You Can Never Go Back.

L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home.  New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more.”

I walked into the office I knew so very well.  It had an old sort of comfortableness to it.  Like driving by the house you grew up in.  Or visiting your elementary school.

I had so many nerves.  I was shaking in parts of my belly that I had never even felt before.  Nervous about seeing old friends, old co-workers.  Nervous about being treated differently.  Nervous about being treated the same.

And then there were smiles.  And hugs.  Faces that were so welcome that it brought tears to my eyes.  Laying down and realizing all that I had loved and missed was still there.  Jokes from a man I adore and respect so much.  Idle chatter with the sweetest girl I’ve ever known, knowing she understands how I feel.  Fighting tears and emotions because I’m so, so very hormonal… but that’s not the only reason why.

I miss this place.  I miss this life.  But you can never go back.

Hearing the doctor say, “Everything looks great.  I think your baby is going to be fine,” sets my heart at ease, my fears to rest.  It was a wonderful moment, and yet not the best part of today.

The best part was a hug and a phone call from someone I had thought lost to me.  The best part had smiles and the sharing of pictures and stories.  The best part was feeling a little bit at home for a little bit of a moment.

I wouldn’t let anything, or anyone ruin that for me.

I love you guys.  And I miss you.

Special.

You know, I wanted today to write about my lack… lack of energy, lack of motivation, lack of time.

Instead, I decided to write about a beautiful lady that I scanned at work last night.  She was in her late 80’s, and was just as sweet as could be.  It is all to easy to assume any patient of advanced age will have some sort of mental deficiency; we see it very often, our patients that are hard of hearing, or suffering from dementia.  Patients that have regressed back to childlike tendencies.  Patients that are completely out of it.  It’s pleasantly surprising to spend my time with a woman as quick, smart and capable as I am.

(My Badge Picture)

She asked me about the sweet baby on my badge, and I told her it was my little boy.  She said he was gorgeous, and I asked her if she had any kids.  She told me she had 4 children, 3 boys and a girl!  She also said she had them very far apart… her first at 26 years old, and her last at 38.

She told me her last child was born a premie, at 4 weeks early.  She said they told her the baby was jaundiced, and that she would have to stay in the hospital.  She said there was NO way she was leaving her sweet baby at the hospital, she’d had 3 kids already and knew what to do.  I thought about the amount of time that had passed, and what a 36 week premie would be like that many years ago.  I told her she was very lucky everything turned out okay, and she knew it.

When we were all finished, I walked her back for her next exam.  I was chatting with her about Ronan and talking about how we’d like to have more kids.  She said she was an only child, and that’s why she wanted a large family.  As I left her, she told me that I was “just adorable”.

I would have said the exact same thing about her.

Get Out While You Can!!

I was at work last night.  I had a really great shift, working with some of my favorite people.

Later on in the night, after nearly all of the ultrasounds had been done, my co-worker (here forward referred to as CW) and I were sitting around chatting a little.  The worklist was down to two patients, both of which were waiting for something or other before they could come for their exams.

Around 9:45, CW looked at the clock and said, “You can go if you like.  There’s not much going on here.”

I smiled, because I LOVE to leave early, but said, “You know, I’ve only got about 10 pages in my book left.  I wont get to finish it if I take it home, so I’m gonna just knock it out.”

CW laughed at me and pulled her book out.  “Great idea!”  We’re reading the same set of novels that I had turned her on to last week.  She loves them as much as I do.  We read quietly for a few minutes, and then one of us would interrupt the other to talk about what we were reading.  I have read all of the books already, and she loves to ask me what I think is gonna happen, or whether or not she needs to worry.  I have a really, really great poker face about stuff like that, and I KNOW she doesn’t really want to know.  So I just smile at her and let her keep reading.  We were both laughing at each other, when CW slid her chair over to the computer terminal to check the worklist and make sure nothing had been added.  I informed her that I had just done that, and we were good.

“Oh yeah?” she asked.

There were six ultrasounds added from the ER.

SIX EXAMS.

Added in less than 10 minutes.

We both said a few choice cuss words, and then called the transporters.  CW said, “They KNEW we were having fun!  That’s what we get for enjoying ourselves at work.”

They starting bringing patients, and we started scanning them.  CW and I can really turn out the patients when we’re together.  We are both used to being the ‘only’ tech, and when we get a chance to work as a team, we really work well.

At 10:45, fifteen minutes after my shift ended, and an hour after CW told me I could leave, she said to me, “Next time I tell you you can leave if you want, you’re gonna get the hell out of here aren’t you?”

“DAMN STRAIGHT!”

Although, in all honesty, I’d rather stay and help her get all of those exams completed.  Because I’d want the same done for me in her position.  And I adore her.

Is it me?

Ok.

So I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years now.  I started out way back in my Xanga days.  It’s something I’ve always done for me, and always felt good about.  I didn’t, until just recently, care about the blogosphere, or making friends or networking.  Blogging has always been a way for me to indulge the writer in me, as well as being able to get things off my chest in the perfect forum.  I don’t think could have ever predicted accurately the drama my blogging would cause.

Let’s look back.

I used to work in an OB/GYN office near my house.  I worked there for over a year, and loved it.  I left, not because I didn’t want to work there any more, but because I was intensely interested in furthering my career and my knowledge of obstetric ultrasound.  A position had opened up in a high risk clinic, and I applied for it.  When I got the position, I was truly sad to be leaving my friends and co-workers.  Several months after I left, I logged into my Xanga and noticed I had several THOUSAND page views that day.  The very same day, one of my ex-co-workers called me and said there was some bad Juju going on at the office.  Evidently, someone had googled either me, or the clinic that I worked in, and found my blog (which was google indexed.)  This person hadn’t been able to keep their mouth shut, and gave the blog address to everyone else in the clinic.  So, instead of working for several days, all of the employees of this clinic spent hours trolling my blog, reading my private inner thoughts, and attempting to find something wrong with what I had done.  At that time, I had written a few blog entries similar to the “Ultrasound Resonates” posts that I write now, with names changed and privacy protected just like always.  I also had written several stories about incidents that had gone on in the clinic, ALL of which showed the clinic in a great light.

My co-worker told me that someone had given my blog to the manger of the office, and that there was going to be a big uproar over it, and I was in big trouble.  Interestingly, I never heard anything about it from anyone else, so it was all a much ado about nothing.  However, some people got all high and mighty and important, and decided to stick their business in my own.  (Yes, I know you did this.  Yes, I think it was shallow, petty and rude.  Yes, I continued to write in spite of it.)

Moving on.

From my OB clinic, I moved on to bigger and better things.  I started working at a high risk obstetrics clinic, and I absolutely loved it.  I also became pregnant within two weeks of starting at the clinic, so my time enjoyed there was overshadowed by my impending child.  First, let me say that I was told on no uncertain terms that none of my co-workers were happy about my pregnancy, having suffered infertility problems themselves, and that they wouldn’t be interested in hearing about my gravidity, so I should keep my mouth shut.  Being young, pregnant and quite excited about it, that was handed over as a slap in the face.  So I attempted to keep my mouth shut, my head down, and just work.  Despite my best intentions, and against my desire to keep working there, I left the clinic when Ronan was born.  I had wanted to continue in the high risk field, but was not offered a part-time position, and couldn’t fathom putting my son in daycare from such a tender young age.  This evidently caused some ruffled feathers with my co-workers, who were insulted by the fact that I didn’t return, and believed that I had mislead them into thinking that I would be coming back.  I had thought I had created valuable, lasting friendships with the woman that I was surrounded by, but after finding out how sore they were over my leaving, I couldn’t bring myself to go back and confront them, lest they snub me to my face.

Several weeks ago, I was informed by a remaining friend at the office that the ladies there were still reading my blog (even though it has been over a year since my employ.)  I was told that my blog was passed around, read, and then degraded and insulted.  My parenting efforts were poo-pooed, and my character questioned, all without having the ability to defend myself.  As far as I know, this practice continues: grown women read my public blog and deride me in order to make them feel better about themselves.  (Yes, I know you do this.  Yes, I think it’s shallow, petty and rude.  Yes, I continue to write in spite of it.  But I think you need to grow up, and find something else to entertain you.)

Again, moving on.

I found a position in a hospital where I could work weekends, so I could be home with my son all week.  Then, my husband would be with Ronan on the weekends, and the need for childcare had been eliminated.  Not only did we not WANT to leave our son in daycare, we couldn’t afford it; this allowed me to work without the extensive costs of having my son cared for.  I have worked at this hospital for nearly a year, and was told several months ago that someone had anonymously turned in my blog, pointing out that it’s against hospital policy to state that you work there, what you do, or talk about your position in general.  This alone didn’t bother me; I didn’t know there was any such rule in place, and it took just a few minutes for me to remove all references to my place of work.  However, the fact that someone saw fit to take my personal blog and turn it in to authorities, rather than simply mention to me that I was doing something wrong, rubbed me just awful.

Now, within the last few days, I was approached by my supervisor and told that my blog has come into question again.  Someone had printed off several pages of my posts and turned them in, again anonymously, stating that the timestamps showed that I had been working on it while I was on the clock.  I was told that this was a severe offense, and that if it happened again it could lead to dismissal.

Once again, someone has seen fit to shove their big, fat nose into my business.

I WRITE a BLOG.  It’s about my kid, and my family.  It’s rated G, and sweet, touching, personal, funny, and sometimes challenging or upset.  I’m not posting pornography, I’m not an anarchist trying to bring down the government, I don’t cuss or post inappropriate pictures, and I’m not even using the hospital internet system.  I write blogs in my spare time, and I post them, once a day, when I have a free moment.  I can do this from my phone while I’m sitting at a red light.  I can do it in the pumping room when I’m making FOOD for my CHILD.  I can log into the public computers on my lunch break and access my account.

Now, if I had brought in a note pad and written a story down with pen and paper, no one would get worked up.  But because it’s the internet, and it’s a public forum, someone thinks they have the right to police my activities and turn me in for perceived wrong doing.

First, it’s none of your damn business.  Second, where do you get off printing information from my blog?  Yes, it’s public, but it is MY intellectual property.  You do not have the RIGHT to do that without my express permission.  Third, WHY DO YOU CARE?  Who am I to you?  What does it matter what I do during my down time at work, or while I’m at home, or sitting at a damn red light?  If you have that much time and energy to spend on what I’m doing, perhaps you should take a moment and re-evaluate what YOU should be doing.  Fourth, you have permanently damaged my relationships with the people that I work with.  By not having the courage to show your face or come to me in person, I have to assume ANYONE could be the person that has sunk low enough to care about what I do.  I no longer have the luxury of trusting someone just because I like them.

Yes, I know that you did this.  Yes, I think it’s shallow, petty and STUPID.  YES, I will continue to write in spite of it, and in spite of you.  Grow up, get a life, and leave me alone.  I have done NOTHING that should affect you in ANY WAY, and your obsession with me is unhealthy.

Which leads me to question:  Could it possibly be me?  What am I doing to invite this type of attention and negative energy?  Is there something I need to do differently?  Or am I actually surrounded by childish, petty people who have a flair for dramatics?

I don’t want to stop blogging.  I don’t want to make my blog private.  I don’t want to pull punches or edit myself because I’m worried about who might be reading it.  I don’t have a problem.  If you have a problem, please un-invite yourself from sharing my life.  And thank you, each of you,  for trying to ruin everything.

My Job History.

Someone on Xanga started a list of all of his paying jobs.  And then another friend did it.  It made me stop to think about all of the jobs I’ve had in the past that I was actually paid for.  It was kind of fun to write them all down.  Here’s the final list.

Paying jobs:

1. Babysitting.  I was a really good babysitter.  I think I got 10 bucks per job regardless of the length, but I really didn’t do it for the money, I just really liked kids.


2. Singer/Entertainer.  I don’t really know if this one counts.  My mom used to be a lounge singer, and sometimes she would take me to work with her.  I would sing, and get paid in “Shirley Temple” drinks.  Some of my earliest and best memories.


3.  Shoveling horse manure.  I honestly got paid for this!  5 dollars for every wheelbarrow.  My “aunt” put all of the money that I’d earned into a bank account for me, and I used it to pay all of my entry fees for all of the horse shows we entered.  Somewhere, my mom still has the box of all of the ribbons I’ve earned.


4.  Nanny.  I lived with a family with two young children for several months.  I absolutely loved it.  They were a delight, and some of my fondest memories are of time spent with their mother.  I should probably look her up on facebook right now.


5.  Beer Cart Girl.  I worked at a golf course, and drove the beer cart.  I could make 50 bucks in tips in an hour.  All I had to do was laugh at their jokes, and smile pretty.  Oh yeah, and they were always right.


6.  Club house worker.  This was also at the golf course, but it was a different sort of job.  We ran the kitchen, cooked and prepared food, but also did all of the big conventions that used the golf course.  It was a LOT of work – probably the hardest job I’ve ever really had.


7.  Liquor store clerk.  It was as this point in my working career that I realized all jobs, no matter how menial seeming, have elements to them that you didn’t expect that are really a pain in the arse.  I HATED dusting alcohol bottles, and “inventory” was a pain in the butt.  I also hated that, after my first scheduled shift on a shipment day where I had everything placed and inventoried, I was subsequently scheduled on EVERY shipment day.  My dad told me afterward that I shouldn’t have done such a good job.


8.  Lounge bartender.  I couldn’t mix many drinks… but it didn’t matter.  My regulars only wanted their beers or straight up liquor.  I got off every night at 2am, and my mom and dad would walk down to meet me, help me close up, and walk home with me.  They didn’t want their 18 year old daughter walking through town by herself.  And I love them for this more than they could possibly imagine.


9.  Waitress at the hotel restaurant.  Yet another job where there was so much more to do than it seemed at first glance.  Waiting tables is a horrendously difficult job, and I have a lot of respect for really great waiters/waitresses.  I also always clean up after myself and my child at a restaurant.  I think EVERY person should have to work in the food service industry for at least a month.


10.  Data Entry.  This was what I considered my first “real” job.  I worked at a credit card distribution company.  We did a TON of data entry, but the real purpose of the job was “instant credit”.  So when you’re standing in the store, and you decide to apply for a card, and you fill all of the crap out, your application is sent to someone who looks over your credit report and decides whether or not to approve you.  It was a pretty good job.  Worked there for 2 years before I went stir crazy and quit.  Honestly, I quit.  No notice, nothing.  I just walked out one night.


11.  “Model” at Abercrombie and Fitch.  Hahahaha.  I folded clothes.  I worked there for the discount, and the ego boost it gave me to get hired there.  I made some good friends, but the job was pretty shallow.


12.  Claire’s.  This was actually one of my favorite jobs.  I got really good at getting out merch, handling busy times, opening and closing… but the best part was convincing little girls that they really WEREN’T too scared to get their ears pierced, and seeing how excited they were when it was all over.  It’s also the reason I have 7 earring holes in my ears.


13.  Medical Records Clerk.  I worked at one of the clinics that I was interning at during my Ultrasound clinicals.  I sat in the office for a few hours a week (usually about 4) and scanned paperwork into the digital filing system.  It was MIND NUMBING.  I probably should have started listening to audio books.


14.  Waitress.  This time, it was at Firebirds, a REAL restaurant.  I made it through 2 weeks of training, just long enough to find out that I was going to be a great waitress, and then I was hired by my first hospital as an official Ultrasonographer.


15.  Wait, back to Abercrombie.  I got another job there when I first moved to Charlotte to make some money and get clothes for cheap.  I spent every paycheck I got there… there.   Oops.


16.  Sonographer.  I worked at a small hospital as the weekender tech.  I absolutely loved my weekend peeps, and I still miss them very much.  Sally, Bill, Trina, Calvin, Hayley, Meagan, and everyone else.  I worked here for a year, but four months before my contract was up, I got a job at…


17.  Sonographer at an OB/GYN.  My door to the world of OB – and the beginning of my passion.  I worked here 5 days a week while I was working my weekend job at CMC-U.  The longest, hardest 4 months of my life.  Money is truly not worth it, people.  Having a life means something too.


18.  Sonographer at a high risk obstetric clinic.  This is it.  The pinnacle of my career.  I was hired at my dream job, as a sonographer in a high-risk obstetric clinic.  I worked at this office for a total of 8 months – the length of my pregnancy – and decided not to go back to working full time, staying home with my son instead.  I do NOT regret this decision, even though I miss working there more than words can describe.  I miss my people, my friends, my patients, my doctors… but most of all, I miss having passion for my work, and finding joy in every day.  My ultimate goal is to return to this field of work.


19.  Sonographer!  Ha.  I currently work at a busy hospital as an Ultrasound Technologist.  I work the weekend overnight shift, and a random 12 hour Wednesday DAY shift every few weeks.

Wooooooo hoo!  19 jobs.  I really think Brock needs to do this, I think he could make it past the 20 mark.

Happy Blogiversary!

I just realized that on the 15th, my little blog has been live for one whole month.

I’ve had a lot of fun with it so far.  I hope that I can keep it up.  I find myself thinking about my daily adventures and how they can translate into a good post.  So far, today, I’ve got nothing.  I’m being entirely domestic.  Grocery shopping is already done, fridge is cleaned out, baby is down for a nap, diapers are in the wash, and baby clothes are almost done in the dryer.  Maybe need to wash some mommy-daddy clothes today too.  I think I’m out of underwear.

I’m sitting in the floor, eating a cup of oatmeal because it’s the first thing I’ve had to eat today.  I got up and rushed to Game Stop to pick up a ‘new release’ game for Brock, and didn’t have time to eat.  Then, when I stopped at Starbucks to get a Vivanno Strawberry Banana smoothie, they didn’t have any bananas.  I asked the lady if she could just make me a strawberry smoothie, and I was duly informed that it wouldn’t be any good, because the consistency wouldn’t be right; it would just be all foamy.  So I said ‘thanks, have a nice day’ and left.  But what I was really thinking is Damn Starbucks always lets me down when I need it the most.

The baby dishes are sitting in the sink waiting to be washed.  My kitchen floor needs to be mopped, and the living room needs to be vacuumed.  Ooops, there goes the dryer.  Better get back to work.

Speaking of work… I have to work a 12 tomorrow.  Such is the life of a stay-at-home-full-time-working mom.

Finding my Groove, and Sleep Saga Continued.

I think I’m starting to hit my groove at work.  That doesn’t mean I’m starting to LIKE it any more, but really that I’m getting used to the whole she-bang.  It’s about par for the course, it usually takes me about 6 months at a new job to not feel like a total idiot.  It took a little longer this time, but I’d like to believe that a massive lack of sleep had something to do with it.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love getting home in the morning and seeing my two boys still sleeping in bed?  I stand in the doorway and watch them sleep for a few minutes before I do anything.  It does my heart good.

I didn’t want to jinx it by writing about it sooner, but Ronan has been sleeping GREAT for over a week now!  He wakes up once (and sometimes twice) a night to eat.  That’s it!  It seems to keep getting better and better as well.  He’s starting to learn to comfort himself back to sleep.  And by comfort, I mean he throws his body around in all directions until he conks out again, resulting in some hilariously awkward positions.  I must take pictures.  But anywho.  Perhaps the saga of the sleep-bitching is over.  Please, let it be so.  I knew the day would come when his ability to sleep would outgrow his desire to wake every hour.  I’m glad it got here sooner than later.  And I’m glad I never let him cry it out.

Ultrasound Resonates: Snap Judgments

As you may or may not know, I am a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.  That is just a huge mouthful of words that means that I do ultrasound.  I have to admit to you, I used to be lucky enough to work in the field of my passion: Obstetrics… pregnant mommies.  But since the birth of my child, and the overwhelming desire to stay at home with him as much as possible, I have taken a job as an Ultrasound Technologist in a busy hospital.

Ultrasound Resonates is a way for me to share stories of my experiences in ultrasound.  Privacy and HIPAA will always be protected in these stories, but they are really a way for me to share an accounting of the people that touch my life through my work.

Last night was a busy shift.  It had been slow nearly all day, but as soon as all of my day-time co-workers punched out, the Emergency Department punched in.  Within fifteen minutes, there were several ultrasounds in the queue, and my evening help wasn’t scheduled to come in for another hour.  I sent for a few of the patients, knowing that by the time transport got them to me, I would no longer be scanning solo, and I got to work.

When you’re busy and behind, it’s very easy to get frustrated by the exams that are ordered, and the people that you get used to seeing in the ED.  We call them “Frequent Fliers.”  Some of our most common customers are young pregnant women who are mistakenly told by their friends that if they go to the Emergency Room and say they are in pain, they will get an ultrasound and find out the gender of their child.  We HIGHLY DISCOURAGE this practice, mostly by completing OB ultrasounds without ever showing or telling the mother what the results of her exam are.  We point out very clearly from before we even touch her with a probe that we are not allowed to talk about the ultrasound, and that the doctor in the ER will tell her what the exam showed when she returns to her room.

One of the transporters dropped off an ER case for me, and left.  I glanced up at the camera and saw a young woman in the hall with her husband waiting.  A quick check of her ER chart told me that she was about 10 weeks pregnant with abdominal pain.

And then I did it.

I made a snap judgment.

I immediately assumed she was one of the young ladies that came to the ER to see her kid.  I instantly found myself upset at her for wasting my time, and coming to the hospital when she could have just stayed home.  I wasn’t rude or mean to her when I brought her into the room, but I wasn’t exactly warm and compassionate either.  My snap judgment had made me curt, even cold towards her.  When I had her prepped, I started asking her the routine questions.

“When was the first day of your last menstrual period?”

She told me.

“Which pregnancy is this for you?”

‘This is my tenth.”

SEE?!  There, I was RIGHT.  My snap judgment was RIGHT.  She just cant stop having babies.  I bet she does this every time.  Just keeps coming back to the hospital.  I bet she keeps having abortions.  I see it all the time.

“And how many children do you have at home?”

“Seven.”

Seven children?  Holy crap.  Who wants that many kids?  How many of those are accidents?

“Ok.  So you’ve had two miscarriages or abortions?”

She paused.  “… No.  I had a baby last year that died at 4 months old of SIDS, and 3 months ago I had a miscarriage at 18 weeks.”

Wow.  Take a breath here, Mandy.  That’s some heavy stuff to go through.  No one deserves to have to deal with that.

“Oh no, I’m so sorry.  I can’t imagine how difficult that was.”

She then proceeded to tell me what was going on, how she’d been feeling pain for a few weeks, and assumed when she went to her OB appointment that they would tell her she had a urinary tract infection.  When they didn’t find anything, she started to worry.  With her recent history, her mind just wouldn’t rest.  And I could completely empathize with her.  I even had tears in my eyes as she spoke.  Every night when I put Ronan to bed, I worry that he wont be there when I wake in the morning.  It’s a very REAL fear that she has already lived.  My worst nightmare has been her reality.

From that point out, things were different.  We talked, we laughed, and I found out that she is actually an amazing person; a loving mom, a caring wife and a hard working nurse.  She told me about her seven children at home, and how each one of them was planned and lovingly awaited.  She told me how all of them got their names.  She said how they have partners that they help take care of and get ready in the mornings, and about how when they go to the grocery store, people always come up to her and compliment her on her well behaved children.  She could tell me things about every single one of them, each one as precious and amazing to her as the last.

Last night, I found out that she was the kind of mother that I want to be.  When she left my department, I had nothing but respect for her.  While I didn’t get to tell her anything, I let her go with the peace of mind knowing she was about to find out her baby was ok.  And I found out that my snap judgment was dead wrong… as they almost always are.