A couple of weeks ago my eldest son called me to ask me about attending his graduation from paramedic school. I remember giving a sigh of relief. If they were asking him for his list of family members for the graduation ceremony and reception - then clearly they think he will probably graduate! I allowed my heart to race a bit.
Long-time readers might remember this kid has not had the easiest time of it. His birth was difficult and I always wondered if his problems reading when he was a kid had a connection to that.
There have been a lot of successes too. Cal kept his high school grades up enough to swim on the local high school swim team, he graduated from high school, he got into the EMT-Basic program and passed, sat for the EMT-Basic test and passed that, and eventually even got a job as an EMT.
But this year he attempted Paramedic training - a tough 10 month course that would give him the skills and the credentials to get hired as a paramedic pretty much anywhere he wanted to live. The course required a lot of study time and effort and it certainly impacted the family. We hardly ever saw him and there were very few phone calls, e-mails or texts. But we knew it was worth it because this is truly what he wants to do.
A couple of months ago he got one of the highest scores in his class on one of the tests and we were very proud of him. He did clinicals with the fire department, in the pediatric hospital and the emergency room at a local hospital. Even saw a live birth ( of someone other than a sibling!!). And he studied all the time.
On Sunday, I noticed a white envelope from the paramedic school when I brought in the mail and I thought it was about the graduation. It wasn't. Instead it said they were dropping him from the program because he had failed to pass a certain portion of the course even after two tests. I was shocked and stunned. I hadn't even known there was a problem and I guess Cal figured he was working hard enough to try to overcome this particular section - it just wasn't to be.
When I asked him about it, he told me that he had one more chance to pass this section. The last test was tonight and he would need at least a 90% to pass. I had prayer requests all over the net asking that he would be able to retain the information he needed to pass this test. But as it turns out, he misunderstood, or I did. On talking to his instructor today they told him he couldn't take the test and he was dropped from the program. And even though they felt very comfortable with his clinical skills and his ability to give quality care to his patients, they just didn't think he was going to be able to pass the national exam because of problems with terminology.
The real kick in the pants is that this was the last unit. For the next seven weeks or so the class will be reviewing and then taking a final exam over the entire course - and graduating. The last eight months for us though are just gone.
I'm not sure where he will go from here. Several people in his class were taking it for the second time. Cal's boss at his job also told him that he had to take paramedic school twice before he passed. I think that made him feel better. The school also encouraged him to try again. In the next few months I think I would like to encourage him to work on his reading speed, comprehension and study skills with material I used with Sam via College Plus.
But right now my heart is heavy for my son's set back. We can't always see God's plan, but somehow it always works out; it's just difficult to see the rhyme and reason when we're in the midst of it. Time and perspective usually work it out though. I guess we'll have to keep that in mind as we recoup, recover, and then charge the mountain one more time.