Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Goodbye Post

So much has happened. A brain tumor resulting a lost job and a lot of turmoil. Financial ruin. 3 crashed computers. And we almost lost it all.

So what happened to me? Why did I disappear?
Well, after the 3rd crash, I could not get a new system due to financial resources. I applied for every job I could and got the same response." Why should we hire you? You got fired from the only RT job you have had?" Because my employer broke labor laws by kicking me while I was down and terminated me while on FMLA for a brain tumor? Nope, not good enough.
I was just about to give up. As a matter of fact, I had started to call temp agencies and see if they had any clerical positions available in the area. Anything for money. We were on the brink of losing everything. Then I just made a call to a hospital I knew about from living in Greater Cincinnati. I asked if they were hiring and they said yes, that they desperately needed therapists. I didn't even fill out an application or send a resume. I did those things after my interview. A week later, I was not only employed, but employed at a better facility with a more challenging environment.
Now? I love my job. I have just completed the six weeks of departmental orientation they make clinical personnel complete to ensure I know what I am doing. Professional respect is automatic because of the credentials I carry. It is a difference like night and day.
I just purchased a new computer and a new SUV. A Dell with enough memory that I do not need to worry about crashes, and a Ford Explorer, respectively.
What is going on with my husband? Well that is a long story. He never did hear the results of the waiver for reenlistment into the Army. The recruiter dropped the ball, and when John, after months of no results, finally went over his head, the recruiter got upset and stopped working on it for him.
Evan? Well, the kid just started 1st grade. He is doing wonderfully with the academic nature of the work. He had outgrown crayon drawings and baby books a long time ago. Each paper he brings home, from math to English, to spelling, are all perfect. He is still my pride and joy, my soft spot, my biggest downfall, and the source of those white hairs that keep popping up on my head.

And we are moving. From the time John and I left Cincinnati, in 2000, I have wanted to go back. It's home. It will always be home. We've lived in Southern Kentucky, and we have lived in Southeastern, Indiana. I have given each of those places my all. But they are not where I belong. And John and Evan...well, they belong with me. For the first time in a long time, I am at a place where I have the ability to go back home. I was afraid to try it before. John and I know that city life can be cruel. If something were to happen and we were to need help, there is no place to turn. But we have been battered and bruised by the other places we have been, also. And we made it through. Together, without anyone else. So we are going to go back to Cincinnati, together. This time around I have an awesome job, and things will be different. I want to see the city lights reflecting in my son's eyes. I want him to grow up with museums, zoos, libraries at his fingertips, and cultural diversity all around him. I want the place that has been a part of me all of my life to become a part of who he is also.

So why is this goodbye? When I started Constant Upheaval, it was my way to cope with the idea of my husband going back to the military after being married all of these years. This was my way to vent and speak about what was going on in my life without my words, views, and emotions influencing the decisions John had to make for himself. I no longer need that outlet. Is the military out of our life for good? Never. First of all, the Marine in John is as much a part of him as Cincinnati is of me. I can do away with that no more than the fact that he is a little older than me or that he has brown eyes. And I am so proud of him. Of all of the work he put into reenlistment. I have never seen him work so hard since the first time I laid eyes on him 8 years ago. And I have new respect for his status as a veteran. My husband served his country, and served her very well.
I also have more respect for the military families out there. I can honestly say that through the involvement with various support websites, I got a glimpse into the life of a wife of a service member. I just did so with my husband by my side. I will never do these women the disservice of saying that I know what it is like to wonder if your loved one is even alive while thousands of miles away in a war zone. I didn't live through that. That experience is their way of serving their country. But I did worry about John's future safety, knowing he was making a career choice that could result in his death. These men and women of our Armed Forces will forever be in my hearts. They have truly been the most amazing people I have met.
There may come a day when I am a service member myself. Before John said the words, "Andi, I want back in. I want to do my part in this war.", I was toying with the idea of a commission in the Navy to be a physician. There are some very impressive programs out there that are hard to pass up. But I also have opportunities to do that as a civilian. So when John told me what his goal was, I gladly stepped away from that so he could go after what he wanted. Now, I have the ability to do it again, and I just might. This would be off in the distance. I have to get myself in shape, take my MCAT and finish my biochemistry degree first. Would I want to do it? Yes, now more than ever. I have met the families of our military, and I can think of nothing more noble than taking care of these men and women.

I never did know if I had any readers here on Constant Upheaval. Whne the new computer was set up in the house, I was eager to get back to blogging, but it had been so long that I had forgotten my email and password I used to set up the account. On the old computers, it was set to automatically sign me in when I told it to. I thought my blog was lost forever, and so I started a new blog. Then I remembered the password, but the new blog was already in the works. Which one should I keep and which one should I close? I had a dilemma. But then I thought about it. Constant Upheaval is set up as a milblog. It just did not seem appropriate to continue now that John is not reenlisting. Plus, with the changes in my life, it seemed more fitting to start anew. If, and I mean a big IF, I have any readers or followers, the new blog is called Bending and Not Breaking, and I hope to see you there.
Otherwise... Goodbye, Friend.

I Love My Husband No. 2

Never, not once, has he left or entered the house without giving me a kiss and telling me he loves me. Never! This is so much of a habit that it has rubbed off on Evan and Evan does the same thing. There is nothing like starting your day like that.

Warning: Rant!

I do not like this man. I cannot put my finger on it, and in our day of prejudices and stereotypes, I have been very careful to make sure it is not for an impure reason. I am all for a minority to be in the White House. I think our country may need it. We have to move forward and grow, and the next step is someone other than a white male moving into the White House. Yay for progress and diversity!

But this man? He is too slick, too polished. He gives rousing and heartfelt speeches and has the ability to say all of the things the American people are wanting to hear. But where is the evidence backing of all of these la-ti-da plans for change? Who is going to pay for all of the programs he is wanting to institute? Middle class people. Me! I am going to pay for it.

Well here is what I have to say about it: People, if you cannot get health insurance, go out and find a job that provides it to you. If your skiils/ education level do not allow this, then change them. It sucks out there, and I had to do what my family needed me to do. We were poor. We had no way to move up. I sucked it up and took 24 credit hours per semester while helping my husband through school, raising a kid and running a household in order to get a job and credentials that would ensure my ability to have the things I need, and to provide my son and husband with the things they need.

We live in the United States. There are so many programs and resources to pay for vocational training or higher education that you can literally get paid to go to school. So suck it up and do it. If for some reason, you are disabled and cannot work or obtain the education to better yourself, than taxpayers like me will be glad to continue to foot the bill for your medical needs to be met. We have been for years. If for some reason you lost your job, as I did recently, we will continue to provide you with federal programs to get food. But to completely reform the government to provide handouts is unnecessary. I say give people a hand up and the tools they need to provide for themselves down the road. We do not need to create more sponges.

And medicine? Yep, we medical people are sheer evil. We want nothing more than to take your money. We will let you die if you don't have the coverage. No, WRONG! I am on the code team at work. I make decisions in the blink of an eye how I am going to help a patient in crisis. The patient is not wearing a gown with "Uninsured" stenciled across the chest. And honestly the only time I have ever looked at a patient's insurance information is to provide them with the best care. For example, the patient has insurance x and needs a test, and insurance x requires a specific diagnosis or criteria to pay for the test, and the patient does not meet the requirements...the test is thousands of dollars. What would you do? Well patients have the right to refuse or accept any procedure. So you let the patient know "Hey, you need this test for x reason, but your insurance will not cover it. Do you still want the test?" It is a courtesy, not a refusal to treat. Other than that, I do not give two shits about my patient's insurance information.

So are we now gonna talk about the costs of healthcare? Pharmaceuticals take a fortune to develop. So, yes, they are expensive. Healthcare professionals themselves are expensive. Look at me, for example. I had to attend college, to the tune of thousands of dollars. I had to take credentialing exams to the tune of thousands of dollars. I have to obtain licensure in every state in which I touch a patient. That is expensive. I have to attend classes and maintain competencies in my field each year. That is not only expensive, but time consuming. So while I would love to do my job for free, I have a family to support, and it takes time and effort to maintain my legal ability to do my job. So I do not come at minimum wage. They have to pay me to compensate for that. Now consider that my hospital employs over 50,000 people, most of which have some sort of credential associated with their name. Do that math. Then consider the equipment they need to allow us to do our jobs. The stethoscope I use to listen to your breath sounds was $300. The ventilator I run costs more than most houses. And we run several of them at a time, so do that math. Then think of all of the little things we use, and all of the disposable equipment we have to use in the name of sanitation. And the upkeep on the high ticket items. And this is just my department of the hospital. So I guess my point is that healthcare is expensive. There is no way to avoid that. We cannot just go revamping the healthcare system in an effort to change that. It will not work unless we all want to live in poverty to absorb the cost of a publicly-run healthcare system. Because someone is going to have to pay for it. And besides, do you really want a disgruntled governement employee to determine if your child gets the surgery he or she needs? I don't.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Am Not the Maid...

But I sure feel like one right about now. There is laundry in one enormous pile in the kitchen. There are dishes piled in the sink. There is general filth spread all over the house, and how sad is it that I can only motivate myself to focus only on the areas which are highly visible?

Why is there a collection of shoes by the front door? Do we not all have closets in this house? Why is the laundry I have had done for days still stacked/ hung in the laundry room?

What did my husband do all weekend while I was working my arse off?

I swear John is gonna get it when he gets home!

Riverfest is Coming!

WTF is Riverfest? Well every year, Cincinnatians like myself celebrate Labor Day weekend in style. And others show up from elsewhere also. But it is a Cincinnati thing, and it happens every year.

Well the thing is, this is almost surreal for me this year. We have survived hell. Poverty. A brain tumor. The last year I was there for the WEBN Fireworks was the year before Evan was born. Well, Evan was born at 12:05 AM as the calender switched from August 31st to September 1st 7 years ago. This year his birthday just happens to coincide with the fireworks, and we are going. On the 4th of July this summer, Evan was heartbroken because we did not have the money to purchase fireworks, as we were still trying to recover from the financial aftermath of the brain tumor. He watched the neighbors letting theirs off in the distance, and it broke my heart. John and I told him to wait until his birthday, that he would then see the most phenomenal fireworks display and party I have ever seen. That all of the other kids will be at boring family picnics while he is there. And on his Birthday of all days.

But the firworks also coincide with my homecoming. What better way to celebrate my return to my hometown? I am so ready!

In the meantime, here is last year's celebration.

Who Says You Can't Go Home?

Ahhhh. Home.

For the past two months, I have been driving 75 miles one way to work. It was never really a big deal when I was doing the day shift portion of my department orientation at my new job. And when I switched to nights at first, it wasn't either. But here is the thing about me and night shift: I work 12 hours. I am on my feet for those entire 12 hours. I get a lunch break, but if my phone rings for one of my patients, I am not guarunteed a break. So at the end of my work day, when the rest of the world is waking up, I am exhausted. If you add the fact that I cannot sleep more than a couple hours a day, it leads to a dangerous situation.

Well, yesterday morning, the inevitable, but feared, happened. I was exhausted and having a hard time keeping myself away for the hour and twenty minute drive home. At about the midpoint of my trip, there is this interchange between two different interstates that is really sharp and requires you to slow down substantially. I remember slowing down. But that must have been where I nodded off, because the next thing I know, my SUV is off the road and heading toward a cement wall. I am fortunate that no one was hurt, that my vehicle is unscathed. But it scared the living daylights out of me.

I managed to get home, and as soon as I walked in the door and saw John, I broke down in tears, telling him I fell asleep while driving home. And we realized that while we have been toying around with the idea of moving closer to work because of my $500+ a month gas bill, there are actually even better reasons to relocate, and it now becomes a necessity.

So....We have been looking at properties in that area, and we think we may have found one. Not only will it save me the expense of driving so far, but it is cheaper than our current living arrangement. So while off work this week, my goal is to start packing. I'm finally, after years of wanting to, going back home.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Grrrrrr. Michigan Fans.

It has already started. A friend on a Corpsman.com managed to go and change the OSU stuff on my profile to Michigan stuff. I hate Michigan with every bone in my body, in ways only someone from Ohio can fathom. Last year there was a bet between us on who would win. I won, and the payout was interesting. We''ll see what this football season has in store. I don't think my heart can take another wasted trip to the BCS championship . The past 2 years about broke my heart and my wrecked my pride. But anyhow, it's that time again, kiddies. All Buckeyes love this time of year. It's in our DNA.

Ahhhhhh, Monday!

Yep, that's what I indeed said! John is at work, Evan is at school, and the only sound in this house is the hum of the a/c and the occasional clack of the keyboard. I walked past the pool to take Evan to the bus stop this morning, and the glass-like surface of the still water in the pool seemed to beckon to me. I'll get that part of my day squeezed in shortly. For right now, I am dreading it. I thunked myself down in front of the computer, and my house is freezing. Even my big, comfy, worn OSU hoody (which as seen me through several football seasons thus far) is not cutting through the chill in the air. Must...turn down...a/c. My house feels like an ice cave at the moment.

Ok--Turned off the a/c. I now am wrapped in a blanket as well.

So what is there to talk about? Well, the neighborhood parents piss me off to no avail. My son is going to be 7 in about 2 weeks. He is old enough that I no longer have to hover over him like a toddler. But he is still young enough that I would not dream of allowing him outside without supervision. This is the case for playtime, or any other time for that matter. I wake up and after helping him get ready for school, we walk to the bus stop together. He is supervised, and lately, this is the only time I am alone with him. He is not to the stage where he is embarrassed by his parents yet, so he puts is small, warm hand in mine and we walk together. Of course we are the first ones to the bus stop, and I get to listen to him talk about whatever pops into his head. It is not always convenient. Lately, around here, mornings are starting to have a sort of crispness about them. But I could not dream of not doing this with him.

Well, this morning, Evan and I are waiting for the bus, and we start to see other kids wandering toward the bus stop. This is what gets me: very small children, younger than my son, walking to the bus stop alone. We live in a U-shaped complex, so the bus stops at the entrance to the complex, and we are expected to meet it there. It can be quite a walk, unless you live right by the entrance. So wtf? There is no way these parents can see their children from their homes. Do they not care?

So of course, one of the kids decides to misbehave. He takes his mud-coated shoe and stomps on Evan's immacualtely white Jordans. I wanted to yell. Badly. Those shoes were pretty expensive as far as kids' shoes go. And I work hard to be able to give my son nice things. I bit my tongue, but was secretly cursing the parents of this little boy for not supervising their child. (And also for bringing the little monster into the world.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Love my Husband No. 1

I love my husband because all I have to say is that "I am craving chocolate." and he brings me ice cream covered in chocolate sauce. When I try to protest, explaining about my diet and training, he tells me it is okay, that just this once, I can splurge.


First of all, I am typing this as I sit with my left shoulder on ice. Force gloves are wonderful....when you are in shape, that is. I, well---I am not in shape. So My shoulder feels like it is trying to detach itself from my body at the moment, and I am still sitting here typing this. How's that for dedication?
I am also multi-tasking like only a mother can. In other words, there is a load of laundry going in the washer, and in the dryer. I have meat for dinner defrosting, sauce cooking. Nah, I don't deserve a cookie for this. In all honesty, I would be loafing if my child were not screaming that he is going to starve to death. I assure you he is not. He still has that toddler Buddha belly at the age of almost-7. It is more than likely that his "I'm starving!" is more like the equivalent of "I am no longer full from lunch." How do you explain the difference to a little boy? And so I am cooking.
My child is also the source of a big ol' gross-out today. I am sorting through laundry, when I stumble across denim with a glop of brown muck on it. I didn't delve into the pile to see whose jeans they were, but instead yelled for John. I made him smell the mystery substance and from the look on his face, deduced that it was indeed dog poop. But here is the enigma. It was in the middle of the back of the leg. Not by the ankle or the hem. By the knee. And they were my beloved child's jeans. WTF? How did he do that? So the imagery pops into my head of what he would have had to have done to get that there. My original theory I had as a little girl in kindergarten was bang-on, it seems. Boys ARE yucky!

I Cried

He did it. John and I were sitting together, watching the 4 x 100 Medley Relay last night. Well, actually, John was sitting. I was somewhere in between a sit, a kneel, and a stand, screaming "Pull! Pull! Pull!" at the television as if they could hear me. Somewhere in the middle of the last 50, I got a little teary-eyed as I saw Lezak moving in on the wall, knowing that they were doing it. Michael Phelps has been my hero for a long time. I suspect that he has become a household name associated with greatness now. It is my hope that his performance will help elevate swimming to the level of other forms of athletic competition. It is not easy. Let me rephrase that: If it seems easy, you're doing it wrong. If your arms do not feel like Jell-O when you get out of the water, then you did not leave it all in the pool.

So last night, I watched. And cheered. And Screamed. And yes, I cried. And I was proud that this young guy who was the first to motivate me back into the pool after many years was the one who gave the performance that will go down in history. I'm proud that he is a swimmer-- not a runner or some volleyball player. And I knew I was witnessing history. After all of the clips they showed of Mark Spitz in a time when I had yet to be born, I knew that when they show these clips of Phelps as the years pass, I can say I was watching.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Car

This is what I bought. And it took a small fortune to fill the tank, so I am regretting my decision. I love the way it rides though. I am just used to very small cars. So there is a funny story to go along with this. The day after I bought the SUV, I went to fill up. Well I wasn't sure which side the gas tank was on, so I stopped and looked. Okay, passenger side. No biggie. So I head to the gas station. And it is packed. There is one space empty, so I maneuver the enormous thing around, and start to pull in. But I cannot see where I am in relation to the pump. I started to back up and reposition the car, but then though "What the hell, I am going to take out a gas pump." So I just left. John wasn't home, so I begged my neighbor, Jon, to go and get some gas in my car. Yes, I am a dork.


This is the man. John and I have been watching the Olympics since they started, and being a swimmer, is it any wonder what my favorite event category is? But Michael Phelps! Whew. The guy was my hero long before the Olympics started, and I am sure that he has gained some new followers with his performance in Beijing. I am in no manner comparing myself to him, but watching reminded me of what I was once capable of in the water. I have found myself wanting to step it up in the pool recently and have been swimming as much as 70 laps a day. Not much, but considering I haven't really swam competitively since high school, I think it is a great start. I need to work out the upper body though. I have found that my stroke is not as powerful as it once was, so I went and bought some force gloves, and we will see what that does. The kick is still good. I cannot wait to try them out in the morning.

A New Start

So I had this blog and all was right with the world. I found I was able to keep up with it, that I actually enjoyed updating it several times per week. But then my life went all topsy-turvy on me. My husband had decided he wanted to reenlist in the military, and my son and I went through a long process of wondering when the other shoe would drop. Thanks to awful recruiters, that never happened, although he did get pretty close.

So what happened to make me abandon the blog? Well, I was told something horrendous, and while it sounds laughable, it is entirely true. I was told there was a tumor in my brain. I lost my job in the process and my family hit rock-bottom. The hard drive died in yet another computer (A series of 3 to be precise), and when you are struggling to meet the simplest of needs, that is simply not a priority.

Here we are, just 4 months later, and my family is on its way back up. Obviously, the computer has been replaced. My husband is staying by my side, my son continues to thrive. I have replaced the crappy employer with another that is actually vastly more desirable. I even bought a new car. So it just seems appropriate that I should start a new blog. A link to the old blog, Constant Upheaval, is to the left. But anyhow, here I go again. I can't stand the newness of this one just yet. It is one of my many neuroses. So I am expecting to come up with several posts to let you know who I am, and also to get some posts under my belt. I mean, face it, just one is pathetic, right?