Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My #1 Fan?

Let's take apart the above statement.

My best friend firmly felt that I intimidated My Blog Stalker in some way from the get-go. That I threatened her in some way. How, I'm not sure, given I was the low woman on the already-low-enough totem pole; a long time ago, not-so-quietly made out to be the village idiot who got an unfairly harsh review (and was, for months, the ONLY one who even GOT a review), during which it was claimed that the superior staff all had negative issues with my personality and that I couldn't even do data entry correctly, when the truth is that a) all but one doctor liked me (but he was an uppity prick who thankfully retired) and they uniformly thought I was quirky and unique and a smart character and b) crap like data entry is a left-brain task that, thankfully, I will never have to endure again following my chosen career path. (I will be a counseling psychologist, not the bookkeeper.)

Let's explore that data entry conundrum, shall we?

Left brain tasks are logical, sequentially looking at the parts of things, drawing on organized information. People who are left-brained are good at math (usually), accounting, science, and ordered tasks. Ms. Blog Stalker is a left-brain thinker. Conversely, right-brained individuals (intuitive, fluid, spontaneous, analogic, seeking correspondence between objects) are notoriously bad at such things as seemingly simple as data entry and non-visual codes and processes, though they can make and memorize beautiful music and rhythms, write very well, produce mind-blowing art, poetry, or look at the PICTURES in the Physician's Desk Reference and tell you which pill is which and what they're for, with photographic memories. I am a HEAVILY, if not exclusively, right-brain thinker.

People like me have trouble with, especially repetitively in a crazy environment where one cannot give the task full attention, some tasks that left-brain thinkers find easy. That being said, right-brain heavy individuals are often unfairly deemed dumb. (Some people use both sides of the brain equally and are hyper good at everything, those lucky bastards, like my damn kid.)

Most of the tasks at Balderdash & Verities for the support staff were either left-brain oriented, at times flat out mundane (putting sheet after sheet into a fax machine and writing in a chart), very little right-brain work. Intuition + support staff at a medical office who all have tasks to complete = non-existent. (Unless it came to me coming to the doctors with patients who were trying to bullshit them into getting more narcotics, when no one would listen to me that patients were turning into "users" and my efforts to help people went ignored, and the doctors kept freely Rx'ing them narcotics....that I was good at with intuition.) There was nothing creative or psychologically stimulating to do there. It just wasn't that kind of atmosphere.

What was I really, really good at? Reading 5 doctors' different, messy, looked-like-another-language characters & symbols' handwriting, right from the start and relaying test results and information to patients on the phone. Sure, I had to ask them what some of their abbreviations meant, and the first time I saw the initials "SOB" on something, I thought it was an insult and not "shortness of breath." But see, that's all largely visual interpretation. Almost like deciphering and dissecting art or seeing resemblances in things. That I could do. Despite my slight cognitive dysfunction as a result of years of drug and alcohol abuse, my brain was pretty damn sharp, all things being equal.

Was it that My Blog Stalker hated herself? My impression of her was that she was tough (fuck, she packs heat at home!, which I vehemently oppose but never voiced. How do you think all these kids get all these handguns to take to school and kill each other?), dedicated completely to her job, perhaps half out of responsibility and a great work ethic and the other parts out of needing the dough (like we all did), a desire to not be at home, and the fact that she'd dedicated her entire career to taking care of the practice, having worked there for decades. She was well-known by all of the long-time patients and called everyone "sweetie" or "honey" all the time. She worked well under pressure, which was one of our chief differences. She and I were both good at multitasking, just differently. (Give me a 35-page paper to write overnight needing 48 references and I can do it (caffeine, though, please). Throw me 4 phone lines ringing at the same time, orders to write, a patient at the window, co-pays to exchange, the doctors needing something, and I literally went berserk with anxiety.)

She seemed confident enough, though always wanted to lose weight, and I must say, I didn't appreciate the time she stood in the common eating area as I tried to eat a jar of baby food because it was all I could digest at the time and I had no appetite, and she said she "wished she had whatever disease Andrea had" so "she could be as skinny as Andrea." That was just totally insensitive. I believe I vocalized at the time something like, "Uh, no, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."

She hated herself less and less the closer she got to God. I was just leaving when she was on the cusp of getting really involved with a new church that she seemed to garner a lot of joy from, was volunteering and I had invited her, after the new year, to come to my church and see my band play, since she enjoyed contemporary Christian music. (For future reference, just visit http://www.reverbnation.com/stpaulcontemporarypraiseband to watch or listen to us. Just sayin'.)

Did she secretly wish she could have a life more like mine, which has it's moments of unpredictable but sheer surprise and awesomeness with beautiful people, love and kinship of all kinds, not to mention more than one soulmate in life? Was it really because I had friends of prominence? That I received a nice Christmas gift from my best male friend, that she wanted me to parade around the office, having to explain why he gave it to me and who he is, details I didn't necessarily want the whole office to know? That seems superficial. I love my friends because of who they are, not ***WHO THEY ARE***. No matter WHO that friend might be to the world or to me personally. I never heard her talk about having a best friend, come to think of it.

I honestly don't know the answer to why ANYONE would want to BE ME. I'm an almost 40 year old who had to move back in with my parent, without all of my belongings, with my kid (and share a room with him for the time being!) because I'm a divorced recovering addict/alcoholic who was financially downtrodden. I'm raft with serious mental health problems, chronic health problems which never cease to interfere with my life somehow, on Medicaid and struggling with a lot of demons and issues who blew 4 years' worth of sobriety on a week's worth of NyQuil for crissakes.

I was simultaneously very open about my life and demons with my co-workers and very secretive. Like I've mentioned in previous blogs, the folks at the practice had no idea how often I'd get sick at work but would push myself through it because I didn't want to go home. I wanted to be there and to work. The one time I reached out of desperation to obtain a medication that I'd previously taken a long time ago, that had worked for me 15+ years ago for diarrhea related to IBS, and asked permission to obtain and received, it cost me my job. (Which saved my sanity. To me, it's not worth the extra few hundred few bucks a month to be as frazzled and ill as I was slowly becoming.) My low blood sugar attacks were also becoming more frequent and severe, and I've had extensive testing, and no physician has figured THAT out yet.* But when an attack would hit, I couldn't work and had to go rest it off, which was inconvenient for both me AND the practice.

*But I have a personal psychological theory that the blood sugar attacks I was having, which left me totally incapable of functioning which would strike late morning-early afternoon and were labeled "reactive hypoglycemia" by my endocrinologist, were somehow a physical reaction to a stress-induced mental condition. (This theory has no scientific basis.) Since I left my job, the attacks have been FAR more sporadic, less intense, and those around me conclusively concur that I'm more alert and together now than I've been in a very long time. They still inevitably happen when I eat carbs for breakfast or lunch, and at inopportune moments (like during Pastor's sermon in church last Wednesday morning). I'm down to one anxiety pill during the day (usually) instead of 3 EVERY day, which didn't sedate me, as I've said before, but took the edge off an unstoppable anxiety train of paralysis, though I never took anxiety meds at work during the morning, if it could be avoided, unless that train got rolling when Ms. Blog Stalker purposely threw me into the fire of the most viciously frantic part of the busiest day of the week, like she did the last few months I worked there, why, I'm not sure.

Bottom line is this: An INFP (according to the Myers-Briggs typology) personality who is a right-brain thinker, and has bipolar disorder (heavy on the hypomania) and severe generalized anxiety disorder will NOT succeed in a high-pressure medical practice as time wears on. It just doesn't gel. It'll suck the life right out of you.

Let's face it, we all know I wasn't there for the long haul. The stress of managing and balancing coursework in graduate school with an increasingly independent teenager? Bring it on. The stress and anxiety, catty, everyone-crabs-every-day-that-they're-quitting-tomorrow, plus multitasking that didn't match me and nearly drove me quite literally insane, which is why I believe when I was told I was fired, I felt a combination of shock but more so RELIEF, because I felt like my life, as God mapped it out to be, could finally begin. One of the doctors who first called me into conference to fire me asked me, "How have you been feeling?" and I told him about my (then freshly) broken tailbone, and that I still had a lot of diarrhea, and wasn't feeling all that hot in general. That's as much as I said. I didn't delve into all the details, when the other doctors arrived and started arguing with me about refilling diarrhea pills. The doctor in question who Rx'd them for me to begin with was the only one missing from the meeting, incidentally, so I had no chance to argue verities vs. balderdash WITH Balderdash & Verities.

Instead of making a career out of what I was doing, I was earning some living money, for which I was damn grateful in this economy, and despite the stress, there were some really, really great times there and overall, I'd tell everyone I loved what I was doing, because I do love helping people. But this job was just before I got my act together to go to grad school full time for my PsyD. It was a necessary stepping-stone. Another competent, college-educated gal left the practice several months ago when she was offered a job in the field for which she was educated, accounting. I'm sure that once one of the other office girls who's in college studying international business finds a job in her field after graduation, she'll leave too (she's a smart cookie, that girl).

All in all, I am spiritually very wealthy. I'm surrounded by love and affection from friends and family both near and far. I have, and she always knew it, a close relationship with God as I understood Him. While she knew me, I was quite secure (too secure) in my sobriety. I worked tirelessly at attempting to stay stable. If being me is so much work, why would she want to be me?

If it's not one of the 3 referenced reasons in the image above that she harbored such haughtiness towards me while I was her "inferior, I'd sure like to know what about my life is so utterly fascinating that someone whose life has almost completely disconnected from mine would continue to follow my online autobiography months after our road together parted ways under not the most pleasant of circumstances and her communication with me since I left Balderdash & Verities has been very formal and to-the-point, not to mention scant.

I was encouraged by someone dear to me to re-frame her borderline neurotic obsession with checking my blog (from work, from her other work or home, from her phone) not as her being a blog stalker but rather that she surely must be my #1 FAN. True, "Life with Annie" is never dull and I publish it for the whole world to see, and the person I was talking to just said she must just be fascinated by my life. I've asked her in blogs to please leave me alone, to not read my blogs, to leave me with some privacy out of the gossipy nature of the women at the practice., but privacy on a publicly available blog is non-existent and I have to accept that.

Tatus and I figured out a brilliant solution to our surgical clearance for my hysterectomy issue and I don't even have to step foot into Balderdash & Verities. Smart cookie? Hell yeah.

My friend and I have made fun of her blog stalking in blog comments just to see if she'd go away, given I can see every time she logs in and from where. (Right now, I have a log of 11 recent log-in's from work, all saved in my computer should the need arise, because personal internet use in the office is a no-no she continues to break by virtue of being the head support staff honcho. She's not spending an hour on there anymore, but she's still checking in.) But still, I have no control over who reads what and if she wants to continue to read it, there's nothing I can do to stop her. Maybe she doesn't hate me at all and is just interested in how I'm doing. I don't know that either.

I just never got the impression that I was liked by her when I worked there. I felt I was tolerated. Barely. I hope my explanation as to why the job was challenging to me (the brain thing) as per my personality type and brain functioning helps her understand where I was coming from. Not that it was a HARD job, because as I've said before, it's not. It just didn't appeal to my strengths and exploited my weaknesses.

So #1 Fan, if you care for me and want to keep up on how I'm doing, go ahead to the bottom of any given blog, enter your email address and subscribe to new posts. You can do so anonymously. I'm giving you that secret right there. There are 21 people who choose to follow me publicly and hundreds of others who read me privately. My blog tracker shows me everyone regardless. I harbor no grudge against you, I'm just freaked out by how often you keep tabs on my personal life. Perhaps we'll see each other soon, perhaps never again. I'm ok with either of those outcomes. I burned no bridges at Balderdash & Verities, even towards the 3 physicians who actively fired me, or the support staff. We're all grown ups here, after all.


Anonymous said...


You mean I'm no longer your #1 Fan? I've been replaced??

I am *crushed*!

~Miss Thang II

Annie Miklasz, Offbeat Drumming Lunatic said...

You're irreplaceable, Miss Thang II, in my heart. But she has a gun and you don't, so I felt it best she be the #1 fan and you be the Supreme Miss Thang II Commentator. (((hugs))).

She's not smart enough to read or understand "Catcher in the Rye," so I think for the time being, I'm safe.

Annie Miklasz, Offbeat Drumming Lunatic said...

Make that 13 recent log ins from the work computer...Jesus. She's probably following that up with a trip to amazon.com ordering "Catcher in the Rye" (Cliff's Notes Version, naturally). And mercifully, she's not a pop culture aficionado so she's missing the reference I'm giving entirely to begin with. Hooray!