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You know that scene in the movie Speed when the bus’s gas tank starts leaking? The camera films the gas gauge on the driver’s panel, and the lever is plummeting towards the E. I think my car has a gas leak like the Speed bus. The Eastern Shore is 10 miles across and 70 miles long, so everything is spread out. It takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to get anywhere. I think I’m getting used to it, everything except the frequent gas fill-ups.
My commute to Chesapeake for my almost-job (still shadowing) is one hour. In San Francisco, I could walk to work. The hospital was just over a mile from our apartment. In Knoxville, I think I drove about three miles to get to work. I don’t even want to know how many miles it is from our house in the country into suburbia. But, call me crazy, I’m not minding it so much. Driving down the Eastern Shore and over the bridge is really quite peaceful, and as soon as I get over the bridge, the culture shock of civilization distracts me for at least fifteen minutes. Gregg drove me to work yesterday, and when we got over the bridge, he kept saying things like: “Krispie Kreme.” “Starbucks.” “Waffle House.” The only chain stores that we have on the Shore are Wal-Mart (of course), Ace Hardware, some fast-food restaurants, and then there are some old-school department stores from the ’50s. Peebles and Roses. Funny, huh? (Have I wrote about this before?) The other day on my commute, I listened to the entire hour of NPR’s Morning Edition. Now I’m completely up to date on the presidential primary race as well as every other important news story. (Please don’t quiz me.) And, I have a book on tape set in London. Its chick lit in which all of the characters speak in a British accent. Love it.
I don’t know. I’m writing about this because the commute was the thing that I was worried about when I was contemplating the possibility of working across the bridge, and, I’m happy to say, its turning out okay.
Going to an almost-job has already changed my experience of living here. I still don’t like that drained feeling that comes after a day’s work, but I’ll take it, since it means that my brain was working hard all day along with my legs and feet and heart. I’m looking forward to the independence of sitting down and talking with patients on my own. I remember student teachers during their last semester of college saying, “I’m just ready for my own classroom.” I’m ready, too. I’ve had my hand held long enough. I am very aware that I don’t know everything about women’s health, but I’m ready to share what I do know with patients and ask questions when I need don’t know the answers.
When I first started working as a nurse in the hospital I was so terrified of making a mistake or looking stupid at work. I’m still scared of that, but it seems lighter than it did back then. After working with a particular charge nurse in California, I’m surprised I didn’t run and get a retail job as fast as I could. There’s an expression that nurses eat their young. Well she not only ate me, but she chewed me up and spit me out so she could do it all again. That’s gross, sorry. Seriously though, she almost destroyed my confidence, and I still think about her sometimes. She was demeaning, condescending, rude. And I was her special project. I’m not thankful for that experience, but I think it is helpful for me to look back and see that I don’t react to criticism in the same way any more. I still don’t like being corrected, but it doesn’t destroy me like it did back then. It doesn’t ruin my day any more. Yesterday, the doctor I’m working with corrected me, and I’m happy to say that it hurt my feelings for a little bit, but then I got over it. I think this is what growing up feels like.
P.S. I had this post already to go when I turned on the radio and heard various radio hosts talking about The Hunger Games. I feel like I have to mention it just because not only are people talking about the craze of the movie itself and about how millions(?) of fans are rushing out to see the premier, they’re also talking, at least on the radio, about how it represents the destructive times that we are in and the kind of world that we are leaving for our children. Yikes. I honestly hadn’t thought about the books or the movie(s) like that. I enjoyed reading the books and was thinking about seeing the movie, but I hadn’t thought about what The Hunger Games mean for us here and now. Food for thought.