This afternoon I spent five hours working on the computer and discussing the changes in our patient care load and schedule with our chief of optometry, Jeff, who I graduated from optometry school with and who I told to work for Kaiser, and the doc who does our schedules, (who started at Kaiser after me as well). We went through a lot of things, and I felt my head was swimming. I remember some, but most of it is completely new. Jeff seemed to think I would be flying ahead of him over the next few weeks. I hope he is right, but I doubt it.
It's strange to walk into an old workplace, surrounded by a lot of familiar faces and a few new. I wandered in and had to watch for signs for the optometry department, even though I had worked there many times in the past. It's hard to believe it's been twelve years since the last time I started with Kaiser. Every time I enter a building I sort of wonder what I am doing there. I feel like I'm sneaking in the back door, and I am- it would be very hard to get in without my history there. Portland is overloaded with overeducated folks, all waiting for any job just so they can stay in the area.
I've heard various sentiments from Kaiser people. Mostly people are really excited I'm returning, which feels good. There's been several people who are "sorry" for me that I am returning since they don't like their jobs. Which is totally fine. But I'm trying to just let that crap slide off my back. I don't want to be felt bad for, since I'm the one who's chosen to return to Kaiser. I left for six years, wandered around the world and decided to come back. I brought my Charlie with me, who's sitting here at home on the couch at this moment having a quiet, peaceful life after our dinner together. I can't complain about not having enough.
What surprises me is that everyone seems to think that I just had six years of a walk in the park. Which is true and not. When I say I lived in New Zealand, everyone thinks "Heaven" and when I say Germany, they think something like "Happy Beer Land" and really they are just places. True, I did walk through a park every day to go work in New Zealand but that hardly made up for being on the other side of the Earth from my family or making such a small income that 50% of my paycheck went to rent. Germany was really special and I miss it but I don't want to go back right now. They were learning experiences. I guess everyone always thinks the grass is greener on the other side. I've seen the other side. The grass is the same color.
The idea of switching from Costco back to Kaiser was so I'd be able to work at a higher level and I'd have more stability and also more to do (and avoid fill in work). Currently I'm mostly rushing through refractions and health checks and contacts and then sending people off, hoping something magical happens with them and they go and get the care they need. There's no follow ups on patients I refer for the most part and my knowledge is limited by what I have read about. I have prescribed almost no medications for the last six years compared to what I had done at Kaiser. I've been more like an old school optometrist, doing what they did long ago before we become more medically capable.
What this all means is that I am a little scared. I'm hoping that I'm not in over my head and I'm hoping that I will not disappoint them. And I'm hoping I'm still a quick learner and my brain can wrap around the facts and the situation fast enough to come back without appearing to be a has-been. Of course nerves are normal with new jobs, even if they are old ones. I'm also really excited that everyone is excited to have me back and that they rehired me.
Also, today when I was learning some of the computerized charting stuff, we were searching for my name in the staff directory list under "Schultz" and I glimpsed my sister in the list: "Schultz, Carrie, RN"- It was kind of a special treat to see her name there and be reminded that we were working at the same place-- something that happened once long ago at a truck stop in Minot when we were 20 and 17 (and everyone thought she was older- I was so annoyed!) Funny that we ended up at the same place again seventeen years later.
So I have family here and my Charlie here at my side- this will be an interesting next few weeks and years. It's good to be on this ride.