Day One in the books… Pt. II

In less than an hour of arriving, I found myself walking down the corridors with my supervisor and going out onto the control room floor and into the Unit. And taking my position of Shift Coordinator as Keri for the very first time.  I cannot accurately describe in words the feeling, it is something I shall reflect on for quite a bit till I am able to fully process it, well that and all of the other developments over the course of the past week or so.  But here I was, back at work, new operating initials – my previous ones had been “SK,” now they are “MK.”  In a strange serendipity, my original initials, SK, incorporated the first letters of both my first names…. totally unplanned.

First break, I went to visit with a few people, and to test out the bathrooms for the first time.  The major issue had been the bathrooms, and there are basically seven sets of gendered bathrooms throughout the facility, including three sets immediately off the control room floor.  Management, or as they cite, FAA Legal, advised that I cannot have access to the bathroom of my identified gender until after surgery.  They then converted four bathrooms to Unisex facilities.  Both are at the end of the long hallway paralleling the control room, with one down two flights in the basement, the other up a floor in the administrative wing.  So it’s a walk, and for me likely will mean having to hold it in and not make quick runs while in the area.  Again, walking around the facility, very few actually said anything to me, the awkwardness permeating the air around me.  But those few who were brave enough to acknowledge me, mostly management by the way, always did so by using my new name.  That…. was amazing.  Very “wow,” especially hearing it for the first time…  But, that other person…. so very gone.  And I try to be sensitive to that , to others who do miss that other person…. my supervisor said to me that he was just having a discussion with a few others earlier in the week, and they were saying that they are going to miss that other person….  I am sorry for everyone, truly, but at this time I do not….. and I simply cannot acknowledge “him” right now.

I had to fill out and/or sign a bunch of papers, including a new yearly performance plan, parking permit, and a couple of other things.  But I fired up my FAA email and the login was perfect.  Later I ran to Panera to get some lunch, a spicy Thai chicken salad, and brought it back to eat in the area.  Got up for a break and, when I came back, it was pretty much at shift change; I had a bit to go as I was working an 8-4 today instead of the usual 7-3 shift.  I relieved one of my coworkers, and she could not even so much as look at me but, given who she is, that’s fine by me….

Following paid work, I ran up to my weekly shift at the crisis hotline I volunteer at.  Located in Suffolk County, it is a part of the National Suicide Hotline, and in my year plus, I have not had a serious suicide call.  Until tonight that is.  I cannot provide details, but simply suffice to say this person was in progress and an extreme safety risk to both themselves and to others, which deeply concerned me.  I worked the call the best I could – well, actually I feel I should’ve, could’ve, done better, because getting somewhat well in, the person had an event and hung up the phone. Fortunately, using a trick I was taught, I had obtained their number, called back twice but got no response.  Following that outcome, I followed protocols and notified others.  But.. it just left me rattled, and wondering if I had done all that I could have done, wondering why and wishing they had not hung up, and hoping they are safe and secure.  An interesting ending to the day, that.  Honestly, I just came home, made dinner, ate, and basically sat there and cried…. over everything… over nothing…. overwhelmed.

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