Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Fiscal Year: A Day of Epiphanies

Today, the first day of July, was like having many mystery packages appear on your doorstep, and when you open them, you're opening new doors to everything, even where you never expected.

Epiphany 1: Food

If you must know, I'm pulling a Joe Fejes. If you want to find out what that is, suffice it to say that he lost a bunch of weight before taking a big jump in his performances by sticking to a rather strict raw food regimen for about a month. He doesn't recommend trying it at home, and I'm warning with the same thing myself. I'm actually not being quite as hard core as he was but pretty close. I will allow myself protein shakes and some fish but I'm laying off the alcohol, carbs other than raw fruits and salads, and I don't do sugar. I do have to make it through my work days so a Lara bar and a protein shake will keep me going for brain fuel on those days.

I've just decided that I'm disgusted with carrying around the equivalent of a lead brick and I want to get rid of it. I won't do it past July 31. If I can't lose a decent amount of weight in 4 weeks of doing this, then it's hopeless.

So I started out this morning by getting on the scale. 130 pounds. Okay, I can deal with the reality of that. It's a scary enough number for me, and at least I wasn't OVER 130 pounds.

I had a little protein and fat: a tiny piece of leftover salmon and half an avocado, plus fruit for breakfast before work.

Driving to work, I said out loud to myself, "I'm hungry."

I replied, "So are 5 billion other people. Get over it!"

Leaving my car in the parking garage, I said, "Please let me get through the next 36 hours without biting anyone's head off."

It was sketchy for a while there, but I made it through. I was surprised, I thought I'd be starving constantly but it wasn't too bad. Throughout the day, I had one Lara bar, a banana, an apple, a salad for lunch, and one packet of rice protein powder mixed up with some juice in a bottle which was the most disgusting thing I've ever imbibed in my life. Scratch that kind of protein powder. I found it at Sprouts on sale for 99 cents. Barf me out of town.

But I made it! Made it home, we had more fish and salad for dinner, and I sniveled as Dennis drank a Corona in front of me.

"It's your choice, you made the decision to do this." He lectured me.

Epiphany 2: Work

I have fiscal year on the brain because it is that. There was a generalized palpable tension at work today, it was busy this morning but not out of control like it sometimes feels. But there were a lot of people wandering around wearing suits and dressed more seriously than business casual. I'm not sure what that was about but it was probably something to do with our impending switchover to EPIC. That's the new computer system where we will be keeping our electronic health record.

It's Epic, all right. An epic headache, nightmare. But really, the most aggravating thing about Epic for me, personally, is that I don't get to go to Badwater this year because we aren't allowed to take vacation in July. Other than that I could not care less.

I have to get up early tomorrow to attend a two hour meeting about Epic, before I go to work all day. But we're supposed to be all smiley and positive about it, and I am just laughing, because it's deja vu. I know it will be a pain for the first few weeks until everyone learns the basics, and we'll find out that all the hype and training and apocalyptic e-mails reminding us that the end of the world is near will seem silly in retrospect, and we'll all get used to it and it will have its own set of glitches and kinks to be ironed out.

It's been rough at work, morale is really low and you can see it everyone's eyes. I think they really bit off way more than they can chew with all these changes at once, it's wearing on everyone. It's one thing to be an administrator making decisions about what changes to make, but it's entirely another thing to be in the trenches, having to change everything and adjust to a gazillion new things all in a short time, and still keep the patients safe and happy.

The top guns try to pacify us, they send their messengers to meetings and bring up these nifty constructs from organizational psychology like "change fatigue". Hell, we haven't even been in this change long enough to get fatigued! How about some bringing up some other constructs for a change: disposability, burnout, morale. Let's talk about THOSE constructs instead.

I had at least 4 different people inadvertently remind me today that I'm not going to Death Valley for Badwater next week. EPIC is a four letter word, as far as I'm concerned. So it's a good thing that I have three extra shifts the week after we go live with this thing, because I'll need to work the living $%@# out of myself so I don't have the brain juice left to remember where I should be!

So far all I can tell about Epic is that it's a little easier on the eyes, but the tabs are all on the left hand side of the page as opposed to our current system with tabs on the right hand side. Time will tell if this new thing really is as great as they have been selling it to be.

So today, one of the nurses who is leaving the department had her last day at work, they had a potluck for her. I am sad to see her go but she landed a great deal of a job, and I am excited that I'll be able to join her on runs because she gets long lunch breaks at her new gig. And I saw another one of our nurses who is leaving, too. I will miss them both. People do get to the point where they want to move on, though.

After work I stopped by Sprouts and got some veggies for salad and some salmon. There I ran into two nurses I used to work with in ICU, one has become a family nurse practitioner and loves it, the other has moved to a different department part-time in the hospital and does some things on the side. I noticed both of them looked quite relaxed and happy. I felt like a rag. I was barely standing up, the weight of my basket was pulling me over in the grocery store, and I didn't even have anything heavier than lettuce! I'm sure my eyes were half-closed, and I was probably scowling from exhaustion.

Epiphany 3: Happiness

So I got home from work and found the orange and yellow flowers are starting to take over the garden. I arrived at the doorstep to find a box from UPS, it was some shampoo and conditioner I ordered, something I discovered at my parents' house in the guest bathroom last time we stayed there.

It smelled like coconut and reminds me of the beach for some reason. I decided to treat myself to that, at least at night when I get home and take a shower I can fill my nostrils with coconut and get rid of some of the less enjoyable aromatherapy of work...

I took a shower and used the new shampoo and then went outside when Dennis drove up in the driveway. I let the girls out to see him, and at the same time Wendy drove up in her truck and dropped off some protein shake samples for me. Wendy is a triathlete and coach in town, she's a great athlete, and she also works out with Wheaties Boy.

She's been doing some ultras, and as I stood there trying to have a conversation with her in my half-dead state, I could feel her enthusiasm, energy, and happiness. I thanked her, and we are going to get together and run soon.

I realized I was a zombie, standing there in my driveway, looking at her, listening to her talk. I was feeling positive affect, but unable to express any of it, beyond a smile. I felt zapped, completely wasted and used up.

After she left I went back in the house and I said to Dennis, "What was I doing when I was happiest? Do you remember?"

He reminded me that when I had my own business, I had a lot of freedom and control over my schedule. And that I was happiest when I was able to be out, doing things, riding my bike, running, being outdoors. I wasn't exhausted.

Seeing Wendy there was like an epiphany in itself. I've been coming to it for quite a while, but I think this fiscal year, this one now, is going to lead me in some positive directions. I've lost something very valuable from my life, and I need to find a way to get it back.

Maybe it's the low blood sugar that's making me think differently, but I think maybe there's something to that. Maybe I'm going to find some clarity of thought in this semi-fasting state.

Whatever it is, I like it.

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