Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Put me in coach...

It feels like a very long baseball game is finally winding down after extra innings. After what seemed like an interminable amount of time in school preparing for a nursing program, this old bench warmer is finally having to step up to the plate and hit something, because everyone wants to go home, darn it! I say that tongue in cheek because after being so worried about getting into school, rejected by lotteries and retaking classes I had B’s in for A's,I was too tired to be happy about it when it finally happened…in a trio of acceptances into two bachelors program and one masters program.

I narrowed it down to two. One costs as much as a loaded Lexus and lasts 12 months, the other is much slower paced, less expensive and is a 2-year program. At my age, I should be practical and take door number 2, but I am Bob & Sally’s daughter, so I always do things that are risky and so I go for what Monty Hall is holding in his left breast pocket, which is a roller coaster ride to hell and back.

Luckily, misery loves company and my old pal Trudy decided to jump on Hell Ride 2 with me. She’s just as a nervous, but we’re old broads with moxy and we’re just gonna jump on the ride, fasten our seat belts and scream. In the process, we hope we lose a few pounds.

I tried on my nursing uniform last week and my son laughed at my shoes. “Are you going outside in those?” I know this is going to be one of those experiences not unlike what my nephew went through at Basic Military Training. There is no glamour and glory in being a student nurse. There will be times when I will feel stupid and probably do something wrong. I know I will have to swallow my pride and get ready for the boot stomp, but at the end I will be a different person. I will be a nurse. In the meantime, I hope to have the stamina it takes to endure cramming what most students study in 2-3 years, into an accelerated 12 month 2nd degree program. Knowing the family won’t see me much, I have started to build of arsenal of support. Carpool plans, study groups, buying books early (reading). I’ve had parental help with books and supplies, and I’m on a first name basis with my loan officer. Note to self: Consider hiring a housekeeper to prevent mental breakdown in the middle of the year. JD and the kids assure me they will be waiting for me at the end of the ride. So I go.

We went to orientation last month and a faculty adviser suggested we keep a journal of the year, only because so much will happen during the program, we’ll want to look back and see how we’ve changed. I decided to keep an on-line diary which I will blog for anyone interested in reading about student nursing or the nursing profession in general. The blog journal can be accessed at www.rntrainingwheels.blogspot.com

A friend of mine who graduates tonight from the same program I will begin on January 5, is not the same person I went to Folsom Lake College with. He’s been through a process that redefined him. I saw what it was doing to him last summer when we met him and his wife for dinner. I thought to myself, “I will never do it that way” and in true Tammy fashion, promptly signed up for it in November. He is so much happier now, like the end of the roller coaster ride that made you really sick, but elated to come out the other side, or the really long baseball game that never ends. His first job will be working in the Operating Room as an OR nurse so I guess you can say he hit a home run. Put me in coach.

Tammy Maher is a biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her on the web at www.familyfare.blogspot.com or www.rntrainingwheels.blogspot.com

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