I can’t seem to pull the trigger.
The target is standing so still, poised for me to shoot. It would be hard to miss her. It’s an easy target. It requires walking into management’s office and giving them a month.
But I haven’t done it yet. It seems I’m a bit gun shy.
I thought I’d resign in early May. Be done, for symbolic reasons, by May 30th. I thought I’d have cleared out my trunk of catheters and dressings and started to say goodbye to policies, procedures and the weight of wandering through pharmacological overkill. But I’m still here. And just restocked the diapers and gloves I use for my patients that compete for space with lacrosse gear and extra booster seats in the back. What am I waiting for? What’s holding me back? Finances, fear, both? I’ve quit jobs before (quite impulsively, in fact) but never as a divorcee with children. That admirable status symbol is reason for hesitation wouldn’t you say? Not to mention needing my last hepatitis C titer (needle sticks, even if from a beloved rough guy rodeo rider of a patient, are unpleasant occupational hazards of the gig). It would be nice to fold that in while still employed…like I did my recent root canal.
It is unusual to resign without another job and health insurance to get in step with right away. There’s no deadline that I have to resign by because another employer isn’t chomping at the bit for me to start. It means I can drag this out. Take my sweet time. For better and for worse. The horizon is stretched out without an agenda, with just a few hazy mirages on the blacktop, beckoning. Some more promising and realistic than others. But in a world where people have shops selling cupcakes for dogs, isn’t almost anything possible?
You want to know what’s shimmering in the distance, don’t you?
Ask and you shall receive. Mind you, patronizing laughter is not allowed in this theater.
I want to photograph the dying. Photograph many things, actually. I also plan to be in front of a camera, moving and gazing with glam hair done by someone who knows how to use a blowdryer. I want to take patients to the symphony, to the beach, or to Rome as a trusted professional companion. Host marijuana sampling parties with sex toys and advice thrown in because the ‘green orgasm’ is real. Make a minuscule number of cents per click on this blog and write affiliate posts for Deciem, Squarespace and Lovehoney. Help this dude I know grow gardens for a fee. I’d love to deliver the mail in rain, snow or shine. I think I’d make a great bartender actually. More realistically, I’d welcome a transition into post-partum nursing. Or hang antibiotics and dress wounds one patient per shift in private homes (wealthy fucks though they must be to hire private nurses). I’ve also got a sick interest in training to be a mortician. And last, but definitely not least, I want to buy land, construct a Lumipod, and rent it out to city dwellers for a tidy sum.
(I chose not to write those out in bullet points hoping you’ll skim the paragraph and not read everything in there that carefully. ‘Cause some of those ideas are not what you'd think a good hospice nurse would transition to, even if one or two of them might be pretending to be jokes).
Most of those ideas get at something real. And many of them aren’t actually that pie-in-the-sky. They are ideas I can actually taste, though the logistics of how to get from my current point A to some of those point Bs mystifies me. And the finances are pretty dicey.
How easy it is some days to want to calm my feathers and curl back up into the secure arms of my known niche, my known company, my known salary. To make a life rich outside of work. To stockpile money and enjoy vacations in Alaska, Dominica and Lamu. To have the funds I need to keep frivolously highlighting my hair and buying all the sneakers my kids need.
The other night I watched The Hunt. It showed how hard the predator needs to work…how often the animal fails. Even with scores of targets around them and the fastest limbs and strongest jaws in the natural world. Some days it’s easier to want to be an herbivore. To keep your head low. Protect. Graze. Survive.
But at what cost?
The trigger will get pulled. Even if I miss. And miss again.