Politics & Catholicism, Part Two

Hey there! It’s me again. Figured I would pick up where I left off off that (seriously LONG) post. 

So I’m warning you again, If you don’t want to read about Politics & Catholicism, then click away and don’t bother reading Part One, either

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Another chance to change your mind

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Okay, don’t say that I didn’t warn you! 

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Hopefully you’ve read my (entire) post about Catholicism & Politics (with emphasis on Catholicism). Have you decided where I stand on that ONE platform? Have you decided where YOU stand (again) on that ONE platform? The same ONE that most (not all) Christians base their reasons to support one particular candidate for president? 

Because now I’m going to emphasize on Politics. So, if you don’t wanna read about it, I suggest that you skip reading this post all together. (Though I hope you do, as I believe I have some valid points.)  

To start off, I’d like you to consider everything else that this country is currently experiencing. I want you to understand why it’s VITAL that every voter look at the bigger picture outside of Roe v Wade. 

Let’s talk about my favorite issue first, healthcare & COVID-19. And YES, I do believe that COVID-19 exists. I had it. I felt it. It sucked. Big time. NO, I don’t believe in the whole 5G/Coronavirus conspiracy (which, BTW has been debunked several times). NO, I don’t think this virus was developed in a lab in China. Nor do I believe that the US Military created this virus and kept it hidden in a a super secret Military base, to be used for biological warfare. Those conspiracy theories (spread from both ends of the earth from the US to China to a mass of other countries), seek to divide us as a nation and as a First World Country around the globe. 

Word of advice: If something sounds totally off the wall, chances are that they are. Fact check your sources. Research if there is ANY truth to whatever latest theory is out there. But more important, DO NOT share ANYTHING on FaceBook / Twitter / Reddit or or any other social media outlet until AFTER you’ve completed your fact-finding investigation. Do the same thing before sending out or forwarding an email to your family & friends. The same goes for text messaging. Most importantly, DO THIS BEFORE YOU CAST YOUR VOTE. It’s important, especially in today’s world to be well-informed about our government. 

As it is, data can be misinterpreted as well. Sources regarding COVID-19 such as our Federal Government and other well-respected agencies like the CDC (?) or WHO (World Health Organization) are all reporting different numbers. Research the source you are using to find out where they gathering their data? (Personally, I trust WHO). 

One thing that has been consistent is the number of COVID-19 related deaths. All agencies are reporting that the US is the leader in deaths. As 4:00 pm on Tuesday, October 6th, WHO reports 208,787 confirmed US deaths. How can our country have these numbers when the US is seen as the richest, wealthiest country in the world?

I can answer that. Well actually, I can answer it in many ways, but I will stick to just one example: Disparity in healthcare coverage. 

Hopefully everyone has read and learned something about disparity, when it clearly has been all over every media outlet over the past week when Trump tested positive for COVID. (Wait, it’s only BEEN a week?) Here’s what I think: 

  • How is it that government officials have access to COVID testing daily, when when the low-income / high risk population or even front line workers can’t even get one? I just think of how I was treated when I requested a COVID-19 test: “Why do you need one? and “Are you symptomatic? Well then you’ll just have to go home and quarantine.”
  • How is it that those in Healthcare careers, who are sacrificing their own health for the health of others go from Heroes To Zeroes?” where their moral obligation is to treat EVERYONE the same manner? How is it that we are asked to provide the absolute “best” treatment for COVID to someone the deem as a VIP (you know, major donors, celebrities, presidents)? 
  • Why does Trump receive preferential treatment? Is it because of his insurance? Spare me the point that it’s because HE is the president and he deserves that treatment. Let me just point out that WE PAY for his healthcare (and salary, BTW) with the TAXES we contribute from our income. The guy hasn’t paid his income taxes but TWICE over the last 15 years; yet he gets FREE HEALTHCARE from us taxpayers.  Furthermore, many of these same taxpayers can’t even qualify — let alone, afford — to receive healthcare for various reasons. Maybe they make too much money and/or have too many assets to qualify for Medicaid.  But they also don’t have enough money to pay for a Marketplace (Affordable Care Act) insurance.  
  • Lack of insurance is a HUGE  problem for our entire population, especially for the low-income / high-risk population, where there is concern if they can afford medications, tests, office visits, hospital & ER admissions. This is a major factor on why people won’t seek, let alone receive care until it becomes an emergency. 
  • And why does Trump continue to downplay the pandemic by essentially telling the country that he “survived” COVID? Why does he feel he needs to make sure the country knew he was still strong despite the obvious dyspnea (shortness of breath) he was hiding when he spoke to his “people” on the Truman Balcony after being discharged from the hospital? As someone who’s husband was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, I call BS that he’s doing well. No one’s O2 saturations just recovers from COVID-19. Yes, they can be weaned off of oxygen, but may still require to use it with any shortness of breath from exertion. Hubby *still* had difficulty breathing for an additional week after his 3-week stay in the hospital. PLUS, Dexamethasone. Having been on steroids in the past, I know how great it feels once it kicks into your system (don’t even ask me how much I weighed about 2 months after starting them). So I’m assuming this “burst of energy” is why he thinks he’s doing better. And BTW, we haven’t see Trump in the last 2 days; perhaps his Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) has returned. 
  • Why does Trump still insist that COVID-19 is no big deal when close to 210K of our country has died from it? Why is he encouraging people to return to their normal lives, while simultaneously displaying that he doesn’t need to wear a mask anymore? The sheer fact that he walked into the White House without one, after instructing the country to “not let COVID rule your life,” just makes me SO. ANGRY. And then he has the gall to add, “Now I’m better, maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.” Does he realize that he has TOTALLY undermined (yet again) the entire Healthcare Profession by NOT following the standard treatment guidelines for COVID-19? 
  • And BTW, standard protocol is that a positive COVID-19 patient should remain quarantined for 14 days from first known exposure PLUS an additional 72 hours after ALL symptoms are gone. (I mean, I’m not even gonna get into the cluster f**k that is contact tracing.) Yet again, he disregards everything that is considered protocol for any COVID-19 patients AND expects to get the best possible meds to treat COVID-19.  Of which his physicians (and other non-medical personnel, because, you know — Science.) ALLOW him to DICTATE HIS CARE? IMHO those that allow him to get what he wants are complicit with his actions; they’ve become codependent. Seriously, working with Trump must be equivalent of taking care of a toddler.
  • Why does Trump insist to promise that vaccines will be “coming momentarily,” as his administration blocked the new FDA Coronavirus Standards? That’s important; especially for those in research and ultimately the recipients of the vaccine. There’s a reason why accurate trial studies need to be done prior to the distribution of the vaccine. Seriously, would YOU want to take a drug that has not been thoroughly studied? I’m exaggerating here, but what if you grow a donkey tail as a result of it? Or what if you, or worse your child develops a serious reaction to it? Would you take that risk if the vaccine was distributed today?

Again, remember Trump’s platform AND actions he has created / endorsed regarding COVID. Think about how his “date” with COVID-19 went for him; how he received the VIP treatment despite not having contributed tax dollars to insurance.  Think about how he claims the common flu is more dangerous than COVID-19. Think about how he gives inaccurate data about the number of deaths from COVID-19 (again as of yesterday) versus the number of estimated flu-related deaths from 2018 to 2019 (32,157) versus the number Trump seems to consistently throw out (100,000). 

Let’s tackle Economic Inequality next; though I straight-up confess that I don’t know US Economics that well. 

First off, can I just say how absolutely despicable that Trump has been robbing from the poor to make him rich? He’s the Anti-Robin Hood of modern times. Anyways, please think of the man who does such things and ask yourself if you would want to be complicit (or worse, apathetic) with his actions. 

  • And then Trump claims that he is the most successful president in history by passing the “Best. Tax cuts. Ever.” Yes, he provided tax cuts for everyone; however, in reality these tax breaks (in the long run), favor large corporations and savvy investors who know how to hide their money. Not the “Everyday Jane / Joe” who could *actually* use the tax break. 
  • Let’s face it, Big Corporations are really the ones ruining — oops, I mean RUNNING — our government. Worst yet is that they are typically white privilege men who work by using the “Good Ol’ Boys” mentality; in other words, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” Trump, prior to being elected, is a *fine* example of that. How many business ventures of his have failed? How many people has he financially ruined every time he declared bankruptcy? How much money did he ACTUALLY receive from claiming losses on his different ventures?  
  • How do YOU think Trump is currently doing, by treating the US Government as Big Business with him as CEO and Congress as the Board of Trustees, rather than the Executive and Legislative branches of our Democracy that had been developed by our Founding Fathers and was written in our Constitution? (We won’t even *talk* about what’s happening in the third branch, the judicial branch AKA the Supreme and Federal Courts. (RGB RIP) 
  • Hear me out first, as I somewhat understand why many people voted for Trump in 2016. He promised that he’d bring back jobs to the US. He promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington DC. He promised to “Make America Great Again.” And now he wants to “Keep America Great Again.” Has he delivered on that? 
  • Jobs: The average unemployment rate from 2017 to March 2020 was 6.8. And that’s before the pandemic. Compare that from 2013 to 2016, Obama’s last 4 years, that average is 5.8.
  • “Draining the Swamp” In other words, removing corruption from the White House and run a government that would “serve ordinary Americans rather than personal and/or special interest groups.” HAH! 
  • Let’s talk about his family; in particular, Jared & Ivanka. Didn’t Trump specifically promise during his 2016 campaign that he would relinquish the reigns of “The Trump Organization” to his children? (Nepotism anyone?) And then demand that The Kushner’s receive high-level security clearance, despite all the red flags that intelligence officials were concerned regarding Jared. Why give them this clearance? For what reason?
  • As for Ivanka, it was recently discovered in Trump’s (unreleased) tax return that “The Trump Organization” paid $747,622 in fees to an “unnamed consultant” for international hotel projects related to his business. I find interesting that this *exact amount* was paid out to Ivanka through a consulting firm that she co-owns. And we’re giving her clearance that allows her access to data that affects national security, counterterrorism / counterintelligence, and other highly sensitive data? 
  • Now let’s see who Trump “handpicked” since the start of his term to “serve ordinary Americans.” And which staff Trump placed, then replaced, and replaced again; over and over, ad nauseam. In fact, Trump prefers to use the term that “acting people” work in his administration. He has explained the turnover by stating that “the reason they are ‘acting’ is because I’m seeing how I like them.” Really. Not kidding. As of September 30 2020, Trump has had a total of 415 individuals that were dismissed or resign. I guess he thinks the US Government is like his reality TV show, The Apprentice. 
  • But seriously, let’s compare the percentage of staff turnovers for the last 6  presidents’ “A Team” (the group of the president’s top advisors) during their first term: Reagan 78% | Bush Sr 66% | Clinton 74% | Bush Jr 63% | Obama 53% |Trump 91%.  Hmmm … I can *almost* hear Trump saying his tag line in The Apprentice. “Your FIRED!”

I promise, I’m almost done; however, I wanted to take the time to discuss racism within our country. Studies have found that, during this current state of unrest, rates regarding race-related encounters has increased. (Duh!) But it was also reported that this unrest was NOT a result of what happed to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who haven’t received as much news coverage. Or the shootings in Charlottesville and Kenosha. Or how the National Guard was deployed for riot control. Rather it is a result of the systemic growth of racism against race, religion, immigrants, and ethnic backgrounds;  especially our Native Americans. Let’s not forget that countless countries arrived in the “New World” stealing the land out from our indigenous people in order to colonize / convert others to their ways, religion, etc. 

So, let’s get down to it. Here’s what I want you to remember when it comes to casting your vote. 

  • We currently have a US President who actually *promotes* segregation. He certainly has proven that time & time again. How can he blame the far-left for actions that have been linked to the far-right? He refuses to acknowledge that there are even ANY far-right groups, let alone state that these groups were responsible for instigating riots among peaceful protestors. He ABSOLUTELY refuses to commit to denouncing the actions of such groups. The “Stand down, and stand by” statement should be a clue that he seeks to diminish the lives of others who they deem inferior to them. Another one would be, “There are fine people on both sides.” Don’t just focus on “fine people.” Rather, focus on the “both sides” statement. Does it sound like he’s trying to bring people together? 
    
  • What about “The Wall” which Trump wants Mexico to fund?  Or that he calls COVID-19 the “China Flu” or “Kung-flu?” As a first-generation Filipino American, I find those things absolutely disgusting; especially because he is the face of our nation. I’m not sure how anyone could call Trump a leader when he can’t even lead appropriately. A good leader seeks to lead the people he’s responsible for; a great leader is one that seeks to find balance and inclusion. Trump doesn’t have the ability to unite our country; instead, he aims to divide and segregate. I’m ashamed that he’s the face of our country and that his actions on the world front likely confirm (or at least lead them to suspect) that all Americans are like him. (Please Canada or Australia or New Zealand! Please let me immigrate to your countries!)
    
  • Has Trump provided support for others that are not like him or don’t have the same beliefs as he does? As it is, he actively seeks to separate families. And YES, I understand (though don’t agree with) why he’s deporting “illegal immigrants.” But what about the children left behind that were placed in Migrant Detention Centers? Trump has no problem about talking how he’s going remove all the “illegals,” but I honestly can’t recall a time where he’s addressed and / or acknowledge these children and the horrid conditions the children live. These centers are overpacked and understaffed, let alone fully stocked on basic needs, which results in these children living in a manner where they don’t have sufficient food or even access to showers (let alone soap & shampoo). How can Trump turn a blind eye to all of this? How, as Catholics are we protecting THESE lives?  

I have SO much to say about Racism, both in the past and in the present. But maybe that’s another entirely separate post. Because yes. I know this is long. 

So what spouted this verbal (written?) diarrhea? Well, definitely the 2020 Presidential Election and whether or not a voter should decide on a particular candidate because of ONE platform that the Catholic Church has about life. But it also goes back to the initial article by Jeannie Gaffigan that I shared in the previous post. 

As a frequent fact checker and as person that has always had a thirst for knowledge, I actually did my own research about Politics & Catholicism.

What I found was a guide written by the US Catholic Bishops regarding the political responsibilities of a Catholic citizen. This guide DOES NOT tell you what or who a Catholic should choose when voting; rather it suggests how your Catholic faith can intermingle with Politics so that the voter can make an informed decision. 

This is one lengthy document with a LOT of information about the Church’s stance on particular issues. It also talks about whether or not one should vote on one candidate based on a SINGLE PLATFORM the candidate subscribes to during the campaign. What I got out of reading this guide was that the Church suggests that we should consider ALL of the candidate’s past actions / behaviors / issues which may go against your moral code. In short, this guide asks you to CONSIDER THE WHOLE PICTURE. In fact, there is a portion of this guide that advises this action:

“In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose policies promoting intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. 

These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitment, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic,  guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.”

So yes. Once more, please please PLEASE be informed about all the candidates’ stance on issues, their integrity and character before voting. Ask yourself if either candidate will be able to lead our country. And when the elected candidate leaves the Executive Office, try to imagine what kind of legacy that person will leave for our country, let alone the Earth we share with other countries. Consider how you believe that person will shape our country and the world for the future generations.

That’s it. That’s all I can write about for now. (Whew!) I will sign off after leaving another portion of the Catholic Bishops’ guide. 

From the “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States”

“The political realities of our nation present us with opportunities and challenges. We are a nation found in ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. 

But the right to life itself is not fully protected, especially for unborn children, the terminally ill, and the elderly; the most vulnerable members of the American family. 

We are called to be peacemakers in a nation at war. We are a country pledged to pursue ‘liberty and justice for all,’ but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. 

We are a nation of immigrants, struggling to address the challenges of many new immigrants in our midst. We are a society built on the strength of our families, [where we are] called to defend marriage and offer moral and economic supports for family life. 

We are a powerful nation in a violent world, confronting terror and trying to build a safer, more just, more peaceful world. We are an affluent society where too many live in poverty and lack health care and other necessities of life. 

We are part of a global community charged with being good stewards of the earth’s environment, what Pope Francis calls ‘our common home,’ which is being threatened.

They are intertwined and inseparable. As Pope Francis has insisted, ‘We are faced . . . with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.’”

So Long and Soooo Long

WARNING

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Extremely LONG Post

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(Don’t say I didn’t warn you)

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AN ESSAY FOR MY MOTHERSHIP FAMILY

I have always believed that certain elements in life have a purpose. When I found myself at odds with my personal beliefs in my previous position, I was unable to search for employment within the healthcare insurance business. I had signed a non-compete clause preventing me from finding employment at a competitor within a 50 mile radius of this particular company.

I had no idea what I would do next. I had worked as an RN Case Manager within the Healthcare Industry for more than 15 years. I had also been away from bedside nursing for close to 20 years. My only recourse (other than moving 50 miles away) was to look for Care Management positions in an office setting or return to the hospital setting.

When I saw a posting for Care Management positions at The Mothership as well as our oldest Legacy Sister, I knew I had to try for both. I felt good about the Legacy interview, but I was secretly hoping I would get a chance to interview at The Mothership.

After all, I had started my nursing career at this place some 25 years ago. I formed lifelong bonds with many of those that worked alongside me either at the bedside on the unit or as a Case Manager. They were my “family,” everyone throughout the Mothership knew or knew of each other. Despite the size at that time, going to work mostly felt as if I was going over to a friend’s house to work on a project.

The only reason I left was because I had the opportunity to work for Big Blue’s Younger Sister. It was a Monday thru Friday gig with no weekends or holidays or working odd hours. A welcomed relief from rotating days and afternoons and making sure that I worked at least 3 of the 6 holidays of the year.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at The Mothership and the interviewer was the Case Manager (CM) I worked with as a staff nurse. In fact, I credit this person with steering me into a career in Case Management. I consider this person to be one of my Touchstones; showing up (even after I left the hospital) during those times I needed an ear to listen or a hug to tell me that things would be okay. Knowing that I was interviewing with her (now in a leadership position) was the moment I realized that the purpose for leaving my previous job was to return to the hospital setting.

It was like coming home that first week at Beaumont. Besides Touchstone, I ran into several members of my Mothership “family” who remained at the Mothership for all those years. I was happy that they remembered me; from the transporters that brought up our post-op patients to the unit. To those RN’s who worked side-by-side with me during some of the toughest days as a brand new (and even seasoned) nurse. I was even caught off guard when I ran into my former Nurse Manager (another Touchstone who had graduated from the floors to become a high-ranking RN at The Mothership). At first walked passed me, but stopped in her tracks, turned around, and called out my name, genuinely happy to see me back at The Mothership.

I also found out that many of the Case Managers I worked with during my first stint at the Mothership were still in the same department. In fact, when given the opportunity to choose my assigned unit, I chose the one where I knew two of the CMs in that office. Best. Decision. Ever.Seeing many familiar faces at The Mothership was a testament that these long-standing employees were valued and respected. Sure, there had been a few changes (holy huge new tower, Batman!) to The Mothership since I was last there; but overall, there was still that element of pride for working at an established well-known hospital. These employees were proud to say where they worked, because The Mothership only hired the best.

Flash forward to The Mothership today, seven years later. So much had changed in that amount of time, including Headquarters (HQ) attitude towards patient care and employee satisfaction. Within those 7 years, The System changed CEO’s and expanded their reach to the south-/south-western part of the Metro Area. Suddenly The System was obsessed with the merger; streamlining processes so that ALL Ships were doing the same thing.

The new CEO, though he tried to sound down-to-earth (Folks, anyone?), was somehow never visible at The Mothership. In fact I only recall him showing up at The Mothership ONCE for a Town Hall Meeting with the employees. I’m sure CEO – who, BTW is an accountant – had been to The Mothership several times, probably for other executive level meetings; however, in the 5 years that CEO has been with The System, I had never seen or met him in person.

This was a departure from past CEOs who made a point to sit with employees to take The System’s pulse, ask us how we felt and what we think should change. I just felt I couldn’t trust someone who didn’t make an effort to understand how The Mothership’s engine worked and how The Mothership remained afloat.That was the first inkling of concern I had about the direction of The System. CEO would “advertise” that he was “rounding” with multiple departments and units throughout The System. There would be videos of CEO at all the other Ships, but I had never (to this day) seen CEO do the same for The Mothership. While boasting about being transparent on his weekly email blasts, many of his decisions were made without the input of any of the “worker bee” employees. Many times The Mothership employees felt as if the wind had been knocked out of them, because changes that CEO helped implement were never clearly communicated. I quickly realized that CEO could talk the talk, but could never walk the walk. Or rather WANT to walk the walk.

What cemented my concern was two-fold. The first event was when they moved the entire Care Mgmt Dept from under Nursing’s umbrella to Finance’s umbrella. It was certainly a shift when we were used to having support from Nursing leaders. Now it felt that Finance didn’t understand (or care to realize) the importance having clinically experienced nurses and MSWs to assist in coordinating patient care during and after leaving in the hospital.

In fact The Mothership’s new CFO asked to shadow a CM to see what our day was like. I was apparently one of the CM’s who was chosen. Of course the day she sat down with me, there was none of the constant interruptions by multiple healthcare disciplines including outside vendors & insurance companies. There was no irate patient or family member who was insistent that they needed to remain in this step-down unit.

CFO lasted for less than 1.5 hours that day; often telling me that the “issues” we were experiencing were “normal” because she saw the same exact issues as the former CFO of another Out-of-State hospital. It was clear that this CFO had never spent time at the bedside; nor did CFO care to understand how many facets of Case Management there was.

CFO likely never had to explain to a patient or family member why he/she didn’t meet the “criteria” to go to Inpatient Rehab and therefore, his/her insurance wouldn’t pay for an IP Rehab stay. All while simultaneously encouraging family to choose from a list of Subacute Rehabs, which any lay person may see as a putting their loved one in a “Nursing Home.” (FYI, it’s not. There are multiple “levels” of care at any Nursing Facility.)

Better yet, I’m sure CFO had never had to participate in a Multidisciplinary Meeting with the family of a patient — who could no longer breathe on his/her own and was unable to communicate his/her wishes — to discuss goals of care for their loved one, even when every discipline & specialty consultants agreed that the current course of treatment was futile in nature. More often than none, these family meetings would turn into a WWE-like match; family members uncontrollably sobbing. Parents & Siblings screaming expletive words at one another or — better yet — throwing things at one another.

Sometimes just being in the vicinity, that flying object would veer off track and hit you instead. Sometimes meetings ended with a family member grabbing you and begging you to pull out my “magic bag” and “fix things.” Tell me that, while still trying to maintain professional composure, you wouldn’t feel some sort of responsibility to help that family … even if it is to assure them that we’ve exhausted all possibilities.

Instead what was often seen by CEO and CFO was the “number of days” (or “Length of Stay” in healthcare terms) that the patient had accumulated while in the hospital. Or the cost that The Mothership was incurring because of a complication that occurred during a patient’s hospital stay. In short, HQ and The Mothership had no experience in having those face-to-face conversations. They had never had to explain, in person, why the patient’s insurance won’t cover his / her IV antibiotic and was unable to find the right resources for any type of medication assistance. Or sat next to a patient to tell him / her that there were no other places that they can go (other than home) from the hospital because his insurance terminated, or the benefit wasn’t available. Or speak with families who insists they can no longer take care of their loved one at home but aren’t financially able to afford personal caregiver services or an apartment on an Assisted Living Campus.

The Mothership suddenly felt like a “fantasy football league.” It was all about statistics, what the “player” can bring to the table, and the resulting money they would save / make on this particular activity. Patients no longer were human in their eyes; instead, they became numbers & stats in the literal Game of Life. And us employees were just pawns (or “players”) in helping them achieve a championship title. Which would then result in vast improvements for their chances of success (aka the ability to increase The System’s revenue … or their pockets).

The second concern presented when they hired an “Interim” Director of Care Mgmt for The Mothership to “overhaul” the way that us “players” approached every single activity / responsibility assigned to our department.

Nicknamed Hurricane, she tore through The Mothership, many times treating us as second graders. The best description I could come up with was that she reminded me of Professor Dolores Umbridge in the HP series — she talks all sugary and sweet; all while demeaning you and relishing the power that she had been given.

Hurricane destroyed the Care Mgmt Dept’s confidence; often pushing activities that may work at the The System’s smaller Ships onto The Mothership, who had double (sometimes triple) the number of licensed beds. The Mothership was where the other Ships tended to transfer their complex patients. The Mothership had world-renown physicians in pretty much every specialty of care.

I don’t disagree that a hospital of this size can be difficult to “manage” and HQ often has to reel in departments where their activities may have pushed things too far. However, the one thing that had always (previously?) been true is that The Mothership was able to quickly adjust to the needs of the community, sometimes finding ways to achieve outcomes that would best serve the patient. Often times, The Mothership’s various departments would try their best and work *together* to achieve the desired results.

This didn’t matter to Hurricane. She forced her beliefs onto the Care Mgmt Dept, often threatening that we needed to “get on the bus” and get with the program. (Seriously. we were actually given a “ticket” to get on the damn bus.) If we didn’t then we should stay off “the bus” because there were other people “standing in line” willing to “get with all the changes.”

In other words, we were replaceable.

Hurricane stayed on until a new permanent Director of Care Mgmt was hired; she was to “mentor” this New Director (to “continue the work” that she had started). Unfortunately, our hopes of having someone that could understand the nuances of The Mothership while confidently, yet calmly assist us through change and adjust course as needed (as we had multiple times), were dashed. After our experience with Hurricane we were hoping that our New Director (ND) would advocate for our department.

ND often had a way of making decisions without thoroughly understanding what the results of her actions would be down the road. It didn’t help that ND was (like most of leadership after current CEO took the reins) came from outside The System. They often failed to get any input from other seasoned CM’s or Leadership on what has / hasn’t worked in the past. Once she made her decision, ND typically stood her ground; never acknowledging that her “change du jour” wasn’t achieving the outcome she wanted. As a result, she would try out another change (again without others’ input), which would result in yet another change in process. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

If Hurricane didn’t completely destroy our self-confidence, the snap-decisions that ND made certainly did. More than often, no one could remember what the “latest process” was for an activity. Everyone felt as if ND+Minions were trying break us; aiming to pit us against one another. CM’s felt as if the Auth Coordinators (we won’t even get into THAT role) and the MSWs were out to “get them,” and vice versa. ND in essence, silo’d each of our roles; shifting responsibilities to and fro, all while adding new non-essential tasks that didn’t require an RN or an MSW to perform. Hurricane and ND’s actions ultimately had their employees questioning all the smart, talented, dedicated, and hardworking employees were even marginally “good” at our job.

They turned those employees who used to be proud that they worked for The Mothership into employees who were embarrassed to say where they worked. This type of behavior ultimately resulted in the employees resenting both The Mothership and The System.

Between Hurricane and ND’s actions (or lack thereof), the Care Mgmt Dept has lost (at the very minimum) 20 or so highly experienced CM’s, MSW’s, Auth Coord’s, and clerical staff. Many of those who had years of experience working at The Mothership.

Our department was already stretched thin when COVID-19 hit. Rather than showing support for the frontline employees, The System’s CEO (an accountant; likely with no bedside experience), had already began to complain about the loss of revenue that would occur because of this pandemic. CEO talked about how canceled surgeries and cardiac procedures, which are the main bread & butter (for The Mothership, anyway) and the payroll for the Frontline workers would result a major net loss for The System.

Let that sink in: While the community-at-large was showing appreciation for us frontline workers, The System’s CEO was complaining about having to pay them.

Bravery at that time, apparently became a detriment to The System’s (already) Deep Pockets, which ultimately led to many positions being terminated or placed on furlough in the “April Sweeps.”

Unfortunately, The Mothership’s Care Mgmt Dept seemed to turn into a microcosmic version of HQ; of what was going on systemically at The System’s Executive Level. Just like the other employees throughout The Mothership (and likely throughout the other Ships), there was an overall feeling of oppression; of feeling that you weren’t allowed to make any decisions without leadership’s approval.

And if the Head Cheese acted in such a manner, then this allowed other leaders below CEO to act in the same way to their peers under them. And so forth and so on, until it reaches those frontline workers, who have no recourse but to remain silent.

The frustration most of us felt throughout The Mothership was *never* about appreciation. It was (and still is) about feeling respected and valued. Of what we could bring to the table. It was about The System voicing that they were being transparent and honest with all their activities when they really weren’t.

In the Mothership’s Care Mgmt Dept, this ultimately lead to the lack of trust in our department’s leadership. Often times, we felt as if there was Game of Thrones-type scheming behind our backs; leading us to feel as if our jobs were in peril.

As most of us (especially the RN’s) went into the healthcare industry to *help* our patients & family members during a time wrought with uncertainty, the tendency was to make sure that we were providing the best care possible while in the hospital. In short, we practice empathy; constantly working hard for our patients & families, often at the expense of our own family and personal lives.

Things get difficult when what Management deems that their “priority” is more important than what should be best for the patient. (I’ll let you decide what our priority is: Making sure The Mothership gets paid? Or making sure the patient is discharged safely? Hint: it’s all about the Benjamins.)

Never mind that some of these “priority” tasks do not require an RN or an MSW to complete. Yes, some of those tasks are driven by the government (IMM letters, anyone?) but it doesn’t require assigning an RN (who sometimes has the clinical knowledge that could sometimes rival a first-year resident) to perform them.

If ND+Minions could understand that taking these non-essential tasks off our plates will result in improvement in The System & The Mothership’s outcomes. By doing this, it would allow us to perform more value-added tasks in addition to addressing all activities that the CFO & ND deemed as priorities which would ultimately improve our “stats.”

Unfortunately, our current Administration (at both The System & The Mothership) are too short-sighted to realize that what they consider a priority now will only hurt them financially in the long run. Fast Cash followed by Free Fall.

Long-winded, I know … but these are the reasons why, despite absolutely *loving* what I do, I feel I can no longer work for The Mothership and The System. For those that know me, I’m extremely passionate about everything I do; especially with Care Management. Unfortunately, right now there is way too much on our plates that I feel that I’m unable to give the 100% I typically do. As it is, I am OCD enough where I need to make sure that things are done in the correct manner. To do that, I would find myself working 12 hours a day, but only get paid for 8 hours. Anything to help the patient and the healthcare team.

Quite frankly, going in to work (especially of late) had been a struggle. I often felt defeated by the end of the day because I couldn’t do the necessary tasks that were needed before I left. This had affected my confidence to the point that I felt I was always angry at what was going on … not only at The Mothership level, but The System level as well. I knew I needed to get out of that toxic environment (which instilled fear and mistrust in CEO, CFO, ND as well as among ourselves) not only for my own sanity, but my Dear Husband’s (DH) sanity as well.

It breaks my heart that I’m leaving my family once again. For the past 7 years I’ve had the pleasure of working with incredible nurses, physicians, APPs, Physical & Occupational therapists (PT/OT), and other ancillary healthcare staff. From the pharmacy & their techs to nutritional support dietitians. From the cashiers in the cafeteria & concourse (who pretty much know my breakfast order) to the environmental service staff that always pop their heads into our office to see if we need our trash emptied. (We always said ” No, thank you,” only in part because it was cathartic hearing the trash bags clank down the chute. It was like throwing out all the negative juju we experienced that day.)

The people who I will miss the most are those that have been in the trenches with me … The RNs (including their management team) that work bedside us on the Medical Purgatory – I mean Progressive Care Unit I was assigned to. The PT/OT staff who was always available to do a session for patients whose insurance required their notes to determine what the most appropriate level of rehab the insurance deems most appropriate for the patient. The Respiratory Therapists who put up with all my questions about Vent / BiPAP settings and trach sizes & types; especially because I’m constantly pestering them to perform home O2 evals.

I will miss the incredible Liaisons from all the different facilities, agencies, companies; especially my favorite LTACH girl (who gets things DONE) and the Home & Hospice agency who always reminds me that the tasks I perform do not “succ.” I will certainly miss those physicians / residents and APPs who were always ready & willing to be participating team players in coordinating post-discharge care needs.

Most of all, I will miss the ladies that have sat side-by-side pretty much every day; my office sisters. They have been a constant influence in my life and have gotten me through some pretty rough patches. I will also miss all the other CM’s, MSW’s, Docs, APPs, and staff RNs who knew that our office door was always (figuratively) open for those that needed a place to decompress, vent, or even swear or cry. They knew that what happened in office stayed in our office.

I will miss those Touchstones, old and new. I will miss my Mothership Touchstones I had as a staff nurse. I will miss the Touchstone who fueled my passion for Care Management.

In fact, I relish all of my Touchstones. Though we no longer work together, I appreciate the lessons my Manager at Younger Sister taught me when I decided to try my hand at leadership. The Number One lesson was the first lesson this Touchstone ever taught me; and I continue to carry this lesson today even if I’m no longer in a leadership role. This Touchstone taught me that the most important thing about being a good leader was not to mess with people’s time (both as it relates to time-off AND length of time of any interaction/task) & pay.

Though they may no longer be my boss, these Touchstones have provided me with the confidence I needed to remember; that I am ten times better than what I think I am.

Yesterday was my last day at The Mothership. On Monday I start a new position at The School. It had always been a dream for me to work at The School. When the opportunity came up, my confidence was so shaken that I didn’t think I would get the job. At the persistence (and blessings) from my office sisters, I went for it and was genuinely surprised when I was offered this position.

I believe that going though the past seven years has lead me to this new path in my career. Despite what HQ and the leaders at The Mothership have put me through, I believe that my stint here had *purpose.* You have all lifted me up at one time or another. You are the people that gave me my courage and confidence.

I am truly sorry to those I haven’t been able to see before I left. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and — in true Mothership fashion — my last day was fraught with issues requiring my immediate attention. Please know that, despite my current feelings for The Mothership, I will miss what She used to be.

I will miss every one of you. I will miss my Mothership Family

PS. For those wondering why I kept the d*mn ticket. This is why:

Perspective on Racism

Long rant below. Scroll past this post if you don’t want to be annoyed by my opinions
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Turn away now
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Last chance
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If you are at all interested in Civil War American history, take a looky-see at this awesome half-hour documentary about statues honoring the Confederate States and the context of how these statues are memorialized.

Two things about it:

  1. Listen closely to how Mr. Cotton describes his name, and
  2. I will *never* forget being in Charleston for work-related training.

Let me just tell you the story of my Clinical Instructor. She grew up close to Charleston and was part of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. During that week of training, we somehow got on the topic of the Civil War. That instructor pointedly stated, “It wasn’t a war about slavery” and “We don’t call it the Civil War. We call it The War of Northern Aggression.” Now imagine this person saying it in a southern drawl.” I was left speechless.

I get honoring your ancestors to remember your past, but you should also see it in the eyes of someone whose family were destroyed because of it. So yes, burn them down! But … I believe that art is art and these statues should be appreciated for what they are: An important part of our country’s history. But provide context as to why it was built and the part of *American* History it honors, for Pete’s sake!

With that said, please ALSO watch the this other video before reading the rest of this rant. It’s a great lecture about “heritage.” I’ve learned something new in the wee hours of the morning (Thanks A LOT, Kurt! 😏)

And now the rest of my rant.

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What a GREAT video that outlines what use those statues / monuments served during that time in history. It recognizes that – when they were built, they serviced that town or city’s need to feel “superior” to others. It celebrates their “Heritage,” so to speak, at a time when these cities and towns felt threatened by someone else that didn’t look like them or sound like them.

THAT’S the narrative and context I was talking about up above. This is why I believe that, rather than defacing a monument / statue, they should be “displayed” somewhere else where it can be observed and discussed of American History.

That said, I truly believe that statues of “Southern Pride” (including that d*mn Confederate flag) do NOT belong in ANY public space. Because yes, they are a symbol of White Supremacy. Rather than destroy or deface these statues or monuments, some of them (not all) should be displayed in a place where people WANT to learn about why many of the other statues / monuments were torn down during our period in time.

Clearly I am a #BlackLivesMatter person. I’m just saying that those “symbols” are part of our history, whether we like it or not. Seeing them on display (at a history or art museum) could serve as a talking point to discuss racism both now and then. It could serve as an explanation of how we got to where we are right now; the Tipping point, as is mentioned in that second video.

This person is spot on in saying that at this moment in time, there has been more support and understanding of racism. And more of an understanding of what it’s like to be judged by the color of your skin, or what you look like from the outside.

Take me, for example. I can name *several* instances growing up in a relatively blue collar neighborhood of experiencing little micro-aggression because I was Asian:

How the manager of my first job called me Connie Chung, implying that because I’m Asian, I was smart like “All Asians” are. (Psst …Not true. I came very close to failing chemistry and microbiology at Oakland University.)

Or how I’ve been called an “Oriental Doll” or, better yet – a “Shogun Princess. ” By a classmate’s dad, nonetheless.

I’m ashamed of myself for not being brave enough to correct them, but I was only a kid. How do you tell a grown adult that you are NOT Chinese OR Japanese when you’re 9 or 10?

Then there was the time when I was 16, I was referred to (by a teacher, nonetheless, as “Oriental.” It’s as if I were just an object on display or a particular design style (Oriental rug, vase, painting, etc). To me, that term is one of the most, if not the number one thing that gets to this 1st generation Filipino-American.

I now tell people that I hate the term “Oriental” because it sounds like I’m being lumped into ALL Asian ethnicities, as if we were all one in the same.

Now that I’m assertive enough to say something, it’s surprising how people react: angry for being called out, remorse for not realizing how “Oriental” is considered offensive by most Asian-Americans.

I use my experiences as a talking point for those who might not realize that there’s more to being Asian than the “Model Minority” we’ve been labeled as.

  • No, we’re NOT automatically smart.
  • No, not all of us become doctors, nurses, engineers, or accountants.
  • No, we’re NOT automatically smart. No, not all of us become doctors, nurses, or accountants.
  • Yes, I can speak perfectly clear English, so stop telling me you don’t understand what I’m saying because of my “accent.”

My point is that we shouldn’t forget how we got here. And having CLEAR examples of racism can help more people to understand why it’s horrible and sickening.

Okay. Off soapbox for now.

Getting Things Straight

If you don’t want to read a political rant, just scroll past my post

Another chance to change your mind

Okay, don’t say that I didn’t warn you!


So … let me get this straight.

  • He had our own military tear-gas static, non-violent protesters which included the media
  • He wants to invoke the Insurrection Act so he can have the power to do the same amongst the rest of the States (without permission from the governors)
  • He states he wants to DOMINATE these THUGS
  • He incites those 2nd Amendment hardbodies (and let’s face it, the NRA) to take up arms to defend themselves

So … NO to peaceful protest, but YES to violence against them so we can dominate those that may or may NOT be part of the rioters & looters?

And NO to the Federal Government interfering in State matters (-ie management of the current COVID pandemic, meaning absolutely NO leadership in working with the appropriate persons), but YES to having the ability to deploy our own military “manage” the crowds in ALL States?

Does anyone else see similarities from history on how dictatorships begin?

  1. Fear-mongering
  2. Demonizing the opposition
  3. Systematic efforts to intimidate the media and anyone that doesn’t agree with them
  4. Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or the domestic security agencies

For my Filipino and Filipino-American friends & family: Doesn’t it sound similar to how Marcos implemented martial law? And then subsequently revamped the constitution, silenced the media, and used violence and oppression against the political opposition and ordinary citizens?

Do you want this to happen to the US? Because it’s already happening.

You may like him and/or agree with him on one or all of what he has done, or what he purports to be his stance about certain issues. You may like what he has “done for the economy.”

You may NOT like who he ultimately runs against for re-election.

But I implore you to think long and hard on who you want to lead our country.

And I implore you to VOTE.

Off soapbox … for now.

News from the Hospital Front: When You Wish Upon A Star, Part Deux

So no biggie … I’ve received a few comments about my previous post, questioning why we still need to #ShelterInPlace (or #StayHomeStaySafe or any variety of similar hashtags) if the number of reported COVID-19 cases are decreasing in some areas.

First of all … just because the virus IS showing signs of slowing down in some areas, it doesn’t mean that it’s not ramping up in other areas.

Think of it this way … if you’re unaware that you have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, then once your community “opens” you would be free to go about town without restrictions (common sense, people!). This means you can travel to other cities or communities and spread the virus into an area that otherwise did not have any (or had very few) reported COVID-19 cases. You have now put that community at risk.

Second, despite what has been told by your local, state or federal government, #ShelterInPlace was NOT meant for the sole purpose of keeping hospitals from overflowing and overwhelmed. Yes, that is ONE aspect of it, but so is trying to keep your cooties to yourself or your household. #ShelterInPlace was to help STOP the spread of COVID-19 and to keep the communities SAFE from this highly contagious virus.

Yes, the hospitals are NOT at capacity; however, that is because the otherwise money-making elective surgeries would have pushed the hospitals over capacity and therefore limiting the number of resources available to that hospital (-ie- staffing, PPE, ventilators, oxygen delivery equipment, etc).

And honestly, unless it’s an emergent situation … would you want to have surgery at a hospital at this time? Where you know COVID-19-stricken patients are also being treated? #ShelterInPlace was to PROTECT the PUBLIC from COVID-19. This virus is extremely contagious to the point where health care professionals and researchers are still unable to determine why the virus affects each person uniquely.

Yes, there are those common symptoms (extremely high fevers, chills & unrelenting head- and muscle aches) and manifestations of contracting the virus, but the short-term effects vary from person to person. Some may never have any symptoms, while others go into acute respiratory distress, kidney and/or heart failure. They can develop bleeding disorders in which blood clots develop and spread into your legs, lungs, heart, brain. Can you imagine having a stroke and/or a heart attack from these blood clots?

Yes these are horrible things that occur to those who develop these issues from COVID-19. It doesn’t happen to everyone … but It. CAN. And just because you don’t feel like you’ve contracted the virus, doesn’t mean you don’t have it and are capable of spreading it to at least 5 to 6 other people, who can each spread it to another 5 to 6 people. Any number of those people will likely develop these complications. How would YOU feel if you gave it to someone you love? I can tell you from experience that IT. SUCKS.

Anyway, those are just the some of the immediate (acute) complications that can develop. We haven’t even been to break the surface on any long-term complications.

There are multiple medical journals out there reporting how COVID-19 “survivors” requiring oxygen (or worse, a ventilator) during the acute phase of the virus are still having difficulty maintaining their lung function, even after being successfully weaned off of oxygen treatments. My Dear Husband (DH), for example … He has been home now for three weeks and yet his oxygen saturation (O2 sat) levels range only from 88-94%. A “normal” saturation for otherwise healthy people should typically be anywhere from 97-100%. “Bad” is anything less than 89%.

My cousin, also a Registered Nurse working on a COVID-19 ICU unit, has also had COVID-19. More than a month later, she is still having difficulty breathing (despite having normal O2 sat levels) and has had ongoing intermittent chest pain / pressure. There have been reports of COVID-19 “survivors” developing cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscles) and heart failure; however, her PCP and her specialty physicians (a pulmonologist and a neurologist) haven’t even considered doing any cardiac working her up because all her cardiac blood tests and her EKGs have been normal.

Did I mention she’s under 30 years old and that the multiple times she’s been to the ER, she’s been told that all her symptoms are likely “just anxiety” since her immediate diagnostic tests were negative. So instead, she’s “living with it” and still going to work.

As for me, there are other journal articles out there that talk about short term memory loss for those affected by COVID-19. Besides the unrelenting dizziness I have whenever I change positions from standing-sitting-lying (NOT caused by blood pressure changes, BTW), I do believe that COVID-19 has affected my memory. I don’t know, maybe it’s because it’s overwhelming at work with the frequent changes in policy, procedure, etc; but I find myself (more so post-COVID, than prior) losing track of my keys, phone, wallet. I also have had issues forgetting about certain tasks or items that routinely (and already on one) to be added to lists. And from talking to other COVID-19 “survivors,” I’ve found that I’m not the only one that this has happened to. We have officially named this condition as “COVID Brain.”

Just so you know, I am able see it from the side of those individuals and families that aren’t healthcare professionals. For the most part, my DH and his parents are not as versed in the Health Care World as both I and DH’s sister am. It’s a LOT of information to take in and there is NO simple way of explaining how much of a toll this has taken on every single person in the world, let alone how much COVID-19 has and will continue to affect how we live our lives on a daily basis.

We might as well face it now that there will be no returning back to normal. And that we will all have to adjust to a new normal.

I also get that the longer that our nation remains “closed,” more people will be unable to maintain employment (myself, as a Registered Nurse included). I understand how this can lead to financial ruin (DH has the hospital bills to prove it) and therefore, the inability to provide for yourself and/or your family. But please let me implore you to consider that this will ONLY CONTINUE until there is a way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

And since a vaccine for COVID-19 is a long way off (despite what you hear in the news) AND we currently don’t even have a consistent and adequate treatment guideline in place for treatment of COVID-19, the ONLY way to #SlowTheSpread is to continue practicing social distancing and wearing a face mask when outside your home.

And, in my own humble opinion, the only way to gain the “upper hand” (so to speak) on COVID-19 is to #ShelterInPlace.