Relentless Pursuit Part IV

I finally had a ‘real job’…

Since high school, I had minimum wage jobs like working at a tourist site in the Black Hills of South Dakota, or working for a retail store in the clothing department; typical jobs for 16 and 17 year olds.

But now at the young age of 18 I was graduated to “nurse assistant” in less than 24 hours.

Young and in a foreign country, I was not only naive, but I also didn’t understand the phrase “culture shock.”  I figured the English people were basically Americans with different accents.  Was that ever far from the truth…  Newsflash: the English have their own unique country and their own unique culture, which has barely any resemblance to American culture (sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not…)

First of all, while extraordinarily polite on the outside, there could also be a ‘harsh and blunt side’ that could make many friendly Christian-esque surfacey Americans run for their lives… add that to a small village mentality and sprinkle it with a little bit of American prejudice, and I was in for some trouble.

The head nurse (or “matron”) had icy blue eyes, platinum blond hair, and was not there to “help people”.  She was there for… well, I am not sure, but there was evil dripping from this lady that I had never seen before.  Perhaps it was the power of her position, or her fear of the nursing home owner, who was equally as evil, only in a pathetic puppy dog man sort of way.  She was manipulative, she schemed, and she seemed to get some sort of enjoyment out of making grown women cower before her.

I was terrified.  And so I said “Of course, I’d LOVE to!” when she ‘asked’ me to do the night shift.  Why not?  It would be an adventure!  They would train me during a less busy part of the day, and I would just drink a little extra caffeine to stay awake all night, and I would sleep during the day.

And so I ‘did’ my first night shift…

What I discovered quickly was that they didn’t have a training program.  They had a ‘sink or swim while medically treating severely ill people’ program.  And the other nurse assistants didn’t appreciate having someone who couldn’t “pull her weight” yet… I was a nuisance, I was far too young, I was American, and I made their life more difficult.  Their attempts at smiling quickly faded, and they soon began ‘gossiping’, or more like insulting me right in front of my face.

I had no idea what to do…  I felt so vulnerable, so disadvantaged, and I felt that none of it was my fault.  All I wanted was to be trained and to be accepted by the other ladies, a feeling that had been so strong since my childhood.  And here I was, feeling like I was in 7th grade again, desperate for people to accept me.  But here in this foreign town, there was nothing I could do…

I had to work and earn money, and so I would have to return the next day…

I walked home after my first night shift exhausted, serotonin-deprived, and sobbing.

I felt like I was leaving hell and returning to my heavenly home, but the dread of the next night formed a nasty pit in my stomach…

I would have to return the next night, and it would only get worse…

…to be continued…

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