Letters to Mom 024: Your Mother’s Day Card Sent to You with Love

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Hey mom,

It’s mother’s day.

I think this day is hard for you, too. I don’t have proof of this. Nothing rational or logical. It’s just a random thought I had earlier today; a feeling deep in my chest where the ache of your death lives. I think you miss being here just as much as we all miss having you here.

Today has been a day. It’s been painful and heavy. It’s been overcast and cold and wet and dreary. It has been for a while. It makes me think that summer will never come.

I don’t know what else to really say. I miss you. I hope you’re having a good day where ever you are. I hope you know I’m thinking about you. I hope you know I love you and that if you were still here I would have called by now. I would have sent you flowers or a card or something; most likely a cross-stitch with hearts and a sappy message about how much I love you because I never felt like I could say that phrase enough.

Since I can’t send anything to you here on Earth, this is my mother’s day card for you. I hope it finds you. I hope you read it and that it let’s you know how much you still mean to me.

You are the best mom ever. EVAR! You’re my own personal super mom and I’m the luckiest kid, aside from Jason and Jon, to be able to say you’re mine.

Happy mother’s day, mom. Thank you, so much, for being my mom and for all the things you did for me while you were alive and for all the things you continue to do for me after your death.

I love you, great big bunches, forever and for always.

~ Your earth dragon who could, who did, and who still is

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MUSING MOMENT 129: LFTIO – STORY 3

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 6.3
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”





For the 2-3 most impactful and formative experiences and / or relationships, tell the entire story here: 


Story 3 – The Middle of Nowhere

The first few years after my mom’s death were hard for me. I had lost my strongest support structure, I had lost the relationship I had been in, I had lost my home due to losing that relationship, and I had left my career.

Essentially, everything I had been using to identify who I was had been taken away from me. I was no longer a teacher. I was no longer a girlfriend. I was no longer anything, and so I found myself with a vast expanse of nothingness within myself. A never-ending plane of smooth unmarred whiteness where once there had been “me”, or what I had felt was me.

I found myself in a phase I had never been before. Building. Who did I want to be? What did I want to be? What did I stand for? Why was I alive? What was my purpose, my reason for waking up each day knowing that mom was dead?

It took a while, but eventually, slowly, one day at a time, one breath at a time, I found myself. I found the answers to my questions and with each answer, a brick was laid on the plane of whiteness. A foundation, solid and unshakeable. I was going to be me and I was going to live my life and Life couldn’t stop me from doing it. I wouldn’t let it stop me.

During the first year, I obtained an apartment. Though it never felt like home, it was mine and I no longer had to worry about where I would be sleeping at night. I began taking classes as a way to get my foot into the medical field. I took a nursing assistant class though I never became state certified. The thought of succeeding at something while mom wasn’t there to celebrate with me was still too much to face at the time. I took an EKG class as well as a phlebotomy class where I overcame my fear of blood and needles. Eventually, I interviewed with DaVita. When asked if I felt dialysis was something I could do, I replied with, “I honestly don’t know. But I can promise that I’ll try my best and in the end, that’s all I can do; my best.”

I made it through the Star Learning program; two months of training where I was taught about dialysis and the skills I would need as a patient care technician. Once I was through training I began working full time at the downtown Orlando clinic. As time went on I became a stronger member of my team.

On a personal level, I began going to fitness boxing classes as a way to deal with the strong emotions of my grief. That led to joining a dojo where I learned jiujitsu techniques along with Muay Thai. Martial arts gave me a way to connect with myself. It gave me a new circle of people to interact with and a common interest to bond over. I met several key people in my life during this time which helped build me up as a person. They helped me discover things about myself and the type of person I not only wanted to be, but continue being as well. More bricks to add to my foundation.

During this time of growth and discovery, there were also negatives. I began working 12 – 16 hour days since that’s how the clinic was run. My time at the dojo and the gym became less and less. My roommate was consistently unable to pay rent and I found myself donating plasma as a way to keep making ends meet. I had to drive past my old place of employment nearly every day, a reminder of the emotional pain I had experienced and was continuing to go through, along with previous apartments which had harbored abusive relationships.

While there were positive aspects of my life in Florida, there were also negatives and while I felt this need to “get away” and start over, I didn’t know how. Where would I go? What would I do? How would I move all of my stuff? How would I afford the move when I already struggled with rent and personal bills?

It was a situation where there was so much to figure out it was easier to just stay where I was and accept that life just sort of sucked and would suck for the next while.

During the second Christmas without mom, against all financial logic, I rented a room at an extended stay for a week, packed up my computer, took time off from work, and spent a week alone, away from all of the stressors in my life. I renewed my subscription to World of Warcraft and spent a majority of the week inside my room playing the game with my younger brother.

It was the week of my birthday and this was my birthday gift to myself; surviving and getting through one of the hardest times of the year without having to worry about my roommate’s dirty dishes being in the sink or the endless piles of dog fur floating around the apartment. No patients or teammates to explain my sadness to. Just me and an imaginary world where I could run around and blow up bunnies or pick flowers if I wanted to.

During this week there was a guildmate I began talking to. Through the course of our conversation my discontent for Florida came out and how I wanted to move but didn’t know where I would go and all of the other unknowns that went with the concept of moving.

“Well, Lincoln is pretty much the opposite of all of that,” was his reply to my story.

Though I didn’t know it at the time, a seed had been planted. The name of a town led to an InDeed search for job opportunities. Seeing opportunities led to looking for my own company in the area. That led to receiving the blessing from my former FA to reach out to the FA’s in Lincoln. That led to a trip to Nebraska and an interview, which led to moving halfway across the country to start my own life in the middle of nowhere.

There were people who thought moving was a bad idea. There were people who thought it was a good idea. And then there was me. Lost. Confused. Caught somewhere in the middle. Unhappy but not sure if moving was the right choice to make or not.

I would be leaving my brother. My clinic. My patients. My friends. My dojo. The last remnants of my old life. And I would be leaving for what? A possibility of things getting better? A “maybe life won’t suck as bad”? I didn’t even know if I would have a job when I got there. It was just a promising interview and knowing that medical areas usually had a need somewhere. Did I want to leave everything I knew and trade it all for some unknown leap of faith here I hoped I landed on my feet across this giant chasm?

Would I regret not moving and trying to make it work if I were to die tomorrow?

Maybe a little stark and morbid as far as a decision-making process goes, but one of the final things mom taught me was that life is short. I’m not ok with arriving at my death and regretting my choices, so if I were to die, would I regret moving or not moving more?

After sitting and thinking about my answer, I realized my answer. Yes. Yes, I would regret not moving. I would regret not trying. I would regret not knowing if it had been the best decision I could have made for myself, or the worst one where I would have to figure out, once again, how to recover from a mistake.

So I moved.

Because I moved I am in the healthiest relationship I have ever been in. Because I moved I now have a renewed sense of family and belonging and home. Because I moved I have grown as a PCT. I am now a CCHT and NFACT certified. I am a CNA on the Nebraska registry and about to begin LPN classes with plans to continue to on to RN. I have attended Academy and plans are being laid for me to become a preceptor for my clinic. Because I moved I have floated to six other clinics and met the patients and teammates of my region.

Because I moved I can hear coyotes at night and see the stars filling the sky. I have found a dojo where I feel I belong and can continue to train.

Because I moved I’ve actually have had the time and space to make real peace with my grief.

So many of the positive events which have happened in my life can be traced back to that one week in the extended stay. So much of my life can be attributed to my choice to venture into the scary unknown and I wouldn’t trade any part of it for the world.

Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.

Musing Moment 126: LFTIO – Personal Mastery

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 5
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”





This post is essentially the “chapter review” for chapter one. It’s where I identify areas I want to change, figure out how to change them, and think about potential obstacles which may hinder me.


Areas for building awareness:
Feelings of insecurity and shadow beliefs of abandonment are triggered by stressful situations. It would be beneficial to listen closely to the dialog inside of my head during stressful times and to objectively analyze my thoughts. Are they stemming from personal truths or are they the words of my self-doubt? What emotions do these thoughts envoke and why? Is there any proof to support these thoughts or do they closer resemble irrational, self-preservational fears?

New Commitments to Make:
I need to be more committed to my need for solitude and reflection. Beginning to write again on a more routine basis could help provide structured time for reflection and self-development. Continuing and being more consistent with my efforts at the gym and dojo can provide better work/life balance and stress management. Continuing to take vitamin D gummies will help me cope with the lack of sunlight and the inability to do outdoor activities during the winter months here in Nebraska.

Actively participating in the DSS Leadership course will allow me to continue understanding myself and others. I will actively strive to become a preceptor for my clinic by the end of the year. Committing to the LPN degree in October will provide me with a timeline for career growth personal development.

These things are in line with my values of balance and personal improvement. I cannot be my best self if I am struggling with seasonal depression. I cannot be my best self if I do not take the time to step back and analyze situations and my emotions regarding those situations. I cannot be my best self if I allow opportunities I want and have worked towards to pass me by.

New Practices to Begin:
Research into / Enroll in the LPN program at SCC
Nightly recaps of the day and how I felt during its events
Weekly reflection and self-assessment
Re-committing to a workout routine

Potential Obstacles:
Work
Weather
Finances
Emotional discord

Timeline and Measures of Sucess:
One week assessment of LPN information gathering and enrollment. Was I able to obtain the information I needed for the part-time LPN program? If not, what information could I not obtain and why?

Four-week assessment of nightly recaps. Are they going well? If not, what are the biggest factors preventing me from reflecting on my day?

Four-week assessment of weekly recpas. Am I able to reflect on my week at some point during the weekend? Am I providing myself with enough time to effectively reflect? If not, what are the biggest factors preventing me from completing a weekly reflection?

Four-week assessment of training. Minimum of two workouts at Anytime Fitness. Minimum of two workouts at dojo. Was I able to uphold my routine? If not, what were the biggest factors preventing me from working out?

Daily Post 146: Tags, Taxes, and Trips

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Lots of stuff to write about.

Firstly, I’ve started taking vitamin D gummies in the morning. They’re not bad tasting which is a plus. I do think they have been helping. I’ve only been taking them for roughly a week so I know I don’t have an extended time frame to go off of. Everything I’ve been able to find online says it can take up to a month for blood levels to even out, but I have noticed a significant difference in my energy level and overall mood. I’m not as depressed on my days off. I don’t feel as overwhelmed at work and can react to all of the daily craziness in better stride.

In general, I think the vitamin is helping and even if it’s not, I’m glad for whatever change has occurred to improve my mental state.

Another change on the home front is Papa Ox switching to a mostly keto diet which means, by proxy, Mama Ox is switching to one as well. I’ve taken over a lot of the cooking since I am the one with the most experience in that area. While that means my food budget has increased since I’m buying meals for more people, Mama Ox has offered to help with the grocery bill. It also means that after I work a 12 hour day I have to come home and cook, which sort of sucked yesterday. A large part of that had to do with not having anything planned ahead of time. I had to plan, grocery shop, prep, and cook all in one evening.

I’ll have a better handle on dinners in the coming weeks. I’m glad for this change even if it means a bit more work on my end. It will be easier to stick to my own diet goals because I’m not the only one trying to do something anymore while everyone else eats whatever they want and pressures me into conforming to them.

There’s still a lot of stuff in the kitchen and freezer which should be gotten rid of, but we’re on the right track to everyone having a healthier lifestyle. Ox has been supportive. He ate the stir fry I made last night with zoodles rather than regular noodles and while he said it wasn’t as good as normal noodles, the zoodles themselves weren’t bad and he still enjoyed the meal. He’s open to the idea of trying pizza with cauliflower crust and other recipes which he normally wouldn’t go for. He even had leftovers one night which is something he’s usually against.

Having all of the support I’ve been shown so far in all of the various ways it’s been given has helped motivate me. Being healthy no longer feels like a pointless endeavor that I’m the only one who cares about or wants to do.

In other news, Ox has a new car. It’s a 2018 Chevy Trax. While he says it’s “our” car, everything is in his name and he is / will be the primary driver. There’s a lot of backstory which goes into our decision to get the vehicle. We spent a lot of time researching the car itself and going over both of our finances. We’re keeping his old car in addition to the new one. Eventually, in a few years, when Ornery Ox is old enough to need a car, he’ll be given the Dodge Dart, the old car.

We can afford both car payments and their insurance while still meeting all of our other financial obligations. We both recognize the only reason we’re able to do this is that Ox and I live with his parents rent-free; thus why I’m ok with taking on the added responsibility of providing food for everyone. Ox will continue to be the handyman around the house. It’s reassuring to know that if something were to happen to any one of the cars in the household, there’s a backup. We all work too far away in different directions in the middle of nowhere to not be able to get to work. Having transportation is vital and though this adds additional financial responsibility to the equation, I think it was a smart move.

I also feel like it’s the first really big decision Ox and I have made together aside from the choice to have me move to Nebraska. It wasn’t as scary to talk about finances and budgets and payments as it would have been a year ago. I felt secure and safe through all of the conversations we had. I still feel secure and safe through all of the new conversations we’ve had today since he’s been home. I still stand behind my choices; our choices. I still think we got an amazing deal on an extremely good car. No regrets.

With the additional expense comes the decision for both of use to quit smoking. We haven’t stopped 100% yet, but we’ve cut back significantly which I think is still a win. I’m smoking roughly six a day again, which is under half of what I was doing only a week ago. Small steps. Not perfect, but I’m happy with the progress we’ve made toward our goal and I’m not going to give myself shit for not going cold turkey. I would rather be supportive of my efforts than bash myself. If I can cut my intake in half and be ok, then I can cut out the breaks at work and still be ok. If I can cut out the breaks at work then I don’t really need anything while I’m at home either. My personal goal is to stop completely by the end of March because…

I booked my plane ticket and rental car for my trip to Orlando.

Yep. That’s right.

I’m going to be visiting my younger brother and seeing my dad. I’m looking forward to the trip. I haven’t ironed out anything else out about the trip yet, but that’s because I was still waiting to get family time figured out. It seems like we’ll be meeting up for lunch on Saturday before I fly back to Nebraska. This weekend and the coming week I will be reaching out to people and setting up my social itinerary for the trip. I won’t be there for many days so I’m assuming they’ll be pretty busy.

I was able to plan the trip because I was a diligent adult and filed my taxes. I’m getting a pretty penny back. Ox is too, especially with the amendment he made to last year’s taxes where he gets to claim Ornery Ox as a dependant. Nebraska does sales taxes on cars differently than Florida, so there’s a slight expense to getting plates and tags for the Trax that we need to plan for. The dealership is paying for over half of it, though, so that’s part of what made the deal good. I also will be using part of my tax return to pay off the trip once it comes in. I used the credit card to buy the tickets and arrange everything, but the charge won’t be on there for an extended period of time, so I was ok with using it.

Ox has a few other expenses he wants to get caught up on. They fell behind due to working construction and the weather sucking. It was one of the biggest factors for him switching to his new job where his hours are guaranteed. Even with those expenses taken into account and setting aside a chunk of the money as a buffer for himself, he’s still able to pay me back everything that he currently owes me and then some.

I had wanted to use all of the extra money to go towards my car loan, cutting in it half, but with all of the expenses taken out, the amount of “extra” isn’t as much as my unrealistic brain was hoping for. Damn you logic for making sure everything was accounted for. >.<;

Currently, Ox is making an Excel sheet to go along with our updated budget so we can see which debt should be tackled first. There are three things I could pay off in full and still have money remaining as my own personal buffer. But would paying those debts off be as beneficial as putting the extra money towards the credit card?

With all of the different amounts and interest rates and blah blah blah blah blah numbers and logic and insert unknown factor here… My brain was shutting down and getting frustrated rather than continuing to tackle the question of “What’s the best financial debt to go after first?”

That’s where Ox stepped in to rescue me. He offered to figure it out so that’s what he’s working on while I finish typing about my life. It’s amazing how much more do-able today has been because he was a part of it. He figured out and looked up a lot of the numbers I needed. He helped me keep going as long as I did and was patient with me when I started getting frustrated and is now giving me a break from all of it for a little while. It’s awesome. I’m not the only one working on this project. I’m not the only one trying to figure out life and what the best choice would be. I can tap someone else in when I need to take a step back and vice-versa.

Aside from figuring out a debt battle plan, there’s not a whole lot else going on. I have to get gas for my car before tomorrow. I’m cooking chicken taco soup for dinner tonight. The gear I ordered from Venum won’t be here until tomorrow. It was supposed to be delivered today, but with the snow storms, it got delayed. So much lame. : /

That’s something else that gives me warm fuzzy feelings, though. Ox made sure I ordered my gear before things get tighter budget wise. He didn’t want me to keep putting it off and then not be able to get it later when the new car payment is due. I still had some extra from the overtime I worked during the holidays and after fixing up the car. So those are my Christmas / birthday gifts to myself; new 16-ounce Muah Thai gloves, headgear so I can spare, and a new duffle bag to put everything in since the zipper to my current bag got messed up during my trip to Denver. I was really hoping to be able to take everything with me to work to show one of my patients, but I guess I won’t be able to do that until Monday. It also means I won’t have my new stuff for the dojo tomorrow night, though, with how icky the weather has been I might just come home. I’m not sure yet.

We had a meeting for work on Tuesday. It got pretty heated at a few points. At the end of it, I spoke up and said that all of the issues seemed to stem from a breakdown in communication. The people who needed to hear everything that was being said weren’t there and the information most likely wouldn’t be communicated to them. What the clinic needed was a serious “sit down and come to Jesus” meeting.

When I had a chance to talk to my FA yesterday I apologized if I had stepped out of line with my comment. She sort of snickered and said that I hadn’t and that my mentality was one of the reasons she wanted me to do the leadership class. She said that the other FA for our sister clinic was grateful that I had spoken up and said what I did because no one had seemed to be “getting it.” She said they value my opinion and want me there in the future meeting that will be scheduled as a follow up to the one we just had. Hopefully, in the follow-up, things will get figured out and positive, meaningful steps forward begin to happen.

All in all, I can’t complain about anything in my Life other than it’s freaking freezing outside still and I can’t feel my toes even though I have two sets of socks on. ;-;

Guess that means I have to curl up in bed with my electric blanket and cross stitch so I can get warm. Oh, darn.

Daily Post 137: Socks!!!!

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

I. Can. Not. Wait.

omg…

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

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

I mean… look at them…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Post 135: Pre-Test

Standard

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

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

I’m waiting to take my test today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy. Known. Safe. Routine.

I can do that. I want that.

I’m almost there.