The other day a friend told me "You need to relax and get out of your own way. If people are going to die they are going to die, if it is their time to go there is nothing you can do."
This is in reference to how tense I am when it comes to taking call as a medic, despite hours of lectures and lab and field time and internships; my fear is still very real ....all of the county is going to keel over dead when I'm in charge. It will be a combination of a zombie apocalypse with cardiac arrests and lift assists. Then everyone is going to yell at me. And for good measure someone will call in a bomb threat on the middle school.
I am not a parent but I can sympathize deeply with new parents who freak out over every sound their baby makes.
But somehow I do need to get out of my own way and stop hyper-analyzing every situation. I need to relax. I need to let go.
Self study. Self analyzing. Study the internal workings of my mind and Psyche.
1) I'm afraid of doing the wrong thing. Of killing someone with a wrong procedure or medication.
2) I'm afraid I'll freeze. That I won't act.
3) Oh the pain of this one. I'll look stupid. Someone will mock me for asking a question.
4) I'll be yelled at.
5) I find it horrible to be not good at something, I'm not competitive but I HATE not being good at things.
6) That I picked the wrong career path. That I spent three years of my life and my entire life savings on something that will always feel uncomfortable and scary.
7) Three years of school worry about passing tests or about getting into the medic program has led to 48+ hours of worry a week that this worry won't go away.
8) I am my own worst critic. I expect myself to know how to handle every situation that comes up. No matter how foreign or unknown it is.
9) That I'm old for a career change and don't have as spry a brain as I should.
10) That this job which I really do love, this agency that I enjoy working at, these very real friends I'm making will realize I'm an impostor and I'll lose it all.
How do I get over this? I honestly don't know. I hoped that time and shifts would ease the burden, so I've thrown myself into work. In one sense it has helped, I feel confident in certain areas like our charting system; even though I still consistently manage to mess up on a charts, I'm much better then two months ago. And every time I run a call that is one more building block. I know a little more about myself as a medic. Which is an interesting thought, me-the-medic hasn't existed for long. I'm just getting to know her and she is still in kindergarten when it comes to knowledge. This is in stark contrast to my other passion which is cooking. I've been cooking for 27 years. I can do anything you ask me to, sweet or savory, ethnic or Americana. So, maybe my technique might be a little off, but damn it, that is the way I do it so shut up.
I know who I am in that setting as that person. I don't know who I am as a medic yet. Which makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable and exposed. I don't like being exposed physically, mentally or emotionally. But it is hard to put up the walls of a character if you don't know that character.
So maybe for me it is a matter of time + situations. I need to have a bunch of "kids" so I finally won't worry over every sound they make and I'll stop freaking out over that dropped pacifier. Perhaps I need to let go and say "Yeah, I don't remember everything from school. There are things I've forgotten. But I can relearn and brush up and that is ok." I need to remember "Despite our best efforts many of our patients will die, despite our best efforts most of our patients will survive." And "If it is their time and God wants them, they aren't going to survive."
I still have a lot of firsts to go: First critical pediatric patient, first code, first dismemberment, first RSI, first a lot of horrible things. But I also have good firsts to look forward to as well or at least getting to know me-the-medic and finding out who she is. Because I'm pretty bad-ass as a chef so me-the-medic must be pretty cool too.
I'm going to get things wrong. I'm probably going to kill someone. I'm going to screw up. But I can choose to relax and let go or I can choose to get tangled up and locked by fear. And this is going to take time, I need to cut myself some slack here.