Who's that Girl?


A Road Less Twisted

Originally posted: November 23, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

I agreed to host the upcoming Carnival of HR on November 24th.  My idea it to have writers share stories of the events that changed their path in life.  We’ll be hearing some personal stories, some professional stories, and some stories that are very personal but that have impacted all aspects of the writers life.  My example definitely falls into this category.

I’ve been blessed with several game changing moments.  I could tell you about how I decided to get into HR because I do recall the exact moment I made that decision.  I could tell you about several times at work where incidents, both positive and negative, shaped my direction.  But when it comes to a moment so profound that it made me wake up for the first time in my life, it’s personal.  It’s a situation so deeply scarring that as I sit here typing it makes all those feelings and emotions come rushing up, even 28 months later.  I feel my palms getting sweaty and a nervous feeling in my stomach has gripped me.  But, even though I have such a physical reaction to even thinking about the situation, it’s a story of how something so negative can have a profound positive impact on a person.  It did on me.

In July 2008, I went to the hospital for a “routine” scope procedure.  You know the ones, fifteen minutes in-and-out with a short time to hang out in recovery.  Simple, right?  Well, my simple procedure turned horribly wrong when the doctor punctured my esophagus as he brought the scope back up.  I was not awake during the procedure and do not have memory of most of the next week, but my medical records and what my family told me is bad enough.  No one realized something was wrong until my body started swelling out of control.  With each breath in, air was escaping into my chest cavity and causing my lungs to compress.  Eventually, the air made it’s way into my cells and became a life-threatening situation.  I was in ICU and had to be transferred immediately to a more sophisticated hospital to the thoracic ICU.  After a grueling stay and several months on an all liquid diet, I was able to eat again for the first time.

Thankfully, I do not have clear memories of the darkest days.  What I do know is that the moment I was well enough to be released and I was wheeled outside the hospital I was grateful to take in that first breath of air.  I felt reborn.  This was my awakening.

From that day forward, I made a choice to never accept a defeating situation.  I realized that when I am in a situation I do not like, I have the power to change that.  I cannot expect others to change it for me.  I also made the decision to dedicate my life to being a good mom and to helping others.  I had always volunteered for organizations to help children, but that was when I decided to also begin reaching out to my career network and help people any way I know how.

What started as the worst experience of my life has turned out to be the situation that gave me my focus.  All things happen for a reason.  It’s our attitude toward even the challenging times that shows what we’re truly made of.  For me, it’s been a way to learn that a twist in the road was what it took to put me on a path to contentment, fulfillment, and loving who I am.

*Stay tuned later today for several guest posts on moments that changed people’s lives.  Then tomorrow, the full Carnival of HR!  Thanks to Shauna Moerke for allowing me to host.

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