Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm Trying Not To Talk Myself Out of This Shit

I'm 34.

Let's just say that my personality, at this point, is fairly entrenched. Most likely, I ain't changing.

Which is a shame in some regard, since I'd like to be able to look you square in the eye and tell you that I relish this new role and that I cannot wait to jump headfirst into nursing school and a new career. I wish I could trump the genes that have landed me in the afraid of change segment of the population, and the doubt myself severely segment of the population, and the who? me? segment as well.

As I continue on in school, I've been asked a few times lately why I chose nursing. After essentially getting a degree in reading and writing, why the seismic shift into something science-based? Why the leap from Holden Caufield to IVs?

And as cliched as it sounds, it boils down to the concept of helping. I'd like to be in a position to offer what I can, be it compassion or pain relief or basic care to a neglected populace. And I've always found medicine interesting, and treatment, and the fixing of people in general.

But I am also a terrified person. Anxiety-prone. Depression-prone. There are parts of me that are massively tough, but many other parts that are not. The other day I had some routine blood work done. While I was waiting, I watched a young girl of about 7 or 8 and her father come in and get shepherded back into one of the rooms. She looked wickedly pale and moved slowly. Clearly wintertime might not be the best season to judge someone's health by their color, but she looked unwell to me. I heard her small cry as the needle punctured a vein, and watched her father bring her back out into the waiting room, where he got her coat back on and zipped, patting her on the head and murmuring to her about how brave she was. And I had to bury my head in the Sports Illustrated that I was reading and bite my lip because I was truly about to cry.

Just the concept of a sick child getting tests was enough to send me reeling, and so naturally, I ask myself the question. Am I tough enough for this job?

I realize that not every area of medicine is an emotional minefield. But my feeling is that I'm not going into nursing to find some safe area where I never encounter anything sad.

I also realize that coping skills can be learned, that there are probably tons of physicians and nurses and all other manner of medical personal who are sensitive, and that perhaps they find ways to build up their exterior so they don't crack. Perhaps they find ways not to bring the heavy shit home.

Because as much as I want to help people, I'm not going into this so I can drive home at the end of the shift, put on my pajamas and curl up on the bed in the fetal position and weep until my eyes swell shut.

There is also the idea that sometimes we talk ourselves out of things that will ultimately benefit us, out of fear of discomfort. So I trudge on, despite misgivings, hoping that I'll eventually find the place I'm supposed to be.


Mrs. Chicken said...

I like your new digs. And your new adventure. I'll be reading when I'm able, but I'm cheering you on all the time.

Kelly said...


De said...

I completely understand what you are saying about talking yourself out of things. My husband and I have these sort of conversations, usually after he's said something unusually harsh that went over poorly and he's trying to explain his way out of it..."I thought maybe you needed Tough Love..."

Just hang in there. You've clearly got the ability to handle the course work, and hard work and knowledge never hurt anyone. One thing I'm learning as I try to break back into the job market is that there are facets that you probably have never imagined to every career, meaning that you can find the right niche if you're persistent.

well read hostess said...

Trudge, Girlfriend, Trudge.
I'm trudging along in your footsteps.

slouchy said...

it's good to see you here. i think you are going to rise to this occasion. actually, i know it.

Lora said...

I don't know anything about nursing, other than they help people. I work with a lot of them (hey! maybe you can come work with me when you're done!) and I've spoken with some of them about the job.

We all agree that our line of work is much easier to DO than it is to WATCH. WHen you are neck deep in it, you just do it. You process it all later, sure, but while you are there, you are focused and you just do it.

YOu are going to be great.

Anonymous said...

You will learn how to cope...but it will be damn hard some days.

Keep at it sister!!


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