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.

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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.

Musing Moments 106: A Letter to My Blacksmith

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I was supposed to see my blacksmith tonight.

That one sentence holds so much weight for me that I don’t even know how to being forming thoughts to express how I feel.

We haven’t seen each other since the beginning of December. He’s had to work double shifts due to a hiring freeze at his work. He’s been fighting through burn out. My schedule hasn’t helped matters. It’s a complex situation and so while we’ve wanted to spend time together we haven’t been able to.

Finally, though, tonight, we were supposed to.

And yet we didn’t.

I’ve been tapped out at the end of my days. They’re fun, long, intense. Training is going amazingly well. I’m doing outstanding. My brain is a puddle of goo by the time I get home. I haven’t been sleeping as much as I should, my body still adjusting to 4 am and 5 am mornings. I’m exhausted by 5 pm even though I rarely am able to sleep before 11 pm.

I feel like a slacker because I haven’t gone to the gym or dojo since Friday. Almost a week.

Add to that the therapy session I had this afternoon and all of the chores I still needed to get done before our evening together. The lack of time to decompress from any of it…

We decided to reschedule for another evening where I would be more able to fully enjoy our time together and even though I’m grateful for his understanding I hurt. I’m angry. At myself. Because after four months of waiting for everything to work out I cancel.

It’s confusing, the swirls of emotions. Different colors and sensations dancing around, never staying still.

I wish this didn’t feel like a failing on my part. I wish it wasn’t tainted with thoughts of, “If I was adulting better I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed.”

Those thoughts don’t change the fact that I am, though.

I’m overwhelmed. Mostly with worries.

I’m worried about my training. I’m worried about not sleeping enough and being too tired during the day. I’m worried about falling behind. I’m worried about falling short of the expectations I have for myself, of the expectations my trainers have for me. I’m worried about not living up to the image my classmates and friends have of me.

I’m worried about the building anxiety of returning to the dojo. I’m worried about not being able to afford my membership because of finances. I’m worried about having to sacrifice my goals because I let myself get into the same situation I seem to always find myself in.

I’m worried about mistaking giving up with self-preservation. I’m worried that I need to hold on just a bit longer, believe and have faith for just a few more weeks and then things will be better. I’m worried that my past makes me jaded and that I’m not being fair to Warren.

At the same time, I’m worried he’s taking advantage of me or that our friendship doesn’t mean enough for him to not break it. I’m worried about being able to afford rent in October.

I’m worried about my dynamic with Big Bad overshadowing my dynamic with my blacksmith because I do think that is a very real concern.

I’m worried about a lot of things and I know that worry would have spilled over into tonight if my blacksmith and I had met.

I feel all of these worries, all of these wounds, so intensely right now. I’m grateful for the space and understanding to let me deal with them. I’m angry that I needed it. Disappointed even though I’m trying so hard not to be.

Maybe it’s all because I am tired. Maybe sleep will help. Maybe another weekend, one of solitude, will help. Time. Space. Decompression.

I have plans to fix the dojo/gym issue. I have options to explore with the financial issues. All I need is more time in regards to my training to allow my nerves to ease and settle.

But none of that could have happened tonight. Tonight I’m still a stressed mess and I ache because of it.

I’m not failing. I’m not disappointing anyone other than myself and I know that. It’s a sharp, cold pain, though. Icey. Isolating. An ache in my chest, a thin sliver through my heart chakra.

I know I already apologized and expressed my gratitude but I need to pour all of it out on this page, bleed all of it into my keyboard the way I couldn’t do through our text messages.

I’m sorry.

I know you don’t want me to be. I know you said you didn’t mind, but I’m sorry. This wasn’t how I wanted the night to go. I don’t mean to keep us apart for longer. I’m sorry my training started when it did and that the effort of keeping everything together feels like a lot.

I’m sorry I still miss my mom and that I hurt due to my grief.

I’m sorry that normal days still feel heavy and that some mornings I still wake up and wonder what the point of all of it is. I’m sorry that sometimes I’m tired from surviving.

I know you love me and I know I’ll find you through every life and I know this moment in time is temporary. I know it’s not my place to feel ashamed, and yet, the only thing I can feel is sorrow for having in some way failed you.

I will work through these feelings. I will address the worries I have and resolve them. I won’t let them stand in the way of our time together again.

I promise.