No, I’m serious…..I really am eating popcorn for dinner in the tradition of my father, who made popcorn on the stove with oil and salt and real butter. And it wasn’t any of that JiffyPop stuff either—Daddy didn’t believe in cheating where popcorn was concerned. And while this treat may not be good for the waistline (as if I had one of those, haha) it sure soothes the soul.
Well, I’m a step closer to getting unemployment. I got a call this afternoon from the adjudicator, who decides whether or not to award benefits. She asked me a bunch of questions about how and why I lost my job, and at the end of the conversation said she didn’t think there would be any issues with being approved. That was very reassuring, and unless something really goes sideways, I’ll probably start drawing benefits within the next week or so.
But oh, the things one has to go through to get there…..of course, I had to discuss all the factors that went into the termination, and of course I had to let her know about my disability. This is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, the last time I had to do this, admitting to the bipolar actually helped my case. I even came clean about not being able to do floor nursing anymore because I’m too scatterbrained to be safe caring for a group of patients.
I can work, I just need to do something that doesn’t require me to focus or concentrate for long periods of time, or involve irregular hours. I don’t really mind admitting that, seeing as how I had to bring the whole bipolar thing up in the first place; besides, knowing this will help the Employment Division to help me find suitable work, which might not even be in nursing. Who knows, I could be perfectly happy working for twelve bucks an hour in an office somewhere.
Other than writing—and if I could make a living at it, I’d never leave my computer chair—the thing I enjoy most in all the world is taking care of people. I used to be excellent at it, before everything got to be about how much work the powers that be could wring out of a nurse each shift. Before nursing became just another “customer service” job where one can be verbally or even physically abused by “customers” without any recourse. Before the care was taken out of healthcare.
I can’t do what passes for nursing anymore. Not just because I’ve changed, but because the profession has, and it’s changed into something I don’t even recognize. Every nursing job I hear about, apply for, interview for is the same: irregular hours, long days, huge workloads, short-staffing. And even though wages are decent, they’ve stagnated and many nurses are making pretty much what they did five or ten years ago.
Now where in that universe does a nurse like me fit? I’m damaged, yes, but I still have a lot to offer and I don’t really care about the financials as long as I can pay the rent and buy ALL of my meds in the same month. I’m not terribly concerned that I won’t find a job; the question is, can I find one that doesn’t require me to sell my soul and give up any chance at a life beyond work?
I am fifty-five, bipolar, and beat all to shit physically. Both mind and body are telling me it is time to throttle back, and here I go tilting at windmills again. Will I ever learn?