Before Tommy, I was content to let the world blow me around from job to job. I had no goals, no dreams. I really didn't need them. When Tommy was born, everything about me changed. I went from one fleeting job to another to being a full time caregiver to a very happy, very fragile little boy.
After he died, I felt like I had lost my place in the world. I no longer had an identity and I no longer knew how to make a difference. I put my head down and I grieved. I grieved not only for my child, but for myself. I was SOMEBODY when I was taking care of him. I was Tommy's Mommy and I was good at what I did. I enjoyed being his caregiver. Not just his mom. There was more to it. Some people may find it difficult and tedious to draw up meds, give breathing treatments, change trachs and g-tubes, and shuttle off to a bazillion doctor's appointments. I found it amazing. I didn't like having a sick child. My heart hurt for him and wanted him to be whole, but caring for him made ME whole.
A few months ago, I was working my current job. I'm a cashier at a convenience store. We do a little bit of everything including cook. As I stood in the kitchen alone with thirty pounds of bacon to be fried, I began to cry. There had to be more to life than waiting on customers and frying bacon for near-minimum wage. I was very depressed over the entire situation. I had to do some serious soul searching. Little by little, it came to me what I had to do. I needed an education, but I had no idea where to start or even what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
I began researching what was available in my area and trying to decide what felt right for me. Once I figured that out, I applied to college and was accepted for the Spring 2013 semester. I've made arrangements with my job to only work weekends and for the next two years, I'm a full time student. When I graduate, I will have a degree as..........
A respiratory therapist. Not only that, I have bigger goals. After I have my degree, my plan is to work for a Children's hospital and train as a NPRT, Neonatal pediatric respiratory therapist. I'm so excited to be doing this with my life!
Only 14 more days until my first class. No turning back. No regrets. I will always be Tommy's Mommy, but now I get to be an RT to not only him, but to hundreds of other kids. Everybody deserves to breathe, and those with a complicated airway or other breathing issues deserve to have someone willing to do what it takes to help them without it being scary, painful or hard. When Tommy needed an RT, sometimes the one that came wasn't willing to make a difference, as a matter of fact, one was so careless she could have done real damage had I not been close by. I have the opportunity, the responsibility to be better.