Like a lot of people, maybe most people, I've worked a number of different jobs in my life. I was a programmer/analyst for a small airplane manufacturing company based in Seattle [Boeing]. I was laid off after 9/11 and wasna unhappy to no longer be working there. I never woulda quit but I wasna happy, either. My next job was working as a Certified [yes, I am certifiable :-P ] Nursing Assistant for Providence Hospital in Everett. I started as a nursing assistant and expected it to be temporary because I thought I wanted to be an RN. I worked 32 hours a week with 8 to 10 patients. I found that I loved it! I got a lot of face-to-face contact with the patients and the greatest group of people I've ever worked with! I brought my offbeat sense of humor to my job. [Patch Adams is one of my favorite movies!] The patients enjoyed my humor and it would make their day a bit easier. One of my favorite memories of the job involved a woman who'd recently received very serious diagnosis. She was crying softly in her bed and I came in and sat down with her and we started to talk about things and after a bit, she was laughing with me and felt much better. Her nurse never said anything to me but wrote up an Angel of the Month nomination for me because she was amazed at what had happened. There was another patient with respiratory failure who'd been in and out of the hospital on our floor. I was frequently her aide. The last time she was in, she came to understand she was not going to get better and in fact was only alive because of her respirator. She and her family decided it was time for her to go on to meet her Savior. They called their pastor and the family gathered in the room for prayer and communion. Both her nurse and I were not going to interrupt them. They held off their service until they found us. They very much wanted us to be a part of it. This was a really humbling moment for me to be honored that way. You never know how much the little things you might do for somebody will touch them and their families.
I was a nursing assistant for four years. The last few months, they'd changed the staffing and we almost always had 11-12 patients. That's a lot for any floor but the people on our floor required more care than the average patient, so it was real load. In August of '08, my life had come to a point where I knew I was going to transition soon, so I told my supervisor that I am transsexual. She replied, "You're a nice man. You're just confused." Wrong answer! About a month later, they [management] put together a trumped up, bogus story and fired me. They sent a complaint to the State. It was all hearsay and they couldn't prove it was true but I couldn't prove it wasn't true. The State takes its own sweet time investigating things. Today, I received legal mail from the state. I am to turn in my credentials and I will never be a nursing assistant in Washington state again. There's a little more to it all than that but that's the bottom line.
It hurts... I was a very good aide. My patients loved me and I loved my patients. I learned how much I enjoy helping people, particularly face-to-face. I don't know what field to go into next because I know I want to continue to help other people.
The end of a chapter, but not the end of my calling.