Another month

Updates: My wife Leslie survived the latest job cuts at the college. Her department has been reorganized and temporarily de-politicized. As the fog clears it has been noted she has created some useful procedures for getting online courses started on the right track and a few other helpful things that would make staff more effective (when they are not busy stabbing each other in the back). No idea how long it will take for the place to return to its former dysfunctional norm, but for a moment people are only mildly terrified for their job.

As a likely result of the stress Leslie has managed a nerve pinch or muscle tear in her lower back. First sign of pain sent us to emergency at the local hospital where she received the normal abysmal care so we went back again when our doctor was on rotation in Emerge and got an actual diagnosis and referral to physiotherapy. (The original doctor gave her a shot for the pain and then wandered off for lunch with all the nurses leaving us to check ourselves out–nothing  else).

Almost a month later Leslie is still in a lot of pain and I’m really angry about it and need to stop here. It’s unbelievable how shitty the medical service is here. Worse, is people accept it as just fine. Why do people have so little regard for themselves? More tomorrow when I cool off.

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  • thesmallc  On March 17, 2016 at 7:20 AM

    Scott, I am very sorry your wife is dealing with those changes too. My dept. was recently informed that our roles would drastically change. They restructured the dept. We were not warned about it in advance, they just called a 2-hr meeting to tell us the changes are non-negotiable (meaning, if we don’t like it, we can leave). It has been quite stressful the last couple of weeks for us. Because we were not informed in advance, we are now investing time in trying to figure out the new process, which by the way, seems humanly impossible. But we must give it a try. I am glad your wife has come up with some new process already. It is 8 of us, and we are still trying to figure out how to transition, on top of all the unfinished projects we still need to complete. It’s very stressful at the moment. And my hip pain is back. Wondering if my pain is also related to my workplace. Hoping your wife feels better soon. And again, I am sorry the medical staff hasn’t been too kind to her either. Good luck to her with all the changes and trying to adjust to the new structure.

    • scottx5  On March 17, 2016 at 12:39 PM

      Hi Rebecca, I’m sure the stress behind the changes at work caused Leslie’s problems. She’s been in this job since 2007 and there has been one cutback after another and never any security. Ironically, two things have happened along with the latest change. First, her coordinator and next higher boss both were let go last week. The two were over their heads in the jobs they had and created a constant level of confusion in the department. They also lost the college many thousands in contracts through their miss-management. After years, it finally became obvious that they were the cause of project failures, not the staff. Second, the job aids that Leslie made were never noticed because her coordinator just sat on them. To work around this, Leslie signed up for a Provincial conference on creating online courses where the people attending would be directly in need to her material. Then she registered in her own name and paid the fees herself. This way she could speak as herself and not an employee of the college. So when people from other schools started calling in for copies of her work it became known to others who could help her and not hide the credit.

      So things are better but still not settled. One thing that remains open is the need for two new coordinators to replace the four people going. Problem with the jobs are they include more responsibilities than are humanly possible in each position. (Sound familiar?) Plus they won’t be titled as coordinator positions to avoid paying full coordinator salaries. This also leaves them dependent on direction and control from above–not a good idea. So far, the few people in the college who can fill these jobs are uninterested and no one from outside has applied. More fun to come on this.

      Sorry to hear you are going through the same stressful work situation:-( For some reason there seems to be an epidemic in bad management everywhere. Some of it has to do with economic conditions but a lot appears to the contradictions between what we are told is best-practice and what actually is practiced. As I mentioned, the nurse at patient relations told me the hospital where my infusions were done has a long-term reputation for patient abuse but nothing has been done about it. As a result, based on what the abusive hospital told the cancer center I am no longer able to get treatment without being labeled a bad person. Until we see some kind of authentic patient experience mechanism that has the power to change policy, there won’t be changes.

      My take on this is simple (too simple?). By putting faith in “modern management” to be self-correcting and removing unions as unnecessary because MM is self-correcting, we now live in a fantasy world where nothing works. But we are expected to believe it works and if we don’t, we get the boot.

      Oddly, Leslie thinks she might have gotten her injury doing Yoga. A group of the staff asked for recreation lady at the college to give a noon time yoga class so they could de-stress in the middle of the day. It might be they are all so wound-up and the course so accelerated to be “done” in the lunch break that all it did was strain too-tight muscles.

      Take Care,

  • thesmallc  On March 23, 2016 at 7:00 PM

    Hi Scott, checking in to see how your wife is doing at her job. And how about you? How are you feeling? I am the same. Have a lot of upcoming doctors’ appts, including seeing my Onco and repeating a test that came back abnormal last time. Work is challenging right now but we are doing our best — all we can do without sacrificing our health. We haven’t even transitioned yet. Sigh. Hope things are well with the two of you. Take care.

    • scottx5  On March 23, 2016 at 9:44 PM

      Hi Rebecca, you have to promise not to feel bad about this. OK? Leslie’s job ends May 17. She found out Monday that the college was letting her go and she’ll probably stick there until mid-April to clean up projects and then take the rest of the time in banked holidays. This is NOT a bad thing. We’ve been ready to get out of this awful place since the first week we were here and really came only for a two year contract and got lazy.

      The college is probably not going to last much longer anyway. There are great ideas generated for courses to offer from upper management, but not enough patience to see things to completion. Unfortunately, Leslie’s job was to build courses AND complete them. So now, the idea is to contract her Instructional Design work out and the contractors will have the same problems she had. If there was some kind of leadership things might be different. Or if people realized that the world works differently than they think is SHOULD, there would be some hope.

      So this chapter is over and on we leave here in a few months. Probably to Edmonton first where our younger daughter lives. For now Leslie will try to get her CT scan moved to an earlier date when she sees her doctor tomorrow. We now know the procedure for booking and it involves the doctor taking the time to write a complete request. This involves more than a secretary checking boxes on a request so I’m expecting it will take more than asking. We’ll see. For me, I have a CT booked for April 15 for my heart. Then a follow up with the heart surgeon. This has been waiting for almost a year–nice to have it done.

      Sorry your group is having problems with new procedures. At the college things have been reorganized on almost a monthly basis and there just hasn’t been time to see if ANYTHING has worked. I’ve seen staff fix things before but there has to be consistency for things to kick in.

      Good luck on your test. Did the last one come back abnormal as in unreadable? My echocardiograms coming back impossible to read so when the cancer people did my abdominal CT they managed to image my heart well enough to see things were stable. Scary when things have to be redone.
      Thanks for being in touch,

      • thesmallc  On March 24, 2016 at 7:39 AM

        Scott, I am sorry to hear that. I am just glad you guys have each other for support and that there is a plan. Survivorship is difficult, isn’t it? There’s always something to deal with. I wish you both good luck as you transition into something different.

        My test shows up as ‘abnormal cells’ (not pre-cancerous, since biopsy did not show that). It is still concerning though. I wouldn’t want to deal with a new cancer. I have enough on my plate. Hoping that there is some improvement with my next test.

        Stay well, Scott (wishing the same for your wife).

      • scottx5  On March 24, 2016 at 11:26 AM

        Rebecca, good luck with your re-test. With different radiologists I’ve had different interpretations and sometimes things are just not “readable” and have to be redone. I have what’s called a pseudo-aneurysm in the top of my heart. It’s a bubble in the layers of my aorta and from some views it looks dangerous. So the cardiologist had the most experienced radiologist review the scan and reported that there was so much scar tissue around it there was no chance of it bursting.
        Maybe your ‘abnormal cells’ are like people in my family that are strange but not in any way dangerous?

  • Clarissa Bezerra  On March 29, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    Hi Scott, hope your wife is doing better. I don’t know how you feel about acupuncture, but I find it very effective. I recently twisted my ankle and of course doctors had me put it inside a robofoot thingy, telling me not to move it for two weeks. I’ve been having acupuncture regularly for that and it has been working wonders.
    Best wishes from Brazil.

    • scottx5  On March 29, 2016 at 1:44 PM

      Hi Clarissa, Leslie is doing better. Had to pester her doctor to recommend physiotherapy and she now has regular exercises to do. Leslie worked as a swim instructor for years and led rehabilitation courses and knows how hard to push herself. Still, acupuncture sounds useful too. Our former doctor (before moving to the moon here) spent years in China studying acupuncture and he, with the help of an old guy who used electric probes to reestablish nerve impulses fixed a frozen shoulder I had.
      Best thing here is to wait until we move back to the city soon. Medical service here is very dangerous to the patient and best avoided. I have a bad ankle too. Years of working on slopes in the Canadian temperate rain forest as a roofer in sloppy rubber boots, I rolled my left ankle many, many times. I don’t think it is weakness, more like being afraid of twisting–cowardly ankle syndrome? Maybe getting over a fear of needles whole make it brave?
      So how’s work? Are your teachers behaving? Found this very cool paper by accident while researching adolescent boys and music. After a few years of Rhizo I’ve found nothing cool can be discovered by looking for it directly. The Sources of Innovation and Creativity

      Click to access Sources-of-Innovation-Creativity.pdf

      Maybe Julia would be interested in adolescent boys and music in a few years?
      Take Care, and thanks for the comments.

  • thesmallc  On May 26, 2016 at 9:50 PM

    Hey Scott! I hope you and your wife are doing well. A lot of stress at work for me. Working late hours. Anyway, I came across this article and thought you might find it interesting (although it’s nothing really new):

    • scottx5  On May 26, 2016 at 10:52 PM

      Sorry to hear about work, I can’t understand the purpose of stressful workplaces, they almost seem designed to be that way.

      Thanks for the link to the article. Very appropriate now. Leslie got an earlier CT than was booked for her and she has some serious spinal damage but says she’s OK (she isn’t) and figures the doctors are doing what they can (they have done NOTHING) and I’m ordered to stay out of it, so I will.

      • thesmallc  On May 27, 2016 at 4:50 AM

        Scott, I agree with you about the workplaces. I am sorry about Leslie having a hard time with her health. I hope she feels better soon. Good luck with those doctors! And you take care of yourself.

      • scottx5  On May 27, 2016 at 9:59 AM

        Hi Rebecca, not sure about the doctors, the more people I talk to locally, the more it seems the faults are in the system. The system itself is broken and as it gets worse people in and around it adjust their expectations down. Leslie is getting stronger and does feel better but she still has crushed disks in her spine and the bone on bone will eventually go from pinching the nerve to cutting it. The thing that’s funny here is we are told to look after ourselves but when asking for some help we don’t get it until AFTER the crisis has damaged us. That’s what’s happened with my heart, when I appear at the hospital almost dead, they “save” me. Medicine as crisis management.

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