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I’m No Superman

essential-qualificationsI love this ad.

I was about this age when I decided to become a nurse.

Maybe a little older.

I was holding a book instead of a teddy bear.

I wouldn’t have been caught dead in that cap, though. Even in those days I knew how to make a totally cool nursing cap out of paper.

That looks like a pillowcase.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember why nursing sounded like a good idea.

********************

You don’t realize it’s happening.

You set a goal and you do what you have to do to get there.

For awhile, you manage to do it all.

Nine semester units.

Working 24 hours a week.

No sweat.

Been there, done that.

Lived through it.

*****

But things start piling up.

Work needs you to pick up some hours.  Coworkers on leave, folks needing time off.

You say yes, because when you need time off, they will make sure you get it.

Only your body isn’t cooperating.

You are in bed for the night at 1600.

And up at 0530.

Then you can’t fall asleep before you go in at 1900.

So you’re up for 28 hours. Straight.

Twice in one week.

That worked when you were eighteen.

It kills you at fifty-one.

*****

So you work, and work is uncharacteristically busy.

You start getting depressed four hours before you go in.

Then you start getting depressed because you have to work the next day.

Your coworkers are getting on your nerves.

You are really getting on their nerves.

You hit the ground and twelve hours later you sit for the first time. In the car. For the ride home.

To sleep for ten hours so you can go back and do it again.

Before your one day off.

That you sleep through.

*****

You fall behind in class; the professors are cool and allow you extra time for the assignments.

Which you need because you are so exhausted you cannot think.

But you won’t give less than an “A” effort so you stress and research and study and fine-tune and finally turn in the missive 48 hours after it is due.

Only to discover your classmates managed the assignment in two paragraphs.

How the hell did they do that?

*****

You start to lose it.

You don’t leave the house on your time off.

You stay in sweats all day and don’t bother to fix your hair.

Your husband thinks you are having a breakdown because he hears you laughing hysterically one minute and bursting into tears the next.

Except it’s not a breakdown, you are just watching “Scrubs”.

(Why the hell did they kill off LaVerne? Idiots.)

You start scanning the ads for a desk job. Part-time. Days. No weekends.

No blood. No pain.

No death.

*****

I’ve been here before.

The demon is back.

I’m in full blown burn-out.

But no major life changes.

Not this time.

I know what to do.

No more extra shifts.

The money is nice. Sanity is nicer.

No more twelve-hour shifts. Kudos to those who can do them.

I can’t.

No summer school.

I’m 12 units away from a BSN.  I can graduate in the Spring of 2010. I gain nothing by sacrificing my mental health to do it by December.

*****

I’m scaling back, I’m taking a break.

For the next few months, it’s all about me.

More visits to Starbucks to read blogs.

More visits to Starbucks to read novels.

More concerts.

More mini-vacations. Son’s graduation. Nascar race in Sonoma. BlogHer in Chicago.

*****

I wish I could do it all and be it all and have it all.

It’s hard to face the fact that I have limitations.

But, I know,

I’m no Superman.

And that is a major bummer.

I’m No Superman

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*


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