“What do you do?” is a question that I get asked most frequently, and now that I am staying home, I don’t have a succinct answer. Somedays, it makes me feel somewhat useless, like being unpaid somehow makes me a lazy, incompetent person, but other days, I am just thankful that I don’t have to mention where I USED to work.
I won’t get into the reasons that I hated being a floor nurse, not right here, not right now (luckily for everyone, November is a long 30 days, so I just may do so at a later date). Suffice to say, that when I found an office job (sort of) using my degree, I was thrilled.
(cue ominous music now.)
It was working for an insurance company. A big one. You probably hate this one.
This made polite conversation with strangers nearly impossible, as every time I’d make mention of where I worked, the horror stories came a-rollin’ in. Strangers would practically spit at me, so enraged they would become when thinking of how horrid the company had been to them. I heard more horror stories than I ever would’ve expected walking into the gig. And I didn’t doubt that a single one was completely true.
Before you start sticking pins in a voodoo doll made in my likeness or burning me at the stake, like everyone else did, I was a good guy.
My job was to extend benefits for terminal patients who had decided against any further treatments and were only seeking to make their end of life experience as dignified and pain-free as possible. It’s called Hospice, and it’s a wonderful institution, one that I get behind 100%. They come into your home as often as needed, give pain medications, care for the patient and support the family during this hard time.
Some of the employer groups would give only a minimal amount of days for a patient to be covered by hospice (and since most people only would accept the hospice philosophy when the threat of death is looming, therefore only needing a day or two of hospice care, this is less heinous than you’d imagine), part of my job was to extend these benefits so that these people did not have to worry about cost of care during this time.
I also spent my time doing something similar for non-terminal but complex patients who needed a nurse to come into the home for many hours each day. I got report on these patients periodically, verified that these were skilled needs (vent care, etc.), identified then filled gaps in care, and would write proposals to keep these people in their homes (not admitted to the hospital where they could pick up something far worse) and well cared for.
I can all but swear that I never denied a single thing to these people, despite what the haters that I met thought of me. It had a way of getting me down, after awhile, I’ll be honest with you. Imagine that every time that you mentioned your employer, someone would complain at you for being part of the problem, regardless of which department that you worked in. It was discouraging.
When the dreaded hyperemesis began and I had to go on LOA, there was a shark circling my job. It was being moved to Texas, and I was to be transferred into a department that I had no desire to go to.
But sometimes I miss what I used to do. People were GRATEFUL for what I did and it made me feel like a better person (many days, at least), and I was doing something that I believed in. As much as I love staying home with the Sausage Factory, it’s not always as rewarding as a paid gig can be. I don’t get a bonus/raise/mad props for removing stains in record time, nor does anyone thank me for the great job that I did vacuuming today, and usually no one notices if I’ve put the clothes away perfectly or not. In fact, no one notices what I do AT ALL unless I haven’t done it.
I do admit, though, I don’t miss people making the sign of the devil at me.