3: What Are the Odds?

3: What Are the Odds?

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

What Are the Odds?

Coincidences mean you’re on the right path.

~Simon Van Booy

The scheduling desk of the imaging center where I worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist hadn’t allotted enough time for my patient’s exam. I could tell the woman was frustrated — she had taken off work for the test — but she remained pleasant as the front-office staff arranged to reschedule her visit. I introduced myself and let her know I would be the one performing her test when she returned. I apologized for the inconvenience, and we made small talk as the receptionist clicked through the calendar looking for the next available time slot.

When the woman was offered an appointment nearly three weeks away, I decided that would not do. I volunteered to open the nuclear-medicine department two hours early the following day. I didn’t want her to have to miss another day of work. She was extremely grateful and left the clinic with a smile.

The next morning, the imaging center was just coming to life as I helped my patient off the exam table following her test.

“I don’t suppose you’d be interested in another job, would you?” she asked, her hopeful tone catching me off-guard.

I’d grown quite fond of my co-workers. I was not, however, fond of the fifty-mile drive to work every day.

She had connections at the city’s military hospitals and told me they were always looking for good people. She handed me her business card and asked me to call her. I thanked her, and she was on her way.

It didn’t take long for me to decide to call the number on that card. Before I knew what was happening, I was scheduled for an interview at a local military base.

Within hours of leaving the interview, I received a phone call. The job was mine if I wanted it. I couldn’t believe my luck! The benefits package was amazing, and my drive would be cut in half, not to mention civil service jobs were highly sought after and extremely hard to come by.

There was a hitch, though. My college degree was in radiology technology, not nuclear medicine, and while I had completed all of the additional training as mandated by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board, I had never taken the time to actually sit for the test. I would need to successfully complete the Nuclear Medicine exam within a few months of my hire or risk losing my dream job.

I decided to take a chance. I turned in my resignation to my employer and began the application process to sit for my boards. I had two weeks left at my current job, and I wanted to get the test application all tidied up so I could start my new position feeling confident.

There was a lot more paperwork than I had anticipated. I would need to submit an affidavit signed by the radiologist under whom I had performed the majority of my training. He needed to attest to the fact that I had completed the required hours of on-the-job training. Luckily I had done nearly all the training under the watchful eye of one doctor. All I had to do was find him.

I thought it would be easy to find Dr. Smith, but I discovered he no longer worked for the clinic where I had done my training. The company had been bought out by a large corporation, and their human resources department offered me no help in locating him. It was a dead end.

The radiology community is a small one, and I felt pretty confident that I could call around to a few area clinics and find Dr. Smith, or someone who knew where he was currently employed. When I struck out yet again, I turned to the Internet. A Google search of his name and profession turned up nothing. I had exhausted every avenue I could think of. My co-workers, many of whom had tried to help me find the elusive doctor, were as stumped as I was.

If I couldn’t find this man, then I couldn’t sit for my boards. If I couldn’t sit for my boards, then I could say goodbye to the amazing job opportunity that had basically fallen into my lap.

I was becoming increasingly stressed over the situation. I woke up one morning well aware that I only had two days left with my current employer and no hope of getting my test application approved without Dr. Smith’s signature.

There was still one thing I could try. I began to pray: “God, I give up. I’m handing it over to you. I don’t know where Dr. Smith is, but I know that you do. If you could please help me find him, that would be great. If not, I’ll accept that this job was not your will for me.”

I got dressed and made the fifty-mile drive to work. I’d give it one more day before I spoke to my boss about rescinding my resignation. I was at peace with it — mostly — although I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.

I started the morning QC tests on the equipment and stood in the doorway of the nuclear-medicine suite while I waited. That spot happened to give me a view of the clinic’s long hallway, and that turned out to be very fortunate, because who rounded the corner just then but Dr. Smith! I charged toward him, talking so fast I don’t think he understood me at first. I told him about the events of the last two weeks and how I had been desperately searching for him.

Dr. Smith laughed at my animated account and explained that he was now working for a temp agency for doctors. He told me he had been sent to my clinic to fill in for our staff radiologist.

I returned to my office and picked up the phone to call my husband, Joey. “You’re not going to believe who just walked into the clinic!” I said when he answered.

“Wow, what are the odds of that?” Joey said after I told him the good news.

I hung up the phone and noticed a movement in the doorway. I looked up to find Dr. Smith.

“Melissa, I have to leave.” He handed me a piece of paper. “Here’s my contact info.”

“You’re leaving now? Already?” I asked, confused.

He nodded. Dr. Smith explained that he had driven to the wrong clinic. That day, he was scheduled to work at our south-side location, thirty miles on the other side of town.

What are the odds, indeed?

~Melissa Wootan

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