Saturday, July 15, 2017

Working Late Dream

I've always been one to have dreams at some of the most intense, confusing and questioning times in my life. Since I was a child I had vivid dreams where smells, colors, sensations were all experienced fully. This week I had another one of these dreams. I haven't felt that work has been especially stressful, but this is the dream I had midweek:

I was alone working late at my desk, which is an office full of cubicles. (It looked like I was at our old offices with higher cubicle walls; not the downtown offices). The overhead lights in the office were off and it was getting dark outside, so the office was dimly lit. A few coworkers had forgotten to turn off the lights in their cubicles, so some light radiated out of the tops of these random cubicles. The only real light near me was coming from my computer monitor.

As I worked, someone sat down at the cubicle desk across the aisle from me. I looked to my right and saw that it was a young man with pale skin and dark brown hair, but then, it could have appeared darker due to lack of lighting. He was thin, but not bony. He was wearing a black long sleeved t-shirt with dark jeans and could easily have blended in with a goth crowd. He placed a dark backpack on the desk beside him.

I greeted him with a surprised, “hello.” He barely glanced up at me and kept working at his computer.
I asked him, “are you new here?” thinking it was odd my boss hadn’t introduced him to the team earlier in the day. This thought and his lack of interaction made me suspicious of him.

I turned my chair in his direction, my left half arm still on the computer desk. “My name is Tina. I’m one of the IT trainers here…”I trailed off as he looked at me and at the same time reached with his right hand into the backpack beside him. He lazily pulled out a large hand gun and shot me without hesitation; his other hand never left the computer. He barely looked at me while pulling the trigger, but it connected.

I felt the pain and pressure in my chest beneath my left shoulder. I was stunned. It radiated. BANG! I felt a second hit to my sternum. I heard myself gasp as I fell forward in my chair, to the floor. I scooted beneath my desk to hide behind the filing cabinet under my desk. I reached around to the top of my desk, making a barrier with my rolling desk chair, blindly feeling around for my cell phone so I could call 9-1-1.

All the while hoping against hope he wasn’t going walk over and shoot me in the head. He made no effort to move from his seat. “I can survive this,” I thought, “don’t die! Not today! Please don’t die,” I pleaded with myself.

My fingers found the phone and I pulled it toward the edge of the desk. It fell with a soft thud to the carpeted floor. I could hear his fingers clicking on the keyboard at the desk.

“He’s not going to let me out of this place alive,” I thought. “That’s why he’s just sitting there ignoring me.”  

My eyes wouldn’t focus through the blur of tears as they filled my eyes. It was the first moment I could think about the consequences of working late on this day. Not seeing my husband, dogs, family, home, to bid a proper farewell, at least. If I was going to die, they deserved a farewell.

I was struggling to breathe, now. Still fiddling with the phone.  “My inhaler! Where’s my inhaler,” I shouted at myself in my head; as if it would or could change the outcome; or that I should have been ready for this and had it with me.

I could feel myself dying. Slowly bleeding out. Thinking… really panicking that I want to get home. “Not today!” I thought. I’d unlocked my phone and was dialing 9-1-1 when I heard his chair move.  He’d stopped typing.

As I fought with my phone to make the call faster, I made myself wake up. I couldn’t bear to know the outcome of my life in the hands of a stranger.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Twenty Years

June 16, I completed my twenty year anniversary working at the University of Utah.

A colleague in the ER had recommended the job for me. I met with the manager and she hired me on the spot. I hadn't filled out an application, so she had me complete the application while I was in her office. I remained working at SLRMC ER part time and later moved to PRN.
Halloween on the 6N unit
I began my time at the U as a HUC (Health Unit Coordinator) on the inpatient orthopedic floor. I learned a lot about myself. I learned to stand up for myself. Looking back, I couldn't be paid enough to do that job again. Maybe it was the nurses, the doctors or the unit, but the HUC was everybody's stepping stone. Everybody yelled at her. Back then, we documented on paper. The HUC received the admission or post surgery orders and had to decipher the handwriting, then transfer them to the appropriate location on the unit.
I left my position as a HUC in a flaming blaze of glory; burning bridge and all! It's super funny now, but I was at a pretty low point back then.
1999 - Catwoman costume
I changed positions from inpatient and moved to work in a registration call center: Pre-registration. We'd call patients for their outpatient visits and register them on the "new" computer system. A system I would one day train to other new users. A system that feel ancient now.
It was during my time in preregistration, where I met my mentor. I was so angry during that time. Going to therapy and learning to stop hating myself. It was a hard time and I took out my anger on a lot of people. My boss, who would become my mentor, nearly fired me during that time.
I learned a lot about accountability from that boss.

I left preregistration and moved to billing. Billing was...about as exciting as it sounds. *yawn* I stayed there for about a year and a half and learned billing procedures and insurance rules, That's about all I can say about that time.

After billing, I moved to help open a new department. I was fortunate to be hired by that mentor/boss. He was creating a new department to improve the insurance authorization process. I moved from clinic to clinic working through their existing process and creating improved ways of authorization and working through deposit processes. I enjoyed working in the clinics and stayed in this position for nearly four years. I loved working in the clinics, meeting physicians, nursing and other clinicians.

From insurance auth, I moved to financial counseling. A pay grade increase position. A position I was terrible at! I could not make this work for me to save my life. I was beginning to worry that my position would be eliminated when the training team opened a new position. I applied and interviewed and was offered the job on April Fool's day of 2004. A huge relief!

I've been training since that time. Our training group has moved from department to department but now report up through IT. I have loved working as a trainer to the various audiences.

In those twenty years, I've met and married the love of my life. Celebrated achievements with my family and friends and mourned the loss of some of those family and friends.
I decided a long time ago that I would chose not to live with regret. It has helped me push to be honest and compassionate in my dealings with myself and others.  Looking at the past twenty years at the U, I'm grateful to have been fortunate to work in jobs I both loved and hated, with some of the most gracious people. I'm grateful to have a mentor who helped me learn and grow into a contributing team member.
Some of the days in the past twenty years:
2008 - taking a daily self portrait (before "selfies" existed)

2009 - Thanksgiving in LA

2010 - I have cut my hair every year. I usually cut between five and eight inches.

2010 - July 24 with Andrew

October 2011 - A visit from Leo

2012 - October - The Patriots game! Yay!

2012 - November - A back injury took me out of commission. This day I had the first of two back injections.

Feb 2013 - Eric and I at a charity dinner

April 2013 - Playing with the kiddos. They always bring me so much joy!

2013 - Halloween. Remembering my cousin who'd passed away weeks before. 

July 2014 - Iceberg with these nuts!

May 2015 - Feeling rejuvenated.

Jan 2016 - This girl! 

Nov 2016 - Another visit to see the Patriots. 

2017 - returning home from a camping trip. They look exhausted. 

May 2015 - Celebrating 20 years!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Night Videos

Let me start by emphasizing how much I really hate allergy season! ( I have year round allergies, but there are times when it's worse than others.) This week, my eyes went high and to the right and ballooned out in absolute pain, burning and itching! I wanted to rip my eye lids off!
I take all kinds of antihistamines and eye drops... it was just unbearable this week.
I spent a lot of time with an ice pack and/or cold compress on my eyes. Not my favorite way to spend my PTO.

I found time, through it all, to watch a few videos:

This is one I watch whenever I need a good laugh.

That's what I have this week. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fam and U2

Last Friday evening, Eric and I flew out of SLC to LAX to stay with Sandy. We left during a very lovely sunset. We left with a lot of nerves and excitement. We knew it would be less than 48 hours and we really wanted to maximize our time with family.
Looking eastward from the plane

Flying over the Great Salt Lake

Saturday morning we woke up and headed up to Elida's house to see her little family. I'm not a morning person; you never know which version of Tina you'll get. I woke up too excited to be grouchy. 
I was thrilled to finally meet my niece, Aubrey. She's very mellow and reminds me a lot of Elida when she was a baby. She studies your every move and has a beautiful smile. She studied me pretty heavily. I studied back. 

We headed to the Rose Bowl early enough to get good parking and get in line for our general admission tickets. The sun was hot and heavy, and the line was long. 

Once we got through security and into the stadium, we scoped out a good spot. 
The Lumineers opened for U2. I've liked their songs for a long time and they were fantastic to sing along with. 

I always get like a giddy school girl, reminiscent of the old Beatles videos of girls crying, when U2 comes on stage. Saturday was no different. We had been placing bets on which song they would open with. None of us was right. But they know how to get the crowd up and moving right out of the gate. 
The images they flashed on the super duper large screen were inspiring! I swear some had to have been collected from Utah. Stunning! 
We sang and danced (and our feet ached!) and had a marvelous time! 

Sunday morning, Eric and I had breakfast with Elida's super cute little family, then made our way back to the airport to head home. 


Flying out of LAX

Flying into SLC

I really wish I had been able to spend more time in LA with my family. I find even short visits are replenishing to the soul. 
It's times like this, when I have to race back to work, that I wonder where my priorities are. I can't take these trips without work, but isn't family the most important? Still working on this life/work balancing act that my generation loves so much. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Night Videos

So this is happening this weekend! I cannot wait to sing with my favorites ever! I love U2 and am super excited to see them again.
U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017

I'm hoping there are some songs from Achtung and Zooropa.

Another vid to add this week. It makes me laugh:

I found this one inspiring and emotional...Our culture values genealogy and even with crazy and unhappy times of the past, this brings it all home.