Back Down the Rabbit Hole
In 1993 I had the opportunity to train to become a surgical nurse and I jumped at the chance. I had always wanted to work in surgery, but when the opportunity had presented itself before, it was just bad timing. The training was intense and very stressful. I had such a fear of doing new things, I’m amazed I survived the training.
The training went along fairly smoothly until we came to the portion dealing with heart surgery. When I learned the whole procedure, what was involved, it was like being transported back in time to the day of my father’s death. I remember being in the OR and instead of seeing the patient on the table, I saw my dad on the table in the patient’s place. The instructor told us when the patient is on the bypass machine, he is only under sedation. Everybody in the room speaks very quietly so the patient is not disturbed. I was really traumatized by this. This was like seeing my dad’s last day from the inside of the OR. It was as if he died all over again.
I also discovered the surgeon who performed his surgery was still practicing. I was very upset to learn how many people thought he was a terrible surgeon. There were just too many things to deal with. I felt like I was in a tail spin of renewed grief. I found myself second guessing things, thinking if only my dad had been alive in 1993 when he got sick then maybe he could have been saved. Without God in my life, I had no one to turn to. I became depressed all over again.
After feeling horrible for six months, I finally came to the conclusion nothing had changed. My dad died when he was meant to die and I had to remember the surgeon being kind and caring, doing all he could for my dad. It didn’t matter if he wasn’t the same anymore.
I finished the training after six months. I became a surgical nurse and worked in all areas of surgery. I was stressed out by my job most of the time and cried everyday for the first 5 years I worked in the OR. The surgeons could be quite abusive. I couldn’t make them stop and didn’t know how to stick up for myself. I don’t know how I managed to stick with it. I guess my love for surgery outweighed all the stress.
After some time in surgery, I came to a point of not being able to deal with the stress. I found myself going to work and not speaking to anyone. If it weren’t for the patients I wouldn’t have spoken at all. This went on for several months. I realized I was in trouble and went to see a physician. I started taking antidepressants again. The doctors always suggested therapy as well, but I wanted no part of therapy. I couldn’t see how talking about all my problems could possibly help. Reliving every little detail of my life only led to unbearable pain and sadness. All I wanted to do was be happy. I already cried enough as it was.
After one month on medication, the darkness lifted and things became somewhat manageable again. I found my voice again and realized I didn’t have to be abused at work. After all, I didn’t put up with abuse in my marriage, why should I put up with abuse at work?
I made a conscious decision to stay on medication for the rest of my life so I wouldn’t have to be depressed ever again. At least that is what I believed then.
I was still lonely and wanted to be loved, but was growing more and more convinced I couldn’t trust men because all they ever seemed to want from me was sex. I decided I didn’t need a man. I decided I’d rather be alone the rest of my life than risk being abused ever again.
Life continued in a sort of precarious state of instability. I was living in denial about so many things. My older son was still having emotional problems and I was still convinced he was okay. He was extremely jealous of his brother and would constantly look around our house to see if his brother was being given more things than him.
When he was angry, Robert would attack me physically. He would hit me, punch me, kick me, and unfortunately, I would hit him back. I knew if he continued in this manner for much longer, I wouldn’t be able to stop him from causing serious damage to himself or others. Sadly, I was still convinced this was a stage he would outgrow. I had to stop hitting him because I was afraid I would hurt him. I remember telling him we weren’t going to hit each other ever again.
He hit me for some time after this, but eventually the hitting stopped. He was always so remorseful. The anger he directed outward would then turn inward. He would tell me what a horrible person he was and wish he was dead. He was in such trouble emotionally, but I refused to see. My sister told me how he threatened to slice his throat when he was around 8 years old? I have no memory of this event! Denial (self-deception) is a powerful thing. My way of dealing with life was to not deal with life.