This week has been a ride.
On Wednesday morning, just before I headed out the door for work, my dog was sprayed by a skunk in our backyard.
We were just sprayed less than three months ago.
My ninety-pound dog then decided to roll around on the carpet as I brought him inside for a bath with hydrogen peroxide and dish soap, and with my being pregnant, I could not stop vomiting.
I finally got to work, and then almost mistakenly left early for an appointment that was scheduled for the next day. I caught it just before I left.
With a pounding headache and while stinking to all hell, I finished the day and was excited to start fresh in the morning.
Thursday ended up being a reprieve to the previous days’ occurrences, and I left early for my second ultrasound, still very nervous and anxious about it.
Hospitals and medical centers are difficult for me on a regular day, but with the pandemic I have an exceptionally difficult time because I’m terrified of the anti-vaxxers.
My fear is bringing it home to my daughter, or worse, finding myself on a ventilator.
Plus, the strict rules to follow make me uneasy out of fear of not following a medical guideline properly. Lots of arrows, strict procedures and directions, and lots of stress. It’s palpable.
To my surprise, this new building was easy to find and I was brought in for my appointment almost immediately after checking in.
“Okay, so you’re going to have to get blood work done in the next 24 hours for this ultrasound to be valid today,” the receptionist told me when I checked in at the front desk.
“Oh,” I said.
“The blood labs are all by-appointment only. And most places are a month’s wait at the very minimum. How am I able to do that?”
“Well, you could go across the hall and see if they will squeeze you in, tell them we sent you,” she responded with shrugged shoulders.
I thanked her and smiled behind my mask, and then sat down in the waiting area for my appointment. “Don’t freak out,” I told myself.
In the five minutes I waited, I opened up my online account that I had made for previous bloodwork to see the options available at the labs from around the city.
I noticed that the blood lab across the hall had one single opening for the month, on that day, a mere half an hour after my ultrasound.
I couldn’t believe my luck.
The ultrasound technician was exceptionally friendly and I told her about my impromptu appointment next door at the lab.
“That’s cutting it very close. This appointment could take ten minutes, or forty-five, depending on baby’s position. I’ll do my best, hon,” she said.
Seven minutes after going in, I walked out of the ultrasound with a surprised technician and grey-and-white five print-outs of my healthy baby.
I was elated!
Next, I headed across the hall for my blood work appointment.
I was very nervous. I sometimes faint, which leads to a seizure, and I had not restricted caffeine or eaten a lot that day to prepare like I would have if I had known.
The fainting and seizing spells are a long-term side effect of the severe withdrawal effects of my anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications from almost a decade ago.
It’s not pleasant, and I have been for several EEG’s with no answers as to why. I just live with it, deal with it when it happens and try my best to avoid the situation as I’ve learned to.
But, the universe gave me a break.
My blood sample was taken by a kind nurse without issue, and I was sent on my way.
It felt like winning some kind of miracle lottery.
I had accepted that I would get a parking ticket, because I was around ten-minutes past my allotted parking time at that point, but it felt like a small price to pay after everything else.
Then, out of nowhere, an elderly woman stopped me, just as I started to sprint back to the car.
“Excuse me! Can I borrow your phone to call my husband to come pick me up, please? I have been waiting here for a while now.”
This sent my anxiety through the roof, not only because of because of COVID, but what if she was trying to scam me?
I let her use it, but felt sick to my stomach for the rest of the day because of that choice.
On a regular day (sans pandemic) I would have be happy to help her out.
She must have seen my face drop, because she looked me dead in the eyes and said “Oh, are you really busy or something?”
Her ignorance to the situation jarred me, but I chalked it up to her being old-fashioned.
Assisting strangers during a pandemic is hard.
She should not have asked me, I thought to myself, and I blamed the whole situation on her lack of common sense.
I felt bad for thinking so negatively, but I had acted the way I would have wanted someone to act towards my grandmother if she were alive.
In hindsight, I should have redirected her inside to have an office call out for her.
And I didn’t get that parking ticket, which sealed the day as a win in my books.
Work has been busy as we prepare for an upcoming shutdown, and it’s been hectic.
Being off for nearly a month was great, despite spending most of it in bed, but I have a ton of work to catch up on, and in the trades, things almost never go according to plan.
It’s a well-known fact in the trade-world.
Sometimes things go smoothly, and we thank the high heavens, but most of the time there are parts delays, manpower shortages, searching for resources, updating isolations, and other hiccups.
The steel manufacturing company that I work for has been around for over 100 years, and the equipment has only recently begun to modernize.
Some of the equipment I have worked on was used during WWII to assist with war efforts.
It’s that old.
Modernization is excellent for our environment and business, but it is simultaneously a lot of work as we implement them into our processes.
Engineered drawings, structural improvements, greener equipment, and more are optimized.
There is a certain satisfaction that comes with implementing these changes, and I am proud to be part of our history that way.
Working in the skilled trades is challenging, but I have never chalked any of the challenges I experience up to my being a woman, because I truly don’t think that’s a limiting factor.
It is all mindset and willingness to voice myself.
I have worked beside guys twice my size, but we all passed the same physical tests required to apply, which included strength tests to ensure we could handle the work before hiring.
It took me a year in the gym to prepare and three tries to pass, but it whipped me into shape and gave me a sense of achievement, physically.
We learn to work smart, not hard, and it’s been fun since the start of my apprenticeship.
These days, instead of jimmying myself into a furnace to assist with a roll change or working on a manlift to perform elevated repairs, I write down procedures into work orders for the guys on the floor to execute during maintenance.
I have the experience from working on the shop floor, from shutdowns, breakdowns and routine maintenance too, so it’s super easy for me to visualize the steps required for a job to be planned and executed mechanically.
Learning is an excellent feature of the work in itself, but understanding the language specific to the trade world that was once so foreign to me is one of my proudest achieved goals.
It took years to learn millwrighting, but I went from not knowing what a nut and bolt were, to using engineered drawings to order and install parts into critical equipment into our processes.
Plus, I’m familiar with Microsoft Office and our computerized maintenance management system.
I’m where I’m supposed to be.
I started to post photos of myself at work again on Instagram this week.
For some time I had stopped doing that because of the immense negative feedback I had been getting from other trades guys in my DMs.
Now, I don’t engage, I just block and delete.
Scroll along, naysayers! Scroll along.
People who have time to be petty and who attempt to impart their limited perspective onto me, or those who project their insecurities onto me have no place in my life, social media or not.
And for TikTok, well, that’s over for good.
It’s like a toxic boyfriend that I kept going back to despite the abuse, but this time I’ve pulled the plug on it for good. Pinky swear.
Recently, someone was repeatedly saving my videos that featured my face or body, never the nature videos, and they never “liked” the video.
They just shared the link despite my turning off the download feature in privacy settings.
It was weird and creeped me out.
So, to the boneyard the app goes, along with Twitter and Facebook, and I’ll probably never post another video the platform again.
The things that brought me to TikTok, such as the inclusivity, community and ability to reach a mass audience, quickly vanished.
It is a fear-mongering cesspool rather than the inclusive, informative place it once was.
It’s not for me.
Between this website and how expressive it allows me to be paired with IG to reach like-minded people, I feel no sense of lack in that department.
The reason I started to connect via blog was to remind people of two things, anyways.
First, we can all achieve our dreams.
I have fallen down more times than I can count but these doors, not matter how hard they slam in my face, always bring opportunity for greater adventure elsewhere.
Second, we don’t die. We simply shed this physical shell before moving on.
Each person is gifted with unique abilities and experiences which enable us to act out fulfilling lives, or we can let life throw us under the bus until we’re gone. I’m in it for the long-run.
More on that soon, but till then, it’s time for a hot bath to soak away the stress of the week.
Thank you for reading, and for being kind, which I’m finding to be a rare quality amongst the global division and strife in our society today.
Because of your support I have strong hopes that all of the bullshit that we are experiencing today will pave the way for a better tomorrow for the next generation.
It has to be.
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