Category Archives: Personal Life

I Will Not Take This Abuse Sitting Down.

If anyone noticed (I’m sure you didn’t), I took a 24 hour hiatus from social media starting Wednesday afternoon until Thursday afternoon (granted, I haven’t been on WordPress in months).  I just needed to process and the way I was doing so was not helpful or healthy.  I needed to think on it, by myself for a little while.  So I came back home from work Thursday ready to write.  Of course my computer felt that that very moment was the best time in the world to do a massive update, and my tablet was in need of charging.  So here I am today.  Finally getting the words out.

I am pissed off.  I am sad.  I am disappointed in our culture.  Half the county voted for a man who believes in “natural marriage,” thinks that because he is famous he can “grab her by the pussy,” wants to have a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” plans to build a wall and (by some magic) have Mexico pay for it, mocks people with special needs, encourages violence against protesters, and is just generally a poor excuse for a human being.  This man is going to be the face of our country.  This reactionary man, who doesn’t think through his actions, is who is supposed to represent our culture to the other countries of the world?

Don’t tell me to stop blaming politicians.  I don’t I blame you that voted for him.  Sure, Hillary was a bad choice, but you know what?  I don’t think any white man in America would have felt unsafe if she had been elected.  I now feel the need to buy pepper spray, because it’s clearly okay to grab any woman by the pussy now: in fact it’s admirable.  I am scared for my siblings safety and their ability to be the people they want to be. I fear for anyone that is not lilywhite because they might be mistaken for being the “wrong” race or the “wrong” religion and harassed and abused.  I am afraid for the entire world that we are going to see nuclear war because someone looks at our president-elect funny at a conference who he see as different.

Don’t talk to me about checks and balances.  That only works if there is somewhere a majority in the House, Senate, or Court that would fight him.  This is actually a call to arms for the republicans who hold the House and Senate, and for whoever he elects to the Court.  Keep your party away from this man.  I don’t think we lost the White House to a republican.  I think we lost it to a horrendous human being.  Dear Real Republicans, fight back.  Don’t let him do this to the people in your life.  Don’t say yes to him just because “it’s good for the party.” It might be, for you, for now.  But remember how the people in your life will be affected.  Remember how history will remember you.  Think how history will think of your political party.  Do you want it remembered that way?

I for one, will not take this abuse of my culture, my rights, sitting down.  I will spend the next four years working to negate the negativity and evilness that is spouted.  I have signed up to volunteer at Planned Parenthood in the area (even though there is no current opening), I signed up via the volunteer NJ (the state I live in) website to put my name out there.  I will be marching on Washington on January 21, 2017 with the Million Woman March.  I will be wearing a safety pin out in public and every single day: I will be a safe space for anyone that feels harassed.   I am done being nice and taking the high road when it comes to my friends who feel that I am not handling this  correctly.  Bite me.  Unfollow me.  Unfriend me.  Hatred breeds hate, and yes, I hate Donald Trump. For years I have been against the sentiment of #notmypresident.  For years, even when the president were not of my party, not of my beliefs I understood that yes this man was my president.  However,  Donald Trump is NOT MY PRESIDENT and I will not take this abuse sitting down.

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Happy Belated CNA Appreciation Week

A little late, but as the saying goes: Better Late Than Never.

Happy CNA appreciation week, fellow aides.  We are the pissed on, the shit on, literally more days than not.  We do the work that not only are doctors and nurses not trained to do, but that they really, really, don’t want to do.  We are the front line, keeping our elderly and sick happy, healthy, sanitary, and sane (to the best of our abilities).  Without us, the healthcare world comes to a screeching halt.  Without us, the doctors and nurses cannot do their job effectively or with any dignity.  Dignity to a CNA?  What is that?  I don’t think I have any of that left and I am perfectly fine with that.  In fact, without my dignity is why I can clean your ass with a smile 9 times out of 10.

This past week was not exactly a banner week for me as a CNA, but it really is what my job can be like in a nutshell.  I love my job, but our bad weeks – damn do they suck.

Think on this for a minute.  Think of the most important person in your life.  Is it your mother?  Your spouse?  Your sibling?  Now imagine that as they age they start to change; and I’m not talking the normal sort of change that comes with aging.  Yes, they’re starting to forget things, like your name, or where they put their keys (but, hell, you call the kids the dogs’ names occasionally, so you ignore it).  Then you realize that maybe they’re not taking care of themselves the way that they should.  Maybe they’re no longer brushing their teeth, or they’re showering 3, 4, times a day.  You find yourself helping them more than you ever expected.  You’re in the bathroom with them when they shower, or setting out clean clothes so they don’t put on the same dirty outfit for the fifth day in a row.

Suddenly there’s another change. And it’s bad, this time.  The most important person in your life no longer knows who you are.  “I don’t know who you are, but I know I love you.” When they speak they make absolutely no sense.  Maybe they know what they’re trying to say, but their brain can no longer find the appropriate words.   They might stop talking entirely, are they still in there at all?  Are they communicating with their eyes?  Their personality might make a total 180.  Suddenly you’re being screamed at and spit at for attempting to help them.  They might know that this is not appropriate, and apologize later, but they cannot help it.

Suddenly the most important person in your life is no longer the person that raised you, that you grew up with, that you fell madly in love with.  All people, all ages, it doesn’t matter a whit how old you or your loved ones are – this can happen to you – this can happen to the ones that you most hold dear.

And then you make the decision that is the hardest in your life.  You can no longer care for the person that you love so damn much.  You make the decision that your loved one needs more help than you can provide.  You make the decision to help this person move into a place where they can get the constant help that they need.  Most of you think “nursing home,” but remember there are other, more diverse options out there now (of course you need a buttload of money to live in those places, but they exist).

You want the best care possible for your spouse, for your sibling, for your mother.  And there’s now a team of nurses and aides in place to give this care.  You hope that maybe, just maybe, by putting this kind of care in place, you’ll start to see a glimmer of the person that was once there.

I want you all to remember something. The people who live in these places.  These people have families and friends who miss the dearly.  But these people are people.  And they deserve to be treated as such by every care giver, every other resident, every visitor.  They may not be the people that you remember – but the aides who spend five days a week, 8 hours a day, with them, know them for who they are now.  We have intimate relationships with the people that you hold dear.  We have our own inside jokes, we know which marks on their bodies are new, we are there to pick them up when they fall, we know their habits and when they’re having good or bad days.  We know what they’re capable of and they’re capable of a hell of a lot, including making their own decisions.  Let me repeat that:
These People are Capable of Making Their Own Decisions.

So remember, when you come to visit your loved ones, the care givers are doing the very best they can to make sure the person you love is happy and healthy.  Sometimes they may not be dressed the way you imagine, or they may not be participating with Recreation the way you imagine.  But remember, their personalities have changed and every person, every single day is different.

The care givers are doing the best they can, and remember we are still human.  We form relationships with the people we care for, but we also have our own bad days, our own off days.  And not matter how damn hard we try not to let it affect our work, our caring, sometimes it does.  Sometimes it’s the very nature of what we do.  We give and we give and we give.  And then we give some more. Sometimes it wears us down.  Most days we get some of what we give back from the people we take care of.  Almost all of the people I care for can put a smile on my face.  But everyone that lives here, that works here, we’re all human and sometimes, Sometimes, it sucks.  Sometimes we cannot connect.  Sometimes putting on that happy face means crying in the bathroom when you get home. Sometimes the happy face slips.  Sometimes there are people that we don’t work well with, our personalities clash.  It happens.  And it’s awful for everyone involved.  Our jobs, our lives, revolve around making relationships and fostering growth within our communities.  When we can’t do that it’s like we’ve failed you, we’ve failed our resident, and we’ve failed ourselves.

“There’s nothing we can do,” is not a phrase that we like to hear or say.  We try, try, and try again.

We know that making the decision to put your loved one here was the hardest thing you could ever do.  We really understand that better than you think we do.  When you tell us that we’ve made you or your loved one happy, or brought back some of who they were, we float.  We float for days on that sort of comment. But let me tell you, that it’s also that easy to crush us.  We really do try our best – and sometimes we miss something.  We want to know when we do miss something, we want to make you and your loved one happy.  Just remember that we’re people too and there’s a difference between telling us that we missed something and telling us off.

So here’s to us.  Here’s to us CNAs.  Here’s to the abuse.  Here’s to being puked on.  Here’s making a million beds, and then making them again the next day.  Here’s to all the bad shit.  Here’s to all the crap we do, to all the crap we put up with.  Here’s to the bullshit that’s all made worthwhile by one smile, by a bedbound resident out of bed for the first time in years, by someone picking up a fork all by themselves.  Here’s to all the fuckall made worthwhile by the little things.

The little things that make people live better, more independent lives – it’s all worth it.

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Coming to You from the Surface

Surface 3, that is.

Well, I turned 28 on Sunday, and basically, it blew hard.
Saturday afternoon Evan threw out his back.  We have no idea at all what he did to it.  He said that while he traveled between stores, he got out of his car and something felt wrong.  During the rest of the day it got worse.  The plan was that we were going to go out to dinner Saturday night rather than Sunday since Sunday was Mother’s Day (did I forget to mention that every single time my birthday falls on Sunday it falls on Mother’s Day?); except when he came home Sunday evening, and he was crooked.  He, being the stubborn man that he is, tried damn hard to get back out of bed: somehow he even got his clothes on – I actually had to convince him that he couldn’t make it!

Sunday morning, I had planned on going to church with my mother.  Needless to say, that did not happen.  Instead, I had to spend the morning driving Evan to Urgent Care.  He had to hobble his way to and from the car, leaning on his walking stick from Mount Fuji.  The doctor told him that his spine was s-shaped, prescribed him the fun drugs, and got him a doctor’s note to stay home from work for 3 days.

Until he went back to work Thursday, I almost killed him. I don’t mind taking care of him, and I know he’s (still today) in pain, but I didn’t realize how wearing it would be to have him home every minute of every day and in our bed basically for every minute of every day.  Man, I almost killed him.

And then yesterday, when he came home, I was trying to take a short nap that was just not happening.  When he came home, he crawled into bed with me and told me that we could go pick up my birthday gift.  He bought me a Surface!  When we were at Best Buy, he gave me an option: he’d buy me the Surface 3, or he’d put $500 towards a Surface Pro 3.  After some hemming and hawing I decided on the Surface.  I have a desktop – this will be more supplemental.

Anyway, I have a Surface.  I named it Tension because I’m a clever sonnofabitch.  So this is me, coming to you from my Surface, for the very first time, but it definitely won’t be the last.

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Still Alice – I’m Not Done Yet, Do We Have to Go?

On Tuesday, Boyfriend and I went and saw Still Alice and Birdman (there will be a seperate post for that if I ever work out how I felt about it).  Basically, I picked a movie and he picked a movie.  Of course both of these movies were on our lists of movies to eventually see, since they had won awards at the Oscars, so I didn’t feel too badly choosing Still Alice, I actually assumed he’d be choosing Birdman.

Alice is a linguistics professor at Columbia.  She lives the life she’s always wanted – travelling, learning, teaching, and loving her family.  This all changes when she starts to lose little things. She forgets a word.  She gets lost on campus. She can’t remember things told to her moments before.  In secret, without telling her husband or grown children, she starts to see a neurologist who eventually diagnoses her with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

As someone who is a caregiver in this field, I have some questions as to how they came to the diagnosis.  I know diagnostic tools have gotten better, but we still cannot definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s until autopsy.

The rest of the movie is the story of her loss, how she masters the Art of Losing.  It’s a story of how her family members cope, both well and not so well.

This part was heartbreaking because not only is Alice losing the memory of her family, but in some ways she really is losing them because they’re pulling away or changing entirely to cope/notcope with Alice’s changes.  There was a line in a PinkBerry, where Alice’s husband asks her if she still wants to be here (meaning New York, the house, etc. etc.), she responds: “I’m not done yet.  Do we have to go?”  In the entire movie there is no line that sums up this disease better.  All of the people afflicted have lived lives and none of them deserved to have these lives ripped away from them.  The people afflicted have more to give if we let them, they’d have even more to give if their entire lives hadn’t been ripped away from them by the betrayal of their own brains.

Everyone that has this disorder.  Everyone.  They weren’t done yet.  They weren’t ready to go.

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Get Sick, Stay Sick: the Joys of Senior Care

Gorram it, today was the first day since last Sunday that I went to work without cold meds in my system and now I feel like crap again.

Working in Senior Care is such a weird mixture of needing to go into work because they likely won’t be able to find coverage at short notice, and doing A.M. or P.M. care for a department with a short staff sucks hard, and needing to stay home so that you don’t risk getting any of the residents sick.

Lucky for me, I just have a really shitty cold.  You know what that means?  My boss is more or less begging me to come in, at least to finish A.M. care.  Oh, I’m sorry did I say “lucky”?  What I really meant was “fucking shittily.”

So I’ve been feeling crappy since Sunday night.  I’ve worked Monday, (Tuesday is my regular day off) Wednesday, and Thursday basically stoned off my ass on a combination of Dayquil, Sudafed, and Aleve.  Friday, the meds didn’t work.  I mean, the first thing a co-worked said to me on Friday morning was:

“Wow, you look like shit.”
“Aw, good morning to you too.”

I pushed through all of A.M. care, Friday before I went home at approximately 11am.  By noon I was in bed, I got up a few times to eat, drink water and pee.  I didn’t get up again until 6:10am when my alarm went off.

Oh, right, it’s my weekend on, fucking fabulous.  When I went home on Friday my boss begged me to come in and do the same thing Saturday so that I wasn’t leaving my co-workers high and dry, and of course I’d get paid Sick Leave for the hours of my shift I didn’t finish.  I told her as long as I didn’t spike a fever or start throwing up, I’d do it.  Saturday I was feeling better – at least the Aleve and Sudafed were working (I had even cut the Dayquil from my cocktail)!  But, I left at 10:30am just because I didn’t want to push it.

Today I woke up feeling good.  It was pretty spectacular.  I didn’t have cold medication in my system for the first time in a week.  By noon, I felt like crap.  Okay, I didn’t feel like crap, I was just exhausted.  It felt like I had been awake for days.  I should have called my boss who was on duty today and gone home, but I’m a stubborn son of a bitch.  Tonight, I feel like crap.  I can’t breathe and my nose hurts from blowing it a few times today.  Oh, and I tried to take a nap when I got home and I couldn’t sleep because the fucking congestion kept waking me up.

All in all:

fuck being sick and fuck needing a pay check

Lucky me, I only have one more day of work before a day off – though I was hoping to enjoy this one, since I was sick on my last day off too.

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Yes, he’s a dork, but Evan makes me so very happy.

On the second half day in a row due to illness, I get a text message that makes me smile.

"I saw an e-reader and remembered that I love you."

I Love Pumpkin Everything!

Well, it’s been far too long since my last post.  I’m a bad Aryn.  I’ve been missing blogging recently, so I cleared off my desk, I do so hate working in a cluttered environment, and here I am!

With (WHOA, what?  The equinox isn’t until) Tuesday (?!) being the official start to autumn in the northern hemisphere, the season of pumpkin-flavored-everything has begun.  To kick it off last night, I made a One-Pot Creamy Pumpkin Pasta, courtesy of Kitchen Treaty.  Recipe here.

And here’s my experience of it.

First I made a few changes.  My best friend gave me a bunch of fresh sage, so I sliced it to ribbons and tossed it in because I have no idea what else I would do with fresh sage.  I also doubled the recipe, because I live with my 6 foot 3 boyfriend who doesn’t understand the phrase “portion control.”

Second of all, I hate that prep time never includes getting stuff out of cabinets or the fact that I cut onions slow as damn molasses.  So, technically the prep time was only 10 minutes.  To be fair, that’s probably how long it took me to cut up the onions.  But getting everything else out and prepping the parsley and the wine and all the spices and the sage (which of course was added time) took me much closer to 45 minutes.  I do like to take my time in the kitchen.

Continue reading

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Adventures in Moving and Keratosis Pilaris

I’m baaaack.  You all can’t get rid of me that easily.  I have good and bad events that have been all-consuming and sue me, there’s nothing geeky about this post, but anyone who feel self conscious about their skin will relate to the bad.

It’s been a crazy month: absolutely insane, actually.  Approximately two weeks before the end of March, Evan and I started apartment hunting.  Our first stop was a place called Princeton Arms, their one-bedrooms were right in our price range.  We got to look around one of their empty apartments.   Turns out it had been empty since January, but because of all the goddamned snow no one’s been able to flip apartments.  It was perfect.  Princeton Arms is a big apartment complex, so everything was was in good working condition, and the apartment was a back-facing unit and behind the complex is a nature reserve, so we’d always be looking at wild life and have basically a back yard.  We moved in April 1.  It’s amazing.  I have Dexter and Mona Lisa CMKY coasters as well as a Tardis projection alarm clock.  I have a signed Roger Dean octopus on my wall and a self portrait of my father from many years ago.  Evan’s father bought us a wide screen television.  Really what we’re missing is a couch.  It’ll come with time.

So that’s the good.

Now comes the bad.

A few days after move in, my self-diagnosed Keratosis Pilaris started acting up.  Usually, this presents itself as a handful of flesh-colored bumps on the back of my upper arms and some small acne-looking bumps on the top of my back; it doesn’t itch, it doesn’t hurt and it usually resolves itself by ignoring it.  Of course, it is brought on by stress.  I haven’t really had an outbreak since July, and then it appeared a few days after the move.  It didn’t just appear on the back of my arms and upper back.  It is all over my arms, my legs, my back, fuck, even on my stomach.  Every single pore appeared to be raised.  It was fucking horrible.  I was self conscious insanely, so I started poking around the internet.  It turns out that what it is is that my skin doesn’t exfoliate itself properly, so the skin that dies drys up and builds keratin plugs, creating bumps.  Treatment is exfoliation and a crap load of moisturizers.  Because it was so bad, I was using Benadryl’s cream to keep myself from itching.  So I decided to buy the oral Benadryl to take before bed, figuring it would be more effective.  I had an allergic reation to it.  My left eye swelled up.  Fucking great, right?  It took it three or four days for that to heal itself: beautiful face peeling included.

One of the moisturizers I saw recommended again and again for KP was Amlactin, it’s got 12% some acid thing, so it exfoliates as it moisturizes.  So I gave in and bought some.  $25 for a normal sized bottle.  It says to use it twice a day.  For $25 a figured it better fucking work.  I think I over treated my arms because I’m simply always looking at them.  I basically burned away the top layer of my skin.  Go me.  For days I’ve looked like I got a really bad sunburn.  My arms were swollen, itchy, and bright red.  So I switched back to Vaseline’s aloe soothe moisturizer.  Yesterday my arms started to go down in swelling, my hands are still swollen which looks worse than it did, but only because now my arms aren’t swollen also.  Today my arms were shedding.  I’m like a goddamned lizard.  It’s gross.  However, once my arms are exfoliated with a loufa, they’re smooth like a baby’s butt.  They’re finally less red, as well!  Hooray!  Thank the fucking gods.  Because I need my arms to not look like this in two weeks when I’m a bridesmaid at my BFF’s wedding – I’d die of embarrassment.

“Dear Skin Bumps, you better be gone or flesh colored again by the 26th, damn it.”

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Four Crazy Years

After four years with the boif we took our first “real” vacation on our fourth anniversary.  Sure, we’ve gone to his family’s summer home, which I utterly adore – but this is the first vacation that we’ve had to plan everything from how to arrive to where to sleep to what bars to visit.  It was amazing.

Saturday, after work at 3pm, I changed into “travel clothes” (read: jeans and a wife beater) in the parking lot, and drove up to Evan’s house, about an hour of a drive.  At 4pm I arrived at his house.  Moments afterward, his father drove us to the train station where after a quick grab of a cup of coffee, we boarded the 4:42 train into New York City.  We got to NYC just before 6, and arrived at the Downtown Hilton Garden Inn right around 6pm.  It gave us a few hours to *ahem* nap before we had reservations around the corner.  Of course, I decided that after a day of work I needed a beer, so we stopped at the hotel’s bar.  AOA.  My beer, made by Evil Twin, was a Biscotti stout: fucking delicious.

After … napping and a shower, around 9pm we walked to the restaurant where we had 9:30 reservations that had been made three weeks prior.  Ninja NYC.  This event will be a post of it’s own.  Stay tuned.

Sunday was our “big” day in the city.  We got up around 11am, and got to the Matilda box office to rush the show.  Sadly, we did not win the lottery, and I didn’t want standing room, so we went to Guy Fieri’s restaurant, which happened to be across the street.  This will also likely have it’s own post, so continue to stay tuned. Our afternoon ended at the MoMa, which will definitely have it’s own post so that I can post some photos.  After the MoMa, we headed back to the hotel where I ate leftovers from Ninja and we … took a nap and watched Happy Feet on ABC Family, because we’re adults now and we get to decide what that means.  Our day on Sunday ended at the Way Station, which always deserves it’s own post. So, remember to stay tuned during the week for details.

Monday morning, I was nursing a mild hangover.  Let me tell you, the drinks at the Way Station are not low in alcohol content.  I wanted fries, hard.  But first we had to check out of the hotel, and we started to wander looking for a place to  eat.  We managed to wander into what I believe was little Italy and a place called Brinkley’s on Broome Street.  It was delicious, but I have so much to say, so say it with me: stay tuned.  After a brunch at Brinkley’s, we walked to Strand Books.  Usually I love this place, their tag line is “18 miles of books,” what is there not to love?  But my hangover was interfering with my enjoyment.  So I only bought one book: On Such Full Seas, I’ve heard very good things.  After I checked out I headed to The Bean across the street for a chai latte.  We sat on the bench outside and discussed our options.  We had planned on going to the Museum of Sex, but I just didn’t have the energy for another excursion.  So we headed home, arriving back at Evan’s house around 5pm.  One of our best friends came over that night and he and Evan watched some old movie, which I honestly cannot even remember the title of, not because I was drunk but because I just could not keep my fucking eyes open.

This morning, afternoon really, Evan and I rented Happy Feet 2 on Demand, because we’re awesome.  He made me an egg sandwich, but then after the movie ended, I headed home so I could shower and sleep in my own bed before I have to work tomorrow.

What a successful weekend!

I leave you with this picture of a Lisa Frank cement mixer that I snapped.
Only in NYC.

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Scariest Thing Ever:

A 90-something year old woman waking from a nap,
giggling, and saying with all seriousness:
“The end is near.”

RUN AWAY.

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