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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Good in crisis

I'm sick right now. Open my mouth to breathe and I cough up (painfully) a lung. I missed a day of class and internship this week, but I couldn't call in sick to work. Not only is it hard to find a last-minute replacement for an overnight shift, but I make a little over a hundred dollars per night, and we can't afford to lose that.

So I dragged myself there, tossing and turning all night. Luckily it was quiet. Until the morning. One of the ladies was in a bad way, dizzy, disoriented, couldn't stand up. I watched her slide to the floor and bang her head against a table before I knew what was going on. She said it was because she hadn't taken her medicine, but then her meds didn't seem to help. Maybe it was because she hadn't been to her methadone clinic in two days. But also, she was losing feeling on the right side of her body. Another woman and I helped drag her to the bathroom to pee, and dressed her, then I called for an ambulance. When the paramedics arrived, I gave them her medicine and a note about when she had taken each one last.

I can't help but feel I was so cool in the situation because I wasn't all there. I hadn't slept well, and my chest was burning, and I didn't have many extra resources to expend freaking out.

But then again, in retrospect, the situation wasn't that stressful for me, and I knew what to do.

I feel capable. I think my whole working life, I've waited to feel capable. I've never done anything long enough to feel so capable. But now I'm reaching a point where I do have enough experience that I can handle unexpected things that come up. It's an awesome, awesome feeling. And it's so gratifying to be able to see how far I've come, and how I've improved.

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