This week has gone by in a blur. One foot in front of the next, taking things one at a time. Numerous times, I've gone into a room and wondered why I was there. One day, I put a full glass of water into the cupboard; I had forgotten to drink it. In between, we've been learning new skills like how to sew our own masks; see above for our very stylish colors.
So where are we? We are not having a fun weekend at Grona Lund with Elizabeth's good friend Nora nor are we on a plane from Stockholm yesterday as planned (two alternative realities gone). However, we are scheduled to fly on Saturday, 9 May: Stockholm to Frankfurt to Newark. This was as direct as we could manage while avoiding Iceland (volcanic activity), Atlanta (really, Georgia?), Chicago (adds an extra leg and extra exposure), State College (while flights are scheduled, they keep getting canceled). Hope our planned itinerary works.
Chris is doing better day by day- not a linear path towards progress, but nonetheless, a bit of improvement every day for his impacted nerves. Full rest has helped his lungs too. The glue they used to patch up the back of his head is starting to wear off (he wouldn't let them stitch him up as they didn't know if he had a broken neck at the time). The Swedish Fulbright Commission staff have been really helpful, calling the hospital to get Chris' next CT scheduled for 7 May before we go. We've tried to see if we could get him some physiotherapy help but the hospital wouldn't provide that service to non-citizens (we're residents, not citizens... a different standard impacts us yet again). We can pursue a non-hospital clinic and use our own insurance, but we haven't figure that out and may not.
In the meantime, Chris managed a telehealth appointment with our regular MD in State College. This was a really weird call- it felt like Chris' attempts to get care for covid in early March where the providers just didn't seem to realize that covid was everywhere and impacting people in different ways, Chris' provider is convinced he just has bronchitis. And since he's now tested negative for covid, he's good to travel and doesn't need to quarantine. What?! He had his worst symptoms in early March, 6 weeks ago. Still not idea on the antibody side of things. We'll have our friends in State College know that we'll be quarantining when we return... for your sake and ours. This at least set us on the road to getting an appointment with a pulmonologist.
Last night, I was the first person in bed- Stephen tucked me in. The fatigue of handling this many moving pieces is coming through. I'm bone weary, holding it together most of the time, but feeling the fragility of the situation. We've instituted a new system: snipe at each other, and you get to do 10 push-ups (Chris is exempt, but I'm not).
Time outside helps- a roller ski yesterday with company from Elizabeth on her bike, a chance to take photos while Stephen rode the nearby flow track on his mountain bike. The leaves are coming out, the trees awash in blossoms, the forest floor blanketed white with small flowers.
It also helps to think about coming back to Sweden to finish this trip like we were hoping to. I have students in Norway I didn't get a chance to see. I'd like to see my host siblings in Finland- I've not seen them from my summer exchange in 1991. I guest taught in the Netherlands this week- I had planned this long ago along with a chance to visit more people there and see their dikes. Not this trip. We have friends in Germany with whom we were hoping to connect. Ah well. Another time.
So when we can muster the energy, we pack. We clean. In talking with my brother and sister in law yesterday, a neighbor trying to move his family to Sweden has already had their flights canceled 5 times. We're hoping that this doesn't happen to us but have to expect it will.
Small steps, one at a time. We'll keep posting to the blog as we wrap up, clean up, have time to share. Time to plan a birthday party for Elizabeth (it's coming up Tuesday). I think I'm on plan #4 for how to celebrate: 1) in person at the rock climbing gym with her classmates in Sweden and remote to the US; 2) at a park with her classmates in Sweden and remote to the US; 3) in State College with a drive by parade with remote to Sweden; 4) remotely with friends and family while in Sweden planning to get to the US, with drive by parade in the US at some point to be determined.
As my mom has noted, taking advantage of small eddies- the quiet water behind a rock in a rapid- can be helpful. So for now, the small quiet of a leaf unfolding, an ant nurturing its nectar.