Thursday, May 01, 2014

A little decorum, please...

I have been having difficulty sleeping.  It is hard to sleep with my arm in pain by the end of the day.  The pain shoots up the inside of my right arm.  It needs to be warm - the cold intensifies the pain.  It needs to be straight out to feel okay.  By the end of the day, it just hurts.

To top that off, my insomnia has kicked off.  Not only is it difficult to get to sleep, but also difficult to stay asleep.  Melatonin worked for awhile, now it seems to have stopped.  Benedryl, the additive to over the counter analgesics, keeps me awake.  I try to read, and that makes my eyes sleepy, but that's all.

Anyway, the point is, my anxiety level has been high lately.  It is difficult to leave the house and I sense some agoraphobia.  I don't want neighbors to see me.  I don't want to see them.  Across the street, a house that has been empty for many years now has a rummage sale.  I cannot go outside without seeing not only my neighbors, but also the local rummagers.

Wednesday I took Ziva in to the Staples Vet Clinic for shots, check up and spaying.  I did not sleep well the night before because of my anxiety.  Looking deeper, I realize that my last couple of visits to the vet have resulted in me coming home sans a family member.  Maybe therein lie that anxiety.  Plus, my fear of driving and it was rainy and Ziva is scared of car rides at this point.  So, we both trembled all the way to Staples to the vet.

We have veterinarians in Brainerd, but I was told how good Staples was and how inexpensive.  When I pulled up to the building I could see why it was inexpensive: it looked like it was about to fall down!  The tiles in the building were cracked with pieces missing.  The front desk was dark and crowded with various people both behind and standing in front of the desk.  A lady rushed by me with a tissue clutched tightly in her hand held up to her red face.  My heart went out to her.

I gave Ziva's information to the girl at the front, and after what seemed like a very long time, she had me take Ziva to the back.  I dropped Ziva off in a kennel like they show on the ASPCA commercials. I hugged her and tried to walk calmly out.  In the middle of the hallway between offices, there was a dead Rottweiller in a wheelbarrow.  Apparently this is what the lady was crying about.  I was a bit shaken, since it had not been long since I held a lifeless dog in my arms.  As the wheelbarrow moved, the dog stilled jiggled.  It was not stiff yet.  My mounting anxiety directed me through the wrong doorway before I was corrected and pointed in the right direction.

I got in my car and put on my seatbelt in enough time to see the wheelbarrow with its uncovered load coming out the back door of the building and heading for another small building on the lot.  I pulled around in enough time to see the guy dump the body into the metal cylinder it would be burned in.  I did not notice the chimney coming out of the building before now.  I continued home, not really following the speed limit until I noticed later and just wanted to go get Ziva back.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

They Will Figure It Out

Last night my dreams were upsetting.  In one dream, I was staying somewhere out of town and the place I was staying landed in rubble.  I barely escaped.  They were able to get my iPhone.  Also in this dream were the destruction of two large metropolitan structures.  Somehow in this dream, no one believed me that all of this had happened, despite the change in the skyline.

When I awoke, I figured it all out.  I am not making correlations to the dream, because I cannot see how they relate, but I found myself objectively seeing what is happening with my friends.  I feel like during the worst part of my employment crisis, my friends were suddenly missing.  My "BFF" was gone.  I know she has been struggling herself with the job and her general busy-ness.  But, there were definite blocks that were not there before.  Almost all at once, my friends were not there for me.

During a recent spat, one "friend" I discovered had lied to the others about me.  This eroded my credibility and my friendship with my BFF.  Since then, there have been so many get-togethers set up and cancelled.  I took it all at face value, because I know with my depression, I tend to erroneously fill in the blanks.  But Saturday was it.  I am in a good place now emotionally and mentally, so realize I am not allowing my depression to fill in the blanks.  I took out my iPhone and scribed a message to my BFF, letting her know that I love her and miss her, but the ball is in her court for getting together with me.  I told her I felt like I had not been taking the hint and no longer wished to pester her.  She has not replied, which hurt, but I realize if the other badmouthing "friend" is doing what I think she is, my fighting back only plays into her game.  I had this happen once before, years ago.  Back then, I could say anything and it was as if no one believed me.  When I stopped fighting back and backed off, the antagonist found another victim and everyone could see what was the antagonist was doing.

So, now I know all I need to do is back off and let it all play out or find new friends.  Meanwhile, I contacted the other victim of the antagonist from years ago and she completely gets it.  She understands how you can feel inherently flawed when one person seemingly turns the world against you.  She is so supportive and understanding and is one person in this world who knows things like this happen.  Why do such friends live so far away?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cleaning the Sunshine Off My Shoe!

Okay, Lefty, I will tell you about my place of work.

I work at a specialized geriatric acute psychiatric hospital.  Basically, when geriatric clients have mental problems, we are where they are put on a 72-hour hold.  They come from many places: home, the hospital, children's homes or the nursing home.  For a 72-hour hold (or more) with us, they need to be suicidal or potentially dangerous to themselves or others or are suddenly delusional.

The lady at Mom's nursing home that was intrusive and affecting other patients probably went somewhere like us for diagnostics.  We had one lady who accidentally took too much prescribed medication that had personality difficulties with other patients at the assisted living facility where she was living.  Another client was in the hospital for an amputation, and was constantly out of his bed and taking off his bandages.  We have some clients that are violent.  They hit other people, bite or spit.  We had one suicidal one this week.  She was discharged the next day.

Unfortunately, some that come to us have physical problems that manifest psychologically.  They can see people in the room if they have a urinary tract infection.  Some of them are in more dire physical health.  I have asked about reporting some of this, as we get some in bad shape from nursing home that should have detected a problem sooner.

We have a staff of experts in geriatrics.  We meet each morning, sometimes until noon to discuss our patients' statuses.  There are often obvious medical issues that do not affect the clients' mental health and we address it.  One woman was tested for PCOS that is obvious should have been caught years ago.  Some people have not been to a doctor.  One lady we admitted was yelling in pain.  After all kinds of diagnostics, the fact was her body was shutting down.  She needed to go to hospice close to her family where they could manage her pain.  She was only eating 10% of her food.  They are surprised her vitals are as good as they are.

I do nine groups Monday through Wednesday.  My clients are mostly geriatric with a couple younger ones.  There is a man in group who uses his humor to avoid emotional topics.  His wife is in the memory care wing of the senior campus.  She has Alzheimer's and he could no longer care for her.  He holds a special spot in my heart. There are so many older adults with undiagnosed mental illness.  This is likely due to that generation hiding mental illness and not seeking help.

We do all sorts of assessments to determine if it is dementia, stroke, medical conditions or unaddressed mental health issues.  One lady was diagnosed for the first time in her life with bipolar disorder.  I am not sure I am on board with that diagnosis.  Maybe a personality disorder, but I am not seeing bipolar.  She has lived with a mean abusive husband all her life.  Many older adults lose their filter as they age.  I think she has a case of that as well.  I enjoy talking to her.

People in this hospital are only supposed to stay 7 to 10 days.  Sometimes we have no place for them to go.  If they came from a nursing home, the home may not want them back.  Then they are "stuck" until we or their family find a place for them.  Nursing homes have cliques, too.  Sometimes the "in" group doesn't want the person back because they don't fit in.  So, even if they do get batter...

By the way, I got an award today.  I haven't even been there a month!



Stepping into a Pile of Sunshine

I began my new job on December 23, 2013.  Since then I hit the ground running.  Unusual circumstances have led to my working full-time (for now) conducting structured outpatient groups.  I am still considered "casual time", but that is likely to change soon.

Yesterday I sat in on a meeting my supervisor would have gone to.  Friday, I attend another one.  I am leery of blogging about the circumstances that have taken place to bring me to that point.  What I can say is that my supervisor is gone indefinitely.  That is basically all I do know.

I have learned so much since I started.  I did not know that a urinary tract infection can lead to symptoms of dementia, hallucinations, and psychosis.  I did not know that general anesthetic can greatly speed up the process of dementia.  I have been taking notes and absorbing so much!

I have also learned that it is so important to have a health agent whom you can trust to make decisions for you as opposed to power of attorney.  Power of attorney is fine for financial matters, but the health agent trumps the POA in health matters.

I laugh at work, and sometimes I should not.  The male nurse leered at me when I laughed about a patient calling him a "son-of-a-bitch."  When the current (supervisor) of our department found out from the rest of us that my supervisor was off indefinitely, I also laughed.  Not that I wasn't concerned, it was just another change the department is surfing.  In my old age I see that change happens fast and you need to "surf" change, knowing you will pull through somehow.

I've got to run.  I have a new adventure to prepare for.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Decisions

Well, I start my new job on Monday.  There will be 2 "solid" weeks of training before I will be basically on call in this new "casual time" position.  The pay is good.  I would be able to overcome a huge barrier to my finding employment and obtain my LICSW.

Unemployment informed me if I want to stay on unemployment, I will have to basically take any job.  McDonalds?

Meanwhile, I have an interview today for the director position in a small agency.  The pay is low, but the rewards intangible.  It would be up to me to increase my salary.  I don't know if I feel comfortable with that.  That, and I would not be able to be independently licensed through my work there, unless I figure out how to do therapy at this advocacy agency.

I also received an e-mail from a Duluth hospital, hiring a psychotherapist, that they will be calling me soon, likely after the holidays.  It sounds like they will be informing me of the details of the position and then interviewing.

As I sit here on one of my last days off before working, I wonder what I should do.  I have taken the casual time job, but what if I am offered one of the other positions?  Especially the director one?

My decisions are so difficult right now.  I have difficulty deciding if I should shower from one day to the next.  It sometimes takes me all day to get in the shower.  Now I am faced with big life-changing decisions like this?  What on earth do I do?  Help.




Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Final Straw

Stella and Ziva were playing too rough after they ate their supper.  Ziva ended up pooping on the floor - a rare accident these days and usually inspired by overactivity.  Stella is a hyperactive dog that sees her puppy as a playmate.  I needed a timeout and so did they.  I was putting Stella in her kennel so I could clean up the mess.  Ziva ran in after her.  Fine with me.  I cleaned up the poop and went outside to put it in the trash and shovel a bit.  Over the sounds of the shovel, I heard Ziva shrieking and yelping.  I came in to find Ziva standing on her hind legs in the back corner of the kennel facing out.  I called for her and she did not move.  She continued to whimper.  I had to poke her from the outside of the kennel to get her down and picked her up.  She was covered in poop.  I don't know if additional poop was a result of the attack by Stella or the reason for Stella's attacking her, but no dog rolls in its own poop, so Stella must have attacked her on it.  I left Stella in the kennel while I bathed the apparently traumatized Ziva.

Leaving Stella in the kennel, I cuddled with Ziva until she finally went to sleep.  I let Stella out for her last outing of the night and when she came back in, found Ziva and began growling and biting at her.  I put Stella back in the kennel.  She stayed there through the night until the next morning and then was playing aggressively again.  Kim stopped over and Stella continued to be aggressive towards Ziva, so back in the kennel she went.

I love dogs and think I could have made it work with Stella if she was the only one.  I regret having gotten her when I did, and then came the babies and I was stuck with all of them for 8 weeks longer.  Ziva was the last remaining pup.  I was looking for a home for her until Stella attacked her.

There was other behavior, too.  Stella had no qualms about jumping on the coffee table and knocking things off, onto the floor.  Then she and Ziva would play tug of war with my bills, my documentation for the Minnesota Board of Social Work, magazines, books, etc.  I found part of my Ped Egg the other day.  She would also knock my drinks over onto the floor.  Milk, coffee, pop...it was all fair game to her.  If I would lay on the couch, watching tv, she would get on the top the couch and jump on my stomach.  She liked to put her head above mine.  That is dog language for, "I am in charge of you."

Despite all of this poor behavior, I realize that I was not likely in a good place to train a dog that challenging.  That is a risk you take with dogs, and honestly, I did not see it coming.  Regardless, I found a new home for her where she will be an only child.  Her new owner's dog was run over after a neighbor let the dog out.  The lady was so happy and Stella jumped right in the lady's car without a second look at me.  The lady hugged me and wished me a "Merry Christmas!", stating I had just made her Christmas.  I think since Stella will be an only child, she will be given the attention she demands.

Sage cried.  Ziva seems relaxed and slept through the night without a sound.  I feel guilty, but the thoughts going through my head after the attack had a much harsher end to Stella's presence here.  It is for the better.

Monday, December 09, 2013

WHO says

The Black Dog.

It is awful knowing what you need and not being able to afford it.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

What Would I Say?

I went to lunch with Kim2 on Thursday.  She asked if I could talk to my former supervisor what would I say to her?

I've been thinking about this and I know I could not talk to her, because she would not listen to me or take what I tell her to heart.

If I could be promised that she would, I would tell her that people's dislike of her has nothing to do with her skin color.  I would tell her that she is intelligent and honest, but uses neither in a positive way.  I would tell her she is despicable, condescending, judgmental, and controlling.

I would let her know that she consistently violates the NASW Code of Ethics:

When she speaks or gestures negatively about her colleagues:

(a) Social workers should treat colleagues with respect and should represent accurately and fairly the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues.
(b) Social workers should avoid unwarranted negative criticism of colleagues in communications with clients or with other professionals. Unwarranted negative criticism may include demeaning comments that refer to colleagues’ level of competence or to individuals’ attributes such as race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.

When she tells those without licensure they should not obtain licensure because then they will have to take clients with Medicare:  

Ethical Principles

The following broad ethical principles are based on social work’s core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. These principles set forth ideals to which all social workers should aspire.
Value: Service
Ethical Principle: Social workers’ primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems. 
Social workers elevate service to others above self­interest. Social workers draw on their knowledge, values, and skills to help people in need and to address social problems. Social workers are encouraged to volunteer some portion of their professional skills with no expectation of significant financial return (pro bono service).

and

Value: Dignity and Worth of the Person
Ethical Principle: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person. 
Social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers promote clients’ socially responsible self­determination. Social workers seek to enhance clients’ capacity and opportunity to change and to address their own needs. Social workers are cognizant of their dual responsibility to clients and to the broader society. They seek to resolve conflicts between clients’ interests and the broader society’s interests in a socially responsible manner consistent with the values, ethical principles, and ethical standards of the profession.

and

Value: Integrity
Ethical Principle: Social workers behave in a trustworthy manner. 
Social workers are continually aware of the profession’s mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards and practice in a manner consistent with them. Social workers act honestly and responsibly and promote ethical practices on the part of the organizations with which they are affiliated.


I could never trust her.  She kept telling me I could, all the while going to the COO and planning my demise.  I know this from things that she said to me during meetings.  I told her I could not trust the COO and she told her this.  

She made derogatory comments about the way I dressed and the way my friend Kim1 dresses.  She is a bully.  Someone told her that she is afraid of her, and she is taking that as a racist statement and I hope she does not retaliate accordingly.  She is afraid of her because she is a bully.  I was uninvited to a book club because of her, and I feel she said something to the person who invited me and inevitably had to uninvite me.  This was after I left my job.  

I could elaborate more with examples, but I think I have done so in former posts.  


Thursday, December 05, 2013

That question

One should never ask him/herself the question when he/she is down:  If you knew your life would be like it is right now, would you have chosen to live?

When things were going bad at Wells Fargo, and I was having panic attacks about going home to Brian, Jess and Brian's ex's essence in our home, I felt my life was hell and out of control.  It was a passing thought to drive off the road at certain points.  It was a mere flicker of thought.  I knew I could not do it.

I went to counseling and figured out how to put some boundaries in place and things really sucked at times, but handing Brian over his problems and washing my hands of them was inevitably liberating. I never considered myself a control freak, but by trying to gain control of his life so mine would be more in control was what I had tried.

Now when I am alone, my thoughts linger back to those times when I could have just turned the steering wheel sharply and...well, my luck I would have lived, but in worse shape!  But I think of that point in my life.  If I knew that I would be 47 years old, have my master's, be living alone, unemployed with my children out of reach, I don't know if I would have kept that car on the road.

I think when I was a kid, I looked forward to being grown up.  I did not feel comfortable being a kid. I was too mature for other kids.  Everything I wanted to play imitated grown ups.  I hated sitting at the kids' table.  Now I feel like I am at the table all alone.  I am still uncomfortable with who I am, or perhaps my circumstances.

One thing that showed up in therapy with me, was that instead of showing my anger outward, I swallow it.  I project it inward at myself.  Perhaps that is the root of my depression.  Some people are angry at other people, or things or situations and they express it outward.  I come down hard on me.  It is difficult for people to be in the same room with the one they are mad at, and I have a hard time being in the same body as the one I am angry with.  Perhaps it will resolve itself.  Somethings gotta give!

Don't worry, I have no plan or intent to put an end to my life.  I could not do that to my family or friends.  Sometimes life slaps you down.  After getting up and being slapped down again, sometimes you just stay down and wait until it feels safe to come back up again.  I hope I get there soon.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Dammit Dad!



Okay, Dad, you wanted a posting - or at least said you were tired of the Amazing Dog one.  I don't know what there is to blog about.  I think about no one knows my life and how it appears to be so much like the movie, Groundhog's Day.

One day blends into the next and they all seem so trivial - lacking any purpose except that of stopping the inane repetition.

Does Stella appear to be pleading I not get rid of her?  She cannot help herself that she is so annoying.  She is a puppy, after all, and she and I have constant disagreement about who should run the show.  Sage agrees that I should, so I think the majority wins.  She needs to comply, I need to crackdown or she needs to go.  Her puppy racks up points in the cute, small, and sweet category, so Ziva may stay if Stella goes.

After helping a friend move for the second time in a year, I decided to begin to unload myself of many worldly possessions.  My friend has so much stuff that maneuvering around her two bedroom apartment is as of yet impossible.  I don't want to continue to drag stuff everywhere and smaller furniture even sounds attractive.  Unfortunately, I cannot afford the luxury of buying anything right now.  So, I am selling all I do not need.  Since I am a bibliophile, getting rid of books is very difficult.  I will have a garage sale and what doesn't sell will get donated.  The library can do with them what they wish and I won't have to see it.  Eric has also decided to take some of our childhood books.  I have the Precylopedias and Childcraft books.  As long as Eric allows me to visit them once in awhile, I am fine with passing them on.  

Ben finally got the first box I sent him and enjoyed the peanut butter cookies and powder.  I have since learned if you freeze them first they may hold their shape better when you seal them.  I will try that with the next batch.  I made him a batch of fantasy fudge, and did not cut into squares.  I figured I will allow the trip to Japan to break them into squares.

What is happiness?  I struggle with depression since being unemployed.  I am trying to find out how to be happy despite this situation.  It is hard, because I am supposed to earn my unemployment looking for a job and yet, that is so depressing.  I have pages of jobs applied for and rejected for.  I think about furthering my knowledge in my field, yet think I should be busy applying and searching for jobs.  Happiness lies dissected and yet my knowledge of what it is and how to attain it, forever illusive.

If I were my client, I would tell me to be around people.  Do nice things.  Volunteer.  Be active.  Set a schedule and follow it.  Find out what is sucking your energy and amend it.  Start on something for 5 minutes.  If you finish, great, if not, you have 5 minutes of it done.  Eat right and exercise.  Shower and dress daily.  But, I am not my client and I won't listen to me.  

There is a new magazine sitting on my table.  It is livehappy.  Osmosis is not feeding me the information.  Perhaps today after I finish showering, if I do, I will read it.  There is also a Happify website.  But it wants more money for me to keep going.  

So, what did I do to myself?  I spent a great deal of time in my head growing up.  I always hypothesized.  I am beginning to wonder if I set my expectations too high for what I thought should be going on in my life.  I wanted a large, loving family, a house that would be the holiday landing strip for my children and a husband that loved me.  I find myself alone, living somewhere none of my family has even seen and no husband.  

Attitude of gratitude.  
November is the month to be grateful.  Someone out there said that gratitude is the key to happiness.  I find that is a bit shallow.  Kim and I were talking about this.  I am grateful for so much.  I really don't take much for granted.  I love my family and each moment with them is cherished.  I love my dogs.  I am grateful for the warmth of my home.  I never take time spent with friends for granted, either.  So, if I am so grateful, what is the problem?

There is a seminar in January in St. Cloud on happiness.  Maybe I will understand it better then.  If I go.  I just might, because it could be a chance to spend time with Kim if she goes with me.  And I NEVER take that for granted.