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The Old Me Is Slipping Away And That Scares Me

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

I can’t remember what synovial joint fluid is. Okay, let’s work on this. It must be fluid for synovial joints. Cool. What’s a synovial joint again?

I had it all planned out. I was going to major in human biology, graduate and work a low level healthcare job like a scribe or EMT for a year or two, go to physician assistant school, and live a nice healthcare life. I chose PA instead of being a doctor because PAs can switch specialties; I was going to do emergency medicine and maybe surgery in my 20s and 30s, and cardiology and maybe neurology after that. Oooh, maybe some gastroenterology. What? I love me some colons.

I was in the middle of getting experience as an ER scribe when a magical fairy came down from the internet world and bonked me on the forehead and said, “Boy, you sure make them good words on the internets. Wanna interview at a TV studio for an entry level job?” And I did because it was one of those things in life that you don’t pass up. You don’t say “Ahhhh, jeez, you know, Mr. Internet, I just don’t wanna. I wanna keep working this part time job with no benefits that’s 20 miles from my house and that is burning me out to a nub. Be gone, Interneto!”

So I interviewed, and I got it, and now I’ve been working on a cartoon for 7 months. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to make it seem trivial. I like what we do and it comes with its own set of new things to learn and challenges. And if I keep going the way I’m going, being a professional paid writer whose words actually make it to the screen is a thing that is a very real possibility. AND, to top it all off, it pays better than my old job and my quality of life has skyrocketed.

But, yeah. It’s been a change. I’m a production assistant now, a different kind of PA. The irony is not lost on me. I like to think it’s the universe pointing at me and going “MEH HEH!”.

I try to keep my medical self alive. I read interesting case reports every week (sidebar: holy shit). But the building blocks, the more boring stuff that doesn’t make the cool case reports, is slipping away. I worked my ass off for so long to be the first person in my family to go to college, got myself into a sweet amount of debt, and I am forgetting all of it. I put actual blood, sweat, and tears into that degree and don’t use it. That feels like a disservice to my former self which is, I know, not a good reason to stay in a career but come on! I worked so hard! I cried a lot!

The other day I noticed I was walking like a duck with my butt sticking out, and I thought “I better correct this lordosis. Is it lordosis? That word sounds made up. Ketosis? No, that’s ketones. Right? Is it bordosis? No I’m sure it’s lordosis. Is that even a word though?” Can you imagine if that was a more important question in front of an actual patient? And even worse, I am forgetting the basic chemistry and metabolism stuff. WHAT IS DEHYDROGENASE AND WHY DOES IT HAUNT ME?

If I went back to school at this rate I’d look like a damn fool, if I could even get in, which I probably couldn’t. And let’s take a moment to appreciate that only I, Elizabeth “Ellie” Guzman, can make a dream magically coming true feel like frickin’ pulling teeth.

But would I even know what teeth to pull at this rate???

I also know that if I’m looking for a job to fulfill me as a person, I am never going to feel fulfilled. I need to have an outside life. You don’t defeat ennui with a more stimulating job. Everything was fine at the ER when we were all like “whoa, look at that wound!” and “*boom* congrats we just saved your life” but that’s not all medicine is. The ennui will come. It ennui-ll. Enn-will? Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t be writing.

The person that I am is also changing. To be honest, it’s a good thing. I went from a tightly wound unemotional ball of stress to a more relaxed and in touch with her emotions ball of stress. But I’ve been a ball of stress since I was in elementary school. Ball is life!

When I was at the ER I used to schedule every moment of my life, saw my friends maybe once every couple months, and barely knew my coworkers. I was always tired and my skin was a mess and I skipped meals and never peed when I had to. Now I’m all, hi I’m Ellie, I’m wearing a top that has a cute cat on it and am gonna go to a movie with work people later. My old friends and I are gonna go to a cute bar on Saturday and on Sunday I’ll just, like, buy a $10 coffee and write. I can pee whenever I want. Muahaha. I’m so cool.

I know that’s me, like I am the person doing those things, but really bitch?

I guess what I’m trying to say is: I am slowly morphing into a person that I am not familiar with. She is cool, she is relaxed and happy and in a good place. She is free to pee any time. She is doing well at her new job and enjoying it. But she feels like “she”, and not like “I”, or “me”, which is scares “me” (or “I”).

Whatever. This is all in my brain anyway. The ol’ frontal lobe, am I right? Wait, am I right? Is that correct? Is it the frontal lobe?

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