Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bye Bye PA School...Forever

I know this post is months past due, but I think it's time.

When I withdrew from PA school I was a broken person. I had just spent the last few months pouring myself into a profession that made me question everything about myself. I did not fit in from the moment I walked out of the parking garage. I found myself surrounded by dozens of wildly intelligent, beautiful women. They knew exactly what they wanted in life. They had been out in the working world and knew that they wanted more. They were career women. It's a gift to be motivated to succeed in one's profession, but it's not my gift. I am much more concerned with succeeding at being a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, an aunt, a friend and someday a wife and a mother. I am more concerned with being a human being.

I could feel myself being called in a different direction, but I didn't want to let anyone down. I knew I wanted to help people, but at what cost? In my physician assistant program I watched relationships end and families deteriorate. We were asked to give up our lives for the next two years and focus only on learning. Family was not to be a priority. Friendships were to be put on hold. The majority of the women around me broke up with their boyfriends in the first few weeks of school (or their boyfriends broke up with them). I remember my classmate calling her good friend to tell her she couldn't make her wedding because it was just too much time out of her schedule, and I remember thinking "It's her freakin wedding! How could you miss that?" Even our lunch break was a time to continue studying, and socializing was frowned upon. I was twenty two years old and being asked to lock my true self inside and not let her out again until I was twenty four.

I remember looking at my professors, all talented PA's, but most were single PA's. Most did not have families to go home to, or children to run around. That was the decision they had made. They were good at what they did, and they put so much effort into keeping up with all the knowledge they were responsible for, but that didn't leave them much time for anything or anyone else. I got a sick feeling in my stomach every time I thought about it.

In the classroom I was confronted with issues that went against my morals. We were constantly being told that it was our responsibility to push contraceptives onto young girls, and recommend birth control at every chance we got. Natural family planning was mocked incessantly, and I found myself dreading going to class. I was told not to ever bring my personal beliefs or opinions to work because I was not to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I was instructed to adapt the beliefs of any patient I might encounter for the time that I was with them. My values were not important and I should consider them dispensable.

Every thing inside me began to revolt against PA school. It felt as if God was trying so hard to pull me away from it and point me in a different direction. The longer I fought it, the more I fell apart. I was dying inside. It became hard for me to laugh and hard for me to enjoy being around the people I loved because I felt guilty about not studying. I remember bringing my baseball glove over to my grandparent's house one Sunday night toward the end of summer. My cousin Jake just looked at me and said, "Oh I stopped bringing mine because you are always studying and you never want to play with me anymore." Playing catch used to be our thing, and I had let him down the point he had given up on me. PA school had convinced me I didn't have 15 minutes to play catch with an eleven year old who looked up to me. I no longer knew myself, and became angry with the person I was becoming.

It began to be very clear that I needed to get out. I was met with opposition from just about everyone. I was caught between the fear of letting everyone down and the fear of losing myself. In the end, I had to take a chance on the former. I quit, and every day since then I have come alive again little by little. I have not once regretted leaving. Not once. I feel happy again. I'm working as an athletic trainer, which I never thought would bring much meaning to my life, but I was wrong. I work in a catholic hospital, where I can share my faith with my patients. I can go to adoration during my break because there's a chapel right down the hall with perpetual adoration. I work mostly with elderly patients, and I return to them a quality of life they haven't known in years. I help people walk again. I have a patient that came to me in a wheel chair and was so weak he couldn't lift himself out of it. He now can walk laps around the room, using only a cane. And we're just getting started. One of my former patients showed up last week to give me a gift because she felt I had touched her life that much. I've made a seventy year old man cry because he was just so grateful to have someone listen to him and his troubles week after week. I find myself spreading my faith and doing God's will in a profession that I had been told was not good enough for me. Those people were wrong. It puts such a smile on my face when a patient takes me out to the waiting room so they can introduce me to their family. "This is my torturer Bridget!"

I know that right now I am far from my family, but I won't be far forever. I know I started with talking about how I want to be a good daughter/sister/cousin/etc and that moving 400 miles away from my family might seem contradictory, but everything happens for a reason. I love my family just as much from here, and I care about everything that happens in their lives just as much, and even more. Right now I feel like I'm exactly where I'm called to be, doing exactly what I'm called to do...for now.

I hope that puts your mind at ease, and you'll stop referring to me as though I were some poor lost child, not knowing what she's doing. For the first time in a long time, I know exactly what I'm doing.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cop Out

Oh no! I haven't posted in over a month! I'm sorry! I can't think of anything worth blogging about. Over the past several weeks I've started a few but then just got bored with them. If I get bored with them, you'll definitely get bored with them. After all, no one is more amused by myself than I am.

First I was going to post a rant called the Skeezeball Awards where I went off about sleazy adulterous men like Eliot Spitzer (who looks like an Orc by the way), but just thinking about the whole thing made me so angry/upset I decided to drop it.

Then I was going to write about my experiences at this Cardiac Rehab Conference I went to, but this was as far as I got before I got bored...

Cardiac Rehab Conference Day 1
Woman 1: I am leaving my kids alone for the first time to attend this conference.
Woman 2: Oh that must be very hard, I just called my kids over the last break. (Directed at Woman 3) Do you have children?
Woman 3: Yes, I just called and checked in with my husband. (Directed at Guy 1) Do you have kids?
Guy 1: Yes I have two young boys. They are quite the handful.
Woman 1 (swinging her head toward my direction, opens mouth to ask, frowns doubtfully, cuts herself off short and turns back to Woman 3): Tell me about your children.
Inner Bridget: I have a gerbil! Her name is Penelope. She does tricks. She can leap from the floor of her cage to the roof. What can your kid do? Nothin!

Then I distinctly remember having something funny to blog about, but I just can't remember what it was. Shoot.

Oh and by the way, I finally had to pay for that freakin fence, and it is all fixed up $72.24 later.
Could have been worse I guess.

I guess I'm going to cop out and post an excerpt from the book I've been working on. That's kind of fun right?

So my main character writes an advice column called From One Dysfunctional Woman to Another, and that's what this is from...

Chapter Three of Refusing to Settle

From One Dysfunctional Woman to Another
September 5

My advice for you today is simple; all women should disband and live without friends. It’s just not worth the trauma. Yesterday I made the mistake of answering my phone at work. It was my friend (ex-friend) Helen with the dreaded news that she had made plans for us for that evening. Since when did I allow other people to start making plans for me? I am not four years old. I do not need someone setting up play dates for me.
First of all, she told me it was a “Girls Night Out.” What an evil little title that is to give to any occasion. Why? Because it’s a blatant lie. No one ever really means just a night out with the girls. If I had my way, such an event would be a relaxing occasion with pizza, movies and maybe a glass of wine (I know you’re supposed to drink beer with pizza, but I hate beer…deal with it). We know better though, don’t we ladies? A “Girl’s Night Out” is a stressful night of dodging bullets in the form of men shot at you by all too eager friends. It is a way for the pretty thin girls with noncommittal boyfriends to taunt their slightly (I do say SLIGHTLY) overweight friends by making sure they know they are not as pretty and require assistance with obtaining men. If it truly was just a night out with the girls it would not matter what I wore. Clearly this was not the case as Helen practically laid out an outfit for me (once again, I am not four).
In order to fully impress upon you the importance of my advice today, I will now recall the events of last night. I found myself sitting in a shady club with “the girls” and wishing I were at home, or grocery shopping, or maybe even in prison. Yes, I think I would have preferred prison (minimum security)...