Saturday, August 7, 2010

Work in Progress

Work often overwhelms me these days. I used to be able to work 4 days in a row (sometimes even 5 and, about once every 6 months, 6 days in a row). At the ripe old age of 25, sometimes I wonder if I'm already burnt out. Even worse, sometimes after working 3 days in a row, I'm afraid that as tired and as frazzled as I may be, I don't even know the meaning of "burnt out" yet.

I remember in grade school we had a ceremony for a 2nd grade teacher who had been working at the school for 25 years. I remember thinking, "that's way longer than I've even been alive!" That still blows my mind. So much happens in the first 25 years of your life... what happens the next 25 years? Am I destined to be doing the same thing day in and day out 25 years down the road? Dear God, I hope not. 25 years in the same place STILL blows my mind. 25 years ago, I was just a baby!

I've been out of school for over 2.5 years. Work is no longer a fun novelty, it's work.

Sometimes I think it'd be nice to do something that doesn't involve interacting with others. (I know, I'm antisocial enough as it is). But then I see aunts and grandmas stepping in to help an overwhelmed dad and a baby who has lost her mom.

I see strong, patient mothers who are dealing with the tragedy of not having a normal pregnancy, delivery, or newborn baby, yet they sit with their child every day and know more about the baby than the doctors or nurses ever will.

I get parents thanking me so much for taking care of their baby and requesting that I take care of their child every day I'm here.

And I'm thankful I have a job that allows me to witness the best (and worst) sides of the human condition. I get invited to baby showers when a long-term kiddo is getting close to going home. I frequently lend an ear to overwhelmed parents (and realize my life isn't so bad after all).

It doesn't happen every day, but sometimes when I'm not running around like crazy, catching up on charting, or trying to problem-solve a patient's latest problem, I get to sit down and snuggle with a baby. I get to feed someone their very first bottle. I get to carry them outside their rooms when they become "portable" and can remain stable without oxygen. I hear babies cry for the first time, I see them smile accidentally, and I get to watch them find their hands and reach for my face when I talk to them.

I do love the perks of my job, and usually when I'm bragging about a baby's latest accomplishment or cute moment, Ross tells me that this is the perfect job for me. As for now, I'm exhausted and looking forward to another few days off.  Texas, here I come!

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