Food for Thought

We had an interesting mix of instructors at the SCHSoN. As I said, our nursing practice instructors were all nurses. But we also had a bunch of professors from St Cloud State University. I think all of them were men. Almost all of them were engaging. And I got a lots of A’s and B’s. School was something I tended to be good at once I got beyond high school.

My scholastic performance in high school wasn’t as proportionally linked to how much I liked my teachers back then. Good grades were probably the last thing on my mind when I was in high school. There were so many other things that occupied my young mind. Like, girls. And beer.

Take, for instance, French class. We had a choice of three foreign languages to take at Loyola Sacred Heart. Latin was taught by Father Hurley, a grumpy old priest that would slap you silly if you pissed him off. Spanish was taught by a tiny nun, Sister Maria la Madonna de Guadalupe. I wasn’t all that fond of nuns. French was taught by a young woman, Barbara Purdy. She was once was a cheerleader for the University of Montana, and she was totally hot.

I was barely a B student in French, and knowing how to speak it has rarely been an asset for me in my life. Now that I’m living in Mexico, I’m wishing I had taken Spanish.

Nursing Practice was one of my worst classes, gradewise, in nursing school. Reading the Big Book of Nursing would put me to sleep. Having someone read it to me tended to have the same result. But not all of our instructors were old, or old school style.

There was Barbara Hansmeier, the instructor that rehabbed my attitude, but who also made me think for a moment that she had secretly become a nun and was conspiring with other nuns to prevent me from graduating. That was actually my first thought when she said she wanted to talk to me. Privately.

When did you become a nun, Sister…Mary…Barbara…Bitchfromhell!

There was also Diane Hanson. She was our ER preceptor, among other things. Diane was cute, really cute. Unlike Barb, she wasn’t married. She was divorced, nurses tend to make bad decisions about their spouses.

Diane got kind of flirty with me toward the end of school. I thought about asking her out on a date, then didn’t for two reasons. I had just broken up with Cynthia ‘Fatass’ Jamieson, and I was trying to decide if I should become a priest or try being gay. And, I knew I wasn’t staying in St Cloud after I graduated from nursing school. If I graduated from nursing school.

Yes, it was a-l-m-o-s-t over, but I still had to pass all my final exams, and there was one subject that was killing me.

Nutrition. And it was all my instructor’s fault.

Bernadette Maus walked into my life way back when I was a freshman. She stepped into her first class with us, introduced herself and then said this, “I’m a lesbian.”

What that has to do with Nutrition I’ll never know, but I do know this–I spent every one of her classes imagining what her diet consisted of.

I’ve met a fair amount of lesbians in my life. Almost all of them have looked like construction workers, only tougher. Bernadette was as far from that as I was from being tall, dark and handsome. She was beautiful, with long, long dark hair. I couldn’t concentrate on anything she said, and I was barely a D student in her class.

Thank God for Barb Hansmeier. Her adjustment of my attitude helped me get my head out of my ass, and Bernadette’s sex life, and I did something I had to do only once previously in nursing school: I studied my ass off. Anatomy and Physiology was the one class prior to this that had required an intentional effort on my part.

I aced my Nutrition final. I ended up with a B-.

And the one thing that I was almost positive would never happen when I started nursing school started looking like a reality. I was going to survive SMG, SMH, PTR, C’F’J, bad attitudes, lipstick lesbian fantasies–and I was going to become a registered nurse, if I passed my State Boards.

Attitude is everything, right? You’re going to need that tool in your toolbox because life will throw you one curveball after another. Life is filled with distractions and pitfalls and snares that can derail your plans and leave you sitting on the side of the road wondering what the hell happened.

You’re going to get tripped up. You’ll likely stumble. You’ll probably fall, probably more than once.

Regroup. Circle the wagons. Get. Back. Up. Do what needs to be done. Focus. Keep your eyes on the prize. Move forward.

And if you decide to become a lesbian, send me pictures.

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