In the early 90’s I went on to do my nursing clinicals at Loma Linda University Hospital after finishing most of my classes in theology. I was a double major. The last 2 years of Nursing consists of the clinicals and all the technical aspects (injections, IV, catheterizations, care plans, etc.)
Being here for my son’s surgery has made me look back at all those experiences. I spent several days in the hospital in California before Thanksgiving in 2014 because my mother had a hip replacement. Before this, my husband (fiancee at that time) had open heart surgery at the VA by Vanderbilt in 2010. Perhaps all the hospital stays is causing me to have a deluge of memories…but let’s go further back in the 80’s when I was in Elementary School. I did really well in school and I got the inkling that I wanted to be a surgeon when I grow up. My father told me he thought of being a physician but he knew he couldn’t do it because he couldn’t stand the sight of blood. Being a tween, or maybe even younger, I didn’t quite understand why that was or how that would work.
We moved to America between my Junior and Senior year in high school. Going through all these major changes was like an out-of-body experience. In Somatic Relational theory it’s called living a dream–your conditioning has permeated your life completely that it was like being a zombie of sorts. In other words, I was doing enough just to get by. I put too much pressure on myself since I was an overachiever. Doing well in academia was everything. Getting “A’s” was everything. I have totally overlooked my preferences. I just thought, “If someone can do it, I can do it better!” Which worked for a while until I got burned out and exhausted. Introjection was my way of life until…
I couldn’t stay awake through lecture in nursing classes. The teachers were great. They were dynamic. They used different styles but I kept falling asleep! This was so unlike me. I was an overachiever! I’m a sponge for knowledge. I couldn’t understand it. I am usually at the top of my class but in this I was struggling! I kept on keeping on until towards the end of that 1st year during clinicals I started having an aversion to clean hospital linen. As I was driving home one night I had a realization–nursing was NOT for me. I grieved the idea of having a nursing degree finished the last three classes I needed to do to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and graduated. Yes, it’s a success story because I eventually got into graduate school and got a doctorate in psychology and flourished in my own private practice for 10 years.
I have taken a break from practicing to write but not only that I’m having to take care of my husband and son who both have their own disabilities. They both have to go through major surgeries and recoveries that require extended hospital stints.
As I watch the nurses do their jobs here, I couldn’t help but reminisce about that short time I spent working in the hospital. I don’t miss it. I realize now that I could have never done it. I’ve become way too squeamish even more than my dad.
Writing it down helps me confront that conditioning/introjection.
Thank you for reading.