I avoided watching Call The Midwife because…well, I thought it was just about giving birth and who needs to watch ladies screaming in pain? At least this is what I told myself. I have a PhD (Piled Higher & Deeper, according to Hunter-Gatherer) in self delusion. I can convince myself of most anything and my arguments are top notch. So, I didn’t consider my “No Call The Midwife” position as anything but sound logic. And then I really watched an episode. Oh my. How I was wrong.
My First Time
I don’t remember what happened in the first episode I watched. I only remember how I felt. I do know that HG was not home, and for some reason it seems it was cold outside. That last part could be entirely wrong, but watching this amazing period piece set in chilly East End London in the 1950’s always makes me imagine it is cold here as well. The stories all center around a group of nurse midwives and the nuns with whom they work and live. I must admit that even after watching that first episode I did not become a regular viewer. Again, I convinced myself that it was because of the timing, Sunday evenings, or the fact that like most British television programs it only aired a few episodes a year then was gone for months at a time. More personal delusion.
The fact of the matter was that it touched me somewhere deep in my soul and I wasn’t sure I wanted those areas to see the light of day. Was it the never giving birth myself thus too painful of a reminder? Possibly. Was it just too emotional? Could be. Or was it something else? Could it be that there are many forms of giving birth? Birth to relationships, ideas, personal growth, or just open to the possibilities life has to offer?
Savor vs Binge
Thanks to technology humans can now sit in front of a television, computer or tablet and watch television programs nonstop for days at a time if they so choose. It is not the healthiest of habits to be sure, and one that folks like me need to be wary of. Fortunately, this program should not be viewed in such a manner. There is much to digest, allowing it to permeate one’s soul. I have decided to savor it. Watching, living, imagining, and dreaming. I watch the nurses in action and remember. I was a nurse. I always say I fell into nursing because it was not something I grew up wanting to do with my life. I never had the calling of a nurse, but I was a good caretaker. So why did I travel that path?
I graduated high school with absolutely no idea what I was going to do with my life. A fairly scary experience. I came to Texas to spend the summer with my childhood best friend and her family, and something happened one morning around the breakfast table that sent me home with a plan. I knew I wanted to be a mom and yet I knew nothing about taking care of kids. So, I decided that I would go to school to learn to be a Medical Assistant and specialize in the care of children. At the end of the summer that is exactly what I did. I returned home to California and enrolled in the California College for Medical Careers. Nine months later a new medical professional was born. I became certified, got a job and life moved forward.
Not having a college degree or proper title was always a source of embarrassment. I felt less than, and was always trying to improve myself. I decided to take another step forward in my career and attended a hospital based Licenses Vocational Nurse program at Hermann Hospital in Houston. Hermann Hospital, at that time, was one of the oldest and most well regarded hospitals in the country. It was and is the teaching hospital for The University of Texas and home base of Life Flight founded by Dr. Red Duke. I felt as though I was among the elite of the elite and quite proud. I graduated with honors and received an award for compassionate care.
I went to work on the pediatric nephrology unit and lasted only six months. I did not have a strong mentor and my personal life was crashing down around me. I left hospital nursing to return to the pediatrician’s office where I had worked as a medical assistant. I loved my work there and should have never left. But, leave I did.
Putting The Pieces Together
I spent a total of twenty two years in the medical profession. I cared for hundreds of children and touched lives in ways I will never know. I look back proudly at that service, and that is why I watch Call The Midwife. In the days when this show took place, nursing was a much more limited profession – no technology, fewer medications, thus more human contact. It was gritty, hard, painful but rewarding work. I chose to be an LVN because I wanted to touch lives and care for people. I was not interested in being in the OR, ICU, or any other high stress area. I just wanted to make a difference and I am confident that I accomplished that goal.
One of the children I cared for in the pediatrician’s office later became my step-daughter and now mother of my grandchildren. Our family’s circle of life is slightly different than most but it is intact. You see, what I considered a personal flaw – not staying in the hospital situation and furthering my career, moving backward so to speak – was actually me following a higher path.
Only God knew what lie ahead for HG, his wife and daughter and where my compassionate care would be needed the most. So, now I put on my rose colored glasses to enjoy Call The Midwife. I can recall the joys of caring for people in need, understand the hard work, and be grateful for the time I had in that role. Then I take the glasses off and re-enter the real world to care for the people God has placed in my life.
Life In The Rear View Mirror
It is so easy to romanticize the past or paths not taken. I am one of those dreamers who lives in her own head and sometimes forgets to live in the real world. I plan and scheme for things to be different to the point I can miss the good that is right in front of me. When I look back on the choices I have made and the turning points in my life I am amazed. I’m so grateful that God had a firm grip on me as I was completely clueless.
I’m turning sixty in less that a month, so I suppose it is normal to be doing a bit of reflecting as well as looking ahead to what I want the remainder of my life to look like. I am doing less looking backward or forward and more living in the here and now. I have taken the necessary steps to limit unhealthy daydreaming and am trusting more and thinking less. Seems a little counter intuitive for the world we live in, but I believe that is my recipe for a good and peace filled life.
Until Next Time,