Change Is Good?

A few months ago, discussion started happening at my dialysis clinic about changing the operating hours and schedule. The amount of patients had dwindled recently. Other clinics have opened in our area and frankly it's been a rough year to be a dialysis patient - a number of us didn't make it. So the powers that be were determining what it would look like to reduce the number of chairs they were using, (our clinic is pretty big, y'all - it has 2 sections) therefore limiting the amount of staff there at any given time.

All of this is understandable and it was just being floated as a possibility. They started asking patients how they would feel about starting at 5:30am instead of our current 6:30.

My answer was a more polite version of, "No. Yeah, no" and "hard pass". I was already getting up at 5:50am three times a week, I was not going to strip an extra hour of sleep from that.

But about a month passed and we heard no more of this nonsense. Perhaps they had decided to shelve the idea?

Fast forward to mid-November. I overheard a group of techs and nurses discussing "the new schedule" while I was on treatment. 


My tech for the day was someone I'd worked with for 15 years (we'll call her Sue for privacy), so I was comfortable pressing her for information. Sue confirmed that yes, they were changing the schedule and if I had concerns I should talk to the assistant manager, who was in charge of this ridiculousness.

After treatment that day I softly knocked on her office door. Since I am pretty much a model patient and never make any noise, the office workers are always delighted to see me. She eagerly waved me in. I started off with (paraphrased), "I understand we'll be starting treatment at stupid o'clock in a few weeks. Can I not do that?"

I was basically asking if I could maybe move to the beginning of the second shift - starting at like 9ish. That was not an option, she said. We proceeded to have a very confusing conversation for the next few minutes as neither of us understood what the other was saying. She finally got up to retrieve the schedule so she could show me what she meant.

When she returned and plopped the binder on her desk, she found my name and said, "here - we have you at 3:15pm".

Oh. OH. 

They were not trying to move me to 5:30 at all. They had changed my shift time completely. The Asst. Manager explained that because I'm the only one at the facility with such a short runtime, (I do 2.5 hours, which is really fast for dialysis) to try and stick me anywhere else would really throw off their streamlining goal. So they put me as the last appointment of the day.

I had two options here. I could throw a fit and argue that I had been there for 15 years and they better find me a spot more to my liking, OR I could learn to live with my new time.

I took a beat. On the surface I didn't like afternoon at all. I liked being able to get dialysis out of the way first thing in the morning. But as I started thinking about it I came around to the idea. There would be a lot of bonuses with this new time. I could get normal amounts of sleep every night. I could actually get stuff done in the mornings before I went. I could go for walks EVERY day instead of every other day!

Letting the Asst. Manager believe I was being a REALLY understanding and compassionate patient, I sighed and told her I would make it work. She thanked me and apologized. 

Yesterday was my first day on the new schedule. I slept in until 8:00 and it was glorious. I had my coffee and a bagel. I went for a 2 mile walk (a little shy of my usual 2.5 miles, but I didn't want to push it) then spent the morning cleaning out my spice rack - a task that I had been meaning to do for a long time. Early afternoon I was at a bit of a loss, spending most of it in anticipation, not knowing yet exactly when I should leave. I showered, then spent the time looking at my computer and the clock.

I gave up around 2:30 and headed towards the clinic. Sometimes they run early so I wanted to be there in case my chair was available. 

It was not. I waited about a half hour in the waiting room and started treatment just after 3:15. The good news was, I had Sue as a tech. I was worried that I would get a different group of techs that late in the day. Part of their consolidation efforts meant that the staff would work longer hours but fewer days.

Treatment was fine. Traffic was worse than I expected getting there (school zones) and better than I expected on the way back (wheeee!). I will say it was completely disorienting leaving the clinic when it was dark.

At home Ryan had just started dinner. We had selected taco salad for the evening - a meal that required minimal effort on both our parts. Still, both of us were dragging. Yesterday was Ryan's first full day of work at his new job. He hadn't gotten much sleep the night before and he was mentally and physically exhausted. 

On my part I had about 5% energy level. I thought it would be easier seeing as I'd had a full night's sleep, but add in a full day of activity before treatment and I was very wrong.

Bedtime came around and instead of passing out, my body was still vibrating from treatment and I had a hard time drifting off. Around 5am I woke up with a migraine, so had to go take something for it and once again couldn't sleep for a bit. 

The next time I woke up it was 8:30. Holy cats. 

This morning I feel like I'm trying to walk through peanut butter. I'm sure a little of it is allergies, but most of it is this wacky new schedule. It's like how you feel the week of daylight savings, but dialed up to eleven. I need to figure out how to work with this so that I'm not regularly a mess on what are supposed to be my good days. 

Anyway, I'm sure it will be fine in the long run. Perhaps I will even like it better. Just right now I'm a little thrown. Change is supposed to be good for you, so I'm not writing this off yet. It will take time, so I'm willing to be patient and make adjustments as needed so I can function as a human again.


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