Taking action…

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

trump_travel_ban_washington_state_15924-jpg-ef116

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

Extraction

You (we) live in a world of silence. Stopped up ears that block all but the most high-pitched, whirring din. Gummed up mouths filled with cotton fluff making speech, when attempted, a dry and raspy chore. Flopping tongues, lax and numb that can only mumble incoherent phrases. 

The dark and empty cavities that fill our souls cause a throbbing ache that can’t be overlooked. Temporary numbing belies the painful neglect growing deeper year after year. We have become empty shells, ready to crumble and break. Every structure that once firmly anchored us and made us stable now stands diseased and putrid.

What little remains of our past grinds together, forcing a misery that erupts in a white-hot starburst of agony. The answer is clear. These remains must be removed, cleanly and carefully, but soon. Trying to hold these bits and pieces in place only reflects upon greater damage. 

Even with this knowledge denial remains. Oblivion must be easier, safer, maybe even less traumatic than the wrenching and twisting that will come as each hollow part is released and removed. Logic shows that the time to save is long past. What needs to be done to convince you that the only answer is to part ways with each and every offending fragment and look ahead to the day that we can smile again.

The proceeding words were not planned as a beginning to this blog post. I had intended to ask for help, for someone who might hopefully explain a mystery to me. I honestly was looking for anyone to toss some thoughts around that might help me to understand how an adult can live in a world of silence, pain, and misery and yet exhibit, time and again, no clear intent to change or evolve or leave.

Then, without warning, some weird part of my dental past crept to the forefront of my brain and I began the odd metaphorical ramble you see above. Let me explain.

I know that my spouse has no idea that I plan to end our marriage. I know that factually because I have given no forthright verbal statement of my plans. Not yet. I have to get this eye thing figured out and moving. Not an excuse, simply a necessity. That piece of my life has to be in place first.

We have lived as separately as two people can (under the same roof) for months, years really. I think that I’ve stated that before. I am still flabbergasted when, without warning, I am confronted by an offhand comment that speaks to some sort of future- as in this marriage continuing ahead in some sort of quasi-normal form.

As in planning for the possibility of a major purchase “after the house is paid off.”

As in assuming that either of us is content to live this way for another year while we await the final payment on our mortgage.

As in my brain screaming out in an imagined conversation with my spouse “are you truly fucking telling me that you have no clue how awful and stupid and ridiculous this situation is and you are really willing to continue to live like this indefinitely?”

These offhand comments don’t happen often, but when they do I am knocked flat by the fact that this man seems to truly have no idea, not even a sneaky hunch, that perhaps the woman he has been married to for just shy of 34 years is ready to up and say goodbye. Is he truly oblivious, or just the best damn actor on the planet. And, even if he believes me to be holding onto some crazy contentment in this living arrangement, it is even more alarming to me that he may very well be content to live this way indefinitely.

I know this man is broken. I know that he has long-standing emotional issues, familial issues, unresolved issues; all of which have gone a long way in contributing to the failure of our marriage. I also know how hard it can be to come to terms with endings, and change, and uncertainty. I get that. I am guilty of that and waited far too long, but even though I waited and had to work through my own steps, I was never uncertain, nor did I kid myself about the future. I haven’t spoken about a future in years because there isn’t one.

Dear readers, I am finished. I apologize for this long and likely disjointed ranting post. You have once again been my sounding board. You are all the best of friends, the ones I can call to come over, sit across from and me and listen to the latest complaint. The ones who will let me vent when this life overwhelms. Thank you for listening.

 

 

 

Stages

I think we all know what is going to happen on Friday. I’ve chosen to steer clear of most things political on this blog. I have enough negativity going on in my personal life. I can’t add more negativity and dread about the future by bringing up the next four years.

I can however, acknowledge that the emotions I have felt since November have paralleled my own emotional journey through the process of a failed marriage.

There was that initial denial. I remember going to bed on election night as the numbers became painfully clear and pointed toward the most ridiculous outcome I could imagine. I know that I’ve laid in bed on countless nights, not ready to acknowledge the fact that the total number of years of unhappiness in my marriage turned out to be greater than the happy ones.

Anger filled those first few weeks after the election, and it was wrongly directed mostly at all those who voted for DT. There was name calling, there was blame, there was bitterness. Anger has filled me in my personal life for way too long and I want it to go away. I have gained some control, but it still rears it’s head. Right now, I can’t completely avoid the source of anger in my marriage, but I have chosen purposefully to remove myself from most of what passes as news concerning DT. I will not be tuning in for his big moment on Friday.

I’ve invested in bargaining with countless others who have looked for a means to oust DT before he officially becomes the President. It’s not going to happen folks. I have contemplated all the what if’s, and if only’s, and again, we are stuck with this man. I have had to bargain with myself, over and over, while trying to push forward to see an end, and thus a new beginning, for my life. I’ve contemplated my personal what if’s and if only’s and finally come to terms with the here and now, leaving the past behind…mostly…unless it’s been a bad day and I have too much time to think.

The bargaining must go on however, literally it must go on, so that this entire process can be finalized to suit our future lives as separate entities. I want to hope that we can do that easily.

I imagine that most of us who had different expectations after that night in November have, or are still dealing with depression. I was surprised at the great amount of sadness and regret I felt in the days following the election. Like real tears sadness and a deep sense of loss. I console myself that this will only be 4 short years of madness and crazy and hate. The sadness and regret that has come with marriage failure has been deep and profound, but it has been a process over many years. I am so very tired of being miserable and so very ready to move forward and say goodbye.

Finally, with Friday looming large, I have to simply and clearly acknowledge that our country is in an indescribable state of flux. I only hope that we survive. My own goal is a bit farther away, but change is still a huge part of my personal world. I accept, and value that change though. I don’t fear it as I do many of the transformations that America faces in the months and years ahead.

With a little luck, both myself and our country will come through all of this and out the other side stronger. We can’t let ourselves believe anything differently.

 

Moving forward, and likely back a bit as well…

I had my consultation today for the cataract surgery. But first, can I just say that I must have the biggest case of “white coat syndrome” ever. They took my blood pressure. It wasn’t good. It’s always great when I take it at home but today… the systolic was fine, the diastolic…not so much. She took it again after about 10 minutes and it was fine. It was strongly suggested that I consider having a small dose of sublingual Versed prior to my surgery if I was going to get myself that worked up. I don’t like the amnesia that accompanies Versed. I think meditation is a better option, or perhaps I’ll brush up on my Lamaze visualization techniques.

With that rather rocky start there was also a glitch tossed into what I hoped would be a straightforward consult. In general they tell me that my eyes are healthy, that I have no signs of glaucoma, that my left eye is already seeing 20/20 and that they can likely correct my right eye to 20/40. I do have old eyes though so I think some cheaters are still going to be in the works as my bifocals will disappear with my glasses. I can live with a handy pair or two of magnifiers.

The doctor then told me that she had two concerns, and that until they could be evaluated by another specialist, we couldn’t schedule the surgery. Apparently, at some point and completely unknown to me, I had a very small tear in my retina (right eye) that seems to have healed itself. As Dr. Abbie noted though, they don’t want to be messing around with my eye and have this ‘healed’ area decide to re-open. The left eye has some sort of vitreous attachment, that again, when the eye is messed with, could cause a resultant pulling, and/or tearing of the retina.

vitreous-2

Of course there’s a laundry list of possible causes for both of these issues, none of which seem to apply to me except the ‘generalized aging’ category. I’m getting a little tired of being told that I have old eyes. I already know that my body isn’t as firm, fit, or generally healthy as it used to be. I don’t need my eyes to keep reminding me of that.

Initially after this news, I had to not only adjust to the idea of another delay but also that the cost would now be going up. Something that I haven’t shared with you in the blog is that our current health insurance is crap. In short, the providers within the network that aren’t two hours or more away from me are not clinics that I want anywhere near my eyes. Their reviews and reputations are far less than stellar. I was referred to an amazing clinic for this consultation today, but they don’t accept my insurance. I have been working to find a way to pay for this surgery myself. When I was hit with the news that a preferred retina specialist (upon learning I was a private pay patient) wanted a $1000 deposit prior to even seeing me, I wanted to crawl under the schedulers desk and cry.

What I did instead was to come home, pull up my list of network providers, and found a specialist on the list whose office is 20 minutes away and who confirmed that yes, they accept our insurance! The evaluation will happen in a few weeks. Fingers are crossed that she will say that nothing needs to be done. When I called the cataract clinic back to tell them that I was still moving forward the scheduler mentioned that this doctor was fantastic. That piece of news helped me a lot after all the disappointment earlier.

I was also encouraged to here from Dr. Abbie that, once we can schedule the right eye surgery, and if it goes well, I can almost immediately schedule the left eye as well if I want. She said that they have had patients who have had both eye surgeries within a week of each other. Financial considerations will influence the timing, but as long as I can get the right eye done, then I feel like I can move ahead with all the very official stuff associated in ending my marriage.

Even though these eyes are old they have a clear vision of the final goal and we just keep pushing forward…