Working hard; Paying off
I have so many damn drafts going right now you’d laugh if you saw it. I contemplated just patching them all together into one run-on post but I figured I’d not put you guys through that…lol. I’ve been all up and down and confused over the last weeks, learning new tasks and trying hard to pay attention to the details and make the job work out the best I can.
Today was a good day at work. The unit brings all the things I was missing back into my life. Like I’ve said, a lot of the nurses are not exactly friendly but there is a handful of very sweet people who I’m charming perfectly well. All you have to do is smile a lot, listen to them when they have something to say and treat them respectfully. When someone asks me for something I take it seriously and work my hardest to make their request happen…they’re not used to people giving a shit. The job isn’t difficult, just detail intensive, but little things like not getting a vacation day that was needed or not getting a shift switched piss them off and make them less likely to help me out in the future. It’s a fine balancing act because you can’t be too subservient or accommodating because they will instantly take advantage of you as the weaker one … its human nature, unfortunately. The more money they make the worse they get, in my experience. You can’t be too rigid or unhelpful either though so it’s a matter of reading each person and situation carefully and applying the exact reaction that will make them feel comfortable but not too comfortable. They need to know I’ll work hard to help them out so that when I’m totally stuck, they’ll help me out…like today.
The unit has ten nurses on nights, two go down to the observation unit when patient acuity is high and the rest manage the floor. It’s a lot of people to so few nurses but the nighttime hours are pretty uneventful as none of our patients are critical and mostly sleep through the night. I had one injury, one continuing sickness and one sick call tonight, all at around noon today. Three down does NOT work out between patient needs and bitchy nurses who skip off to the union to file a grievance over every stupid thing they can find to grieve. I called everyone. Everyone. I called every part timer who wasn’t in, I called other units, I called the nursing reserve unit and begged, I called casuals and off service casuals and people I didn’t even know just trying to get someone to come in. I was in a panic, eventually, because there seemed no one to help so I went to the unit to appeal to the nurses who were on shift. One of them who I have already arranged a last-minute vacation request for stepped up for me and although she didn’t want the shift, took a day the next day so I could flip another nurse over to nights tonight. It really made a huge difference to me. The charge nurse was delighted in the end because I got two of the lines covered, nurses were waving and smiling, thanking me for not leaving them stranded. My boss called me up at the end of my shift to see how it went and I told her…even got a “Good Job!” out of her which was wonderful to hear. It all made me very happy. I like providing things for people, especially when it makes them happy. It is really good to get to use some people reading skills again though. I’ve missed the interaction so much being stuck in such a small department with the same few people every day. I think I really just like making people happy, is the thing. I tried the same in my last job but there were preconceived notions and god complexes so big they blocked out the sun to deal with. That kind of crap just doesn’t work out for me…I resent having to kiss ass so much it is likely obvious to everyone around me. It comes off as defiance at times….. and why am I being so introspective suddenly? Hah. I’m so tired..forgive me for rambling. This might just become my 20th draft after all.
The pain. How is the pain. It’s … there. I have a constant, dragging ache in my lower back and the longer I sit the worse it gets. It’s not quite snagging my sciatic nerves but they do snap to attention at times and it makes it hard to get comfy on my feet or sitting down. I’m not really at my desk for longer than a few minutes at a time as there are constant interruptions and I’m forever having to run down the hall to get something or look something up. The extra movement (and it’s a LOT extra) is both helping and hurting me. Some things are…well, not better really…they just move a bit easier now that I’m more active, and other things are quite a bit worse. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to be affecting my neck or head too much so that pain is sitting where it usually does without flaring up and down. I have the ability to distance myself from some of the pain as long as it’s constant and not throbbing, like a headache or the pain in my legs when the sciatica strikes. Constant, droning pain just fizzes into the background as white noise when I sit back, close my eyes, and force myself outside my body so I can barely feel it. My mind works well detached that way (everything feels like my dreams which feel pretty normal to me) and I can go for quite a few hours without suffering too much. Of course, that only works out if I go to sleep by 5 or 6 pm and sleep through. It only gives me 12 hours which is juuuuust enough; 15 hours and I’m at my best.
So right now I have some sort of nerve damage going on in my left hand. I can’t use my thumb and my hand is so weak it can’t hold a pen without screaming in pain (luckily I’m ambidextrous). My wrist really hurts and feels like it’s all broken and shards inside, as does my left ankle. My knees are complaining as are my hips but I think they are both the result of the lower back issues I’ve been having. haha…god damnit. I’m really just falling apart. The sweats are freaking terrible at night but I’m sleeping with towels wrapped around me, separate blanket from D, heating blanket on to at least warm my soaking wet clothing and towels. It’s still hard to get make up on in the morning as the sweating continues until I get into my car where I can blast myself with the exact right temperature of air to help me cool down. Happily, the hospital has freaking climate control, unlike my most recent office space, so I’m much better once inside. See? Silver lining right there. I try not to even think about the sweats anymore. The urinary control issues are still as they were…seems those nerves are going to heal very slowly, so I’m coping with that as well.
All in all, though, I’ve been managing well. The threat of job loss, financial security loss…messed up future for my poor disabled kid who got stuck with mid to low-income parents, has really snapped my focus elsewhere. The constant activity at work keeps my brain happy and whirring away, filing info, sensing danger, dodging and reading people and making them happy when I can. It doesn’t have time to spin when I’m that busy.
Oh. The one thing I’m struggling with some; being back in the clinical world is really poking at the old OCD quirks…specifically in the ‘germ’ department. I was walking down the hall to the nurses station and watched in horror as an orderly bend down and scooped up a used gauze pad that had fallen from somewhere to toss it in the garbage. I nearly threw up right there…seriously. The used needles and dirty bed pads don’t bother the nurses but I find myself holding my breath and walking sideways between med carts to be sure I don’t get too close. There is a lot of infection control going on, don’t get me wrong, but we’re inside an isolated ward, right in the thick of patient care so medicine happens all around us. The other day a patient coded across the hall from my office and one of the nurses who hopped onto his chest to start compressions accidentally knocked out his central IV line and got blood all over her pants. She worked another hour like that until someone could bring her new scrubs (the patient survived, incidentally, and that hour was spend monitoring him and taking blood samples and such). Her dedication to her patient amazed me…i’d definitely want her taking care of me should I ever end up a patient there, but to not immediately strip off bloody pants and run to the shower to bathe in antibiotic ointment and Chlorhexidine seems a feat of incredible control to me. I guess that’s why I’m not a nurse. lol…*gaaah. Gotta stop or I’m going to need a shower before bed.
Final report: Happy. Sore but hiding it well. Exhausted but sleeping a ton. Getting used to the new job and can see that things will only get easier from here. Mind you, the money is pretty crappy. I won’t be able to afford daycare over the summer at this wage, but, I have to somehow. Hunting for some way to make some extra cash even if I have to work weekends doing something. Maybe I’ll wander over to the nursing home next to us here and see what they’d pay for weekend help….. but that’s another post all together.
Miss you guys. xx