I’m pretty sure I’m going through an identity crisis.
I guess any big life change could be called an identity crisis, because a person doesn’t recognize themselves in their new role. Marriage. Moving. A new job. A loss of something.
Or, in this case, pregnancy.
I mean, I seriously have never struggled with bending down to pick things off the floor before. I haven’t slept so much during the day since possibly age 1 or 2. I don’t read as much anymore, and I worry that I never will again. I haven’t gasped for breath so much climbing stairs. I don’t even have a clear idea about what I should write about, as I shared last week. My lasagna is baking in the oven as I try to think of what to say. At least I’ve cooked something, but it’s not exactly a health food. And, since I used oven-ready noodles, who is to say if it will turn out.
Speaking of health foods, I’ve been depressed my entire pregnancy about my eating habits and subsequent weight gain. I was at a higher weight than I wanted last summer, but I had finally come up with a plan to work off the pounds. After getting pregnant and being nauseated, I gave up. I started eating whatever sounded good, and even though I started at a higher weight than I should have, I’ve also gained more weight than I should have.
Deliberate and healthy eating takes energy, and I don’t seem to have that right now, maybe because I’m not eating deliberately and healthfully. And the expectation that pregnant moms are supposed to eat quinoa and kale and exercise five times a week, just makes me feel worse. And I just read this week that older women have a harder time losing pregnancy weight than younger ones. So if you had a pregnancy at age 24 and lost 70 pounds in two months, please don’t re-assure me that everything will be alright by July.
I think this identity crisis is one reason that returning to work at the hospital felt soothing to me.
Even though I work in a different department than I did four years ago, the general rhythm of hospital operations is the same. The run down the four flights in the employee parking garage steps. Swiping in with my badge.
Nurses complaining about the hours they work or the number of admits they took that day, but magically transforming into compassion and care inside a patient room. That overhead announcement system with the loud BEEP, announcing a code blue or a rapid response. Ambulance transport people strolling in with their fancy uniforms and stretchers. Surgeons rushing grimly around to check on their patients late in the day, clad in blue. The relief of seeing the next shift walk in. The spider webs trapped between the glass of the elevator and the glass wall of the parking garage on the way back to my car. Yup, I take the stairs down and the elevator up.
And the patients. Drug addicts demanding more pain medicine. Prim little ninety-year-olds talking about the Great Depression and giving specific directions on the arrangement of their bedding, and how that fold needs to come out of their socks. Uncomplaining men who just want to watch their favorite show next and be left alone.
And, whether I’m pregnant or not, I’m expected to take care of my people and shoulder my end of the work. It’s exhausting, but therapeutic in some way.
Recently, however, I came home from work with a different emotion. Gratitude.
“I’m so glad I’m not addicted to meth,” I told Marnell.
Sparing the details, let’s just say that using meth is probably one of the most terrible lifestyles imaginable. From the education I’ve had, the addiction springs from the very powerful high that a person experiences the first time they use it. Ever after, though they get a good feeling from the drug, they never quite achieve that same high. Still, they chase it, desperate to achieve it. They inject it into their fingers and toes and get infections. They snort it. They make home recipes and blow up houses.
The psychological toll is obvious too. Drug users tend to be rude and demanding. I’m not sure why, other than if you knew that you could be arrested for what you’re doing, but you don’t want to stop and life feels out of control, you would probably become suspicious of everyone outside of your inner circle. Even people wearing scrubs seem too “official” to be trusted, I suppose.
I recall a statistic that claimed that there is a 1% success rate of people trying to rehab from meth. Marnell questioned this, and he’s probably right. He thinks our neighbors at Teen Challenge have helped people past meth, and I’m so glad if they have.
There are worse things than having an identity crisis over a change of roles.
Perhaps this is the most valuable lesson I’ve had at the hospital in this season of life. I’m overweight, and a little old. Thanks for the term “geriatric pregnancy” on last week’s blog comments! I even feel that my junk food problem is similar to people who struggle with drugs.
I may be having an identity crisis. But as I listen to the suffering of the wide world, I realize how blessed I am. I’m not in the hospital for a self-inflicted wound. My house didn’t just burn down. My husband didn’t just leave me. I didn’t fall and break a bone and lay on the floor for 18 hours before someone found me. Even if any of those things were true, we have extensive support systems, unlike what most people have.
On top of all our blessings, Marnell says the lasagna turned out really well!
I received word from Bookfunnel (our audiobook delivery service) this week that you can now listen to audiobooks on your computer (in your browser) rather than just on a phone or tablet app.
I’m sure there are some people who like to use computers but don’t want a smartphone or tablet. When I told Marnell about this new development, he said, “Tom would have liked that.” (The main character in the book.)
Here’s a screenshot of the new option, which shows up when you buy the book. But I believe you can also go back and listen to a previously purchased book this way.