I don't mention my job here often because, well, it is really just a job to me. A means to an end. A payer of bills. Am I a career woman? No. I have no need to feel fulfilled by working outside my home. I have no desire to climb any ladders or make a name for myself in the world of healthcare. I am a full-time mom with a part-time job.
I do, however, feel that in some ways the job is like a gift to me. Yes, a gift. I work in a busy trauma hospital and the patients and their families have taught me more than I can help them. Being employed as a registered respiratory therapist there, I have attended to countless patients that have had their lives altered, sometimes permanently, by accidental injury, acts of violence, or disease. I provide respiratory therapy to the sickest patients at this hospital. The ones who cannot breathe on their own and are dependent upon life-sustaining ventilators to keep them alive. Ventilators are my specialty.
Depressing job? Yes, it can be. But this gift I have referred to, is the gift of thankfulness. Thankful for my health, my kids health, the health our extended families...our lives. When someone is critically ill all other problems become miniscule. Think about it. If your nearest and dearest were hooked up to a breathing machine would you care about whether you had the newest cellphone model on the market, about whether your house were as nice as your neighbours, about whether you were getting crow's feet prematurely, about whether your outfit was trendy enough, or about whether your car looks too old and rusty. Not a chance. You would be focused on the life of your loved one. All the frivolous stuff would take their proper place.
When I go into work and see adults of all ages fighting for their lives, I realize that whatever problem I may have thought I had, is no big deal. If I have had a frustrating day at home, then head into work for a shift, I usually come home realizing that whatever I was feeling sorry for myself for, was nothing. Not only was the problem a null issue but I then consciously and/or subconsiously realize I have so much to be thankful for. Today I am thankful for this perspective readjustment that I get on a regular basis.
Yesterday, I was chatting with a close friend of mine who is a registered nurse on the cardiology floor of our local pediatric hospital. She had stopped in for a visit on her way home from a busy shift at work. This friend told me, she felt her job taught her thankfulness. She shared that seeing ill children, worried parents, and difficult diagnoses, makes her realize that any of her perceived problems are not true problems. Going into work was "like a kick in the pants" to reshift priorities and realize just how good her life really is.
I think I have finally figured out why God wants me to keep working at my job. (I have asked him on many occasions about quitting, and I have been puzzled as to why he would want me working outside the home at all. There are many others who can do my job.)
But...it isn't the patients that need me, it is I, that need the patients. I think I must be a slow learner in the thankfulness department because I seem to need weekly reminders, in the form of a 12 hour shift, to reset my thinking and realize that I have so much to thank and praise the Lord for.