I hate my fucking job….

On the surface, this blog post appears to represent a brief piss-n-moan session.  However, it also reflects my hopes for the future.  As I reach the end of my educational journey, I am starting to see the finish line just over the horizon.

I am a full-time working mother who is also in graduate school.  I work at a homeless shelter as an intern, providing individual & group therapy to clients with substance use and mental health issues.  I also work as a C.N.A on the weekends (Friday – Sunday, 7p – 7a).   When I’m not at my internship or job, I spend my time as the domestic goddess (trying to live up to the roles of wife & mother).  I rarely get a day off and am overwhelmed by the endless and relentless pace of it all.  I need a break but see none in sight until I graduate this summer. I just need to hold on a little longer…

What follows is a little list of things I get to say goodbye to once I finish my degree & find a job… 🙂

I am a “Certified Nurse Assistant” (aka professional ass wiper).  I work three back-to back 12-hour shifts over the weekend.  Since my husband works Monday through Friday 8-5, it’s been a practical solution to avoiding daycare.  However, pragmatism doesn’t necessarily yield happiness.

From the moment I get to work I am “hitting the ground running”.  I joke to my patients I’m their “personal gopher”.  If they need it, push the button and I’ll get it for them.  Intermingled within assigned tasks (vitals, blood sugars, etc), are nurse’s requests and call lights.  I’m frazzled by this constant pushing and pulling of my time.  Everyone needs something, they want it now, and don’t understand I have others to attend to.

…and I can’t blame my patients for this really. The old lady with a bad hip & bladder control problem can’t help it that she needs to go hourly.  The man down the hall who has a colonoscopy in the morning can’t help it that he’s having endless “code browns” for me to clean up.

Honestly, cleaning up patients after they soil the bed is really “no big deal”.  I am accustomed to it.  However, it does get old.  I can’t wait for the day when I can say “I’m dome!”

“No more of this shit” 🙂

Believe it or not, it isn’t the human excrement that I hate most.  I dislike how my personal needs slip into the background of my mind as I work hard to provide good care to others.  As I rush from one task to another I think to myself: “I would like the change my tampon, I’m hungry, my feet are killing me.”  I struggle to push aside these thoughts while with the client.  Because I have keep up with the pace of the work and respond to everyone’s needs in a timely manner.

I am a hamster running on a treadmill chasing a carrot on a stick….

For even the most patient of souls, the never ending nature of catering to others’ needs can wear thin on one’s mind.  I do it literally, all the time.  Presenting a pleasant bedside manner requires me to set personal needs aside.  This is often easier said than done….

Maybe I’m sick of the lazy nurse who runs me ragged & refuses to help out with a call light because I’m with another patient. I politely ask for help and remember to thank her for getting that, while seething inside.
or maybe there’s this feisty old lady with Alzheimer’s & a vicious temper. She lets loose an endless barrage of insults, because I won’t leave her alone. My mind fills with anger & frustration over the fact that I can’t reason with her. All I can do is my job, and explain again in the calmest voice I can muster, I’m just here to care for her.
The point is, after 36 hours on the job over a work-weekend, I become filled with these frustrations.  They remain pent-up & unresolved.

 I feel like a bomb about to explode.

Here is a link to a recent post I did of the typical confused patient I’m asked to sit with at work.  Just imagine sitting with somebody like this for a full 12-hour shift.  It gets old very quickly.  Over the course of 15 years on the job, I have seen many patients like this one.  Oftentimes, this sort of behavior is attributable to confusion.   Therefore, the client can’t be held responsible for this sort of behavior.  Consequently, my response in this situation is to: (1) ensure patient safety; (2)  reorient when possible; (3) and maintain agitation by responding promptly to patient needs.

However, a snag I run into pertains to my PTSD diagnosis.  Over the years, I’ve encountered a few verbally abusive & agitated patients that remind me of earlier traumas.  As a bullied child, the constant putdowns from classmates left me with zero self-esteem. I endured high school in a state of complete isolation & para-suicidalit  (primarily due to the fact that I didn’t want my sister to be the one who found the body).  After years of “white knuckling” on the inside, I couldn’t wait to graduate.  However college didn’t yield anything better since I landed in a four-year abusive relationship in my sophomore year.

I drudge up these old memories only to note that verbal abuse like this can be a trauma trigger.  Certain things can produce intrusive memories, and along with it, a wave of old emotional flashbacks.   In the years since being in therapy, EMDR & self-awareness has helped tremendously.  However, I can still become depressed, frustrated and anxious when on the receiving end of psychologically abusive behavior from patients for a length of time @ work.

When I quit this job, I will no longer be forced to endure this verbal abuse….

…Instead, my past will have a purpose in a positive manner while helping others….

Last year I was assaulted at work while working as a safety advocate for a schizophrenic patient.  He beat me several times in the head as I tried my best to keep him from crawling out of bed.  The whole incident flew by fast & occurred within the first 30 minutes of my arrival.   I entered the room full of anxiety & dread.  I didn’t feel safe in the room alone with him, however knew staff would not listen to my concerns since they were short-staffed & everybody was still getting a shift report.

What’s so fucked up, is while this guy kept punched me in the head, I didn’t think to pull away or defend myself. I was only thinking about my job & not getting in trouble for letting the guy fall. I stayed there and “took it like a man”.

The guy didn’t crawl out of bed..

However, I was punched several times & went home an emotional wreck.

When I quit this job, I no longer have to put myself in harms way.

I work every weekend & if my shift falls on a holiday, I have to work it.  I am not allowed to take time off.   Since my family has a regular schedule, we are like “passing ships in the night”.  My sons have school Monday – Friday, 8-3.  My husband works 8-5.  I either nap during the day, do homework, or clock internship hours.  They get to spend the weekend together while I work at night & sleep all day.

It depresses me, knowing I that we never get a whole day to spend together.

When I quit this fucking job, I get my weekends back.

What I hate most about this job is it reflects a decision based on circumstance & necessity.   It pays really well & the hours are conducive to the completion of my graduate education.  However, it is also a circumstantial byproduct of trauma.  I was bullied as a child so badly that survival became a priority over education.  My childhood is filled with missed opportunities of wasted potential.

My childhood bullies altered the course of my life, left me traumatized & robbed me of my potential….

Things didn’t improve in college, when I found myself in an abusive relationship,  Driven forward by the impact of unresolved childhood trauma, I was again in survival mode.  Intent on running away from my problems, I didn’t yet understand I was carrying them within….

At the hands of an abusive asshole, I lost the opportunity of a normal college experience & an education of my choosing.

My parents were too focused on their careers to provide assistance.  I honestly feel, they sacrificed my well being for their career pursuits.  Quitting their job or cutting back their work hours was unthinkable.  Didn’t they know how “bad off” I was?  I guess not.  Part of me will never forgive them for failing to be there.

Upon the altar of their careers, is the sacrificial lamb of my childhood..

This education provides me a chance to realize my full potential & reclaim it….

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