I would rather unpack any day. When packing up things for moving, there is also discarding items no longer needed, giving away other items one no longer needs, but are still of good use, and cleaning up the now empty areas along the way.
I retrieved two boxes from my local Harris Teeter and I’ll get a few more from them this week. My old co-worker has three boxes for me as well. I’ll be meeting her sometime later this week to get those from her. And into the weekend, I’ll do more packing, throwing away stuff, and cleaning.
The weekend of October 22nd will be here before you know it. I have to reserve the movers, go and pay the pet deposit and pro-rated rent amount, and pack, pack, pack. Ugh. I’ll be glad when this is over and done. I am already exhausted.
Moving is not for the faint of heart or the unmotivated!
the work comes — it goes every call is torture to the bones. we communicate with vigor, yet with ease. patients want to know listeners can schedule their appointments and offer empathy too.
a doctor’s office landed in my teammate’s queue — their issue crept in without cause. a 3-month-old showing symptoms of a virus meant for adults and the elders in the early stages, but really did they know who it would attack and who it would leave alone?
when we start scanning babies with machinery doling out radiation because their lungs are about to collapse, the world is truly at its end. I shout at the screen housing messaging tools and the software we need to scan through thousands of accounts.
it doesn’t shout back.
I can tell my days are beginning to blend — Monday is Friday. Tuesday is Thursday. I don’t know what weekends are anymore. and the lovers of this world continue on, sampling pain in little festive bags — afraid to share their happiness.
who will appreciate it?
“I am spent,” I say this to my mom as she breathes on the receiving end of the call. she’s breathing . . . breathing. how often have we taken this for granted? breathing . . . she hears me — pauses for effect. she tells me she is afraid to go outside and I understand.
I spend many of my days arguing with God — telling him how I really feel. he knows. I know he knows. but, I tell him anyway. I want to wade through waters less choppy and with each passing moment, the hardness comes and my face has bruises I no longer hide.
Working from home isn’t supposed to be painful, too. Is it?
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.
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
He calls her up, one more time for a memorable event Blessing her with extras like they do Jake cuz she’s got great rates Put the money where it hides tips her more than she desires
She doesn’t even count it anymore lets it pile up like before She’ll have enough for a new car new house . . . new life No more sticks No more stones and absolutely no more broken bones
He woos her with his lisp showers her with special gifts She pawns them at “The County Dime” They pay her for her time She leaves him empty-handed Ole boy is whipped and stranded She doesn’t even look back
Girl’s got moves to make hijacks his heart and that’s the breaks No one comes to his aid this is what happens when everything you want isn’t stamped “paid” He searches for an exit
None can be found None is at the ready She keeps things nice and steady Prepares herself for a new leaf changes colors . . . changes beliefs But still remains the same