Scatter my ashes here...

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

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.

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