Tag Archives: work

Getting Old…It’s Not For Wimps!

It’s a phrase my grandmother likes to use…only she uses a slightly less appropriate word for wimps. If she heard me use it she’d laugh in my face and promptly tell me to shut up.  No, typically a woman of 30 would not be considered old, but I’m an exception to that rule. Chronologically I’m not old, but physically I might as well be twice my age. It’s not in anybody’s best interests for me to go into detail about my mile-long list of ailments, it just illustrates the point I eventually plan on making.

I’m spending another week with my best friend to fill in at their family business. Just receptionist work, no major skill required. They just needed someone they could trust to fill in for a week. I’m glad to do it. It dawned on me since being asked to do this that I actually miss working. When I was working full time, I would daydream about being financially independent and not having to work. Now that I physically can’t work a regular full time job, I realize how good I had it.  I miss having a reason to get up in the mornings–regardless of the fact that I didn’t necessarily enjoy doing it.  I miss the daily interaction with my coworkers and patients. You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone.

When everything else is falling apart around me–my life, my body, etc.–I crave that daily constant of getting up and going to work. If your job sucks, find a new one…but don’t fantasize about being able to live without working. Trust me it’s not that glamorous.

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Nighttime Reflections

I am spending the next 3 days with my best friend and her family, and since she has four children under the age of five and a part time job…she’s tired.  She and her husband have gone to bed, so I’ve retired to my room to get a little computer time in before going to bed myself.  I’m so happy to be here with them. Her four kids, my Godchildren, are so adorable and so much fun. I miss the days when they lived only 20 minutes from me…rather than three hours.

Anyway, now that they are in bed and all four kids are asleep (I hope, for their sake, all four STAY asleep for several hours), the house is uncharacteristically quiet.  I didn’t realize this house could get this quiet!  There is usually someone crying or talking…or the sound of little bare feet slapping the hardwood floors.  In effort to keep the house quiet and avoid somebody waking up, I’ve opted not to watch TV or watch YouTube videos (I forgot my earphones!).  With all this silence, I’ve been sitting here thinking about things.

For some reason, I started thinking about high school.  I probably thought about this due to my imminent birthday (March 6)…which makes me realize it’s been quite a long time since I was in high school!  I’ve been out of high school long enough now that some of my old friends from those days have kids well into elementary school, some are getting divorced, some are recently remarried…we’re grown ups!  When you’re in your early 20s, you consider yourself a “grown up” (and technically you are)…but when you reach my age you begin to realize you were still just a kid then.

I sometimes miss the carefree days of college…being on my own without really being on my own.  I had the luxury of coming and going as I pleased without the burden of financial responsibilities bombarding me from every angle.  It was still easy, and almost “fashionable” to stay up until all hours…sometimes it was even necessary if I had a big test the next day.  I was always coming and going, spending more time with friends than alone or with family…and it was a tragedy if something happened to prevent me from spending time with them.  Back then, my family were important to me, but my friends were my life.  I spent hours talking on the phone (believe it or not, I actually went to college during a time when texting had not quite taken off the way it has now), and when I wasn’t on the phone I was with the people I was on the phone with.

During college and shortly thereafter, every aspect of life seemed so emotionally charged.  It was much easier for me to become passionate about things.  It doesn’t take all that much for people of that age to get into arguments with their friends, enter a phase where you aren’t speaking, etc.  Of course, within the week it was all forgotten and life moved on as if it never happened.  In college you don’t care as much about having nice things (except when it comes to technology), matching furniture, fancy dishes, and things like that.  For people that age lucky enough to live off campus, it is not uncommon to have mismatched furniture in every room, sitting atop the 30-dollar rug you purchased at Walmart all on your own and are so proud of.

It’s strange to think about that time in my life, because it wasn’t really that long ago, yet it seems like it was.  It’s strange to see how much your life changes and your priorities change in such a short span of time.  When you reach my age, you have your own house, or at least your own apartment.  You want your furniture to match. All of a sudden you find dishes and cookware interesting.  You don’t have a Walmart rug in your living room anymore.   Instead of wanting the fastest car, you want a practical car that saves gas mileage and has four doors to seat everyone comfortably and isn’t too hard to climb out of.  If you have children, you actually want and maybe already have a minivan.

You realize how smart your parents actually are.  Instead of being afraid of being caught out with your parents by your friends, you start to want to hang out with them.  They are starting to be more like friends than parents all of a sudden.  You don’t spend half the amount of time with your friends that you once did, because they’re all busy with their lives and so are you.  Instead of going to bars or clubs when you do get to spend time with them, you just go out to eat or to each others’ homes.  I never did lead a “party lifestyle” anyway, but I spent more time in bars then than I do now–which is never.  In fact, I don’t drink at all now.

When you call or text your friends now, you don’t get upset or wonder what you did wrong if they don’t answer you.  In fact, you find yourself feeling surprised if they actually do respond in a timely manner.  It takes an awful lot for you to get into any sort of fight with a friend when you reach the end of your 20s.  You’ve grown up and matured.  Stupid petty things don’t upset you like they once did.  And if you do have a falling-out with a friend, it’s over something pretty bad…something you and that person just do not and will not agree on.  If someone hurts you, a lot of times you stop speaking to each other forever…not just a few days.  Luckily it rarely happens, though…well, unless one or both parties have failed to mature with age which sometimes happens.

You begin to look back at all the friends you once had and you realize just how many people you have lost touch with.  People who you spent practically every waking moment with in school are reduced to a Facebook friend you rarely hear from, with the exception of the random comment or like on your status or photo. It doesn’t happen with all your friends, though.  Some friends you make in high school and college will be your friends for life.  And you realize late in your 20s just how rare that is and how precious they are to you.  You also make new friends at work, people who share your interests and become just as close to you as your college buddies were, even if you don’t spend nearly as much time with them.

While some of this may sound depressing to a younger person, it really isn’t.  It’s just the naturally progression of life that comes with maturity.  One thing you realize at my age is, while you do miss those days from time to time, most people wouldn’t go back if they could.  When you get older and mature, you start to settle down and appreciate different things than you appreciated in school.  I personally loved college, but I wouldn’t go back to those days no matter how much you paid me.  Now those days are just fond memories of a good time, but I’m much more settled down and content with my life and myself than I’ve ever been before…and I like it.

Another thing that happens after school is that you become your teachers’ peers rather than their subordinates.  I’m actually friends with some of my college professors and even a couple of my high school teachers.  Some of the teachers I feared and even disliked in high school, I now look back on with respect.  The ones I liked the least were the ones from whom I learned the most.  Age becomes a far less important factor when you’re in your late 20s.  In high school, it was just much too beneath you to be friends with people more than a couple of years younger, and the people a few years older felt the same about you.  Now, I have friends decades older than I am!  And I don’t think a thing of it.  It’s natural to me.

I guess one of the saddest things to happen when you get older is you start hearing about the deaths of some of your old teachers from high school.  The ones that were older and about to retire when I was in school are now dying.  It makes me sad.

One of my best and favorite teachers from high school passed away not that long ago and I was so hurt by that.  She was one of the teachers most feared by all the students.  I almost took the class in summer school just to avoid taking it with her.  Had I done that, I would have cheated myself in a big way.  I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately.  My senior English teacher taught me almost everything I know about writing.  If it hadn’t been for her, I’d never have made it through college with almost a 4.0.  I’d never have been able to use my writing as a source of income.  You can’t tell from reading this blog, but I can actually write fairly well.  Well enough to be published from time to time.  I don’t take the time to make this blog perfect like I do my professional writing.  I just write as it comes to me.  Proofreading–ha! I just wish I’d have told her how much her class did for me.

One of the best things you can do for a teacher is go back when you’ve grown up and tell them how much their class meant to you or how it was a major part of your success.  I would have told her eventually how much she meant to me and how much I appreciated her, but I never imagined she’d die before I got the chance.  It broke my heart.  It broke a lot of people’s hearts.  She was the best of the best of the teachers at my high school.  It’s still funny to me how one of the most feared teachers at my school (and most hated by students who didn’t care to learn or even try) ended up being my favorite.  After my first week in her class, the fear subsided and I was so glad I hadn’t taken the easy way out of her class.  I miss her.  I miss her so much.

Anyone Been Wondering What Happened to Me?

Probably not many, as many of my blog followers are also my twitter friends, Facebook friends, and mostly my Tumblr crew, but just in case you are just one of my honest-to-goodness blog followers who doesn’t fall into any of those other categories, I’ll attempt to get you up-to-speed on what’s been happening in the world of Brittany. The good and the bad!

First of all, a very exciting thing happened.  I am typing this very blog post from my brand new Acer Aspire computer.  My former computer, “Old Faithful,” my good ol’ Toshiba satellite computer, finally bit the dust.  I will admit, I was devastated.  That computer stocked full of copies of my articles and other stories, as well as thousands of photos from my Barbara Stanwyck and Carol Burnett photo collections, and a rather substantial collection of gifs I’ve made over the past couple of years.  I’m hoping the computer isn’t too far gone to prevent me from saving these items.  Most, if not all, of my gifs are also on Tumblr, retrieving them will be a challenge but doable  Anyway, the old Toshiba died on Monday.  Then on Tuesday I got a weird email notifying me that I had a package on the way via FedEx.  I hadn’t ordered anything, so I had no idea what it could be.  All I knew was that it was being shipped from Allen, Texas and that the package weighed 9 pounds.  After a little investigation, I finally found an email in my junk folder notifying I was one of five winners of a new computer for  an article contest I had entered quite a while ago. I had forgotten all about it!  Then literally the day after my computer died, I got word I was getting a brand new one, FREE!  This computer is great, has tons of storage space, and is a lovely silver color!  There are only a few things I’m having to get used to:  the keyboard.  The keys are spaced further apart than I’m accustomed to, significantly slowing my typing speed, but I know I’ll get used to it and improve…not to mention how much easier it’ll be to keep clean! It also has Windows 8.  I’m all about having the latest and greatest in software and operating systems, but I have to admit I am not a supporter or fan of Windows 8.  I’m getting more used to it, but I still don’t care much for it.  But hey beggars can’t be choosers!

Then Thursday I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor about my back injury obtained over a month ago at work.  Most know, but in case you don’t , I had to resign from my job at the end of April.  I was forced to after the injury because I was no longer able to shoulder the workload required as part of my job description.  Since my injury I’ve been seeing a spine specialist and I’ve had several tests and even an MRI to try to determine the best plan of action.  The MRI showed some of my lumbar discs were damaged, but not herniated.  Basically the scan was not great but didn’t show much.  All we had to go on was the MRI scan and the pain and other symptoms I had.  I had severe back and leg pain, leg weakness, and even fell three times due to my leg completely going numb without explanation.  My doctor and I were both puzzled because my MRI didn’t reveal any damage that should cause the symptoms I was having.  We both knew I had degenerative disc disease (hereditary) so we figured maybe my disease was making more the injury more painful and symptomatic than it would have been for the ordinary person.    My doctor decided that perhaps epidural steroid injections would be the best way to treat the swelling, and thus the pain, I was feeling.  And that was the beginning of the crazy roller-coaster I’ve been on the last month!

I was scheduled to have three steroid injections–injected via epidural (not fun AT ALL)–to be given in two week increments.  I was scheduled to see my spine doctor again after the injections to see if they had done any good.  Nope!  If anything, my back got worse as a result of the injections.  So Thursday I went back to the spine doctor for my follow-up.  Wednesday evening, the night before I was supposed to see the doctor again, I felt very uneasy. I had a bad feeling about the visit the next day and almost didn’t even want to go.  Of course, I was forced to go by my family.

So my doctor came in, asked me how my steroid injections had been helping, and could see immediately by the look on my face they hadn’t helped at all.  This concerned her, so she did another neurological exam to see if my injury was any worse.  It was.  I had practically lost the reflexes in both my legs and the doctor decided the only thing left to do was to do a sort of exploratory surgery, hopefully revealing the full extent of the problem and offering her a way to decompress the nerves in my spine causing the problems.  Due to losing the reflexes in my legs so rapidly and the fact that I had been falling, she wanted to do the surgery as soon as possible.  I was scheduled for the very next day, Friday.  I had the surgery and have been in a sort of fog since then from all the drugs and anesthesia.

Anyway, the surgery revealed the damage to its full extent.  I had actually broken a piece off one of my lumbar vertebrae and that piece of bone had been bouncing around in there messing things up.  It had also left me with a small fracture in the actual vertebrae as well.  That alone could be causing the pain.  It wasn’t all the surgeon found though, the nerves were so aggravated by the broken piece of bone that they were red and swollen where they exit the spine.  Some of them were crushed flat.  Anyway, this all explained the problems I had been having, but the doctor was puzzled as to why none of this had shown up on my MRI!  The only explanation was that the swelling could have impeded the view and prevented the scan from being accurate.

Either way, it was almost miraculous I was able to have my surgery so quickly.  Left untreated, I could have suffered permanent nerve damage, and even paralysis from the extent of my injuries.  The doctor was amazed I was still able to walk at all!  I was dead-set against surgery of any kind. I’ve had five surgeries in my lifetime (now six) and I did NOT want to go through another one.  But it’s amazing how much better I am already after the surgery.  The pain in my legs is gone completely and the strength in my legs is rapidly improving.  Honestly, the only problem I am experiencing now is the horrendous postoperative pain, which is to be expected!  It isn’t fun, I am in excruciating pain from the incision and swelling and all the nerve manipulation and bruising..  That will all go away in a few weeks though, and by then I should be back to normal!

The timing has all been so amazing.  An opening in the doctor’s surgical schedule, and it happened before I had accepted a new job, as I have been applying for them like crazy since resigning from my job!  Since resigning, I’ve been writing–what I’d like to do full time eventually–but applying for jobs to pay the bills in the insurance field that will pay will and still put my nursing degree to work.

I’m sure it’s hard to tell from reading this that I am a freelance writer and aspiring memoirist and novelist, but it’s true!  I’m just still full of anesthesia and pain medications that have left my brain a foggy pile of mush!!! What I’ve written makes perfect sense to me, but I’m sure it very well may be senseless to the average reader!  Bottom line:  I’ve had surgery, I’m healing up, and I’m getting better by the day.   Just looking forward to the day I feel back to my old self again.  I HATE this drugged up feeling for sure!

Hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend and that you all have a wonderful Memorial day!  Spend it with the ones you love and be sure to remember the real reason for this holiday.  Honor those who have died in service to our country or those who served our country, lived to return home and have since died.

Pulling An All Nighter

Well, I’m not sleepy in the least.  I have to get up for work in the morning but I can’t settle.  Too much going on in my head.  I had hoped this post would be a mass review of Martha Long’s 3rd-6th books (which were phenomenal, no surprise to me), but I can’t focus on getting it written.  I know what I want to say but can’t say it the way I want to.  I’m having major focus problems, no doubt due to back pain, hormones, blood pressure fluctuations  and the whole passing out at work thing that happened today. Yes, I passed out at work.  Started feeling dizzy and sweaty (diaphoretic)  in the middle of a procedure and was fortunately able to complete it.  I then excused myself to the bathroom where I got sick, dizzy, and fell forward giving myself a nasty knock on the head.  I’m feeling better now, but my brain is literally going a mile a minute.  Not to worry though, I’ll get the review finished, it should be my next post.  I have a lot to say about these amazing books, and I can’t wait to share with you all what a remarkable life Martha Long has led.  Her next book is out in September and I don’t know how I’m going to wait that long!  Fortunately I’ve found some other subjects I want to read about, and Carol Burnett’s book Carrie and Me: A Mother Daughter Love Story comes out April 9, so that should fill some of the time.  I although I already own the first edition, I am also eagerly awaiting the mass market edition of  Ma, I’ve Reached for the Moon An I’m Hittin The Stars to be released in May for reasons Martha knows ;).  But it’s only being released in the UK and Ireland.  I MUST obtain a copy of it.  How will I be able to do that?

Anyway, I thought I’d spend this time blogging about something else.  Vacation opportunities.  I have a friend, Melissa, who may be coming to visit me during my week off in May for a trip to see Little Rock and Dallas.  I haven’t shared this with anyone as it just developed about an hour ago.  We realized she could fly into Dallas relatively inexpensively and we are beside ourselves excited thinking about the possibility of her visiting the South and us having Barbara Stanwyck and Carol Burnett marathons.  Why can’t I have more friends like her who live close to me??  I was also able to find very inexpensive tickets to New York if I wanted to visit her instead.  I haven’t a lot of money, but I’m getting a tax refund and the price would barely put a dent in it.  Mom and Dad, I know you don’t think I should spend my money on a vacation, but I want to splurge just a LITTLE with it! I will still be able to pay for the things I need.  😉  I need something fun to happen, it’s been such a crazy, sad, stressful, overwhelming 6 months.  I need something to look forward to…

On yet another note, I’m afraid I’m going to have the arduous task of job hunting again.  My back has been injured yet again, and although I love where I work, I can’t continue working in patient care if I continue to injure my back.  My spine is sort of necessary for walking, functioning, etc.  It’s always been my worst nightmare to leave patient care and enter some kind of desk job/administrative position.  I have never had a desire to work in that branch of nursing but the reality is, it’s going to have to happen and soon.  I imagine I’ll need to talk to my boss soon.  They are probably fed up with me hurting myself and getting sick, losing loved ones and all the other horrible things that have happened in my short time working there.  I’m not sure what in the world I could do…or if I’ll even stay in nursing.  I’m very upset about this whole situation but am trying not to let it drag me into the pit of despair I seem to find myself in quite frequently lately.

So, anyway, be watching for my Ma series review coming soon.  I’m really looking forward to sharing it. 🙂