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Archive for June, 2011

Awesome People

I’ve wanted to post this for awhile, but lacked the context. Well, hell with it – I’m posting it anyway.

I am so very thankful for many people that have been supportive, understanding, caring, open, and just plain wonderful in general and to me.

For example, my car was dead this morning. We live ~2 miles from where I work, so I decided to walk. First off, this area is nearly pedestrian hostile. There are little to no sidewalks and the area where I walked, not only didn’t have sidewalks, but there was also no shoulder. No shoulder + blind turns + me walking nervously (probably looking a little drunk early in the morning!) + shoes that were not made for walking any distance = a little scary walk. I got to the gate and the always lovely security guards asked a guy to give me a ride to my building. I seriously love those guards. They are funny and nice and chat with me nearly every morning.

That was just this morning.

Every boss/supervisor that I have had since the stroke has been incredibly wonderful to me. Florian never let me give up when I was so terribly overwhelmed with depression, learning to walk, and finishing my dissertation. Dan tried to make staying in IL and at State Farm as possible as he could. Lisa is currently so supportive. I was honestly so nervous to tell her about the stroke (what if she really questioned who she hired?) and she handled it with surprise that I would be nervous. In my performance reviews, she has given me every opportunity she can to help me be who I need to be/who I am. In the last review, if it weren’t for my team lead, I would have fought the review that I got. I did it at State Farm too. I’m not at my potential & to hear that I okay as I am makes me want to argue that no, in fact I am not okay as I am. I am better than this.

Truly though, if I were to get a review that was harsh, I would probably get anxious, nervous, and overwhelmed and it wouldn’t bring out who I know that I can be.

I’m totally getting there, too. I have wonderfully heated email exchanges about research and the nitty gritty details that some people tend to overlook or accept as ‘well, we’ve always done it that way’. I am challenging the status quo and that is where I live. That is where I am comfortable. I try my hardest to be professional, so as not to damage the message for the delivery (thanks, Florian!), but that is me too. I’ve always worked on tact.

Other people give me the kindest of breaks when I was short with them or awkward with them. Such good friends that allow me to have a fit and still welcome me when my snit is over. I can’t possible name everyone, partly because I don’t know all of their names but also because I would miss a name and would have to apologize all over again! Just know that I know who you are and I am grateful for you.

In sum – this quickie is brought to you thanks to gratefulness and appreciation.

🙂 Love and happiness.

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Growing Pains

Okay, buckle up and keep your hands and arms inside the blog at all times. This is going to be a rollercoaster of a ride because I have a lot to say!

1. My doctor and I changed my AD because of the continuing discussion of possibly starting a family. Doc said that changing now just in case we want kids is a good idea considering my elderly eggs. Okay, she didn’t say my eggs were elderly, but she totally implied it.

The new AD have different side effects. Not bad one: no sweet smells any longer, but instead, everything tastes creamy. Even water. Weird. Kind of annoying side effects: the new AD lets some OCD tendencies through. It isn’t as bad as pre-AD, but it is a bit annoying. Nothing I can’t handle. It also lets some of my ‘not so great’ emotions through whereas the other AD allowed for a higher baseline. I’m dealing with this. It is still much better than suicidal thoughts, right?!

2. I attended a stroke symposium put on by the hospital where I volunteer. I saw the sign-up sheet and contacted the organizer to ask if this was a closed symposium (not available to those outside the medical community). I put everything out there – a volunteer and a stroke survivor. She actually *invited* me to be there as a guest. So I didn’t even have to pay the fee to attend! How cool is that?!

Okay, so the way that it was organized speaker-wise was really pretty cool. It was organized in such a way that the very first contact to the stroker talked first (EMT) and then the ER nurse, then ICU doctors, then surgical doctors, etc. It was surprisingly emotional for me. The EMT guy figured that the whole of the audience was medical personnel, so he took a humorous stance that affected me greatly. I had to keep stepping back to remind myself that these people do a great service and that his joke about what people wear/look like/smell like is just job humor. It keeps them sane and the joking only happens after the emergency passes.

Then came all of the realities of strokes. The urgency of time. The fatality rates. I truly had to pinch my butt cheeks together to keep from crying (that helpful hint from a friend that made me giggle but also works!).

3. From this symposium came the brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea to give a presentation to my team at work on stroke symptoms, diagnosing, and what to do. I gathered a ton of paraphernalia from the symposium that was offered and gave a 20 minute speech on what stroke symptoms look like (sudden and unexplained [S&U] confusion, S&U headache, S&U imbalance, S&U weakness on one side, S&U garbled speech) and how to do a laymen diagnose of a stroke (FAST: Face – is one side drooping when you ask the person to smile; Arms – does one drift when you ask the person to raise their arms; Speech – is it garbled or slurred when you ask them to repeat a simple sentence; Time – is so important. Call 911.)

I was a little nervous because I didn’t practice the presentation since the symposium was Monday and I gave the presentation Tuesday morning. I was a little cocky thinking that since it was a topic which I knew so well, that I could just wing it. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. My nervous energy translated into clonus of my foot/leg. It was bouncing all over the place & I couldn’t control it at all. All of the feedback I got said that it was a good presentation, so I may be just being a little hard on myself (what??! :-)). I plan to ask my boss if I can give the presentation during safety week. It is such good information for EVERYONE to know.

4. I was part of a subteam (4 members of my work team) that is part of a project that conducted a flight test in Savannah, GA on a pretty cool experiment airplane. The airplane isn’t the experiment, it is specifically used to house experimental equipment. The flight test itself was really neat. It was my first experience in flight testing, so I was a little nervous because I didn’t know the pilot and I had never been on a business jet. Oh my god, people. IT WAS COOL. We did maneuvers that made my stomach do a few flips and it lasted about 3 hours. I kind of have an awesome job! The drawback of my experience is that I was pretty much ignored the whole time. I felt like a seat-filler instead of a member of the team.

The truth of the matter is that I am reaping what I sowed. I have been so easygoing, meek, and shy at work that when I have a good point, I usually didn’t fight for it because I didn’t feel as though I had a right to fight for it. I hadn’t earned it. So, that night, I had a dream that Bob had turned me in for something (no clue what) and I had to do 2 weeks of jail time. Clearly, it was a seriously big crime if my time was 2 weeks! Anyway, for the first time in a LOOONG time, I was ‘normal’ in my dream. In my dream, it was as though a stroke never occurred. This really hit me. This is a big deal. Now, what am I going to do with this?

Bitches, I brought it!

I don’t know what created this, if it was the dream, the AD, the time factor, or a combination of all, but I felt strong. I had issues with the flight test that were brushed aside and ignored. Well, I will tell you what. I fucking will NOT let this shit go. My points are valid, I have the research to back me up and I have logic on my side. I AM BACK.

I sent my concerns and continued until I was acknowledged. This all happened yesterday. I would not give in and roll over like I had for the last 3 years. The replies were all “but we’ve always done it this way and we like it”. HA! I don’t care! Research isn’t about your fucking comfort zone. If we want our research to be taken seriously, we have to take other peer-reviewed, valid research seriously. Because of the illogical, irrational, soft replies that I got back, well, as you may be able to tell, I got mad. I fought like it was the hill that will be stained with my blood. I would not let it go and my poor team was not prepared for this. Hence the growing pains.

This is going to be painful for me, Bob, my family, my friends, and my coworkers. What I have been in the past 6 years is not a reflection of what I will be in the next 6. I came home and railed against my foes (I really like my coworkers, so this isn’t a friend/foe thing, but I am going for drama here). I yelled about the irrational, illogical, and soft reasoning. I was worked right the hell up. Then it hit me. I’m getting it back. Bob & I went out to celebrate. I think I scared him a little, but he was so happy to see me again.

I will admit that I am a little nervous that it will go away again, but now that I remember how this feels, not to be meek and unimportant and okay with being unacknowledged, I plan to return to it time and again.

I am so excited! 😀

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