I don’t want to write about the rage. Or talk about it. Or think about it. The rage is part of what drove me to drink. The rage of being misunderstood, mistrusted, misdirected, misled, misused. But it’s another sleepless night and I can’t avoid it, much as I want to shelter this new baby kitten that is sober me. Let us address but one point on the rage pentagram. My career.
I weathered some hard times without turning to alcohol. In my late 20’s my life fell spectacularly apart when in a few short months my father died and my boyfriend since college decided my grief was a real drag so he split and I was far away from everything that had been my life for years because I had gone home to be with my dad. It was like waking up to find everything around me had been destroyed by a bomb. Nobody could help me. I was the one holding it together for my mother and brother. I did it sober.
Then I had this ridiculous idea that I could channel all my life experience and compassion and desire to be helpful to humanity into a new career…nursing. Three years into that, I was regularly having a drink to fall asleep and that spiraled into getting drunk enough to vomit at least once a week. What could possibly have gone wrong?
For starters a woman with above average intelligence, two college degrees and more than a passing identification with feminism willingly went into a female ghetto of a profession. One where the administration tells us (and this is verbatim from a mandatory meeting) that if we were REALLY good nurses, we’d be happy to do our jobs for free. Wait…what? I can’t imagine a CEO chastising a room full of men for expecting to be paid for their work.
Patients routinely confuse nurses with hotel maids and also prostitutes because too much porn in the world. Doctors refer to being asked to write orders as “nagging”. Hey, dickhead, I’m not your wife asking you to mow the lawn. I am telling you that your patient is bleeding to death and I would like to intervene before The Reaper gets off the elevator. Basically fuck allllllllll of that. It ruined my life that trying to help people thing.
Ok, helping people is not the enemy. And at present I have a very Office Space perspective on healthcare. Much like Lumberg, healthcare administration, big pharma, insurance companies …all that is soulless and wrong. If you have never worked in it or haven’t been there lately, you think I’m a bad nurse. But I’m not. I’m a great nurse.
The great nurses are being driven slowly insane as their physical and mental health deteriorates under “do more with less” and the lack of staff and supplies creates blatantly unsafe conditions for our patients. And as we juggle knives in a burning building, we are demeaned from all directions. Women who gravitate toward abusive relationships….they’re cool with it. Me? Fuck. No. But with so much time and money and heart and literal blood, sweat and tears invested, I did not know what to do with the fact that I was miserable. So I bought a bottle of cotton candy flavored vodka and titrated to a rass of -1. Or -4 on weekends.
Now I did find a job in my field that does not murder my soul. Which is cool because at my last job I started to sob uncontrollably in the middle of a management seminar. If you ever want to make 30 people super uncomfortable, be asked to write about what makes you happy and respond by snot bubble sobbing because NOTHING about being in this room makes you happy.
Like…I could not stop the crying. It was like when Brittany Spears went off script that one time when her monarch mind control programming broke and she wandered LA barefoot and sobbing for a year. I threw in monarch mind control just to see if anyone is paying attention. I don’t subscribe to that. Ok, maybe I do a little. Anyway, when I realized that all that was standing between me and shaving my head to attack a minivan with an umbrella was one more TPS report on the value of saving money by not using so many sanitizing wipes, I put in my notice.
So there you have it. Part of this story that I don’t want to tell because of the judgement heaped on nurses when we realize we should be paid more than the UPS driver and dare to say it out loud. The judgement when we admit that we hate our jobs because the working conditions are intolerable. The judgement when we admit we drink too much.
But we’re just people. Not machines or cartoons or nuns. We didn’t take vows of poverty and chastity. I held myself to one drink on nights I had to work the next day. I wrecked myself on my days off. WRECKED. I had created a life in which I needed to be anesthetized to survive. And I’m done turning my rage on myself. I can’t hold this grudge anymore. I will continue to pray that I can be used in the service of humanity but I will not spend my life in misery.
I’m gonna press “publish” before I change my mind.