06.06.2021 | “Lately, I’ve Been Feeling All Worn Out…”

Lyrics: “Faithful Son” ~ Frank Turner, 2015

*taps mic* Is this still on?

My life is exhausting at the moment, which even more than usual leads to me drawing back into my small bubble of family. I exchange WhatsApp messages with friends, but hardly talk to them on the phone or Zoom and defintely not meet up either. While Germany seems to be opening up more and more as COVID numbers go down, I seem to do the opposite. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. It’s just all a bit much at the moment.

Our sick family member was transferred from hospital to a nursing home – for a short-term placement at the moment until their medical situation will be reassessed and hopefully the insurance will allow a stay in a proper rehabiliation centre soon, which will give us more time to think about how to go forward from here. Will they need permanent care in a care home or will they be able to be come home with temoprary care / assistance. So much is still unclear and there is so much to organise and to handle and it’s dragging me down. I’m glad to have siblings who do their share of making phone calls to health care providers or picking up prescriptions from the GP, but it’ still hard. A few days ago we all met up and obviously were all anxious and tense and one comment led to another, with raised voices (and tears in my case) until we all took a short time-out moment to gather ourselves.

This all also got me thinking a lot about family and mortality and all that and it’s not a sunny place in my head right now. So many things unsaid and so many complicated relationships. I’m 46 and I don’t feel ready to make important decisions about another family member’s living situation and health care and all that. There is a reason I don’t have children ;-)! But seriously, by now I think this situation I find myself in at the moment, might be easier to handle, if I ever had the experience to be completely and longterm responsible for the wellfare of another human being. I don’t know…

Don’t get me started on the crappy communication from the hospital and the lack of adequate information and advice for us as family members. I could write books by now. Oh, well not books maybe, but I haven’t ruled out writing a strongly worded letter of complaint to the hospital just to get it off my chest. The day to day care there was fine, but they obviously didn’t give a shit about what happens after. But I don’t want to dwell on that.

What I’m saying is my days are filled with my regular office work – still from home, thank God and making phone calls about care-related issues, run errands about care-related isusses, meet up to discuss care-related issues. All with the underlying anxiety that things might get worse. I’m the first contact for the GP and the care home, so you can imagine my slight panic, when the home called this evening. It was just about prescriptions that need to be refilled, but still… ARGH!

Next Sunday will be my +15 days after 2nd vaccination day and as it is a Sunday and I can hand over handling care-related issues to my siblings, I consider driving up to the sea for a day. Depending on the weather of course. Fingers crossed…

By the sea, summer 2020
By the sea, summer 2020

20.05.2021 | “Lately I’ve Been Feeling Kind of Fragile…”

Lyrics: “Faithful Son” ~ Frank Turner, 2009

Sleep | Most nights I wake up around 5, no matter if I go to bed at 10 or midnight. Which is so weird. Not getting quite enough sleep at the moment, so I’m looking forward to the long weekend.

Health Emergency Update | The last few days were a bit of a whirlwind of worry and organising and phonecalls. The situation is under control for now, immediate rehabilitation measures in progress and all. The hospital had planned to discharge to home care by the end of May, but it quickly became clear, that’s not possible on our side. We can’t provide adequate care at home for a person with this kind of health issues at the moment. So we’ve organized short term care for some of June. More rehabilitation measures as well and probably some adaption at home and fingers crossed they can return home at some point.

All the anxious worrying definitely contributed to the lack of sleep.

Work | Still a lot to do. Still feeling overwhelmed more often than I’d like. Still feeling too sluggish more often than I should. There was a reason I took the week off to recharge, but then the emergency happened. Oh well. We’ve got Monday off as a public holiday, which is good.

More thoughts… | I had more topics I had wanted to write about, but right now these thoughts are lost somewhere in my messy brain. I’m still considering a few days by the sea later this summer, but that depends on how our patient will improve and all that over the next few weeks. I definitely plan to do a day trip to the sea as soon as I can visit other places without the requirement of rapid testing and all, because on 13th July I’ll be officially fully vaccinated + the two week period, for it all to kick in.

There is a thought: at my routine neurological checkup my doc reminded me that my immunosuppressive medication might tamper with the vaccine result, in the way that the vaccine might not work as good as it should in my body. Which… SUCKS! I mean if that would be the case. He adviced to get a antibody test after a few weeks and be cautious till then. Bit of a blow to be honest…

Maybe there is a reason my messy brain hides these thoughts. Anyway here is a photo from the beach last year…

Ameland (NL), September 2020
Ameland (NL), September 2020

13.05.2021 | “And as the walls are crumbling, I am tumbling to the ground”

Lyrics: “I Can’t Do Anything About It” ~ Felix Hagan & The Family, 2011

Emergencies | Monday morning, 6:30 I got a call about a health emergency of a elderly family member. And with that my time off to relax ended abruptly. The patient is doing ok so far under the circumstances, which is the most important part of the story. There will be a long road of rehab ahead, but so far we’d like to stay optimistic. It’s only been three days in fact. But the first 36 hours till Tuesday evening went by in an anxious blur and I’m only now finally getting back to a kind of less anxious state of mind. It won’t be a calm state of mind for while, I’m afraid.

In my family we’re used to similar kind of emergencies and we’ve got a routine down. Who will pack the bag and bring it to the hospital, take care of admittance and organizing one of the phones to rent. And who will be there with the patient in the ER, waiting for consults, exams, holding hands, keeping company. COVID made all of those routines void, because nobody is allowed near any patient in hospital except for palliative or dementia cases and even then there are lots of hoops to jump through.

On Monday early afternoon I learned that they were finally transferred from the ER to a regular floor, I could quickly talk to a doctor (with no valid diagnosis yet) and at least find out how to bring by some personal items, clothes, glasses etc. When I showed up at the hospital front desk and inquired about phones to rent, I learned that there weren’t any available. Damn. That was new and probably due to the pandemic and the visitors restrictions? Like I said our patient is elderly and never owned a mobile phone. They managed to call us from a phone on the floor that night, which was a relief. On Monday evening I went online to order a simple mobile phone (what we call “Granny phone” here in Germany) to pick up at the store the next day and then went to get a cheap prepaid SIM card. Registered the number, picked up the phone, set up the two emergency speed dial numbers and drove back to the hospital to drop it off again.

Tuesday evening they called and I was so relieved to hear their voice and notice that the phone set up worked out and they can now easily reach us in any case. One of us has also been calling them at least once a day, so we’ll stay in touch as we probably won’t be able to visit them until they are transferred to another hospital for rehab. This all sucks so so much, but there’s nothing else to do about it than to hang in there.

I really hope I’ll manage to recharge / relax for the rest of the week though, before I’m back at work on Monday.

Vaccinations | Good news here at least. As of yesterday all of my close contacts have had their first jab of a COVID vaccine. I’m due for my 2nd shot on Saturday 29th May which makes Sunday 13th June my “Freedom Day”. I was joking about that with friends yesterday, but in fact I have marked it in my calendar and depending on what the weather will be like I consider driving up to the seaside for the day. In Germany we’ve eased up on regulations for fully vaccinated people (and those who have been through COVID), so I might just make the most of it. I miss the seaside.

Reading | I had started a fantasy novel last weekend and enjoyed that so far, but it had it’s darker parts of the plot and right now I didn’t feel in the mood for that. So just like with my TV shows (reruns of loved ones in a comfort binge) I turned to a novel (series) I read for the first and only time about 10 years ago: “Into the Wilderness” and that’s just the right kind of comfort reading I need right now.

Fangirling | For the first time – as long as I can remember – Frank Turner started including kid-sized T-shirts on his merch a few weeks ago. That was my opportunity – my duty in fact – to buy it for a child I’d like to “pull over the dark side”. I’m kidding. But she knows I’m fan of Frank, she recognizes the FTHC logo on my car and the beanie and she knows he’s a singer, so… I put together a playlist of a few danceable, swear-free songs as introduction and wrapped it all up as a present yesterday. It was well received, though that might have been just because it was a present! We’ll see…

A few day ago Instagram memories pulled up a post about Lost Evening 2018 and I was getting properly sad and sentimental. I still am in fact, because gig buddies have been sharing similar photos from either of the last three Lost Evenings Festival on their socials as well. I miss this. The gigs, the people, the whole community and the vibe of these few days in Camden. But hey, it’s #notacult ;-)!

Lost Evenings, 2018
Lost Evenings 2018

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