Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
No way was I going to be laden down with a cast for this trip. I pushed very hard to get my cast taken off a bit early which, in fact, was done on August 11. Having that cast cut off was not unlike the joy of childbirth providing great relief from such a heavy weight! I left the hospital with a soft, velcro-fastened removable splint. I promised to behave myself and not get it wet nor fall again and rebreak my arm. The soft splint worked out beautifully. There was a lot of hauling and lifting that I couldn't do and I babied my left arm to the max. Our vacation was grand, my sisters had a marvelous time and my arm was just about back to normal by the time I returned to work. When the day came that I could wring out a washcloth thoroughly, snap a towel before folding it for storage and pick up, carry to the sink and dump a large potful of boiling water and pasta into a colander, I knew that break was truly healed. It's given me no problem at all since.
As it turned out, physical therapy never entered the picture. I think that returning to work almost immediately after my accident was a good thing. Using my arm as best as I could probably helped it heal quickly. I strongly believe I earned a great deal of respect from my peers at work as well as the seniors for whom I work by coming to work each day, doing the best I could. It was quite an experience; one that I don't wish to repeat but there's nothing like losing the use of a part of oneself to make you appreciate it all the more.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Let's back up in time a bit. Yes, I was thinking maybe some time off from work, some quiet time would be nice. Little did I know that some little demon, gremlin or something of that ilk was listening. On a Sunday morning early in July while "putting the house to bed", I tripped over a cat toy in my living room. I was unable to catch myself and I fell to the floor with a crash. I've had a few falls in my recent past and I've always recovered quickly and jumped right up to resume whatever it was I was doing. Not so this time. I knew I had hurt myself. I was pretty sure something was broken judging from the pain emanating from my left arm.
It was very late. My husband had taken himself off to bed earlier. I gathered the pieces of myself up and got as far as the living room sofa. I felt awful and my arm hurt...a lot. I think I just lay there for awhile, doing the injured animal whimpering thing a bit. Before too long, my son loomed over me asking, "what's wrong, Mom?"
I told him what had happened and the next thing I knew, I was being bundled into the car by my husband and driven to Kaiser ER. The long and short of it: I fell, I was x-rayed, I broke the radius bone in my left arm. This was a new experience for me, having never broken anything in my life before this. Thank God it was my left arm because I am a predominate "rightie".
Ah, how quickly life changes. I've been with the same man for almost 40 years and in all that time, I've managed to handle any bathroom emergencies on my own. Not so this night while still at the Emergency Room. I was wearing a pair of shorts with a zip fly, buttoned at the top. I had to GO and I couldn't manage to undo myself with one hand. Nothing like your spouse taking you to the toilet to help you undo lest you wet yourself. This was just the beginning. In the ensuing weeks, my husband, my love, my best friend became the most considerate, attentive caregiver one could possibly imagine. He did everything.
My accident occurred early Sunday morning. I had that Sunday off, called work to report what had happened and said I wouldn't be in that Monday. I did return to work Tuesday, however, and apart from leaving early in the day a couple of times, worked through my entire casted confinement. About two weeks after my fall and initial ER casting, I reported in and my left arm was subsequently encased in a cast from the first joints of my left hand to halfway between my elbow and my shoulder. Suddenly, I was very much aware of how much our elbows come into the daily routine of life. I couldn't use a curling iron, put in earrings, apply makeup very well, button buttons, zip zippers, put on socks, tie shoes, bathe properly, wash my hair, pin on my name tag, etc.
My husband helped me every single morning to get ready for work. We bagged up the left arm, showered together at which time he washed my hair and scrubbed me clean. I was very much aware that I didn't want this cast to get wet to impede my recovery in any way. My back has never been so clean before or since this episode. He helped to dry me and I discovered lo after all these years of assisting seniors with their showers that places that need drying most seem to get missed. I learned very quickly to dress myself as much as I could because I soon discovered that I hated having my socks put on my some one else.
To be continued...
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Intimidated....yes. It's been so long since I've been in this place that I am amazed, read intimidated, by the mood choices. Obviously someone worked very hard and very long into the night to produce all these emotional choices. Amazing.
Interesting to note that my most recent entry was April 27, a little over five months ago. This reminds me of when I was young and making daily entries into my journal. When life was dreary, boring or simply day to day stuff, I managed to find time each evening to write at least something. Gaps began to appear in this very same journal when Life picked up, became interesting and I was too busy living and enjoying same to stop and write about it. Ah, some things never change no matter what our age.
It's been about three and a half months since I accepted the mantle of Spring Lake Village Outpatient Office Coordinator, and it seems as if at least a year has passed since I said, "I will". Since filling in for this position and, subsequently, accepting the job, there seems to be no spare time to do ANYTHING. The difference in my daily work hours is only one half hour but these fleeting thirty minutes evidently make all the difference in the world. I simply cannot figure out how I managed to write in not only one, but two journals, on a fairly regular basis and still had time to get up, get to work, do my job, arrive home, help with dinner, eat it and shortly thereafter fall into bed. Nothing has changed except than I no longer arrive home before my husband. Maybe I'm so busy livin' and lovin' The Vida Loca that I have no time to write about it. Alas, I don't think that's the case.
I find myself longing for some free, kick-back time, time to myself. Sometimes I think it would be rather pleasant to come down with a minor little "something" that prevents me from going to work for a couple of days but not so dreadful that I can't be up and around doing some things I'd like to do. This is a ridiculous fantasy because I'm the sort of person whose work ethic is so strongly engrained that I have to have one foot in the grave before I call in sick to work. I will call in if I'm in the contagious stage of a cold; i.e. sneezing, coughing and dripping about the place but I rarely get colds. I never seem to "catch" whatever's going around theworkplace at any given time that a vast majority of my co-workers seem to catch on a regular basis. Hmm. I watch my "sick time hours" accumulate steadily with each subsequent paycheck and wonder why don't I get paid for this time that is set aside for me but never used. Sick time at my job is strictly a case of "you don't use it, you lose it"! This makes no sense to me. I think this is a major flaw in the system but nobody's seeking out my opinion on the subject.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Well now, I got the job. My director called me into her office and proceeded to inform me she was very pleased to offer me the job for which I've been filling in for the past six months on a permanent basis. I was satisfied with the offer and accepted most graciously. This is a development I truly never anticipated nor sought. Our lives work in mysterious ways, don't they?
Since I got drop-kicked into this job a week before Halloween last year, it's been an uphill struggle all the way. I fought it tooth and nail, desperately wishing I could return to my "real" job. Days turned into weeks which melted into months and it began to dawn on me gradually that I wasn't hating this "new" job as much I thought. I came to the realization, albeit begrudgingly, that I rather liked it when things went well. I didn't want to go back to delivering medication to people, assisting them with showers and bathing when needed or running out to check phones off the hook. I liked when I was able to follow through on a doctor's order and be able to do so without always having to ask lots of "how to" questions of the outpatient nurse. I liked knowing I could help residents in, shall we say, more intellectual ways than helping them to wash!
Trying to fill the shoes of someone who's worked with a group of people for over 20 years and in this office for six, seven years or so seemed insurmountable. I'm a replacement for the job and not the person who ran things so efficiently for so long. It's my turn now to make this job my own, work out little systems that work for me and learn something more every day. My working life began in the secretarial field. After a 12 year hiatus from the working world, I returned to it and found a nice niche in the health-care business. Securing my present job brings my work experience full circle, connecting the two very different careers quite well. Every new day at work brings with it many problems. At this point I feel I'm up to the challenge of dealing with them.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I really must stop averring that I am "my own worst critic". Sheesh! Lately, I seem to be beating that phrase to death. Maybe I like the way it sounds; I don't know. It's become an annoying habit and I must stop it at once. Add that to the growing list of so many things I should and shouldn't be doing. Does this mindful list ever end? I'm going to be 55 years old this summer and I'm sorry to admit that I don't feel that I'm perfect...not yet. I suppose there's still hope; I'm young enough yet.
On the job front, I have my official interview this coming Thursday afternoon with my supervisor. I have to laugh. This strikes me as an unnecessary evil but one must bow to the bureaucracy of how things are done in a corporate setting. Alas, yes, this great place for seniors in which I work is, in the final analysis, a corporate business and run accordingly. Since my return to work, the job has been especially grueling but I discovered a few truths. When I made ready to depart on my last day, I thought to myself this would be a bit of a test for me and the residents. During my absence they'd think either "Whew, thank goodness she's gone" or "where's Meredith? Where has she gone?" I was pleased to discover that my absence was noticed and I was missed. In a community of 300 plus residents this counts for a lot.
I want this to be over and done with. Is she is or is she ain't....worth installing into this now open position on a permanent basis? I don't think it's so much that I'm dying to have this job but rather than I'd like to know it's mine and can move forward to fashion it to my way of doing things. We all have our own systems of doing things; I've been working under our receptionist's way of doing everything with the understanding that she would return. One does not rock this boat when in a temporary, albeit lasting for almost half a year, position. I want to move on, know that this job is mine and expand on this. Yes, I never cease to amaze myself which is why I'm one of my best fans. I see this as an excellent opportunity, an advancement and, at this point in my life, a quite wonderful come-full-circle position to enjoy and serve the older generation in such a way that will probably be the last job of my work-related life. I do so hope!! Oh please, Lord, don't let me end up having to be a "greeter" at Walmart or some such job in some other Godforsaken like place. I think I'd rather die. No, I don't think...I would. But, I digress. Such is my usual fashion, my normal state. Some things I cannot, will not change. Why? This is my journal and I don't have to.
We'll see what tomorrow brings, eh?
Saturday, April 5, 2008
I mentioned I took some time off from work to give my daughter a hand following some surgery she had. This break coincided with her birthday; a big one, her 30th.
Here we are on our most recent trip to Monterey Aquarium along with a friend,
She wasn't able to bend over to pick things up, couldn't lift anything more than 5 pounds and couldn't go up and down stairs or drive anywhere. She lives on the upper level of a duplex and the washing machine and dryer are downstairs. My job was to get there each morning to take my granddaughter to school, do at least one load of laundry a day, take the puppy they acquired just days before her surgery out to pee or whatever...constantly and pick up granddaughter from school in the afternoon. I was willing and able to do anything else my daughter wanted or needed but it was never much. Once my son-in-law came home from work, I was free to return to mine.
I know she was hurting and mighty uncomfortable but we had a marvelous time. We talked a lot, watched many movies and just hung out with each other for four straight days. It was wonderful. I very much enjoyed the opportunity to spend her birthday with her. Her brother and cousin stopped in separately during the day to drop off a gift. Her daughter and I baked a birthday cake for her and all in all, it was a pretty mellow birthday. Turns out her husband had a surprise party planned for her the following weekend and so she was ushered into the 30's quite nicely.
I struggle through each day not unlike a salmon trying to fight its way upstream with no fish ladder.
I’m very resistant to change, I don’t multi-task and I hate the telephone.
I miss my job; the job I left my old one of almost ten years to learn. That was enough of a change, enough of a challenge. Sometimes I wonder how much my muddled, menopausal brain can stand.
Is our receptionist coming back? Her eventual return is the only thing that’s keeping me going.
"a job shift into one of greater responsibility and magnitude than I ever sought or wished to seek when I landed my "new" job about two and a half years ago"
The Lord works in mysterious ways. The world works in even more mysterious ways. And, damned, if that isn’t true. I have a well established reputation in my family as "she who resists change", "she who hates change", "she who will NOT change". Alas, these facts have been all been too true. I will moan and groan and lament about how I can’t do this, I’ll never be able to do this, I don’t know how anyone can possibly do this. Flash forward to a few weeks and, suddenly, I can, am able and, apparently, it’s possible that I am doing this. This has been my personal MO ever since the experience of my first kiss to where I find myself at present. I think it’s because I’ve been a "pleaser" all my life and would rather die than fail to meet the challenge (even if it’s something I never sought in the first place). I never want to let people down; be it my parents, my family, my children, my employers, my co-workers, this list could go on ad nauseam and do you get my drift?? Chalk it up to a lifetime problem of not possessing enough self-confidence in myself and my ability. Lord knows, I’ve been given a million reasons to have plenty of this stuff from my family and extended friends. We are our own worst critics, aren’t we?
Several days ago, my supervisor informed me that the job I’ve been filling in for the past five months was posted as "available". Oh! "Does this mean the absent for five months medical receptionist won’t be coming back?" "Well, she may come back to SLV but it won’t be to the Outpatient Department".
Dunt, dunt, dunn. Wow! My worst fear realized. Oh mercy, whatever will I do? Supervisor goes on to tell me the job will be posted as an internal job opening for one week...only because she has to do this. She can’t imagine anyone better suited for this position than...ME! WOW! Truth to tell, by this time I’ve come to the point where I find this job a whole lot more interesting and challenging and satisfying than my old job. Over the past five months, my brain-think has evolved from "I can’t wait until she comes back" to "she’ll be back one of these days" to "when she comes back, I’m going to be kind of bummed to have to return to my old job". What a turnaround.
The moment of truth had arrived. The defining moment, as it were. Would you believe that I got myself an application, filled it out and since I’ve been away from work this week, I dropped it into the mail box to arrive on my supervisor’s desk before I return to work? The die is cast, the deal is done. Unless someone else within the confines of where I work has had secret longings to be the medical receptionist of the Outpatient Department, I feel confident the job will soon be solely mine.
I used to tell my husband that I wouldn't’t do this job for the Crowned Jewels of England, for all themoney in the world, for all the tea in China, etc. Ah, what fools these mortals be that don’t realize their worth and are so clueless as to what lies ahead of them in their life. Thank goodness for that, eh? I’ll let you know what happens.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Some are born to greatness. Others have greatness thrust upon them. Last October a great, heaping helping of greatness was tossed into my lap and I continue to struggle with it still. Rather than greatness, actually, it was a job shift into one of greater responsibility and magnitude than I ever sought or wished to seek when I landed my "new" job about two and a half years ago.
Briefly, on October 26 of last year I arrived back to work after a day off and was informed that our medical receptionist left work early due to agonizing knee pain. I would have to "work the desk". This in itself came as no great surprise to me; she’d had minor laproscopic knee surgery in July and continued to have trouble with it from time to time. I accepted this news cheerfully enough as it was a Friday and I’d filled in a time or two before (not to mention that disastrous week in August of 2006 when my son was in hospital hell limbo) and surely I could hold things together until Monday when our receptionist returned after a weekend of rest to resume her duties.
This is so not what happened!
I work in the outpatient department of a senior lifetime care community which means independent, assisted and skilled nursing care are all provided on the same site to approximately 300 people who live there. Our medical receptionist has worked at her present job for about seven or eight years. Prior to that she worked as a CNA in the skilled nursing facility of the community. She started working there when she was 17 when the place first opened in 1986. She knows everyone and everything about them and since she’s pretty much grown up with the residents since day one, she is regarded as a dear daughter who takes care of every little medical office-type detail with great efficiency and seemingly no effort. And so she does. It’s a grueling job, very multifaceted, requires major multi-tasking, the phone never stops ringing and the old folks never stop coming to the front window. She breezes through each day as if it were a walk in the park. I struggle through each day not unlike a salmon trying to fight its way upstream with no fish ladder.
I have been sputtering in the gushing stream for almost twelve weeks. Almost three months; oh yes, I’m counting. Every single damn day! Sure, I’m better at it than I was at the beginning but it’s far from that walk in the park. I can’t even see the park from here. I don’t switch gears well, I’m very resistant to change, I don’t multi-task and I hate the telephone. I’m doing the best I can and taking it one day at a time. I know I’m my own worst critic and don’t appreciate or acknowledge the good job everyone tells me I’m doing. I know perfectly well that if I were screwing things up left and right, I’d be yanked out of that front desk in a heartbeat. It’s a challenge alright and I’ve got to admit that when things go right, those days are quite satisfactory.
I’m between a rock and a hard place. The alternative to my working the desk would be to train someone new to do it. To my mind, training someone to do a job that was never yours in the first place and one which you never did before has got to be a hundred times worse than doing it yourself. I get lots of help from my outpatient nurse, department manager and assistant manager. We’re a small department and we rely on each other a lot to pull through the day. I miss my job; the job I left my old one of almost ten years to learn. That was enough of a change, enough of a challenge. Sometimes I wonder how much my muddled, menopausal brain can stand.
Is our receptionist coming back? Her eventual return is the only thing that’s keeping me going. She’s been going through her own kind of hell, I know. Her injury is being managed by workman’s comp. That’s probably all I have to mention. She’s had CT scans, MRIs, biopsies, etc. Perhaps she never should’ve had the knee surgery in the first place but that’s water under the bridge; the water in which I’m struggling upstream daily.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
It's been well over a month since I've had access to my computer. We ran into some major problems when we switched from AOL to Comcast. Had to bring a professional in to fix the mess. Apparently, all is well and even though I'd been told repeatedly that once we got it back, all would be lost and it would be just like starting over. Not so, I discovered much to my surprise and delight. Many things in my files that I thought were gone are still intact. Nice.
When I return to an old entry of my journal, I'm unable to click onto anything that lets me add an entry. What I'm using here is the "Add an Entry" page I had saved in my Favorites. I wonder if it will work. Let's see.