Daily Post 093: Enjoying Summer

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This past week has been one of my rougher ones since moving to Nebraska. I worked five days this week. I survived until Thursday, my first day off, and since that was my main goal I feel like the week was a success.

On top of surviving, I got the news that I’m down a pound in body fat and up two in muscle. That’s validating and motivating.

I went to the Anytime Fitness for the first time to work out on Thursday. I like the gym. I like how it was mostly empty and I was able to do my own thing. I rowed and worked on my arms. What makes that workout even better is the fact that I did it after working with my trainer, so that’s two workouts in one day. I feel like I’m getting back to my “pre-work” level; back when I was able to spend three hours at the dojo pretty much every day sparing with people I now miss.

I feel like I’m back to making progress and that’s a good feeling.

I feel like this next week is going to go smoother in some ways and harder in others. I’m almost done with all of my cooking. I have the laundry to switch over to the dryer. I just got back home with Ox from running out to get new work shoes since my feet have started to hurt again. Since my days are shorter then what they were in Orlando and because I’ve had my shoes for over a year now, I’m pretty sure it’s an issue with the shoes themselves. We’ll see how tomorrow goes with the new ones I suppose.

Ox is going to have his kids for the next two weeks.

That’s where things are going to get harder. I’m prepped better for the coming week but we’ll have the kids…

That’s two weeks that I still have to work and wake up early while they’re on summer vacation. That’s two weeks of them being home on my days off and wanting to do things. Two weeks of “I don’t know how to be a parent what the fuck and I’m supposed to do I need an instruction guide someone please save me”.

I’m thinking about looking into getting an extended stay room close to my clinic for the coming weeks. That would give me a quiet place to retreat to when I need silence and space. That would give me a place to sleep without raining on everyone’s fun.

The downside is that it would be expensive and unlike the hotel rooms I’ve been booking for the nights before my shifts in Omaha, this wouldn’t be reimbursed. I also feel like it would be running away and hiding from something that I have to eventually face.

I haven’t made any decisions yet. But I’m going to have to figure something out soon. The kids will be here Thursday evening. I work both Friday and Saturday. Being tired and sleep deprived and mentally / emotionally tapped out from not having recovery time isn’t an option I really want to entertain. Arg >.<;

Saturday went well. And I guess I should back up to Friday. Friday went well, too. I worked with a new nurse that day since my FA had to go out of town. The nurse was familiar with the machines my clinic uses so that was a plus. The day went smoothly and I was grateful that it went better than I had thought it would.

I drove home and packed for my overnight stay in Omaha before driving into Lincoln to have dinner with Ox. He went with me across the street where I filled my car’s tank up and then wished me well. I’m glad to say that I was able to make the whole trip to the hotel without GPS. It helps that I’ve been staying at the same hotel each time. I’m getting familiar with the staff there. I like their facility. They have a pool that I haven’t been in yet. They also have a fitness room that’s 24 hours which I almost used this time.

Saturday started out nice even though it was a rainy and windy morning. I slept deeply and woke up feeling rested; at least rested enough to make it through the day. I didn’t need the GPS to get the clinic. Go me!

Even with the complications of a machine not working the day went well. I’m more familiar with how tasks are divided up and I have a better idea where things are located. I know how to be helpful past the point of setting up machines and taking care of patients. I can help prep the clinic for the next day. I can make needle packs and organize the morning shift setups.

I was able to close down the water room fine on my own. I was confident this time rather than holding my breath and hoping I did it right. I’ve gotten to the point where I know which steps take a while, so I don’t have to have everything on the floor done before beginning the water room. It doesn’t require my focused, undivided attention. I can get to this particular step then go back out and finish wiping down chairs. I can get to this step then go empty the bleach containers. Once I get to this step I can count the dialyzers.

I can be more efficient with my time, which means I can close the clinic faster than the hour or so it’s been taking me. That’s another good feeling. Efficiency is a big thing for me. I knew I would be slow at first. I knew it would take me a few times to get comfortable with the process. Now I’m getting to the point where I can improve my workflow. I’m no longer “learning”. Now I’m tweaking and figuring out what works for me.

I’m thinking about offering to work Saturdays for their clinic until they can get people through training. It would keep me making overtime while working a fairly chill shift with people I like. I don’t mind the thought of being there. I don’t feel a sand-pappery aversion to the thought. There’s not the crushing, draining weight of “I don’t want to do this,” that makes me cry silent tears on the way to do anyway.

There are grocery stores on the way home I can stop at after my Saturday shift. I can work that back into my weekend routine. Meal plan on Thursday’s most likely since Friday is a 12-hour shift. With meals planned out, I can make a grocery list. With a grocery list, I can do the shopping on Saturday like I used to, along with any prep work that needs to be done once I’m home. Put meats in marinades. Cut up veggies if I need to. Then Sundays can go back to simply being cooking days rather than everything all at once.  With a little bit of planning, a little bit of proactiveness, I think I can make this work for me.

I want to see if I can.

I have already been approved for having July 13th and 14th off. That’s the Friday before my race and the day of my race. I’m actually looking forward to it a little bit. More than I was when I first signed up. I signed up because I knew I wanted to do a Warrior Dash this year. I missed doing the one in Florida. I wanted to see my patients one last time instead. I wanted to give them their thank you cards in person. I didn’t want my Warrior Dash to be the last time I was with Big Bad. I didn’t want the weight of knowing we were saying goodbye to hang over the entire event, which it would have for me. It would have hurt to run it that way. So I didn’t.

But it’s something I think of as “my” race. It’s where I started. That first one; that was my moment of taking me back for myself. That was me giving a giant “Fuck you” to the person so undermined so much of my self-confidence for so long. I could do it. I did do it. I can do it. And there was, is, still a part of me who wanted to run the race even though I didn’t in February.

That’s why I signed up for the one here, in Nebraska, in July. Because there’s a part of me who still needed to run it even though I was feeling bad at the time. I had regressed. I knew I needed to address that and I’m glad I did even though in the beginning it sucked. I’m glad I met with my trainer and I’m glad he’s working with me. I want to do better this race. I want to keep improving. So yeah. I’m a little more jazzed about it than I was when I first signed up. I’m looking forward to it even though it’s a small, soft, vulnerable thing at the moment.

I hope it continues to grow. I hope it becomes a confident and stable thing. A, “I know I’ll do well” feeling rather than a, “I hope I do well” feeling.

I finally was able to spend most of a day outside today. Ox worked a bit in the addition but we’ve run out of 2x4s so he can’t keep working on the walls. We were trying to get work done in the yard, but that required moving a piece of equipment which ended up taking most of the day. We didn’t get done with that until 2 pm. It would be easier to write about if I knew what half the stuff we used was called, but I don’t. All I can say is that my arms and core are sore from all of the work we ended up having to do manually, but it’s a good sore.

We got something done, something pretty major, and we got it done together. We sweated together. We got tired together. We accomplished something together and that makes me feel good. It makes me feel connected and like I’m part of something.

It was a fantastic day outside. Warm. Sunny. I wanted to get more done, so I did. I moved some piles of scrap wood and raked up last years dead leaves and sticks. I’m not through with the raking and there’s a part of me that feels bad for not getting it completed. There’s part of me who feels like I add to the mess and disorganization by leaving something half done, but I could tell my body was wearing down. I was sunburnt. I needed water. I needed food. I still needed to still finish my cooking. At some point, I needed to shower again…

I needed to do all of these things that take time and energy and I only have so much of each to spend and use each day. So as much as I wanted to get everything done, the yard was something left at a state of half complete; contained and better, but not finished.

I would like to finish the yard Tuesday after my shift at Cap City, but I’m not sure how that day is going to go, so… We’ll have to wait and see. I might not be able to really get back outside until Thursday. But yeah, even with that task incomplete I feel really good right now and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I was finally outside doing something.

The day actually started later than I thought it would. I woke up at 2 am since I’m conditioned to wake up early. Thankfully I was able to get back to sleep. I slept until almost 9 am; way later than that I thought I would or could have. That’s an additional seven hours of sleep. As Ox said, though, I guess I needed it if my body let that happen. With how little sleep I got for the first part of the week maybe that’s more true than not. Maybe it’s not just pretty words to make me feel better, but a truth I should accept.

That’s harder to do when the Evil Voice nags about how much time was wasted doing nothing. Fucking Evil Voice… I will break out the Q-tips… >.>

I spent the first part of the morning cooking before going outside to help Ox. I think that helped since I had a break from cooking and didn’t have to spend four solid hours in the kitchen.

I used a spice mix last week for the deer roast I cooked which turned out amazing. So amazing I’m actually using it again. I’ve seasoned some steaks with it and chicken thighs as well. It really is that awesome. Since it helps to marinate the meat a bit first, I seasoned everything before Ox and I ran into town.

We went to the Skechers store where I got new work shoes. I was surprised to find out that I get a discount because of the company I work for. A 30% discount. Woo!

We stopped at Walmart after that so I could get another packet of a glaze I tried last week as well. Again, something that turned out to be pretty amazing.

So the cooking is almost done. Just have to bake some stuff now. The laundry is almost done. My hotel for Friday night is already reserved. My bills are already paid and though I’m lower on funds than what I would like, everything is overpaid as far as my debt is concerned and nothing is due until next paycheck which will have my billion hours of overtime on it with my double incentive shift.

I didn’t get my bike rack this weekend, but I’m ok with that because I got the window AC unit with Ox and new shoes and two cases of my Bang energy drink. I got new sunglasses that I actually like. The hotel had my laptop charger in their lost and found when I checked in Friday night since I couldn’t find it when I got back home last weekend.

There’s a lot of warmth going on in my life right now. A lot of progress. A lot of security. I’m not worried about my job anymore which helps.

It’s summer. It’s my time. My season. I’m not sick or working so much that I can’t enjoy it. And though I grieve every day in my own way, I’m not the shattered version of myself I was when mom first died.

It feels like this is the first summer since mom died that I’ll be able to go out and do things and… live… I guess. It’s… it’s a good feeling even though it makes my eyes sting with tears. When I was raking earlier today I remembered how I would help her rake when we lived in South Carolina. I remember how she hated to do yard work and how I would help her because many hands make light work. She would always say it went by faster with help and so I wanted to help her.

I don’t know what else to write or where to go from that train of thought. I guess that’s it. I don’t really feel like writing anymore. My heart aches. It’s not good or bad. It’s just life…

Mom is dead and I can’t rake the yard with her anymore, but I can still enjoy my days and be outside in the sunlight and I can remember her and all of the things she taught me. I can remember all of the moments we had and what they meant to me; what they still mean to me.

Today was a good day. Saturday was a good day. Friday and Thursday were good days, too. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m looking forward to going to work and telling my patients about my weekend and how I got new shoes.

I don’t dislike my life anymore, mom and I’m sorry that there’s still a part of me who feels guilty about that. I know this is what you want for me. To be happy. To live. To keep going. I’m sorry that it still hurts and sucks sometimes. I’m sorry there’s a part of me who feels like it’s a betrayal to you to be able to keep going. I promise I still love you. I promise it still hurts as much as it ever did; as much as it ever will.

I’m thankful at the same time. I’m here because of you. I know it. It’s one of my truths and I don’t care what other people think or feel about those words. You’ve done so much for me in life and in death. Thanks for helping get me to a point where I actually have the option to enjoy summer again.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

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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.

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 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 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.

Letters to Mom 016: I Promise I’ll Try

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Hey mom,

I woke up tired today.

I miss you.

I miss a lot of things.

I miss Jon. I talked to him today while I was on break at work. I got to tell him that I’m homesick.

I guess it started when I got a text message from Big Bad.

I miss him, too.

And there’s a part of me that wants to hate myself for that. I want to be angry at myself for missing the times he and I cuddled together. For missing our quiet mornings. For fucking up our plans to do the Warrior Dash in February.

I want to not miss him. I want to remember what it felt like to read his message about being “disappointed. Thanks.”

But I’m bad about remembering things like that. I’m bad about remembering how he never said, “I love you.” I’m bad about remembering that there most likely would have never been a family Thanksgiving that I would have been invited to. A house I could come home to with him. There wouldn’t have been an “ever after”, but that doesn’t make me miss what I had less.

I miss wrestling with him. I miss kicking his ass at Mortal Kombat.

I miss my friend.

Just like I miss Jon. I miss going to Friendly Confines with him. I miss driving up to Daytona for breakfast. I miss our sappy hugs goodbye. I miss the times I slept on his couch.

I miss my dojo. I miss not having anxiety over going to work out. I miss feeling strong and healthy.

I miss feeling like a warrior because right now I don’t.

In a lot of areas in my life I know I’m doing better, but the overall feeling I have right now, the most pervasive one, is that I’m treading water. I’m bearly holding on and maybe that’s just the tiredness. Maybe that’s just the overwhelm of having the kids for the weekend and not having a safe space to get away to.

I feel apathetic right now about most things. About gaming. About working out. About eating.

I don’t want to do anything.

I want to sleep. I want to wake up and feel ok even though I know I’m not “not ok”.

I don’t have drive or motivation for anything at the moment, mom, and it sucks.

I’ve been breathing better for the past few days. I’ve been taking a lot of decongestant stuff and I guess it’s working. So now that I don’t have to struggle so hard to breathe I guess my body thinks it’s ok to remind me that my soul hurts. That’s I’m actually still really injured and I need to take care of that.

But I don’t know how because I don’t know what’s wrong.

I know I like it here. I know I’m starting to love my job again. I know that I don’t dread getting up in the morning even though I still wake up at 3 am.

I know I don’t want my own apartment because I like coming home here. I like being part of a family. I enjoy falling asleep next to Ox. Being away wouldn’t feel right. At the same time, all of my things are mostly still in storage. When the kids are here I don’t have a space for myself. And there’s a part of me who’s not ok with giving up the few days I have off to socialize.

Maybe “not ok” isn’t the right words. I would rather it be a choice rather than something I’m forced to do due to the living situation. But it’s not a choice. I have to and there isn’t really a way to change it at the moment. Maybe ever.

If I’m not “ok” but I’m not “not ok” then what am I?

Why can’t I just figure out what it is that I need to do?

Why can’t you be here for me to talk to? Why can’t I hear your voice on the other end of the phone? And saying, “because I’m dead” doesn’t count.

I don’t care right now. Because you’re dead isn’t a good enough answer.

I miss you, mom, and I so desperately want to say that I need you, but I know that word isn’t true because I’ll wake up tomorrow having survived another day without you and so it’s not a true need. Not like air or water or electrical impulses within my heart.

But I need you, mom. I need you to be here and you’re not and it sucks and I hate it.

I meet with a personal trainer tomorrow. I’ve signed up for a Warrior Dash in July. I have no motivation to do either of those things, but I’m going to do them because I know they need to be done.

This is the therapy part of healing. This is the hard part. The part that hurts. The part that sucks. The part that makes me cry and want to give up because the thought of doing them feels like it’s too much. Too heavy. Too hard.

It’s so much easier to hide away and stay in bed and be sad and to not do anything, but I know that’s not what I truly want for myself. I know it’s not what you would want for me either, so I’m going to go to my stupid meeting tomorrow, mom.

I’m going to try, mom. For you. For me. For us.

I’m so sorry I can’t promise more than that. I’m sorry I can’t do more than try. I’m sorry I can’t say that I’ll kick ass and take over the world and be an amazing person who does amazing things.

I wish I could, but right now I don’t feel those things. I don’t feel amazing or strong. I feel weak and broken and all I can do is say that I won’t let the sadness win and that I’ll try really hard for you.

Today sucks, mom. Nothing bad happened. Work went smoothly. I’m back home and I’m writing, but today just really, really sucks.

I love you. I promise I’ll try to make tomorrow better.

 

Daily Post 082: Recap Attempt #2

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Hey mom,

I didn’t start crying when I typed that. Go me.

I want to finish telling you about my week since I wasn’t able to finish it last night. I was crying through most of my writing so when the internet crapped out on me I figured it was the Universe saying that I had had enough for the day.

But there’s still so much that’s happened and a lot of it is really good and I really need to tell you about the good stuff.

 


 

Friday – April 6th

Friday was another day where I worked. I was pretty sick and I knew working was going to suck. I also knew it was a shorter day than if I had been in Orlando and that I would tough it out.

I ended up getting a text message from my new FA. She needed me to update some of my personal information in the company’s system, specifically my address, because she was having issues moving me over from Orlando to Beatrice. While we were texting she said I was approved for the Step Up program which will be another boost to my wage.

That’s three raises within a month, mom.

FA: You are a FANTASTIC addition to our team and I want to make sure we do everything possible to show you how much we are so glad to have you! 🙂

I’m doing good. It’s not just BS inside of my head. I’m excelling and I’m actually getting compensation for it. I might be able to break that $15 mark that has been haunting me. I make less than when I started teaching at Full Sail still. Because I make less I’m failing; taking steps backward in Life.

I save lives every day I work and yet I’m failing.

I know that’s not a healthy way to look at it, but if I could just make what I started at I would feel like I’m at least back at square one. I would feel like I’m out of some intangible hole of darkness that is eroding away the success of my life.

I’m close to being there. So close. And I’ve earned it. It wasn’t handed to me.

I guess that’s what makes it so… vindicating. As a first-year tech I “shouldn’t” have gotten a raise during my yearly review, but I did because my FA thought I did amazing. I passed my national certification because I studied and proved that I knew what I needed to know. I’m approved for the 12-month increase in this program because I’m a competent technician who meets the program’s requirements.

I got myself here. I’ve earned these things and I’ve earned them because you raised me to be who I am. These accomplishments are ours, mom, not just mine and I’m so happy that I can tell you about them. I’m glad that I achieved them even though you died. I’m glad I can say that I’m doing well and it’s not just words or lies or half-truths.

They’re full truths.

The day at work was still brutal, but it wasn’t as bad after getting the messages from my FA.

Ox got his kids for the weekend so I was bombarded by an eight-year-old when I got home from work. You would love her. She’s adorable. I wish you were here to tell me how to be a parent. I wish I knew how you did it when you were tired from work and wanted to be alone. I wish you were here to tell me that I’m doing well. All I can do is try to be a parent like you were to me. You are my example, mom, and I feel pretty lucky to have had you for as long as I did.

I didn’t sleep well that night. Things didn’t feel right between Ox and I because of the money issue. He said everything that everyone else has said. “I’m sorry.” “I’ll pay you back.” “I’m not like the rest of them.”

He said everything I didn’t want to hear which instigated the feelings of “not ok-ness”. I ended up sleeping on the couch for most of the night and only part of that had to do with being sick. I needed the space. At the time I didn’t know how long it would take to come to terms with our situation. All I knew was that I wasn’t ok and I needed to be alone to figure it out.


Saturday – April 7th

I worked again. I was still sick but not as much as I was the previous day. The morning was rough because things still didn’t feel ok between Ox and I. We still had our cigarette together. He still hugged me before I went to work. I wanted to magically fix things to be the way they were before he asked me for the money, but I couldn’t. I had to go to work wanting to say more but not knowing how to.

It was a short day at work, so all I had to do was survive, which I did.

I messaged Warren to see if he had had a chance to take care of the internet account. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get a message back from him.

I also found out that the work schedule had changed and that I didn’t have Monday off like I had thought. No. I had to work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Four days in a row.

I was glad I found out about the change. I also realized I was sort of fucked on the introvert side of things. The kids were going to be leaving Monday morning so I wouldn’t have any time to recover or prep for the coming week. I was going to have to hobble through the week using duct tape and super glue and hope that things got better not only with my sickness, but with Ox and me, and I knew that wasn’t going to happen unless I talked to him, which I wasn’t ready for.

After surviving work, I went home and celebrated… I need a code name for Ox’s daughter still… but anyway, I celebrated her birthday. She turned eight. That was a bright moment in the day even though I was tired.

I went to sleep early that night still feeling disconnected from Ox.


 

Sunday – April 8th

I had Sunday off, thankfully. I spent most of the day sleeping and trying to feel better for the four days ahead of me. I messaged Warren again in the morning asking him to please reply to me. By the evening I still hadn’t heard from him so I sent another message.

Me: Dude. I get being busy and shit but this is stupid. All I want is to know what’s going on since I’m still getting emails from Spectrum.

Maybe that wasn’t the best way for me to handle the situation, but I had pretty much had it with feeling disrespected and ignored. I know from having lived with him for over a year that he’s glued to his phone and that he’d seen my messages. I know you would be on my side with this, mom. He’s being a jerk and that would sadden you. Maybe you would be able to talk sense into him if you were still here.

I got to text with my blacksmith and Big Bad a bit on Sunday, too. I miss both of them but I also enjoy the life that I have here.

I want the future that’s here and that makes things painful. The tentative plans at the moment are for me to visit Jason and Jon towards the end of August. If I visit Orlando I will want to visit my old clinic. I will want to see Nicole and Warren and a few other select people. I’ll want to visit the dojo and roll with the guys again. And there’s a part of me who will want to have a quiet cup of coffee with Big Bad or a hug from my blacksmith.

I still care about them. I can’t not remember how much they helped me heal and grow during the first year after your death. I don’t know what to do with those feelings right now other than to know that they’re there. I guess that’s something I’ll have to come back to and meditate further on.

I feel like I should be making a list of things I need to think about and figure out. I feel like that’s a theme I’m constantly writing right now. “I need to figure it out. I need to meditate on it.” Maybe I’ll actually get around to figuring all of that shit out at some point.

I went to sleep early again since I had work the next day. I wasn’t even remotely ready to go back in but I also knew I didn’t have a choice. I’m the only PCT for the clinic at the moment. No one else could cover me short notice like that even though I was googling the symptoms of pneumonia.


 

Monday – April 9th

I don’t remember much about work on Monday. I know I made it there. I know I worked. I’m pretty sure I started feeling better the longer the day wore on.

I stayed late that day to do the steps I needed to do to be reimbursed for all of the work expenses I’ve had. I wasn’t able to submit the report, but I got most of it figured out.

Ox and I talked about the money situation when I got home. Or rather, I finally admitted that I wasn’t ok with it. I’m glad we talked. I’m glad he shared his side of the situation with me; specifically his emotions and his reasoning.

I admitted that I was worried about permanently damaging us by letting him borrow the money because now all of those icky feelings are part of our dynamic. The fear of not being paid back. The fear of being used. The feeling of loss over something that I worked hard to earn. The fear that this was a test that I should have said no to and now things are ruined for forever because I can’t let things go.

I cried. We hugged it out. We agreed all we can do is prove to each other through actions that we’re not our exs. In this situation, that means waiting to see how things play out, and that sucks, but I think we’re better for having talked to each other. And I guess I should really rewrite that to say, I’m glad I manned up enough to voice my feelings rather than keeping everything bottled up where it could fester and get worse.

I know we ended up having sexy time that night and I think that helped, too. With being sick and working and the kids being there, we hadn’t had much time to be affectionate towards each other. I’m sure the distance between us didn’t help the money issue feel any better.

The sex helped me feel more connected and grounded. And totally going to have a girl moment and say I slept amazingly well that night because yes. Just… yes. And I know that if we were actually talking, sitting on the couch with Law and Order reruns playing in the background that you would have some silly, quick-witted remark that would have us both cracking up.

I know that you would be/are happy that I finally have a stable relationship with open communication where I can talk through my fears and still be ok. I can admit that I’m not happy with something and have it not be the earth-shattering end I’ve grown to associate with voicing my feelings. I think you would be pleased that it brought Ox and I closer together and that we’re stronger for this challenge we’re being faced with.


 

Tuesday – April 10th

Of all of the days that could have turned into a clusterfuck of disaster, it was this day.

I overslept and was late for work. >.<;

I ended up sleeping on the couch a little bit after sexy time. I was coughing a lot and sleeping elevated seems to help me breath better. So I took some pillows out with me around midnight and left my phone in the room and fell asleep. I wake up at 3 am for work so I can have an unrushed shower and breakfast before getting dressed.

So imagine how screwed, and not in a good way, I felt when I woke up fairly rested, tiptoeing into the bedroom to see what time it was and realizing it was 4:15, I’m supposed to be to work at 4:30 and I have a thirty-ish minute drive to get there and I’m still in night clothes…

*queue cold, sinking feeling of despair in the pit of my stomach as the death of my work life flashes before my eyes*

I totally didn’t shower. I threw things into my lunch box. I don’t even remember what it was. Ox was super apologetic. When my alarm had gone off he assumed I was already in the shower since I wasn’t in bed. He filled my water bottle for me as I dashed around trying to in some way salvage the morning. Of course, the only number I didn’t have was the number for the RN I was scheduled to work with that morning so there was no way to let her know I was running late.

Fuck my life. Seriously, mom, I thought I was so dead. I thought I had ruined the day and there was no recovery.

Surprisingly I made it to work by 5 am. The RN was super chill. She sent me a text as I was driving so I was able to call her and explain the situation. She said not to worry, that we would be fine and we were.

I was able to do the water checks like I needed to do. We got the clinic set up and everyone on the machines at their scheduled times. It was a surprisingly smooth day. While I was on my break, having my cup of coffee, I took a moment to take a picture of the sunrise because that’s one of the things I love about where I work now.

Even with the craziness of the morning and the fear and anxiety of having royally fucked everything to hell and back, I was able to have a moment of quiet, peaceful serenity that made everything worth it.

The move. The goodbyes. The change of everything. The sickness. Even the mad dash to repair the morning. This picture, this moment, and every moment I’m able to have where I can reflect on where I was and where I’ve been able to bring myself, makes me remember that it’s worth it.

 

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I ended up getting a reply from Warren later in the day explaining that his phone has been messed up since the latest OS update. He explained the situation with the Internet account. He didn’t say anything about my spare key or about paying me back, but at least he replied to my messages finally. I’ll tackle all of that when I feel like dealing with more excuses and BS.

I messaged my FA about my expense report since the system wouldn’t let me submit it. I have to have a person to send it to for approval and it won’t let me enter my FA’s name. I think it’s because I’m still listed in the system as being in Orlando. She’s looking into the issue for me so I’m hoping that will get resolved.

I came home and took close to a three-hour nap and it was amazing. When I woke up I made dinner. It turned out really good and it left me with leftovers to take to work for lunch the next day since meal prepping didn’t happen over the weekend.

That night was another night of incredible sexy time.

I know… two nights in a row. My brain can’t even.


 

Wednesday – April 11th

I woke up tired. #noRegrets

I also found out that one of the cats sprayed all over my clean scrubs…

I ended up rewearing the ones from the previous day. Aside from that small hiccup in the morning, the day went smoothly at work. I emailed our AA and requested more things for the clinic.

This was the day that I think I’ve found my direction at work, mom.

I was going through a couple of the notebooks because it seemed like they were redundant. While I was combining them, I found the criteria to become a Vascular Access Manager (VAM). It made me realize that because our clinic is so small, we most likely don’t have a VAM and that if I did this training I could fill that role.

It got me thinking about the different things I already know about, like becoming an “expert cannulator”, which would be more training. It got me to thinking about becoming an LPN instead of going all the way with RN. I want to stay in a tech role while being able to be more helpful to the nurses I work with. LPN gives me that. At least I think it does. It’s something I want to talk to my FA about at least to see what I could potentially be doing to continue to grow.

I don’t know. I just… allowed my self to think about the future. I let my mind wander over what it would be like… What would it be like if I stayed at the clinic for a year? Two years… a lot of years?

I like the thought of being a core person there. Someone who’s knowledgeable and important and… I don’t know… I like the thought of having some sort of “ownership” over it. It’s “my” clinic.

I clean and stock the treatment floor. I know our first MWF patient has a tape allergy and only likes the plastic tape. The fourth patient doesn’t want to walk out with gauze on her arm. She likes bandaids instead. I know the fifth patient on TTS likes her chair pushed all the way back and the screen of her machine turned to block the sun when it rises.

I want to be the best I can be for my patients because I’m the only tech they have. I want to be the best I can be because they deserve to have the best. I’ve listened to their stories, at least as much as we’ve been able to share in the two-ish months that I’ve been working there.

I’m not burnt out anymore, or at least I’m on the road to recovery from it. I like the idea of staying at the clinic. My patients inspire me to be the best version of me I can be. I think you would get a kick out of that, mom. We never thought I would be able to do anything medical because of how I used to pass out at the sight of blood, and now look at me. Little Ms. Dialysis Technican stabbin’ people with needles and shit.

I know you’re proud of me and that you’re thrilled that I touch the world in the way I do now. I never saw my life here.

While I was going through the binders I found the old phone sheet for the clinic. It was a list of all of the teammate’s cell phone numbers, only, over half of them didn’t work at the clinic anymore. Not a very helpful phone sheet…

Since the day was going so smoothly I ended up recreating the phone sheet, structuring it better. I removed the old names and numbers and added the new ones, like mine, that needed to be added. I also added the phone and fax numbers for our “sister” clinics in Lincoln along with the numbers for the FAs and AAs because those are important numbers, too.

Towards the end my RN came over and looked at what I was doing. She said I was way more ambitious than her. I told her that I enjoyed making documentation like that and that my second degree was in Digital Graphics. It was a wonderfully creative outlet which continued the positive energy the day had generated within myself.

I will say that even though I felt good about it, there was a part of me that wanted to downplay what I was doing.

Me: Oh… it’s nothing… really… all I did was open a resume template in Word 2013, delete a bunch of stuff, and then type in the information I wanted… It’s not like I “did” much of anything…

Also Me: You’re a fucking bawce. You know who else updated the phone list? No one. That’s who. You will take your praise and compliments and you will like them!

Once the clinic was closed up for the day I drove home. I changed into comfy clothes and dyed my hair. Mama Ox brought home Chinese food for dinner so no one had to cook. I rewashed my clothes because the cats are jerks.

Ox gave me part of the money he owes me since Wednesdays are paydays for him. He was originally going to give me $100 but I wouldn’t take all of it. I only want $50 payments.

That $50 is already the most anyone has ever paid me back. I don’t want him to limp by the rest of the week because all of his spare money went to paying me back. The relationship is two halves. I don’t want my other half to suffer needlessly. We’re not going anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it takes two months to pay me back instead of one. I would rather it take two and have us both be content and ok, rather than be paid back in a month and my other half be stressed and not ok.

We’re doing ok and I’m more secure in feeling like it’s ok to believe I will actually get my whole $400 back because he is actively paying me back as he can.

It was a good night. I washed the dye out of my hair and crawled into bed. Sexy time didn’t happen but that’s ok. I think my brain would have broke if we had gone three nights in a row.

I did end up sleeping on the couch again. Even though I’ve been feeling better the past three days now, I seem to keep getting coughing fits and last night was one of those times.


 

Thursday – April 12th

And here we are at today. All caught up for the most part.

Today was was my fourth day in a row at work and for all of the stress I put on getting the clothes washed so I could have clean stuff to wear, wouldn’t you know I completely forgot to pack socks in my bag this morning… I ended up wearing my gym shoes all day at work, which got me a lot of comments since they’re the Vibram toe shoes I’m not supposed to be wearing… but it was either those, my sandals, or barefoot because there wasn’t a chance in hell I was wearing my work shoes without socks again.

I took the CWP out of its disinfect cycle. I’m getting more comfortable with my routines at work and how they fluctuate through the week.

The bins I asked to be ordered should be in tomorrow so I’ll be able to play with them at work on Monday. I’m looking forward to that.

One of the doctors made rounds on the patients today, so one of them ran for six hours instead of his normal five. That sucked, but it left me with time to continue making notes and lists of things I want to bring up in our clinic meeting this coming Tuesday.

Once work was over I went to the gym again. I ran and did more upper body work. I picked up a sheet for personal training. I’ve been thinking about that a lot and how to mesh my personal routines with work.

I think I’m going to request to always have Monday’s off. That would give me a day alone before having to go back to work. During the weekend Ox’s parents are home so it’s awkward for me to meal prep or do any of the chores I want to do. And I realize that’s mostly all just inside my head but I feel weird. Everyone else is playing computer games or watching tv and here I am being Ms. Productive and making them feel like slackers. Or… since I’m up and they’re up… having to have actual conversations with people while I’m in my introvert mode… Don’t mind me while I go to the backyard and dig my own grave because that seems more appealing than actually talking to a human right now.

It doesn’t help that every other weekend the kids are here so it’s even harder to do chores or to get to sleep early enough for work since I wake up so incredibly early compared to everyone else.

I also want to start looking at maybe taking a class or two at one of the community colleges. That might be a little tricker, but it’s something I have the motivation to do, and something that would be easier to accomplish with a more set schedule.

Consistently having Monday off would give me a day where I would be alone for most of the day so doing chores and stuff wouldn’t be an issue. I could actually look at having personal training again as well since there would be at least one day I could guarantee a consistent time to meet. Training, ideally, would give me something to do in the morning that would force me out of bed, which has been an issue I’ve noticed for my days off. On my days off I tend to not do much which allows the apathy and sadness a foothold.

Having Monday to myself would ensure that my weeks reset fully. Laundry, meal prep, writing, planning, mapping everything out so I at least have a battle plan that can be modified as needed.

I think I’ve proven myself enough at work that I can ask for a “me” day and get it. I didn’t mind working four days in a row. Even with all of the unashamedly sleepless nights that I’ve had I made it through all of my days with energy to take care of what I needed to.

I’m going to see if I can talk to my FA alone after the meeting on Tuesday and see if something like that can be worked out. I think that would make work as close to perfect as human existence can allow it to be.

I’ve eaten dinner. I got to talk to Kyle a bit. He’s still not able to pay me anything back, but it was nice to be able to chat with him and to hear his voice.

Ox is home from a long day at work. It’s supposed to snow eight inches on Saturday. And I don’t have to go to work tomorrow.

I’m glad I wrote all of this, mom. I’m glad that I didn’t cry through all of it. Not even most of it. I’m glad there was so much positive to tell you about.

I still miss you. I still feel that hurt, that ache. But I’m still going on because I know that’s what I’m supposed to do right now. I’m still going to the gym. I’m still eating healthy. I’m still trying to learn things and to help people. I’m still striving to be a daughter you can be proud of.

I love you, mom. I miss you. I love you, forever and for always. Thanks for listening to me and for being there for me; through all of it. The good. The bad. The new. The scary. Thank you, so much, for loving me and for helping to make me who I am.

I’ll talk to you later.