Hurrah! Hurray? Update

I’m going to go out onto a rather short limb here and say that I feel pretty confident that cataract surgery is really a thing that’s going to happen.

I picked these up at the pharmacy this morning:

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To be used in my right eye beginning the day of surgery, which is…

March 1st!!!

Men

There are men that I don’t like very much right now.

There are many reasons that I don’t feel very fond of men in general, and of some men in particular.

I do have a soft spot in my heart for older men though, and I realize that this has been the case for a long time.

So many of the older gentlemen who were patients of mine over the years during my dental career were wonderful. Of course they may have smelled a little sometimes, or needed to trim their ear hair, or those long wiry eyebrows. They may even have said some things that I could easily have taken offense to, sexist things that for the men of their generation were common, and accepted. For those men I would just smile, choosing not to take exception to their off-hand comments.

Those older men were bent, and often shaky. Their clothing hung off bodies that I assume were once strong and healthy and fit. They had a hard time hearing or seeing or both.

I found myself looking at them, and listening to their stories and wondering what life had been like for them. I had a few that were nasty. Curmudgeon is the word of choice for them, but I always assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that they might simply be lonely, or sad, or fearful of what was coming in the short time they had left.

I often found myself, at one point or another in our conversation, giving these older men a brief touch on their arm or hand. No, I didn’t ask, and yes it was clearly an invasion of their personal space, but I never had one complain or pull away. And I know that non-complaint doesn’t make it right. It did however, seem like it was important to connect with each of them, to say to them “I hear you and you’re important.”

This act of touching happened again for me, just the other day and it has made me wonder, in light of my own views on sexism and inappropriate behavior exhibited by men toward women, if I am just as guilty as I would assume a man to be if he felt it necessary to touch my arm or hand uninvited.

I was in the grocery store. It was the morning of the Super Bowl and the lines were LONG. I didn’t have a lot in my cart and neither did the older man behind me. A lady in the line next to us commented that we both might fit the “20 items or less criteria” and move to the line that had no one in it. Each of us decided to stay put, but we thanked her for her suggestion.

When my turn came I unloaded my cart and placed the divider thingy down. I also tried to move my cart up as far as possible so the man behind me could start unloading his stuff. By that time we’d been waiting in line for a good 15 minutes or longer. He hung back with his groceries and the space on the belt was wide open the entire way before he began unloading. He slowly put one item after another down. Two quarts of milk. Some lettuce. Hot dogs and buns. I had a feeling that he was trying not to crowd me or push forward too fast. I was still stuck, unmoved because the person who had just finished was chatting while having issues with their payment.

Something made me begin rearranging his groceries, moving them up to fill the open space while I rather offhandedly said, “Oh here, let’s get this moving. We’ve been here long enough.”

I can honestly say that I’ve never overstepped like that before. I don’t make it a routine practice to tell people how to put their groceries on the belt, nor do I typically jump in and handle their items either. He chuckled though and said, “When you’re over 80, you have all time in the world. I’m in no hurry.”

It was at that point that I noticed his ice cream tub and I asked him if he planned to eat the whole tub himself. What was I thinking! First I take charge of the man’s groceries then I insinuate that he would seriously consider eating a gallon size tub of ice cream. The final straw to all this was that as I was insulting his eating habits I also, without any thought to him or his comfort, automatically reached out and touched his forearm.

So there it was. I was, apparently without regard, touching another nice older man just like I had done on numerous occasions without considering that I might be offending him or making him uncomfortable.

I can only guess that my actions started during my dental career as a means to try to connect with, or reassure fearful patients. It wasn’t just older men that I would gently touch. I held kids hands. I have placed my hand over women’s hands, or given a female patient the same forearm touch. I’ve even gently patted the shoulder of a patient on occasion. I’ve often wondered though if I feel a connection to older men because I see my dad in these men. Do I feel a need to connect on a physical level, even so very briefly, with them because I miss the ability to do that with my dad?

I haven’t begun stalking men over 70, or randomly reaching out to inappropriately touch the arms of senior men I pass so I have hope that I can keep this in check.

By the way, the man behind me in line…he was shopping for his wife who was on crutches and couldn’t walk. The ice cream was for her…

Hurrah! Hurray?

But first, I always thought it was hurray! but Google tells me that using hurray! is “an utterance of the word ‘hurrah'” as a noun or a verb, and right now all this grammar is confusing and who the fuck cares because YES, finally a piece of good news…

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I was in and out of the retina specialists office in about 90 minutes with the all clear to proceed with cataract surgery!!!!

However; because there always seems to be a however these days, she did recommend followup laser zapping of some areas of concern that might be at risk of tearing somewhere into the future.

I do have some retinal tears in both eyes, but they are small and OLD and self healed. I also have something called ‘lattice degeneration’ which means thinning in areas that shouldn’t be thin, thus the possibility that a tear in the retina could occur. Part of me knows that I should take this seriously, but part of me also feels like I don’t have a good handle on just how much likelihood there might be of more tearing, severe tearing and thus detachment of the retina. I mean I’m almost 60 for god’s sake. If I can see with shiny new not-my-own lenses for a few more years, well that makes me happy and much less concerned about what might possibly happen down the road.

Also, there’s that upcoming issue of healthcare coverage, which of course I didn’t mention today as they were scheduling me for this laser stuff in early June. I can’t think that far ahead, in any way connected to anything other than getting this legal stuff moving. At the rate that I suspect the divorce process to proceed, I will almost assuredly still have the healthcare coverage that I do now, and I will not hesitate to go get these eyeballs zapped. If not, well- as with everything else I do lately- we face one day at a time and move forward.

Right now, moving forward means calling the cataract clinic and scheduling a surgery!

 

 

 

Taking action…

Leading the way. So proud to be a Washingtonian right now.

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Washington 1st state to sue Trump over immigration order.

Student Status

So, I made a decision. Another decision.

But first…my appointment with the retina specialist is coming up Wednesday. Please keep good thoughts that she will look, evaluate and then pat me on the head and tell me that nothing needs to be done and I can go ahead and schedule the first cataract surgery. Thanks!

Anyway…regular readers know that I have been in a state of semi-retirement for about 4 1/2 years. My hands failed me and clinical dental assisting became a non-career for me. My granddaughters have been my job since then. With personal plans now changed, and the future of both this country and my survival in question, I have to think seriously about money, and finding a job. My girls are growing up anyway, faster than I can believe, and theoretically within a few years (even if my life was perfect right now) I really would be rather useless as a caregiver for two girls who will be in school all day. There’s the grand-dog, who I’m sure would love 8 hours of attention, but…no.

In short, rather out of necessity or boredom, employment of some sort was likely to be a part of my future anyway and clearly in my case necessity has trumped (hah! I made a very poor word choice, but find it slightly humorous nonetheless) boredom. So what to do…

I have that Sociology degree (which I will never regret) but which does not come with a great deal of practical application for income, and it was never really meant to blossom into a career anyway.

Given the state of our country I find the concept of Social Justice Warrior to be a much needed career field right now and for the foreseeable future, but eating and paying rent are options that I value as well. Anyone know of any openings that also offer healthcare? Oh, never mind…I won’t be able to afford healthcare, nor will it be available soon either.

On a related topic, perhaps I can go into politics, maybe even run for office. Apparently you don’t need any experience, and can tell lots of lies and still be elected to the highest position our country offers. That one sounds plausible and I don’t think that I’d be any worse than what we have now. And my first week of executive orders would clearly reverse EVERYTHING being hurtled out the door of the White House right now.

What I know, and what I am good at, and what sustained me monetarily, and what provided a career purpose for the majority of my adult life is dentistry. Thus, it makes the most sense to stick with what I know. Clinical work is out, but there is the business side, the front office, the administrative functions. Secretly, between you and me and this blog post, I really don’t like any of that stuff. I became a dental assistant to work directly with patients in treatment and education. I am a hands-on gal, happiest in scrubs and up to my elbows in saliva. Those days are over, and, as I do have experience in many of the tasks that are needed in the non-clinical running of a dental practice, it seems that it would make sense to focus there.

So, while I have some time, I have once more taken on the role of student. Amazon has supplied me with the current, comprehensive text version of “Front Office Dental Administration 101” or From Saliva to Scheduling Systems: Everything You Need To Know To Run An Amazing Dental Practice. Disclaimer: both of the above titles are not really textbooks in print, just in case you were wondering.

I think you get the idea though and I do have a pretty comprehensive text that covers current practice. I figure it can’t hurt to spend some time reviewing, relearning, and brushing up on the basics. Every dental office uses scheduling software, most with almost imperceptible differences. Usually once you know one you can transition to the others easily. I can copy, and fax, and use a multi-line phone. I can be professional when speaking to patients, and other providers, and labs, and pharmacies. I have a working knowledge of dental codes, treatment planning, accounts receivable and payable. Does this sound like a resume?

I need more training in insurance and definitely in the use of electronic patient records, although I don’t think the dental field has been as quick to adopt an ER system as the medical profession. You can actually still find dental offices that chart on paper.

Geez, this does sound like a resume doesn’t it. Just in case you know of any dental office in Washington- 253 area code specifically- and want to pass on my info…

Perhaps this will be a jump start to returning to a career that I thought I was finished with. Perhaps it will fail miserably and I will have to look elsewhere. As with most things these days, every day brings change, and I can never be certain what the outcome of that change will be. Yet it feels good to plan and to move one foot in front of the other and to have purpose. Especially now, given where we are, we all need purpose.

Strength and Pride Personafied

My Monday will be a great day with these images reminding me of the power of Women.

Some of our favorite photos from the NC Editors of the 1-22-2017 Women’s March on Washington and other cities. (Laura Ansley/Nursing Clio)

via Nursing Clio Stands with Equality — Nursing Clio