Sunday, March 26, 2017

Elderly Parents - Welcome to Middle Age

A couple weeks ago, my 84 year old father fell in the bathtub.  He was too weak to lift himself up. He lay in the tub for six hours until my mother came home from work.  My mother was not strong enough to lift him so she needed to call 911.  On the up side, he was fully clothed and his blood sugar was not too dangerously low.

I found out about this from texts my brother sent me.  I can't imagine what was going through my dad's head as he lay there for hours.  I'm grateful that this accident had a happy ending. Sadly, it isn't the first accident with my dad. He has fallen, cut and burned himself just living in the old two story colonial my parents live in.

My mom is still working full-time and my dad is retired.  So, they are thinking of renting a one story place close to the city so my dad can live without accidents.  I don't know what their plans are for the house.  I have to say, this is a pretty genius solution and luckily my parents are healthy enough to do their rental search on their own.  Of course, me being me, I have been sending ideas to my mom. Olmsted Place looks nice and it's close to me.  Allendale could be an option if they are looking for a senior community.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Suck it February

February 2017 was not a good month for me.  I found out that I have a couple herniated cervical discs.  I had a MRI because after being rear-ended in November, there was weird nerve and pain stuff happening. Not only do I have a couple herniated discs, it looks like I have degenerative disease in my cervical spine according to my PCP. I was referred to Beth Israel’s Spine Clinic and when I called my mom, I got absolutely no sympathy or support. I was upset about dealing with yet another chronic condition and she told me that that other people are dealing with a lot worse.  I seriously have no idea what I expected but,man, the gap between the parent I need and the parent I have, makes my heart ache.

Totally coincidentally, a week after this diagnosis I came down with something that started with a sore throat and a hacking cough.  Then my entire head filled with mucus and I couldn’t sleep. I was prescribed Augmentin (a cousin of Amoxicillin) and after a couple days, I developed hives. It turns out I have developed an allergy to penicillin in my old age – fabulous! So, I was prescribed Doxycylcine – which I am finishing up today. I am feeling vaguely better. I can breathe out both nostrils and sleep fine now.  The coughing has died down. 3 weeks sick was incredibly depressing and tiring but on the up side, I was able to take a bunch of sick days!

My roomie for my birthday got us tickets to this. We went last week and it was AMAZING! I was smiling and clapping like a lunatic.  I also bought a new mattress with part of my tax refund. It feels amazing compared to my 12 year old Sleepy’s POS.

Work has been pretty good and non-stressful. I haven't worked after 6:00 pm or cried in my office for months. Nu Boss is still a good fit. Someone who I trust and respect plus he has good boundaries. He even has told me that I should not be asked to do certain things so he is taking away a nice chunk of stressful manager-level crap that landed on my shoulders. Baby Analyst is getting along really well with Sparkle Analyst. They are the same age and it is so funny how they crack each other up and take the piss out of each other. It's nice to have this solid group that allows me to take actual sick days.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Group Therapy

Guess what I did last weekend? Me and over 170K of my friends hung out on the Boston Common.  I went with the expectation that maybe I could feel better after carrying this weight in my heart for two months. I definitely felt better afterwards! I had no idea how many people turned out until we tried starting the march - where my section barely moved while we saw far away people marching.  I loved Elizabeth Warren's speech and thought it was a sign that the sun broke through the clouds halfway through. I cried, I laughed, was inspired, and had aching feet/back for hours.

The next day, I signed every petition I could sign, made a list of organizations to donate to, during the week I called various senators regarding issues.  But towards the end of the week, I needed to disconnect from the news because outrage 24/7 is utterly exhausting. You have to admit this has been quite a shitty week for any intelligent moral American.

In addition to the world of politics, I have had to deal with some medical crap. I had a MRI of my neck Tuesday since I've had more spasms, pain, and hand numbness since my November accident. I found out Friday that I have disc disease and degenerative arthritis. I was stunned.  My doctor referred me to a spine clinic.  On the upside, I am not crazy I really do have A Thing.  On the downside, this is something I will need to manage my whole life. That made me incredibly sad because I am already so goddamn tired after two months!  Spine injections sound scary, I've had traction before so that's fine, and medical marijuana sounds right up my alley. My spine clinic appointment is is March. Wish me luck on dealing with another month of pain, spasms, and numbness on my own!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Bipolar Week

My ear infection didn't improve after a week on Amoxicillin but it finally started draining and stopped hurting after I drank this tea:

One of my co-workers who has been suffering through a cold as well, gave me a couple packets.  I call this "Magic Ginger Tea". But practically, I believe that my eustachian tubes were inflamed/blocked and ginger is a natural ant-inflammatory.

I developed a rash at the end of my Amoxicillin dose so I asked my mother if she remembers me getting a rash as a kid. She told me that she thought I am allergic to penicillin. Firstly, complete news to me! Secondly, this is my mom to a T. Keeper of information but not actual caring/application. Fuck...

Eager Beaver Analyst is leaving. He was given an offer he could not refuse from his former employer to woo him back.  I was stunned and sad. Him and I have been working together a lot and I started thinking he could be with us for a long time. He also is really similar to Super Boss with his approach to problem solving and sense of humor.  Damn it, he worked his way into my trust circle and now buh bye... I had a lot of emotions that I handled in my office then I had a good talk with Nu Boss.  He definitely helped and we figured out ways he can provide ongoing help - like finally taking over manager tasks I have been doing for months.

So, I have been frank about my father's "parenting" and the years of therapy I have gone through to try to recover. I have worked through a bunch of stuff but his shitty parenting reared its ugly head this week.  It all started with an empty cardboard box. I thought it was a rule that to dispose of a box, you have to flatten it. I thought this because I was beaten and punished when I did not do that growing up.  Guess what?  The "rule" I believed for forty goddamn years isn't a rule. That shook me to my core because I had absorbed this crazy bullshit rule and rationalized my abuse so completely, I was unaware of it.  I have been able to learn to tell myself that I didn't deserve a lot. My room-mate was a champ listening to me cry and work through this. She also told me some stories from her friends who learned just as effed up lessons from their horrible parents.

I took the SHRM-CP exam the morning of Friday the 13th. I was incredibly nervous and did not feel prepared. I didn't feel like I committed enough effort to studying.  This is how I felt before I sat before the testing computer.  Once I started going through the questions, everything was so familiar and my nerves disappeared.  It took me about 2.5 hours but I PASSED!!! As part of my studying, I took the SHRM Learning System online practice tests over and over. That is the key to my success - having a familiarity with how testing would feel/look.  That comfort level helped me call up all the information I had absorbed.  I was so happy, relieved, and exhausted afterwards. And I had so many people to text!  That is a wonderful feeling - having great people in my corner.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Shitty Month

I'm home sick today with an ear infection.  Yes, I am a forty year old with an ear infection - you read correctly. I am also using this time home to do further studying for my SHRM-CP exam this Saturday. Waves of panic and fear of failure have been a struggle recently.  It seems like every person in my class who took the exam earlier has passed so of course I am dreading that I'll be the one person who fails.

Work has been tough due to a major HRIS transition with no project management and some interpersonal issues with the staffing team.  The staffing team did not like me asking them to correct things themselves and I got two days in a row of "But Super Boss always corrected these."  Yes, he did but it's your job and he has been gone for FOUR MONTHS!  Nu Boss is still very supportive. He and I have major gripe sessions asking incredulously, "I can't believe..." or "Why can't they..." While the other repeats defeatedly, "I know, I know..."

My ear isn't the only health issue I have been dealing with recently.  The pain from being rear-ended last month has come back with muscle spasms and nerve pain. I was able to last watching most of "Rogue One" pain-free but it hit towards the end, I was barely able to move, and in tears after the movie. I'm getting an MRI of my cervical spine.

My room-mate was away visiting her sister during the holidays.  My brother stayed with me for a couple days.  It was nice to have him around to help me with stuff my back pain made difficult for me. The holidays in my family usually go like this - my mom gets all the presents and wraps them killing herself while my father basically checks out reading the newspaper in his chair barely interacting with anyone, never lifting a finger.  My brother and I help cook the holiday dinner.

This year at the big family holiday gathering, it hit me emotionally that I will never have children. So, I got sad and left early.  I always wanted to be a mother and love children.  Seeing cousins who I used to babysit with their own babies was hard.  I'm not part of a special club and never will be. I am usually okay with that but this holiday season, I wasn't.

I hope 2017 will be a less painful, healthier year so I am resupply my coping mechanisms!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Together Everyone Achieves More

I have had four bosses in two years, have seen four analysts come and go from my team.  I have felt so alone, scared, and tired for months. The analyst team now is all staffed up with great folk!

Nu Boss went to my college and even knows some of my old marching band friends! He lived in an off-campus apartment complex that I spent half my college years in.  I could not stop smiling and laughing when we figured this out. So, the nerves and cautiousness of having a new supervisor totally got halved in that moment.  The next day I found out, he grew up half Catholic and half Jewish. We joked about his husband looking for the afikomen for their seder last year. By now, nerves? What nerves? He is really smart, candid, and encouraging.  I am so damn happy!

Cautious Analyst is now Sparkle Analyst because she is a total sweetheart who I love making laugh. She has also seen me cry twice without any judgement. The second time I cried was because I had a report I knew I needed to get out and had planned on staying late to get it done. Then I saw Cautious Analyst emailed me saying she had taken a stab at the report and could I please check her work and she poked her head in. I legit asked her, "Can I please give you a hug?" I opened the report, and she totally nailed it. Cue my tears as I quaveringly mentioned how alone and stressed I have been and I really appreciate the great work she has been doing.

My dad was hospitalized this weekend with congestive heart failure complications. Since I am not a nurse, that sounded very scary.  Of course I was upset and a bit scared (the first time I cried in front of Sparkle Analyst) But I had an awesome talk with my mom Tuesday night who explained CHF isn't a death sentence and my dad was told he had this and he never told us.

I mentioned this situation to Eager Beaver Analyst Thursday when he was in my office going over some deliverables. He said very quietly, "My dad died." I paused looked at him and expressed my condolences. He pivoted to talking about work. A little later in the day, I got an email from him APOLOGIZING for talking about his dad's death, explaining that it just snuck up on him, and I shouldn't worry if he looks glum. I got up and talked to him, told him that I totally understand and he has nothing to apologize about. It's okay that he's struggling that mourning isn't a defined process. I also mentioned that we have a EAP benefit and I have used it.  I have an office with a door if he needs a space to feel. This poor guy - I just wanted to give him a hug.

I made sure to let the staffing director and New Boss how happy I am with this team.  Even Baby Analyst is smiling! I have to say, I never felt more proud than when I heard her training the new analysts. She has internalized so much that she discounts it as learned knowledge. I have been crying when I get home because all this stress, tension, and dealing is melting off my body in waves.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Holidays

Things are a bit more bearable now.  Oh yeah, I am 40!  I had an awesome birthday dinner at Lala Rokh with a bunch of family and friends.  I ate brains for the first time.  It doesn't taste like anything but the texture can be gross if you think about what you're eating.  Afterwards, a smaller group of us went to Escape the Room Boston. The night was non-stop fun and was a perfect way to celebrate. Super Boss and Super Wife were there. Super Wife was drinking water while all of us ordered drink after drink. So, me being me, I asked and yes they are trying for a baby!  Yay!! 

There are two new analysts on the team - a male and a female. I'll call the male Eager Beaver Analyst because he tries SO MUCH and wants to learn, learn, learn. Which is a good thing but a very odd energy after the years of bitterness and exhaustion. The female is very smart, funny, quiet, and focused. I get the vibe that she wants everything she does to be perfect so she doesn't wade in on the work unless she's sure. Cautious Analyst?  I'll come up with something better later.  Both have a very diverse background in HR so it's great to train them because they pick things up quick.

I also got a new boss Monday- Super Boss' position's replacement.  He's nice and has a lot of experience we're going to need.  I creeped on his new hire paperwork so I confirmed that he is gay. His nickname shall be Nu Boss. We had a quick meeting in his office Wednesday where he wanted to figure out how to assign the group to tackle report requests. He turned to me and asked how was it done before.  I looked around the packed office and made a wry face asking Baby Analyst, "Do you want to say it? Or me?" She said, "We have never had this many analysts."  Ha!

Joe Biden memes and this helps with the election fall out:
My roommate has been away the past week visiting family.  Last weekend I was rear-ended in West Roxbury when I was at a stoplight. My car seems fine but my neck and back aren't doing so well. I was a pissy bitch to the woman who hit me telling her that I wasn't okay and that she needs to pay attention when she's driving.  A doctor has put me on muscle relaxants.  If the nerve problems and pain don't get better, I'll need an MRI.