Sunday, February 28, 2010

Second Place.

Weaving through the past week, I have to admit it's nice to be on the other side of it. Thinking back, it's been a week of both disappointment and resilience.

It's a given that I've been short on sleep since the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, and I freely admit I'd do it all again! But it can make for some exhausting days in the clinic and the operating room. Monday was no exception, so I thought I would try to rest up, knowing our day in the O.R. on Tuesday would be one of the longest in a while. Unfortunately, I instead received a phone call later that night to inform me that my position in the O.R. has been phased out. Effective March 1. Believe it or not, I understand - it's business. But it's no less disappointing to me. To say the very least.

I celebrated that news on Tuesday by operating from 7am to 6:15pm. Now that is exhausting. And I had to submit edits on two of my articles for Livestrong due later that day. The edits, I felt, were simple. I completed them and quickly returned them to my Copy Editor. So a little 'chin up' goes a long, long way, and I was still in the game for the week. After a rescue meal from Chick-Fil-A with my best guy, I finally got around to checking my e-mail late Tuesday night. And there it was in my Inbox: my 'Rejection.' It turns out, after some miscommunication on the topic of fish oil (fish oil!), my article was not accepted for publication. Never mind that my first nine articles were published. All that I could focus on in that moment was the fact that the answer was, for the second time in 24 hours, a resounding 'no.' Turns out, it was a tough way to realize that I get one - and only one - chance to make any and all edits on each article. Okay, lesson learned. And sure, I'll make an appeal for a chance to rewrite on the components of fish oil. But the biggest thing for me was balancing the newfound joy of becoming a published freelance writer with the sting of having an article returned for not quite meeting the mark. And on the heels of potentially having to step aside from the O.R. altogether, the week was off to a rough start.

The alarm clock Wednesday morning was as unforgiving as it had been all week. Instead of having a day off, I spent the day evaluating PA students, trying to help them fine-tune their skills and strengthen their clinical weaknesses. That day is always really tiring but so rewarding for me. This time around, it gave me the chance to reset a little, to remember my own roots as a PA-in-the-making, to put aside the drama of the day-to-day rigors of the week to that point. And we capped off the day by celebrating Barry's birthday with his wife, Lisa, at Foothills Brewery. The week was starting to show some signs of life.

In the midst of this (otherwise) typical week, I continued to get a thrill out of watching the Olympics and, as usual, I had my face in a book. As I'd written earlier, our book club chose The Help to take us on our first literary journey together. The more I read of that book, the more I wanted to read, if that makes sense. It took very little time for me to feel as though I'd known Skeeter and Aibileen and Minny for a long time - and even less time to be glad it felt that way. I'll save my discussion of the book for our next book club. But as I read the final words of the book, suffice it to say that I had gained plenty of perspective on what it means to feel as though you've been deemed second-rate. My week quickly became not-so-bad.

As the work week came to its slightly chaotic end, things continued to look up. Whether in the world of freelance writing, the operating room, or the clinic, everything will work itself out. It always, always does. And even today, settling in to watch the epic hockey game between the United States and Canada, I had reason to reflect once more on my past week...not that everything has to be about me. (Well, okay, maybe just on this blog). But watching the hockey players from both countries fight it out on the ice - Canada surging forward with a two-goal lead on their home ice, the United States storming back with mere seconds left on the clock - it was awesome. So into overtime they went. And though I had absolutely nothing at stake (with the exception of bragging rights over all of my favorite Canadians), my heart was pounding! I watched intently, just as I had from the moment they first dropped the puck. And even in the midst of sudden death, with the slapshot that sealed the silver fate of the good ol' U-S-of-A, it was thrilling to see. I felt like I was probably watching live as a hockey game for the ages unfolded. Would I have preferred to see Red, White, Blue, and Gold? You bet. For that matter, would I have felt better if my article had simply been published? Certainly. And would I rather step aside from the O.R. at a time of my own choosing, especially after more than three years of scrubbing in? Absolutely. But in the end, I'm just not sure that's how it's supposed to be. For whatever reasons, I'm meant to focus on clinical work only, at least for now. And maybe somebody else can write a more thoughtful article on the components of fish oil. (I know. I know.) And you know what else? Today was simply Canada's day. But I think that might be the better story after all. If we always win...or get every article published...or get to call all the shots, where's the fun in that? I mean, really. It's not the first time I've been told 'no' or 'not right now.' And believe me, I've certainly come in second place before. What I remember most about those times in my life is that I wouldn't trade anything for it. Much as I hate to admit it, it probably helped me to be better in the long run.

Well. Stupid philosophical mumbo-jumbo. So what else is there? Nothing more than onward and upward, right? Right?!


  1. Compelling read, Jill. Much better than anything I'll ever read about fish oil. You're swell.

  2. Thanks, neighbor! I appreciate your kind words.