November 2021 Reflections

(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.

Bah humbug.

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.

Nov 18: It’s Kevin and Blake’s birthdays and I’m in a good mood! Why? Because it’s not MY birthday!

Blake was eight weeks premature and born on Kevin’s birthday, in case you were curious. I gave Kevin the best birthday present ever – a son!

Blake is 29 and Kevin is … old(er) than me. HA! I can’t believe our oldest son is 29 – HOW HAS THIS HAPPENED?!?! Truly. If I can’t believe that I’m getting older, how the HELL did our oldest son almost reach 30 while I wasn’t looking? Life is just a blur anymore and I don’t like it, one bit! Please slow down! How can we make life slow down? Any suggestions?

We didn’t do anything fancy, just got some Godfather’s pizza and ate with Kevin’s folks. Oh, and we had cookie cake.

By the way, we are not a cake family, we are a cookie cake family. I can’t even remember the last time we had cake for one of our birthdays. We have literally bought cookie cakes for 20 years. And I have ordered about every design they have available. Hence, the Halloween dog.

Nov 20: Put the Christmas tree up. I bought a new tree last years, our old one was literally 25 years old and looking really sad and bare. It would shed needles every year so that by the time I threw in the towel and bought a new tree, it looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Sad and pathetic. Kevin didn’t want me to buy a new tree, he was attached to our old one – he gets attached to things and people, (lucky for me!) so getting him to let go of something is a feat, let me tell you. But I bought a new tree and I love it. It’s full and fluffy. It’s one of those trees that comes in three parts and when you turn it upright, the limbs all pop out so all you have to do is fluff them.

I did something different this year – I didn’t put all of our keepsake ornaments on it. Every year, since the start of our marriage, I put handmade ornaments on the tree – ornaments that the kids made, keepsake ornaments I picked up various places when we were on vacation. etc. And then I finished by putting on those cheap silver icicles strand-thingies on it. I don’t care what ya’ll think, I love icicles – it makes the tree look old fashioned and country-ish.

But this year, I put on red beads, white lights, and normal ornaments, no icicles and … I kind of dig it. It’s simple and elegant.

I think we’re planning on having my family over for Christmas this year. I offered our house because it’s easier on my mom and we have more room at our house. I have no idea if my brother/sister will come down, maybe not, but we’ll have my folks over. All of Kevin’s family is planning on being in the area for Christmas, which is about 35 people, so who knows what we’ll do or where we’ll get together. His side of the family has gotten so big we don’t really have a venue big enough to house everyone. We may have to do Christmas in shifts, quite honestly. Unless someone can find a church or something we can rent out.

Nov 25: Thanksgiving! Kevin’s youngest sister hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year. We all take turns hosting because it’s so much work. We were anticipating about 13 people being there, there were only 10. Brandon was the only “kid” there, all of the other kids have their own families, and their by-marriage families, to visit so our get together was pretty small this year. I think it might be this way from now on – and I get it, and it’s normal because everyone has to live their own lives, but it’s a little sad, I think. We had a good discussing politics – we can do that because we’re all on the same page when it comes to politics, mostly. But I find it so interesting to hear what other people think about stuff.

However, I wasn’t feeling the greatest. I had a dizzy spell getting ready and though it didn’t morph into vertigo, thank God, I felt woozy the rest of the day. I’ve been having some dizzy spells off and on since my vertigo spell in October. I have no idea why. But it’s pretty frustrating. I’m sort of scared to do anything now because I never know when a dizzy spell will happen. What if I’m with a patient? What if I’m driving?? It’s maddening that you never know where or when it will happen.

I have a doctor’s appointment on December 2nd. Nothing will be done about my dizziness, but I will document what is going on with me and I’m going to ask for a referral to an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor so he/she can work me up so we can see what is going on with my inner ears. In the mean time, when I feel dizzy, I get real still, close my eyes, and breathe deeply. It usually passes after about 15 seconds but that 15 seconds can be pretty disorienting. In fact, one dizzy spell was bad enough I threw up afterward. I read that calcium and vitamin D seems to help with dizziness and I’ve been taking more of those vitamins and would you know, it does seem to lessen the dizzy “attacks.” I don’t know if that is me believing it to happen less, or if there is really something to that, but I’ll take what I can get at this point. All I know is, I don’t want to live my life like this and the sooner I can get a handle on this, the better.

Nov 27: We were planning on cooking another Thanksgiving dinner and have my folks over since they don’t have anyone to spend Thanksgiving dinner with but mom was feeling sick so the boys came over, we had dinner and then we packed up their portion and took it over to them. I was picturing mom being in bed, or not wanting us to come in, (I didn’t know how badly she felt) and I would just leave the food on their porch, but she was up and ready for company, so we all went in and chatted with them for about two hours.

I had text my mom earlier in the day and she hadn’t responded so me, with my over-active imagination, had imagined her being on her death bed, not being able to breathe and reaching a hand out desperately trying to get help. (I’m telling you, my imagination is a curse sometimes), so I was worried about her. But fortunately, she didn’t hear her phone go off telling her she had a text so she didn’t know I was trying to reach her.

It was a really nice chat. It was really good to see them and I know they enjoyed seeing the boys.

I really, REALLY need make more time for my family. It’s important.

And a new COVID variant is born – the Omicron variant. Just in time for Christmas. Kevin called it – he predicted we would have a Grinch variant and VOILA! Here it is! The doctor that discovered the variant was telling people to calm down because though this variant is contagious, (aren’t all viruses contagious?), the symptoms seemed pretty mild and didn’t warrant us freaking out about it. Though that didn’t stop the Governor of New York to halt election surgeries. Gads – this push-button panic mode has got to stop – it’s exhausting and people are OVER IT.

Nov 28: First time in days I didn’t feel woozy – I actually felt normal. Not gonna lie, it was weird and pretty wonderful to feel “normal.” I hope this lasts.

I ordered a new bullet journal for 2022!! I’m very excited about it! Found it on Amazon, (of course), and I have big plans for this thing. It’s a gold Vivid Scribbles journal with a sunflower on the front. And the gold is rich and vibrant. It’s very pretty. It has 200 pages, which should easily house the entire 2022 year, white paper and is 160 GSM. I’ve heard so many good things about this kind of paper that I was curious. I doubt I’ll ever do any sort of painting in my journal, though never say never, but it will nice not to have to worry about markers bleeding through. I’ve really found my groove on journaling. I have my sleep, steps, weather spreads, a book spread to keep track of the books I read during the month, a page to keep track of my writing goals and “rolling weeklies” where I document my thoughts for the day. (Start at the 11:00 mark). It’s been working great and I’m loving it.

Nov 30: And here we are, the end of the month. November is already over, December is tomorrow and we’ll be toasting each other and saying “Happy New Year” soon. Does the passage of time bother anyone else? Just me? Okay.

Super busy day at work today. I tried to spend as much time with E as I could but Dr. M’s schedule for tomorrow feel apart in my hands and I spent a good portion of the day filling holes and packing his schedule so he would have a satisfying clinic day tomorrow. I was harried and juggling quite a few balls but I’ll be honest, I tend to work best when I’m multi-tasking and under a deadline. I don’t know, there is just something about that situation that MAKES me focus and be productive.

I also bought a new Garmin smartwatch and I’m REALLY excited to get it. I’ve been wearing my current Garmin tracker for over five years now and it’s time for a change. I also love that it comes with three bands so I can switch it up when I get bored. The Garmin is how I keep track of my steps/sleep for my journal. I highly recommend fitness trackers – it really is fun and motivating to see your stats.

And that’s it for November! Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Thanks for reading!