Sep 27

What I gained–or lost–by taking a risk

wednesday randomness

On December 30, 2015, I was working at St. Luke’s hospital doing portable x-rays in patient rooms. I was in an ICU room with a single nurse helping me to lift a patient in order to slide the x-ray board behind them. The board caught in the fabric of the bed, causing my arm to bend at an odd angle. I felt something like a rip in my shoulder, followed by immediate, blinding pain.

I went to occupational health, where I was sent to an outside health center. They took x-rays (nothing found wrong), prescribed me some anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers, then put on light duty at work. Of course, the higher ups at work weren’t thrilled with effectively losing one of their techs for two weeks, since I wasn’t allowed to do much more than sit at the desk or supervise the students within the department.

Once the two weeks were up, my shoulder wasn’t any better. They sent me to physical therapy for two weeks. My shoulder hurt worse. I was finally sent to have an MRI done.

If you’ve never had an MRI let me explain how it’s done. They shove you into a tiny tube where you barely feel like you have any room for breath or any other basic life functions. I had to lay there for 45 minutes being completely still (which isn’t possible on a shoulder MRI because YOU HAVE TO BREATHE). The results wouldn’t be in for about a week and a half (because Worker’s Comp is notoriously slow). In the meantime, I continued doing physical therapy and light duty at work.

When the results came in, it was discovered that not only was my rotator cuff torn, but the physical therapy they’d had me doing was doing more harm than good. Oops.

I went back to physical therapy, had steroid shots in my shoulder, and stayed on light duty. This continued for months. And the environment at work (which was already depressing to begin with) became downright unbearable. The other techs began to shun me because they were working their asses off while I appeared to be living it up on light duty.

I can promise you that light duty is not fun. I did every single menial, mind-numbing task they could think of. I may enjoy binge-watching TV shows and drinking wine, but I can’t handle sitting still for too long. My mind must be engaged and I tend to get up and wander around to do things while I’m binging whatever TV show I’m obsessing over at the moment.

So, I quietly began looking for another job. I had a friend at the Methodist hospital next door to St Luke’s in the outpatient clinic. She let me know they were looking for another x-ray tech. She also let me know that patient lifting wasn’t much of a thing there, and the workload was significantly less than that of St Luke’s. I put in an application. I interviewed. I got the job.

When I turned in my 2 week notice, the environment at work got WORSE. People were downright rude to me. The day I talked myself off light duty (wayyyy too early–it’s more than a year later and I still have intense shoulder pain), they shoved me into every single area of the department possible–making sure to put me where I hated and where I’d be sure to HAVE to use my arm. A lot.

I was due to start work at Methodist a week later. But they had an issue with my high school diploma. Because I graduated from a tiny private school (which has since closed its doors), they claimed that my high school diploma wasn’t valid. No matter that the US Navy thought it was perfectly acceptable. No matter that I’d graduated from college. No matter that you can’t get an x-ray license without a diploma or GED. They had an issue with it. So I couldn’t start work. They dragged it out for another two weeks.

By the time I was supposed to start, my (now ex) husband and I had sat down to discuss my taking some time off to write and edit full time. We decided that I’d be the one who took care of the house while I wrote and edited ALL THE WORDS.

I took almost an entire year off work. During that time, I managed to write a couple books and edit dozens more. I officially opened Paige Prince Editing for business. I learned so much about the writing world I couldn’t possibly have learned if I were working myself to death at the hospital. I built relationships with fellow authors and readers.

I went back to work in February of this year…part time, but still. I’m now working for a staffing company that sends me to different surgical centers to run the C-Arm mostly for pain cases (epidural steroid injections) which was my favorite part of working at the hospital. I’m making way more money than I ever could have at the hospital. And if I don’t like one of the locations I’m sent to, I just tell my boss and she doesn’t send me back there.

The best part? I still have time to write and edit. Granted, I’m busting my ass a little more at x-ray these days, but that’s because Hurricane Harvey kept me out of work for two weeks, and overdraft fees are no joke.

I’m happier now than I ever have been. All because I took the chance to quit a job where I wasn’t valued or happy and dared to do my own thing.

Check out the other bloggers’ posts by clicking the links below:

Bronwyn || Jessica


1 comment

  1. Bronwyn Green

    I’m glad you were able to make the switch. :)

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