Saturday, February 11, 2012

Getting on with Getting On.

     A few weeks after the Surgery, I came back out to Vegas to begin the task of digging myself out of a financial crisis. The cost of surgery and the lack of income during the recovery period had left me completely destitute. I had $0 cash, yet the bills continued to arrive. Funny how that works. My situation at the Mirage had not improved. Despite my willingness to put forth extra effort, pick up days whenever I could, I was not receiving enough work to make ends meet. The scheduling was totally erratic. From one week to the next, I had no idea how many days I might be scheduled, on which shift, or in what capacity. Coupled with a total lack of positive feedback from my manager, I found myself becoming very frustrated. But rather than go marching around verbalizing my complaints, I decided to make a simple choice; To either do something about the situation, or accept it and shut up. It didn't take me more than a moment to know that I was not going to do the latter. 
   I had been steadily applying for jobs both in San Diego and Las Vegas for months, but had little response thus far. All I could do was just continue to send out resumes every day. I was thrilled when, in early January, I received a phone call from a hiring manager at Aria. He was calling to let me know that I had been selected as one of 9 new employees out of an applicant pool of over 225. I made arrangements to meet and sign the job offer the next day. That afternoon I let my boss know that I would be leaving the Mirage. I took the time to thank him for the opportunity he had given me and to wish him well. His response was essentially non-existent apart from a few formalities regarding my exit paperwork. Not that I ever really had a doubt, but his cold-shoulder response only reinforced a confidence that I was making the right decision by leaving. Shortly thereafter, I was off to corporate Orientation for a few days and then some specialized training for the poker staff. I worked my first shift just a few days later. The room is generally busy, and that will only continue as we get closer to the summer. I have a regular schedule, five days a week with Saturdays and Sundays off. (REALLY!)
    Aria is a gorgeous property. I challenge you to find anyone that thinks differently. The facilities are sparkling and the staff is friendly. Their focus on customer service is what makes them stand apart. Positive attitudes are abound, friendliness is the norm, and most everyone seems genuinely happy to be there. It is such a welcome change.
   I work 5 days a week, however I am not a full-time employee. That means when things get slow, I (and my fellow new employees) will be the ones that get forced out first. So far that has never been before completing at least 6 hours of work. It seems that on the slower days of the week like Tuesday and Wednesday, I will usually work from 1pm until 7, and on Thursdays and Fridays until 9. MGM has a policy that if an employee averages 30 hours a week or more throughout a fiscal quarter, he or she will receive full medical and dental benefits... which are fantastic. I am told that I should have no problem meeting that mark... and in my first two weeks I have already exceeded it. So, here I am. Still in Las Vegas, doing much better than before. I will continue to make daily efforts to further my career and get back to that level of comfort and lifestyle that I had enjoyed for so long. Things are headed in the right direction.
     As far as my medical condition goes.... I am not sure whats going on. It has been 9 weeks since the surgery and I don't feel like my arm is getting much better. I have been told that recovery from nerve damage is a very gradual thing and that it might take as long as 6 months before I get all the sensation and strength back. But I also have to prepare myself for the possibility that the damage is too severe and that the nerve may never fully recover. Although I still hope for the best, I have accepted that even if I don't get back all the function in my right arm, I am still going to be just fine. I still have plenty enough ability to write, type, tie my shoes, open doors, carry things, and live a totally normal life. I may not ever be able to get back into the sort of physical condition I was in prior to the injury, but that's ok. I will try to do my best. It's just very difficult to do resistance training when one side of my body is significantly weaker than the other. Simple things like pushups, pullups, bench presses, dips, are impossible. I have to work each side separately. I will schedule a followup appointment at 12 weeks and try to get some more answers.
     The one thing I really miss is tennis. I haven't swung a racket since the injury. I'm not going to try for another few weeks as I have not been cleared for that kind of activity yet. I know its going to be some time before I ever get back to the same level. The weakness in my arm is going to present a major problem in striking the ball with any real force. I might have to teach myself how to hit lefty if I hope to ever play at an even remotely competitive level.