here is a similar article from CNN.

 A physician explained that he has never in his professional life had to tell a patient to get off the phone so that he could put that person into a coma and then intubate him for a ventilator. That moving a patient to a ventilator has ALWAYS happened when that person is already so sick they are unconscious.  With Covid often peoples’ minds are still functioning as their oxygen levels are plummeting them towards death.  This is not only tragic, its extremely medically interesting. 

Some are trying a new therapy and sometimes it works. They “prone” the patient. Which is literally turning them over to be on their stomachs.  Many patients are obese so they are use maternity beds; supportive bed with the tummy and maybe breast area indented enough to allow a full-figured person to lie on their front.  And that no matter how they get the person prone, it seems to elevate oxygen levels very quickly and dramatically.

This week, on my walks, I have paid attention to this body-mechanics phenomenon.  When I walk up a steep hill - if I try to maintain upright posture I get more winded than if I lean forward into the incline.  Get the lungs free of body weight as much as possible and they open up a little so that more oxygen can flow in. When we talked about this, Len realized that leaning forward posture is normal bike riding posture - the weight of  shoulders and head is not over the lungs but over the bike. The weight of one’s girth is lower and also not on the lungs.

We are so complicated and also, we are so simple. Lungs gotta have air.

In the pre-Covid world, Len and I were starting a car trip on Monday. Sigh.

This afternoon I ordered a backyard firepit. We have all those logs, limbs, and tree trimmings. Plus IPA’s.

Lucky is having a plan behind a plan.

What was on your calendar for next week?









This is well- known in the NICU. Premie and newborn chest walls are more pliable, and babies often will oxygenate and ventilate better on their abdomens. This was not new to this 'seasoned' NICU RN. :)
Mary Beth's picture

Part of the article was that people are communicating across boundaries that usually divide them, as they share expertise. Bradley birthing classes - back when we were about having babies - was adamant that delivering mothers should not be "tied" to machines. Bodies need to move. I understand this can't always be the case, but it made sense to me then and still does.

Friday and my heart is happy too. Two days to do nothing but work around the house and maybe do some baking. I’m not bored! Friday night - for as long back as when our boys played sports - means pizza. Tonight we ordered pick up and ate in the truck. It was delicious. Pineapple and all. Ha
Mary Beth's picture

"If you sit in a bath of pineapple chunks, it can kill you. That's well documented." ~ Karl Pilkington I don't know who Pilkington is, either. Or if this is true. But who even knew there are "Quotes about pineapples"?

OK, now I'm laughing about the pineapple......but where were you going on your trip? Thanks again for the daily up lift too.....
Mary Beth's picture

A car trip south and west - Big Bend National Park in Texas and several places we hiked in Arizona a few years ago. We want to hike in desert/river/canyon places but it looks as if we will be vacationing in our backyard in Waukesha this year.... Thanks to Chet, at least will will have more sun and less Box Elder bugs.

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Quarantine Diary #66, 5/24/2020 Zoom Birthday

This week we Zoom-celebrated (zoom-abrated?) the first birthday of our grandson. This was a very different kind of party in our family which ALWAYS celebrates kid’s birthdays. We always have over a few too many friends and relatives. We always have a mound of presents the kids doesn’t actually need. We always have appetizers and pizza, an activity for kids, and a cake. We always sing Happy Birthday too slowly while the kid stares at the candles.

Quarantine Diary #65 – 5/22/2020 Shontay & Irresistible Iridescence

Science Daily website reports this scientific discovery. Bats have an unusual mammal response to viruses they encounter; they don’t get sick to fight the virus like the rest of us mammals do. Instead they act as a kind of long-term host for viruses. A bat is a repository of the viruses it has encountered in its batty life.

Quarantine Diary #64, 5/20/2020 Twenties & Assets

First of all, tonight at 8:20 the time will be 20:20 on 20/2020. If you have kids, or if you are your own odd duck, I think that would be a good time to celebrate. When our kids were young we celebrated New Year’s Eve by piling, on a table on a tablecloth, a crazy stack of metal cookie sheets, muffin tins, bread pans, and bowls. When midnight struck they would try to pull the tablecloth out from under the stack, everything would teeter and then tumble with a terrific crash and the cats would run and it was satisfying.

New Photo & Old Column About Spring

The photo is from this morning and is for you, Michol! This dam on the Fox River is alive with rushing water.

Quarantine Diary #63 - 5/18/2020 Flooding, It's changing now

We had three inches of rain here yesterday. This is what the Fox River by Riverwalk condominiums looks like today.

While I was walking along here, an older woman (says me, ahem…) was standing on her sidewalk with her nervous beagle, looking at the over-its-banks river.

Quarantine Diary #62, 5/16/2020 - Invisible Crisis, Spring

Little Women Again: Louisa May Alcott volunteered as a nurse during the Civil War. She intended to serve three months but after several weeks she became deathly ill with typhoid pneumonia and went home. Typhoid was treated at that time with a medication made with mercury. She survived typhoid but would deal the rest of her life with an autoimmune disease possibly triggered by the mercury.  

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