The Making and Life of a Registered Nurse in the Era of COVID-19: Chapter Three–The Influences of My First Wife

I quickly received my first promotion and as part of the deal, I relocated to a new store where I was to be the night manager. Little did I know that my future wife was working there as a night cashier. She was doing so to pay for her pre-requisites for the RN program. We hit it off immediately and she met the one criteria that I had for my women besides being warm was that she did not snore. My fiancée had snored like a damn tractor trailer. The only problem that I could see with her was that she smoked. She promised me that she would quit smoking. So I agreed to give her two years to quit. After a whirlwind courtship of one month, we got married in the oldest city in the country, St Augustine, Florida.

We had our problems as do all married couples. I discussed in my first book the issues we had with her smoking and how we worked them out, so I won’t discuss the matter again here. Besides, it is not germane to this book. Eventually, she completed her entry-level classes and after having aced the entrance exam, she began the associates degree in nursing program. After two years, she graduated with honors and was quickly hired at a local community hospital to an evening position. By this time, I was promoted again to an evening management position. Our schedules coincided almost perfectly… hers was 3 to 11pm while mine was 3 to midnight. This went on for a couple of years and we were fairly happy. I was promoted yet again and now I was the third manager or Customer Service manager of the store. I was responsible for the largest department in the store with over thirty employees under my direct supervision. In the hierarchy of things, I was actually considered to be a co-assistant manager. The other assistant was in charge of the grocery end of the store.

However, as we all know nothing lasts or is permanent. Avid readers of mine will also know that something always bad happens after I have enjoyed a period of prosperity. I am not sure what the driving force for this movement was but it became a national movement. And that was the move towards 12-hour shifts for nursing and respiratory therapy staff. At my wife’s hospital, this meant that she would work a 7pm to a 7am shift. With this change, our idyllic life was turned on its head. We went from having a considerable amount of time to spend together to virtually no time together at all. After six months, I had enough of this. So we sat down to discuss our options. With our two incomes coming in, we were finally achieving solvency, so this was a big decision to make. I told her that we had two choices…either get a divorce or I change careers and enroll in the nursing program. I said that I would work as long as I could while going to school but eventually, I would have to cut back at work because the program was full time (five days a week). We both agreed that we did not want a divorce, so I applied to the program.