“Do the thing you fear most and death to fear is certain…” -Mark Twain.
Okay, Mark, sure! It sounds easy enough- or NOT. My biggest challenge this past year has been how to overcome fear. How do you look fear in the face and not have a mental breakdown? How do you stop the shaky feeling you get in your hands, feet, and legs when the unknown is ahead?
The day I got the call that I was selected for the patient care coordinator position- I flipped! I was excited, nervous, scared, and hungry all at the same damn time. My now new manager, had given me the news that I had gotten the death-delivering position. After four in-depth interviews with Physicians, Directors, and panel interviews, they picked me! ME.
When I interviewed for this position, one would think I was training for a damn marathon as much as I prepared- I mean, when you can have a panic attack at any given moment, including smack down in the middle of an interview; I had to do some serious soul searching. Two weeks leading up to the interview, I retrained myself on how to interview, I exercised daily, I changed my eating habits, and spoke to myself in the mirror every time I walked in my bathroom. Nothing worked, shit!
I never had issues with interviewing, in-fact, there was never an interview that I was not selected to move on to the next level in the process and eventually get the job. But, this was different, my life was different, I now struggle with a mental illness, I now have Anxiety.
When I got the news, I completely stopped caring about the hell-hole position I was leaving. In saying that, I left my office mid-shift; it was not lunch time, it was not time to take a break, and I did not give a damn about what my now “old manager” had to say about it. I walked outside taking my sweet time and called my mom. Now, I speak to my mother every day, and she will call my phone 100 times if I dare go a day without contacting her.
“Mom. I got the job.” My mom screamed through the phone, she is retired, she can do shit like this at 8:00 in the morning without neighbors calling the police. I remember telling her that I was completely crazy for taking this position, that the only thing I could think of was passing out in the middle of a patient appointment. All I could think of was excusing myself, leaving the patient sitting there alone, in pain and sorrow while I ran to my car and hauled ass out of the parking lot. I swear, this was going to be a complete shit-show.
My mom says to me, “honey, you’ll be fine.” Really? That’s it? I told you that I felt like I was going to literally die from nervousness and all you can say is that I will be fine. Girl, BYE! Of course, I wouldn’t dare say that.
THE FIRST DAY
My first day was the most nail-biting, nervous farting, scariest day ever. In my mind, I am thinking, do we not train first? Do I not sit in a boring office and look at compassionate videos all day and read the training manual? No, my loves, I was thrown into the lion’s den. My first day, I had to shadow the first step, in the four-step process of delivering death.
Myself, my colleague, the nurse, and the doctor walk into the Palliative Care room where the patient is waiting to be seen. I instantly can feel my stomach drop and my legs start to shake. Holy shit! It is happening. I do my breathing that my therapist taught me and try to keep my breaths as quiet as possible- total failure, I am breathing like a cat in heat.
The patient is a 70-year old male, now pale and frail, who went to the doctor exactly one year ago for severe back pain. The doctor told him he just had a blood clot and sent him on his way with medication. Turns out, he had prostate cancer. What.the.fuck do you mean PROSTATE CANCER? Back-pain?! Um, story of my LIFE! I wanted to run, I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream at the doctor for telling him he had back-pain when he really had CANCER and now it was too late. I did none of those things, I sat there, legs crossed, eyes glued to the conversation, breathing in and out and I made it. I made it through the appointment. Fuck yes! In fact, the nurse told me that this was a position that was right for me because I remained cool, calm, and collective. As if!
For the love of wine, I tip-toed closer to conquering my fear. Shit. That felt good!
#offtoagoodstart #dothatthingyoufearthemost #stepoutofyourcomfortzone #goforit