Retired, but not Tired

After studying my foot X-rays, the young doctor said, “Your feet are in bad shape. You have arthritis in every joint. Some of the joints have worn down to bone-on-bone.”

I frowned and said, “Ah…I see.” As strange as it may sound, although what I was told wasn’t a good thing, I felt a sense of relief. My pain had just been validated. I thought, “I’m not just being a big baby when I whine about my feet hurting! There is a true, physical reason for the pain.”

Some days my feet feel good, but there are other days where they hurt. That led me to think there was nothing seriously wrong with them. In my mind I figured that major problems like joints wore down to bone-on-bone would hurt all of the time. Evidently I was wrong.

The doctor said, “When the cartilage in hip or knee joints wears away to bone-on-bone, we replace them. Unfortunately, we can’t do that for foot joints.”

I nodded and admitted, “I’ve been playing around with the idea of retiring from my job. Now I have a good reason to quit working. I’ll be 65 years old in December. That’s when I’ll do it.”

In September I celebrated my 46th year of employment at the local hospital. When I was a new employee at age 18 one of the older ladies on my unit celebrated her 5th year of employment. I remember eating a piece of the cake she’d brought to work and thinking, “Wow! Five years is a long time.”

Patients often ask workers, “How long have you worked here?” Since the number on my work-o-meter is higher than most employees, I often get a surprised glance and a, “Wow!” from them.

Initially, I had thought about studying to be a nurse. One advantage of becoming an RN is higher wages. On the flip side, as a Certified Nursing Assistant I don’t have their responsibilities. Another job benefit for me was that I liked the type of patient contact my position afforded me.

Respect doesn’t seem to be one of the advantages of being a Certified Nursing Assistant. One day while admitting a woman patient, she questioned, “How long have you worked here?”

I said, “Over 40 years.”

Looking shocked, she blurted, “Didn’t you ever want to improve yourself?”

Raising my eyebrows I innocently exclaimed, “Why would I want to do that? I’m so nice the way I am!”

As of this writing, I have 17 scheduled work days left in my career. I’m looking forward to the freedom of not having to pull myself out of bed in the dark of the mornings, plow through whatever weather has to offer and working long, hard shifts on unforgiving concrete floors.

I doubt that I’ll get bored in retirement. There are so many things I want to do! One thing that I do worry about is not interacting with other people. I tend to keep to myself.

The solution popped up unexpectedly while attending my daughter’s Pampered Chef party. The consultant in charge of the party said, “This job is great. You choose your own hours, meet wonderful people, provide them with the best kitchen products around and are generously paid.”

A little bell went off in my head. I love cooking and baking. Pampered Chef products are top of the line. I could keep myself in contact with other women while talking about food and family. Having extra money beyond my pension and social security would not be a bad thing either.

For a person who has never had any other job other than being a nursing assistant, it is a little scary to suddenly step off into the unchartered territory of sales lady. I’m old enough to know that new things usually appear frightening. All that I need to do is hang on and go with the flow. I’m glad that I’m going to be retired, but not tired.

 

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