Musings

[Blog] Change

So, this week, I got a new job. Or rather, provided I get all the necessary paperwork and certifications renewed, I got a new job. This means several things, foremost in my mind being the fact that I’m going to spend the next few weeks in a chaotic flurry that may or may not involve braving the California DMV multiple times. (Oh, joy!) It also means that my carefully curated routines are about to get turned on their heads. (Oh, double joy!) But it also– sarcasm and low-key panic aside– also means that I’m going to, I hope, be doing something that is another step closer to the emergency medicine career that I’ve been moving towards for several years now. Moving slowly, granted, but moving nonetheless. And all panic and flailing against change aside, that’s pretty cool. Terrifying, but pretty darn cool.

Plus, if I’m really lucky and I get to do three twelve hour shifts (oh please oh please oh please oh please…), I’m going to have a whole bunch more time I can use for writing.

Birthright Armenia, Musings

[Blog] Week Fourteen, First Aid

BIRTHRIGHTHEADER

This week, I got to teach basic first aid to a group of high school students. If that doesn’t sound particularly exciting, let me try to explain why this is so special to me.

Months ago, back before I got to Armenia, the first thing that had me feeling really, truly excited about joining the Birthright program was the potential opportunity to help teach first aid and CPR in a number of Armenian villages through an organization called Aid to Armenia (ATA). When I got certified as an EMT a couple of years ago, it was like I had finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, so the chance to put that knowledge to good use in Armenia while also getting the experience that could help me get a job in that field was thoroughly appealing. Sadly, due to timing and a handful of other factors, it didn’t work out and I took other volunteer placements instead.

Until this week.

Members of the Birthright staff had mentioned once or twice that, if I was interested, there was some possibility I might be able to help with some trainings in Yerevan. One of the major logistical problems that had made it impossible for me to go out to the villages was a lack of available transportation; if I stayed in the city, that was no longer an issue. To my shame, I didn’t follow through right away. It was a slim chance, and with just over a month left on my trip I was loath to shake things up when they were working so well, or at least well enough to be safe. If you ever wondered what my greatest weakness was, I think that’s it: I don’t leave my comfort zone easily.

At the same time, spending two days every week just observing for the past three months was hard. I was learning, and the friendships I had begun (and continue) to make with the doctors and nurses at Nork Marash are more than worth the time spent on them, but I hated that I wasn’t doing anything hands-on in any medical field.

The thing that finally pushed me into doing something about it was the half day I ended up with no one to shadow. I talked to the same Birthright staff member who had mentioned that there might be some possibilities in Yerevan, and, long story short and with lots of help from lots of people, everything fell into place. Another Birthright volunteer agreed to interpret, and now there’s a few more people who know a bit more about basic first aid. And maybe that means they’ll be able to help someone when they need it most.

And that’s really, really cool.