The 9-5 part of the job is not a problem. I appreciate the days that I know I can go home and fix supper without work interruptions, do some laundry, help everyone get their homework done and keep them on task, get the kids to bed and enjoy some quiet time. We take a 1 in 3 call schedule--52 weeks a year--for the last nine years. That means that 2-3 days/evenings/nights are not my own, nor do they belong to my family. . .They are devoted to my job. If the phone rings, I must answer it; if problems come up, I must solve them; if someone needs me I MUST GO--no matter what. It doesn't matter if I have a cake in the oven to supply for a funeral dinner, or if I am in the middle of a board game with the kids, or even if I have a vomiting 1 year old--My job HAS to be the priority. Someone's life might depend on me! Excuse my quote from the first Spiderman movie--but the first time I heard it, it struck a chord so mighty in my heart that I have never forgotten it. Peter's uncle said to him "Pete, with great power comes great responsibility." That SO explains my job. That quote has carried me a long time.
However, the kids are getting older and 2 of them will be involved in many activities over the next few years. This last year I missed a lot of events because of my on-call responsibilities. With the age difference between the oldest and the younger two, there will be a lot of individual and unique needs going on in my household for the next several years. That made me stop and ponder my life. I have come to the conclusion that, while I can help so many people through my work, if I screw up my own kids, they can be more detrimental to themselves and to society that my efforts with the public will be in vain. Which leads me back to my resignation.
I am hoping to continue to see patients in the clinic 1-2 days a week. The Board of Directors has already offered this opportunity back to me. And I was thrilled. They will be making decisions regarding how they will fill my vacancy from full time call and clinic time. I will also continue my job at the family planning clinics in Oklahoma. I have come to view this job as a mission field (that deserves it's own blog in the future). For now I will just say that I have had an incredible opportunity to teach, listen, parent, and advise many women--some that needed more help than others. I have seen a huge number of girls age 13-17 with more partners than any one person should be allowed to have and I truly think that I am making a difference in their lives. I feel that the Lord is directing my words and teaching to be individualized to what each of those young women need to hear to change their lives. I don't have a canned speech that goes across the board. Each conversation I have is unique and different. It has been an exceptional experience! Now don't get me wrong--there are still women that I just want to smack 'em when I leave, but most are receptive and concerned! (Oh my, see how easy it is for me to climb on the soapbox??)
Anyway my resignation is effective Dec 31. And in the fall, I will cut the family planning days down until after the holidays. The actual point of this blog was to highlight some of the things that have been heavy on my heart the last few weeks--THE LIST--things that I will not miss about my ER/call job, and things that I will miss!! Enjoy!!
Things I will NOT miss about being on call:
--Blood. I hate blood, and I truly hate LOTS of blood in one place at one time. It's gross--plain and simple.
--Dislocated appendages. Double ick--almost worse than blood. I am becoming quite good at re-locating fingers-but it is gross--makes a grind/pop noise and the sensation I get under my fingers from their fingers is GROSS--plain and simple!
--Full moons. I'll bet I will never again know when the moon is full unless I see it myself. For instance, several weeks ago I received a call from the hospital at 11:00 at night regarding a mental health patient who was quite delusional. I thought as I walked to the back door to go out to my car "wonder what the moon is like?" Guess what? It was FULL. HMMM. People that is NOT a myth--ask anyone who works in childcare or a nursing home! They'll tell ya!
--Blatant disrespect for my time. People will never cease to amaze me. Unless you have worked in a hospital, you would not believe the people that will come to the ER instead of the clinic as a convenience issue for themselves (example--couldn't get off work to come, have to work today at 6 am, so I come in at 4 am so you can write me a note, etc etc). People with no insurance also present to the ER because they have to be treated whether they can pay or not, whereas a clinic can refuse to see you unless you pay your bills. These people usually come at supper time.
--Living in fear of my phone ringing!
Things I will TOTALLY miss about being on call:
--intriguing experiences like delivering a baby, working with lost mental health patients in the middle of the night, and removing a bug from someones ear canal only to discover that the bug is actually over an 1 inch in diameter with HUGE wings and the beadiest eyes ever!
--heart to heart visiting with the staff at 3 am because I know I won't be able to sleep when I get home anyway!
--being in the right place at the right time to be able to make a difference in the life of someone, especially when they are sick or injured. That difference has sometimes been the difference between life and death! Some of my most rewarding experiences took place in that ER!
--I am a teacher at heart. I love to teach--school children and adolescents, patients, and my staff. I usually cannot refrain from teaching anyone that will listen to me about cool new things I have seen or how I reached a conclusion about a more difficult case. Consistently my best audience is the nurses I work with!
--I will totally miss the excitement of the unknown. For the most part, I am NOT an adrenaline junkie. In fact, I don't really like the stomach butterflies, the heart racing or the dry mouth I get in response to the sound of the ambulance call over the radio. However, there is an incredible rush of emotion and feeling after conquering a huge challenge--that is the feeling that I will miss!
--And lastly, with my sheepish guilt--I will miss the days where my kids are misbehaving HORRIBLY, and I am glad for the excuse to say "OH, gotta go, see ya later-don't kill each other or tear the house down before I get home!"
So there it is, though certainly not all-inclusive! There are many more things that I will and will NOT miss about my ER duties. I think that this will be a good change for now, and my family and I are excited about it!
Tomorrow we are headed out on the family adventure. We have been looking forward to this for months and plan to meet up with my whole family--21 of us in all--to hang out for a long weekend in the Branson area. Praying for a safe trip for all!