I finished studying and taking tests. On January 8th, my birthday, I began clinicals. This is where I go to an actual hospital to work as a sort of intern. Me and another student from my class, a young girl-- no older than 18 or 19, were assigned to the same clinical site.
For five days a week, eight hours a day, it became my job to write down any procedures I had witnessed or performed. I was to gain "competencies" for a number of procedures, meaning I had to learn to perform different positions on patients as they came in and prove I could do them on my own.
The first few weeks were pretty rough. It was a new kind of experience-- being in a hospital behind the scenes. I had expected to be working with one, maybe two RTs during my time there, but there were actually dozens of different techs there on any given day. I was to follow whoever had something to do at the time, which was almost never... The down time was the hardest part. Having nothing to do and being under a microscope and being expected to stay busy somehow was like torture. Every minute felt like an hour. Save for whoever the radiologist was there on that day, I was the only man working there. All the techs were women. I had never felt more like an alien, or more out of place in my life. Some even said things to me like they were surprised to see a guy there.
Occasionally a fax would come in and we'd have a round of portables to do-- this was the best part. I was actually able to do what I was there to do, and I was actually getting pretty good at it. By the third week, I had mastered wrists, ankles, hands, feet, abdomen and esophagrams. I did so many chest x-rays that I could probably do them blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back. By Friday of the third week, I was feeling a lot better about the whole thing. I was so much more confident when dealing with patients. I was getting to know each individual tech that worked there, and how they liked to do things. I left there that day feeling like it would be no problem, and it was something I could do...
Then Monday the next week, something happened. I'm still not sure what, exactly. From the very start of that day something felt wrong. Meredith, the lady in charge, had returned from covering someone else who had been out sick with the flu the entire week before. She was there the whole day, barking and snarling at me, demanding I do more than "just stand there" during down time-- pacing around and loudly complaining about how her teeth hurt. They must have been hurting a lot, because I had never seen anyone act so erratically. Somehow, I ended up getting stuck with her with a few patients, who she hastily threw into position while screaming at me to stand back and press the exposure button while she stood in the room with them... I never had any problems with any of the other techs. I started to feel like she was playing me. She was acting erratic and giving me misleading directions for the purpose of humiliating me.
Just like weeks before, when she pulled me into her office to show me images on Google of different bows and braids I could put my hair up in to coerce me into cutting it without outright telling me to... She couldn't have just told me it was hospital policy for men to have short hair. I had it tied back in the same manner as any of the women who worked there, but that wasn't good enough. I told her I would just go home and shave it. "Oh no don't do that. Look at these pig tails!" Of course, I went home and shaved it all short. It wasn't a big deal. I just wish she didn't feel like she had to embarrass me over it. But that had become the ongoing theme with her. It's like she enjoyed it.
Back to my last day... At some point we had an elderly patient (almost all of them were elderly), who she just finished a chest xray with. She then told me to return the patient to the lobby, since he didn't have a room, as all the rooms were full that day. As a student, I had no business returning walking patients anywhere. She said it would be fine since she was in charge. She even came out into the hall and pointed me towards the lobby. "I'm glad you know where you're going" said the old man as I began to get lost, trying not to lock myself out being without a scannable ID to operate the inner doors with. Finally we reached the cafeteria, which I knew was directly connected to the front lobby, where I had returned many patients to before with other techs. I told the patient that it was as far as I could go without being locked out, and that the lobby was around the corner there, pointing.
Come to find out, what Meredith meant to tell me was the patient was to go to the ER lobby, not the front lobby. She deliberately led me with the patient to the wrong lobby, so they could say they found him wandering around in the cafeteria, lost. --so she could come back to me, outraged, huffing and puffing, about how she had failed, and what an idiot she was and how she had failed (really meaning me, of course.)
Shortly later she came back and demanded I leave early to get a new left marker from Keiser. I had lost it a week before. My plan was to get a new left marker when I went for my class meeting that Wednesday. It was about an hours drive away.
On the way there, she apparently emailed my instructors telling them that she didn't want me to come back, after which my instructors at Keiser called me to come and talk to them while I was there getting a new marker. They basically got me in a small room with them to tell me (again) that I was not suited for RT, and that I would not be returning to that hospital. Of course, they all sided with Meredith, not knowing at all what was going on there, or asking any of the techs there about me. It was all up to the word of one dumpy post-menopausal *****, just as I had feared before even going. My fate is always in the hands of someone else. It doesn't matter what I say or do.
It's funny, because just before all that I was thinking about just how much I hated it there, and how much I hated Meredith, and how wrong it all felt. I knew I was not suited for that kind of work. I could not be like all the women working there. I felt extremely out of place and uncomfortable every day, but I pushed through and forced myself to do it day after day... It should not have ended that way, and I hate that I have wasted nearly two years of my life going to school and racking up more student loan debt for nothing-- but I am relieved more than anything.
My instructors kept telling me that I just needed to find what I was good at-- that I should try other programs there. For what? They're all the same. If I don't have the skills to be in RT, how is anything else any different? Basically it was, "why don't you just spend more time and more money taking more classes that will never benefit you in any way. We'll have such in such in this other program call you."
I don't know what to do now. I've been at home for a week doing nothing, just like I used to do. I'm not a student RT anymore. I'm not anything. All of my classmates have already removed me from their Facebooks and group texts and forgotten me. I won't be seeing them anymore. I won't be graduating in December. The prospect of ever having a real job now is long gone. I've gone back to being my wife's 32 year old child, and there have already been talks about me finding another job with Wal-Mart or equivalent-- something I swore I would never do again. The US Army has been calling me and leaving me messages and texts on my phone. I guess being cannon fodder for Trump's upcoming war with North Korea is the "right place" for me my instructors were referring to. They wouldn't be calling me if they knew what a basket case I was, or how out of shape I am, or how I can't even stand up straight no matter how hard I try.
I want to think this is it for me. I want to think I should kill myself now. I am truly a valueless person. There can be no doubt about that now. At the same time though, I still feel relieved. I feel relief that I no longer have to try and force myself into something that feels wrong to me. I feel lucky that I get to have this easy life as a house husband, and that maybe it was all just a mistake that I ever tried to be anything else. I think I will save suicide for the day I am forced to go back to Wal-Mart and can't find a way out of it. I don't think that will happen, though. I hear they're paying their employees starting at $11 an hour now, which to me is basically saying they aren't going to hire people like they used to-- being anyone, anytime. Not anymore.
Now comes the time where I apply for thousands of jobs and don't get a call from anyone, not even Wal-Mart this time. Now comes the time where I stare at this screen and contemplate my life as a broke, loveless, sexless house pet. I am getting old, and my body is starting to fail. My stomach is full of ulcers. My teeth are all broken and rotted. I will die on my own eventually.
Kuwoobie will die crushed under the burden of his mediocrity.