Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why I Love My Job

As some of you might already know my biggest career aspiration is to be a Physician Assistant, but I'm working as a Certified Nursing Assistant until I can take the next step in my career path. At first, my ego had a really hard time accepting the fact that while I'm extremely educated I'm working in a field where most workers have only a high school diploma and some vocational training.  My friends and fiancée have helped me to see the light these past few months.

One day, B said to me, "I could never do what you do at your job". Initially, I was offended and thought he meant that he would refuse to work in a role that sometimes involves bodily functions and spending hours being patient with the elderly. I asked him what he meant by that later on via text and he said, "I couldn't do your job because I couldn't. It takes an insanely strong person to do what you do. It takes someone who not only has a strong sense of self, but also the ability to be completely selfless for others."

Then, I melted. I knew that when he texted me, he was thinking of his dad who died of brain cancer just over a year ago. I think his dad didn't feel comfortable with his future of daughter-in-law taking care of him like a CNA would, so I really didn't get the chance to use my CNA skills on him. I use them all the time now though  and lots of sweet elderly people that need some extra help.

Another day, I was complaining to my friend about the low-pay, lack of benefits etc. and while she was commiserating with me and lamenting over how much the elderly are overlooked and mistreated in our society, she said, "I really hope there are a lot of Christys around when I get to be an frail, old lady." That comment totally made my day, and I haven't let my ego get in the way since then.

Besides, I love my day-to-day routine. I work Monday through Friday with an elderly couple in their home. The man I work for has Parkinson's and his wife is unable to help him get around by herself on days when "he isn't navigating" as she puts it (Isn't that a nice way to put it?). What that means, for those who might need clarification, is that he isn't always able to control his muscles and it can be very debilitating at times. Besides physical assists, I remind him to take his medication every 2 hours around the clock, help him make it to doctor appointments, help him with a shower or a bed bath, let the dog out, let the dog in, help prepare lunch, clean up some around the house, make sure that the patient is safe at all times, cheer him up as much as possible, and spend a lot of time talking with his wife who is still adjusting to the changes in her husband's health. Since she is now handling everything to do with their insurance, bills, etc.so I try to give her advice on how to navigate insurance since I used to work in the field, by at least pointing her in the right direction. I explained the Medicare gap for prescription coverage to her and no elderly person should ever have to try and understand that mess...most young people don't even get it!

But I digress, I totally love this couple.

The patient with Parkinson's has always been extremely nice to me no matter how frustrated he can sometimes get. He treats me like he would a daughter. His wife is my South Beach diet buddy and she and I are always talking about food...recipes, how to make things low-carb, how we cook things.....I LOVE it. Heck, I've lost 15 pounds so far (blog post on that later). She also has the cutest phrases that she says that just make me giggle. She likes to say things like "my husband hasn't eaten that in a Coon's age" and she likes the word "liable".  As in, "if you eat that kind of bread, you're liable to put on weight". That's kind of a  bad example but it's so adorable and southerny when she says it.

Also, I admire their relationship. She treats him with respect even though she is a lot more mentally astute than he is at this point and tries really hard not to embarrass him in anyway. He also gets frustrated with not being able to do things like he used to but seems to understand that without his wife around he would be in big trouble.

They are quite religious and always do a blessing everyday before eating lunch. One time when their close church friends came over to eat and spend time with them, their friends thanked God for me in their blessing. It was so sweet of them....they treated me like I was my patient's guardian angel. Totally brought a tear to my eye.

 I love how rewarding this job is spiritually and emotionally. I love the patient interaction and occasionally  learning new things.  I've learned about how to put hearing aids in (they don't teach you that in CNA school, go figure), how to use a nebulizer, the best way to insert a suppository (TMI?, we nurses aren't shy...), how to move a patient with stiff muscles, how to check blood sugar, and the list goes on. However, the biggest downfall this job has is that I don't get to use my mind as much as I would like. I'm going to be taking nutrition online and applying to nursing school soon though so that will make me more mentally active and it will be a nice change of pace.

I also pick up shifts when other patients need a CNA. I've worked in nursing homes and hospitals. I've worked with tons of patients with Alzheimer's and several in hospice care. I've done two 12 hour overnight shifts.These jobs that I pick up is where I learn the most new things because I get to work with a variety of patients in different settings.

I love the work I do and can see myself becoming a nurse and then maybe one day becoming a Nursing Practitioner instead  of PA....I'm really not sure which path I would like better at this point. What I know for sure is, if I become a nurse I will have no problem at all spending lots of time with the elderly and I will probably even love it.

When it comes down to it, old people are cool cats.

Am I talking like one? That makes me cool too.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Stuck on repeat

B didn't kill me for murdering his laptop! Luckily, we have a warranty and have finally sent in the laptop for a replacement. I agreed to purchase our next warrenty since I kill all machines ever. It took a couple weeks for us to send it in because B has been working a ton of hours lately due to some changes at his work. I would have done it myself except I'm intimidated by exterior harddrives and afraid I would forget to take off something important. So, it looks like it will be at least another week before I have a better blogging machine.

I'm currently blogging from an IPad and I hate it! First off, B won't let me use a blogging app because all his information is programmed into all the applications. Although with our twitter app they allow you to have two separate accouts on one application. Not the case with blogging apps. Secondly, I don't have access to any of my pictures on here. Typing on the IPad is actually fun and doesn't take too long to get used to, but moving the cursor sucks...unless I'm doing it wrong and fat fingering it.

Aside from technology, a lot has been going on. We've been househunting with our realtor for the past few weeks. We were getting closer and closer to finding our perfect, raise our children, and live in for 20 or 30 years house. We had finally narrowed down what area to live in and the exact features we want for our house. We even went to a broker and got prequalified for a home loan. This weekend though everything changed. B found out that the wedding gift that we were expecting to receive is not going to be as large as we initially thought. Also, we found out that our realtor (my future mother in law's best friend), my future MIL, and our financial advisor expect us to have three months of reserved money for living expenses in our account after we move. Bleeeeeh!

OK, I understand why this is a good idea. Most people in financial crises moved to a new house with a pricey mortgage and then all of the sudden got laid off. It's just that the idea of having a down payment for a house and that much money saved up just seems impossible to me right now. I really enjoy the job I have now but it doesn't pay a lot and I'm not willing to get a new job until I can actually have a role I would like in the medical field. B is working his butt off but the more money he makes, the more money gets taken out of his paycheck for taxes, Etc. We can save more money but it takes a long time.

So, the best options that we've thought of are talking to another broker and seeing if we qualify for first time homebuyers down payment assistance programs. The first broker we talked to didn't even bring these programs up so our realtor referred us to a new broker who will see if we qualify. The next thing we've thought of is moving to a better rental home while we continue to save money. We're meeting with the broker this Thursday and should find out more soon.

Honestly, all of this depresses me. We both work so hard and are more responsible with our money than most of our friends. I'm ready for a house and I'm ready to be done with school (that's a whole other story) because I'm ready to get married and have kids. I know we have to do certaint things to make sure we bring our children (God-willing) into a stable, happy, secure environment, but I'm just so stinking sick of living for tomorrow. I work, come home, do chores, look at houses etc. and read blogs about families and their adorable children ...then have massive baby fever. My girlfriend says it's just hormones but I think it's definitely more than that. I'm in a place in my life where I'm ready to live for someone other than just myself. Also, B and I have been together for eight years now and have so much love to give. I think B will make an excellent father and spoil our kids like mad.

This was never meant to be a baby post but at the core of all this money jibber jabber is what we think should happen before we have kids...getting married and buying a house, but really there is so much more to it than that. I want to be able to afford the basic necessities and fulfill the first levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs for my kids, but my heart is ready to love a child right now.

I guess we have to be patient and maturely weigh our options.

Or.....we could be flippant hippies...thats more our style anyway. Except, this is too important to me. Wah.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

With my Tail Betwixt my Legs

Father, I come before you today to repent my many sins. The burden is just too much to bare. I can no longer live a lie. I'm a technology serial killer and I have nowhere to hide. Screeech, screech, screeeeeeech!

There is nothing I love more than curling up with a nice, hot cup of coffee and surfering the net. This morning I was minding my own business doing my morning ritual then I go to scratch my elbow and all of the sudden coffee is in a pool on the keyboard. It all happened so fast. As soon as coffee or a snack hits the keyboard (not that this has happened before...*weeps*) I grab the nearest tissues and attempt to recesitate. I apply direct pressure to the wound, turn the injured area over to drain the wound, and allow my beloved machine to rest in acoma while I pray and repent. Immediately, I regret my clumsy carelessness.

Sidenote: I really do have a lot of respect for technology. More like an unhealthy obsession. I manage my finances online, pay my bills, livestrong, tweet, email mortgage brokers, look at houses on realtor.com, and check FB (facebook for you cool people out there..I rarely go on facebook despite my knowledge of the hip lingo). Why I'm so quick to grab the nearest knife and twist it into the heart of any nearby technology is something I have yet to fully understand about myself.

The worst part of all of this is that the laptop I use technically belongs to my fiancee. He mostly uses his new Ipad 2 for leisure and his desktop for work. I've never actually owned a laptop that I could technically call my own (gee, I wonder why?). How is it possible that a tech savy web designer like B ends up with The Technology Serial Killer of Orange County, Florida? That is, if we're still engaged after he finds out about the murder of his beloved child.

Honestly, I haven't blogged for so long because I've been begging B to redesign my blog. It needs a major makeover to up my blogging motivation. After this morning's little transgression, I've decided to go ahead and keep blogging for several reasons. First, I know I'm going to be in the slammer for at least six months after today. I can only see B forgiving me if I save up enough money to buy myself a cheap laptop with an expensive warrenty and B his deam MacBook Air.  Also, after he finds out (hopefully not by reading this...Oh God...) I will be living an episode of True Life: The Life of a Vagabond Computer User. I'll probably only use his desktop when he isn't working of have to go to the library downtown, fight for a parking spot (joy), and fist bump with the other vagabonds that hang out downtown. Or worse yet, power on at my employer's where it takes two hours to load while I try not to scream in agony. Oh yeah, and I'm taking nutrition online this summer. I need a miracle...live baby, live!

I really don't blame B at all for being POed at me. I've killed numerous cell phones and now 3 laptops if this one doesn't come to. I'm dangerous and frankly, shouldn't be allowed out of the house (except that I need to earn money to bail my @$$ out). You can only forgive so many times. I need some sort of 12 Step Program: Tech Serial Murders Anonymous (TSMA), Tech Abusers Take Action (TATA), Tech Offenders Obtain Trust (TOOT), or maybe just You Can't Trust This B (YCTB). I can't change the clumsiness that resides so innately in me, but I have to learn to work around it. I'm going to go hide in a corner with my tail betwixt my legs now. And cry.

P.S. I really need to keep a handheld tape recorder in my car because I write blog entries in my head while I'm switching between Busta Rhymes and The Farmers Daughter on the radio. Maybe I should just quit the whole coffee thing. It seems to have multiple repurcussions..including spillage and manic blog posts.

P.S.S. I think B might read this...and reach through the internet and choke me..but I deserve it.

P.S.S.S. I shouldn't even be posting this right now.

P.S.S.S.S. Sorry for all the typos I was on a work computer while my patient took a nap.