Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kick to the teeth

Oy, just when I thought things were going better in the classroom arena, something has to happen.  This morning I overslept because my alarm clock did not go off.  Of course, this made me 30 minutes late for clinicals.  Awesome.  I rushed in as soon as I could and the end result of this being my supervisor requested a meeting with the clinic director and the program director.  Overkill in my book.  All I can do is say "I'm sorry, this won't happen again" and hope for the best.  She even alluded to me needing to do an extra project or something to ensure "I don't have to repeat my summer clinicals".  Freakin' awesome lady.

Then dearest boyfriend called me while I was in class and my professors being the jerks they are, don't let me at least answer and tell him, "Hey, I'm in class, call your mother instead".  That would just be courtesy. He did manage to send an email at least with updated return dates, so that donut is back up at the 15%-ish area again.  Dear Army, quit playing games with my emotions I get enough of that with school.  Love, Dani.

And, end rant.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This is exactly what I needed

I had a really awesome Friday, and it was the much-needed boost to my mood that finally got some pep into me.  I got more news on Thursday about how the Army keeps shuffling around “boots on the ground” day, and it’s really starting to get to me.  I shouldn’t be surprised though after all the shuffling with R&R.  I guess I’m still trying to learn the ropes.

I had so much fun at placement, and even got to have lunch with my kid sister and her boyfriend who lives in the same town as my placement.  I felt so bad, I was supposed to be done with a baby’s hearing test at 1 but the child did not cooperate and would not stop crying, so the appointment ran over by 45 minutes.  My sister and her boyfriend waited for me for that whole 45 minutes in the parking lot for lunch.  Thankfully, I managed to call them and my supervisor let me take my hour-long lunch break with them, just starting later than usual.  So it was good to catch up with my sister and her boo. 

Then, when I got out of placement, I had some free time before dinner with my cousin and found a cute little bridal/pageant gown store that was having a $25 dress sale.  Yes, $25!! Needless to say, I just had to go and check it out.  Well….. I ended up finding something.  I got a $250 gown for $25, and it fits like a dream!!  AND to top it all off, it's even long enough I can wear heels with it!  Boyfriend and I will be going to his brother’s senior military ball at some point in the spring, and who knows if there may be a ball or two once boyfriend gets home.  Eh, can’t ever go wrong with a pretty red dress right?

I also got some FANTASTIC news on the school front- I GOT MY RESEARCH ASSISTANT POSITION AGAIN!!! EEEEEE! That means, stipend and tuition and fee waiver for another 3 semesters… woot!! I also got a raise, so no complaints from this girl!  I sent boyfriend an email, so hopefully he gets the news soon.  Thanks to the greater financial stability, that means I can totally go visit my BFFs who will be teaching abroad in china for a year!  Now on to get that pesky passport applied for.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homecoming Expectations

Well, the nervous jitters have begun to set in.  While boyfriend's return is still a bit away, the donut keeps shrinking further and further.  I have already talked to professors and have my possible leaving already secured should it happen to fall during a class and during external placement.  The one hold out is the need for someone to cover my on campus clinical shift.  There is only 1 person in the entire program that can possibly cover my shift.... one.  Needless to say I am going to do some MAJOR ass kissing and I am not above bribery.

Boyfriend's mother has started to plan away for homecoming things.  She has the hotels we are staying at booked (oy, rookie mistake... always pencil not pen right?), dinner reservations, excursions planned and signs/posters made.  While I am very appreciative of all of this, I feel stuck in the middle.  I have been with boyfriend for 6 years now, it's not like I'm a recent development.  Yet, when I asked to have some private time just the two of us amongst all the hustle and bustle of the arrival ceremony, you would have thought I was asking for it to be all about me that whole weekend.  Yes, I am only able to stay during the weekend due to class and clinical commitments so I would like some extended time.  And yes, I also understand he is her oldest, and this is his first deployment so emotions are running rather high.

After being the last to arrive to meet him at the airport for his R&R, and then have to see each other for the first time in front of his entire family, I am craving that moment for just the two of us.  I didn't get a welcome home kiss until he walked me to my car, but at least he made it a good one ;)  I may be romanticizing the ceremony, but is it really too much to ask to have a few moments to just the two of us? I guess I'm just feeling lost with expectations and trying to please everyone else.  I wish I could talk to boyfriend and see what he wants, and to let him make the decisions for what he wants to do.  Oy, all this planning is really starting to give me panic attacks, seeing the donut hitting single digits is really tweaking me out.

So, any advice? Am I being unreasonable and very selfish? I just don't know what to think anymore...

Holy crap- single digits!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not #winning.

Yes, I just referenced Charlie Sheen.  I went there :)

I just feel like I can’t win with my summer classes and clinic paperwork.  I love my external placement and seeing patients in a real clinical setting, but once I am on campus I feel like no matter what I do, it is never good enough! My supervisor is riding my butt about my paperwork, either it is not done well enough or it is not on time, and she is now saying she is deducting from my grade for it.   I just feel like I keep putting in more and more effort and I am not seeing the results.  I have a meeting with her to see if I can rectify the situation and salvage my grade.  I just want to admit defeat, but I still have another 6 weeks left. 

I’m also struggling to find the motivation to stay afloat with my classes and work.  I know my time management has been subpar this summer, but I just can’t seem to get going on it all.  All I want to do is sleep and bum around my apartment.  I’m going to try and up my exercise regimen to see if that boosts my energy level.  Maybe getting into more of a sleep routine will help me as well.  I think a good weekend away might also be in order because I need a break from this town. 

I know this is very whiny and self pity laden, but I just needed to vent and I’m just tired of it all at this point.  I think realizing boyfriend had been gone for a month, and there is still some time before he comes home is starting to get to me.  I’m not getting too excited about homecoming yet; I just can’t until it gets closer.  I think I was hurt so much by how many times leave was pushed back that I’m terrified the same thing is going to happen yet again. 

Ok, chocolate break and a nap and hopefully that turns my mood around.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

If I Knew Then What I Know Now.

Today I went for a quick run and did some weight circuits with a good friend/ co-worker I’ve met down here who is also in my department at school.  She is an awesome girl who just had her boyfriend commission into the Navy and leave for training this past weekend.  It was so interesting hearing her perspective on military life and dating someone in the military.  She is already slightly frustrated with the constantly changing schedules and the inability to plan more than 3 months out.  Then to top it all off, the poor girl is also adjusting to a long distance relationship on top of it all. 

She kept saying she didn’t know how I’ve done it this long, but at the same time I cannot fathom making the change from being together to being long distance.  I’ve been long distance with my boyfriend since high school, so we haven’t really known anything different at this point in our lives.  She is having a very difficult time with the transition so we are going to cure that a little bit with some booze and pool time this weekend :)

Hearing about her excitement with commissioning and the wonder of moving bases took me back to my feelings as well during that phase.  I also remember the discovering of bases with my soldier and learning all about the new and “exciting” areas he was in training at. 

What struck me the most however, was the frustration with potential job-hunting around the military.  She and I are both getting advanced degrees and she is terrified of being unable to find a job in her chosen field.  Granted, she may have better luck than I will, due to her specialty but it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately.  The plethora of blog posts about job hunting haven’t been helping either, haha. While I could work as an Audiologist for the military and could make a pretty decent living at it, I am beyond terrified they won’t hire me, or if I were to follow boyfriend through a PCS and not be hired at the new base.  Then I worry about working my butt off for 8 years to get the career I dream of, only to not be able to be employed.  I also want to work with kids and do more than fit hearing aids every day of my life.  I am lucky that boyfriend does not want to do more than his contract (as of right now, but that could always change) so while I may sacrifice dream pediatric jobs or owning a private practice for awhile, there may come a time that is possible. 

I guess I’m just frustrated as well with the Army right now.  I want to start looking for my clinical externship (kind of like residency for med students, but only for one year) next year and have it in place by next December, but who am I kidding with the Army ;)

Just a lot on my mind I guess.  It is interesting to see a close friend in the exact same place I found myself 2 years ago and how much I’ve grown from that point, but it still hurts to see someone struggling with her "new normal".  I just hope she meets some Navy gals that have been through that whole transition and she gets the answers she has been looking for.  The least I can do is distract her with some booze and girl time until that point :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sooner than expected?

Got to talk to dearest boyfriend the other day for the first time since he left for the 'stan after R&R.  He had some good news, and may be coming home MUCH sooner than expected! *YAY*! Lessons learned from R&R however, just take it one week at a time, don't get too ahead of myself just yet :)

I did make the mistake of moving my donut date up a few weeks to the earlier time he said he may be returning, and that my friends is called the bad idea bears.  Whoops! I promptly changed it back to a slightly more realistic date.  Now I just have to fight the battle with my clinical supervisors to get times switched if need be for the big ceremony.  They said they will be trying their best to work with me but not to get my hopes up *sigh*.  It's always something.  They even said, "well, didn't you just see him?" Oy!

Any helpful tips/tricks for navigating all this stuff?  Any homecoming faux pax I need to avoid? This will be my first ceremony and I don't know what to expect other than lots of tears of joy.

Classes are going well, and I've been doing WAY too much retail therapy lately.  I got a new swimsuit that was super cute, now I just need to hit the gym a little more and cut back on the snacks to feel amazing haha.  Well, I'm off to cram in some more baking to send off one more care package before it is too late.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm getting there, one step at a time.

Look at this bad boy.... I can remember looking at it hitting halfway and getting so happy, now I can almost count the weeks on 2 hands.  It may be even sooner, just playing the wait and see game as to when the Army will finally decide upon a return day.  He will be home soon enough, I keep telling myself to just keep going one day at at time.

I'm so ready for all this deployment mess to be over.  I hate that I am now glued to my computer all the time and go completely bonkers if my phone is not within my reach at all times.  I miss the care-free days of R&R, can he just be home already?

Also, this summer semester of classes and 2 full days of clinicals are going to kill me.  I have weekly quizzes on about 40 medical terminology roots and on electophysiology in my other class.  How I am managing to stay awake, I have no clue!

Before I know it, the end of the semester is going to be here and LT will be home again, I've got some serious pool time to get in, a very messy apartment and some intense cleaning that needs to happen.  Maybe this weekend I will not be distracted by nice weather and get my stuff done.  Well, here is to hoping, ha!

In the next several weeks I'm going to be having some fun visitors so that is always exciting and will make the time go by even faster.  I've also taken up swimming with my classmates for exercise to mix up our workout routines before our next 5K and man does that kick your butt! I haven't been swimming as a means of exercise in a very long time, and oof, I'm feeling it.  Now if only my swimming plugs would come in so I could go and not have to worry about swimmer's ear :(.

My external placement is continuing to go well, I am learning a whole lot and getting a lot more comfortable with hearing aids and the process that goes into fitting them.  Also the patients I see never cease to amaze me, they are really a special gang :) But, I have some clinic paperwork to get done, I have a full day of clinicals and classes tomorrow.  Living the grad school dream ;)

All About Ears

10 Common Misconceptions about Hearing Loss and Ears:
1) Ear wax is gross and needs to be removed.

Facts: Ear wax (also called cerumen) is a natural secretion by the body as a means to protect itself from infection and even has properties that may make it smell bad to insects and repel them naturally.  Think of your ears as self-cleaning ovens, wax will generally make it out on its own without any removal.  A few people may require cerumen removal, but will only need to happen every 6 months or so.  If there is a blockage, use over the counter softening drops then go to the doctor for suction or water irrigation.

2) Ringing or buzzing in your ears in normal.

Facts: Often ringing or buzzing (called tinnitus) is a sign of hearing damage that has already occurred or is a symptom of another disease.  Some people experience buzzing/ringing to such a degree it is debilitating and they cannot lead normal lives.  There is no cure for tinnitus, and no pill or herbal supplement will make it go away. 

3) An iPod will protect your hearing.

Facts: iPods actually can be very loud, and may damage hearing when listened to at high volume (considered greater than 2/3 volume for greater than 60 min).  When mowing or during any other activity, ear plugs should be used.  By introducing further noise to the ears, greater damage may occur.

4) Q-tips, ear candling, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol will get rid of ear wax.

Facts: 1/2 of the ear canal produces wax and the other 1/2 does not.  Q-tips will often push wax further into the canal where it cannot be pushed out naturally.  Ear candling will also change the natural pressure in the ear and may cause a rupture of the ear drum.  Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol will also dry out wax and also cause damage to the skin in the ear canal and ear drum.  They should never be used, and only a medical professional should remove ear wax.

5) Hearing loss can be cured.

Facts: A hearing aid will only make sounds louder, and will not cure hearing loss.  No matter how much the sound is made louder, it will not become as clear sounding as it once was.  Your ears and brain also naturally very good at picking out in a noisy restaurant what is noise, and what is speech that you want to listen to.  With hearing loss, sound is distorted and will never sound normal again once the damage has occurred.  There are some types of sudden hearing loss that can be cured with steroids, but that is very rare.  Most hearing loss is permanent and will progress gradually.

6) I don’t need to protect my hearing when I am only ________ (insert age here).

Facts: All people are at risk for hearing loss, and it can happen to anyone no matter the age.  Infants and the elderly alike are all at risk for hearing loss.  Currently, there is research to suggest that noise exposure is growing greatly amongst “tweens” and young adults at an alarming rate.  One of the most important things you can do to protect your hearing is to wear ear plugs and have your hearing checked regularly. 

7) Only old people have hearing loss.

Facts: Actually hearing loss is one of the more common birth defects (partially due to premature birth and NICU exposure).  The prevalence of hearing loss is also going up and is partially thought to be related to noise exposure.  Hearing loss can happen to anyone at any age, and will cause a wide range of difficulty.

8) I just need sound to be loud enough to hear.

Facts: With sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss even if sound is made loud enough, it will not always be clear.  As I said before the brain is very good at filtering out noise from speech and without all the information, the brain will process the sound very differently.  So buying an over the counter amplifier (not a true hearing aid) will not be helpful. Instead see a hearing professional for a properly fitting device.  True hearing aids have additional features that help to compensate for the missing auditory information.

9) Hearing tests are only needed if there is a problem.

Facts: It is recommended that people have their hearing screened yearly and children or those with high risks of hearing loss should be monitored more frequently.  This way, if there is a problem it can be detected sooner.  Once hearing loss is identified, it should be tested annually, just like vision. 

10) Ear infections can be cured by antibiotics.

Facts: New research is emerging stating that the use of antibiotics to treat ear infections is actually contributing further to antibiotic resistant strains.  For children under 2, antibiotic ear drops are still the choice treatment, but a majority of cases clear up on their own without antibiotics.  However in the cases of middle ear infections or if fluid is present, antibiotics and other medications may be needed. 

I hope this was informative, but I just felt the need to spread some information that has been popping up frequently when interacting with patients on my external clinic placement.  I’m sure I’ll do another couple of these at some point, so stay tuned and take care of your ears :) This was meant to be simple information, not medical advice, if you have problems/specific questions see a local audiologist or feel free to email me.