A year or two ago I was driving home and saw on a church billboard a quote which has stuck close with me since: "Coincidence is God's way of staying anonymous."
My day started off wonderfully but was quickly dampened with frustration and continued with stress.
I awoke this morning knowing I was only two calls away from completing practicum and well on my way to finishing this huge step in my career change...my life change. I was tired but excited...wondering if the luck which had given me more then half my requirements in the past few days would continue for just 12 hours longer.
Arriving at the base, a glorious early summer morning with my preceptor anticipating the end of her time at this service as well I felt it was going to be a great day. Then the shoe dropped and doubt set in: I had missed out on two calls through the night due to some confusion in dispatch. Both of us had the same thought..."What if there are no calls today?"
My luck took control.
I had two great calls. With each one knowing I was closer to completion, my usual stage fright was overpowered by determination. I took charge. I knew what equipment I wanted. I discovered the instinct to delegate. I knew where to go with my questioning. Patched without hesitation to the hospital. Reported to the nurse and then one call was done. Not long after a second tone comes through. This time I had to be assertive because my attending partner forgot to step back. Again...delegating...treating the patient...using back up resources...it all came together. Not cleanly like it might in years to come but it came together all the same. I knew enough to know I could fuddle my way through. And to close the deal on a great day...I got another successful IV start after a tour of difficult failures. I was in with flash immediately, connected the line and had beautiful flow without complication. Nothing like a great IV to make you smile!
The rest of the day was quietly hectic. Loose ends in my practicum book to take care of...took the remaining four hours. Occasional breaks to share my excited news with friends and family. Grinning ear to ear, possibly the same as I did the days after I found out I'd been accepted into this program.
Surprisingly saying goodbye was more difficult then I expected. Everything about SLAGAS had become familiar and 'homey' in the short time I'd spent there. The people had become friendly...our own inside jokes overflowing.
Then 1900h arrived. Time to head 'home' and pack up for one last time (as a student at least) and head out to the highway. I couldn't wait to get home to my own bed...my kitties...and the inevitable celebrations which are yet to come.
I took my time getting it all together. Cleaned up, brewed more coffee (of course) and just allowed myself the serene opportunity to let it sink in. I was done. With all of my self-doubt, with all of my fears...I'd made it to the finish line (ACoP will be a different thing altogether).
Not wanting to prolong my exposure to dusk and night driving with the abundance of deer and other wildlife in the region I got into my car and backed out of the driveway. The couple blocks to the highway I ran through my mental list to make sure I hadn't left anything behind, and that I'd turned in the things that weren't mine to keep. At the intersection of Highway 88 and 2...signal on looking for traffic before turning east I glance at my clock:
The same time that I handed in my final exam and walked out of the classroom only weeks ago. The difference with this moment from then, is my feeling of absolute joy and accomplishment.
Driving out of Slave Lake I was reminded of some lyrics...I'm looking at my life through the rear view mirror.