Daily Post 132: A 16-Hour Surprise

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My energy is in high flux today because yesterday ended up being a surprise 16-hour shift.

The morning was alright. The float RN and I ran a little behind, but it wasn’t terrible. Around 7:30 when I went on break I saw I had a text message from one of the techs at the Cap City clinic. There was a tech who was supposed to work but wouldn’t be able to make it in because her flight got delayed. They wanted to know if I would be willing to close the Cap City clinic once I was done in Beatrice.

I was already tired and I hadn’t even survived change over yet. I really didn’t have a reason to say no, though. If I was already going to be tired and beaten by the end of my day then why not go for broke? It’s not like I was planning on going to the dojo that night anyway. I was already getting overtime. I would be compensated for travel time and gas to the other clinic and all I would really have to do its discontinue treatments, clean, and rinse the loop. I mean, it really wouldn’t be any added stress to my already potentially craptastic day…

I agreed to the shift and resigned to the fact that Saturday, today, I would most likely be beyond burnt out mentally and energy wise.

Change over at my clinic sucked but we did better than I thought we would. I’ve definitely had better days, but I’ve also had worse days so I’m not going to complain about how it went down. Take off at the end of the day was actually pretty smooth and I was able to get out of my clinic by 4:30. Woo.

I was able to make it all the way to Lincoln by 5:30. The other techs had already taken care of the closing chores and had prepped the water room for me which I appreciated. I closed with a nurse that I have met but have never really worked with one on one. The evening went smoothly and I’m glad to say that even though I don’t have to rinse the bicarb loop often since my clinic doesn’t have one, I’m getting better at it. I can manage my time more efficiently because I have a better idea on which parts take a while and where I can get something else accomplished during the “wait” steps.

I was able to get all of the stations cleaned up and closed down, lines and charts in the chairs, bio emptied, water room shut down, and bleach containers emptied and rinsed before the loop was done rinsing. I know that doesn’t mean much to anyone other than a fellow dialysis technician, but I’m going to sit here and feel like a badass because that’s pretty good. Totally high fiving myself with no shame. Especially since I haven’t rinsed a loop in a few months; not since the last time I covered at South Omaha.

Anywho, it was a long night and I was glad to finally, officially, clock out. I called Ox. He takes such good care of me. I was asking about dinner and he reminded me that there’s an Arby’s close to the clinic that I could stop and pick something up at since there wasn’t anything I really wanted at home because cooking after a 16-hour shift had a snowball’s chance in hell of happening. I picked up a brisket sandwich along with a small mint shake because fuck it. I earned it.

I drove home. I ate. I made a drink and even logged into WoW for a little bit. I’m having a hard time finding motivation to play the game since it feels pointless. I’m so far behind I don’t know where to start. I was in Discord for a bit trying to chat with guildmates, but I didn’t have it in me. I ended up getting up from the computer, not even bothering to log out of anything, and curled up next to Ox.

Ox: You’re going to fall asleep.
Me: Am not…

The next thing I knew I was waking up at 7:30 this morning… -_-;

So… I might have been more tired than I realized because I don’t remember falling asleep at all. That was pretty typical of when I worked 16-hour days in Orlando, though. I would sit down on the couch to decompress from my day and not realize I had fallen asleep until I was waking up hours later.

This morning has been rough to get started. I’ve been in and out of bed three times so far. Every time I get up to do something my body and mind veto my efforts. That, too, is typical. The small amounts of energy I recoup quickly deplete. Apathy has a strong foothold due to the burnout and the only remedy is time.

I’m happy to say that even with low energy stores I’ve already been a little productive. I’ve paid bills. Even with outright paying for the new keyboard and laptop I’m doing well. All of the extra overtime I’ll be getting on this paycheck will help balance that out, and once Jon gets his monthly expense check in December he’s agreed to pay me the $200 for the Surface I sold him a while ago, which is why I haven’t had a laptop.

I’ve called my eye doctor and let him know that I love the trial contacts he sent me home with. He wants to do a followup appointment to make sure the contacts are fitting my eyes correctly but he’s glad to hear that they feel extremely comfortable and that I am enjoying them. That appointment is set for December 1st, the weekend before I go out of town. It’s at 9:30 in the morning so that should get me up and out of bed and moving enough that the dojo shouldn’t be an issue. Not like it is today.

I didn’t go, which means it’s been over a week since I’ve gone. I’m ok with that though. I knew this week was going to be screwy with the holiday and with how yesterday ended up working out, I accepted the realization that I was choosing work over the dojo.

Since bills are paid my next action steps are to make a grocery list and shower so Ox and I can go shopping together. I’m not looking forward to being out and around people, but I’m glad that I won’t be having to face it all alone. We’re planning on going to an actual grocery store like Super Savers or Hyvee instead of going to Walmart like I normally do. Hopefully, that allows us to avoid most of the Black Friday shoppers that are still out and about since Black Friday is now apparently a weekend-long event. No resentment or anything about the holiday season fucking with my introvertedness. None what so ever…

Overall I think today will be alright. I need to be mindful of myself and respect my energy levels. I also need to be aware of when I’m being grouchy from over-stimulation because that’s a very real thing during days like this.

I was going to say that hopefully, tomorrow will be better, but that implies that today is or will be bad, and that’s not how I feel. Today will be itself and tomorrow be itself and even though they will be different from each other that difference doesn’t imply an inferiority or a badness that I need to apologize for. I’m recovering today and I think I’m recovering fairly well. Tomorrow I will be more recovered and able to do more.

Today will be a good day. A quiet day. A slow, low day.

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Daily Post 131: A Thankful Test Drive

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It’s Thanksgiving.

Today has been a decent day. I’m currently typing on a new keyboard. Yep. That’s right. I finally replaced the refurbished keyboard with its finicky spacebar key that I’ve had since I got this desktop computer. My companion of so long. Part of me feels… something. Not really regret or a sense of “badness”. There wasn’t truly anything wrong with the keyboard but I’ve wanted a new one and now that I have it I guess I feel a little like I’m being less than responsible.

This new keyboard is still too new to know if I like it or not. The keys feel different. It feels as if it’s at a slightly different elevation angle with the footrests out. It’s not my old keyboard that I’ve had for almost 10 years and my fingers can feel the difference. The spacing is just ever so different. The clicking and crispness of the sound is foreign.

I’m not expecting this post to feel the same because of it. It’s essentially a test drive. The keyboard is wireless which is nice. It came with a new mouse which I’m also trying out. It slides differently than my old one. There will need to be a trial period were I adjust to the changes.

I also got a laptop. A 15-inch Chromebook. It was $200. For all that I complain about the credit card and how I can’t make progress on it, I realize these purchases may seem counterproductive and not in line with my goals or true wants.

I’m glad I have the laptop though. It’s currently charging and my next post will most likely be written on it.

Yesterday was a decent day at work. There’s not much to report on that front. I’m still waiting to get the itinerary for my trip. I still need to fill out the application for the leadership course. I still need to write the thank you letter to my FA for my raise. Our new patient will most likely start on Monday. Tomorrow is still most likely going to be a disaster. My goal in that regard is survival. I’m not planning to go to the dojo afterward. I’m planning to come home once I’m able to and be done with it all for the weekend.

I was supposed to go to the dojo yesterday but didn’t. I came home instead because the thought of being home felt better then being around people or waiting for two hours for my class to start with literally nothing to do. I couldn’t write since I didn’t have a laptop. I couldn’t do school work for the same reason. I didn’t have my cross-stitch with me which isn’t something I’ve thought about having with me since I never have free time. I don’t know why, but yesterday I didn’t want to be around anyone; not even at the dojo. I didn’t get as much of a sense of fulfillment about going and sweating and pushing myself to be a better me as I did at the thought of being home with Ox and spending the evening together with him gaming and me stitching while I watched Netflix.

So I came home instead. We ended up going to the gas station and getting a bottle of Jack Daniels and ingredients to make chip dip. We drank together. Sexy time happened. I spent a fair amount of time afterward crying and talking about mom.

I told him how it felt like every step I take forward, every success and accomplishment feels like a step away from her. It’s a step away from the hospital room where I held her hand. It’s like I’m leaving her there to die by her self and even though I know that’s not what’s happening I can’t make the feelings stop or change and I struggle with that so much. I know she’s already dead. How can I leave her somewhere to die? I’m living life and doing the thing she would want me to do so how am I betraying her?

I talked about some of the stories I have of her. It felt good to be drunk and to cry and to voice all of these things that are mostly thoughts inside of my head that eat away at me. I’m not the only one who knows about them anymore. Someone else knows and that makes it seem more bearable.

I know mom wants me to strive to be happy with the life that I have, but there’s always the grief side of the equation now that I have to figure out and make peace with. Getting my raise at work and getting back to my starting square income-wise is not a betrayal to her, but there is a very real part of me that thinks that way and I have to figure it out.

It was a good night, tears included.

I’ve felt more on top of my life since Monday. More secure. More capable. More like effort does pay off and is worth it. Throwing down the burden of responsibility for a night helped too I think. Having today off where I’ve literally had no obligations to anyone or anything has been nice and today I got some things for myself that I’ve wanted for a while. Since I’ve been writing so infrequently it feels like I’ve done that a lot recently but I think on a logical, timeline level, I really haven’t.

I got the punching bag and the bike rack. I have the dojo membership and the gym membership. I got new clothes and additional scrubs. I paid for my new license plate and the CNA class. I got new work shoes and the new Vibrams for my race. There was also the new pillows and sheets for the bed. The cooking set… Soon there will be the expense of additional contacts, but I have the HSA account with work for that so I’m not sure if it really counts…

I’ve done things for myself here and there in small doses, making sure it didn’t interfere with my monthly expenses and that everything still got paid. I might not have made the progress in certain financial areas like how I wanted, but I’ve taken care of things that needed to be done along with getting things that made my life feel better.

I’m thankful that I am at a point in my life where I can buy things and not have to hold my breath while I put gas into my car or alter my grocery list because what I originally wanted might have been too expensive and put me over budget.

I haven’t used the laptop yet so I don’t know for sure if it will be what I’m hoping it will be, but I’m content in knowing that I own it. I’m content that I’m the one who picked it out and that I’m the one who paid for it. It’s mine. 100% and I like that. I like the thought of the freedom it will give me. Saturdays after the dojo I could go to my new sports bar and write and pay bills and make my shopping list before going to Walmart and then heading home.

I’ve talked to my older brother today. It’s been the first time in a while. I got to tell him about all the developments with work. I got to tell him about the dojo. I finally told him about living with Ox and his family and how his kids seem to like me. I told him about minigolf and Stuffed Fables and the pumpkin patch. I told him about the heart attacks I’ve had about not knowing how to be a parent and the fulfillment of watching the kids share in my hobbies and learning new things.

He’s happy for me and I’m surprisingly relieved that he finally knows my whole situation. With my history of relationships, I’ve been hesitant to share that side of my life with anyone. My blog is my safe space. A phone or in person conversation where I could be judged or may have to defend myself is a different situation. I can’t blame people for worrying about me or wondering if I’m messing up again. This is the healthiest and most supportive relationship I have ever been in though, and I want people to trust me and hear me when I say those words.

I talked to Allison today as well. She had tried calling last night. We talked until my phone died. We have plans to try to talk later tonight since she had to get going for her Thanksgiving plans anyway, but if we can’t talk later we have backup plans to continue talking on Sunday. Jon and I chatted for a bit, and now here I am, charging my laptop and typing away about nothing all that important on a keyboard that I’m starting to get a feel for.

It’s been a nice day. The only things that I might still try to get accomplished are calling my dad and Chrys so I can be caught up with most of the people in my life.

I’ve put the clothes away, finally.

Ox brought a keyboard home for me on Tuesday which I never wrote about. Like, an actual musical keyboard. He found it while he was at work and remembered me talking about wanting one. He brought it home to see if it worked and it did, so I now also own a four and a half octave keyboard which currently has no designated home, but I own it. I can play music again for the first time in ten years. I honestly don’t remember how to place my fingers properly since I switched to percussion during middle and high school, but I still remember how to read music and I remember all of my scales and parts of the pieces I played during marching band. I can pick away at the keys and it pulls at something within myself to do it; something long dormant and that I’ve missed. I’m looking forward to going into town at some point to get a keyboard stand and a few books. I want a beginner book for sure so Lil’ Ox and I can play music together and maybe an intermediate book. I could buy the sheet music for Two Trees like I’ve wanted to since I first heard that song.

I don’t think there are words to express how much it meant to receive a gift like that. I haven’t talked about wanting to play music in so long, and even when I did I’m pretty sure it was more of an in passing comment. “It would be nice if one day…” sort of a thing. But he remembered that conversation and went out of his way when the opportunity presented itself. Even if the keyboard hadn’t ended up working it wouldn’t have mattered. Knowing that he thought of me, that he went out of his way to do something like that for me, still fills me with warmth. That soft warm feeling of being snuggled up in your favorite blanket. It could have been the crappiest day ever but in that moment everything is ok because you have that warm feeling protecting you and the familiar scents surrounding you.

It’s that type of feeling.

Things really are ok. I’m actually able to take care of myself and all areas of my life are fairly figured out and my living situation is a positive and supportive one and I really don’t know what to do with my life not being a complete and total clusterfuck of what the hell.

Thank you, Universe. Thank you for letting me be here. And thank you, mom. Thank you for raising me the way you did. Thank you for everything you did that went into me being the me I am.

Daily Post 130: Square One

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A lot has happened in the past 24 hours.

I worked at the Dodge clinic today in Fremont. Patient census said I should have left about 10:20. At 10:50, though, five patients were going to end their treatment within 6 minutes of each other. Since the FA was there I asked her what she wanted me to do. I didn’t want to leave and have my remaining teammates be screwed. I also didn’t want to stay and have people getting into trouble for having too many techs on the floor.

The FA was ok with me staying, so I stayed. I got out a little after 11. I called Ox and we decided to meet at home. We’re going to go into Lincoln later tonight to do some shopping (*cough winter pants cough*), and to get dinner together. I’m looking forward to it.

Currently, I’m sitting here eating lunch and writing to catch up on all of the developments in my life since nothing can happen gradually or spread out. Once I’m done eating and writing I’m going to go to the gym here at home to run.

I’ve been wearing compression socks at work for the past two days. I think they make a difference. My legs are less tired and my feet aren’t as sore in the morning. That’s something I’m still going to keep an eye on and be mindful of. Two days isn’t a lot to go off of or make a trend out of.

Tomorrow is a dojo day. I’m looking forward to that. Work should go alright since I’ll be working with my FA on the floor. Friday is going to be a disaster since I’ll be alone with the float RN. All FAs are being voluntold to take Friday off for the holiday. All I have to do is survive and then it will be the weekend. As long as I can make it through those 12 hours Friday, I’ll be alright.

I talked to Jon for a bit on the ride home. It’s becoming a bit of a routine for us to talk on Tuesdays and Thursdays since we both have very little going on in our lives on those days, at least in the mornings. It’s been nice. Normally I’m at home so I can sit outside and drink my coffee while I talk to him. Today it was pleasant having company on my drive home. I got to tell him about everything that’s happened and he’s happy for me.

Which, I guess I should stop being nebulous about events and get into everything that happened yesterday.

I woke up for work like normal. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. We got the clinic set up. We put our first shift patients on. I was with the float RN and my FA.

My FAs boss was scheduled to come to our clinic. That’s sort of a big deal. He’s stationed in Omaha, so it’s not like we’re nearby for him or anything. My FA came out to help during change over. She got me and the RN get to a pretty good spot before her boss showed up and she had to go have her meeting with him.

The RN and I should have been able to dance through the rest of the day. Most of the first shift patients were gone. Only one was left since he was having low standing blood pressures. He drives himself so it has to be above 100 systolic and 50 diastolic before we legally can let him leave.

Our ISO patient showed up, so the RN went to initiate his treatment. I stayed out on the floor cleaning and setting up for the remaining second shift patients who weren’t there yet. I had already initiated three of the second shift treatments.

Our ISO patient had to be stuck three times before his venous needle would work properly. Three times. Three.

And this is where I’m going to take a second and mildly rant as a dialysis technician.

What the actual hell? He has a super easy access. How can you mess up his venous needle? Like, for real. What. The. Hell.

I ended up having to swap places with the RN to finish initiating his treatment. It’s not like you can hop in and out of ISO. There PPE you have to put on. There’s handwashing you have to do. It’s time. Time is valuable. You don’t waste time. Having to restick anyone is time. Plus all the added stuff of it’s not good for the access and who wants to get stuck with three additional 15 gauge needles? I’m pretty sure no one, that’s who.

The third needle is the one I did and the one that ran smoothly. While I had been in the ISO room the RN got one of our other patients into his chair. He’s blind and requires assistance. The last patient we were set up for also needs assistance since she’s in a wheelchair at the moment. Instead of getting both patients into their chairs and making sure both machines were ready, she only got our blind patient; the one who has orders for only expert cannulators to canulate at the moment. So I was the only person, on the floor since my FA was still in her meeting, who could do his needles.

Fine. That’s ok. I don’t mind doing that. But nothing was ready for me when I got out of ISO. I still had to put all of his information into the machine and computer and clean his access and then do the cannulation. I don’t even know what the RN did while I was in the ISO room because it felt like literally nothing was done.

In the meantime, the machine for the other patient, the wheelchair patient, had failed its tests and had to be retested.

Right Brain: FML. Can nothing just go smoothly? For just a hot second could the RN touch something and have it not turn to ash? No… Oh… Well, fine. Fuck you too, Universe. Bring it.

I got the failed machine retesting while the RN went to the lobby for the patient. Once the machine was doing its thing I went over and got Mr. Blind going. The cannulation went smoothly. I got his headphones plugged in and made sure his TV was on the right channel so he could listen to Gun Smoke once it came on. I got his blanket spread out and his pillows situated.

Cool. I should have been done. There was no reason for the RN to have not been able to initiate our last patient. Only that didn’t go down how it should have either. Of course not. That whole “things turning to ash” thing… I guess the Universe took me up on my challenge.

That patient had a lab that was scheduled. Cool. Not an issue. You cannulate, attached an evac tube to the needle line, place the lab tube into the evac, draw the lab, disconnect the evac, attach the bloodline, initiate treatment. Standard. Routine. Nothing crazy or hard…

Universe: Hold my beer…

The f’ing evac tube wouldn’t come off. No joke. We even tried using pliers to twist it off since her access has such a short range. Having to recannulate would have been a nightmare. We would have had to pull her needle, wait for her to clot, then pray the RN hasn’t stuck her in such a way that we wouldn’t be able to get another needle in.

Well… that’s what we ended up having to do because of whatever she did with the f’ing evac tube.

Right Brain: I’m so sorry, Universe. I take it back. I take it back. Oh, God. Please. Just shoot me now. Please. Just end it. Please. Why, Universe? Why? What did I do to deserve this much suffering? On a Monday of all days… ;-;

I was able to recannulate her access and we got her treatment going. She was an hour late from her scheduled on time, though. It sucked. All of it from the time my FA left the floor went to hell in a handbasket and it wasn’t even a pretty handbasket with a bow on it.

No. It was a grimy, dirty handbasket that had been kicked around a few times and then stepped on just for good measure, and then used to beat me to a pulp. Yeah… It was that kind of a day. Beaten to death by a grimy, dirty beaten up handbasket sort of day.

I was so mentally dead by the time I got everything caught up. I just wanted to go to lunch, smoking through the whole 30 minutes of my break before having to go back onto the floor to end treatments and finish out the last five-ish hours of my day.

That’s about the time when my boss’s boss came out to the floor and wished us a happy Thanksgiving and went on his way.

Right Brain: Yeah. Thanks. Go die in a fire for stealing my FA from me, Jerkface. I mean, not really since I know none of this was your fault. But maybe just a little fire so I can feel better about myself and not be the only one suffering and having a shitty day.

As I was getting ready to step off the floor to go on my lunch break my FA came out and asked if I could talk to her. As we were heading into her office, with me contemplating what I was about to get yelled at talked to about, she asked me how it was going.

Me: Alright.
FA: So how is it really going?

I sat down in the chair across from her desk and sighed, rubbing my temples. I told her about ISO and our other restick. I told her that things really were fine and that I just needed five minutes to regroup since I hadn’t had a chance to decompress yet.

FA: Well that actually leads in perfectly to what I want to tell you. I just got done talking with Mr. Boss. We want to give you a raise for everything that you do.

Me: I love you guys so much.

She said they would be increasing my wage to $15 and that it was purely based on work performance and would not affect my yearly review in April. She said that she appreciates being able to depend on me to keep the clinic going for her and that I help make her job easier.

We ended up stepping outside and having a cigarette together. While we were outside I told her how I didn’t feel like I deserved the award I got. I told her that I, personally, feel like all I do is my job. Doing your job shouldn’t get you special recognition.

FA: Yeeesss… You do your job. But it’s the way you do it. It’s your attitude and how you carry yourself. There’s a difference between just doing your job and the way that YOU do your job.

I told her that I understood that, and that I was and am still grateful for her words at the meeting and even more so for the raise.

So yeah… I survived one of the worst changeovers I’ve had in a while and then got a 50 cent raise at the end of it.

That 50 cents equals out to the cost of my dojo membership. My FA gave me my dojo. That’s how I’m choosing to look at it since I’ve been sort of kicking myself about signing up for yet another financial obligation while I still have so much that I need to pay off.

My FA didn’t have to request an increase in my wage. Her boss didn’t have to approve it. But they did. They both went out of their way to make my life easier. I know it’s just money. It’s numbers. Digits in an excel sheet that affect the bottom line. But it’s more human than that. It’s a very real and tangible thing for me. It’s my recovery. It’s my social time. It’s my stress relief. It’s my coping mechanism for my grief.

I am beyond grateful.

I am now making what I considered my baseline. I started at Full Sail making a little more than 15 an hour, but since I started working for DaVita I have considered $15 my goal. If I could only get back to there. I wouldn’t be backtracked anymore. I would be back at my start at least.

And here I am, financially back to my starting line. I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I actually feel like I’m doing things right. Switching careers wasn’t a fuck up. I can, and am, making it.

I went to lunch while my FA went to the floor and took over. The float RN went home. I called Ox while I was on break and told him about the meeting with my FA.

When I went back to the floor there was an email from another FA talking about how our region was going to be hosting a leadership class. It’s very selective and only a few people were going to be chosen to participate, but they were accepting applications until December 7th. I poked through all of the attachments, read all the requirements, and sat for a bit thinking about the email.

I asked my FA if she had seen the email. She hadn’t, so she poked around at it for a second. I asked her if it would be ok for me to apply.

She said yes. We talked about it more and how it worked well with me getting ready to become a trainer for the clinic and how it could open doors for me later to become something like the Clinical Coordinator once I’m an RN myself. Leadership doesn’t mean I have to be an FA she said. There are lots of other positions I might be interested in that this class would be applicable to.

Soooo…. we’re going to sit down before the end of the month and discuss it in more detail and fill out the application together.

If my application is selected, I will enter into phase two where I will have to write an essay. If they like my essay, I will get an in-person interview. If they like my interview, I’ll be one of about six people chosen for this leadership course.

My mind is still having a hard time wrapping around everything, but I can say I’m honestly interested in seeing where all of this leads. I’m actually looking forward to seeing my work future and how everything plays out.

Closing the clinic went smoothly, but then it always does when I work with my FA. I was able to make it to my eye appointment on time. I got my eyes dilated which sort of sucked, but since I’m new at this clinic they have no baseline for me. I figured I would do everything while I was already there.

They gave me a trial pair of contacts which I have in right now and I love them so much more than the ones I was using before. It’s not the prescription change. It’s how they feel. I’ve only ever had one brand of contacts. These are a different brand and they’re amazing. I don’t remember the name but I know they’re supposed to be more durable than the last brand I had. I mentioned how the first year I had contacts went fine, but that during this second year four of them had ripped on me and I was a little less than thrilled about the prospect of having to go through that again.

These new, trial ones are a brand the doctor recommended I try and even though it’s only been about 12 hours of me wearing them, I already know that I’m going to stick with them this time around. They just feel… better. If you’ve never worn contacts I don’t really know how else to explain it. The old ones didn’t hurt me or anything, but there is definitely a difference between the two and if given a choice these new ones are the ones I would recommend.

So yeah, once I figure out the name I’m sure I’ll write about it again, but the eye appointment went well and I should have more contacts before too long and so far my eyes are fine. No eye cancer to worry about or anything like that. Aside from needing contacts my eyes are healthy. Woo.

I stopped at the gas station afterward and got gas for my car so I wouldn’t have to worry about it in the morning. I got Subway for dinner again since I was starving. Ox had me tell his parents about my raise. I stitched for a bit after dinner then went to sleep. And that was my day.

It felt like an exceedingly long day and here I am to the real part of it. The emotional part. The tears part. The mom part.

I’m back to square one, mom.

It’s taken me almost three years to do it, but I’m finally here. I don’t know what else to say other than I did it. I finally, really, truly did it. Everything from here will be forward progress.

I wish I could hug you. I wish I could beam a smile of pride and feel victorious while I have tears running down my face WITH you. I want it to be with you so much, mom. I want you to be here. I want you to know that I won and that I didn’t give up and that I’m finally back to where I started.

All those times that I told the Universe to go fuck itself and kept going when I wanted to give up has finally gotten me back to here. All those times I thought I was a fuck up when I first started in dialysis. All those times I questioned if I had picked the wrong career change.

This proves it to me; to us. I’m not a failure, mom. I’m a badass. I’m your badass. I’m your daughter and I will always be your daughter and I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for all the days that are hard and that I struggle. I’m sorry for still wanting to quit sometimes. I’m sorry for being angry and sad and hurt. I didn’t quit, though, and I’m not going to quit, and not quitting got me back to here. Not quitting got me the dojo. Not quitting got me an amazing FA who supports me and cares about me not only as an employee but as a person. As a human. You would like her, mom.

I know you’re proud of me and I’m happy that you’re proud. I just wish so desperately that we could be together in person still. It’s always so confusing to be happy and yet so sad at the same time. I’m happy I’m here, mom, but I’m so sad that it’s not the same. I’m sad that you’re not alive and we can’t talk on the phone or go out to eat. I want it to be like old times, mom. I want to hear you. I want to see you. I want to feel your arms around me because you always gave the best hugs. I want your words and warmth.

But at least I know you still know. At least we have whatever it is that we have and that I know you’re proud of me; happy for me. I know you’re still with me and I’m sorry if sometimes it seems like I’m ungrateful and that it isn’t enough. It is, mom. I promise it is and that I still love you, mom. I love you so much. Forever and for always, mom. I promise. It will always be forever and for always.

Daily Post 129: Boxes

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Today started out a little rough. But I guess before I get into that I should go back to yesterday.

Yesterday started with a 3 am wake up alarm. I showered and had breakfast before having a cigarette with Ox and hopping into my car to drive an hour and a half to get to the Fremont clinic. I’m proud to say that even though it’s been a while since I’ve been to the clinic that the route felt familiar and I only needed my GPS as a confidence booster.

I worked with a nurse and a tech that I had never met before. They were both fairly nice though a bit distant. Not as warm or welcoming as other workers I’ve met but the day went fairly smoothly. I got to see one of the patients I really like and had a good conversation with another one. I spent most of the downtime in the back room making CVC packs.

I was able to leave around 10:30. I didn’t make it back to Lincoln until close to noon which meant I would have been late for the class at the dojo. Since it was a super cold and icky day I decided to come home instead. That worked out for the best since it started snowing out of nowhere shortly after I got home and didn’t let up until well into the evening.

Instead of doing anything with the addition or outside, Ox and I played World of Warcraft. I still have 14 days left on my subscription. I got to talk with one of my favorite guildmates for a while and run some dungeons with her. All in all, it was a good day. Low key while still being mildly productive what with work happening right from the get-go.

I didn’t cross-stitch and I didn’t write, but I was ok with both of those things not happening. I haven’t gamed in a while and I haven’t “hung out” socialized in what feels like even longer.

Sexy time happened. It was deeper than physical. More than mental. It reached into the emotional and though I hesitate to say it, spiritual side of things. As an INFJ I have no problem accepting that truth within myself or believing and being non-judgemental of others when anything spiritual is mentioned. There is this pervasive feeling of vulnerability verbalizing that truth out loud, though. Even to Ox. Even here, on my blog; my little corner of the Internet where I can say whatever I want.

One of the things I value about my relationship with Ox is how we “beta-test” experiences we share or situations we find ourselves in. We talk about whatever it is outside, on the front porch, usually while we smoke together. We talk about what we liked. What we didn’t like. What we’re still unsure about. What could have made it better.

Our beta-testing is a safe time. It’s open. It’s honest. It’s secure and unjudgemental. It’s information to help both of us continually improve because you can’t become a better you without feedback.

Even in the safety and security of our beta-test time it was hard for me to admit that our experience reached deeper into my self than any of our sexual encounters over the past 10 months.

My heart still feels broken from mom’s death. Talking about or acknowledging my heart in the emotional sense, is something I struggle with. I function. I live. I have found new passions in the form of martial arts, and I have gone back to old ones in the forms of gaming and cross-stitching. But loving someone as fully, as deeply, as unconditionally, as I did my mom scares me.

For most of these 10 months, I have harbored sadness because I have felt like I could not love Ox the way he deserves to be loved. I have thought my heart could no longer work that way. I can and could love, but not completely. Only in a distant, halfway broken way because everyone is going to die so what’s the point in opening myself up to that type of pain again?

I think maybe that’s changing. Maybe I’m not broken and I’ve just needed more time to heal. Maybe I needed the words he said last night. Maybe I needed someone to take me down to that deep dark place in myself where my pain and sorrow and brokenness regarding relationships resides and confront those things with me.

I have known logically for a while that I am not alone. Emotionally I have felt less alone as I keep moving forward and for the most part standing tall since mom died. But now I’m starting to feel it in the place where for so long I have felt my invisible wound that no one can see. The one in the center of my chest that’s circular and aches at the edges when my grief flares up and demands my energy and attention.

I’m starting to feel love and closeness in my heart. In my chakra. In my self. And that scares me. On some level it makes me want to cry from fear. The fear of feeling that horribly soul-crushing feeling of aloneness again. But there’s also feelings of safety and acceptance. Things I hadn’t realized I missed or was denying myself.

I know all of these emotions are things I need to work through. Just when it feels like I’m finally getting one area of my life and emotions organized I find another box that needs to be sorted through and the only way to sort something is to make a mess to see what all you have to work with.

I’m scared of this mess though, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. This box contains all of the soft, squishy, girly, emotional stuff. It’s the broken pieces of my heart. The one that was stabbed when Zane cheated on me while mom was in the hospital. The one that was yelled and cursed at. The one that was never good enough. The one that still has a hard time beating sometimes with the knowledge that mom is dead and I’m not.

It’s so much easier, safer, less painful to keep it incased and locked away, shoved into a dusty box tucked back into a dark corner with other, less important boxes burying it down and keeping it from sight.

But alas, that’s not how I want to live my life and that’s not how I want my relationships to be.

So here we are, back to being emotionally confused and working through shit. /sigh

It never ends, does it? ;-;

Since this is such a recent development, there really isn’t more to say about it right now. I feel better than I have in a while emotionally. I feel more connected and grounded in the present. I still have a lot to meditate on, and none of that is going to be figured out overnight. So I guess the best way to sum it up is that I’m still healing, but I actually feel like I’m making progress and I think it’s a very positive type of progress.

I was up until about 11 last night due to being irresponsible and gaming. Because of that, I wasn’t ready to start the day when I woke up at 6:40. I didn’t get out of bed until after 7 and even then I could tell I was a little on the grouchy side. I decided to curl back up in bed for a bit and I think that did the trick. The second attempt at the day was better. I felt more with it. There was more sexy time with Ox. There was an amazing breakfast and lots of chore productivity before I headed into town for my hair appointment.

The roads still had a bit of snow on them, so I got a little bit of experience driving in it on my own. I had the same hairdresser that I did the last time I got my roots bleached so we were able to talk about what’s been going on in our lives and our plans for the holiday season. It was a pleasant experience and I’m glad I got everything taken care of. I currently have dye soaking into my hair. I’ll eventually shower before bed to rinse it out.

I made a trip to GNC to get two more cases of Bang since they are buy one get one half off. I made a trip to Walmart that was way more frustrating than it needed to be. I survived and made it home, but just barely. I picked up some stuff for work while I was at the store since we’re making Thanksgiving care packages. I tried finding pants that I liked but that’s still a no-go. I’ve been wearing my scrub bottoms since those are the only pants I really own aside from two fairly thin yoga type pants. They don’t exactly cut it in 20-degree weather. Who knew?

I’ve finished all of my meal prep for the coming week and the laundry is dry. I should put it away but instead, I’m most likely going to run to the gas station with Ox and pick up Subway for dinner before coming home and gaming a bit before going to sleep. That may change to cross-stitching so I can finish watching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood… We’ll see.

But yeah, overall it’s been a good weekend. I even made an eye appointment for tomorrow after work so I can get more contacts since I’m on my last pair.

And on that note, I’m going to go since I’m hungry.

Daily Post 128: Two in a Row

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Woo for sitting down two days in a row to write.

I’m home from the dojo. I’m tired. My shin hurts because I kicked the crap out of someone knee. I’m pretty sure it hurt me more than it hurt him.

It was a good class. I can jump rope for over a minute without getting winded or feeling like my calves are trying to rip themselves from my bones. Hooray progress.

I didn’t stay for the second class since I have to drive up to Fremont in the morning to cover an extra shift. The overtime is going to be nice. I also got an email saying that on the 20th of December, my birthday, there is a tech who can work who isn’t meeting full-time hours at her own clinic. They wanted to know if I would be against giving her the shift. My reply was that I wouldn’t be heartbroken over not working on my birthday. I’m pretty sure they didn’t know it was my birthday. So I’m no longer working eight days in a row.

Work today went well. It was just me and the float RN. I still like her. I think she’s getting better. We still would have drowned if my FA hadn’t been there to help during change over, but overall it was a good day. I mixed acid for the clinic again. It’s the third time in a row I’ve done it without incident.

I guess there really isn’t much else to report.

Mr. Non-Complinence’s chair is going to be filled most likely Monday. At the latest, Wednesday. I’m allowed to go to his service. My FA will give me the information when she gets it.

I’ve already seasoned my roast so I can cook that tomorrow once I get home. I’m hoping to get out of work early enough to drive the two hours to the dojo in time for sparing. I’ll be mildly saddened if I can’t. I am looking forward to the class. I also wouldn’t mind being at home so I can cross-stitch. Ox and I are supposed to do work in the addition. There are also branches in the yard that we plan to take to the dump. Going to the dojo means I won’t be home until around 3 or later. If I don’t go I’ll be home before noon which means there would be way more time to actually do things.

There are pros and cons to both scenarios.

I have my hair appointment on Sunday. I’m looking forward to that. I have my trip to Denver coming up. I would like to feel like I’m at my best when I go. Freshly bleached and dyed hair rather than the faded purple it is right now. No annoying frizzy split ends. I think of things like getting my hair done and brows waxed as frivolous, girly things and I really haven’t done anything like that in a while. I sort of want to pamper myself just a smidgen. I’ve been doing really well with work, and life, and school. I want to do something for me… other than kicking the shit out of people since the dojo is definitely in the “me time” category.

I talked to Jon a bit tonight. He called so he could bitch about work; his own words. He got accepted into Nursing school. He had his orientation today. I’m beyond proud of him.

Eventually, at some point, I’ll get my cross-stitch project done. It’s not going to be this weekend though. Maybe next weekend will fair a bit better. I’ve been keeping myself busy so eeking out time to do it can be hard.

Anywho… I think I’m done with today. All I need to do is take my contacts out and go to sleep.

I’m hoping tomorrow goes as well as I think it will.

Daily Post 127: Bridging the Gap

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Written yesterday. Posted today. 


Hello Keyboard, my dearly missed companion. And to you, too, Computer. Though I have sat at you for hours watching lecture videos and bitching about how fellow student discussion posts hold no content worth replying to, I feel I haven’t had a chance to really sit in front of you and enjoy our time together.

Class has been going well. I got checked off on all of my remaining skills tonight. I technically do not have to go to class this coming Tuesday. Thursday will be Thanksgiving and the week after that I begin the clinical portion of the class. The first week of December I go to Denver to participate in Academy for the company. I’m not looking forward to it. I’ll have to share a room with a person I don’t know. I’ll have to participate in all sorts of “fun” team building exercises. I feel I won’t be respected as an introvert and that I’m going to suffer through the two and a half days I’ll be there but it’s a stepping stone. By going to Academy I’ll be able to then turn around and go to Perceptor training which will allow me to be a trainer for the clinic; something that is desperately needed.

I had a meeting for the clinic today as well. That was earlier in the day; before class. At the end of the meeting, my FA gave me a “Core Value” award. It was the award for the “Team” core value. She said that being in such a small clinic, it’s just her and me making things run. She said not once has she ever asked me to do something that I didn’t do without complaining and she has never had to worry about it being done correctly or completely. She said I help make her job easier and she appreciates that. She said that I’m compassionate and caring to not only my fellow team members but also to my patients. She mentioned something about my positivity and kindness, though to be honest, I can’t recall exactly what she said because I was too busy blushing and trying to not break down into tears in front of all of my coworkers. She said that I help not only my clinic but our region as a whole with how often I step up to help cover short shifts, mentioning the fact that I have picked up 9 out of 10 shifts this upcoming month.

I don’t feel like I deserve an award. I don’t feel like I do anything exceptional. I do my job. I do my job as correctly as I can. I’m compensated for the time I work. I’m not doing it for free and I have even said no a few times. I like knowing that my FA values my time and effort and that it means something to her, and on some level, I know that I do a better job than others. I don’t know. It’s confusing. I like being praised. I don’t think I deserved anything special or congratulations. I don’t think some people were happy that I was the only one to receive something. No one else got an award, but with how bitchy the team, as a whole, has been with each other I don’t think anyone really deserved anything.

I guess I feel honored and there’s a shy part of me who finds the recognition painful. I accepted my award graciously and I will cherish it alongside the Core Value awards I was given while I worked at my Orlando clinic.

Ox and I had lunch today. He recently started a new job and so we’ve had more time together. He’s also getting steadier paychecks and so we have the ability to go out together again. I found a sports bar in Beatrice that I really enjoy and it just so happens they have a location in Lincoln as well. We went there to have lunch together and it was nice. It was a change from the constant work, school, not enough sleep, routine that I’ve found myself caught in recently.

I made a hair appointment for Sunday. I found out the eye place I want to get seen at has shitty hours and I won’t be able to talk to anyone until Saturday. I went to Walmart and got shirts and shorts to go under my white scrubs since white might as well be called “see-through”. I went to the main campus and got my ID made so I can have the badge I need for clinicals. I tried going to the srub store to look at compression socks, but their selection sucked so I walked away from that empty handed. I also talked to Jon for a while this morning.

Overall it’s been a good day off.

I’ve been going to the dojo semi-regularly.

This past Saturday was the first day that I’ve ever spared Muay Thai. I got punched pretty good in the face a couple of times, but that’s ok. I kicked the shit out of my opponent’s legs. Totally worth it.

Muay Thai sparring is a much different adrenalin rush than what I’m used to with jiujitsu. I almost landed a spinning elbow strike. That would have been brutal. It felt good. Solid. It was blocked, but oh man. It would have been an amazing hit if it had made it through.

At the moment I’m aiming for one dojo class at least on Wednesdays and Fridays and hopefully both classes on Saturdays. So far I’ve been doing pretty good with maintaining that. Tuesdays and Thursdays I’m not able to go to the dojo because of my CNA class, but that may change in the New Year. If it does I’ll begin training hapkido.

At the moment I can feel my body getting back into a groove and the depression I’ve been struggling with isn’t as pervasive. I feel better about myself and what I’m doing with my life after I spend time at the dojo. Sensei is talking about going to tournaments next year. I’m not sure if I will be ready to do something like that, but it’s a thought in the mid-section of my mind. What if I get good enough, confident enough, to compete?

I’m doing alright with my eating. Not awesome since my meals have potatoes in them this week, but I could definitely be doing way worse. I’m doing alright with water. I drink more on dojo days, but overall I’m sticking to at least a liter and a half if not two per day.

I found out yesterday that Mr. Non-Compliance died. I’m saddened knowing that his family is grieving. Having lost mom, I have an understanding of what it’s like to lose someone. At the same time, I hope that his pain has ended and that he was able to find peace finally because I know that living life sucked for him. I know he was unhappy and I feel he kept going as long as he did for the people around him more so than for himself.

I hope he’s with his husband and feels whole. I hope he’s ok and I hope he knows that even though he will be missed he’s still loved and that I’m glad I got to know him for the little bit of time that I did.

I dressed up as Hawkgirl for Halloween at my clinic. My patients loved the costume. I made a helmet out of cardboard which I painted and Ox made a mace for me out of styrofoam. It turned out really good even though I had less than 24 hours to pull everything together. Goodwill had clothing that ended up working out well for the outfit. It just all seemed to fall into place.

I went to a pumpkin patch before Halloween with Ox and his kids. It turned out better than I had originally thought. Ornery Ox and I tried our luck at the high striker games that were there. We both didn’t get very high, but I feel like he and I have a better understanding of each other. We had fun together, just him and me, doing something. It’s the first time in the eight or so months since I’ve been here that something like that has happened. It made me happy.

Lil’ Ox and I have cross-stitched a bit more together.

I think Ox and I are doing ok. We still have some things to work on. Mostly issues with my need for solitude though my higher than his sex drive causes friction still, too. We both want us to work out. We’re not ready to give up or let go and so we get through the rough patches.

This past Sunday was a really hard day. I was missing mom and trying to not grieve while the kids were here which didn’t help anything. Trying not to do something only makes it worse. I ended up going out to my car and crying. Papa Ox came outside to make sure I was ok. I told him that I was missing mom and I didn’t know how to grieve without infringing on other people’s days. I’m used to being alone and I didn’t know how to handle my sadness around others.

He said sometimes you just have to infringe and that’s not a bad thing. We talked for a while, sharing in past and present feelings. He shared with me about his parents and their passing. I feel like we connected and it made me feel less alone. I’m grateful that he came outside and listened to me and didn’t make me feel bad for feeling bad. He said there are no words but that he understood my feelings and that my feelings were ok to feel.

It made me feel accepted.

He’s asked me a few times since then how I’m doing, to which I’ve been able to honestly reply with, “Better.”

A lot of other things have happened since I last wrote. It’s been almost a month, but I think that’s a good start for now. I’m starting at the start of today, and today was a pretty good day.

I can’t promise to write much in the coming weeks. With trips out of state and working eight days in a row, and state testing, I know my time is going to be limited.

I promise I’m still here and that things should, ideally, settle down soon-ish. I promise I’m not ignoring you or giving up on writing. I still need it and I’m sure it would have made handling some of the situations and days between now and my last writing easier. But I made the choices I made and so here I am, once again trying to bridge the gap from one writing to the next; condensing an avalanche of life into a handful of paragraphs. The only thing to do is keep moving forward I guess.

And forward for tonight is going to bed, so off I go, beloved Keyboard. Until we find ourselves together again with solitude and time, know that I’m grateful to you for the outlet you provide me with and that I cherish you and our quiet moments together.