A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘safety’

Fearless….again

  I am reblogging one of my own posts that someone recently sent back to me to remind me of my own words. I am struggling with so much lately. My health is not great as it seems that the PsA has done a lot of damage to my kidneys and guts. This past three years and especially this winter, was particularly bad for me. But, as the doctor said on  this past Friday, well at least it did not decline anymore according to my recent labs. As I sat in the garden this morning, I searched for words to console me. Then, in an attempt to clean up my email, I came across this:

Fearless

Posted on June 4, 2013

Once you step free from the limiting, linear straight jacket that narrowed the understanding of the vastness of your consciousness, everything seems to fall into place, (because it was always exactly as it was intended to be anyway, you just didn’t see it that way). There will be nothing to worry about, and no sadness to embrace; at the very least, you will be much less inclined to engage in that sort of thinking. – Rising Hawk

These words written by my friend are the key to living longer and happier. It is not the first time I have read or heard similar messages, but sometimes you can look at something and feel nothing. Other times it pulls you by the collar and slaps you soundly. This is how this hit me.

To release control, to allow your life to happen…such basic concepts and yet, not easily done for people who are frightened. I paused as I wrote the word frightened because it is word that evokes pity or distain, but it is the word I choose but not my intent. I have to advocate for those who are in or come from surroundings that to the outsider seem safe or harmless. These souls present to the world a false bravado while under their skins pulses the sense of fear. It is the walk of many, including me.

I am one who struggles daily with fear of what might be construed as silly to some. But that is what this is all about. Fear is as individual as the person containing it. I fight mightily to allow the control of my life to flow without my choking grip on it. It was making me sick and my body was tired from holding on so tight. For those who may seek some comfort in my writing, it is possibly to let go even if it is an inch at a time. Each forward release allows for more room to breathe and the body to function as it should.

How does one get to be enclosed in a box? It comes from so many sources. It is life. For some people, much like me, it comes from a dysfunctional and abusive life. I was sitting in a car this weekend listening to a school psychologist talking to another friend about children she has helped whose parents were abusive alcoholics. I sat and listened while my friend was so amazed and horrified with the stories as if they were just that, fiction. I wanted to chime in and share my personal story, but instead sat back and just listened. It was difficult and I actually felt some anger as the two of them talked about the children as statistical information.  I also felt some relief to know that this is not WHAT I am as this person in the car, but only my story. I had a sense of relief if nothing else.

I see and hear every day the barrage of negativity thrust upon us daily to keep us reigned in. We see and hear all the things we need to buy or obtain in order to be something that sadly we are lacking. It takes a strong will to turn away and not succumb to the temptation to secure a better car, house, body, clothes, and on and on. We force this standardization on our children to make them fit in and behave in an approved manner. Why is that we allow this fear and perpetuate this environment of control? This is a question that has been around forever. See the Allegory of the Cave by Socrates. We have survived as pack animals.

“No sadness to embrace…” I held those words in my thoughts all night. Embrace; what a strange concept to think we enjoy sadness. But we do. We love drama. We pay to see actors portraying life struggles because we can empathize and feel  our own sadness as a bonding emotion. Pathos. It what drama is all about. I have friends whose whole life is based on a miniseries of dramas. It is food for their lives. I am not exempt from this either and that is why those words struck me. I work in an environment where the drama level is fed daily. Most is simple confusion of an unorganized work flow. But they have been this way forever and I realize it is a culture that is embraced. They live for the confusion because it is an opportunity to emote and wring hands. They bond with each other in their complaining and strife. I see the same culture in my in-laws. They are passionate about the anguish produced from the simplest situation. It produces a slew of emails and phone calls until the event is secured or past. Then it stirs up the discussion and critic of the players involved, which is often another go around of scorn.

But the sadness I am referring to is the self-inflicted kind which I am truly guilty of. I have seen pictures of me where the sadness is evident in my eyes. People have commented on it as I do not hide my feelings well. NO, in truth, they cloak me like a neon sign. I have become aware of the origin of my sadness and I know in my head, that I cannot change what has happened. This is where I have come to the fork in the road so to speak. I can choose to “not engage in that sort of thinking…”

Can it be that simple? This is one of the life lessons that does not come with great directions on how to do something. I read, listen, and participate in learning as much as any seeker does. Is this not what we all really want, to not be sad and to be free from control? I figured out that no, actually not everyone does want that and will take you with them down the hole if you allow. And then there are some who see a secure and happy person and will go to great lengths to sap the life out of them. They are like a mosquito sucking the life blood of other’s because it is easier than obtaining it on their own. It takes great strength to disallow these creatures their feast. Our own minds can be a foe and a little fear can spiral out to become a monster of our own making. Fear is a companion that has been with me a long time. I am not going to sever the relationship overnight, but to travel on I must begin. This will be a long climb but one I must make……. alone.

How does that look?

This week and a half has been crazy. A week ago Wednesday we had a windstorm of epic proportions. Then this past week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, we received almost three feet of snow with more winds. They did not call it a blizzard, but it sure looked like one.

I do not like to drive in snow, especially blowing snow. I knew the storm was coming. We all did. I prepared. I moved all the classes, prepared my instructors and staff and told them to be safe and stay at home. I and my salaried staff all have access to the work systems from our home computers. I planned on working at home. I am actually very productive at home.

Wednesday morning, I get an email from my boss that if I am staying at home I must take PTO and so must my staff. Her main concern: How did it look?  Four people on the HR team came in, including her, but no one in Education did. How did that look? She said since I was a director, I should have come in because it looks better.

I replied, as a director, I executed an emergency plan that kept people safe. I had spent Monday rescheduling all the Tuesday and Wednesday classes, in case. I told my staff to bring work home in case. They would have been productive at home, as I trust them. I said I am not crossed trained to do anything else at the office. I am not on the Emergency Planning Committee, I cannot triage, and I am not in any manner essential to operations. I cannot even answer the switch board. I asked her, what would you have had me do if I did get in? Her reply only was to say it did not look good.

This is just one more stone in the bucket that makes me want to stop working. Those who came in are twenty and thirty years younger than me, including her. The three HR staff members do not have much in their PTO banks and did not want to waste it and one lives right around the corner from the office. This Momma don’t drive in blizzards anymore. Not for anyone. How would it look if I was somewhere in a ditch? I can’t walk for very long on flat dry land. Where am I going in a blizzard? I told her that from now on, I will take PTO when the weather is bad, so plan on it. I have enough PTO in my banks this year that I may lose it if I do not use it. That is what being faithful and not taking excessive time off does for you.

Maybe this is just her, but I have worked for other people where appearances are tantamount. It does not matter how good you are in your job, but how you make them look. This is not the first time with this boss that she was more worried about how she looked than being judicial. Our CEO is also very preoccupied with appearances. She enacted a dress code right out of the 70’s for in house staff.

I understand that health care providers need to be available and that part of the job is to be there in emergencies. But it was so bad that the visiting clinicians were told by the VP of Clinical to only make essential visits and to remain home….and work on audits. How does that work? The folks who could and should have reported were allowed to stay home and work. Supposedly he made the call before he checked with the CEO and VP of HR who should have made the call.

   Dad digging a poop spot

The medical center we are connected with sent an email saying essential staff only. That means staff who work in support areas such as HR and Ed were not to report. Our CEO over ruled that and said she was not calling an Essential Only Staff emergency. She was concerned more about the almighty dollar. She was also very upset because none of the switchboard operators came in. How did that look? One of the HR staff who used to answer the phones was in so she was sent down there. This is the gist of why everyone was so pissy.

We have triage nurses who are set up to answer incoming calls by switching over the system to their home phones. HELLO??? Why did they not do that? We do it every day from 5pm to 7 am. Pay them the frigging overtime.

My loyalty for this agency is dwindling rapidly. My desire to participate in crazy behavior in pursuit of the almighty dollar is gone. It is just not that important to me. I did the right thing and my team all agreed. They too were ordered to take PTO. I had gotten up at 5:30 on Wednesday and called my paraprofessional educator as we still had not formally cancelled a Health Aide training class. But we were prepared. We had warned them we may and would text them if we cancelled.  We texted everyone by 6:30 and they were grateful. They are not even employees and I offered a better situation for them. How does that look?

Just for an understanding of how bad it was out there, our governor called a State of Emergency for the whole state on Monday in preparation. By Tuesday, the county was under a travel ban and no unessential travel. All the malls, schools, and town and county offices were closed. The plows could not keep up. This picture below is my husband’s car. I could not have gotten out of the garage let alone the drive way. Our plow guy did not even come until almost 2PM.

But I shut off my computer. I did laundry and I actually sorted out my sock drawer. How does it look? It looks amazing.

Mother Nature’s Wrath

   This has been a strange week. Living near the Big Lakes, our weather is always changing. This week brought warm enough to sit outside temperatures and blue skies to the storm of the decade. And it looks like we are going to get creamed again this upcoming week with snow. Twenty-six years ago to the month, we went through an ice storm of epic proportions. It decimated the area. This week, we had a wind storm. It too decimated the area.

Our property is fine. Even our resident doves were fine. We have a ton of sticks in the garden. I hate picking up sticks but it beats what happened to our neighbor.

She has many old pine trees on her property. Many face our backyard. I thought for sure one that is still leaning was coming across and would have taken down a transformer and power lines and gone across our back yard.

Instead, a large tree very close to her house cracked in half and landed on her roof. It left a huge six foot gash in her roof which is now tarped. She has had power, but the people behind her do not. It was 9 degrees this morning with wind. It has snowed all weekend and has been bitterly cold.

When something like this hits a community, we rally and that has been happening. Our clinicians saw more patients just to make sure they were ok. On Friday, I volunteer for Meals on Wheels. Our delivery route was littered with down trees and large branches. We checked on our folks and made sure if they were in their homes, they were ok. And if they did not answer, we called in to verify their family knew they were not answering the door. The amount of damage was terrible. Huge old pines toppled like they were pushed over by a giant. One area would have nothing, and then there would be mass destruction to another.

I am so sadden by all the trees that are damaged or toppled. It takes a tree so long to get big and powerful and in a flash, they are gone. It reminds me how tenuous life really is. Strong and powerful pines, rooted into the earth and stable…ripped from their existence by the breath of Mother Nature.

Pantheism is a form a spiritual practice where you see God in everything, and everything has spirit. I subscribe to that belief. It really bothers me when I see the ruin of nature even when it is not man-made destruction. Houses can be fixed and cars can be replaced, but it the trees are not so easily replaced. The tree that came down on my neighbor was at least forty feet tall. It is part of what is left of a forest that lined the farm that was the center of our neighborhood before all the houses were built. The maples in my yard are over 75 years old; according to the arborist I had come in and trim. I am grateful they are ok.

  Amaryllis blooming in my inside garden

Slowly the community is coming back on line. It will take many months to clean up the area. No one was killed or even injured, which is amazing. People do not know how to handle intersections when the traffic lights are out. The Equinox is next week, it is full moon today and we are back to that silly daylight savings time. Everyone will be off kilter for this week. We will brace for the next storm this week, and hopefully, that will be then end of winter.

 

 

 

 

Suck it up, Buttercup

cookie 5-16

There is a t-shirt that’s says “I would rather spend time with my dog than other people.” This is my new motto. I never realized how much even being around other people really has become an unpleasant experience for me. I wrote last week that I was called hyper-sensitive and be that as it may, the interactions going on in the world has had an big effect on me. What I see are angry, scared people whose safety is being threatened. And when people do not feel safe, they become nasty.

My biggest issue is my Pollyanna dream that people play nice in the sandbox. They don’t. Since I was very young, I was always the sunshine child who loved everyone. When people are mean or rude to me, I have a very horrible reaction. I go to this place of utter despondence and shut down. In short order, it manifests somewhere in my body. It is like I punish myself for people being nasty. In truth, I do take on their bad behavior as if I am the cause. I know in my head I am not, but then I perseverate on things so much that I do take it on and fault myself. Big or small issue, they all have the same effect.

Things at my job are very disturbing. The in-fighting, back stabbing and general nastiness seems heightened. We have had a handful of people just up and quit in the past two weeks. Our financial situation is terrible. We have not done the official year end close but somehow, even with all the work and the 21 people who were let go, we managed to lose more money this year than last. People are tired and discouraged.

Two of my employees had an actual screaming match in the middle of the hallway with a class and other people around. The tension has been building between the two for over a month. This is the second incident of this type of display. I finally had to call them in for mediation. One of them turned their inability to get along to be my doing. It became to her about race. The other woman is white, so am I, and she is African. (Truly African from Uganda) It is the farthest thing in my mind of what was going on, but to her it was very real. She is also Muslim and I think the temperament of the USA towards Muslims is frightening her, and rightly so. But to cast that pall on me was unfair and unjust. In the private conversations I had with her afterwards, I came to realize that her feelings for me were not what I thought at all. I am very disappointed in what was a splendid working relationship now turning into a vengeful one on her doing.

Even my home life has been affected by the tensions of the world. My husband believes in the new government. I do not. We no longer can have a civil conversation about events that truly are not either of our doing. Simply discussions lead downward in short order. I am disappointed in him but realize that he has the right to think what he chooses. Even though I think he is a chowder-head.

We watched a great movie last night about the right of speech and the freedom to say what you want. It was called “Denial.” It is based on a true story where this historian states emphatically that the Holocaust was not about the extermination of the Jews. He states that the Nazis never killed them and that the gas chambers did not exist. In the movie, he sues a Professor who slanders him supposedly for in his inaccuracies. The case is fought in the British courts. I refer to this movie in the sense that people can say whatever they think. They did not bring in actual survivors of the Holocaust, even though they were there in the courtroom during the trial. They did not want this crack pot to have a chance to afflict his lunacy on them. I thought, even though it would have been easier and more emotional, the good guys showed empathy for them. It was very unusual. I won’t ruin the movie, but it demonstrated how the world can be turned upside down with the use of just words. And history had demonstrated that.

So for now, I spend as much time as I can alone. I prefer my beasties who care not for the current regime in office either…unless he had a piece of cheese in his hand. Then all bets are off.

Browny

 

I actually had some trepidation about posting this…..

The Wall

reaaching
I have been accused of being a highly sensitive person. It is not a compliment. It means I react to things that others can let go. I feel too much. It is true and I have been this way my whole life. So maybe it’s just me, but the world lately seems to be angry and negative. It to me feels like what it must have felt like back in the late thirties, when Hitler was coming into fashion. I wasn’t there, so I am surmising. But whatever is going on right now is not pleasant.
In my own corner of the world, I see shorter tempers and more infighting. I see separation of thoughts about the state of the country. It is so divided, and I do not think that is totally bad. But how people are coping is with anger and supremacy. “It’s my way or the highway.”

I do not want to get too political, but it is hard to have a discussion about tempers without factoring in the current state of affairs in the white house. The current regime is causing great consternation to many folks, me included. And again, not getting political, it is about the treatment of people from the top down. All the inroads we made in the past fifty years seem to be slipping back into the abyss of Bubbahood. Discrimination, ethnic and race issues, and the general treatment of women as whole has taken a downward turn.

For example, Trump’s public treatment of his wife speaks volumes. He left her standing there multiple times during the Inauguration. He sharply spoke to her like a child. I said something about it to my husband and he said I was making too much out of nothing. Two days later, he pulled a similar stunt at a restaurant with me. He loves Trump. I realized that the Bubbahood is how he got elected. They will never see that treating women like an object, disrespecting and publically humiliating her is a big deal. And this will carry forth into the world of work and other areas, if given a chance to get a foothold. Think I am overreacting? Take a look at the legislation Trump signed about withholding money for organizations who even SPEAK about abortions. Where does the Bubbahood get the right to dictate what a female does to her body? Don’t get me started.

stone goddesses

It’s like the world has gone mad with hatred. We are going to build a wall to keep Mexicans out? Can there be dumber idea out there? And the cost; 12 to 15 BILIION dollars? How about we take that money and get rid of the donut hole in Medicare where millions of senior citizens get every year? If you do not know what that is, it is a yearly situation where if your prescription medicine gets to a certain dollar amount, you have to pay full shot for it. And for the geriatric set, getting there is very easy as many older folks have multiple heath issues all requiring medication. Take a look at the cost of diabetic supplies alone. And every year, more people get diagnosed with diabetes. (Mind you, they keep lowering the level of what dictates being diabetic and they will keep doing that as diabetes is big money.) This donut hole lasts until you pay almost $4900.00 out of your own pocket…every year. Folks spend their life having money taken out of their paycheck for SSI and Medicare, which shock upon shock, you also pay for Medicare premiums in retirement, it is not paid for….. only to get hit up for this stupid donut hole. It’s when people start making decisions about whether to eat or get their medicine.  $4900.00 may not seem like a lot, but when your annual SSI income is only $11000.00, it’s everything. But… we are going to have a wall.

Just try arguing that with someone who is a Trump supporter and you see the power of hatred and the Bubbahood come forth. They really believe it will stop illegals. Really? Ever hear of planes? Who is going to watch this stupid wall to keep people from crawling over or under it? Did we not learn anything from the Berlin wall? What about Canada? Do you know how many drug dealers import their products across the border from Canada? There is a huge illegal Asian influx as well. Maybe we should build a wall there too? There are places in NY and Vermont where I have stood in both countries at the same time. Take a look at the 1000 Islands and the St. Lawrence and tell how that would look with a big wall right down the middle.

sunset view

In my own work world, the State showed up on Monday to do a survey. A survey is a loose term for investigation. They are looking for errors, misdeeds, poor decisions, bad documentation and places to recoup money. This is our government at its best. It says, go do your job, but we are going to come after you and often to catch your errors and penalize you. Yes, there is a penalty for errors and they now can demand payment for them. Smart: hit an industry that is losing money daily due to government regulations and then make them pay more. If we have enough, they can shut us down, or take over the agency. I doubt we are that bad, but at one time, the agency was. But it creates an atmosphere of finger pointing and accusations. And yes, I get called out with “where and how was this person trained?” I have to demonstrate compliance. We have required mandated training and it better be documented. I spend countless hours retrieving this verification and so I was not worried when I had to pull fifteen people’s training documentation. But it sets up anxiety. This state survey was on the horizon and promised for a later time frame this year. Something triggered them coming earlier. But for the past year, the threat has been held over everyone’s head. We will find out next week how we did.

side 5-15

So it is at my work, it is out in the small community I live in and it is global. It is the little comments and attitudes that seem more negative. Being in public is abrasive. Driving is defensive. People are suspicious of each other. And it seems to me that everyone thinks that this is ok. It is acceptable to be rude and caustic; under the concept of being “real”. I like people to be honest, but being rude is demonstrating a lack of compassion and empathy for your fellow earthlings. It is Bubbahood.

And yes, this all really bothers me. I feel the energy. Too me, it feels like the air is full of steel wool. I come home worn out and used up. I spend the day putting out fires and calming troubled waters. I do not watch TV, but I like to look at Facebook at night. I see the infighting there. I argue with my husband and we have had screaming matches about Trump. We could not be further apart on the man and his government. There seems to be no escape, no island of peace. I keep holding on that soon, the birds will return and my oasis of a garden will return. Oh, and yes, I have a wall around it.

Trauma informed

little girl

I have spent a great deal in the past months seeing a variety of doctors for various reasons. At every visit, every time, the patient care-tech brings me back to the visiting room to wait for the doctor. It is their responsibility to weigh, check blood pressure and ask a few questions. One of those questions is the medical community’s answer to being trauma informed. It misses by a huge mark.

Being trauma informed simply means being sensitive to a patient’s history or the possibility of the patient being in a dangerous living situation. We are talking domestic violence, and all forms of abuse: mental, physical and sexual at any age. Being a trauma informed  means everyone on your team from the receptionist to the doctor is sensitive to how they treat a patient. Some may say this is over the top but the concept is very important to the true wellness of all patients.

For example, the patient who keeps coming back with bruises or injuries from falls. Very suspicious if the patient is only forty. Maybe not so for someone who is eighty. But in the case of the eighty year old, she or he may have a care giver who has been frustrated in having to provide care and pushes them to make them move faster, or hits them when they spill things. And the patient is not going to do anything about it because the next step is being forced into a nursing home. They are living in an abusive home and are trapped. They certainly are not going to be forth coming about it.

Patients who have experienced domestic violence of any form will react differently to the way someone approaches their safety bubble. What I mean by this is that everyone has a comfort zone for how close people can get and how comfortable they are being touched. Some people are huggers and touchers and love to get close to anyone, including a stranger. People who have been abused have much larger safety zones and very often do not want to be touched. This not wanting to be touched can range from the patient being able to tolerate it by disassociation or the patient who has a panic attack at the mere thought of having to be touched, which often leads them to not go to the doctor when they really need to.

It an attempt to becoming trauma informed, our local medical center has all providers asking about the safety of their patients? It is a useless attempt to meet a standard. First of all, it is not the doctor who asks this question. It is the care-tech, the gum chewing little twenty-something who is trying to beat a record of some kind by seeing how fast she can get patients in the rooms ready for the doctor. They change regularly and even so, I doubt highly any patient who is in a domestic violence situation is going to open up to that individual as if they are going to be able to do anything. AND… it is none of their business. The lack of sensitivity to the situation of an actual abuse situation is very typical. Unless there has been some form of specific training done with people who are asking that question, simply asking the question almost makes it worse. What are they going to do if a patient says, “no I am not safe. My husband routinely comes home drunk and beats the shit out of me and then rapes me.” The response to that can make or break the patient. The care-tech’s only course of action would be to type ABUSED into the chart. That works!

I would love to know how asking this question, “do you feel safe in your living environment” is the proper opening for a patient to disclose something so humiliating and degrading as being abused. And how many providers are even trained to handle the situation past the physical? Do they know who in the community is providing help for domestic violence? But the bottom line, most patients will not jeopardize themselves by spilling the beans about their crappy home life in a brief visit to a doctor, especially if there is not a relationship built over time with that doctor.

But being trauma informed goes beyond asking that inane question. It is things like how the patient is treated by everyone; from the rushed handling of the care-tech to the actual doctor. Patients who are victims of abuse will react from the way they are placed in a room and then left abruptly to wait for an extended period for the doctor. Letting the patients know if the doctor is running late, or checking in on the patient to see if they are ok would go much further to calm a nervous person. Having the doctor explain what and why they are going to do something BEFORE doing it will help also. Even the simple act of having them listen to the heart can be traumatic. Some doctors will do it over clothes, some doctors reach right in without warning for skin contact. Sometimes there may be a need to hold the patients head while examining their throat for example. This simple act can terrify someone who has had their head restrained in an abusive act such as forced oral sex. Lying down on an examining table makes anyone vulnerable, but for an abused patient, it is excruciating.

For some patients, the act of disrobing will send them back to a place of past abuse. These patients need a sense of safety which throwing them into a sterile, brightly lit room and demanding they disrobe behind a flimsy curtain does not provide. Then they have to sit in anticipation of being probed on a ridiculous scary examining table sitting in the middle of the room as if they were a piece of meat shivering in a paper gown. Would it be so absolutely terrible to provide a soft blanket to comfort and to also help with limiting the exposure while being examined? Something that simple is being trauma informed.

The patient is brought back to the exam room and sat down after being weighed. For some, being weighed is very traumatic. I know that doctors need the vitals but unless you are suspicious of your patients and do not trust them, can you not simply ask them what they weigh? Or make it part of the exam in private and not in a hallway where everyone is walking by. The scale calculates and the care-tech yells out the reading like everyone needs to know….and you still have your boots on. I skip it and refuse. Unless I am there for weight related issues, I know what I weigh and I will tell the doctor if they ask.

Health care workers are highly trained. But in the area of trauma informed, there is much to learn. This study goes hand in hand with a comprehension of the ACE study, which identified the link of abuse to chronic illnesses. I have asked all the doctors who I see if they are aware of the ACE study, and none of them are. I am going to leave a couple of articles for them to read. (see below) We need to work on this information being disseminated and so if you found this helpful, read and print these out and give them to your doctors.

Ace study: http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2898%2900017-8/fulltext

PDF of journal article: http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(98)00017-8/pdf

https://acestoohigh.com/2017/01/05/dear-doctor-a-letter-from-a-survivor-of-sexual-trauma-to-all-medical-professionals/

https://acestoohigh.com/2016/08/10/childhood-trauma-leads-to-lifelong-chronic-illness-so-why-isnt-the-medical-community-helping-patients/

 

 

 

In hot water

fogfalls   This sound really egotistical and it is not what my intent is. I am sincerely amazed how intuitive I can be. It is not always a great thing but it has kept me alive. This may seem like a small issue to some, but what happened this last week tells me it is important enough to share. Maybe someone else is like this and does not realize it. I am talking about stress and what it does to you.

About a month ago, I had my heating system annual tune up and cleaning. The guy who came to the house was very nice. The same week, my mother-in-law was in the hospital dying. The day he came, we were all supposed to meet at the hospital to talk about a care plan. I wanted the guy to hurry up and finish. I went to check on him and he starts telling me my system needs to be drained down and a new valve needed to be installed; the same valve that was replaced two years ago. Every time they come out, they find something wrong with the system. When we turned the heat on, it dripped two drops. He said he was going to adjust the pressure and some other things and then forty minutes later he left. They would call me to set up an appointment for the next work.

As the weeks went past, there was nary a drip. The system is a gas fired boiler that circulates hot water throughout the house. The heat is not drying as force air and is very cost efficient. And boilers last for decades. The parts that support the system do not. Since I have been here fifteen years, I understand that things need to be updated. The system is very quiet except for an occasional tick of the baseboards.

What was happening when the system kicked on was this rush of water coming into the system that sounded awful. It was very loud in the kitchen and the first time it happened it scared the crap out of me. I thought we sprung a huge leak. I went downstairs and all was well. We were not home a lot the next weeks and the weather was warm so it did not happen too often.

But every time it did, I would tense up so bad. Stories ran through my head of imminent disaster. It was amazing how loud the rushing water sounded. I thought that maybe he put the pressure down and that eventually the water would stop doing it. But it didn’t.

But my body flared. The intense reaction was so visceral. My home was in danger. I love my house. It is my safe place. I was not sleeping and a lot of other things were happening in my body. My morning glucose readings were very high. On top of the boiler, the garage door opening system broke and needed repair. I discovered that on Tuesday of last week when I came home and the safety eye was laying on the floor. The door does not close without it facing the other eye.  Then on Wednesday, the ice maker crapped out.

Luck was totally in my corner. The door people had an opening on Friday and could come out to fix it and tune up the opener. My husband was off and home. Perfect. He knew I was upset about the ice maker so he called someone and they could come on Friday too. We also had scheduled a tune up for my car on Friday, which was supposed to be no big deal. But you know how that goes.

I was so freaking frazzled that by the end of the week, my body literally was on fire and I had a diverticulitis attack. I was not sleeping and my hands and hips and back were flaring so much I could hardly walk. I went to work in the morning, after dropping my car off with the intent of picking it up and being home when the icemaker dude was coming. Since I was going to be home, I called the heating people and after a run around, they were going to send someone out as well in the afternoon.

The heating chap was a rather nice young man and he listened to what was going on. I told him the story of the valve and he of course was thinking his fellow worker was correct. But he heard the rushing of the water and looked at the gauges and said there was not enough water in the system and that was a big issue. He wanted to at first drain the system by going all over the house and opening up things… and I thought I was going to be sick. Then he put some water into the system and he thought the gauge was broken. He drained some water with a hose he had and a bunch of other things. He had so many scenarios of what was wrong and he tried many things. Nothing was wrong with the gauges. There just was not enough water in the system. He filled it back up and then went out to his truck and called the guy or the office. I went into the other room. He came back in still on the phone for a while. Finally, he called for me. He looked funny.

Seems I was absolutely right. The guy before drained water out of the system and reset the gauges improperly. The poor boiler was trying to operate without the right pressure or water. He could have ruined the system. There was nothing wrong once he filled it up correctly and reset the gauge. It has been quiet, no drip and is keeping us toasty. They offered me a maintenance agreement and gave me such a deal on it as an apology that it paid for itself. I get two years of free tune ups. Good customer service.

But what amazed me is how much my body calmed down. I spent the rest of the weekend in a much better place. I slept better than I have in a month. My glucose readings dropped fifty points and it is not from eating better, that’s for sure. My physical reaction to the loss of safety in my home was not controllable because I did not even know how bad I was until the things were fixed. I feel so vulnerable because I do not know how to fix the mechanics of my house. I hate being fleeced.

The car was fixed and only what I needed. The garage door works terrific and he fixed the issue of why the eye fell off so it won’t happen again. It did once before and I got it back on. The icemaker had to be replaced but I love having ice so it was worth it. The guy who came out was very nice and lives nearby and fixes all kinds of appliances. It is a good feeling of having someone like him available. He was honest and fair. All is well and there is a safe feeling again in my house.

Now, if there was only some way I could fix what happened on Tuesday with the elections……..