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Rising to the Challenge

This past week has pushed me to my limits. Starting a new job is always stressful. It doesn’t get any easier as you get older. Quite the opposite, in fact. I was fortunate to find a job that is close to my house, with likeable co-workers, and doing something I enjoy.

There was one obstacle I had to overcome before I could settle in. I had to take EKG classes and pass the test. In order to become a Monitor Tech, I have to be certified. I was a good student in school, but that was more decades ago than I care to think about. My stress factor became a viable creature who taunted me day and night. The classes didn’t help. Two days to learn a ton of information that's crucial to a patient’s well-being, one day to study, then the exam.

Waking up on exam day, I actually felt pretty positive about the whole thing. I studied practically non-stop, and thought I had the gist of information retained in what remained of my muddled mind. I’d been over the multitude of EKG strips and could identify them all. When I sat down to take the exam—I went blank. Full out panic set in, and I knew my own heart rate was textbook tachycardia—due to stress.

Forcing yourself to calm down and think is hard, especially when so much is riding on the outcome. I’m one of those people who put more pressure on themselves. I was bound and determined to pass the test. I certainly didn’t want to have to do it again. Waiting for the instructor to grade my paper was agonizing. Her words were encouraging, but all I could see were the red X’s on my test paper. I didn’t expect to ace it, but I desperately wanted to pass.