Monday, December 16, 2019

About Me Monday + Inner Champion Workbook: Chapter 2: Changes

Disclosure: If readers purchase a copy of this book through the preview link above, I earn a small commission from Amazon.

Greetings, fellow Crazy Creatives, and others. Today I am continuing my shared journey with the Inner Champion Workbook, which is an adjunct to the above autobiography by bodybuilder Lauren Powers. As I said in yesterday's post, this is a book that came as a complete surprise. I kept putting it to the bottom of my list of books for review because I thought it was a workout book. It isn't.

Today's chapter addresses changes. Let's get to it!

"Whether we’ve embraced it or not, we’ve all faced changes in our lives. In this chapter, identify some of the changes that you’ve experienced in your life. First, think of a change that happened to you that was out of your control. Then, think of a change that you actively made. How have these changes altered your journey? How can they be seen as contributing positively to your identity?"

Change that I made:
I no longer work for anyone else. I am not an employee or contractor. I am strictly a freelancer.

The reason I made the change:
Mostly out of necessity. My physical health took a few critical hits, and then I ended up moving to a remote location which is 50 miles from the nearest city. I do not have the strength or stamina to make 100-mile round trips to a job several times a week. I no longer have the strength to work the types of physically demanding night shift jobs that defined me for many years. Most clerical jobs are on the day shift, and I become severely depressed working day shifts because of my lifelong difficulty regulating my sleep. 

The impact it had on my life:
I am more stable emotionally, although I worry about my low income. However, I am not allowed to make more than $1100 a month or I lose Medicaid. Isn't that the stupidest thing you ever heard of? People outside of the United States often express their shock about our health care system. As someone who has been a victim of this system for a lifetime, I'm not shocked by it but remain appalled. A for-profit health care system exists to help nobody except for institutions gouging the ill and infirm.

Change that happened to me:
In 2017, my life changed forever. I was fired from my job after falling into a very deep sleep while sitting with a patient on the night shift. It is my contention that I had a TIA (transient ischemic attack). I was very sick with a severe respiratory infection that I had contracted from this patient. The coordinator insisted that I go to the job anyway, reasoning that I could not reinfect the patient because I had contracted the infection from him. The coordinator also used guilt, stating that "the family really needs you." 

A bit of further background to this story. My diabetes was becoming worse at this point. I wasn't yet using insulin but knew the day was coming soon when I would have to. I was working 60 hour weeks. I was afraid to say anything to my coordinator because he kept telling me that they were going to replace the primary nurse on the case with me since she had lupus and this meant that she called off sick a fair amount to manage her condition. So I kept my own health issues to myself, fearing that I would lose work if the company realized that my health was infirm.

After being fired from this job I picked up more shifts with a company where I was working one night once a month with a patient I'd worked with previously. I lost $4 per hour but ended up being able to go back to full time fairly quickly. However, this patient's condition declined, and he ended up in the hospital. The agency never got me another job.

I went to work delivering food for Uber Eats. I was actually losing money doing this job. I found work with a company called GoPuff, which is a subsidiary of GrubHub, delivering groceries. The onsite managers were great but GrubHub does not give a flying fuck about either its employees or its contractors. 

Many nights, one manager was left in the warehouse running around like a chicken with her head cut off to pack the orders while the other two managers switched over to driving. The drivers were given ridiculously large numbers of orders and GrubHub customer service couldn't be arsed to call the customers and tell them about the delays. The customers were always angry and took it out on the drivers. 

As many of the deliveries were in downtown Denver, I often had to park several blocks from the location and carry heavy loads, sometimes up several flights of stairs in buildings with no elevator. On one occasion, I almost fell through the rotting boards on a porch. 

I started noticing tingling and numbness in the fingers on my left hand but ignored it. The tingling progressed to mild and then moderate pain running from shoulder to fingertips and then transitioned to pain so severe that I was having trouble sitting up for more than about 45 minutes before I had to lie on the arm to try and numb it. I ended up quitting the job. I had to wait for two weeks before Medicaid kicked back in. The pain was so severe that I considered committing suicide. I may well have done so if not for the fact that I knew I would be able to get physical therapy once Medicaid kicked back in. That was my only hope.

Fortunately, physical therapy helped greatly. My arm went from being in constant severe pain to being in moderate pain with some bouts of severe pain. It progressed to being in mild pain with bouts of moderate pain and then, to my joy, to feeling like a lump of clay with bouts of mild pain. 

Unfortunately, Medicaid only pays for 12 sessions of physical therapy for any given issue. My arm remained in the "lump of clay" mode for about a year. It has since progressed to low-grade numbness and tingling, which is where it will probably remain for the rest of my life. I have to be careful about lifting too much with this arm.

Once I was able to return to work, I delivered food for Cluster Truck, a delivery-only restaurant, from December 2017 until June 2019, when I found the wonderful Grover Hotel and my son decided that this building was our best hope for having a place to live for life. As I said, Grover is 50 miles from anywhere, which is why I made the decision that given my health issues, it was best to work from home rather than attempting to find a position working for someone who would be flexible regarding my health issues.

The impact it had on my life:
For the most part, I really like what I do. I wish I could have/would have made this decision sooner. I have always hated working for other people. In spite of the fact that I liked the patients I cared for, I was extremely burned out on health care, and my body was badly compromised from years of neglecting to take care of myself while devoting myself to caring for others as well as from the health issues which are due to faults in my DNA, i.e., my trash fire endocrine system.

One positive aspect or life lesson from the event:
I have been able to get adequate rest for the first time in something on the order of 40 years. I was always the "I'll sleep when I'm dead" kind of person. I often don't sleep well at night, and even though I'm a night owl, the night shift will mess your body up. I was always in a fog. 

I never respected my body and always told myself to shut up and quit whining. While I don't think I will ever be able to "love" myself (that concept is completely foreign to me) I have learned to respect myself and to be better about not letting people walk all over me.

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