Scatter my ashes here...

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

Monday, October 28, 2013

Silence is the Language of Hell

A little Halloween theme here...

This is Natalie, the wandering neighborhood black cat my parents adopted. She lives the ultimate life of luxury. She's a Scottsdale cat.

I've been down here for a few days and I'm decompressing. Not a lot of productive work yet but it feels good to be in a different setting, different scenery. I went running on the canal yesterday for the first run I've done since before my calf cramped into a knot a week ago.

I often miss Scottsdale when I come down here in winter on those perfectly clear days, when the temperature is perfect. It's still hot, in the 90s but once the sun goes down it's perfect.

But then I see the massive construction projects, the traffic, and the brown haze on not so clear days, and I remember why I left.

Last night we went out to Malee's with a friend of my parents who has been a nurse for over 40 years. She's a consultant and a free agent, independent. She's been through the system and through the wringer and sees what it does to people. But she decided to take control of her own life instead of allowing herself to be used by the system.

She and I had war stories to tell. One of the things we talked about was the generational divide, of how it seems like the fight has all but disappeared, that people are no longer willing to protest what they feel are injustices in the workplace.

Like I've said before, it is a systemic problem, not limited to health care or nursing, but people just seem defeated and willing to accept that they are going to be squeezed to death in the workplace, and accept the fact that the highly paid executive class will make millions while most people are lucky to hang on paycheck to paycheck.

People seem resigned to this, they don't seem to have any willingness to push back. Look at what our government has been doing. Nothing! And we allow that!

If you decide to stay in hell, that's your choice. You do have a choice. Even if you think you need that paycheck, realize that the choices you made are the ones that adjust the thermostat of your personal hell. It's one thing to sit there at work and bitch, but at some point if you're unhappy you need to decide what to do about it. Instead of burying your frustration and blowing off steam over and over again, making yourself sick, there is another way.

It took me a year to move from an initial slap in the face to where I am now, on the verge of stepping into free agency, as a nurse entrepreneur. That's not a lot of time, even though it felt like hell along the way, and it ain't over yet.

If you don't say something, you are condoning free reign of those people who are bloodthirsty and waiting with daggers...

The problem with silence is that it's collusion with the devil. Not speaking up is the easy way out, but it's not out. It's being stuck and accepting the conditions that hurt everyone else, including yourself. Silence is the language of hell. I'm saying it again. Shouting.


Speaking out sheds light on the problem. It's only when a certain number of people speak loudly and clearly enough to awaken the masses that things can be changed. We're at a power disadvantage only when we don't use our own power.

I'm relaxing in the courtyard enjoying the cool morning air and the late fall Arizona sunrise, drinking my coffee. I have some serious business and fun in store for today and tomorrow.

The fun part is I'm going to be "guest bitcher" on a podcast tomorrow. I intend to not just bitch but talk about solutions. Still, it will be fun to bitch about things! I'll post the link as soon as it's up.

The serious part, but hopefully fun too, is working on some financial plans on Tuesday.

Later today I'm going out to lunch with a fellow nurse who has been through the ultimate hell. I'm meeting Amanda Trujillo.

I've always wanted to talk with her in person, and I know that her case is controversial, but I also know what big powerful interests can do with money for legal clout to beat up on the little people. And Arizona is not known for nice politics...between Sheriff Joe, Jan Brewer, the recent Arizona Medical Board scandal, and a long history of slimy political figures.

I'm off to run on the canal again...if I don't come back, look for black helicopters that say Maricopa County Sheriff...I might be shackled in pink underwear in Tent City if I'm not at the bottom of the Arizona canal covered with carp hickeys.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Detox Day Five: Seeing Colors

The foliage colors are about as bright as they will get, more leaves are falling to the ground except for the giant cottonwoods behind my house.

I'm feeling a little better, and have processed a bit of the anger and hurt, and have realized that this was not meant to be. I don't belong in a box, never have, never will.

I've been quite productive the past two days, though today I'm dealing with lack of sleep. I woke up several times during the night hot flashing.

My calf finally loosened up after four days. I might go running later, or wait until the weekend. At this point it really doesn't matter.

Some interesting ideas and opportunities have surfaced over the past few days for when I'm in Arizona. It should be a fun trip, to say the least. I'll be meeting some great minds...I will enjoy seeing what comes of many creative minds working together.

I'm allowing my brain some time to heal from the stress-induced fog. It's funny, yesterday I spent the entire day working on an online course in cognitive impairment in oncology patients, and there I was, cognitively impaired myself. I have no doubt that it was by the same mechanism of cytokine-induced cognitive dysfunction, from stress. It took me forever to process the information I was reading.

Another interesting social media link I saw today led me to think about nurses, as it is a female-dominated profession.

What she says is so true of nursing too, as a profession. We are taught in nursing school to defer to others...male-dominated groups like executives, physicians, and surgeons. At the same time we are expected to think critically about what is going on with the patient. The problem lies in the contradiction of what we are supposed to do according to our license, which is, to speak up, and what large employers are focused on: profit and keeping anything quiet that might interfere with generating a profit.
I want to make a positive impact on people's lives. I can do a better job of that on my own, out of the confines of a square box.

There are no limits!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Detox Day Three: The Fear Factor

A good friend of mine from ultras recently did something out of character for himself. He was running an ultra with some pain and took too much of an analgesic and landed himself in the hospital.

I really like this guy, and he's been through a rough time for the past few years, a divorce, soul searching, and so on. I worry that what he's doing is self-destructive, so I contacted him to let him know that I'm here for him and he can talk with me.

I've been there. I've had my rough times in life. I've been depressed before. I'm going through some now, but even with the pain I'm experiencing at this time, I am so excited about my opportunities to go forward that I know I'm really okay. I am having a low energy week this week so my progress has been slowed, but that's temporary.

Still, it doesn't feel good to go through a crisis like this alone. People tell me that I'm such a "together" person, that I have my priorities right. That I have my shit together. You know what? I think I basically do, but I'm not immune to depression and feeling down, alone, and lonely. I can't tell you how many times in the past 6 months I needed somebody to call me to go out and do something that doesn't involve running.

One of my longtime nursing friends who is probably the least socially outgoing of anyone I've ever met in my life, has kept my head above water. I've learned a lot through this rough time about my support network. On the other hand, people I've never met in person and only interact with through some mutual interest group on Facebook have been a lifeline.

One thing I've noticed is that there's so much reliance on social media for communication and then when you're in real time and real life, and you need some support, it's hard to get. Add the fear factor of working in the corporate world and you basically shut things down.

There are so many nurses I worked with who I liked a lot, I always wished we could have done more things together. I was always busy training for ultras and had very little energy left over for social engagement. Until recently, I was not much of a drinker, I prefer to go out and do active outdoor things, or at least go places where you can walk around a lot.

I know that people are afraid to be associated with me when it comes to work, because now that I'm shitlisted they don't want to be categorized as a rabble rouser. So they are very careful on social media. They private message me. That's okay, I understand that they are not in the same place as I am and need to stay where they are right now. I don't want to disrupt anyone's personal perception of safety.

They are afraid of what will happen if the wrong people see they are allied with me. People talk, and the chain of command is not lost on me one bit. I know that backstabbing is a function of management style and an organization's toxicity that allows it to exist. It could easily happen to anyone.

Today I'm still having that stabbed in the gut feeling, but it's a beautiful fall day and Iris and I went for a long walk, and I have shit to do and I'm going to do it. It hurts to breathe deeply, when every sigh feels like it could turn on the faucet of tears. Don't hug me unless you've got a plumber nearby!

Nurses should buy stock in Kleenex.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Detox Day Two: Eating Their Young for Breakfast

It feels like a jumble of emotions today. I'm up and down, but mostly in an even keeled, buzzed out fog of exhaustion.

I slept until 9:00 this morning. Then I got coffee and took Iris for a walk, then went out to do an errand and came home to the girls again. It was such a beautiful day I kept going outside to walk. I took Iris for four walks and Isabelle only wanted to go once.

My calf was too painful to run on it. I'm still sore down the inside of my thigh, too. Those were some wicked cramps. Maybe by tomorrow I'll be able to run.
We were at a Mexican restaurant tonight, where we eat frequently. As we were sitting there I saw one of my patients come in the door, fortunately they seated him in another area. I like him, but I don't like running into patients outside of work, it's too awkward because you can't say much, especially if you're with someone else.

I realize how much I will miss the interaction with the patients, and the social interaction of the work day with my coworkers. But then, it's hard to think about the conversations you've had with people, and then you wonder which of them stabbed you in the back. After seven years in a place you get to know a lot of people and it will be strange to bring an end to that, too. I'll have to find new ways to network and talk with people, that will be one of the challenges of my new line of work.

The somatic and psychic pain seem to be competing with each other for attention inside the little world of my body. I can literally feel it in my gut, it's this heavy feeling like someone wrung out your insides. There's a lump in my throat that rises when I think about certain things. And there's a burning anger that flares behind my eyes and in my chest when I think about other things.

When I read this morning's medical newsletters that I get on email each day, it was funny, there was a lot of talk about corporate wellness programs. And I thought, what an oxymoron that is: corporate and wellness in the same sentence. I think that the most effective corporate wellness program out there is quitting your job!

I don't understand why it is acceptable to foster an environment where psychological violence toward others is acceptable. It's not unique to nursing, but it does seem to be almost omnipresent in workplaces, especially in large organizations stressed by trying to turn a profit, who do stupid things to sabotage their own profitability. They spend money on wasteful and extravagant things, and then squeeze the life out of their people by overreliance on cutting staff to control costs.

They like to control people. If they can't control you, YOU are deemed out of control. If you question anything, YOU are perceived as a threat. If you have an independent thought, if you speak up, if you think critically about the status quo and the need for change, YOU are put on the chopping block. Especially if you are visible or perceived as a potential leader and have these characteristics. YOU might lead the masses astray, they might start thinking for themselves!

If you have a brain and a personality, you're the one who has the bad attitude, while the people who are supposedly leading things won't even talk to you and act like you don't exist, except for when they are looking for things to use against you. They can never say anything positive, but they can always find things to say that are negative. But instead of saying them to you when they happen, they save them up for once a year in your annual review, where they can be anonymous. And those reviewers are hand-picked, of course, by management.

When this same scenario repeats itself all the time, it's important for people to realize that it is not them, it's the warped, abusive system that treats them this way. It's a sick way of operating and it's sad that so many people suffer from workplace stress. Ever seen the bumperstickers: "Creative people must be stopped" And: "I think, therefore I'm dangerous"

As a nurse, they want you to think critically about your patients, but not about your workplace or working conditions. Be a good little Stepford nurse, smile, swing your ponytail and just say yes. Have the personality of a cardboard box and you'll be fine.

It's too bad that nurses are among the most trusted professions by the public. If only the public knew what goes on behind the scenes. The expression "eating their young" is well-known among nurses. It is a very true thing about nurses. Sad and ugly, I know. But so true.

Yes I am outspoken. No I won't shut up. I think this workplace crap needs to change. Let's make it happen. People shouldn't have to heal from working in health care.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Detox Day One: Healing from Health Care

I survived the weekend. Thankfully everyone there this weekend was cool. We actually had enough staff and we were able to get through our days without being impossibly rushed. As soon as I got there Saturday morning and saw who was on I was able to relax and enjoy the weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed the patient care part of it.

I'm looking forward to the real detox, though I know it will be difficult to make it through those last two weeks when I go back in November. I look forward to having some breathing time, do a little healing, though I know how fast that can be reversed! At least when I go back, I will know it is my final stretch. So this is sort of a pre-detox session, and I will do the real one when I'm completely done after November 16th.

I woke up Sunday night hot flashing and came into the extra bedroom office and tried to cool down. I wish I felt like my life was mine again. I want to get back to feeling better physically so I can move forward too.

I went back to the pool this morning and started my workouts again. I won't be working too hard, just getting the relaxing effect of a long workout in the water followed by an easy run on land. Running in the pool and swimming are both physically and emotionally therapeutic, and the water supports you. It's almost like getting an all-over hug.

Last week again I was too stressed to do anything substantial, I ran an hour each on three different days. I'm starting to envy all the people posting about their marathons and workouts on Facebook.

So this morning in the pool I ran for an hour with no problem. I even did some intervals to break up the monotony. I planned to swim 1200 meters after that. I got in the pool and began to swim. On my very last lap before I hit 800 meters, I got a killer calf cramp that made me stand straight up in the pool and I almost screamed out loud. Fortunately I was in shallow water and I was on the lane next to the edge of the pool so I grabbed onto the side of the pool and stood there until the cramp let up, but it never really did. Every time I thought it was easing up I started to move and then it would seize up again, just as painful as before.

I knew I was done for the day. I was probably dehydrated from my work weekend- I never drink enough during my shifts, and I've been drinking beer at night and coffee in the morning. I knew I needed to get out of the pool, go home, and rehydrate. But first there was the problem of moving without cramping.

Finally, I used my arms to pull myself to finish the lap and waited for a few minutes, stretching, before trying to climb out of the pool. When I got myself up there, I got two more cramps- this time in my gracilis muscle- my inner thigh- and the arch of my foot. All the cramps were on my left side. So I sat there on the edge of the pool, I couldn't get up. I had to pull myself up by the starting blocks and slowly limp toward the locker room.

Later I had lunch with a friend who used to work with me, she went through a remarkably similar experience to mine before she left. It was good to talk with her, and I know that I will move on beyond this, as painful as it's been.

The thoughts that go through my head these days are about nurses who get out of nursing, and there are so many of them, there is so much support and validation from those who got out. I'm discovering a whole world out there of nurse entrepreneurs, independent nurses, people who either couldn't deal with the oppressive environment of hospital and corporate nursing, or got out on their own for some other reason.

It makes me wonder, what is it that keeps people in hospital nursing, in these toxic environments, for twenty or more years? How can anyone stomach that? But they do. Do they love it that much? Scared to change? Scarred by compassion fatigue from lack of time to debrief after traumatic experiences? Slaves to a paycheck? I suppose there are people who are able to separate themselves mentally from the environment so they can go on. And there are others who are sensitive to it and stay and become sick.

I know I look sick. I am washed out, wrinkled, overweight, my eyes are sunken into my head, I don't even feel like I have an athlete's body anymore. I want to get back to taking care of myself. The past six months I haven't even been able to stick to a consistent routine of working out and eating right.

Sunday my coworkers were talking about one of the nurses we used to work with who was in a different department from us but used to come to our area to help us a lot. She left about a year ago. They said she looks great, she lost 60 pounds, she looks younger, her face doesn't look drawn or stressed anymore, and she's happy.

I had some pictures taken last week by a professional photographer, for my business website, and I couldn't believe how bad I looked. I really do look awful, pale, older, matronly. Not healthy or athletic or anything resembling active or vibrant. I don't even recognize that person in the photographs. I need to wait until about 6 months after I leave the job and then get them re-taken.

I wrapped up the day by going out with another former coworker. As we talked, there were a few things that came up in the conversation that validated my decision to leave even more. I got home by 9 pm and went to bed, and slept pretty much straight through the night...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Full Moon

Snow, full moon, fall colors, and crisp,  biting air. I had almost no energy today, the emotions of the past few days drained me. 

I need to hang on and make it through the weekend, then I can have time for myself, before I do the final stretch of work shifts in November. 

It feels like someone took a bottle brush to my gut, my insides feel so raw. 

I want to take care of myself, but I am just hanging on for now. By the next full moon, this hell will be behind me. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Got the Belt Buckle This Time!

As every ultrarunner knows, the belt buckle for finishing is one of those perks. It's never about the buckle, it's about the satisfaction of finishing and succeeding at what you set out to do. There's a lot that goes into that belt buckle, not just in the race itself, but in all the preparation, dedication, discipline, focus, and pure enjoyment along the way to holding one of these in your sweaty, sticky palms after being up all night and into the next day.

About a month and a half ago I tried to do something and failed. I tried to quit my job but somehow came away with a DNF, did not finish, I didn't quite accomplish the task. Somehow I ended up taking on a relief position. Well that was a mistake. I should have gone with my gut the first time. I'm paying for it by having to do another 4 weeks of work, but today, I finally got the buckle. I turned in my letter of resignation and in 30 days I'll be gone for good.

Why? There are multiple reasons why, and as you've read through my tirades about nursing over the past months, it's obvious that I am completely burned out. I'm burned out on the things that are wrong with both nursing and health care. I'm burned out on the things that are wrong with corporate dominance and our ruined legislative and judicial systems. It happens everywhere, and I just don't want to be a part of nursing in the corporate world anymore. I'm not going somewhere else, it's the same everywhere. I'm getting out.

I am tired of spending maybe four times more time in front of a computer than doing actual face-to-face, hands-on nursing care with the human beings who come in. I'm tired of watching an endless parade of nurses marching out the doors, I'm tired of them eating their young, and not-so-young. I'm tired of watching nurses (mostly women nurses, unfortunately) backstab each other, playing the dead even rule, attacking those who shine in some way, are recognized, or have skills or talents that make them stand out. I'm tired of those evil little passive aggressive games like in junior high. I hated every minute of junior high. It sucked. It was traumatizing. I don't care to relive it.

I'm tired of executives and administrators who live in their own little self-contained world and don't speak to nurses, and don't include us in making any decisions about how things are implemented that will affect patient care. I'm tired of watching the Peter Principle in action and people trying desperately, and sometimes viciously, to hide their incompetence from anyone who might question or threaten their qualifications to be in their comfortable positions. I'm tired of knowing about the well-padded lives these people live as they play games with the bone-on-bone lives of those who do physically and emotionally draining work for long hours to directly support the needs of human beings who are sick, scared, and vulnerable.

I'm tired of the people who talk out one side of their mouth about cutting budgets, staffing, and unnecessary spending, then out the other side dictate decisions that enrich the executive class like huge extravagant severance packages, or slashing staffing based on the bean counters of some expensive consulting firms. Adopting their suggestions that don't have any basis in the reality of what goes on in the patient care areas.

I'm tired of watching them backpedal and pull themselves back from dangling over the edge of a cliff because they put too much faith in those bean counters and now, they have to hire expensive travel nurses because they got rid of too many of their staff. Putting tons of money into building up their public image while providing less care for the real people who use the services, because they cut staffing.

I'm tired of hearing people talk about concepts like leadership and accountability when they couldn't lead their way out of a cardboard box, or account for which box they'd been in. And the list goes on...

What's hardest for me? I wish it had been more satisfying, more understanding, more caring, more empathetic, more supportive among nurses themselves. It creates toxic work environments that leach waste into everyone and invade the deepest crevices of their lives in every possible way, on their days off, during their sleep hours, into their family lives, and more.

Oh yeah, and I made quite an investment of my time, almost the last 10 years of my life have been devoted to this. I went back to school at 41 and got my first nursing job in 2006, and almost exactly seven years to the day after starting that, I am done. That's all it took. Seven years to burnout.

Now I'm trying to salvage my health, aware of my increasing age, knowing what stress can do, in the back of my mind knowing my family history of breast cancer and leukemia, and who knows what else, hoping that I haven't done irreversible damage to my body, and lately my stomach feels like it's getting a hole in it. And trying to keep track of my own mental health, too, making sure I'm not falling into a pit of depression.

The main reason I'm leaving corporate nursing is simply stated by the bumpersticker I happened to see on this car in front me as I drove over to the hospital to deliver my letter of resignation to my boss this morning.

There is a great need for more kindness. In life in general, in workplaces everywhere, yes, but nursing could use an infusion of this stuff, at least twice a day. Corporations might have certain rights as human beings, but they are not human, and certainly not humane. The larger they get, the further removed they are from being able to recognize the real needs of people who are served by them, or work for them.

So it's time to heal again. This nurse is healing herself. I'm healing from health care.

And more fall pictures. This year has been so colorful. Maybe it just looks that way against the dull backdrop of my mental state lately, but I know it's real. This is the world I'm returning to.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Shaking It Off

Yesterday was my favorite kind of day, October weather when everything smells earthy, the sky is dark, the wind is howling, tree limbs scratch the siding on the house, leaves are flying off the trees and landing in bright colorful displays on backdrops of green grass and gray concrete.

When I started the day I didn't feel so great, it was a work hangover morning. I woke up at 7:30 am, late for me, and missed the best opportunity to get over to the pool. I decided to put that off until Tuesday. I worked 10 hours Saturday and 8 on Sunday but it was still tiring.

I like the people I work with on the weekends, that always helps. No matter how busy it gets, it seems like we work well together. And of course I always hear the latest news, as if this would be any surprise by now, I found out two more nurses I used to work with are leaving. There must be a reverse polarity magnet around here...

So yesterday morning in my brain fog, I got out for a walk with Iris and then a run in the afternoon, and both times I brought my phone so I could take pictures.

When we started on the walk, my neighbor was on her way to work, she pulled over and put her window down and we talked. Her work hours have been cut and her husband is furloughed from his federal job, and they are struggling.

She asked me how my change at work is going, and I told her I can't tell the difference yet. One more week like that and then I have 2 1/2 weeks away from there, which will give me time to reclaim myself again and get back to my own stuff.

I purposely didn't give myself a lot to do since I knew I could feel like that. I did get some work done and then it was afternoon, so I went out to run for an hour. I wanted to go down by Warren Lake and the neighborhood south of there, so many trees with beautiful colors in the fall. It was perfect timing. I'm glad I did it then since it could snow later this week and the leaves will be gone soon.

At lunch on Sunday I sat outside on the patio and there was a table full of people talking. I sat at another table by myself and listened. It's funny to see how some people stuff their feelings, and you know they're seething inside, but they try so hard to make things look pretty on the outside, even though nobody's life is as smooth and unflawed as they try to make it seem. It was interesting that at one table of five people, some people had every excuse and apology in the book for the same things that other people found completely unacceptable.

I prefer to express myself honestly. I'd rather be true to myself, and keep my sanity and self-respect. Holding things in is too stressful. Stress does all kinds of horrible things to your body and I'm now paying for that. Of course I'm still having to hold some of it in, because I can't name it, but it's coming out in other ways.

For nearly five years I volunteered a huge amount of my energy, effort, and time into some projects, that were very important to me, personally and professionally. I spoke face to face with the people who were making it happen, multiple times, and made no secret of my interest and willingness to lend my knowledge and skills, which were a great fit for the project. I naively expected that I would get the courtesy of a return email or face-to-face conversation when about a year ago I reiterated my interest and offered even more of my time and energy in making one particular project go forward.

You would think you'd be able to get an answer without having to chase people down for months. You would think that you could be in the same room with someone and they could speak to you one-on-one instead of avoiding you and running away at every opportunity.

After putting four or five years of your life into something you'd think you'd get that much. As I said, I guess that was naïve of me to expect that professional courtesy. Anyway, for a while I was devastated and hurt, and then I got angry, and then I realized that I could wait the rest of my life but the decision was out of my hands from the very beginning and I have been used. I was too trusting and then later found out that this is not the first time this chain of events has occurred, and I'm not the first person who has experienced this.

I suppose when you give so much of yourself you are at risk for being taken advantage of by people who think they can just take and take and take, and they certainly did. I still hope that whatever I gave will serve a good purpose for someone, someday.

Another situation came to light today, the stadium deal for CSU is looking worse all the time. Still, you know that those holding the power will push for this, it doesn't matter if it's a bad idea for the people of Fort Collins or for the students at the university.

I wonder when people are going to have enough. I'm not very old, but maybe I am showing my age, that I get outraged by things that seem so unjust and unethical. Maybe I'm just a hopeless idealist. Maybe I'm a dinosaur. Maybe I'm just naïve as hell in thinking that there's some injustice in squeezing the life out of the little guys so the big guys can enrich themselves. Maybe I'm just clinging to a utopian fantasy!

It's sad when politics, favoritism, shortsightedness, insecurity, and incompetence get in the way of things, but that is the way of the corporate world on corporate money-tainted legislation-enabled steroids. Big entities can abuse their power in so many ways these days. It's gotten to the point where people, human beings, are being squeezed to death, there's so much abuse of power, exemplified in the current government shutdown.

Before this post gets too morose, I have to interject this bit of hilarity. I don't have TV and I tend to avoid pop culture, but the uproar over Miley Cyrus and her performance at the VMA barely caught my awareness when it happened. I read the outraged comments of so many people who thought she should have been less or more...whatever. I really didn't care. But then I saw this clip from her performance on Saturday Night Live and I became somewhat of a Miley Cyrus fan. This is about the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.

So I'm slowly and still a little painfully moving on to smaller things. I don't need the reminders of the big power-wielding entities and they are everywhere. But eventually I will be better off following my own path.

I know my own path, as hard as it will be, will ultimately be much more colorful and unique, more satisfying to me. But most of all, I know it will be effective and do what I value most in serving other people as human beings.

As a utopian dinosaur, I still believe that beating people down in the name of powerful interests is morally wrong.

Mother Teresa said, "If we have no peace, it's because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

Friday, October 11, 2013

October in Motion

How did it get to be the middle of October? It's been a blur.

I'm not sure where the time went, but it's gone.

This week I did a couple of one hour pool run/1000m swim/3.5 mile land run workouts, and one day where I ran for an hour and did a little over 6 miles. That's all. That's all I had time for.

I got my business logo finished this week, and had a photo shoot with a professional photographer, in preparation for the website. I've been studying, and working on all sorts of parts and pieces of things having to do with starting things up.

I am just dealing with the fact that running is taking a back seat to some other priorities in my life right now. That's okay, too. I'm happy to be making some progress with the hamstring and I love the swimming. I suppose I'll get back to a steady running routine eventually, hopefully by the end of the year. I want to do some ultras next year.

But right now I don't know where the energy will come from. The work hangover fatigue was back on Thursday with a vengeance. Again. I don't have the reserves for this...not in energy, or patience, or anything.

But it did help me figure out something. I am thoroughly burned out from work, I went in there to work an 8 hour shift on Wednesday which ended up being nearly 10 hours, and I'm working both days this weekend, and next week is about the same, and just two hours into my first shift back I felt like pulling my hair out. I'll just have to figure out how to deal with it and move forward in my new endeavor so I can put this energy-sucking force behind me.

I still think it's sad, because I'm not the only one feeling that way and I know other people aren't in the position I'm in, where they can make an exit strategy as I've been able to. I'm done, I've been done for a while, with pretending things are okay. They're not. I don't pretend well. I can't just put on a fake smile and swing my ponytail and act like everything is good while everyone around me is getting reamed. I mostly feel sad that a job that I used to enjoy so much has become such misery. I wish I could just not care but that's not how I am.

So the way I'm setting up my future business will allow me to keep the enjoyable parts of my job, working with people and actually doing something that will help them to help themselves, but I won't have to spend the majority of my time facing a computer screen and gripping a mouse, clicking my way to insanity. I will be able to work with humans again.

This is my favorite month. I'm trying to get out and see the colors every day. It's not possible to go up to Estes Park the old way since highway 34 is destroyed. And the park is closed anyway due to the government shutdown. But I'm content to see all the colorful trees we have here in Fort Collins.

I am thankful I have the support of Dennis and my family and friends and that I'm able to miraculously generate enough energy to move forward and be quite productive. Even though I've felt horribly depressed at certain times, I'm not functioning like a depressed person. And I got my thyroid labs done the other day and that looks good. Two things I've avoided are the scale and the blood pressure cuff. There are some numbers I'd just rather not know at this point!

Mostly I wish I had more energy, and I wish my brain worked better sometimes, but brain fog and fatigue are two things that are a reality of my life and I've been able to manage both and function at quite a high level for a long time. So this speed bump is just another thing I'll get through.

Relentless forward motion.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Progress...Slow but Sure

It's hard to get back into shape once you've slipped a bit.

I am slowly making progress in consistency and length of workouts. My hamstring seems to be tolerating things well. I ran 2 1/2 hours on Sunday and felt great. I felt like I could keep going forever. Monday I ran in the pool for an hour and followed that with a 1000 meter swim, and later ran on land for about a half hour.

Today I ran for an hour and threw an 8:24 mile in there, to see what the hamstring would do if I picked up the pace beyond my ultra plodding gait. No problem with the hamstring, but that 8:24 was a hard effort! I know it will come back, but it was a killer today!

I'm just working on my own stuff, spending lots of time in the woman cave and with the girls, who are happy to have their mom at home more often. I do have a few shifts scheduled over the next two weeks. I'll be going to Arizona for a few days at the end of the month to visit my dad and stepmom, and work on some marketing ideas. The business website and logo are coming along. I have a photo shoot this week for website pictures and marketing materials. I've got some great supportive friends helping me with that.

Iris is keeping me out of trouble. She minds my daily schedule, she tells me when it's time to take a break and go for a walk or play frisbee.

Isabelle has decided she is my new boss. She sits in the woman cave making sure I do my work, and she stares me down. She's a micromanager, she needs to know everything I'm doing at all times. It's not enough to keep the water bowl full in the woman cave, I have to give her reports every few hours on my progress.

I'm lucky to have two Australian Shepherds, otherwise I'd be lost.

The only excitement I have to report is last week when I filled the hot tub and turned it on. It started to go through the priming process, but then something happened and smoke started coming out from under the side panel. I shut the power off. It smelled like electrical/burnt plastic smoke. I think it's finally dead, it's been trying to die and we kept reviving it. I think we put more money into that hot tub than anything else we've done in the house.

Just more incentive for me to work hard. I'll miss that hot tub.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cleaning Up

I've been gone for a week! I'm spending all my time working, other than a few breaks to go running, run the Buffaloes, and go to the pool. It's an intense time but I'm enjoying it. The hours and days fly by.

Outside my window the sky is dumping a sleet-like rain. Thirty-seven degrees this morning. Yesterday afternoon before the temperature started dropping I pulled most of the remaining peppers, tomatoes, and basil out of the garden.

The leaves on the cottonwoods and the other trees around the house are still green, but won't be for long.

I can feel the toxicity melting away. I feel like I've been a living Superfund site lately. What's amazing is how making a change can turn things around so quickly. I felt like the stress was eating a hole in my gut. I'm hoping the hole is healing, a little Pepcid helped.

It's hard to put so much time, energy, and effort into something and have a huge disappointment and be let down by people you hoped would be more honest and forthcoming. Over the past year I've experienced so many negative feelings of hurt, anger, resentment, fury, disgust, shock, disappointment, disbelief, and a few more...

But I also know that following your own heart is the most important thing. And things do happen for good reason. I'm still in the process of letting go. I can tell that I've been in a deep dark hole for quite some time, because the feeling I have now from making this decision to move on is helping me find my energy and enthusiasm again, and my positive outlook is returning.

I have quite a few very supportive friends who have helped me get through this tough time and are helping me move forward. I am so thankful for the many people in my life who are here for me.