Last night, I came home from work with two six-packs of beer in my hands. My roommate took one look at them and my face and said “One of those days, huh?” (For the record, I only had two. He drank three.)
I try to be positive on this blog, I really do. But sometimes, you just have one of those crappy ass days where you think to yourself, “WHY am i doing this?” Also, “that’s it, I’m GOING to change my life and my work.”
It is not abnormal for my hospital to get phone calls with questions such as:
“Is this something I should bring my pet in for? It was in dog fight and now it’s eye is sticking out from its socket.”
“My dog has been vomiting and has had diarrhea for the past seven days. Do you think I should be worried or bring it in?”
These are the calls that make me want to bang my head against a wall or go outside and do a (not) silent scream in frustration. I want to say to these people, “Well, gee, if you had your eyeball sticking out of its socket, would YOU want to seek medical attention?! or If you had it coming out of both ends for a week, would YOU want to go to a doctor and get something for it??!! Then why would you think it would be any different for your pet?!”
Usually with these calls, we then get the story of how they can’t afford to have their pet treated. We give out the phone numbers to the low-income clinics. Or we get told that we are selfish money grubbers who only care about money, not if their pet lives or dies. And sometimes they hang up on us. One day, it happened to me three times. Because, you know, it’s MY fault that they can’t afford to take care of their pet.
Nothing could be further from the truth and it pisses me off so much. I want to say, “Trust me. I make $12.50/hour so I’m certainly NOT making money off of your pet.” But I can’t. I have to try and be as nice as possible with them.
Public Service Announcement: Please, please, please, people, if you can’t afford to take care of a pet when it gets sick, DON’T adopt it. Or find a way to save for its health needs. Or take out pet insurance. Or hell, get a job at an animal clinic so you get a huge discount on their pet care. Or call the low-income clinics and find out when or if they have special clinics for certain health needs like vaccination clinics or spay and neuter clinics. I could go on and on. The point is — DO SOMETHING.
Don’t expect the person answering the phone at the animal hospital to be a miracle worker or the receptacle for all of your problems and frustrations. Because WE are people too. We really are. We have feelings. We are scraping to get by just as you are. (In fact, many of us joke that we work there so that we can afford to take care of our pets or pay our vet bill. Unfortunately, it’s also kind of true.) And also, if you’re there with us in person, don’t treat us as if we are stupid because we are standing behind that desk. I have advanced degrees. I have CHOSEN to work with animals because I love them so much.
One thing my mom taught me, and I wish other people had learned as well – never assume that the person assisting you is beneath you or doesn’t deserve your respect. You NEVER know who you are talking to. And believe me, it’s true. And you never know if that person could be the one to help you out when you need it. I mean, truly need it.
The point of all this is that yesterday was one of those days where I became even more resolved to change my life from its present circumstances. Tonight, I will take a transcription test or a remote researcher test (another option for me to make extra cash) so I can start earning more side hustle income, and make one of my dreams more of a reality – being able to do freelance work to support myself. I want to have multiple streams of income so that if my writing can’t support me or I just plain fail miserably at it, there are still options that I can rely upon.
Today is a new day. I’m going to try to remind myself to not let my emotions get caught up in what is going on around me and which I cannot control. Easier said than done, for sure. I need to take a deep breath. Or three. Or four. Or ten, as the case may be.
If you’ve ever felt this way about your job or your life, please share below or feel free to share this post with someone who has. I’d love for us to be able to talk about it.
As always, thank you for reading, and thank you so much to those of you who have commented on or messaged me about my last couple of posts about being brutally honest or my talk about money, either here or on Facebook. They have really helped to keep me inspired.
Makeup. It hides a lot. It makes things look prettier than they are. it hides flaws. The too-large pores or the blackheads, pooled areas of trapped dirt in the skin. The zits, sometimes white on top and sometimes so pink and red it’s painful to just look at them. Makeup hides the truth while creating this image of perfection.
You might have a crush on someone at work. You fantasize about what your life might be like with them. And in your daydreams, they never disappoint. Of course not. Because it’s all in your mind. It’s a world you create to get yourself away from this world you now find yourself in. If you started dating them in real life, you might see that they have flaws just like yourself. Maybe they forget to shower some days or leave the toilet seat up, or leave too many dirty dishes in the sink. Maybe they take too long in the bathroom every morning, leaving you with cold, or, at best, lukewarm water when it comes time for you to take a shower.
A novel that you just can’t put down. Every line, every word, seems so perfectly chosen. You wonder how these words could have come out of the author’s mind. Is he or she a genius, that much better and smarter than you, who could never come up with something so clever? It looks so “perfect.” Of course it does. It’s been edited over and over, possibly over the course of several months or even years.
What you don’t see is the ugly behind it. The hours of frustration the author spent staring at a blank computer screen, the blinking cursor taunting them over and over with every second that ticked by and the page not coming any closer to being filled up. And before the advent of computers (shock, gasp! was there such a time?) the mounds of rolled up paper thrown into or around a wastebasket, thrown in a moment of sheer dramatic agony of the author, convinced that they couldn’t form a single thought in a coherent manner.
Ever read through a company’s annual report or documents sent to their shareholders about how the company is doing? Be honest. From beginning to end? Of course not. If you’re not one of the document’s drafters or one of the company’s lawyers, or a student reading through it for a class assignment (yep, that was me), then you would likely fall asleep by page 3. The document looks nice and pretty from afar. Perfectly formatted paragraphs and logos and strategically placed phrases in italics, or perhaps other various uses of formatting techniques such as bold and larger fonts, hiding the ugly truth that a company is going down the tubes.
But what if you only wanted to see the beauty up close? Is that possible?
On a run, you see wild sunflowers up ahead. From far away, they’re like a sea of yellow and black swaying gracefully in the breeze. As you get closer, their individual shapes begin to emerge, and some beckon to you as would a grandmother to a child. You raise your hand out to give them a very slight touch with your fingertips. They look as if they are smiling in return. You whisper “thank you” to them as you run by and can’t help having a smile crawl over your face as a result. A runner then passes you in the other direction, and the smile is contagious.
The feel of a lover’s kiss for the first time after a long period of separation and anticipation.
The feel of a cat’s paw on your face, urging you to wake up in the morning.
The first sip of a hot cup of coffee on a brisk morning, sitting outside your tent, gazing at the mountains in the distance.
The tentative steps forward of an animal that was formerly abused, now daring to feel a human touch that doesn’t cause pain. Your falling asleep while sitting near them, in companionship, waking up to see them next to you, looking at you with what appears to be hope in their eyes. Hope that you will now become their family, their protector. Their love. Their life. And they will become yours.
Seeing the ugly or the beauty up close is a choice. A choice only you can make. I choose beauty. To choose otherwise just isn’t possible. For me.
Which do you choose?
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy these photos, shot at Elk Island National Park, just north of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
If you have liked this post and would like to read more like it, please hit the like button below or drop me a line, or even just share it with someone who you feel would also enjoy it. I’ve been starting to write more and I’m definitely feeling the creativity expand within me.
Yesterday was July 4th, Independence Day! I know a few more active duty folks this year, and living so close to an air force base, I am reminded of the sacrifices that a lot of folks do every day so that the rest of us can live our lives out the way we want to. (Even if for some of us, that means living the “American dream” even if it makes them unhappy. The point is we get to choose what our lives look like.) So to those of you currently serving, or who have served, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
After working an 11 hour day on Monday and facing a 10+ hour today, I decided to do something for myself yesterday morning, and go for a run in the Bosque. Being at such a high altitude, and an arid climate, ABQ can have some wide temperature fluctuations every day. I try to do my runs around 6 or 7 because usually the temps are in the 60s, but it’s a dry air, so it’s perfect running weather in my opinion. And yesterday was no exception.
The road near the Bosque was closed for an “event” and it turns out it was a road race!! It’s funny but part of me misses running races, and part of me doesn’t. For one thing, they can really add up financially, and I am definitely not the speedster I used to be. It could be the altitude slowing me down, or my age, or just that my focus has shifted from always wanting to go faster, faster, faster, to now focusing on how I feel when I’m out there on a run. It used to be about competition with others and myself. It’s not anymore (and in fact, I find that running with my Garmin now stresses me out as I’m looking at the distance run, and the pace is so much slower than it used to be that I start to feel down on myself, and it takes the joy out of it.)
When I found myself breathing too heavily yesterday and stopped for a quick walk to catch my breath, I caught myself from going down that negative pathway I used to go, whereby I would berate myself or feel discouraged for having to “stop” and walk. Instead, I said aloud (I really did, and yes, I can be such a dork at times), “That’s not what today’s run is about. Today is about feeling good, enjoying nature, and having this time to myself.” And you know what? Talking aloud to yourself can really help sometimes. I found myself smiling. And then I picked up the running again.
Yesterday was unique in that normally I run with music (my phone strapped to my arm but no headphones, so I can hear if bikers come up behind me.) Well, yesterday, I mistakenly left the armband at home. So it was running with just the thoughts in my head and the sounds of the breeze rippling through the trees around me, and birds flying in the air, with the occasional greeting of “good morning” or “Happy Fourth of July” when I infrequently saw someone else on the trails. I understood what others have meant when they’ve said that sometimes running without music can be a meditative experience. It’s just you, your body and your thoughts.
Yesterday, I thought of all the times I’ve said I WANT to do something. Like, I WANT to write more. Or I WANT to do more transcription work and have more money to pay off bills at the end of the month. Or I WANT to simplify my life even more.
You know what? You can WANT or desire things all you want, but until you put your money where your mouth is, that’s all IT is, a THOUGHT. I’ve always been so afraid to write and try to get paid for it. I look at other published works (either self-published or traditional) and think “THIS someone got paid for?” or “this person decided to do something and did it, and here I’m paying money for it.” I COULD DO THAT if only I could get over myself and my self-doubt. I need to stop THINKING and start DOING.
I was also thinking, I like my job, but it’s not something I want to do forever. There are certain parts of it that I love – getting to see some of the cute dogs and cats, (and yes, even avians or funny reptiles like bearded dragons), but some of it can be really monotonous too, like running credit cards through the machine over and over again. I do feel like I’m good in the euthanasia situations that we face just about every day, and think I do a good job with comforting the owners, or at the very least, making the situation at least a little less horrible for them. And yes, I’m seeing animals hands-on.
But I’m also seeing that so much of it is a business. So many times I answer the phone and hear someone in tears or close to it, about their pet, and hear them say that they can’t afford the treatment that they know their pet needs. Or I’m ringing up credit cards for several hundred dollars or even more. And after a while, it’s like when I worked at a bank, you don’t see the numbers as real money. It’s just another figure. And then I think to myself, if I didn’t work here and didn’t get the huge employee discount I do have, I would be one of those people on the phone, in tears, wondering how to pay for their care and still afford rent and food for that month. In a city like ABQ, where people don’t make a lot, it’s a call I hear way too often.
I have a brain and I want to use it more. Many of you might remember that I first moved to ABQ because I wanted to be a vet tech. After working in an animal hospital now for about 7 months or so, I don’t think so, anymore. I think the pace at my hospital is very stressful for a lot of the techs and employees (we see emergency cases all day and all night long), and I’ve heard some of the animals crying back in treatment or in ICU and the techs have to deal with that much more up close and personal than I do. They’re the ones restraining the animal who is scared or confused or hurt, or holding the oxygen hose over its mouth to try and stabilize it. I see the stress on their faces and the toll it takes.
It could just be that it’s the “hospital” side of things that has made me change my mind on being a tech. Working on the sanctuary side of things is a very different aspect to animal care. You have a different mission in mind. I’m still figuring these differences out in my mind and learning what makes me tick when it comes to animals and creating my life (financial and otherwise) around them.
I always have so many plans each day as to what I want to get done – I want to exercise, and write, and do more freelance work, and some days I’m super motivated, and then some nights I get home, and am so mentally exhausted that I just sit and stare at the wall. Or pet my own babies and then go to sleep.
Being in a hospital setting, even one with animals, can be very stressful. People can be short with one another, and I try to remind myself on a daily basis, and sometimes several times during the day, not to take the shortness or abruptness of others’ attitudes personally. But I’ll be honest. I am human, and sometimes I get pissed off. Luckily, I now have a roommate who I came home and vented to the other night. (Yep, I’ve got an air mattress in the living room and things seem to be working out well so far. I’ve set up the mattress so it doubles as a couch.) It is a guy roommate and he could tell just by the way I walked in the door that I needed some down time and quite frankly, needed to bitch about some things.
So today when I go into work, the day after the Fourth of July, when I am sure we will be slammed with folks picking up their fur babies from boarding, or folks calling to see if someone has found their pet who escaped last night, freaked out from fireworks, and having our busiest vet on the schedule, and just the usual amount of walk-ins, I will try to remind myself to take a moment and breathe. Don’t take the stress that others are pouring out and onto me, personally. Realize that not everyone has the same coping skills that I have tried to hone over the past few years. Realize it’s a job. And that yes, I did give up my past life to take on these new roles willingly, and realize it’s not going to be where I spend the rest of my life. And as one of my coworkers once said to me, “be like a duck, and let it all wash over you.”
And remember, I can come home. I do have a roof over my head. I can hug my furballs. I can pull out this laptop and write here or in my personal journal. I can take control of my finances and look for second and third jobs (the paper route didn’t work out, I will discuss that in a later post). And use my skills and smarts to change my life if I don’t like the direction in which it’s going. If I’ve learned nothing else over the past few years, it’s that I CAN make changes, I don’t have to stay stuck in one place, or in one job, or in a role that I think others perceive I should be doing.
I realize this post might seem to have been quite a ramble, but it’s also been quite the therapeutic one for me. Hopefully, there’s a point in it that can provide someone else reading it, with some clarity. For me, I’m glad to have gotten up early to complete it, and to now still have time to get some transcription done, or to complete my profile on flexjobs so I can look for some more side work to fill in the gaps.
I hope that you will have a good day after the fourth, and as always, to the very few of you out there still reading, thank you for doing so. 🙂