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Stay Safe…Wear Duck Tape

Now that the days are getting shorter, I am back to driving to work in the dark. Some mornings are darker than others, depending on the cloud cover. Although I only travel 6 miles from my house to my job, most of the roads I take are two lane with limited lighting. Driving in the dark means having to watch out for the various animals that are trying to get back home before dawn. It also means having to watch out for the deer that always seem to want to cross in front of my car. Note to the deer…stay where you are. It really isn’t better on the other side of the road.

If watching out for deer isn’t enough, we have to add the morning exerciser into the mix. While I salute those who actually have the energy to get out of bed and go for a walk or jog, doing so in all dark clothing is not a good idea. Why? Because we can’t see you! There are all sorts of fluorescent exercise clothing and shoes that have reflective things on them, so why can’t people actually wear them? They sell them for a reason. Companies don’t want you to get hit by a vehicle when you are out exercising.

But if you aren’t going to wear some bright neon shoes that light up with every step you take, could you maybe wear one of those lights that blink on and off? A light can be seen by someone in a car. If the light is too expensive, can you slap on some glow in the dark duck tape? I don’t care where you put it, but maybe a strip along your arm and leg that faces the street or wrap some around your running shoes….in other words, somewhere a driver can see it. That will help drivers and other exercising people see you and hopefully not run into you. Safety first!!!

 

 

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Chiffon Has Been Banned

We have a new dress code at work. For those of us who work for the medical center, we were directed to go to our learning page where we were assigned the dress code policy. We were given a date that we had to complete the assignment which consisted of reading the policy and taking a test. The test asks if you have reviewed the policy. You answer yes and you pass the test. You are given a certificate and are now expected to follow the new policy. The new policy states that it also applies to those employees that are considered to be contractors. Unfortunately, the contractors were not given a copy of the policy, so they are not aware when they are violating the policy.

Some of the new dress code policies make you go hmm and wonder what they were thinking. Some of those are:

No Wrinkled Scrubs–Let’s see, you are a nurse in the middle of a 12 hour shift. How are your scrubs not going to be wrinkled?

If a male employee wears a sweater, he must wear a shirt and tie–He can’t wear a turtle neck or tee underneath. Really?

If a female employee wears a v-neck sweater, she must wear a shirt underneath–If I wear a v-neck, the shirt I’m going to wear underneath is probably going to also have a v-neck, so I’d be showing the exact same thing right? So is the problem the sweater or the v-neck?

No chiffon–I’m not sure I own anything made of chiffon, but I have made sure to cut the tags off of anything remotely silky. I can deny it is chiffon if I don’t have a tag that says that’s what it is right?

No clingy clothing–items listed were pants, leggings, tights, dresses, shirts. In other words, don’t wear anything that might be considered revealing. So you can’t wear tights under a non-clingy dress, but you can wear nylons under a regular dress. Are nylons made out of chiffon? If so, that’s banned.

Dresses and skirts must be no more than 3 inches above the knee. This is a good thing since tights and leggings have been banned. Short-short dresses definitely need something underneath when at work. Some people have no idea that they flash the patients when they bend over. Several women in my office, that are also contractors, violate this policy daily. They have yet to meet a short skirt or dress that they didn’t think was okay to wear to the office. They are wrong of course, but they don’t know it. When the patients see them we usually get the comments asking if they are coming back from the club, dressed in the dark and my personal favorite from a very elderly husband of a patient, are those girls working here or are they working girls out there? He pointed to the outside.

No Flip flops–really? This had to be made a policy? We work in a medical facility. There are not to be any open toed shoes of any kind. Including flip-flops. But apparently people have been wearing flip-flops in their offices and their argument is that they don’t deal directly with patients. And besides, they only wear blinged  out flip-flops so those should be okay. Hmmm, no. Not okay and now banned.

No crop pants more than 3 inches above the ankle–really? So not 3 1/2 or 4 inches because that is moving into capri territory. And does anyone really know the difference between crop pants and capri pants? I don’t but apparently it is more than 3 inches.

So what about you? Do you have a dress code where you work? Do you follow it? Or are you a rebel and do your own thing?

A Change In Vacation Plans

There is a commercial that runs during the summer asking what you use your vacation days for. The ad is to encourage you to use your vacation to visit Ocean City, Maryland and its beaches (just named one of the top 10 beaches in the US). Apparently I don’t use them as much as I should. Last week I actually took three days of vacation. When my husband and I requested the time off back in November, our plan was to take a two or three-day getaway. We didn’t know where and the plan was to see what the weather would be like and maybe make plans a little closer to home. Unfortunately, my husband ended up needing emergency dental surgery, so while I still took the days off, we ended up staying at home. He was on several different medications, not to mention in pain, so we just did things around the house.

spring-cleaningOf course, for my husband, pain or not, he wants to feel like he actually accomplished something while he was off. So he made a list of things that needed to be done around the house and decided that we would tackle those listed. You’ll notice the “we” in the last sentence. While my husband is all about making lists and checking things off of them, even when you are on vacation, I am not so inclined. I do not have a problem relaxing with a good book or trying my hand at crocheting. Relaxing is good. Chores, not so much. So what did my husband want to accomplish while he was on pain meds and antibiotics? Spring cleaning of course.

We started with the downstairs and moved the furniture out of the family room. Nothing like having a couch in your kitchen. First up was steam cleaning the carpets. My husband tends to go overboard with this. The carpets were still damp the next morning, so the couch stayed in the kitchen for a second day. Did I mention that we ate out a few times during all of this? Cooking with a couch in the kitchen was a little crowded. We also started working down in the Man Cave/Media Room since the upstairs was off-limits. The previous owners had a game room set up downstairs and they smoked pipes and cigars. On a humid day, you could smell the smoke still lingering and after 3 years it was time to start removing ceiling tiles and picking out paint samples. A lot of bending and reaching and body aches happened. We were too sore to start steam cleaning the bedrooms so we gave ourselves a day of rest.

Of course, that didn’t mean resting to my husband. It meant it was time to go couch shopping. That involved a lot of sitting and up and down while you tested out the couches for maximum comfort. After three stores whereI didn’t find any that I wanted, we returned home to find the family room carpets dry, so the couch finally was able to be moved out of the kitchen and I was able to steam mop the rest of the floors. Dinner time found me tired and I made the decision of ordering pizza while watching my husband cross items off his list that we had completed. I now need to put in for another vacation where I might actually do some lounging around and just relaxing. That might not happen anytime soon. Today it was picking out paint samples for the Man cave/Media room. The good news…the paint that we chose looks good on the walls and trim. The bad news….painting is definitely in my future. Maybe I should write “relax for the weekend” on my husband’s list. We just might get to it sometime this summer.

Work Has Become Disheartening

new-job-2So…work….I said earlier that I would post one last time about work and then not say anything more until I have a new job. I used to enjoy my job and looked forward to going in to work. I still enjoy some parts of my job, mainly those involved with taking care of the patients, but the other things have taken a toll, not just on me, but on the whole department and it is a struggle to just go into work each day.

Late last year I wrote about my former manager telling me I should look outside the department for other job opportunities. At the time, we didn’t know that she was doing the same thing. The search began for a new operations manager and I hoped that the new manager would come in and work to get things back on track. Ummm, no. In fact, it’s been seven months and things are worse than they ever were. We aren’t being managed because it has become apparent that she is in over her head and doesn’t know what to do. So as a result, she isn’t focusing on the main issues, but is taking small things and working on those while the bigger issues remain unresolved. We have staff being written up, staff being terminated and others, like me, looking for other jobs.

I knew that things would be different when the new manager didn’t meet with the individual sections to learn what they do and understand what a typical day is for them. She cut the weekly staff meetings to once a month and for the meeting agenda, she completely eliminated my section as well as others. We were no longer given time to discuss changes that were coming down or concerns that we might have. I still had a weekly meeting with her and during our first one, she told me that the previous manager had “spoken very highly of you and told me that you are the one to go to when I need help because you have been here from the beginning.” I quickly learned that meant I was there to dump all the things on that she didn’t know what to do or didn’t have time for. The first time your manager says they appreciate you, it feels good. The twentieth time they say it to you it means nothing. They are just meaningless words being said to pacify you.

The turning point for me came just before the holidays. One of my employees went to cover the morning meeting and came back extremely angry because she had basically been made to look as being totally incompetent at her job in front of other employees. She was told that if she couldn’t do her job in 40 hours “you will need to look at being retrained because apparently you have problems with time management.” Really? So it doesn’t have anything to do with our clinic increasing from 2 doctors to 4 which meant the workload increased while staffing didn’t? The answer is no. It doesn’t matter to the manager. That employee began looking for a job that night after work.

A few days later, my manager made the comment that “I don’t understand why your section is struggling with the workload. You did this job for a year by yourself.” Hmmm, yes, I did the job by myself for a year. But I had 2 doctors that were only there a total of 4 clinic days. I now have 4 doctors, each with 3 clinic days, so I have a total of 12 clinic days a week to cover.  I also didn’t have any of the Administrative Assistant duties that were passed on to me when that person quit and they decided not to fill the job. I also didn’t have to complete so many meaningless reports, most of which were repetitive, but have to be done separately to keep other people happy. We also weren’t required by the government to capture all of the Meaningful Use data in order to meet the guidelines for insurance reimbursement. So yes, I was able to keep up with the workload. It was much smaller then.

Going home that day I told my husband that it is easy for her to say what she did because she has never taken the time to sit with us to see what we do. She hasn’t even asked to see the spreadsheet that breaks down my sections tasks for daily, weekly and monthly. She hasn’t done that for the other sections either. So I began looking for another position. I have started with internal job openings and will eventually look outside the organization. Last week I was called for an interview. The job I applied for and the description of it from the director were completely different, so that wasn’t for me. But fingers crossed that I will find something soon.

If not, I can always hope to win the lottery.

Wishes For This Year

wish-lstI am not one for New Year resolutions. I feel that resolutions are things that I never complete. The intention is there, but they always seem to fall by the wayside and then I feel like a failure. Instead, I have put together my Wishes for the New Year. After all, wishes can come true.

I Wish to Find a Healthier Me

I have tried to adopt a healthier way of eating. This year I want to continue making better choices and maybe reach a point of doing it without having to think about it. Vegetables are still my biggest struggle, so I will continue to try to find ways to prepare them and hopefully they will get easier to eat.

I Wish to Say No to Dunkin

Okay, I love Dunkin Donut’s coffee. The only problem is that it is hard to stop at ordering just a coffee when you are presented with all the delicious donuts that just go so good with the coffee. So, I have decided to stop visiting Dunkin. I will take my coffee from home and just keep on driving. It’s the only way I’m going to do this.

I Wish to Drink Less Coffee and More Tea

It is hard to believe that I didn’t used to like coffee. That changed when my husband would leave for work. He would fill up his thermos and take a travel mug with him, but there was always enough coffee left in the pot for a cup. So I began to drink coffee. Unfortunately, I have never been able to drink coffee without sweetening it and adding yummy, flavored creamers to it. I have decided that I need to find more flavored teas and replace my second or third daily cup of coffee with the teas. So far, I haven’t been doing too bad. I found a tea by Stash called Christmas in Paris and it smells like Andes Candies Mint Chocolate and it tastes good too. It is a special edition for the holidays, but I am going to try other brands and hopefully will find others that I like as well. I don’t have to add all of the added sugar and flavored creamers, so I am saving calories, which is a good thing. And is should be pretty easy to do if I succeed at the one above, stop going to Dunkin :).

I Wish I Can Drink More Lemon Water

I recently read an article where it said that drinking lemon water has many health benefits. The first was that it works to ease inflammation. If it can ease the pain in my joints that I have it will be worth it. It is also supposed to help with digestion and keep you hydrated. More positives in my opinion.

I Wish I Can Find Exercises That Don’t Hurt

Two years ago I fractured my hip. Don’t ask me how. Neither I or the many doctors that I saw could tell me how or why. Some said I could have sneezed or coughed too hard. Another said I could have bumped it several years ago. Regardless of how I did it, the goal is not to do it again. So I have had to limit the way I exercise, which means not doing anything that can cause a break again. I want to find something that allows me to exercise without a big impact on my bones and joints. It is a work in progress.

I Wish to Learn How to Crochet Left-Handed

I have always wanted to learn how to crochet. My mom and grandma tried to teach me, but as they were right-handed and I was left-handed, they always became frustrated that I couldn’t learn from them. I have done simple crocheting in the past, but I want to learn how to do more complex patterns and maybe make something. I found a website that teaches how to crochet left-handed, so I am going to find time to watch and learn. First, I have to see if I still have my crochet hooks and then pick out yarn. I’m looking forward to that.

I Wish I Can Find a New Job

I have decided that it is time to look for another job. I had hopes that things at my current job would get better, but they have not, so it is time to find something else. I want to be happy at work and that is something I am not any longer. I will write about what has happened recently and then I will not write about work until I have something new to tell.

I Wish my Family and Friends Continued Good Health and Happiness

October Cancer Awareness

pink-ribbon-emerald-green-ribbonLast October I began my monthly posts about cancer awareness. When I sat down to write this month’s entry, I decided that for the next year I would do something different. If you want to read about October being Breast and Liver Awareness Month, click on the link here and it will take you to the post from last year. Or you can click on the archives for October 2015 and it will take you there as well. For the next year, I am going to highlight different cancer organizations that are making great strides in research and how you might help if you are interested. Look for those in the middle of the each month.

I have been working in the cancer field for the last five years and during that time, I have observed things that have filled me with hope and others that have made me sad. I decided to share some of them here:

Cancer does not care if you have been a vegetarian, eaten only organic since birth or exercise everyday. I have seen patients that have lived a healthy lifestyle every day of their life and yet when it comes to cancer, they are fighting just as hard as someone less healthy.

Attitude truly seems to make a difference. I have seen patients that have the most positive, happy attitude deal with their treatment in such a way that they inspire others. To them, this is just another hill to climb. And they seem to make it through with a smile and a hug and they just don’t let it bring them down.

I have heard patients say that they threw away their cancer medication that costs upwards of $150,000 because they don’t want to get treatment anymore, while other patients struggle to come up with money to cover their co-payments for their medication. Often deciding against a certain medication because they just can’t afford it.

I’ve heard of patients who ask the doctor for more pain medication, despite being given a 30 day supply just a few days before, because their grown child or grandchildren have stolen their pain medication. I’ve witnessed a 50 year old son scream at a doctor who wouldn’t prescribe more medication for his mother after he had taken hers and either used it himself or sold it. As for the patients, they deny everything because they don’t want to get their family member in trouble.

I’ve seen insurance companies deny treatment because the plan “isn’t a cure for cancer.” Newsflash, there isn’t a cure for cancer. I’ve watched my doctors argue with the insurance doctors to get authorization and it seems that it is just a big game to the companies. I’ve watched U.S. Veterans wait weeks for the Department of Veterans Affairs to approve their tests or treatment.

But I’ve also seen amazing results in patients who come back for their follow-ups and tell us how wonderful they feel or show off their hair after it has grown back. There are those who bring back vacation pictures to share with us after they had told us during their treatment that once done they were taking the trip they always dreamed of.

And there are those patients who truly are an inspiration, who talk to other patients and help them along their journey despite what they are going through themselves. Should I ever get the diagnosis of cancer I hope that I can be as brave as they are.

Wanted: A Regular Alarm Clock

alarm-clockI need a new alarm clock. I want one that has a battery back-up to keep time and wake me up if the power goes out. The one my husband uses has that feature. When we bought it several years ago I thought it would solve our problem of not having to reset the alarm in the middle of the night after a storm. It also was supposed to have a dual alarm, so that was a winning combination. To me, dual means two alarms, one alarm for him and one for me. I was wrong about that. It does have two alarms, one for Monday-Friday and the other for the weekend. Too bad that wasn’t on the box, but was found in the fine print of the manual inside the box, which meant that I had to get my own alarm clock. And every time it storms and the power flickers for a brief moment, I have to reset my alarm clock. It wouldn’t matter if my husband was the first to get up, but I get up first. So if I wait for his alarm to go off, I’ll be late.

Alarm clocks are going the way of albums and cassette players.  I understand that. Today, people use their cell phones for everything. Even as an alarm clock. I don’t want my cell phone in the bedroom. When I get home from work, I plug it in and forget about it until the next morning. I am not on-call, so if it is work, it can wait until I get up the next morning. My husband used to have a work cell phone and his regular cell phone. He was rather tethered to both of them and it made me crazy when in the middle of a conversation he would get a text or a call and his focus would be on the phone. One time, during dinner out, he got a call from work just as we ordered dinner. He went to take the call outside and one call led to another. Our dinner came. I ate mine and his got cold. I asked for the check and a box for his and walked right past him to go to the car. I think that was when he realized I had enough of the cell phone during meal times, so it was a definite no in the bedroom. His new job doesn’t provide him with a cell phone, so when he gets home, work is put aside, which is nice.

So I started looking for an alarm clock. I don’t need one that charges my cell phone. I don’t want one that plays music through the device. Or one that tells me the date and temperature or works as a severe weather warning system. And I definitely don’t want one that illuminates the numbers on the wall or the ceiling in huge numbers. I have enough problem sleeping as it is. I just want one that will wake me up, has a battery and will stay set if the power goes out. It doesn’t matter if the numbers are red or green or blue, although blue might be a nice change. Anyway, alarm clocks are scarce in the stores, so I will have to take my search online. I’m sure I’ll find something. I just wish I could see it in person…and maybe read the little insert to see if it really has a battery back-up. My luck would be that it just runs on batteries and probably has a loud ticktock sound and be something else to make me not sleep.

Man Your Battle Stations

churchillThis is going to be a work update. Our new manager started in August and while she has been settling into the job the office has been in chaos. It has been interesting to see how people are trying to make themselves seem wonderful in her eyes, as if they are the perfect example of “Employee of the Year.” Oops, maybe they are trying so hard because the new manager actually was selected as “Employee of the Year” at her previous job. Anyway, it has been more of let the backstabbing begin and then the mudslinging starts.

Our office has been in transition for a while. We had the old manager leaving and the new manager coming on board. The plan was for the old manager to continue to come to our office for two days a week to help the new manager learn her position. That idea, while great in theory, lasted about two weeks. The old manager has done much of the training by phone and teleconference. Another area of transition is with our doctors. One is leaving to work at another community site. His replacement, while we know who it will be, has not been fully credentialed at our facility or with the insurance companies, so that has caused a delay. The physician leaving wants us to slow down on giving him new patients and our other physician is taking on the majority of the patients and is feeling overwhelmed and overworked. Our head nurse doesn’t like our new manager and has already complained about her to the director of the center. Added to this are rumors of cutting staff and people are worried about their jobs.

Employees are trying to get the attention of our new manager and they don’t necessarily care if they throw another employee under the bus in order to do so. Tension and animosity is growing in the office. I had one employee straight out lie to try to get out of doing a task that she was given more than a year ago by telling our manager that she “volunteered” to do it because my section was too busy and it is time we took it back. Of course, I was called into the office and questioned about this. I explained to my manager that the task the employee was given had never been my sections to do and that she was given the task because she didn’t have enough work to do and they were trying to justify keeping her position full-time. I also let the manager know that there had been a nasty, hostile confrontation with the former manager and the employee in June during my weekly meeting and to please verify it with her. She did and now she knows the truth. As for the lying, co-worker, I discuss work and only in front of witnesses. Any further conversation doesn’t happen. I keep our interaction limited and the door to my office closed.

I had high hopes that things would be different and sort themselves out once the new manager came on board, but that isn’t the case. A number of co-workers are looking for other jobs. They used to hide that fact, but now it is being discussed out in the open. Their feelings are if the manager knows, maybe something will change. I’m getting tired of waiting for the change to come. In my opinion, the wrong people are looking for other jobs. The one’s causing the problems are the ones that should be looking elsewhere. I spoke to my husband and he knows that I have set a date in my head of when I will have enough. Either things get better or I start the search for a new job. As always, he is supportive. And I love him for that. It makes it easier to go into work every day. Until then, I have made the quote below my new motto and have put it on the bottom of my computer monitor where I can look at it each day. I also have it written it Italian, which makes it harder for people to know what it says:

“Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction.”

 “A volte e meglio reagire con nessuna reasione.”
 

Happy Labor Day

Labor Day

Oh No!!! He’s An East Coast Driver Now

I have always been an obey the rules kind of girl. And when it comes to driving, I pay attention to the speed limit. If it is 65 mph, I go 65 mph. I don’t go 75 or 80 mph. I stay in the right or middle lane and let those that want to speed go around me. Living in Kansas, the roads were not as congested as they are on the east coast and the drivers were better behaved. Moving here four years ago, I pretty much left the driving to my husband. I occasionally remind him that the speed limit is 30 not 35 and he smiles and tells me he is going 30 mph. He knows how I feel about speeding and always does the best he can to stay at the speed limit when I’m in the car. Do I think he does when I’m not around? No. But it is different when I am with him.

Traffic CongestionOr it was different. Once he began commuting farther for his job, he has adopted the east coast way of driving, which is scary. If you have any doubts about east coast driving being considered one of the worst in the country, you can read more here. Now, when I drive with him, I always make sure my seat belt is secured, there are no projectiles that may go flying if we have to suddenly stop and I find myself closing my eyes so I don’t see the speedometer. It seems that the only way to drive on the Beltway is defensively. Fast. And pray that someone is looking out for you as you try to get from Point A to Point B. 65 mph is 80 mph. Too fast for me, but apparently too slow for those hurtling down the highway around us. If you have five feet between you and the car in front of you, someone will take the opportunity to pull their 10 foot vehicle between you. Conversation is virtually impossible as words such as a&%hole and stupid f*#k are uttered quite frequently to describe the latest near miss as we attempt to navigate our way around town. I have learned what white knuckled truly means and have learned not to eat anything heavy for fear of getting sick if we will be in the car for longer than a few minutes.

But last weekend, when another car pulled out from a parking lot and apparently didn’t see the 4 cars in the lanes next to them and proceeded to aimlessly drive towards us, we were saved a serious accident thanks to the quick defensive driving of my newly crowned King of East Coast Driving husband that saved us and the people behind us from getting hurt. And let me tell you, if they had damaged my new car, they would have seen a 5’ 2” Italian, Scottish, English, French (and the numerous other ancestries in my background) woman bring a case of whoop a$$ down on them that they would never forget. And I have a picture of your license plate. Just saying. 🙂

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