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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Post 133: Finally Back Home

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I’ve been back from Dever for a few days now. I got back Wednesday evening around 8:45. I drove home and saw Ox. We went to sleep only to wake back up at 3 in the morning. He headed to work and I drove to Fremont to cover a shift at the clinic there, then came back to Lincoln. Ox and I met up for lunch before going back home. We had Chinese at a place we’ve seen before. I really liked it and hope to continue to be able to go there on those special occasions where we go out.

Thursday evening I should have gone into the class for my last chance to participate in clinical, but I didn’t. Instead, I stayed home that evening, going to bed early to wake back up and cover a shift at my own clinic Friday morning.

I was dead. Not one of those “I’m sort of tired but it will burn off as the day goes on” sort of deads. No. This was a physical barrier of, “I’m your body and you’re asking too much of me so I’m going to make you feel like crap for the whole day because fuck you for not taking better care of me,” sort of deads.

I was ridiculously slow at everything I did on Friday and the only reason we stayed on schedule was because it was me, the float RN, and my FA on the floor and both of them were running circles around me. I’m grateful for them pulling my slack because I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the day without them.

It was good to see all of my patients after an entire week’s absence. I got to share my adventure with all of them and that most likely contributed to me being “behind”. All of the time I spent talking and catching up with people was time that I wasn’t working or making sure all of the tasks on my PCT checklist got done.

It was a pretty good day overall, just one where I knew right from waking up that surviving my day would be my main goal. Mission accomplished, if just barely.

The trip itself wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. I ended up getting into Dever close to 4 pm. I messaged Chrys since I had time to kill that evening. I booked an Uber out to Aurora and spent the evening with her and her son. We had homemade spaghetti for dinner and EJ got to read me a few bedtime stories. Once her son was in bed we were able to chat for a bit before I had to get back to the hotel since I had an early morning to prepare for.

Overall, it was a fantastic way to decompress from the trip out there and a very nice last minute addition to the trip. Having some social time with someone I care about was definitely restorative and a pleasant break from my normal routine. I made it back to my hotel room around 9ish. I met my roommate for the event and was pleased that she seemed pretty nice. Her name was also Jen. Go figure. XD

The first day of the event was decent but long. I didn’t sleep well the night before and had to fight off a headache for most of the day. We got into things like the MBTI and communication skills and conflict resolution. All sorts of psychology things, so I was fairly engaged through most of it.

We created our own personal credos and then graded ourselves on how well we were living up to it currently. Balance was one of the things on mine and the area where I graded myself the lowest.

I’ve picked up a lot of overtime for the coming two weeks. This week is going to be my only “normal” week work wise and that’s still with having to take the final tests for my CNA class, so even it isn’t going to be all that restful.

I need to remember to maintain balance and to not burn myself out. I need the things that make me feel fulfilled and which recharge me. I need time to grocery shop and do laundry and meal prep. I need time to go to the dojo and the gym. I need time to sleep enough at night so I don’t limp through my days depending on coffee to survive. I need time with Ox to feel connected with him. I need time to have phone calls with Jon and the other people in my life that I love. I need time to cross-stitch and write.

I need “me time” and I can’t have that if all I do is work seven days a week.

So while I can’t really back out of the obligations I’ve already given myself, I can be more mindful going forward and that’s what I intend to do. The new year should see things being a bit smoother. The new tech will be with me for a few weeks to train on our machines. We just hired a new RN since the other one wasn’t working out. She has to give 30 days at her current job, but it should only take her about eight weeks to go through the training process. I’ve already talked to my FA about taking time off of work in February to visit Florida. I could see Jon. I could run the Warrior Dash that’s held there. Big Bad said he would be interested in running it with me. I guess that means I have to work on that whole running thing again so I don’t suck. I could see my old teammates and patients. I could see a handful of other people from my inner circle. I could have lunch at my sports bar.

There’s all sorts of things I could do that I’ve wanted to do. It gives me something to think about and look forward to.

Chrys ended up having Wednesday off since it was a federal holiday so she drove me to the airport. That was also a nice change of plans. Both the fight out and back were non-stop flights on fairly small planes so I got to have a window seat by myself rather than being stuck between two people the whole time.

When I got to work Friday I had an email saying I had made it to phase two of the leadership application process. I haven’t worked on it any more than the rough post I wrote the other day, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

As far as this weekend goes… I’ve paid bills. I’ve gone through my email inbox. I’ve gone through the pile of papers that was next to my computer desk. I’ve unpacked fully. I’ve done laundry. I’ve meal prepped and am back to doing low carb meals. I’ve sent a message through Facebook to my sensei explaining my extended absence. I’ve bought Christmas cards to give to my patients. I’ve cleaned and dusted my computer desk with plans to open up my computer tower to clean it out later in the week with Ox. Ox has also been extremely helpful. He’s washed the sheets for the bed which we made together. He’s helped me fold the laundry and put it away. He’s cleaned his own areas of the room so it’s not as cluttered or icky feeling anymore.

He went grocery shopping with me yesterday where we had lunch together, just us. We got a new shower curtain and bath mat set this morning while we were out getting aluminum foil which he set up for me while I put bacon on the cooking sheets for breakfast. Go, team!

Spotify sent out their end of year stuff. I’ve listened to something like 4500 new songs this year. That’s almost 12 songs a day. And here I thought I slacking on expanding my music selection.

I finished the fairy cross-stitch pattern I’ve been working on, so I’ll most likely make a post with all of those progress images. I’ve started a new project, but since it’s for Ox and he’s not allowed to see it under penalty of death, I won’t be posting progress images of that one either. I’ll save posting a completed image of it until after Christmas once he’s had a chance to open it.

My class is almost over. This coming Tuesday I have the final test for the class and I sign up for state testing. Thursday is the state written test and for those signed up, the state skills test. Everyone else will have to wait until the following Tuesday to complete their skills test. Part of me wants to go on Thursday and be done with it. The other part of me wants to wait until Tuesday so I have more time to freak out and/or study. Mostly freaking out though since I know that’s what I’ll do.

I really do have other things my time would be better invested in other than freaking out but there you go.

I’m sure there are other things I could write about in regards to my trip or the events leading up to my departure as well as the events since my return home, but I feel this post covers a lot of it.

Ox and I have been doing well. He was supportive of me while I was gone, including taking a phone call where I asked if I could be honest. He said yes and I admitted to wanting to come home while tears rolled down my cheeks. It wasn’t a bad trip, but when you’re an introvert surrounded by 650 other people, forced to participate in team trivia where they ask which Super Bowl did the Broncos most recently win… you kind of just want to curl up in bed under the blankets and hide. Only you can’t because then your roommate is going to want to know what’s wrong or think you’re weird and can’t handle human interaction.

Ox promised that I could come home and hearing those words, as silly as they may seem, made me feel more ok.

We’ve had a lot of sexy time since I’ve been back. Totally ok with all of it. Just yes. All of the yes.

Anywho, aside from feeling like I’m caught back up for the most part with life, I think that’s about it. For now, I’m going to go cross-stitch before working on some discussion posts for my class later in the day. The rest of today should be fairly calm and relaxing. No working on the addition. No trips into town. Just hanging out and resting before what should be a fairly normal day at work tomorrow.

This coming week is the calm before the storm, but I’m already planning for that. I have a container of chili in the freezer. I want to make a batch of chicken taco soup which freezes nicely as well. I want to prep well in advance since I’m going to have so little time in the next two weeks to truly meal prep. I’m doing a keto BLT salad this week which seems to be doing well. I tried it yesterday. I might add more bacon to it the next time I make it, but overall I think it turned out well which is good because it was cheap and simple to toss together. Another meal I can add to my arsenal for the coming battle.

It was a good trip, but I’m glad to be home. And with that, I’m off to continue with my decompressing.

Musing Moment 120: The Confusion of Leadership

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Written yesterday. Posted today since
I’m trying to catch back up with life.

 


 

This is going to be a rough and dirty post and I mean dirty as in more of a “word vomit” sort of way. Gross I know, but a lot of stuff has happened work wise and I want to get some of my thoughts at least out of my head and mildly figured out so I have something to think about while I go about the rest of my day.

I went to Academy for work and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was actually pretty cool and enjoyable for the most part. If given the choice to go back and do it again, I would.

When I got back I had an email saying I had already been picked for the second phase of the leadership course I want to take. That’s the essay part. I have two options to write about. I can explain my passion for leadership or I can write about why I want to move into a leadership role within the company.

Since I don’t really want to move into a leadership role, at least not at the moment, that leaves writing about my passion for leadership.

Queue the reason this is an issue and why I need to write through my thoughts…

I’m not really passionate about leadership…

No. Not leadership. I’m more passionate about leaders and this is why.

I’m passionate about the people who have taken their time and energy to help build me up. The amazing leaders I have interacted with helped me overcome challenges. They’ve inspired me to achieve things I didn’t think I could. They listened to me when I had doubts and brainstormed solutions with me that I wouldn’t have been able to find on my own. They’ve given me information to think about or provided resources for me to look into and then stepped back, giving me the space to find my own way. They watched as I climbed mountains and shared in my feelings of success and victory. They were part of the journey but never demanded credit or recognition for something they clearly had a large part in. They gained happiness out of seeing me succeed.

I feel like I already have several skills that make me a “leader”. I’m good at problem-solving. I’m good at being empathetic. I’m good at seeing not only the big picture but also all of the little steps it takes to get to the end goal. I’m good at organizing and making a roadmap to get to the desired destination. I’m good at seeing the potential in others and helping them see it as well. I’ve already been in “leadership” positions. I’m pretty decent at communicating with others and actually listening when they talk. I’m good at hearing what is said, but also what is not said. I’m good at being open and approachable so people tell me the truth, even the dark, deep, scary stuff they might not normally tell others.

So, if I already halfway sort of think of myself as a “leader” why do I want to do this course?

Because I think it would be fun. I think it would teach me more than I already know. I think I could benefit from it and be exposed to new things that I could use to be an even better person. It could give me new skills that I could use to continue to help build people up because that’s ultimately what I want to do. I want to help make other people succeed in what they’re trying to do.

I want to inspire my team. I want to encourage my coworkers. I want to be someone they trust and willing choose to follow rather than being forced to. It’s one of the reasons I love working with my FA so much. Over the past 10 or so months I have grown to respect her through all of our interactions. From her comment of “I’m not going to let you fail” to simple actions like emptying the bleach containers for me to the wage increase she didn’t have to ask for on my behalf. She does so much to show she cares about me as a worker. I feel safe and secure with her. We’ve talked about me becoming an RN and she’s shared parts of her own journey through the process.

She’s listened to me say, “I feel like I don’t have goals,” and then stated her own observations contradicting my comment. I might not have a specific title or position in mind, but I do have goals. I want to become a preceptor. I want to become a nurse so I can broaden my scope within the clinic and provide a deeper level of care for my patients.

She has encouraged me to step out and apply for things. She covered the floor while I was away at Academy so I could go in the first place. She took a bullet to let me have a win essentially. She didn’t have to go through two days of hell to send me to Dever, but she did because she felt like it was worthwhile to invest in me; that in the long run, it would make our team better, and it has. It will.

I don’t know where I’m going with this…

I guess to me a leader isn’t a leader simply because they are in a higher position in relation to everyone else. I didn’t lord over my students the fact that I knew more than them. I didn’t build myself up and boast that my scripts were used globally. I didn’t brag. I didn’t make myself to seem more than human. In fact, I didn’t really care about my accomplishments. It wasn’t about me. It was about them.

It was about showing them that while yeah, rigging is technical and there’s computer code and super scary shit like that, that it was still learnable and useful and even fun once you got over that fear. Once the fear was gone they went on to make amazing things. They found confidence in themselves and it was fulfilling to be part of that transformation.

Leadership isn’t about a single person. It’s about the team and the potential it has to achieve amazing, unimaginable things. All someone needs sometimes is to know that someone else believes in them, cares about them, is invested in them. Yeah, it’s a really big mountain, but you know what? If you want to climb it I’ll climb it with you, and when it gets hard I’ll be there to help you through it. And when you finally get to the top I’ll be there to give you an epic high five because you did it. You climbed it and that’s awesome. You’re awesome. All of those setbacks and worries and fears didn’t stop you. You got through them and you’re a badass and you proved it to yourself. Not to me because I knew you were a badass. I knew you could do this. You proved it to that evil little voice in your head that whispered or screamed that you couldn’t, that you shouldn’t, that it’s easier to not try than to fail.

That’s what leadership is to me. It’s about caring about others. It’s about having a “we” versus “me” mentality. It’s about caring about the whole more than yourself because together we achieve more.

I don’t know if that really answers anything for me. I don’t know if I’ll be able to cleanly write a rough draft for my essay or not, but I think it’s a good start.

“We” verse “me” seems like a good point. And the “together we achieve more”. Gah, who knew I would be freaking out over a simple, measly 500 word essay. >.<;

Musing Moments 119: A Heartfelt Thank You

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I stayed an extra two hours at the clinic last Friday, wrapping things up and making sure the clinic was in a good spot before my trip out to Dever for training. While I was there I took the time to write a letter to my FA. I had been wanting to do this since getting my wage increase at work but had never made the time to figure out exactly what I wanted to say. Sitting alone, surrounded by the quietness of a place I know feel a part of and comfortable in allowed the words to flow and to express what I never seemed to be able to say during the busy hours of work. This is what I wrote.

 

Side note: I changed the greeting line to avoid using actual names.

 


 

Hey Amazing FA,

Firstly, I hope your morning is off to a good start; at least as good as it can be at 4 in the morning. : p

Secondly, I wanted to type this out since I felt that a sticky note wouldn’t be able to fully explain the stack of papers you’ll find under this one.

I’ve recently had a hard time keeping up with all of the in-service documentation during normal clinic hours. I took time Friday evening to catch back up. While I was cleaning the top drawer of the PCT deck I found a few in-service documents dating back by quite a few months. I apologize for this lapse on my part.

To prevent this from happening in the future I have placed a hanging folder in the second drawer of the PCT deck which will only be used for my incomplete in-service paperwork. This, ideally, should prevent further in-service documentation from being misplaced or forgotten.

     –     –     –     –     –     –     –     –     –     –     –

And last but not least, on a personal note, I would like to take a moment to write something that I haven’t figured out quite yet how to express in words in regards to my wage increase.

Thank you.

And I don’t mean that in just a normal “thank you” sort of way. I mean it in a heartfelt way. I mean it in a very real and human sort of way in which those words cannot truly express or encompass everything I wish I could convey.

Some people may look at my increase and see only digits being added to my paycheck or dollars being taken away from the company.

This increase to me, however, IS my dojo and I needed you to know that.

It wasn’t just numbers to me. It wasn’t just digits changing the bottom line. Your kindness gave me my safe place. It gave me my “me time”. It gave me personal growth and fun and challenges and my inner strength and a way to cope with my grief over mom’s death.

You made it possible for me to have something that I was struggling to afford and for that, I will always be grateful. For that, “thank you” can never be enough. “Thank you” cannot possibly hope to contain all of the gratitude I feel and yet I have no better words other than those two.

So… thank you, deeply, sincerely. for everything. Thank you for reading this novel of a letter. Thank you for supporting and encouraging me. And most importantly, thank you for being my FA.

Try to have a good week. I’ll see you on Friday. : )

Your PCT,

Jen

Daily Post 126: Slackin’

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Emotionally I’ve still been sort of all over the place. Tuesday was where it really started tanking downhill but I’ve been slowly recovering to the point where I’m at today. I screamed in my car on the drive home from the dojo Wednesday and I cried again Friday night, but both of those times were healthy cries that I feel I needed to have.

I’ve been struggling with feeling lonely and I feel bad for Ox because he seems to take the brunt of that discord since he’s the closest person to me. Jon called Tuesday before I left for class. When I answered the phone I was pretty much already in tears. He knew instantly that something was up and asked if I was ok. I told him that nothing was really wrong. I was just sad and he said he hoped I felt better.

It sucks when I’m like that. I feel bad for the people around me. There’s really nothing that anyone can do. It’s something I have to get through, breathe through. I still don’t know what to do to make the pain and loneliness go away. There isn’t a “fix” other than time. There’s a part of me who feels like I shouldn’t need another person; I should be able to figure my emotions out on my own and not require outside forces to pull me out of my sadness. Because of that mentality, I don’t reach out for the support that would probably help me get through my downs faster and easier. I don’t like thinking that I “need” someone. Needing means you’re dependent, so what happens when suddenly they’re not there anymore? How do you keep functioning then?

It’s another topic in the long list that I have that I eventually need to meditate on. All I can say is right now I still make it through those times. I might not make it through them with the grace I would like, but I still come out on the other side so that hopefully still counts as a win.

All of that aside, Ox and I are doing well I think. We spent most of yesterday shopping for me again. I got winter socks from Walmart. We went to a few stores looking for snowshoes but were unsuccessful in finding something I wanted to spend money on. I did get a pair of snow pants to go over my work clothes. Ox and I talked about that for a while. Originally we were thinking about getting me a few sets of thermals, but since you wear those under clothing, it would be annoying to put them on, then my scrubs, drive to work, undress then redress so I don’t overheat while I’m working the floor. Getting something that could go over my clothing seemed like a smarter option for the type of work I do. So I got a pair of black snow pants for $40 since they were on sale. I haven’t worn them yet aside from trying them on, but I think I’ll like them and I think they’ll work well of what I’m looking for. Right now they’re folded up and waiting for our next snow day.

I was also able to find a long-sleeved shirt that I like. It has thumb holes!!!! I got two of them since I figured I’ll only be wearing them, maybe, on my days off. Two should suffice. I really like them. I wore one yesterday once we got home from shopping to get a better feel for it. It’s soft and stretchy. The hand part fits snuggly, and with the thumb holes, I don’t feel like my wrists or fingers are being restricted. With having lived in Florida for so long, I don’t like wearing long-sleeved stuff much, and with how often I wear workout gear, I don’t like clothing that doesn’t stretch or move easily with me. It has made finding winter things that I like a little harder than what it most likely is for other people. I have very specific criteria for what I’m looking for. Luckily I’ve been able to find things that match what I want, it’s just taken a bit more time and not settling for “good enough”.

Overall, it was another day of win for the shopping list. Only snowshoes, scrubs, and potentially pants left to go.

We also stopped at a few places to price mark laptops since that is something on my radar. Right now it seems like I would be spending around $500 for something along the lines of what I want. Not bad, but not something I’m going to do right now. During one of our conversations, Jon brought up the fact that he has yet to pay me for the Surface I gave him while we were in Vegas. That would be $200 I could put towards a new laptop.

There are still a few other options I want to look into before settling on something. I would like to investigate more into a Chrome book since Google runs my life. Regardless of what I find, I most likely will hold off until Black Friday / Cyber Monday to see what deals pop up. Not “needing” a laptop means I can wait for a while. There’s also the marketplace thing for my work that might have decent deals.

One of the things we got last week was a gallon of apple cider with a bottle of caramel vodka. It’s an amazing mix. Just throwing that out there though I am very aware of just how many carbs are in 8 fluid ounces of apple cider alone. So worth it.

I didn’t have breakfast containers for yesterday or this morning so I made breakfast bowls with tater tots, onion, pepper, mushroom, salsa, sour cream, cheddar cheese, egg, and steak. It turned out really good. It’s the first time in a while I’ve had anything potato related. I guess it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure, but it’s been an extremely pleasing breakfast both times.

My meals for the week are done since I froze my leftover soup and chili from last week. Both of those recipes make eight servings, so the food shopping for this week was pretty light. The only cooking I have to do today is my roast and that’s pretty much just putting it in the oven and letting it do its thing until I need to cut it up.

I did laundry yesterday since I spilled my Bang a little bit on the bed. Talk about a party foul. : /

I still need to put the clothes away and repack my gym bag. Aside from potential school work, though, my day is pretty chill as far as chores are concerned. Roast, clothes, lunch for Ox, taking care of the cardboard tote… Yep, mostly just minor things.

The cut on my left hand is doing better, but now I have a cut on my right hand which sucks. I can’t win for losing apparently. I don’t even know what I did to get this one. I happened to look down while I was putting groceries away yesterday and noticed it. It sucks how something doesn’t start hurting until you notice it, then it’s the only thing you can think about. Still no signs of infection or anything. Just a little red around the edges from being angry because it has to bend so much. Stupid fingers and their bending… >.<;

Oh… on the subject of food. The chicken taco soup actually turned out really good as leftovers. I’m happy about that because when I first tried it I didn’t know if I would be able to eat it for a week straight. I think the next time I make it I’ll either use a different seasoning since I’m not a huge fan of the chipotle flavor profile or use regular cream cheese instead of the jalapeno flavor. I do think the base recipe is a good one and that with slight modifications it could be added regularly to my rotation.

I went to the dojo both Wednesday and Friday night. I only stayed for one class each time, but they were good classes and I’m glad I was there. I got to do drills with one of the guys on Friday. That was fun. He’s a teenager, most likely around 16 or so. After our first few rounds of drills, we were both more comfortable with each other. We’re both going to have bruises on our shins for a while, but that’s part of it.

I think the more I keep going, the more I’ll get to know everyone, the more comfortable and at home I’ll feel. I enjoyed working with the instructor and I do think I’ll enjoy being his student.

I still need to mess with JeFit but during one of the conversations with Jon the subject of it turning my music off came up. I guess it’s a setting I need to poke around with because his music plays just fine with the app. Good to know. If I feel ambitious today I might take a look at it.

I’ve still been cross stitching. I feel like I’ve been making a decent amount of progress on it. I didn’t take a picture last week, but I will later tonight before going to sleep. I’ve decided that since I haven’t been posting pictures for this project on my blog, I’ll wait until it’s finished to do a post with all of the progress pictures. That way they still get posted, but it’s not a “six here, one or two there” sort of thing. They can all be together.

School is going well. We had our first exam. I got 104% since I got the bonus question. Everyone passed. I didn’t see anyone else with my score though. A lot of 100%s, but it seemed like everyone else missed at least one question.

I still haven’t figured out my scrubs yet. I need to get that taken care of sooner rather than later. I also need to get my background check completed along with obtaining my school ID so I can participate in the clinical portion of the class once it gets to that point. I’m saving both of those tasks for Tuesday because my future self is going to need something to do.

Work has been surprisingly quiet and smooth. We hired a new nurse, though she has several years of dialysis experience so she’s not really new. I met her Wednesday. She’s pretty awesome. Friendly. Knowledgeable. I feel secure as a PCT with her. She’s going to be our float nurse for the next bit and I’m ok with that. I think we’ll work well together once we figure out a flow.

The acid machine got fixed at work, so I mixed a batch of acid Friday. I was having anxiety over it the whole time, waiting for smoke to start billowing up again. It went flawlessly, though. The pH tested within range and I was able to transfer it to the holding tank. I’m not sure if we’re going to use the jugs until their gone or switch over to the batch of acid I made when we open on Monday, but either way, the clinic is taken care of and ready to go. Woo!

I didn’t work overtime this week. It’s the first time in a while. I got permission to start using my PTO to round out my hours on the weeks that I don’t reach 40 from working at my clinic alone. I used five hours this week. Hopefully, that will slow down how quickly I’m earning PTO hours and keep them from capping on me. I would rather not have to cash my hours out since they’re taxed so heavily if you do it that way.

I was supposed to have a work outing yesterday night. There were plans for bowling that Ox and I were voluntold to go to. It got canceled though since I guess most people weren’t able to be there. Totally not heartbroken about it. I liked how my day went without the added stress of having to go be social, too.

Oh, and the FHM meeting was interesting. I’m hoping to be invited to more of them in the future, but even if I’m not, I’m glad I had the experience. It was nice to meet our medical director and to see another side of the clinic.

So yeah… I guess that’s about it. I’m doing alright in a tentative, low energy sort of way. I know I’m sensitive right now and I’m trying to be mindful of that fact. I’m looking forward to working on Monday and going to my class on Tuesday and to the dojo on Wednesday. I’m glad I wrote and I’m glad that the sun is out and shining even if it’s a cold and windy day.

It feels like a decent day.

And with that, I’m off to continue being a slacker. : 3

Daily Post 125: Snowy Nebraska

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I went to the dojo on Friday. I worked Saturday. It snowed today. I work tomorrow. I bought a winter jacket that was supposed to be $100 for only $50. Totally feeling like a badass over that still.

I don’t really know where to start or what to write about.

I guess I should mention that I cut my middle finger knuckle on my left hand Friday while I was opening boxes at work. That sort of sucks. You don’t realize how much you use something until it hurts you to put pressure on it. It’s a pretty clean slice and it doesn’t look infected. Just in a crummy spot for healing since fingers bend so much.

I got invited to go to the FHM meeting for my clinic this coming Tuesday. Facility Health Management. It’s basically a meeting with all of the higher ups who evaluate our clinic based on metrics. I’m essentially going to be a fly on the wall. My FA extended the invitation to me since she thought I would be interested in seeing the other side of the clinic. The business side. The only perspective I have is that of being on the floor interacting with our patients. I don’t know what happens with all of the data we record and keep track of. I’ve never met our medical director.

Even though I won’t be paid or in any way compensated for going to the meeting, I want to be there. I want the experience. I want to know the other side, the one my FA has to contend with in addition to working the floor three days a week.

The dojo was a good experience. It’s small. No one showed up to the Hapkido class at 6 this Friday so the instructor and I got to spend an hour working together. He showed me a very broad overview of the style. We even got into weapons. Switchblade and gun. I stayed for the cardio Muay Thai class. It’s more of a conditioning class rather than focusing on techniques, but I still enjoyed it. He helped me a lot with my footwork and I could feel a massive difference in the power of my kicks.

I want to keep going. I could make Wednesday and Friday classes. If I drove into Beatrice on Saturdays I could do the classes on those days as well. Since I ended up working this Saturday I didn’t, but it’s an option. It would be $65 for unlimited everything. $65 a month with no contract. That’s actually a pretty awesome deal.

It felt good to sweat that much again even though I know I’ve worked out harder in the past. I haven’t gone to the gym since Friday’s classes at the dojo. I did find a new app thanks to my brother. JeFit. It’s pretty nifty. Maybe it will help give me more focus when I work on my own.

I tried a new recipe this week. Chicken Taco Soup. It came out alright. Nothing amazing. The roast for my breakfasts should be fine since I didn’t overcook it this time. I’m doing chili again as well. Just sort of that type of weather. Since it’s cold outside I want things that are warm. Coffee included. I found a new coffee creamer. Dark chocolate peppermint. It warms a part of my soul. ❤

There’s a part of me who likes the cold weather and that there’s snow on the ground. It feels right. With it being so cold there should be some visible sign and here in Nebraska, there is. It reminds me of when I took my trip up here and had my interview back in January. It reminds me of when I first got “home” that night in February. I guess I’ll always have a special spot in my mind for snow now. So many of my recent changes happened while it was covering everything. While the world was white and sleeping my path changed and so far I have no regrets over seeing where it would lead.

Ox and I just ran up to the gas station to see how the roads were. There are some dry spots so hopefully, it won’t be too awful when I have to drive to work tomorrow morning. I’m still leaving about 15 minutes early and my FA has already messaged me saying to take my time. She would rather I arrive late than to get hurt driving too fast.

The South Lincoln clinic ended up having issues Friday and wasn’t able to run their first shift patients. Their FA called me specifically asking if I would be willing to help them Saturday morning. I told her that I didn’t have anything going on and would be willing to help but that I wasn’t cleared to mix bicarb and that I didn’t know any of their door codes. We got that worked out and it was a fairly smooth day. I didn’t mind going in. I’ve wanted to see their clinic for a while now. I got to meet their RN who was extremely kind and friendly to me. Their patients were also kind and welcoming. They appreciated my willingness to come in so they could have their treatments. It was a good experience and it gave me a few hours of over time.

This is the week where I got paid for my 5 and 4 day work weeks on top of getting the second installment of my retention bonus. It was a nice paycheck, which is greatly appreciated and needed.

Ox and I went with his kids to play mini golf yesterday as a belated birthday celebration for both of them after I got home from work. The weather was nice and it was a quaint, pleasant outing. I ended up winning and there’s a childish, silly part inside me who feels accomplished about that. My dad used to golf. When we lived in South Carolina he would take me behind the fence of our backyard. There was a pretty big field out there and he would let me hit balls with him. I didn’t realize that I still enjoyed the challenge. I didn’t realize how much going out and doing something so mundane and family oriented would please something inside of me. I’m glad I went. I’m glad I was a part of it.

After golfing, Mama Ox picked up the kids. Ox and I went to a Goodwill to try to find me some winter clothing. That was a bust, but I did find a decent pair of white shoes for cheap to wear when I begin the clinical portion of my class. One thing off the “to-buy” list. Woo.

We tried going to a few stores to find a winter jacket. Dick’s Sporting goods wanted $230 for theirs so we noped our way out over to Sear’s. All of their girl coats had fur-lined hoods or gold flashing clasps. I didn’t really like any of them. The guy selection was extremely limited. I didn’t see anything that I liked enough to spend money on.

We were about to call it quits when Ox suggested going over to JC Penny. I could tell my energy was fading pretty fast. He offered to drive us over to the entrance even though it wouldn’t have taken much for us to walk there. I’m glad we went. I found the perfect coat in the Men’s section. It’s a 2XL so it’s big and long. It goes almost down to my knees. It’s nice and roomy on the inside and soft and fluffy and it’s black with no fur lining or gold flashy stuff anywhere. Just a nice, big, black coat. And it has a billion pockets! So much love. And it was a super awesome price. I’m happy with it. I like wearing it.

With one of the most important things off of the list, we headed towards the Walmart near home. We stopped at Slim Chickens for dinner. It’s becoming my go-to choice for when we go out. They have good salads that are in line with the health goals I haven’t been working towards. You can get chicken tenders grilled rather than fried, so if I ever wanted something other than a salad I have options. It’s not as awesome as my sports bar from Orlando, but I like it. I already have a “my spot” at the one we seem to be frequenting. It makes me happy that I am finding spots since that was something I knew I was missing. It’s a place I could see myself going to and studying before going to class. It’s a place I could see myself writing at if I ever happen to get a laptop again.

I felt a bit better after Ox and I ate but it didn’t last very long. While we were at Walmart I started getting a headache. My hamstrings, which had already started the day off sore, were reaching the point of pain. I was pushing too far on too little sleep and my body was informing me, none too gently, that I wasn’t being kind to it. Ox agreed to save most of the clothes shopping for a different day and so we switched our focus to the foodstuff we needed to pick up.

We did get two new pillows for the bed. With him being on his computer and me making my nest of blankets and pillows while I cross stitch, we’ve noticed a shortage in the pillow department, even though Ox says we have too many when we go to sleep at night, which is total blasphemy because you can never have too many pillows.

I really like my new pillow. Like my jacket, it’s nice and soft and fluffy. I think it was a good investment. I got a husband pillow while we were there as well and I’ve enjoyed stitching with it behind my back today. It feels like I have a proper cross stitching nest now. I can sit cross-legged in my corner of the bed with my threads and highlighter and pattern papers and clipboard, all tucked in and covered with the blankets that smell like Ox and me and home.

Since we bought pillows that meant we needed to buy new pillowcases, too. I got a new brush as well since the one I’ve been using has started losing its bristles. I’ve had it for years. I don’t know how many. Five or more. I guess it was time to replace it. I’ve only used the new one once so far so I don’t know if I like it or not. We haven’t grown accustomed to each other I guess. Sort of like when I first got my car. We had to get to know each other, which might make me sound crazy since I’m talking about inanimate objects, but there you go. I bond with everything, hair brushes included.

I ended up spending close to $200 at Walmart with roughly half of that being on “frivolous” things like the pillows. I was sort of kicking myself about that on the drive home. I still need to buy thermals and wool socks and a good pair of snow boots. I shouldn’t have spent $100 on “nothing”.

The more I thought about it the more I felt like I was thinking about it wrong. I’ve wanted more pillows for a few months now. I’ve wanted the husband pillow. I worked a crazy amount of overtime. I’m allowed to buy things with my money. I paid all of my bills before we went out earlier in the day. I have everything covered. So I might end up spending $300 extra this week instead of the original $200 that I had set aside from my winter gear budget. I don’t think spending an extra $100 is all that bad. I’m still going to be putting a huge chunk towards the credit card and paying off my CNA class.

I’m allowed to buy a few things for myself every once in a while. I don’t know why there’s a part of my brain that has such a hard time understanding that. I don’t know why I feel like I have to justify it to myself. I bought those things because I wanted to and they made my day and evening nice.

I did most of my cooking today. The clothes are washed and dried though they most likely won’t get put away until Tuesday; maybe Monday evening if I’m feeling up to it.

Tuesday, after the meeting, I plan to try to do the last bit of winter shopping since I’ll be in town.

I’ve still been stitching. I’m on the last page of the pattern. It’s the page with the most work on it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if my progress seems to slow down, but I’m content with the progress I’ve made. There’s still a bit of work I want to get done before going to bed or taking my picture of it for this week. Since I still need to shower as well I guess I’ll go for now.

I feel like this post rambled sort of all over the place, but it was nice to write while my second cup of coffee sits in front of me getting cold. It feels normal. It feels nice. It feels like I don’t hate life and that I’m not as angry that I’m still living and mom isn’t. I know there’s still a lot of emotions for me to figure out and I know that it’s drawing closer to the season and days that hurt the most, but right now, I’m… happy? I don’t know. It feels more than content, though.

I like my stitching nest. I like my jacket. I like my coffee creamer. I look forward to those things. I liked my day of mini golf. I want it to not be wrong to like those things. I want it to not be wrong to want more memories like that and I know the only person struggling with the feeling of wrongness is me. The only one struggling with the feeling of happiness and belonging and home is me. It’s me, inside my head, that rages and screams and cries that it’s wrong. How can I be happy? How can I enjoy things? How can I look forward to things? How can I breathe and not feel anguish?

I still miss you, mom. I will always miss you. I miss you every day, every morning. Every time something happens and I can’t call you and have hour-long conversations about nothing. I’m finally to a point where I can go out and buy pillows and a hairbrush and not worry about skimming from my food budget to do it. I’m going back to school. I’m being invited to facility meetings. I’m doing good, mom. I miss you but I’m doing ok and I really, really hope all of this would make you happy. I really hope deep down that you would be proud of me for all the things I’m doing. I miss you mom, but I didn’t give up and this is where I am. In snowy Nebraska learning how to keep living life. I love you. Forever and for always.

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Daily Post 123: Checking In

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This writing may be a bit rushed but I want to do it while I have time.

I worked five days last week. That doesn’t sound all that hard when compared to how everyone typically works five days, but those are five 12 hour shifts. It was hard. I had Sunday off where I did a fair amount of school work for my CNA class along with food prep for the coming week. Yesterday, Monday, I worked, so I didn’t get much of a break to regroup.

It looked like I was going to pick up a shift today, Tuesday, but blessedly they got the situation figured out and so I’m left having today mostly to myself.

I have my first actual lab for class today at 5 pm. In theory, it won’t be over until 9 which puts me home around 9:30 or 10 with a 3 am wake-up call for work. That’s how my weeks are going to be from now until December. The only time I’ll interact with Ox on Tuesdays and Thursdays is during our morning cigarettes.

He said we’ll be ok; that we’ll make it through this, even though it technically hasn’t even started yet. I think we both realize it’s going to be on the harder side of the life scale and hearing his reminder that it will be temporary makes the next few months seem less daunting then they did yesterday afternoon.

Ox and I are doing well. We’re making progress in the addition and within our relationship.

I haven’t worked out for a week. Mostly because I worked so much.

I’m a little anxious about my class. I’m sure it will be fine once I’m there. I’m trying to not let it take away from the quiet time I have now.

I’ve showered. I’ve put my close away. I’ve unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. I want to go to the gym. I want to stop at Dollar General for more index cards so I can finish those up before class tonight. I wanted to write, which even if it’s brief, at least I’m doing it.

Mama Ox didn’t know I had signed up for or started my class so I talked to her last night about it.

Honestly, I really don’t know what all to say.

It’s turning colder here. I don’t mind it as much as I thought I would. I need to buy winter clothing still. I’m waiting to see what scrubs I need to by for the clinical portion of my class before devoting a day to shopping so I can do it all at once.

I’m sure there are things I can / should ponder over and muse through, but I don’t feel like I have the time or space to do it today and so my thoughts aren’t very forthcoming.

There’s a dojo in Beatrice which does Muay Thai and Hapkido. I’m interested in looking into it but haven’t yet. I work Saturday this week so I’ll be getting overtime again. The new schedule isn’t out yet but it should be some time this week. I’m thinking about not re-upping my training sessions for the moment since I have so little time as it is between work and school. I don’t like the thought of having to drive so far on my days off. It’s one of the reasons I had been hoping to get into the CNA class in Beatrice, that way everything would be near each other, but that didn’t work out. I don’t want to drive to Beatrice, then to Lincoln only to drive to Beatrice again in the morning for work. It just seems so horribly inefficient and time-consuming.

I’m thinking I’m going to try to be more diligent about getting to the gym near home and seeing about the hapikdo classes after work and being content with that through the winter. There’s also the added worry about driving in the snow. I don’t want to load my winter up with tons of activities. I would rather keep winter mildly quiet. I already know it’s still going to be hard emotionally. I want to allow myself to have space if I need it.

The new tech we hired is doing well. I’m thinking about offering to take vacation when she needs to come down and train at our clinic on our machines. I would rather not have to cover shifts at Cap City and I’m almost to the point where my PTO hours are capped. I would rather not cash them out since they’re taxed so heavily. I don’t know… it’s something in my mind. Taking some time off, especially around the December time frame, would be nice. Get done with my class, take a few weeks to regroup, get through my grief, come back ready to kick ass again.

My FA wants me to become a preceptor for our clinic. That means I have to go to Acadamy first. That’s most likely something we’ll look at in the new year. I need to figure out the whole LPN thing before April as well, so that will most likely also be a “new year” thing. Seeing where I’m at financially, what the clinic is able to do with/without me.

I guess a lot of stuff right now is nebulous and there’s not much I can do about any of it other than keep on trucking on. I haven’t been focusing on weight loss because I guess right now I’m kind of ok with me. I wouldn’t mind losing more weight, but I never really cared about the numbers. I don’t want to reach a certain number, I just want to do things that I find fulfilling, like going to the dojo. Maybe that’s why there’s a bit of resistance now to the training. I can’t justify going when it’s not really moving me towards somewhere I want to be. I don’t care about weight. I care about drive time and cost.

More things to think about and consider. I think I’m going to go for now so I can get to the gym. That will give me a bit of time to think about things more. I could zen out as I row to loosen up my shoulders which are sort of angry with me right now. I’m not thinking it’s going to be a super intense workout, but I would like to sweat a bit just to say I did.

I want to cross stitch a bit today, too, while I have the time to do it. I’m thinking about leaving here around 4 so I have plenty of time to get to my class. I know where the building is, but I’ve never been inside the classroom before. I don’t know how crazy parking is going to be either. I’ll make sure to have snacks with me along with water. I’m going to go ahead and put my books in the car so I can’t forget them later.

So yeah… I guess that’s it. I’m still alive. I’m doing ok. Trying to give myself as much of a break as I can and enjoy the time off that I have.