Holding My Breath

You ever have those moments when you don’t realize you are holding your breath until you are out of the situation and your breathing returns to normal?

I have had quite a few of those moments over the years. Sometimes it’s as simple as letting out my breath once I have finished doing a difficult procedure like placing a catheter into a small kitten. I don’t even realize that I have “stopped breathing” until I have stepped back and looked over my work and saw that what I did was satisfactory for the task needed.

This past weekend I had to do the final part of my year and a half training on Hospice and Palliative Care for animals. I had to take the final exam. I was given three hours to complete an hour final exam. It was open book/opening note but that didn’t make it any easier. I sent my hubby and my son away to the movie theater, my two girls were in charge of the dogs and the constant in and out that they love to do. The obligatory studying happened the day before as well as the procrastination of starting the test. It’s not that I didn’t feel ready to take the test but there is a phenomenon that goes on in my brain that happens beforehand that feels literally like everything I have learned is erased. Maybe it’s because I know I have a time limit. Maybe it’s because I know that if I don’t pass the test this time I have to wait until next year to retake the test. Maybe it’s because I know that if I do pass the test people will know I now have specialized training and they’ll ask advice about what I have just learned about, and that in itself is scary. I took my time getting my area set up so that I would be comfortable. I had the notes and the Ipad set up to quickly look up what I didn’t know. I had the computer plugged in so as to not have it die half way through. I had my bowl of chocolate covered almonds and water nearby just in case I started to breath during the test and realized I was hungry. If I had been truly prepared there would have been an oxygen pump set up nearby and some soft soothing music to help calm my nerves a bit. My chair was comfy and my finger was poised and ready to hit the start test button.

Two hours into the test I realized that I might just make it. All I had to do was get enough courage to hit the submit test button. Last time I had to hit that type of button I was trying to become a Licensed Vet Tech and had to pass it or do the mandatory “get your college degree” route to try again ( I was grandfathered into the program based on the amount of hours in the field I had). When I submitted my test then and got the “you passed” message I ran back to my hotel room and screamed and then cried. I called people, I did a little jig, I posted it on social media, I finally realized I could breath again. This time after about 5 minutes of talking myself into hitting the button, I got the “you passed” message again. Now don’t get me wrong I was and am still so excited about passing but my response was slightly different than it was back then. The first thing I did was breath, I took a few deep long breaths and realized I was done with my current training, and then I really realized I was done with my training and my eyes started to get a bit wet. It might have been eye sweat but I really think it was closer to tears. I texted the hubby (who was still at the movies), I texted my sister and then my boss and the hospital manager (both good friends). I proceeded to clean up my area and put stuff away. I had a moment where I thought I might throw up but that went away when I remembered I got to celebrate with some of my favorite ice cream.

This year graduation will be in person if you make it to the conference. The conference is in Florida and I am not so the next best thing will be a short video and a picture of myself sent to the powers that be. I am excited to see where this training takes me. I am nervous as well and am probably “holding my breath” because there is the unknown of where I will go with this training. I have so much work to do to let people in my community know that there is this option available, and having to talk with the veterinarians as well so they know they can inform their clients about this option. Change is coming and it’s inevitable. Being overwhelmed is not. Breathing is mandatory. Support is always needed and I am given a lot of it thankfully. This journey wasn’t easy and there was a lot of planning logistics that happened but I am happy to say I am done! Until next time:

If we don’t change we don’t grow. If we don’t grow we aren’t really living

Gail Sheehy

2 Comments on “Holding My Breath

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