Pissing-N-Moaning

Sofa-Surfing with my husband…

Monday 7/7/17

I’m so Fucking Tired!!!!

It is late Monday night and this is my first day off after a three day stretch of back-to-back 12-hour night shifts.  So I came home and then crashed on the sofa until 1:00 before rushing to my second job for a meeting with a client at 2:30.  Now its late in the evening and I’m attempting to make sense of what I’m reading.  However, my loving husband likes to watch the television.  He is a bit of a remote hog and likes to watch shows about cars.  All the shows are about guys buying old cars and making them into pretty new ones.  Mind you, I have no interest in cars, but my husband enjoys including me in on what is happening on the television.  Every fifteen minutes or so he asks me to stop a minute and look up from what I’m doing to see what’s going on.

I listen attentively, and drop my train of thought completely so I can engage in a conversation with my husband.  I don’t want to be a bad wife….

These conversations are usually brief lasting about 5-10 minutes while I watch this “Fascinating” portion of the particular episode where they reveal something.  Then, once it’s over, I’m able to get back to what I’m doing.  However, after this brief interruption, it is very difficult for me to remember where I was.  Gathering my thoughts, and trying to remember where I was at is nearly impossible.  So therefore, this attempt to study for the NCE exam is not going to go smoothly as I hoped.  I have neither the time, nor ability to devote to trying to understanding the material I’m trying to study.  So I get frustrated and try dividing my attention between my husband and the task at hand.

What I am not able to say

I just left work after a very crappy night.  At one point during the shift I became so overwhelmed by frustration and sadness that the emotions were literally unbearable.  I prayed, in that moment, that if this was supposed to be my life that God just take me home.  I don’t want to do this any more.  I literally can’t….

And what’s so sad is that things aren’t progressing quickly enough.  It will probably be some time before I’m able to quit my second job at the rate thongs are going.  I’m really looking forward to my new career, it but am aware. that it will be a while before I’m able to do so.  In the meantime I will have to accept being tired during the day to the night-shift sleep disorder problem…

Why I’m not able to say it…

I don’t share any of these thoughts about my job, how stressful it is and how I can’t take it anymore. My husband is very invested in the idea “provider role” notion in the sense that I am a barometer of self-worth for him.  Any time I express a feeling that is negative about money or his job, my husband becomes defensive and angry.  This defensive anger is, naturally, a byproduct of hurt.  The communication goes downhill and I end up consoling him and apologizing for being so mean to share my feelings.

And this is the issue.  I really can’t share any of this with my husband and am dealing with it alone.  I don’t feel its his fault and I am not blaming him for my crappy job or my the stressful career transition. Oftentimes what I seek is just for him to listen and be there.  This isn’t something to fix, it is something we just need to work through.

Tuesday 8/8/17

“Same Shit Another Day”…

I’m a mother, I’m a therapist, and a C.N.A.  All of these positions require me to care for others.  At the end of a long day, I just want to sit down and not worry about anything.  Maybe read a book, or blog a bit.  However this isn’t working.  Because my husband joins me and likes to watch t.v. again while I’m on my computer.  About ever 5-10 minutes he asks me to look up from what I’m doing so he can tell me about what’s going on.

So rather than fight it, I’m going to chronicle highlights of our idiotic channel surfing t.v. watching evenings on the sofa in this stupid post….

The Feelings Remain Forever buried….

This issue growing and perpetual frustration about not being able to share my feelings really gets to me at times.  It actually concerns me in light of a recent visit I had with my psychiatrist during a session last week.  He is good about summarizing his observations and insights into questions for me to ponder.  How is it you can be so out of touch with how you’re feeling?  I go through the motions at work.   Shove aside all thoughts and emotions in the moment.  Nobody cares anyway.  You’re there to care for them and cater to their needs, not vice versa.  If my client is impatient and rude, I can’t really honestly tell him how I feel.  If I am frustrated and angry that I have to work on a floor that is so short-staffed this doesn’t matter.  If somebody needs to take a piss, it really doesn’t matter to them that I have over 20+ patients to care for and can’t be two places at once.  So I put up and shut up.  There’s a smile on my face regardless of how tired and frustrated I am….

….When my home life isn’t the respite from this sort of thing as I hope, I can become very angry and frustrated.  It’s too much to take, living a life in which you spend the majority of it not sharing your feelings.

Watching Rattled & “Out-daughtered”.

….It’s Tuesday, at 10:40 p.m.  We just finished watching Rattled and my husband was repeatedly mentioning about how the guys on the show are either idiots or douches.  There’s the guy who is worried about having a second baby and my husband is angry that he can’t be supportive.  And then there’s the other guy who quit his job without finding a new one so he thinks this is irresponsible.  Anyway, we’ve moved on that show Out-Daughtered and we’re watching them taking care of all these kids at the same time and now he’s telling me that he’s tired just watching them.  There’s no way we could survive that without going crazy, he comments….

As I hear this, I continue to try my best and complete this blog post, but I realize it’s impossible. I get angry and frustrated.  “Doesn’t he realize I have a licensure exam to study for??” I think to myself.  However, I don’t feel its a good idea to share what I feel .  After all it will hurt my husbands feelings since it might translate to him feeling like a “bad provider”.  So therefore, I try not to stew inside yet the frustration grows despite my best efforts.  My calm demeanor and smile slowly fade to a distracted anxious that causes my husband to task, “what’s wrong?”   I tell him I’m okay and try to listen to what he’s saying, but find it impossible.  I wonder if he notices that I’m not really paying attention?

Now we’re watching Fantom Works…

It’s now later in the evening and we switch to the show Fantom works.  I’m still trying to write a blog post while watching this show.  For the idly curious here’s the link to the episode we were watching. However, I could be wrong because I’m only pretending to pay attention.  Apparently, they’re fixing up this old mail truck and make it pretty…  I really don’t give a flying fuck about cars, but however I’m trying my best to pay attention….

….As the episode nears the half-way mark, I slam my notebook shut in frustration and lie down on the sofa.  I curl up underneath my favorite fuzzy blanket and stair absent-mindedly at the television set.

 I don’t know how much longer I can take of this…

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When will this fuckin’ hell end!?

I’m at work right now and it’s about 2:30 am; the second of three back-to-back 12-hour shifts. It’s a med-surg floor with 16 patients, three nurses on the floor.

While this doesn’t sound too awful in light of the fact that I’ve had on average, about 20-30 patients by myself.   However, it’s not the staffing ratio or raw census data that make this night so special.  It’s the quality of patients they happen to have on this floor….

…On a night like this I’m always stuck with a lazy nurse who refuses to answer call lights.  Every so often catch her out the corner of my eye playing on her phone I wanna scream: “how about getting off your ass and giving me a hand!?”  However I realize that as an “overpaid” agency tech this is probably not prudent.  I’d never hear the end of it from my boss.

So as I struggle to keep up with call lights and vitals find myself constantly running between 3 rooms.  There 3 confused ladies at opposite ends of the unit with leaky bladders.  As huge fall risks, we have them both on alarms. Naturally, they forget to use the call light so about every 30 minutes that familiar siren rings.  I end up dropping what I’m doing so I can hopefully bolt down the hall quickly enough to catch them before they fall.

However, the real cherry 🍒 on top of this fine sundae are my “special” patients.  There’s the agitated and verbally abusive old man who likes to kick and put you when you change him.  However I must say, there’s a special place in my heart for that old man with a leaky colostomy bag who requires hourly bed changes cause he won’t stop playing with it…

If I’ve offended you with my frankness I do apologize.  I hate for you to get the wrong impression.

Over the course of my 15 years in this profession, I’ve had to learn some survival skills.  FIRST, I work to find a deeper meaning & value in this line of work.  I know I’m making a positive impact on those I care for – this does provide some comfort.  THEN, there’s the advice of Brene Brown who urges us to lean into the discomfort….

As beneficial as these nuggets of advice have been.  I  occasionally find myself at the end of my rope.  Ive been doing this for 15 years & for much of that time spend the majority of my hours caring for others.  I do it at home as a wife & mother.  I do it at work as a C.N.A.  Finally, as a student therapist, I’m trying to launch a new career.

So what’s the problem you ask? (beyond the obvious fact that this job sucks donkey balls)…

  1. I spend the majority of time caring for others & have no time to care for myself.
  2. I spend the majority of my time tending to others’ need but nobody tends to mine. 
  3. Throughout my day, there’s rarely a time or place for me to just share how I feel with somebody who is willing and/or able to listen.  
  4. So I adapt in the best dissociative manner possible.  

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Shit Job….

 “Let go of me you f*cking bastard. You have no right to keep me here!!!”

As she attempts to swing her frail legs over the bedrail for the umpteenth time I caution her to be careful.  She is surprisingly strong, despite her small size.   Fueled by a determination brought about by delirium, she has her mind set to: “get the hell outta here!!”

Assigned as a “safety advocate”, my job is to prevent another fall.  I gently placed her legs back in bed and straightened her sheets.  She responded with a series of punches and kicks.

“Maggie, don’t do that, I’m just at trying to help,” I respond.

“Go to hell!” She screeches while picking at her I.V. Lines.

Grabbing hold of her hands so she’s unable to pull at her I.V., I remind her:“Don’t do that or you’ll bleed.”

While covering the lines with kerlix, I divert her attention to what’s on t.v.  A look of disgust forms on her face as she responds: “You know what, you’re a f*cking idiot.  I’m getting the hell out of here and you have no right to keep me!”

As she swings her legs over the berail again, I try to reorient her.  Feeling like a broken record at this point, I ask her:“Maggie do you know you are?”

Ignoring my question she responds, “Oh get out of my way you moron!”

“You’re in the hospital because you’re sick, remember?” I ask, praying for a glimmer of recall from within the reaches of her foggy brain.

Sadly my efforts prove futile as she looks at me with disgust “Oh shut up, You’re a liar!”

As I swing her legs back in bed, she grabs my arm and starts wringing it like a damp wash rag.  Her beautiful cherry red nails dig deep into my skin, as I wince in pain.  Noticing this, a devilish grin forms on her face.  She digs her nails in even deeper. Small crescent shaped marks form up and down my arm.

Unsure of what my options are at this point, I decide that verbal discussion is pointless. She has no desire to hear what I have to say. My heart throbs in my chest as I struggle to defuse a situation that is becoming increasingly unmanageable.  I decide to let her continue kneading my arm like silly putty despite the ensuing pain.  At least this way, I reason, she’s not trying to get out of bed….

After 40 minutes of this, the nurse finally brings in a shot of Haldol.  Before too long Maggie finally falls asleep.  It is 2:00 a.m.  Now alone with my thoughts I struggle to stay awake.  Desperately in need of caffeine, I’m afraid to drink my stale coffee, since it might make me pee.  I really need to use the bathroom, but am afraid to ask for a break.  Short staffed and without a tech on the floor, the nurses are on edge.  I decide to hold off on that a while.  Alone with my thoughts now, the room is pitch black.   I stare absent-mindedly out the window and watch as the four-way stoplight rhythmically flickers leaving red streaks on the rain-soaked pavement.

Since this is my third 12-hour weekend night shift, I’m physically and mentally exhausted.  My mind wanders onto thoughts of housework and unfinished assignments.   A mental piss-moan session ensues as I consider all that life requires of me.  As a full time student, I also work for a large hospital-system float pool & often feel like a dumping ground for everyone’s frustrations, worries, and concerns.  My goal is to provide good care.  I try to remain empathetic, but frequently struggle.  I ‘m exposed to extreme situations. The people I care for are not feeling well.  Consequently, patients like “Maggie” often use me as an emotional punching bag.  They’re frustrated, feel like shit, I’m readily available to take it.

However, I’m often not allowed to say what I feel.  The emotions build up inside.  During my evening with “Maggie”, I try to remember that her behaviors are symptomatic of delirium.  This is not the loving wife, mom, and grandmother her family described to me earlier.  After several shifts like this the frustration can overwhelm me.

Grateful to sit for once, the events of a previous shift enter my mind.  I was the only tech with 26 patients on a pins floor.  All vitals were q4, everyone was a daily weight, and call lights flickered like a Christmas tree.  The cherry on top of this fine sundae, were all the lazy nurses I worked with.  One in particular had a patient that was pooping hourly.  She refused to change him.  As the end of the shift neared, she asked me to change him for the umpteenth time.  Since I was the only tech on the floor, I was already swamped. I wondered if she noticed how busy I was.  Still, I smiled and bit my tongue.

sick & tired

The stories in this post do not represent a specific patient I’ve cared for.  Instead, I’m hoping to provide a small taste of what I deal with as a CNA for a large hospital system.  I try my best and pray for strength on my way to work.  I struggle to hold onto the meaning in what I’m doing as a direct care provider.  Still I’m worn out, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  As a wife, mother, and healthcare worker all I do is tend to the needs of others.  Today I’ve become the summative reaction to the needs of others.

When will I get time for me?

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