Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Fake-writing and Daydreaming...

G*
Galveston, oh Galveston,
I still hear your sea waves crashing,
While I watch the cannons flashing,
I clean my gun
and dream of Galveston...
(*
("Galveston", Glen Campbell)
L*
*
Life goes on. *
T*
And the teenagers threw eggs at the Taco Bell sign again.
*
T*
A*
A*
(Cracks me up every Monday morning!)
*
And onwards I drive.
A*
And many times this week, like I usually do when I'm working hard at difficult tasks, I have sometimes indulged in "zoning out" to daydream about Galveston...
E*
Everybody always nags me about my Galveston daydreaming. They can't understand why I pine for that place. I talk about it, sing about it, dream about it---and people have always harped at me about it, saying things like: "You've lived all over the world, Bohemian! You've lived in Europe, in India, in South America, Central America--you even lived in Sri Lanka! What on earth would cause you to long for a seedy little beach like Galveston?"
B*
But I love that seedy little place with all my heart. And I always have, for as long as I can remember. There's just something about that place which fills me with longing. I can't explain it. I always figured that it was simply because it's my most happiest childhood memory--a vague remembrance of happily playing in the sand on Galveston beach, singing Popeye-The-Sailor-Man while gleefully making little sand castles with a plastic pail and shovel---and I've always clutched that memory within the fist of my brain like a child's beloved security blanket, tenderly pulling out the dream frequently to stroke and cuddle it, especially when I'm challenged by life's ups and downs.
O*
Once when I was working in an emergency room, I was obsessively humming the song "Galveston" and the ER doctor I was working with blew up at me, exclaiming: "Bohemian, for God's sakes WHY must you continue this ridiculous delusion that Galveston is some sort of 'magical' place? Don't you know that NO place is magical? Because even if you moved there, you'd still be YOU over there!"
H*
He was right, of course. And although I was grateful for his attempt at bringing me down to reality, his diatribe did absolutely no good---for I have never been able to stop my daydreaming about Galveston. And, in fact, I've been daydreaming about it quite a bit this week.... I*
And that's probably because I've worked my rear-end off since last Tuesday, and I'm so tired right now that I can barely think straight. But it's a "good tired" because I think that my first week as Branch Manager went fairly well. And now we're into the second week, and I'm gearing up to work even harder. For all my prior reservations, I'm actually enjoying the job. I've learned a lot already and I truly think that this branch office will do well despite the devastating loss of Lu-Lu, who built this office from the ground up.
B*
But I am tired---and I hate admitting that I'm tired. For some reason I feel like I shouldn't be this fatigued. Especially because it's not like I've never been a supervisor before. I've actually had several other nursing jobs where I was either the boss or a charge nurse. I've even been a Head Nurse of an entire hospital unit before. So I don't know why I'm so dang tired now.
W*
Whenever I'm stressed out and faced with a challenge, one of the things I do is start making lists. I'm a rather obsessive soul, and making lists not only calms me but helps me get organized. I write out lists for everything. I write grocery lists, chore lists, office task lists, phone call lists, bills-that-need-paying lists, things-I-forgot-to-do lists, paperwork-I've-got-to-do lists, and "miscellaneous to-do" lists.... M*
M*
Making lists reminds me of those "affirmations", or "autosuggestions" , that psychiatrists or mental health counselors frequently advise their clients to perform in order to overcome self-defeating thoughts, change negative self images, or build self esteem. In fact, I have a nurse friend who actually performs daily affirmations---she keeps an actual written "script" of such affirmations taped to her bathroom mirror so that she can chant them to herself in the morning before starting her day. She is a fairly religious person and told me that her particular affirmations are in the form of a "Letter from God".
B*
Being a nosey person, I asked her what the affirmation sheet on her mirror said. And so she told me:
"*
"Good morning, this is God speaking: Today I will be running the world. But I don't need your help as I can do it all by Myself. So let go of your desire to control--- and let the beautiful world and its glories open up for you. Let go of any worries and anxieties because you are in My favor. Anything you want to accomplish today will be possible. Have a great day! Love, God. " S*
So*
Sometimes I wonder if such a trick like taping an affirmation script onto my mirror might work for me. I wonder just what a letter from Above might say to me... "*
"*
"Good Morning, this is one of the Guardian Angels of the Knuckleheads speaking:**I have been assigned to you for the last 10 years because I pissed God off and He demoted me from the North Dallas Region, where I used to go crappie fishing at my favorite place, The Gaylord--- to the pissant Podunk Troublemaker Region where the fishing is godawful and your motels are worse. And although I have tried to beat it into your stubborn head that it is God running the world and not you, I'm sure you'll do your best to screw everything up by noon. And, as usual, your shenanigans will thwart my attempts to turn in postive Progress Reports, thus ruining my chances of earning my way out of this godforsaken assignment. Just once, for God's sakes, could you kindly act right for just one lousy week? Because then just MAYBE I could earn myself a transfer to the Galveston Region where I could get myself a nice suite at the Flagship Hotel and go deep-sea fishing for some lovely lane snappers , cobia, or amberjacks. Because I'm sure as hell tired of those dang pissant crappies in Podunk's pissant lakes... Yours truly, Lutie-Dale Jr., Guardian Angel, 3rd Class.
B*
B*
But actually, I think the list-making works better for me. It gives me something concrete to pull out of my pocket throughout the day so that I can check my progress. Here's the particular list that's going through my head these days (although I haven't actually written it down):
T*
Things They Don't Tell You About Being a Manager Before You Agree To The Job:
Y*
You used to think it was horrible being "on call" for one week per month---but now you're "on call" for any arising problems or decision-making for every single day of the month, every weekend of the month, for EVERY SECOND OF EVERY MINUTE --- for EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY HOUR --- and THERE'S NO ESCAPE ---AAAIIIEEEEEEE!!!! ....
(*
(...hold on for a minute while I compose myself.....)
S*
SLAP! SLAP!
(*
(...there, I feel better now....)
Y*
You're suddenly supposed to make daily "assignments" for everybody. And you find out that it isn't sufficient to simply say something like: "Go do....whatever it is that you do..." Y*
Y*
You find out all sorts of things that scare you to death---like when your secretary says things like: "You DO know that I know everybody's e-mail passwords, don't you?" Y*
You*
You finally find out the meaning of that phrase you used for years but never fully appreciated: "Shit Rolls Uphill"--- because now, no matter what happens, no matter who committed the error, even if it wasn't you who did it--- it's always YOUR fault simply because you are the supervisor "in charge"; Y*
Y*
You find out that you are even more of a hazard on the road than you were before---because now you're not only eating hamburgers, drinking coffee, and talking on the cell phone while driving, but you're also thinking of the million things that you've got to do in the office and jotting them down on Post-It notes---which causes you to drive carelessly and do things like nick the pole supporting McDonald's Golden Arches with your Jeep's mirror as you pull into the drive-thru to get a sweet tea...
*
M*
McDonalds Drive-Thru Window Person: "I declare, if you didn't just hit the pole holding the dang Golden Arches!"
B*
Indignant Bohemian Road Nurse: "The hell you say! And it wasn't the pole holding the dang Golden Arches--it was the dang speaker box. Now can I have a sweet tea, please?"
Y*
Y*
You find that all your former attempts at "glamor" have flown right out the window because you now no longer have any time to devote to "beauty rituals" in the morning. You don't realize this until you hear your co-workers laughing behind your back because you're using a leftover, used, Podunk Hospital Labor & Delivery Department diaper bag as your purse---and you don't give a damn because it was a hospital freebie and efficiently holds all your things--- and it doesn't break anything if you throw it across the room....
Y*
You find out that the most important phrase in the English language is: "Take a message"; Y*
Y*
You find out that there's absolutely NO PLACE to hide---because the company owners and every single employee of all three branch offices know your dang cell phone number and will freely call it no matter what time of the godblessit day or night it is, week day or weekend, to apprise you of every single problem which comes up; Y*
F*
For some dang reason, your cell phone rings at odd times like 6:40 am, and you fumble around in the dark trying to find it, finally answering it sleepily, wondering WHY in the hell your secretary is calling to tell you that she's not going to come to work today---and then you remember that you're the Branch Manager---and the one that people have to call when they're not going to come to work...
A*
And you find out that if there's anything worse than one of the nurses calling in sick, it's your secretary calling in sick...
Y*
You become suspicious whenever anybody laughs at one of your jokes---because they never laughed at your jokes BEFORE you became the Branch Manager, and you're certainly not dense enough to think that your jokes suddenly turned funny... D*
D*
(Did I tell you the one about the guy with a pelican stuck to his head? He walks into an Emergency Room and the ER doctor yells out: "Good heavens, you need help right away!" The pelican replies: "I certainly do---now GET THIS GUY OUT FROM UNDER ME!" ) Y*
Y*
You start to worry obsessively that you'll never again have the opportunity to do the following things: 1) sneak off to Taco Bell with Belinda;** 2) call in sick when you're not really sick--but actually taking the proverbial "Mental Health Day", **or 3) pretend to be busy and fake-write at your desk in order to look like you're working--- when what you're really doing is day-dreaming about how you'd like to visit Galveston or the knitting store in Dallas; Y*
Y*
You suddenly find yourself having thoughts of being able to move nurses and other employees around Podunk like the chess pieces on a chess-board, and how you can make them do this or that, and how you can market the area to build your company's patient-census, and then the company will make more money, and then maybe you'll get a raise, and then maybe you can rise in the ranks of the company... and then you can RULE THE WORLD!!!
*
......and then you have to slap yourself back to your senses when you realize that "Podunk Megalomaniac" really isn't your forte and that maybe you'd better be content with simply making sure that you get the weather report so that you can ensure that only those nurses with 4-wheel drive take the muddy ranch region if it rains again this week; Y*
Y*
You find out that although you really like how you now get a more "respectful tone" from people that you talk to simply because you're a Branch Manager (like doctors, doctor's office nurses, hospital lab directors, other Road Nurse Company administrators, retirement community staff, or whoever), you also conversely realize that you can't be a smart-ass anymore because now you're a "manager" and have to reflect a more "professional" image...
.*
...and you realize that maybe it was a lot more fun when you were a peon because then you could get away with things like wearing your Ipod earphones into the hospital's lab as you dance a jig to the beat of "She's a Maniac" while delivering a blood sample... Y*
Y*
You find out that suddenly everybody in the whole dang town wants to tell you their problems as if you've suddenly developed the Wisdom of Solomon. Like when the emergency room charge nurse calls you on the phone "just to bitch", saying things like: "I told that smart-aleck new doctor that the patient was filthy and had a live cockroach sitting on his shoulder--- and then he comes back from the examining room and says: 'That was a cockroach? I thought it was Jiminy Cricket telling him to take a bath!'"
* Y*
You suddenly find yourself frowning rudely at any employee who has the audacity to make a remark about "not feeling very well", "having a sore throat", "getting cramps", or anything else which hints at calling in sick; Y*
Y*
You realize that for some strange reason everybody wants to keep tabs on you; and thus, you are rarely alone--- and that even when you try to take a quick break to go get a Diet Cherry Limeade from the Sonic drive-thru, invariably somebody will want to go with you, including one of the company owners--- and you are positive that you saw her cringe when she viewed the messy state of the inside of your Jeep; Y*
Y*
Your buddies from other Road Nurse Companies call you on your cell phone to razz you about being a Branch Manager, saying smart-alecky things like: "I remember when you used to call your boss a 'bitchified-skinny-butt' behind her back---I wonder what they're calling YOU behind your back?"; Y*
Y*
You realize that you only THOUGHT you knew what "tired" was--because now you're living within a whole new realm of "tired", a fatigue so great that you seriously consider buying your coffee on the way to work in the mornings instead of using up perfectly good energy to make your own; Y*
Y*
You realize, to your horror, that you glance at the clock as each person arrives at work in the mornings--- just to make sure that they're "on time"; E*
A*
All of the patients now call you for all of their complaints, such as the patient who was just discharged from the hospital who called you to spend 45 minutes bitching about his doctor writing the words"Quit Drinking!" on his discharge instructions. "And not only that, nurse," the patient hollers into your ear, "but he CIRCLED it!" Y*
You find out that, as a matter of fact, Everybody calls you for EVERTHING---such as when an ornery farmer patient you've told 100 times that he DOES NOT meet the Medicare requirements for a free scooter hollers at you about it---and then he goes to his doctor and gets mad all over again because his doctor tells him that he does not meet the qualifications---and then the ornery patient hollers at the doctor's hapless nurse, yelling in her face: "Dang it, I need that dadburn scooter to use in the horse barn!"
.*
...and then that doctor's nurse calls you on the phone and takes a half hour of your time to gripe about your ornery patient hollering at her...
.*
...and then that ornery patient hobbles his way over to your office with his ancient cane, hangs his Stetson cowboy hat on your lamp, plops his self down into the chair in front of your desk, asks for a cup of coffee--- and uses up another half hour of your time to holler at you ALL OVER AGAIN about WHY he doesn't meet Medicare qualifications for a motorized scooter? And you're so sick & tired of this damn scooter problem that you think you'll go crazy if you have to talk about this motorized scooter ONE MORE DAD-GUM TIME.... .*
...*
...And while that ornery patient is hollering at you, your secretary interrupts to tell you that there's a phone call for you--- and when you get on the phone it's the nurse at the doctor's office saying: "I'll bet that ole coot is over there hollering at you right now, ain't he?"
Y*
You get the bright idea to ask your secretary to put "some sort of bell" on the office's front door so that there will be a warning sound to alert you to the fact that somebody just walked into the office--- enabling you to discreetly hide in a meeting room while the secretary "takes a message", should that visitor be someone you don't really have time to talk to at the moment... Y*
Y*
You find out that sometimes your ideas aren't that great---because a little while later the secretary's construction worker husband walks into the office wearing Dickies work pants, a cowboy hat, a tool belt---and spits tobacco juice into a spit-cup and announces: "I just got back from the hardware store and just WAIT till y'all see the lallapaloozer alarm I'm gonna install on this 'ere front door---it'll knock ya CLEAN OUTTA YER SEATS!" S*
S*
Suddenly every single thing you say or do becomes a lot more noticeable to everybody else in the entire company, especially things like which cuss words you use (and how often), how many times you go to the bathroom (and how long you're in there), how long it's been since your last root job (and how much you pay for it), who it is that you're talking to on the phone (and exactly what you said to them), and exactly how much paperwork you get done in a day---or else just how far behind in your paperwork you are; Y*
Y*
You find that it's really handy to have the personal service where the mechanic comes to pick up your Jeep and brings it back by lunch time clean as a whistle---yet the mechanic then sits down in the chair in front of your desk and spends a solid 35 minutes telling you about the contents of every other Road Nurse Company Branch Manager's car in Podunk--- to which you can't help but laugh your head off---
.*
...but then that afternoon when you go home you realize that you left some extremely "private" correspondence and other articles in your Jeep that are probably right now being discussed in some other Branch Manager's office...;
Y*
You find out to your chagrin that every sales rep within a 50-mile radius who sells office supplies, diabetic supplies, or respiratory therapy supplies will visit you regularly, unannounced, and plop themselves down into the chair in front of your desk and give you a 25-minute long soliloquy about about the virtues of their products... Y*
*
You find yourself seriously considering the elimination of that chair in front of your desk... S*
S*
So many people are making demands of you all the time that you find yourself becoming more and more paranoid by the day--- and you finally realize that you've gotten a little too paranoid when the Walmart check-out girl asks you how you're doing and you snap back: "No, you can't go home early!" Y*
Y*
You actually become so paranoid that the next time the hospital's Medical Helicopter flies by your apartment complex, you stand on your balcony in a robe with your hair askew, waving your fist at the pilots while shrieking: "Leave me ALONE, dammit! LEAVE ME ALONE!"
*
Y*
You get so impressed with yourself for being a Branch Manager that you allow yourself to put on "airs" and splurge by ordering the "Yee-Haw Dinner" at the Catfish & Crawdads drive-thru, while snickering to yourself that at least there's no dang Golden Arches to knock over--- and then you almost plow over the restaurant's big cardboard "crawdad"... Y*
Y*
You start making this week's "on-call" schedule and a riot ensues as everybody stomps all over each other to get to you first with their "scheduling requests"---and it takes you over an hour to figure out a way to organize the schedule while still giving everybody their preferred call week choice---and when it's finished you realize sadly that there's no "juggling" room left for your OWN scheduling preference... O*
O*
Ok, this is the last joke I SWEAR--- A grasshopper hops into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender says: "Say, did you know that there's a drink named after you?" The grasshopper replies: "Really? There's a drink called 'The Fred'?"
T*
T*
And so I drive.....and I am the manager....and I continue to daydream about Galveston....T*
T*
One time my ex-husband gave me a surprise birthday gift---a deep-sea fishing trip to Galveston. He'd made reservations at the fabled Flagship Hotel, which is the only hotel in the USA which floats on a pier over the water. My husband knew how much I had dreamed of returning to Galveston---I hadn't been there since my childhood. I was very excited as we drove the long drive down to the Texas Gulf coast.
O*
On the way, we stopped in Houston to make a quick visit to see my aunt. As we sat in her parlor drinking tea and eating delicious local Mexican pastries, she asked us why we wanted to go to Galveston when there were so many other "nicer" beaches to visit.
*
"But I love Galveston," I told her dreamily. "I remember playing on the sand there when I was a child..." *
*
"Oh yes," she replied. "I remember those trips. We'd send you kids to the beach with one of the adults. That was so the rest of us grownups could visit your Grandfather Jack in the insane asylum, in downtown Galveston, where they were giving him shock treatments for his alcoholism---that's what they did for alcoholics in those days, you know. But it didn't do any good in the end, remember?"
*
"Uh, I'm not sure..." I replied haltingly, confusion spreading in my brain. I could see that she thought I "knew"---but I didn't know... *
*
"Yes, I'll never forget that day," she persisted, not seeing the horror on my face. "Grandfather Jack had told your grandmother that he was going on his daily 'rounds' to inspect all of his gas stations. And then it was around mid-morning when the police called your grandmother to tell her that Grandfather Jack had blown his brains out with his own gun while sitting at his desk in his favorite station-- do you remember? The paramedics later said that they'd found his dead body surrounded by empty whiskey bottles. So those shock treatments in Galveston never really did him any good, you know what I mean?"
N*
"I guess you're right..." I replied slowly.
M*
My aunt didn't know that I had never been told the truth. I had simply been told that Grandfather Jack had "died of emphysema". But I knew the truth now---about why I'd spent those days on Galveston beach....
B*
But it didn't matter---because even when I knew the truth, I still loved my Galveston...
*
...maybe even more.
*
*
*

8 comments:

lheiserman said...

I have been known to drive in the car and use my cell phone to call the office phone to leave a message for myself because I have thought of something important, and I'm only a Legal Assistant.

One time it occurred to me while I was driving home that if a client who filed divorce continues to reside with his wife, I should tell him no "marital relations" because that can impact the divorce.

A few weeks later he jokingly tells my boss that I told him I was thinking about him the other night and called him the next day to tell him not to sleep with his wife.

And why are you tired? Because you are doing the job of two people, your old job and new job.

Hang in there.

Knitting Rose said...

being a boss bites. I feel for you. New jobs bite too - till you get the hang of them. I love Galvestion too. I have early easy memories and I will HOLD THEM TIGHT.

poody said...

Wow welcome to my world of the supervisor role. I have skills and so do you!And yep, it is a tired you cannot escape.

Mother Jones RN said...

I always enjoy your posts. Great pictures.

MJ

JustCallMeJo said...

You know what BRN?

You crack me up.
/jo

p.s. You lived in India? Will you e my hero today?

ursa said...

You can tell me dumb jokes any time. (:

I heard this one from a doctor:

Why does a chicken coop have two doors?


Because if it had four doors, it would be a chicken sedan!1

Here's hoping you make it to Galveston someday.

danielle said...

You put my life into perspective!
And I have such a blast laughing WITH you about your life...
THANK YOU!!!

Anonymous said...

I can only say "Thank you for blogging"! I will be back, and I hope to heaven you write here every day!

BTW....I love Galvaston, too, and visited it often as a young kid while my family visited my uncle who lived there. I loved the beaches and the huge shells we took home. I hope to go back some day.