Thursday, June 17, 2010
A Little Like Dying
I've known for a few months now I will be deploying. Pretty much in denial for the first few months, I was able to tolerate this and, because of the chaos and uproar at work, almost welcomed the respite from the Beltway drama and politics.
That changed as I got my anthrax shot (which laid me low) and I avoided a smallpox vaccination because of some mysterious dermatitis on my collarbone. All of a sudden I have less than 28 days left on this side of the world, no childcare plan in place yet, and overwhelming grief that I have not been able to accomplish all I set out to do in my assignment as the department head of surgical nursing.
In leaving for the unknown with hopes of returning, I understand my grief is due to changes beyond my control. I won't be returning to this same position. I can't; someone else will have stepped in to take the helm. So what will I do when I come back? Will it be as challenging? Will I like it? Will it be---dare I say--fun?
I've been keeping in touch with one of my JG's in Kandahar who has excelled and is over half-way through her deployment. "What do you want to do when you get back?" I asked, hoping she would want to stay and provide leadership and expertise on the unit.
"I'd like to go to the APU or PACU," she wrote. "I've been working on the wards and assisting with trauma, which can be rewarding but draining. I'd like a break."
So, I asked her if she'd considered becoming an OR nurse; would she have time to shadow a nurse there? She'd have the opportunity to provide attention to detail, work as a team, and monitor patient safety. "It provides some distance from the patient," I suggest.
As an Individual Augmentee (IA), I am plucked from my workplace and sent alone (mostly) to meet up with other individuals to form a tribe of providers to do a job far away from our families and support networks.
I've had lots of people ask me over the past two weeks: Are you okay?
"Yes," I say. "I think so."