July 30, 2016

Psych nurse grieving process...or, it's been a while, hasn't it?

It was a tough few months getting over my dad's death.  I think because his death was expected, even down to the when and where, I think I probably went through the stages of grief in a pretty skewed fashion.  Denial was short.  I think I skipped anger and bargaining, and I came to acceptance really fast.

Depression, on the other hand...well, I've been stuck in that for months.  It came on last, and it's only recently that I feel like I started hitting the upswing and working my way out of it.

I think in the entire time since he passed, I only had one or two days where I broke down and cried.  I don't think it was (is?) dysfunctional grieving; I just didn't have it in me to cry a lot.  I didn't cry the moment he passed, I didn't cry during the holidays...it just took several months before I did break down.

His birthday and Fathers' Day have passed since he did.  Both tough days.  I can't remember the exact day I broke down and lost it, but I'm sure it was on one of those days.

I found an old voice mail from him on my cell phone...rare because I almost never save messages; rarer still that he actually left a recording.  I found it and immediately ripped it to a mp4, then made a backup copy.  Well, copies.  And then locked the ones on my Mac so they can't be deleted.  It's comforting that I will always be able to hear the sound of his voice.  And of course, I have plenty of pictures of him.  He's in no danger of being forgotten by me anytime soon.

I even talked about him with a patient who was grieving the loss of their spouse.  It was nice but it did get both of us sad...so we switched to talking about our dogs to cheer ourselves up.

I sent him back to my mom.  Her grieving has been harder than mine, understandably, and she felt that she needed him back home to feel better.  Within a hour of that phone call, I was at the FedEx store with him, making arrangements to overnight him.  I learned that he's now 11 pounds.  I also learned that FedEx will not ship human cremains.  And that it was incredibly hard to assign a monetary value to dad for insurance purposes.

So I took him to Office Max, got mailing supplies, rewrapped the box in plain brown paper (the nice FedEx people had done a nice job of packaging him for me, but the box had their logo all over it), and sent him overnight by USPS.  Having learned my lesson from FedEx, I listed my dad as "mementos" valued at $100.  

Sorry, Dad.  But I had to get you home.

Of course, my father being my father, he didn't get their overnight.  He got waylaid at a border city.  I told my mother that one of the things that dad wanted to do but never got around to it was to go see Mexico, and so he was making up for lost time.  She thought that was funny.  Then he got stuck in Kansas, and my mother told me, "your father always has to take the long way."  Our family does have a warped sense of humor.

But he eventually made it home, and my mom is much happier.  In a way, so am I.  I think he needed to be with her as much as she needed him to come home.

I'm still working on the motivation and the isolation.  I'm making an effort to be social again, both in person and online.  I started attending the knitting group again.  I need to start going to the nursing forum and doing my work.  They've been very patient with me through all of this and I've grateful, but I feel it's time for me to get back to earning my kibble there.  

I am enjoying nights on the permanent job...not sure if I'll ever return to days.  I still dabble with Job #3 from time to time just to keep my foot in their system.  It's such a tough nut to crack into in the first place, that I'd be a fool to sever all ties with them.  

I know that I can sometimes be slow on the uptake, but only recently that I realized that my main job is the weekend position that I had applied for more than 4 years ago but did not get because I did not have my BSN.  And it is the psych-medical position that I spent an hour alone talking to the director about.  I don't know if she remembers me from that time.  I hesitate to ask.  But here I am, I finally got here...and happened to learn about nursing and about myself along the way.

I'm even started thinking about starting the MSN...decided that I'm going to pursue a general one or one in education.  I decided against becoming a nurse practitioner.  From what I've been seeing, it's mostly prescribing and limited patient interaction.  I'd rather have the patient interaction.