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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Guess What? I Passed My Test...



It’s a classic Northwest day,rainy and chilly, just in time for the approach of the Memorial Day weekend. I passed my test yesterday. It was a beautiful sunny day-literally! Up on the teeter-totter I went. The view from up there in the land of relieved and proud was nice. For almost a day.

A little irritation set in later in the evening. I tried to chalk it up to the post-stress crash that was bound to happen. I have spent months gathering hundreds if not thousands of environmental health facts into every nook and cranny of my brain, shoving other things out the window when there was no more room. Of course the test does not consist of thousands of questions. Merely 250. There were so many clever facts that I did not get to share. Things that I worked so hard to remember…like the fact that leptospirosis is caused by rodent urine. I like to use ‘association’ to remember things.  I imagined a rodent had ‘leapt’ upon someone in the night and peed on the innocent victim’s pillow. It worked. And what about Brucellosis? A favorite of mine, otherwise known as Undulant fever, among other pseudonyms. Source is often contaminated milk. And so I pulled together a picture in my mind of a cow, complete with udders, named Bruce. Yep, I was particularly proud of that. But the test did not want to know about Bruce. Or rodent urine.  So now begins the process of purging some of these facts I won’t need, in order to make room for new information or the return of some discarded bits.

I awoke this morning after 6 hours of sleep with my leg muscles doing their best Jiffy Pop impersonation. I took a half a pill, which will only serve to make me tired in time for a staff meeting, lay there frustrated and in discomfort for a half hour and finally got up. Lucky readers, an extra post for you.
I woke up thinking about my dad. Missing my dad. Last night, as I was looking for some ‘baseball’ gear to wear to today’s themed staff meeting, I came across a Yankees T-shirt that we had given my dad the year he died. My stepmom kindly gave it back to me. It hangs in my closet, but I’ve never put it on. Some day, maybe. As I held it in my hand last night I thought, “14 years. It has been 14 years….I wish he could see me now. I wonder what he would think of my job. I wish I could tell him I passed my test.”

Sometimes I have those thoughts and they pass, life carries me off in a flurry of busyness. But I am having a little quiet time now I think. Just a little. And this morning my end of the teeter-totter is firmly planted on the ground and that’s okay. It’s just a different view for right now.
I got on Facebook when I woke up to try to distract myself. Instead I saw a post from a ‘friend’ commenting on a post of someone I don’t know.  This someone I don’t know…well their 54 year old mother from Terre Haute (my dad’s hometown) has died. Practically the exact age of my dad when he passed away. The weird part…she was born in the very town in the Pacific Northwest that I moved to when we left Indiana years ago, after my parents divorced. The very town I now work in.
I scrolled a bit further only to find another post about today being the anniversary of someone else losing a loved one to cancer.
Maybe that bothers me even more. About the questions that they didn’t ask on the test. Combined cancers are in the top 3 causes of death. We know that environmental exposures are the biggest cause of cancers. I work in the field of ‘environmental health’ and the test makes me an ‘expert’. Where are the cancer programs? Where are the statutes and regulations and rules and programs related to environmental cancer exposures. Other than a little shout out to radon and alpha particles, there was not a whole lot asked about cancer on my test.  But I have a whole lot to say. And maybe some day I’ll say it. For the moment I’m going to find my Yankees cap and head to work. Miss you dad. Guess what? I passed my test.

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