One Side Effect of the Graveyard Shift

January 31, 2010 at 3:26 am (Healthcare, Job Satisfaction) (, )

Those of you who are my friends on Facebook have seen many status updates about my high blood pressure and have expressed your concern.  I have been concerned as well!  Let me say first that I do have an appointment to see a doctor this coming Tuesday. 

I feel that my high bp is related to my working midnights.  My normal bp is usually something like 112/74.  I began to be concerned a few weeks ago when I couldn’t sleep because my heart was racing while I was trying to sleep after a midnight.  After laying in bed for 2 hours I reached over for my phone and took my pulse.  It was 128 and my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest!  I started recording my bp before and after a midnight.  It was always around 130/85 after the midnight and I’ve noticed more recently that it has been a little more elevated than usual even on my non-midnight days.

A couple of weeks ago I went to get a refill on my contraceptives.  The appointment happened to be just after getting off a midnight.  The nurse took my bp 3 times.  It was something crazy like 180/88.  I just happened to have my log with me and showed her that it is always elevated after I work a midnight (though not that high).  She was going to withhold my prescription but because of the log she consulted the Dr. and she gave me a one month prescription for the medication I had one month previous with the understanding I would see a GP.  I had to switch my medication earlier to something I could get cheaper at Wal-Mart since my insurance doesn’t cover it (dang you health insurance!).

Since that insanely high bp I have been much more concerned, even afraid to get my heart rate up.  I have been concerned for years about my heart fluttering and now I have no idea what my heart is going to do.  To top it off I went to the Mayo website to look at possible issues with high bp and found things like heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and problems with memory and understanding.  And once a bp reaches 180/120 for your brain to swell, tearing in heart’s main artery, and fluid in lungs.

The last time I took my bp after a midnight it was 168/99.

I have a crazy schedule again this week, for the third week in a row.  I start a midnight Sunday, 10p-9am.  I can sleep for a few hours before I have to get up, shower, and study for my exam for class at 6pm.  I go straight to work, 9pm-9am.  I have a Dr appointment at 10:45am.  I’ll be able to sleep a little longer if I don’t want to see Josh for the second day in a row before I go to work 9pm-9am.  I get to sleep a little over 2 hrs before I have to go back to work for a mandatory meeting at 1pm.  Needless to say, my bp will be high for the appointment.

Some people can handle working midnights better than me, but most people who have done it for years say they have never gotten used to it.  It stinks!  And if you are an employer I strongly advise you to offer your midnight workers a shift differential because of the inconvenience and added health risks associated to working midnights.  I am gobsmacked that an agency such as ours does not offer a differential.


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get on with it

January 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

I’m at work right now. All the girls are sleeping. It is so peaceful in the house. I turned of the TV and started on some geometry.

Last week was rough. The midnights really mess with my brain. I felt lower than I have in a long time.

My schedule changed twice. Both times taking away a day off. I am still only working 40 hours, but they are spread out over more days. Even though some of the days are pretty short, I prefer to have an entire day off without thinking of work. I need the time to recover. So now over the course of 5 weeks I will have a total of 4 days off. It’s hard for me to work like that. I would almost rather be working overtime because then at least I would get paid more for the effort.

Last week I was determined to find something positive about each day when I felt down about work. On Saturday when we were on our way to get ice cream with Stevie I started focusing on how my 2 days off were coming to an end and I had 4 midnights in a row coming up. Then I pulled myself back and focused on the joy of the moment. It was good. It worked.

It was not so easy this week.

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Good Weekend

January 19, 2010 at 1:06 am (Fun Photos, Time Off Together) (, , )

It is so rare that Josh and I can have a day off together, let alone a weekend!

It has been so long since we have gotten to go out to eat together.  Dining out is something that I really enjoy, but we have never really had the budget to do it often.  As the budget is especially tight now it is really not even an option.  It is so hard to pass up an impromptu stop to pick up a sandwich for lunch or pizza for dinner.

So when we got gift cards from Josh’s staff we were really thrilled.  Josh loves seafood.  I don’t.  When I actually had more time I would try to make salmon for him once in a while.  When we go out to eat he likes to order it since he doesn’t get it much at home.  So he really likes Red Lobster for some affordable, half-way decent tasting seafood.  Fortunately for me they have exactly one non-seafood dish.  And even more fortunately, I really like it!  And they have great biscuits (and an amazing margarita, but we were there for lunch and didn’t really want to spend extra).  So we really enjoyed using his Red Lobster gift card on Saturday.  And the bill (not including tip) came out to just pennies away from the gift card amount.

I had a free drink from Starbucks leftover from my birthday, so I enjoyed a Venti no whip raspberry mocha.  MMM!!

We went to lighthouse place and used a Master Card gift card we received from a friend to purchase clothing items we have had on our list for a while at Lighthouse Place.  It was painful to pass up so many awesome deals right now!  I have never really been a Gap girl, but if you need some things head over to the outlet.  Josh got jeans for $8 (he never finds jeans he likes!) and I got a hoodie to wear on my midnights for $5.  We still have money left on the gift card!  We might have to stick with using it for necessities rather than splurges.

Saturdays are usually Josh and Stevie’s ‘bro time’ but I wanted to hang out with them this time, too.  We took Stevie out to get ice cream when he got back from work and we enjoyed playing his Wii together and having popcorn.

Sunday we thought it was such a nice day.  The sun was actually shining and the temps rose to just above freezing!  So we drove up to the beach for a romantic walk on the snow.  🙂  Sadly there was a heavy fog on the shore so it was not as scenic and quit a bit cooler, but it was still enjoyable.  There were actually a few other couples there with the same idea!

It was really hard to capture the shelf ice with my camera phone.  It looks deceptively safe, but there was about 50 feet of shelf ice.  Usually in the winter the water pushes the ice against the shore making some really beautiful ice burg-like formations along the beach, which is what we were hoping for.

We were wondering what sort of death might actually be safe…

Sadly, our beach water is not always the best for swimming in.  During the summer one can often find dark red water spewing from this tunnel into the lake.

We had a pizza in the freezer so when we got home we heated that up and watched a library moving until I had to go in for my midnight.

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Positive, Contentment, Wisdom

January 15, 2010 at 8:44 pm (Job Satisfaction) (, )

I’m feeling it again.  Trapped.  Despare.  Frustration.  Longing.

How do all you happy people do it?  I try to psych myself up and think of the wonderful things in life.  I try to let go of the things dragging me down.  I put my life into perspective.  There are SO many people truely suffering.  Who am I to be discontent?!  I find myself chanting on the way to work “Positive, contentment, wisdom.  Positive, contentment, wisdom.”  These are things I try to work towards.  And after several rounds I cry out, “Help me, God!  I can’t do it!”  And then silence…

As I shared earlier, I had an appointment for a position in another department.  I am feeling trapped in an entry level, low paying job and really want the challenge of something different.  I would love a management position, but those are hard to come by.  The one I applied for was a medical assistant.  Run appointments, keeping up with meds, serving as a liason between our nurses and their doctors.  I didn’t get it because someone else was already familiar with the workings of this department.  It feels so frustrating that it was such a close call.  It just slipped right through my fingers.  Something so minor and something I could have learned.

But I remind myself of the compliment given me when I was not accepted for the position.  She said it was so hard to decide that she went to HR to get attendance records thinking that might help, but it didn’t.  And she said that if a position for QMRP came up she recommended that I apply for it and that she hoped to work with me in the future.  The med assistant position would pretty much be a lateral move.  The QMRP position would definately be a promotion.  Quite a jump, in fact, for a DSP like me.  I feel honored that she would consider me a suitable applicant for that position.  I always KNEW I could handle a more challenging position and someone else now recognises that, too!  And yet…I want to scream.  Because here I am, still STUCK.  Positions like that open up only rarely.

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January 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm (Job Satisfaction) (, , )

For some strange reason things seem to be falling apart at work.  It’s just one thing after another.  And of course doing midnights doesn’t exactly make me emotionally stable.

I have an interview tomorrow for something different within the agency.  Not really an advancement which is what I would really like, but something different.  And more responsibility, which is something I would like as well.  I will be interviewing my interviewer as well to make sure it is something I really want.

*No particular reason for the picture.  I guess it gave me a feeling of serenity and escape.

** Update:  Didn’t get it.  It was a good interview.  She said that it was a really hard decision and she actually went to HR to get attendence records hoping that would help, but it didn’t.  She said she went with another applicant because this one already had experience in that department.

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From the Phone, Pt 4

January 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm (Fun Photos) (, , , , )

A bit more recently…

Apple picking with Chris and Julie.  We also picked raspberries.  They we SOOOO yummy!

The day after opening day…

we took Stevie to a place called Egg On Your Face and Deli In Your Belly for breakfast.  It is kind of hard to see the chocolate chip pancake mustache in this lighting.

And he treated us to a movie.  This is also where he works.

To see Avatar.  In 3-D.  In the Imax.

Stevie is normally afraid of heights and doesn’t normally work in the Imax, but for Josh he will do anything.  🙂

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From the Phone, Pt 3

January 6, 2010 at 6:25 am (Fun Photos)


During such an incredibly challenging part of our lives, we really appreciated the rare occassions when we could get out and try to forget.

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From the Phone, Pt 2

January 5, 2010 at 6:19 am (Fun Photos) ()

OE dance for our clients.  These dances are such a blast.  They have so much fun and it is so easy to just let loose.

Josh dancing with one of my girls.  She is quite the flirt!

Stevie is not a client (yet!) but it is so much fun to bring him to our dances.

Josh, hamming it up for a hula hoop contest.  He won.

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From the Phone

January 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm (Fun Photos) (, , , )

I only recently took the time to figure out how to get my photos from my phone onto the minidisk in the phone.  Here are a few:

Fourth of July fireworks at a friends’.  This is only about a third of what they had!  They even had something they rigged up which they fondly referred to as ‘the canon’.  It was the most impressive private show of fireworks I had ever seen!

Shows you how long I have had these photos on my phone.  This is before we moved to the new house, summer 2008.  Stevie is waiting for his date for a wedding.  AWW!!

This also is summer 2008.  We had torential rains on 2 separate occassions and lots of flooding.  post 1, post 2, post 3.  Unfortunately Josh worked in fire and flood restoration and I didn’t see him for about 2 months.  Anyways, one way I was able to spend more time with him was to walk him to work in the mornings.  After one of the rains when our road was finally passable on foot we saw this wee guy crossing the street.  I had never seen one of these around here, or ever!  When I tried to get a close up shot he got his pincers up ready for attack. 

My bunns!  This was shortly after I got them.  Poor Lady Grey didn’t make it to the new house.  😦

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Things I Would Like To Do/Have Done In 2010

January 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm (Uncategorized) ()

I don’t make resolutions.  This is probably the closest I would get. 

And they are all superficial.  Of course I am always learning, growing, but I try not to put things that I am learning or wanting to ‘work on’ in a box.  Rather than saying, “I want to be a more patient person” (which I do), I think I should strive to grow in wisdom and knowledge and this will make me the person I need to be.

So off the rabbit trail, here it is:

1.  Work really hard at Trig and do well in class

2. Enroll in the Certificate in Statistics program at Loyola

3. Enjoy Chicago

4. Read some Harry Potter

5. Read for fun

6. Get out of credit card debt (this actually should be #1, though I didn’t place these in any particular order)

7. Finish the kitchen

8. Get a full bath (right now it’s 1/2)

9. Reinstate date nights

10. Enjoy the summer

11. Ignore mean people

12. Get a haircut

13. Travel.  Somewhere.

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