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January 20, 2014

occupational hazzard

While I was in college, my Dad wrote to me each week.  He ended each letter with the same remark.  'I really wanted another nurse.'  My older sister was a nurse.  She could 'write her own ticket', as my Dad put it.  I finally wrote back with a suitable response:  'If you want another nurse in the family, go adopt.'  To be honest, I would have loved to be a nurse.  Passing out at the sight of blood precluded me from pursuing such a career.  This wasn't a secret to Dad.  He knew I fainted when the doctor attempted to fit me with a pair of contact lenses in 8th grade.  OK, so he probably doesn't know about the time I fainted when my best friend's mom explained the concept of the tampon to me.  Still no excuse, because there were other more mainstream incidents cluing him in to the fact that I would not make it as a nurse.  I remember my sister practicing her needle sticks on oranges while she was a college nursing student.  Not me.  The orange thing might work out OK, but as soon as they provided me with a real arm with actual veins - watch out. 

Mini, who lives up to the 'Mini-me' nickname more and more each day, is a planner (not sure where she gets it?).  She has recently been pondering what she wants to be when she grows up.  While driving her to Irish dancing last week, she explained that she would like to be a person who teaches people how to be a veterinarian.  Otherwise a veterinarian professor, I guess?  Or she would like to be a veterinarian.  Each idea she came up with concluded with the question:  'I can do that and still have kids, right?'  In all honesty I point out that some of her choices might be quite time consuming, and might be difficult to juggle as a mom who wants to play an active role in raising her kids.  Not to mention by the time she completes all of the schooling it might be too late to start a family.  She shared that she'd also enjoy being an artist.  Well, that might be fun, but few people are able to develop that into an actual pay check generating career.  Maybe I shouldn't be such a dream killer, but I would like to see my daughters choose a career path that can be done part time, and also prove fulfilling or challenging.  Accounting, teaching, nursing, etc.  So I suggest nursing to Mini.  I am my father's daughter.  She says that sounds boring.  I fail to mention that it won't be boring if your fellow nurses need to revive you after each incubation or needle stick.

I first learned that my fainting spells had a name when I was pregnant with Laddie.  During a regular check up the doctor explained to me that I would need a Rhogam shot because of the negative rh factor in my blood.  He described how components in my blood might attack the baby's blood.  That was it.  There were no blood splatters, no needles, no open oozing wounds.  Just talk of blood.  I got woozy and saw the room start to spin.  I held my head in my hands for a second before I flopped gracefully back on the exam table.  I heard the doctor jump up and yell out the door, 'Nurse, we have a vasovagal reaction in here.'  My problem had a name. 

I probably shouldn't even suggest to Mini that she aim for a career as a nurse.  I know too much.  I am aware that she and I have been cut from the same cloth in multiple ways.  One day I learned that we were similar in an additional way.  It was a few years ago.  I offered to let Mini watch TV while I brushed her hair before school.  The day was not typical.  While she was a morning kindergartner, this day both a.m. and p.m. classes would combine in order to walk to the local high school to see a play.  Having just had an outpatient procedure, I was moving slowly.  The big kids were sent to school and after a leisurely morning, I was preparing Mini for her trip to see 'Seussical the Musical.'  Blessed with a thick head of hair - unlike her mother - Mini dreaded having her hair brushed.  I clicked on the T.V. and threw the remote on the bed.  Oprah's voice was saying, ' . . . this is what happned after a gorilla ate off her face.'  Pictures of a puffy face flashed across the screen.  A face transplant.  I struggled to reach for the remote without releasing the hair gathered into a pony tail that dangled from my hand.  Admittedly I had a slow reaction time.  I wasn't 100% yet, and I was shocked.  Before I could turn the channel to PBS, Mini started pulling away from me.  Her body was rigid.  "Mini, what are you doing?"  She was on the floor.  Face as white as a sheet.  Although her eyes were open she couldn't see me.  Her body convulsed briefly. Then she was back.  Her eyes darted around.  "Why as I on the floor?" she cried.  Wow.  It all happened so fast.  Whole episode probably lasted less than a minute.  She talked about the bad show that grossed her out.  I apologized for putting on the TV without knowing what was on.  The gorilla factor . . . she needed assurance that there would never be a gorilla loose in our neighborhood.  "Positively not a chance.  Ever." . . .

 . . . But I can't promise that she'll not find a variety of other gross out issues in life.  I did consult the pediatrician and he assured me that she had a vasovagal convulsion not a seizure.  She has taken my issue to the next level.  Impressive.  Note to self, next time career choices come up suggest something unrelated to the medical field.  When Mini was very little when she would tell people that she wanted to be 'a mother to the poor.'  Perhaps she was just aspiring to be the next Mother Teresa (talk about some hard shoes to fill), or perhaps she was just not going to marry well.  Regardless being a mother to the poor might result in less occupational hazards as nursing. 



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