Daily Post 016: A Very Real Morning

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I want to write before I go to sleep.

Monday was good. Surprisingly good.

I had my first phlebotomy class. I love my instructor. She’s amazing.

We started going over information. There’s going to be a lot of it. A lot of abbreviations I’m going to have to memorize like SST, CMP, BMP, ANA, and at least two pages worth of others. All of them are different types of tests and I have to know not only what the abbreviation stands for, but what color tube is used, what’s the additive in the tube, what department usually wants that tube, and how many times I need to invert (shake) the tube before sending it off, along with knowing the steps to the procedure, what equipment is required for the procedure, what veins I’m allowed to use, what to do if those veins are off limits due to surgeries, what the standard needles are, their color association, and what I’m allowed to do if those needles aren’t viable options…

Yeah… that puddle of goo feeling inside of my skull isn’t going to go away anytime soon, but I love it. I think I’m going to really enjoy this class.

I got to watch the “older” students practice on each other. It was nifty.

After class, I came home and got ready for my interview. Sunday evening I actually drove out to the human resource center and figured out where I was supposed to park my car and what building I would be going to. It made the trip out there Monday less scary. I at least knew where I was going.

The HR secretary was super nice. We chatted for a bit while I waited to be called back. The HR lady who interviewed me was nice, though a bit distant. I think she warmed up to me a bit more towards the end. I’m sure she sees tons of people. Hopefully, I made a good impression.

At the end, she said that she would call over to the Transportation Department and see if anyone was available over there to interview me. She had me wait in the lobby again while she did that.

The subject of my purple hair came up. It would be against dress code policy since only normal hair colors are allowed. I explained my purpose for having purple hair and how it’s important to me. I said I would understand if I had to dye my hair back to a normal color, but that it would hurt on a spiritual level to have to do that. I asked if a compromise could be made, such as wearing a head covering.

She said she would look into it for me.

When she came back down to the lobby she said I would be able to continue my interview with the department supervisor. We walked over to the department and along the way she explained different things about the hospital, the cafeteria and such. It was pretty cool.

The hospital is huge, by the way. The Orlando campus, the one I would be at, is the “flagship” for Florida Hospital. It’s essentially three in one.

Anywho, the interview with the department supervisor went well I think. I feel like she was more personable than the HR lady. When I asked her how long she had been with the hospital she said four years. She started as a transporter, became a dispatcher, and is now a supervisor. In four years. That’s pretty awesome. She seemed young, too. I think younger than me.

I was honest about not knowing what I really wanted to do as far as the future goes, but that I was hoping to gain exposure through this position, that it worked amazingly well with my class schedule, and that I was hoping to stay for six months up to a year.

I asked if the department had a high turnover rate, which it does, pretty much for the same reason I’m hoping to get in. Med students use patient transporting as an entry level position to “get in” and as they progress in their studies they move to more relevant areas for their goals.

I mentioned how much I liked my EKG class and how telemetry interested me. Now that I’m doing phlebotomy I may entertain that idea more seriously as well.

I got to see the system for how they handle transport requests. It was fascinating and I think she liked that I was genuinely interested in it. She also liked my resume layout so I got to talk about how while I was working at Full Sail I was in the Faculty Scholarship Program for Digital Arts and Design. I got to talk about how I’ve made custom D&D sheets and other forms. I got to talk about a lot of the projects I did at Full Sail including Project Breakroom and my 3D Blitz event.

At the end of the interview, she said I would know within the week if I got the job offer or not. Since I didn’t hear anything back today I’m hoping to hear something tomorrow. I’m trying to keep the mindset of, “I don’t have a job” rather than getting my hopes up. I would rather be pleasantly surprised versus soul-crushingly disappointed.

I was pretty brain dead after almost two hours worth of interviewing. I hadn’t expected it to be so much.

I’m glad I did it, though. If I got one interview I can get another.

I didn’t get a chance to study at all yesterday. By the time the interview was done I didn’t have it in me to push my brain further. I didn’t do any of the cooking I had wanted to do, and I didn’t go to the dojo.

Instead, I went to Big Bad’s. We talked and cuddled. I guess his arms are still sore from our wrestling on Saturday.

This morning was a bit different.

We were having our cup of coffee together. Somehow we got onto the subject of my EKG class and the board test. I told him how I feel when I look at EKG strips now. I said I can look at one and tell that the person is having a heart attack. I can look at it and say, “This person is dying,” or, “This person is most likely having chest pain and a hard time breathing,” or, “this heart is very weak so they most likely feel tired.”

I can look at what seems like a scribble on a piece of paper and in a way, know the person. That squiggle line is someone’s life. That knowledge, understanding and seeing what that squiggle line means, does something to my heart chakra. It aches when I can see that there’s a problem. This person is sick. This person, who most likely has a family and loved ones and hopes and dreams, in this moment, in this squiggle line, their heart is dying.

I told him that it did something to know the behind the scenes story of what was going on when the code STEMI was called on mom the night before she died. I said that I finally understood what STEMI meant. ST Elevated Myocardial Infraction. It’s a precursor to a heart attack. I know what an elevated ST segment looks like now. I know what it means. I know that there was a person in a room watching my mom’s heart monitor who saw that change and called the code to make sure mom didn’t die.

I understand what the EKG tech who came to her room was doing now. I understand why the cardio doctor was called to come look at the reading.

I ended up talking a lot about the night before mom died. I explained how I was alone at the hospital when the code was called and how the only thing I could think of was how the rapid response team was going to take mom back to ICU and that we were going to go back to wondering if she was going to die or not. I explained how later, after all of the chaos of the code call had settled down how the nurse had come in to check on mom. I explained how when we had pulled the sheet back how mom and been covered in blood because of the scab breaking on her incision and the heparin not allowing a clot to form properly.

I told him how I had felt, knowing I had been sitting there holding her hand and thinking that she could have bled out in front of me and I would have never known. I told him how when my brothers had gotten to the hospital how I didn’t tell them about the blood. I told them that mom had a rough night, that a code had been called but the doctor said she was fine. I told them she would most likely be tired and sleep most of the day since she hadn’t been able to sleep much during the night.

I told him how when I had hugged her goodbye I knew that would be the last hug. I knew. There was that feeling of, “This is final.” I told him how I had wanted so badly to turn around before I left the room, how I had wanted to go back for one more hug, but that I didn’t, I couldn’t, because if I had it would have been showing my brothers that it was over. It would have been admitting defeat and I couldn’t do that to them, to us.

I think mom knew, too. I think she had that feeling, too. We both always had “feelings”.

Tears were running down my cheeks by the time I stopped talking. They had been almost from the start. It was silent for a little bit. I finally said that I didn’t know what else to say.

Big Bad stood up and wrapped his arms around me and held me while I cried. Not just silent tears, or ignored tears while I kept talking. I held onto to him, my head against his shoulder and actually cried.

I could tell he was crying, too. I could hear it as he fought not to.

We stayed like that for a while.

I hadn’t meant to go back to that memory. I don’t know why or really how our morning evolved to me sharing that moment. I’ve written about it. I’ve “talked” about it, but the only time I’ve ever really “gone back”, fully gone back to it, was when I talked about it in therapy and that was months ago. Almost a year ago.

When we finally parted Big Bad said he was sorry I had to relive that moment. I said something along the lines of that I wasn’t. The more I go back the less power it has over me. The more I can accept that moment as reality. Those emotions, those events happened. They have a lot to do with who I am as a person.

They’re part of a very painful chapter for me, but they’re an important chapter to me. Maybe THE most important chapter for me at the moment. I cherish it. I hold it close to my chest because it’s one of the last things I have of my mom.

I said it was like my rape. The more I confront that situation, the less fear I have over it. The less weak I feel. The less overwhelming the emotions are because they’re not bottled up or festering. The more I go back the more I understand those situations are in my past and not in my present.

I said one of the things I had asked myself during my year of mourning was would I go back and love my mom less if it meant I would hurt less now? I got to explain how my answer was no. My pain lets me know that what I had with my mom, the love we had for each other, was real and significant. I wouldn’t go back and change anything. Not a single birthday, not one trip to the grocery store where I teasingly walked on the back of her heels just to be annoying.

I accept my pain even though sometimes I still don’t understand how to breathe around it, function with. In a way, I love my pain because it’s there because of the love I have for my mom.

It was a very real start to the day. Not that any of the other mornings we’ve had were fake…

I don’t know how to explain it or if it’s even possible to really put into words.

I laid a very deep part of myself bare this morning and in the end, I was still given a hug and a kiss goodbye as if I were the same person I had been before my story and that meant a lot to me. I wasn’t suddenly different or broken or something to be kept at arm’s length. I showed this very real, very raw scar that will never go away, never heal, and I was given a hug and tears of compassion.

Co-suffering.

He held me while I cried and it didn’t damage us. At first, I was going to say “it didn’t change us” but I think it has changed us in one of those deep, subconscious sort of ways.

How many people in my life do I co-cry with? How many does he co-cry with?

I know for me, it’s not many. I can most likely count them on one hand. I’m sure for him it’s even fewer.

It means a lot that Big Bad is one of them for me. I hope this means that when things become overwhelming for him he knows that I’ll be there for him just as much as he’s been here for me.

The rest of the day has gone well. I’ve been low energy, but I think that has to do with waking up at 3 am along with the emotional release of telling my story.

Class was fun. I got to do all five of my capillary sticks today. I didn’t pass out from working with blood. In fact, it was fascinating. Tomorrow we start doing venipunctures on the mannequin arm.

The instructor said she specifically wants me to practice in the morning and then if I feel up to it, try doing a live stick in the afternoon. I can tell she’s pushing me more than the other “new” students. She knows I did well on the EKG test and she said she’s happy I’m in her class. She knows the bullet point story about mom; how she was in the hospital and died and how that is my motivating factor for entering the medical field.

My instructor was a Registered Nurse for 28 years. I feel like she sees something in me and wants to help it flourish. She offered to write a letter of recommendation if I needed it for my interview. My previous professor for my CNA class saw me during lunch today and offered to let me stick him if I needed a vein to meet my quota. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t just randomly offer his viens to every student. It makes me feel trusted and mildly intimidated since I haven’t done anything aside from capillary sticks and that’s only five of them, and all of those happened not even 24 hours ago…

I feel undeserving of that level of trust, but a part of me knows he wouldn’t have offered if he didn’t think I could do it.

I’m grateful for the support this school has given me.

I was a “victim” for one of the older students during the afternoon. That didn’t go so well. My median cubital veins are pretty deep so I’m an easier stick on the side of my arm in the cephalic vein. The girl tried on my right arm but wasn’t able to get it. When she tried on my left arm it super seriously hurt.

Not like, “ow, that’s a needle” type of hurt.

I mean, “holy shit, ow, that’s not normal pain, get that fucking metal spike of death out of my arm” type of pain.

It sucked. My arm still hurts. I can feel it down into my elbow. I’m not sure what happened since I know she didn’t stab straight down into my joint the way it feels, but fuck did it not feel good.

I almost passed out from it, but I didn’t. Go me. Totally going to keep being proud of myself every time I see blood or take a needle and stay conscious.

Because of the icky woozy feeling though the rest of my day has been sort of on the blah side.

I went to my sports bar and started making new flash cards. I ate, which was nice. That helped a bit with the icky feeling.

I came home and thought about the rest of my day and what I wanted to do with it. I thought about going to the dojo with how I felt. I decided I would take a nap. If I woke up with time to go then I would, otherwise I wouldn’t. I’ve done a lot in the past 5 days. I feel like I deserve to take it easy and to be kind to myself.

So when I woke up at 7 I decided that today would be another “off” day. That’s two days in a row of no dojo. I hope tomorrow I’m more rested, in every sense of the word, so I’m able to go.

I did finally do some of the cooking. I prepped the hearts for the recipe I want to try. That was pretty cool. I made my spinach and chicken couscous. I think next time I buy couscous I’m going to try to get pearl couscous since that’s the kind I’m used to.

I cleaned the kitchen then ate dinner. I brushed Scarlet and got a second cat off of her, and now I’m here writing.

I’m glad I wrote. It’s later than I had originally wanted, but I feel better for having written and processed through all of those events. I’m glad none of it is going to be lost or forgotten.

I’m glad I had the morning I did. I’m grateful for the support and love I have in my life.

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