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.
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?