Friday, April 15, 2011

The Reason Why I'm Here

I'm afraid in starting this little story, I've become caught up in daily details rather than telling the story of how I came to be who I am today.  I wanted to write this journey down, so that I can remind myself where I come from on the bad days.  Be that as it may, I can't ignore the path that I am traveling in the present.  So today...first clinical in a real hospital.  Went pretty well.  I didn't want anything unexpected thrown at me on my first day, but I was assigned to the orthopedic surgery/rehab unit and I was moderately bored the entire day.  Useful:  getting the feel of a day at the hospital, seeing the charting, the medication protocols, the way the staff collaborate with each other.  Same old same:  patients were all elderly or almost elderly, work was mostly nurse assistant stuff that I have been doing for a very long time, and other students were two floors up getting to do actual nursing tasks like catheters.  I really like the clinical instructor that is helping out now, and during my lunch break I wandered down to OB to peak in the nursery window, and got to see a fresh-from-the-womb baby being looked over.  Made my day.  Also, tonight is my TV night:  The Vampire Diaries is my favorite show and Nikita is getting pretty fun to watch too.  Then I get to sleep in tomorrow since I have a rare day off from school.  Big pathophysiology test Monday morning and it's a work weekend, so tonight is my "night off."

I guess I should really begin at the beginning then.  I was a girl with something of a rambunctious streak--I waited tables at a local truck stop cafe, I smoked, I drove a brand new cherry red Pontiac Sunfire (an awesome car for a seventeen year old). My closest friends were boys who were a few years older.  I treated boyfriends pretty badly, always considered them sort of disposable in a way.  I got decent grades, but I dropped out of high school the last semester of my senior year because I hated it and I never wanted to go.  I had an awesome high school guidance counselor who was very patient with a headstrong seventeen year old who quit high school 1.5 credits shy of graduation.  When I figured out that a high school diploma was a good thing to have almost two years later, he made it possible for me to finish the credits and graduate. I should also note here, that I have always been somewhat of a dork.  You know the type-- glasses, braces, reads a lot, skinny, athletically challenged.  Boobs showed up waay late and at 17, I just went the other way from scrawny nerd.

Nearly all my female friends got pregnant within a year or two of graduation, so by 20, I knew the unplanned pregnancy drill pretty well.  Baby daddy had absolutely no long term potential so he would either split right away or stay and make life hell.  Nothing ever went really wrong in any of these pregnancies and they mostly left with healthy babies.  A few of them turned out to be good parents, but many, I'm sad to say, did not.  I thought the kids were cute and all, but I also noted that they were a major buzzkill.  I determined not to have any until at least age 30 or never.

Work wise, I waited tables for nearly the first four years of my working life at a truck stop cafe.  It was not a healthy environment for a teenage girl who's parents set her curfew at 10:30 pm and drug her to church every Sunday.  Really it wasn't a healthy environment for anyone.  Plenty of older burnouts who didn't mind buying a minor a pack of cigarettes (or selling her drugs for that matter).  My first real boyfriend was a cook there, though, and I still look back with great affection on how young and impetuous we were.  Kids.  Anyhow, I got fired for perpetual tardiness about four years in.  I waited tables at another restaurant for awhile and then started working at a nursing home as a certified nurse aide.  I didn't expect to like it at all, but it turned out I was pretty good at it.  Around this time I also started attending college at the local university....or as I like to refer to that time--racking up student loan debt while never going to class.  I was a pre-pharmacy major, but I never took a single serious class, and I believe I passed about 3 classes from 3 semesters of college.  Oddly, while I was flunking out of my second semester of college due to nonattendance, I thought I might change my major to nursing.  I started looking into nursing programs and found one across the state that based their acceptances off a pre-nursing entrance exam.  My dad drove me over to take the test and I somehow scored high enough to get accepted for the following fall.

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