Tomorrow is Friday. As a member of the gainfully employed again, I can say that Fridays mean something to me once more. I'm sure you're dying to know all about my new job. I have a degree in English Literature and spent several years as an editor for a small publishing company, and then freelance editing once the kids were born. (Which is embarrassing to admit because I don't always spend a lot of time proofreading my blog posts and sometimes I catch horrible, horrible punctuation and grammar and spelling mistakes that would make my old boss weep with shame.)
I've got a background in reading, basically. I was paid to read. It was the best job ever in the whole wide world!!! Triple exclamation marks!!! (Unless you offered me a job tasting chocolate while watching Harry Potter movies over and over again and then I would have to say THAT would be the best job ever in the whole wide world.)
So what's my new job? Eh hem... if you guessed the Medical Technician at the middle school, then you would not only be totally nuts for guessing that, but you would totally be right. That's me. Just call me med tech Cathy.
Here's the skinny: I'm at the middle school a lot. And by a lot I mean all day every day. It just so happened that the old medical technician quit and there was an opening. It's only two hours a day, and my primary role is to give medication to the kids who need their daily dose at lunch time. My job also includes a lot of filing, checking immunization records, and being the "nurse" when kids are sick or hurt.
My very first day on the job, a girl fell while running outside and landed on her mouth. Another staff member brought her to the office and was helping her but then it was all me. There was blood everywhere. And I was trying to see if she still had her front teeth. We had to call 9-1-1 and I was there to make sure she didn't pass out. When they trained me for the job, they didn't tell me something like this would happen! But you know what? As a mom, you just take over. I have more medical experience as a mom than I ever dreamed of, and when it comes right down to it... I'm pretty good in a crisis situation. And I'm really good at comforting kids with upset tummies.
I love my job. I love the really bad kids that are trying to get out of class by complaining of "cramps" and can they please call home. I love the sweet little 6th grade girls who get overwrought by a hangnail. And I love the big, tough boys who are reduced to mush when they don't feel well. (Wanna know a secret? Middle schoolers are just like elementary kids... only they're in bigger bodies.)
A year ago I would not have been the best person for this job. But a year ago I had three pretty healthy, pretty "normal" kids. All that has changed. Lily has been on, and continues to be on, so much medication it makes our heads spin. And if she had to have an afternoon dose, I would have been mortified for the office staff to know what she was on and why, and I would have convinced myself that they would have judged her and labeled her. At this point in my life, I understand what it's like for your child to be unwell. And I know what it's like for a kid to really, really, really want to be normal but their brain is not functioning correctly. Through NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, their minds and bodies don't work as well as their peers. And medication helps them. I am now fierce for these kids. Fierce as in don't you dare look down on them of label them or think of them as problems. I happily help each and every one of them every day, with no judgement... and no labels. I know what to do if one of our students has a seizure lasting more than 5 minutes (it's not pretty) but I am there to do it and I'm happy about it. I know what to do if the Type 1 diabetic becomes unresponsive. We've had broken arms, a concussion, and a Black Widow spider bite. And we have more Epi Pens in our office than I even want to think about. (Can you say peanut allergy overload?)
My job is a little strange, but it is so rewarding and it feels so right. Who knew this would be my mid-life calling? I'm just glad I can do it.