Awesome. Here I am at home, when I should be working a 9am to 7pm shift, and here I will remain for another week plus a few days. I had a catastrophic panic attack at work last Friday, and if you think that panic attacks aren't an actual "thing" then I beg you: please fuck off to the nearest hardware store, purchase a jackhammer, juice that puppy up full power and shove it right up your shit chute.
What triggered it, you ask? Well, lets go to the flow chart, shall we?
#1 - A Global fucking Pandemic. Since March. Through which I have worked, thank god for the steady paycheck but boo for many other reasons.
#2 - A shit-flinging, brain damaged, Tourette's stricken orangutan passing itself off as the President of the Divided States.
#3 - The minions of the aforementioned shit-flinging, brain damaged, Tourette's stricken orangutan taking every opportunity to turn their inner Karens up to 11 in public.
#4 - California, the state in which I was born, being reduced to a bank of smoldering embers. My hometown literally is an evacuated lump of ashes blowing in the sea wind.
#5 - Constant worry for my aging mother, who continues to age every day because that's how aging works.
#6 - Constant worry for my finances, as I am always just one or two paychecks away from being homeless...just like everyone else in this fucked up country that can't get its shit together.
#7 - Constant stress from waiting on toothless junkies with their strident voices and ridiculous tantrums and demands that we fill their controlled substances early because we "always have before" and the "doctor said it was okay" and we have to because "someone" stole all their drugs from their room/backpack/purse or they left it on the bus by accident or (my personal favorite) I opened the bottle over the sink/toilet and oops it all went down the drain, gosh darn golly.
#8 - A fifteen year old girl attempted suicide in my pharmacy by stealing the biggest bottle of Advil she could find, hurriedly cramming it into her mouth and washing it down with a stolen Red Bull and, when she was caught, she made a break for it and slit both her wrists wide open.
#9 - Three hours after the attempted suicide, with the bloodstains still fresh on the carpet, a nineteen year old boy was murdered in the food court three stories above our heads in the same mall. Someone stuck a knife in his chest, for reasons unknown.
I thought I was dealing with this all fairly well. I've been shutting my emotions off pretty well for years. But last week was especially shitty with my primary boss on vacation and my secondary boss filling in. Secondary Boss is a middle aged Karen who proudly declares herself to be "1000% Republican." She does not like "flamboyant" gay people or foreigners, referring to Muslims as "lost souls who are damned to Hell" and angrily grumbles about trans people "shoving it down our throats." Somehow, I've managed to get along with her for the past year. But as the political climate gets uglier and the election gets closer, she has been getting more vocal and less polite. Just last week...
- She insulted three non-English speaking Hispanic patients, out loud, for anyone/everyone (including them) to hear. Now, I speak a wee bit of Spanish and always try to help them as much as I can. The first man approached the counter and queried the typical Habla Espanol? and before I could answer, Karen is loudly trumpeting "No, we don't speak Spanish. Come back when you speak English." I ignored her and proceeded to try my best to help the human being in front of me.
The next one was a little old lady. I approached her immediately and she also asked if I spoke Spanish. Karen, walking right behind me, loudly questions the Almighty Air why people who live in this country can't be bothered to learn the language. At this point, I'm furious but it is not my place to correct a "superior" so I simply snap Karens name loudly and turn back to the lady, who looks to be my moms age. Just a nice little old lady who isn't hurting anybody. For chrissakes, do you know how difficult it is to learn how to speak English? It's a very complicated language.
There was a third one, a man, and once again Karen remarked to no one that "America" blahblahblah "English" blather blather and yadda yadda yadda. I didn't speak to her for the rest of the day unless I had to.
Now here she comes on Friday and I'm already exhausted by All Of The Fucking Above. Plus it's flu shot season, plus all of the students are back PLUS she goes out of her way to be rude to everyone and will - no matter what the circumstances - tell everyone that the wait time is an hour, she's busy and generally acting as if their being there is done just to annoy her. It's 9am and the phone is already ringing off the hook, I'm having trouble processing a flu shot through someone's insurance and I still need to finish up four or five things left from the previous night. In the midst of all this, my least favorite customer calls. He's a scumbag drug dealer who has been arrested so many times and gone to prison on so many charges, yet he seems to think we're gullible enough to believe that he's found God now and lays on the praise thick and suffocating when he comes in for his drugs. I answer the phone and he announces he'll be in shortly to pick up his Ritalin. I tell him it won't be ready for at least half an hour because we've just opened, there's 3 pages in the queue and his med is a C2 which can only be filled by the Pharmacist.
He comes in ten minutes later. "Where's my meds? I told you I was on my way in." Yeah, and I told you it wouldn't be ready so shut up, sit down and wait your fucking turn. Does he do this? Of course not. Instead, he leans his beefy arms up against the counter and starts whining about his mask, which store policy requires he wear. So what does Karen do? SHE TELLS HIM TO TAKE IT OFF. Yeah, go ahead, take the mask off and spray your scummy druggie germs right onto my cash register, because he will NOT stop talking. "Yeah, this mask stuff is all bullshit and Trump hasn't done anything wrong it's all the media and Obama was WAY worse" and of course Karen is feeding off of it and agreeing with him and loudly supporting his opinion and I just KNOW that I'M the one who's going to have to ring him up when she finally fills his fucking meds, NOT her and he won't shut the fuck up or put his mask on and I can feel my blood pressure rising as they continue to spew their mutual hatred and I throw my hands up in the air, wanting to say: "Please STOP it, this is NOT appropriate" but my tongue locks and Mr. Drug Dealer looks at me and challenges "What?!" in a mocking tone and a smug grin on his fat face and that's when I start hyperventilating.
I turn to leave but there's nowhere to go. I know I cannot make a scene in front of the whole goddamned store, so I retreat to the back and sit down on the floor because there's nowhere else to sit and I can hear Karen yelling "Why don't you just go home?" at me and I'd really like to, but unlike her I have a fucking work ethic so I try to catch my breath and I can't and I start to cry out of sheer frustration and that's when I feel my surgical mask filling up with fluid. I pull it off, half thinking it's snot and knowing it's not. It's blood, and it splatters all over my scrubs, my hands, my arms, the floor, it's smeared all over my face, it's dripping off my nose.
And the next thing I know, there's EMTs standing over me, asking my name. They ask me who the president is and I say "asshole" before blurring out again. I hear sirens and realize I'm in an ambulance and I start crying again because I wonder how the fuck much THIS shit is going to cost me, and my nose starts bleeding again and I'm choking on it and coughing but I can't move my head because they put a fucking collar on me. Apparently, they thought I'd fallen.
And ER and vitals and questions and some insane bitch screaming "I HAVE A FUCKING MENTAL DISORDER!" down the hall and more questions and discharged and home, to bed, to sleep, and here I am. Now what? I don't know. I have enough vacation time to cover this and my Primary Boss is cool, but my Secondary Boss is going to be "spoken to" and because this is not her first time (nor her second, or third, or even tenth time) on the spot, I have no idea what will happen. When I expressed my concerns about retaliation, I was told that "that will not affect you." I don't know exactly what that means and at this point I don't care. I'm too tired. I told my PB every single rotten thing my SB had done and that, while she was not the primary cause of my breakdown, she was creating an incredibly toxic work environment in which I do not feel safe and cannot deal with. It's hard enough trying to juggle the customers, but my goddamned boss should be on my side while we're both on the clock.
So, send some good vibes my way, huh? I really need them.