Letters to Mom 018: Coping With My First Infiltration

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I’m crying right now as I write this. I feel like I need to admit to that.

There was a comment from a reader on my last post, linking to another post about a woman who also lost her mom and how “she’s still her mother’s daughter”.

At one point she says, “I still need you.”

I’m not the only one who thinks that; who feels that and I don’t know why but it makes it feel like things are ok. I’m not weak or “holding on” or whatever other stupid things I tell myself.

It’s ok to still need you, mom.

I needed you yesterday.

I infiltrated my first patient. In a year and a half, I’ve never infiltrated. I’ve missed. I’ve had the fistula and graphs roll on me like normal veins. I’ve had to restick patients… But I’ve never infiltrated and I’ve never caused a patient to not be able to run their treatment.

Until yesterday.

My patient came in like he always does. I wasn’t able to call him in early. He used to run on first shift, but with having to close the clinic down to three days a week with an ISO patient, he had to be moved to second shift because he is (un)lucky enough to be immune.

He hates running on second shift. His lunch is cold by the time he gets home. It messes his morning up. He’s one of the nicest, quietest people I have ever met and it hurts to know that I can’t make the situation better for him. Whenever there’s an open chair in the morning he’s the first person I call.

Me: *teasing voice* There’s an open chair for you if you happen to feel like coming in early.
Him: I’ll be right there!

It always makes my day to greet him, to spread out his blanket after his treatment is initiated, to help carry his bag to the scale as he’s leaving and saying our farewells.

Yesterday there wasn’t an open chair so I couldn’t call him in early. We flipped the station as quickly as we could. We got everything set up. I smiled a warm and genuine smile when he came into the clinic. We exchanged small talk as I took his standing blood pressure.

I can tell his smiles are real now. They’re different than the ones in the beginning when we were both still strangers. After being there for almost four months I think we both are getting used to each other. I’m not a random stranger stabbing needles into his arm. I’m his tech and he’s my patient and I actually do care about what he’s doing in his garden and what are you talking about? The weather is amazing. I’m from Florida. 100 degrees is basking temperature. You guys are the ones who are weird for thinking it’s too hot.

We moved through all of the different stages of the pre-treatment process. I cannulated his arterial needle fine. I cannulated his venous needle and… hesitated. It didn’t… feel? right…

There was flashback… I pulled the needle back a little… I wasn’t against the wall of the vessel or anything… There was no resistance on the advancement of the needle… But I couldn’t shake the feeling of “wrongness”.

I drew labs from the arterial needle. No resistance. Everything was fine there. I administered his prescribed heparin through the venous needle. Again, no resistance. When I asked if the needle felt ok he said yes.

Ok… Maybe it’s just me…

I connected the bloodlines to the needle lines and initiated his treatment. I watched the machine as the pump started. The needle pressures were within normal ranges. I still wasn’t sold on the whole, “everything’s ok” thing.

I turned the pump up to the prescribed flow. Still ok on pressures…

If nothing is wrong then why do I feel like something is wrong?

With no answer to that question, I reluctantly secured my patient’s lines. I put his feet up and spread his blanket out like normal. I asked if he needed anything else.

Me: Anything else I can do for right now?
Him: Nope. I think that will do.
Me: Arighty. If that changes you let us know.
Him: Will do.

I took my gloves off, rubbing hand sanitizer over them before I began to chart on the computer next to his machine.

That’s when the machine’s alarm went off. Venous pressure had reached not ok levels and the machine automatically shut the pump off. I looked at the machine, reading the alarm message it was giving. I immediately looked at my patient’s arm dread already making my stomach turn to ice. My patient’s arm was so swollen at the venous needle sight, so “not right” that all I could do for the first half a second was stare unbelieving at what I was looking at.

Irrational Right Brain: … But… But everything had been fine…

My next thought was a mild freak out of, “omg is he in pain?”

I asked him if his arm hurt. He said it had for a little bit but it felt fine now.

Irrational Right Brain:  Your arm is not fine. I let this happen. I cannulated you. I did this to you. I hurt you. This is my fault.

Rational Left Brain: It doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t your fault. You’re patient needs you to keep your shit together and not have a fucking meltdown right now. You can do that on break. Right now you need a nurse. You’re not a nurse. Get the nurse.

I called the nurse over. She confirmed it was an infiltration and that his blood could not be rinsed back and he could not run his treatment.

I can’t express the soul-crushing feeling I felt at hearing her words. I hadn’t felt emotions like that since I first started training and would have to be reminded to increase the blood pump speed or hearing the words that I had messed up stringing a machine or being told I had left the saline clamps open… again…

I haven’t felt those feelings of absolute failure since my RN mentor would point out all of the things I was doing wrong, in front of the patients, while I’m trying to already not fall apart because I fucked something up with the last patient I was with, too, and I can’t do anything right and this was totally the wrong choice and why did I think I could ever do anything medical related. I’m just a total failure at life and all of these “wrongs” prove it. I’m a fuck up and I’m sorry and I can’t seem to get it right, just once. I’m sorry I’m a failure.

Those.

Those feelings…

I got through them somehow in the beginning. I had long talks with my coworkers on break. I had my patients thank me at the end of their treatment and tell me that I was doing well. I had several nights of crying in my car after work and talking to Jon. I had all of these moments that helped me get through and fight back that voice in my head that cried out “failure” over every mess up. And eventually, I messed up less. I learned. I got better. I got faster. I got more confident and familiar with the totally new work world I had thrown myself into.

But yesterday… Yesterday I failed.

I failed my patient.

It was so hard to not cry as I explained to him we wouldn’t be able to run his treatment.

Him: Well… It happens.

Irrational Right Brain: NO GODDAMMIT! It doesn’t “happen”. Be angry at me. Be mean to me. I hurt you. I don’t deserve your kindness. I don’t deserve your understanding. I hurt you and I’m so sorry and there’s no way to make it right and I’m so so sorry.

I had to go into the back hallway and cry for a few seconds alone before pulling my shit together to get through the rest of change over. I didn’t have time to feel like a failure. I had other patients who needed me to be there for them and in a way that helped. I had to cannulate three other people and all of those cannulations were flawless.

It helped quite the voice inside of my head saying I should rethink my entire career choice and that I was a horrible fuck up.

After my break, after talking to my brother, I talked to my FA about the incident.

Me: Have you ever infiltrated anyone?
Her: Oh god, yes. That’s part of the job. It happens.
Me: That was the first time it happened to me.
Her: Really? If I had known that I would have been more compassionate. Are you saying in a year you’ve never infiltrated anyone?
Me: No. I haven’t. Which is why I’m having such a hard time right now. I’m trying to complete the NFACT “expert cannulator” thing and yet I infiltrate this patient and have been having a hard time with another patient’s access. It’s hard to not feel like I’m doing a bad job or that I shouldn’t pursue it further.
Her: If you were doing a bad job I would have told you long before this.

I felt better as our conversation continued and she shared her own experiences with me. It reminded me of when I was in Orlando and my trainers would caution me, “You’re going to infiltrate. Everyone does and it’s ok.”

I had accepted, back then, back there, that I would, eventually, one day, infiltrate a patient. And I guess in the year and a half or so since I’ve been working, to only have one on my record is pretty unheard of. I had accepted with phlebotomy that sometimes you miss. It’s not that you’re a bad phlebotomist. Some days are better than others. Some patients are easier to stick than others. The same goes for cannulating a dialysis patient.

Missing doesn’t automatically mean you’re bad. Infiltrating, also, doesn’t automatically mean you’re bad. And that’s something I’m having to work through. I’m not bad at my job. But yesterday I felt like it.

Yesterday I started questioning pretty much everything. I need titles and labels and to understand my roll in all of the dynamics I have; in all of the spots I fill in Life.

Who am I? What am I? What am I working towards? What’s important to me? Why do I wake up in the morning? What’s the point of getting out of bed? What’s the driving force behind doing anything, achieving anything, caring about anything?

Those were the questions going through my head last night.

Everything felt so nebulous and tentative and ready to shatter around me and I don’t know why.

I had already accepted that this incident was not a direct reflection of my skill. Hell, it could have been something as simple as my patient moved his arm while shifting in his chair and the point of the needle infiltrated on its own.

The important thing was I reacted professionally. I made sure the situation was controlled and that my patient was safe and gave the proper instructions for the care of his infiltration while he was between treatments.

Yet, there I was at home, questioning who I am. What I am.

It reminded me of what it was like when you first died, mom. I was no longer a teacher. I was no longer a student. I was no longer an employed member of society. I was no longer anything…

Currently, I’m not a mother but I have an eight-year-old who thinks she’s my daughter. I have a significant other but I’m not a wife or a girlfriend. I’m a nebulous in between. I’m not a nurse but that’s the easiest way to explain things to people because Patient Care Technician is long and confusing and you can see their eyes glaze over with that “not processing” look.

I’m “not” so many things, but then what am I if I’m not those things? What are the constants in my life that I can cling to when everything feels unstable? What are the cornerstones I found for myself during your death that have pulled me through all of the hard times where I wanted to give up?

That’s when I started remembering them…

I AM your daughter. You ARE my mother. I AM a warrior. I AM an earth dragon. And Life can go fuck itself if it thinks I’m going to give up.

It doesn’t matter what other titles I have. It doesn’t matter what other people think I am or am not. I AM your daughter and that is one thing that WILL NEVER change.

I don’t know what else to write, mom. Things aside from the craptastic day of yesterday are going well. I made my first rattan sword this past Saturday and it was awesome. I’m down seven pounds as of today and up one pound of muscle. We’re supposed to be starting serious work in the addition this weekend. The new countertops for the kitchen got installed and they’re pretty awesome. I figured out why I haven’t been back paid for my certification from March. I’m level 20 something in Final Fantasy 14 and I’m still having fun with the game. Jon and I are making solid plans for visiting Jason.

Things are still going really well overall. I feel like I should say sorry for letting this one event shake me so hard, but I’m not sorry so I can’t say it. I can say I will try not to let it eat away at me. I will try not to let it cloud my perception of myself and make me question my self-worth or skill.

But I know myself. This is still an unclosed loop in my head because I have not atoned for the wrong I feel I have committed. I need to figure out something to bring closure to this for me. Maybe writing… Maybe a post for my patient, similar to the posts I make for you, or for the people I can’t say things to…

Maybe saying all the words I wish I could say to him would help me move past this so I can still be the confident, competent patient care technician that I am and that he needs me to be.

I don’t know… But I promise I’ll figure it out, mom.

I love you. And I still need you. And you’re still here even if it’s not the same as it was and I think after reading the post shared with me by my reader that I’m getting better about accepting that.

Thanks, mom, for listening. For everything. I love you. Forever and for always.

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Letters to Mom 017: A Late Mother’s Day

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I wrote this on Tuesday, but for some reason, it didn’t post properly. I cherish this writing even though it was painful at the time I wrote it. It’s another writing where I grieved and bled invisible blood onto my keyboard, but it’s important to me and so even though it’s from the past, I feel the need to post it.

 


 

I didn’t write on Mother’s Day.

I had a dream about mom the night before. I still remember it.

I was in a house. I was with other people though I don’t remember who they were. I remember that I knew them, but I’m not sure if it was family or close friends. We were supposed to be going somewhere, but mom had said she would be visiting and I really wanted to see her before we left the house. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see her again for a while. It was important that I be there. It was my one chance.

I remember the feelings of anxiety and worry. Mom was running late. Her flight was delayed and there was traffic and all of these things keeping her from getting to the house on time. The people I was with were getting annoyed with me because we ourselves were going to be late if we didn’t leave soon, but I kept asking for more time. Just a few more minutes. Please. She’s so close. Just a little longer…

I remember in the dream I was almost in tears but the other people wouldn’t wait any longer. It was so hard, so heavy, to close the front door, to turn the lock. It sounded so final; the door closing. It was like I had allowed myself to give up. It was me giving in. It was me walking away and not waiting. It was me caving to pressure.

I wanted to wait. I wanted to be there. I wanted to see my mom. But I wasn’t staying and that felt like a betrayal. I was making the wrong choice and I hated it but I didn’t know what else to do. I had to leave with them.

There was so much confliction inside me and still, I turned to walk away from the door. But just as I did there was a knock.

I knew it was her. I knew mom had finally arrived and I didn’t care if I was late to whatever it was I was supposed to go to. I turned around as fast as I could and unlocked the door, throwing it open without regard.

She was there. My mom was there. I threw my arms around her and hugged her and cried.

I heard her say my name over my tears.

I KNOW she said it. I can still feel it in my chest even though I honestly can’t remember what it sounded like.

I just… I know my dream was real and that mom is still here, in whatever way the Universe is allowing.

This Mother’s Day my mom gave me a gift instead of the other way around and I still cry when I think about it. Fucking tears…

I’m grateful for my dream.

Thank you, mom, for everything that you did in life and everything you continue to do for me. I’m sorry I didn’t write on Mother’s Day. I’m sorry I still get sad and have hard days like Tuesday.

I’m sorry I’m not doing better even though I know writing that will make you frustrated with me because I know I’m doing amazing right now. I’m doing so much better than I ever have before and that makes me angry and sad at the same time because I wish you were here so I could show you; so you could be part of it. I wish I could call you and tell you about everything. I wish you could come visit and watch me beat people with sticks at SCA practice and meet Ox and just… everything.

I love you, mom. I wish it hadn’t taken your death to make me the adult I am now. I wish we had had more time. I wish I had thought to ask you all the questions I have now. I wish I had listened to your stories more. I wish I knew more about the hardships you faced while you were growing up. I wish I had you the way so many people still have their mom, but at the same time I know we’re closer for what we went through.

Thank you for raising me. Thank you for the dreams I have of you. Thank you for helping me get through the hard times.

Happy late Mother’s Day, mom.

I love you. Forever and for always.

Daily Post 091: Another Summery

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This is most likely going to jump around a bit. I guess the easiest way to write would be to break life into sections and write about each one since, once again, so much has happened.


Work

Work has been going well. I got my paycheck with my first bit of overtime. That was awesome. I also got the payback for the Concur report. Surprisingly I got all $400 for that. I got my wage increase finally for my CCHT test. I haven’t received the back pay for that, though, so it’s not 100% off my to-do list. Currently, I’m waiting to see if the back pay lands on this paycheck. If it doesn’t then I’ll be contacting my FA to see what needs to happen in that regard.

I need to figure out how to fill out Concur reports for traveling to different clinics since I was told I would be compensated for travel time and gas. I also ended up paying for the hotel room the last time I worked at the South Omaha clinic, which is another thing I can be reimbursed for. So, one of these days when I’m not super busy at work (which is never) I need to figure that out.

I haven’t started on the VAM training. I haven’t forgotten about it. More it just hasn’t worked out since I’ve been doing overtime elsewhere. This coming week seems like it will be a good week to start in on that, though.

I’m still waiting to hear back about finishing off my NFACT training. All I need in that regard is to get checked off on the skills list. Since one of our patients just got orders approved to use his fistula, now-ish would be a good time to get that completed. It’s another thing I’m waiting to hear back on. That task is close to being done, though, so I’m content with where I’m at with it.

The days seem to be going better. The one patient who was unstable for a while seems to be doing better. We switcher her dialyzer and everything is going well now.

Another patient has started having issues. Switching her dialyzer didn’t seem to resolve anything, so I’m not sure where we’re going with that at the moment.

Mr. Non-compliance got a fistula placed last week. Because of that, he was in the hospital for a while, but he was at the clinic on Friday for treatment. It was good to see him after so long. I hope he begins to show up more regularly. He’s an awesome guy. I can’t do much to help him live if he skips treatment, though, and that’s a shitty reality of my job. I can only do so much, and a majority of that depends on the patient actually being there.

Friday was a day from hell. I loved the RN I worked with. I’ve worked with her a few times at the Capital City clinic while I was in “training” after my move to Nebraska. She doesn’t work at the Beatrice clinic often, though. In the past six months, she said she’s been there three times. Because our machines are so different from all of the other clinics that meant it felt like I was on my own for the most part on Friday.

I set up nearly every machine. That meant we were running behind for first shift, which snowballed into second shift. Even though my FA was on the floor helping out we didn’t recover from the slow start.

There were soooooo many people at my clinic on Friday. I guess there was some uber meeting going on in the conference room. I didn’t understand how there could be that many people and yet leave me feeling like I was the only one working the floor.

The new tech who will be working the clinic with me showed up later in the day with her preceptor. I wish I could say I like her, but my first impression is that I won’t. She lives in Beatrice which worries me. I’m scared that she’ll get priority for the clinic even though I’ve been proving myself to be a good worker. I’m worried they’re going to have me cover more shifts elsewhere, especially at Cap City, which I don’t want to do.

I like my clinic. I want to stay there. I would rather go down to part-time than float to different places. Except maybe South Omaha. Or maybe even the North Omaha location, but that’s only because that clinic has the same machines as mine. I haven’t been there, but I could see myself being more ok in that environment because I would have a better idea on how to function there.

I don’t know what’s in the future and stressing over something that’s still two months away is a waste of energy. I’m trying to not let it eat away at the inside of my brain. Since it’s only been two days since I met the new tech I don’t think there’s enough information to say if I’m doing a good job in that regard or not yet.

I do think it’s something I should talk to my FA about. Knowing what their game plan is for the future would be nice. Where do they see me? Where do they see her? Stuff like that.

For the most part, things are going well with work and I believe that’s a majority of what’s been going on.

The new schedule is out. Next week I only work three 12-hour shifts. The week after that I picked up a shift on Saturday for South Omaha. The following two weeks I work five days since I’m covering a morning shift both Tuesdays at Cap City in addition to covering the Saturdays at South Omaha.

Yeah… we’ll see how that plays out…


 

SCA

In other news, Ox and I have been pretty active with the SCA group. We went to combat practice again this past Tuesday. I’ve purchased McDavid knee and elbow sleeves to wear under the loaner armor I’ve been using. I’ve also ordered groin protection since that’s a thing that’s required. It’s supposed to be delivered Monday so I’m hoping to have it for Tuesday’s practice. If I do I’ll be sure to leave a review.

I’ve also purchased a new backpack specifically for my combat gear since the backpack I’ve been using for everything is getting kind of cramped.

Typically I keep my workout gear along with everything I need for work in my backpack. I’ve recently added the knee and ankle braces due to training at the gym. I already had a bathroom kit for when I need to shower at the gym or travel overnight for work. And though I do have another gym bag, currently it has all of my fighter gear in it. My gloves and hand wraps. My shinguards and gi. My belt with my single stripe.

There wasn’t much extra space in either bag. Add to the equation that I now have stuff specifically for combat… It just wasn’t working for me. I like keeping my things separate, which meant another bag was in the near future anyway.

So now I have a softball/baseball backpack which I think is going to work amazingly well. It has two pouches that run the height of the bag where you can put a bat, theoretically.

Wouldn’t you know they’re the perfect size for two pieces of ratan? : D

So I have a bag for my gear AND I can keep my swords in it. And… AND… it’s purple. : 3

So much happy.

I really like it and as I begin to construct my own armor I’m fairly confident that it will be able to hold everything aside from my helm, which I wouldn’t want to put in there anyway since the helm has to be constructed from steel while the rest of the armor I want to make will ideally be leather.

We went to the meeting on Wednesday with Ox, which I think I would have enjoyed more if I hadn’t been so tired. It was a new social situation with new people on nearly no sleep after a 12-hour shift and no food. There were a bunch of people doing weaving and needle crafts so I plan to bring my own project with me next time, which should help with not feeling so out of place.

We went to dinner afterward, which was nice. I enjoyed the conversations I had and being able to connect with people on a more individual level.

It seems like a bit of a routine that Ox and I are forming. Tuesdays are combat and afterward, we go to my sports bar for dinner. Wednesdays are the meetups and afterward, we go out to eat with the group. I buy Tuesdays. He covers Wednesdays.

I’m glad we’re finding a group of people to interact with and that even though we both have our own interests within the group, that we’re able to share something together.


 

Health

I’ve been doing well with the gym. I actually made it in twice this week to do arm day since that’s something I need to start making more of an effort with. My lower body is definitely outpacing my upper body and I don’t want to be stuck with T-rex arms.

Or do I…

ddb

I’m down roughly four pounds. I’m up a little on muscle. I can feel a difference in myself. I’m doing well with sticking to my macros as far as carbs and protein go. I’m usually under my calorie count, but I really don’t care all that much about it since I’m logging around 6 miles on the days I work.

I can feel how I have more energy during the days I get adequate sleep. I’m coping with stress better. At least, I think I am.

My trainer is out of town this coming week, which means instead of going to training I’m going to try to find classes at the gym to do. it would be nice to make it to Zumba or yoga, or both. There’s a Core and More class that would be nice to make…

More planning is required. But yes. Things are going well in that department.


 

Life

I finally went to the DMV and got my Nebraska license. It’s more official now than not now. I’m officially a resident. The last thing I need to do regarding my move is switch my car tags over, but that’s a multi-step process with multiple fees and I’m not really all that worried about getting it done during this month’s schedule since I’m going to be working so many extra days.

Part of it, too, is that I don’t know how much it will be financially to switch over. Switching from South Carolina to Florida ran me over $600. Once I have all of the money from working overtime then I’ll look into taking care of that task. If it ends up being cheaper, awesome. Having 1k worth of extra to cover it would make me more comfortable with taking care of that task. Not that I want to spend that much, but I would rather have that much saved and not need it, then need it and not be able to do anything about it.


 

Finances

On the subject of money, I’m doing well. I was once again able to overpay on all of my bills and still have extra for buying the combat gear and bag. I was able to get the car looked at and tuned up since it felt like it was driving weird.

I like to think that mom would be proud of me. Instead of waiting until there was a problem I was proactive and took the car in to get looked at while it was still a “concern” rather than a “problem”.

I ended up getting an alignment and an oil change since that was something I’ve wanted to do since moving to Nebraska. Go me.

I’ve already bought groceries. The car has gas. This coming Friday is payday which will once again have a decent amount of overtime on it. Next month is when I reach out to Warren to see if he’s in a spot to start paying me back.

My immediate financial goal is to pay off my car. It’s the closest thing to being taken care of and would free up $300 to put towards something else. My rule right now is any overtime I work goes towards the car. I do want to take a bit of the money to put towards buying materials for my armor, but mostly the overtime money is for bills.

My “Me Fund” is back to where it should be. Actually, it’s a little over what it should be, but that’s in preparation for my trip in August. It’s looking more like I’ll be going to Vegas for a bit then flying to Orlando. I want to make sure I have the funds to support the trip. With working overtime, I should have the time available to take off without affecting my pay. I’m still waiting to solidify dates with my brothers, but it’s looking good so far.

I still don’t have much in my savings account, which might be something I address before pouring all of my overtime money into my car. That seems like a responsible thing to do… But since that’s still at least a week away I’ll worry about that when I have numbers to work with.

Let’s see… what else…


 

Relationship

Ox and I are doing well. We’re going to have the kids for roughly a week. In preparation for that, we’re going to flush out my nest a bit more. I know he did some stuff up there today which I wasn’t allowed to be there for. My tv is upstairs along with a tv stand that I bought today and a beanbag chair so I can set up my PS4. We’re going to try setting up an air mattress as well which, in theory, will let me be able to sleep at home without everyone having to tiptoe around me on the nights I have to go to sleep early for work.

All we can do is try and see if it works. If not then I guess it will go back to getting a hotel room on the nights I need to. I like the way things feel, though. We talked a lot about how we see the addition being set up in the future. We’re most likely not going to be able to do much of work on until the weekend after next, but we have a solid idea of what needs to be done.

He actually went as far as spray painting the lines for where the walls are going to go. I was having a hard time “seeing” the set up for the room because right now it’s all open space. The lines helped me see what he sees. I like it. I want it to be real and not just lines on the plywood floor.

I like the idea of having our computer area and the TV on the wall with a couch and a little work area for chain mail and armor making. I like the idea of having an alcove for the bedroom with windows to let the light in.

I like the way the future feels in that regard.

I’ve been sleeping better next to him. Part of that may be that I’m getting used to sleeping next to another person again. For so long I’ve slept alone. That might have factored into some of my sleepless nights in the beginning. Being sick as long as I was didn’t help anything, but I do wonder if being overwhelmed by so much new didn’t contribute to it at least a little.

I met Ox’s brother and sister-in-law on Saturday along with their two kids. I had slight anxiety on the way to their house, but they’re both nice people.

The thought of having to go back and socialize doesn’t seem heavy or dreadful. I would be ok with seeing them again, and I think I would be welcome in their home. They didn’t instantly hate me for my tattoos or purple hair.

It makes me aware that Ox hasn’t met my family yet, but there’s not really an easy way to fix that. He can’t meet mom. Jon doesn’t want to see him yet. Jason is in Vegas and dad is in Ohio.

I don’t know what else to write in that regard because I guess this is where I get scared and start looking at deep, dark, scary relationship things that I haven’t addressed in a while.

We’re coexisting well. It’s coming up on four months. That’s still really early in the relationship. I still get overwhelmed with the kids because I don’t know how to be a parent and I’m not used to kids being around all the time. I’m not used to not having my own space or quiet time. I still don’t know if I’ll ever want one of my own. I still don’t know where I want to go career-wise or what I want to do with school. I still don’t know if I’ll be able to run all of my Warrior Dash in July, which I need to request off from work.

I don’t think I want to delve into the deep, dark, scary world of “relationship” right now. I’m still not used to having it not fall apart. I’m still not used to things not being arguments.

I want to be happy with the small victory of being able to sleep well next to him. I want to be happy with feeling comfortable cooking in the kitchen. I want to feel happy that I feel like I belong even more than I did in the beginning. I don’t feel awkward coming home and being the only person here when Papa Ox is in the living room.

One other thing Ox and I have started doing is playing Final Fantasy 14 together. I’m enjoying the game so far. It’s allowing us to game together which I think is something that Ox misses. While I was in Orlando we spent a fair amount of time on WoW chatting and questing. Since I’ve been in Nebraska my gaming life has been non-existent, but gaming is something important to Ox.

Since I’ve been so disenchanted with WoW we decided to try a different game and so far I am extremely enjoying it. I’m only level 10, but I like my character and I’ve been enjoying exploring a new world and reading the questline.

I’ve been enjoying it so much so that I think I’m actually going to stop writing for tonight so I can get another hour of gaming in before having to go to sleep for work tomorrow.


 

In Summary

Overall, things are still going well, even on the hard days, and I’m glad for that.

 

Daily Post 090: Learning To Be Wiser

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Once again not proofread.  ❤


 

The longer I go without writing the more confusing and distant and disorganized things are going to get. I know it’s already drastically past my bedtime, which is sad because it’s only 9:40, but I have work again tomorrow at my home clinic, thank the Universe, and that means a 3 am wake-up call.

Even still, I know I’ll feel better after writing. I’ll be able to sleep better, deeper knowing that I did this even if it ends up taking a while.

Combat was fun on Tuesday. I keep forgetting that it’s only Thursday. It feels like so much has happened. So much time has passed… But it’s only been two days. Two long, full, near breakdown days.

Tuesday had a lot of new, but it also had a lot of what is becoming routine. I went to training at the gym and even though it happened later in the day, it was nice to go through the same set on the machines. Tuesday I was back up to 200 pounds again but it wasn’t as hard to do as last week. My trainer and I talked about how I had to wear a knee brace for Friday evening and Saturday the week before. We talked about different muscles and more of my past experiences.

We didn’t talk about my metrics so I didn’t have to have the look of disapproval for the piece of pie I shared with Ox; at least not yet. Still dodging that bullet.

We continued doing plyometric work after the machines. I can feel myself getting back into it.

By the end of the session I was feeling better then I had before it. Less tired in some ways, more tired in others. It was a positive improvement and I’m glad I went.

After the gym, I went grocery shopping. My right knee started feeling iffy; sore, much like how my left leg had started acting up the week before. I didn’t have my brace with me, though. I went ahead and bought a second one and put it one before going back into the store to do the grocery shopping. I’m sure I could have completed that task without the brace, but I wanted to be proactive with listening to my body. It was sore and needed to rest, which wasn’t an option, so I did the next best thing and supported the areas that were the most tired.

After the grocery shopping, I dashed home where I put my food away. I didn’t have time to do any prep work with it. Ox needed me to meet him in town before combat practice so I could give him a change of clothes and I still really wanted to stop by the scrub store I had found online so work wouldn’t be additionally stressful with having to bend space and time to do laundry at some point.

I was home maybe 10 minutes before getting back in my car and driving into Lincoln. I was able to pick up a new set of scrubs. I actually really, really like my new set and I will eventually replace the ones I have. I think I’m going to wait to do that for a while, though. The ones I have are still good and if I’m going to be losing a bunch of weight, it seems silly to get all new of something just to turn around and replace it because it becomes too big.

I at least have a very good idea of what I will eventually be getting. The new set is super lightweight compared to what I have. The tops are longer, the pant legs looser. I don’t know. It feels more “me” I guess… I’m more comfortable and ok in them. I’m looking forward to the day I actually do replace my current ones with this particular brand. Not that I dislike the ones I have… I just happen to like the new ones more.

To be fair I’ve only ever owned two types of scrubs. Maybe three depending on how you count them. I had the cotton set that I got from when I took the CNA and PCT classes in Orlando. I had the cotton set from work when I started with DaVita as well. Since they were the same material though, I don’t think they really count. Then I got the set from the Orlando scrub store; Healing Hands 360. And by comparison, there is no comparison. HH360 is way better and I love/loved them. I can’t find the tag with the brand name for the new ones, they’re a set above HH360.

So much love for them. ❤

So now I have four sets of scrubs. I might get one more set just to be safe, but we’ll have to wait and see about that one.

Anyway. I got scrubs on Tuesday. Woo.

I met up with Ox after that and we took my care to the park where the combat practice was going to be. Inside my head I was worried about it turning out like the first one I went to Orlando; that is… rained out with a message saying the practice was canceled being sent out via a Facebook group I was yet to be a part of…

Luckily the weather gods were on my side. The practice was held and Tuesday was the first day I was put in actual armor and put against someone to fight. My teacher/opponent is an experienced fighter who was impressed with how well I did for a starter. She said not only was I swinging multiple blows in varying locations, I was using the shield at times and moving around rather than staying in one place. I know I have a ways to go, but it was a lot of fun.

Ox and I got to meet a handful of cool people and I think his interest is peaked.

We went to my new sports bar after practice for dinner since neither of us had eaten. If we had waited until we had gotten home I wouldn’t have been to sleep until much later than I already was.

I woke up the next day and did my morning stuff before heading to work. It was a fairly smooth day. I was told I would for sure be working at the South Omaha clinic and that a hotel was booked for me. Ox wanted to go to the moot the SCA group was hosting at the library which meant I wouldn’t get to see him for very long.

I went home, packed up what I needed for the night and next day then headed to the library so we could see each other for a few minutes before I left for the night.

He said it was an interesting meeting so far since it was still going on when I got there. He went back inside, I got back in my car and drove to the hotel. I checked in. I talked to Jon for a while, then Ox when he called me. He had gone to dinner with the group after the meeting and it sounded like he had a good time.

I slept deeply. I woke up literally one minute before my alarm went off.

My ankles were bothering this morning instead of my knees so I went to Walgreens and bought ankle compression stuff. I think it helped to have them versus not, but they’re still sore so it’s hard to tell.

The day went well. I love the RN I worked with. She’s super nice and helpful. Both of the techs were new to me, but again, they were amazing to work with and I’m glad I got to meet them.

The day didn’t go badly until the end. I had to close the water room by myself for the first time. I followed the sheet they had but there are steps missing which caused at least one alarm to go off which frayed my nerves a bit. Then there was an issue with the CWP being low on its disinfect. I know how to fix that but I didn’t know where their chemicals were stored. Once the RN and I finally figured it out I couldn’t get the machine to not alarm for “low chemical”.

Me: It’s a new jug. It can’t get any fuller than it is. What the F’ do you want from me, Machine? Please just let me go home. ;-;

The RN and I figured that issue out. So the rest of the tasks should have been easy. And to be fair they were. All I had to do was finish cleaning one station, empty the bleach containers, then leave. That’s it.

The RN asked if I would be ok closing on my own. I said yes, and I was confident in my “yes”.

She asked if I was leaving through the front or back door. I said front because that’s where I parked. She said, in that case, I would need to arm the alarm for the door.

Me: Ok. I don’t know how to do that for this clinic yet.

She gave me the code for it; writing it down on a square, yellow PostIt note which I saw her place on the nurse’s station counter. She went about doing a few other things. I did a few of my things. She asked me again if I would be ok, repeating the code to me verbally.

Me: Yeah. I’ll be fine. Go ahead and go. I’ll be done shortly.

I finished what I was doing. I faxed the papers I needed to fax. I looked for the sticky note… only to not find it… anywhere….

It wasn’t on the back of a book, or under the keyboard. It wasn’t in any of the trashcans. It wasn’t in the breakroom. It. Wasn’t. There…

Ok… Keep calm. You can figure this out, Jen…

The only number I have is the FA’s number… Ok. Not the best option, but I can explain myself if she answers and hopefully resolve this issue easily. Smoothly…

No answer…

Of course not. Who would keep their work phone on while they are on vacation…

Ok… Don’t panic. Call YOUR FA because maybe she’ll be able to call someone else. Again, not the best option, but this is an issue that needs to be solved. You can’t just drive back to Lincoln and leave the clinic unlocked…

No answer…

She’s at a convention for the company and most likely also does not have her work phone on her…

Fuck…. ok… Call the other FA who’s in training…

No answer.

Ok… There’s got to be a book with a list of everyone’s number who works at the clinic. They mentioned it before… Can. Not. Find. The. Freaking. Book.

Me: … *desperation* …

There’s the app on the intranet… People, Places, Things… I can look up the clinic and get a list of everyone who works here. Maybe I can figure out a way to find their number through that or be able to Facebook stalk them enough to send them an SOS message or just… something…

I have no idea what the password is for their computers and it’s not written on them anywhere so I can’t actually get on a computer.

Ok. Now’s a valid time to break down.

I tried calling Ox to have a voice of reason keep me sane and stable with how close I was to tears over not being able to figure my situation out.

No answer.

Fuck my life.

I called Jon who, thankfully, blessedly, answered his phone.

He listened to me explaining my store. While I was in the middle of it, mind you, my phone is at 4% battery, the FA in training calls me back. I tell Jon I’ll call him later, that I need to answer this call and switch the phone over. I explain what’s going on and what I’ve tried to do already.

She said she would reach out and see if she could get ahold of someone for me.

Long story short and a few phone calls later, I’m told that I can leave. Training FA called another FA who can reach out to a member of the South Omaha team who lives close by to can lock the door for me.

Me: Omg. I’m out. So out. Like “I can’t drive out of Omaha and back to the middle of nowhere fast enough” out.

So, two hours after our last patient had left for the day I was finally able to leave and start the roughly hour-long drive back home.

I called Jon back and we talked for a while. During that phone call, Ox tried calling me three times. I called him back after my talk with Jon and we stayed on the phone until I was all the way back home.

I cried while he hugged me. There was a feeling of relief in that hug.

I don’t know why, after all of the shit that I’ve been through in life; my parents divorce, caring for my grandmother, seeing mom in the hospital, everything that happened after her death… why a fucking door code is the thing that makes me want to break down and feel like Life is too much to handle.

I’m actually a little aggravated with myself over it looking back at it but whatever. I didn’t drink when I got home so I’m giving myself massive points for that.

Instead, I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. I made dinner since I didn’t have any meals for tonight or tomorrow. I prepped the shrimp I plan to use for a second meal. I ate, and now I’ve written.

The end of the workday sucked and I have learned a very valuable lesson. I knew I needed to make an Evernote with this clinic’s information in it, but I didn’t. I knew that I should have gotten contact information from people, and didn’t. And when I needed that information, I didn’t have it.

NEVER. AGAIN.

That level of stress over something so minor was not worth it and totally avoidable.

Knowledge is having information. Wisdom is applying that knowledge.

Today I was not wise, which means tomorrow and every day from this point forward I can be wiser.

And with that mindset… I’m going to go have one last cigarette and shower before going to sleep to do another 12-hour shift tomorrow in the safety and familiarity of my own, small, eight station home clinic.

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Daily Post 089: A Mini-Meltdown With Planning

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I’m tired. I have training at 3 which means I have about an hour and a half before I need to leave. I have combat practice which I still want to go to that I’m scared of not making due to the tiredness.

I don’t want it to win, yet at the same time, the thought of going out to my car feels heavy. Knowing that the dishwasher needs to be unloaded reminds me that it will then need to be loaded afterwards and that my clothes still aren’t put away and that I’m running low and prepared food and that I work the next three days and won’t have a chance to cook or clean because one of my shifts is in Omaha again and that alone is two hours worth of traveling if traffic isn’t bad.

It feels like a lot even though I know it’s not that much. I know it’s doable with planning and conscious, thoughtful intention, but right now staying in bed and just… not… is so much more appealing in the short term.

I’m finally eating my breakfast even though it’s noon. It’s warm and tasty and I think that’s helping. I know I need to drink more water since I haven’t had any since last night. I know once I’m at the gym and moving around that I’ll be better and that thought is what I’m holding on to. If I just start, if I can just get myself there, everything will work itself out, but that’s the hardest part, isn’t it?

That’s the part that doesn’t get done; the “getting there” part.

Yesterday was a decent day at work but even that had its own issues which kept me from doing things I had been looking forward to.

I worked with my FA for the first time on the floor by ourselves. It went well except for the morning because she didn’t know how to unlock the door properly so the patients could get inside on time. That put all of our patients behind by a few minutes, but once you’re behind there’s no way to really catch up and it dominoed into the rest of the day.

I spent most of the day making needle packs so now I have a proper setup; at least one that I think will work for me. There are two bins of 15 gauge needle packs. When one runs out there’s the second to replace it and the first can be refilled without causing a breakdown in the chain of supplies or the worry of old supplies never getting used and buried under the new stuff. I still want to make another bin worth of standard packs, ones without needles, for the times we need 17, 16, or 14 gauge needles. It’s easier to grab a premade pack and add the needle lines into them since very few of our patients use anything outside of 15s.

And since the clinic is down to three days a week, I’m able to keep all of the packs I need for the week in one of the drawers at my station, so I don’t have to worry about making sure I have the packs out of the stock room for the next day. I can reset on Friday for the coming week and be good to go. So far it’s been working well; the system I’m developing, finding, fine-tuning. It’s making things run easier for me, and because they’re running easier for me that in turn makes it easier for my RN and our patients because I’m able to do more. I can be more present rather than trying to take care of tasks that also need to get done. It’s an efficiency thing, and that’s something I’m good and figuring out, given the time to do it.

So yeah, yesterday I spent a majority of my downtime working with supplies. I also got to talk to our BioMed for a while after lunch which was fantastic. He answered a lot of my questions and I feel I’m more comfortable with the machines. That was another 15 minutes or so where I wasn’t on the floor prepping for the next day, though.

Once all of our patients were off the machines my FA wanted me to walk her through the “closing” tasks, so even though there were two of us doing them, it still took a bit longer because I had to explain what I was doing and why.

I had been hoping to get to the gym for a spin class along with doing the workouts my trainer wants me to be doing on my off days; the days I’m not working with him. The class started at 5:30. I didn’t leave the clinic until six. I had been looking forward to the gym all day. I’ve been eating better. I’ve had more energy. At lunch, I felt like I would have the energy to do it; to do to the class and maybe not crush it, but at least do it which would have been better than the previous week where I didn’t go at all.

After I clocked out from work, though, all I wanted was to go home, which was another thing that changed.

I had been told early in the morning that North Omaha still needed me to cover for them Tuesday morning. I was supposed to be at their clinic at 4:45 and work until around noon. I didn’t find out until 5:30 pm that they no longer needed me.

I’m not complaining about having time to myself, but it would have been nice to have had more warning that things were going to change.

Since I no longer had an hour drive ahead of me with a full day of work in my future, all I wanted was to go home and shower and eat and go to bed. So that’s what I did. I didn’t go to the gym and there’s a part of me who’s not happy about that fact. The difference between reasons and excuses are perspective and I can see both sides of my situation and it sucks. I made a smart choice by caring for myself and my introvertedness and getting proper food and rest. I’m also a slacker because I’m sure I really did have enough reserves to make it to the gym and do the things my trainer wants me to be doing.

Flipside… I haven’t stopped or had any length of downtime to myself aside from the two nights where I slept at the hotel and while I know that counts towards something, I don’t really think it counts as much as the time I have had this morning, right now, to myself. It’s the first morning where I’ve woken up and haven’t had to do anything or really plan for the immediate two to four hours after my initial wake-up.

Since I was supposed to be in Omaha, my at the gym training was moved to later in the day, so I had the ability to go back to sleep after Ox left for work, which I don’t know if that was a good call or not with how slow and tired I feel now.

I’ve been asked to cover a few shifts at the downtown Lincoln location in the coming weeks. I’ll be an opener on the TTS shifts so I’ll be one of the first techs to leave. I don’t want this to become habit or routine. I liked the South Omaha clinic so much more than the downtown Lincoln one, and maybe that’s because I was still in “training” while I was at DTL. It would be nice to see some of those techs again and a few of the RNs. It would be nice to see some of the patients I had in Beatrice since they had to move clinics temporarily while my clinic is down to only three days.

I would still get overtime and travel compensation for helping at the clinic, but there’s still, once again, a part of me who isn’t all that happy that I was asked to work there. It’s confusing and I don’t think right now, while I’m tired, is the time to try to figure those feelings out.

Instead, I think what I need to do is to figure out how to be ok in the coming days.

Combat practice doesn’t end until 8:30 which means if I stay for the whole thing I won’t be home until roughly nine, and I’ll need a shower, so I’m looking at a 9:30 bed time at the earliest while still having to wake up at 3 am for work. I think it might be better to only stay until 7:30 and have a larger time frame to prep for tomorrow morning.

I know that I need more burger and chicken. At least the burger patties since those are easy meals that I don’t need anything else for. I can precook them and take them with me if need be. I’ve been doing well with my metrics, even with having two bites of chocolate cream pie last night. I’m fully expecting my trainer to say something about it today but I would rather be honest about logging it than hiding it and I’m not going to regret my choice. Instead of having a whole slice I got to share it with Ox. It was a compromise. A halfway happy. I didn’t deny myself, but I didn’t do a full-on “zero fucks given” free-for-all either.

I will have a very brief window between training and combat practice where I could try to cook something as long as it’s fairly quick. It might be good for me to figure something out now because I won’t have much of a chance tomorrow if I’m driving up to a hotel in Omaha in the evening and that would leave me with no food for Thursday, and I won’t be leaving Omaha until 5 pm, so roughly a 7pm home arrival time with work again in Beatrice at 4:30 so there’s not much time in the evening to do anything that day either.

If I can survive until the weekend I’ll be ok. I just don’t know how to do that at the moment.

I’m going to need to do laundry since I still only have three pairs of scrubs and I work four days a week for the next three weeks it seems. It’s something I mentioned to Ox this morning while we were texting the first time I woke up. Even if I don’t use them, I think it would be smart to get more scrubs so the issue of laundry is no longer an issue. Maybe even another two pairs of socks so I can avoid that being a thing as well. And maybe that’s something I can look at today while we’re in town. I’m sure there’s a scrub store. I can look online to see if anyone carries the ones I want. Maybe even call and see if they have them in stock. I still have time. I can figure all of this out instead of sitting here and feeling like it’s all a disaster waiting to happen. It will only be a disaster if I sit passively and do nothing. I need to be proactive if I’m going to solve the issues that I know are problems.

I’m not going to be a helpless bystander who gets run over by Life. I’m going to be a bawce and take care of this shit because I refuse to let it make my days harder.

So I think that’s what I’m going to do. Instead of having a breakdown, I’m going to plan and take action. I have an hour before I need to leave.

I need to figure out a shopping list for after the gym. I need to figure out my scrub issue. I need to go to training. I need to stop by the store. I need to cook one meal since I still have enough premade breakfast left to get me through the week. I need to potentially pick up scrubs and socks. And then I need to meet with Ox so we can eat before beating each other with sticks at the SCA practice.

I will make this a good day.

It’s my one day off. I won’t let tiredness win. I WILL do the things and it WILL be a good day.

 

Daily Post 088: Hello Old Friend

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Not proofread because sleep is a thing


 

Hello dearest Microsoft Surface,

It’s been a while since I’ve written on you. It’s been a while since you’ve been charged and updated. I’m sure it’s nice to have the dust brushed off of you. At some point, I’m sure I’ll clean your screen.

I can remember moments with you. Good moments like the ones at my sports bar where I would pay bills while eating lunch after going to kickboxing. I remember you were what I wrote on for my “first birthday”. The first one without mom. I remember that night; how I had been in Vegas for the holiday season. I remember how we all went out to dinner and how other than that it wasn’t a big deal. It was a decent day and yet I still came home and cried as I poured everything out through your keyboard.

I’m grateful for the times you’ve been there for me. I’m grateful for the tasks you’ve helped me complete. I’m grateful for moments like now, where you’re the instrument, the key, to letting me write my thoughts onto a blank page which in turn leads me to understanding myself better.

We’ve been through a lot together even though our times recently have grown more distant.

A lot has happened in the past week. It was the first week of the new schedule at work. It’s been getting better but one of our patients has become pretty unstable and so the days have still been hard. Harder than what I’ve grown used to.

The first day, Monday, tried really, really hard to be on par with the Orlando clinic. It was probably only better because the day was shorter; 12 hours instead of sixteen. I still wanted to cry on the way home with how completely tapped out I was.

Tuesday I met with my trainer again. We went through some of the things he wants me to be doing on my own then did a half work out where he totally destroyed my legs. It was good though. I haven’t had to work that hard in a while and it was a tiredness, an ache, that I’ve missed. The pain of making myself be better than I am.

I mailed my thank you cards to Orlando after stopping by Walmart. The receipt said they should arrive at my old clinic on Thursday. I’m glad I finally got that taken care of. I hope the cards reach my old coworkers well and that my words mean something to them.

After the post office, I went to my clinic where I started on the NFACT training to become an expert cannulator. I made it through all of the video training and printed off all of the P&Ps that I need to read (policy and procedure). I have a print off of everything I need to do to complete the training and I was glad to see so many highlighted lines of things I was able to get done while I was there. Having all of the quiet time to myself made me more ready to face my next workday. It helped me recover from the lameness and overwhelm of Monday.

Wednesday was another crazy day, though not due to A-Level alarms. The morning started off well. Things were going smoothly. Then we had to call EMS for one of our patients. I’m not a doctor. Neither is our RN. We’re only able to handle so much with just the two of us and seven other patients who need our care. It was better for everyone that she agreed to go to the ER.

Mr. Non-compliance showed up, which was good. He needs to be there. He needs his antibiotic since his CVC is infected. He needs to be dialyzed so his blood isn’t full of toxins slowly eroding away at all of the years he still has left to live.

I have never personally been on dialysis, but I know, just like any other disease or hardship, that it doesn’t have to define someone. It’s only the end of it you let it be the end. If Life sucks and starts being a dick tell it to go fuck itself and fight to live the life you want to live. Don’t let it stop you.

Does that mean compromising on a lot of things?

Yes. But better to compromise and have a halfway happy than to give up and have no happy at all.

I guess it’s all about perspective and, for the most part, I try to make mine one of, “I’m going to make this work no matter how hard you try to stop me.”

Another thing that happened Wednesday was my FA reached out to me asking if I would be interested in covering some shifts are other clinics in Omaha. With the rush to get everything squared away from the PCT registry, there are some techs who aren’t able to work and so there are spots that need to be filled until all of the red tape can get figured out.

Normally I wouldn’t be jazzed about working more hours, but there’s incentive pay and it would be overtime if I did work those shifts. I also know what it’s like to work shorthanded. And I guess I was asked for specifically. My FA travels a lot and has mentioned to several other FAs how well I am doing on her team. When the need arose to have someone float to their clinics they wanted to know if I would be willing, thus why my FA reached out to me.

I talked to Ox before making a decision about the first shift. It was for the coming Saturday; a day we would have the kids. Being there two days in a row is hard for me. There’s little downtime where I can recharge and as awful as it might be, the thought of working and being out of the house was better than being constantly bombarded by an eight-year-old. One day I could do. Two was more than I wanted at the time.

Ox said he was ok with me doing whatever I wanted to do; that he supported me, but to make sure I wasn’t biting off more than I could chew.

With Ox’s support, I replied to my FA saying I could cover the upcoming Saturday shift, but that I would need to talk to my trainer about moving my times around before I could say anything about the other days.

I was glad when Wednesday was over. My RN was feeling under the weather and it was her last day which didn’t help make the day any smoother. We had planned a few weeks back to get dinner together and even though both of us were tapped out I’m glad neither of us canceled our plans. I got to meet her daughter. It was a nice evening even though I ended up having to drive home in what felt like a hurricane level downpour in Nebraska.

Thursday I had training again. My legs were still sore from Tuesday so I was worried about how well I would be able to do. We started by looking at my food tracking on MyFitnessPal. I’m doing ridiculously better than I was for the past… we’ll say four months, but I was still over in some areas while being under in others.

I was over in carbs. My limit is 100 or less. The highest I was over was 67, but that’s still 67 that’s taking me away from my goal. I was over in calories by roughly 700 on my worst day, but again, that’s 700 more I have to burn through to make the level of progress I want.

I was drastically under in protein, which I need if I’m going to be working out as hard as I’m going to be.

My trainer and I talked about it. I made mental notes on what I could change and how for the coming week and then proceeded to go to the floor where we had our first full workout.

We started with the machines again, doing the same ones we had done on Tuesday but with slightly lower weight. I was proud that I made it through everything. Maybe it was a psychological thing, but knowing the weight was less made it seem more ok. I had done 200 lbs. on Tuesday. 175 wasn’t necessarily a cakewalk, but it wasn’t 200 so I knew I could do it, and I did.

After the machines, we went to the back room where we did a lot of plyometric stuff. At the end, he said he was pretty impressed. He said I had more coordination than what he was expecting and that it really was more of an issue with getting the nutrient side under control.

I would rather not be insulted by his comment. I know it could be taken that way. It would be easy to have one of those, “What? Did you think I was a sack of potatoes?” type of response to his comment.

I would rather not think of it that way. I know I may not look like much but I’ve done a lot of things in my life so far. Marching band. Boxing. Kickboxing. Aikido. Jiujitsu. Muay Thai. Running. Yoga. Zumba. Warrior Dashs… All of that goes into what I’m able to do now. Not all of that is apparent on the surface.

I talked to him about the changes to my schedule and we worked out times in the evening, after my shifts at the Omaha clinics where we could meet. I knew the coming week would be brutal but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I was going to cover those shifts and have my workouts too.

Once I had showered I went to Walmart again so I could make the changes I wanted to foodwise. From there I went to the clinic where I clocked in and read through all of the P&P that I needed to. I wasn’t at the clinic as long on Thursday but I was ok with that. I got the remaining things checked off my list and sent an email to my FA letting her know the only thing left, aside from a training module that appeared to no longer be on the site, was to be checked off on my skills list.

I went home. I did laundry. I unloaded, loaded, and ran the dishwasher, later emptying it again to fill with the dishes from dinner. I cooked a new zoodle recipe which I think turned out pretty good. I made sure I was ready for Friday and went to sleep.

Friday was another rough day.

My left leg was seriously hurting me when I woke up and not in a sore muscle sort of way. It was the back of my knee, towards the outside. It hurt to straighten it completely. It felt like the tendon in that area was overly tight; like a rubber band that you’re trying to stretch too far. I knew I had to make it through my day regardless of how my leg felt so after my shower I took the last IcyHot patch that I had gotten for my back forever ago and put it on the back of my knee. Since it was in a place that would move and flex a lot I wrapped it with adherent wrap a few times and hoped the compression would be enough to let me at least hobble through the day.

My leg wasn’t any better by the time I got to the clinic so I was slower in getting things done but I did the best I could and that’s all I could do. The patient we called EMS for on Wednesday started having issues again. We think it might be an allergy to the dialyzer she’s using, so we have orders from her doctor to try a different one. I’m hoping that makes Monday better.

Since I was going to be working in Omaha the next day I tried finding a hotel room to stay in, but I couldn’t find anything for under $150. I guess there was some super big conference meeting going on. With having the kids Friday night there wasn’t really a way for me to get the amount or quality of sleep that I would need if I was going to be waking up super early to drive that far from home to work a full day.

I ended up getting a hotel room in Beatrice instead. It would make the trip a little longer but, ideally, I would be able to get the proper rest I needed to make it through the day.

Ox and I met near home for dinner. I tried making smart choices with my food; ones in line with the metrics I’m trying to stick with. Even with going out to eat I came in under my limits for calories and carbs. Go me.

Neither of us liked the thought of being apart for the night, but we both understood the situation and that it was a smart choice. The incentive pay essentially covered the hotel cost, so that was negated, but I would still be making overtime pay, so even with the extra expense, I was coming out in the positive. I would be helping my sister clinics and making myself a more valuable team member. I would be getting time with the other machine models so I don’t lose those skills, and I would be meeting more team members and seeing how other clinics are run which could give me insight to how my own clinic could become better.

Overall I was looking forward to my Saturday. Ox and I agreed that I would wake up a little earlier than I had to so I could stop by home in the morning on my way to Omaha so we could still see each other.

He fell asleep shortly after he got home which led to unresponded to text messages and missed calls. It wasn’t a warm fuzzy way to end the night, but I figured something must be going on for him to not respond. I was glad that I didn’t freak out or have the knee-jerk reactions I would have in the past. I didn’t instantly think he had died. I thought, “Maybe he didn’t realize his phone died. Or maybe he forgot to pay the bill.”

I stopped at Walmart before going to my hotel room. I picked up more IcyHot patches with ibuprofen and an actual knee brace. I made it through checkout then immediately found a bench to put the brace on. It felt amazing. I wore it the rest of the night until I was about to go to sleep.

I slept deeply and solidly for the whole night, waking up only a few minutes before my alarm went off, which is actually a nice way to start my day. I like waking up on my own, coming out of a REM cycle rather than having it interrupted by an alarm.

I showered and had half an apple before packing up my car and heading home. I started to worry then since he still wasn’t answering his phone. I could feel the icy fingers of dread trying to curl around my stomach. The closer I got to my turn off the stronger those feelings got.

Luckily he ended up calling me and explained that he fell asleep super hard and that he was just now waking up. I explained where I was at on the road and that we would see each other soon.

It was nice getting a hug from him. I liked the physical reassurance that everything was ok. We still had our cigarette together and I was able to have my Bang energy drink, something I had forgotten to pack with me the night before.

The drive up to Omaha was uneventful. It was actually pretty nice to watch the sunrise as I drove since my shift started at 7:30 am. The clinic was also pretty easy to find; another plus to the day. I got there early to make sure I had time in case I got lost along the way. I was able to sync my account with their systems so I could chart. I got to meet the other team members who were working that day and explain what I felt my strengths were verses my weaknesses. One of the RNs walked me through stringing one of the machines since it has been roughly three months since I had worked with the ones they use.

I’m glad that after seeing it done once that I was able to fall back into the swing of things and that the day was smooth and uneventful. All of the patients were pleasant and kind. I was able to jump in and carry my own weight and as the staff started heading home for the day, each of them stopped and thanked me for coming to help out and that they enjoyed working with me.

I enjoyed my time at the clinic and I wouldn’t mind working there again if they need me. It’s a bit of a drive, but they have a very solid team and, in a way, it reminds me of being back in Orlando. It’s a bigger clinic and not many techs can work in that type of environment. A lot of the clinics in the area are small; eight to twelve stations. So when they have to cover something closer to twenty stations they get overwhelmed. Since that’s the type of environment I started in I just go along with it. It’s nothing new and honestly, it was a pretty easy day, but then TTS days usually are since they’re the “lighter” days. Fewer patients and such.

Once I was clocked out I headed home. Once again Ox wasn’t answering his phone which was frustrating but I knew I would have an answer to why eventually.

When I got home he said he had been sleeping for most of the day. He’s been sick not only with whatever has been plaguing his lungs but also with a stomach bug. We had dinner. I showered. I unpacked a bit. But mostly I went to sleep.

And so now we’re here at today. Sunday.

I woke up. I had my egg and chicken breakfast, crushing my protein intake like a bawce.

Shortly after everyone had eaten Lil’ Ox, that’s what I’ll refer to Ox’s daughter as, since I’m going to stick with the Ox theme I have going, and I went for a bike ride. It’s the first time her and I have been alone together and I think it went well. We made it all the way to the park near our house and played for a bit. Eventually, other people showed up and she played with the other kids that were there. That meant I had to interact with the mom’s and keep cool and not freak out over that fact that I have no idea how to be a parent because Lil’ Ox isn’t actually mine even though she was saying how she had to ask her “mom” for permission to go to the other area of the playground.

Omg. I’m so not ready for this. >.<;

It might have been low of me, but shortly after that, I felt it was time to go home. We had been gone for close to an hour. I had done my part of holding my shit together in the face of a totally foreign situation. It was getting warm. I didn’t have sunscreen on…

Yeah… totally time to go home.

I told Ox about the park adventure. He snickered at me. We had plans to go into town for the day so I showered and changed and we all piled into my car to spend the afternoon together.

We stopped at GameStop first so Ornery Ox, his son, could get a few games. He gets allowance money but rarely spends it. He also had a gift card to the store for his birthday, so he was able to get a couple game all on his own.

Lil’ Ox got a few toys while we were there, using her own allowance money even though she was upset that her brother had more money than her. That caused a little bit of friction on the way to the store since Ornery Ox kept making comments about the amount of money he had.

Honestly, it was like listening to me and Jon when we were younger. I don’t understand how my mom didn’t kill us. XD

We stopped at Best Buy for me where I was a totally irresponsible adult and bought my first TV.

Yep. That’s right. I now am the proud owner of a 38-inch Chromecast compatible TV which I plan to hook my PS4 up to and play through the new God of War game and the remastered Spyro games when they come out in September because Spyro is amazing.

It’s a weird feeling. But… I think it’s a good one. I don’t know yet. I’ll keep you posted.

I went across the street to my new sports bar for lunch. After eating I stopped by my storage unit to get the rattan sticks I had gotten forever ago for my SCA swords because that’s something I’m going to be doing again.

It’s something I started looking into shortly before falling asleep Saturday night. There’s a group in Lincoln and their first outdoors fighter practice is going to be Tuesday, the 8th.

I so want to go. I can’t put into words how awesome it would be to make progress in the combative area of my life and to have a group, outside of work, that I belong to.

With working on Wednesdays, there’s not a way for me to make any of the meets for the embroidery guild and I’m not ready to go back to the dojo. I want to wait until after my Warrior Dash to venture back into that area of my life.

But SCA… That’s something that I would totally be ok with being involved in now and it would still be fighting and lining up with my training and… I don’t know.

I’m excited about it. Like… hardcore looking forward to going even though I don’t have any armor or gear that I can use as armor.

We came home after the trip to the storage unit. I hid upstairs for a little bit to decompress from all of the social of the day. I played a little bit of Crash Titans with Lil’ Ox. We’re on a boss level so she got tired of not winning. Booked another hotel room in Beatrice so I could get another good nights sleep without worrying about people having to tiptoe around my early bedtime or me constantly waking up since I’m a light sleeper.

I packed my food for the coming day along with everything I would need for the gym after work since that’s something I would really like to do if I’m able to.

My leg has been way better today but I have the knee brace with me if I feel I need it. I’ve eaten dinner. I’ve set everything out. My alarm is set. I’ve written. I’ve talked to Ox, so really all that’s left is to take my contacts out and go to sleep.

So with that, my dear friend, I guess I’m going to go.

I don’t think I really needed to figure out anything tonight. I think I just needed to write it all out and reflect on the week. It’s had some hard moments, but when compared to everything else, I think I had a really good week and I think there’s a lot of things to look forward to in the coming week.

Thanks for letting me write. Thanks for being there for me, the hard times and good times alike. Get some updates, and hopefully, it’s not another six months before we spend some time together.

Daily Post 087: Kittens Make Everything Better

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Today was a day. Most of it sucked but there were moments of awesomeness that I feel I do need to put into writing so I can appreciate them after I’ve slept.

It started by waking up this morning. I didn’t sleep well last night so I woke up tired. It started with remembering that today was “The Day”. The day the schedule changed at work. The day that was full of new and unknown. It was the day I wasn’t looking forward to and I spent most of the morning mildly dreading the moment where I would have to get into my car and drive myself towards what I knew would be structured chaos.

It’s also the start of “The Week”. The week where I get back on top of my health goals. It’s the Monday where I start tracking what I eat and watching my carbs and counting my protein. It was the first morning of eating my breakfast rice. I want to modify it a bit next week but overall it wasn’t bad. I had my Bang energy drink along with my decongestant pill. I had my cigarette with Ox.

I was going to survive today. And with that mentality, I trudged to my car and drove through the dark to work.

I never realized how bright the moon can be until I moved to Nebraska. It’s just past the full moon so it’s still fairly large. Large enough to make the 4am darkness not feel so dark.

I made it to work at my normal time, pulling into the parking lot at the same moment my FA did. We both went into the clinic where an A-Level alarm was going off for our water system…

Not an ok start to my day, Universe. Thanks…

The alarm was for water temperature which is a big deal because the water system itself is ridiculously expensive and sensitive. If the water gets too hot things can break or not function or deteriorate too much… it’s just bad juju.

We ended up getting that sorted out but at the cost of time. Instead of being able to walk into work and just do my thing we had to wait roughly 20 minutes before being able to really move forward with things. We recovered, thankfully, but then patients started showing up. Of course one of the first ones ended up being late and running into other people’s time. A few other patients had problems with their accesses… By the time everyone was on I was ready for a break from the floor.

I guess it was noticeable because Mrs. K asked me if I was ok. I said I was tired and homesick, which is now my secret way of admitting to grieving. It’s easier to say “I’m homesick” than to explain that I miss my mom and that mom was always “home” and that I just really want to hear her voice or feel her hug me one more time.

Mrs. K said that if there was anything she could do to let her know. She also took that moment to let me know that she enjoyed working with me. She said that I’m a hard worker.

It made me feel good because the last time we worked together I felt like I didn’t hold my own. I felt like she did way more than me and that she must think I’m a slacker. Hearing her words helped a little, but not enough to make me not dread the coming change over.

I took my morning break, eating one of my almond bars. All too soon I had to go back to the floor.

Change over was rough. Mentally. Physically. By the time our last patient showed up, our super non-compliant one, I was done. I didn’t have it in me to chit-chat with him and pretend to be cheerful. I just wanted to do my job and go have lunch because I was starving.

Mrs. K came over and said I was awesome. I had made sure all of the machines were set and all of the documentation was caught up because that’s another big part of my job. While she was nearby I asked if I could request a huge favor. I asked if she could initiate the treatment for Mr. Non-compliance.

She said she would; that she didn’t mind. It allowed me a break from everyone. It let me catch up on all of the PCT tasks I hadn’t been able to get around to. When she asked if she could go to lunch first I didn’t mind. When I went to lunch I had my chef salad and messaged Sir since I had an email regarding him.

That led to a conversation that didn’t help my day. I don’t want to go into details. I really, really don’t. At the same time, this is something frustrating that I need to write about.

I’m not going to let my blog, my dairy, create more drama in my life than it already has. I say and write what I write. While the meaning to me may be clear in the moment of my writing, I have often gone back and reread my own posts and have seen first hand how words can be confusing or seem as if something else was meant or implied.

So… Just for clarification; when I said I was done with Orlando, I meant I was done with the tasks I still needed to take care of. Things like getting off the lease or switching over the internet account or getting my stuff from Warren. Things like figuring out why my CPR certification wasn’t in my teammate file or contacting my old FA. My “to-do” list no longer has anything regarding Orlando on it, so, in my mind, that means I’m done with Orlando.

I’m not done with the people there. I’m not never visiting. I don’t think the state should go burn in hell and everyone along with it. But, in a way, I am done, so that’s what I said in my post.

And just like with the Orlando section of my to-do list, I’m done writing about this moment in my day. I’ve written about it. I’ve acknowledged it. There’s nothing further I wish to say about it on here. I feel like anything more would be petty on my part, not that I don’t feel like it’s already slightly petty but I don’t know what to do.

This blog is supposed to by my spot. My area. I’m supposed to be able to write freely here about whatever I want, however I want. I don’t want to feel like I can’t because other people react to it in whatever way they do.

I hate how I feel like I have to edit the one area of my life that I still have as an emotional outlet. I don’t have the dojo. I don’t have my mom. Let me have my blog.

The rest of the day was itself. It didn’t get better. It didn’t really get worse either. It tried to be on par with an average day at my Orlando clinic and it almost succeeded. Almost.

I racked up 6.2 miles on my Fitbit with over 4000 calories burned. I’ve started wearing it again to get a feel for an average day. It’s more information I can take to my trainer tomorrow.

I had thought to workout after work, but those plans quickly faded early in the day. The only thing I wanted was to be alone, so even the thought of going home made me want to break down and cry in my car.

Jon had tried calling me during the day, so once I was off the clock and in my car giving myself a high five for not actually breaking down, I called him back.

We chatted for a while. It felt good to bitch about my day to someone who understands. He got to tell me about his day and how he’s doing in school. It helped me feel more ok about going home. More like I could do it.

When I got home Ox was waiting on the front porch. I like it when I come home like that. The first thing I see is him. I get a hug before I even get inside the house. I’m able to decompress outside before crossing the threshold. None of the badness can follow me inside. It’s not allowed to.

We stayed outside for a while, me explaining my day and all of the frustrations that went with it. He listened, never making me feel bad or that I was blowing things out of proportion. I know a lot of today’s overwhelm comes from being tired, but it was still a rough day regardless of that fact.

Eventually, we went inside the house. I had two 1/4 burger patties. I’m still about 2000 calories under so there’s that going for me.

I’m tired. I’m fed. I have training in 12 hours. I’ve been approved to work at the clinic tomorrow by myself so I can start tackling the NFACT training I want to do. That means I’ll get a bit of overtime this week.

I got my paycheck figured out today. At least partially. so there’s that.

I did well today. Even if it was a lame day, I did well.

Even Mr. Non-compliance wasn’t all that bad. He told me he was talking with my FA and mentioned how he really liked me because I was kind and sweet and how my FA said that she really liked me, too. That I’m a good worker and she’s glad to have me on the team.

There were good moments in my day. I got to talk to two people who matter to me, even if it was only via the phone. I got to come home to a safe place, even if it doesn’t always feel safe from an introverted standpoint.

I don’t want to go to sleep thinking today sucked when it really didn’t, so I’m not going to.

Today was rough, and I survived. The schedule won’t be as new on Wednesday and I’ve set the clinic how I want it prepped. No other techs will need to be at the clinic from this point on so I won’t have to rely on someone else to do things the way I want them done. I’ll know what I’m walking into. Hopefully, on Wednesday there won’t be an A-Level alarm going off so the day can start properly. Normally. Smoothly.

Today was a start. A rough one, but any start is better than no start.

Oh… and kittens… because kittens make everything better.

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