Daily Post 093: Enjoying Summer

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This past week has been one of my rougher ones since moving to Nebraska. I worked five days this week. I survived until Thursday, my first day off, and since that was my main goal I feel like the week was a success.

On top of surviving, I got the news that I’m down a pound in body fat and up two in muscle. That’s validating and motivating.

I went to the Anytime Fitness for the first time to work out on Thursday. I like the gym. I like how it was mostly empty and I was able to do my own thing. I rowed and worked on my arms. What makes that workout even better is the fact that I did it after working with my trainer, so that’s two workouts in one day. I feel like I’m getting back to my “pre-work” level; back when I was able to spend three hours at the dojo pretty much every day sparing with people I now miss.

I feel like I’m back to making progress and that’s a good feeling.

I feel like this next week is going to go smoother in some ways and harder in others. I’m almost done with all of my cooking. I have the laundry to switch over to the dryer. I just got back home with Ox from running out to get new work shoes since my feet have started to hurt again. Since my days are shorter then what they were in Orlando and because I’ve had my shoes for over a year now, I’m pretty sure it’s an issue with the shoes themselves. We’ll see how tomorrow goes with the new ones I suppose.

Ox is going to have his kids for the next two weeks.

That’s where things are going to get harder. I’m prepped better for the coming week but we’ll have the kids…

That’s two weeks that I still have to work and wake up early while they’re on summer vacation. That’s two weeks of them being home on my days off and wanting to do things. Two weeks of “I don’t know how to be a parent what the fuck and I’m supposed to do I need an instruction guide someone please save me”.

I’m thinking about looking into getting an extended stay room close to my clinic for the coming weeks. That would give me a quiet place to retreat to when I need silence and space. That would give me a place to sleep without raining on everyone’s fun.

The downside is that it would be expensive and unlike the hotel rooms I’ve been booking for the nights before my shifts in Omaha, this wouldn’t be reimbursed. I also feel like it would be running away and hiding from something that I have to eventually face.

I haven’t made any decisions yet. But I’m going to have to figure something out soon. The kids will be here Thursday evening. I work both Friday and Saturday. Being tired and sleep deprived and mentally / emotionally tapped out from not having recovery time isn’t an option I really want to entertain. Arg >.<;

Saturday went well. And I guess I should back up to Friday. Friday went well, too. I worked with a new nurse that day since my FA had to go out of town. The nurse was familiar with the machines my clinic uses so that was a plus. The day went smoothly and I was grateful that it went better than I had thought it would.

I drove home and packed for my overnight stay in Omaha before driving into Lincoln to have dinner with Ox. He went with me across the street where I filled my car’s tank up and then wished me well. I’m glad to say that I was able to make the whole trip to the hotel without GPS. It helps that I’ve been staying at the same hotel each time. I’m getting familiar with the staff there. I like their facility. They have a pool that I haven’t been in yet. They also have a fitness room that’s 24 hours which I almost used this time.

Saturday started out nice even though it was a rainy and windy morning. I slept deeply and woke up feeling rested; at least rested enough to make it through the day. I didn’t need the GPS to get the clinic. Go me!

Even with the complications of a machine not working the day went well. I’m more familiar with how tasks are divided up and I have a better idea where things are located. I know how to be helpful past the point of setting up machines and taking care of patients. I can help prep the clinic for the next day. I can make needle packs and organize the morning shift setups.

I was able to close down the water room fine on my own. I was confident this time rather than holding my breath and hoping I did it right. I’ve gotten to the point where I know which steps take a while, so I don’t have to have everything on the floor done before beginning the water room. It doesn’t require my focused, undivided attention. I can get to this particular step then go back out and finish wiping down chairs. I can get to this step then go empty the bleach containers. Once I get to this step I can count the dialyzers.

I can be more efficient with my time, which means I can close the clinic faster than the hour or so it’s been taking me. That’s another good feeling. Efficiency is a big thing for me. I knew I would be slow at first. I knew it would take me a few times to get comfortable with the process. Now I’m getting to the point where I can improve my workflow. I’m no longer “learning”. Now I’m tweaking and figuring out what works for me.

I’m thinking about offering to work Saturdays for their clinic until they can get people through training. It would keep me making overtime while working a fairly chill shift with people I like. I don’t mind the thought of being there. I don’t feel a sand-pappery aversion to the thought. There’s not the crushing, draining weight of “I don’t want to do this,” that makes me cry silent tears on the way to do anyway.

There are grocery stores on the way home I can stop at after my Saturday shift. I can work that back into my weekend routine. Meal plan on Thursday’s most likely since Friday is a 12-hour shift. With meals planned out, I can make a grocery list. With a grocery list, I can do the shopping on Saturday like I used to, along with any prep work that needs to be done once I’m home. Put meats in marinades. Cut up veggies if I need to. Then Sundays can go back to simply being cooking days rather than everything all at once.  With a little bit of planning, a little bit of proactiveness, I think I can make this work for me.

I want to see if I can.

I have already been approved for having July 13th and 14th off. That’s the Friday before my race and the day of my race. I’m actually looking forward to it a little bit. More than I was when I first signed up. I signed up because I knew I wanted to do a Warrior Dash this year. I missed doing the one in Florida. I wanted to see my patients one last time instead. I wanted to give them their thank you cards in person. I didn’t want my Warrior Dash to be the last time I was with Big Bad. I didn’t want the weight of knowing we were saying goodbye to hang over the entire event, which it would have for me. It would have hurt to run it that way. So I didn’t.

But it’s something I think of as “my” race. It’s where I started. That first one; that was my moment of taking me back for myself. That was me giving a giant “Fuck you” to the person so undermined so much of my self-confidence for so long. I could do it. I did do it. I can do it. And there was, is, still a part of me who wanted to run the race even though I didn’t in February.

That’s why I signed up for the one here, in Nebraska, in July. Because there’s a part of me who still needed to run it even though I was feeling bad at the time. I had regressed. I knew I needed to address that and I’m glad I did even though in the beginning it sucked. I’m glad I met with my trainer and I’m glad he’s working with me. I want to do better this race. I want to keep improving. So yeah. I’m a little more jazzed about it than I was when I first signed up. I’m looking forward to it even though it’s a small, soft, vulnerable thing at the moment.

I hope it continues to grow. I hope it becomes a confident and stable thing. A, “I know I’ll do well” feeling rather than a, “I hope I do well” feeling.

I finally was able to spend most of a day outside today. Ox worked a bit in the addition but we’ve run out of 2x4s so he can’t keep working on the walls. We were trying to get work done in the yard, but that required moving a piece of equipment which ended up taking most of the day. We didn’t get done with that until 2 pm. It would be easier to write about if I knew what half the stuff we used was called, but I don’t. All I can say is that my arms and core are sore from all of the work we ended up having to do manually, but it’s a good sore.

We got something done, something pretty major, and we got it done together. We sweated together. We got tired together. We accomplished something together and that makes me feel good. It makes me feel connected and like I’m part of something.

It was a fantastic day outside. Warm. Sunny. I wanted to get more done, so I did. I moved some piles of scrap wood and raked up last years dead leaves and sticks. I’m not through with the raking and there’s a part of me that feels bad for not getting it completed. There’s part of me who feels like I add to the mess and disorganization by leaving something half done, but I could tell my body was wearing down. I was sunburnt. I needed water. I needed food. I still needed to still finish my cooking. At some point, I needed to shower again…

I needed to do all of these things that take time and energy and I only have so much of each to spend and use each day. So as much as I wanted to get everything done, the yard was something left at a state of half complete; contained and better, but not finished.

I would like to finish the yard Tuesday after my shift at Cap City, but I’m not sure how that day is going to go, so… We’ll have to wait and see. I might not be able to really get back outside until Thursday. But yeah, even with that task incomplete I feel really good right now and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I was finally outside doing something.

The day actually started later than I thought it would. I woke up at 2 am since I’m conditioned to wake up early. Thankfully I was able to get back to sleep. I slept until almost 9 am; way later than that I thought I would or could have. That’s an additional seven hours of sleep. As Ox said, though, I guess I needed it if my body let that happen. With how little sleep I got for the first part of the week maybe that’s more true than not. Maybe it’s not just pretty words to make me feel better, but a truth I should accept.

That’s harder to do when the Evil Voice nags about how much time was wasted doing nothing. Fucking Evil Voice… I will break out the Q-tips… >.>

I spent the first part of the morning cooking before going outside to help Ox. I think that helped since I had a break from cooking and didn’t have to spend four solid hours in the kitchen.

I used a spice mix last week for the deer roast I cooked which turned out amazing. So amazing I’m actually using it again. I’ve seasoned some steaks with it and chicken thighs as well. It really is that awesome. Since it helps to marinate the meat a bit first, I seasoned everything before Ox and I ran into town.

We went to the Skechers store where I got new work shoes. I was surprised to find out that I get a discount because of the company I work for. A 30% discount. Woo!

We stopped at Walmart after that so I could get another packet of a glaze I tried last week as well. Again, something that turned out to be pretty amazing.

So the cooking is almost done. Just have to bake some stuff now. The laundry is almost done. My hotel for Friday night is already reserved. My bills are already paid and though I’m lower on funds than what I would like, everything is overpaid as far as my debt is concerned and nothing is due until next paycheck which will have my billion hours of overtime on it with my double incentive shift.

I didn’t get my bike rack this weekend, but I’m ok with that because I got the window AC unit with Ox and new shoes and two cases of my Bang energy drink. I got new sunglasses that I actually like. The hotel had my laptop charger in their lost and found when I checked in Friday night since I couldn’t find it when I got back home last weekend.

There’s a lot of warmth going on in my life right now. A lot of progress. A lot of security. I’m not worried about my job anymore which helps.

It’s summer. It’s my time. My season. I’m not sick or working so much that I can’t enjoy it. And though I grieve every day in my own way, I’m not the shattered version of myself I was when mom first died.

It feels like this is the first summer since mom died that I’ll be able to go out and do things and… live… I guess. It’s… it’s a good feeling even though it makes my eyes sting with tears. When I was raking earlier today I remembered how I would help her rake when we lived in South Carolina. I remember how she hated to do yard work and how I would help her because many hands make light work. She would always say it went by faster with help and so I wanted to help her.

I don’t know what else to write or where to go from that train of thought. I guess that’s it. I don’t really feel like writing anymore. My heart aches. It’s not good or bad. It’s just life…

Mom is dead and I can’t rake the yard with her anymore, but I can still enjoy my days and be outside in the sunlight and I can remember her and all of the things she taught me. I can remember all of the moments we had and what they meant to me; what they still mean to me.

Today was a good day. Saturday was a good day. Friday and Thursday were good days, too. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m looking forward to going to work and telling my patients about my weekend and how I got new shoes.

I don’t dislike my life anymore, mom and I’m sorry that there’s still a part of me who feels guilty about that. I know this is what you want for me. To be happy. To live. To keep going. I’m sorry that it still hurts and sucks sometimes. I’m sorry there’s a part of me who feels like it’s a betrayal to you to be able to keep going. I promise I still love you. I promise it still hurts as much as it ever did; as much as it ever will.

I’m thankful at the same time. I’m here because of you. I know it. It’s one of my truths and I don’t care what other people think or feel about those words. You’ve done so much for me in life and in death. Thanks for helping get me to a point where I actually have the option to enjoy summer again.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

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Daily Post 092: Being Right

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I’m doing well today and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I got a full night of sleep last night. It’s the first night since last Saturday evening that I’ve gotten more than three hours of sleep. It makes me realize, once again, how important sleep is in regards to the equation of Life.

And, once again, as seems to be the case so often this past year, it has been a while since I’ve written.

Work is going well.

The patient I infiltrated the other week is doing well. His arm bruised a little, but he said it didn’t bother him and he let me cannulate him during his next treatment. He’s been extremely kind and understanding and I’m grateful for him trusting me enough to still be his tech. We still smile and chit-chat. He still lets me spread his blanket out over him after his treatment is initiated. We’re still ok and that makes me feel ok.

I ended up having a surprise 12-hour shift this past Saturday, which is why it feels like I’ve been playing catch-up until today. I was scheduled to close the South Omaha clinic, which went surprisingly smoothly. While I was in the middle of closing the clinic I received a phone call from another FA saying she, “knew it was a long shot, but would I be willing to close another clinic in the area.”

I guess their tech was sick and then stopped answering her phone and they were pretty much screwed because no one else could close the clinic for them.

I really didn’t want to. I wanted to go home. I was supposed to go to the gym and the grocery store. I was supposed to prep for my five day work week and recover. I ended up accepting the shift, though, because I know what it’s like to work short-handed.

I hadn’t changed into my sandals yet. I was still in work mode. I was still in the area rather than being halfway through my drive home. There was no real reason for me to say no, especially since I was already getting overtime pay and there was a double incentive added for the hours I would be working at the other clinic.

I’m not saying that I accepted it purely for the pay, but I can’t say that it didn’t feel nice knowing that my time was being compensated pretty fairly.

Because I worked so late I was tired by the time I got back to Hickman. The shopping didn’t get done and the gym for sure didn’t get done. I was still tired Sunday when I woke up, too, so I didn’t really start doing much until later in the day. I also had a pretty deep, emotional conversation with Ox that day about our relationship.

I needed the rest in the morning and I feel like we needed the conversation to happen as well. It just sucked that the results of those choices meant I was up pretty late cooking. Since I  wasn’t able to get through all of my cooking Sunday, Monday, after working 12 hours, after going to my rescheduled training at the gym where I died a little bit… I came home and finished up most of the cooking which, again, put me getting to bed way later than I should have.

Tuesday sucked. I was exhausted before I even got out of bed. I covered my shift at Captial City and was grateful that the last hour I was there they had me in the back room making needle packs, alone, away from people, doing a mindless task that didn’t require mental effort.

I came home and slept for a few hours in the afternoon. I didn’t have combat practice this Tuesday because the first Tuesday of the month the group travels to Omaha to practice with people up there. I woke up from my nap when Ox came home. I wasn’t able to fall back asleep until later in the evening since everyone was home and awake and watching TV. It’s one of the downsides to roommates or living with other people in general. I don’t get alone time very often and it will never happen in the evening.

I slept alright Tuesday night once I could finally get back to sleep. I slept more than I had any of the previous nights, but with a 12-hour shift ahead of me I knew it would still be borderline brutal by the time my day was done.

I made it through it, though. Working a normal day at my clinic with my FA was nice. It helped that I had a day off in my future to look forward to.

I submitted and have been reimbursed for my travel expenses for the month of May. I have a report already created for the month of June. As I cover extra shifts I’m adding the expenses to it so I don’t forget anything at the end of the month or have to spend a billion hours filling it out.

I talked to my FA about my position at the clinic since that’s something I’ve been worried about. With the new tech going through training and living in Beatrice I’ve been worried about being pushed out and having to work in locations I don’t care for.

Beatrice is what I think of as “home”. I like my patients. I’ve been there for four months now. I have systems in place. I know where things are at and how they’re organized. I’m confident with the machines they have. I like my ride to work in the morning even though it’s early. I don’t want things to change all that much.

During my conversation, my FA explained that the new tech would have precedence over me at the clinic until we opened the TTS shifts again so I would float to other places until that happened.

After some time alone to process that information I realized I was angry and hurt. I found this out Monday before I went to the gym. I talked to Jon on my way home and he agreed that the information was pretty shitty and that I should tell my FA how I felt.

He jokingly told me not to kill the new tech to which I replied that I didn’t want to kill her, I just wanted her to quit. I wanted her to realize how hard this job was and to realize she wasn’t cut out for it and to quit before she started.

I had met her for a few hours a while back. She had come to the clinic with her trainer. I can’t explain why, but I didn’t like her. It was a feeling. Some sort of itch in the back of my mind that said, “You won’t like working with her.”

As an INFJ I have learned to trust those unexplained feelings. I don’t have to have a logical reason for why. She was nice to me. She seemed well put together. But there was something… dark? about her. Snake-ish. Back-stabby. I could work with her if I had to, but I would never trust her to not throw me to the wolves if it would save her own skin.

That evening I ended up getting a phone call from my FA. She wanted to reassure me that she wanted me on her team. She didn’t want me to feel kicked out or like I didn’t matter. She also said that things change very quickly and that the new tech had just given her notice and would not be working at the clinic.

I’m still trying to figure out those emotions. I had said I wanted her to quit only a handful of hours before getting this information, but I hadn’t really thought she would. I hadn’t meant for my words to actually happen. So there is a small measure of guilt. Sort of like I wished for something ill to happen and it came true and so now Karma is going to be looking for payment.

On the flip side, the reason she gave for quitting was that she “didn’t have enough time to sit down.” Totally in the wrong field if you ever think you’re going to do anything less than six miles during your shift. “Sitting down” is not a thing that happens. When it does you’re grateful for the unexpected blessing. You never go into the day expecting quiet, smooth, non-stressful. You prepare for battle with your most comfortable shoes and accept the day is not going to go how you envision it. Patients will not show up. Patients’ blood pressures will bottom out. Patients will get sick. Patients will be late. Patients will want off their machines early. Patients will want another cup of ice. Patients will want you to get something out of their bags for them.

On top of that, you’ll still have to prepare for the next shift or the next day. You’ll still have to do water checks. You’ll still have to count dialyzers or make needle packs. You’ll still have to generate treatment sheets. You’ll still have to do a million other things.

“Sitting down” isn’t one of those things.

So I can’t say I’m heartbroken over her leaving before she even got halfway through training.

I’m saddened that we will still be running three days a week for a while now. We’re still down two nurses and now a tech. It’s just me and my FA dedicated to the clinic at the moment and my FA honestly shouldn’t be on the floor. She should be doing FA work, not nurse work, but since she’s also an RN she’s filling that gap as best she can until we can get a solid team together.

I’m saddened that it didn’t work out but I’m also relieved that she didn’t get hired on, that we didn’t open back up to six days a week only for her to turn around and quit on us later. I would have rather it happened now rather than in the future where it could have done more harm.

It leaves me feeling more secure in my place at the clinic. I still feel like I made the right choice and I think things will go differently during future interviews as they look for another tech. When Mrs. Quitter was hired on we were still open six days a week. She negotiated during her interview that she would not float to other clinics; she would only work at the Beatrice location.

That’s why things were looking icky for me since we moved down to only three days a week. That’s three 12 hour shifts. She would need all three days to meet full-time standards. That means I would have to go somewhere else since she was specifically a “non-float” team member.

I don’t think they will let that fly during future interviews. I can’t say they won’t for sure, but I think they will consider me a bit more during the process.

I think that’s about it for work. Lots of actual working getting down. I’m up to 56 hours of PTO so the trip in August is looking good. I’ll have the time to cover it without having to starve. Hooray.

Ox and I are doing well. I don’t know what else to say in that regard. I think me working so much is putting strain on me which in turn is straining our time together. I think I do need more alone time then what I am able to get. After next week I think I will refrain from picking up days during the week. I think if I pick up extras it will only be on Saturdays because I need the silence and space I get on my Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I’m grateful for the support and understanding that Ox gives me. I’m grateful that he tries to help me through my stress as much as he can. He lets me cry. He lets me talk. He lets me make my own choices and he helps me get through the consequences.

He answers all of my silly questions like, “Can I still come home?” He encourages me to get my tasks done when I’m feeling low and tapped out and would normally let them slide, leaving my next day that much worse off.

I’ve started to make his lunches. He went to the store and bought gym clothes yesterday. He worked on the addition Sunday. We bought a window AC unit for our room yesterday along with going out to dinner together.

I think that helped me sleep deeply last night; having the cool air circulating around the room. I feel like we’re doing pretty well with adulting the shit out of Life. We got the countertops for the kitchen done finally. We got a new sink that I absolutely love, and we’re in the process of installing a water filter for it as well. That’s currently needing some tweaking, but it’s in the works. There’s still more work to be done with the kitchen, but it’s progressing, as are other areas in the house, and it’s visual progress so my brain is more ok with what’s going on.

I might not get all of the alone time I need or want, but I am fortunate enough to live in a safe and caring environment. I still enjoy living here, even on the days I feel overwhelmed, and I still think that moving was the best choice I could have made for myself.

I had a “weigh in” at the gym today with my trainer. At first, he was giving me a bit of a hard time. According to My Fitness Pal, I’m usually over my calorie intake. He wants to keep me around the 1700 mark, but if I’m under 2000 I feel ill. Since it’s not a “want” but more of a “need” to eat, I haven’t felt bad about eating. I burn roughly 3k in calories at work. I deserve a burger patty damn it!

Well… I got on the scale and it said I was up a pound. More talking from my trainer. More looking at what I’m eating and when. Eggs don’t last long enough. I’m starving by the time I’m able to have lunch…. blah blah blah…

We hooked me up to electrodes to get my body composition…

I’m down one pound of fat and up two pounds in muscle.

Yes. I am a badass and I will still have my burger patty and I will stare you down while I eat it because I’m a bawce that’s why.

It’s one of the reasons I hate scales. The body comp makes me feel validated for all the times I said I was hungry and still ate regardless of what the numbers were. I wasn’t eating carbs. I was eating protein and veggies for the most part. I was trying to be smart about what I was consuming while still listening to my body when it was telling me it wasn’t getting enough.

I think my trainer has a different opinion of me after today. He knew I used to workout hard with jiujitsu and stuff, but I think seeing a two pound gain of muscle shows that I’m not playing games. I’m for real doing this and my numbers can’t be cookie cutter like everyone else, and just because I gain doesn’t mean I’m gaining the “wrong” stuff.

It’s just like all the other times in the past where people would ask me, “You look great! How much have you lost?”

Me: Well… funny story… I’m up 5 pounds even though I’ve dropped 2 pant sizes… Sorry… No awesome, “I’ve lost 50 pounds in four weeks” story here…

It can be demotivating depending on the numbers you look at. The scale sucks. No. Seriously. Fuck that jerk.

That’s the best advice I can give anyone who’s struggling with self-image or letting numbers convince you “you’re not doing good enough”.

If your clothes are fitting better that’s all the proof you need that you’re making progress. That’s not something that’s made up inside of your head. Pants zipping up easier, shirts fitting looser… That’s real. More real than the scale telling you that you’re failing.

All the scale can do is tell you that you are heavier than what you were. It can’t tell you if that’s from fat or muscle or a 20-pound backpack on your shoulders. The scale is stupid.

So yeah… My words of wisdom for the day… Fuck that guy.

In general, I’m feeling better and I’m doing pretty well today. I’ve already killed it at the gym with plans to go to the Anytime Fitness here in Hickman to row for a bit since I have T-Rex arms. ;-;

I got that membership Tuesday after my craptastic day of exhaustion. One of the biggest things adding friction to getting my workouts done is how far away the YMCAs are in relation to where I live. I have to drive further from home or past home to get to them, and after working a full day that is a really hard hurdle to overcome. I want to go home. I want to change out of my scrubs. Adding an extra hour to my day just in travel time is normally a “nope” by the time I get to that point in my day.

With this gym, it’s literally within walking distance. The classes they offer happen at 6:30 so I could always make them after work. They’re 24 hours so I don’t have to worry about them being closed during the time I want to do something. They have nice, new equipment, including jump boxes. So much excite : D

I’m hoping it works out and that I utilize it more than what I have been with the YMCAs. If I do, then I’ll most likely end my membership with the Y, and pay the increased fee to work with my trainer. In my mind, it would be worth it. I don’t like paying for things that aren’t being used and I’m getting really good results with him so I know he’s worth it.

So yeah… I’ve cleaned the kitchen. I’ve done a load of laundry that I still need to fold and put away. I’ve washed the sheets and need to switch them to the dryer so I can wash the blanket. I’ve talked to my brother. I’ve written. I’ve napped. I’ve eaten. I’ve cleaned the room and the kids’ toy shelf…

I’ve been a badass for most of the day. I’m going to try to keep it going by getting up to do things now.

Until next time.

Letters to Mom 018: Coping With My First Infiltration

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I’m crying right now as I write this. I feel like I need to admit to that.

There was a comment from a reader on my last post, linking to another post about a woman who also lost her mom and how “she’s still her mother’s daughter”.

At one point she says, “I still need you.”

I’m not the only one who thinks that; who feels that and I don’t know why but it makes it feel like things are ok. I’m not weak or “holding on” or whatever other stupid things I tell myself.

It’s ok to still need you, mom.

I needed you yesterday.

I infiltrated my first patient. In a year and a half, I’ve never infiltrated. I’ve missed. I’ve had the fistula and graphs roll on me like normal veins. I’ve had to restick patients… But I’ve never infiltrated and I’ve never caused a patient to not be able to run their treatment.

Until yesterday.

My patient came in like he always does. I wasn’t able to call him in early. He used to run on first shift, but with having to close the clinic down to three days a week with an ISO patient, he had to be moved to second shift because he is (un)lucky enough to be immune.

He hates running on second shift. His lunch is cold by the time he gets home. It messes his morning up. He’s one of the nicest, quietest people I have ever met and it hurts to know that I can’t make the situation better for him. Whenever there’s an open chair in the morning he’s the first person I call.

Me: *teasing voice* There’s an open chair for you if you happen to feel like coming in early.
Him: I’ll be right there!

It always makes my day to greet him, to spread out his blanket after his treatment is initiated, to help carry his bag to the scale as he’s leaving and saying our farewells.

Yesterday there wasn’t an open chair so I couldn’t call him in early. We flipped the station as quickly as we could. We got everything set up. I smiled a warm and genuine smile when he came into the clinic. We exchanged small talk as I took his standing blood pressure.

I can tell his smiles are real now. They’re different than the ones in the beginning when we were both still strangers. After being there for almost four months I think we both are getting used to each other. I’m not a random stranger stabbing needles into his arm. I’m his tech and he’s my patient and I actually do care about what he’s doing in his garden and what are you talking about? The weather is amazing. I’m from Florida. 100 degrees is basking temperature. You guys are the ones who are weird for thinking it’s too hot.

We moved through all of the different stages of the pre-treatment process. I cannulated his arterial needle fine. I cannulated his venous needle and… hesitated. It didn’t… feel? right…

There was flashback… I pulled the needle back a little… I wasn’t against the wall of the vessel or anything… There was no resistance on the advancement of the needle… But I couldn’t shake the feeling of “wrongness”.

I drew labs from the arterial needle. No resistance. Everything was fine there. I administered his prescribed heparin through the venous needle. Again, no resistance. When I asked if the needle felt ok he said yes.

Ok… Maybe it’s just me…

I connected the bloodlines to the needle lines and initiated his treatment. I watched the machine as the pump started. The needle pressures were within normal ranges. I still wasn’t sold on the whole, “everything’s ok” thing.

I turned the pump up to the prescribed flow. Still ok on pressures…

If nothing is wrong then why do I feel like something is wrong?

With no answer to that question, I reluctantly secured my patient’s lines. I put his feet up and spread his blanket out like normal. I asked if he needed anything else.

Me: Anything else I can do for right now?
Him: Nope. I think that will do.
Me: Arighty. If that changes you let us know.
Him: Will do.

I took my gloves off, rubbing hand sanitizer over them before I began to chart on the computer next to his machine.

That’s when the machine’s alarm went off. Venous pressure had reached not ok levels and the machine automatically shut the pump off. I looked at the machine, reading the alarm message it was giving. I immediately looked at my patient’s arm dread already making my stomach turn to ice. My patient’s arm was so swollen at the venous needle sight, so “not right” that all I could do for the first half a second was stare unbelieving at what I was looking at.

Irrational Right Brain: … But… But everything had been fine…

My next thought was a mild freak out of, “omg is he in pain?”

I asked him if his arm hurt. He said it had for a little bit but it felt fine now.

Irrational Right Brain:  Your arm is not fine. I let this happen. I cannulated you. I did this to you. I hurt you. This is my fault.

Rational Left Brain: It doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t your fault. You’re patient needs you to keep your shit together and not have a fucking meltdown right now. You can do that on break. Right now you need a nurse. You’re not a nurse. Get the nurse.

I called the nurse over. She confirmed it was an infiltration and that his blood could not be rinsed back and he could not run his treatment.

I can’t express the soul-crushing feeling I felt at hearing her words. I hadn’t felt emotions like that since I first started training and would have to be reminded to increase the blood pump speed or hearing the words that I had messed up stringing a machine or being told I had left the saline clamps open… again…

I haven’t felt those feelings of absolute failure since my RN mentor would point out all of the things I was doing wrong, in front of the patients, while I’m trying to already not fall apart because I fucked something up with the last patient I was with, too, and I can’t do anything right and this was totally the wrong choice and why did I think I could ever do anything medical related. I’m just a total failure at life and all of these “wrongs” prove it. I’m a fuck up and I’m sorry and I can’t seem to get it right, just once. I’m sorry I’m a failure.

Those.

Those feelings…

I got through them somehow in the beginning. I had long talks with my coworkers on break. I had my patients thank me at the end of their treatment and tell me that I was doing well. I had several nights of crying in my car after work and talking to Jon. I had all of these moments that helped me get through and fight back that voice in my head that cried out “failure” over every mess up. And eventually, I messed up less. I learned. I got better. I got faster. I got more confident and familiar with the totally new work world I had thrown myself into.

But yesterday… Yesterday I failed.

I failed my patient.

It was so hard to not cry as I explained to him we wouldn’t be able to run his treatment.

Him: Well… It happens.

Irrational Right Brain: NO GODDAMMIT! It doesn’t “happen”. Be angry at me. Be mean to me. I hurt you. I don’t deserve your kindness. I don’t deserve your understanding. I hurt you and I’m so sorry and there’s no way to make it right and I’m so so sorry.

I had to go into the back hallway and cry for a few seconds alone before pulling my shit together to get through the rest of change over. I didn’t have time to feel like a failure. I had other patients who needed me to be there for them and in a way that helped. I had to cannulate three other people and all of those cannulations were flawless.

It helped quite the voice inside of my head saying I should rethink my entire career choice and that I was a horrible fuck up.

After my break, after talking to my brother, I talked to my FA about the incident.

Me: Have you ever infiltrated anyone?
Her: Oh god, yes. That’s part of the job. It happens.
Me: That was the first time it happened to me.
Her: Really? If I had known that I would have been more compassionate. Are you saying in a year you’ve never infiltrated anyone?
Me: No. I haven’t. Which is why I’m having such a hard time right now. I’m trying to complete the NFACT “expert cannulator” thing and yet I infiltrate this patient and have been having a hard time with another patient’s access. It’s hard to not feel like I’m doing a bad job or that I shouldn’t pursue it further.
Her: If you were doing a bad job I would have told you long before this.

I felt better as our conversation continued and she shared her own experiences with me. It reminded me of when I was in Orlando and my trainers would caution me, “You’re going to infiltrate. Everyone does and it’s ok.”

I had accepted, back then, back there, that I would, eventually, one day, infiltrate a patient. And I guess in the year and a half or so since I’ve been working, to only have one on my record is pretty unheard of. I had accepted with phlebotomy that sometimes you miss. It’s not that you’re a bad phlebotomist. Some days are better than others. Some patients are easier to stick than others. The same goes for cannulating a dialysis patient.

Missing doesn’t automatically mean you’re bad. Infiltrating, also, doesn’t automatically mean you’re bad. And that’s something I’m having to work through. I’m not bad at my job. But yesterday I felt like it.

Yesterday I started questioning pretty much everything. I need titles and labels and to understand my roll in all of the dynamics I have; in all of the spots I fill in Life.

Who am I? What am I? What am I working towards? What’s important to me? Why do I wake up in the morning? What’s the point of getting out of bed? What’s the driving force behind doing anything, achieving anything, caring about anything?

Those were the questions going through my head last night.

Everything felt so nebulous and tentative and ready to shatter around me and I don’t know why.

I had already accepted that this incident was not a direct reflection of my skill. Hell, it could have been something as simple as my patient moved his arm while shifting in his chair and the point of the needle infiltrated on its own.

The important thing was I reacted professionally. I made sure the situation was controlled and that my patient was safe and gave the proper instructions for the care of his infiltration while he was between treatments.

Yet, there I was at home, questioning who I am. What I am.

It reminded me of what it was like when you first died, mom. I was no longer a teacher. I was no longer a student. I was no longer an employed member of society. I was no longer anything…

Currently, I’m not a mother but I have an eight-year-old who thinks she’s my daughter. I have a significant other but I’m not a wife or a girlfriend. I’m a nebulous in between. I’m not a nurse but that’s the easiest way to explain things to people because Patient Care Technician is long and confusing and you can see their eyes glaze over with that “not processing” look.

I’m “not” so many things, but then what am I if I’m not those things? What are the constants in my life that I can cling to when everything feels unstable? What are the cornerstones I found for myself during your death that have pulled me through all of the hard times where I wanted to give up?

That’s when I started remembering them…

I AM your daughter. You ARE my mother. I AM a warrior. I AM an earth dragon. And Life can go fuck itself if it thinks I’m going to give up.

It doesn’t matter what other titles I have. It doesn’t matter what other people think I am or am not. I AM your daughter and that is one thing that WILL NEVER change.

I don’t know what else to write, mom. Things aside from the craptastic day of yesterday are going well. I made my first rattan sword this past Saturday and it was awesome. I’m down seven pounds as of today and up one pound of muscle. We’re supposed to be starting serious work in the addition this weekend. The new countertops for the kitchen got installed and they’re pretty awesome. I figured out why I haven’t been back paid for my certification from March. I’m level 20 something in Final Fantasy 14 and I’m still having fun with the game. Jon and I are making solid plans for visiting Jason.

Things are still going really well overall. I feel like I should say sorry for letting this one event shake me so hard, but I’m not sorry so I can’t say it. I can say I will try not to let it eat away at me. I will try not to let it cloud my perception of myself and make me question my self-worth or skill.

But I know myself. This is still an unclosed loop in my head because I have not atoned for the wrong I feel I have committed. I need to figure out something to bring closure to this for me. Maybe writing… Maybe a post for my patient, similar to the posts I make for you, or for the people I can’t say things to…

Maybe saying all the words I wish I could say to him would help me move past this so I can still be the confident, competent patient care technician that I am and that he needs me to be.

I don’t know… But I promise I’ll figure it out, mom.

I love you. And I still need you. And you’re still here even if it’s not the same as it was and I think after reading the post shared with me by my reader that I’m getting better about accepting that.

Thanks, mom, for listening. For everything. I love you. Forever and for always.

Daily Post 091: Another Summery

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This is most likely going to jump around a bit. I guess the easiest way to write would be to break life into sections and write about each one since, once again, so much has happened.


Work

Work has been going well. I got my paycheck with my first bit of overtime. That was awesome. I also got the payback for the Concur report. Surprisingly I got all $400 for that. I got my wage increase finally for my CCHT test. I haven’t received the back pay for that, though, so it’s not 100% off my to-do list. Currently, I’m waiting to see if the back pay lands on this paycheck. If it doesn’t then I’ll be contacting my FA to see what needs to happen in that regard.

I need to figure out how to fill out Concur reports for traveling to different clinics since I was told I would be compensated for travel time and gas. I also ended up paying for the hotel room the last time I worked at the South Omaha clinic, which is another thing I can be reimbursed for. So, one of these days when I’m not super busy at work (which is never) I need to figure that out.

I haven’t started on the VAM training. I haven’t forgotten about it. More it just hasn’t worked out since I’ve been doing overtime elsewhere. This coming week seems like it will be a good week to start in on that, though.

I’m still waiting to hear back about finishing off my NFACT training. All I need in that regard is to get checked off on the skills list. Since one of our patients just got orders approved to use his fistula, now-ish would be a good time to get that completed. It’s another thing I’m waiting to hear back on. That task is close to being done, though, so I’m content with where I’m at with it.

The days seem to be going better. The one patient who was unstable for a while seems to be doing better. We switcher her dialyzer and everything is going well now.

Another patient has started having issues. Switching her dialyzer didn’t seem to resolve anything, so I’m not sure where we’re going with that at the moment.

Mr. Non-compliance got a fistula placed last week. Because of that, he was in the hospital for a while, but he was at the clinic on Friday for treatment. It was good to see him after so long. I hope he begins to show up more regularly. He’s an awesome guy. I can’t do much to help him live if he skips treatment, though, and that’s a shitty reality of my job. I can only do so much, and a majority of that depends on the patient actually being there.

Friday was a day from hell. I loved the RN I worked with. I’ve worked with her a few times at the Capital City clinic while I was in “training” after my move to Nebraska. She doesn’t work at the Beatrice clinic often, though. In the past six months, she said she’s been there three times. Because our machines are so different from all of the other clinics that meant it felt like I was on my own for the most part on Friday.

I set up nearly every machine. That meant we were running behind for first shift, which snowballed into second shift. Even though my FA was on the floor helping out we didn’t recover from the slow start.

There were soooooo many people at my clinic on Friday. I guess there was some uber meeting going on in the conference room. I didn’t understand how there could be that many people and yet leave me feeling like I was the only one working the floor.

The new tech who will be working the clinic with me showed up later in the day with her preceptor. I wish I could say I like her, but my first impression is that I won’t. She lives in Beatrice which worries me. I’m scared that she’ll get priority for the clinic even though I’ve been proving myself to be a good worker. I’m worried they’re going to have me cover more shifts elsewhere, especially at Cap City, which I don’t want to do.

I like my clinic. I want to stay there. I would rather go down to part-time than float to different places. Except maybe South Omaha. Or maybe even the North Omaha location, but that’s only because that clinic has the same machines as mine. I haven’t been there, but I could see myself being more ok in that environment because I would have a better idea on how to function there.

I don’t know what’s in the future and stressing over something that’s still two months away is a waste of energy. I’m trying to not let it eat away at the inside of my brain. Since it’s only been two days since I met the new tech I don’t think there’s enough information to say if I’m doing a good job in that regard or not yet.

I do think it’s something I should talk to my FA about. Knowing what their game plan is for the future would be nice. Where do they see me? Where do they see her? Stuff like that.

For the most part, things are going well with work and I believe that’s a majority of what’s been going on.

The new schedule is out. Next week I only work three 12-hour shifts. The week after that I picked up a shift on Saturday for South Omaha. The following two weeks I work five days since I’m covering a morning shift both Tuesdays at Cap City in addition to covering the Saturdays at South Omaha.

Yeah… we’ll see how that plays out…


 

SCA

In other news, Ox and I have been pretty active with the SCA group. We went to combat practice again this past Tuesday. I’ve purchased McDavid knee and elbow sleeves to wear under the loaner armor I’ve been using. I’ve also ordered groin protection since that’s a thing that’s required. It’s supposed to be delivered Monday so I’m hoping to have it for Tuesday’s practice. If I do I’ll be sure to leave a review.

I’ve also purchased a new backpack specifically for my combat gear since the backpack I’ve been using for everything is getting kind of cramped.

Typically I keep my workout gear along with everything I need for work in my backpack. I’ve recently added the knee and ankle braces due to training at the gym. I already had a bathroom kit for when I need to shower at the gym or travel overnight for work. And though I do have another gym bag, currently it has all of my fighter gear in it. My gloves and hand wraps. My shinguards and gi. My belt with my single stripe.

There wasn’t much extra space in either bag. Add to the equation that I now have stuff specifically for combat… It just wasn’t working for me. I like keeping my things separate, which meant another bag was in the near future anyway.

So now I have a softball/baseball backpack which I think is going to work amazingly well. It has two pouches that run the height of the bag where you can put a bat, theoretically.

Wouldn’t you know they’re the perfect size for two pieces of ratan? : D

So I have a bag for my gear AND I can keep my swords in it. And… AND… it’s purple. : 3

So much happy.

I really like it and as I begin to construct my own armor I’m fairly confident that it will be able to hold everything aside from my helm, which I wouldn’t want to put in there anyway since the helm has to be constructed from steel while the rest of the armor I want to make will ideally be leather.

We went to the meeting on Wednesday with Ox, which I think I would have enjoyed more if I hadn’t been so tired. It was a new social situation with new people on nearly no sleep after a 12-hour shift and no food. There were a bunch of people doing weaving and needle crafts so I plan to bring my own project with me next time, which should help with not feeling so out of place.

We went to dinner afterward, which was nice. I enjoyed the conversations I had and being able to connect with people on a more individual level.

It seems like a bit of a routine that Ox and I are forming. Tuesdays are combat and afterward, we go to my sports bar for dinner. Wednesdays are the meetups and afterward, we go out to eat with the group. I buy Tuesdays. He covers Wednesdays.

I’m glad we’re finding a group of people to interact with and that even though we both have our own interests within the group, that we’re able to share something together.


 

Health

I’ve been doing well with the gym. I actually made it in twice this week to do arm day since that’s something I need to start making more of an effort with. My lower body is definitely outpacing my upper body and I don’t want to be stuck with T-rex arms.

Or do I…

ddb

I’m down roughly four pounds. I’m up a little on muscle. I can feel a difference in myself. I’m doing well with sticking to my macros as far as carbs and protein go. I’m usually under my calorie count, but I really don’t care all that much about it since I’m logging around 6 miles on the days I work.

I can feel how I have more energy during the days I get adequate sleep. I’m coping with stress better. At least, I think I am.

My trainer is out of town this coming week, which means instead of going to training I’m going to try to find classes at the gym to do. it would be nice to make it to Zumba or yoga, or both. There’s a Core and More class that would be nice to make…

More planning is required. But yes. Things are going well in that department.


 

Life

I finally went to the DMV and got my Nebraska license. It’s more official now than not now. I’m officially a resident. The last thing I need to do regarding my move is switch my car tags over, but that’s a multi-step process with multiple fees and I’m not really all that worried about getting it done during this month’s schedule since I’m going to be working so many extra days.

Part of it, too, is that I don’t know how much it will be financially to switch over. Switching from South Carolina to Florida ran me over $600. Once I have all of the money from working overtime then I’ll look into taking care of that task. If it ends up being cheaper, awesome. Having 1k worth of extra to cover it would make me more comfortable with taking care of that task. Not that I want to spend that much, but I would rather have that much saved and not need it, then need it and not be able to do anything about it.


 

Finances

On the subject of money, I’m doing well. I was once again able to overpay on all of my bills and still have extra for buying the combat gear and bag. I was able to get the car looked at and tuned up since it felt like it was driving weird.

I like to think that mom would be proud of me. Instead of waiting until there was a problem I was proactive and took the car in to get looked at while it was still a “concern” rather than a “problem”.

I ended up getting an alignment and an oil change since that was something I’ve wanted to do since moving to Nebraska. Go me.

I’ve already bought groceries. The car has gas. This coming Friday is payday which will once again have a decent amount of overtime on it. Next month is when I reach out to Warren to see if he’s in a spot to start paying me back.

My immediate financial goal is to pay off my car. It’s the closest thing to being taken care of and would free up $300 to put towards something else. My rule right now is any overtime I work goes towards the car. I do want to take a bit of the money to put towards buying materials for my armor, but mostly the overtime money is for bills.

My “Me Fund” is back to where it should be. Actually, it’s a little over what it should be, but that’s in preparation for my trip in August. It’s looking more like I’ll be going to Vegas for a bit then flying to Orlando. I want to make sure I have the funds to support the trip. With working overtime, I should have the time available to take off without affecting my pay. I’m still waiting to solidify dates with my brothers, but it’s looking good so far.

I still don’t have much in my savings account, which might be something I address before pouring all of my overtime money into my car. That seems like a responsible thing to do… But since that’s still at least a week away I’ll worry about that when I have numbers to work with.

Let’s see… what else…


 

Relationship

Ox and I are doing well. We’re going to have the kids for roughly a week. In preparation for that, we’re going to flush out my nest a bit more. I know he did some stuff up there today which I wasn’t allowed to be there for. My tv is upstairs along with a tv stand that I bought today and a beanbag chair so I can set up my PS4. We’re going to try setting up an air mattress as well which, in theory, will let me be able to sleep at home without everyone having to tiptoe around me on the nights I have to go to sleep early for work.

All we can do is try and see if it works. If not then I guess it will go back to getting a hotel room on the nights I need to. I like the way things feel, though. We talked a lot about how we see the addition being set up in the future. We’re most likely not going to be able to do much of work on until the weekend after next, but we have a solid idea of what needs to be done.

He actually went as far as spray painting the lines for where the walls are going to go. I was having a hard time “seeing” the set up for the room because right now it’s all open space. The lines helped me see what he sees. I like it. I want it to be real and not just lines on the plywood floor.

I like the idea of having our computer area and the TV on the wall with a couch and a little work area for chain mail and armor making. I like the idea of having an alcove for the bedroom with windows to let the light in.

I like the way the future feels in that regard.

I’ve been sleeping better next to him. Part of that may be that I’m getting used to sleeping next to another person again. For so long I’ve slept alone. That might have factored into some of my sleepless nights in the beginning. Being sick as long as I was didn’t help anything, but I do wonder if being overwhelmed by so much new didn’t contribute to it at least a little.

I met Ox’s brother and sister-in-law on Saturday along with their two kids. I had slight anxiety on the way to their house, but they’re both nice people.

The thought of having to go back and socialize doesn’t seem heavy or dreadful. I would be ok with seeing them again, and I think I would be welcome in their home. They didn’t instantly hate me for my tattoos or purple hair.

It makes me aware that Ox hasn’t met my family yet, but there’s not really an easy way to fix that. He can’t meet mom. Jon doesn’t want to see him yet. Jason is in Vegas and dad is in Ohio.

I don’t know what else to write in that regard because I guess this is where I get scared and start looking at deep, dark, scary relationship things that I haven’t addressed in a while.

We’re coexisting well. It’s coming up on four months. That’s still really early in the relationship. I still get overwhelmed with the kids because I don’t know how to be a parent and I’m not used to kids being around all the time. I’m not used to not having my own space or quiet time. I still don’t know if I’ll ever want one of my own. I still don’t know where I want to go career-wise or what I want to do with school. I still don’t know if I’ll be able to run all of my Warrior Dash in July, which I need to request off from work.

I don’t think I want to delve into the deep, dark, scary world of “relationship” right now. I’m still not used to having it not fall apart. I’m still not used to things not being arguments.

I want to be happy with the small victory of being able to sleep well next to him. I want to be happy with feeling comfortable cooking in the kitchen. I want to feel happy that I feel like I belong even more than I did in the beginning. I don’t feel awkward coming home and being the only person here when Papa Ox is in the living room.

One other thing Ox and I have started doing is playing Final Fantasy 14 together. I’m enjoying the game so far. It’s allowing us to game together which I think is something that Ox misses. While I was in Orlando we spent a fair amount of time on WoW chatting and questing. Since I’ve been in Nebraska my gaming life has been non-existent, but gaming is something important to Ox.

Since I’ve been so disenchanted with WoW we decided to try a different game and so far I am extremely enjoying it. I’m only level 10, but I like my character and I’ve been enjoying exploring a new world and reading the questline.

I’ve been enjoying it so much so that I think I’m actually going to stop writing for tonight so I can get another hour of gaming in before having to go to sleep for work tomorrow.


 

In Summary

Overall, things are still going well, even on the hard days, and I’m glad for that.

 

Daily Post 087: Kittens Make Everything Better

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Today was a day. Most of it sucked but there were moments of awesomeness that I feel I do need to put into writing so I can appreciate them after I’ve slept.

It started by waking up this morning. I didn’t sleep well last night so I woke up tired. It started with remembering that today was “The Day”. The day the schedule changed at work. The day that was full of new and unknown. It was the day I wasn’t looking forward to and I spent most of the morning mildly dreading the moment where I would have to get into my car and drive myself towards what I knew would be structured chaos.

It’s also the start of “The Week”. The week where I get back on top of my health goals. It’s the Monday where I start tracking what I eat and watching my carbs and counting my protein. It was the first morning of eating my breakfast rice. I want to modify it a bit next week but overall it wasn’t bad. I had my Bang energy drink along with my decongestant pill. I had my cigarette with Ox.

I was going to survive today. And with that mentality, I trudged to my car and drove through the dark to work.

I never realized how bright the moon can be until I moved to Nebraska. It’s just past the full moon so it’s still fairly large. Large enough to make the 4am darkness not feel so dark.

I made it to work at my normal time, pulling into the parking lot at the same moment my FA did. We both went into the clinic where an A-Level alarm was going off for our water system…

Not an ok start to my day, Universe. Thanks…

The alarm was for water temperature which is a big deal because the water system itself is ridiculously expensive and sensitive. If the water gets too hot things can break or not function or deteriorate too much… it’s just bad juju.

We ended up getting that sorted out but at the cost of time. Instead of being able to walk into work and just do my thing we had to wait roughly 20 minutes before being able to really move forward with things. We recovered, thankfully, but then patients started showing up. Of course one of the first ones ended up being late and running into other people’s time. A few other patients had problems with their accesses… By the time everyone was on I was ready for a break from the floor.

I guess it was noticeable because Mrs. K asked me if I was ok. I said I was tired and homesick, which is now my secret way of admitting to grieving. It’s easier to say “I’m homesick” than to explain that I miss my mom and that mom was always “home” and that I just really want to hear her voice or feel her hug me one more time.

Mrs. K said that if there was anything she could do to let her know. She also took that moment to let me know that she enjoyed working with me. She said that I’m a hard worker.

It made me feel good because the last time we worked together I felt like I didn’t hold my own. I felt like she did way more than me and that she must think I’m a slacker. Hearing her words helped a little, but not enough to make me not dread the coming change over.

I took my morning break, eating one of my almond bars. All too soon I had to go back to the floor.

Change over was rough. Mentally. Physically. By the time our last patient showed up, our super non-compliant one, I was done. I didn’t have it in me to chit-chat with him and pretend to be cheerful. I just wanted to do my job and go have lunch because I was starving.

Mrs. K came over and said I was awesome. I had made sure all of the machines were set and all of the documentation was caught up because that’s another big part of my job. While she was nearby I asked if I could request a huge favor. I asked if she could initiate the treatment for Mr. Non-compliance.

She said she would; that she didn’t mind. It allowed me a break from everyone. It let me catch up on all of the PCT tasks I hadn’t been able to get around to. When she asked if she could go to lunch first I didn’t mind. When I went to lunch I had my chef salad and messaged Sir since I had an email regarding him.

That led to a conversation that didn’t help my day. I don’t want to go into details. I really, really don’t. At the same time, this is something frustrating that I need to write about.

I’m not going to let my blog, my dairy, create more drama in my life than it already has. I say and write what I write. While the meaning to me may be clear in the moment of my writing, I have often gone back and reread my own posts and have seen first hand how words can be confusing or seem as if something else was meant or implied.

So… Just for clarification; when I said I was done with Orlando, I meant I was done with the tasks I still needed to take care of. Things like getting off the lease or switching over the internet account or getting my stuff from Warren. Things like figuring out why my CPR certification wasn’t in my teammate file or contacting my old FA. My “to-do” list no longer has anything regarding Orlando on it, so, in my mind, that means I’m done with Orlando.

I’m not done with the people there. I’m not never visiting. I don’t think the state should go burn in hell and everyone along with it. But, in a way, I am done, so that’s what I said in my post.

And just like with the Orlando section of my to-do list, I’m done writing about this moment in my day. I’ve written about it. I’ve acknowledged it. There’s nothing further I wish to say about it on here. I feel like anything more would be petty on my part, not that I don’t feel like it’s already slightly petty but I don’t know what to do.

This blog is supposed to by my spot. My area. I’m supposed to be able to write freely here about whatever I want, however I want. I don’t want to feel like I can’t because other people react to it in whatever way they do.

I hate how I feel like I have to edit the one area of my life that I still have as an emotional outlet. I don’t have the dojo. I don’t have my mom. Let me have my blog.

The rest of the day was itself. It didn’t get better. It didn’t really get worse either. It tried to be on par with an average day at my Orlando clinic and it almost succeeded. Almost.

I racked up 6.2 miles on my Fitbit with over 4000 calories burned. I’ve started wearing it again to get a feel for an average day. It’s more information I can take to my trainer tomorrow.

I had thought to workout after work, but those plans quickly faded early in the day. The only thing I wanted was to be alone, so even the thought of going home made me want to break down and cry in my car.

Jon had tried calling me during the day, so once I was off the clock and in my car giving myself a high five for not actually breaking down, I called him back.

We chatted for a while. It felt good to bitch about my day to someone who understands. He got to tell me about his day and how he’s doing in school. It helped me feel more ok about going home. More like I could do it.

When I got home Ox was waiting on the front porch. I like it when I come home like that. The first thing I see is him. I get a hug before I even get inside the house. I’m able to decompress outside before crossing the threshold. None of the badness can follow me inside. It’s not allowed to.

We stayed outside for a while, me explaining my day and all of the frustrations that went with it. He listened, never making me feel bad or that I was blowing things out of proportion. I know a lot of today’s overwhelm comes from being tired, but it was still a rough day regardless of that fact.

Eventually, we went inside the house. I had two 1/4 burger patties. I’m still about 2000 calories under so there’s that going for me.

I’m tired. I’m fed. I have training in 12 hours. I’ve been approved to work at the clinic tomorrow by myself so I can start tackling the NFACT training I want to do. That means I’ll get a bit of overtime this week.

I got my paycheck figured out today. At least partially. so there’s that.

I did well today. Even if it was a lame day, I did well.

Even Mr. Non-compliance wasn’t all that bad. He told me he was talking with my FA and mentioned how he really liked me because I was kind and sweet and how my FA said that she really liked me, too. That I’m a good worker and she’s glad to have me on the team.

There were good moments in my day. I got to talk to two people who matter to me, even if it was only via the phone. I got to come home to a safe place, even if it doesn’t always feel safe from an introverted standpoint.

I don’t want to go to sleep thinking today sucked when it really didn’t, so I’m not going to.

Today was rough, and I survived. The schedule won’t be as new on Wednesday and I’ve set the clinic how I want it prepped. No other techs will need to be at the clinic from this point on so I won’t have to rely on someone else to do things the way I want them done. I’ll know what I’m walking into. Hopefully, on Wednesday there won’t be an A-Level alarm going off so the day can start properly. Normally. Smoothly.

Today was a start. A rough one, but any start is better than no start.

Oh… and kittens… because kittens make everything better.

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Letters to Mom 016: I Promise I’ll Try

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Hey mom,

I woke up tired today.

I miss you.

I miss a lot of things.

I miss Jon. I talked to him today while I was on break at work. I got to tell him that I’m homesick.

I guess it started when I got a text message from Big Bad.

I miss him, too.

And there’s a part of me that wants to hate myself for that. I want to be angry at myself for missing the times he and I cuddled together. For missing our quiet mornings. For fucking up our plans to do the Warrior Dash in February.

I want to not miss him. I want to remember what it felt like to read his message about being “disappointed. Thanks.”

But I’m bad about remembering things like that. I’m bad about remembering how he never said, “I love you.” I’m bad about remembering that there most likely would have never been a family Thanksgiving that I would have been invited to. A house I could come home to with him. There wouldn’t have been an “ever after”, but that doesn’t make me miss what I had less.

I miss wrestling with him. I miss kicking his ass at Mortal Kombat.

I miss my friend.

Just like I miss Jon. I miss going to Friendly Confines with him. I miss driving up to Daytona for breakfast. I miss our sappy hugs goodbye. I miss the times I slept on his couch.

I miss my dojo. I miss not having anxiety over going to work out. I miss feeling strong and healthy.

I miss feeling like a warrior because right now I don’t.

In a lot of areas in my life I know I’m doing better, but the overall feeling I have right now, the most pervasive one, is that I’m treading water. I’m bearly holding on and maybe that’s just the tiredness. Maybe that’s just the overwhelm of having the kids for the weekend and not having a safe space to get away to.

I feel apathetic right now about most things. About gaming. About working out. About eating.

I don’t want to do anything.

I want to sleep. I want to wake up and feel ok even though I know I’m not “not ok”.

I don’t have drive or motivation for anything at the moment, mom, and it sucks.

I’ve been breathing better for the past few days. I’ve been taking a lot of decongestant stuff and I guess it’s working. So now that I don’t have to struggle so hard to breathe I guess my body thinks it’s ok to remind me that my soul hurts. That’s I’m actually still really injured and I need to take care of that.

But I don’t know how because I don’t know what’s wrong.

I know I like it here. I know I’m starting to love my job again. I know that I don’t dread getting up in the morning even though I still wake up at 3 am.

I know I don’t want my own apartment because I like coming home here. I like being part of a family. I enjoy falling asleep next to Ox. Being away wouldn’t feel right. At the same time, all of my things are mostly still in storage. When the kids are here I don’t have a space for myself. And there’s a part of me who’s not ok with giving up the few days I have off to socialize.

Maybe “not ok” isn’t the right words. I would rather it be a choice rather than something I’m forced to do due to the living situation. But it’s not a choice. I have to and there isn’t really a way to change it at the moment. Maybe ever.

If I’m not “ok” but I’m not “not ok” then what am I?

Why can’t I just figure out what it is that I need to do?

Why can’t you be here for me to talk to? Why can’t I hear your voice on the other end of the phone? And saying, “because I’m dead” doesn’t count.

I don’t care right now. Because you’re dead isn’t a good enough answer.

I miss you, mom, and I so desperately want to say that I need you, but I know that word isn’t true because I’ll wake up tomorrow having survived another day without you and so it’s not a true need. Not like air or water or electrical impulses within my heart.

But I need you, mom. I need you to be here and you’re not and it sucks and I hate it.

I meet with a personal trainer tomorrow. I’ve signed up for a Warrior Dash in July. I have no motivation to do either of those things, but I’m going to do them because I know they need to be done.

This is the therapy part of healing. This is the hard part. The part that hurts. The part that sucks. The part that makes me cry and want to give up because the thought of doing them feels like it’s too much. Too heavy. Too hard.

It’s so much easier to hide away and stay in bed and be sad and to not do anything, but I know that’s not what I truly want for myself. I know it’s not what you would want for me either, so I’m going to go to my stupid meeting tomorrow, mom.

I’m going to try, mom. For you. For me. For us.

I’m so sorry I can’t promise more than that. I’m sorry I can’t do more than try. I’m sorry I can’t say that I’ll kick ass and take over the world and be an amazing person who does amazing things.

I wish I could, but right now I don’t feel those things. I don’t feel amazing or strong. I feel weak and broken and all I can do is say that I won’t let the sadness win and that I’ll try really hard for you.

Today sucks, mom. Nothing bad happened. Work went smoothly. I’m back home and I’m writing, but today just really, really sucks.

I love you. I promise I’ll try to make tomorrow better.

 

Daily Post 079: Surviving Another Week

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It’s been a week, to the day, since I’ve written. I want to recap as much as I can remember because I need to remember this week. The ups, the downs. The accomplishments along with the moments of sadness and darkness that I was helped through.


 

March 27th – Tuesday


I had this day off last week. It was the day I wrote. It was the day I was annoyed with Warren his text message.

I felt better after writing. I messaged Ox before getting in the shower since it was close to his break time. He said he was going to be doing lunch with the guys and for me to go ahead and do my thing, so I did.

I showered which continued to help me feel good. I did go to the gym, working through the nervousness and anxiety I had at the thought of being there. I ended up using the “quick fit” room upstairs. It’s the first time I’ve been back upstairs since the yoga class I took almost a month ago.

There was no one else in the room. I got on one of the ellipticals and did that for a little bit to warm up then moved to the machines that are in the room. They’re all bodyweight type machines. The harder you push or pull the more resistance there is. It wasn’t a super intense workout, but I enjoyed it. They have weighted bars in the room so I did a few exercises with those. I also used the exercise balls they had to do “jack-knives”, an exercise L would have me do sometimes during our core circuits.

I was going through everything a second time when I got a phone call from Jon. I decided that was my cue to stop. It was his birthday so I wasn’t going to skip his call and I knew I wouldn’t be in the same mindset to keep going after talking with him. It was a good conversation. He wanted me to proofread an essay for his class if I had time to. I told him to email me a link to the document. Once I was done grocery shopping and was at home I would take a look at it and we could chat about it later in the evening.

I got to tell him a happy birthday.

I’m close to having my “new member” card filled out at the YMCA. I only need one more trip in to get my free t-shirt. I know I’m thinking about it wrong, but it’s sort of sad to me. In two months I’ve only been to the gym nine times. One of those times was to swim in the pool with Ox’s daughter so I don’t even know if that should really count.

Instead of being down on myself I should look at it positively. I could not have gone to the gym at all. I could have stayed home all of those times and done nothing. It doesn’t count the workout I did at 9 Round or my five-mile bike ride. It doesn’t account for the facts of my move and settling in, or the times it snowed and was icky outside. It doesn’t account for the days of grief as mom’s death day draws closer.

It’s always easy to look at what hasn’t been done. What is missing or lacking or can be improved on. It’s harder to step back and look at what DID get done.

I’ve gone to the gym 9 times. That’s nine more times than some people. That doesn’t make me feel like a bawce. It doesn’t give me a feeling of pride or accomplishment, but it does let me know that I’m still trying, sort of like when you try to start up a weed-wacker or lawnmower. it’s like those first pulls where the machine rumbles and sputters, trying to start, but not quite getting there. I feel like that’s what all these past two months have been. I’m trying. I’m getting closer, but I’m still not mentally where I need to be to keep going, to stay started.

Yes, I could be doing “better”. But I could also be doing worse. I could be doing nothing at all. I would rather give myself a small pat on the back for the effort of trying rather than bashing myself and making it seem like my effort isn’t good enough. I know that area of my life is in a sort of fragile state right now, and negative self-talk has never helped in the past so I’m trying to refrain from letting it seep into my thoughts now.

After the gym, I went to the grocery store with the money Ox had left for me. I decided against buying what I needed for my zoodle recipe. There were leftover enchiladas that needed to be eaten, so I got extra lettuce and salsa to go with it. I got a few Bang energy drinks since they are bright moments in my day. I got instant coffee packs for my lunch box along with mini Dove chocolates. There was a bag of dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt. They’ve been amazing so far. My chocolate piece is something I look forward to at the end of my lunch breaks.

I also got eggs and milk for the house. Ox had asked me to pick up mayonnaise for him, too, which made me feel better. I got to get things to make other people’s lives easier. By getting the eggs and milk Mama Ox didn’t have to go out. I got something Ox needed for his lunch box. I also picked him up a bag of Buffalo Ranch Doritos since he likes those and I wanted him to have something as a thank you for giving me money in the first place.

All in all, I stayed under the $40 he gave me, but not by much.

I wasn’t a fan of the store I went to. It was the closest one to the gym which seemed convenient at the time, but I wasn’t as comfortable there. The parking lot was more crowded, as was the store itself. I’m still figuring out things that I like and dislike about the area. Just like in Orlando, I had preferences and “my stores”. I’m finding them here in Nebraska.

If I had to, I could go back to that particular location to do grocery shopping again, but if I have a choice and am on my own, I most likely will drive the extra few miles to go to the one I like more.

When I got home I put the groceries away, meal prepped, and continued with laundry. Jon and I did talk about his essay and then proceeded to continue talking about nothing important. It was a nice conversation and I’m glad he and I were able to talk as much as we did.


March 28th – Wednesday

I worked that day. It was super foggy on the way into work but I made it there fine. I got a text message from Big Bad saying happy hump day and wishing me well at work. Ox overslept and ended up being a bit late for work. Before leaving to head home I had to put the clinic’s CWP into its disinfect cycle. I also had to replace the container of Minncare, the chemical used for the disinfectant, since it was low. It’s not hard, but it’s the first time I’ve had to do anything with the CWP other than read the numbers on the display screen, so I was glad to have had the opportunity to do everything while being supervised. It means I’ll be ok not only initiating the disinfect cycle but replacing the Minncare on my own next time.

That’s about all I can remember about Wednesday day, though.

*takes a short cigarette break*

After consulting with Ox I remember a few more details about Wednesday.

That was the day Ox came home with a small packet of zucchini noodles for me from the store. That means Wednesday was also the day he brought home body wash for us since we were almost out. I had been unable to find what we wanted at the store I had gone to on Tuesday.

But yeah… neither of us can remember anything overly specific about that day. I guess that means we’ll put a dash on the “routine” side of the scoreboard for Wednesday and there’s a small measure of comfort in being able to do that. I wasn’t overly sad on Wednesday. Work wasn’t insane or crazy stressful. I didn’t have issues sleeping that night or the night before.

It was a regular day and I’m glad I can still have those.


March 29th – Thursday

Thursday was the first day I took the clinic’s CWP out of its disinfect cycle. The main RN was there to watch me do it, just like she had been there to watch me put it into disinfect. It’s another fairly easy process, one which I’ll be comfortable doing on my own next time, which will be this Thursday when I go back to work.

It was a short day consisting of only one shift of patients. As I was driving home I decided to go to the gym. I ran on the treadmill, making it through all of my run intervals and finally getting back over the one-mile mark. I didn’t feel dead at the end of it. I actually felt pretty good. There was no breaking of records or anything, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made since the first time I went to the gym here in Nebraska.

In just a handful of runs, I’ve gone from not being able to complete even half of my intervals to getting through a full run and still having it in me to do more, which I did.

Thursday was the first day where I got on the machines and tested where I was at weight wise. Again, no record breaking since it was more about getting comfortable with the machines themselves and seeing how far I had regressed, but it was nice to stretch out into that territory of newness.

I’m happy that it seems like I haven’t slipped that much in regards to the weight I can handle. I’m more comfortable with the idea of going back to the gym and getting back on the machines and actually doing a “leg day” or “arm day” routine where I do push myself. I’ve been on the machines once. I’ve set the weights. I’ve moved the seats and bars into proper positions. I’ve toed the waters and gone through the initial, “oh god, I look like a noob and everyone is staring at me as I look incompetent, starting and stopping and adjusting and starting only to stop and adjust again, why couldn’t I have just gotten it right the first time >.<; ” so next time it can be all business and badassery.

Me: What’s that, Life? You thought you could stop me? Oh. Don’t mind me while I crush you into the ground.

I did go to the store after the gym, but for the life of me, I can’t remember why or what I go. I just know from going through my text messages that I did… Guess it was another moment of routine-non-memorableness.

Thursday was a particular sexy day on the relationship side of things. And I won’t go into details on that other than to say I have absolutely no complaints.

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March 30th – Friday

Work was crazy, but even with all the hiccups, it wasn’t as bad as a normal day in Orlando. I had to switch out one of the machines because the new RN and I couldn’t figure out the alarm message it was giving. Biomed said they would take a look at it the next time they were at our clinic.

Friday was also payday. The day I had been holding my breath for. So imagine how not ok I was when I ended up being short 20 hours…

Yeah… what the actual fuck?

I knew I was going to be short at least eight by not going to work the previous Saturday, but 20? What the hell?

Once all of the patients were on the machines I took a look at my paystub and realized that the 15th, the day after my certification exam, I wasn’t clocked for any hours even though I know I was at the clinic that day because everyone asked me how I did on the exam.

And this is where it gets a bit confusing talking about people who have yet to be given code names, because at the moment I have three FAs.

I have my old FA in Orlando. I have the FA who has handled all of my stuff so far and who is technically in charge of my clinic. And then there is who will eventually be my FA, who is still in training.

So, the main FA, the one I have been working the most with, was actually at the clinic on Friday which made it easy to talk to her about my paycheck. She corrected the missing hours and I’ll be getting a separate check mailed to the clinic for my missing pay. So that’s nice. Even though I would have liked to have had the money now, at least I’m getting it.

I talked to her more about the reimbursement for my tests and fees which apparently there’s something else I need to do to actually get that money. It’s not like the company adds it to a check or something. No. I have to go into a program and request to be reimbursed and provide proof of having spent the money and shit.

Firstly, I’m glad I kept copies of that stuff.

Secondly, why didn’t anyone tell me that I had to do this like… a month ago… I would have fucking done it already. Arg. >.<;

At least I know what I need to do to finally get that money.

I also found out that since Beatrice is my home clinic, any time I work elsewhere I can get travel compensation which would be roughly $30. Not that I’m scheduled to work elsewhere during this month’s schedule, nor do I want to in the future, but it’s nice to know it’s there and how I can get it in the future.

I was also told that there’s a program here in Nebraska called The Step Up Program. It’s basically a way to decrease the wage gap for technicians. My FA said she will look into that for me since I meet all of the criteria for the 12-month increase. So I may be getting another boost in the near future, not that I’ve gotten either of the two I’ve already earned yet, at least not on this paycheck.

My FA said for me to keep an eye on it. If it doesn’t post on this next check she’ll look into seeing if there’s an issue. She also assured me that I would be retro-paid from the day I earned my certification and for the day my yearly review was marked as complete.

While we were talking, which, yes, we did talk for a while, she asked if I had completed some training she had wanted me to look into. I told her that I hadn’t. I guess it was sort of a big deal that needed to get done before the end of the month. Keep in mind this conversation was happening on the 30th… you know… the day before the end of the month…

I asked my FA if I wasn’t able to get to it during the day if she wanted me to stay after work to do it. She said she would rather I come in on Saturday, which I wasn’t super jazzed about, but I figured it wouldn’t be all that bad. I could still have the morning to myself and I wouldn’t be working the floor. It was only two courses, and it would be overtime.

I said I would come in Saturday and then went back to tackling the day.

I took a moment to message Warren since I hadn’t heard anything back from him. Ox and I drank that night since we wanted to. Nothing major, just enough to unwind. He bought me a bottle of black cherry spiced rum. It’s tasty. : 3


 

March 31st – Saturday

I woke up and had a leisurely morning. I was getting ready to go to work when I got a text message from the tech working at my clinic. Her kid was sick and she wanted to know if I could cover the remainder of the day for her. I said that I had to come into work to do computer stuff anyway, so yeah, I would cover for her.

It really didn’t change much about my day other than how much overtime I’ll be getting. And all I had to do was take patients off the machines since everyone was already on by the time I got there. I got to make sure the clinic was set up the way I wanted for Monday. All Is dotted. All Ts crossed. All pens put back away in their drawer. All setups out with two hemostats and tourniquets for the patients with fistulas. It was a nice feeling.

I didn’t get a chance to start on my computer work until after the day was over, which I was ok with. I was left alone, by myself, at the clinic so I could listen to my music and work uninterrupted. I got through a lot of training actually, not just the two that needed to get done before the end of the month. My old FA had assigned me a test in regards to my annual review. That took the longest since it was a 75 question test.

I called it quits around 12:30. I made it home shortly after that. Ox and I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the laundry room, which looks completely different now that the old weight machine that was in there is gone. We actually got rid of a bunch of stuff and organized the rest of it. I still need to go through the cabinet out there along with the piles of stuff on top of the freeze and cabinet, but that’s all stuff I should be able to do relatively on my own. I’ll at least be able to make a box of “go through this” for the things I’m not sure about.

It was an extremely productive day which continued into the evening.

Ox and I went into town for dinner. On the way, we stopped at Home Depot since I had found a shelving unit online that I liked and wanted to get for the clinic. They didn’t have it in stock though, which was a little disappointing. I didn’t want to wait two weeks for it to be shipped to me either.

Ox suggested going to another store in the area. I’m glad we did. I was able to get the socks I wanted for work along with a shelving unit that I liked more than the one I had seen on the Home Depot website and it was significantly cheaper. And I can add that to my list of things to put in my report for what I need to be reimbursed for. Woo.

And actually, Ox is the one who bought my socks. Warm fuzzy feelings. ❤

We tried going to dinner at a wing place I’ve been wanting to try, but they were super busy and noisy. We decided to try the Italian buffet we’ve been to before. If they were busy we would figure out something to take home instead.

The buffet was passable as far as the noise and crowdedness levels went. It was a pretty decent outing and I’m glad we went. The people behind me were playing Magic the Gathering which made me smile.

I did happen to see one of my coworkers while we were at dinner; my preceptor to boot. Out of all of the days to run into someone and out of the roughly 10 people in all of Nebraska that I know, I had to see her and her family on the one day I’m doing date night… for serious, Universe?

In all honesty, it wasn’t that bad. We nodded at each other and left it at that, neither of us wanting to bring work into our non-work lives I guess.

Ox and I had drinks again when we got home.

It was a pretty awesome day and I’m glad I got to experience it.

 


 

So… that’s a lot of writing and I’m pretty much done for now. I’ll catch up on the rest of everything tomorrow. I’m glad I’m ending with memories of my good day. Today itself has been mostly rough, so remembering how awesome Saturday was makes me feel better.