Dear CEO


Dear CEO,

I was deeply moved by the presentation about Compassion that you shared with our entire hospital.  The artist that presented her story about compassion was a beautiful and inspiring account of the importance of compassion.  

I consider myself to be very compassionate.  In fact, when I started out as an ER registration clerk about 15 years ago, we used to have the patients sign in and sit down.  From there, they would be called up to the desk for triage, and then sit down again.  Then they would be called up for registration and sit down again.  Sometimes they would be called up for a urine sample, and then sit down in the waiting room one more time before getting called back to an available bed.  I found this process to be very un-compassionate.  And that is why I would take a clip board into the waiting room and write down the patient’s information before I would go back to enter it on the computer.  I would also take that opportunity to offer a warm blanket or cup of ice chips…all standard practices at our facility now with bedside registration.

I consider myself to be a valuable employee because of my level of compassion and ability to think outside of the box.  And I have gone far in my career here, now making almost three times my hire-in salary.  I was one of five employees who helped to create the call center and I now work in the billing department, where I just took a new position this past spring.

Compassion has been a personal interest of mine since I was young.  My father taught me compassion, as he volunteered for two tours of Vietnam, where he learned the value of compassion in ways that I never will.  It was during that time that he was exposed to massive amounts of Agent Orange, one of the deadliest chemicals that humans have ever created.  My father has suffered several different types of cancer, along with diabetes because of this exposure.  He is now on full disability from the VA.  Since I was conceived after his exposure, I have traces of that chemical in my body as well.  There’s a lot of research that would suggest that Agent Orange is to blame for the underdeveloped urinary tract that I was born with or my chronic condition of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  Of course, living on the border of a toxic waste site until I was three probably didn’t help either.  My family was notified by the feds that the Berlin and Ferrel waste sight was all cleaned up.  They also recommended, however, that my brother and I not play in the back yard.  To this day, entire families who live in that neighborhood are being diagnosed with cancer.  My father walked away from that house and moved our family to Shiawassee County.  

Why am I sharing all of this with you?  Because I want to be seen as a person, rather than a number.  I want you to have compassion for my story.  

You see, every year I have full blown panic attacks about the mandatory flu shot.  With my history, it is extremely important for my health to monitor the toxins that enter my body.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The following substances are found in flu vaccines: antibiotics, egg protein, formaldehyde, human aborted fetal apparatus (dead human tissue), monosodium glutamate (MSG), and thimerosal (mercury).” In addition to these potentially harmful substances, flu vaccines contain many other toxic or hazardous ingredients:

Thimerosal – contains mercury and is linked to autism and other brain injury. Side effects and danger are too numerous to mention.

Aluminum – a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Side effects and danger are too numerous to mention. Read about aluminum toxicity.

Formaldehyde – Symptoms of low-level exposure include runny nose, sore throat, cough, dermatitis, sleeping difficulties, headache, fatigue, breathing difficulties, sinus irritation, chest pain, frequent nausea, bronchitis, and decreased lung capacity. Signs of acute exposure include abdominal pain, anxiety, coma, convulsions, diarrhea, and respiratory problems such as bronchitis, pneumonia or pulmonary edema.

Phenol (carbolic acid) – Phenol can pose a severe health hazard and should be handled with extreme caution. Phenol is highly corrosive to the skin and readily absorbed through it, whereupon it can affect the central nervous system and cause damage to the liver and kidneys. It is also a mutagen, and there is some evidence that phenol may be a reproductive hazard.  

Polysorbate 80 – Allergic reaction like sneezing, coughing, swelling, wheezing, shortness of breath, skin rashes, itching and pain: gastrointestinal problems like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; heart and circulatory problems like abnormal heart rhythm, heart attack, stroke; fertility problems like infertility in women; tumor and cancer growth

Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) – can cause too much calcium in the blood which can lead to kidney stones and kidney insufficiency, metabolized into glycolic acid and can cause profound acidosis in the body

Betapropiolactone – a disinfectant

Nonoxynol – used to kill or stop growth of STDs, but can cause allergic reactions in 3-5 percent of the population

Octoxinol 9 – a vaginal spermicide that can cause chills, confusion, dizziness, fever; lightheadedness, muscle aches, sunburn-like skin rash that is followed by peeling of the skin

Neomycin, polymyxin, gentamycin – antibiotics

So you can understand my concern.  I’ve also personally known a woman who encountered Guillain-Barré syndrome as a result of the flu shot.  Her story is terrifying.  

I get stressed out about this mandatory flu shot every year.  It genuinely scares me.  

I have turned in documentation from my physician that I have had a reaction of extreme diarrhea after the flu shot. However my documentation was not taken seriously and I was mandated to get the flu vaccine anyway. I also had a very serious case of bronchitis 2 years ago, after receiving the flu vaccine.  I was off work for about eight days and experienced difficulties breathing and wheezing unlike anything I’ve experienced before.  It was the worst case of flu like symptoms that I had ever had. 

I have decided that this year I will not be getting the flu shot.  Along with compassion, my father also taught me to fight for what I believe in and to stand up for my beliefs.  I believe that you have crossed a sacred line here, by stripping away my freedom to decide what is and is not allowed to be injected into my body.  

I have read that the hospital gets a financial reward for having a certain percentage of our employees vaccinated.  I also know that this financial reward exists because the pharmaceutical companies lobbied to sell more product.  It always comes down to money, doesn’t it?  My body is not for sale.  And as someone who works in your AR department, I can attest that our facility will survive without it. I’m asking you now to choose compassion over money.  Because that is the right thing to do.

So the ball is in your court, Mr. CEO. You have two choices.  You can fire this single mom who works two jobs and has diligently worked for your organization long before you came around.  But you should know that if this happens, I will not stop. I will have lost the battle, but I will not lose this war.  I will take my story public, to every media outlet that I can get my hands on until your policy is changed.  

Or you can choose compassion.  For me.  For your employees who choose not to get the flu vaccine for various reasons.  Because I am all done with pushing my personal health aside for this senseless policy.  I have zero exposure to patients.  There is absolutely no reason behind a mandatory flu shot for employees who have zero patient contact.  In fact, there are plans to ban the public from my building altogether in 2018 for security reasons. 

I decide what does or does not go into my body.  That power does not and should not belong to you.  

I hope you choose compassion as I would very much like to continue my career with this organization.  But not at the cost of my health, my freedom, or my dignity.  

Regards, 

R.M.

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Trailways and Tears


You have to cry it out.  You have to go through the phase of aching, of grief, of guilt and depression and despair. This is the shedding of your own sweet heartache, like leaves in the cool October air.   You have to let it go. But you can’t release that which you do not see as real.  You need those salty, tangible tears to validate the pain, to solidify your worst emotion.

So cry. Write. Scream. Run.  Do whatever it takes to physically manifest your broken heart. Let your nerves suffer the cruel pain of injustice and longing. Hold your head under the shadows as long as you can bare.  Let your breath crumble to the soft whisper of promises that were never kept. Let your eyes fall to the floor in shame of feeling so small, so inadequate, in this big haunted world full of violent expectations, disapproval, and shame. Let your chest sink in agony from the guilt of holding on a little too tightly, to your own expectations.

And when you’re ready, you will know. Take your time and understand that all of it was real. And be gracious that it happened.  Take a big, deep breath and stand tall on the souls of your feet.  Know that you have the power to walk away and let it go. You have a voice to speak your truth as loudly as you can. You have eyes to see the light.  But you also have to see the darkness, and mine it’s lessons, like diamonds buried inside of the caves of your heart.  Be sweet to your old bones, for they are going to carry you far.  

And when you get to where you are going, remember the roads that carried you there.  Drop to your knees in respect and awe of your own journey.   And smile, knowing that no one else has ever traveled the same roads as you, and yet…at the same time, everyone  has.  And now you know empathy, the fertilizer of love.  And love is the currency of your soul.

Goal Post 


I want to hike the shore to shore trail across Michigan.  It takes about 2 weeks.  I have my backpack.  I still need everything else.  But I do have everything picked out in my Amazon wish list!  My plan is to buy one item a month until I’m done.  Easy Peasy.

The hard part is getting my body in shape.  I quit smoking a while ago and I’m going strong with that.  Unfortunately, I’m also overweight and I have bad knees.  Those two things are connected, I’m sure.  

So I started intermittent fasting and eating a somewhat ketogenic diet.  I’m down to eating once per day, and I am loving the way I feel.  It’s only been about a month so far, but I am getting smaller. 

 I refuse to weigh myself.  I don’t care about numbers.  I care about my clothes fitting better, my liver healing, my insulin calming the fuck down, and my skin clearing up.  Intermittent fasting has been proven to be a fountain of youth- of sorts.  It’s a detox tool that induces autophagy…where your body eats itself and sheds dead cells.  

I’m also saving money!  One meal a day equals less money on food!  It’s a win-win!  I have a menu and shopping list made out for every 2 weeks to coincide with my paycheck.  I do meal prepping on Sundays instead of nursing a hangover because I can’t drink alcohol.  I still smoke weed.  But instead of eating pickles, chocolate, and cheetos when I get the munchies, I drink green tea.  

I don’t work out.  I’m planning on adding it in eventually, but I’m more focused on taking care of myself during this transition.  I am losing weight without it and according to the incredible Dr. Berg on YouTube, my weight gain is adrenal, which will heal faster through reducing stress rather than forcing myself to work out.  Works for me!  

I do have more energy, but I’ve been using it to keep my house and car clean, along with the energy reserves I need for my new massage therapy gig.  Massage therapy IS a workout! And I’m doing 2-3 hours of it every Monday and every other weekend.

I’m no longer addicted to sugar.  I don’t crave it.  I drink tea and water all day long, and when I feast, I am incredibly selective with what I put in my body.  I get one meal a day.  If I can’t eat good,  healthy, real food…I don’t eat at all.  

I’m making some really delicious meals!  Chicken soup with cabbage instead of noodles, Portobello Pizza,  Spaghetti squash bowls, and lemon pepper salmon.  I’ve always been the girl who brings napkins to potlucks.  I’m in charge of the pop at family holidays because I have never been a good cook.  But this new diet has me feeling like Martha Fucking Stewart!  My kids are loving it too!  I make kale & parsley smoothies on the regular and they are so good!  I actually crave parsley in the same way I used to crave chocolate.

I get a little ‘beast like’ during my feeding time.  I eat like a starving person.  But it’s not because I’m starving.  It’s because my tongue is bored to tears with green tea and water, and I’ve put a lot of thought into my meal, knowing that I only get one.  I look forward to eating every day, in a process that now makes me feel good when it used to make me feel shame.  

And this is my favorite part of fasting…I have learned to be picky.  With food, with friends, with love, with my time, with everything!   My standards are coming up and my waistline is going down.  It’s amazing what a little hunger can do.  

My goal is October 2018.  Me.  The shore to shore trail.  And a 4H club that will be riding horses on the trail while I hike because I’m terrified of walking across the entire state of Michigan by myself.  As much as I love solitude and nature, I don’t much like bears and murderers.  And it’s nice to know someone will be there every night, to notice if I don’t make it to camp before dark.

A lot can change in one year.  2017 has been proof of that!  But I hope to be in the woods and on my way in one year.  October 2018, me and my new body will be hitting the trail.  

Shedding Skin

I have Pluto and Saturn conjunct in my first house.  What that means is that I am continually transforming and evolving throughout my life.  My life…a revolving cycle of caterpillar to butterfly.  That’s what I’ve always read anyway.  It feels different than that though.  It feels like I keep unzipping myself, revealing a whole new layer inside of myself.  Over and over, I’ve opened up the zipper of my consciousness to reveal parts of myself that I never knew existed.  And just as quickly, shed the dead skin of my old self, sometimes by choice…sometimes by force. 

That’s where I’m at in life right now.  Shedding my old dead skin.  Opening up to a brand new suit.  A brand new phase.  This one looks like gold to me.  I need sunglasses just to think about it.  I know exactly what im going to do with this one.  

For My Fairy Godmother 


When I realized that I had moved my kids into a new town, with a man that made me crazy, I started to get very depressed.  Not like my normal sad slumpy mood, but sad like I thought the world would be better off without me, more specifically…that my children would be better off without me.  It got pretty dark inside my head for the first time since the prenatal depression I experienced in both of my girls’ third trimester.  It’s the kind of depression that creeps in without a notice, and then one day you can’t stop yourself from googling suicide notes and listening to Marilyn Manson’s Dope Show on repeat while crying hysterically at inappropriate times.  

So you can imagine the fucking miracle it was for me when my boyfriend’s daughter invited me to a ‘moon gathering.’  We took pillows and journals and little vegan snacks.  We sat on the floor of a quiet little yoga studio, in a circle around an altar of candles and sage.  A circle of women, beautiful spiritual women, meditating and talking about the moon and astrology.  I’m a fucking astrologer!  Where have these ladies been all my life?! I came from a family of extremely conservative Christians, who did not understand me or accept me.  And all my life I’ve been surrounded by people giving me the crazy girl laugh-off.  Anyone who believes in the stars is batshit crazy, right?  And there I was, just like the little bumble bee girl in Blind Melon’s ‘No Rain’ video.  I had just stumbled upon a room full of my own tribe, my sisters.  

And when my world came crashing down shortly after that, those women carried my drowning spirit to dry land.  They became my friends in a town where I had none.  They fed my soul with respect and love like a farmer feeds water to a thirsty crop.  And I’m certain we all came together for the very purpose of spreading our light.  It really does feel like I’ve known these women all of my life, or lives.

One of these ladies has changed my life beyond my wildest expectations.  I knew the moment I met her, that she would be significant in my life. I can’t remember if I told her my story first or if she told hers.  But we had come through similar experiences.  She has courageously warred her way through life.  She is a legend.  She is the kind of person that demands attention without ever demanding attention.  The world just gravitates towards her.  She is an ascended Leo Rising, a master of energy.  She is my fairy Godmother, as she is for anyone who knows the warmth of her very long hug.  She is my dear friend.  She is the very reason that I crawled out of and rose above my deepest depression.  She was a lighthouse in the hurricane of my life.  And she will never know how honored my soul is to know her.  

May the angels guide her through this darkest time of her own.  And may she know that my heart is always rooting for her health.  

Pompadourable


I took my eight year old daughter to the barbershop on Friday night.  She has been wanting to shave the sides of her head for about two years now.  

I was hesitant to let her go through with this, because I was afraid that kids would be mean to her.  I didn’t want her to get bullied.  I told her, people will think you’re a boy.  She said she didn’t care.  But I know her heart and I know she is very sensitive. 

I’ve always had a sense that she might be gay.  She has told me in a hundred different ways, in her own way.  And lately, she has become more clear about it.  

She told me that she thinks she likes girls, but she’s afraid of what her family and friends would think about it if they knew.  This conversation came out of nowhere, so I was a little caught off guard.  

I told her that if people couldn’t accept her for who she is, than those people aren’t worth her time.  I told her that I’m in her corner no matter what.  And so is her sister, and dad, and grandparents.  I told her that she might know more about herself after puberty…as she seemed a little confused about who she is right now.  And I told her that being different was the best way to be…because you get to stand out from a crowd.  

And just like that… I lost my argument about the hair.  Of course she can shave her head.  Because she is asking to be herself, to express herself, and I would be a hypocrite if I made her conform to any expectation other than her own.  

So we walked into that barbershop and she got herself a pompadour haircut… And I am so proud of her for doing what it took me thirty-something years to achieve…being her own authentic self.

Perception 

My daughter took this photo. She has my eyes.

Perception is a funny word.  I never really paid much attention to it.  I suppose I just figured that perception didn’t really matter.  There can only be one truth, and any deviation of it is just an opinion.  

Now I realize that perception is everything.  There are infinite truths.  Your entire life is just a collection of memories from your own perception.  All you know is just the download of information that you experience through your senses.  How do we know what the color red is?  It could be a completely different color in my eyes than it is in yours.  Our experience of perception is as unique as our fingerprint.  

Have you ever had an experience in life that felt like you were waking up from a dream?  Like, your perception bubble just implodes on itself and you are instantly transported to a completely different opinion about someone or something because your perception of them has changed?  Or maybe you just imagine that their perception of you has changed.  But that’s really just your perception of their perception of you.  

Perception is all we’ve got.  And if we ever realize that our perception can be manipulated by our thoughts…we start to understand how incredibly important it is to have control of our thoughts.  And that’s why I believe that meditation will save the world.

I smoked a lot of weed tonight…the good stuff.