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If I Tell You, You’ll Kill Me


Many, many moons ago, before I was Your Aunt Becky, I was Nurse Becky. However, Nurse Becky had a problem – namely, she didn’t want to be Nurse Becky.

(okay, that’s me being done talking about myself in the third person)

No, I’d given up my medical school dreams for a young lad I’d indelicately booted out of my crotchal regions at the tender age of 21. Me, not him. That would be pretty weird – pushing a 21-year old outta my vagina. Mental picture of a full-grown frat boy (including crappy shamrock tattoo from one drunken night in Cancun) climbing out of my vagina is full of the awesome, though.

The biggest problem I had was that I had no desire whatsoever to actually BE a nurse. Which came to light day one of nursing school. I held on, worked my ass off, and graduated at the top of my class, hoping something – anything – would change my mind.

Of course, it didn’t. The same way I’d make a terrible teacher because, hello, it’s not as though I should personally be ministering to small, impressionable minds. Parents would take one look at me and run for the hills quicker than you can say, “bong water.”

So there I was – freshly graduated, diploma in hand, mind not magically changed to, “Imma let you finish – then Imma administering you some morphine – can I have a drag?”

Not the image of someone who should be giving you drugs. Legally, I mean.

Blithely, I applied – and got – a job working on a cardiac floor at a hospital in Elmhurst. That lasted six weeks before I quit. I’d been told that the floor I was on was one that “made a lot of people ditch nursing a career.” Apparently, I chose even more poorly than I’d thought.

When we moved to our current house, faced with the prospect of dueling mortgages (this was almost immediately before the housing market bubble burst), it was decided that I’d go back to work. After spending a few months sitting alone in our condo with a small autistic boy all day, I was more than happy to get back on the (work) horse and ride that fucker all the fuck over the place.

This time, I knew better – I wasn’t going back to a hospital – oh no. That shit was for the GOOD nurses out there. Instead, I chose a desk job working for a major insurance company. I’d be approving certain claims as well as finding ways to extend the benefits for people who were using in-home hospice.

Now hospice, if you don’t know, is for people who are no longer pursing active treatment of their terminal illness. Hospice is designed to let you die with some dignity at home (or in the hospital) as comfortably – and pain free – as possible. Hospice is also one of the last options for people who are terminally ill, which means that most people don’t stay in hospice for very long before they pass.

However, some people had certain hospice benefits provided through my company – but the terms and conditions were, as many people forget, set by the employer – and some of their hospice benefits were way weird. So it was my job to look for loopholes, draft care plans, and show the insurance company as well as the employer that being in at-home hospice was far cheaper than being hospitalized.

It wasn’t as glamorous a job as, say, BLOGGING, but I liked it – I was actually helping people in a way I knew how – by finding and exploiting the system.

But elevator conversations always turned sour:

Someone Else: “What do you do for a living?”

Nurse Becky (prays they’ll stop questioning there): “I’m a nurse.”

Someone Else (warmly): “My [insert relation here] is a nurse! That’s so wonderful! You’re a very special person for doing all that you do. Where do you work?”

Nurse Becky (mumbles): “[Company that shares a name with an airline]”

Someone Else: “Oh, FUCK YOU! That’s a fucking BULLSHIT company. I fucking HATE them – you know they denied my claim for a routine appendectomy? HOW THE HELL COULD YOU WORK FOR SUCH EVIL CORPORATE BASTARDS? You’re one sick puppy, you know that?”

Nurse Becky (mumbles): “Well, I’m one of the good guys – I look for ways to….”

Someone Else: “Fuck you and fuck your mother for birthing you, you soulless bitch.”

(storms off)

Nurse Becky (crestfallen, to herself): “I gotta remember to say I’m an astronaut or something.”

Eventually, the soulless heart-slurping company switched my job to that would primarily involve cold-calling people and giving them health examinations over the phone – not my cup of tea. This, at the same time I’d found out I was pregnant with Alex and couldn’t stop yarfing everywhere meant that it was time for me to mosey on down to greener – nicer – pastures. Like blogging. And wearing ass grooves into my couch.

At least then, only my couch could really bitch at me.

17 Comments to

“If I Tell You, You’ll Kill Me”

  1. On March 23rd, 2012 at 12:17 pm alaina Says:

    I HATE my job so can relate to your nursing career. I need a life sponsor so I can stop working. My husband doesn’t think that he should be my life sponsor. We don’t see eye to eye on this issue.

  2. On March 23rd, 2012 at 12:32 pm Noelle Says:

    I’m not a nurse but I work in healthcare. It’s always been my policy to leave the specifics out of the “where do you work” conversation. Not worth the grief. Solidarity, sista!

  3. On March 23rd, 2012 at 12:51 pm Cindy Says:

    I’m an insurance broker. Guess what I get when people ask me what I do? Their eyes get all big and they look for the nearest exit. It’s not like I’m going to try to sell you life insurance in the 15 items or less lane. (I usually do it in the regular checkout line.)
    Nope, we’re not all out to sell you something.

  4. On March 23rd, 2012 at 12:58 pm Rachel Says:

    I have a hard time telling people not so much what I do, but where I do it. My typical response, “I’m an executive slave.” Half-interested person, “oh, which company do you work for?” To which I simply reply, “a bioscience company,” and hope that the conversation ends there. Or I get up to go to the bathroom and hide until that person is clearly not waiting for me to come back and answer anymore questions!!

    Well, Aunt Becky, I for one am glad that you started blogging! This site and BandBackTogether have helped me in so many ways, that I know that I can’t count that high!!

  5. On March 23rd, 2012 at 1:04 pm Mayor Gia Says:

    Ha! GIVING people hospice care actually seems like a pretty rewarding job (for such an upsetting topic). Also, you look totes adorable in that grad pic.

  6. On March 23rd, 2012 at 2:23 pm chrisinphx Says:

    My other half has been an O.R. Nurse for 19 years, every single day he comes home and reminds me that he wishes he went into something else. Having Dr’s scream at you for their own short comings isn’t much fun.

  7. On March 23rd, 2012 at 2:44 pm Shanon Says:

    Glad you found your way to greener pastures. Also? You can wear ass grooves in to my couch any time and tell me your stories!

  8. On March 23rd, 2012 at 3:05 pm Txtingmrdarcy Says:

    I work for a major insurance company too. I usually avoid that when mentioning that “I work in Pharmacy.” *fist bumps Aunt Becky*

  9. On March 23rd, 2012 at 3:58 pm Cindy Says:

    Becky, your experience in the medical field makes you the right person to write RPs for the band without editorializing (like I would if I wrote an addiction RP, as I am a firm believer that the 12 steps are the solution to all my problems), so the nursing degree has certainly served a purpose.

  10. On March 23rd, 2012 at 4:23 pm Kristin Says:

    Even though I hate that you were in a soul sucking job, I’m glad you found your way to blogging.

  11. On March 23rd, 2012 at 5:11 pm Brett Minor Says:

    It is not worth it to do a job you hate. Regardless of the money you paid to get the degree.

  12. On March 23rd, 2012 at 8:08 pm Stephanie Says:

    One of my BFFs in college used to have me call him 5 times a day on the insurance company’s 1-800 number to balance out all the claims he had to deny.

    He did, of course, eventually get fired– but it took much longer than he anticipated.

    I had medical school dreams before getting knocked up. Now I figure between google and webmd that I’m probably at least equivalent to a first year, right?

  13. On March 23rd, 2012 at 9:47 pm Janey Says:

    Love this post.

    Considered nursing for a time but decided the long hours would kill me. But does seem that there are many avenues you can pursue. Home health Care nurse, senior homes, health care center (giving needles and such). Ever think you will go back?

    Your grad photo rocks and I am envious. (My grad photo got derailed by the fact I could not pass Statistics 101 that I took TWICE. To me it was another language spelled backwards/upside down and partially in invisible ink, sigh…)

  14. On March 23rd, 2012 at 9:56 pm Janey Says:

    BTW, in no way suggesting you SHOULD go back, love what you do here and on your other site. Just me who is wondering what to do when I grow up (I’m 46 🙂 and sort of wishing I had the nursing degree!

  15. On March 24th, 2012 at 11:18 am Meredith P. Says:

    I hated my last job too. Every time I mentioned that I worked for a certain cell phone provider to people I would get the same type of responses you did saying you were a nurse.

    I got unfairly terminated from that job almost a year ago, but now I am glad that I did because I can pursue my dream life of staying home and blogging as well. 🙂

  16. On March 24th, 2012 at 3:22 pm tracey Says:

    Hey, I just had a conversation with an understanding guy at the Mortgage company. I NEARLY PASSED OUT. So, good people exist in all lines of work. But not all lines of work are “good” ones. I had a point but it got lost because my puppy is eating up my face…

  17. On March 24th, 2012 at 7:15 pm Samantha Says:

    My husband has one of those jobs where people think they have the right to respond with their opinions. His does political work, and his job title alone outs us as extremely liberal. It always blows my mind when people with different values think they can respond with how much they disagree with what he does. It’s so rude. Like, if someone told me they were a corporate attorney or Donald Rumsfeld I’d do the polite thing–smile and privately judge them. It’s the right thing to do!

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