I am in this super weird place in my life right now, so maybe writing it all out will be somewhat therapeutic for me. I went to University at Buffalo and graduated with a degree that I don’t even use. I’m sure that’s VERY unheard of for us millennials right? Can you sense the sarcasm? Currently, I work at a desk but daydream of wearing scrubs to work and making a difference in patients lives.
In my last year of college, one of my friends had a business with her mom and asked if I would help out. It was working as a home aide to elderly people. The job required flexible hours, going to peoples homes and helping out with whatever they needed. Oh, and it paid cash. I used to babysit in high school, so how much harder could this be? I said yes.
Little did I know that this job would change my life. I was finishing up a bachelors degree while not knowing what I was going to do when I graduated. For all I knew, I was going to end up flipping burgers or working at a car rental company. The irony is real.
Of course, it was not all peaches and cream. Some of the people I had to deal with were not the easiest. Somehow I always got through it and ended my day knowing I was doing good. I learned A LOT about health care and the elderly. There is WAY more for me to learn but this was the job that dipped my toe in the water.
Then I met Ken. This man was such a blessing in my life. I am not sure if I would have any direction if it wasn’t for him and his amazing family. I met him when he was living in an independent living facility. I would come to his apartment in the morning to help him get ready for the day and at night to get ready for bed. I would spend a few hours with him each time, going for walks, getting ice cream, or even just going for a ride in the car. Boy, did he love a ride in the car. Especially if you got some Patsy Cline going. He wanted me to let him drive SO bad.
Did I mention that he had dementia? He handled it so well too. He always had a smile on his face. He would get frustrated sometimes but it wasn’t very often. His soul was a “go with the flow” type. I think this is why we got along so well. He would tell me stories all the time, whether they were fictional or a part of his past, I won’t ever know but we had some great conversation.
When he moved into assisted living because his dementia progressed, his family let me come with (they asked me to come and spend some time with him a few times a week but as far as I’m concerned it was my pleasure). I would come and take him to church every other Sunday, take him for walks by the river to see the boats and on some occasions, I would take him over to my house to bake. Ok, so my roommates and I would do all the baking but he gobbled up the apple cobbler and enjoyed a WWII documentary on Netflix.
He was the best.
I try not to be nieve, I know that all healthcare experiences are not going to be like my experience with Ken. However, he is the reason I learned how to feel fulfilled at the end of the day. I come home every night after working my desk job and feel like there is so much more to life that I am missing out on. I know there is more happiness for me out there and these experiences helped me realize this.
Thank you, Ken. The moment I saw you, I told my friend’s mom that I was going to fall in love with you. I knew it from day one. You taught me so much about life in such a small amount of time.
This was when I was certain that I needed to be in healthcare. Who knows if I will be working in a hospital one day or in some kind of non-traditional role as a nurse (the non-traditional sounds more like me, don’t you think?) but I am open to all possibilities. I am currently working a full-time job and taking life class by class to get my pre-requisites done so I can apply into a nursing program. I’ll be finishing those soon!
I seem to have this pattern in my life and I really am just not sure if it will ever go away. I always seem to do things in a backward way. I apparently just love to “fail forward” as my mom likes to tell me. Changing what I wanted to do with my life right as I was finishing up my bachelors is SO like me.
I’ll be a nurse one day. If that means it takes me until I’m 80 or if I have to fight tooth and nail. Ok, I am totally dramatic, but you get the point. I will face what is ahead of me to reach my dreams, whatever those obstacles may be.