Two weeks into the job and the fog continues to clear. I've been suffering from "brain stretch". For those of you who wear glasses, remember how your eyes felt when they're adjusting to a new prescription? I've always described it as the sensation of my eyes being pulled or stretched. This is how my brain has felt for the past two weeks. So much information, so much to process and remember; now, I'm mentally exhausted.
I've been working the last two weekends in order to receive extra orientation from the woman who's been filling in doing this job before me. I have one day off tomorrow and then I'm back at it Tuesday. On my own. Alone. Am I ready? Well, certainly more so than I was on my first day. I don't know my way around the entire campus (I've been told by more than one person this takes four to six months)! I do know where I need to go to deliver my med passes to homes. I do recognize and know the names of 23 residents. Gee! Only 277 more to get to know and remember. My biggest stumbling block is going to be dealing with the phone in the clinic. The receptionist picks up calls most of the time and the nurses help out too. If they're out or occupied elsewhere, which seems to be a lot of the time, it's up to me. This phone rings constantly.
The Phone. My old nemesis is back to haunt me. I have such an irrational fear and loathing of the telephone that I've aided and abetted for years. I especially don't like answering phones when the person on the other end is going to be asking questions for which I have no answers. This is what I have to look forward to on Tuesday. One of the major perks (to me) of my last job was that we caregivers never had to answer the phones. When I began working the early morning hours, the phone would ring occasionally at the front desk but it was always the same lady requesting bathroom assistance. No problem there. I hate to initiate calls as well. If I have to make a call to a serviceman, insurance company or clear up some kind of problem on my day off when I have time, that day is shot to hell and I'm miserable until this chore is behind me. I think the way my body reacts to interaction with the telephone is what I imagine a panic attack to be like. My heart begins to beat rapidly, my hands begin to sweat and I often develop a tendency to stutter somewhat. I realize these reactions to a modern convenience that so many people hold near and dear are foolish. I can't help how I feel. For all I know there may be an offical name for this phobia.
My family is all too familiar with my phone phobia. I'm often the target of mild, affectionate teasing and more than likely, private thoughts of being pathetically lame in this department. They simply cannot comprehend how I can feel this way. Knowledge that I'd have to deal with phones was one of the things that almost kept me from accepting my new position. I decided to accept this as a major challenge, however, in hopes that I would become more comfortable over time. And just think, for the first six years of my working life I worked as a secretary and had to deal with phones, multiple lines, etc. Throughout it all, my stomach tied itself in a knot each time those phones rang.
Wish me luck. Even as I read over what I've written here, I've been doing a little better with the telephone than my entry here implies. I have a long way to go. Lately, my personal motto has been "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". For me, this has been a most appropriate motto to live by these past several weeks.