Heartstrings (A Rock Star Romance Novel) - By Hadley Danes Page 0,1

As I step into the hot stream of water, I let my mind cast back to that terrifying moment at the end of high school, when everyone else had seemed to know what their next steps were, everyone except for me. I had done perfectly well in high school, and was accepted into a handful of great East Coast colleges. But all of a sudden, at the brink of adulthood, I realized that the path I was setting out on had nothing to do with what I actually wanted out of life. I loved science, and had applied to biology programs exclusively. But I didn’t want to be stuck in a lab all my life, I wanted to do something that mattered in the moment, something that would have an immediate positive influence on the world.

So, instead of packing up and heading off to become a bio major, I decided to take a year off. That stretch of time was the first breather I had had since kindergarten, and I discovered that there was a lot of soul searching to be done. I waited tables and tended bar to save up some money, and really got to the bottom of what I wanted to do with my life. One day, as if the idea fell from the sky directly into my lap, nursing occurred to me as an option. And from the moment it presented itself as an option that was it. I knew what I wanted to do. I was going to go to nursing school. I would become an RN and begin a long career of helping others. As soon as I made the choice to pursue nursing, it was like my life snapped into focus.

Nursing school had hardly been a breeze. I was fortunate to get accepted into one of the best programs in the country, and I was determined to establish myself as a competitive candidate. The four years of undergrad flew by at breakneck speed. I certainly managed to make some great friends, and even date a little, but the main priority was always studying. And by the end, it had paid off. I earned the highest marks and honors of anyone else in the program, and graduated with stars in my eyes—thinking that I’d be able to waltz into any hospital and get a job.

That was, of course, wishful thinking. I hit a brick wall after graduation that seemed absolutely insurmountable. At every hospital I applied to, I was told that I needed more experience. What no one seemed ready to tell me was how I might go about getting this experience! It was the same catch-22 that all new graduates were going through, but some little part of me had hoped to be spared the run-around. I spent a solid year back at my parents’ house applying to job after job. The quest seemed never ending.

Finally, around the time of my twenty-third birthday, something finally came through. I was offered a night shift at a nearby hospital. The pay was great, the commute was short, and I was thrilled to finally be offered a position. I was told that I would be working with geriatric patients, which seemed like a fine enough gig. After all, how much trouble could a bunch of sleeping grandparents be?

Little did I know that my actual patients would, for the most part, be confused, agitated, and downright hostile. Nor did I realize that, come nighttime, those patients would tend to wake up without any idea as to where or who they were. It was incredible—the second the visitors left for the day and the nursing shifts switched, it was like a switch was flipped or something, it’s called “sun-downing syndrome”. And for the next twelve hours, it was my job to care for a handful of elderly patients who often turned to cursing, hitting, biting, and spitting on me. I earned more bruises during my time at that job than I would have had I been a roller derby professional. When I got a black eye from an older woman who thought I was her husband’s mistress, I decided it was time to look for another job.

Luckily, an ER post opened up right at that exact moment, and I pounced. The hospital agreed to transfer me, and though the environment was chaotic, it was a vast improvement to the work I had been doing. You really do see everything in the ER, and so you never really get