Friday, October 19, 2012
Goblin at the No Goblin, and Silence
Tomorrow I'm headed to Denver to hang out, not run, with a group of ultrarunners I've known for many years. We're all old fart ultrarunners, except me of course, most have been in the ultraworld for at least the past 20 years, and the premise is "No Goblin Gas".
There usually is a race in Utah that is a day's drive away for most of us, called the Goblin Valley 50K, and it has been cancelled indefinitely, so this year they are staying home and doing a 50K training run in southwest Denver. And what would an ultra be without a party, food and beer afterwards?
I'm going to walk with Steph for a couple of hours, then we'll set up for the post-run BBQ. I plan to do a lot more of the goblin than the no goblin. I will also get to meet Sylvia, who is my friend Ed's new girlfriend. That's Ed who ran with me in the Black Hills this summer. He was just starting to date Sylvia when we were there in June, and things seem to be working out.
I survived another two days of work. Thought I would never make it through the first 12 hour shift, but I got 9 hours of sleep afterwards, a rare event for me on a work night, because I didn't have to go in until noon on Thursday. Then I only worked 9 hours because I had the closing shift. It was nice to not feel exhausted at work for a change.
Lately I've talked a lot about work and work hangovers and I vent because I do get tired, 12 hour shifts are hard, especially with the psychosocial components of the work I do. That's why nursing is a profession in which it is so easy to burn out.
It's easy to hang a bag of chemo or a liter of fluids, but taking care of the patient's needs demands not only attention to their physical condition, but also to everything they need in their lives when living with a serious illness.
One of the things you see in nursing, that is more the norm than the exception, is the propensity for people's past life issues to come out when suddenly they are faced with a life-threatening illness and the rigorous treatments that go along with that.
So many people have not worked through their past traumas to the point where they can consciously identify them, and have the awareness that something they are experiencing in their body during cancer or other treatment is a result of their past psychological history, and not the current physical condition.
When they experience the trauma of cancer treatment, all the unresolved issues come charging to the surface and it can be a huge obstacle for them as they struggle through the intensity of staying on track with medications, appointments, procedures, follow-ups, treatments, side effects, and dealing with the issues that come up in their own families surrounding their illness.
I'm not even going to delve into it here, but who knows how much the trauma of past experience affects the immune system to the degree that genetic mutations that happen at the cellular level are allowed to flourish unchecked and become cancer.
I had my review at work yesterday. It went well, there's always an element of anxiety before you go in to find out what they think of you and what your peers have to say. I am so thankful that I work in a place where I can get useful, valuable input and support to go along with it, that truly helps me professionally and personally. I think I work in one of those rare workplaces, which I attribute to careful, consistent, and conscientious management for many years. That is rare these days in the workplace.
Which is the exact opposite of what I experienced in my previous workplace. How fitting then, that Patricia Singleton posted this post on her blog yesterday.
If you feel like reading her blog, there is a link at the bottom under "blogs I read" on the right hand side of this blog as you scroll down. A blog about sexual abuse doesn't really fit in to a running blog, but I find Patricia's blog applicable to everything in life, because of the theme that underlies her writing. It's about ending violence and abuse, and shedding light on the forces that perpetuate abuse. And that applies to all kinds of violence, not just sexual abuse.
The way I found Patricia, was way back in the days when I was a new nurse working in ICU, I was having one of my sleepless nights and dealing with a lot of the workplace violence that nurses often experience, called "eating their young".
When I worked there, there was a culture of abuse, not only directed at new nurses, but at anyone who failed to kiss the narcissistic boss's ass along with her minions. Almost everyone was intimidated into silence, except for a few of us who spoke our minds, and we became the targets.
Eventually, after a large percentage of the staff turned over within a year, the administration got wise and got rid of that boss. The reason it was allowed to go on so long was that there was a person in a high level administrative position who was protecting her and looking the other way, and until that person left the organization, nothing happened.
Justice was served in that case, but not before many of us experienced a lot of physical and mental stress that was costly not only to us as individuals, but to the organization.
I stumbled on Patricia's blog with a Google search on some topic related to violence or abuse in the workplace. I found Patricia's insights to be enlightening and perceptive, and since someone important in my life is a sexual abuse survivor I also found the insights on sexual abuse and its consequences to be valuable and eye-opening for me.
I think this blogpost from Patricia and the links she includes within the post are excellent and thought-provoking reading material, they are short and easy to read, but worthwhile. The violence associated with silence affects everyone, in some way. There is no person who is immune to any type of abuse. Perpetrators of abuse don't just become that way by themselves, they have experienced abuse in order to learn how it's done.
I think it's important to bring silence to everyone's attention because we are all indoctrinated with compliance at an early age, don't make waves, don't speak up, keep a low profile. It's easier to ignore injustice than to act on it.
There's much work to do, it's a political issue as much as a personal issue, that could be a whole blog in itself. I think it's a good idea to check ourselves every so often. Am I speaking up about issues that I care about? Am I serving someone's best interest, or am I hurting them by being silent? Silence that allows violence to continue, is violence itself.
I thank Patricia for the reminder, and the inspiration. She's an amazing woman and if you're interested in these issues, I highly recommend her blog.