Gooooood Mooooorning, Vietnaaaaaam!

Okay, I would just like to start this off by saying that this weekend… this weekend was absolutely insane. Some poor decisions were definitely made but, overall, a good time was had by all, and the shenanigans were legendary. That being said, I’m glad it’s Monday and I have five days before I have to do it all over again.

As a writer, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if my original plans for Friday night hadn’t fallen through. So, if the ER hadn’t temporarily moved Rose to a different team, and if Chris and Damien hadn’t gone to Ireland, and if CJ hadn’t insisted that Edward and I accompany him to Shamrocks, and if the Martins hadn’t been at Shamrock’s, and if CJ hadn’t been oblivious and insensitive, and if I hadn’t decided to cope by drinking way too much…

The original plan for Cinco De Mayo had been for the squad – Chris, Damien, Rose, Tony, Emmett, Nico, Liz – to go Villano’s in Puerto, one of the only restaurants in the area that serves actual authentic, tasty Mexican food. But, as previously stated, plans changed. The ER rearranged the teams to support manning so that a sailor could take leave, which meant Rosehad to work; Chris and Damien had decided at the last minute that they wanted to spend their weekend (as they had a four-day weekend) in Ireland; and I had forgotten that my best friend/ ex-corps-school Air Force bae, Edward, was coming into town, so I had tour guide duties anyway. As you can see, things had already started to go sideways. Well, on Friday morning, I saw CJ as a patient in my optometry clinic, and he informed me that we would be going to Shamrock’s for dinner, as they were doing a special menu for Cinco De Mayo. I told him I had a friend in town, and he responded that I should just bring him along, so I asked Edward and he said he was down. Further sideways we go.

When we walked into Shamrock’s, I saw the Martins and I waved cheerfully in passing… except that Jaime bossed me into going over and actually talking to them. At this point, I think I had accepted that I had zero control over my Cinco De Mayo evening and I just gave up. We wound up sitting together as a group and over the course of our conversations, some nasty personal stuff from my past with CJ came up and I found myself getting progressively more and more upset. Edward did his best to buoy my spirits – he really is a phenomenal friend – but it wasn’t working too terribly well. So, after CJ left because he had to work the weekend and wanted some sleep, I did something stupid. I got hammered drunk on a cocktail whose ingredients I didn’t know, which is stupid anyway but especially when you take into account that tequila – even in very small amounts – makes me violently ill. I don’t remember much of the night, but I know I vomited in the bathroom for at least an hour before my friends managed to get me home. I have an alter-ego who only makes appearances once every few years; my friends and I have dubbed her Lola, and she is normally kept in an adamantium cage at the very back of my psyche but, for the first time in four years, she made an appearance this past Friday night. It was terrible. I swear I spent 65% of Saturday apologizing to my friends.

Again, if only things hadn’t gone quite so sideways with my original plans… I can almost picture it: me and my squad (plus Edward) sitting around the tables in Villano’s, eating Cali style burritos and drinking cervezas and horchata, bs’ing and talking about life and just generally enjoying our Cinco De Mayo. And then I think back on what actually happened and cringe. Again.

 

That being said, Saturday was actually quite pleasant. I didn’t have a hangover, I got to spend the day with Edward (who had taken care of me all night and then slept on my bedroom floor), and we took the dog I’m taking care of for a long walk around downtown and then on the beach. Edward is my ex-corps-school-bae, as previously stated, but he’s since come out of the closet and now he and I are basically gay best friends. It’s wonderful. He just a fantastic person, so his presence seriously improved my weekend – especially Saturday night, which was terrible for a completely different reason.

I had passed word down to the squad at the beginning of the week that Saturday night we would be doing dinner and pre-gaming for those of the squad that planned on going out, so from about six in the evening until about nine thirty in the evening, I was cooking for nine people. Katharine, Tony, Emmett, Nico, Liz, Mitchell (last name; she’s one of my friends I call noodle, my most serious term of endearment), Edward, Sarah, and Jackson entertained me while I cooked and bartended for them, slinging cocktails and epic burritos until everyone was fed and contently tipsy. When I finally finished cooking, all I wanted to do was take a nap… but everyone wanted to go to Feria, which is similar to a county fair in the States, but moreso. So, we went to Feria. After several hours of wrangling drunken twenty-somethings, I finally decided it was time for us to call it a night and put everyone in cabs, sending them back to base. I took Edward home, then went home myself and passed out around three in the morning, sitting down for the first time since before six PM the previous day. It was rough, man. My feet STILL hurt. But, everyone enjoyed themselves and after I’d dropped Edward off at the airport in the mid-morning, I got to take Sunday as a day for myself, and that was really nice. I went back to the house and did the dishes from Saturday night, cleaning the kitchen top to bottom, then did the same thing at my own house, plus laundry and general tidying up. It was about a half day’s worth of work and I realize that to most people that would sound daunting after that kind of weekend, but for me it was basically therapy. I love to clean, especially doing dishes, so it did nothing but soothe my soul. I blasted my favorite Punk Goes Pop playlist, scrubbed dishes, drank coffee, and just let myself reset for the coming week. I spent the afternoon, once all the cleaning was done, hanging out with my two mini-mes, Liz and Sarah, took care of Sarah for a few hours after she got ill from stress/ dehydration/ lack of food/ lack of sleep (poor kid, I swear), and wrapped the evening up falling asleep while How I Met Your Mother played softly on my TV.

 

This week at work is going to be an experience, given that my docs are both in a clinic manager’s course from Tuesday until Friday, which means we won’t actually be running a clinic. We’ll be handing out glasses and manning the phones and occasionally dealing with emergent walk-ins; it’s actually good, because that means that my boot corpsman can get some training time in and get to practice with some of our specialty testing machines. Hell, I may even let him dilate my eyes, if I’m feeling charitable enough. We’ll see.

Either way, that means that once I get through today, this will very likely be a quiet (if slightly long) week.

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds! Excelsior!

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Stress

Three blog posts in one week?! It’s like Christmas!

I mean, it’s Cinco De Mayo, so close enough? Who doesn’t love a holiday that gives you an excuse to eat Mexican food? I mean, I personally don’t feel the need for an excuse, but some people… I’m thinking leftover tacos and maybe some tasty nachos for dinner tonight. Cinco De Mayooooo!

Anyway. There’s a point to this post, and it is this: in my ripe old age (of almost 26), I seem to have gotten a pretty good handle on coping with stress. I’m definitely better than I was, considering the amount of stress I’ve been under this week has been steadily increasing but I have yet to meltdown, have a panic attack, or even cry. It might seem ridiculous how proud I am of that fact, but given that I used to cry at work every day due to stress, it’s a monumental improvement. It really is. (To be fair, I did have a panic attack during my PRT, but that was due to not being able to breathe.)

This week has been pretty insane. Between my collateral duties at work dumping unexpected workloads on me, struggling to deal with walk-in patients with an already-full schedule, still coming to terms with my PRT failure, and numerous other stressors, I cannot believe I haven’t already fallen apart.

And yet, somehow, I’ve managed to keep calm and carry on, and do it well, if I may say so myself. The whole PRT failure thing aside, let’s talk about the rest of this week. It really wasn’t all that bad, but it would have been so much better if everything hadn’t all cropped up at basically the end of the week. If I had found out on Monday or Tuesday how much extra stuff I was going to have to do this week, it would have been completely copacetic. But, being that this is the Navy and we excel at last minute “by the ways,” it all happened on Thursday.

 

Being the TPO (training petty officer) for Optometry is normally a pretty chill gig, as my coworkers are normally pretty on top of it when it comes to getting their trainings knocked out. However, when the fiscal year reset and all of our annual trainings became due, they didn’t automatically get assigned by SEAT (Staff Education and Training) like they have for the past few years and no email went out, like it always has. This time, it fell to the TPOs to disseminate the trainings… but no one told us. So Thursday afternoon I got a polite email from the directorate TPO and my good friend with a list of delinquent trainings and a request to get them done ASAP. I also received a nastygram informing me that if my entire department didn’t have their trainings done by Friday, we would have to come in as a department on Saturday, regardless of who wasn’t finished with their training. Again, this normally wouldn’t have been that big of an issue, but our Training Thursdays (afternoons with no clinic schedule specifically for training) recently got taken away AND we have a brand-new boot sailor on-board who hasn’t gotten ANY of his trainings done because he’s been in face-to-face classes literally since he got here. I spent literally all day Thursday trying to get everyone’s trainings assigned, complete my own trainings, help run a clinic, and keep the stress from affecting the way I treat my junior sailors. It was definitely a tense day. Add to that the four walk-ins we had to squeeze into a full schedule yesterday and you start to get a picture of what my week has been like.

I’m also attempting to get myself and my clinic thoroughly prepared for our upcoming hospital-wide inspection in a week and a half, when The Joint Commission (TJC) and the Medical Inspector General (Med IG) come through. TJC handles hospital accreditation, so if we fail their inspection, our hospital gets shut down. It’s only the most stressful time of year, and combining that with the Med IG is making things really interesting. Unfortunately, we only recently got the hard dates for their arrival, and my only experience junior corpsman will be on leave, leaving me and a boot to try to make it through the inspections unscathed. That should be interesting.

And then there’s this morning – the final straws that might actual break this poor, tired, stressed out camel’s back. I have chosen orders not one, not two, but THREE times, and I still haven’t gotten selected for orders. On every single one, there’s been a flag that reads “PFA STATUS 1” which is the code for PRT failure. Unfortunately, I can’t help but worry that this might keep me from getting orders at all, much less getting sent anywhere I’d want to go.

Add to that having a huge discrepancy crop up with another of my collateral duties – I swear to God, if my old ALPO had just done a proper turnover, this would not be happening – which has added one more thing to my plate. I refuse to let this make me freak out, though. Thankfully, I remember all of my martial arts training, including the centering breath that helps me shed stress and focus, and also ADHD meds. I may have to work late today, but so help me God, this is going to get done. Just because the person who used to have my collaterals was a total dirtbag doesn’t mean the tradition needs to carry on.

 

It’s been a long week, but it’s almost over. I can do this!

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds!