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Tapenga's Tales
Part 3 - Moving On

(For Part 1 of Tapenga's Tale, click here.)

The second year consisted of much more intense nursing classes and clinicals. I won a significant first time scholarship that was just as important to me in terms of confidence as it was in terms of money.

I worked hard to keep a cushion in my grades so that in case something happened and I blew a final I had a cushion that could absorb it. I learned Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Psychology, and it was in my Intensive Care rotation that I began to have problems.

My husband was continually feeling more threatened as I came closer to succeeding. He realized that if I gained that level of independence that I would be less likely to need him. I had no intentions of leaving, after all I was doing this so that our family could have a better life.

He would smile when people asked about my schooling and say how proud and supportive he was of me. When no one was around he would pick huge fights telling me that I was sacrificing our family for my education, that I didn't care about our marriage, that I was neglecting my children, that I was having affairs, and any other horrible thing that he could think of.

He told huge lies, nothing was out of bounds to try to win my attention and sympathy and make me so upset that it was impossible for me to study.

His father died during this time. I took as much time as I could away from school and then asked him if he wanted me to take more. He told me no, even when I asked repeatedly if he was sure and he assured me that it was ok to go to class.

When I did go to class he later let me know that I was a terrible, awful person for not being home for him. I guess I also lacked skills as a mind reader! I am sure I am not doing a very good job of telling you of the horrendous pressure he put on me trying to cause me to fail so that I was in his eyes still dependent on him.

I ended up having problems with anxiety, I was almost unable to sit still. I can remember rainy nights that I was not able to sit in the house and went out to walk in the rain just to keep on top of the anxiety. My blood pressure escalated and I came under my doctor's care. One night I actually thought I was having a heart attack, which ended up being a panic attack, and I ended up seeing a therapist and taking medication for anxiety. As a result my husband was able to add the title of drug addict to his list of insults of me.

It was actually one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was able to talk about the problems with my marriage, and gain a lot of personal strength. I took a short break from school and from work. I would like to say that I came back completely healed and strong, but I am not sure that is the case. I would say that I came back with a better understanding of myself and my strengths.

I had the complete confidence of my therapist and the instructors at school. They became my friends as well as my instructors. I finished my Critical Care rotation with flying colors and ended with my Leadership rotation and lots of compliments from the nurses that preceded me through that rotation.

I graduated and began what has been an incredible career in nursing. This was by far the most difficult, yet rewarding things I have ever done in my life.

It makes me laugh that I almost didn't become a nurse because I did not pass the first spelling test. Believe me, medicine would have been missing a terrific nurse if spelling had kept me out of this profession. I have worked a very difficult general surgery floor, an orthopedic floor, a year in emergency where I was the only person who could pass the month long critical care training on the first try, and my current position as a discharge planner for a large orthopedic unit where I am well liked and respected by my co-workers, managers, doctors, patients and their families.

I also have the most wonderful husband in the whole world - my second husband - but that is another story!

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