My first appointment yesterday was at 10:00 in the morning. I decided to just skip work entirely. I slept in a little, got ready and drove myself to the hospital where the pulmonary function test was to be held. I sign in, follow the signs to “respiratory‿ and enter the office. Once they know I’m there, I settle in to a corner with a Real Simple magazine and speed flip through that. Having gained all the insight out of that I’m likely to get, I pick up the Glamour magazine and start reading that.
Half way through an article written by a lady to takes on the Amish diet, where you eat as much as you can as long as it is home-made stuff and you walk upwards of 7 miles in a day, I get called back. (She lost three pounds.)
The guy that is going to be administering my tests has a shiny nose, and is abnormally cheerful. He takes me back to a room that has a clear chamber with a chair in it. I’m directed to the chair, which I sit in and he starts adding apparatus to the existing apparatus. He closes the door, has me put my mouth around this hideous green thing and walks me through a bunch of breathing exercises. He seems convinced that I can blow more air out of my lungs than is actually possible, but no matter. I’m lightheaded and dizzy from all the rapid sucking in and blowing out of air, but that doesn’t seem to matter. He pronounces me basically normal, directs me to the phlebotomy lab and I’m on my way.
The receptionist/administrator at the phlebotomy desk has two multiple-carat amethyst rings on each finger, and someone is giving her a purple pen. Anyone want to venture a guess that the lady is enamored of purple? Yeah.
So I join the disturbing number of parents waiting with their infants for a blood draw. Rather than obsess over what could possibly be wrong with all of these infants, I return to my Glamour magazine, which is now printing pithy comments from women who have made it in Hollywood – the screenwriters, the producers, etc. (And one brave lady who is marrying Robert Downey Jr.)
One quote in particular sticks between my ribs like a small but unforgiving hat pin. It basically goes like this: Don’t have a plan B. Have a plan A and stick to it, because if you have a plan B, then you’ll always end up with your B plan.‿
The lady who draws my blood is Ethiopian, so I get to ask her where the best place to get Ethiopian food is. (14th and U, I guess.) She does a FABULOUS job of drawing my blood – I’m the biggest baby about my blood, it isn’t even funny. The life of a surgeon would NOT be for me. So she also knows an Ethiopian photographer that I knew when I was in high-school (through my part-time job being sexually harassed at a frame store.)
Moving to my third appointment of the day, I ran down 270, around 495 and back up Georgia to get a chest x-ray. That sucked. These two burly guys gave me a wretched pink hospital gown to put on, instructed me to take off my bra and then ran me through the xray paces. Two shots, and it appears as if I have perfectly healthy, fat grey lungs. Yum.
So if my PFT is pretty normal, and my x-rays are pretty normal, does that mean I had a panic attack instead of an asthma attack?
No plan B. If you have a plan B then you live plan B.
I came home and arranged food for myself and the hubby. Standing over the skillet with my favorite meatballs, I turned the whole career question over in my head. I don’t like my job, and it is entirely possible that this is an issue with me and not the job. The only job I’ve actually liked was working for my father, and I liked that job because I had lots of independence, I could follow my own body rhythms, and I had plenty of responsibility. Further, I had a personal investment in the outcome.
So I sat down with my Cool Careers for Dummies over lunch. (Putanesca over penne and turkey meatballs.) I flipped through the listings of careers, discarding the options one by one. This one, I need to go back to school for. I’m not doing more school for plan B. Plan B. Plan B is what you live if you don’t commit to plan A. That one sounds interesting, but I have to maintain my income and I’m not sure I could do that while I broke into that field. Page after page of some really good ideas, stuff that might get me out from behind my computer screen, and doing something that mattered to someone else.
But every last option is a plan B. What if the Hollywood lady is right and plan B destroys your capability to achieve plan A? My plan A isn’t so complicated, it isn’t like plan A is to become an Astronaut or anything… It’s simply to get my ass published, make enough money to get us out of debt and find a teaching job at some small, out of the way University, preferably in the Atlantic provinces of Canada. Fame and fortune wouldn’t be terrible, but that’s icing and I’m happy with cake.
(Well there is the small problem of the Hubby not being entirely on-board with plan A, particularly the part where he is sure the cold weather may seriously impair his ability to reproduce.)