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START & STOP (long)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

About 1 1/2 weeks have passed since I wrote to you all last. During this time, I remember writing to a friend that I was sick and tired of this crazy cyclical pattern I seem to have fallen into for the past several years. It seems like about the time I have it all together, another mountain appears before me. They seem to spring up about the time the map seems to show me that I am starting across the flat vast plains of the Midwest of my life. I guess it is time for me to draw a new map of this unexplored place called my life’s journey and quit coasting down-hill from my previous mountain crossing.

START-A week ago this past Monday, I got cleared by primary care doc to go back to work. We were both though had to wonder why this couldn’t have been done by the surgeon.

START-That night, I participated in group and asked my peer coach if there was a good time to meet. We finally decided that the next day we could meet @ the public library for about 1 ½ hours. This went very well. It felt very reassuring that she had had similar experiences, was willing to help me develop some structure to practicing my skills at home, and yet did not insist on me doing anything that I didn’t feel comfortable doing. I can tell that she is going to be patient with me, yet continue to push me and hold me accountable to my decisions regarding the challenges I face in my life.

START-I just barely made it to Bible study on time, but enjoyed the company of others and the discussion. This time, as I didn’t have anything else scheduled, I stayed for the meditative Taize service around 5 pm. This gave me 4 hours to work on applying for jobs. Guess what, I decided instead to check on all my virtual worlds on facebook and really didn’t accomplish much. The Taize service was great. The reading was from John 10 and how the she sheep respond to their master’s voice. (Very reassuring for this farm girl who was raised around sheep. The best part was watching the lambs as they playfully bounced around in the sun.)

START-Had a great visit with my psychologist, even though I shared with him, how nervous I was regarding not hearing from any of the employers that I had interviewed with, how the car broke down when I was so excited about the staff interview at an area psych unit, and how on top of that I had lost my house keys (which is actually a blessing telling me it is time to change the locks now that my renter has moved out.)

STOP-Somewhere between 4 & 5 pm, I again had really bad abdominal pain. First I was thinking it was just related to being hungry, but after eating, the pain did not get worse or better. Only after multiple calls to my friend did she take the phone, otherwise her son kept telling me she was sleeping. (She really did need that sleep. She had worked the last 3 nights, and then stayed up for a meeting at 1 pm, which probably lasted until about 2 before coming home!) She reported that she didn’t feel safe driving me to the ER but she would see whether her daughter would be willing to do that.

To make the long story short, the daughter drove me to the ER and left my car there for me and rode back home with her boyfriend around 8:30p. I was seen about 4 hours later and the pain was down to a dull ache. I was told my labs came back fine, here is a script for some pain medicine similar to that I had sitting at home that I hadn’t needed in more than 5 weeks, and that I needed to schedule a follow-up appointment with the GI Clinic.

STOP-The thing that really set me off though was when I was awakened by my former manager, who was telling me that no one was to be sleeping in the family waiting room. The 1st thing she asked was whether I was okay, during which I really wanted to tell her sarcastically, “No, I just wear outpatient armbands for decoration and haven’t been to sleep in the last 2 nights. I am feeling just great!” Instead I reassured her that I was okay and answered her question of what I was doing there by saying that I was waiting for the pharmacy to open, so I could get a prescription filled before going home. Then she said that she was just making sure I was waiting in an appropriate place for the pharmacy to open. (In other words, I should be in a waiting area closer to the pharmacy than up on her units.) I then picked up my things and waited the next hour down near the pharmacy.

Oopsy! I can not call that "excellent" service, provided I was one of the organization's clients. With that being said, I have decided that if I am hospitalized again, I will make sure that I do not have a room on a floor where she is the manager. I don't want her to have any reason to access my medical records.

STOP-The thing that pissed me off the most was the fact that she decided to bring along an audience\witnesses. Apparently, she is intimidated by me and wanted someone to be able to back up her side of the story. She also decided to do this after most if not all of night shift left, instead of beforehand or including some of them as witnesses. Had she asked some of the night shifters what was going on, she would have probably gotten a more accurate answer than she did for me.

I think in all reality she is afraid to know the truth. It could possibly lead to her and or the organization getting into trouble for not accommodating me according to the ADA, which does cover mental illness, even if Human Resources does not want to acknowledge that. (The hospital is a public building in which there are many sick people and tired worn out family members who need their sleep. I really can’t see how she can justify what she said, but then again, I already know that it is just her way of trying to drive a wedge between me and some of the staff that are friends on the unit, and the organization as a whole.)

STOP-A few days later when I had some time, I checked out the labs, which didn’t look fine to me.
They indicated at least a diet with too little protein in it, if not also the development of diabetes and or liver damage. (There is a part of me that is hoping that it is just that I need to take in more protein, as I am afraid that the docs could have quite a struggle with me complying with a treatment regimen related to diabetes.)

STOP-Somewhere in the week, I got my hospital bill from the last time I went and had surgery. Thing is I noticed some charges for medications that are usually not needed in surgery, had been charged about the same time other medications from the OR were listed. Saturday or Sunday, I sent a message to the surgeon to help me better understand what happened, but have not heard back from him yet. I probably won’t, but I have to go to the city for a doctor’s appointment tomorrow anyway, so I can drop by medical records and get the surgical and anesthesia reports.

(It looks like I had an allergic reaction to something, but no new allergies were listed in my chart. It may have been something as simple as I didn’t react to a skin test of some medicines that anesthesia told me preoperatively they might have to test related to my current allergic profile, and yet when the medicine was given in my IV I did react to it.) It is just one of those things I would like to know about before it happens again.

START-I got a call early in the morning from my company that asked whether I would be willing to do a 7 hour nursing job in an elementary school where a student needed monitored for seizures. Instead of the 4 hour one I had originally been scheduled for. Although I was quite sleepy and really didn’t want to get up, I was more than glad to do this. It meant a few more hours of pay to feed the hungry bank account, and that I would not be driving from school to school doing tube feedings, blood sugar checks, and urinary catheterizations. The best part is that I got to play with a group of pre-K students, whom all had developmental disabilities for most of the day, as that was the class this student was in.

STOP-Saturday & Sunday, I pretty much all fell apart emotionally. The sky was grey and we had morning thunderstorms. I was blaming myself for causing my continued physical pain by not eating correctly, instead of trying to come up with how I was going to change my actions and try to improve my health. As I was so down on myself, isolating, crying, and sleeping, I decided not to go to my intensive group study. I was just too ashamed of myself.

START-When my peer coach called my on Sunday, I told her that I don’t think I would be able to do the intensive study right now because of needing more medical care related to the Wednesday ER visit, and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with the studying for the Saturday meetings, as it would quite likely not be as thorough with the work as I need to be the first time through it. She expressed understanding and encouraged me to keep coming to meetings and call her whenever I was ready to work towards my next step. I reassured her that I would do that and was going to try doing the intensive study work, but that I might not do it as fast as those in the group.

START-On Monday, I was sent to work at a special needs school in the city. I guess I could say that I was lucky that a few of the students in my classrooms were not present, as for the morning round of tube feedings, I really didn’t have myself together, but it takes everyone some time to switch gears and get some type of rhythm going when you enter a new work environment. I enjoyed the work, as it kept me busy during the day. I was also grateful for the compliments that the other nurses who routinely work at that school gave me. I guess they are not used to someone from the agency that could work so independently.

START-This Monday, was also the first time I led group. As we had seemed stuck on the same chapter for discussion, I moved us into the next chapter. Many of the members complimented me and each other on how well things went and how important and timely our discussion was for them.

STOP-For some reason on Tuesday, I let all the little things get to me. I made it to Bible study in plenty of time and had a good time with a great discussion led by a guest minister. I seemed to be able to warm to him okay for that short period of time we met. Then I let everything slide down hill.

When I got in the parking garage for my psychiatry appointment, I was struggling to find a place to park. I got mad, yet just gave a sarcastic smile to the valet parking attendant when he told me I couldn’t park in a valet parking space, the space was really small, so I would never get my car in there, and that I needed to read the signs. (Later on I came up with the idea that I should have just handed him the keys and told him he could finish parking it and should be happy that I brought it this far for him.) When I did find a parking spot, probably out of the earlier frustrations, I had trouble parking in it, “because it was too small,” the side of my car rubbed along the bumper of the pick-up parked next to me.

STOP-I finally to the time to call the GI Clinic while I was waiting for my doctor’s appointment. Here is when I found out that I would need a referral from my primary care doc to get an appointment there. I did remember at that time that the ER attending said something about that and that in my initial response back from the clinic. Finally sent a secured message to my primary care office late last night asking doc for the referral and wondering if he wanted to talk to/see me 1st about it.

STOP-I guess you could say that my appointment with my psychiatrist went great, except for the fact that doc was having computer problems. This time, it was not just his lack of computer savvy; the main physician documentation system had been down all day. This was @ 3:30 in the afternoon.

As much as it was a productive meeting, I didn’t like telling him about my worsening depression, isolating over the weekend, being angry at myself, and that I had again put off developing a meal plan for myself, as I didn’t want to get started on one and have to change it after I met with the GI docs. He was okay with this later part, and encouraged me to contact my primary care doc for a referral. He also encouraged me to follow up with the individuals who I interviewed with a while back and keep looking for jobs that had a little more stability in them than my per diem one.

Things continue on, though; neither my life, nor anyone else’s, stops because things are not going our way, we are facing challenging situations, or we need to slow, down even when the rest of the world does not.

So I will try to keep myself busy enough that I don’t wallow in my sorrows, and not so fast that I wear myself down any further than I already have been. Tomorrow, I have a meeting with the psychologist and one with the state nurses’ political action committee. I am hoping to hear from my employer that they have something for me to do over the weekend, as that is when I let my mind wander the most, but if not, I do have a lawn that is screaming to be mowed.

So far next week looks empty compared to the last few, but I am sure that will change, with needing to yet schedule my psychology and GI appointments and never really knowing when I will be called related to a job opportunity. Tuesday, I will plan on going to Bible study and possibly also the Taize service. Saturday, I am hoping that I will have enough energy both physically and emotionally to attend a friend’s annual crawfish boil. The Sunday after that is Mother’s Day, so it will be very important to call Mom and thank her for all she has given me.

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