Love Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,ENDURES ALL Things...

Murphy's Law...

I never had a slice of bread,Particularly large and wide,That did not fall upon the floor,And always on the buttered side.[1]

Saturday, August 1, 2015

My Favorite Part.

I was going to update the blog two days ago.  I haven't wanted to write in so long.  Then, out of nowhere, I had this sudden urge to write again.  It wasn't fleeting, time just never really permitted.  If I was going to update the blog, I needed to update it before I failed my exit exam at school.  I needed to so that people could understand my position on passing versus failing, because if I were to update it after I failed, no one would believe me.  They would merely pity me and pity is something I don't deal with well.

Just a couple of weeks ago my instructor pulled me aside to tell me his thoughts on where I stood with the class and with the program.  He sat me down and explained that it was his opinion that I should drop.  He sincerely hoped I would come back to finish up the last class the following semester, but it was his opinion that I just was simply not ready. 
In his defense, as if he needed any, I had just completely and totally embarrassed him and myself by thoroughly bombing my oral check-off with the doctor.  I mean, if it could go wrong it did.  If there was a drug you shouldn't push, I mentioned it.  If there was a treatment necessary to prevent cardiac arrest, well don't look at me, I'm not doing it.  Only problem is...  I was doing it.  I was shocking, I was pushing meds, I was titrating fluids...  I was saving this make believe scenario patient's ass...  except nobody knew it, because I wasn't communicating it.

The details as to how I got to be in that chair, looking that man in the face, kept circling in my mind.
  Here I was...  in this chair nearly two years after the first time I sat in that same chair.  Both just as life altering.  I knew he likely didn't remember registering me for the program, but I did.  I remember sitting there, newly separated with 4 kids, no career, no job, no degree, absolutely nothing to my name.  The only thing I actually owned was this vision and I have no idea how this vision even got there, but it did and I remember his words to me, they were:  Good luck.  This profession isn't for everyone.  It's unrewarding and the pay is terrible, but for some reason, those of us who do it,we love it. 

Those words made no sense to me.  I remember the paramedics that loaded my sweet George into the back of the ambulance.  I remember them pushing valium.  I remember them bagging my son.  I remember the gratitude in my heart the exact moment I saw them.  The relief that thank GOD, the outcome as to whether or not my son was going to live was not going to be in whether or not I could save him, it was now in whether or not they could and I knew that if they couldn't, then no one could.  The moment I saw them I felt that relief and I don't even remember what they looked like.  I don't even know if they knew how grateful
I was to them.  How grateful I am to them to this day.  How very much they mean to me.  He couldn't be right then, so he couldn't be right now.  Except...  he was right.  This profession is likely the most thankless on the planet.  Here I was spending countless hours working, clinicalling, studying emergency medicine and the amount of thank yous I have ever actually received could be counted on one hand.  The people whose lives I actually helped to save would never even know my name and the ones that were lost...  I was the last person they saw.  I mean, c'mon...  we all know these people didn't live their lives hoping to stare down some girl's Jew nose prior to their last final agonal breath.  He was right, and in that moment, I was terrified that he was right about my need to drop.  He could tell, I'm sure of it, because he then asked:  If you drop, will you come back next semester? My response was:  no.  He looked at me and said:  That is very sad.

This journey has been terribly long.  Terribly.  I was room
mom, tuck in at night and read bed time stories mom.  I changed diapers and wiped tears.  I rocked my babies to sleep and baked them cookies after school.  I helped them with their homework and took them to church and choir, track and soccer.  I was only ever a mom and now, here I was...  a failure.  I haven't tucked my babies in since this journey began.  Chloe hasn't ran consistently and the boys haven't even heard the word soccer since this began.  I divorced, moved, started a new job in a new career, I went to school full time and when I had the energy, I did my best to maintain my fitness.  I had no one. I lost the majority of my friends and I hadn't slept since I graduated EMT.  My daughter suffered greatly, battling issues of her own...  and I was there for her in every single way that I could be, knowing that it wasn't enough.  I promised them, PROMISED them that this summer when they came back from Grandmas that mommy would be done with school.  Completely finished.  I meant that.  I didn't have an option.  Next semester wasn't going to happen for me and I had to face that fact.  I had to be okay with it.  I had to come to terms with the fact that this last year may have all been for nothing.  I may never actually finish this program and I may never actually be a paramedic.

Ironically, I wanted to quit.  I wanted to quit so many times it wasn't funny.  There were days I could barely keep my eyes open and there were days I didn't even know how the hell I ended up in Montgomery Alabama.  There were days I couldn't even answer myself as to why I was there, in that program, in that profession.  It was so hard, juggling so much, and it became very clear, long before he ever sat me down, that my inability to juggle was causing things around me to come crashing down.

I went home and did the only thing I knew to do... drink.

I poured myself a glass of wine, formulated a game plan, and prepared myself for failure.

I re-did my checkoff.  I passed it.  My English teacher posted my grade.  I got a 92 on my essay and a 96 on my midterm.

I told my instructor that I was going to finish and hopefully pass the course.  I didn't drop.  I spent the next week with my nose in the books and then, two days ago I walked into that classroom for my final class and exit exam...  and two and a half hours later I walked out...  with a passing score.

I wish I could say I was relieved.  Truth is, I'm still not even sure that I believe it.  Not only that, but I still have to pass registry and that's a toss up.

So I'll write what I had planned to write prior to my test.  I'll tell you what I told myself after two weeks of reflection.  Two weeks of asking myself if I believed my instructor.  After two weeks of flashing  back to every single teacher I've ever had.

It's ok if I fail.  It's ok if the course I chose doesn't choose me.  I have told every single one of my children that they can be absolutely anything they want to be they simply have to be prepared to work for it.  I teach them to put their heads down, not in shame, but rather, so they are able to push forward and if they come up short, it's ok, because they showed up.  Showing up isn't easy.  Showing up is the hard part.

Occasionally I fall short.  We all do.  Occasionally I allow other people's opinions of me to become my own and more often than not, I fail to listen to the words I speak to my children.  I sometime forget that God doesn't have favorites.  I sometimes forget that I too am capable.  I sometimes forget that I know me better than anyone and that's a valuable tool.

My kids came home that night and I immediately felt complete.  Here I was, two years after I started this journey and it was finally over.  I did it.  I completed the course and we all survived.

It wasn't all bad.  My kids started a new school where Abby is flourishing.  Chloe found a new friend through a YMCA program that she couldn't possible imagine life without.  My boys are excelling in their new school and I found Dale (a blog all his own).

I don't know if I'll pass registry.  I'll study and I'll do my best and I'll repeat the following as I did in every single marathon I ever ran (and it will be enough):

"The Quitter"
When you're lost on the trail with the speed of a snail And defeat looks you straight in the eye
and you're needing to sit, your whole being says quit You're certain it's your time to die. But the code
of the trail is "move forward don't fail" Though your knees and ego are scarred. All the swelling and
pain is just part of the game In the long run it's quitting that's hard! "I'm sick of the pain!" Well, now,
that's a shame But you're strong, you're healthy, and bright. So you've had a bad stretch and you're
ready to retch, Shoulders back, move forward, and fight. It's the plugging away that will win you the day,
Now don't be a loser my friend! So the goal isn't near, why advance to the rear. All struggles eventually end.

It's simple to cry that you?re finished; and die. It's easy to whimper and whine. Move forward and fight, though there's no help in sight You'll soon cross the lost finish line. You'll come out of the black, with the
wind at your back, As the clouds start to part; there's the sun. Then you'll know in your heart, as you did
at the start. You're not a quitter. You've Won!!    - Gene Thibeault

Lord knows I'd rather fail than quit.  To anyone else school may have been a breeze, or doable, or a nuisance.  For me it was a challenge.  It happened at a time in my life when so many other life altering things were happening.  My passing may have actually been a miracle.  Regardless...  I kept my promise to my kids.  After all that we have been through...  that's my favorite part.


  1. You already know that you've succeeded. You've got your babies. You're finished with the degree. You have got to be one of the strongest people I know, Jen. I'm so happy for you. So damned happy.