Today, I had my last 5:30 a.m. wake-up for the hospital.
Breakfast in hand, I walked into Buffalo General for what may be the last time.
During my ‘staff relief’ rotation this past month, I worked on the 14th floor with neuro patients, as well as in the neurosurgery ICU. I shadowed one of the kindest, most patient dietitians I’ve ever met, whose calm demeanor was a perfect match for my high-strung nature. She offered both constructive criticism and encouragement along the way. Because I worked on the same floors every day, I got to know some of the nurses and patients as well. By the end of our four-week rotation, I was doing follow-up assessments on patients I’d seen multiple times already. I knew the nurses’ names. I got to the point that I was calculating tube feeds in seconds and even had to whip up a TPN recommendation on the spot today for my last–and very complicated–patient.
This rotation is the one I was dreading the most, yet I think I ended up enjoying it far more than the other two, despite the early mornings and long days. Far and away, I learned more about acute care and nutrition support in these four weeks than I did in any classroom in the last four years.
Four years. I can’t believe it’s been that long. In a matter of days, I’ll leave Buffalo State’s campus for the last time after graduation. I struggle to reconcile the amount of knowledge I’ve gained with how much Andrew and I have not done these past four years. Trips, house projects, quality time, starting a family. In some ways, it feels like we ‘lost’ all that time. It has felt as if we were in limbo since moving here–house-hunting, moving twice, me going back to school–I realized the other day that I’ve never really had what felt like a ‘permanent’ job since I graduated from Penn State 10 years ago. The Air Force wasn’t ever going to be my career, my short stint as a library employee certainly wasn’t permanent, we knew we would move, and then I went back to school just months after arriving in New York. Summers off never feel quite like the break they should be…not for me anyway.
But now, things will be different. I’m not sure how it will all look, but I’m confident the future will be bright. And not nearly as stressful.
Today, I finished up four weeks of intense work as a student-RD with some dear friends.
Next week, we’ll graduate–after four long years–and nothing feels quite as good as that right now.