Daily Post 054: Comfortable Sadness

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I’m in a bit of a funk and I know I am. I can feel how my body is tired from everything I did yesterday which I’m sure is a contributing factor. My pulse has an arrhythmia that also isn’t helping I’m sure. And of course, since I’m tired and worn feeling I feel my grief more acutely.

I guess it started last night while I was showering. I was reflecting on how well I did yesterday. I biked to the gym and did a plyometric workout based on the different exercises L has had me do in the past. I followed that up with a half mile run before biking back home. I haven’t plotted the course but I think it was roughly four miles round trip.

Later I biked to Title Club Boxing for the boot camp conditioning class then biked back home. We’ll say that’s another 8ish mile though I think that’s lowballing it.

So yeah. Roughly 12 miles biking, a half mile run, and two conditioning classes. 30 three foot box jumps. Yeah. I pushed myself yesterday and it was awesome. I loved all of the sunlight I was able to get. I ate well and drank plenty of water.

I was thinking about how I’m doing well even though mom isn’t here. I don’t feel guilty for doing well. I don’t feel guilty for living my life and enjoying my bike rides and smiling and living.

But I’m sad now.

I miss her. I want her to be here so I can tell her about my day. I want to tell her how I’m scared I won’t be able to jump the red box on Tuesday even though L says I can.

I want mom to tell me I can, and she can’t. And that sucks.

I guess it’s not really a funk I’m in. I guess I’m sad today and I didn’t really realize it until now.

I woke up this morning and was proud of myself that I got out of bed and downstairs before noon. Before 9 am in fact. I had thought I would be so tired that I wouldn’t do a lot today, and to be fair I haven’t done a whole lot, but the morning started better than I had anticipated.

I made coffee and for the first time in a long time, I made an egg sandwich. I sat outside on my doorstep eating and drinking my coffee instead of smoking a cigarette. I bought a pack a week ago, but it’s gone and I haven’t replaced it. I don’t want to replace it, but I’m wondering now if a lack of nicotine is part of the sadness I feel; withdrawals in addition to everything else.

Regardless, the morning was nice. I felt like I was doing well in caring for myself and recovering. My knuckle is almost back to normal. I thought about going to my sports bar for lunch. I could take my flash cards with me and begin studying for my certification. I could do things today that didn’t require a lot of energy because I didn’t have much to give.

I spent most of the afternoon on the couch instead. I washed my dishes from breakfast and that’s about as far as I made it.

Eventually, around noon, I went back to my room since Warren woke up and was in the kitchen. I didn’t feel like being around people, though we did patch things over yesterday so we’re talking to each other again.

I still don’t feel like being around anyone but at the same time, there’s this need to not be alone. It’s frustrating. Like sandpaper inside my skin. I know there’s this irritation but I’m at a loss on how to ease it; sooth it. Nothing on this plane can make it better. None of the people in my life can be my mom. Not Warren, not my brothers, not Big Bad, or anyone else who loves me or I love in return.

It’s an ache I have to breathe through, function through, fight through, until I adjust to the pain and it fades into the background again, white noise in the chaos that is my life. A vibration that is always there that seems to be louder in the silent, quiet moments I allow myself even though I don’t think my grief itself ever really changes.

When I got to my room I started researching hospice RN positions.

It was something my brother and I talked about when I brought up the subject of going back to school for an RN degree. I don’t think I want to work at a hospital. I don’t want to change patients every day. I like that about the dialysis clinic. I know my patients and they know me. We share inside jokes. We pick on each other. We feel sorrow and pain together. I know them. I care for them. I like that about my job.

I’m not sure what I want to do with my life. I still don’t have an end goal, especially right now with the sadness hugging around my shoulders like a blanket. A soft, heavy blanket that is comforting in its own way. It’s familiar. I know what my grief feels like and I accept it.

The hospice thing is more just looking into other options I gain by becoming an RN. It’s another field I think I may find fulfillment in. I read several posts about what working as a hospice RN is like. I also looked up wages since pay is a logistic concern that would need to be looked into at some point regardless of how fulfilling I think something might or might not be.

It’s definitely more pay than what I’m making as a dialysis PCT.

Aside from that I’ve halfway chatted with a friend from California and arranged to pick up Mother Earth from work. I actually need to leave before too much longer to do that. It’s the only obligation I have today and so I feel shitty for not wanting to do it.

We’ve agreed to go sit and have lunch which I am actually looking forward to. I’m not looking forward to the driving, to having to get gas, to having to deal with traffic.

I’m looking forward to sitting and being injured and for that to be ok. I just wish there wasn’t so much to do to get to that point. The thought of the effort makes my shoulders physically hurt, like getting into my car is some huge weight I have to lift. I know it’s not. I know I can do it. I wish I knew why internally it feels like I can’t.

I’m worried that I won’t be accepted to the RN program since most programs are competitive or have a waiting list. I’m worried that I won’t get much for financial aid. I’m worried I won’t be eligible for reimbursement through DaVita because I haven’t been employed long enough. I’m worried about paying rent. I’m worried about keeping up with my training. I’m worried about Scarlet being sick and aging. I’m worried about letting the people in my life down because I don’t hang out often enough / well enough.

I don’t know why I have all of this hanging over me right now. I don’t know if it’s a matter of “misery loves company” and so it’s easy to see and find the negativity that isn’t really there, or if this is my brain telling me to slow down and process through some of the shit I have going on.

Right now I’m tired.

I’m tired of making sure my ducks are in a row for the meeting with my admissions advisor on Tuesday, which they are so there’s really nothing else to do other than wait.

I’m tired of making sure everything is ok with the lease renewing and that paperwork gets done, which that’s all squared away as well.

Maybe, since a lot of the stuff I’m stressed over is now stuff I can let go of, all of this is the stress I wasn’t allowing myself to feel. I had to keep going, keep doing, keep figuring out, and now, today, I don’t have to. Today I can be sad and tired and cry silent tears and it’s ok. It’s not interfering with anything. All my stuff is done.

I hope tomorrow feels better. I hope work goes smoothly and that the new schedule is out so I can plan my next six weeks.

Everything is temporary, including this moment. I know I’ll get better and I know I’m not broken. I know things are ok. I’m just sad and it’s ok to be sad sometimes.

I love you, mom. I miss you and I hope where ever you’re at that you’re having a good day.

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Daily Post 052: Mostly Caught Up

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I wrote this the night before last (Tuesday evening) but didn’t have the time to proofread so it’s being posted now. And just a heads up, Warren and I had a spat last night about him not paying rent, again, and not telling me about it… so yeah… that’s going to be a super fun time hashing out all of the emotional fallout when I write tomorrow morning.

It’s whatever though. I survived mom’s death. I can survive this. I’m going to enjoy my night with Big Bad tonight and beat Life into submission later.

Until then, here’s Monday and Tuesday.

 


 

I’m finally caught up with writing. It’s a weird feeling. Everything is fresh. I can put the emotions and experiences away properly, reflecting on them, analyzing them and then letting them go to where they belong.

Monday was a good day. I opened so the clinic was quiet and empty. The other opener was already there so the machines had been turned on. I like starting the day like that; at square one. I know everything that needs to get done and I know how to do it. There isn’t anything that’s “gone wrong” yet.

Changeover for second shift was a little rough because one of my coworkers was late. We got caught up though and everyone started their treatment on time. At least, everyone who showed up on time, that is. We’ve been having issues with transportation being late, so people aren’t able to get their full treatment. One of the cool / good things about being the lowest person on the totem pole is I don’t have to worry about fixing admin problems like that. Woohoo for not having to make phone calls.

During lunch, I stopped by my FA’s office and asked if we could make an arrangement to sit and chat on Friday. He said he had time now if I wanted to. Since I don’t like waiting and neither does he we went ahead and hashed my issues out.

I started off with explaining how I wanted to go back to school and that’s the main reason I wanted to wait until Friday because I didn’t have much information about it. I explained how I wanted to go for an Exercise Science degree and that at the moment I don’t actively plan to use it for a career change. The thought of going to school and learning about something I’m interested in makes me happy. It makes me want to get out of bed in the morning.

When I asked how school would work with work he said they would do their best to maintain my full-time hours in regards to my classes. Essentially I let them know what days I can’t work and they give me what they can.

So that’s pretty awesome to know. Work will be flexible with my potential future inflexibility.

I went on to talk about how one of the things I’m trying to do is find better work/life balance and how I’ve been having a hard time finding it on my own. My true fulfillment comes from the dojo, but working long shifts so many days out of the week keeps me from being there even on my days off.

Before I said anything further he offered to reduce my days to three. I said if it was possible to do that and not adversely affect the team that I would be beyond grateful. He said it wasn’t a problem. There are teammates who want more hours so it, in theory, would actually help for me to work less. As long as I meet the minimum requirements to qualify as “full-time” then everything is good.

I can still have my Monday/Tuesday arrangement so I can have my evenings with Big Bad, which is great because I can keep that small bit of consistency along with always having Sunday off.

I also disclosed how my rent is going up and asked if there was any way for me to make myself more valuable to the company to receive an increased wage.

He said unfortunately because I’m still such a new hire, there wasn’t much I could do.

I said I understood that because I do. I haven’t even been out of training for three months yet and here I am asking for a raise. It was a long shot and I knew it.

I did ask about completing my certification. I asked if completing that was a possible raise or a guaranteed raise once it was achieved. He said it’s guaranteed so it’s something I can take steps towards. Mainly studying and making a fuck ton of flash cards like the nerd I am.

I asked if there was a time restriction on taking the test since originally I had been told there was, but later heard there wasn’t.

He said he wasn’t sure but he would look into it. He actually wrote it down on a notepad so for once I believe I’ll actually get information back about something.

As we were talking, since it was a pretty laid back and conversational atmosphere, I mentioned how I sort of screwed myself over by claiming zero allowances for my taxes, so there’s a large part of my paycheck I’m not actually receiving.

He said I could actually go into the computer and change a number of allowances I claim if I wanted to. I had no idea. For some reason, I thought tax stuff worked like benefit enrollment. You could only change it during certain times of the year or if you had a “qualifying” life change.

I guess not though, so that’s going to be something I look into/do. I want to do some calculations before actually changing it over. It’s nice to know I have that option available.

That pretty much covered all of my issues so I closed with asking how I was doing as an employee.

He said I’ve been doing great. No one has any complaints about working with me.

I asked if it would be possible to schedule myself for the CVC classes since I feel like a liability to my team by not being about to do catheter care. I’ve become secure and confident in my abilities as a tech to feel comfortable enough to learn something new, especially if it can help my team members out.

He said he knew it was a six-month waiting period but he wasn’t sure if it was six months from my hire date or six months from my “out of training” date. I said whatever made it happen sooner was cool in my book. I told him it would be cool if it could be “six months from when I was desperately look for a job” date. We both laughed.

There was actually a lot of laughter during our conversation despite how heavy my topics were. I really am lucky for having such an amazingly laid back supervisor.

Anywho, I’m tired of not being able to work with our CVC patients. We had five CVCs Monday morning. Five. That’s almost half my patients and the only things I can do with them were figure out their fluid removal goal, take their temperature. Oh. And get their blood pressure. Other than that I’m useless because it’s like I’m not even allowed to look at a CVC without having this “one day and now suddenly you’re an expert” class.

Arg. I may or may not have strong feelings over this. >.<;

The good news is my FA is totally on my side. He’s going to see about getting me into a class as soon as possible. Hooray.

He also said I could start learning how to mix bicarb, which would allow me to open the clinic more often. I’m totally cool with that. I want to learn more and I want to open more often. Learning bicarb hits both of those goals, so I’m totally down for it.

Other than not being able to touch CVCs apparently everyone is ok with me. That’s a relief to know. I haven’t crossed any lines or stepped on any toes, at least not that my FA’s aware of. I’m doing well and the issues I talked to him about aren’t new or unsurprising.

The meeting took way longer than my lunch break. When I got back to the floor I explained I had been in the FA’s office talking about potentially going back to school. That sparked a really interesting conversation that lasted for most of the second shift.

The third shift started and the change over was pretty smooth. I was able to leave the clinic shortly after 4 pm.

Originally I wasn’t scheduled to open so I was supposed to stay at the clinic until around 8pm which totally screwed over my plans for seeing Big Bad. I was able to switch shifts with a coworker on Saturday, which is why I did end up working my “normal” shift, but because I wasn’t able to switch with her pretty much the day before I worked, Big Bad and I had already rescheduled our evening together to Thursday.

That meant I had all of Monday evening to myself, so I went home, showered, had a quick snack, then went to the dojo. It was something I had been looking forward to the whole day.

They’ve changed the class schedule at the dojo so every hour they run two classes instead of one. I chose to do the submission grappling (no-gi) class versus Muay Thia.

One of the black belts ran the class. He’s a super cool guy. I was actually at the belting ceremony where he ranked up into black. I enjoy it when he instructs. Because there was an odd number of people at class that night, with me being the only girl, the instructor paired with me so I got one on one training essentually.

It. Was. Awesome.

He’s always super chill and answers all of my questions, which I normally have a lot.

Me: Why do you do it this way? What happens if they do this? Could you do this instead and it still be effective? Where am I supposed to be putting my weight during this movement?

He seemed genuinely pleased with how engaged I was so hopefully I wasn’t too annoying.

During the first two sparring rounds he was my partner. There was one point where he got butterfly hooks on me. That’s where his feet are on the insides of my thighs. It’s a way to control your opponents hips and to limit their mobility.

He ended up rolling onto his back and essentially lifting me off the ground since I had grips on his forearms. I could feel my weight shifting too far forward, giving him an advantage, so I straightened my legs out behind me while I’m balancing on his feet in the air.

It was one of those moments where neither of us thought we would end up in that position, with me in the air like Superman. We both smiled and kind of laughed even as we continued to struggle for a position of advantage.

There was a point early on in our first match where he got my arm and smiled saying, “It’s my arm now.” Later on, I got his arm so I taunted back, “Now it’s my arm” and we both shared a genuine smile as we continued sparring.

Both rounds with my instructor weren’t about winning or losing. It wasn’t about being competitive. It was about comradery and fun and I absolutely loved both rounds even though I was pretty wiped afterward.

For my third round, I was paired with a guy I’ve sparred with before. It was a good match but nothing overly special.

My fourth match, because yes, I did do a fourth one, was against a guy I’ve never seen before. It was brutal. He tapped me out three times in our five-minute round, but I liked that. He helped show me what I’m doing wrong by not letting me get away with stuff.

If I left my guard open he took advantage of the opening. If I overextended my arm, he went for an armbar. It’s not like he was mean or overly aggressive. He was doing what he was trained to do, take down an opponent, and I appreciated that.

I can honestly say it was one of my hardest sparring sessions to date. There was one point where he had me in an armbar and he raised his eyebrows at me because I hadn’t tapped yet. He hadn’t pushed me to that point and I wasn’t going to just give it to him. I shook my head no so he pulled further back and I tapped in a hot second because when it’s a legit armbar the only thing you want is to cry uncle and get out of it.

Just like he wasn’t going to go easy on me, I wasn’t going to tap unless it was a legit tap. No softcore shit here.

Once the timer buzzed he laid back on the ground arms extended, breathing heavy, like it had been a struggle or something. I was trying to remember that breathing was a thing  I was supposed to be doing because the only thing on my mind was how I felt like I was dying. Holy fuck was that a hard rough.

Him: You’re strong. That’s good.

I had thought I would stay for a second or even third class, but after my last round, one where I gave all I had, I decided going home was the better option.

I can say I slept amazingly well that night and I think part of it has to do with being so physically exhausted from the dojo.

I woke up at six in the morning since I wanted time before meeting with L for training. I used to meet with her in the afternoon, but we’re switching it to the morning so my day isn’t as broken up.

It worked out extremely well today. I was able to go have breakfast and to type up my last post. I already had my gym bag with me, so once it was closer to go time I packed up and headed to the gym. I got there a bit early so I was able to stretch before my session.

L was very pleased with my “homework”. She liked the conclusions I came to about the terms strong and fit. As she took me through my training we talked about the dojo and how my rounds went.

She explained how she’s going to start incorporating more polymetrics into my workouts, which is where I got the goal for jumping the red box. We both want me to get to that level. Jumps are super fun so it’s only a matter of time.

We did a bunch of burpees in between my sets of weights. It was a much more intense session this time ’round and I thoroughly enjoyed it and made sure to say as much. I was pleased with how well I did during the core section. The “jack-knife” movement she had me to previously didn’t hurt/burn nearly as much. I could have gone a second round I think and been fairly ok.

We set up our appointment for next Tuesday at the same time. We said goodbye to each other, I got my stuff out of the locker room, then went home to begin looking into classes.

I’ve decided the school I originally was looking at isn’t one I want to go it. It’s a for-profit school and the reviews on Google aren’t very flattering. The community college near me doesn’t have what I’m interested in, so that blows.

I looked at UCF just to see what they had since it’s literally on six miles away from me. They offer a minor for fitness training. It seems pretty interesting, but I want to talk to someone about it in person. I called and left a message asking if I could arrange a meeting with someone to discuss the degree further and left it at that.

By that point, I was recovered enough from the gym to be hungry. I showered and went to my sports bar where I actually proofread through my writing and posted to my blog. I also wrote my Musing Moment post. I had my favorite server so I was also able to spend a bit of time chatting with her and getting caught back up since we haven’t seen each other in a while.

I ended up being at my sports bar for almost four hours between all of my writing and researching. My Surface actually died because I didn’t have it plugged into anything and that’s really the only reason I left. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have stayed there longer because I do tend to get caught up in things.

As I was driving home I contemplated the idea of going to the dojo. It was one of my days off. One of the few days I am guaranteed to make it to a class.

I was still pretty sore from my morning session with L, not to mention the no-gi class from the night before. I wasn’t feeling all that social either. I thought about going to Title Club Boxing instead, but that didn’t solve the whole “being sore” thing and most likely needing to do something less intense.

I was mulling it over in my head. Was I being a slacker or should I take the night off and do something like cross stitch?

I decided to check out the gym’s class schedule, just to see if maybe something was being offered that would satisfy my itch to do something else without leaving me dead for work tomorrow.

Wouldn’t you know, there was a yoga class scheduled for 7:30. Since it was only 5 pm I was able to cross stitch a bit before changing back into workout clothes and going to the gym for the second time that day.

The class was fantastic. With each movement I could feel my body relaxing further, releasing more. I’m still not where I was last year, but I could feel a huge difference at the end of the class compared to the beginning. I’m definitely glad I went and it helped confirm my goal of doing at least one yoga class a week.

With how hard I push everywhere else, I need to take at least an hour to relax and stretch.

There was a move during that class that was super cool. We started in down dog before flowing into three-legged dog. From there we bent the knee of our lifted leg and “opened our hips” which means we rotated the lifted leg over our grounded leg. From there we planted our lifted leg back onto the ground so we were in this weird bridge/back bend sort of posture.

It felt soooo amazingly cool. I had no idea I was able to do something like that, but I can. Wooo. One day in the hopefully not so distant future I’ll be able to do Standing Bow Pose, or maybe even King Dancer’s Pose.

Once yoga was done and I was reunited with my phone I saw I had a missed call from my younger brother. We chatted for a bit. It wasn’t anything important, just him bitching about work which I was more than happy to listen to.

From there I came home, ate, drank, and am now done with my writing and ready for bed.

I didn’t find out as much information as I wanted to about the whole school thing, but I wouldn’t be able to start classes until the Spring semester anyway, with March being the deadline for my application. I would like to talk to someone on Friday since that’s my next day off. If not Friday then hopefully next week. I want to get this figured out as soon as possible so I know what I can expect and what I can look forward to.

I might end up taking classes at the community college if they’re able to transfer. I don’t know yet and right now it’s not a major concern.

I’m happy with today. And today is done. So I’m off to sleep so I can wake up and kick ass at work tomorrow.

Daily Post 051: Finishing My Recap

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I want to finish recapping last week before getting too far into this one since I feel there are a lot of events which have led to the conversation I had with my FA yesterday, which, spoiler, I already talked to my supervisor.

So Thursday was the “fuck it” day. Lacking electricity I opted to take the day for myself rather than trying to organize the chaos of my life. And it was a fantastic day. I biked four miles to the dojo, sparred for an hour, biked another five miles and had lunch at Moe’s before biking the remaining mile back home. Later in the afternoon / early evening I went to the gym and trained with L where I once again increased the weight I’m lifting. I also ended up doing 50 lunges with a 30-pound barbell.

L is sneaky like that.

L: Go ahead and do lunges down to that line. *does lunges* Awesome. Now turn it around and bring it back.

My Legs: Mother F-*beeeeeeeeeeep*.

And of course, me and my INFJ “anything you can do I can do better” non-competitive competitive mentality did it because biking 10 miles and sparring with black belts for an hour is no excuse to not be able to do a billion lunges… I’ve never hated having an upstairs bedroom more in my life than I did that night. ;-;

Even with being ridiculously tired after it was all said and done, Thursday was awesome. Thursday was the type of day that I want to have. One where I feel alive and full and warm and like I’m worth being alive.

Which sucks because it makes it sound like my job is soul-crushing and the bane of my existence, when it isn’t. It’s extremely fulfilling in its own way.

I guess the issue is work is an obligation. I wouldn’t be doing dialysis if it weren’t for the fact that I NEED a job. I wouldn’t have gotten certifications in EKG reading or phlebotomy or completed the whole CNA training. I wouldn’t have done a lot of things if it weren’t for the fact that I need income to support myself.

So while, yeah, I love my patients and my heart melts everytime they say thank you or wish me a good day, work is an obligation, not a choice, and I think that’s the biggest issue with it interfering with what I WANT to do, which is train.

It’s my choice to stay with the job I have, but it’s not my choice on if I work or not. I HAVE to work. It’s more of a question of what work do I do?

As long as it’s meaningful, something I can believe in, and contributes to the overall wellbeing of society / humanity, then I’m pretty ok with doing whatever.

Saving people and helping them live life as fully as they can works for me. It’s a good, solid purpose that I can get behind. If I have to give my time to something at least it’s going to a good cause that does make me swell a little bit with pride when people ask me what I do.

Them: Wow. That’s pretty awesome. It’s got to be crazy intense.
Me: Yeah. It is. *thinks about all the crazy shit that makes it stressful* But it’s fulfilling. *thinks about how Mr. S smiled said his day was better now that he got to see me*

I love my job. I do. For as much as I bitch, I do like like.

What I don’t like is the imbalance, which is something that, theoretically, can be corrected. I need to have days like Thursday where I can devote time to me. I need time where all I have to worry about is myself. I don’t have to save lives on days like Thursday. I don’t have to worry about obligations aside from the ones I make. I get to check in with myself. I get to heal my soul in ways I can’t while I’m working or interacting with people; while I’m caring for others.

I need time to care for me.

Having Thursday made me realize how much I’ve been neglecting that aspect of my life. Being tired or busy with work is a valid reason, but it’s also an excuse. I’m allowing work to take that away from me. I’m giving it that power.

Thursday is where my resolve for change really solidified. I can’t deny myself the downtime I need to function properly.

I could feel a difference in myself at work on Friday. Even though it was a long day it was a fairly good day. I didn’t have all of the stress from previous days on my shoulders still. I was ready to come back to work and to actually work. I was ready to be there, fully present, for my patients rather than looking at the clock and counting down the hours until I would be able to leave.

Friday was a good day and I was actually glad to be there. I had reserves of “care” to give so it didn’t feel like something was being taken from me. I got to have my Thursday so I could give my Friday.

I had planned to run after work that evening but that didn’t happen. I think a large part of that has to do with the drive home itself. It takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to get back to my side of town. By the time I get close to the gym my body has already changed gears. I’ve been off my feet. I’ve had time to start processing through my day. I’ve had time to slow down and so the thought of having to speed back up sucks and is harder than to do than it would be if it were still earlier in the day.

Convincing yourself to run a mile after you’ve already worked 16 hours and walked 8 miles isn’t an easy task, and Friday night I didn’t put much effort into trying. I went home, ate, showered, and slept since I had to be into work on Saturday.

I think something which will help combat the “slow down” is to go to the gym closer to work, rather than the one near my apartment on the days I plan to do something after my shift. That gym is only a mile away, so what, like a 5-minute drive if that? I think it’s worth trying out and seeing if it helps me out any. I haven’t tried it yet. That will be tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes. Until then there’s not much else to say other than Friday I was a slacker and didn’t care because I was tired.

Saturday I was still a little tired but it was a short day, only 12 hours. I could tough it out and maybe I would wake up enough through the day to do something afterward.

Well, that’s exactly what happened. Saturday was a pretty smooth day. I actually had time to… wait for it…. SIT DOWN! No joke. The only times I ever sit are when I’m on my breaks. But Saturday, for whatever reason, there was a lot of “down time”. Machines weren’t beeping, people came at their scheduled time, most of everything was stocked, needle packs were already made. It was nice. I actually got to doodle on Post-It notes. XD

After work, I came home. It was still a really nice outside, warm with that tinge of coolness because it’s autumn already. I didn’t want to waste the rest of the day, one of the dying days of summer, doing nothing inside, so I decided to go for a bike ride. I would bike up to Arby’s, get a sandwich, then come back.

I showered, changed into workout gear, then headed out. I stopped by CVS first for sunscreen, SPF 100, so I wouldn’t die a horribly burn-tastic death during my ride along with Gatorade so I could keep hydrated.

I noticed as I got further into the bike ride that the bike felt kind of “draggy”. It seemed to take a bit more effort than it should have to get it / keep it going. I was biking against the wind, and for parts of it I was on an incline, but it just didn’t feel “right”.

Once I got to Arby’s, I chained my bike up and ordered my reward sandwich. As I sat pondering on the bike, which wasn’t making any sort of noise, I pulled out my phone and looked up the hours for the bike shop I go to. I wasn’t too far from it. Maybe I had enough time to bike over there and have them check it out for me, just to make sure nothing mechanically was wrong.

I called the store. I explained my situation to the guy who answered and asked if he thought I would be able to bike the distance before the store closed since that would be happening soon-ish. The guy said I should be able to make it before they closed, but if the front door happened to be locked to knock on the side door because he would still be inside.

With that set in place, I hopped back on the bike and got moving. I’m pleased to report I made it to the store before they closed. Woohoo. : D

The guy who answered the phone checked out my tires. My back tire had 20 psi out of 30-60, so yeah, it was no wonder my bike didn’t want to go. The front tire had about 40 psi in it, so the tires aren’t losing air at the same rate. He said there might be a small leak in the tube of the back tire. If it keeps losing air faster than the front it might be worth it to replace the tube.

They filled up my tires and that was that. Mission accomplished. I thanked them profusely for their time and assistance. They’ve always treated me well and I’m proud that I was able to bike all the way there, which left me to bike all the way back home. XD

The bike store is literally across the street from Big Bad’s house so before I had left Arby’s I messaged him saying that I would be at the bike shop and that if he saw me I wasn’t practicing my ninja stalking skills, the bike had an issue I was getting looked at.

Once I was done with the store Big Bad came out and walked the bike trail with me for a little bit before heading back home. I didn’t want to bike the main road in the dark without my bike light. We weren’t together for very long but it was nice to see him for the short time I did. A quick, sweaty hug before getting back on the bike and heading all the way back home.

It ended up being just under a 15-mile ride and it was glorious.

Once I was home I showered, ate, drank a crap ton of water and didn’t do much else for the rest of the night. My body was ok with that.

Saturday showed me that even on days I work I can still do a lot for myself. It’s mainly the 16 hour days that make things so obnoxiously hard.

Sunday was a day off. Sundays are supposed to be my “Me” day, but with the hurricane and work and all of the craziness of the past week, I decided that what would make me feel best is getting my life back on track. So Sunday I did a ton of chores and that too was glorious.

I did laundry. I tossed out all of the stuff in the fridge and freezer because it had spoiled when the power went out. I meal planned and made my shopping list for the store. I vacuumed. I cleaned my bathroom. I went to my sports bar for lunch, which was packed because I guess it’s football season again.

I didn’t mind. I put my spiffy headphones in and began working on the homework L had assigned me.

One of the things we talked about while I was training, in addition to me possibly taking classes, is how I’m unsure about a few terms people apply to me.

Every guy I have sparred against at the dojo has made some comment afterward about me being strong. I told L that I don’t know what they mean. Is it that I’m stronger than they thought I would be? Or that I’m strong for a girl? Or are they using a different measure for “strength” that I don’t know about or understand since words mean different things to different people?

I don’t feel like I’m strong. I still lose a lot of my rounds. I still can’t do a pull-up, though to be fair I also haven’t tried so we’ll assume I can’t and keep going with this train of thought. I still can’t run a solid mile, though that’s more cardio endurance than strength and again, I haven’t tried to do a solid mile, but I digress.

I’ve spent so much of my life feeling “not strong” that being told I am strong is awkward. Just like being told I’m attractive is awkward.

My Brain: What about all those years I was “fat” or “ugly”? That’s all I’ve ever known. This whole “attractive” thing is wrong. It’s not normal. It’s not “right”. Please stop saying it.

This whole “strong” thing is an aspect of myself that I’m unsure about and it was something L and I were discussing.

She said by her standards she thinks I’m strong. She can tell I’m getting stronger because I’m lifting more weight. I’m doing different motions easier. I’m improving. She also said her opinion doesn’t really matter. It’s my opinion and what I tell myself that matters. And she’s most certainly right about that.

It’s like self-acceptance and confidence. It doesn’t matter what other people say if you constantly tear yourself down. You have to believe in you.

I also mentioned how I don’t think that I’m fit or healthy. To which, again, she said she thought I was, but that was her opinion and not mine.

She asked me what strength and fitness meant to me. What did I lack by my definition to not fit those terms?

I told her that I honestly didn’t know. I had meditated on the word success and so I knew, by my standards, what that word meant and how I did or did not fit within it, but I had never meditated on strength or fitness.

She said maybe that’s something I could do before our next session along with figuring out three things I wanted to improve on.

So while I was at my sports bar, listening to techno music while everyone else cheered or booed respectively for their teams, I wrote about strength.

I have that writing and I will be posting it as a Musing Moment later, but in short, I realized that yes, I am strong and I’m not conceded or arrogant for writing that. I’m not unfeminine for being strong. I can be strong and still seek improvement. Wanting to improve doesn’t mean I’m “not” something.

I also wrote about fitness, which will be part of my Musing Moment post, and again, just because I want to improve something doesn’t mean I’m not already that thing.

I am fit. I am healthy, and just like with strength, typing that, accepting that aspect of myself, does not make me a bad person. It makes me more connected with my reality.

I guess I’m still getting used to myself. I’ve never been as fit or healthy or strong as I am in this moment, sitting in an Einstein’s with my coffee beside me because fuck you Starbucks. I’ve never been this “small”. I can fit into mediums now. It’s a weird feeling, one I’m still adjusting to, and I think accepting these terms, strong and fit, as part of myself is a step in the direction towards actual self-acceptance.

I am myself, and in this moment in my life, I am physically fit and healthy. In my past, I wasn’t. In my present, I am.

Once I finished writing, I paid my bill, packed up, then went to the store to do my grocery shopping. I spent over $100, but that was with replacing all of the things that I had to throw out, so overall I didn’t do too bad. I try to keep my weekly spending on food at $70.

When I got home I started putting stuff away and making my meals. One of my former classmates and I agreed to chat at 3:30 on Sunday, so while my chili was simmering her and I got to catch up. She told me how things were going at her clinic, how things went with the hurricane, and in general what she’s been up to with life, and I did the same.

It was good to talk to someone about work who legitimately understands because she has the same job. My brother can understand because he’s done medical, and a lot of the people in my life can sympathize, even empathize, but Mrs. G knows exactly what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and behind and stressed because she’s fighting on the same battlefield.

Talking to someone and having them share their own stories helped me feel better and more connected with reality. It’s not just me. I’m not alone in my feelings. Mrs. G is going through it, too.

It was a pretty long conversation, but I enjoyed it. We’re going to try to meet up again at some point. Not this weekend since she has a bunch of stuff going on, but hopefully soon.

I spent the rest of the evening finishing up the cooking and remaining chores I had. I’m most likely going to get rid of my vacuum cleaner since it doesn’t seem to be working properly anymore. I’ve cleaned the filter and everything but it’s still leaving little fuzzies everywhere. Warren’s vacuum picked up everything that mine left behind so yeah, I’m most likely going to take it to Goodwill or something. It’s not broken, and it still works, just not as good as something we already have so why have two?

I had thought about cross stitching Sunday night but opted to write instead. I’m glad I wrote. It kept me up later than I most likely should have been, but it felt good. Really good.

And so here we are.

I still have Monday to write through, and then all of what will end up being today, but I feel mostly caught up and written out. I have training with L I need to get to in the next 40 minutes so I’m going to go. I’m not sure when I’ll write again, but hopefully, it will be soon. I like feeling like I’m in the present rather than lingering days in the past or floating, swimming, drowning in a sea of “what the f is going on with my life?”.

Yesterday I talked to my boss. Today I train and find out about classes. Those are the key points and I’ll meditate on them further once I’m able to.

For now, it’s time to go be a badass and flip some tires.

Oh, and here’s some cuteness because I actually really did get a chance to doodle at work. :3

 

Daily Post 049: Learning to Care

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I wrote on Tuesday. Tuesday evening, specifically.

Wednesday seemed like another awful day full of overwhelme. I went to the gym after work again. Well, actually… first I went to the dojo. I had kept that as my shining light at the end of the tunnel all day. I could make it through all of the hectic, crazy bullshit because at the end of it I could go to my dojo.

I didn’t get out of work early enough, though. I’m sure rain during rush hour traffic didn’t help with getting me there in record time. By the time I made it to the dojo there was only 30 minutes left of the Muay Thai class and I didn’t have my gi for the following jujitsu class. It sucked realizing my time was going to be so short; almost pointless. I did stay until the end of Muay Thai and it was a good workout, though light and short.

I did stay until the end of Muay Thai and it was a good workout. I bruised the crap out of the top of my foot. I wanted, needed, to get as much out of my body as I could for those few minutes so I pushed harder, kicked harder, and allowed the pain to start washing the day away.

It wasn’t enough to get rid of the angst and tension from work, though, and that was frustrating. It wasn’t enough to make me feel ok.

Sadly, frustratedly, I bowed out for Muay Thai then headed to the gym so I could try running the rest of everything off. The machine I picked to run on hadn’t been reset and I didn’t realize that until I had already been on the treadmill for a song or two. I didn’t care. I wasn’t on it for the numbers that night. I was on it so I could be ok. So I could go home. So I could not cry.

I ran well. I ran faster than I think I ever have, going past 7 mph. At least I think that’s what the number on the treadmill means. Who knows.

By the time RunKeeper told me my workout was done I knew that I needed to stop, otherwise my legs were going to regret it and I would be forced to take extra recovery days. I still wasn’t ok, though. Why couldn’t I shake these feelings, damnit?! What did I have to do?

I didn’t have an answer for myself so I went to the sauna and sat for a bit, trying to meditate my way to inner peace, but that too didn’t work. Nothing seemed to work.

I hurt and felt like a failure and nothing was soothing over the wounds of the day. I was still bleeding out emotionally.

I left the sauna and sat on the first steps of the pool in the gym, soaking my feet in the cold water as I sent a text to my younger brother. I couldn’t call mom. I’ll never be able to call mom. But I could still talk to Jon. I could still hear his voice and tell him that everything sucked.

Me: Busy?

After a few minutes, he replied with no, asking what was up.

I said nothing important. It had been a rough day at work and that I wanted to hear his voice.

He called and we talked for about an hour as I sat in the pool not caring about who heard my conversation.

I explained the past two work days. How I had to work with my head RN and how it always seemed like I did everything wrong in front of her. How days seemed bad now even though recently they had been good, amazing even. We talked about why my RN’s opinion means so much to me. How mom had been an RN and maybe this was my way of getting “mom’s approval” and praise.

It was a good conversation, one which I had silent tears for part of. We talked about his trip back home for the eclipse. We talked about his part time job at the school. We talked about his roommates and mine. By the end of the conversation, I was feeling better. I felt solidly grounded in reality and not falling through the chaos in my head.

I went home and slept deeply not caring about any chores that may have needed to be done. They could wait. Tomorrow would be another 24 hours.

Thursday I slept all day. Ok… not all day. I did get up and rewash the load of laundry that I never switched over to the dryer. But aside from that I really didn’t do much. Pretty sure I showered. I think I chatted with Warren briefly. But for the most part, it was me recovering from Monday and Wednesday.

Yesterday put things into perspective. I worked. It was another rough day. I was sitting in the breakroom during my lunch break when two of my coworkers also came in for lunch. One of them mentioned how I looked “perturbed”.

I said that it felt like the day had been a disaster so far and I could never figure out what happened on rough days to make it domino into such a crap-tastic time. I also acknowledged the fact that I really didn’t know how badly we had done with getting patients on the machines at their scheduled time and that it was entirely possible that things were fine and it was just my perspective on how things were going that was skewed.

They both gave me advice, mostly revolving around “don’t sweat it.”

There’s only so much that my team can do, and the only thing we can consistently do is our best. I’m not going to stop caring because that’s the whole reason I changed careers, but I think I need to adjust what I care about. I can’t care about literally everything because if I do this job is going to kill me. I need to save it for the important things.

Turn over is always going to be organized chaos. There are too many variables for it not to be. One patient might become hypotensive while another takes a longer time clotting and bleeds through their gauze a few times while at the same time another patient wants to come off the machine 15 minutes early, adding to the chaos.

Other times it might run smoothly with no deviations from the expected or intended schedule.

Every day is different. I can’t hold onto the thoughts of, “This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen.”

I guess that’s a lot like having to let go of the life I thought I would have. I thought mom would still be alive. I thought I would have her for another 20 years with her and that she would live long enough to see Jace graduate and become a karate ninja samurai. I thought things would be different, but they’re not. Things are how they are.

I guess that’s the mentality I need with my work days. It doesn’t matter what I thought the day would be like. The day goes how it goes regardless of what I want or expect. “Go with the flow.” “Don’t sweat it.”

It’s not that I don’t care. It’s more like I won’t waste energy on trying to change the course of a river. I can’t change it, I can only go with it and let the current do all of the work. The destination is still the same. I’ll still reach the end of my day. I’ll most likely still be tired at the end of it, but I think one method will leave me with much less stress and inner tension than the other.

I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to implement this new mentality right away. I think it will take some time, but it’s something I’m going to try. Those moments where I feel overwhelmed and like chaos is raining down all around me I’m going to try to remember to step back and let go of trying to control it all. I can’t control it, I can only go with it.

The rest of the day went better after the conversation with my coworkers. All of the third shift patients got put on their machines. I was able to make needle packs for the following day as well as close down the machines we were no longer using. I was able to go to the stockroom and get the supplies we were out of or low on. I was able to update all of the documentation. I was able to finally breath is what it felt like.

I left work around 5 pm. I didn’t want to go to the gym. The dojo was doing randori which I don’t feel I’m ready for. Title Club was still closed as they transition to a new location, and to be honest I don’t think I would have wanted to do anything physical anyway.

Instead, I thought about what I wanted to do with my evening. I needed closure. Something to signify my night was done and that I was now able to relax.

I ended up getting dinner at a little place called Viet-Nomz. They have amazing food, and it’s an extremely small establishment near my apartment which encourages social dining. I’m not sure if that’s actually a thing but it reminds me of one of the customs in Germany where it’s socially acceptable to share tables with strangers as long as you ask if you may sit with them.

Since it was dinner time they were fairly crowded, but I was ok with that. I sort of wanted that feeling; being part of, lost in, the crowd. I sat across from two girls who were chatting together. I put my headphones in and ate my rice bowl. This was my reward for surviving; a bowl full of carbs and protein. Good music and a moment of not having to worry or care.

It was an extremely fulfilling meal. Once I was finished I headed home. I did make a detour to CVS for some Icy Hot patches for my back. It’s been bothering me lately and those have helped in the past.

When I got home I didn’t bother with the kitchen. I took my shoes off and headed straight upstairs to my room. I didn’t bother with anything other than showering and putting one of the patches across my lower back. I changed into comfy clothes and scrolled through Facebook for way longer than I care to admit until I finally crawled into bed. By that point, I didn’t even bother to take out my contacts I was so tired.

My alarm went off at 2 am since I forgot to turn it off. That’s when I figured taking out my contacts would be a smart move. I drank so water while I was up then when back to sleep until about 9 am.

I’m currently at Perkins. My breakfast has been eaten. I’m working on my second up of coffee. I have an appointment for a deep tissue massage at 6:30 this evening. I’m going to be going to kickboxing at 1pm since it’s the grand reopening for Title Club. I have a few odds and ends as far as doing chores goes, but overall it’s a pretty low energy / recovery day. Same with tomorrow I think.

I was supposed to have a sleep over with Mother Earth this evening, but she’s feeling under the weather so we’re going to reschedule our girl time. Big Bad and I have plans to see each other for our scheduled Monday evening. One of my coworkers wants to split my Monday shifts with me, so instead of 4 am I would go in at 10 am and still leave by 5 pm. That gives me time to go to the gym in the morning, shower, eat, and start my week off the way I would really like to. I think that will be a fantastic change for me. I won’t be getting as much overtime, but I also won’t be nearly as burnout as I’ve been fearing I would be. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this change works for both of us since she needs the hours.

I still have the blog award nomination I need to write for, but I think I will save that for either later today or tomorrow. I think I want to go back home for a little bit and rest before going to kickboxing.

I guess looking back at it, this week hasn’t been bad. It’s been long and it’s had a lot of stress, but it’s had a lot of positive moments, too, and for the next two days I’m off and I plan to fully, thoroughly, enjoy them.

Part of learning to care is learning to care for myself. I think a few days of introverted downtime is what I need and I’m not going to give myself shit for it.

Daily Post 047: Breakfast Reflection

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I wrote this earlier today but didn’t get a chance to proof it until now, not that I’m really too worried about typos. It’s already 9 pm and I have a 2 am wake up call to go running at the gym. I’m hoping I’m dedicated enough to actually pull it off.

 

Anywho… without further ado, I present the ramblings of my brain.

 


 

After a week I’m finally able to enjoy my Perkin’s breakfast. Though to be fair, it’s closer to noon so it most likely counts as lunch rather than breakfast, but it’s my first meal of the day even though I’ve been up since seven, so it’s still breakfast in my book.

There’s a kid in the booth next to me being slightly loud. I can hear him through my headphones, but even that isn’t really enough to detract from the peace I feel at finally being able to sit and complete this thing, this action I’ve been wanting to do, which is really nothing.

Literally, nothing.

I can sit and give that my full attention. Breathing. Being. Bask in the feeling of being alive and not having to go anywhere, do anything. Of not having to worry about fucking up at work. Not having to worry about chores or errands or obligations or time constraints.

I can finally take a moment to sit and acknowledge that I have survived up to this point.

The past few days have been rough emotionally. I’m slipping back to that place where most things, all things, feel pointless. Why do them? We all die. We all have hardships and struggles and they only ever end when we do. There’s always a new obstacle and so really what’s the point? Why try? Especially when mom’s not here to see any of it. Not the stress, the effort, the failures, the triumphs.

There’s only myself.

Logically, I know there are other people in my life but when my brain gravitates to this area, this saddened, wounded place within myself, I feel alone. I’m hyper aware of the fact that every person in my life is mortal. Everyone I love, at some point, will die, and so even though they are in my life eventually they won’t be, and so it’s hard to argue with the loneliness.

That’s one thing I learned from mom’s death and I’m not sure if my take on it is healthy or not.

Everyone dies.

Even the people closest to you. They’ll leave, or you will, eventually. It’s sad, morbid, maybe, but those qualities do not make it less of a fact. Less true. That’s part of life. It’s why I’ve changed the way I evaluate my relationships and the hurts I feel from those I care about.

Are they worth the pain? The miscommunications, the angry comments, the criticisms, regrets, guilt. Is the person I’m having these emotions over worth it? When they die will they be worth the pain I’ll feel?

The answer for most of the people in my life is yes. They are worth it.

I look at the people I love. I see their mortality and I accept that when they pass, if they pass before me, that I will hurt, ache, mourn, maybe even grieve, though not on the same scale as I grieve for mom. I accept that the pain I will feel is the balance. It will let me know that my love was, is, real. That our relationship existed in the infinite vastness of our universe and that, for me at least, it meant something deep.

The few people who are in my life who I don’t feel are “worth it” I find myself growing more and more distant with and I’m ok with that distance. With work taking so much more of my time I don’t regret not putting energy into something I don’t legitimately want.

But still, even valuing the relationships I have, cherishing them for the love and support I am freely given, they aren’t mom. They can never be mom.

I don’t seek their approval the way I did her’s. I don’t want their praise as much as I desperately wish I could hear her say she’s proud of me one last time. I can’t embrace them the same way I did her because they aren’t, can never be, her.

I’ll never forget those words, spoken through cracked lips while we talked in her hospital room.

I have always been proud of you.

I know she’s proud of me.

Sitting here, surrounded by other people going about their day; getting lunch with family members, having a business meeting,  or what appears to be an awkward first date, I’m sitting here allowing myself to realize that I’ve still survived and that even though I don’t understand it, it’s not pointless.

I save people every day I go to work. I know she would think that’s amazing.

The other day I had one of my patients thank me and tell me I did well. Very often my patients tell me they don’t feel any pain when I cannulate them. I finally earned the trust of one of our more finicky patients. She allowed me to cannulate her for the first time last week after which several of my coworkers came up to me and told me “good job!” and that they were pleased with how I handled myself.

I had another patient not want to come into the clinic one day. I went outside to talk with him. He sat in his wheelchair and wouldn’t look at me while he said he didn’t want to go to his treatment. When I asked why he said because he was tired. He was tired of going inside, of sitting in a chair for four hours every other day. He didn’t want to do it anymore.

My heart broke while I knelt in front of him holding his  hand and listening to him because I know those feelings. I know what it’s like to be tired of trying.

I’m tired of waking up. I’m tired of mom being dead. I’m tired of being tired.

I asked him if he knew what would happen if he didn’t get his treatment. He said yes. I told him I understood that he was tired, that he didn’t want to come inside. I told him he didn’t have to come in, but that I did have to tell the charge nurse that he wouldn’t be there. He said he knew I would.

Before I got up I asked him if I could give him a hug. He said yes, so I stood and wrapped my arms around him in empathy. I told him that I hoped he felt better as I squeezed just a little bit tighter even though I knew that I couldn’t take away any of the tiredness or pain. All I could do was let him know that I knew it sucked and that I cared.

He said thank you and we both had tears in our eyes as I walked back inside. I told the charge nurse about the patient not wanting to come in. She nodded her head and went outside herself shortly after. About 30 minutes later I saw the RN coming in, pushing the patient’s wheelchair. They got him set up and when I had a second I went over and spoke to him again.

Me: I’m glad you’re here.
Patient: I came in because of you.

I’m still moved by that comment. It’s hard not to have tears running down my cheeks while my coffee sits in front of me growing cold, while other people around me laugh, while the kid next to me bangs things on the table, I’m trying so hard not to break down as I think about this one patient and how I made a difference for him.

Every time I have seen this patient I make sure to say, “I’m glad you’re here,” because I am. I’m glad that he’s still fighting, that we both are. I’m glad we’re able to see each other even if it’s under the shitty circumstances of kidney failure.

I’m glad I wrote about that event finally. I’m glad I solidified it through text rather than letting it remain a memory inside of my skull. It’s on paper now. It’s real. It happened. I touched someone’s life and showed them it was worth the struggle and pain. And like wise they have touched my life even if I still stumble from time to time.

I’m glad I wrote about all of these moments because it’s allowing me to remember the good points. The moments where I don’t feel lonely and where I feel like life is worth living and that I really do have a purpose.

I’ve been sad. I’ve been lonely, and it’s not a loneliness that anyone can fix. This is grief. It will always be here within my chest, within my heart. The only thing I can think to do is to keep breathing. I’m not ready to give everything up and I don’t know why. There’s not a point to do anything, but there’s not a point to not do it either.

I guess it comes back to the beginning of my writing and the feeling of being alone.

I truly only have myself. I’m not ready to leave that. I still want to prove to myself that I can do the things I want. I still want to be a fighter. I still want to learn to dance. I still want to run my Warrior Dash. I still want to have my cups of coffee. I still want to play Witcher 3 and kill monsters in horrifically horrible ways. I still want to love the people I love.

I’m not ready for any of that to end.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this writing. To be honest, this wasn’t how I had intended it to go, but it has been soothing. I don’t hurt as much as I did before I sat down, yet in some ways I hurt more. Maybe that’s healing.

The new scheudle for work came out. I’m scheduled for four days every week for the next six weeks. In some ways I’m happy. That means I should get a handful of overtime hours every week. There’s only one week where I’m working three days in a row. The other weeks are pretty spread out so I shouldn’t be too burnt out from the schedule. If it becomes too much I can always trade / give away days to someone else.

On the other side, I’m worried about being too tired for the gym or training. I’m worried about feeling like all I do is work and being so exhausted on my days off that all I do is sleep.

My worry about the schedule factored into my mood last night. I sulked as I played my game, thinking about all the time I wasn’t going to have to do things because of work. It carried over into this morning, though I did recongize that I had more energy than previous days.

Eventually, I got up and showered. It took two hours for me to pull myself out of bed, longer than I feel it should have, but I did, eventually, do it and that action seemed to kickstart things. After I dressed I sat at my computer and made a small to-do list, refraining from adding too many tasks. I wanted to keep it short and sweet. I didn’t want to overwhelme my day off with a massive list that I wouldn’t be able to finish.

No. Just enough to get things done. Enough to feel accomplished. That’s what I needed. To feel like I did things and that I achieved something.

Updating my calendar was one of those things.

After putting the work dates into the computer along with my workout times I think I can find a balance. I also think I know what I need to start doing as far as caring for myself goes.

Sunday will ALWAYS be a rest day. I’ve staked that claim solidly into the ground. No obligations. Ever. That is MY day. If I choose to share it with someone, cool. If I want to do chorese, awesome. But it will never, EVER, be an obligation day.

It will be my “go out for breakfast” day. My “free time to write” day. My “video game” day. My introverted “I’ve trained and worked the past six days the rest of the world can catch on fire and burn, silently” day. My “zero fucks given” day.

Since Tuesday is my other guaranteed day off, that will by my main chore day. Laundry specifically since I need to have some sort of routine for that. I need to know when my work / workout clothes reset. I need to know I can pack my gym bag and have srubs ready to go. I need clothes to not be a stressor in my life, and knowing when they will get cleaned helps with that. It makes things reliable, structured.

So Tuesdays, always, without fail, first thing in the morning so it’s already halfway done, will be laundry day.

I think I’m going to have to change the way I meal prep slightly since I very rarely will get concecuative days off now. I think I’m going to try preping one or two meals at a time rather than having a week’s worth of food ready. That means I’ll be cooking more than once a week, but for smaller intervals. I can also work it to where one meal is a baked dish so I can use the oven while also cooking something on the stove.

Salads are another easy option to add into the mix. So maybe getting three meals prepped in a single day isn’t as hard as I’ve been making it. Maybe my system doesn’t need to change as much as I think it does. Maybe I just need to be more conscious of the cooking methods for the meals I choose.

I suppose we’ll see. Food isn’t a huge stressor for me. I know I can provide for myself, even if it means grabbing a handful of things from the gas station on the way to work because I ran out of pre-made stuff at home.

My biggest concerns are remaining active in my training and continuing to adjust to work. I still need to find that balance between the two and not lose myself in the process.

I feel like this has been a productive writing. It definitely let me reflect and consciously accept different aspects of my life.

It feels good to know I have a dedicated “off” day to reset myself and a dedicated “chore day” to reset for work.

I think with having those two I’ll be able to figure out how everything else fits in over the course of the next six weeks.

Well, my breakfast is most likely good and cold by now. I feel better. A lot better actually. Stable. Solid. Like I have an idea of how to live my life and still take care of things. I’m going to go so I can eat and finish off my to do list.

Thanks for being here for me, mom, even when I’m not always here for myself.

Daily Post 042: 16 Hour Days = 8 miles

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Monday was my second day on my own at work. My second 16-hour shift.

It was the first day that I remembered to wear my Fitbit with me to work. Apparently, I walked eight miles that day.

It was the second time that my teammates were amazing and had a little pow-wow with me to help boost my confidence.

Monday was the first day where I forgot the clamp the saline lines, not once, but twice, which resulted in a major headache for my trainer who had to help fix my mess up. Monday was the first time where not one, but two, of my patients, wanted to pause their treatment to use the restroom. It was the first time I got done taping someone’s access up and wished them a good day only for them to come back two minutes later, their gauze soaked in blood because they bled through.

It was the second time that I used organizing the stock room as my destresser from it all. It was my first heart to heart with one of the RNs who’s become way more friendly to me now for some reason. It was my first time interacting with Mr. C who said I did a good job taping him up.

It wasn’t a bad day. I was joking with my boss earlier, just after my first break, saying that I hadn’t killed anyone yet, I hadn’t broken down into tears, and I hadn’t quit, so, all in all, it was a good day so far.

He laughed, and I laughed with him even though we both knew how serious I was about each of those statements. Since he started as a PCT he knows exactly what I’m going through and it’s a nice feeling to know that he legitimately understands the whole, “It’s not a bad day but I’m totally going to break down into tears once I get out to my car” feelings.

Part of the routine at the clinic is each team member gets a specific chore for the day. My chore on Monday was making CVC kits. It’s sort of like making the needle packs.

Two packs of 2×2 gauze, two packs of alcohol, two tempadots, one piece of 4×4 gauze, paper tape, plastic tape, one syringe, one iodine pack.

Making needle packs is an extremely structured and repetitive task. It one of the moments in the day where I get to breathe and take a step back. A moment of decompression. Just like mixing the bleach water. I get to measure everything out. No higher level thinking. No inserting needles into arms or thighs. No human interaction for those six minutes. There’s only running water, measured bleach, writing initials, date, and time onto a piece of plastic tape to go on the container.

Monday was such a crazy busy day with me trying to keep up with my patients that I didn’t have time to do the CVC kits. I stayed after I clocked out to do them, holding up in the stock room and listening to the same ambient techno song on my phone while I did five packs at a time.

Two of those, one of that, three of these.

Counting. Repetition. No beeping alarms. No “next obligation”. No “I hope I’m doing this right and don’t mess up.”

My brother called me during my CVC making. There’s a former guard instructor who lives really close to him. She helped Jon get a job working with a high school marching band this past summer. She’s sort of become Jon’s adoptive mom. I’m not as close to her, but she’s an extremely nice person and I’m glad Jon has her in his life.

She was taken to the ER for a kidney stone. I can relate all too well to that situation.

Jon said he needed someone to talk to because it brought up a lot of emotions for him. Seeing her with IVs in her arm, just like mom had. Being there when she was discharged, an action we never got to experience with mom.

I had silent tears running down my cheeks as I continued to count out alcohol packs and tempadots. I know what it was like for me to be in the ER on my own. I haven’t seen any of my loved ones in the hospital yet. I’m sure it will bring up powerful emotions when I do have that experience, but I still ached for my brother and myself over our loss of mom. It still hurts remembering what it was like to see her in the ICU, what it was like to sleep in the hospital every night for two weeks. To stand in front of the drink mix aisle at Target and to feel like an awful daughter because I didn’t know what flavor mom would want. To know that mom never got to be discharged.

It brought up a lot on an already overwhelming day and I didn’t even bother to wipe the tears away as the rolled down my cheeks while I listened to him and shared in his pain.

I’m glad my brother called me and I’m glad we have each other to understand the emotions we can’t share with anyone else.

When I finally left work it was 8:30 pm.

I drove home. I talked to one of my friends from California while I did it. He made me laugh which kept the tears in check. It helped remind me that the day hadn’t been bad, just overwhelming and the way to fight overwhelm is to let go of the tension and breathe.

I took a long, hot, relaxing shower when I got home, washing away the day. Work will stay at work, and I think showering will be one of the actions I use to solidify that for myself.

I then went out to dinner with Warren since it was his birthday. We talked about finances. We talked about the Internet issue. We talked about him having a friend over on Wednesday (tonight). We talked about a lot of stuff. It was good to be out even though I was exhausted. I think it helped him feel cared for that even if it was a small outing that we at least did something for his birthday. It didn’t go unnoticed.

When we got back home I went to sleep almost immediately.

I slept almost all day Tuesday. At first, I thought about getting up and doing something with the day. At 7:30 am I went downstairs to make coffee but only made it to the futon. I laid back down for a few hours before finding enough energy to go back upstairs to my room. No coffee. No breakfast. In fact, I didn’t eat anything until 6 pm that evening and the only reason I did was because Warren agreed to pick up a pizza for me.

By 7 pm I was feeling a bit better energy wise. I stayed up and played Torchlight until about midnight before going back to sleep.

I woke up at 3, 5, and 7:30.

I’ve felt better today but still tired. It’s the type of tired that feels like it will be fixed with a good night’s sleep, so I think tomorrow will be ok.

I work tomorrow. It’s a “short” day. Only two shifts of patients rather than three. If I close tomorrow then I’ll be out around 4:30 pm. Friday is a day off, then Saturday is another “short” day. I’m hoping the new schedule is out so I can know what I’ll be working for the next six weeks.

I’m glad with the way the schedule worked out this week. I enjoy closing. I enjoy the calm and being able to stock and clean and not worrying about having the pod set up for the next wave of people. 16 hour days are brutal. Maybe I’ll get better with them as I improve my workflow and things become less overwhelming. Right now it feels like a lot and I needed these past two days to recover. Just like I needed Saturday and Sunday to recover from this past Friday.

I saw my blacksmith Saturday night. It was supposed to be Friday night but he was in a car accident.

I knew something was wrong that evening as I was leaving work. We had been texting earlier in the day. When I was leaving I sent a message to let him know I was on my way home. After thirty minutes I still didn’t have a reply. I knew that was odd. After an hour and thirty, I knew something had happened and our evening most likely was going to be postponed. At 11 pm I sent a message saying I hoped he was ok. At 3 am I still hadn’t received a response.

It wasn’t until the morning that I got a message saying he was being released from the hospital. No one was seriously injured. His shoulder and chest were sore but that was it. A 17-year-old was texting on her phone and pulled out too soon, smashing into the passenger wheel of his car.

I’m glad he’s ok. I’m glad we saw each other Saturday night. It was another session where I feel like my soul was melted into liquid iron and reshaped. Insecurities that I’ve had for years seem to have vanished over the course of a single night. Even with the weight of work I can feel a difference in myself. The breaks and cracks and chipped pieces where past experiences have hurt me have been undone through this one interaction and I really don’t know why or how.

I feel accepted with both my blacksmith and Big Bad. I feel a level of peace with both of them. Like it’s ok to be me, pure me, vulnerable me. No walls keeping people out and protecting hidden, secret hurts me.

I like how they both make me a better person. How they want me to reach the goals I set for myself. How they’re supportive and inquire about what I’m doing. How they help me through the hard times and share in the good times. I’m grateful for both of them and this is another instance of where I realize just how rare a dynamic like this must really be.

I still feel the hurt of mom being gone, but excluding that wound, I feel more whole than I have since I can remember. It’s another foreign feeling where I’m still me but it’s a different version of myself that I’m not used to. There should be pain in certain areas of my soul and there isn’t. In a way, it’s disorienting and yet relieving.

It’s something I am consciously aware of, so I suppose I’ll meditate on it and form other thoughts and will write about it more in the future. For now, it’s enough to say that I continue to grow and change and develop into the person I’m supposed to be.

Today has been a more productive day than yesterday, though really it feels like any day would have been “more productive” than yesterday.

I returned my fourth pair of shoes today. I actually really liked the ones I had. The only bad thing was they were a 9.5. The store I had been at previously only had half sizes in stock, so it was either a 9.5, which was a little too big, or an 8.5, which was a little too small.

I decided to try out the 9.5, but nope, too big. The shoes almost slipped off my feet while I was walking around the clinic. Everything else was amazing though. I loved the cushion and the slip resistant bottoms. The style was what I was looking for, too.

So today I went to a different store to return them and see if they had the elusive size 9 I wanted. They did, so hopefully, that mission can be labeled as a 100% success. We’ll know tomorrow when I try out the new pair. I have high hopes.

I did grocery shopping after that. This week is almost over and with still being low energy like I am I don’t really have it in me to do a bunch of cooking. I got mostly frozen stuff that requires baking in the oven. Not the healthiest of meal planning weeks I know, but it’s better than eating fast food every day from having nothing prepared. I’m going to try to be a bit better planned for the coming week.

I also got my car looked at today. One of the things my blacksmith and I do is go out to Waffle House for breakfast before he leaves. As we were driving there he mentioned how it felt like I should get my brakes looked at. Since I’m not a car person I tend to default to other people’s judgments on things like that.

My rotors were fine but the pads did need to be replaced, along with my brake fluid and my oil. It wasn’t supposed to have taken very long, but when one of the mechanics when to pick up the brake pads the store didn’t have them, so we had to wait for them to be delivered from somewhere else… it was sort of a cluster fuck on their end and I ended up waiting about four hours to get my car back.

Wasn’t really how I wanted to spend my day to be honest…

I got a half price oil change out of it, along with a card for a second half priced oil change. Would have rather had my car back two hours earlier, but at least they acknowledged the fact that it was sort of BS to keep me waiting as long as I was.

I’m glad the car got taken care of. The struts need to be replaced soon, but since that will be about $1k I’m going to hold off on that for a bit.

Oh… I bought more of the Shefit bras as well since they’re working out so nice. Three isn’t enough to get me through the work days as well as working out.

Aside from cooking food and doing laundry, there’s not a whole lot else about today to write about.

Warren is going to have his date night. I’m going to go to sleep, and then it will be tomorrow.

So with that I guess I’m going to go and hopefully tomorrow is less overwhelming than what Monday was.

Daily Post 038: These Seem To Be Turning Into Weekly Posts…

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I guess now’s a good a time as any to write. It’s almost 10 pm. I “should” have been asleep a few hours ago since I wake up at 3 am for work, but eh… I’ll be ok. I would rather do this. It’s better to do it rather than toss and turn in bed all night thinking about writing.

I don’t remember the last thing I wrote about, to be honest. I suppose I could go back and read my last post. I’m pretty sure I mentioned the concert with Big Bad. I don’t think I talked much about it. That was the last time I’ve seen him. Conflicting schedules suck.

The concert was a lot of fun. I think we both needed the break from reality. I drove there, roughly two hours, through what seemed like never ending rain. Big Bad drove back which was unbelievably nice. I tend to get headaches when I have to drive at night. Instead, I got to rest and actually slept part of the way back.

So I’m going on two weeks of not seeing him. During those two weeks, his mom was hospitalized. I don’t know much as far as details go. I know she was discharged so everything must be relatively ok. I know Big Bad is worried about her living alone. I’m not sure if that’s going to change in the near future or not. I’m sure it’s something we’ll talk about when we see each other again, which thankfully should be soon.

I am scheduled off on Tuesday so we have plans to spend Monday evening together. Our schedules finally line up to have a weekend off together so we may try to make plans for Friday night / Saturday. I’m not sure yet, but it would be unbelievably nice to see him twice in one week again.

It’s something I talked about in therapy today. I finally scheduled another session. It’s been close to two months. I mentioned during the session how I probably should have scheduled one sooner with how I’ve been feeling lately. It was nice to have a session where I felt ok for once though, rather than an emotional ball of sadness and grief.

I mentioned my sickness and my trip to the ER and how it was hard being there. How it reminded me of the surgery floor and waiting with mom for her to be taken back. I talked about how I had to have a CT scan done and how I finally knew what it felt like for mom to be in the room by herself inside of the machine and to have to wait for test results. I know what it’s like to be a patient and to be pushed around in a bed and wheelchair.

It sucked having to go through those emotions, but in a way, I’m glad I did.

My therapist mentioned at the end that she can tell there’s been a lot of growth within me during these past two months of my training. She asked if I understood that my grief and the sadness will continue to come in waves. I said I did, but this was the first time where it seemed to stay. It wasn’t as fierce as before, but it seemed to last longer. Like a calm sea that stretched on for forever. Nothing was really wrong, but there wasn’t an end. No change. No reprieve. Just this constant sadness and apathy that made everything feel pointless.

I explained how it was comforting to be out of it because it showed me that even if that state, those feelings, last for a while, they will eventually change. I’ll go back to being ok even though I’m not really “un-ok” when I’m sad. It’s just a different state and I guess a natural one I’ll have to swing through from time to time now that mom’s gone.

I don’t really know what else to write about.

I’ve been feeling better recently. Monday was more mind-numbing power point slides. I survived. That was the last day as far as lecture material goes. Woohoo.

Tuesday was a fantastic day. I had three patients on my own. I initiated and terminated their treatments by myself AND handled all of the documentation within the timeframe I was given. Go me. Totally improved by leaps and bounds compared to last week where I was able to do the treatments but couldn’t keep up with the documentation.

Theoretically, if I had a fourth patient, like what I’ll have once I’m on my own, I would have been able to handle it with the time I had. That’s reassuring. It means even though I’m still a little nervous and could be doing better in the confidence department, that I really am doing well and that I really do “got this”.

I was supposed to work Wednesday but opted to trade days so I’ve had Wednesday and Thursday, today, off. It’s been a glorious two days. I think I needed these days. I needed the time to step back and breathe and exist without obligations for a little while.

I did absolutely nothing on Wednesday and yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. I woke up at six, didn’t get out of bed until 10. Had some coffee. Napped on the couch. Took a shower. Napped again. Ended up getting dinner with Nicole, Marc, and Des. Came back home. Went to sleep.

Absolutely perfect.

I most likely needed all of the sleep since I’m still pushing pretty hard in the gym department. Add to the fact that every day I work is now a cardio day with how much I move around. It was nice to have two days off in a row so I could take one day to be a complete and total “rest” day.

Today has been productive. I got all of my book work done. Once again it was off the clock, but I’m ok with it. I would rather be on the floor with patients while I’m at work rather than sitting in front of a computer. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Roughly two hours for the online training and book work. I went and got a pair of nursing shoes finally. It’s been on my to-do list for a while. I got a pair of scrubs while I was at the store since mine still haven’t come in yet. I’ve decided that these will be my Saturday scrubs.

I would say it’s a secret, but since I’m putting it out there for the whole of anyone to read I guess it’s not all that secret… There’s a pretty big push to wear the companies scrubs, but since no one from administration is around on the weekends I’m going to wear the scrubs I just dropped $60 on. They’re super amazingly comfortable. They’re essentially workout clothes. Stretchy, comfy, moves with you, breathable material. I love them and I haven’t even worked in them yet. Totally can’t wait for Saturday. I want to try them out so bad.

Same with the shoes. I haven’t worked in them yet, but from walking around the store I’m pretty sure I’ll like them more than my sneakers. I felt like my heels had more support. I also got better, more cushioned socks. We’ll see if there’s a marked difference tomorrow. I think there will be.

I’m also thinking about wearing my Fitbit to work so I can see just how intense my days are. Do I get to count how much I walk in a day as a workout? Is that cheating? I feel like it should count so I can’t be called a slacker when I’m tired and don’t want to go to the gym or train.

I’m supposed to have lunch with Jon on Sunday. Afterward we’re going to go kayaking again. I’m looking forward to it. I think getting some sun and having some family time will be a nice way to rest up from the next two work days and to destress before my test on Monday.

Which, by the way, I have my certification test on Monday. The rest of next week is my final week of training, and then I’m off on my own, a certified PCT for DaVita.

The thought of my training ending doesn’t terrify me as much as it did three weeks ago. Especially after how well I handled Tuesday, I feel like over the next five-ish work days that I’ll get a good feel for my own flow. I know I won’t be the best PCT on the floor, but I’ll be competent enough to not drown, and I know my teammates will help me when I need it.

So yeah, one more week and then I get a dollar increase.

I talked about the schedule with my supervisor and asked how it would be handled. He couldn’t promise me a super consistent schedule but he did say if there was a particular day I wanted off that he could try to work with that. After talking to Big Bad we’re going to see if I can have Tuesdays off. That would allow us to have Monday evening together since I wouldn’t have to wake up at 2 or 3 am to get to work.

I was nervous about bringing the subject up with him. I didn’t want it to feel like I was forcing him to give up his Monday evening. I know it’s really sucked for both of us, though, not having a set day where we know we’ll be able to see each other. It was reassuring to hear his support for requesting Tuesday as my off day. I guess I’m still sort of insecure and vulnerable feeling when it comes to the emotional stuff. It’s nice to have the reassurance that it’s not all one-sided nonsense inside of my head.

I haven’t seen my blacksmith since the 8th but I know he and I are still ok. He had family matters which kept him from coming over last week, and this week I’ve needed the alone time to regroup.

I think that’s about it.

Been killing it at the gym even though it doesn’t feel like it. I did a spin class today which has my inner thighs hating on me. I did way more “climbing” than I’ve ever done though, even in the spin classes I was taking at the YMCA. These classes feel way more intense. The first one I went to was last Thursday. Totally kicked my ass and my feet, but that’s because I wore my Vibrams. Not the best shoes for those classes. The peddles on those bikes are sort of weird on top of that. Just not a good combination in my book.

I wore my sneakers this time ’round and it went way better. We’ll see how I keep doing I suppose. It’s hard to find consistent classes to go to with my wonderfully inconsistent schedule, which is why it feels like I’ve done “nothing”.

I’m glad I have my calendar to tell me that, no, actually, I really do need a rest day or I’ll regret it.

Tomorrow is kickboxing. Saturday is yoga. Sunday is kayaking. Monday is conditioning at the gym. Tuesday will most likely be a rest day with meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. Maybe laundry. Most likely sweeping because dog fur sucks. We can throw in vacuuming, too, because dog fur doesn’t stay on just the tile. Blarg.

It should be a pretty decent day, though. And it should start off fantastically. A nice warm cup of coffee with Big Bad.

I’m very much looking forward to it despite all of the adulting I’ll need to get done. It’s my light at the end of the tunnel.

Maybe that’s helped with the sadness and apathy lifting. I know I’ve made it through the hardest part. A lot of the people in my life have made it through the hard parts. Warren started his new job this week. Big Bad applied for a new position and may be switching to something he’s more interested in. My blacksmith is no longer having to work doubles every day because his company was able to hire more people.

It’s a good feeling. A stable feeling. I’m glad I’m feeling it rather than the coldness, the aloneness, that I was.

I’ll try to be better about writing.

Thanks for being patient with me.