Thankful to be an SLP!
"I got 99 problems, but [being an SLP ain't one]"--Jay-Z (kinda)
I am compulsively cooking today. Why? Well, any other Thanksgiving, I would be at home with my family in North Carolina. My mom would have awaken at 4am to make her potato salad and collard greens, I would be setting the table (with the good china, of course), and my dad would have made at least three trips to grocery store by now to get last minute items, as we prepare to welcome nearly 25 people into our home for an excessive Thanksgiving feast. Keyword: excessive.
But not this year. COVID made sure that didn’t happen. And I have to admit I’m really sad about it. So to make up for it, today I have cooked an excessively large meal for just two people in hopes of creating some semblance of my normal Thanksgiving tradition. But mostly because my nerves are shot. I have no idea what to do with myself today without the structure of our family rituals.
This year has been an inconvenience, to say the least. But I think the final straw for me was the upheaval of my precious Thanksgiving holiday. Yesterday, if you asked what I was thankful for, I probably would have rolled my eyes and gone into a full-out tantrum about how I’m not traveling home this year. But as I write this, curled up on my comfy couch, next to husband and puppy, in our brand new house, and in good health, I realize that I have a lot to be thankful for, despite Thanksgiving looking a little different this year.
And because I LOVE all things SLP, I’m going to start by giving you my top 5 countdown of reasons I am so, so thankful to be an SLP.
5. I don’t have to work today. Wooohooo! For real though. It seems small, but it’s a true blessing for a medical SLP. Working holidays in the medical setting is almost always expected, and my heart goes out to all of my colleagues spending their holiday working and eating their Thanksgiving meal in the hospital cafeteria (been there, done that). I’m thankful for those who are making that sacrifice today (and I’m also thankful it’s not me this year.)
4. Challenging work. I don’t think I could sit at a desk all day. Actually, I KNOW I couldn’t sit at a desk all day. I need to move around, have meaningful interactions with people, and most importantly, flex my mind. As a medical SLP, I am surrounded by so many talented, innovative, and ambitious professionals who encourage me to grow personally and professionally each day. I am grateful that I have a job that keeps me active both physically and mentally, and allows me to connect with some of the most brilliant minds I know.
3. Pandemic work. In the wake of the pandemic, poverty, homelessness, and unemployment are at an all-time high. I know there are so many people who are not even able to put food on their table this Thanksgiving holiday, let alone indulge in other holiday traditions. I can not even begin to imagine the grim reality for so many individuals on today. While it sometimes feels like a thankless job, I am SO grateful that being an SLP has provided me steady work as a frontline worker throughout this pandemic.
2. This profession makes me a better human. Simply put, being a medical SLP has humbled me, allowed me cultivate empathy, and given me a new appreciation of life. It’s the small day-to-day interactions that have re-shaped my view of the world, and I am thankful for the introspection this profession has provided.
1. We change people’s lives. It’s so cliche—I know. But seriously, it’s those feel good moments that keep me going. Hearing your patient talk again after a stroke. Putting the speaking valve in place so your tracheostomized patient can hear his or her voice for the first time since a car accident. Or telling your feeding-tube-dependent patient that their swallowing function has returned to normal at the end of an instrumental swallowing assessment. I can’t lie, it’s the best feeling in the world.
*BONUS*: I am thankful for each of YOU—every single reader, subscriber, and follower of M.E.theSLP. You have no idea how much your support keeps me going.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you all!
Welp, I’m off to eat my pan of baked mac and cheese for 20 (I’m definitely thankful for that!) I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for today—comment below!