Tuesday, 21 September 2021

After the storm

It will be three weeks tomorrow since I wrote my last post, and much has changed since then. August was a horrible month for me, the worst one in my memory, and I've needed those last few weeks to recover. Good news first: I have! I've been feeling more at peace, rested and re-charged than I did all summer. Breaks work! Who knew. 

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a quick summary: we had to deal with the worst wildfires in living history, which meant terrible air quality, frequently closed roads that made it very difficult or impossible to get to work, topped with constant worries about our home being next in line to get burnt to the ground, combined with evacuation alerts and/or orders. We were on order for 5 days in mid-August, but fortunately we were one of the lucky ones: our home wasn't touched by the fires at all.

We're into the 19th month of the pandemic, and as a healthcare worker, we have been facing more hatred and worse cases than ever before. We're also dealing with shocking staffing shortages, not just with nurses, but also in my profession as an x-ray technologist: for the first time in my 11-year career, there are more jobs than people. Something we've been wishing for and dreaming about has finally arrived, in the most terrible of circumstances. For the first time I get to experience the guilt and heartache that comes from turning down shifts, which I had to do several dozens of times over the summer. Let me tell you: it sucks. I know what it's like to work short, and if you have to do it day after day, for weeks and months, it grinds you down to your very bones. I wanted to help, so much - but I had nothing to give. No reserves either physically nor mentally. I would have been a burden more than a help, so I declined. 
Again and again and again. 
It felt supremely shitty. 

The hatred toward anything to do with the "V-word" is still happening, but in my world it's being drowned out by love. We've received an overwhelming outpouring of support, which means more to us than we will ever be able to properly put into words. 
Please know: It's often the only thing that keeps us going. Seriously. When you're facing challenging working conditions, staff shortages, changing in and out of PPE 10 or more fucking times per shift (which is very exhausting, FYI), all while you're tired and scared and freaked out by the person who yelled into your face to "be ashamed of yourself for supporting a lie!" - you're seriously contemplating a career change. 
In my experience it's never been harder to work in a field that's meant to help people, when so many people actively refuse our help.

BUT. That's not what this post is about. I contemplated briefly to make this into another post about how helpless and desperate we feel. But I won't talk about it anymore. I'm expressing it in another outlet (I'm almost done - I'll submit it next week). 

This is all about how to be happy.   
Obviously, I've had an unfair advantage when it comes to eschewing reality. 
I've had puppies.
More concretely: I've had Mia. 

We kept one puppy of our last litter, and she has been nothing but pure joy for me:

The other advantage I've had? I've had Rich. Over the last 19 years, Rich has always been by my side. 
He's my beacon, my rock, my confidant. No matter what difficulties we have faced, no matter how much I doubted us, no matter how I believed everything was lost - it never was. 
I have a million doubts and worries, and probably always will. But one thing I can trust after 19 years together is this: we are in it forever. We are each other's person. 

And no matter how bad life gets, we'll always find a way to make it good and funny. Especially funny - we both know that the secret to a happy life is to find reasons to laugh every day. And in all the hideousness of this summer, we've laughed countless times. And we'll laugh many more times before the year is out. 

Because nothing is ever as bad as it seems.  


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