Inspection Week

It’s Monday and holy hell is it ever Monday. So this morning, I woke up and, as consciousness slowly came to me, I found myself thinking, “I feel really well rested!” So, of course, a sinking feeling of dread sinks in and I check my watch and sure enough… it’s an entire hour and forty-five minutes past when I normally wake up for work. In a complete and utter panic, I throw myself out of bed, wash my hair over the tub, throw on yoga pants and my blue Corpsman undershirt from last year’s Naval Hospital Rota Corpsman Ball fundraiser, stomp on my Vans, and basically run from my barracks to the hospital. What an excellent start to my day/week/etc. Here’s hoping that this isn’t indicative of how the rest of the week is going to go, because I have way too much riding on this week for the whole week to be as much of a disaster as this morning was.

That being said, I ordered a new phone that I will be getting at the end of the month, and I’m going to the NEX after work to buy a freaking alarm clock. I haven’t owned an alarm clock… actually ever. I got a cell phone when I got a job, as was my parent’s policy with all of us girls, and before that I just woke up when I woke up, or my other family members would wake me up if there was something I needed to be up early for. Perks of being home schooled: I normally didn’t get up until around eight and school usually started around nine. (Plus I was almost always done by noon and I got to do school in my pajamas.) But I will be buying an alarm clock, and you can bet it will be one with a battery backup, because we have been known to have occasional power issues in the barracks. The Seabees normally get them resolved fairly quickly, but still. I have duty days and other nonsense coming up and I cannot be having alarms not go off. Hell, if I’m late for duty I go to DRB! (Disciplinary Review Board, for my non-military readers. Essentially, a bunch of chiefs get me in a room and yell at me and tell me what a terrible sailor I am and inform me that if it happens again I’ll go to Captain’s Mast.)

Anyway, this morning’s insanity aside, I’ve already been pretty productive today. I’ve hand-delivered a few sets of glasses to some of my more important/favored patients (I’m not going to make Command Master Chief come to Optometry for her glasses, that’s just ridiculous), gotten four pairs of glasses prepped to get mailed off at the end of the day, taken care of several patients, talked to my career counselor about my lack of orders and set a time to call my detailer together, and overall just beasted out. I have to say, I’ve recovered pretty well. I still have a few more things on my to-do list, but so far I’m on a roll. One of the coping mechanisms I’ve learned over the years to deal with stress is to take a second, breathe deeply, tell myself the old cliché of accepting what you can’t control and being strong enough to change what you can, and use my stress as motivation. It’s taken me almost twenty-six years to figure that out – which is kind of sad, when you think about it, but I’ve always been stubborn and had to learn things the hard way – but now that I’ve learned it, I think it’s been good for my blood pressure…

This week is going to be interesting. The two most important inspections the hospital ever goes through are coinciding this week: The Joint Commission, who handles hospital accreditation and can shut us down if we fail, and the Medical Inspector General, which is probably even more serious than it sounds. So, as I’m sure you can imagine, the past few months have been nothing but pre-inspections, stress, mandatory training, and other absolute insanity. Now, though, with the inspection just a day away, things are starting to pull together and shape up. The clinic is spotless, all of our required signage is posted, my new kid has been studying his TJC handbook, and my Chief and I did a last minute fog-walkdown and made sure the clinic was squared away and ship shape in preparation for the inspection. My biggest “UGH” for the coming week is the fact that we have to wear NSUs for the entire rest of the week, which is one of the more uncomfortable uniforms we have. (Plus it restricts movement to a degree, which can make patient care a little more difficult. Unfortunately, most female Navy uniforms are not tailored with the concept of broad shouldered women being taken into account.)

I guess we’ll see how things go. In just a few short weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane home, and looking forward to that has carried me through the past few weeks.

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds! Excelsior!

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!