Monday, November 21, 2005

Things For Which I Will Be Giving Thanks

One of the fun little extras about working in health care is that people persist in getting sick on Christmas and New Year's and Thanksgiving and on beautiful Saturdays in July, and someone must be at the hospital to welcome them. So when you sign up to be a doctor or a nurse or an aide or a radiology tech or anything else even tangentially health-care-related, you sign up for a lifetime of holiday call.

Sometimes it's just a flat bummer, and there's no way around it. I remember one year when I left the Winter Ball in Boston--a real ball, with gowns and dancing and lots of champagne; you can imagine how often I participate in activities like THAT--at 3 am, slept two hours, then arose at 0-dark-hundred and drove two hours out Route 2 to my job in western Mass, and spent eight hours seeing patients. What I hadn't counted on was that if you're drunk at 3 am, you're not as sober as you'd like to be by the time you start doing Pap smears at 8 am. Be advised: facing a crotch when you're hung over/still buzzed is a very, very bad idea.

At other times, the whole working-holidays thing is just part of the job. You sit around the ER or do your rounds in the hospital, and almost no one's there, and the nurses and families have all brought cookies, and there's a general air of relaxation and license, and it's almost fun. You're working, but not, and it's OK, and you know that you're putting in your time so that when the next holiday comes along, someone else will be doing the dirty work and you'll be home with the turkey, or the presents, or the barbeque, or whatever.

And on yet other occasions, working the holidays is just grand. Consider: in two days my husband will be packing both boys and innumerable belongings of the diaper/stroller/Pack'n Play variety into the Subaru and heading SIX HOURS down the highway to his parents house, where he and the boys will mix with about forty other Tall Dutch People for three days. The house will be full to bursting, most of the occupants will be under twelve, the food will go heavy on the macaroni and mashed potatoes from a box, and the two bathrooms will expire from overuse at some point in the proceedings. And me? I will be working ten hour shifts in the ER on Thursday and Friday. I will see my patients, come home, go to bed, and SLEEP ALL FUCKING NIGHT! ALL NIGHT! TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW! FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NINE MONTHS! I haven't had more than four hours consecutive sleep in over a year, what with the final pregnancy stages and Urplet's non-sleeping sleep habits, and I am more than willing to spend Thanksgiving assessing gallbladder attacks in the ER if it wins me three days of peace and two nights of sleep.

And I'm not even mentioning missing the Blond Child Rally that is Thanksgiving with the Tall Dutch People. I'm just going to let you infer whatever you want about that. Though now that I think of it, perhaps I should have milked this post for sympathy--oh poor me, working Thanksgiving without my family, blah blah blah. Thing is, I think you'd see through it in, oh, twenty seconds. So I just relapsed into honesty and sloth in equal proportions, which pretty much sums up my blogging anyway!


Blogger MSF said...

if you feel like giving up some of your precious sleep minutes friday night, may i suggest a local event of some kind, for those of us not fleeing town? we promise not to keep you up too late...

1:44 PM  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

Hey--get some sleep for me! :)

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay for you!! Those of us who were up all night with the 14-month-old who was having flashbacks to the Nam (where I think, by the timbre of his cry, he was being boiled in hot oil) are quite envious of you. If you were here we would still let you sleep and in between we would feed you pumpkin cheesecake and oyster stuffing. Yum.

tired WV Mama

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Nothing But Bonfires said...

"Honesty and sloth" pretty much sums up my LIFE. Actually, come to think of it, it's just sloth.

I would have thought being a little drunk would make doing pap smears BETTER -- as in more bearable. But no? Hmm. Still, I think I'll get a little tipsy before I next have one.

5:34 PM  

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