Trau·ma  Junk· ie  ( 'trau-m&  'j&[ng]-kE) n. Slang
  1. One who has an insatiable interest, devotion or addiction to responding and assisting people with serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.

I'm Thankful

Well, it's that time of year again. I have no idea where most of this year has gone, but it has certainly flown right by me. I figure it is a combination of studying, being a parent, and working night shift on the weekends (which makes Saturday and Sunday feel like one day, if I might add) that makes time pass so quickly. It's funny; On a day-to-day basis, it seems like time drags on forever, but before I know it, it's already the "holiday season" and I am wondering what happened to the rest of the year. It has been like this every year for the past three or four years.

Over at WhiteCoat Rants, there is a post about how Thanksgiving is slowly turning into a holiday known as the "midway point" between Halloween and Christmas. I'm going to have to say I agree with him. I'm still young, but I think I could remember just about 5 years ago when all the brouhaha about Christmas didn't seem to begin until the day after Thanksgiving. When my sister and I were younger, our parents would actually take us to the Christmas Tree farm about 45 minutes away and we'd cut down our Christmas tree after eating our Thanksgiving meal. We didn't even start putting out Christmas decorations or lights until the day after Thanksgiving. Now it just seems like a large holiday, Hallothankchristgiving...or something. Maybe it's just me.


Nonetheless, I am very excited that Thanksgiving is here. I truly enjoy this holiday because, for me, it really puts things in perspective. There's just something about sitting down with the family in a heated house with a roof and plenty of company and great food that makes me very grateful to live in this country. All the luxuries that most of us take for granted on a daily basis are things that others in this world only dream for...and that is hard for me to understand because this life is all I've ever known. I've been very fortunate in that aspect.

With that said, I don't want to sound like more of a sap, but these are the things I'm most thankful for this year:

I don't know of a better way to say this, so I'll quote the Anonymous Therapist over at Respiratory Therapy 101: Just Keep Breathing in saying I'm thankful that I'm not on the other side of the bedrails. Good health is truly a blessing. I've never been hospitalized, so I really can't imagine what it would be like to be laying in a hospital bed right now, intubated, with an IV and all kinds of wires around me...alarms beeping, etc., and my heart goes out to the patients that are. I hope they can be thankful, if for nothing else, their own life...because life in itself is precious.

I'm thankful for my family-- my wife and our daughter. Marriage isn't easy, and neither is raising a kid...but we've been blessed in the fact that we have been able to make it through some hard times. I once heard someone tell me, "That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." Whoever coined that phrase really hit the nail on the head.

I'm thankful for my job as a CNA. While most days I complain about it, overall I am happy to have a source of income and make a difference in people's lives. I've been blessed to work in healthcare because there really is nothing more rewarding than taking care of others, and making a difference in someone's life when I get the chance. I admit that I'm sometimes bitter about my line of work, but truth be told, I'm glad to get paid to do this.

I'm thankful to be in respiratory therapy school. It's hard as hell, but I know I can do it. Upon graduation, I will get to make a bigger difference in patient's lives, be more of a patient advocate, and work with a larger scope of practice. I'm thankful for my family sticking by me through RT school and helping in every way they can. Most of all, I am thankful that I'm being armed with the resources to be the best RT that I can (I know most of that is learned in the field, but I'm in a great program.) Along these same lines, I once read a Sanksrit proverb which says, "For Breath Is Life, And If You Breathe Well You Will Live Long On Earth." I view this in the most concrete since, though I know it has a much deeper meaning.

I'm thankful that we have a source of income, a roof over our heads, food to eat, a car to drive, clothes on our backs, and a bed to lay in. I know there are people the world over that go to bed hungry each night and only wish for these things. I wish I knew of a way to help them, but it is my hope that somehow they can have these things someday.

I'm thankful for the freedoms we have in America. I'm most thankful that I don't have to worry about leaving the house in fear that I could be attacked by someone on the street. I'm glad for the ability to make my own choices, and speak my mind. I'm glad that I can be free to practice whatever religion I choose, and that I won't be persecuted for it. These freedoms didn't always exist for Americans (and they still don't for those in some countries), so I'm very grateful to have them.

Most of all, I'm thankful to be alive. Last Thanksgiving, one of my patients passed away about halfway into my shift. I cannot even imagine the grief of his family, or what it must feel like to lose someone you love on a holiday. Every day that I wake up I like to think that I'm grateful to be alive, no matter what is happening, no matter what conflicts I face...at least I get to face them.


With all this in mind, Strong One over at My Strong Medicine has posted a great way to say thanks to our troops this holiday season. Apparently, Xerox is sponsoring a program where you can send a postcard to our military men and women overseas...and it's totally FREE. You can pick from a pre-made message or write your own...and at the end of the month, Xerox mails them overseas.

This really is a wonderful thing. What better way to show support to our troops, especially those who can't be at home to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families?

If you have five minutes, maybe even less than that, take the time to thank those who make celebrating this holiday possible.

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