Wednesday, March 7, 2012


This new life allows no time for writing. Or anything. I'm not sure, so far, if it's possible. At this point I'm wondering if I'll be able to complete this course- pass all my tests, survive the clinicals, keep up with all the reading. It's funny to feel this way knowing some people keep this up for years, those people in med school. I could never do med school, nor did I ever have any inclination to try. 
At this point, I feel something I almost never feel: scared. Not just uneasy, not just intimidated, but scared. What if I can't keep up? What if I can't pass the exams and I've wasted all the money for the course? What if I do pass, but I can't deal with all the gore and bones and blood and sputum and vomit and infections and trauma? What if I can't stay up all night, for multiple nights? What if I can, but I hate it? Today our instructor was inserting a nasal cannula into the nostril of a (very brave) man from our class and she said, casually, "If there's no lube, just rub it in the patient's own vomit, that will do just fine." Everyone bent their heads down to write this note, and I did too, and I kept my face straight, but in my head I was thinking "Oh. That's. Gross." And then the realization, "something like that will be the least of my worries.
At least there is very little room to sit around and think about these things. Breakfast is at 7, we start taking vitals directly after, class starts at 8 and goes until 5. We're responsible for all the cooking, cleaning, fire making, everything but the cooking. Class is filled with tests, scenarios, and hands-on skills. During the class hours, at least, I'm fascinated. Scared and overwhelmed by all of it, but fascinated. Totally absorbed.  
After class we start reading. We read and read and read and read. Dinner is at 6:30, and then we read and read and read some more. I brought all my climbing gear and running gear and hiking gear and yoga clothes. That stuff will sit in my room completely unused and laugh at me as I sit and read.  So far we've been assigned seven chapters of the text book per night. That's about seven hours of reading, if you do it right. I don't do it right, and it's still impossible.
For the first two days, I was thrown a little. We all were, it was obvious. I missed my dog, and my people, and my freedom and routine. I felt actually a little homesick at times. It's tough because even though there are 21 one of us living side by side here, it still gets a little lonely because we can barely talk to one another in the evenings, because we have to be studying. It's too bad because between the lot of us- military men, mountain guides, the complete mysteries who keep quiet, firefighters, an FBI agent- I can just sense the stories and crazy experiences percolating just below the surface. 
There's a hot tub, but we haven't touched it. There are miles of fields and woods and hiking trails that we haven't even glanced at. We're a few miles away from a mountain town filled with rocks and rivers and breweries that we can't even think about. There's not even enough time to have nice hand writing, or hang up my jackets in the closet, or run to my room to grab something. There is not enough time to take notes in the evening, or highlight- I just circle things in thin sharpie and move on. There isn't enough time to write this, obviously, but I don't want to lose my head.
It's fun though! As long as I can pass, this will be fun. But this struggle is new for me. Being a student was never hard for me. Essentially, I'm getting my ass kicked from here to Idaho. 


Jeff in Oregon said...

I felt the same way when I started my class. It can be overwhelming at first, but it will all start to click.

Cassandra said...

Settle in, soldier! You're gonna do great!

Anonymous said...

You are so badass. I feel more hardcore just reading this post.

SJJ said...

Keep with it Lena, and we 'll celebrate big time when you get home. The Jordan's miss you.

SJJ said...

Keep it up Lena! We celebrate big time when you return (and repeat everything you miss). The Jordan's miss you!!

some guy said...

It's supposed to be hard! Just keep doing it. You'll pass.