The phones are ringing. The printer is going. My heart is racing. I run from station to station trying to avoid the phones, picking up IV bags to send to floors, sorting out notices of pills that have stocked out from various med machines and trying to keep organized.
"Hey SpilledSecrets!" I hear as I dash past the controlled substances pharmacist, Mrs Fay.
"Hey Mrs. Fay" I call back, on my way to label a patient's med order.
I pass by Mrs Fay's station once I've filled my order and make eye contact.
"I have some pills and hydrocodone liquid that needs prepacking when you get a chance." she tells me.
"Ok, I can do it now." and I pick up the bottles along with some empty unit-dose cups and an oral syringe before dropping off my order and returning to my station.
At my station, I decide to prepack the pills first. I lay out four sheets with 300 blister packs and examine my pill bottles. Oxycodone 5 mg. All 3 bottles have the same lot number and expiration date, so no need to separate which pills come from which bottles. I methodically pour the pills into my hand and distribute them into the blisterpacks, one pill per blister, and then move to the computer to type my labels - control number, NDC, lot #, expiration date, manufacturer, brand and generic names and strength. I double check, and hit print. The sheets of labels come out warm and I savor them on my cold hands for a minute before peeling off the backing and sticking them to the blister packs. I drop them off at Mrs Fay's station, satisfied with my work.
Next is hydrocodone liquid. Thirty-two 15ml single dose cups. I line up all the cups first, nice and orderly - three rows of 10 little white cups with 2 at the end. I open and fit the bottle with the right stopper that will allow me to insert my oral syringe without spilling. I look at my 60ml oral syringe - it will fill 4 cups at a time so it shouldn't take long. I pull the syringe barrel back all the way, remembering that if I don't inject any air into the bottle, pulling out the liquid is hard because the pressure will pull my syringe back into the bottle. I insert the syringe into the bottle and flip it upside down, preparing to push some air into it in order to release the liquid.
As I push the air in, I flash back to interning as a student. I was allowed to prepack the hydrocodone liquid and as I pushed the air in, the tech observing said to be careful because one time another tech did that and ---
My eyes are closed now but i don't remember closing them. I lick my lips and taste the hydrocodone syrup. My eyelids are heavy with the sugary red liquid. I take my glasses off, wipe my face quickly and open my eyes. The bottle is again upright on the table with a mass of syrup puddled around it. Around the puddle are splatters of syrup. I immediately back away before anyone can see me and, hiding behind the wall at my station, I frantically try to wipe away the hydrocodone that is streaming down my face and in my hair. It's everywhere. It's on my clothes, down my arms and covering my hands. I turn on the front facing camera of my phone and use it as a mirror to wipe away the excess syrup from my face and smooth my hair back as best as I could.
Then I survey the area. There are drops on the floor and I quickly and discreetly try to wipe them away with my shoe. But the more I try, the more I realize that my explosion didn't just occur at my station's table but had blown outwards of 10 feet covering the entire work area. I turn around to look at the back wall and realize that it has even splattered all the way against the wall at face level. For a split second I turn back to the puddle on the table and consider trying to suck up and save as much of the puddle as I can with the syringe for the prepacking, and then decide that no, it's not only unethical but it won't do any good. I reach behind me and grab the blue hospital jacket I had worn into the anesthesia dept earlier in the morning and use it to cover my soaked scrub top as I rush to the bathroom to try to clean myself up better.
I run water over my face, in my hair and over my hands. I soap them up and rinse. My eyelids are still sticky. I'm not red anymore but I can't get clean, either. I turn and put my hand on the door to exit, feeling a hot flush of embarrassment and shame at having to admit what happened. I take a deep breath, march out with my head held high, turn to Mrs Fay and blurt out, "You're not getting all 32 cups today!"
She frowns sympathetically "Oh, did you have a spill?"
"Something like that" I say. " It exploded.
"Aww, and it's all in your hair and so early in the morning, too!" Then she chuckled. "You'll have to go around like that all day, too!" She paused and concluded with "I have a stock out ready on the 6th floor whenever you're ready to deliver it."
"I'll get to it in a minute. I need time to calm myself" I reply and head back towards my station.
I pause again, before deciding I'd rather not walk around with a dirty, sticky scrub top, so I take it off and put on a fresh hospital jacket over the long black shirt I wore underneath. It's far too big and my tiny 5'3" 115 lb fr
I work on my station to clean it up, over and over. I grab gauze and go over it multiple times with water and rubbing alcohol. It feels like it's getting better but I know it's still sticky and I can't gauge just how sticky because my hands are coated in syrup as well. I wipe down the table, the walls, the floor, the bottle, and the cups to the best that I could but it's not good enough. "Oh, well it'll have to do" I think to myself, sighing and resigning to the fact that I'm no match for a bottle of hydrocodone. There's too much to do to spend my whole day wiping and rewiping everything.
I take another deep breath and look at my prepacking supplies. The bottle is upright but the syringe is still laying on the table, pulled back and with the stopper stuck to its tip. I stick it back in and draw up hydrocodone, squirting it in 15ml increments into the unit dose cups. As I fill them, a smile draws on my lips and I can't help but laugh a little. I'm kind of impressed with myself. I empty the bottle and count the cups I've filled. Twenty six. Out of 118mls, I've spilled 90mls. I tell Mrs Fay.
"Only 26 cups! You really lost a lot!"
You're telling me.
I finish labelling the cups and wipe down the bottle again, until it doesn't feel sticky to me anymore before handing them back to Mrs Fay. Later she complains that her fingers are sticky from the bottle. She and another tech also advise me to wipe down the sticky table, which I also thought was finally smooth again. Like I said, I'm so covered in it, I can't tell anymore.
The other techs and pharmacists are good natured about it. I recount my story lightheartedly but really, I'm bragging at the intensity of my explosion. The IV pharmacist smiles at me and goes "Going for any more narcotics? A spill, huh?" and jokingly winks at me. Another tech jokes "If we see her sucking on her hair, we'll know what she was really doing!" and then later, she walked through my area and asked "How in the world did you get it all the way over here!?" Yet another tech widens her eyes and exclaims "How did you tell Mrs Fay!? Was she mad!?" Two more techs simply laugh.
One tech assures me "Don't worry, you're not the first to do that and you won't be the last."
"Maybe not, but I think I set a record" I say.
"Yeah, you definitely did that! I've never seen it spray that far before. When you screw something up, you do it *really* well!"
Later in the day, another tech jokes "I think the problem is that there's too many people here."
"Yeah." I say. "I'll volunteer to go home"
"You have the best reason to." She laughs. "You're full of hydrocodone!"
A pharmacist laughs and mocks "I'm full of narcotics, can I go home?"
Before I leave, another pharmacist asks if I work tomorrow. I affirm that i do, and she inquires "So what will you do for excitement tomorrow?"
It'll definitely be hard to top that one.
I have been typing up a storm this morning. I kept telling myself I need to update my EP stuff but I've always lost motivation. This morning I went back and reread a bunch of my stuff, and I think it's invigorated me. Sorry if I sound conceited, but I'm a really good writer when I get passionate about something...or maybe it's just that I reread my own stuff so I have a personal connection to it all. Whatever. Doesn't matter so much in the end.
In my last blog entry, I was worried about making too many mistakes. Well, I was in the IV room again on Thursday and the pharmacist said something that really lit my day up. As usual, I was doing my batch of IV fluids for the next day and worrying that I wasn't fast enough. The pharmacist came over and started helping me label the batch items that didn't need to be made and I kind of started to feel worse - like "Man, if he has to help me, I must be really behind." And then out of the blue he goes, "It's a pleasure working with you...."
I paused and watched his face, waiting for the "but" criticism to flow in. It didn't. So finally I half-joked, "Thanks! I was waiting for the 'but' to follow since that's how this pharmacy works"
"No. It is *really* a pleasure to have you around. I can relax with you here."
That really meant a lot to me, more that he'll ever know. Earlier that week, I was having lunch with 2 techs and one of them asked if we ever come back to lunch during IV shifts and have a ton of work to do. One said "yes" I paused, puzzled, and said "No" The tech that asked then said, "Then he must make your drips for you when you're at lunch. he doesn't do that for us. He'll only do it for some techs" and she went on to say that he's really become complacent in the IV room. Trying my best to mediate the situation, and also because I'm insecure, I responded with "Maybe he just helps the slower ones. I'm new so I know I'm not as fast as you guys..." and they affirmed than I'm fast (also good news). I continue with, "Well, it's not just him, the other pharmacists do it, too. Like on the weekends, when we're understaffed, they'll let me pull my entire floorstock all by myself but when Lisa floor stocks, Pharmacist X helps her pull half of it." The second tech responded with, "They all have their favorites. Like, I know I'm Pharmacist Y's favorite, she loves me! And I'm pretty sure you're the IV pharmacist's favorite...although maybe that's because you're new and it hasn't worn off yet." I lowered my voice and followed with, "Yeah, maybe that's it" both agreeing with her and feeling insulted by her comments at the same time. So the IV Pharmacist telling me he genuinely likes working with me leads me to believe that perhaps I'm the favorite after all...and Lisa. He's got her cell number, and as far as I know, she's the only one. And I know that out of the other techs he usually works with, one is a drama queen, one has ADHD, and one likes to do her own thing regardless of what anyone says, and since the IV pharmacist is non-confrontational, I can see what he means when he says he can relax with me.
Although now, I'm second-guessing other things. Because the IV pharmacist is the one I blogged about having a crush on earlier. It's pretty much gone now, and has been since I made that post. But...now he's gotten touchier. Not inappropriately so, but for example, he told me a story where Pharmacist Z (is the alphabet pharmacist list confusing yet?) told him, "I don't know who's in that bathroom but they've flushed 3 times and they've been in there for an hour" so they were kinding of picking on the situation and waited to see who would come out. He told me when he saw the person come out, he never heard the sink come on so he joked "And so you know the next thing he's going to do is come up and be all 'And how are you? How has your day been?'" and then he grabbed my hand and cupped it in his and it felt like he held it for a long time, too. And instinctively, at first, I started to pull it away. My sense of what is normal and what isn't is blurred because I've always had anxiety issues and therefore a guarded emotional wall up around me and a lack of social grace and I don't touch people at all so I can't help but wonder if that moment was in the realm of regular interaction or if it actually was a bit *too* close. Because I remember when the married guy was flirting with me and I mentioned something he did, thinking it was innocent and everyone assured me "Oh, no, he was trying to get close to you!" I just can't tell. Even with other straight women, some of them are "huggers" and I'm not, and I couldn't tell you when an appropriate time to hug people would be and when it's not ok. but anyways, on Thursday, he told me he stopped at the bank and he thought one of the tellers and a guy there was having an affair - he gave me some details but then mentioned that when he came in, the guy jumped up and "was like this" and then he moved close behind me and rested his hand on my back, and again, it just felt like it was there forever" Doing my best to ignore it, I joked back "If I was having an affair and he tried to hide behind me it wouldn't work! I'd just push him away and be like 'Oh, hey honey! Idk who that guy is!'" and we had a few laughs over it. But in the back of my head....
I feel silly, like a thirteen year old girl who asks "Does this mean he likes me?" and then gives you some romanticized story about an interaction that the boy in question doesn't even remember anymore. But I have a history of missing cues and enough of that has started making me paranoid. I tend to make friends with guys who I think have innocent intentions and then find out later they weren't innocent at all. I'm aware that I'm naive to those things. I mean...I did tell him I used to be in an affair and he told me his relationship with wife #2 started out as one...does he think that means my morals are loosened, or can be, and that I'm easy bait? Or does he just have a crush, as I did, and is just flirting? Or...not at all? Am I reading too much into it? I'm always telling myself that I probably am. That I have to be.
Because I mean, it's not like he has *my* cell number, first of all. He definitely has Lisa's and as far as I can tell, there's nothing going on between them. She even eats lunch with him sometimes, which none of the other techs do, so if anyone was going be the one he'd most likely start anything with, it would be her, and I don't think he has. I mentioned before that he's naturally very warm and friendly so it's definitely not odd that he might be more comfortable making physical contact with others...right? Of course. And besides, the longer we work together, the more comfortable we'll be around eachother so maybe the fact that he's started touching me is simply a result of that. Also, it's not like we have secret conversations. The things he tells me are things that he eventually tells everyone. And when i really think about it, we also have one straight female tech that has done everything I've mentioned - she's caressed my back and held my hand (to look at my bracelet/ring combo) for a prolonged time (in my opinion) and I've never once thought "is she a lesbian?" so why should I think that about this pharmacist just because he's a man? Maybe I just answered my own question. I don't know.
I'm hoping this entry will do for me what my last entry about the IV pharmacist did and squash any weird thoughts flowing into my head. Here's hoping.
I am so confused right now.
I've been having internal conflicts at work due to my lack of attention to detail. I take my job seriously...particularly in the IV room, and I feel like I keep messing up on little details. It really gets to me because these IVs are going into people's veins and I just feel so totally inadequate when I make dumb mistakes, especially yesterday when it happened over and over. I drew up the additives for my TPNs but drew up 2 extra millileters of sodium chloride for one. I mixed a drip in 100 mls of normal saline instead of 50 mls. Stuff like that. Stuff that I should know better. What would happen if I didn't have a pharmacist double checking my work? I keep thinking back especially to the chemo pharmacist, who is working with toxic substances and could really make a fatal accident very easily - he hasn't, and nobody double checks his work. I want to be like that.
Even when not in the IV room - when it's time to pull drugs for floorstocking, we have a lot of very long lists to go through and despite my best efforts, I feel as if I make the most errors (which isn't very much but still, when another tech consistently makes no errors and I consistently make three, it's disheartening to me)...pulling similar-sounding pills or not paying attention to whether or not they're delayed-release or immediate...again, stuff I feel I should really know.
The worst part is that it feels as though the harder I try, the harder I fall. I guess I get so focused on my fear of being perfect, that I sabotage my best efforts. For example, I'll repeatedly remind myself to check every detail - the drug, the strength, the amount, and the type. And I DO check those things, more than once I might add. And then...it's wrong. Then I think, "How stupid can I be that I mentally check off the WRONG thing multiple times and still not see it!?!?!?"
Also, I know part of it is because I'm constantly sleep-deprived. DH gets home between 10-11pm, and I go to bed at 11pm, wake at 5:30am, and only end up getting 6 or so hours of sleep, which isn't enough. But I don't want to go to bed earlier because I want some time after work with DH. That's really put me at odds.
I feel that by all accounts, I should be a naturally detail-oriented person. I'm a Virgo and an ISFJ; both personality desc
Maybe part of the blame is my natural anxiety and my desire to be fast and efficient. I do have to admit that I often feel rushed. Most of the advice I've read about how to become more detail-oriented involve making lists and planning for long-term projects. But my job doesn't work like that. I don't have projects, I have assignments which change daily and have to be done ASAP. I never know which drugs will have to be restocked or which IV labels will print, nor HOW MANY but I do know they all have to be done within the hour or less, sometimes stat. It's hard to plan ahead for things like that, and like I've said, even when I've tried, my anxiety gets the best of me and I just fail even more miserably. One of the best pieces of advice I've read is to take a break and come back to it later with "new eyes" because when seeing somebody else's work, or your own work after a period of rest, you're more likely to notice mistakes. I know from experience that this is definitely true. Unfortunately, my job does not allow for that.
The times that I do feel detail-oriented are times when I think back to my college days, getting my English degree. I wrote a lot of papers. Papers that required meticulous record-keeping and researching, and tons of proofreading. I put out damn good essays, and I usually have far more than the required number of sources. Note-taking has always been something daunting to me because I tend to try to cram in as many details as possible within the time span, which meant a ton of abbreviations and lines and lines full of jumbled text and bullet points. I also like to draw sometimes, which in and of itself requires attention to detail - shapes, colors, and shades that require the artist to see separately, in order to make them create a whole image. And all those days where DH has reminded to calm down and take a deep breath because I worried and fretted over every detail that didn't matter.
But then there are things, like this blog, where clearly attention to detail has been thrown to the wind. I often submit blog entries rife with grammatical errors and typos (especially leaving "I" in lowercase) that I can see after they've been submitted, but I never care enough to go back and fix. Or the times when I try to follow a recipe while I'm home alone with nobody to judge me or make me rush, and I STILL manage to overlook something or screw something up. I've always been a messy person and never one to keep lists or organization - try as I might, everything usually ends up jumbled into one big messy pile.
I must admit that right now my mental faculties are so blurred that I'm having trouble distinguishing between what is natural for a detail-oriented person and what is an unrealistic obsession with trying to be perfect.
I feel that I can get better if I work on it, and if I try to do it in my daily life, not just at work - starting with proofreading this blog. I am worried that doing so will again cause me to mess up even worse because of my hyperfocusing, but not trying will certainly only yield the same, discouraging results. I'm kind of at a loss of what to do or what to think.
That simple. That complicated. That cliched.
I was distracting myself on EP's Q&A. Then the questions stopped. And for a few seconds, I sat there, wondering "What do I do now?" There are plenty of options - tv, reading, games, music, youtube, sculpting, drawing, etc. But I didn't really feel like doing anything; I finally tried youtube and looked up videos for grav3yardgirl, who I can't help but be drawn to because she's so loud and outspoken and just totally herself and yet also alone most of the time but the videos I happened to catch today were ones she did with friends or family members and I just watched the natural connection that happens when two people are close in a friendly way. Unlike her solo videos where there's almost a sense of trying too hard for approval and acceptance of her viewers, I saw grav3yard girl smile, laugh and joke witht he other person in her videos in a very simple, relaxed, naturally goofy, almost giggly-school-girlish way, and then I was hit with the overwhelming sense of emptiness. My husband isn't home; he's out celebrating a friend's birthday, which I can't attend because I have to sleep for work tomorrow. That's kind of been happening a lot lately.
I don't have any friends of my own to talk to. It almost felt as if I did at work today in the IV room but it's a false sense. Crush is definitely fading so I think blogging about it the other day did the trick. Sometimes my feelings get amped up and I get happy and excited over something or a series of somethings and then when something like this happens where everything stops for a minute and I no longer have a space or a person to put all of that energy into, I really feel how truly alone I am.
And really, it doesn't happen *too* often. I'm very much a natural introvert and hermit so the interaction with my husband and coworkers is often enough to keep me filled. But nights like tonight where it's not enough can be a bit rough.
That's all. I wish someone were here. I wish I had that kind of connection I watched in youtube today. I wish, I wish, I wish.
Tonight is another time for psychoanalysis because I can't deny it anymore. I have a silly schoolgirl crush. There, it's out. It's on one of the very charismatic pharmacists I work with and I have several theories as to why it's happened, which I will get to in a moment. But first, I also have to get out that a crush is strictly *ALL* it is. That affair I had when I started this blog before my husband and I were together has caused me to hardcore guilt over finding anyone besides my husband attractive and I feel like I always have to justify myself TO myself, even though it's perfectly natural and everyone is bound to find others attractive, no matter what their relationship status is. But anyways, I definitely don't have designs on this man. I don't want to do anything to him, flirt with him, initiate anything. At all. The thought of actually being with him *like that* actually grosses me out, which makes this crush all the more complicated. So, without further ado, a numbered list of possible reasons for my inapprpriate infatuation:
1. He reminds me of MM.
This is the one that makes me feel the worst. Immediately, before I ever had a spark, I noticed the way he interacted with others was very, VERY similar to the married man I was seeing a few years back. He's really laid back and friendly and has an easy sense of humor. As a matter of fact, they're both Tauruses (Yes, that is an astrology reference; stop rolling your eyes at me) and both have very Taurus-y down-to-earth personas. Maybe I just like Taurus's? The same way I like people born under Cancer. My husband is a Cancer and most of my friends growing up were, as well. But anyways, dude reminds me of MM. And maybe that stirs up old, reminiscient feelings.
2. He's nice to me.
That reason is exactly as pathetic as it sounds. Because while we're being frank, I've mentioned time and time again that I'm totally socially inept. I have a hard time connecting with people and often feel aloof and outcast. And like I said before, he has a naturally friendly, laid back personality. He greets me in the morning, jokes with me, shares parts of his life with me, asks me about my life, and remembers the things I say, and, well, people just don't do that with me much. Today as he walked by, he gave me a friendly tap on the arm and asked me about my art and I visibly lit up as I told him about my new venture into sculpting. When we were in the IV room together, I would spend time doodling and drawing (and again, since we're being honest, it was really a ruse so that I wouldn't have to awkwardly make conversation cause, you know, socially inept) and he actually saved my crappy doodle and was enthusiastic about it. So maybe I'm just latching onto someone's friendliness because of my own loneliness, like a dehydrated person getting a taste of plain water and feeling like it was the best tasting thing in the whole world.
3. He's an authoritative figure who's nice.
This is where Freud really comes in. I've always been a Daddy's girl and further more, I've always been a timid Daddy's girl who leaned heavily on Dad to make decisions, especially since my relationship with Mom is volatile and I haven't lived with her since I was in 2nd grade. Now that I'm 26 and an adult making my own decisions and living away from home, maybe, in my own sick way, I'm looking for the comfort of my father and misinterpreting it in a romanticized way. It's never been as strong as this, but this isn't the first time I've found myself with a few stomach butterflies over an older, educated, friendly man. Most recently it happened with my pharmacy professor even though he was not my type at all - had a 70's mustache, a paunch, and was just...middle-aged looking. But I liked receiving attention from him. I guess it just made me feel protected to have someone I looked up to and admired treat me with friendliness.
4. He's not bad looking.
This one I'm still iffy on. Because on one hand, he has that distinguished older man look with salt-and-pepper hair but a relatively young-looking face, like Dr Drew, and I've always thought Dr Drew was an attractive older man. On the other hand, there's something inherently geeky about him. He's tall so he hunches a little when he stands sometimes and he wears short-sleeved business shirts and the sleeves are too wide - just screams more "suspenders-wearing, retainer-mouthed nerd" than "smooth ladie's man". And his arms are really hairy, which didn't used to bug me but since marrying a hair-free man, I've really come to appreciate smooth skin. Out of all the male pharmacists, though, he's definitely the best looking.
5. I want to be wanted.
Easily the most shallow reason on the list. I'm pretty, and for most of my life, I've had a lot of attention from men. But shit, I'm halfway to 30 now and already finding slight lines in my face telling me those days are numbered. And I have typical girl insecurities. So, I'm well aware that perhaps even if I don't want him, I still want him to want *me* - the thrill of the chase and the affirmation that I'm still a looker and still desirable. That awful Pussycat Dolls song "Dont cha" is #5's anthem.
So I think that covers everything. I've found myself putting more effort into my appearance before work and I get a little nervous and stupid around him but when I imagine what it would be like to be in another MM situation, the word "ew" comes to mind. Also, I feel kind of horrified at the thought of trading in the amazing life I have with my handsome, sweet, loving, wonderful husband for him - the hairy nerd with an ex wife, a current wife, a slew of kids aged teenager to young adult (kids are not my thing. I definitely want NOTHING to do with kids, even if they are close to my own age) and a rumor mill at the place we work.
I just don't know how to feel. I feel like it's totally harmless, but guilty at the same time, and I feel like I can't help it. Also, it's really weird to have that puppy love crush feeling mixed with a sense of disgust over the same issue. But I think getting it out helped. Maybe it'll weigh a little less on my mind now.
All day yesterday, I told myself that today, the Monday I had off after working my weekend, would be a productive one. I'd been telling myself ever since I got hired, that I would get the continuing education (CE) requirements for my technician license out of the way and today was going to be the day. I expected an all-day process because as a student in the pharmacy, I witnessed the other techs stressing over getting their CEs - they were sharing with eachother, complaining about those who didn't share, and promising themselves that next year they'd do it early so they wouldn't have to stress next time certification renewal came around. So I thought it would be a pretty time-consuming and slightly frustrating process and with this year being my first as a tech, I figured it would be extra hard doing everything for the first time. I also thought it would be similar to the education requirements I took when I worked for the car dealership...each module took at least 2 hours.
I was very pleasantly surprised and proud of myself when I managed to get all 10 hours of education for this year completed and logged in the national board of pharmacy's monitoring program in 20-40 minutes. "What the fuck is the big deal, guys?", I thought to myself, talking to my fellow techs in my head. I still don't understand why they were stressing out over it.
So, after what I thought was going to be an all day process was finished in less than an hour, the next thing I figured was to go ahead and get my driver's license redone with my new address. I'd been holding it off because after my birth control presciption ran out, I'd been getting hormonal acne and I wanted to get it under control before retaking my photo...after all, this was my chance at redemption for the horrible photo I'd been packing. Today I decided the face beasts had come down enough to take an acceptable photo, straightened my hair, did my makeup, and prepared to go to the DMV.
That's when it happened...the chaos. Where was my wallet? Usually it's in one of three places - the car, the little table by the front door that holds loose change and our keys, or the kitchen counter. After 5 OCD-like car searches, tearing the house up and then cleaning it in hopes of discovering my wallet, and even a period in plastic gloves and a face mask rummaging through maggot-infested trash, I slowly, begrudgingly accepted the truth. My wallet was not lost, it was stolen. I'm not the most organized person, but when it comes to my wallet, I'm not THIS disorganized.
Accepting what happened was a process that came by in bursts throughout my frantic search. Every once in a while, I would pause and try to remember more details about my last encounter. When was the last time I had it? When? WHEN? Target! A memory flashed back of my trip to target, buying sandals, and checking my wallet to make sure my card was there. When was that? I stopped rummaging and raced to the computer room, logging onto my bank account online. Wednesday. Yes. I go back to throwing clothes, cushions, blankets, and various knock knacks around trying to recover the lost wallet. I pause again. What else did I do on Wednesday? Enchiladas...Wednesday was my day off and I'd promised my husband I would make enchiladas. Did I leave it in the grocery store? No. Target was the last place I shopped and I checked my wallet at the register - it was attached to my shoulder by a strap so I definitely carried it out to the car with me. I continue searching, opening drawers and looking behind furniture. Speaking of enchiladas, I remembered that Thursday, my stomach was upsetting me and I wondered if it was from the enchiladas. Is that important? Yes...another flashback. I drove to work, early as usual. It's my custom to get there 20 minutes early and just sit in my car and relax a moment before work. Thursday morning, that 20 minutes was interrupted by an upset stomach. I raced out of my car and started heading out of the parking garage to the bathroom. Halfway down the stairs, I had remembered I had no money for lunch and had to run back to my car. I took my bank card out of my wallet and stuffed it into my scrub pocket before racing back. So I definitely had it Thursday. But did I use the wallet afterwards? I tried to think. My husband and I went to Chili's and I had it...when was that? It had to be earlier than Thursday, because I'd been busy the whole week. So it wasn't there. I'd been busy the whole week...thinking again, I realized that since Thursday, including Saturday and Sunday, I had gone nowhere except to work and home. In fact, on Sunday, DH and I left to go shopping and I remembered noticing that my wallet wasn't in the car...I had figured I must've taken it inside and shrugged it off because there was nothing in it that I needed for that trip.
And that's when I had no other choice. I walked to the living room and sat on a chair, and did nothing except stare ahead and mentally record the feeling of my adrenaline pumping and my chest thumping with anxiety. I told myself to relax because I know what happened now, and I couldn't change it. It didn't work. My husband came home and searched for it and I just sat there and waited for him to come to the same realization. He finally did when he noticed the huge bag of tools he put in the trunk of my car was also missing.
Telling myself that at least he (I assume it's a "he" because I doubt many women would take a tool bag) didn't get my debit card, I decided that as long as I was being "productive," I might as well go and keep up the streak, although now it seriously sucked. I looked up some info online and printed out a form to fill out for a new social security card and dug out my birth certificate. my new cards will have to wait until Wednesday because I work the rest of this week but I guess I could at least get my ducks in a row now while I can. At some point I'll also have to get some replacement health insurance cards and a new birth control presc
I'd been looking forward to getting everything done and finished so that I can finally have a lazy day off with no errands to think about. But right when you think you're ahead on a Monday, you find out just how behind you really are.
Working in the hospital world, we have what are called "narcotic discrepancies." Basically, our medicine machines (Pyxis machines) keep a stricter lock on narcotic inventories. Unlike regular meds, when you choose to deal with narcs, it makes you count what's already in there before you remove any. And if, for example, you type in 14 or 12, when there's really 13 pills in there, it creates a discrepancy, which must then be documented with a logged-in witness to record what really happened. When things get dodgy enough, employees have to take a piss test - Idk about nurses but for those of us in pharmacy, enough discrepancies, with or withour a piss test, can mean disciplinary action or loss of job. So it's a big deal.
Sunday, I was minding my own business, going through all the floors to deliver "the batch" - the group of IV bags and mixtures due the next day for in-patients. I get to ICU, and a nurse is frustrated because she can't figure out how to return the rapid intubation/RID box (a little box with emergency meds for when a patient needs to have a tube down their throat) back into the Pyxis....SHE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT WAS CALLED! AND IT WAS WRITTEN RIGHT ON THE BOX!!! That should have been my first sign. She asks me for help and I oblige - I sign in, show here where the button for the rid box is, click it - the door that holds RID boxes unlocks and swings open, we return the box - no big deal, right?
So next she says "Oh, you're so smart, can you also figure out how to fix this?" and she points at the screen. I see that she and another nurse had been doing their daily rounds of checking all the narcotics and they had created two discrepancies on themselves. I should have walked away or signed out but I'm still thinking,"this lady is a nurse, she's older, she does this every day, it's probably a non-issue" so I agree, again, stupidly. I didn't even think to sign out before she opened the drawer to be inventoried and typed her own name as the witness. She recounts the morphine syringes - there are 20. I type "20" into beginning count and it says it's wrong. I explain that I'm not sure what she did, but it thinks she has either more or less than 20.
Being that I have only been there for a little over a month, some things I learn the hard way and what happened next is one of them. This drug is located in what is called a carousel drawer. Unlike the other square drawers, or cubies, a carousel drawer is a covered, round drawer compartmentalized like a pizza with one opening on the cover. When you scan or type in the drug you want, the computer finds it and spins the carousel until the right drug's compartment is under the opened slot...it's a protective measure. What I did not realize is that when you inventory a carousel drug, you can't just inventory that one drug, you have to do the whole damn thing. So she opens the cover, and I see 12 compartments full of narcotics. And I also realized at this moment that once you're signed in to inventory all of these drugs, you're stuck there - it won't let you sign out because the drawer has to be closed first, which can't happen until the drugs selected have been inventoried.
So what I thought was going to be a quick in-and-out trip to drop off a few IV bags turned into an ordeal, and I am not happy. Now realize the whole time, that I am stuck doing all of this under my name. She begins to count drugs and tells me how many to type in - so we're going around the drawer and she gets to fentanyl patches. She tells me 2, I type in 2. "No, that's wrong", the Pyxis says. "Please recount" pops on the screen. She tells me 3. I type in 3. The computer accepts it. Then she realizes there's 4. But the computer has already decided that 4 must have been wrong because when you're asked to recount, it sometimes takes the second number as being the accurate number. So there goes another discrepancy. Now I'm angry.
She goes through the other drawers and I notice she starts to get even more scatter-brained. She's knocking drugs into the wrong drawer and when she encounters the two discrepancies that had been on there originally (the ones she asked me to help inventory), she's confused. She also keeps forgetting that I'm the one logged in so everytime a "witness required" sign-in popped up she repeatedly points to me and then points to the computer before realizing SHE is the one who had to witness. When I describe what happens next, I can only say that the situation mimicked a useless parent making eye contact with a stranger. You know when someone's kid is being a brat and screaming and poking people and throwing things, and being a general nuisance and you look at the parent as if to say, "Well, are you going to take control of your kid?" and they give you this unbelievably stupid ex
We finally get to the end of the drugs and OH, SURPRISE! There are 2 MORE discrepancies in addition to the ones she just made!!! So she just documents them all as "miscounted"...still under my name.
So I kind of stewed over it for the rest of the afternoon - I can't tell my boss because it's Sunday and I'm off Monday. So today when I get to work - OF *FUCKING* COURSE there are three more goddamned discrepancies and they all list me as the one with prior access so guess who gets the blame for that??? I finally tell my boss, the pharmacy manager, and she says she can talk to our Pyxis technician and see if we can get them cleared off my name. So at least there's that.
But still....what the fucking hell? If this nurse doesn't know what a RID box is and can't even do basic counting - what I figure must be the easiest part of an intensive care nursing job - how in the fuck is this woman in charge of taking care of critical care patients, are you kidding me!?!?!? I mean, this fucktard messed up counting like 7 drugs out of 12 drugs. Again - what.the.hell. It is a good thing I was floor stocking meds today because after I saw that, I just wanted to be by myself. I got to spend the day alone in the med rooms, refilling drugs as opposed to having to spend the whole day in the pharmacy interacting with people when I was definitely in no mood to do so.
And I tried to subside my anger. I repeatedly told myself that she was probably just having a bad day and Heaven knows I've certainly had those days where try as I might, my mind was not with work and I fucked up stuff so simple, it was clear I didn't know my head from my ass - so I really shouldn't judge this woman so harshly. Especially when it was also my fault - I mean, I should have known better than to let someone else inventory their narcs under my name. I should have stopped her and told her to let me do the count myself. Should have done this, should have done that.
But I couldn't help it. When it came down to the bottom line, I had at least three discrepancies under my name, that weren't technically even mine, because some lady can't keep her shit together. I wanted to be the bigger person, the more rational person, the person who can take accountability, but my feelings won out over my brain and I was just fuming.
Lesson very, VERY much learned...the hard way.
Admittedly, I've been hesitant to update, because so much has happened, and it just seems like a lot to cover...and I procrastinate when it comes to big, long tasks. But I'll make it short (for me, anyways) - I had nothing to worry about as far as my internship/job crossover went because they've since hired me. I've also graduated with my certification and with that, received a $2 pay raise. I'm still making pennies because I work for a nonprofit hospital but $2 more than what I was making is still good (I make $12 an hour). It's still awkward because I've been there about a month and there's still a lot to learn, and I'm someone who is uncomfortable with not knowing things. I ask a lot of questions and try to learn from mistakes and hope far more than normal that I'm not being gossipped about (that's my social anxiety talking).
DH and I are in the process of buying a house. God, I really thought that would never happen. Every house in our budget was in a scary neighborhood or was just plain out run down. And then...we found it. In our budget, the rooms are big enough (it has 3BR and 1 1/2 baths), it's all hardwood floors, central electric heating and A/C, the owners have made improvement after improvement on it, and the yard is fantastic - it's shaded because there are trees surrounding it from the neighboring yards but the yard itself is actually flat and open. I love it. Even my dad, who is super-critical and very detail-oriented and technical, said it was a great house. I've been dreaming about how to decorate and what to use the rooms for and even contemplating pets - I would love to have one or two sphynx cats but they're a lot of maintenance, so most likely, it won't happen, but I like the idea of having a pet. It's been a semi-frustrating process since this is our first house and we know nothing. Luckily, our mortgage banker has been beyond friendly and helpful and I'm hoping our deal will close towards the end of this month.
I've had to go back to shampooing my hair regularly and I gave up heating products. I know I was doing the no-shampoo thing to restore health but I'm such an idiot and so vain, that I insisted on continuing to flat iron my hair...only without the shampoo there were no 'cones to protect it and my heat spray wasn't enough. Suffice to say, I fried it worse than it has ever been so I've been forced to give it up. Now, I shampoo with a moisturizing shampoo, deep condition, and use Hapuna Argan oil and Suave keratin leave-in to get rid of the frizz. I also have to braid it or twist it in a bun to create curls, or wear it up because my naturally dried hair just looks messy and like I don't comb it (I remember when I was younger, I would comb my hair and then my dad would later look at me and frustratedly say, 'You need to comb your hair' cause it just always looked dishevelled). So that means I have to wash it early afternoon so that it dries by bedtime so that I can set it at night, so that it looks decent the next day. It's very inconvenient. I miss my flat iron - 15 minutes before I left the house and I was done.
MM and his wife just had a baby. Yes, I still stalk her blog and facebook. I don't know why. I have no connection to either of them anymore, and no desire to *get* in touch with them, but I feel compelled to seek them out anonymously. Perhaps it's curiosity. I mean, once you have an affair with a married man, you hear a lot of secrets about their marriage but you don't know what the truth is. I know I still wonder if they're happy together now or if they're still just playing the roles of a young married couple and are struggling internally. I remember when I was still involved in that mess, I told MM that I thought he and his wife were good together and he asked, "Why?" I don't know if he was genuinely curious because he was lost emotionally, or if he asked because in his mind they were totally incompatible and was wondering why I would ever think such a thing. maybe it was a little of both. I hope that they've found eachother again in their marriage, despite my short interference, and I really hope this baby is a result of that, and not an attempt to fix a broken relationship. Maybe that's why I cyberstalk them - maybe I have a need to find answers of my own and seeing how this new stage in *their* life plays out will give me some clue to those answers. I don't even know why I want answers. Maybe it's guilt talking, or a weird sense of ego and vanity because I was able to break in between them (and I know how awful that is, but it's the truth) but I feel like I have to reach an end somehow and I can't let it go. When I think about it, I think he really wanted his wife back, because they were both working and their lives were going in opposite directions. I think I was a substitute for that because his wife and I are similar in many ways. We're both short brunettes, we're both writers (me with my English degree and she with her journalism), we both share his sense of humor....it's just that I was there and she wasn't. I suppose I wonder if they still miss each other or if they've managed to come together at last. I think of that and it reminds me to be careful in my own marriage - to make sure that we have date days, and that we're connected, and that sex is regular, and that he knows how I feel about him. And then I think back to MM's wife and I'm sure she felt the same way. They were still going out on weekends to visit family or whatever and I do think I remember her making efforts to have couple time but still, something was missing. So who knows? And I guess that's where I'm left wondering and searching.
Long story short: have been doing my hospital internship since January. Had hopes of asking for a job which came to fruition Monday afternoon when a full time position opened. The director had already gone home so I told myself to ask Wednesday (today). Come today, the manager said the director won't be in today but may talk to me about working when he comes in Friday. The full time position is filled apparently. They want me part time. I am feeling....extremely depressed. I know a part time job is still a job offer but I really need full time money and benefits. I could kick myself for not doing....idk, something, earlier. Called, let someone know....something! I just let the opportunity slip through my fingers because I assumed they wouldn't fill the position so fast. I feel as though I always let good things go. I have some self hate going on right now. I'm also typing this on my phone while at clinicals. Needless to say, I don't feel much like working. I feel like going home and wallowing
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I've been meaning to write about this for a while but life has kind of been kicking me in the butt lately (I'm always tired!). The day of the Alice Cooper concert finally came and it was easily the best experience of my entire year.
First of all, DH and I, and another fan who paid for VIP passes were let in early to pick our seats sooo....FRONT ROW CENTER! We came away with some really amazing pictures and seeing Alice so close up was nothing short of amazing! His show was so entertaining and he sounds just as good live as he does on recording. Take a look at the evidence:
Ok, so I have better photos but I'm too lazy to upload them so I stole the ones DH posted on facebook. But look at how close we were to him!!!! When he first walked onto the stage and I realized just what was happening, I cried like a 10 year old at a Justin Bieber concert for a few seconds.
I got a VIP bag with some things in it and I was going to pair the contents with the little things DH and I collected at the concert (fake Alice Cooper money from Billion Dollar Babies, confetti from Caffeine, a guitar pick, etc) into a giant scrapbook type wall hanging but I haven't had time to plan it out yet.
Speaking of VIP, we not only saw him in concert, we met him after the show. Of course, being me, I was so starstruck that I could barely speak 2 words to him. I asked him to sign the painting I made of him and he was so gracious. He even recognized the paints I used and commented that he studied art in college. I just sat there and nodded like an idiot - I wish I would have taken the cue to actually, you know, speak to him. I was just so excited to be sitting right next to him, and I got to take pictures of him and touch him and it was all just wonderful. I thought that spending $1000 to see him and meet him would get it out of my system and next time I could just go to his show like a regular person but the experience was so amazing that the complete opposite happened - now, everytime he performs here, which is every few years, I don't think I could settle for anything less! And by the way, I'll upload the photo of my painting later, as well. I'd post photos of myself with Alice Cooper in his dressing room but I can't since I'm trying to maintain some semblance of anonymity on here.
Speaking of other things, seems a key phrase that keeps popping up is that I haven't had time to do anything. I'm wondering if finding a job where I work nights will help be get over feeling tired the entire time I'm awake by helping me to avoid the dreaded afternoon sleepiness that always seems to hit at 3pm no matter what. Probably not. But getting up early every day to go to my internship, plus working weekend nights, plus school has really taken up a lot of my time and what isn't taken up seems to be spent napping or struggling to stay lucid til bedtime. I am counting down the days til my internship is done. Yet another student got a job offer. Again, not me.
I actually had a weird incident over this. We've been getting busier at the pharmacy lately and the pharmacist mentioned that if things keep going like this, she'll have to hire more people. Then she smiled and said "Too bad Spilledsecrets can't start working!" Of course, at hearing this, my heart elevated and I quipped, "I can in May!" and....nothing. The response I got was a stifled "mm." To me, that's not a good sign. To me, that says "I was just being friendly when I made that first comment. I don't actually want to hire you." And with that, my heart deflated. Not completely, because I'd be lying if i didn't say I'm not clutching onto that glimmer of hope with a death grip, but I'm not counting on it, realistically. I still wonder if they all just think I'm a big idiot.
My ego has really been taking a beating. I still secretly don't get along with Sasha. Had another moment with her Monday night. She was talking about the social group she organized and said they recently went out wearing their colors, which were purple and turquoise. The pharmacist went "What? purple and purple?" and when Sasha corrected her, she went "Oh, I thought you said purple and purple." and laughed a bit. I laughed too, mostly because I'm trying to fit in and be included, especially since I really didn't say anything that whole day and Sasha got mad at me. She lashed out, "What you laughing at?" and then mocked me. So I quit laughing, and seethed silently. The truth was, a small part of me was laughing genuinely because Sasha is a big girl and imagining her in all purple brought up some fat Barney the Dinosaur jokes, but I didn't say anything like that out loud so she had no right to be such a bitch to me.
On the upside, my pharmacy teacher told me in private that he really thinks I would excel if I pursued my career further into becoming an actual pharmacist, so that's nice to hear. if i can just make it 4 1/2 weeks I'll be done with Sasha and I can take a couple of weeks off to relax and put together a resume and then do my hospital clinicals, which I think will be better suited to my introverted personality, anyways. Too bad hospital jobs are so much harder to get but here's hoping.
I recently wrote another whiny blog post but after a while, I started to feel better and decided to document some good things that are going on. And now I'm kind of feeling depressed again so I better get this out before I lose all hope:
As I mentioned in my last post, the two students who went to my school and got hired where I'm interning clearly didn't get offers at THEIR internships. So that makes me feel a bit less alone in my situation.
Even though my Halloween situation isn't ideal, I suppose I could still dress up if I wanted and at least get a *little* time out. And I did buy my costume in normal clothing pieces so I could wear them any time of the year so I guess it's not completely wasted.
The Alice Cooper concert is this Saturday. I've been waiting for 3 months and am pretty ecstatic over that.
Today in lab, we practiced drug compounding, which was pretty fun, and the teacher complimented my partner and me on how well we pulverized and mixed our ointment. So at least I did something right.
All this stress has led me to get a gym membership and start running. Supposedly regular exercise helps to maintain lowered stress levels and elevated happiness so maybe my blog can stop being quite so gloomy. Also, my running has improved in a short amount of time.
Last Saturday I tried Zumba for the first time, since it was offered free to members at my gym. It was pretty fun, a great workout, and I pushed myself not only physically, but mentally, because I was terrified to try it, what with my social anxiety history. So that was kind of a big victory for me, getting out there and doing something scary for the first time by myself.
I guess I feel slightly better now. Not very much, but I'll take whatever i can get.
I know, my blog is just one big ball of sunshine to read, right? I remember when I first went to counseling and received a personality test where my results showed that I had an abnormally high level of "negative thinking"
Ok, so my negative thinking for today:
I got to school only to find out another classmate has impressed her clinical workers and was offered a job at the end of her schooling (more on why that's negative for me later). I came home from school and tried to soothe myself by going to the grocery store and buying a chocolate pie, which ended up tasting like instant pudding and then I dropped the whole thing on the floor face down after 2 bites - and it cost me $8. Then DH came home and informed me that Halloween was moved up to tomorrow night because Thursday is supposed to storm. We're both off so we can't wear the Halloween costumes we spent buku money on. DH still wants to dress up and visit there to eat but I don't want to spend all that time getting ready just to sit down, eat for 40 minutes, and leave. I wanted to work, but I have to do my clinicals tomorrow anyways. I cried. More on that later, too.
My clinical internship lately has really been rubbing my social inability in my face. For one thing, I don't particularly like the tech I work under, who I'll call Sasha. She's moody and when she's in a good mood, all is fine, but when she's in a bad mood, I feel like she takes it out on me, even though she doesn't mean to, and it makes me miserable. I'm actually kind of scared of her, to be honest. I'm meek and timid and she's...not. And usually it's just me and her working up front, and the pharmacist in the back, so I really have no opportunity to get a break from her for the entire 9 hours we're at work.
I say "usually" because the pharmacist recently hired another technician, who has fast become friends with Sasha. I want to blame it on them both being black and bonding because of that but I know it's simply not true. So when the new tech, Barbara, works with us, she and Sasha talk to each other, which can get awkward because our setup is usually the two of them at the computers and me between them at the filling counter. So they will call to each other over me and ask questions like how they're doing, what they're cooking, etc. and I get completely left out even though I'm right between them. It's an all too familiar reminder of how I frequently just don't fit in with people and wind up becoming invisible as a result, and it hurts my feelings, and I can't figure out how to overcome it - I try to control my anxiety issues but I can't change my quiet, introverted ways - that's an innate part of my personality. So essentially I just feel like my personality and the way I am is wrong. It doesn't help that sometimes Barbara will put herself between me and Sasha to talk and have her back turned towards me the whole time, even when the pharmacist comes up to chat. That makes me feel as if there's a literal wall between me and the rest of the pharmacy staff because it's a clear sign of "I'm talking to Sasha, and I'm NOT talking to you." I have a memory from yesterday burned into my brain when Sasha called out "What you cookin' tonight?" Barbara responded with, "Me?" And Sasha incredulously goes "Yes, you!" In my mind I thought, "Of course. Why would she be talking to me?" I was so invisible, she didn't even feel the need to specify who she was questioning.
Also yesterday, the pharmacist was talking about how the 2 other new girls, who were hired in May, came about. My pharmacy teacher let last semester's class know about an opening at my interning pharmacy. Five applied and they were only filling one position but they liked 2 of them so much, they hired both of them. It's a fine story, but with me being invisible, and anxious, and shy, it just made me feel worse about myself. I know logically I'm jumping the gun here, but I kept thinking "Why haven't *I* been asked to fill a job yet?" They're getting ready to open another pharmacy so I know they'll need more staff, yet nobody's told me, "Spilledsecrets, when you graduate, we'd love for you to join our team!" and I can't help but wonder if it's because I'm just not good enough, or because they just haven't thought that far ahead. I'd been trying to tell myself that I'm getting upset over nothing - that I'm a Myer-Briggs type ISFJ and ISFJ's never feel confident without verbal encouragement/praise...so it wasn't because I didn't deserve it, it's just my insecurity. I constantly worry about every mistake I make and I wonder if it's affecting their perception of me or if I'm not doing enough. But in regards to the story about the two hires, I think what got to me was the phrase "we just *liked* both of them so much." It was about charisma, of which I have none, and the place I'm interning at is very outgoing, friendly, and they try to be a place where "everybody knows your name" so I worry that maybe they just don't see me as being friendly enough.
And I was thinking "Stop beating yourself up. Those 2 hires clearly didn't get job offers from THEIR internships, they had to work just like you. Besides, it's not like most of your classmates have jobs lined up - only 2 of them"
And this is where I come in with my first complaint about another classmate getting a job offer. When she was bragging, all I could think about was my insecurity at my own clinicals and why I haven't been offered work yet. It's not that I was unhappy for her, but it felt like opening wounds all over again by reminding me of my own situation. Again, the "What's wrong with *me*?" thinking.
So I've been feeling down. And it's affecting my studies. I've noticed I'm not as enthusiastic as I was a month ago, and I don't like that.
I was looking forward to Halloween for at least a little reprieve but as I mentioned earlier, that fell through. I cried. I cried because I almost felt like the thing I was looking forward to was ripped away from me intentionally (even though I know that's not the case). I cried because everyone else would get to dress up and I was going to be left out, yet again. I cried because I was dependent on *work* to celebrate Halloween - I don't have enough of a life to celebrate anywhere else - no friends, no parties. It just magnified the pathetic loser aspect of my existence. I argued with my husband. "Why would she do that? It doesn't make sense. She didn't care about Halloween before but now she cares enough to move it? For what?" I knew my arguments were just words - they expressed the frustration of my feelings, but they didn't accurately represent what I was *really* going through - feeling lonely, stressed, and like a nothing of a human being.
Tonight was homecoming night - I imagine the very first formal dance, from the way our reserved party came in tonight.
20 teens with 8 parents, at least two of whom were taking photos and videos of the kids at every opportunity - I would've been so embarrassed if I were them, but whatever.
I took the 2 tables of teens, and my coworker, Aileen, took the table of adults. To my surprise, the kids were actually really awesome. Usually they're kind of stuck up, bratty, and/or annoying but these ones were all really polite, well-behaved, and mature.
Not sure where they learned it from because their parents were not. Aileen came up to me and said we had to work something out because some of the kids were being paid for by the adults but some were paying their own tabs. Not too much of a biggie. I went to the parent table after they were done eating and asked if it was alright if I gave the kids their own tickets, and then they could just bring them to the person paying, if they weren't paying themselves. That way we can avoid any mix-ups or complications that are wont to happen when adults are sitting at a completely different table from their offspring, especially 20 of em. They agreed.
Aileen later told me that one kid at my table had a birthday and to let her know because one of the moms wanted to film it. I agreed.
After the parents' dinners, Aileen came up to me and said the parents (not sure if it was all of them or just one) complained that we didn't already have their kids meals on the bills. I rolled my eyes and said through clenched teeth "I told them, their kids would have to bring their bills to them. I don't know how stupid you have to be to not understand that."
Then the even more ridiculous realization hit me and I added, "Besides, they didn't even tell us which kids were theirs!"
I told the other people I work with and they all got a good laugh out of it. DH went "Really?" and then put two fingers to his temple and stared intently, mimicking a mind reader while saying "That one is on my bill."
Next, my tables were still being cooked for by the teppanyaki chefs....cooking for 8 adults take much less time than 20 teenagers so the parents' finished first. One of them asked Aileen why we hadn't already done the birthday song and cake to which she had to tell them, "Ma'am, that's usually done after the chef has finished cooking, since it's a dessert."
I've never encountered a situation where that had to be explained before.
For once, I'm glad I got the kids' table instead of the adults. They were really easy-going and didn't make a fuss about anything. Maybe they should give their parents lessons on etiquette and common sense.
Tonight at work, I added a gratuity charge to a group of 6 - 2 adults, 4 children. I don't always charge gratuity to my tables - just the ones I think will tip poorly or not at all. Our grat is 15% of the bill and we tip out 7% of sales to our chefs so out of a 15% tip, we only keep 8%. My husband and boss say it's better to charge and be safe rather than gamble - because, you see, if I gambled and the table didn't tip, that 7% comes out of my pocket, meaning the chef still gets his money but I actually had to pay to work. But to me, 15% is too small, and I'd rather gamble and try for 18-20% tips on tables that seem good for the money.
Anyways, I could tell from the beginning that this was not a money table. They wore frowns on their faces and their demeanors were cold and a little hostile. I'm not saying that only friendly people tip well or that all seemingly grumpy people tip poorly, but it's generally a fair indication of what I can expect. People who smile back at me and show me courtesy and respect are generally safer to bet on. Other indicators are age, dress, and sometimes gender. Women and men, I think, tip equally, but a woman who seems less than thrilled to be there is more often than not a crap tip (no idea if this works the same with male waiters...maybe for them it's grumpy men).
Anyways, I was just getting "gratuity" vibes in tidal waves so I took their orders and added the grat. They were a fairly easy table but they did hold up all of my other tables because 2 of the kids were being brats and refusing to order. Then I did my rounds to make sure my other tables were ok and came back to them with soups and salad. The other 2 kids had already downed their drinks and needed refills. I brought sushi out to them, and had to make a special trip to get all the kids "cheater chopsticks" that are built so that they don't require skill to use. Then I had to get another one cause one girl broke hers. A few more refills, and then I get the dreaded "It's so-and-so's birthday" whisper. And as you may or may not know, I fucking hate restaurant birthdays to the core of my being: http://spilledsecrets.blogs.experienceproject.com/1343272.html
So we bring out the obligatory cake and sing and blah blah blah. I hand over the bill, and leave momentarily to check my other tables again. I turn around and see the ladies at the cashier stand talking to the manager. I creep forward just enough to hear what's being said without being noticed:
Lady: How many people do you require for a gratuity?
Lady: Even when it's 4 kids and 2 adults?
That was enough for me. I walked away, thinking to myself, ESPECIALLY if you have 4 kids, you retarded bitch! Not only are they typically loud, annoying, and messy, but they're taking up seats that may have otherwise gone to paying adult customers. I vent to my coworker, who is wholly sympathetic. I tell my husband and he tells me he's aware - those ladies are regulars and they never tip.
After they leave, I approach my manager who fills me in on the rest of their conversation. She told them we charge for 6 people, just like many of the surrounding restaurants do, and they tried to elaborate that their kids didn't need to be waited on. Fucking bullshit. They all ate. I brought them drinks, food, chopsticks, and even gave them a goddamn free dessert and sang when I had more important things to do. My manager agreed, said she told them that perhaps if they didn't eat, she could waive the fee, but they did. Then she told me, "They took up the whole table. What if they didn't tip and then you got nothing?" I have to add here, that I work at a teppenyaki which is communal dining. It's not like a regular restaurant where once a table is sat, that's it. At a teppenyaki, we seat as many customers as possible and strangers share the table. So taking up an entire table means I can't get any other customers.
She still made them pay the grat. Thank God. For once, the customer was not always right. And besides, anyone who's already willing to go out and spend $100 on food should be able to cough up $15 for a tip.
I'm not sure I would have felt so angry tonight if I hadn't already been on my feet since 9 am doing my internship. Maybe I was fatigued and cranky as a result.
But boy, I got pissed at a customer tonight.
Got a table of 12 at work, and they essentially ran me for their entire trip getting refills and orders to them. One couple in particular ordered 10 shots of crown throughout the night.
Now, let me take you through this. I greeted them and they ordered 2 crown and diets. I bring them, and they each immediately ask for another glass, only this time they want doubles.
So I bring the doubles. Already, we're up to 6 shots - one single for each of them, and one double for each of them. Still with me?
Halfway through the meal, they each ask for one for double. I bring those glasses. Two shots for each person means 4 shots total. Add that to the 6 previous. So...10 shots, right?
Well, I bring the ticket and the lady immediately pulls me over and explains they didn't have that many shots. I explain that I have to charge 2x for doubles. She points to the first 6 and says "Yeah, but the first ones weren't doubles." I look at her ticket. Now, I rang them up initially as having 3 shots each - one single and one double. I added the others as they ordered them. So their bill looked like this:
I tell her "I know. That bill is right." She continues to argue. I bend down to show her the tab, point at the first "crown x3" and said "yes ma'am. This is the first shot, plus the double. This one is yours. I point to the second "crown x3" and say "This is his first shot plus the double." I point to the two "crown x2" and say, "And these were your second drinks." She throws a fit and says "Whatever." I'm fine with that. I turn around to talk to the rest of their table and as I'm finishing up, I hear someone near them laugh and go "She gave an attitude!" I don't know if he was referencing me or the lady, but I hear her follow up with an unintelligible string of whines concluded with "She's wrong."
I could not hold it in. I spun around, and I could not even look her in the face because at that point, my vision was actually kind of blurred, I was so mad. I exclaimed, "ma'am, would you like me to bring the manager over to help you? Or maybe you'd like to go talk to her yourself?" She declines. I say "ok." and quickly grab the tickets on their tables to cash them out. I remember somewhat trying to smile and hide my irritation, but not very well - I'm sure they could all see it. I took those tickets up really quickly to get away from her as soon as possible.
I was running their debit cards, thinking over what that lady said, and how she had the audacity to loudly complain about me when my back was turned to her not even 1 foot away, yet when confronted, she didn't want to say anything. I tried to tell myself it was just a drunk person being belligerent but I couldn't help it. I was looking at a ticket in my hand and my vision flashed white and I couldn't see anything again.
Both episodes only lasted for a couple of seconds but wow. I haven't actually been that enraged in a really long time...not since I was with my ex.
And compared to all the things that I've endured that would make me angry, this situation certainly wasn't the worst. But I guess when you pair with me with intense anxiety, stress, and fatigue, and a stupid fucking bitch in my acquaintance circle, it doesn't take as much.
Tonight, my sales were over $2500. After my 7% tipout, I had $145 in tips for the whole day. That means my tips averaged 12% per bill. An adequate tip is 15 - 20%
Meanwhile, one of my coworkers made less than half of my sales and walked with $160 in her pocket.
I'm not doing anything technically wrong. My orders aren't wrong. I keep the drinks filled. I bring food out on time. I'm knowledgeable about damn near any questions my customers have. I'm not rude. I smile. I say please and thank you. I even apologize on the miniscule occasions I let someone's glass reach empty. I don't talk shit about the customers in the dining room where they can hear. I try my hardest to fulfill each and every request. I keep an eye out for things that could potentially make diners' stay with us more pleasant, such as bringing extra napkins to families with small babies, before they ask.
Wouldn't you say that deserves an adequate tip percent?
Me, too. But the truth is, people tip ba
1) I greet a table of 8.
Me: Hey, how are you all?
Me: Great! I turn towards the kid closest to my right. What would you like to drink tonight?
Me: Ok, got it. What do you want to drink with that?
Kid: I want shrimp!
Me: Ok. And to drink?
Me: To drink.....
Kid: I just wnat shrimp...and a Dr. Pepper.
Me: Alright, then. I was going to say, it might be hard to drink a shrimp. I smile at him, then turn to his mother, sitting next to him. Can I get your drink?
Mom: I want a tiger roll, and a california roll, and he wants a dragon roll.
Me: Ok, Got that. And your drink?
Mom: Oh, he's ordering off the grill. I just want sushi.
Me: That's fine. I'll put it in for you. What do you want to drink?
Mom: I just want sushi.
Dad: Carol! What do you want to DRINK!?!?
2) I get a new table. A party of 3. A family of 4, and a couple. None of them know eachother, since teppanyaki is communal dining where you sit with strangers. The party of 3 orders one vegetable meal, one steak meal, and one chicken meal:
Me: Just to be sure, you need one vegetable dinner here...
Lady: Oh, she had veggies.
Me:....ok. And you had the steak, and chicken here, right?
I finish with them and take orders for the other 2 parties. Everything goes fine and the chef comes out. Halfway through their meal, the lady motions for me to come over.
Lady: I noticed he's cooking the vegetables last. Is there a way she can get her vegetables separately, with different utensils?
Lady: She's a vegetarian. We were just wondering if she could get vegetables that haven't come in contact with meat. I look on the grill and notice the vegetables have already been placed on the grill and are halfway cooked.
Me: Oh, Ok! I'll see what I can do for you. I turn to speak to the chef. Is there any way we can get her vegetables cooked separate?
Me: She doesn't want her vegetables to touch any meat. Can you use a different fork and knife on her food? The chef gives a slow smile and nod, which I've come to interpret as a "oh, fuck this" ex
Chef: I'll cook these first, and then I'll cook yours afterwards with these utensils. Is that ok?
Lady: Ok. She says "ok", but she's obviously dismayed. The chef repeats himself to make sure, and again she says ok. I offer to bring new vegetables but she declines. She then asks me for carry out boxes, packs up the food they've already received, and they leave immediately to pay at the register. She looks agitated and annoyed. No tip.
I just have to add with that one, I don't see how it isn't common sense to make such a request before the chef gets to the table, when you know you're dining with 2 other groups of strangers and the grill is not separated. Most people understand everything is cooked together and every other vegetarian I've had with such rules, told me beforehand so we could accommodate them accordingly. I also wonder if these kinds of requests occur in restaurants where they don't actually see the food cooked before them. Do they request their food be cooked in a separate pan with separate utensils in traditional-style restaurants? I'm not sure. I also don't understand why, when given the opportunity to clarify to the chef that the grill had to be cleaned and new vegetables need to be brought out, they instead chose to tell him "ok" and then get pissed at us for not reading their minds.
And of course, there are the little things that happen more frequently - I haven't finished out passing drinks when someone who already received theirs whines about not having a straw - can you give me a second? I'm sure these people who I haven't passed drinks to are thirsty, too. Or someone asks me which sushi rolls are cooked and I say "rolls with shellfish" and then have to specify "crab, shrimp, and crawfish" because the word "shellfish" is over their heads. I ask if they need carry-out boxes or refills. They tell me "no", and then when I go back to the table a few minutes later, they ask for boxes and refills. They get mad at me when they try to request a particular chef and I tell them no, unless they want to wait 30 minutes because their favorite chef is cooking a different table at the moment. "Sorry, there's only one of him and he's in high demand", I want to say. But I don't. I smile, apologize, and ask if I can do anything else for them. One person has a birthday, we sing, and then suddenly it's everyone's birthday. What a coincidence. A customer orders their own food wrong, then complains and I have to pay for it from my own pocket. Etc.
I just can't pretend to tolerate it anymore. I try; I really do. I plaster on my smile and keep my voice light, and assure them everything will be fine, that yes I can do their ridiculously complicated and time-consuming request (not in those words, of course), but the truth is (I assume) that I just can't hide the fact that I'm faking it. That's really the only explanation I have. When my coworker sells less than half than I do and makes more money, the only thing I've got left is that it must be my attitude. Try as I might, I can't hide my contempt, my fatigue, my lifelessness. I try to help these people. I want to help these people. But it just doesn't matter to them, and I've gotten past my tolerance level for overlooking stupidity.
I understand that by studying to be a pharmacy tech, I still have to deal with difficult customers. But there's a difference. I don't HAVE to kiss their asses. I have to be professional and nice, but at the end of the day, my paycheck isn't dependent upon how well I sucked up to every crappy customer - even if I make less than I do waiting tables, at least I don't have to end the day feeling the way I do right now - sitting alone wondering "What is so wrong with me that I don't deserve 15% tips?". Plus, at least I'll be doing something that really matters - people's lives will depend on me. Restaurants are nice, but really, who needs them? Is it really that urgent that I deliver an appetizer in less than 10 minutes?
I almost cried a couple of times after my tipout, while waiting for DH to finish up his last table so we could leave. I don't have to cry anymore, but I still feel helpless. And exhausted. My feet hurt, my legs hurt, and I can't even walk that fast. And I stink of restaurant fumes. I'm just feeling defeated.
Today when I was getting ready to go back to my externship, I found a pill on the bathroom floor. I picked it up, furrowed my brows, and examined it, front and back, checking the size and shape. White, smooth oval. 150 or 115 or something etched into one side, 100 on the other. Do I have any pills like this? Mucinex? Does Mucinex even have numbers on it? Does any OTC? I turned around, opened my medicine cabinet, and located the bottle. Upon opening, I realize, no, the mystery pill is much too small to be Mucinex.
I stood there for a while, holding the pill, contemplating taking it with me and putting it back into the bottle if I happen to come across it again today. Then, I decided that was a bad idea. Maybe I'd just wind up putting it into the wrong bottle and then later a patient takes it and dies, or something.
Then, I started to think, "What if they notice it's missing? What if I could get in trouble for this?" Then, I figured the answer was "They probably won't" so I threw the pill away. On further reflection, maybe I should bring it back to the pharmacy and let the staff know what happened, but that pill's already been exposed, and especially in the trash, I don't think it would be wise to re-bottle it and give it to someone now, anyways. I checked the pockets of my scrubs for any other dropped pills and thankfully, found none.
I go back for my second day of externing in 30 minutes. I know they say to never bring work home with you, but I think that goes double, in my case. I'd rather not get labelled as a drug thief and kicked out of my program, thanks.
I really wish my husband was not so damned happy right now because I certainly am not, and he's annoying me.
I've had this nagging feeling in my stomach all day, and I can't shake it...like when you have to throw up and even though throwing up sucks, you wish you could just do it and get it over with so that you can stop feeling queasy.
I feel ill at ease, but not enough to be really anxious and nervous. And I wish I were hyped up on anxiety because then I'd know that soon enough, it would subside. This in-between feeling is just slowly eating away at me and who knows when it will go away. My husband even commented on it a minute ago when he got home. He asked what was wrong because I "look confused".
I started my first day as a pharmacy extern today. It was supposed to last from 9-6, but I went home at 3....I kind of felt chased out. It's not that they didn't like me...I just get the feeling - no, I KNOW that I was awkward, and people aren't comfortable around awkward people. And I know personally, when I train people at work, I find it kind of draining so I'm always relieved when the new person finally goes away and I think that might have happened today. Just that weird feeling of not knowing what to do with this new person who clings to you because they don't know anyone else and yet you have not much to say to each other. Once the busy rush was over (and I was informed that usually, they don't get that slow), the girl training me kept hinting that I could go home in the nicest way possible - so I did.
I'm also painfully aware that I'm not a go-getter. I'm a follower, and I obediently do what others say, and don't really assert myself for fear of doing the wrong thing. The entire time I was there, I kept reminding myself to ask questions because I know I tend to not really ask for help. I feel a little guilty for just leaving and not asking the girl training me to show me more things...I did ask her at one point to show me the computer and she showed me how to check one presc
As I walked out 3 hours early, I wondered what, if anything, was being said about me. I guess this feeling in my stomach is me feeling like I wasn't an adequate trainee - not that I expect to know everything on the first day, but I don't know how to make others think, "That girl's going to do fine - she's got potential!" I feel that instead, they're thinking, "Nice girl, but...ehhh."
I don't have confidence in myself. That's what it comes down to. I'm always unsure of my own capabilities and as my husband pointed out, I'm confused.
It wasn't a total bust, though. I did manage to eke out some small talk and casual conversation now and then because my trainer and one other girl took the same pharmacy program and the same professor as me. I realized that while I don't know many drugs, I at least know of a few. And even though, all I did was label and count pills, I learned more than I did before I came, like where to place everything, how to read the labels, what some of the codes meant, and some other small things. Also, i know these are average accomplishments that basic employees should be doing anyways, but I was really proud of myself for not mixing up any medications, and remembering to check the sc
The woman I'm working under owns 3 pharmacies and I'm kind of hoping I'll get to work at a different one on Wednesday as a sort of fresh start, but I have a feeling that won't happen.
School has started and it's been an enventful start, though I've been missing from my blog for a while. I had to miss the first day of class because DH and I had to be out of town for his court hearing regarding his green card application. Turns out the court didn't have the files and told his lawyer to submit them to the government. Til then, nothing could be decided and we'd have to come back November of next year.
I was so frustrated. We'd come all that way, spent all that money, for nothing. I missed the first day of school for nothing. Luckily, DH's lawyer said he'd already sent the info to the government so it wasn't his fault, and said he was going to find out what happened, and hopefully get DH's card ready in 2 months, so that we won't even have a court date.
On the bright side, on our way out of court, the judge did make a cheerful comment to DH about his wife always being by his side. So it's nice to know I'm instantly recognizable as the wife...hopefully because everyone can see we're in love!
When I came back for the second day of school, I discovered everyone had been assigned clinical sites except me, since I missed Day 1. The professor said he'd take care of it that morning. I was a little bummed because I was expecting to work at the Walgreens pharmacy across the street from where I lived and another girl had already claimed it.
But, in a stroke of luck, today at school, the professor gave me my clinical assignment. I'll be working for a "mom and pop" pharmacy and he seemed pretty excited about it, and said he thought I was going to love it. Granted, it's in a bad part of town, but it's brand new so he said I'll have a lot of time with the employees since it won't be insanely busy like other retail pharmacies, and at least the whole place is surrounded by plexiglass and other material so I won't have direct hand-to-hand contact with the customers - probably a good thing since I assume there's a lot of drug addicts on that particular street.
It doesn't seem like much and even though it's not as convenient as working right across the street from home, I do really like the idea of working in a small local place as opposed to a big retail chain, and the woman I'll be working under wants me to switch between 3 locations, one of which is right down the road from me, so it's not like I'll be working all ghetto, all the time. I wanted to extern at the VA hospital because jobs there start out at $30 an hour with paid government and national holidays so it seemed like the best opportunity for pharm techs. I was pretty bummed that 2 other girls volunteered for the slots before I could, but now that our clinicals are drawing near, I think it was a blessing in disguise that I didn't volunteer fast enough, as the two girls who did are having trouble getting the VA to submit everything to allow them to work there. So maybe the mom-and-pop can't beat the pay and vacation time (if they choose to hire me later), but I think the environment is probably more pleasant and hands-on. Also, when my professor seems stoked, I am too. He's really a great teacher and I trust his judgment. He's always very affable and friendly, his lectures are engaging, he seems to really care for the students, and last semester, each of his pharm tech students passed the national certification test so I have faith in his abilities.
Math is a little of a challenge, but I've found that compared to some classmates, I'm better at it than I thought. But, we'll see. If you tell me what I'm supposed to do, I catch on fast enough, but the area I've always had problems in was critical thinking. I can't easily read a random word problem and figure out which mathematical formula I'm supposed to use. I've been studying a little extra to try to remedy that as best as I can, though I won't be faced with that situation til probably test time.
Speaking of tests, I'm also a little worried about my schedule. I'll be externing Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for however long and going to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I thought 3 classes only two days a week would be a breeze but as it turns out, class on only 2 days a week means each test day is doubled. I have tests for at least 2 classes each test day, and I'd much rather study for one test at a time, rather than two.
Speaking of which, I should probably go and study my pharmacology notes. When the prof. reviewed, I didn't retain as much as I thought, and he hinted that pharmacology would be one of the more difficult classes. I thought it would be math, but so far, I think my math skills are fairly decent. I don't work quickly, but when I know what I'm doing, i find that I finish before several other classmates. Not bad for a girl who studied English and avoided math for as long as possible.
...Also as a girl with an English degree, i should probably proofread these entries once in a while. Sometimes I go back and read them and there are always stupid mistakes. But I figure it's my blog, and I doubt people read it, so I don't care much to clean up the writing. Although, before I started writing this one, I noticed my recent entries are up to 1700+ views, which is kind of astounding given that I think the highest amount of views I'm used to is somewhere between 60 and 100. So I guess someone is visiting.
And I digress. Judging by how I write, it's hard to believe I'm so socially inept that I often find myself without words in actual conversation. Anyways, as i was saying, I should go study. This is my future, after all.
Previous PostsHere Comes the BOOM!, posted November 22nd, 2014
The IV Room, posted October 25th, 2014
It's All In The Details, posted October 11th, 2014
I'm Lonely., posted September 26th, 2014
Crushin', posted September 22nd, 2014
Productivity and Identity Theft...Thanks, Monday., posted August 18th, 2014
So Now Retarded People Are Allowed To Get Nursing Licenses., posted June 10th, 2014
Flash Forward, posted June 5th, 2014
time waits for no man, posted March 12th, 2014
Kissing *** at Christmas, posted November 17th, 2013
I Met Alice Cooper and Other Things., posted November 12th, 2013
New Positives., posted October 30th, 2013
Continuing Negativity., posted October 29th, 2013
What Do You Mean You Can't Read My Mind?, posted October 20th, 2013
Yes, Your Kids Cost Money., posted October 18th, 2013
So Mad, I Lost My Vision., posted October 4th, 2013
Confessions of a Server - I Kind of Hate It Here and I Can't Hide It Anymore, posted September 28th, 2013
I smuggled a pill from the pharmacy., posted September 18th, 2013
Dazed and Confused., posted September 16th, 2013
Spilled Secrets, Pharmacy Pro, posted September 3rd, 2013
Crash!, posted August 8th, 2013
Jumbled Rambling, posted June 28th, 2013
Now That You're Dead, What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?, posted June 27th, 2013
When The Past Says,, posted June 24th, 2013
Some Good News and Some Hippie Speak, posted May 23rd, 2013
Day 20 No Shampoo, posted May 23rd, 2013
Day 16 No Shampoo, posted May 19th, 2013
Day 14 No Shampoo, posted May 17th, 2013
Day 12 No Shampoo, posted May 15th, 2013
No Shampoo Day 11, posted May 14th, 2013
Day 10 No Shampoo, posted May 13th, 2013
Day 9 No Shampoo, posted May 12th, 2013
Day 8 No Shampoo, posted May 11th, 2013
Day 7 No Shampoo, posted May 10th, 2013
Day 6 No Shampoo, posted May 9th, 2013
Day 5 No Shampoo, posted May 8th, 2013
Day 4 No Shampoo, posted May 7th, 2013
Day 3 without shampoo., posted May 6th, 2013
Breaking Up With Shampoo, posted May 5th, 2013
So Close and So Far., posted April 30th, 2013
From the Mouth of a Hypocrite, posted April 26th, 2013
One More Reason to Love My Husband, posted March 30th, 2013
And So I Called Her A ****., posted March 8th, 2013
Coupon Queen - Not Me., posted February 28th, 2013
I Like Coming-of-Age Movies., posted February 16th, 2013
So I guess I Do Have A New Year's Resolution., posted February 4th, 2013, 1 comment
Myself on EP and Everywhere Else, posted December 29th, 2012
******* Christmas Spirit. Bah Humbug!, posted December 25th, 2012
Back to the Old Life, posted December 4th, 2012
On Being Sentenced To the Shark Tank, posted September 17th, 2012
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