Thursday, May 1, 2014

There comes a time to make the change..Retirement isn't the end of everything.

I have finally made the decision to call it quits.. yup its time.  After contemplating, praying, much thinking about and finally making the decision I'm done.
I started out with my first job when I was 15, babysitting of course. but it was a regular job I went to daily, I don't recall what I was paid but it wasn't what young people get paid today. It was enough to buy a few amenities for a teenager.
One of my other jobs was working in a cookie factory, packaging those wafer cookies on a assembly line  in preparation for wrapping and sending off to the stores, I think that job lasted about six weeks. It just wasn't for me. Then I worked second shift spray painting the tail lights for the Torrino cars. That was really my first eye opener to factory work. It was mostly women who did the spray painting of these parts and we had to work fast to keep up with the demands for these cars. The foreman was a gruff man but kind for the most part. We needed to wear old clothing with long shirts to protect ourselves from becoming covered with the spray from the paint which just happened to be black. I remember leaving each night with black paint always somewhere on me.
That job paid very well but it just wasn't where I belonged either.

I finally went to school to finish my high school education and decided to try being a nurse aide. That was a scary job at first, knowing I was caring for other humans who depended on me for so many things. But I learned a lot about human nature, quickly picked up on the medical terms, learned about body functions, some of  the more common diseases  and the medical field started to look pretty appealing to me. So, I applied for nursing school, knowing there was over a year waiting list to get in. After six months of waiting I received a letter telling me there was an opening if I wanted to start within a month.
I soaked up everything I could learn in the nursing field and it came easy for me. I even enjoyed chemistry classes, and anatomy and physiology was one of my favorites. I remember giving my first shot to an elderly very thin lady and I was petrified I would stick the needle right into her bone she was so thin. But, with encouragement from my instructor & her confidence in me I managed to give that shot and my little skinny lady never flinched. After graduating I was hired right away and began my career working in one of the local hospitals on a med-surg floor. After working for a year on that floor I was asked if I would be willing to float to other floors to cover different areas that were overloaded and needed extra nurses. I agreed and soon found myself getting called to ICU and CCU. It was there I learned how to read EKG's, care for patients on respirator's, and tubes coming from every orifice that the body has with a few added for good measure. I saw people struggle through the swine flu, Guillian-Barre syndrome back in 1976 which landed many in ICU, and  took the lives of many who had been healthy just a few short days before contracting that dreaded illness. It was there I learned the true meaning of stat, how to read lab results, and how to look at an individual and make an educated assessment within a manner of a few minutes. I learned seconds do count when it came to someone's life. It was intense but at the same time a huge challenge to a young nurse hunger to learn and care for the sick. I also had the opportunity to get pulled to the maternity floor a few times and there witness the miracle of birth. That was most often a happy floor to work on and then of course there was an occasional newborn nursery that needed nurses because all the mom's delivered on a full moon or during a storm. The usual staff on that floor wasn't always prepared for so many births in one day. Keep in mind all of this happened back a few years, since then things have changed a WHOLE bunch!! Its all different now. I worked at that hospital for seven years and feel its where I gleaned a lot of my knowledge of nursing. When I went to partime at the hospital I started to work three days a week for my father, who had a booming Chiropractic practice. He needed someone to take histories, do x-rays and help with the billing. My mom also worked with him doing most of the clerical work, so it was a real family thing. I especially enjoyed getting to know so many of his patients and to hear the stories of how he helped them with various aliments. It was a much calmer more relaxed atmosphere compared to the hospital. I can remember my father taking homemade goodies, canned goods and other types of payments when people couldn't pay their bills. Now you will never here of that happening in todays world.
When we moved out of the city it was a long drive back and forth to the hospital and to the office so I filled out an application in a local nursing home about 3 miles from where I lived and was hired on the spot, many of you know the rest of the story. At first I wasn't sure I would like working with the elderly but I soon came to love each one of them, their families and the staff. All three of my children worked in the same nursing home either in the kitchen, laundry or housekeeping and sometimes in all three areas to introduce them to the working world in their junior and senior years of high school. They learned responsibility, how to manage their own money and that life isn't always fun and games, but that old people are full of wisdom, kindness, and have contributed a lot to this world, and that they need love and respect just like anyone else does.
The community was small so you pretty much knew everyone living in the area. That has also changed over the years, especially since we are now a university town. Its still not a big city but has spread out and become modernized.
All of this to get back to the reason for this post, I am officially retired!!! I made that decision shortly after returning from three months in Florida this past winter. It made it easier to just not go back, having already been gone that long. Many of the long term staff and good friends who have also reached the retirement age have left, many of the residents I knew have passed on and new programs are being implemented. More information I don't want to fill my already over filled and sometimes forgetful brain with. Its the perfect time to bow out.
My husband (sweetman) and I have a great loving relationship and we truly enjoy each others company. We both like to ride the trike (motorcycle), take short trips, spend time with the many grand kids we have, and we both like to putter. Sweetman has always loved fixing up things and reselling, he's what's become known as a picker in todays language. I enjoy spending time outside gardening, reading and just having more free time
 I graduated from nursing school in 1972 and worked until now so I think 42 years in the field of nursing has been long enough. Maybe I'll take up pottery making or painting or zumba. 


Flower Freak said...

Congratulations! It sounds like you've had a busy life and it's time to relax a bit.
We,my husband and I retired last year.....I still haven't gotten into a routine where I accomplish all that I like to and need to! But, nothing stops me from digging in the dirt.
Go bless and enjoy!

Mari said...

I loved reading this shortened version of your working life.
I'm not surprised, but I'm really sad. You are an amazing nurse and I always loved working with you. Everyone at ANC is happy for you, but we sure miss you! (Including Doc - I told him today)
PS - You have to let us have a retirement party for you!!!

Connie said...

Enjoy your retirement..if you find you need something to fill your days, come work at Love In the Name of Christ in Allendale.