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 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 043: Assessing, Reflecting, and Tattoos

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I tried writing the other day, but it was in the middle of a pretty bad thunderstorm. About two paragraphs in the power cut out, my computer restarted, and the internet didn’t want to play nice anymore. I figured that was a pretty clear sign to go to sleep.

Writing has been on my mind a lot lately. More accurately, my lack of writing. I get to the end of my day and I’m tired. I have to be up early the next day so it’s a better option to sleep. Other times I don’t want to take the time to go through the stuff in my head because I know it’s going to be a long and more than likely painful process leading to personal growth/realization.

Well, today is a day off. I don’t have a lot going on and I really don’t have an excuse to not sit down and do this… so I’m doing this.

Work is going well. And I’m conscious of the fact that I start this reflection off with work rather than my relationships or personal life. It seems so natural. I start with my mission.  My sense of purpose. The thing I’m doing to be helpful, useful, and productive to society. I’ve always loved work, and even though I enjoyed my year of unemployment, I’m glad to be working again. I’m glad I’ve found something that makes me feel fulfilled in this way.

Waking up at 2 and 3 in the morning is getting easier. I’m finding ways to make it work for me. I’ve made friends with the gas station attendants at the Wawa I stop at for breakfast and coffee. It’s a nice start to my day, and I’m not going to lie, using the app is pretty nifty.

The days at work aren’t as physically and mentally brutal as what my first week was. I’m finding my flow. All of the tasks I need to do aren’t as overwhelming. I am familiar with more of the patients. I have favorites who always make me smile and who smile when they see me. One of them calls me “Nurse Jen” even though I’m only a PCT. It’s cute. It makes me feel warm and like I belong.

One of my patients got a kidney transplant. I found that out yesterday. Last week one of our patients died at home due to a heart attack. I didn’t know her very well but I remember being introduced to her. It was sobering. Eventually, one of the patients I’m familiar with will die and that day will be hard for me. I don’t know how I’ll handle it. I don’t know if it will stir up the grief from mom dying, but I know eventually that day will come and I know my team will be supportive of me and help me through it.

There’s a girl at my clinic who I call “Academic Dishonesty”. I think I’ve written about her a few times, though I honestly can’t recall and I’m not going to go back through my writings to find out. I shadowed with her and she was in my training class. She was supposed to work at a different location but ended up getting transferred to my clinic. No one on the team is happy about it. They don’t care for her and she’s pretty much pissed everyone off one way or another.

The reason for her nickname is because while she was on the floor, in front of patients, she mentioned how she had forgotten about a test she needed to take for her online class. She had her boyfriend take it for her and she was mad at him for not scoring high enough and costing her the President’s scholarship she had.

… I mean… That’s like saying you convinced someone to rob a bank for you but you’re pissed because they didn’t steal enough money…

Having been a student, and a teacher, I can’t respect someone like that. There are other instances involving patients that bother me and I’ve spoken out about them. She went from being full time to part time, so I only see her every other week. I guess now she’s being changed to per deim. I know one of the patients spoke to the FA about her. I don’t think she’s going to stay for very long.

I don’t wish ill on anyone, but I hope she finds something else or that she leaves because she wants to focus more on school. I don’t think she’s the right fit for dialysis or the team. Anyone who is comfortable lying and cheating like that isn’t a person I want to be associated with.

That’s really the only hardship I have with work. Ms. Academic Dishonesty, and I hardly ever see her. The rest of it is finding my own pace for things and I’m getting better with that. Yesterday was the smoothest, least stressful day I’ve had so far.

I found out that I’m going to be back paid since I wasn’t given the dollar increase I was promised. That was supposed to happen when I passed my certification, which, surprise if I haven’t written about it, I passed and am now certified through DaVita. In about six months I will need to take another test to become nationally certified, but that’s still a little ways away and so for the moment, I’m going to continue to focus on finding my balance.

There are other things I need to be trained on, like how to mix bicarb and acid for the dialysate and how to clean catheters, but catheter care is still about four months off, and there’s no rush for me to do the water training. I think they’re going to wait on that for a bit, too, which I’m ok with. I feel like I’m catching my breath from being through into the deep end. I’m no longer drowning. I’m treading water. I want to recover a bit more before I try swimming.

My FA asked me what I wanted to work; a lot of hours or fewer hours? I told him honestly I didn’t know. These past two or three weeks have been my first weeks on my own and I’m only now starting to feel stable. I think I want to keep it down to two days in a row at most. Last week I had to work three days in a row and that was pretty rough. I did it. I could have done a fourth, but it wasn’t fun and I would rather not do it again for a little bit. Three of my teammates went on vacation at the same time which is why the schedule got sort of screwy. Doesn’t help with trying to establish a baseline for how a “normal” week will feel.

So really, I think the only thing I need with work is time. I’m doing well and I do find my job extremely fulfilling. I don’t know if I’ll be there for forever, but I’m happy with being there for right now. I get to play in the stock room organizing things on my breaks. The patient schedule is getting ready to change due to new CMS regulations and we’re trying to petition to be moved to a newer, better building. I think there’s a lot of potential for me here and I would like to stay with it for a little while to see where it takes me.

Big Bad and I are doing well. We were able to see each other Sunday evening. His mom is in the hospital again but should be released later today. She started having chest pain and shortness of breath at 3 am on Saturday. Big Bad couldn’t remember exactly what the doctor called it. He said he thought it was arterial fibrillation but I’m pretty sure it was an arterial flutter, which is bad, but not as bad as fibrillation.

I didn’t stay the night since I had work the next morning, but it was nice to have sexy time along with the quiet time of cuddling and feeling connected to something other than work. For all that I’m around people my moments with Big Bad are the few moments where I’m actually touched or hugged.

We’ve been able to see each other mostly weekly which has been nice. We decided not to see each other last night since we had time together Sunday. I would have been bummed but we decided to spend the evening together Thursday instead. I have Friday off so it works out pretty well for us and it means I don’t have to go a whole week before my next hug. We’ll even be able to do coffee together. I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve seen my blacksmith a few times as well. It’s been incredible. He was in a car accident one of the evenings we were supposed to meet. He’s ok and no one was hurt. They kept him at the hospital for a while to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong. He’s had family in town and is back to working doubles at work. With my schedule being the way it is and his changing, I think Saturday evenings are going to be our times together. He’s trying to get a DnD group together which could prove to be fun. That’s still in the works but it’s something to potentially look forward to.

Warren and I are doing alright. Still not thrilled to have to have a roommate, but things are a bit better. He takes a few days to do chores but they do eventually get done. He swept yesterday and when I came home the trash had been taken out. Hooray. I’m still waiting to get a rent payment from him. I might ask him about it later since he said he would pay me on Friday. Well… It’s Tuesday… Blarg. At least he’s been paying the full amounts when he does pay.

We’ve broached the subject of the lease and how we’re going to pay for things this coming year. That’s still tentative and nebulous, which I extremely dislike, but there’s not much we can do about it at the moment. The lease is up October 19th. I won’t be able to pay for a year in full again. We’ll most likely switch over to monthly payments where I pay with the credit card that way we don’t have to worry about having to pool a large sum of money together all at once. I can make multiple payments on the card and keep the balance down.

Warren’s new job is going well. He’s out of training. In a few months, he’ll be eligible for bonuses as well as a raise. He’ll be eligible for moving up to assisting with OS issues as well which will be another raise if he gets picked for that promotion. That would help out significantly. A two dollar raise with bonuses. Yes, please.

He’s recently been hanging out and being social with people. He’s picked up the hobby of paddle boarding which gets him out of the house. I can tell he’s dropped a lot of weight. He seems happier and more energetic.

One of the girls he was chatting with was interested in all of the things I do. I guess Warren was telling her about me being a badass with jiu-jitsu and Muay Thia. I ended up meeting her for dinner and we got along pretty well. She went to a kickboxing class with me at Title Club and enjoyed it so much she got a membership. That meant I got a free month. Totally had no idea about the referral thing so that was a pretty nice surprise.

She and I have gone to a few other classes together. We have plans to do boxing tonight at 7:30. She reminds me of me a few years ago. She’s just starting out on trying to get healthier. I think eventually she’ll want to try going to the dojo, but for right now I think she’s doing things right. Taking it slow and figuring out what she likes and doesn’t like and what her limits are.

I haven’t been to the dojo in a while, but that’s because I’ve been waiting for my arms to heal.

Yeah… that’s right… heal.

I got tattoos on my upper biceps and rolling around on the ground with sweaty hands gripping my arms didn’t sound all that hygienic so I’ve been going to Title Club a lot and doing bag work.

Big Bad went with me for the first tattoo on my right arm. I was alone for the second one. Originally my brother was going to be with me but that ended up falling through. I think it was better that way. In the end, I took care of a lot of things alone. I flew with mom’s ashes alone. I drove to my grandparent’s grave with her urn alone. I stayed in the hospital at night with her alone. There were a lot of moments where it was just me and her, me and mom, and so I think it was fitting that I ended the tattoos for her with her, alone.

Overall I think they turned out well. There’s some touch-up work I want done. Now that they’re mostly healed I think the runes in the center need to be a darker red. The ink looked good in the bottle but with my skin tone, it seems pinker. I liked the darker red of when it was scabbed over with blood.

The bands going around the under side of my arm was the hardest part. My triceps bruised all the way down to my elbow. I’m still waiting for the bruise on my left arm to fully go away. The bruises didn’t hurt and were extremely shallow but yeah, you could definitely tell my arms were pissed with me.

The scabs are almost fully healed. There are only a few spots left where the skin needs to flack. I’m thinking I’ll be able to go back to the dojo next week.

One of the realizations I had this morning happened while I was talking to Warren’s friend. I told her how I had training at the gym today along with our plans for boxing in the evening. Somehow through the conversation, it came up that I might have a second cup of coffee since I was being a slacker today.

She asked how I was being a slacker when I had plans for the gym.

That’s when I realized that my definition for “slacker” has changed.

I don’t honestly feel like a slacker, but I am taking it easy today. Easy… when I have roughly 2 hours of intense activity scheduled…

What I don’t have planned is nineteen million other things to go along with those two hours. I don’t have 12 hours of work where I walk six miles while staying in the same room. I don’t have chores or errands. I don’t have projects. I don’t have social obligations.

I have a fairly quiet day, on my own, where I get to enjoy not one, but two cups of coffee while I sit on my couch until noon in my pjs. I don’t have cooking I need to do because it’s already done for the week. I might do laundry, but that’s only because I don’t want to have to do it tomorrow night after work.

I did order more scrubs over the weekend. The ones for work still haven’t come in, which is frustrating, but even if they had, I wouldn’t like wearing them as much as the ones I went out and bought myself. So, last weekend I went to Uniform City and ordered two more sets of the ones I like. That way I’ll be able to make it through four shifts without having to worry about doing laundry on top of getting enough sleep. It seemed like a good investment especially since I like them so much.

But yeah, currently I’m scheduled to work Wednesday and Thursday and I only have one set of clean scrubs… lame. So laundry will most likely happen. It would be one less stressor to worry about.

I haven’t had a legitimate “rest” day is about two weeks. My “rest” days are now my long days at work where I walk about 7 or 8 miles. On my light days at work, where I only walk about 6, I usually get off early enough to still make it to a class, so I go.

I haven’t felt burnt out, it’s been helping me sleep more deeply, and it keeps my muscles from getting too sore or stiff. I think I’ve been pretty good about gauging my body and understanding when I need to stop. Sometimes I only stay for 30 minutes of a class, other times I stay for the whole thing. Sometimes I push hard. Sometimes it’s a lighter workout.

I’ve been consciously focusing on my water intake as well. I drink at least one bottle of water every time I go on break at work. I drink at least two, sometimes three, when I work out. I make sure at least one bottle is a Gatorade to help with electrolytes. I haven’t had any headaches, but there have been a few days where I’ve run “warm”. I feel hot like I’m overheating, but after some fluids, I’m better.

I’m too active to not keep up with what my body needs. So far I think I’m doing pretty ok.

I got new gloves and I love them. For all of you with a fetish for sexy black gloves… you’re welcome.

 

They’re fingerless sparring gloves from Venum. They’re holding up extremely well. I can throw punches harder without destroying my knuckles and still have my fingers free from gripping. If / when I replace them I might go down a size, but at the moment I’m extremely pleased.

I’m thinking about getting new shin guards next. I know I just got a new pair around Novemeber but I can definitely feel how they’re too large for me now that they’re pretty broken in. I gave my old gloves and wraps to K, Warren’s friend who I’ve corrupted to the way of beating things. I might give her my shin guards when I replace them since she’s taller than I am, which is odd for me because at 5 ft 8in not many people are taller.

That will be a month or so down the line when it happens. I would say “if”, but I know I’m going to replace them, so it seems silly to try to deny the fact that I’m eventually going to spend the money.

I recently upgraded all of my gear, actually. New compression shorts and shirts. I got the shirts right before my tattoos so they haven’t seen much action yet. I’ve been wearing only my cover shirts since the sleeves are looser and don’t agitate the skin as much.

I’m starting to see more definition in my abdomen. I try not to think about results all that much but it was nice being in smaller sizes when I upgraded my gear.

The Shefit bras are still doing amazing. So amazing in fact that I got ones for work as well.

I did spend a fair amount of money but I’m ok with it. It’s keeping me going, both work and workout wise. I feel like I’m investing in myself rather than splurging for no reason.

I still have a ways to go, but I’m in a much different position in my life than what I was last year or when I started this journey I didn’t know I was on. I like where I’m at. I’m getting comfortable with this new me. The me where two hours is something I look forward to. It’s a reward. My “me” time. It’s an understood part of my day, not something I have to convince myself to go do.

Mother Earth and I are supposed to meet on Sunday. I’m not really sure what else to write about that. I had been going through my Facebook messages, deleting old ones I no longer wanted to keep. I found messages from her and Josh, messages from when mom first died and they had reached out to me.

I didn’t know what to do with those messages. Keeping them hurts, but I don’t know if I’m ready to let them go either. I messaged Sir explaining my feelings and asked him to let Mother Earth and Josh know that I miss them.

I try to live my life as if it’s my only day alive. If I were to not wake up would I have died with unfinished business, unspoken words? Would I be ok with things being left as they are or is there closure that needs to happen?

This was one of those things where I wouldn’t be ok with leaving it as it is. I needed them to know I missed them. If I were to die, at least they would know I still cared.

He said he would work it into the conversation for me. I was ok with that. I wasn’t trying to bridge a gap. I wasn’t trying for anything other than having peace of mind.

I got a message from Mother Earth a few days later. We started touching on the subject of our separation. She said she would rather meet in person to talk about it because she didn’t want to cause me more pain. I said it was a painful situation. She accused me of trying to steal her husband. She said her and Josh would always be “home” for me and then exiled me through text messages. There’s no way for this to not be a painful situation.

I still feel abandoned. I still feel wounded. I think there’s a lot that’s gone on or that was said that I don’t know about. All I know is my side, but, from my side, mom had just died and two of my closest friends cast me out. I don’t know how to recover from that.

Life doesn’t go backward. We’ll never be able to be where we were a year ago. I’ll never be able to trust or be open like I was before this hurt. I don’t know if I’ll ever want to try for a sexual experience again. I think it will always have that “unsafe” warning flag. Even if we hang out and drink and there’s the “harmless kissing a girl” thing going on, I don’t think I’ll ever give into it because for me it wouldn’t be “harmless”. It will bring up all of these emotions and memories.

In my head, they’re no longer the “safe” people they were. They can be friends, but there will always be a distance there from having been pushed away. I can come back but only to arm’s length.

I don’t even know if they want me to be their friend. I don’t know what this meeting is going to be like. I’m hoping it’s a decent meeting. We’re meeting at a restaurant so I’m assuming it won’t be a screaming match. I don’t know how I’m supposed to be able to eat. Even thinking about it gives me anxiety. I don’t know where I stand with her. I don’t know if this is a meeting for her to tell me to fuck off to my face.

Logically I know that would be really silly. She could do that over text messages again and save both of us the gas and time. But the injured part of me, the one focused on self-preservation and not being hurt again, is worried and because I’m worried eating food sounds like an impossible task.

We haven’t spoken since arranging the meeting. I’m trying to not think about it because there’s really nothing to be done until Sunday so fretting over it is a waste of energy. I would rather enjoy my day off than play the “what if” game. Whatever happens, happens. It would be nice to have some sense of closure.

There’s still the money that is owed to me by both her and Sir. I know both of their situations have improved. It would be nice to have that money back. It would make October less scary. It would be a way to show that I still matter. That promises mean something and are still worth keeping.

Things are going well for Jon. I had a dream the other night that I was at home. I think I knew mom was dead, or that she “wasn’t there” anymore. I was walking from the garage, through the kitchen, down the hallway back to my room. It was darkish though I could still see well enough to know where I was going.

As I passed the door to Jon’s room I got a sense of foreboding. It was like something was in there and I shouldn’t turn my back on it. I had to watch this doorway to darkness because something bad was inside it and if I looked away it would get me.

I woke up feeling uneasy. I turned my bathroom light on for a little bit until it got annoying enough for me to turn it off and go back to sleep.

I called Jon last night after kickboxing and asked him if we were ok. I said I knew it was a weird, out of the blue question and explained my dream to him. He said we were fine and he was sorry about my dream. It was good to hear his voice and to have the reassurance that we’re ok. I’m sure we’ll fight about something eventually. I mean, after all, we’re brother and sister, it’s part of our genetics to fight. But for now, things are good between us.

He’s on summer vacation from school so he’s been playing World of Warcraft a lot and teaching guard camps for marching band. He’s having his own roommate issues, but I think they should be fixed in October assuming he can last that long.

I got my breaks replaced on my car. It’s the first “major” expense I’ve had with it other than getting new tires. The struts need to be changed eventually but those aren’t an immediate concern. I’m able to plan for it a bit and work it into my financial schedule/goals.

I like the place I go to for car service. They’ve always treated me extremely well. Because I ended up having to wait so long for my breaks to get fixed I got a half off oil change with a coupon for another 1/2 price oil change. I would have liked having those three hours of my life back, but they tried to make it better with some form of compensation. They could have done nothing.

Scarlet is doing ok. Still annoying as ever with her whole meowing thing any time there’s running water. She’s been curling up with me at night again which is nice. For a while, she was sleeping in the closet for whatever reason.

I think that’s about it for the moment.

I know I need to meditate about mom, about the tattoos. I haven’t done that. I know there’s pain I need to work through and find balance with in regards to accepting the end to that chapter.

She died. End of story.

End of THAT story.

It’s not the end of MY story, which I guess is why it hurts.

I’m alive. I’m not dead. I still wake up. I still do things and move forward and achieve and fail. I still have things I want to talk about and share.

I’m still here and because I’m still here I feel that pain. I feel that loss. I feel the absence and the void. I feel that end and it sucks because it’s not MY end. It’s not where I wanted it to end.

I’m glad I have the tattoos. They’re heavy, but they remind me that she was real. That she lived. That she influenced my life and made me a better person. I’m glad that I have a way to permanently show the world that I mourn for her.

My tattoos aren’t like her ring or my necklace, things I have to take off when I train. My tattoos are always with me. Unlike the emotional wounds, my tattoos are visible. They remind me of what I’ve been through. They remind me of what I’ve survived.

I’m strong. I’m the matriarch of my family. I’m my mother’s daughter. I’ve made it this far. I’ve told Life over and over again to go fuck itself this past year. I’ve made things work. I’ve taken step after agonizing, inching step forward because I promised I would.

No one can take that away from me. No one can remove my tattoos or take away the insight and knowledge I have gained through the experiences I’ve had. No one can take away my self.

That’s why I got the tattoos I did. The runes are what my mom gave me and no one can take that away. Not Life. Not Death. Not Stress or Doubt, or any of the other countless personified things I struggle with.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

 

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.

Daily Post 035: Kidney Stones VS Childbirth

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I’m not going to apologize for my life. I’m not going to apologize for not writing. I’m not going to apologize for spending money or for playing video games. I’m not going to apologize for being sick or frustrated or tired.

I still don’t feel much at the moment even though the depression and apathy I have been feeling for the past several weeks seem to be easing their grip.

Big Bad and I finally got to spend an evening together. I don’t know when we’ll be able to see each other again. Maybe not until the weekend after next. We enjoyed our time together we both slept well. In the morning, he went to the gym, letting me sleep in, though I did wake up when he text me to let me know he would be back. I replied with my own message to which he replied, “Go back to sleep :p ”

Our exchange made me smile as I snuggled deeper into the blankets and his scent. It made me feel like I belonged which was extremely nice after feeling so alone for so long. We finally were able to share coffee together again. We got to talk about the things going on in our lives which included my trip to the ER.

I had a kidney stone Friday morning. That sucked. Like, literally was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life, level of suck which I feel is saying a lot for how hard I play with my partners as a masochist. I was in so much pain I threw up and couldn’t walk. Warren took me to the ER since of course this happened at 1 am and all of the urgent care clinics were closed. FML.

And to make it even better, on the way to the ER the pain faded. By the time we got checked in and I saw someone I was still dazed and fuzzy from the intensity of the pain, but I could walk again, and I could answer all of their questions though I was sort of slow on some of them.

They put an IV in my arm in case the pain came back I and needed medication. I had blood work drawn which included a pregnancy test. Good news. I’m not pregnant. Big Bad was also appreciative of that result. I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

I had a CT scan, which that stands for computerized tomography. You learn something new every day, right? I also had an ultrasound and a few other tests run.

Everything was inconclusive.

The doctor, an extremely nice lady, said given my symptoms and description they believed it was a kidney stone that was too small to show up on the scan.

While I was waiting in between all of my poking and prodding I consulted the wise and mighty Google, asking it what the causes of kidney stones could be.

Basically, it’s one of those, “if you breathe you might get one” sort of things… dehydration could cause it, too much protein in your diet can cause it, being sick can cause it, genetics can cause it. Most adults will experience at least one kidney stone in their life. I’m totally ok with having this off of my to-do list because when I say it sucked and was the worst pain I have ever experienced, it’s not a joke or exaggeration. According to the Internet, kidney stones are worse than childbirth. There’s some food for thought.

I think what happened is the stone formed due to my sinus infection or as a result of the antibiotic I took to fend off the ear infections because of the sinus infection.

Whatever the cause, I’m seriously done with this being sick thing.

On an unrelated note… Big Bad and I said the L word to each other. Actually, we typed it to each other since we were exchanging emails but as introverts, we both count it as “saying” it. Maybe “admitting” would be a better word to use.

I don’t think it will ever be commonplace for us to say it to each other. Not for a while at least. I think we’re both still skittish about things like that due to our past experiences, but we’re both happy we’ve addressed it. I know, at least for myself, when my friend asked me how I felt about telling him I love him I replied with “vulnerable”. I’m pretty sure he’s in a similar boat.

Yes. We love each other. That doesn’t change anything or require anything more or less from either of us. We like how things are. I’m glad that if anything were to happen to me, or to him, that we’ve had the exchange we did. Neither one of us will leave having doubt about the other person’s feelings. That means a lot to me.

I don’t like thinking that I might die and not get a chance to say the things I want to say to the people I care about. It makes me feel like I’m not living my life the way I should be living it. Fully, completely, every day. When I hold back from saying something I’m assuming I’ll have tomorrow, which isn’t true. Nothing guarantees me more time so I want to say and do the things I want to while I can rather than later because there might not be a later.

I finally said what I’ve been holding onto for months. It’s relieving. I’m glad I was able to say it and that we’re still ok.

Work is going well. I was going through overwhelmed feelings, but that’s eased up a little bit. Since I had to miss work Friday due to the kidney stone I’m going to be at my clinic all week next week. No mind numbing power point lecture for me. Woohoo.

Hey, Universe… just for the record… I would have rather sat through the power point than experience pain worse than childbirth… You know… in case you were wondering…

In other news, I have a new gym membership. I know… I seem to be going through them like candy. I feel a need to write this out so I can straighten it out in my own mind.

Because of the work schedule I have now, I can’t make it to classes at the boxing club like I was, so even though I enjoy my membership and I love the instructors, it’s not getting used and won’t be renewed. I’m actually going to talk to them about ending the contract, which that will require more writing about later.

I wasn’t using the YouFit, and the only reason I had that one was because it was $10 a month with no contract and let me run inside while it was cold due to winter. There really wasn’t much else going for it which is why I canceled it as soon as it started warming up.

I still have the dojo membership and I will be keeping this regardless of my schedule. It sort of sucks right now though. I can’t really make it to the classes, not without totally fucking over my sleep schedule, which is why I’ve switched over to doing private lessons twice a week. I’m mostly focusing on conditioning and technique, which I’ve already noticed some pretty serious results, so I’m not complaining too much about the switch. I do need to acknowledge my ache from not being able to spar with my dojo family at the moment. So while, yes, technically I am there, I’m still missing a large part of what it means to be at the dojo. At least for me. It’s a temporary change, but it still aches.

I do miss going to the YMCA like I was when I worked at Full Sail. I stopped attending that because I lost the benefit through work, but mostly because they tore the building down to rebuild it. I would possibly entertain the idea of going back except with my new schedule, even if the building was done, which it won’t be until next year, I would have the same issue as the boxing club. I work too early to workout before work and the classes in the evening are too late for me to do them after work.

So that brings in this gym. 24 Hour Fitness. Warren is actually the one who told me about it since he just got a membership there.

They’re open 24 hours, which is instantly a plus. They have saunas and showers. Already sold.

In addition to having those three of my requirements, they have a nifty system with their studio room. They offer classes during certain hours, but on “off” hours there’s a TV. You’re able to search for different types of classes, combat body, yoga, step class, strength building, whatever. You can select that class and do it on your own by following the instructor on the TV. They’re also working on getting punching bags because that’s a huge request from the gym members, including myself.

There’s a facility within biking distance of my apartment, and walking distance from work, though I would most likely drive, and you get access to all facilities with your membership; no having to pay an extra fee or more expensive membership to get that perk.

I’ve gone to the gym since Wednesday. Thursday I ran for the first time in what feels like forever. I’ve shaved two minutes off my run time. I didn’t hurt during or after my run. I was breathing extremely well through it, too. I’ve had a quiet empty space to do yoga every time I’ve gone, and once I’m done I get to sit in the sauna and relax, doing my dragon thing and basking and in general not giving a fuck about anything going on in Life because Life can’t touch me while I’m surrounded by the heat and warmth. For those 15 minutes, Life doesn’t matter. My run time doesn’t matter. Work doesn’t matter. Rent doesn’t matter.

It’s my 15 minutes of silence and I’m glad I have it back. I think it’s helped.

I still ache in my chest from my grief. I can still feel it. A heaviness. A tenderness that I don’t want to touch or deal with. Sort of like when a cut is infected. It hurts so you don’t want to do anything with it, but until you scrub out the infection and clean the wound it’s not going to get better. The pain has to get worse before it gets better.

I think that’s where I’m at right now. I think I need to do some meditation or further writing to figure out why I’ve hurt so much recently.

I think there’s a lot of factors for it. Not seeing my blacksmith or Big Bad for so long led me to feel disconnected. Being so severely sick didn’t help anything. There’s still stress regarding the apartment. There’s stress from work. Until recently there was also the reduction of workout time, which for me feels like a punishment; like I’m having to give up a part of myself.

I talked to my brother Thursday afternoon as I was leaving work. I needed to talk to someone. I needed someone who would understand why I was sad and crying and I needed to know that I could cry and still be loved I guess. That I wasn’t weak or broken.

I told him that all of my coworkers constantly tell me that I’m doing well. Everyone is so encouraging and supportive. I told him that I appreciated their words and that they really do mean a lot to me, but that I still felt like a failure because I wanted to hear mom tell me those things. I wanted to know mom believed in me and supported me. I told him that I started trash talking myself in my head, saying that I would never get this and that I should quit, but that I stopped myself because I can’t do that to myself anymore. Mom isn’t here to counter the Evil Voice. I usually don’t let it get very far anyway, but I CAN’T let it erode my confidence away. Mom’s not here to clean up my scrapped knees anymore.

I remembered something on the way home after the conversation with my brother. It was a situation from a while ago. I had been packing up my stuff at the apartment I shared with Zane. At the moment I was working on taking down the cards my mom had sent me. I always kept them taped up around my corkboard so I was taking the tape off of them and putting them away in a box. These were my last words from my mom. I couldn’t get rid of them.

I wasn’t really reading them, but I was looking at them. There was one, a gray and white picture of a baby duck on a board looking down into a large bowl of water.

I picked up the card and pulled the tape off of it, just like I had all the others. When I set it down the card fell open and on the inside was the phrase, “I believe in you”.

I remember I bawled my eyes out as I sat on the floor. And I cried again in my car as I remembered that event because that day all I had wanted was to feel like my mom believed in me and that I was doing the right thing. She’s always believed in me. I have to remember that even though I can’t hear those words the same way anymore.

I know my mom is proud. I used to pass out at the sight of paper cuts and here I am doing dialysis. Go me. Fuck yeah, I’m a badass, and even though I know that about myself I still wish she were still physically here to see it and to say those things to me. And I guess that’s why everything hurts so much right now.

So many things have been happening and I still long for that physical connection. Her hug, her voice, her existence.

I’ve been doing well. This past month will be known as “The Dark Age of 2017” since I’ve survived the plague that’s tried to kill me eight million different ways.

Today is 14 months. One year and two months since her death.

Today has been a decent day. I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again with my younger brother. We spend most of the day running my character through dungeons. I cooked all of my food for the coming week. I even cleaned the apartment.

Internally I’m still heavy though. There wasn’t really happiness today. There hasn’t been for a while. There’s something more real and less fleeting than happiness instead. I don’t think it’s contentment or acceptance. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very flat, calm. It wasn’t a hard or heavy day and in my tired state of mind, I’m glad for that.

Tomorrow I wake up early to go to the gym before work. I work until 3 pm. Afterward, I have training at the dojo. Then I go home, shower, eat, and go to sleep. Maybe I’ll play on the computer for a little bit depending on how tired I am.

I haven’t felt like writing. I haven’t felt like doing much, but despite that, I’ve done a lot and I’ve been hanging in there. I may not be ok. I may not be doing ok. But I’m surviving, and I still want to survive. I want that to count towards something. Like a solid baseline maybe. It’s not positive or negative. Getting through everything I have been contending with goes into strengthing my foundation.

None of this has been as hard as the weeks leading up to or after mom’s death, but a lot of this shit HAS been hard and I still got it all taken care of.

That counts.