Not Okay

The indomitable Sarah Doughty, beautiful people. Truth is spoken here–such truth.

Sarah Doughty

“Here’s the thing:
Nothing about this is okay.
You are not okay.”

Here’s the thing you don’t seem to understand. You aren’t funny. Intolerance, bigotry, and misogyny is no laughing matter. It is not okay to turn someone’s fears into a joke. It is not okay to mock someone. It is not okay taunt a victim. To make excuses for what happened to them. To make light of what they needed to do to survive.

Have you not noticed the trail of burned bridges you’ve left behind you? Have you not noticed the people you have offended? How about the fact that they are women, or men that appreciate women for who they are? Their strength. Their resilience.

No. It is not okay. You are not okay. Get some fucking perspective and some humility while you’re at it.

© Sarah Doughty

Try to learn to be better.
For the sake…

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Brought Back to Life (Revised)

Microfiction

Photo by Rahul Pandit via Pexels

Sold into flames, fiery pits sing of the determination of willful souls who know only the battles of their homeland.

Dead then alive, then dead again, human resurrection; phoenixes rising up, resisting the shackles weighing them down. We move to get away from ourselves. We seek peace in other lands — eager to take over other worlds. Will our legs carry us to places unknown?
 
Temptation comes in two forms; young or old. We crave them both. Is this life’s crown? Are we waiting to be brought back to life while we struggle to live? 
 
Are we?


Revised version originally published in soliloque via Medium.

Introducing “soliloque” via Medium

A space for my thoughts

soliloque logo/cover, created with Canva. ©2021 Tremaine L. Loadholt

soliloque came to me in a dream — it will be a space for my thoughts; both personal and private. After closing A Cornered Gurl to future submissions, I realized, I too . . . had outgrown the space I created in January of 2017. I dreamed of another — one that would speak to my growth over the years and would also be a space with more vulnerable writing — raw details; whether it be fiction, nonfiction, or through verse.

I am a person who speaks to herself often. I have brief conversations when trying to figure out something or if my creative side kicks in strongly, trust that many brief monologues can be heard if anyone is within earshot. soliloque is a space for me to speak my thoughts aloud — to all of you.

Welcome.

Are you listening? Can you hear me?


soliloque is my new publication on Medium. This space will be more of a therapeutic one for me. If you are a user on Medium, I hope to see you there. Peace and blessings.

I’m a Bit on Edge, but She Doesn’t Care

Working from home isn’t supposed to be painful, too. Is it?

Jernee Timid, my little monster. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Jernee Timid, my little monster. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

For those of you who have followed me through some recent transitions, you know I changed positions last November. I shifted from working in an imaging facility to schedule patients for their imaging services and invasive procedures instead. The change came with a “Get Out of Hell Free Card” and I happily jumped at the opportunity to be safe at home while still working for an organization that has consumed my life for over three years.

At my previous job, I began as a Patient Access Specialist, assisting patients during their check-in process and showing them to various departments within our facility. My job also included accepting their payments and explaining their estimate printout to them for their services.

And then, there was COVID-19 . . .

And our world changed. We had to prepare ourselves for what was quickly shaping up to be a royal pain in the ass. Our facility needed screeners for Coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms. And since I was my team’s Patient Experience Innovator, I felt obligated to volunteer for this task.

We started off with four screeners. Soon after dealing with a few irate patients and the possibility of contracting the virus, we dwindled down to two. Because of the influx of patients we began seeing for chest X-rays and chest CT scans, it was obvious we needed all Patient Access Specialists at the front desk to assist with the check-in process, but a screener had to remain. That screener was me.

The job . . . was a mind-numbing, heart-crushing, soul-deadening position, but it had to be done. And I am glad my time doing that — screening people in the depths of a deadly virus for the actual symptoms of that virus, is over. But the pain of it all has followed me to the safety of my home.

Although I have no physical contact with any of the patients with who I communicate, I am still there with them. I feel their pain. I try to understand their concerns and their worries. With the Delta variant of this virus scooping up the lives of many, answering the phone to schedule patients for hundreds of imaging scans and invasive procedures is becoming a full-feature film, completely immersed in the lives of others.

Many of the conversations I have with patients now include the following phrases or some variation of them: “I’m sorry, but I have to cancel my appointment. I’ve got COVID,” “Hey! I have to reschedule to a later date. My husband tested positive for the virus,” “I can’t make my appointment. My child’s school sent them home,” or “I’m sorry . . . I’m going to have to bury my mother soon, and I can’t think about anything else right now. I need to cancel.”

And this is my daily interaction — speaking with the sufferers or suffering and my heart is about to explode!

I am often told by my patients who I schedule I make their scheduling experience easier — lighter. I’m easy to talk to and efficient and thorough. My supervisors commend me as their voicemails pile up from little snippets of recorded calls from these interactions. This is all fine and well, but . . . I thought I would feel differently at home.

I don’t.


Keeping watch: Jernee Timid Loadholt. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

These are the times in which I am glad I am not completely alone. Many of you know of how I have spoken about and still speak about the healing powers of my little Chorkie, Jernee. She has truly been a godsend. I can feel myself cracking — breaking away slightly, but I can take one look at this being in between calls, and something in me settles, sits back, and realigns itself.

The tears stop flowing. The pain slowly subsides. Life feels fresher — freer again, if only momentarily. Those few moments are necessary throughout my workdays.

What do you say to someone who is going to bury their mother amid a raging virus? How do you comfort a worried parent who has to take time off work to quarantine with and care for her child? How do you comfort a wife who will now be her husband’s caretaker as he wades himself through the various symptoms his immunocompromised body will endure? What do you tell a mother/grandmother whose adult daughter had to be rushed by an ambulance because she couldn’t breathe on her own?

Hundreds of scenarios pass by my ears. Hundreds of people hurting, worried, scared, and counting down the days before death slips them a calling card. All of this . . . and then, Jernee. And then, Jernee. And then, Jernee . . . again and again.

And I have to tell you, I am a bit on edge. She must know this. She sees this. And she doesn’t care. The only thing she knows to do is approach me with love.

And right now, during these dog days of living, I need that love — her love. Right now, I am grateful it exists. She’s not judging me for breaking down. She’s not telling me to be stronger. She is simply being here for me.

Working from home isn’t sheltering me from any pain. It only keeps me safe. And really, is that enough?

I hear of stories from my team members who are still at the facilities, still trying to make caring for patients work and people have gotten beyond rude. I am told patients hurl objects at the Patient Access Specialists or screeners who ask them the COVID-19 screening questions. It gets worse when someone questions if they’re going to follow up with their second dose of the vaccine (really, if you knew how many people actually only received one dose and are simply avoiding the second dose, you’d raise an eyebrow, maybe two).

Is this living? Are we living? When did it ever become acceptable for healthcare workers to be abused based on someone’s fucked up sense of “freedoms” and “rights”? I seriously want to know. Do any of you have the answers?

I sit at home, stare off into space in between calls or I say a prayer or two or three, and I look to Jernee to get me through each day. As time plows on, I hope this is enough.

I hope it is. I really hope it is.


Musical Selection: Michael Jackson, The Lady in my Life

Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium.

Death during a pandemic

NaPoWriMo #24

Today was supposed to be my day off, however, I was called by one of my coworkers to come in and relieve our other coworker whose grandmother suddenly died–found in the home dead. Of course, no one should expect her to work through the day with this type of weight on her shoulders, but from what I am told, my supervisor expected it. I asked the coworker who called me to please give me time to wash my scrubs, get up and get going, walk Jernee, and get both of us fed, and I would be there. *sighs*

The last thing I’d want anyone to do during an already stressful time is to attempt to work in a stressful environment with death during a pandemic hanging over their heads. Count your blessings, people. Pray for others. Help whenever and however you can. Small things turn into big things, trust me. Peace.