Daily Post 137: Socks!!!!

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My older brother sent me an Amazon gift card for Christmas. I used it to buy badass compression socks for work.

I. Can. Not. Wait.

omg…

Seriously, I can’t begin to put into words how excited I am to get socks. It’s sort of sad how giddy I am and how much I gushed over them with Ox earlier and how I’m continuing to gush over them here, on my blog, to the entirety of the internet because oh my god I can’t wait to get these socks.

I feel like an adult. It’s like when you finally are able to not lose a pen long enough to have it run out of ink, or using an entire tube of chapstick on your own. Some things just mark adulthood. Excitement over socks I think is one of them and I’ve reached that point in life. If I wasn’t such a cheap bastard… I mean… frugal lady, I would be getting them sooner but I didn’t want to spend extra on shipping so I’m doomed to suffer for days, longing for my amazingly sexy, badass compression socks.

I mean… look at them…

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How could you not get excited over something like that? Work will never be the same.

Anywho… on the subject of work… I made it to phase three of the leadership application process. I will have my phone interview hopefully the 14th of this month.

I’ve been approved for my week of vacation in February. I haven’t asked about March yet. I’ll get around to asking about that sooner rather than later.

We had our pizza lunch today to celebrate passing our annual skills check. I skipped out on going to a social dinner with everyone because fuck that socializing thing. I came home and ordered socks like an introverted badass adult instead.

Today was payday, too. It’s my amazing paycheck of crazy overtime and incentive pay for working so many days in a row. I also got my Concur report for all of the traveling I did during the month of December. That was an extra $300 ish. I paid bills and then made a really nice payment on my credit card. Killing it with fire. Woo.

I still have extra but I want to hold on to it for a little bit. I like seeing digits in my account. It’s nice.

I plan to buy the headgear and new gloves that I want since when I spare at the dojo my sensei wants me to use full gloves rather than the MMA fingerless gloves that I have. I prefer my fingerless ones since I can still grip with them, but I understand why he wants me to use the full gloves instead. Muay Thai isn’t MMA. If I’m going to do both then I need gear for both. It’s like when I was wearing my Aikido gi to my Jiujitsu class. In my head, it’s sort of disrespectful.

I want to talk to my sensei about the gloves before I buy them and since I want to order the headgear and gloves at the same time, that means I have to hold off on the headgear, too. Lame. But worth it. I would rather have his professional opinion on size rather than ordering and having to send something back.

Work went really well today. I got there super early to take the system out of its disinfect phase and get the clinic ready so the new tech and I could focus on stringing the machines. She did really well. We did two of them together. After that, she did it on her own fine. I know it will take more than one day for her to feel fully comfortable with it, but we’re on the right track. We both plan to get to the clinic early again on Monday to do the same thing.

She got to initiate two treatments today with me watching. She did well even though I could tell she was nervous. She watched me initiate our ISO patient and I got to explain how to cannulate his access since his can be tricky. Closing the clinic went ridiculously smooth with three people. She’s more confident in discontinuing treatments and cleaning the equipment which means she’s also faster at it.

I told her my opinion is that all she needs is time. She knows what’s she’s doing. I’ve watched her. She does it all right. She just needs to keep doing it so she gets confidence in herself. She agrees. She says she second guesses herself a lot and she’s worried about doing something wrong.

She’ll be fine. I’m looking forward to seeing how the clinic grows and changes she becomes a more secure and stronger member of the team.

I guess not a whole lot other than that has happened. I’m home. I’m about to start watching Attach on Titin: Season 2. I’ve been watching Black Butler, which is amazing. I’ve watched all three of the seasons of Bleach on Netflix. I’m almost done cross stitching something for Jon. It’s his Christmas gift… exceedingly late, but better late than never.

I don’t know what the plans are for dinner, but that’s ok. I ordered socks. : D

And with that, I’m off to go enjoy the first Friday in a very long time where I don’t have to do anything on Saturday. Or Sunday. A whole, full weekend of no work. My mind is melting into a gooey puddle of mush at the thought of not having to do anything. The only way it could get better was if there were canceled plans involved.

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Daily Post 136: Post-Test and the Other Three Weeks

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I passed my state tests. I passed with flying colors on the skills portion, including manual blood pressure, and with an 88 on the written portion. The 88 sort of eats away at me. I would have liked for it to be in the 90s. But when they ask things like, “Your resident wants to vote. What do you do?” it’s not really fair. The class taught me that residents had the right to vote, not what I am supposed to do as a CNA. Do I request the ballet myself on their behalf or inform the charge nurse? Nothing in the book told me what to do. Nothing in the class told me what to do. So now I have a 50/50 chance of getting the question right. Or wrong. There were several questions like. Nothing about proper temperature or blood pressure ranges. No “What does this abbreviation mean?” It’s frustrating, but for the time being, it’s over. No more classes to stay up late for. No more three hours naps before work the next day. No more discussion posts which aren’t worth the time to read or reply to. It’s done. It’s over. I don’t have to think about school until possibly October.

And no more six-day work weeks. I made it through that stint of the holiday season and all of the emotional roller coaster that goes with overworking myself during one of the hardest times of the year for me.

I made it through my birthday. Lil’ Ox baked a cake for me with Mama Ox. I blew out my candles after everyone sang happy birthday to me. I opened the presents I was given. I didn’t cry at work while people told me happy birthday. I saved it all for home where Ox held me while I cried on the front porch and admitted to being sad and missing mom.

I made it through Christmas and the week of having the kids here while working every day and having no true alone time. Lil’ Ox and I stitched a fair amount. Ornery Ox and I made a trip to the gas station, just the two of us. I stayed home alone while everyone else went into town to spend a few hours with the rest of the family. I talked to my brothers and my dad. I’ve even replied to all of the text messages and Facebook messages I’ve received over the past few weeks.

I passed my annual skills check at work yesterday. Actually, everyone at my clinic passed their skills check on the first try so we’re getting pizza tomorrow for lunch to celebrate.

I also cannulated our patient’s new fistula yesterday morning so I should be NFACT certified now as an expert cannulator.

Our new tech was there yesterday. She’s going to be in training with me for the next month. We get along extremely well together. She’s also super into organization and to-do lists so I think once the clinic opens up to six days a week again that we’ll be able to transition into it fairly well. We have similar mindsets and are both open to creating / editing systems and finding what works and changing what doesn’t. She’s open to trying the systems that I’ve developed over the past 10 or so months of working by myself and I’m open to changing my ways and trying new things. As long as we maintain communication I think we’ll be able to work through any friction or challenges that will pop up in the coming weeks and months.

There’s a new RN who started training this week as well. She’s been an ER nurse for the past however many years, so I think she’ll actually do fairly well. I haven’t interacted with her all that much but my impression is that she’s sharp. She’ll catch on quick and she’s used to a fast-paced, fluctuating environment. She’s used to having to react quickly to critical situations. I think once she becomes comfortable with the machines that she’ll be alright. It would be nicer if she were a little more open and friendly, but she’s not un-friendly so at least there’s that. I can work with distant and maybe as we interact more we’ll warm up to each other.

So, things at work are going well. I’m planning to take the second week of February off for vacation. I’ll be staying at home and not really do a whole lot other than not working. There currently aren’t plans for amazing productiveness or any trips to stress or plan over. Just a week of self-care essentially. Taking a step back and recharging my batteries. The new tech will, ideally, be through training and comfortable doing things on her own and if not I would only a 20-minute drive away to come help if needed.

This is the first week in a while where I’m only working three days and it’s only this morning where I’m beginning to feel more like myself and less on the verge of burnout. The thought of grocery shopping doesn’t feel like sandpaper under my skin. The thought of socializing still feels heavy, but not as much as it did.

I’m planning to take the last week of March off to visit Orlando, as well. It will be Jon’s birthday. My dad will actually be in Florida with my half-sisters visiting Disney. We’re thinking of trying to meet up, all of us, one evening for dinner.

And there’s a Warrior Dash in Kansas this summer. Originally I wanted to try to run the one in Florida scheduled for February, but I like the new plans more. I haven’t been going to the gym or the dojo. I know I won’t be where I want to be within a month. The new game plan gives me more time to ease back into my self and to continue at a pace I can be successful with.

In addition to all of the events I have been a part of and gone through, it’s also a new year. I don’t have resolutions. My goal was to survive and I did. I didn’t get Ox’s Christmas gift done like I wanted, so it’s turned into my “one-year” gift for him. That’s coming up. Hard to believe I’ve been here in Nebraska for as long as I have. Looking back at the past year makes me realize how much I have accomplished for work and my career, but also with my health, and with my relationships, specifically with Ox. I have been far from stagnant in any area of my life.

I also submitted my essay for the leadership course I applied for. I don’t think I’ll be heartbroken if I don’t get chosen. I’ll know tomorrow so we’ll see I suppose. I don’t think it will be as heavy of an obligation as what my CNA class was, but I’m also ok with not adding more to my plate. Whatever happens, happens and I’ll figure it out from there. I do think the essay came out better than I thought it would. It’s definitely better than the first draft I wrote.

Ox and I are doing well. He’s been amazingly supportive and encouraging during this roller coaster of a ride. He was there for me after my state test. He kept the kids entertained on the days I needed alone time. He’s cooked me eggs so I have breakfast while I’m at work. He’s helped with the laundry and making the bed. He’s listened to me talk and cry and helped me feel secure. I don’t think I would have done nearly as well these past weeks if it weren’t for his support and I’m grateful he’s in my life.

We had Tuesday off together since it was a holiday. The morning started with a lot of tears and crying, mostly because it was the first day off where I could begin emotionally processing through nearly a month worth of experiences. It left me feeling fragile and tired for most of the day but it was a very nice, quietly productive, and connecting day in spite of those feelings.

We cleaned the inside of our computers which was something we had talked about a few weeks ago. We ended up going into town for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. It was crowded and busy but we had a pleasant server and though it was six degrees outside, it was nice to be spending time together out of the house. We went to Best Buy and Walmart. I got a peppermint mocha from Star Bucks with a gift card he got from his work. I now have a pair of warm gloves to keep my fingers from freezing; the last piece of winter gear I was missing. We were even able to get a case of Cotton Candy Bang from the gas station since GNC was sold out and not going to get a shipment in for a while. While I could have made do with the Sour Head flavor I still have a few cans of, knowing that I have my favorite flavor to look forward to gave me warm fuzzy feelings about waking up on my workdays.

Ox and I got a USB / outlet wall mount to go above our bedside table. That meant we could get rid of the alarm clock that was taking up space and never being used aside from charging the phones. Not that I have strong feelings about an unused alarm clock taking up my cross-stitching space or anything…

The wall mount also gave me warm fuzzy feelings and actually did a surprising amount of work in regards to battling back the grief/depression of the past few weeks. It gave me a small, little project to look forward to when we got home. It made me want to go home and to do something other than nothing. It was one, small change to make things in the room better. And I keep saying “me” and “our” though, in truth, Ox was the one to set everything up. I didn’t do anything other than spend money and carry a bag into the house. He ran the cord and attached the mount to the wall. He’s the one who got rid of the alarm clock and freed up more space for me and my things.

Still, I can’t deny that the changed helped me. One, small step forward that makes all of the other steps not seem so bad. One step got accomplished so other steps can be made. It doesn’t have to be giant leaps that require energy and motivation and a mass amount of effort that I don’t feel I have. Things can be small and manageable while still being fulfilling.

There was a lot of quietly productive things about Tuesday that helped warm me on the inside and fight back the sadness that I’ve been struggling with.

I know I’ve been… something recently. I don’t know if it’s depression or grief since they feel so similar to me. I know burnout was part of the mixture which always makes me more sensitive to events, but I think Tuesday things started turning around. Our small bedroom project helped. Passing my skills test yesterday marked the last major stressor I had to get through. I’m not going to say it’s smooth sailing from here because I work dialysis. There’s no such thing as “normal”. But things should settle down a bit and I’m grateful for that. I will have more time to focus on myself and my inner world and my homeworld; my relationship world.

I’ve already been fairly productive today, and that too makes me feel better. I’ve gone through my emails, replying to comments on my tutorials and such. I resubmitted the rebate for the contacts I bought with the proper receipts. I’ve already put dye in my hair so I can rinse it out before much longer. I made a to-do list for my car on Tuesday so I have a game plan for that. I’ve taken stock of the bathroom so far, writing down things I need to get while I’m at the store; things I normally forget until I’m taking a shower and remember, “Oh yeah, I’m running low on body wash. I should write that down once I dry off….”

I’ve gone through most of my “inbox” stack of papers. Most of the things that are left are recipes I need to make a decision about. Jon should be calling me before too long so we can chat for a bit and catch up with each other and our lives.

Overall I think I’m on the right track. I still have a long ways to go to get things cleaned up, situated, and back to how they were, but I’m taking the steps I need to and I think I’m being mindful while I do it. I’m going to continue to take this week easy. I may go to the dojo tomorrow night. I may go Saturday, but I’m not holding myself to an obligation of it. I would like to cook dinner for everyone since that’s something I haven’t been doing as much as I was when I first moved here.

This week is about breathing and letting go of all of the stress and anxiety I’ve had to contend with over the past three weeks while getting back in touch with myself and the things I want; the things that make me feel happy, or at least content with myself and connected with my true inner priorities.

And so, with that, I guess I’m going to go so I can keep plucking away at the small to-do list I wrote for myself today. Writing was one of the things on there and I’m glad I took the time to do it. I know there are a lot of details from the past three weeks that will be forgotten about and left unwritten but I feel like I got a majority of the events. I’m glad I wrote about Tuesday because that really was the first step, the first day towards getting back to myself. Maybe I’ll be able to write more regularly in the coming weeks.

Daily Post 135: Pre-Test

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I slept roughly 12 hours last night. For the past few days, I keep having dreams though I don’t remember much about them when I wake up. I know last nights had something to do with putting gas in my car and having an issue with being on the wrong side of the gas pumps. It also had something to do with the bicarb cartridges we use at work and the wall boxes where the acid and RO water comes from the hoses into the machines, only we didn’t need the machines for whatever reason. It had more to do with how the wall boxes were all the way on the other end of the wall, far away from where I was and what I was trying to do. There was something about waiting for the bell to ring so we could leave class to get to the buses on time like I was back in high school only I wasn’t that young. I was still me and how we were all crowded around the door waiting to leave, but the clock on the wall was fast so it was past the time for the bell to ring and everyone was frustrated, waiting, waiting, waiting, watching the second hand on the clock tick further and further past the time.

Yeah… weird dreams. I didn’t wake up with bad feelings about them. I guess I remember more about them then I thought. I do feel like I’m waiting and to be fair I really am.

I’m waiting to take my test today.

I don’t think I’m going to study more than I have. I don’t want to stress out and worry. I want to cross-stitch. I want to relax. I want to be lazy and be able to get through my day tomorrow since regardless of what I do on my test I’ll still have to go into work and it will be two full shifts of patients with just the float RN since the medical director is coming to our clinic tomorrow for our FHM meeting with my FA.

It’s going to be a busy and important day and I don’t really want to start it off with burnout from today.

So… no. No more studying. I’m going to do what I do and I’ll figure it out from there. If I don’t know it by now then I’m not going to know it in the next few hours anyway. My instructors felt like I knew the skills enough to check them off. They were confident in my abilities. I need to have some confidence in myself, too.

Ox called not long ago. He’s off work and headed home. I asked if he would be willing to go into town with me this evening. The thought of not going to this test by myself makes me feel better. I know that’s kind of selfish; having someone sit around for two hours doing nothing… but I wouldn’t be alone. I would have someone to look forward to seeing once I’m done. A hug regardless of what the outcome is. He’s agreed to drive us in so I don’t have to do that either. I can sit in the passenger seat and stare out the window and listen to music.

I need to stop at Walmart to get a wristwatch since I need that for the 20 seconds of handwashing I have to do for my test. After the test, I’m going to go return it because I don’t wear watches. We are also going to get food together and stop at GNC so I can have Bang for the coming weeks as well as stopping at the craft store so I can get more of the thread I need to finish his project. There are a few other things I might pick up while I’m there so I can finish the projects I have going on for my patients Christmas gifts.

I’m looking forward to all of that. I don’t care about the test, at least not in the same way.

I guess I really don’t know how I feel about it. What does becoming a CNA get me? The potential to do LPN, but I’m not thinking I’ll be able to start that in April since finances are still a thing. So I’m looking at either part-time in October or fulltime in April 2020. That’s so far away. CNA gets me nothing right now so I don’t feel any sense of accomplishment at the thought of passing my tests today. I get another piece of paper to go along with all of the other pieces of paper that I have.

Right Brain: Woo. I helped kill another tree. Go me…

I like the thought of not having to go back into town on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I like the sense of relief from knowing that the class is done. I like the thought of being able to stay home. I like the thought of being able to go to bed at a decent time again and not simply taking a three-hour nap before having to get up for work. I like the thought of doing nothing.

I know this test is a step towards something I want, but at the moment I don’t feel like I’m invested in it as much as I was in the beginning. I don’t care about the result anymore. I care about the aftermath. I care about recovering. I care about getting me back to where I was emotionally and mentally before taking on this two-month obligation. And in about seven hours I can start that. With Ox. He’s been so supportive through this whole section of our relationship and continues to be into today.

Just the thought of knowing I don’t have to worry about driving there makes everything else seem more manageable; more doable. I don’t have to worry about getting myself there. It’s taken care of. I don’t have to worry about fighting off a headache by driving back home in the dark. It’s taken care of. I don’t have to worry about whatever emotions will be there after my test because there will be someone in the parking lot waiting for me. I won’t be alone. It’s taken care of.

All I have to do is answer 50 multiple choice questions, then an hour later, prove that I know how to wash my hands properly and do five skills that I’ll have a total of five minutes to review. I can do them in any order I want. While I was studying last night I realized that I knew a lot of the “critical” steps for each skill.

I’ll be alright. This test can’t kill me. It can’t take my job away from me. It can’t take my home away from me. Or my car. This test can’t harm me in any way other than emotionally and mentally and that’s only if I let it.

So I’m not going to let it. I’m going to go enjoy cross stitching for a bit while watching more episodes of Bleach once Ox gets home. I’m going to take a really nice, long, hot shower before getting dressed to go get my watch. I might get a little something to eat to hold me over for those two hours. After that, I have a really nice evening to look forward to. I’ll be able to be productive and get in quality time.

It’s almost over and that knowledge, that fact, makes me want to cry a little bit with relief. I keep typing that word, but that’s what I feel. This heaviness that I didn’t really know was there is about to go away. All I have to do is keep going for a few more hours. I can do that. I can make it through this and then all that’s left is work and work is easy.

I know what’s expected of me. I know how to do my job and do it well. There might be a lot of it, but it’s known. It’s not scary or nebulous. It’s almost auto piolet in some regards. I come in. I set up the machines. I test the water room. I make sure the clinic is ready for my patients. I get to say good morning to them and chit chat and be interested in their lives. I get to ask about their plans for the weekend. I get to help them live. And then I get to clean everything up, close everything down, and go home.

Easy. Known. Safe. Routine.

I can do that. I want that.

I’m almost there.

Letters to Mom 021: Please Be There

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Hey mom,

It’s the 11th. Only nine days until my birthday. Only nine days until the day I became your daughter.

Only eight days until whatever birthday celebration happens at my clinic since my FA found out the 20th is my birthday and we’re closed that day.

Only eight days until the bombardment of “happy birthday!” starts.

I’m sorry, but I still don’t want it to be my birthday. I don’t want to go to class tonight and take my test and pass. I don’t want to not be able to call you. I don’t want to go through another birthday where I don’t hear your voice. And I’m sorry that these wants infect the rest of my day.

I’m sorry I came home last night after a mildly good day at work and wanted to give up. A patient infiltrated his arm trying to cover his cough. The acid I was mixing for the clinic was testing really low for its temperature so I had to call Biomed. When I was leaving the clinic I couldn’t get the front door to lock properly and had to call my boss.

None of those things were earthshattering. None of them really affected the day. All of them got figured out. But after coming home and cooking dinner, I was done. I didn’t want to do anything else. I wanted to give up on the day and have it be over, so that’s what I did. I went to bed. I didn’t wake up any better and I don’t have a legitimate reason for feeling this way, at least it doesn’t feel like it.

There wasn’t some recent awful event to justify what I guess is depression.

I’ve been back home for over a week so I can’t say that it’s stress from the trip anymore. At least I don’t think I can. I made it through Thanksgiving, so I can’t say it’s that…

There’s not something I can point to and say, “This. This right here. This is why I’m sad and depressed and apathetic. This is why nothing matters right now. This is why I hurt. This is why I’m tired.” I don’t have a reason and so I’m struggling right now, mom.

I’m sad and I don’t have a reason for it. I hurt. I’m tired, of everything and nothing is really making me feel better or helping me cope.

I guess I need to let you know that I miss you. Still. Always. I guess I need to let you know that I haven’t cried in a while because I don’t give myself a chance to. I instead pick up over time and take classes and go on work trips. I keep myself busy to the point where I get to here and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I liked my trip. I wanted to take this class. I’m happy to help the other clinics out.

I still miss you and underneath all of my busy-ness, I’m still hurting. I’m still wounded and not really all that ok. More ok than I was but not ok enough to not dread the 19th or the 20th. I’m going to have to force smiles onto my face over and over again as my heart contracts, knowing that I can’t explain why those words hurt so deeply because it’s no one’s intention to hurt me but that doesn’t change the fact that they will, that they do.

I wish I could hear you wish me luck on my test. I wish it was you telling me that I will do fine instead of Jon. I wish it was you I was brainstorming ideas with for my leadership essay.

I wish so many things and it all just sort of sucks today, for no reason other than I had today off and finally had a chance to realize that some things still just suck because they suck. It’s no one’s fault. Some facts are just sort of lame like that.

I wish we could talk. I wish I could know how you’re doing. I wish you could tell me about your day. I wish I knew you were ok and that death isn’t all that bad. That once you’re dead there’s this other side, whatever it is, and that it’s different but there are positive things about it. Sort of like taking a new job. “I miss my old team and there’s this one annoying chick in human resources, but everyone is super nice and friendly, and the company has a good benefits package. The commute to work is pretty nice and I’m working on this nifty project,” type of a thing.

I wish I knew if you missed being alive. I wish I had known to ask more questions. I wished I had known to listen to your stories more.

I wish I was better at grieving and being depressed rather than letting it eat away at my days like it does. I wish I had had it in me to make myself go to the gym today. I wish I had it in me to care about how many carbs I eat. I wish I had it in me to actually stop smoking like I keep thinking about. But I don’t think I can right now, mom, and I don’t think I need to be sorry over that. I don’t feel sorry and part of me wonders if that’s from the grief/depression/whateverthisis. Being sorry means you feel something, and right now I mostly don’t.

I feel mostly frustration with myself for feeling this way, but that’s about it. The only emotion I really feel is in response to my lack of feeling anything… Oh, and more frustration because it’s frustrating to feel frustrated. Gah. Talk about a vicious cycle of lameness. : /

I feel bad for not having more to talk about but I can’t really think much past the words, “I miss you.” My mind just kind of gets stuck there. I miss you. I wish you were here. I wish we could talk. I wish I could give you a hug. I feel like it’s the same things I always write when I write to you. It’s like maybe I’m stuck or stagnating in my grief. I’ll be fine until I’m not and then all of a sudden I feel like I’m regressing or not doing well enough. Things I’m normally fine with will bother me or be amplified.

I’m going to go to class today, mom. Mostly because I have to, but I wanted you to know that even though today sort of sucks for no reason that I’m still going to go. I’m not going to fail my class even though I can’t call you and tell you I passed. I’m not going to not take my state skills test just because we can’t celebrate together. I’m sorry all of these stupid, small, silly things are so hard sometimes, mom. I’m sorry. I know you don’t want me to be but I have to say those stupid words so they can hopefully stop eating away at the inside of my brain. I’m sorry and I’m sorry I’m sorry.

Please help me get through this. Please tell me that you’re still here and that everything will be ok. Please tell me I’ll do fine on my test and that I worry too much. Please tell me tomorrow will be better and worth it. I know most of those are unfair of me to ask, but right now I really just want to be an eight-year-old kid and cry and have you tell me that everything will be ok. The monsters aren’t really real. The bad things will go away and can’t hurt me.

But these monsters are real and no matter how much I wish them away the 20th will still come without your voice. Another year will pass. Another scar to mark my survival. I’m just so… tired, mom. I’m tired. I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of being sad.

I wouldn’t change anything, though. I don’t want to miss you less. I’m not tired of missing you, of loving you, of caring that you died and that you meant something to me; that you still mean something to me. So I guess I really don’t know what I’m tired of because I feel like saying I’m tired of hurting means I’m tired of loving you and that’s not true. It will never be true. I will always love you and it will always be worth the pain I feel.

I don’t know, mom. I really don’t know right now but I’m sort of glad I wrote. I’m glad I had that realization; that if given the choice I wouldn’t want to hurt less because that would compromise or diminish my love for you and the Universe can go fuck itself if it thinks I’m going to let that happen. I would fight to keep my pain. To the bitter end.

I really wish I wasn’t so confusing sometimes. I wish things were easy and straightforward. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t an INFJ full of contradictions but then I wouldn’t be me and I sort of like me most of the time.

Thanks for listening to me ramble, mom. I think it helped a little. I need to shower for class. Please wish me luck. Please be there when I pass. Please let me feel you so I don’t feel alone. I know that’s not fair to ask but please don’t let me feel alone tonight. I really don’t want to be alone right now, mom. I really just want to feel like you’re still with me and that even though it’s different now that it’s still ok. That we’re still ok. That we still love each other and that we’ll figure it out somehow.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always I will love you.

Daily Post 133: Finally Back Home

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I’ve been back from Dever for a few days now. I got back Wednesday evening around 8:45. I drove home and saw Ox. We went to sleep only to wake back up at 3 in the morning. He headed to work and I drove to Fremont to cover a shift at the clinic there, then came back to Lincoln. Ox and I met up for lunch before going back home. We had Chinese at a place we’ve seen before. I really liked it and hope to continue to be able to go there on those special occasions where we go out.

Thursday evening I should have gone into the class for my last chance to participate in clinical, but I didn’t. Instead, I stayed home that evening, going to bed early to wake back up and cover a shift at my own clinic Friday morning.

I was dead. Not one of those “I’m sort of tired but it will burn off as the day goes on” sort of deads. No. This was a physical barrier of, “I’m your body and you’re asking too much of me so I’m going to make you feel like crap for the whole day because fuck you for not taking better care of me,” sort of deads.

I was ridiculously slow at everything I did on Friday and the only reason we stayed on schedule was because it was me, the float RN, and my FA on the floor and both of them were running circles around me. I’m grateful for them pulling my slack because I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the day without them.

It was good to see all of my patients after an entire week’s absence. I got to share my adventure with all of them and that most likely contributed to me being “behind”. All of the time I spent talking and catching up with people was time that I wasn’t working or making sure all of the tasks on my PCT checklist got done.

It was a pretty good day overall, just one where I knew right from waking up that surviving my day would be my main goal. Mission accomplished, if just barely.

The trip itself wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. I ended up getting into Dever close to 4 pm. I messaged Chrys since I had time to kill that evening. I booked an Uber out to Aurora and spent the evening with her and her son. We had homemade spaghetti for dinner and EJ got to read me a few bedtime stories. Once her son was in bed we were able to chat for a bit before I had to get back to the hotel since I had an early morning to prepare for.

Overall, it was a fantastic way to decompress from the trip out there and a very nice last minute addition to the trip. Having some social time with someone I care about was definitely restorative and a pleasant break from my normal routine. I made it back to my hotel room around 9ish. I met my roommate for the event and was pleased that she seemed pretty nice. Her name was also Jen. Go figure. XD

The first day of the event was decent but long. I didn’t sleep well the night before and had to fight off a headache for most of the day. We got into things like the MBTI and communication skills and conflict resolution. All sorts of psychology things, so I was fairly engaged through most of it.

We created our own personal credos and then graded ourselves on how well we were living up to it currently. Balance was one of the things on mine and the area where I graded myself the lowest.

I’ve picked up a lot of overtime for the coming two weeks. This week is going to be my only “normal” week work wise and that’s still with having to take the final tests for my CNA class, so even it isn’t going to be all that restful.

I need to remember to maintain balance and to not burn myself out. I need the things that make me feel fulfilled and which recharge me. I need time to grocery shop and do laundry and meal prep. I need time to go to the dojo and the gym. I need time to sleep enough at night so I don’t limp through my days depending on coffee to survive. I need time with Ox to feel connected with him. I need time to have phone calls with Jon and the other people in my life that I love. I need time to cross-stitch and write.

I need “me time” and I can’t have that if all I do is work seven days a week.

So while I can’t really back out of the obligations I’ve already given myself, I can be more mindful going forward and that’s what I intend to do. The new year should see things being a bit smoother. The new tech will be with me for a few weeks to train on our machines. We just hired a new RN since the other one wasn’t working out. She has to give 30 days at her current job, but it should only take her about eight weeks to go through the training process. I’ve already talked to my FA about taking time off of work in February to visit Florida. I could see Jon. I could run the Warrior Dash that’s held there. Big Bad said he would be interested in running it with me. I guess that means I have to work on that whole running thing again so I don’t suck. I could see my old teammates and patients. I could see a handful of other people from my inner circle. I could have lunch at my sports bar.

There’s all sorts of things I could do that I’ve wanted to do. It gives me something to think about and look forward to.

Chrys ended up having Wednesday off since it was a federal holiday so she drove me to the airport. That was also a nice change of plans. Both the fight out and back were non-stop flights on fairly small planes so I got to have a window seat by myself rather than being stuck between two people the whole time.

When I got to work Friday I had an email saying I had made it to phase two of the leadership application process. I haven’t worked on it any more than the rough post I wrote the other day, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

As far as this weekend goes… I’ve paid bills. I’ve gone through my email inbox. I’ve gone through the pile of papers that was next to my computer desk. I’ve unpacked fully. I’ve done laundry. I’ve meal prepped and am back to doing low carb meals. I’ve sent a message through Facebook to my sensei explaining my extended absence. I’ve bought Christmas cards to give to my patients. I’ve cleaned and dusted my computer desk with plans to open up my computer tower to clean it out later in the week with Ox. Ox has also been extremely helpful. He’s washed the sheets for the bed which we made together. He’s helped me fold the laundry and put it away. He’s cleaned his own areas of the room so it’s not as cluttered or icky feeling anymore.

He went grocery shopping with me yesterday where we had lunch together, just us. We got a new shower curtain and bath mat set this morning while we were out getting aluminum foil which he set up for me while I put bacon on the cooking sheets for breakfast. Go, team!

Spotify sent out their end of year stuff. I’ve listened to something like 4500 new songs this year. That’s almost 12 songs a day. And here I thought I slacking on expanding my music selection.

I finished the fairy cross-stitch pattern I’ve been working on, so I’ll most likely make a post with all of those progress images. I’ve started a new project, but since it’s for Ox and he’s not allowed to see it under penalty of death, I won’t be posting progress images of that one either. I’ll save posting a completed image of it until after Christmas once he’s had a chance to open it.

My class is almost over. This coming Tuesday I have the final test for the class and I sign up for state testing. Thursday is the state written test and for those signed up, the state skills test. Everyone else will have to wait until the following Tuesday to complete their skills test. Part of me wants to go on Thursday and be done with it. The other part of me wants to wait until Tuesday so I have more time to freak out and/or study. Mostly freaking out though since I know that’s what I’ll do.

I really do have other things my time would be better invested in other than freaking out but there you go.

I’m sure there are other things I could write about in regards to my trip or the events leading up to my departure as well as the events since my return home, but I feel this post covers a lot of it.

Ox and I have been doing well. He was supportive of me while I was gone, including taking a phone call where I asked if I could be honest. He said yes and I admitted to wanting to come home while tears rolled down my cheeks. It wasn’t a bad trip, but when you’re an introvert surrounded by 650 other people, forced to participate in team trivia where they ask which Super Bowl did the Broncos most recently win… you kind of just want to curl up in bed under the blankets and hide. Only you can’t because then your roommate is going to want to know what’s wrong or think you’re weird and can’t handle human interaction.

Ox promised that I could come home and hearing those words, as silly as they may seem, made me feel more ok.

We’ve had a lot of sexy time since I’ve been back. Totally ok with all of it. Just yes. All of the yes.

Anywho, aside from feeling like I’m caught back up for the most part with life, I think that’s about it. For now, I’m going to go cross-stitch before working on some discussion posts for my class later in the day. The rest of today should be fairly calm and relaxing. No working on the addition. No trips into town. Just hanging out and resting before what should be a fairly normal day at work tomorrow.

This coming week is the calm before the storm, but I’m already planning for that. I have a container of chili in the freezer. I want to make a batch of chicken taco soup which freezes nicely as well. I want to prep well in advance since I’m going to have so little time in the next two weeks to truly meal prep. I’m doing a keto BLT salad this week which seems to be doing well. I tried it yesterday. I might add more bacon to it the next time I make it, but overall I think it turned out well which is good because it was cheap and simple to toss together. Another meal I can add to my arsenal for the coming battle.

It was a good trip, but I’m glad to be home. And with that, I’m off to continue with my decompressing.

Daily Post 132: A 16-Hour Surprise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Post 131: A Thankful Test Drive

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It’s Thanksgiving.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a good night, tears included.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve put the clothes away, finally.

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

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

It’s that type of feeling.

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

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