It was pretty clear from the moment I trudged back to the train from my first day as Student Nurse Aunt Becky weeping like a crazed fool that I wasn’t going to make a very good nurse. I knew it when I signed up for the program that this probably wasn’t going to be a career I could actually stick with, because I don’t do well taking orders from people, no matter how adorable Precious Moments scrubs are.

They’re not, by the by. Precious Moments anything make me want to heave.

But anyway.

I was as welcome among the ranks of Student Nurse as a bout of gonorrhea and that was made clear right away. I don’t know why, except that I’m probably a gigantic puckered poohole, but the rest of the class (mostly) hated me. Never one to let people get the best of me, I hated them right back.

Especially since they’d interrupt our four hour lectures, hands waving feverishly in the air only to have something like this come out:

Umm…so I work in a hospital right now as a tech, right? And yeah, on your Slide Show, you show the pads that we put under the patient as blue? But where I work, they’re pink?”

Blink, Blink, Blink.

For the first couple of weeks, I’d wait patiently to hear the statement/question followed up with something more important, something that would make an outburst like that really worth interrupting class for. Nothing ever came. Just observations.

Not witty observations like, “Why does my cat insist upon licking his empty nutsack for 5 hours?” or even ephiphones like “Arbys = RB’s = Roast Beef’s!!!!” No. Just bullshit like, “One time, my grandma was in the hospital and her roommate had a Code Brown.”

Blink, blink, motherfucking BLINK.

Torture. Pure torture.

At the end of my senior year, we rotated through the ER and finally, I felt like I had found my calling. No more shoving suppositories and wiping butts for me. No more bathing old people or young people or hiding from overbearing Nurse Ratched.

It was all holding organs in body cavities and blood and guts and sputum and hearts falling onto the floor and suicides and it was like mother-fucking heaven. IV-drips, patients who have to go elsewhere and doctors who stay put and nurses who love their job and techs who, wow.

I’m not sure why I didn’t end up working in the ER.

It’s hard to get in there, for one thing, and I probably would have had to work for a couple of years on a Med/Surgical floor (which may as well be called an Ass/Butts floor in my book) which probably would have made me insane before I could have applied to the ER.

I really don’t know why I didn’t go for it. I should have.

I drifted to a Cardio unit–the same place I always said I never wanted to work–at the intense urging of a over-eager HR manager and lasted there only a couple of weeks, because, well, I know myself.

From there I went into hospice case management (they didn’t call Your Aunt Becky “Nurse Death” for no reason) and then I’ve stayed home with my kids after I had Alex. I plan on doing a stint with Doctors Without Borders when my kids stop needing their momma so damn much, but that probably won’t be for a couple more years.

Dave works pretty much at the same rate he consumes oxygen and while I could go back to work, at this point, it would create more problems than it would solve.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, my three remaining brain cells rattling about my brain cavity like ball bearings about how much I miss that part of my old life.

It’s great to use my medical knowledge to be smugly superior and occasionally solve the medical mysteries on House, MD before his team does, but I miss using the rational and analytical part of my brain. That’s what I do best: analyze.

I’m going back to school soon, I’ll get my PhD in virology like I always said I would and I’ll get to pursue my dreams, a little derailed thanks to a couple of crotch parasites, but intact and burbling just below the surface

I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to nursing and it’s likely that the next time I’m in the ER will be with one of the kids and most days it probably won’t make me nostalgic, or maybe it will. I can’t be sure.

Are we all so conflicted?

182 thoughts on “Missing A Bloody Day In The ER

  1. Yes, we are all this way. By the way, I think you would have made a kick-ass ER nurse. They are the best of the best (I am totally biased) at work and are lots of fun to party with outside of it.

    1. @Sarah I think I would have rocked the ER with you. All of the ER nurses (and ICU) that I’ve met have been full of The Awesome. All of the staff there. Awesome.

  2. Pingback: Missing A Bloody Day In The ER School
  3. Figuring out what you want to be when you grow up is hard. I’m still working on it.

    And I never realized Arby’s = RBs = Roast Beef. Seriously. I’m all aglow with new knowledge.

  4. Ah, yes, the ER. I remember my last trip about a year ago after having been hit by a car while on my bicycle. I didn’t want to go, but the police & firemen insisted on getting ambulance’d there. As I’m lying on the table butt-naked all I can hear is the woman next to me screaming. See, while she also had a bicycling accident, she failed to remember to keep all bones on the inside. Silly her.

  5. I’ve read this blog long enough to know how passionate you are about the medical field. It would be a sin to waste that enthusiasm and not go back to school to find something more suited for you than nursing.

    I think it’s totally your calling!

    -just please keep blogging when you return to work. A day with no Aunt Becky is a day not worth living-

  6. Yup.

    I went to school to be a teacher, and the first semester of student teaching, I wanted to pull all my hair out. Mostly the parents and the stupid district crap. So I got my degree and just took an office job until I figured it out. That was in 2001. About a year ago, I finally figured it out, and I’m back in school studying to be a pharmacist.

    My night classes are full of middle aged idiots and just out of high school kids who don’t want to be there. I get what you’re saying about your ex-classmates. I can only hope once I get into grad school it’ll get better…(I have a ton of math/science pre reqs to do, as I got a degree in humanities…)

    I just added you to my twitter, and you’re awesome, you’re the only one who regularly updates! I always have something new to read!

    1. I thought you were telling my story until you got to the part about figuring out what you wanted to do….the wanting to be a teacher, the wanting to pull your hair out, just sucking it up and getting the degree in 2001, the office job…

      Alas I went back to school. First a few classes for an MBA, then the office job wanting me to get a post-bacc in paralegal studies. So, here I am. Making crap for money, wishing I was a SAHM…but honestly way too scared to consider that too…b/c eventually I’d have to start over in the work force. ACK.

        1. What do you mean you have no real skills? That’s just a perception because you have not been practicing in a “real” work environment. I think stay-at-home moms have mad skills that translate well to a work environment like time management, being diplomatic, creating a positive work environment, working well with others, and in your case computer skills and written communication skills. Don’t sell yourself short.

          And I totally did the teacher thing, thought I would love it, and ended up being a nightmare for the same reasons stated above: parents and the district. Oh, and a healthy dose of self-entitlement and narcissism from kids, parents, and administration.

  7. I would have liked to see you in the maternity ward. I think you could help with the pushing as well as play by play for those women who opt out of the mirror. I am SO conflicted about my own career I worked so hard to build. It was my choice to stay at home with my kids but to be perfectly honest sometimes I regret it. Then I wipe an ass or pick a booger and realize it’s better then commuting.

  8. Yes we are…at least I am. I had my first kid before I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am officially a jack-of-all-trades and master of none! I’m a licensed Realtor, a part-time student and a part-time bookkeeper. Mostly I’m just Mom and that’s enough for now.

    I love trying to solve House before the team! Usually I can only guess plot not medical diognosis. Too many mystery novels.

  9. Oh yes, most of us out here are as conflicted. Hence my being a SAHM for the last… forever, after completing a mere 3 years of school with a history major (because that would get me anywhere.) I’ve just now decided to go back to school and I *think* I’m going to do medical practice management. My worry? That I’ll hate it and have to figure something else out. *Sigh*

    (If I could be anything, I’d be an archaeologist. Unfortunately mommyhood doesn’t lend well to trudging around and digging up old shit.)

      1. Not if I actually want to do it outside of the house anyway. If I’m just interested in things a week or two old, I’m in heaven.

  10. i was going to be a famous photojournalist, i was going to go overseas and get shot at while trying to get the perfect picture to send back to the states, the shot that would really bring home whatever war i was shooting overseas…

    and then i realized that i faint at the sight of my own blood. probably not a good choice being a photographer in some war torn country. and oddly enough, it’s why i vetoed nursing in the first place.

    i’m happy at home for the moment, but wouldn’t mind going back to school. i’d still love to do photography- but maybe something safer. like professional portraits or something.

    and, ftr, i’m sitting here thinking ‘holy crap on a stick, i did not realize that Arby’s thing.’

  11. “Precious Moments anything make me want to heave.”

    This statement alone makes me want to make out with you.

    And yes, we’re all very conflicted.

  12. Nope, we’re all conflicted. I want to go back to school, but I don’t know what I want to do. In my dream world I open up a store that sells yarn and coffee/chocolate. It’s called String and Bean… Then I remember I have 2 kids, neither of whom are remotely old enough to pawn off on the school system.

    1. @stefanie Apparently the RB’s thing is actually after the founders of the joint and not from what I described, but I use it anyway and I actually stole it from my friend. I’m not nearly so clever.

      My friends are, though.

  13. So when you go back to school and kick ass, you’ll become DOCTOR Aunt Becky. That is awesome!

    Umm…so I work in a hospital right now as a tech, right? And yeah, on your Slide Show, you show the pads that we put under the patient as blue? But where I work, they’re pink?”

    This is why I think the human species is doomed.

    1. @Coco I’m pretty sure we’re doomed and my classmates made me wish I were dead. My soul shriveled up while I was in nursing school. Blogging makes it plump up nicely. Seriously, it’s like a restorative tonic for the soul.


    2. In a transportation engineering class (a JUNIOR level class) the prof was talking about how railroad tracks are laid out in general, with the ties and the rails and the rocks. And this girl raises her hand and is all “Um, that’s not always true, because in an intersection, they have concrete between the rails.” I think the prof wanted to strangle her. Well DUH! I fear for the people of our nation that she might be designing buildings now.

  14. I swore I would never be a housewife and SAHM. But here I am, loving it! Except for the days when I hate it, and feel like I’ve lost all sense of self.
    Yes we are all so conflicted.
    But thank you for clearing up the whole ARby’s= RB’s thing. That is the gem that has truly changed my day.

  15. Yes, we are all that conflicted. I’m smack dab in the middle of my mid-life crisis myself.
    Also? Is a PhD in virology a real thing? Because if it is, maybe I’ll do that. That sounds fun.
    And finally? The inane questions are why I can’t return to a classroom. So I recently enrolled in an online class. And you know what? They make you “talk” on a message board, and people are even worse on the internet!! Who knew?

    1. Yes, we are all that conflicted. I’m smack dab in the middle of my mid-life crisis myself.
      Also? Is a PhD in virology a real thing? Because if it is, maybe I’ll do that. That sounds fun.
      And finally? The inane questions are why I can’t return to a classroom. So I recently enrolled in an online class. And you know what? They make you “talk” on a message board, and people are even worse on the internet!! Who knew?

      Um, what is the weird picture next to my name?

  16. “works pretty much at the same rate he consumes oxygen”

    I’m totally stealing this to explain my husband’s career.

  17. You’re lucky in that your passion offers some redeeming quality — that you at least have the potential to be valuable to society. What I’m really good at (marketing) is Sofa King useless to anyone, save for the few people whose salaries depend upon my skills.
    It’s pretty evident by how you take the time to get to know all the people who chime in on this blog that you care deeply. However that shakes out, you should be happy knowing that you’re at least on the right track.

    1. @Ed I’ve fallen into blogging totally by accident without knowing I had any aptitude for it (ha. APTITUDE. That word rules) and I take great pride in it.

      I’ve met so many fucking sweet ass people and while it’s a hobby, I take it seriously. Also? It’s my social life. And I try to use it for good. Mostly. Except for when I talk about my ass.

      And you are a brilliant writer. I want people to read you more. Must tell people to read you. HEY PEOPLE, READ MY FRIEND ED.

      1. See? There’s you caring about people again. Just for being so nice, I’ll totally let you grab my boob if we ever meet.

        Yeah, there’s no way to write that without sounding REALLY creepy. Don’t know how you manage it.

        1. @Ed Now I’m just trying to imagine you with a set of real boobs. Not man boobs (moobs) but like a set of knockers. And it’s kind of making me laugh and I love it. Not creepy–FUNNY.

      2. I am LOVING Ed!! I went to his blog one day after one of his comments on here…something about lollipop kids. He is funny, and moving, and I am totally captivated by the ‘Ear Saga’. :o) I am hoping against hope THIS doctor is THE ONE!! (my only complaint – he takes far to long to make new posts!!) :o)
        Today, I can’t read about Ethan…something wrong with blogger, or something. sigh.
        And Ed, I was the anonymous responder for the Gilligan phrase. I don’t have a blog, and it wouldn’t let me leave just an email address. So. There. :o)
        Aunt Becky, I am a stay at home mom. I earned a paycheck for about 15 years, as a Graphic Designer. Fancy word for ‘Girl Idiots Yell at on the Phone’. Once my 9 month old is a little older, I am thinking about school. Again. But at 37, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
        You make me laugh. I wish you could earn money from this blog. I’d pay to read you. But, not like, if I had to fill out a form or something…more than 3 steps, and I’m out.
        I have poop to dispose of.

        1. OK, that’s it. When I make my first million I’m having real boobs installed and you each get one. Big 6-boobie hug time!

          1. YAY for boobies. You should totally get a set of hooters. You could make a FORTUNE off of porn. Although I imagine your wife wouldn’t like that. SORRY ED’S WIFE.

  18. I spent about 10 years in school……took me awhile to make up my mind about the major. Anyway, after getting a job as a paraprofessional, I found my calling. I wanted to teach children in the first or second grade. I wanted to inspire young minds to crave a lifelong love for learning. I wanted to make a difference in the world.

    I graduated from college in an area where at least 500 people apply for the same opening. Many veterans of the profession. About a year later I caught a crotch parasite, and the rest is history.

    I have no desire to be a teacher. At all. I just want to be mom. Classroom mom. PTA/PTO, etc………..I still owe about $15,000 in student loans, oh well. All for nothing.

  19. Yes, we are, because I would do most anything to be able to quit my job and stay at home with my child…though I understand the need for mental stimulation at work. I usually feel like I could do without THIS kind of stimulation…I figure if I’m going to work with adults who act like three-year-olds, I may as well stay home with my own…. I think it is the plight of the working woman…

  20. I am often surprised at how dumb some people are. If I take a class at the local community college, it never fails that on the first day of class, someone will raise his or her hand while the instructor is explaining, say, the grading policy, and ask, “So, I actually haven’t taken the prereq for this class, but I have this totally unique circumstance that wouldn’t apply to anyone else in this room, and I was wondering if it’s okay?”

    THE WHOLE CLASS DOES NOT NEED TO SPEND TIME ON THIS. Even more annoying is if the instructor actually answers the question instead of saying “talk to me about that during the break.”

    Your nursing school classmates probably hated you for having a brain and not being afraid to use it.

    And yes, I’m totally conflicted. I’m 31 and the only thing I know for sure I want to be when I grow up is retired. I’m about ten years into a relatively lucrative professional career and I daydream about being a farmer.

    1. @Zannie I’m almost afraid to go back to school because I need a handful of prereqs and yeah, I TA’d for awhile and got a WHOLE NEW level of sympathy for teachers. Holy balls.

  21. I have an open day to go back to uni this weekend… I’m terrified! But youngest child goes to school next September and Its uni or a minimum wage job…. Blugh. I’d quite like a year at home doing not a lot but I don’t suppose that’s an option πŸ™

  22. Conflicted? Yes.

    I don’t know what I wanna do when I grow up, so for now I will just tend bar.

    P.S. I almost passed out reading this post because all things blood/hospital related make me wanna die. I can’t even hear someone say mucous. (GOD.)

  23. I would thank all the Gods in heaven if I had ever had a member of my medical team with your sense of humor. Just yesterday I wisecracked with my gyno-girl and was afraid she might refer me to the psych ward. Thank God my internist today (because I didn’t study and therefore failed my glucose test) was a bit more witty. Nice enough to even haha with me about the weightfall that is Halloween candy.
    I prefer Butterfingers (Nestle boycott be damned!)while Dr. D. prefers Snickers or Payday. That’s neither here nor there.
    Good for you going back to school! Do something you love…but know that your personality would make any ass you wipe happy.

    1. @Heather Gyno staff often lack senses of humor from having to deal with hormonal women all day long (also, I owe you an email and I have not forgotten). I worked OB for awhile *shudder, shudder*

  24. Yes, we are.

    I wish I could go back and tell myself to enjoy being young and free and having all those choices before popping out a kid.

  25. I am not conflicted…I dreamt of having a job where someone would pay me a decent amount of money to do very little. And then I became a state employee and all my dreams were fulfilled! πŸ™‚ Oh, wait, that’s not what happened. What happened was I wanted to be really good at my job, and be challenged and enjoy going to work every day. Then I encountered these things called bosses, and realized that bosses and contentment in my job were mutually exclusive. So then I found something comfortable to do, because I like a steady paycheck and I have no ideas for running my own business.

      1. My husband claims I have no ambition. I say that I have found a career that allows me to devote the majority of my energy to the important things…like enjoying myself!

  26. I often wonder if I should be an attorney. But then I remember that with law school loans-it’s not like I can do something else. Well, maybe be an escort. Do pregnant women get hired as escorts? Or no?

    1. Pregnant street prostitutes are a niche market, so are the ones without teeth. You asked and I am here to tell the truth. I am an attorney, and no, if you get that loan you will work in law because nothing else will pay those bills, and most of my friends in law are fairly unhappy – only those of us in criminal law like it at all, and that pays the lowest.

  27. I wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I know that what I do is not my favorite, it makes my brain dumb some days, and hurt the next. Ideally, I would like the mister to get a better job so I could be Aunt Becky when I grow up….

  28. My company laid off 2/3 of the staff about a month into my maternity leave, and with the local economy being lousy it made more sense for me to stay home than to work a job that wouldn’t cover daycare. In a way it jump-started my drive to look for freelance work; I was terrified of being “just a mom” without other interests to pursue. It has been slow but I finally feel like
    I am inching toward the right career.

    And I *narrowly* missed having a Precious Moments-themed baby shower. I would not have been able to hide the gag reflex.

      1. I couldn’t hide my disgust when it was brought up, not realizing the woman had a PM-themed shower AND nursery. I covered by telling her about the Super Bowl-themed shower we had for my sister, which was really just an excuse to glut ourselves stupid on hot wings, subs, and nachos.

        Mmm, Skynet cake!

  29. The only thing precious about PM figurines is the sound they make when I throw them, I mean they fall, onto a hard floor as I walk by them in a store.
    Don’t know why that always happens when I am there either…hmmm.
    I have a bunch of degrees and am licensed to do a whole lot of dangerous things, except, sadly, prescribe narcotics, and I stil feel woefully inadequate to do most anything.

    1. @kalakly It’s probably a damn good thing neither of us are licensed to prescribe narcotics or we’d both be blitzed out somewhere together. WAIT, that sounds lovely…

  30. I don’t know about everyone being so conflicted but I sure as hell am. In fact, when I was in school I was all career-oriented and shit. NO WAY was I going to sit home all day taking care of kids when I could be out saving the world (or at least making lots of money). It’s crazy how things change. I love my life, I love that I have kids and that I am lucky enough to stay home with them. BUT I sure do miss feeling useful outside of the house.

  31. Not conflicted about my career. Through luck and good winds (or, as I like to refer to it, a blessing from God Herself) I wound up in a career I never even heard of, in an industry I always thought I would never do well in.

    Conflicted about possibly maybe purchasing a house? Oh yah, you betcha.

    I’d send you my stuffed H1N1 virus as a good luck charm for your PhD program but I need her right now. She’s soft and fluffy and good for cuddling when I’m stressed (Also? Good for throwing at materials managers making outrageous demands).

    1. @Mary Sue Dave has a cadre of virus’s that he can throw at people on his desk at work. Including the bubonic plague. I always give him those for Christmas because I am very thoughtful.

  32. I had to google virology.

    At least you made it through the schooling. You accomplished your nursing degree. More than I ever did. I’ve never taken

    But I’ve seen every single episode of Gray’s Anatomy so, you know, I’m pretty much a doctor.

  33. My ER nurse a few weeks ago was a very nice guy who was also a Cleveland Firefighter. I asked him which job he liked better, and he responded “Firefighter” without hesitation.

    I would imagine that after a few years of being treated like sputum by wacko patients, the whole ER nurse experience gets old.

  34. I’ve caught myself thinking the same way. I was a paramedic. I was not so good with the medical patients, but trauma… OMG… I could TOTALLY rock trauma. I did my time in the ER at a level 1 trauma center and I LOVED it. Well, nearly, I couldn’t take orders from nurses who’d just gotten out of nursing school to do stupid shit. It pissed me off. I mean, I went to school just as long, and, no, I’m not cleaning poop off of your patient.

    I took some time off to take care of my kids, well, actually we moved to deep, deep, south Texas and since I don’t know spanish couldn’t find a job. (They didn’t give a shit that I could speak, read, and write french proficiently.) So, we moved to an area of the country that I could find work in.

    Anywhoo… Now I’m a photographer and a graphic arts student. I actually love it. I’ve quit wondering all about the what if’s of if I had continued to be a paramedic or went to nursing school.

    Probably waaaayyy more than you needed to know.

  35. I got pregnant a year into college… where I was an undecided major. At the time I was leaning towards teaching- I wanted to be an art teacher in an elementary school… but now that I have my own kids I realized I don’t much like the little buggers if I didn’t shoot them out myself- and even then it’s iffy LOL

  36. Becky, you have already accomplished more than many people do in a lifetime. Good for you for wanting to better yourself even more.

    And yes, we all feel conflicted. No matter which side of the fence you’re on.

  37. I am not actually conflicted, I just feel guilty as shit that I am not with my kids, but I way out earn my husband so I can’t stop or cut back working. Instead I do as much as I can doing work hours so I have personal time just for the girls, and then again, there’s that whole guilty feeling thing, too. With a side of guilt. And when they are whiny and crying, or I stay home for three days when the angel of illness visits us, I am so fucking greatful to work outside the home and not be expected to be patient every day.

  38. Do the PhD in virology, you sound MUCH more like a scientist than a nurse. I have a PhD in Biochemistry, do cancer research by day and am mommy to 6 year old twins after 5pm. Its absolutely fabulous!!!!!

  39. My wife struggles with similar themes. She was a teacher before becoming a SAHM, but we both remember how much of a time-suck that job was (think working until 4.30pm, coming home for dinner, then more prep and marking until 8.00pm or later) and are concerned about how the kids and I will manage more or less on our own. It’s not like I can’t do it, but I’d effectively be a single working dad, something we don’t want for anyone.

  40. Darling, CONFLICTED is my middle name. I miss being a productive, working member of society. (Don’t get your shorts in a wad…I KNOW that being a mother is the most productive work on the entire planet. BUT, it would be nice to get dressed in the morning, go to a job, use some of my remaining brain cells, grab my paycheck and go home.)

    However, my kids are 9, 7, 3, and 2. Who the HELL is going to take care of them if I’m at work? And exactly WHAT kind of job would I need to get in order to PAY for such costly childcare???

    Can you hear that? It’s the sound of me banging my head on the table.

  41. If you could be a nurse like Nurse Jackie, you know, stealing pills from the automatic pill dispenser and boning a doctor or two in the orderly closet, that’d be cool…..yeah….that’d be cool…

  42. I hate Precious Moments. HATE. And my mom (RN) and husband (LPN, working towards RN) love nursing, but both want to avoid ER with a passion. And I’ve heard horror stories about the med/surg staff. I’d be scared to work there. BUT, regarding taking awhile to get there: mumsy didn’t get her RN until she was in her late 40s. My husband went back to school in his mid-30s. I jettisoned law school for an education degree at 27, but now, 31 with one child, I’m realizing that I really don’t want to teach high school forever. So I’m a little stuck and a little panicked, but hey, it’ll all come clear in the end, right?

  43. I started out wanting to do nursing, but I am not nice enough. This is how I ended up working in a prison. Now, I’m a not-so-nice caseworker who occasionally still gets to help the mentally ill and developmentally disabled which is probably my true calling anyway! πŸ™‚

  44. Oh hell yes we’re all so conflicted. Well, I am anyway. As a side note, I wanted to say that I see a lot of people going into nursing now, not because they have any desire to be a nurse or be in a, you know, HELPING profession, but because they think they’ll make big bucks and have a steady job.
    They ain’t gonna make it.

  45. I was an adrenaline junkie at the beginning of my Nursing Career, worked surgery, ICU, ED, got burned out on it and now I’m a professional problem solver as a telephonic nurse care manager. I also liked homecare. Virology sounds way cool, and organisms Stand No Chance before your Vodka Mommyness!

  46. Yes we are all conflicted. I always remember this saying when I am in conflict- when in doubt do without. My husband is an ER doc and if you knew some of the stories you would count your blessings that you were out of the ER!!!

  47. First time commenter, but I live for your new posts every day…

    Yes, we are all conflicted. If you want that Ph.D. in virology GO GET IT!!

    I am amazed that I can still muster some enthusiasm on your behalf about this. I am in the midst of writing my dissertation (not virology, but meh, close enough), and I want to gouge everyone’s eyes out (including my own).

    With passion, it is totally rewarding. I don’t regret getting a Ph.D. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into – those shitty bosses, and being exploited, and taking orders? Yep, they happen to Ph.D. candidates too. It makes me sad when I see how many bright people leave because they’re sick of dealing with the assholes. On bad days I wonder if I should have done something else. Then I remember that I am over-educated for any kind of job requiring remotely practical skills, and I am under-experienced to get the Dr. BigBucks science jobs yet, and I am too far in debt to say “fuck it, I quit”. On good days none of this matters at all.

    If you love virology then it will all be worth it – forge ahead – AUNT BECKY, PH.D. !!!

  48. oh my GOD, i am also so conflicted!! and, you totally should have stayed in the ER, i bet you were a killer ER nurse. (but not “killer” as in “Angel of Mercy/Angel of Death” way) if i had a wee more confidence and a boatload more experience, ER would be fun.

    i happen to love surg (not sure about where you are, but med floors here are mostly old people. yikes! (and before you non-medical people get all huffy about me being all “down with old people” let me tell you: old people = brain cells leaping off a brain cliff like lemmings + eyeballs rolling so far back in your head you can watch them + possible DEATH from BOREDOM)), but surg is not for everyone, i guess. pfft, who *wouldn’t* want a diabetic fresh post-op skin grafts with a broken arm and a broken leg.. on opposite sides of the body, with a side of multiple abrasions? aka “i fell off my DONORcycle”

    you can’t buy that kind of fun.

    god, i miss nursing.

  49. Yay for conflicted! I still haven’t met anyone interesting who’s not. Something to do with knowing that there’s grey in between black and white and nuance blablabla. Anyway. Substitute “teacher” for “nurse” and “textbooks” for “blood and guts” and I completely agree with you.

  50. Yes I think we are all conflicted. I wanted to be a journalist but after sucking at school floated around doing various jobs (bar work, canoeing instructor, bumming around the world) I’ve now decided to stick with the HR job, mainly becuase I like the hiring and firing. I spend most days wishing I could afford to be a SAHM until I’m off on holiday and then I long to be back at work without Chick!!!! Mainly I think I’m needing to win the lottery!!!!

    PHD in Virology sounds fun……maybe I’ll try that in my next life πŸ˜‰

  51. Wow, I really hope I don’t end up with classmates such as those when I go to nursing school. I don’t think I’d be able to keep my smartass mouth shut. Oh, and I currently work on the M/S floor and yeah, you aren’t kidding about it being the Ass/Butts floor. Thankfully, as a Ward Clerk/Unit Secretary I’m required at the desk more often than not.

    The inner conflict is normal for most. Honestly, nursing school is the last thing I ever expected for myself. I planned to become a teacher but a year of substitute teaching after high school broke me of that line of work. I do love the medical field and hope that my current knowledge I have picked up (read: begged off my co-workers) will help me out later.

    1. @Jamie My classmates weren’t actually stupid, trust me, they just…I don’t know. Some of them were stupid, not all. I hope you avoid the people who drone on like that.

      And HA! Ass/Butts floor is spot on, eh? Enjoy not messing with the Code Browns while you can avoid them.

  52. Oh absolutely. I’ve been working on my PhD for what feels like forever, and it’s taking this long because…life happened. All this other stuff gets in the way, and as much as I want to finish my degree, the other stuff is important too and it’s hard to prioritize. Some days I just want to be able to stay at home with my kid and be a happy housewife (okay, that last bit might be pushing it), other days I wish I had unlimited time to devote to my thesis, and other days I’m grateful to walk out the door in the morning and go to my job. In the meantime I try to do all of those things, at once…

  53. Completely conflicted.

    I can totally argue with myself inside my own head sometimes.

    Maybe that’s not conflicted. Maybe that’s just plain crazy.

    Having this third kid has completely done me in! πŸ™‚

  54. I’m conflicted about lots of things. Mostly I’m conflicted about the children question– when? why?– and whether or not I want fries with that. (I’m not so conflicted about my work. I really like Science. What I get tired of is all the crap that comes with doing the phd thing.) So, you know, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.

  55. Re: Arby’s and “epiphones:”

    “Epiphone” = musical instrument

    “Epiphany” = aha-type realization, frequently accompanied by a smack to the head

    Sorry, grammar nit here. Carry on….

    1. @Kim Damn spell check! I’d never heard of an epiphone before.

      One time I got an entire email critiquing one of my pages. An entire email. I had no idea how to handle that. I mean, there’s noticing an error and there’s that. I was slightly hurt by the email but wowed by the determination that this took.

  56. I work full-time and I do really like (almost love) my job most days, but I miss my kids. I feel all kinds of mommy guilt about being a working mom. Luckily my job is flexible, so I can work around schedules. I also carry the health insurance for our family, my husband is self-employed, so I am the “repsonsible” one. Someday, when the wee ones are older, I plan to go back to law school. To practice? Maybe not, but I miss higher education. Is there something wrong with me? Conflicted? Oh yeah.
    As far as precious moments go? Hate them, love you.

  57. I usually read all of the posts to make sure that you don’t have too much redundancy going on but right now I just don’t care.

    This post talked me down off a ledge, if I were on a ledge, but I’m not, so I’ll save it until I am on a ledge.

    I went to law school for a year and a half. I had to quit because I was getting divorced, starving and well another set of exams was going to turn me into a cutter.

    So during said separation and subsequent divorce I met my current husband at school. So this is how a lot of conversations with new people go (and I live in a new town so there are a lot of conversations with new people):

    NP: So you met your husband in law school?
    Me: Yes.
    NP: Oh, so you’re a lawyer too?
    Me: No, blah blah blah blah (explaining the situation briefly and tactfully as quickly as possible while seeming casual and feeling immense shame)

    We now have a 16 week old daughter and going back to law school would mean starting all over (kill me) and commuting an hour and a half 3 nights a week. We talk about this on a weekly basis. My husband is concerned that I would go back to bondo the shameful hole left in my intellectual soul rather than doing it because I wanted the degree and wanted to use it. Pity, he’s right.

    Sooo…now I am apprenticing with a dog trainer – go figure. I said I would forget all about law school if I could find something fulfilling to do for a living. This does afford me the ability to be able to forego child care as I can take her with me to market and show off my dog’s mad skills in public. Will she look at me one day and see me as a failure and lose respect for me? This is my worst nightmare.

    What do I tell my baby girl? Life is full of decisions we don’t want to make?

    1. @Hatar I think that your daughter will look at you one day and see that you did what you had to do to get through and that will be the lesson that she learns. You’ll have time to pursue the dreams you want (law school or no) as she gets older.

      Before I had my son, I was on track for med school and had to switch to nursing school so I could support him as a single parent. A decision I hated. Practical, yes, but personally, not something I could stand doing for long (I got through my days in school telling myself I’d be going back to school soon) and I felt like a huge loser.

      You may end up walking an entirely different path and that’s okay. I put to rest the notion of becoming a doctor when I became a mother because I realized I didn’t want to juggle both. It hurt. A lot. More than I ever let on. I was very ashamed but I let it go eventually.

      Your daughter won’t see you as a failure. She’ll see you as her mother and she’ll love you.

      You’ll find your way. I promise. Be good to yourself. You have time to figure out where you’re going.


  58. I think to be conflicted is to be human…or at least a woman. I love my job, yet I’d love to be able to stay home. Advertising rocks, yet it makes me feel kinda dirty…my nickname for myself is ad whore…

    I wonder what else I could do, what else I should do, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never have the right answer.

    At least you have a solid idea!

  59. Hey, so which exam is required for PhD? GRE? Have you already starting looking at it? I used to believe in “one day when I have more time, I’d…” but this “one day” never comes. And let me tell you – you are gonna be very surprised how much slower our brains become by 30. It used to take me 4 days to prepare to finals on grad math classes (after b/sing most of the semester) and getting straight “A”. at 31, it took me a week to get through a chapter on accounting. And this affects everyone (at least those surrounding me) no matter how smart they are. So, just keep studying, researching the programs…It all takes ridiculous amount of time, believe me. And yup, it might come at the expense of your quality time with orchids πŸ™‚

    1. @Nina it’s the GRE I need to take and you’re SO right. My brain is SO slow now. Which is why I’m going to replace “orchids” with “speed” when I go back to school.

  60. Conflicted? Hell, yes. But then I remind myself that if I get a job outside the home, more people will want something from me, and they can’t be placated with fruit snacks or sex. Well, they could, but it probably wouldn’t bode well for my career.

  61. If you ever decide you want to come to the ER, I will totally make that happen for you. You won’t even need the requisite vomit years in med-surg. Promise. I can hook you up!

    I felt the same way about the ER, only I never left.

  62. As a doctor wannabe I must know — can you anticipate the cause of death on Dr. G: Medical Examiner and/or on Mystery Diagnosis (both so graciously provided by the Discovery Health channel.)

    I absolutely love those shows and I never have any clue why the person died or what all the symptoms meant.

    If you can predict the answers, could we watch one episode on the phone together so I could guess and you could answer before the conclusion of the show?

    1. @Cardiogirl SOMETIMES I can get the cause of death from the symptoms and when I do? It’s AWESOME. I will totally sit on the phone with you and play alone one day.

  63. JesΓΊs, Aunt Becky. Got enough comments?

    Anyway, no, we are not all so conflicted. Only those of us with three brain cells (as opposed to the scientifically proven average, which is two), and those of us who choose to analyze and examine our own happiness at a deeper level. But our conflict breeds challenge, and overcoming challenge to success is one of the truest forms of finding happiness.

    Too deep for a Saturday morning?

  64. Conflicted? For sure! I am an overachiever, and I thought it was awesome that I figured out what I wanted to be and do it by the time I was 22. Well, being a teacher did not work out like I thought. I always wanted to stay home with my kids, and leaving a job that I did not like made it easier. But what happens when they are old enough to be in school all day? I think it’s good that you are listening and honoring that part of yourself. Being honest with yourself and following your heart are two incredible and challenging things to do!

    PS- I FUCKING hate Precious Moments!! My SIL did her nursery in that theme, and I wanted to hurl everytime I saw it!!

    1. @Mommy On The Spot Can I tell you that your PS made me laugh out loud? Thank you for using FUCKING and Precious Moments in the same sentence. I think you’re now my new BFF.

      1. No prob! They are so FUCKING ANNOYING!! You know what else requires the F word which I know is totally unrelated but needs to be mentioned? Oompa loompa people (those kids who spray on cheet-o color tan). Something about that drives me FUCKING nuts!! Just thought I’d share that since we’re new BFFs and all . . .

        1. Oompa Loompa people are pretty hilarious looking too! HA! We don’t see a lot out here in the Midwest, but man, they’re pretty awesome to spot. They look like carrots.

  65. Yep, I’m there all right. I have an awesomely cool job- I’m an archaeologist- and before I had my little bundle of joy I was all panic stations about not wanting to stop working at all.

    And then I had her, and I didn’t think I ever wanted to go back to work, firstly because I love her to bits, and secondly because she’s nearly a year old and she still wakes up eight times a night, and I don’t have a clue how I’d function in a workplace right now.

    But as much as I love her (day and night) I’m now feeling like my brain has turned to pudding, and I desperately need to get back and do something that makes me think more than trying to remember all the lyrics to the Wiggles. I need a teeny little bit of my own space back, and I feel like she needs a little bit of independence, too.

    So, I’ve bitten the bullet applied for a two day a week job. I thought I’d feel upset about the prospect of leaving her at daycare, but honestly all I feel right now is relief.

    Whenever you have the time and energy (ha! ha ha!) I think you should chase down that dream and go kick some viral butt.

    1. @Claire Gregory Good for you, dude. This is me, cheering YOU on! I’m proud of you, and not in a creepy Mr. Rogers way. I know you’ve been through a bunch of hell too and this reminds me that there’s another side.

      I’ve been wading through some residual stuff. This reminds me that there’s an end. Thank you.

  66. Way late in the game… but YES. Actually spent a couple of years being uppity, then transitioned to fully conflicted. I wish I knew – like you do – what it is I want to go to school for. Just have to start going and see what burbles to the surface I suppose. The ER always sounded like fun to me, as well.

    Randomly, “my nurses” (my peeps who are nurses) have all been much smarter (so it would seem) than the ones you went to school with….until I met a neighbor who plans to be a nurse. Oh DEAR. NOW I see where you’re coming from with your experiences.

    1. Sarah, some of the people who are nurses are brilliant and amazing, because, let’s face it, nurses freaking RUN the show. Others, well, they’ll get weeded out in the weed out courses. THANK GOD.

  67. I think the best people are conflicted, mostly because I am (and I’m nothing if not HUMBLE). I racked up an assload of student loans getting a PhD, even though I was pretty sure a year in that I was in the wrong program (I was). I still have constant revelations about what I want to be when I grow up (including nursing! although I’m pretty sure I couldn’t take the orders either), but my husband is basically like, “Ummm, no, bitches.” I suppose he should get a turn at the going back to school. Gah. Ruude. Maybe he’ll choose more wisely than I did.

  68. I’m glad you’re missing your old career, and speaking for myself only, yes, we are all that conflicted. πŸ™‚

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