Saturday, August 17, 2019


I had to work Friday. My FitBit loves workdays. I doubled my daily step count goal. The hospital where I work is actually seven separate buildings on a small campus and I regularly walk to and from at least four or five of the buildings (the admission building, the school, the cafeteria, and the cottage where the kids live). So it's nice to get the extra steps and nice to have a minute or two outside as I walk from building to building. Since I've been there, I've seen some kind of wildlife everyday. Yesterday it was squirrels and cicadas. But there are also lots of spiders and roadrunners and rabbits. (And mosquitoes. Ugh!)

I came home dead tired and got eight hours of sleep, which was nice. I got up and lazed around all morning, did a bit of sewing, and then went to lunch with Dave, my mother, and brother. We tried a new place, chicken and waffles. The food took forever, but the service was genial and the food was really good when it finally came. I had chicken, fries and slaw and I ordered a side of red beans and rice which was delicious (I had to bring it home though because I was way too full to finish it). Dave had grits and eggs, mac and cheese, slaw, and fried pickles. My mom had catfish and fried okra an mushrooms. My brother had fried chicken and waffles. We were all stuffed when we left.

My mom and I stopped at Sonic for drinks on the way home.

Right now, I want a nap, but instead I'm soaking the hummingbird feeders in a vinegar solution to clean them. They smelled fermented, poor hummers. I hope I didn't poison any of them! I'll fill them up with some fresh sugar water, too.

I'm so tired, still, I have five days off, but I think I may spend most of it sleeping.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Of Course

It's been awhile since I posted.

Since then, I've had a birthday. Dave and I drove up to Santa Fe to visit one of my favorite quilting shops and I bought a few yards of fabric, including a large print of the Virgin Mary that I'm going to fussy cut and applique on my jean jacket.

I've started orientation for the new job. I've seen children who needed to be held down by three grown adults to keep from hurting themselves. I've been cursed out by a tiny child. (It made me laugh, which I had to hide.) I've worked 40 hour weeks on less than 15 hours of sleep. (I've always had trouble sleeping and this job is not helping.) I've spent $82 on a book about psychotropic meds used on pediatric populations. I've worked with doctors and medical students. I've had panic attacks from reading patients' charts. I've seen and heard stories that would break your heart and that have broken mine.  I've cried and not been able to cry. I can't talk about any of it in specifics, of course. I'm slowly getting used to it.

I've seen a new therapist (a dud) to try to supplement my own therapist's schedule. I've watched My Cousin Vinny about 20 times and Ryan Hamilton's Netflix special Happy Face another 5 or 6 times and the first season of The Golden Girls three times. I've nearly burned through the electrode pads that came with my TENS unit by running it most of the night to quell the pain in my right shoulder and deltoid (maybe a torn rotator cuff?). I've ordered a replacement set of 30.

I've ordered new glasses (itself a frustrating experience). Bifocals. I've been having trouble reading the tiny printed patient reports. 

This morning was frustrating, though. I had an appointment with an ENT that I waited about three months to see. I arrived 30 minutes early (as told to by the office). I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, one hour and twenty minutes after arriving, I saw the doctor for about 8 minutes. Had to pay out of pocket since the office doesn't take my insurance. No answers, of course. Just referrals for more test. I took the day off for this.

I go back to work tomorrow. But today I'm going to try to catch up on sleep. My FitBit says I got 4 hours and 42 minutes of sleep last night.  Of course.

Monday, July 29, 2019

For Good

Okay then.

Dave and I had lunch with my mother and brother on Saturday. We went for Chinese food. My guts are still unhappy, so I didn't gorge myself nearly as much as I wanted to sadly, but I haven't had Chinese food for a month, so it was nice to have some of our usual feast. A waitress who we really like but who had been gone for a long time was suddenly back. She explained in her version of English that she had been traveling to New York and Taiwan to visit her children and grandchildren. For the last two or three months, the restaurant had made do with her replacement, who was friendly enough but not the same.

After lunch, I went with my mother to an indoor flea market. She had gone with my aunt a couple of times and wanted to go and check it out again. There were some interesting things, but nothing that I wanted to buy to bring home to our crowded little casita. If I had more room, I would collect some antique-y,"fancy" things (little figurines, glass candy dishes) that remind me of my grandmother's house. But I don't have the room for them now. Five hundred square feet will force some semblance of minimalism on you, let me tell you. And I am grateful for that, certainly.

Sunday, Dave spent most of the day with his mother. They went for a concert and to lunch. Because she can't drive long distances anymore, he drives out to pick her up, brings her back for the concert and lunch, and then drives her back home. It's a long day, but he doesn't go every week, so it's fine.

While he was gone, I slept in, did some work that I had to do to prepare for my first day of work, and putzed around. I did a bit of improvisational sewing with some red and white cotton, making a version of traditional red-and-white quilts. I have purchased a lot of red and white fabric in the last year or so, but of course there are so many shades of red and white that none of the stuff in my stash matches. I have to laugh. I don't notice these things until they're right next to each other. (The white is especially tricky. How many shades of white do quilters really need?!)

After Dave returned, we went out to visit Paul in the nursing facility. He was watching Blazing Saddles on TV and I think he wanted to finish watching the movie, but was too polite to say so. While we were there, Judi and Paul's daughter came in and so we chatted, leaving Paul to watch the comedy. Dave and I didn't stay too long--maybe forty-five minutes?--since we had to come home and feed the dogs.

Paul is not progressing with his physical therapy and so there was some discussion of where to move him to next given that fact and also since his insurance is about to run out.. Judi and Paul's daughter found an assisted living place for him to go to in a week or two. Apparently, once the insurance runs out on a given facility, there is a 48-hour grace period before the patient has to be moved. Our insurance system and our extended care system suck, but Paul and Judi have voted republican all their lives, so this is what they signed up for. I wonder if they recognize that or if the disconnect is so complete that they don't even consider it.

Sunday we also had to run out to the grocery store. We went by Whole Foods and picked up some things. I'm stressing a bit over what to take to work to eat. It'd be fine over an eight or nine hour shift to have a meal and a snack, but over a twelve-and-a-half hour shift, that wouldn't be enough. So it becomes a meal and two or three snacks. Or a couple of meals and a snack. And, since the facility where I'm working is not in the main hospital, and half my shift will eventually be overnight, there is no option to seek out an open restaurant or visit the hospital cafeteria. I'm hoping there's a way to get some hot water to make coffee. I know there is a small fridge to store food, but one of the admin types said that food routinely disappears from them (a hazard of relying on poorly paid techs, perhaps?). I'm sure the night crew has a workaround the lack of food options, but I'm starting out in the dark here, so I'll be carrying a bunch of food with me at first.

Back to Sunday late afternoon: Dave also had a list of chores he wanted to get done Sunday afternoon, including scooping dog poop and mowing the lawn. It's been rainy recently, so neither of those tasks is particularly appealing when things are soggy. However, we had had a lovely clear day and so it was doable. While he was doing yardwork, I did some housework (laundry, dishes, etc.). For dinner, we had roasted vegetables and I had chicken and Dave had Quorn. (Tonight will be a repeat of the roasted veggies with quinoa and maybe tofu for some protein.)

Also on tonight's agenda: A possible trip to Target and I have to hem my scrub pants. (They're a few inches too long and drag on the ground if I don't fold them up.) It'll be nice to use my sewing skills for good.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Orientation Week Finis

This was the last day of my orientation week. I'm exhausted. It's worse for me to sit for seven or eight hours a day in front of a computer than it is for me to be run around doing different things all the time. I think my actual job will be more running around.
These little volunteer sunflowers popped up in the garden. Every morning their happy little faces greet me. This one had sheltered a little napping bee overnight. Poor little guy. I hope he was okay.

I actually finished all my learning modules today--a miracle--or at least the ones that were on my plate when I left the facility for the day. I expect more will be added by next week. There will probably be enough down time after I start so that I can work on whatever new ones crop up. As I sat at the computer, today, hour after hour, I had to remind myself that I was getting paid. It takes a tiny bit of the sting out of it.
I also had time to finish up some new hire things online, arranging to have my paycheck direct deposited into our account, filling out tax forms, and emailing parking services to have my parking pass changed. I'm now paying $400 a year for parking--yes, four hundred American dollars--but I will have rock star parking. Without the permit change, I was paying $260 a year to park at a distant, unpaved lot and ride the shuttle to work (which takes 15-20 minutes on a good day, adding 30-40 minutes to my twelve-and-a-half hour work day, really). With the new parking pass, I'll be parking pretty much in front of the building where I'll be working, which is unheard of at this organization. (I'm not at the main hospital.) Seriously. Many of the doctors don't park closer to the hospital than I do (though many of them park closer than the patients can) and they pay around $2,000 a year for their parking.  It's worth the extra $140 a year to me to park close, especially in winter, when I'll be arriving and leaving work in the dark.
After I finished for the day, Dave picked me up and we came home. I had enough time to change out of my scrubs and to feed the dogs. Then we headed back out to pick up Grace for dinner. We went out for Greek food and I had something besides chicken. (I've been eating a lot of chicken recently, taking chicken sandwiches for lunch and having chicken and salad for dinner.) Chris has been sick with a stomach virus, so she stayed home, but Grace, Dave and I went out and chatted and had a good time (even though I was so tired that I just wanted to go to sleep at the table).
It started to rain as we were driving home and was turning into quite a storm by the time we dropped Grace off at her place. Dave and I had to run an errand for my brother and by then it was raining hard. We ran into and out of the store, trying--and failing--to dodge the raindrops.

The rain is nice but intense. The thunder scares the dogs. (I had to dose them with CBD oil last night, which helps them a bit.) The rain cools everything off, though. It was into the nineties today and now I'm sitting here kind of chilled in my damp clothes. (Of course I'm sitting under an air conditioner vent and drinking a giant, icy drink, which might be contributing to my feeling cold.)

I want to relax for a bit, but I'm feeling a bit restless, too. I've done not much else but stress about the new job all week, even in my down time. I'd like to just stretch out and get a full night's sleep (ha!).

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The End Times


This week is orientation week for my new job. Part of the process is for everyone, so I was sitting with people who will be working with administration, people who will be working in the cafeteria, people who will be working in all parts of the hospital. That was the first two days. After that, some of them went to work, but my orientation and training went on. There is a lot of documentation that has to be done with patient care, and we have to be trained on those systems.

We are also all responsible for finishing up a ton of online learning. I had 31 different presentations to go through and take exams on when I signed into my newly created work account. And as I watched, 11 more were added. Then, just when I thought I was making headway, having finished about ten or so, another 15 appeared. I have to learn everything from how to combat a fire to how to deal with an active shooter in the hospital to how to deal with radioactive materials....


Orientation continues. This morning, I had a class that was more specific to my area. We dealt with ethics and patients' rights and responsibilities. In the afternoon, I went and met my supervisor and toured the unit where I'll be working. Then I spent another hour or so working on the online learning things that I'm responsible for. While I was working, another 20 were added to my list.

Because my vertigo is still an issue, Dave has been driving me and today was particularly stressful for him because of it. I had to go to one building in the morning, so he had to drive me there. Then I had to go to the hospital where I'll be working in the afternoon, so he had to come and pick me up and drive me there. Because I wasn't sure how long I was supposed to stay at the hospital, Dave was kind of on-call all afternoon. I only ended up staying about two and a half hours at the hospital, so then Dave had to come back and pick me up. I'm hoping that I'm feeling well enough to drive myself by next week...In fact, I had been feeling better until I went to the audiologist and that kicked off this crazy relapse of the vertigo. It's fading again--only triggered when I do certain things--so I am hopeful.

What else is going on? I'm not really allowed to post about the particulars of my job, of course. But I will say that because my experience with this type of patient care is so limited, it's difficult for me to judge how well the unit is run. I know that there has been a certain amount of staff turnover recently, which is somewhat suspicious, but I'll have to wait and see. Every area of healthcare is stressful, of course, but this area may be particularly stressful. We'll see.

It's been kind of a discombobulated week anyway. I've been sleeping over at Kelly's house with the pups, so I'm getting ready for work there. That has meant running back and forth from our place to Kelly's because I forget things at one place or another. And my schedule is not set, which is disorienting. One morning I have to be at work at seven, one morning at nine, one morning at eight, and tomorrow at seven forty-five. Why can't they just make it ONE start time? Seven across the board? Or eight? I mean. Then we're jumping around from place to place. Part of orientation is in the main hospital. Part of it is in the IT department. Part of it is in another facility....Sometimes we have to drive from one place to another in the middle of the day. (Always fun when you don't have a car or, like me, are dependent on someone else for a ride.)

Starting next week I'll be orienting on the unit, so I'll be working Thursday/Friday/Saturday from seven a.m. to seven p.m. I'll do that for a few weeks before I start my usual schedule of Monday days and Thursday overnight. We'll see how that works out for me. I'm willing to give it a try. (Talk to me again in six months.)

Anyway, so that's some stuff. Here's some other stuff:

I also, for the first time in my life, joined a union this week. A couple of the union leaders came to talk to us during orientation and I went ahead and signed up. There are union dues--about $35 per paycheck or about $70 a month--but I'm okay with that. I believe in unions and I'm happy to put my money where my mouth is. The union is currently in negotiations for pay raises, which would benefit us and them.

So that's a thing.

What else? Oh. I lost my old badge from when I was a student and, because I'm now an employee of the same organization, I had to pay $20 to get my new badge. Dealing with the toads and the trolls in the badge office is not pleasant, but it must be done. I swear, they get more toady and more trollish each time I go into that office. Some of them literally look like toads and trolls. It's like the whole office is staffed with minor characters from a Miyazaki film.

I just started to earn some money and I'm already paying it out for stuff associated with the job. (Don't get me started on buying new scrubs...which reminds me that I have to order some online and take them in to get embroidered with the hospital logo.)

And other stuff, too:

I'm trying very hard not to pay attention to the news recently. I can't focus at all on the white supremacist in the white house and his open racism. And how many pedophiles does one have to be friends with before you can say that there's something fishy going on? How many women have to say he raped them before we believe? (Look how many it took to bring Cosby down. No one trusts that women are telling the truth, even about rape. Especially about rape.) How many brown and black women (Congresswomen, no less) does he have to disparage before we believe that he is racist? How many brown people--brown children, brown babies (!!!) does he have to rip from their families and put in cages before we believe that he is racist? And the sad thing is that still he'll get a certain percentage of brown people to vote for him because he's a republican. The party of family values, my ass. Or they are, I mean, as long as your family is white. And rich.

Ugh.  I have to stop. I could make myself crazy thinking about it. I'm glad I have a marketable skill now that I can use in other countries. I'm renewing my passport before it's too late because I am going to be ready to leave the country. I really think that it's coming. We already have concentration camps along the border and ICE agents "detaining" brown people, even American citizens. I mean, what the fuck do you think comes next?

It makes me wonder: How many Jews missed their moment? How many Jews couldn't leave Germany in time--or didn't believe that things would get as bad as the did--and were murdered in camps as a result?

It makes me wonder: Have I missed my moment? Am I going to be able to get out of the country when it's time? Will someone be willing to hide me when the ICE agents come to my door or will my republican, trump-voting neighbors turn me in?

I honestly believe that if he gets reelected that we brown people, even those of us who are American citizens, are in trouble. Real trouble.

This is Reverend Barber. He believes that Jesus cared about the poor, the sick, the hungry. He thinks that people working should be paid a living wage. He had this to say today: