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Milestone: After 2-1/2 years, I completed X-ray school today.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by El Tele Lobo, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    2-1/2 years ago, I left my job of 11 years. Without getting into religion, suffice to say, I felt the Lord leading me in a completely new direction, prayed about it a lot, got confirmation and went for it. I didn't know much about the field or what was involved (probably a blessing, haha). I had no idea it would be the hardest thing I'd ever done academically and in many other ways. I wasn't even sure I'd make it in (it's highly competitive just to get in).

    People at my job thought I was nuts...but I guess the Man upstairs knew what He was doing. Within a couple months of leaving, my company had several rounds of layoffs. Most of the people I used to work with aren't even there anymore. Meanwhile, I've managed to stay employed through the entire plague-that-shall-not-be-named this year (I've been working as a patient transporter at a local hospital for the last 16 months...definitely an essential job).

    I lost my stepfather just weeks after starting classes for my prereqs, which was hard. I already have a B.A. in English, so I only needed a few classes in Anatomy and Physiology and Medical Terminology to get in. I worked my butt off...pretty much lived at school, haunted the tutoring center and taught anyone who would listen everything I was learning, just to help me remember it. To my great joy, come January, I got in.

    The first two semesters were the hardest. We got the bulk of our academic work during this time as well as learning how to position well over 100 X-ray procedures all over the body. Each procedure required knowledge of anatomy viewed, tube angles and distances, marker placement, technique and breathing instructions. A ridiculous amount of information. We also studied the physics of how the X-ray machine works and how X-rays are produced. Later we studied their effect on the body tissues as well as pathologies we would encounter in the field. I'd been a life-long A-student without a whole lot of strain to do it...throughout high school and college I often showed up for class to surprise tests and aced them, but this program actually GAVE me test anxiety. The tests were HARD...brutal. I was a B or C student through most of my classes...though I did nail a few A's.

    Starting clinic work was a whole other affair. Having never worked in a medical environment before (I wouldn't start transporting for about 3-4 more months), it was terrifying. I tried to remember everything I had to do and the right sequence to do it, while not neglecting patient care or due diligence. I felt like the dumbest person in the room...in every room...and it didn't get better for AWHILE. My neurotic, self-doubting, OCD, ADD, insecurity issues I thought I'd long left behind came back to haunt me in a BIG way. It didn't help that many of the people at my first main hospital site were pretty curmudgeonly...some were VERY unhelpful and a few were rather hostile. My clinical instructor though, was amazing. He was very encouraging and even when I messed up trying to get (even simple) competencies and practice checks, he always stayed positive and believed in me. He was great with patients too. So were some of the curmudgeons...so it made it a little easier to give them some grace. Their hearts were in the right place...I guess they just didn't like teaching or working with students. It's not for everyone.

    That first semester of clinic got me down a lot. I struggled. I struggled through much of the program, actually. I turned a corner when I realized I'd been called to this and the One who had called me was the only one who's opinion (and will) really mattered. I also realized that some of the people I DID like and respect also liked and respected (and encouraged me). I wasn't called to failure and discouragement...I was called to victory...and I couldn't let a few people's bad attitudes get in my way. It was a paradigm shift for me.

    My outpatient sites were better. They were fast paced and we saw a lot of routine stuff. In the hospital we bounced around from routine to ER to OR to fluoroscopy. Outpatient was mostly routine stuff with a few special fluoro procedures. Some of the staff were easier to deal with, better teachers and more encouraging too.

    By the end of that summer, my first semester of clinic, money was running out and I had to sell a bunch of gear...pedals, a few guitars. Later I sold one of my prize tweed amp clones and a Gibson flattop that was the best acoustic I'd owned to date. I got help from my church and from various friends. Eventually I started working.

    Then you-know-what hit and we were out of clinic for 6 months (along with x-ray students around the country), first because of the shortage of PPE and later because of liability worries. It was discouraging. I counted on being in a program with a more-than-typical amount of clinic time to hone my skills and build my confidence. It didn't help that my second-year hospital site was a dead-zone about half the time. It was either completely dead or briefly completely busy. I should count my blessings. I ultimately was still able to graduate on time...I can't say the same for some people in other programs.

    Somehow I made it through. This last semester we reviewed the whole program...5 semesters' worth of subject matter...TONS of it. We took a subject test in each of the 4 subjects on the Registry (our licensing exam) and 3 mock Registries. I failed one of my subject tests by just a couple points but passed the others. I scored 84%, 88% and 82%, respectively, on my 3 mock registries. Today was the last one. I'm done. I'm graduated. Passed clinic too...even though I didn't get all the comps I wanted. They let us do simulations for several exams, which helped. Monday I take the Registry. Our in-class tests are actually designed to be harder than the actual Registry...most people score 5 to 10 points higher on the actual Registry. I feel pretty confident going in...but still a little nervous and stressed. Can't wait to be done with that.

    I have some job applications out. Working on a few more. Applying at both my hospital sites. The place where I transport is also my first clinic site. I have a good chance of getting hired there. Really itching to get back to work and making steady money. I'll start out making just a few thousand more than I was as a technical writer (after 11 years at a well-paying company) but will have FAR more growth opportunities and will be paid HOURLY instead of on salary like my old gig. For someone willing to work hard and pick up extra hours, the money can get quite good. For someone willing to continue to study and develop their skill set, it can be even better.

    The best part of all of this, besides the ways it has grown my faith, is the gratification of working with patients. Both as an x-ray student and as a transporter, I've had some powerful and wonderful encounters with some amazing people. I try to bring a little encouragement and joy everywhere I go, both for the patients and the other stuff. It's so rewarding. I'm beyond grateful.

    It's not an easy thing to reinvent yourself and train for a totally different career in your late forties...especially such a technical, knowledge-heavy one. But it is so satisfying.

    I hope you guys will forgive me for spilling this all here at length, but I'm off Facebook now and don't have anyone to share it with on a wide scale. I am exhausted, thankful and blessed. And believe it or not, TDPRI helped keep me sane during this crazy journey I've been on the last few years. So thank you all for that. God bless you guys for your crazy wit, your gear-obsessed neediness, your G.A.S. and your New Gear Days. I love being a part of this community.
     
  2. deus56

    deus56 Tele-Meister

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    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!
    My father was a Radiologist.
    When the technology for MRI first became known, it was often referred to as NMR
    (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) my father joked that they are going to have to come
    up with a different moniker. He said people might start thinking NMR stood for
    No More Radiologists.
    God rest his soul.
     
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  3. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Congratulations!!!
     
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  4. tubedood

    tubedood Tele-Holic

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    Man thats great!
    Im thrilled you went with heart and soul and have embarked on a fascinating new career path!
    We all should all welcome a fresh start.
     
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  5. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well, I'm going to be an X-ray Tech. I'd have to do a LOT more school to be a Radiologist (basically become a Doctor)...and I'm no spring chicken at this point. But I am thinking about training in MRI or CT after I get my feet wet a little bit...especially if I can get my employer to pay for it.

    God bless your father for his work. Those guys are unsung heroes...first of all getting exposed to an inordinate amount of radiation during procedures...especially fluoroscopy...and secondly, for sitting in those dark rooms for hour after hour staring at screens and ruining their eyesight. I'm sure his patients were thankful for him though...not to mention his family.
     
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  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm no stranger to laying in these machines.... do they let you drive them yet?...

    good luck with your new vocation.. break a leg...;):D

    cat scan machine.jpg
     
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  7. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Congrads and good luck with the job search. Its a great achievement. Also, its service oriented, taking care of patients, and people. I give folks who are service-oriented, a little extra praise and hope they realize a little extra gratitude in the world.
     
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  8. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    You will post the best weird stuff i hope...

    0CE6BFD6-3254-4E18-9880-5475EADE4F87.jpeg
     
  9. Scooter91

    Scooter91 Tele-Holic

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    Good job, brother! Nice story, too.:)
     
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  10. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    That’s excellent, congratulations.
     
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  11. MrCairo46

    MrCairo46 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Congrats !!!!
    I have several former employees who have moved on to Radiology. Everything fromX rays, to , sonograms, to Cat scans and MRI. They all love the work. Enjoy your new career
     
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  12. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    Best of luck to a fellow Floridian with one of my favorite TDPRI handles ;)
     
  13. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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  14. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    Congratulations. My daughter is a Nurse Practitioner and I clearly remember her struggles getting through it. All of the hard work is paying off for her now, as it will for you too. God bless.
     
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  15. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Anybody that tends to the ill sick infermed , whatever the term for those that suffer get the right to unload here I thought you already knew that. Are you paying attention? o.k. ?
    You don't have to show a ticket at the door just walk in and tell the truth, There is little of that in this world of tears as it is .
    I spent 8 hours in a locked room with someone with what was called acute anxiety syndrome and everyday since I'm down on my knees grateful that it's her and not me.
     
  16. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Well done!

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  17. joshote

    joshote Tele-Meister

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    Nice! Thank you for this, it is inspiring and a really nice thing to read as I'm drinking my coffee preparing for Friday in a sometimes upside down world.
     
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  18. djh22

    djh22 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    You have willingly undertaken major challenges and earned life-changing accomplishments. Having the conviction to follow a calling is admirable in the best of circumstances. Using your knowledge and skills to help others is the ultimate gift of service.

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing!
     
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  19. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Friend of Leo's

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    True story... Many years/decades ago I was an employment counselor, administered aptitude tests, taught job seeking and interviewing skills, resume writing, etc. I remember one client had decided she wanted to be an x-ray technologist because there wouldn't be any blood and gore like in nursing, LOL!!
     
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  20. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Congratulations!

    However, the real winners in this story are us guitar techs, because we can send you necks with non-working truss rods and you can take a happy-snap and tell us what the issue is ;)
     
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