sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Posts tagged ‘coversation with god’

Bipolar Depression: When Life Just Sucks and the bills need to be paid

I have been on prozac, 20mg, 9 months now. I have birthed myself a new life.

Unlike the last anti-depressant I tried 2 years ago, I feel that the Prozac is helping me and not causing side effects and mania.

It makes me wonder, why didn’t I try this medication years ago?

Here I am now. And somehow it is all perfect and in perfect order.

It can be challenging to really believe that.

The idea that life unfolds, or we create it, just the way it needs to be.

And it is what we do with what happens that matters more than what happens.

We create our life….

Yet, there are those times when it really feels like life is happening to me

Sh#t happens

I work PRN as an Occupational Therapy in geriatric rehab.

PRN means no required hours and no guaranteed hours.

I sign up to work but they can “call me off”if they don’t need me something that can happen the night before or the day of…

I am employed with 2 companies, one for almost 8 years and the other for 4 years.

PRN also means you get paid a “higher rate of pay” because you have no benefits.

Healthcare changed in 2000 and greatly for me in the field of Occupational Therapy.

I had a pay cut and salary caps happened and jobs were hard to find for a while.

My work is very different than it was when I graduated college with my Bachelor of Science Degree in OCcupational Therapy in 1992.

All those Medicare cuts and changes that happened at the beginning of this century, mean I now make less money than I did 20 years ago. I worked PRN 21 years ago in addition to a full time job. At that time, my PRN rate of pay was double my rate as a full time employee. IT was $50 an hour. The current average rate of pay in the area where I live for a PRN OCcupational Therapist is now $45 an hour.

I now have 25 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist and yet 21 years later, I am making less money.

PRN means no increase in pay.

This is healthcare.

Or better named, sickcare.

I vent about this all the time to my husband and close friends and family.

It is time I write about it.

I began asking for a pay increase 4 years ago at my job I had been with for 4 years when I found out the current rate of pay for new PRN employees, therapists, was $5 more than I was making. I got told I would get the pay increase and then called back the next day and told, “I didn’t know there was a hold on raises. But you will be the first to get a raise when it changes.”

I asked again almost 2 years later, I was told I had to wait until the fall (it was early spring) when they do reviews.

As a prn employee, I had never had a review done.

First of September, my boss schedules a review for me. Wow!

I get told I will get the “pay increase”, in other words, they will now pay me what they are paying everyone else who was hired after me.

It will be in my December pay check.

December comes, no pay increase.

I was told that the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.

Apparently, they can only do raises one time per year.

I inquired about my options. I won’t even share that here because you would never believe it.

And I know my boss went to bat for me for the raise and then after the raise didn’t happen. I appreciate her efforts.

Much to my surprise, a year later, I get the pay increase!

After nearly 8 years working nearly ever week and most weekends for this company being available for most weekends and also being called off work when the caseload was too low, I now am getting paid what they should have been paying me at least 4 years ago.

$50 per hour

The rate of pay I made 21 years ago, when my hourly rate as a full time employee was $25 per hour.

GRATEFUL?

Sure I am grateful.

I feel like i finally made it happen!

Because PRN employees don’t get raises, pay increases, nothing.

I have been told that by my other employer, where I have now worked 4 years.

Why am I prn?

Because in order to be part time you have to average 20 hours per week.

They don’t have that many hours to give me at either place. I often work 20 hours between both jobs.

Many companies only have full time and prn employees and not part time employees.

So this is all good right?

Now the company is choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.

A secret policy that I have only learned about through the grape vine.

I have been called off work as a prn employee and I get that is part of being prn and the status of healthcare.

But now, I am called off work more and more.

It doesn’t matter how many years I have been with the company, nor my experience, nor the fact that when they do my quarterly relives now, I get glowing remarks on what I great employee I am.

What is the point of the glowing reviews?

It feels like a slap in the face!

I began getting the glowing reviews after I was told my raise wasn’t happening, because the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.

Now, just 3 months after my raise went into effect….

I am finding out not from my boss but from my co-workers, that the company is now choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.

Why am I writing about this and not going to my boss?

I have gone to her multiple times.

I have had many sit down talks with her about my concerns and issues.

I have reached out to her to find out about these rumors I am hearing.

She chooses not to fill me in and not respond to my phone call or repeated questions about the changes.

Each month, I am asked to give my availability for working weekends for the coming month.

I typically let them know I am available most Sundays for a full work day and most Saturdays for at least a half work day. On average, I tell them I am available for 6 our of 8 weekend days, every month, for nearly 8 years.

I find out about how much I am needed for on the Friday afternoon or night before the weekend.

I find out if they are calling me off work on the Friday before and sometimes not until 10pm the night before.

This is the nature of prn work in Occupational Therapy. (PT and OT work in adult and geriatric rehab)

I have been told, that despite my years of experience and time with the company, that if there are no evaluations, I will be called off first rather than the COTAS (OT assistants with a 2 year degree).

OK

It is a financial thing, they tell me.

Something I have never been happy with.

When I am needed for evaluations, they need me. But I am the first to go when the caseload is low.

That in itself sucks.

But what sucks even more

Is the company deciding to use prn employees as little as possible and not sharing this information with the prn employees.

Not openly sharing it.

We all know because we talk to the full time employees

Who are now required to rotate working weekends.

Not because they want to but because they have to.

Sometimes life just sucks.

I have seen that I am being called off more often and despite really liking my fellow co-workers and the facility as a whole at my weekend job, and have been looking for more work hours elsewhere.

My other prn job I work one or two days during the week as well as Saturdays when needed also has a low caseload right now.

And that is a crazy story with its own issues but I will save that for another time.

That being said,

I now have two prn jobs with very little hours for me to work.

And I have been looking for more hours and have let them all know that I am looking for more work hours.

Instead of more hours, I am getting far less hours.

In January, I earned enough to meet and exceed our expenses, to help pay down our debt.

My February pay checks totaled $1000 less, not quite meeting our basic expenses.

So far in March, I have worked a total of 5.25 hours.

It is only March 4, but I have only worked that many hours from Sunday Feb 25 through today, Sunday March 4.
I signed up to work full day last Sunday and today and for 5 hours yesterday and got 0 hours.

The 5.25 hours came from my other prn job.

But I may have 0 hours this week at my other prn job.

The caseload is low and instead of referring patients to our in facility outpatient therapy program, the facility is referring patients to a home health company who is trying to establish a monopoly in the facility, despite our company having a contract with a different home health company.

So I shared a little of that drama…

This is the nature of health care…

Sick care

I usually work at least 15 hours per week, 20 hours per week meets my expenses.

Sometimes I work 25 or more hours per week and other times 10-15, and it balances out.

But working only 5 hours in 2 weeks won’t pay the bills.

I have been asking about other prn work and have a number of companies to call and…

I updated my resume

Today, I am applying for other jobs. I have had that on my to do list for several weeks.

Now it feels urgent

When I began looking around for other work and asking my fellow prn employees and co-workers who work prn, I was looking to give myself more options and to seek work at a higher rate of pay.

I was looking for a third prn job to have the upper hand.

To be able to tell my weekend employer,

“NO, I have other work and work where I won’t get called off the day of or the night before at 10pm.”

I enjoy the jobI work weekends, I enjoy what I do as an Occupational Therapist, the patients I work with, and my co-workers, and the facility.

But I also value my sanity.

And, heck, the bills need to get paid!

Part of the reason, I have hesitated to find other prn work, more prn jobs…

Is because I am also a writer and actively working

To grow my writing, and turn Child-led learning into a paying gig

My husband, Don, and I are making plans to speak together on conscious parenting.

I run a local homeschool website, Charlottehomeschooling.com

I run Child-led Learning blog and facebook page and my goal is to grow that into a community and to also work as a child-led learning consultant.

I am ready to take my experience and skills and more to new work.

I am ready to use my skills as an Occupational therapist to begin a business in well- care, instead of sick-care.

Sundays are now writing time and planning time and goal setting time.

I can embrace my new Sundays.

I am also ready to see the $350 I typically earn (or used to earn) each Sunday, showing up in my life in new ways…

..so the bills can be paid.

I am ready universe.

I am open to new possibilities.

I am a writer.

I am Gina.

I am creating a new realization, a new experience, for my life

…and for my family.

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Getting Unstuck: No more “trying to”

Recently,  I decided to let go of my story of loss.  I wrote out all of my losses over the past several years, all the big ones and decided I would let go of “my story” of loss.  What does that mean? I don’t know but what comes to mind is Debbie Ford.  And so I googled to jog my memory and found this wonderful interview with Debbie Ford.

I wrote all about the letting go of loss in another blog entitled, Letting Go of “My Story”…of loss.

Today, I would like to talk about the part of the interview that first caught my attention; getting unstuck in “trying”.

I was immediately drawn to read more of this part of the interview because I, too often, find myself saying that I am “trying” to do something.   I have had ideas and even visions of what I would like to do with my writing and yet, find myself frequently getting stuck.  Even though I was reading this interview to learn more about letting go of “my story”, I knew that what I was reading was extremely relevant.

At the above link, if you scroll to page 5, 3rd paragraph,   the interviewer, McGee,  speaks of something Ford once said, “Don’t say you’re ‘trying’. You’re either doing something or you’re not doing it.”  and asks her “How do we get unstuck in “trying”?”

Debbie Ford answers:  quoted from the text

I use the analogy in The Right Question of a car trip.  If you just say, “I want to have a better business,” that’s like saying, “I want to go to the South.”  Where in the South?

How much better do you want your business?  You need to get really specific, and yes, you may have to modify your course.  You need to start with a very, very strong vision, because then you can wake up every morning and say, “What do I need to do to get there?”

If you were going on a road trip, you wouldn’t look at your map once a week or once a month.  You’d look at it every day.  Say, “This is where I want to go.”  Then, ask yourself, “What can I do today to get there?”

That is where we’ve got to go with people.  Whether it’s a New Age retailer or an individual, we’ve got to inspire them to have clear and concise vision.  And know you can change your vision.  Maybe I say I’m going to New York, but all of a sudden I wind up in New Jersey and I love it. That’s  okay-you can change your vision. 

We need to be clear about it.  We have that picture, and we hold it in.  We have the intent to get there, and we’re taking those steps. We’re taking really good, strong steps.  I don’t think the universe can guide us.  I think our souls know. 

The above information  is taken from an article in the  New Age Retailer from Jan/ FEb 2007.  The author and editor in chief is Kathy McGee.

After reading that, I had the idea of creating a plan for my vision in the form of a map.  Instead of listing out goals and objectives in outline style, I need to create a map of my vision.  A map that I can write on and amend as my vision unfolds. Unlike, a travel map with clear highways to travel on your route, this map needs to be ongoing.  I can write out my vision with as many descriptions and specifics including financial aspects and then, I can either work backwards and add in possible things I need to do to get to the final destination.  Or, I can just start from today and list what I can do now to get to my destination.

My brain is busy with possibilities of how I can create this map.  I do need to let my right brain, my creative side, take the lead.  My left brain has already made the list, written goals, objectives and daily tasks, only to find myself not able to follow through in that format.  I think I need to keep this visual and start with a vision collage of what I would like my life to be like.  From that vision collage, I can then create my map.  I believe I need to plan to do just that and stop thinking about it, because then I am once again, “trying”.

So, I will make a vision collage.  This You Tube Video gives a good explanation on Vision Boards.    I also found this blog that describes the idea well, How to Make a Vision Board.  After I make my vision board, I will let you know where I went from there and how I am making my map.  Maybe you might be interested in doing the same or something similar.  I would love to hear about your vision collage, or road map to where you want to go.  Please share, for the benefit of all.

June 18, 6 weeks post MI, A message to my soul

This is my first moment to breathe in a long time.  I worked 20 to 25 hours outside the home for 10 weeks (Feb to May), about double the hours I had been working, and still homeschooling three kids, ages 13, 9 and 2. The week that the extra hours ended and I was relieved to cut back from working every Sat, Sun, Mon and  Tues to just some Saturdays, Sunday and a few hours on Tuesday, my husband had a massive heart attack.  It’s been just over 6 weeks from that day, May 4, 2011.

I used to go out about once a week by myself to a coffee-house (to drink tea) with my lap top and journal and write and work on my website and play games.  It was my alone time where I was only responsible for myself, a needed break and recharge for a homeschooling mother of three as well as a chance to reconnect with my soul and my passion, writing.

Over the past week, it has become more obvious to me that I am experiencing “burn out” or caregiver overload.  My husband, Don,  has been home for over 4 weeks and improving but only watching the kids in small increments of time and not at night yet.   He is still recovering and so I play the role of mother, homeschool mom, wife, caregiver of my husband, Occupational Therapist for my husband as well as still working a couple of hours at a time when I can as an OT at the Nursing Home where I have been working for a while.

Today, the youngest two kids and my husband went across the street where our neighbor has agreed to give our shaggy dog, Olive, a much-needed hair cut.  My oldest is still asleep or maybe just in his room, he’s 13.  The house is quiet.

The last time I got to enjoy a quiet house was when my husband was in the hospital and I would wake up around 3 am, because I couldn’t sleep more than 3 hours when he was in the hospital for 12 days, and I would come to my lap top in the kitchen and get a few things done and then write.   I have been missing that early morning time to myself.  The lack of sleep caught up with me and shortly after my husband came home from the hospital, I slept well and slept in. Now I am ready to live on less sleep again, not 3 hours, but wishing for alone time in my house.

I am not religious but a spiritual person and I get daily messages from Neale Donald Walsch, author of the Conversations with God series of books.  His messages are sometimes very fitting to my day.  They became very timely when my husband, Don, was in the hospital.

And a few days ago one of the messages was very loud:

June 17, I got this message:

On this day of your life, Gina, I believe God wants you to know…

…that your Inner Life is begging you for some attention. Can you not hear your soul calling to you?  Please do not ignore this call any longer. Please do  , “Yeah, yeah, tonight.” Or…”Okay, I get it.   I will meditate every morning…”Stop everything right this minute. If only for 90 seconds. And say hello to your soul. Reconnect. Touch in. And listen to what you are trying to tell yourself.

So I set my blackberry down but I didn’t have to pause for even a second and my soul screamed, “BLOG, BLOG BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!” at me.  I stayed quiet for a few minutes and tried to be in the silence.Writing has always been my form of meditation. When I journal, I find my own truth and things become more clear to me. Creating my blog recently, has been my way of finally sharing my journaling and my truth, something I have felt compelled to do for many years.  Despite 30 years of journaling, I only started my blog less than a year ago.
Yesterday, Neale sent a great message about choosing how we feel and I decided to choose to have a great day.  It worked for most of the day, but when you are in “burn out”, unless you stop and take time for yourself, no amount of choosing happiness in your day is going to prevent that burn out from seeping out into your life.  For me, in the form of yelling at my kids (loosing my peace and falling away from the parent I choose to be) and just feeling disappointed at the end of the day.  I had a sore neck yesterday and it lingered despite me exercising and stretching.  I was blaming it on my pillow and the fact that my two younger kids sleep with me and sometimes on top of me, reason enough to feel achy in the morning.  And today, the sore neck was still there.

This morning I decided to go out and take a walk by myself again (something I also used to do several times a week and have been trying to get back to) with my music.   I was checking Facebook on my blackberry, because I did that yesterday and had fun hosting a game of “Name that Tune” to my Facebook friends and I read this message from  Neale Donald Walsch on Facebook:

Your soul talks through your body, which gives you a here-and-now experience of your truth. If you want to know your truth on any subject, look to your feelings. Checking in with your body is the fastest way of doing this.

My first thought was, “My neck hurts, I wonder what my soul is trying to tell me.”  I kept walking, not giving it much more thought. When I got back from my walk, it occurred to me that the reason my neck hurts is most likely not my sleeping arrangement or my pillow, but the fact that I have been communicating with my friends and trying to connect with others via Facebook on my BlackBerry at night and in the early morning.  Let me paint a more clear picture: using my touch screen blackberry while laying on my back, my arms over my head to type and to read message.

I had symptoms of shoulder capsulitis  not too long ago, likely from the same situation, too much supine position BlackBerry typing.

So clearly, my soul’s message is this:

Find a way, no matter what I have to do, to have time on the computer, sitting upright with good posture and  good ergonomics and write, blog, journal. 

In other words: spend less time on my blackberry  and more really writing on the computer!

…Thank you body and soul for giving me that message. My mind has taken it in. Here I am.