It’s Monday, the week of Thanksgiving.
There are so many thoughts spinning through my mind today.
One of the first thoughts flying through my mind this morning was sparked by the guys working so hard picking up our trash. God bless them, especially today, bulk trash day. On this day, whatever homeowners drag out to the curb, they pick up. The amazing part–the guys picking up bulk stuff walk/run behind the truck–like the old days.
So, what makes this memorable?
To explain that involves storytelling and a disciplined search through old newspaper clippings. As I watched these guys work, I remembered being part of a newspaper article written many years ago when I was working at St. Francis Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. I’d just finished my two-year radiologic technology program. I was newly married and needed a job. My classmate, Mary, was lucky. She’d found her niche in nuclear medicine and had been offered a job covering that part of the department. Me? That was turning out to be more difficult. Our growing department had very busy times which were almost consistent enough to warrant another full-time person. With some creativity on someone’s part during a time when budgets were more flexible, I was offered a job as a “jack of all trades.” My job description had no black and white details–it was purposefully fuzzy gray. I was okay with that. I knew I was the newest of the new–a neophyte. I needed to be and was open to anything.
This was in the early to mid 70’s. The hospital was in the early stages of starting a cardiac rehab program. Part of the rehab protocol involved having a treadmill stress test as part of the initial cardiac evaluation. In addition to the rehab program, treadmill testing would be available for diagnostic testing. The team needed a non-nurse medical person watching for EKG changes. Those creative thinkers had found a niche I could call mine.
Because I’ve spent a lot of time lately going through all my older pictures, I found this one pretty quickly. Looking over all the different details represented in this photo, I smiled as I realized it represented the very beginning of my career. A career that would expand in many different directions, into other areas, and play out in other areas of the country for the next forty years.
Today, as I watched out the office window, in my mind I saw one of my favorite treadmill patients. His test lasted so long we had an audience of people observing him run and run and run. We’d progressed through all the stages quickly because we were unable to move his heart rate much above his resting rate. He was rock steady. No arrhythmias, no segment changes, no chest pain.
Finally, we asked him what he did for a living.
He smiled, chuckled, and replied, “I work for the city. I’m a garbage man. I run like this every single day.”
Laughter filled the room. Looking at each other, we shrugged our shoulders while wondering what to do next.
I can still see him looking around at us, smiling as he continued to run.
Finally, we admitted defeat. We stopped the test. His recovery time was unmeasurable–ours–not so much.
My Monday gratitude list focuses on my career. What a gift it was and continues to be as I remember those who were part of my life in such monumental ways. For my entire career, I was in a front row seat as the imaging field exploded in so many different directions.
I am thankful I have the time to remember, reflect, and share my memories of what became my life’s calling. Oh, at the time I certainly did not have such a positive take on it all. Then it was just the day-to-day “stuff.”
Now, I realize how fortunate I was to be where I was, when I was, with all the people I was with–sharing a journey that took us on a very unpredictable ride.
I love Y’all.