Not All In My Head

I’ve spent a good part of the year not feeling 100%.  It started out with vague GI symptoms.  Many times it was just that burning feeling I’d had a million times before in the pit of my stomach I thought was just caused by anxiety.  The pain in my stomach then started to become vomiting for no reason.  I started taking medication for the pain in my stomach and have as needed medication on hand should I feel nauseous.  Along with the GI problems I felt tired and unmotivated.  Lots of naps.  I am supposed to have more diagnostic testing soon, but there was a long wait to see a gastroenterologist.

I’ve also had some back pain and crampy female type pain, like a very uncomfortable period.  It is a kind of pain I would normally take ibuprofen for, but the ibuprofen would make my stomach discomfort worse.

Once I started having some odd bleeding and the continued crampy pain, my mind went wild wondering if the crampy pain and the GI pain were caused by the same thing.  I made an appointment with a gynecologist, found out I have endometrial cancer, and I will be having a hysterectomy soon.

I’ve feel tired and painful and haven’t had the energy to get done everything I feel I should be doing.  Is it my history of depression influencing how I feel?  I’ve been taking many naps.  Sometimes you read stories about people being diagnosed with cancer who are motivated to do something grand.  A little voice in my head says I should feel this way, but the urge to take a nap and lie down wins out instead.

I feel hopeful about my prognosis with my endometrial cancer and upcoming surgery.  I am just waiting to get everything done.  People I know are supportive for the most part.  One person I know who is more of an “essential oils cure everything” type of person asked me if I had carefully researched what I was about to do.  She thinks I am a poor lost little sheep both for having worked in traditional healthcare environments and receiving care in the same sort of environment.  She’s also worried that I am ruining my lady parts for my husband by undergoing surgery.  I walked away from her and refused to even address any of her ignorance.  I honestly really wanted to laugh at her though.  Are you really that stupid that you think getting a hysterectomy for cancer is that controversial?

I’ve been cranky and impatient.  On one of my last days of work I told my supervisor how I *really* feel about changes they have made that make communication and work flow much less efficient.  If I had not felt so bad I probably would have not said anything at all, because it won’t change anything.  God forbid I as a nurse should want to spend less time with bureaucratic red tape and more time with the people I am supposed to care for.  I am sure I “sacrificed something” by expressing my opinion when it is time for my next raise.  The ultimate irony of all this is that several months ago my employer spent thousands of extra dollars to educate us on communication issues and workplace inefficiency.  I guess my supervisors weren’t paying attention.  Perhaps we need Michael Scott and Dwight Shrute from the TV show The Office to become our new managers….things couldn’t possibly get any more absurd.

Throwback Thursday…Renewed Strength

At work this weekend I met a man that melted my heart.  He was an elderly man with cancer which had begun metastasizing.  Though he was still undergoing treatment to fight the cancer, he was beginning to think that death was nearer than he would like.

Despite his circumstances he was incredibly gracious, more gracious than I would imagine myself to be in those circumstances.  We only spent an hour together.  My role was to help him, but it was he who provided me with awe and wonder. Though the subject of our conversations mostly were on the serious side, at the end of my shift I had a renewed strength in why I had pursued nursing as a career.  Even though there are many above me who dictate what I should do as a nurse and make more money, it is I who provide the hands on care, that receives the real gifts.

I’m not sure if I will see him again, I won’t forget him though.

I’d Like To Take a Mental Health Day off of Work..

….but I won’t.  I need to remind myself though to sign up for more vacation time.

Work is getting stranger, and busier.  There is that old saying, “Stop the world, I want to get off”, that is how I feel.  Usually, I accept work as one of the realities of life.  Today is one of those days where I would love to quit.  Or perhaps find a job with more flexibility where I am not expected to work some holidays and weekends.

I’d like to have more time with family.  Wouldn’t we all?

Of course, work gives me a paycheck.  Most days I feel like I do something meaningful in my job.  Some days I feel like it drains everything out of me, so my drive to do meaningful things outside of work is not there.

If only I could get away somewhere warm and sunny for just a few days.  We’ve had a fairly mild winter in the Midwest, but it snowed today.  Bah humbug to the snow!

Am I burnt out?  Am I depressed…I don’t know.  I know my mood  will soon pass.  I don’t know what the long term solution is.  The short term solution….take a nap or watch TV?

Renewed Strength

At work this weekend I met a man that melted my heart.  He was an elderly man with cancer which had begun metastasizing.  Though he was still undergoing treatment to fight the cancer, he was beginning to think that death was nearer than he would like.

Despite his circumstances he was incredibly gracious, more gracious than I would imagine myself to be in those circumstances.  We only spent an hour together.  My role was to help him, but it was he who provided me with awe and wonder. Though the subject of our conversations mostly were on the serious side, at the end of my shift I had a renewed strength in why I had pursued nursing as a career.  Even though there are many above me who dictate what I should do as a nurse and make more money, it is I who provide the hands on care, that receives the real gifts.

I’m not sure if I will see him again, I won’t forget him though.

Why can’t I own my words without regret?

I’m a nurse.  My supervisor has changed staffing policies without telling anyone what was going on.  Fewer people to deal with challenging situations.  There is the potential for even dangerous situations.  I speak my mind in the easiest way possible…via the keyboard.

Venting my concerns gets me nowhere, in fact I find out that things are worse than what I understood as I correspond with two of the people involved.  What is funny is that M, a nurse that I have seen go from brand new grad to someone in a supervisory capacity…..would have protested mightily, and even cried, if someone told her that she would have to work under these expectations.  Now she’s a supervisor….she doesn’t care.

What I don’t understand about myself though, is why I have regret about expressing my concerns.  Is there a part of me doesn’t want to be seen as difficult?  Or maybe I should have thought more on the matter before speaking?  Or perhaps it is the sense of futility I feel about having wasted my effort expressing myself.  Or perhaps I feel as my external facade of having control and a stiff upper lip is starting to crumble and it scares me.