Voices

***On a side note, I’m going to be applying Xanga lock to my website in light of new job– not that I’m going to be breaching patient confidentiality or anything like that, but I’m likely to be saying things about my workplace that the workplace might not always appreciate.  I don’t really care what they think of what I’m saying, unless it gets me in trouble or fired.  RSS feeds will still be up, so that’s what I recommend for those of you who aren’t actually Xangans, but I’m going to put in a first (and only) line of defense against people at work accidentally browsing an uncleared history cache.  The change will take place most likely in about a week.


“We have a motto here in Emergency, [Jinryu],” explained my new trainer. “‘You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it really helps.'” After pausing on a grave face for a moment, she let rip what I now consider her trademark rolling laughter.  It was something I’d be hearing several times between 4pm and midnight yesterday during my first go at the evening shift.

N is great.  She does everything my previous trainer did, and she has one major improvement: she’s not a bitch.  Wheras my previous trainer, M, will answer my questions with questions, N will actually answer my questions with answers.  It’s a small detail that makes all the difference.  M’s been working in Emergency for 5 years after switching in from a cardiac unit, and she loves it there.  For the first two hours, which are the busiest hours of the evening shift, she told me that I would just observe since she didn’t want me getting too overwhelmed by the wind-down of the day shift’s activities.  Really??  You mean someone is considering that it’s all a bit much for me to just dive into the work all on my own?? WOW. The whole evening shift was rather chill since the lower patient volume allowed me to take things at a much more comfortable pace after the first two hours (which were busier, as she said).

Working the evening shift, even in the same position, is really different from the day shift.  In part I have the climate of Montreal to thank– it was really quiet  yesterday evening, probably because most parents toughed it out and didn’t want to bring their children in during the awfully cold weather.

The surgical doctor was complaining at some point: “MAN, those girls at the Cafe Vienne are such bitches! They’re like these 17 or 16 year old girls who just give me so much attitude and…”

N mentions on an aside that this particular doc is really, really nice, so if he’s complaining about someone they must be totally biatches.

“But doctor, if you punched them in the face…  they’d just become your patient.  I’ll be damned if you make more work for us. You did say they were under 18.”

“Ah, but I’m not in dentistry– it’s not my problem.”

In general, though this could just be because of there being slightly less action during the evening, everyone on the evening shift team seems a lot cooler, because people just aren’t as stressed.  The team just jives better together and work a lot more to help eachother out than the day shift.  P made me a drink, mixing orange juice with sprite zero (really good!) but I mention this mostly because I don’t know him (he’s a patient care attendant and cast tech) and it was nice to see people just trying to make me feel comfortable.  We spent the evening talking about hockey, due to the Canadiens game on television.  People actually took ‘shifts’ going on break, and whenever a goal was scored we’d get a call at the desk explaining the play.

I’m not a hockey fan, so part of the discussion was actually my hockey education.

I also ran into someone in housekeeping who I used to work with at the Montreal Chest.  She brought up an interesting point– Emergency is probably one of the better places to work with, because these patients are in and out.  They leave the department either repaired, or on their way to another department where they will be repaired– however, unlike the upper floors of the hospital, which host departments like the oncology wards, there’s a much lower chance that I’ll ever have to see a child pass away.  It’s not impossible, but very unlikely.

She mentioned that at the Chest, and I agree, it wasn’t so bad because the patients at the Chest were mostly people in the advanced stages of their lives– they’d done and seen many things and though some people left worse than others, there was a lifetime that they had a go at.  Children?  Something that has traditionally made children important was their potential.  Life, in a sense, is just that– a bottle full of potential.  In an older person, dropping that bottle doesn’t spill so much because they’ve exercised it– however, with a child, it simply feels like a shame, a waste…

It’s never happened before that I’ve had to deal with the death of a child, even if it’s someone I don’t know personally, but I’m in no rush.

Regardless, I had a good day yesterday.

In passing, there was this little girl, maybe 4 years old, looking quite bored, being carried by her dad.  Her dad’s back was to me, but she could see me.  I waved and smiled like an idiot, then pretended to go back to my work when the grownups arrived. She grinned and tugged on her dad’s hair.  He didn’t notice, but she did, and that’s it.  Her mouth opened to voice “Allo!” but no sound came out, as if it was a secret.