January 4, 2017

Happy 2017

New Year's Eve at work was calm.  We got to see the ball drop on television, and we all enjoyed our pot luck and complementary sparkling cider.  Then I had to go give multiple IMs to a patient who decided to get undressed and completely lose it...right after we had finally gotten all the manic patients to fall asleep.  Of course, that woke them up.

The following night, same unit, but much better.  Only one IM needed, and it was requested by the same patient before things got out of control.

It wouldn't be a holiday without some excitement, now would it?

December 31, 2016

Last post of 2016

It has been exactly 4 weeks to the day since my last update.  I meant to post sooner, but it has been a tough month.

My mother had arrived the day before my birthday and was at my sister's house...I was going to be a bit evil and call my sister that evening to say that I wanted to bring the little ones over to her house for a play date, but decided that the day of the birthday itself was going to be stressful enough.

I could not fall asleep easily...just like last year...so I ended up on the couch watching documentaries and thinking about my dad.  Had my cry and then ended up falling asleep to a documentary about North Korea.  Dad would have appreciated that.

The birthday surprise dinner went well.  I apparently was convincing enough in my surprise that they bought it. 

My mother's visit went as well as they usually go.  The usual ups and downs, the usual stressors.  Some sadness as we thought about Dad, especially when all of the kids were together.  He loved his army of grandsons and they missed him.  Lots of rain, as it tends to rain out here whenever she comes to visit.

I was able to swing 7 straight days off, so we were able to spend plenty of time together. 

Christmas came and went.  Sent Mom back home, had a day off with just the better half and little ones, then went back to work.  And here I am.

I don't feel like reflecting on 2016; if you want to know my thoughts on the year, read the earlier entries.  I don't have any real resolutions for the new year...maybe curb buying so much yarn and start using up the stash I have.  And of course, to make it to 2018. 

December 3, 2016

Only in psych nursing is playing cards with a patient not only allowed, it's also a therapeutic intervention

Try doing that on a med-surg floor and see what happens.

Anyhow, it was a slow night so I played some Gin Rummy with a patient....well, with a patient and their hallucinations.  It was a fun game.  The patient was a very good player, though every so often, the patient would stop and respond, or start conversing with one of the voices.  Sometimes I wasn't sure if the conversation was directed at myself, the voice(s), or both/all of us.

I lost most of the hands.  It was an uneven match-up if you think about it.

December 1, 2016

Best birthday gift I could have asked for

I don't have anything I want for my birthday...well, other than the classic NES reboot, but I don't want it so much that I want the better half to drop $200 on it.  We'll wait until February and pick it up for a song.

The truth is, I haven't really thought about what I'd like for my birthday because this year, I hadn't really thought of it as something to celebrate this year.  Next year, yes...and I realized that in all seriousness, that's as long as my dad would want us to mope his death.  And to be honest, a year would be pushing it in his books.   He was never one for prolonged mourning, drama or sob-fests.  He'd take a little time to reconcile his loss, then put on 'Allo 'Allo, Benny Hill, or whatever British comedy was on the nearest videotape, and make a sandwich.

"Get over it, Moose," he'd tell me.  "And bring me a donut!"

Got to love Dad.

Realizing that has helped me feel much better.  Things still hurt and I have ups and downs, but I know that debilitating misery is not what my father would have wanted for me, for any of us.

So I get to feel depressed and craptastic this year.  Next year, party in the mountains! 

Anyhow, my mother is planning to fly out West to surprise me on my birthday.   I'm glad that she is given that I was really worried about her spending this day alone.  The plan is my sister has booked a reservation for both of our families at an early time and a kid-friendly restaurant, because my nephews are very excited for this.  I'm guessing that at one point, my mother will appear.

I know this because the better half told me so I would not change my mind and end up going into work that night.   He knows that I'm struggling this year and that, given I'm not drinking alcohol, I would seriously consider drowning my sorrows in psychiatric patients on that night.  So he wanted to insure my attendance.

My sister mentioned the dinner to me already, so that's part is no secret.  

So my mother calls last night to see how I am doing.  She goes on about coming out to visit right before Christmas (I try not to laugh).  Then she mentioned my birthday and what I was planning to do.

"Oh, I don't know," I reply.  "I was thinking that the better half and I take a little trip, maybe an overnight somewhere.  Just to get away since I have two nights off."
She gets flustered and says "I think you sister had made dinner plans for you that day, with the kids."

"Yeah, I thought she mentioned that.  I'm thinking maybe Vegas."

So it goes on for 10 minutes:  she keeps telling me I should talk to my sister and she what she has planned, and my noncommittal replies and musing about where to road trip to...as I laugh hysterically into my pillow.  Eventually, the call ends.  You know she dialed my sister the minute she disconnected to find out what was going on.

And you know my sister is waiting for me to call or text today.  Except I think I'll call tomorrow.  Maybe.  And ask her where she stayed in Vegas.

I told the better half what I had done, and when he stopped laughing, he said that I should have mentioned to my mother that I wanted him to take me to the Bellagio.  I'll give my mother and sister a little bit more of a hard time...not too hard though that they panic or get really upset.  Just enough before I "capitulate" to make them think that they dodged a bullet.

I bet Dad is looking down at this and laughing his ass off.  It's something he would totally have done. He'd be so proud of my performance.

Then he'd ask if I had any more donuts.   

November 25, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.  Happy Fourth Thursday in November if you don't.

Hanging in there.  Lots of ups and downs.  The family dinner went well, then I caught a short nap and went into work where a second family--the work family--dinner kicked into action.  The power of the potluck.  It was very multicultural.  Lots of Filipino food.  I told one of the LVNs she could adopt me so I could live off what she brought in.   I'm not sure of its name, but it was like a Jamaican patty, just not with jerk seasoning.

It was nice to have my appetite back for a while.  Alas, it's gone again.  I skipped breakfast, choked down leftovers for lunch, and said No to dinner.

And I probably won't feel like eating overnight either.  One of the LVNs--a different one--commented that I wasn't eating and said I must be watching my figure.  It was said in all affection, so I took no offense.  I told her that I just hadn't had an appetite lately and eased the conversation to another subject.  I didn't mention why...no sense in depressing everyone else along with me.

November 23, 2016

In which depression hits Meriwhen hard...and she also learns she apparently has 103 draft posts

I'll need to review those 103 posts to see if they are truly drafts or if some glitch removed active posts from the blog.

Anyhow, my mood has not been good as of the last few days.  Poor sleep, decreased appetite, easily stressed or agitated, easily upset, short tempered, and feeling just a background sadness all the time.  Not enjoying life right now...in fact, the place I seem to be the least stressed is at work, and I was feeling rather burnt out there!

It didn't dawn on me until lunchtime today, when I hadn't eaten for 16 hours and still didn't feel hungry, that perhaps something is up.  I'm food-driven so for me to not want to eat while not on a diet is a major red flag.  So I forced myself to eat--that didn't go well but I finished lunch--and thought about things.

No, I'm not suicidal; no, I don't wish I were dead or not here; no to all the other questions that I as a psych nurse would ask someone who told me this.

The blues started when I was cleaning out my closet.  I found a couple of Christmas gifts that would have been for my father, a puzzle and a T-shirt.  It was quite the punch to the gut to see them because I never got the chance to give them to him.  I thought about donating them, but decided not to because it would have felt like a betrayal of his memory if I got rid of them.  So the puzzle went back into the closet and the T-shirt into my pile of workout gear.

It's the holiday season.  Not quite the first one without my father, as he died a couple of weeks before Christmas.  First Thanksgiving without him though.  First birthday coming up without him.  First anniversary of his death, which happens to fall on said birthday, coming up.  The fact that we would have usually been together--or at least I would have been able to talk to him--but that this won't happen this year really kind of hurts.

Looking back, I never grieved the way my mother and sister did.  I was the stoic one.  Didn't mean I didn't feel anything...I just kept it together more.  One of us had to.  That wasn't my mother as that was her partner of 50+ years total.  Not my sister as she was the one alone with him at the final moments.  Guess it had to be me.

I'm starting to tear up thinking about this...which considering I'm at work, isn't what I want to be doing.

Then there's the stress of the holidays themselves.  The recent election has caused quite the political rift between various branches of the family and friends.  Holiday shopping.  My mother coming out to visit, which even before my father's death was very stressful in itself.

And the fact that I will be aging one more calendar year.  I think I may be having a mid-life crisis.  No, I'm not about to go get a sport car and a young blond toy-boy to cavort with.  Just realizing how old I am chronologically versus how old I am in spirit, and how the two aren't syncing up.  Some regret that I didn't do things earlier in life, or that I'm getting around to doing things so late in the game.  Plus the fact that I may have anywhere from a year to 50 years ahead of me, and I'm just not going to know. It's not like when I was 20 and I knew I had decades ahead of me...yes, I could have died at 21, but the odds of that happening were less than 0.01%.


So what do I do to survive this funk?

I don't want to adjust my medications.  I've been doing rather well up to this point and I don't want to make any adjustments that I would have to un-adjust later on.  I experienced serotonin discontinuation syndrome this summer.  NOT FUN.  I'm also not into self-medicating with my PRNs...I prefer to save them for the few times I really need it.

I can't lose myself in drink...well, I could if I wanted to, but I don't want to.  It's not the answer.  Besides, I've given up alcohol for a year and may possibly never return to it again, as I've found that life without alcohol has been rather nifty.  My cholesterol has never been better (111!).

Prefer not to talk about it with the family, as they'll have enough of their own stress as it is.  They don't need mine.

Maybe I will start the therapy up again.  Or at least start journaling more and processing my feelings that way.

November 19, 2016

In which Meriwhen discovers a Blogspot phone app

Nifty...can update from my phone now :)

I did get my cancel.  I vegetated.  It was just what I needed.  I feel recharged and ready to tackle the world!