Sunday, April 6, 2014

Where I want to be

Throughout Jr. High and HS I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse. There was no doubt in my mind that it was what I wanted to do. Growing up with a chronic illness and being around the hospital setting, I knew that I had a lot of empathy and it would be something that I was good at. 

I went to college and immediately declared nursing as my degree without a second thought. The first year of college was tough. I, admittedly, failed my anatomy class and nearly failed my biology class. It was incredibly discouraging and I shed a lot of tears over it. I my advisor didn't advise me very well in the classes that I took together, and so my course load was very difficult. I also was not used to the university classes, and having classes with hundreds of students was new to me. I was used to getting one on one attention definitely didn't understand the concept of how much studying it took to pull off classes like that. 

But I pursued on, knowing that I had a better grasp of what to expect. I knew I'd have to retake those classes over again, but I wasn't about to give up on being a nurse. My second year of college I took classes like physiology and chemistry, and while I did a lot better, I was still left disappointed in the outcome. Finals killed me and dropped my score quite dramatically. But I didn't fail and I passed with an acceptable grade.

My third year of college I finally started to second guess my major. Was nursing really something that I wanted to continue to pursue? I was beyond frustrated with classes, I wasn't having a fun time, and while I loved learning about it, it just wasn't what I expected it to be. I also doubted my ability to get into nursing school. With taking care of Spence, classes and working, I hardly had time for a social life, yet I was told I still needed to volunteer on the side as well as other things. I found that I excelled in classes like writing, family studies, human development, and decided that I would change my path. 

I was very happy declaring a major to be a child life specialist. It's something I had once before considered doing, but never followed up on. I loved my Child Life Specialist when I was in the hospital as a kid and I knew that it would be something I'd love to do! I started classes for that my third year of college and really enjoyed them. I felt comfortable where I was at.

But then Spencer got incredibly ill which forced me to withdraw from classes and school and spend every second of every day with him (which I wouldn't change for the world!) For a short time after his death I still wanted to continue on with that major. But after researching it and talking to several people about it, I started to second guess my decision, again. Though I don't think it was just about whether I would be happy with that as my career, but my whole life as I knew it and had planned it had been changed in the blink of an eye. A whole new world opened up to me that I never had the possibility of considering before. 

For at least a year after Spencer died I felt completely lost. I didn't know what I wanted to go back to school for. I didn't know who I was or who I wanted to become. My identity died with him. Because before I defined myself as Spencer's wife, his caretaker. That's really all I was. And while I was with Spencer, I was completely okay with that. I was comfortable with it and I didn't WANT to have it any other way. I loved being a wife and it was an honor to love and care for him. But when that part of your life disappears, what are you left with, you know?

Getting involved with lab work was a huge step in the right direction for me. Everything fell into place perfectly and almost a year and a half later I couldn't be happier with the career path that I've been taking. I LOVE working in the lab. It is very fascinating for me. I learn something new every day and things are always different. 

I find that I come home from work nearly every day very satisfied and happy. I love the people I meet and get to work with. I love the challenge of drawing blood, even though there are days where it gets very frustrating. I love the science behind everything that we do. I love being able to put two-and-two together with a patients lab results and discover what is going on. Our work in the lab is vital, and it is rewarding. I feel so good about what I do. It is a huge relief to honestly fit in somewhere so well. I know it is where I belong. To KNOW without a doubt in my mind, that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It's always changing and always growing. The opportunities and possibilities with lab work are endless. 

I'm excited to go back to school to become a tech. My supervisor and co-workers have expressed multiple times how much they want me to come back to DCH and be a tech there. I don't know what I'm going to do, but it's always nice to be wanted :) I talked with my supervisor the other day during lunch, and while I can't publicly say a few things that made me ecstatic, (I wish I could!!!) I am excited to be able to learn more in the lab! On the slow mornings in the lab where there is little going on and little micro to do, I am going to go back into micro with Karen here and there and do it with her. Learn more about it which I am VERY excited about as microbiology is my favorite! She also said that she'd do some more microscope work with me and that we'd try to get into some manual diffs (counting the cells out through the microscope vs. the analyzer) so I can start being able to identify the different types of cells. :) She already shows me a lot through the microscopes, but half the time I don't really understand what I'm looking at. So I'm looking forward to getting some more experience in the lab before I go back to school. The more I have, the better off I will be! 

But aside from my job, I've done a lot of growing and have discovered a lot about myself. I've finally started to reclaim and shape my identity and while it has been difficult, confusing, and sometimes full of tears, it's been fun creating what kind of woman I am and who I want to be. I've been so happy lately with who I am. I'm still getting comfortable in my own skin and I will always be discovering who I am, but it is nice to have a better idea than I did a year ago. 

I am just honestly so happy. It's been a long time since I've been able to look back at nearly every day with a smile on my face. Since I've been able to honestly say that I love my life. I feel like I now have a lot to look forward to. It may be quite a ways in the distance, but it's there. Tangible, where it wasn't before. 

To know my place in life, what I want to do, who I want to be, and, in general, who I am is a very satisfying thing.