Category Archives: Daily Log

Clean Clean Up

That’s not a typo. Clean clean up.

Today at work, a laundry detergent jug was jiggled off the counter by the washing machine. When it landed, its cap popped off. Yay for clean messes!


It also happened to land in the garbage can I had just emptied the vacuum cleaner into. That made a nice, soapy mud.

My co-worker went straight for a bucket of water, but I opted to first scoop as much of it up with a mop and a dustpan, which was a lot of it.

Anyway, needless to say, I still reek of laundry detergent. I don’t know if my last two patients noticed or not; I’m sure neither would have mentioned it.

My co-worker was highly unamused by the whole mess (argh, pun!), but was just profoundly happy it was a clean mess. Not bodily fluids or semi-solids. Puke is terrible. It makes you gag. Reeking of urine is a lot harder to politely excuse. A 1/4 of an inch of laundry detergent over a wide swath of floor is relatively pleasant in comparison.

Why don’t they just use bigger print?

Use less words and make them bigger. I don’t care how many syllables you use, but use less words.

This request is directed at textbook writers. Srsly. I used to tease my brother that he just went to the library and picked out his books on the quality of height and width, but it appears that textbook writers are confused about the fact that this was just a joke. Quantity does NOT equal quality. Once you reach a certain number of words on any given subject, you are not “exploring in depth.” You are “obfuscating”.

It’s bad enough writing a tedious book on a tedious subject, but do you have to obfuscate on top of everything else?

When Snow is Softly Falling

As much as I grouse and grouse about winter, there are some parts about winter that I do like. I loathe the darkness, it’s true, and I’m not above complaining about the bitter cold when I come in from starting the car in the morning.

But I like gentle snow falls. I like the pristine cover of white that says, despite all the closures and traffic warnings we blare about, all is well. A fresh, sweet, pure new beginning. I like the brilliant sunlight refracting off of every crystal of ice.

I like the chance to gather myself up before Spring.

The trick is to realize winter for what it is, and keep a razor-sharp focus on that throughout the season. It’s too easy to say “nothing”. To easy to say it’s too hard, in the middle of winter. But this is the chance to pull yourself together so you can hit the ground running. This is when you clean, this is when you plan, this is when you take the necessary preliminary steps so that–when winter IS over–you are ready.

Really ready, not a waking-up-slowly ready.

Past, present, and a I guess maybe a little bit of the future.


This morning I was standing there getting dress, and all of a sudden I was hit with a powerful flash-back from my time in school. I imagined myself in the early mornings at school, when I would get there far earlier than would ever seem reasonable, except for the fact that that was when my ride dropped me off. (Earliest class ever offered = 8 am; my arrival time? 7:10.) I heard the sounds of the empty building, saw the flickering light, and most of all, I smelled school. School has a very distinctive smell all its own, and even after the sights and sounds of school were shaken out of my fuzzy head, the smell lingered.

PRESENT: (ish)

As mentioned, I took my boards exam on Saturday. I couldn’t stand the suspense and decided to check and see if my pass/fail results had been posted online yet, even though I was told I wouldn’t be able to find out until Tuesday. So Sunday morning I tentatively logged on, and discovered that I had passed.

You may certainly go back and re-read that sentence, because I went and re-read the results about 5 times, just to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. Then I went back later on in the day just to make sure they hadn’t changed their mind. Nope–still passed!

So I went work today and told my boss, the owner of the whole company, and she was so happy she hugged me, and spent the next 5 minutes exclaiming with delight and telling everyone she could. So, so, so happy I could come into work with a positive report.

Then I was slammed by a full schedule, my first ever on my own. It required three donuts, and I am very glad that someone brought them in, because I don’t know what I would have done without them. I think I did some pretty dang good therapy and made some very good calls, but I think my documentation for it sucked. Some day I would like to be able to do some awesome therapy AND uphold the other end of the book pretty well, but today did not seem to be that day.

And I am exhausted.


Tomorrow I am going first to the hospital, where I will most likely also be thrown into the boiling water. Then I am going to the clinic, where I will probably be lightly charred. And finally, after lunch I will be shipped off to different branch, where goodness only knows what fate awaits me.

Don’t get me wrong–I like my job. But I am still so, so green at this that I feel more that I am being put into a large washing machine with the agitation cycle set for 10 hours than I feel like I am a competent clinician who is capable of conducting herself in a professional manner. I am pretty sure that if I make it through this week okay than I’ll be over the worst of it.

But I still hope there will be more donuts tomorrow.

Everything I said before, again.

Gorgeous trip home.

So helpful person I am replacing.






Starting to find my groove at work; grateful that they are experiencing a slow time right now and that I don’t have to hit the ground at a full out run. Re-gaining some confidence in my ability to make clinical decisions. (Hey–I haven’t done any PT since May, and out-patient PT since last December. I’m allowed a little hesitation.) Everyone here has been very supportive of taking on a new grad, and am kinda thrilled that so many patients that they have actually want to get better and are actually willing to do their exercises at home to make that happen.

Talked more about the boards today, and she is really helping me feel more relaxed going into this. Having said that, the closer the time comes, the more wound up I am. I am practically counting the minutes at this point.

Stupid tests!!!!

Why Winning can be sad

I got the job I did. . .because someone else lost it.

I suppose some people would say, “That’s their problem, not yours,” or “for a good reason, probably” or some other sort of thing. But the girl is younger than me, and failed her boards twice. She can’t re-take them again until October. And so she is orienting me to her job for a week, and then will no longer be able to function as a PTA until she re-takes (and passes) her boards.

It would be no overstatement to say that this arrangement can at times feel very awkward, especially since I’m going to be making my first attempt at passing the boards this Saturday. I’m nervous about taking my boards, and so I inherently want to talk about it. Working right along side someone who has failed to pass it–twice–doesn’t make me any less nervous. But it also makes me horribly awkward about saying anything about my attempt. I can’t say, “I’m nervous, but I’ll probably do fine” to her–how could I?

For her part, she has been incredibly sweet and helpful about orienting me and showing me around, and seems not have the slightest shred of resentment toward me for literally taking her job out from under her. All the more–how could I possibly talk to her about my anxiousness concerning the boards?

Today we had a little break-through as we both talked openly with each other about studying for them. I showed her the app I’m using; she showed me her notecards. It was most pleasant. We were on even footing.

She has this graciousness thing down pat. She’s even going to bring me in a cookie recipe we’d talked about. Me? I feel incapable of being a gracious ‘winner’. What do I say? What do I do? I say, “thank you for everything” and she says “of course!” with her sweet smile, and somehow I just feel kind of slimey, even though I’m glad to have this job and I think it will be a good fit. The thing I most want to say is “welcome back! I missed working with you!” when she passes her boards. . .

If I took a picture, you’d think I’d photo-shopped it

This morning I drove into the rising sun, and this afternoon I drove into the setting sun. Not a proper sunrise and sunset (though that will be coming soon, I’m sure, with the shorter days), but just the right angle to be in your eyes the whole way through. Today it was a different small town. I am seeing so much of picturesque, quaint rural America lately that I feel like I ought to taking along a camera and doing some proper photo-shoots for magazines, post-cards, and people who don’t believe that it really exists. (It really does, people!!)

I met two new PTAs today. . .one was the one that inadvertently got me a job, as she passed news of the opening on to her friend, who then passed it on to me. The other insisted she recognized me from somewhere, and come to think of it, she looked familiar to me too. We spent the whole morning trying to figure it out, and finally decided that it had been at the (local, small-town, entire community effort) craft fair a few weekends previous. I couldn’t place her booth exactly, and I struggle to believe out of the many people streaming past her she really remembered my face. Nonetheless, we were both definitely there.

Right now I am kind of feeling like the way things are right now is how I wished my clinical experiences would have been. I see a lot I can learn. I also feel pretty dang clueless (which I hate), but past clinical experiences have taught me that the first week is really the most acute phase of cluelessness. As long as I keep pushing myself through, I should feel a little (tiny) bit more settled by next week.

I told you it would be tedious

I don’t know what to write. Yep, it was the first day of my job. Yep, I came home and ate ice cream and read words on a glowing screen.

To me, this poses many deep and great questions to which I don’t have the answers. . .yet some how makes very clear that answers must be sought. And I’m not talkin’ about the ice cream.

What is life really all about? (Pretty sure we’re still not talkin’ about the ice cream, but you can double check me on that.) And I don’t mean what we say. I mean what we live.

In various points of my life I have frequently wondered what other people see when they look at me. Not because their opinion matters, but just that I am always wondering what the birds’ eye view says, if you strip away all of your pretensions about what you think you mean and just see what is. And maybe other people aren’t a high enough view to see that, really, but I know I am to the point where I realize it sometimes doesn’t seem to matter what we think we mean, as much as what is heard or understood. And so sometimes I think it is time to stop telling other people what I mean. . .but for one thing, telling only just myself what I mean sometimes seems just as pointless–and for another, I don’t know what else to do.

I want explain myself thoroughly to everyone, want life to be thoroughly explained to me. I can “mean” all I want that the explanations wouldn’t change anything, but that doesn’t change my desires for those explanations. But at the same time, I can somehow see, through a distorted half-squinting, that all these attempts at meaning and explanation are causing harm. . .building up more pretensions, and meanings and explanations and all sorts of things that don’t seem to change what really is, but somehow just create another invisible barrier to grasping the “is”. Yet still I reach for explanations as though it were a key that could unlock blindness.

(I rather suspect this reads as written by one who has just worked their first day on the new job and then eaten a lot of ice cream, followed by too much glowing screen time. Sometimes, that’s just the way the day goes down.)


what do you do when you literally wake up on the wrong side of the bed and have no idea why? I mean, yeah, there is always chocolate, but that seems like such a cliche.

I’ve been going once a week to my friend Kim’s house; she’s been helping me study for the boards. She has a dog–a little one, but not a yippy-yappy one. His name is Louie, and he kinda makes me want a dog of my own. This surprises me, ’cause I’ve never really been a dog person. But I’ve always thought if was going to get a dog, it would be a dogs dog–some variant on a sheep dog. It would be a very smart dog, but an outside dog. Cats are allowed in, but dogs really just seem like outdoor creatures to me.

I guess what makes me like Louie is that he is such a good-natured creature without being hyper or stupid. Isn’t that what one looks for in a pet?

Last weekend before work starts. I am busy enough obsessing about the boards that I don’t think I have enough ‘sessing to ob in the direction of work. I am hoping that by the time this coming week is gone, many areas of uncertainty will be smoothed over.

In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to get ride of the source-less grouches. I did actually try the chocolate; it hit the spot but didn’t clear the problem. Exercise was also attempted, hence the icing of shins that do not believe in higher velocity ambulation. Last call is going back to bed with a little prayer that tomorrow starts out on a better foot.

(And maybe another one for the hope of finally getting my cell-phone functional. I know it’s not in the life or death category, but pretty-please, anyway. I certainly can’t fix it. . .)

Chapter II

You know you are in Small Town, America when you can rely solely upon old churches as your landmarks to find your way around town.

And when you think a place is gettin’ civilized when it has it’s own Wal-Mart.

There is a business sign over there that says “Redneck Redemption” on it. I have no idea what business/service they are supplying.

I’m not sure I want to find out.

I don’t get checked for drugs often enough to be neat about peeing in a cup. (That was probably TMI. Sorry.)

The hospital is small. Really small. It took me about 2 years of intermittent employment to find my way around the last hospital I worked at. This one took, um, 15 minutes? Woah. Small hospital.

I miss my journal, of sorts. You mind find it a bit tedious to read about my todays, but a few months from now I will undoubtedly be spending hours re-reading my posts, acknowledging the time that slipped by me when I was too busy to notice.

Today was kind of my orientation day at my new place of employment, which included my pre-employment physical. It will be mostly outpatient, but a few hours every day will be spent on inpatients at the local hospital that we contract with. I didn’t understand why it was only a few hours until today. It is smaller than one floor of the hospital I used to be at, so it’s no wonder it only takes a few hours to see all the patients.

I ran into my bosses boss today. I’m a little anxious, ’cause my boards are next week. “But you’ve got a reputation to live up to, don’t you?” he said. “You’re the head of the class, right? The go-to girl!”

Nope, I didn’t tell him that. And actually, I was kind of uncomfortable that he knew. But he also hired one of my classmates at a different location, and she blabbed. So, yeah, now I have reputation to live up to! In all honesty, I’m very glad she had only good things to say about me to our mutual employer. But I am still kinda anxious about those boards, man. Everyone else thinks I can pass hands down, but I don’t have that kind of confidence. Gonna be a lot of people owing me “I told you so”s if I pass!