(My Reflections posts are more stream-of-consciousness kind of posts so I apologize up front if some of what you read doesn’t make sense. But this is me we’re talking about here so … are you really surprised?)
Nov 1: Today was the first day I actually felt “normal,” whatever that means nowadays. I wasn’t dizzy, I had energy, I felt great! It was such a relief to actually feel like myself again. And again, I will doing whatever I need to do to NOT sink into a Vertigo hole again – it was awful, would not recommend. Worked Dr. M’s clinic today and saw him for the first time since “THE INCIDENT.” I was a little embarrassed to face him but I gave him a big hug and told him thanks for basically holding my hand throughout that whole nightmare. I also hugged H, Dr. M’s physician’s assistant, and thanked her for making sure I had a fresh barf bag and for wiping snot from my nose. We all had cookie cake together after clinic today and it was nice to sit down and just chit chat for a change. I really do care about my work family. They are very good to me.
I had a little trouble getting my car started this morning. Actually, it wouldn’t start at all. I knew it wasn’t the battery, we just replaced the battery not too long ago. My car wouldn’t recognize my fob. Which has never happened before and I had no idea what to do about it. Kevin tried his fob and it did the same thing – just dead in the water. Since I needed to get to work, Kevin took me to work and then spent some time reading the manual to figure out what was going on. Apparently, there is a small panel inside my drink holder that I can hold my fob up to and it will connect to the car and come on. I had NO idea that was even there but it’s good to know for future reference. I guess the fob lost the sync with the car. I don’t know, I can’t pretend to know what I’m talking about here. My car only has a push ignition, it doesn’t take a key, which is weird and I’ve never liked it and this is the reason why – because if something happens to your fob you’re sort of SOL. After Kevin figured out how to get it started again, we figured the batteries in the fobs must be dead so he bought some fresh batteries to put into the fobs. What’s weird is that his fob also wouldn’t work – what are the odds that BOTH fobs’ batteries died at the exact same time? So crazy. But, at least I was home and we weren’t traveling or something – it could always be worse, right? Also, I will now put a notice to myself in my calendar to change the batteries every year.
I had to submit my first sputum sample today. That was fun. As a condition of my religious exemption being granted I have to test weekly for COVID. It doesn’t really matter when I test each week, it just has to be done each week. I’ll likely test after clinic is over on Mondays – that seems to be a good time for me. I received some papers with a map to tell me where to go to get a test and some stickers with my information on them to use for my samples. When I checked in, I gave them one of the stickers, they gave me a bottle and a biohazard bag and told me to spit into the bottle, put another sticker label on the bottle and put the bottle into the biohazard bag. I’m supposed to receive a text, I think, whenever the results come back. I have no idea what to expect if it comes back positive but of course, if it comes back negative, I’m cleared to work for the rest of the week. I guess I’ll just make sure I have some paid time off in my bank in case it comes back positive. Who knows what is going to happen. At any rate, this will continue for the unforeseeable future. No one really knows how long it will last but whatever, I don’t really mind, I still have a job, this is quick and easy and at least it’s not a Qtip up the nose – I’m good.
The boys came over last night for Halloween. The weather was nice enough we hung outside on our pergola, built a fire in our outdoor fireplace and ate chili dogs. We didn’t do much, just chit-chatted and enjoyed each others’ company. I think the boys enjoyed it, too. They really liked keeping the fire going. We saw a few trick-or-treaters out but not very many. We don’t get many trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood because our houses are spaced so far apart that it’s a lot of walking for little legs. We don’t even bother trying to hand out candy because no one ever comes.
IT’S GO TIME! NaNoWriMo starts today and according to my time management calendar, I’m slated to write 1000 words today. I didn’t really know what I was going to write or how I was going to start it until I got home from work today. I have a writing sprint up, (these videos REALLY help me get motivated to write), and I will hopefully write 1000 words before I go to bed tonight. Good luck, fellow NaNoWriMos!
Nov 2: Surprise! I don’t have COVID. Shocker! I found out by checking my chart in our system. (You can look up your own record, but you CAN NOT look up your family members or be in a chart without a damn good reason – like it’s a patient coming into the clinic). Then I received a robotic message on my phone. I didn’t like that because I thought they weren’t going to call you unless it was positive so now I will be holding my breath every time I get a robo call on my phone. Though to be fair, I will likely look it up in my chart before I get THE CALL. Anyway. I will doing this for the foreseeable future. Not ideal, but still, it’s not a Qtip up my nose, so that’s a plus.
Nov 3: I pretty much feel back to normal. I get a little woozy if I turn my head quickly, so I try not to do that and not look like a robot. We had lunch as a team today because we’re still trying to celebrate PA (Physician Assistant) and MA (Medical Assistant) weeks because it’s hard to get all of us together at the same time though to be fair, it’s mostly Dr. M’s fault because he’s a busy man and usually needs to jet after clinics for various doctor stuff. I love these team luncheons, though. I especially love it when we just sit around and crack jokes or shoot the breeze. It’s nice to get away from the clinic setting and just … be people. Believe it or not, we don’t usually talk about patients, though we have, but just catch up on each other’s lives. That tells me we all care about each other and LIKE each other, which is such a rarity nowadays. I know we all appreciate the fact that we have a rare team dynamic and that it doesn’t happen very often, if at all, which I think is another reason why we’re all so close – it’s just unusual. For example, I work with another MA who desperately wants the same connection our team does but her and her nurse are just too different and it’s never going to work. They work together, but they don’t necessarily like each other, which is sad, but typical, I feel. I know how she feels – I used to work with a nurse that I DESPISED. And it wasn’t her personality that I hated, per se, though she was one of those loud, obnoxious people I would equate with fingernails down a chalkboard, but she was just a lousy nurse. She didn’t care about people, she wasn’t very smart when it came to applying her skills to real-life applications, though she was book smart, I guess, and she was just abrasive in nature. I don’t respond to that and by the time shit hit the fan, I just couldn’t even stand to breathe the same air as her. So I get it. It’s really hard to work with someone you dislike or just don’t jive with. That’s why I really, REALLY appreciate the people on my team that much more. IT’S RARE. So I live for these luncheons. I really do. They are fun, relaxing and give us all a moment to bond just a little bit more.
Nov 4: Dr. S’s MA – the other Dr. S, not the Dr. S I routinely work with, had a funeral to go and I was the only MA who wasn’t assigned to work a clinic that day. So I had to work his clinic at the last minute. I didn’t really mind – these things happen – LIFE happens, so I worked his clinic. T, the MA that had to go to the funeral, had prepped everything and all I had to do was put people in the rooms and start the ambulatory portion of the note so it was easy peasy. Dr. S has been working remotely since COVID hit so I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with him directly, which is a good thing, because Dr. S is a SCARY man, only in that he flies off the handle easily and he can be a monster to be around when that happens. Here’s how it works. Patients show up, I put them in a room, do my thing, take their blood pressures and then the PA comes in and does his thing. After he’s done, I put the patient into the “virtual” room and Dr. S. comes on and talks to them. It’s really not that big of a deal though patients aren’t necessarily happy about seeing/talking to their doctor on a laptop. But that’s what Dr. S wants to do and we’ll continue to do that until he either gets tired of dealing with his patients that way or when insurance says they will no longer pay for Telemedicine visits. There’s some talk that that will happen next year, but who knows what will happen next year – hell, we though COVID was going to be over THIS year and that didn’t happen. And I’m predicting there will be another “variant” when it’s time for the 2022 mid-terms so … COVID is not going away. We just have to learn to deal with it.
Nov 5: I went into work nervous today. In order to be included in an MA program to recruit new MA’s from the hospital’s MA educational program and potentially get MA’s from the program to come work with us, we have to be “re-certified” every year. Which means, we have to be tested on blood pressures, drawing up injections and quizzed on various safety protocols. It’s a good idea, I’m not knocking the necessity of that being done, but when it comes to me, it makes me nervous because remember, I never had any formal education on becoming an MA – I just sort of fell into it. I learned on the job and I learned a TON when I studied up for my certification. I’ve been an MA now for nearly eight years so I know my stuff, but I know my stuff when it comes to my job at this clinic. We’re not a typical clinic – we don’t do blood draws or EKG’s like a lot of other MA’s are required to do in their offices so I went into this feeling anxious. We all had assigned times, my time was 10:00 AM. However, at 9:30 AM, one of the nurses dropped off the schedule and came to me to let me know that I could go in her spot and I walked/jogged to the room to make the appointment. By the time I got there, I was out of breath and they were getting started. I lucked out and was able to do the appointment with T, the nurse I usually work with, so that helped, but the first thing the instructor wanted to do was take my blood pressure.
I always cringe whenever anyone takes my blood pressure because I know it will be high. I’ve always run high. I don’t know why, I just do. Part of the reason, I guess, is because I’m always sort of worked up, hyped up and nervous at work because I’m always ON. I’m hyperaware of what is going on and I always have so much to do that I’m very focused on the job at hand. Anyway, I knew it was going to be high, especially since I walked/jogged to the appointment at the last minute and I wasn’t given a chance to calm down before the reading was taken. Pro tip: that’s usually the reason your blood pressure is taken at the end of your interview with the MA and not at the beginning because you need to give the patient time to settle down before taking their BP as it will likely give you a more accurate reading.
T, my nurse took my blood pressure on a teaching stethoscope, meaning, it was two stethoscopes in one so that the instructor could listen as well to make sure our readings were close and yes, it was high: 173/110. Yikes. I felt weird, too. Just … off. Not dizzy. My heart didn’t hurt, just … weird. I can’t really describe it. After it was over, I went to a quiet place in the clinic and took my pressure again on an automatic BP machine. (We routinely use an automatic – it’s quicker and it’s more accurate than you think it might be). It was 146/93. Still high, but not as high. After some time, I took it again and it was 134/88 – better. Anyway, I’m on a mission to lower my BP. I need to buy a machine for home and monitor it at home, too. I’m curious to see what it is when I’m relaxed and not at work – I’m betting it’s pretty close to normal. I need to know this as well as I’m sure the nurse practitioner I’m seeing on December 2nd will ask me what it runs at home.
Other than that, it was a busy Friday. the phones were CRAZY. I was covering the calls for another physician’s team and he had close to 30 calls, which is crazy. Dr. M only had about ten. Pro tip: if you’re a patient and you call the office multiple times and we try and call you back with an answer and you don’t answer, you go to the bottom of the priority list. If you’re expecting a call from your doctor’s office, keep your phone close and ready to answer because I can assure you, we do not, and will not, take the time to hunt your down because we have 15 other people who need to be called back. And you have to give the office time to process your question. This may mean they are waiting on an answer from the doctor, or your insurance is giving us trouble, or we simply haven’t had time to actually call you back. Be patient, please. It will happen it just may not happen as fast as YOU would like it happen but remember, you’re not the only patient. Chill.
Nov 6: I think I have finally figured out that I’m not cut out to write a novel. I just don’t like writing long pieces of fiction. I’m more of a short story writer. I’m not giving up on NaNaWriMo, but I am changing my strategy. I’m writing whatever the hell I want to write. Whether that’s a blog post, a short story, or parts of my “novel.” I don’t have ADHD but when it comes to writing, I am wondering.
I got my hair done today. I dye it back to my “original” color though it’s dark and I’m getting so much gray hair that I may have to start getting it worked on more often. I currently get my hair done every 12 weeks. And I only have her trim it because I end up putting it up most of the time, so why bother with an actual “style?” However. She cut my bangs too short so now I will have sideswept bangs until it grows out. Ha! No worries. It’s hair, it’ll grow back. I never quite understand these women you see on YouTube that agonize for hours about whether they should cut a few inches off or not and then end up regretting it and act like their lives are going to be over. It’s hair, people. I understand that hair can, and often is, part of one’s identity, but geez louise, enough with the drama. The thing is, I end up paying over $100 dollars for each salon visit, which makes me sick to my stomach. Is this price normal? I mean, she’s good, her cuts ARE really good and it’s not her fault she cut my bangs too short, I tell her to do that most of the time so I don’t have to worry about them getting too long before my next appointment, but wow – that’s a lot of money. But to be fair, she does spend two hours on me so … $50 an hour? I’m sure some of that money has to go to the salon and her booth rental but still … I’m just cheap, I guess. No. I don’t guess, I’m cheap.
Spent a considerable amount of time on Barnes and Noble’s website to figure out what to spend my $30 gift card on only to decide and get ready to check out and the website goes down. FRUSTRATING. (I’m buying two games, in case you were curious. We love board games. I don’t buy physical books anymore – I don’t have room for them! I’m strictly an Amazon Kindle reader now).
Nov 9: This is my least favorite day of the year – my birthday.
I was unreasonably angry this day and I’m not quite sure why. I’ve always hated my birthday – always. I don’t like the attention, to be honest. Yeah, yeah, it’s the day I was born and it’s nice to hear people tell me happy birthday, but you know what? I really don’t care.
But as I get older, I just get ANGRY. Time goes by so fast and I don’t want it to. Slow down! What’s the rush? And then when I look in the mirror, sure, I have a few more wrinkles but I don’t think I look THAT old and yet, when I think of the NUMBER … GAH. Seriously!?? It’s the weirdest thing, and just wait, you’ll get there, but when you get older, it’s almost like it’s happening to someone else. It can’t be my birthday, AGAIN? Can it? And so SOON?
And I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like we lost two years of our life with this crazy pandemic crap.
And I know part of the reason I feel this way is because I haven’t achieved my goals yet and time is ticking! Father Time doesn’t wait for anyone and I’m left behind with my mouth hanging open and wondering how the old man got past me.
We used to decorate and give gifts for birthdays, doctor’s day, nurse’s week, etc. but there are so many of these celebrations every year that we felt like we were constantly throwing a party and spending way too much money, so now, we eat lunch and/or desert together and call it a celebration. I’m absolutely okay with that, by the way, I would prefer just to spend time together and have some laughs, that works for me. The lovely H brought me a cake and we ate part of that on Monday, (it was really funny because the icing was so heavy that it fell off the side and by the time we got around to cutting into it, it was lopsided and funky – which was perfect because ever since my vertigo episode that’s exactly how I’ve felt!) and T brought me donuts on Wednesday. Krispy Kreme donuts, I might add, because she knows they are Kryptonite to me. (I can seriously, and have, eaten a whole dozen in one sitting before).
I then worked late, came home, barked at Kevin because I wasn’t in the mood to talk about my birthday anymore because I was tired and OLD and went to bed early.
Also, one of the new MA’s started today and I’ve been assigned, (Okay, I volunteered. Also, I’ve been working Dr. S’s clinics and she will be Dr. S’s MA so it seemed the most logical thing to do to take her under my wing), to train her and though I’m very excited that she’s here, I know I’m going to be behind and working late to catch up these next few months. I get .50 per hour more for “mentor” pay so though it’s going to be hard and exhausting, the paycheck is going to look good! Booyah!
Nov 11: I’m off work! I took a little vacation time because I’m burned out and since I wasn’t able to take my vacation at the end of September because of the whole hanging onto my job with my fingernails thing and putting in my resignation only for the hospital to approve my religious exemption appeal at the last minute, I lost that time. I wanted to go ahead and head out to Branson for our camping trip, but Thursdays are the busiest day of the weeks for Kevin so I hung out at home, relaxed and just vegged. It was nice.
Nov 12: Kevin worked the morning and while he worked, I packed up the trailer. It’s getting easier. All I have to do is pack our clothes and food and we’re pretty much ready to go. We learn something every time we go on a trip, though to be fair, this was only our second time using the trailer, but we’ll get it down to a science before long.
I wrote about our trip here, if you’re interested in reading all about it.
Side note: I was shopping around on Etsy and ran across some cool stickers for the trailer. I really like this one and this one, but Kevin doesn’t seem to be overly interested in either option so we’ll see if I can talk him into something like this. I would really like to jazz up the outside of the trailer with either a decal/wrap around something on the outside of something like these stickers. I don’t like that the trailer looks so plain but that’s the part that Kevin likes. He likes being “incognito” and making people think it’s just a trailer and not a living space. He doesn’t want to draw attention to it but to be honest, when we’re parked in a campground with all of these $50,000 RV’s surrounding us, we sort of stick out – I like to affectionately call us the “Beverly Hillbillies” of camping – I don’t think Kevin likes my pet name for the trailer.
Nov 16: Back to work and hit the ground running. The new girl, E, was with me and we worked Dr. S’s clinic for the first time. Dr. S’s team had already met her, she interviewed with them briefly before she was hired, so they weren’t complete strangers though you know how it goes when you start a new job, it’s just awkward. She’s pretty sharp though and I think she’s going to catch on fast, thank goodness. I like Dr. S and her team, but I’ve been taking care of two teams now for six months and I’m READY to get back to normal.
Though we have a nurse quitting December 1st so … *sigh* No rest for the weary.