An unexpected career change

This isn’t the life I planned or even the life I necessarily wanted. Contrary to what people think, I had an amazing career before blogging. A career I loved. I never had the desire to be a full time stay at home mom or a blogger. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my kids and by now you all know that. But I am always a huge proponent of remembering the person you were before them and not allowing motherhood to be the only thing that defines you. I am grateful I get to watch my kids grow everyday, but there will always be a piece of me missing that I worked so hard for.

I officially said goodbye to my career and I am heartbroken. With my spinal injuries this day was inevitable but the finality of it makes it that much more intense and hard to bare. I loved my career. It wasn’t just a job, a 9 to 5, that you clock in and out of it. For me it was so much more than that. I was part of a team of professionals who became my second family. We saved lives together, lost lives together, argued & bickered like we were an old married couple, yet at the end of the day we were family. Nothing binds you together more than savings lives, that’s what makes giving up my job so hard. It’s not just a job I feel I’m losing. It’s being a part of a family.

Hard work & Sacrifice

Becoming a cardiovascular specialist was grueling. I almost didn’t get accepted into the program because the director wasn’t sure I had what it takes. I was transferring into the program from criminal justice and the director doubted I could handle the workload. That doubt fueled my fire to not only graduate from the program, but to really throw everything I had at it. I worked so hard, hours and hours of studying, on top of getting married, and playing college basketball. Eventually basketball was sacrificed so that I could accomplish my degree and pass my boards. And the sacrifices paid off. I passed my program, passed my boards, and got hired at Abington Hospital. I was over the moon.

A lot of people ask me what my job was like. I’ll explain it to you the best I can, but you don’t truly understand it unless you do it. My job was to work as part of a team, with nurses, other specialists, and physicians to quite literally save peoples lives. It wasn’t always like a scene out of Grey’s Anatomy or other medical shows but a lot of times it was. I assisted interventional cardiologists during cardiac catheterizations and countless other types of procedures and LOVED it. I felt smart, accomplished, and grateful to be able to contribute to society in such an amazing way.

As a kid, I always felt that I was meant to do a job that had meaning, a job that helped people. This was that job for me. Don’t get me wrong, I had days where I hated it. Where I was exhausted from the 12 hour work days and being on call. The days I missed spending with my kids because I was stuck at work saving the lives of complete strangers. The days that turned into 16 hour days and felt like they would never end.

Drop & Run for a stranger

That’s what people don’t understand. People that work in the medical field give up so much for people they have never even met. I spent more time at work with my coworkers and strangers then I did my own family sometimes. And when you’re on call forget it. If you’re in the shower and your pager goes off you don’t get to finish washing your hair. Someone’s life is on the line so you get out of the shower with wet hair, throw your scrubs on and go. Those eggs you’re in the middle of making for your kids for breakfast? You don’t get to finish cooking them. The full grocery cart you have while food shopping? That gets left at the store. You literally have to stop your life to go and save someone else’s. I was constantly balancing mom guilt because sometimes it would be days in between seeing my kids. That is part of the sacrifice you make working in the medical field.

Working Tirelessly & endlessly to save a life

I will never forget when we were faced with a patient that came up to us from the ER. The patient was young (in their 50’s) and upon arrival was stable but was having a heart attack. Everything was going fine until all the sudden it wasn’t. The patient started to die on the table. At that moment it was all hands on deck. For over an hour we all worked tirelessly to save this patients life. A few of my coworkers and I alternated doing CPR for over 45 minutes, while some of my other coworkers pushed life saving meds into the patients lines. While at the same time the doctor and specialist that were scrubbed inserted life saving medical equipment into the patient. We got to a point where there wasn’t much else we could do. There were moments where we got the patient back but would lose them again. The doctor stepped out to have a serious conversation with the patient’s family.

The whole thing was a blur but I just remember we never stopped. The doctor stepped out to update the family and we all just kept on going. After close to an hour of CPR we got a heart beat back. And not just a heartbeat. The patient grabbed my arm. Nearly giving me a heart attack. It is very rare that we do CPR on someone that long and get a decent outcome. We may get a heartbeat back, but not one that is usually sustainable without the help of machines. That patient recovered FULLY, without brain deficits, and they are very much alive.

Our team visited this patient multiple times while they were recovering. I will never forget the time I spent sitting with this patient and learning about who they were. It’s not often we see the fruits of our labor in this career. Being able to hug the person that was once dead on our table in the cath lab and hear how thankful they were was a moment in my career I will never forget. That’s the kind of career I had. That’s the team I was apart of. We weren’t always able to save everyone, but if we were your team you better believe we did everything we could to save your life.

Grateful for the time I had

To my coworkers – you are some of the most gifted and talented individuals that I ever worked with and I am thankful you were the ones I was able to save lives with. You do not get enough recognition for the work you do, for the long hours you put in, for the sacrifices you make so that others can live. I will miss being a part of your team. I’ll even miss the bickering and the bull shit, and the shitty call pay and beeper rate. I never thought that this would be an entry I would be writing, or that I would have to say goodbye this early in my career. I thought I had more time with you all, but life isn’t always what we think it will be. So thank you for giving me 6 years of memories, I will cherish them forever.

Live Large & Stay RARE.
XOXO Theresa

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