Once upon a time I thought I would go to nursing school. This was not decided on a whim, it was percolating in the back of my mind for decades, but the idea stayed nicely in the back of my mind as I got on with other things in life. Like getting married, having children, having more children, and having yet more children, staying home to raise them, and occasionally taking a class here and there. Don't misunderstand me here: I did exactly what I wanted to do for my career. I fought long and hard with a husband who didn't have experience with women who chose to stay home and raise a family and could hardly believe it was possible to live with one income. To his everlasting credit, he sucked it up, exercised enormous amounts of faith, and supported me in what I know was the right thing for our family. We now have the "I'm so glad you stuck to your guns and we did it the way we did" conversation although more often than not, I feel like I am on the other side of the argument with "I wonder how screwed up my children are because they had a crazy mom at home in their face their whole lives growing up?" But that is a story for another day.
When the older kids were in college I thought that it was finally my time to start but just when it came time to commit to a program, life again jumped in the way and I thought, "Well, that was fun but I guess it's not what I'm to be doing."
Fast forward 3 years and through a series of what I can only call miracles, I was accepted into a nursing program that has turned out to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It's hard for so many reasons but here are a few:
- It's an accelerated program that is mentally overwhelming. I feel sometimes that I haven't taken a single class to prepare me for what we are learning and that everyone is speaking a different language. Add to that a couple of outright insane teachers and a time frame that expects me to learn a semester's worth of information in one month. Reading a 1,200 page textbook in a month has become the norm. But, with lots of prayers and a very supportive and forgiving family, I have been able to spend the necessary time to keep my straight A average.
- It is physically exhausting to be a nurse. Here again I have been so blessed to have a doctor that began mentally kicking my behind last year and has helped me lose weight and get fit. I have good shoes (seems like a small thing but I always have had foot issues) that enable me to work 12 hours a day running, standing, walking and never once have my feet hurt. My legs get tired but it's no worse than anyone else in the program is feeling and they are mostly 15-25 years younger than I.
- The stress level is more than I have ever experienced. There are so many ways to be dropped from the program that I have to be vigilant on all sides at all times to maintain the testing average, class average, additional computer program testing average... Every time a class finishes, I find myself sleeping on and off for 2 days and then it's time for another class.
This month's course is very laid back with class only once a week and the rest of the time quite easy with zero stress. I decided that I would sneak off to Texas to meet a boy I haven't met and spend time with two wild children and their parents. It was going to be a surprise---just show up at their door. It's not often I feel like that can happen but Kit is going there the day after, Allan and Kacey are driving through 2 days after that so I knew they would be home. I have been getting so excited and haven't allowed myself to call or talk with them because I didn't trust myself to not say anything that would give it away. Today, I left the house at 4:00 am and arrived at the airport ready for my trip only to get to the counter 3 minutes late. Three minutes? The woman at the counter seemed to feel the need to teach me a lesson about being on time to the airport. She said that in those three minutes they had given away all the standby, it would take too long to go through security (and if you know Fresno, you can get through the whole process in 10 minutes) and were nearly loaded and ready to take off and the flight was closed. The end. What? What? I stood there unbelieving and was in such shock that I could only hang my head and cry, gulping back sobs. She did offer me the one seat on the 6:00 flight for a mere $1,000 dollars more (this is a flight on a propeller airplane to LA---something wasn't right) or I could leave at 2:30 this afternoon and arrive at midnight, 8 hours of travel and a terrible arrival time. In the end, she graciously changed my flight until tomorrow, "But you must be at least 30 minutes early" (insert grumpy face here), all the while I can barely talk having tears streaming down my face.
And so I'm mad! Mad at the lack of compassion and ridiculous officiousness of airport personnel. Mad that I was late. Mad that I could only stand there crying. Mad that my short 5 day visit is now cut down to 4 (was it really too much to ask for?). Mad that I can't quit crying and just get over it. I tease that this program is causing us to have PTSD, but it's not really a joke. I spent the week before last crying over every single little thing that happened. And now this. I should feel grateful I still get to go. I should feel happy that we have the money for this opportunity. I should have perspective that it's a minor set-back, no big deal, whatever. But I can''t generate those feelings. I crawled in my bed, have been crying all morning, and am at the point where I just don't care anymore (see what I meant about the whole reading my journal stuff?) I have no reserves left. 11 months of nursing school has taken a toll that I am incapable of overcoming at this minute. I'm pretty sure that will change in a few hours and I'll find perspective, but right now, I'm just mad. And so, so, sad.