Where shall I start?
Well, first, I’ve just arrived home after throwing my hands in the air and leaving work 30 minutes early after a terribly unproductive meeting with one boss who couldn’t get out of the room fast enough, after having spent an entire day in meetings for them (FOR them, not with them) and then got back to a smiley bitchy boss who, oh so kindly, told me that everything in last fiscal year’s info on workload measurement was fucked. This is a point of contention between me and my bosses. I am tasked with ensuring the staff are accurately capturing their workload which is reported to the Ministry of Health (who allocates our funding in this socialized healthcare system we hold so dear in Canada – and SHOULD, mind you, in my humble opinion). I accept this willingly and I’m very, very careful when I audit to ensure we’re accurately reflecting the right numbers so that we don’t suddenly get our funding decreased. I happen to like a great deal of my coworkers and really have no desire to eliminate their job because of an entry error. Now, one would think it would be their accountability to ensure they are entering their numbers correctly but that’s an argument with one boss and a bitter point with the other. They like ME being the accountable one. Okay….I’m alright with that. I really am. It’s a part of my role and it has to be done by someone so I really, honestly, truly don’t mind spending three days slaving over the numbers to make sure we’re not missing anyone or counting things twice thanks to some student or new staff member….it’s all good. But here’s the catch: I have way too much to do in the rest of my job to get even half of it done on time and I have to drop everything to audit once a month. Logically, the bitchy boss tells me this has a simple solution…..just don’t do so much work for the second boss and audit twice a month. It sounds great in theory, until applied to boss number two (who actually does a lot of her own stuff, knowing the venom of number one).
Stopping. Breathing. Focusing.
The point here, is that it’s a shit-ton of auditing and I can barely squeak out a freaking bathroom break in my day, let alone a full half month audit. I go in early, I sit down at my desk, I work like a fiend, occasionally eating or drinking something one of my awesome coworkers brings me out of fear that I’ll die of starvation in my glass cage of an office (okay, a bit dramatic. I do bring food and have the ability to make tea so I’m not totally their prisoner) and then I look up and I’ve missed my lunch and it’s suddenly time to go home. Actually, it’s almost always 30 minutes after it’s time to go home. I only leave because I have to pick up Colt….seriously. If I didn’t have that to do, I’d likely be there until the next day….every day.
I’ve had so many meetings about this in my three years there it’s sickening. They KNOW i’m overloaded. They admit it. They tell the staff not to talk to me because I’m too busy to even say hello (yes, seriously, that is a standing agenda item on one of the staff meetings). The two bosses HATE everything I do for the other so it’s a bit of a game between who I tell what and Heaven help me if I happen to get dragged into a project for one and then don’t have the time to listen to the other one complain about their day while I’m trying like mad to get payroll in, audits done and my ten page to do list started. I have 300 unopened email in my inbox. Of those, I have something to do with about 90% of them (add this to that list or move this to that folder or change this to that schedule or budget this to that cost centre etc etc etc). Every day at least ten people say to me:
“Did you get that email I sent you?”
I smile. I answer. “Probably, yes, I’m sure it’s somewhere in there.” and just hope they go away.
Everyone understands. The staff are amazing….they constantly rally behind me and try to make a difference but the end issue is that my bosses aren’t really just assholes who want to take advantage of me, they have no funding allocation to help me. I know this because I do the fucking books too.
So back to today – The one boss came to me and informed me, smiling but not really, that ALL of her *particular stat I shouldn’t mention for confidentially* are WRONG for the last fiscal year. Funny thing that. The stat she’s talking about is audited monthly by my predecessor who only came back as a casual after retiring to help me out because she felt so bad about leaving me with that mess of a job. I don’t know what the hell is happening, but I know it’s not her. This puts me in a bad spot because I have to tell the bosses that she is the one doing the audits. I don’t want them blaming her because ultimately it’s my responsibility to ensure it’s all done correctly. So….I get to have a meeting with them so we can sit down, go over the audits (for the tenth time) and identify (for the tenth time) which ones absolutely must be done before the month closes so it doesn’t affect our budget. I’ll do it (for the tenth time) and tell them (for the tenth time) that the reason I can’t get them done along with the other 11 general and 200 staff audits along with the rest of my role for the two of them. And, we hit deadlock again…no funding. No help. No solution. I know it’s not them, but there is definitely an element in there that is me not fixing this problem. I don’t know what else to do but tell them, again, that I can’t do what they are asking of me and show them again the number of free hours I put in, trying hard to do what I can.
The mental health part of me that malfunctions here is that I feel like a failure when they are pissed off….and they are always pissed off. I can’t seem to get them to communicate and when I do manage to get them on the same page, they just start fighting against each other. I went from one, simple payroll system to two terribly divided systems with multiple issues and access points that is confusing everyone and they both insist that it is intended to HELP me somehow and get the timekeeping off my over full plate. Now, not only do I have a bunch of payroll to enter, I also have a half dozen timekeepers messing up everyone’s pay, asking me questions ten times a day (by email, which I can’t get to) and a whole bunch of irritated staff who feel like they’re being micro-managed. It’s chaos betwen those two. They don’t even have anything to do with each other aside from having to share me as an assistant so it comes as no surprise….just a lot more work for yours truly. I’m not even sure how I’m managing to get anything done, at this point.
And…..that’s just work. The rest of my life is still ongoing and I can’t quite find any solace there either. (to be continued next post…..)
I use photography to lose myself in moment of beauty and OMG I have just taken about 300 photos that are so lovely I can’t stop the slide show of them going over and over my computer screen. I usually only post photos to my photo blog, but these ones I wanted to share with you guys. I hope they bring you as much peace as they do me. xx
I need to write a post on a specific kind of meditative photography Birdie told me about last week. It’s AMAZING in concept and it echoes so much of what I already love about taking pictures. Will try to catch you up soon.
Had such a lovely day. Didn’t want to post it twice over lol. 🙂
This cutie sang his song all through the rain showers today. I could hear him from inside the house (the windows are open because it’s lovely out, despite the rain, and we want to smell that turkey cooking outside on Dayne’s smoker. The entire neighbourhood smells like my dinner and it’s such a kick to hear them walk by saying “Oh that smells sooooo good!” 🙂
I feel a little weird, smelling a delicious turkey cooking while enjoying another of it’s species singing away in the trees, but….life right?
I’m so glad I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. Another day will be spent around the house, relaxing and maybe a run out somewhere pretty for more photos. The camera is taking away the stress from work…..I become absolutely present in that moment before the shutter snaps; nothing matters but the beauty in front of me for a few seconds. It’s important to me and was badly needed. I spent one day in tears in my office last week but it was more a matter of one boss taking a swipe at the other one, where upon the weaker of the two sprinted to my office to take it out on me. She had me sobbing by the end. She’s the type who will say stupid things that she already knows the answer to so that you feel like you’ve done something wrong. She told me she had NO IDEA what was keeping me so busy at work since she was not giving me much in the way of additional tasks while spoiled/snotty number two was on vacation for a couple of weeks.
“You can’t honestly stand here and look me in the eye and pretend you have no idea how much work comes through this office?” I tried her a bit. Pushed back.
Her arguments were crap and were easily dispelled by the dozens of meetings we’ve had on the topic of my job (just the running of the two departments, without the ‘additional tasks on top’) being far, far more than what can be accomplished in a 40 hour work week. But, even though I stood my ground and allowed her to vent her frustrations all over my office, she eventually got to me and broke down, sobbing. In the end, which didn’t take long to come after I easily showed her exactly what work I had accomplished in the previous 10 days (more than seems possible, I assure you) and then she apologized, told me that was not the way she had intended to handle the situation and started backing out of my office.
“If it’s any consolation, she comes at me like that at least once a week.” I said, making damn sure she knew I knew what was going on.
“No, actually, that only makes me feel worse.” was her reply as she closed my door.
I collected myself and returned to my endless list of tasks after completely covering the little window in my door that people peek through to see my face. They could all see me from the floor to ceiling windows behind me, but it’s the door window that gets the most peek ins. I locked my door and plastered pink paper requesting privacy as I was very busy. She came by, knocked, then went to get her keys after I didn’t answer. She came in to apologize again, several times; now in tears herself. I barely looked at her aside to say “Okay, thank you.” and kept working.
I know the other boss is hell on wheels when she’s pissed about something, but the fact that boss number one can’t even stand up to her and had to come ruin my day over getting her ass whipped by the taskmaster just shows bad leadership, judgement and emotional intelligence. Mind you, my bawling episode wasn’t exactly professional but the shit she was accusing me of! It was ridiculous.
The worst part was what the entire thing was over: a meeting I didn’t book. A fucking meeting. No word about the hundreds of things I DID get done….just one meeting that didn’t get booked. The other boss ended up doing it (taking all of 60 seconds from her day) and was mad about it. Enough so to attack the other one who MUST be who is keeping me so busy. ??? We’ve been over this ground so many times. I wish I could retire. Only what? 15 years to go? *Sigh*
Anyway. Back to the present and the delicious smells of turkey, stuffing, gravy, baked potatoes, steamed brussle sprouts and roasted rosemary carrots. It’s a heck of a lot nicer in here than rolling those thoughts around my brain.
Here’s another few lovely photos from one of my recent photo excursions:
I’ve been drowning myself in photos and the beauty so easily missed when you happen to blink or turn away for even a moment in time.
My photo blog is full of these images, should you care to see them. I’ll post a link later today.
This one just fills me up. The same place my music goes, this image lives inside me.
Before the call about Dayne’s grandmother, he and I were talking the other night about his dad and how hard it was for him to be there, watching him struggle and suffer; fight and give up for all those hours. He told me he almost understood the flashbacks I used to have when the PTSD was in full flare up – where I’d hide in closets, whimpering, only to scream bloody murder if he so much as came within a foot of me, only able to see my dad and that neighbour who was welcome to take his fill of me whenever he wanted as a 13-year-old girl. He told me he was trying, so hard, to remember his dad alive and well but the only memory he could find in his head, day or night, was either the moment his father took his last breath or the time he watched my heart monitor flat-line before his eyes.
I was nodding, rubbing his back while tears slid down both our cheeks as we talked when I suddenly stopped for a moment, frozen.
“Oh! You must mean when I was in labour with Colt and his heart beat stopped for those few, terrifying moments.” Yes, that was a terrible moment for me too, even though I don’t fully remember it, I was so engrossed with labour and what was happening with my body and the little life within that was trying to get out.
Dayne looked at me, confused. “No, babe, it wasn’t just Colt whose heart stopped…don’t joke about that. It was really scary, watching you both die like that….slipping away from me.”
I had no idea what he was talking about. What I remember is this: I was in labour all day. When Dayne finally got home around 7 that evening I was beyond pissed because the contractions were getting closer and stronger and he’d not answered his cell phone all day. (I’d been frantically calling since about 2 that afternoon). We went to the hospital and they checked me, declaring me almost 8 cm dilated so moved me right into a nice, private birthing room. (Perk of working at the hospital – health care is covered in our federal taxes here in Canada, but that only allows for a semi-private room. I got the royal treatment). Labour was painful but I was calm throughout. No drugs, no epidural…just a drifting, half dreaming state of consciousness that was somewhere between dreaming and dissociation from the pain. (haha!! Finally a good use for that shit!) I remember a lot of moments but had no idea of the time passing. I remember going into hard labour and kind of wishing I’d taken that epidural; I remember them putting my legs up on platforms that made my hips instantly cramp and I almost leapt from the bed in pain. Dayne knew…he told then and they took the leg stirrups away.
It went on for a while…I don’t know how long. I heard Dayne telling our nurse that he thought I’d fallen asleep and she told him it was okay, to let me rest. Then the only constant in the room; that constant, comforting set of bleeps of the heart monitors they’d attached to Colt’s head and my pulse began to slow. Then it really started to slow. For a moment, I couldn’t hear a single sound and I pulled myself out of my meditation and locked eyes with my foster-mother, who had unwillingly come to witness the great event of the birth of her first grandchild. (she forced herself – I never would have wanted that…i thought it was a nice thing to do for her, not something she’d hate).
“Mom? What’s wrong? What’s going on?” I heard myself say but she didn’t answer.
I heard the nurse, Bev, telling me that I was okay and not to panic. She said that when I opened my eyes I was going to see a lot of people in the room, but not to worry, they were just there to make sure the baby and I were both okay. I did open my eyes for a second and, indeed, the room was packed with medical staff. There was an adult crash team, a crash cart (Paddles out and turned on), a pediatric crash team, an obs doc dressed in scrubs with two nurses scrubbed by his side, a resident down between my legs holding a scalpel very close to my body and an attending doc, dictating her every move. I felt a ripping, tearing pain suddenly and half sat up making the first noise I’d made in hours….something like ow-ow-ow-oww-oww! and a whole bunch of strangers began to murmur comforting sounds. The next moment I remember was Bev saying to me:
“Grainne! Open your eyes! Look Grainne! Look!” and I did. And there he was, upside down, purple, drenched and heartily screaming his lungs out. Colt had joined the world.
“Oh! It’s a boy!” I remember saying (my mother was absolutely convinced he was a girl) and I looked for her but she was huddled in the corner, teary eyed and trembling. Dayne had left my side the moment they took Colt to the other side of the room for the peds and team to examine. There was a lot of suction and fussing about, but, eventually he was laid in my arms as the resident stitched up my episiotomy after injecting a ton of freezing. All I could see was him. I wanted him close to me….on my skin. They brought my cleaned up and air-way suctioned Colt, all wrapped in blankets and lay him in my arms. That moment was one of the most peaceful and happy of my life. (The outright screaming began that night and didn’t cease until he was two, but, there was peace for those first moments as he tried to figure out what the hell just happened.) We were moved to another ward and Colt and I watched the sun come up as he tried to breastfeed and I tried to help him between bouts of crying in frustration and terrifyingly scary moments when he started to choke and cough up some of the thick mucously muconium from the birth.
That is my memory. But, apparently, I missed the entire part where I freaking died.
Dayne, haltingly, recounted the moments from when he thought I’d fallen asleep and alerted the nurse, to the moments the heart monitors went down steadily together in their decline, both mine and Colts. He said that my monitor stopped first, completely, and then Colt followed. They called a double code for us and my mother and Dayne were shoved to the side of the room as crash carts and teams came running in at 3 in the morning. The adult team got me ready for defib and one of the nurses pumped breath into me while Bev gave me chest compression to keep my heart beating. He said the paddles were charged and hovering in the air, inches from my chest, the obs/gyn resident ready to slice me open to get the baby out, when the Attending told her to wait. Dayne said the heaviest silence ever hung in the air for what felt like hours but was, in reality about 20 seconds, when my heart kicked in again on its own and Colt’s followed. The very moment that happened Bev told me not to worry about all the people in my room when I opened my eyes, saw the people, closed them again; the resident sliced into me, I reacted to that pain, half sitting up and making the only sound I think I made through the entire labour. Colt was instantly released from my body after the cut and Bev was telling me to look….to open my eyes and look and my new little life who then became and yet always was, my son.
One of the docs came to my side, wiped the hair from my face, stuck there with sweat, and said “welcome back mom”. I had no idea what he meant but I more or less dismissed it. My mother remained huddled in the corner, terrified, and Dayne followed Colt wherever they took him until he was finally placed in my arms.
All in all, it was likely only a minute or two that all that chaos and heart function trouble happened but I can imagine the eternity it must have felt like from the outside. Suddenly a whole lot of memories make sense now too….I just honestly never realized what had happened. Everyone assumed I MUST have known. I mean, how do you die and not know? Well…..apparently it’s a thing. My thing, at least.
Strangely, what bothered me most about knowing the whole story nearly 13 years later, is that there was nothing there. No light, no relatives coming to welcome me to the afterlife. If anything, I felt like I was tumbling in and out of consciousness, much like I do some days when the narcolepsy gets me good. I was saying things that no one could hear but me, doing things no one but me noticed…..and I had no heart beat for a short while. I was worried about the baby not having one but it never struck me that I was in trouble. Just a big blank…dark, half sleepy, painless, unfeeling, uncaring black. I so hope that’s not what my end will be when I do finally reach it. If so, I’d so much rather stay here with the suffering and living of life.
I don’t know what else to say about all that except that it’s scary enough hearing about what I did and said in my sleep without knowing it. Being close to dead and not knowing it for over a decade…..that’s a whole next level deal.