A lot has happened in the past 24 hours.
I worked at the Dodge clinic today in Fremont. Patient census said I should have left about 10:20. At 10:50, though, five patients were going to end their treatment within 6 minutes of each other. Since the FA was there I asked her what she wanted me to do. I didn’t want to leave and have my remaining teammates be screwed. I also didn’t want to stay and have people getting into trouble for having too many techs on the floor.
The FA was ok with me staying, so I stayed. I got out a little after 11. I called Ox and we decided to meet at home. We’re going to go into Lincoln later tonight to do some shopping (*cough winter pants cough*), and to get dinner together. I’m looking forward to it.
Currently, I’m sitting here eating lunch and writing to catch up on all of the developments in my life since nothing can happen gradually or spread out. Once I’m done eating and writing I’m going to go to the gym here at home to run.
I’ve been wearing compression socks at work for the past two days. I think they make a difference. My legs are less tired and my feet aren’t as sore in the morning. That’s something I’m still going to keep an eye on and be mindful of. Two days isn’t a lot to go off of or make a trend out of.
Tomorrow is a dojo day. I’m looking forward to that. Work should go alright since I’ll be working with my FA on the floor. Friday is going to be a disaster since I’ll be alone with the float RN. All FAs are being voluntold to take Friday off for the holiday. All I have to do is survive and then it will be the weekend. As long as I can make it through those 12 hours Friday, I’ll be alright.
I talked to Jon for a bit on the ride home. It’s becoming a bit of a routine for us to talk on Tuesdays and Thursdays since we both have very little going on in our lives on those days, at least in the mornings. It’s been nice. Normally I’m at home so I can sit outside and drink my coffee while I talk to him. Today it was pleasant having company on my drive home. I got to tell him about everything that’s happened and he’s happy for me.
Which, I guess I should stop being nebulous about events and get into everything that happened yesterday.
I woke up for work like normal. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. We got the clinic set up. We put our first shift patients on. I was with the float RN and my FA.
My FAs boss was scheduled to come to our clinic. That’s sort of a big deal. He’s stationed in Omaha, so it’s not like we’re nearby for him or anything. My FA came out to help during change over. She got me and the RN get to a pretty good spot before her boss showed up and she had to go have her meeting with him.
The RN and I should have been able to dance through the rest of the day. Most of the first shift patients were gone. Only one was left since he was having low standing blood pressures. He drives himself so it has to be above 100 systolic and 50 diastolic before we legally can let him leave.
Our ISO patient showed up, so the RN went to initiate his treatment. I stayed out on the floor cleaning and setting up for the remaining second shift patients who weren’t there yet. I had already initiated three of the second shift treatments.
Our ISO patient had to be stuck three times before his venous needle would work properly. Three times. Three.
And this is where I’m going to take a second and mildly rant as a dialysis technician.
What the actual hell? He has a super easy access. How can you mess up his venous needle? Like, for real. What. The. Hell.
I ended up having to swap places with the RN to finish initiating his treatment. It’s not like you can hop in and out of ISO. There PPE you have to put on. There’s handwashing you have to do. It’s time. Time is valuable. You don’t waste time. Having to restick anyone is time. Plus all the added stuff of it’s not good for the access and who wants to get stuck with three additional 15 gauge needles? I’m pretty sure no one, that’s who.
The third needle is the one I did and the one that ran smoothly. While I had been in the ISO room the RN got one of our other patients into his chair. He’s blind and requires assistance. The last patient we were set up for also needs assistance since she’s in a wheelchair at the moment. Instead of getting both patients into their chairs and making sure both machines were ready, she only got our blind patient; the one who has orders for only expert cannulators to canulate at the moment. So I was the only person, on the floor since my FA was still in her meeting, who could do his needles.
Fine. That’s ok. I don’t mind doing that. But nothing was ready for me when I got out of ISO. I still had to put all of his information into the machine and computer and clean his access and then do the cannulation. I don’t even know what the RN did while I was in the ISO room because it felt like literally nothing was done.
In the meantime, the machine for the other patient, the wheelchair patient, had failed its tests and had to be retested.
Right Brain: FML. Can nothing just go smoothly? For just a hot second could the RN touch something and have it not turn to ash? No… Oh… Well, fine. Fuck you too, Universe. Bring it.
I got the failed machine retesting while the RN went to the lobby for the patient. Once the machine was doing its thing I went over and got Mr. Blind going. The cannulation went smoothly. I got his headphones plugged in and made sure his TV was on the right channel so he could listen to Gun Smoke once it came on. I got his blanket spread out and his pillows situated.
Cool. I should have been done. There was no reason for the RN to have not been able to initiate our last patient. Only that didn’t go down how it should have either. Of course not. That whole “things turning to ash” thing… I guess the Universe took me up on my challenge.
That patient had a lab that was scheduled. Cool. Not an issue. You cannulate, attached an evac tube to the needle line, place the lab tube into the evac, draw the lab, disconnect the evac, attach the bloodline, initiate treatment. Standard. Routine. Nothing crazy or hard…
Universe: Hold my beer…
The f’ing evac tube wouldn’t come off. No joke. We even tried using pliers to twist it off since her access has such a short range. Having to recannulate would have been a nightmare. We would have had to pull her needle, wait for her to clot, then pray the RN hasn’t stuck her in such a way that we wouldn’t be able to get another needle in.
Well… that’s what we ended up having to do because of whatever she did with the f’ing evac tube.
Right Brain: I’m so sorry, Universe. I take it back. I take it back. Oh, God. Please. Just shoot me now. Please. Just end it. Please. Why, Universe? Why? What did I do to deserve this much suffering? On a Monday of all days… ;-;
I was able to recannulate her access and we got her treatment going. She was an hour late from her scheduled on time, though. It sucked. All of it from the time my FA left the floor went to hell in a handbasket and it wasn’t even a pretty handbasket with a bow on it.
No. It was a grimy, dirty handbasket that had been kicked around a few times and then stepped on just for good measure, and then used to beat me to a pulp. Yeah… It was that kind of a day. Beaten to death by a grimy, dirty beaten up handbasket sort of day.
I was so mentally dead by the time I got everything caught up. I just wanted to go to lunch, smoking through the whole 30 minutes of my break before having to go back onto the floor to end treatments and finish out the last five-ish hours of my day.
That’s about the time when my boss’s boss came out to the floor and wished us a happy Thanksgiving and went on his way.
Right Brain: Yeah. Thanks. Go die in a fire for stealing my FA from me, Jerkface. I mean, not really since I know none of this was your fault. But maybe just a little fire so I can feel better about myself and not be the only one suffering and having a shitty day.
As I was getting ready to step off the floor to go on my lunch break my FA came out and asked if I could talk to her. As we were heading into her office, with me contemplating what I was about to get
yelled at talked to about, she asked me how it was going.
FA: So how is it really going?
I sat down in the chair across from her desk and sighed, rubbing my temples. I told her about ISO and our other restick. I told her that things really were fine and that I just needed five minutes to regroup since I hadn’t had a chance to decompress yet.
FA: Well that actually leads in perfectly to what I want to tell you. I just got done talking with Mr. Boss. We want to give you a raise for everything that you do.
Me: I love you guys so much.
She said they would be increasing my wage to $15 and that it was purely based on work performance and would not affect my yearly review in April. She said that she appreciates being able to depend on me to keep the clinic going for her and that I help make her job easier.
We ended up stepping outside and having a cigarette together. While we were outside I told her how I didn’t feel like I deserved the award I got. I told her that I, personally, feel like all I do is my job. Doing your job shouldn’t get you special recognition.
FA: Yeeesss… You do your job. But it’s the way you do it. It’s your attitude and how you carry yourself. There’s a difference between just doing your job and the way that YOU do your job.
I told her that I understood that, and that I was and am still grateful for her words at the meeting and even more so for the raise.
So yeah… I survived one of the worst changeovers I’ve had in a while and then got a 50 cent raise at the end of it.
That 50 cents equals out to the cost of my dojo membership. My FA gave me my dojo. That’s how I’m choosing to look at it since I’ve been sort of kicking myself about signing up for yet another financial obligation while I still have so much that I need to pay off.
My FA didn’t have to request an increase in my wage. Her boss didn’t have to approve it. But they did. They both went out of their way to make my life easier. I know it’s just money. It’s numbers. Digits in an excel sheet that affect the bottom line. But it’s more human than that. It’s a very real and tangible thing for me. It’s my recovery. It’s my social time. It’s my stress relief. It’s my coping mechanism for my grief.
I am beyond grateful.
I am now making what I considered my baseline. I started at Full Sail making a little more than 15 an hour, but since I started working for DaVita I have considered $15 my goal. If I could only get back to there. I wouldn’t be backtracked anymore. I would be back at my start at least.
And here I am, financially back to my starting line. I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I actually feel like I’m doing things right. Switching careers wasn’t a fuck up. I can, and am, making it.
I went to lunch while my FA went to the floor and took over. The float RN went home. I called Ox while I was on break and told him about the meeting with my FA.
When I went back to the floor there was an email from another FA talking about how our region was going to be hosting a leadership class. It’s very selective and only a few people were going to be chosen to participate, but they were accepting applications until December 7th. I poked through all of the attachments, read all the requirements, and sat for a bit thinking about the email.
I asked my FA if she had seen the email. She hadn’t, so she poked around at it for a second. I asked her if it would be ok for me to apply.
She said yes. We talked about it more and how it worked well with me getting ready to become a trainer for the clinic and how it could open doors for me later to become something like the Clinical Coordinator once I’m an RN myself. Leadership doesn’t mean I have to be an FA she said. There are lots of other positions I might be interested in that this class would be applicable to.
Soooo…. we’re going to sit down before the end of the month and discuss it in more detail and fill out the application together.
If my application is selected, I will enter into phase two where I will have to write an essay. If they like my essay, I will get an in-person interview. If they like my interview, I’ll be one of about six people chosen for this leadership course.
My mind is still having a hard time wrapping around everything, but I can say I’m honestly interested in seeing where all of this leads. I’m actually looking forward to seeing my work future and how everything plays out.
Closing the clinic went smoothly, but then it always does when I work with my FA. I was able to make it to my eye appointment on time. I got my eyes dilated which sort of sucked, but since I’m new at this clinic they have no baseline for me. I figured I would do everything while I was already there.
They gave me a trial pair of contacts which I have in right now and I love them so much more than the ones I was using before. It’s not the prescription change. It’s how they feel. I’ve only ever had one brand of contacts. These are a different brand and they’re amazing. I don’t remember the name but I know they’re supposed to be more durable than the last brand I had. I mentioned how the first year I had contacts went fine, but that during this second year four of them had ripped on me and I was a little less than thrilled about the prospect of having to go through that again.
These new, trial ones are a brand the doctor recommended I try and even though it’s only been about 12 hours of me wearing them, I already know that I’m going to stick with them this time around. They just feel… better. If you’ve never worn contacts I don’t really know how else to explain it. The old ones didn’t hurt me or anything, but there is definitely a difference between the two and if given a choice these new ones are the ones I would recommend.
So yeah, once I figure out the name I’m sure I’ll write about it again, but the eye appointment went well and I should have more contacts before too long and so far my eyes are fine. No eye cancer to worry about or anything like that. Aside from needing contacts my eyes are healthy. Woo.
I stopped at the gas station afterward and got gas for my car so I wouldn’t have to worry about it in the morning. I got Subway for dinner again since I was starving. Ox had me tell his parents about my raise. I stitched for a bit after dinner then went to sleep. And that was my day.
It felt like an exceedingly long day and here I am to the real part of it. The emotional part. The tears part. The mom part.
I’m back to square one, mom.
It’s taken me almost three years to do it, but I’m finally here. I don’t know what else to say other than I did it. I finally, really, truly did it. Everything from here will be forward progress.
I wish I could hug you. I wish I could beam a smile of pride and feel victorious while I have tears running down my face WITH you. I want it to be with you so much, mom. I want you to be here. I want you to know that I won and that I didn’t give up and that I’m finally back to where I started.
All those times that I told the Universe to go fuck itself and kept going when I wanted to give up has finally gotten me back to here. All those times I thought I was a fuck up when I first started in dialysis. All those times I questioned if I had picked the wrong career change.
This proves it to me; to us. I’m not a failure, mom. I’m a badass. I’m your badass. I’m your daughter and I will always be your daughter and I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for all the days that are hard and that I struggle. I’m sorry for still wanting to quit sometimes. I’m sorry for being angry and sad and hurt. I didn’t quit, though, and I’m not going to quit, and not quitting got me back to here. Not quitting got me the dojo. Not quitting got me an amazing FA who supports me and cares about me not only as an employee but as a person. As a human. You would like her, mom.
I know you’re proud of me and I’m happy that you’re proud. I just wish so desperately that we could be together in person still. It’s always so confusing to be happy and yet so sad at the same time. I’m happy I’m here, mom, but I’m so sad that it’s not the same. I’m sad that you’re not alive and we can’t talk on the phone or go out to eat. I want it to be like old times, mom. I want to hear you. I want to see you. I want to feel your arms around me because you always gave the best hugs. I want your words and warmth.
But at least I know you still know. At least we have whatever it is that we have and that I know you’re proud of me; happy for me. I know you’re still with me and I’m sorry if sometimes it seems like I’m ungrateful and that it isn’t enough. It is, mom. I promise it is and that I still love you, mom. I love you so much. Forever and for always, mom. I promise. It will always be forever and for always.