Tonight I quit my job.
That may be a surprise to most people because my last shift was Friday, December 6.
After our diagnosis, before we flew to Colorado.
I wasn’t much of a nurse that night.
I was first on maternity leave, then medical leave of absence, and now I’m on “baby bonding time”.
Or I was, until a few minutes ago.
It took me two years after Nate and I were married before I officially changed my last name.
After the first year I got as far as the social security office.
After waiting an hour or so I chickened out.
I made up excuses until I think I had Nate thoroughly concerned.
It was so hard for me to let go of that part of me.
I know it’s silly to some, and others totally get it.
When I ran out of excuses I bit the bullet and did it.
I’m pretty used to “Mrs. Barney” now, but “Sister Barney”….?
I don’t know, will we ever really get used to being called our Mother-in-Law’s names?
Anyway, back to my job…
I loved my job.
I loved putting on freshly washed scrubs, which are really just cool-looking pajamas that could and would get as dirty as necessary.
I loved how I could drive there in less than 10 minutes.
I loved rushing in from the parking lot with several other night-shifters trying to clock-in on time.
I loved weaving in between ambulances, a sure sign it was a crazy busy night (and it always was).
I loved the knowing glances we all would share over particular patients and instances… nurses, Dr.s, RTs, unit secretaries, CNAs…. the rolling of eyes, the sympathetic smiles, how we all knew what each other was thinking at all times.
I loved the rush of the trauma room, the camaraderie during a code, how everyone would get so confused during the initiation of therapeutic hypothermia.
I loved giving good news, and comforting those receiving not so good news.
I loved big veins.
And I loved little veins, for the challenge.
I loved all veins, as long as I was putting a needle in them.
I loved being good at my job.
And hated being bad at it.
I loved running around, taking care of business until my legs hurt and I was so hungry I could eat lunch next to a c-diff patient.
I loved providing for my family.
I felt a twinge of pride when asked, “and who is the insurance carrier?”
I loved telling people what I did – it felt important, saving lives.
I always thought I would be able to keep it.
I held on to hopes and dreams of flying home every other week, working my shifts, and then flying back.
It would have been worth it, financially.
And if that one didn’t work out, it would have been easy to pick up shifts, here and there.
Except it’s not easy.
And it’s not working out right now.
And I am supposed to love staying at home with my baby, who needs me more than any sick patient in any ER.
Who needs me to take him to almost daily Dr.s appointments, give him his medications, cath him, work with him on his physical therapy, make sure his oxygen is running and he is breathing, and not pulling at his nasal cannula, oh, and do normal baby things as well, like feed him, bathe him, change his diaper, play peek-a-boo, and love him.
Except right now I’m sad.
I miss that part of me, like I sometimes miss my last name.
And every time I hear a siren, I remember what it felt like to work together to save a life.
Every time I hear a siren, I remember that part of me that’s missing.
Every. Single. Time.