New city. New job. New life.
We did it. My partner P and I finally left Chicago and headed north to Wisconsin. It was bittersweet leaving the town I have loved all my life. So many great memories, yet that city is unrecognizable to me.
Is this what old people say?
I guess I am older now, but those memories feel like they were just a moment ago. Riding my bike along the lakefront path… Cruising down Lake Shore Drive… Playing touch football, beach volleyball, and floor hockey with the Chicago Sport and Social Club… Bars, music, dancing… All the activities of my youth! Then later, fine dining and culture… It all felt safe.
But then things got worse – the violence and cost of living… What the hell, Chicago???
I don’t know when the wheels started falling off. With the exception of my first year as an OR nurse, I have been an OR nurse at a Level I Trauma Center for 16 years. Trauma call was bad, but then it got WORSE. (Or maybe the PTSD was rearing its ugly head? The jury is still out on this one…) My last hospital was THE PLACE where ambulances brought victims of gun violence, stabbings, and motor vehicle accidents. In the last year especially it seemed like every day my department saw something catastrophic.
The decision to move was not made overnight. It fermented for months. How could we leave family and friends? And then we just could not take it anymore. For the sake of our mental health and our relationship, it was time to do it. Besides, we weren’t going far away and we had family and friends in Wisconsin.
One of the hardest things to do was resign from my job. It wasn’t perfect – no hospital is… But in the grand scheme of things, it was one of the best places I have ever worked. I felt respected, even loved, by my colleagues and friends. I was in my comfy, cozy, comfort zone. Deep down, I knew it was time for a change, a new challenge.
I asked the Universe for a challenge and I got one. Moving was stressful. Every day for the first month we discovered something that needed to be fixed in our rental home. My Wisconsin license was pending with no word of any progress. I had applied well in advance of the move. The plan was to take one month off between jobs. One month turned into two, which then turned into two and a half. It took a little political help to push it along. But I needed the break. Desperately. I’m still processing everything that bubbled up during my sabbatical. More on that topic later…
Getting an operating room nursing job was easy with 17 years of experience, including scrubbing, circulating, management, and exposure to all the surgical specialties, especially trauma. The hurdle I am facing now is orienting to a huge hospital with different processes, surgeons, staff, and all the personalities that come with that… Ah, the weirdness of an OR!!!
I’m three weeks into the job and so far so good (at least in my eyes). OR nurses are Type A, each in their own way. For me, I want to know everything about everything NOW. Enthusiasm is good, but I need to stop myself.
Slow your roll, girlfriend…
One of my nurse preceptors could not believe that “at [my] age” I am making this change, as if I am running the gauntlet.
My mind is still sharp. My body is still strong. Comfort zones can be a death sentence. Sometime somewhere in my life I became fearful of stagnation. Even if I get comfortable at my new hospital, I know that I will always be looking for opportunities to learn something new. I’m even looking into how to make my own YouTube videos. Totally not kidding… But that’s for another post!
So many things I’m still processing, still mulling over, still figuring out. This is good. It means that I’m not done yet. Ah, Life!!!