Enough of the Whining, Already!

Wow! I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I don’t know if it had anything to do with Wookie the cat scratching the dickens out of me last night or the constant barking from the neighbors dog around 2 am or the fact that I was shopping for craft supplies (with money I don’t have) until midnight last night. Whatever the reason, I wanted to murder someone this morning. In fact, as the dogs welcomed the morning with yet another volley of barking, I though how convenient it would be for someone to break into my house at that moment so that I could safely expel my overwhelming rage on a deserving target. No one broke in though so I yelled at the cats instead.

As I got ready for work, I muttered the usual curses. I don’t mind curses. I see them as a action, albeit an ignorant one, taken towards an event or a situation. Early morning before the brain is engaged, curses seem almost appropriate somehow. Especially when attempting to put my shoes on before the cat can grab the laces with his razor sharp little claws of death. What I don’t like is whining. Whining is stupid and ineffective. It doesn’t accomplish anything and usually ends up making others angry. What I heard come out of my mouth, after the curses, was whining. “Oh me.” I said as I stood up. “I’m so sleepy”, I added. “Oh god, I don’t want to go to work today.” Yes, I was whining. I was apparently comfortable with the words, presumably having said them many times before. It was evident that I have developed the habit of whining. I’m not sure when this happened. I have always seen myself as a person who, when faced with an unpleasant task, will take a deep breath and plunge right in. I decided to discuss my revelation with a coworker. “I’ve been unusually whiny lately.” I began with real shame clouding my voice. “Oh, no more than usual.” She quickly responded.

No more than usual? So the whininess has been going on for a while now? So long that this coworker, who has known me for years doesn’t see anything unusual about it? Well, yea (heavy on the sarcasm)! So how does one stop whining? Seriously, because now I’m hearing it with every word I speak. I even hear it in my thoughts. So I’ve been sitting at my desk googling how to stop whining and praying that no one comes in to talk with me until I get some answers. One article I found ( yes, there are articles about adults whining ) stated that “whining to an inappropriate audience is basically saying ‘please feel sorry for me because I’m a victim with no power to influence my circumstances’ “(http://www.beinkandescent.com/articles/1252/stop+whining). The author suggests using a simple question to stop whining in its tracks. Just ask “what are you going to do about it?”

So, what am I going to do about it? For one thing, I’m going to be more conscious of what I say. When difficult circumstances arise, instead of thinking “poor me” or “why me”, I’m going to try to think “what can I do about this” and “how can this help me to be better”. I made a start today. Instead of joining in the round of “I’m so fat and I can’t lose weight” that was going around the table at lunch, I challenged everyone. What are you going to do about it? We started talking diets and exercise and before the end of lunch, we’d all committed to helping each other with eating in a more healthful manner. We promised to start tomorrow with a group lunch. Perhaps it’s not world peace but it’s a positive step toward a beneficial goal and there wasn’t a bit of whine about it.

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Day Seven: No Caffeine

It’s almost been a full week since I gave up caffeine. The headaches are over (I hope) and I’m starting to feel almost normal. I still miss it! Although food is tasting normal, it just doesn’t have the same draw that food with a diet Coke or diet Pepsi had. My office mate walked in this morning with two diet cokes and I actually started salivating. One note; my father had promised me that if I stopped the caffeine I would stop grinding my teeth. This is false. Don’t believe people when they tell you this. Caffeine does not make you grind your teeth. Or if it does, once the grinding becomes a habit, stopping the caffeine will not stop the grinding. So much for saving on the dental bills.

Making a commitment

Well, I think it’s time to formalize my commitment to regaining my health. I have decided to officially give up my diet drinks. This is hard for me. I don’t drink coffee. My Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke (I’m not particular) is important to me. It’s the way I wake up in the morning. It’s the spice I add to otherwise boring meals (salad). It takes pizza or tacos or burgers to a new level and makes them truly extraordinary. I’m worried, however, about the use of Aspartame. I have been experiencing some Lupus-like symptoms and as Aspartame has been linked indirectly to Lupus (in multiple conspiracy theories) I feel like I need to give it up. I’m just having a little trouble convincing my subconscious. I unofficially gave it up two days ago. This is my desk today.

coke on the desk

I’m weak!

I told myself that I would stop drinking them this weekend, when the caffeine withdrawal won’t be so detrimental. But I have a whole refrigerator full of Diet Coke and I wonder how strong I will be when I hear them calling my name. It’s just that plain old ordinary water is just that. Plain, old, ordinary and does absolutely nothing for a meal.  I realize caffeine is highly addictive and not very good for you. It just helps so much, especially during meetings. I’m afraid I may go into shock without my diet soda. Then the emergency responders will have to hook me up to a Cola IV. I wonder if my veins will like diet soda as much as my mouth does?

diet coke iv

Mmmmm refreshing!

I taught a medical terminology class this year and had to re-familiarize myself with facts about the human body that I hadn’t considered since nursing school. One of the more interesting is that the body, much like our planet, is composed of nearly 75% water. Diet soda is not a good substitute for water. Cells deprived of water tend not to function normally. Organs and body systems deprived of water can shut down completely. Humans usually don’t fare well when an organ or body system shuts down. Hypovolemia (severe dehydration) is one of the leading causes of stroke and cardiac arrest according to the American Heart Association (ACLS). Yet, I would willingly ignore the warnings about Caffeine and Aspartame if I could just shake the feeling that they might actually be true.

The age-old choice

The age-old choice

Are there any other diehard diet soda fans out there? Which would you choose?

From Karma with Love

We are undergoing a major reorganization at my workplace. Thankfully, this time, it’s not the people who are being shuffled, just the office space.We’ve built a new data center and are in the process of moving departments out of the old building before demolition begins. When I left Clinical IT for Organizational Development, my IT colleagues were quick to taunt me with dire predictions of having to stay in the crumbling old building with black mold and outdated supplies. They were headed to the new data center, they assured me, with brand new offices and the latest and greatest equipment.

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The view from my office window

Recently, however, we’ve found that that the Clinical IT department will not move to the new building. Instead, they will move into the old, grimy (ant-infested) building that the rest of IT just vacated. They won’t be able to afford a renovation, as the IT budget has been allocated to the new data center. Meanwhile, Organizational Development has received word that we will move to a building we have long coveted where each team member will have her own individual (renovated) office. I’m trying to contain my glee, which is why I’m blogging this instead of running up and down the halls screaming it out loud. Sometimes Karma is fricking awesome!

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My space in the old building.

I’m going to take up a collection to buy Clinical IT some ant spray.

Not Quite Right

Do you ever have those days when nothing feels right? Not that anything is bad in my life or that I’m having a bad day but something is OFF and I don’t know what. I was sick last week but am better now and back to work. I didn’t leave anything on at the house. I know I locked the doors and put the garage door down and even remembered to take out the trash. So why do I feel that there is something important that I’m forgetting or not acknowledging?

Even more disturbing, I feel like the OFF-NESS is associated with my new job. I’m a nurse who works in Organizational Development at a local hospital. I was in clinical informatics until September of this year but left after getting my masters degree to pursue my goal of being a nursing educator. Clinical IT was a little too corporate for me. I felt completely cut off from nursing. I saw this job as perfect, incorporating aspects of clinical education with curricula design and program evaluation. Truth is, I feel more removed from nursing now than ever. My boss tells me not to worry, that it can take up to six months to get up and running with my own projects and feel involved and relevant. That was before she cancelled meetings on one of my projects. Before I saw the futility of offering any opinion that differed from hers. Don’t get me wrong, she’s nice and a fair boss (at least that’s what I thought) but I’m wondering if I just traded a frying pan for a fire.

Am I just making too much out of a decision she had good reason to make? I don’t know. She’s off on a cruise this week. I don’t want to think that I made a mistake in coming here. But there’s this OFF-NESS that makes me wonder. Maybe it’s just the strange grey pall that seems to be covering everything? Maybe it’s the result of the tragedy in Connecticut on Friday? Maybe it’s the knowledge that the world is predicted to end this week? Maybe I just need to take a few deep breaths, relax and wait to speak with my boss when she returns (or the world ends). Either way, I hope I know more by the end of the week!

The Plight of Empathy Blocking Medications at Christmas

I think my medication may be blocking my ability to empathize with my coworkers. For example, one of my coworkers, let’s call her Last Nerve (because she’s really good at getting on mine) comes into the office to discuss the number of presents she’s bought for her children for Christmas. I don’t have kids, neither does my office mate, Rat Girl. We have animals instead of children. I don’t put up a tree because the cats will destroy it. I don’t buy them Christmas presents because they are animals and don’t know what Christmas is. So I don’t see the point of Last Nerve regaling me with a long list of what she’s bought for the kids. I don’t really care. The topper is that she will then complain about how much money she spent on them. Is she expecting sympathy or asking for a donation? I don’t know what to say. I give to charity at Christmas and rarely spend much on gifts. If I tell her that I think it’s silly to spend that much on her kids, she’s going to get mad. I usually sit there and nod. Sometimes, I say “oh dear” or “oh no”. I try to follow Mom’s advice, if I don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I wonder, is there a nice way to tell someone that I don’t give a damn about her family’s Christmas expenditures? Probably not.

She’s worried that her oldest child (the 9 year old) is going to find out there’s no Santa. Seriously? He doesn’t already know? I knew when I was 5. Please! Last Nerve and her husband work frantically to arrange the elf scout in different places so that the kids will think he flew back to the North Pole and told Santa all about their activities. I hadn’t heard about the elf scout and made the mistake of saying “elf scout?”. Now I get to see pictures every day. Yea me!

I did hear about a mother who put the elf scout in Barbie’s car for the kids to find. Unfortunately the family dog found it first. The elf scout was ripped apart. I’m still laughing about that. But evidently it was very traumatic for the children. After I picked myself up from where I’d fallen out of my chair laughing, I told my shocked coworkers that it was my meds causing the laughter. Those damn empathy blocking medications! It’s so sad that I can’t feel any sympathy for those poor traumatized children who won’t get presents from Santa this year because their dog ate his scout.

Good Intentions

It’s been seven months since I first posted on this website. I had planned to share my thoughts and feelings about the situation I’d found myself in and hopefully gain some insight along the way. So much for that!  The multigenerational family concept was too much for us. Mom and Dad have gone to live in a retirement community much more suited to their stage of life and I am moving back to my comfy little house (as soon as my tenants vacate). It’s what we should have done in the first place. We just weren’t quite ready to admit the need.

I was really happy to have my living space to myself again. I’m not a social person. After a long day of listening to other people’s drama and answering questions, I don’t want to come home to do more of the same. So it’s been a treat to stroll through this empty house, hearing nothing but the gentle tapping of cat claws on the hardwood and the melodious baying of my neurotic husky. Seriously, it’s music to my ears. Home is once again a sanctuary where I can find peace and rest.

However, I can’t find my mail. My dad checked the “whole family” box on the address change form and now my mail is going to the retirement center. It’s a small price to pay and a problem that I can easily resolve so all is still well.

However, I wondered what I would blog about now. Now that the people who were likely to cause me to become clinically insane are living elsewhere. Ha ha. Not to worry, there are others who are willing and able (and just a little bit desperate, I’ve discovered) to take my parents place.

My first weekend alone had come and gone and I was getting ready to go to work in super slow motion. I did the responsible thing and let my boss know with a friendly email. She said “cool” and went on about her day. She didn’t share the news because, well, why would she? After all, I’m an adult who’s capable of coming to work on my own, My coworkers, a wonderful group of concerned and loving women, went into major “where’s Nancy” panic and started calling my phone, and when I didn’t answer, friends who live in my neighborhood. As I was running late, I’d left home without my  home cell and my work cell. Whoops. So needless to say, by the time I got to work, there were anxious women running up and down the hall, imagining the worst and trying to formulate a plan to find me. I’m a little relieved I wasn’t actually missing. I don’t think they would have reached the stage where someone actually fills out a missing person report. I believe they were enjoying the frantic running up and down the hallway. I did notice as I straggled in that everyone had a cup of coffee and seemed reluctant to leave the hallway and settle in to work. In fact, several more times during the day, they gathered in the hallway to recall the exciting events of the morning. My boss thought it was funny. “Guess you’ll have to CC the rest of the office on any future emails” she said as she popped into my office to laugh. I haven’t lost two parents, I’ve gained four more. Aaauugghh!

My journey through madness continues.

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