With Lu-Lu gone, I am the only RN left in our office. And I am an RN in shock, since Lu-Lu was not only my boss, but a friend of mine. The rest of our staff consists of several LVN's, two home-health aides, and a secretary---and they are all in shock, too. For right now I am temporarily in charge of the office until Lu-Lu's aunt and uncle, the owners of our company, come back from their holiday in Las Vegas and decide how to organize the office. I don't know what they're going to do or who they're going to put in charge. I'm not sure what I'd do if they asked me to take over as manager, because to tell you the truth, I feel that my strengths are better used in the field rather than in an administrative capacity. *
I haven't been sleeping well. For two days I didn't sleep at all---in fact, I thought I was going to go crazy from lack of sleep. Finally, last night, I was able to sleep---but it was lousy sleep. *
This is what happened:
Lu-Lu's always been a "wild-card", but then, most of us Road Nurses are somewhat wild. She was typical of most Road Nurses in that she was a spirited, unconventional, passionate individual, with a great love for her patients and a quick wit which served her well in the unpredictable,haphazard life of a Road Nurse. *
She was also a quirky, funny individual, with a great sense of humor. And she had a keen intelligence, mixed with moxie and organizational skills, which enabled her to quickly climb the hierarchy ladder of whichever nursing company she worked for. Her management and administrative abilities earned her the admiration of her entrepreneurial aunt and uncle, who gave her the job as Manager in one of the branch offices of their Road Nurse company--- with eventual plans to include her as a full partner in the business.
The future looked very bright for Lu-Lu. She had EVERYTHING a girl could want---looks, brains, intelligence, and a secure place in the family business. I*
I knew Lu-Lu from a previous Road Nurse company, where she had also been my boss. Shortly after setting up her office in this current Road Nurse company, she had recruited me away from our former company. We had always worked together well. I felt as if I knew her as well as I know anybody in Podunk.
Lu-Lu was a tough boss to work for as she expected her nurses to be on top of their game at all times. Lu-Lu was an extremely competent nurse, and she accepted no excuses for poor performance---she would quickly call you on any laziness or sloppy workmanship. But she also had a "soft spot" for her employees, and was always understanding about road fatigue, sickness, or those twists in life which might cause a person to need a "mental health day" here or there. Lu-Lu also paid well. Lu-Lu was notorious for paying her nurses generously, paying them more than they could get anywhere else in town, and she was never stingy about raises. I*
In short, Lu-Lu was an "okay gal" to work for. Don't get me wrong, she had her faults just like everybody else, faults which could sometimes drive me crazy. But even with those faults, she certainly wasn't a bad boss---actually, she was a lot nicer, more fair, and much more pleasant, than most bosses I've had. She was actually a decent enough boss that I considered myself lucky to work for her. A*
And then.... H*
Her aunt and uncle reported that they had discovered.... some things. Apparently, according to them, Lu-Lu had done some things which were totally unacceptable to them within the framework of the business agreement she had made with them--- as to the way she ran the office, the way she conducted the finances, her behaviors on and off the job, and the way she conducted her personal life in relation to the company's image. And they considered it of such a serious nature that they fired her.
And believe me, it has turned into a great scandal here in Podunk. The gossip is so rampant and virulent that Lu-Lu has gone into hiding. As for myself, I have avoided Walmart because I don't want to be in a position for anybody to ask me about the whole thing. I really don't know what to say. I don't want to say anything because I believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty--and I don't know whether the accusations are true or not. I*
I won't go into detail here about why they accused her of such things, but I will simply say that I did not know or even suspect about most of their concerns. I was completely surprised when the whole thing happened. In fact, you could have knocked me over with a feather. And furthermore, ever since it happened, I am left feeling a complete flood of emotions--confusion, anger, betrayal, bewilderment, disbelief, sadness, and shock. T*
They accused her of lying about finances, lying about her work hours and the office budget, "drug use" on and off the job, "moral misconduct" with two married doctors in town, and gross misuse of the office secretary's work time (using the secretary's time for her own personal errands instead of company duties). E*
Everything (or rather, the final incident) happened Thursday while I was out seeing patients. There had actually been some previous unpleasant incidents which had built up to the final climax---things which had simply looked to us to be family arguments that we really didn't want to get involved with--- but the long and the short of it is that it all ended Thursday in some sort of a telephone call "show-down" between Lu-Lu and the owners. *
And after that phone call, Lu-Lu had apparently lost her temper and trashed our office (to the bewilderment of the hapless secretary)--- and then she had loaded her personal effects into her vehicle and left. I haven't seen her since, nor has she answered any calls to her cell phone. W*
When I arrived back at the office, I found the forlorn secretary somberly cleaning up the mess Lu-Lu had made, sighing greatly with each effort. I asked her what had happened and she explained the sequence of events. "And then she trashed the office," the secretary stated as she swept up a broken flower vase. "We're probably lucky she didn't have her pistol with her. And then after she finished throwing everything around the room, she made me type up her resignation letter. And I typed it just like she told me, F-words and all. Do you think I should leave in all those F-words?"
Later, the owners each called me on my cell phone and briefly stated the situation. They also explained that they "valued me" and wanted me to stay with the company. I told them I would. And then they promised that they would fix everything "back to normal" when they returned from their vacation in Las Vegas. A*
After that, some men arrived to change the locks on our offices. I was given my new set of keys. And then our Public Relations Director arrived to sit guard duty for the rest of the day, in case Lu-Lu returned to cause more mischief. But I knew she wouldn't come back--she'd already made her point. A*
And now I am on-call for the weekend, doing my duties, wondering what in the hell happened. Wondering why I never saw it coming. And wondering how in the hell I'm going to get out of this horrible mood. Even Belinda has not been able to console me. I have talked with her daily, wailing about my depressed mood, and she has been a good friend, letting me vent while she listens patiently.
Belinda even admitted to me that she knew of some of the story, gleaned from town gossip, but that she hadn't wanted to mention any of it because she didn't want to upset me, knowing that I was a loyal employee to Lu-Lu.
Actually, this isn't all that unusual. Belinda has accused me of being "naive" before, and states that I'm like an "ostrich with my head in the sand". I don't know. I really don't know. Like I said---I didn't realize all this stuff was being talked about around me.
Ah well, I guess I must post this blog entry now--- and get back to my on-call duties. In fact, while I was writing this post, one of my patients called me in distress. She had just returned from a holiday vacation in Austin, where she'd fallen ill. She stated that she hadn't wanted to see a doctor in Austin because she didn't want to be "sick in a strange town" ---and so she'd made her husband drive her back home to South Podunk just as fast as he could. She told me that she "felt terrible", her legs were "swelling up", she was short of breath, she couldn't breathe well "layin' down", and she was "coughing and spitting stuff up".
This list of symptoms caused a cold wave of panic to wash over me---as they could be signs of congestive heart failure or pneumonia--- or both. I told her that she needed IMMEDIATE evaluation by a doctor, and I urged her to let me call the paramedics. She wouldn't allow this but did agree to ask her husband to drive her to a nearby country hospital, where there is an emergency room. I spoke with her husband, asking him to be sure and take her medications with them to the ER so that the doctor there would know what she is on, and then I called the ER myself, to give them a verbal "report" on the patient. She is on her way to the ER at this moment....
I will call the ER later, to check on her progress and see if there is anything else I can do to help.
Maybe working and keeping busy will keep my mind occupied so that I don't dwell too much on the sorrow and pain I'm feeling. It also helps me to knit. Knitting soothes and relaxes me. I'm currently knitting a square, pschedelic baby blanket for Belinda's future baby, using various colors of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran that I picked up while in Dallas (at The Woolie Ewe--love that place...)
Update, 10:00 pm: The patient who was taken to the Emergency Room did get admitted to the hospital. Thankfully, she is stable and doing well.