Start back at Part One
Several weeks later, I still didn’t have an ultrasound job. I had been on multiple interviews, and had really good prospects, but my self confidence was starting to wane. I didn’t know how to get a job in the ultrasound field and my lack of experience was hugely limiting. I started casting my net farther and farther, looking for jobs in nearby cities, as well as applying for waitressing jobs at restaurants. Brock assured me that he had no problem supporting me while I was looking for ultrasound jobs, but I couldn’t convince myself to be fine doing nothing. I stressed.
Within another week, I had been offered positions at both a hospital in a nearby city, and a waitressing position at a restaurant near our house. I briefly considered trying to work both jobs, but after learning that there would be an intense training period at the hospital, I passed on the wait job.
The shift I was hired for at this hospital was the weekend dayshift, with nights on call. I would drive to the city on Friday morning, work the Friday afternoon shift, and then check into a nearby hotel. I was on call while I slept at the hotel, and then I would get up the following morning to work 7am to 7pm; spend another night in the hotel, work the Sunday day shift, and then drive home Sunday evening. Brock and I had a Sunday ritual of meeting at Moe’s for dinner, but besides that, he didn’t often see me nor did he stay in the hotel with me – we didn’t see each other at all on the weekends. It was an intense job, with no other ultrasound techs to rely on for help. I learned many very important ultrasound lessons while I was there, including how to trust my intuition when it came to finding something wrong, and how to work with other modalities to figure out challenging cases.
One particularly powerful lesson was that ‘things aren’t always what they appear’. Up until this point in my career, I had seen two confirmed ectopic pregnancies. An ectopic occurs when an egg is fertilized outside of the uterus and then implants before traveling into the uterine cavity. Both of the prior cases I had seen involved women in immense amounts of pain; crying, yelling, begging for pain medication. On this particular day, I was called in to “rule out ectopic” and came in to do the ultrasound. I found myself immensely frustrated as I watched my patient walk down the hallway towards me. NO WAY she has an ectopic, I said to myself, she’s not in any pain.
But, like a dutiful tech, I did the exam according to protocol. First, I scanned through her belly (abdominal ultrasound) and looked at her uterus and ovaries. I wasn’t surprised to see nothing – it’s common not to see an early pregnancy abdominally. Then I had her empty her bladder while I prepared the endovaginal ultrasound probe (internal ultrasound). I scanned through her uterus and saw a completely empty uterine canal. I looked at both ovaries, documented size, shape, and blood flow. Then I scanned out to the sides, the “adnexa” of the pelvis in my patient who was in absolutely no pain at all, and BOOM. There it was. A live pregnancy – six week old fetal pole with a heartbeat – growing DEFINITELY outside of her uterus.
My heart started racing. I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified. I finished my exam, and called a transporter to take her back to the emergency room. I told him under NO circumstances could he show up to my department without a wheelchair for her. I then RUSHED my study to the radiologist as though I was carrying a ticking time bomb – I thought I was. In my newness as a technologist, I didn’t understand the difference yet between a significant finding, an urgent finding, and an emergent finding. For example, a live ectopic (with no pain and not at risk for immediate rupture) is an urgent finding… an 8cm abdominal aortic aneurysm is an emergent finding. I’m not entirely certain how her particular case was handled (working in a hospital is not always the best way to get follow up on patients) but non-emergent ectopic pregnancies are typically treated medically, instead of in surgery.
I drove home every Sunday night exhausted but also enchanted with my job. I was making amazing friendships with my co-workers and building positive rapport with the physicians. I was making a name for myself as a reliable and trustworthy tech. My nickname at the hospital was ‘sunshine’ because I always had a giant smile on. I was so pleased to be working, and so happy with my job… the only drawback was that it was SO far away from home. I could never wait to be home.
The second time I found pornography on Brock’s computer, I was much, much more upset by it. I hesitated to bring it up again – I had this silly idea that I didn’t want to be a bother, or a nag. I wanted him to remain in love with me, and I didn’t want to cause problems like those that had happened with Steve. I didn’t want to be a problem. But I brought it up anyways. I told him how upset it made me that he didn’t listen to me the first time. I told him that I found it equal to infidelity, and I couldn’t handle being cheated on, even this way. I told him that, if he couldn’t give up porn, he needed to tell me immediately, so I could just leave. I was not going to participate in a relationship where one of the members was pornography. I couldn’t do it. If it happened again, we were over. He laughed and hugged me, his smiling eyes and sweet kisses assuaging my fears. Brock told me that he didn’t realize that I was SERIOUS about all that; none of his other girlfriends minded when he’d watched porn. He felt like it was kind of a gift to me – he didn’t have to bother me ALL THE time. Now that he’d understood that it really bothered me, he wouldn’t do it anymore.
I was SO relieved. I felt so glad to know that he had heard me, and he definitely understood that I wasn’t going to stay and continue being hurt. I’d already learned that lesson. I was stronger than that. I didn’t have any problem leaving. I was so proud that we’d been strong enough to talk about this, and to beat it.
Until the next time.
The next time, the third time, I broke down. I cried and cried. My perfect man. My knight. I knew it for what it was in that moment – an addiction. I was so shaken. I packed my bags. I set them by the door. I cried all day. I cried until he got home. I cried while he asked me what was wrong. I cried when I told him that I’d found porn again, and that clearly he didn’t hear me or believe me. I cried when I told him that I felt betrayed, broken, not enough. I cried when I told him that I was leaving.
And then I laughed.
I laughed when he told me he didn’t know it mattered to me that much – because he did. I laughed when he said that he wouldn’t do it again – because he had. I laughed when he told me that he would stop – because he wouldn’t. Fool me once.
And then Brock cried. He begged me not to leave, and said that he would get help, and promised that it would get better. He said that he didn’t want to lose me. He said that we would fix this together, and he couldn’t do it without me. He needed me.
I heard my promises to myself echoing around in my head. I looked into the beautiful face of the man that I loved, and felt pain there. My pain. I didn’t want to go… but I didn’t want to stay. I told him that I needed to leave. I wasn’t sure for how long. But I had to go.
So I got in my car, and drove to the book store, and sat at a table, and read a book, and cried.
To be continued.
Go on to Part 10.