Yeah! Welcome to part two of the history of me.
Where were we?
Oh yes. Steve and I were just married in Hawaii in June of 2003.
So… married at 19. Steve was, as I believe I mentioned before, from South Dakota. Instead of continuing school in Seattle, we decided to move together to Sioux Falls and finish our schooling together. Our plan was to both take classes, finish college, and then buy a house and start having kids. Okay, that was my plan. To be fair, I think he just went along with it, because I REALLY wanted to have kids.
I started out in a four year nursing program. I was entirely sure that I wanted to be a nurse, but it seemed like a good job to have while making babies. And then I got a job at a bank. I carried a 16 credit load at school and worked full-time in order for us to have health insurance. Those months in my life are such a blur. I was working my ass off all of the time, working towards what I knew to be the only future for me. And yet, after a single semester at Augustana college, I met someone at my work that had trained to be an echocardiographer – an ultrasound tech of the heart. I asked her a thousand questions about the job, and the schooling, the program, what it looked like and how to apply.
Hearing about the possibility of being an ultrasound technologist lit my soul on fire. The program was only TWO YEARS. That meant that I could start having kids a whole TWO YEARS sooner. I called the school the next day to inquire about the program. I immediately enrolled, and was accepted… I was then informed that there was a two year waiting list to get INTO the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program.
Back to square one.
Oh well, I told myself, I’m much more interested in being an Ultrasound Tech than I am in being a nurse. I decided at that point to just go ahead and start taking my general education classes to get them out of the way in order to have a lighter workload when I began the Ultrasound Program.
The next semester rolled around, and it was time for me to register for classes. I’d imagined that I would take some public speaking or perhaps creative writing; something to keep me in the “school” mode while I waited for two years to pass. I sat down with the registrar and she handed me my class sheet.
“Here you are,” she informed me, “You have DMS 101, DMS 110, and DMS 111. You also have sociology and public speaking.”
I blinked a few times as I took in what she was saying. “Whoa. Hold on,” I spluttered, “DMS classes? I was told I was on the waiting list for the program?”
She chuckled at my confusion, “Oh yes! There is a LONG waiting list. But we got your transcripts from Augustana. You were carrying a 4.0 GPA with a 16 credit semester. We bumped you into the program immediately. Is that a problem??”
My brain tried to grapple with what she was telling me. I immediately had to shift my expectations for the next two years – from taking it easy and studying lightly to buckling down into an intense medical program of study. But I was ELATED!
“No! I’m GOOD! I’m IN!” I nearly shouted. I left registration and stumbled back to my car on campus in a bit of a daze. I was on cloud nine, and called everyone I knew to tell them the good news. I was IN!
Now, the Diagnostic Ultrasound program at this particular school was different than any other program I am aware of in that the didactic training (book learning) and the clinical training (hands on learning) were completely separate. 1.5 years of didactic studies and then 7 months of full-time clinical internship. There was only ONE clinical internship site available in Sioux Falls, which meant that 21 out of 22 program members would have to travel out of state to train in their internships.
In 2003, I was busy going to school all day, my husband Steve was busy starting his own business. The details of the business are not relevant to this story, but his days were filled with planning, building and creating. Our evenings were spent playing World of Warcraft together. The DMS program was the most technically challenging endeavor I’ve ever encountered. For my whole life, learning had come very easily to me and this was the first time I’d ever really had to WORK to learn something. It was rigorous, exhausting, and absolutely fascinating. I adored every second of it, despite having to study.
When the time came for my clinical internship, Steve and I decided that it made the most sense for me to apply for a clinical site as close to Sioux Falls as possible, and for him to stay home to run his business. I was accepted to a program in Rogers, Arkansas – a seven hour drive away.
In January of 2006, I drove alone to Rogers and found a tiny, $400 a month apartment. Steve and his dad came the following weekend to help me move our furniture into the new place, and then Steve moved in with his mom and dad for the duration of my clinical trial.
That would be the last time I would see Steve as a happily married woman.
To be continued…