Do you ever wonder about certain people’s choice of career? I do. For instance, just last week I was hospitalized, and in need of a little sympathy. Nurse Ratchet was the only reluctant respondent to my buzzer. She delighted to report that my insatiable thirst would be quenched with an ice chip, my insurance didn’t cover the TV, and payment was required upfront. She smiled sweetly, contented to know that the ceiling tiles would be my only form of entertainment, as she exited the room.
I remember another occasion when she wiped a facecloth across my body as if I were a park bench in need of sanding. “Good God, there’s nerve endings in that thing called skin,” I reminded her. She raised an eyebrow, pursed her lips, and reluctantly released her sanding cloth.
What magical moment was it that spoke to Nurse Ratchet and called her to the field of Nursing? Was it her first “A” in Science? Perhaps it was the money, or the hours, or the first blessed sensation she felt while some Science lab guinea pig winced in pain. I just don’t know what motivates people to their career choices, but it certainly keeps me wondering.
A recent trip to the veterinarian found me wondering, yet again. It all began with Mrs. Rosignold. I am afraid, she too, mistook her calling in life. Yes, in that scrabble game of career choices, she reached in the bag of options, and pulled out nothing that spelled appropriate. Veterinary medicine seemed a poor choice rather quickly, as she was so awkward handling my four month old kitten, I had to come to her rescue, or the cats for that matter. The cat apparently sensed her discomfort, for he kept swan diving off the weigh table into a corner that promised him nothing, but possible injury. Mrs. Rosignold bent over and pulled him straight up by the scruff of his neck. Eyes bulging and body in a dangle, he succumbed to the transport like a car at the end of a crane. I am afraid there is an age at which you can no longer gracefully lift an animal in maternal mimicry without resembling a predator with the catch of the day.
What on Earth possessed Mrs. Rosignold to choose a career in veterinary medicine? I quickly guessed good grades in Science, and proceeded to distract the poor animal with some neck scratching before the sting of the vaccine became awkward procedure number two. She marched about the room staunch and stilted in her white coat and black pumps, robotically dropping the cat on several more occasions. “OHOOOOO”, she would coo as the cat hit the floor with a thump. You would have thought she was making breakfast and he was an uncooked egg.
Finally, it was over and the poor cat returned to his carrier with far more verve and enthusiasm than he came there with. Obediently, I followed Mrs. Rosignold out of the examining room and down the short hall to settle the bill. In a strict German accent , she recited a quick summation of the procedures executed, and the expected outcome of events. “Zee kat may be lettargic for a few daze and sore at the vaccine site,” she uttered methodically ( leaving out the possibility of soreness due to office swan dives).She bid us farewell with all the warmth of a military salute, and disappeared down the hall.
I hit the horizontal bar of the silver door releasing us to freedom. I could not help but notice the cat no longer meowed. The once confining carrier had become preferable to Mrs. Rosignold’s touch. I wondered if she was just as relieved to be free from her patient. Did she proceed down the hall with dread, in anticipation of what furry creature lays in wait behind exam room 2, or is she just programmed to diagnose, oblivious to her lack of any bedside manner, albeit a cat’s bed.
Obviously, I need to stop assuming that people choose careers they like, and recognize that other factors are at play. A matter of fact, I am going to start interviewing these people from now on. The minute I sense that awkward, uncomfortable moment whereby their career choices scream “WRONG” to me, I will pull out my note pad, and ask for answers; I so long to know. When did you know that veterinary medicine was your calling? What do you love most about being a nurse? Yep, that is what I am going to do, seek out answers to that which plagues me. Uhmmm, perhaps I should have been a journalist….