Friday, January 13, 2012

Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning's End

Romans 12:6-21:

6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor,serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you;bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

My Stephen minister and I talked about the above referenced passages this morning with regard to my future and the question she raised, that she penned on a napkin: "WHO IS ANDREA?"

I had time to think about leaving the medical practice and what that all truly meant. I received the grace of several friends, people who know me and my character very well, who all came to the same conclusion; a conclusion I had not honestly thought of.

Had the status quo gone on with me working at the medical practice, where I was quite content, I would NOT have followed what is God's plan for me and for my life. I loved my job and was very satisfied, though admittedly stressed out at times. I was very good at what I did there and forged solid relationships. But everyone who knew I was pursuing my doctorate asked me the same question: "When are you going back to school?" "Are you taking any classes this semester?" and I would chalk the "no" up to being too busy working to take classes. Or that my health was too poor. Or that I was taking some time to clear my head after Christopher, et al.

God talks to us through our loved ones and friends. I believe that. A good friend from Knox pointed out, with compassion, knowing how much I loved my job and what a bummer it was to lose it, under such sucky and mismanaged circumstances, that it was, after all, just an interim position. I took the job after looking for a job for 2 years. I was just on the cusp of functionally bipolar when I was hired in 2009. I needed to earn enough money to support myself and my child, though we had moved in with my mom, who helped us out a a lot. I knew back after finishing rehab that I ultimately wanted to be a substance abuse and addiction psychological counselor as a career. I didn't want to be a part-time medical receptionist for the rest of my life. I honestly and truly deserve better than to be the low-woman on a totem pole as I approach middle age. I'm too educated to stand at a fax machine and mindlessly transmit documents for hours a day. I appreciate the second chance at a normal life that the medical practice provided me, but in truth, I deserve to be and want to be a doctor of psychology.

Had I not gotten the kick in the ass God delivered last week, I'd not have enrolled in Abnormal Psych for this semester. Bad enough I was made to feel guilty by people at my practice for having taken half a day off to attend an open house at the Adler School last month. I never understood it; the other girls in the office were taking classes (working towards an associates and a bachelor's, respectively, not a doctorate like me), schedules would be accommodated every semester, yet when I enrolled in school last year and the notion was proposed that I would have to re-arrange when I left one night a week, it was a big fucking inconvenience. So I dropped one of the two courses I planned to take and went only for the class that met on Fridays.

*I* was flexible and changed my hours to work around the other girls' school schedules, even at the cost of missing out on things with my son, or with my church, and had to schedule everything I did on Fridays if possible, my only day off, unless I had a doctor's appointment that had to occur during my work week, which admittedly the practice was alright with. They were very patient during my multiple operations and hospitalizations in 2010, though it wasn't like they could let me go for being sick, though mention was made of me taking a medical leave of absence until the Gods of Medicine Above could figure out what the fuck was exactly wrong with me (which they STILL haven't, but Stosh had some good ideas and directions to follow when I talked to him earlier tonight).

In fact, during my exit from the practice, one of the doctors ASKED me why, between the hours of 11am-1pm, I'm so out of it. Evidently, he missed the letter that went around from the endocrinologist that indicated that a 5-hour glucose tolerance test showed that I have reactive hypoglycemia. Especially odd, given he'd written me my original Rx for glucose testing strips. It's origin and treatment is still unknown. The best solution the doctors could muster was to eat 3 times a workday, in small, protein-rich, low-carb bits, after a drug the endo tried me on got me even sicker. (After my talk with Stosh today, he decided I need to force myself to eat every 2 hours and check my sugar before I go out and drive anywhere.)

I'm trying to, but having a hard time forgiving the practice for drug testing me yet not checking my glucose during the epic attack on my birthday. No one knows why I have pain when I eat food or why I want to pass out half the day. No one at the practice knew how many days I'd spend a decent portion of the workday in the bathroom vomiting or having the trots and worked anyway. Instead, they teased me about food and skinniness and said "I wish I had whatever Andrea has so I could be as skinny as she is" when I was seen eating a jar of baby food at the lunch table because it was all I could digest. They'd offer uneducated and unsolicited opinions about what I should eat and when, and prodded me about the medications I took, which frankly was all none of their goddamn business but I was upfront about anyway. God, help me out here.

Surely, the unpredictable nature of my medical condition frustrated my employers. It frustrates my mother, my son, my friends, my physicians, everyone. But few give consideration to how much it frustrates ME. I'm the one living in this body. At least the physician at my practice who is my friend fought to find me specialists who might be able to help me, even if their attempts proved fruitless. My mother is so worried about my ability to drive to school that she is willing to schlep Luke with her and hang out in Skokie for 3 hours while I go to class every week. (The Adler School I can get to via train.)

The hypoglycemia/passing out/et al situation is spiraling totally out of control, and I'm not even using narcotics or sedatives a lot of the time. The fall down the stairs was NOT sleepiness-related or hypoglycemia-related. That was an unfortunate accident of me being clumsy in the dark. I'm starting to wonder if I have narcolepsy or a brain tumor or something. Last night, I fell asleep at the computer in the office, just dicking around, not doing anything important. But Ma told Luke to keep an eye on me so I didn't fall out of the chair or anything. Luke's a night owl, so mind you, he's usually up later than I am. Anyway, Luke woke me up in the office, told me I'd passed out at my computer (when, I don't know) and ordered me to go to bed. I told him I'd go to bed as soon as I'd gone to the bathroom.

I went down to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. I honestly don't know how long I was on the toilet, as I only had to pee quickly, but somehow I fell into a deep slumber ON THE TOILET. Luke didn't come to check on me until he heard a loud thud. The loud thud was me hitting the ground and totally banging my head into the ceramic bathtub. (That fall did wonders for my broken tailbone,I assure you!). Picked myself up, dizzy and unable to focus, with a horrible headache. Blood was pouring out of my mouth from where I'd bitten my tongue so badly in 2 places that I nearly went all the way through my tongue with my teeth. I didn't lose consciousness after the fall and the head slam, at least until I went to bed very shortly thereafter. I didn't want to worry or awaken my mom, so kept it sort of hush-hush. I had not taken my nighttime dose of Estazolam, my anxiety med that helps manage my Generalized Anxiety Disorder and my insomnia, yet, nor had I taken any narcotic painkillers that would've made me drowsy. It was more than just being stubborn and not wanting to go to bed. It's a clusterfuck.

But I totally digress.

Getting back to the question on the napkin asked by my Stephen minister, "Who is Andrea?" I wrote down the following: a survivor, a student, a mother, a friend, a child of God, a drummer, a mentor, a writer. I'm also a daughter, a sister, an advocate, among other admirable traits. Most importantly, I'm *not* what I told my mom I was the night I lost my job, which was a loser.

My Stephen minister asked me then to write down who I will be in the future. I wrote such things as "Dr. Andrea Miklasz, PsyD," "a success," " a helper," "a wife" and a "a servant." I'll also be an inspiration, a leader, still a mother, still an artist, still a loony, recovering alcoholic.

I do and will continue to miss some of the people I worked with at the medical practice. The head physician at the practice, who accompanied me to clock out my final time held me closely, told me that he knew I was a good person, apologized for the way things were ending and hoped I'd be able to take care of my child. I expressed my gratitude in his sentiment and was indeed just always grateful to HAVE a job given the economy. That doctor also told me a long time ago that I was the most interesting character that ever worked at the practice, which was something I always held dear. He knows my heart, God knows my heart, and everyone, including me, know I realize I'm not infallible and am prone to naivete and acts of sheer flightiness, if nothing else.

Perhaps I indeed swore too often and too loudly at work. Perhaps I slammed the phone down a couple of times out of utter frustration. Perhaps I lost patience with foreign home health nurses whose accents rendered them incomprehensible. Perhaps I called people by their first names instead of addressing them as "Mr." or "Mrs." Whomever, but that was because these patients knew me and preferred to be called by their first names. A lot of them called me "Annie" instead of "Andrea," which is my hallmark for friendship, though in the office I was always called "Andrea." But I enjoyed my time with the patients the most, even the days when I swore if I saw one more walker or wheelchair, I'd scream.

I see this all as OPPORTUNITY. I jump-start my real career, to have more time to get my health in order, to work towards what makes my heart soar. What thrills my soul. Following my bliss, not treading the water in a go-nowhere job. It'll hurt financially for a good long time, but we'll survive: my mom, Luke and I.

My future is exploding with possibility. It's happening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Annie, I've been well-acquainted with ~5 narcoleptic pts during my long and storied professional and unprofessional career. My mom was one of them, with VERY classical s/s, and was by FAR the worst off. Another pt had a very atypical presentation -- and surprised everyone during the sleep study that ended up diagnosing it.

None of these people's history or presentation correlates well with yours. I really suspect that your underlying problem is an endocrine &/or neurologic syndrome.

Bottom line: getting a sleep study wouldn't hurt -- but I would be very surprised if narcolepsy was the problem.

~Miss Thang II

[**waves at your blog stalker, just to be friendly**]