Time: 2:33AM (Aug 31)
Batteries: 66.667% (It’s been a long day)
A 1010 that was called at work a few days ago. A 1010 is basically the single highest alert that the Children’s Hospital can go on for a single person, at least as far as the Emergency Department goes. Usually it’s an ambulance that arrives with a patient in critical condition that can have any number of complications beyond what is already a very ambiguous departure.
The exact details of how the event came to take place are sketchy, and the social workers are looking into that, but to put a long story short, a 2 year old boy had his arm cut clean off just a little below his left elbow when an industrial fan blade sliced though him. He showed up in my department by ambulance with his arm in a ziplock bag at the foot of his stretcher.
I don’t think that most of you would be interested in the details– I told my friend Kazuma about it and he pointed out that his thing about things like that is that in order to visualize it, he inadvertantly imagines it happening to himself–so he doesn’t want to know. I think most people probably don’t want to.
But lets say that it ends with a more or less happy ending. I’m not sure what became of the kid /exactly/, but he was heading up to the operating room to undergo a 20-hour procedure, couresty of the General Surgery and Plastics team, to reattach the arm.
I mean, okay. A couple of weeks ago, I caught a bacterial infection that was really really messing me up. And I thought that a week of antibiotics and the effect it had on me was nothing short of amazing– the whole thing started clearing up after just a couple of days, nevermind the 5 more days of antibios that I had remaining– but to reattach an entire severed arm? Holy shit! That’s freaking amazing!
Antibios can clear up infections, that’s cool. But reattaching a completely severed arm? Medicine apparently CAN do that.
I mean, sure, the kid is going to have to go through a lot of phisio and rehab to regain it, but last I heard, the kid had excellent chances of regaining almost full motor function in his arm, and even his hand.
Whenever I hear about a story like that, I feel great about working where I do. I mean, sure, I’m not holding any scalpels, but it makes me push my papers with more pride.
Today was the first time I jogged since … well, it’s been a long time. It’s all part of the ‘get back in training shape’ program. That might sound strange because training is usually to get in shape, but what I mean is that I feel that I need to reach a certain baseline of fitness before I can get efficient results from training. So, before I start attending those kickboxing/jiu jitsu classes, I need to get my body back in a condition where it will support the learning of techniques. I think that the muscular endurance and power is coming back from the “kitchen supersets” and the biking program, but the area that I’ve really been being lazy about is cardio.
Yesterday was sunday, or, as we call it in our apartment, Sloth Day. On Sloth Day we basically do whatever we want, but the emphasis is on having fun and not doing any work. Generally this means no exercise, but sometimes exceptions will be made for the overal benefit of Sloth Day.
Sloth Day began with a 1pm breakfast at Chez Coras. I told myself I’d get something really light to eat because Quynh and Ly were hosting a barbecue that evening, and if there’s anything I know about their barbecues, it’s that there is not only an abundance in deliciousness but there is an abudance of FOOD. I mean, heaps upon heaps of shrims, pigs and cows have died to fill my belly. Not mine alone, but by the end of one of their barbecues, let me tell you: measure your waists, and you will not be found wanting.
I for one just weighed myself, and I weigh in at 161.2 lbs today, which I consider an extremity. I probably tip past 160 maybe once per month. Most of the time now, my weight is pretty stable, and even with my increased appetite due to the Kitchen Supersets program, I still normally weigh in at 158.5 tops on these precision scales at work.
It’s not that big a deal I guess because I still feel pretty lean and healthy. I don’t mind gaining weight as long as I’m not downright fat.
If you’ve ever been to Chez Coras though, you’ll know what I mean when I say that those aren’t lightweight breakfasts. Many of them are healthy, but almost nothing at Chez Coras is small. Whether it’s scoops of fresh vegetables, potatoes or toast, there’s something on that plate that will finish you off after you’re done with the centerpiece.
So naturally, after Chez Coras, we were quite full. But I wouldn’t want to present myself at the bbq with a totally full stomach– so, Terminator and I laced up our shoes; and hence, the beforementioned jog.
I did as expected, which is to say horribly, considering that I haven’t been keeping up with the cardio work. But I’m still pleased that at the end of the 20 minute run, I managed to willpower myself to really burn on the last few blocks. At least the spirit shakes off the rust easily, even if the flesh is weak.
Yes, you see: Eating is so important during Sloth Day that it sometimes necessitates the seemingly contradictory action of exercising, if only to burn calories and make possible MORE EATING.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I HATE running. I absolutely loathe it. It hurts my shins, it hurts my achilles, it hurts my knees, it just hurts. I mean, a lot of that goes away when I do it enough, it’s nothing really chronic, all these things are really just what happen from laziness and rust because I don’t do it frequently enough to get my body adapted to it.
It just so happens that I love eating enough to do something I hate as much as running.
Whoever said that management is just the efficient ballet of deflecting blame and finding scapegoats wasn’t wrong.
Sloth Day wouldn’t be Sloth Day though without my special contribution to it: Gears of War. Since the venue was different today (Quynh and Ly’s place), we also went the extra mile– we not only brought my Xbox to Quynh and Ly’s to hook up to their television, but we brought an extra rig from [Ambassador]’s place. That means an LCD television, about 38 inches and armed with HDMI, along with his Xbox and his copy of Gears.
Combined, what does that mean?
It means that we’ve got two pretty huge television screens, each one hosting split screen, so that we can locally host a game of Gears of War 2.
It was just Horde games, but still– it’s quite the experience to have so many people you know hooked up in the same room, and just basically crossing things up all the time.
There was one part of the evening which was definitely not fun though. And it’s not even the part where after all this day started after 12:30PM, that I would have to be at work for 00:30AM for the night shift. Actually, now that I’m at work, because things are quiet and I had a generally good and eventful day, I don’t mind being here because I’m in a good mood. But the one thing that I could have really done without was [BadMedcine]’s presence at the party. (I might previously have referred to her as [SunshineAcid], but it denotes to the same person.)
Well, it’s not her presence that’s a problem– it’s when she drinks. She’s got an alcohol problem, and there’s no way of getting her to stop once she’s decided that that’s what she wants to do. She’s got an alcohol problem, totally beyond the social drinking that my friends like to jest is /my/ alcohol problem (it really isn’t :P).
I think I have a pretty good understanding of [BM]– she was my girlfriend for over three years (years ago) and through thick and thin, it was one of the longest relationships I’d ever been in. We mutually decided that it wasn’t going to work in the long run and we remained friends, and that transition was surprisingly easy since by the end of our relationship those kinds of ‘friends only’ interactions were all we were doing.
Anyway, I’ve mentioned it to her before, but I don’t think it’s a good idea that she’s gotten into a few bad habits. One of them is smoking, and the other is drinking. Smoking, well, whatever. I say whatever because there are plenty of things that people do on a daily basis to kill themselves. I’m particularly against smoking because of all the friends I lost to cigarettes, back when I was working at the Montreal Chest Instititute. But whatever. That’s her choice– it doesn’t affect me, not that much. There’s always an excuse anyway, so I don’t bring it up because I get nowhere with it.
But the drinking is something that apparently developed further while I was away in Korea. I know about it acutely, at least as far as phone calls go– I used to have my Skype number linked to my Korean cell, so basically, if you went online on Skype, you could call my Korean cellphone from anywhere in the world. Sometimes I’d get calls at 3 in the afternoon (Korea time) by a drunken [BM], asking me to come and pick her up. It didn’t only happen once.
But meanwhile, things have been even rougher for the other friends of mine who I used to share with [BM]. She used to be a really close friend of [Nimbus] and [Terminator] but frankly, I don’t see that happening anymore because they’re fed up. And I’m fed up, after last night as well.
I was having a great evening and then [BM] started getting all flippant about the fact that she’d been away from Montreal for over a year and nobody had come to visit her. When she was more drunk, she started getting really angry about that fact– and that just the other day, when a bunch of us had plans in NDG, we didn’t change our plans to meet her downtown instead.
It was basically complaint after complaint about how, upon leaving for Hull (in Ontario, kinda near Ottawa) none of her friends really cared enough to see her off. None of her friends really came to visit. And now that she was back, none of her friends cared enough to hang out with her a lot.
She’s absolutely right– by the time I got back from Korea, she was still in Hull, so there was indeed time for me to make a stopover– I certainly took the time to see [HamGaChan] in Calgary. But I purposely didn’t stop in Hull, much for the same reasons that few if any visited her from Montreal– because we were fed up.
And that’s one of the big things that makes the difference between cigarettes and alcohol– alcohol has social effects if you overdo it. It is an addiction not only to the habit of it, but to the emotions that you come to associate with it, and it’s effects aren’t limited to your own physiology, but to the way you communicate and connect with those around you.
After being called up one too many times just before I was about to start my afternoon classes in Korea, I was tired– tired of hearing the same old stories of how she was drunk and how this or that wasn’t working. We were friends, and I cared, but there’s nothing I could do from half a world away. Never hearing anything positive though had it’s toll on our relationship, at least as far as I saw it: she often wouldn’t remember that she’d even called, so as far as she rememebred, nothing was ever wrong.
On the homefront, there was apparently nothing her friends could do for her while I was in Korea either. She shat all over her relationship with Terminator, Nimbus, and even NitroNilla, not always for reasons related to alcohol but for this hipocrisy of calling us bad friends when she’s really made it very very difficult to be around her.
I think that’s ended my relationship with her those many years back: that she was a rageaholic. The world owed her something and she wasn’t getting it. There should be justice, but there wasn’t. All that entitelement that most people sorta understand doesn’t really get served in the real world, she always kept going on thinking that she’d been wronged by forces beyond her power and that life was unfair.
Well, life is unfair– it really is. It doesn’t really care about any sense of balance– if we see one, it’s only the tao in our own minds that perceives it as such. But most people learn to make due, and how to let things go and move on. Life is, essentially, inefficient, but it’s the best we got, and we can still find way to enjoy it.
At first when the alcohol started getting to her, she was just getting really energetic. Circulating around the room she was mingling with everyone– and then she started these playfull slaps on the back or whatever. She started putting her arm around people and telling people to dance.
That wouldn’t have been bad, but what was unnerving was that she was completely invading my personal space, the personal space that reserve only for clinch-fighting or for my intimate relations. She was in there for none of the above reasons, so I subtly always stood with wide stances, leaning this way or that with my elbows or hands out to keep her out of my space. But she’d lean in, always try to whisper in my ear, sometimes touch my hand, put her arm around me– she seemed to be getting the hint that I wasn’t at all comfortable with any of that, especially not when she was drunk. But she seemed to persist, almost on purpose.
At some point though I drew the line when she tried to sit in my lap. As she was trying to I told her to get her own chair, but she just kept on sitting so I dodged a bit, she sat down between my legs, and I got up an instant later to get myself another chair.
It was absolutely irritating that she would act so familiar with me when I owe her nothing of the sort, especially because it was becoming such a chore to hang around her as she got progressively more drunk. I think all this is really, really selfish of her. I don’t want to hear the comments that she’s making about the other people in the room, I don’t want to hear her stabs about how everyone in the room ‘is fake’ and I certainly am not in a relationship with her that allows her to try and talk to me or come into contact with me in certain ways.
So I told her that.
“I don’t want to hear it,” I said. “I really don’t. If you don’t like them, don’t deal with them. If you don’t care, then don’t care– but don’t tell me about it. And if you feel like it’s slipping away, then do the right thing and go over there and BE a friend to them; have fun and stop talking nonstop about how everyone’s changed and all that!”
And of course, “Oh come on. Get your own chair!”
At some point in the evening she started telling me to come outside and have a chat with her, which I refused. I wasn’t interested. She kept on goading me to do so, calling me a pussy and all that. I was getting pretty annoyed at the tediousness of the situation– most of the attention right then was at the table, where everyone was playing poker, and since I don’t play poker I was pretty much just sitting on the sidelines chatting in general with everyone about non-poker things. But she was just being a real bitch about it, and at some point, I looked around the room– I saw that everyone was having a great time and that if I ignored this, [BM] just would get more angry than she was, so I agreed to have a little chat.
The chat really went nowhere. “I’m not arguing with you,” I said flatly from the begining. “There’s no point, because you never remember anything we talk about like this the next morning.”
“So why are you here?”
“So that you can talk your mind, and maybe so you can salvage what’s left of this evening.”
We had a long talk which was actually mostly her drunken alternation between self-loathing misery and angry ranting about the people in the room– the same way she always did when I was in Korea; the same way that she always did before we broke up– and I thought to myself, what am I doing out here? This is such a waste of my time. /It never leads anywhere./ It follows a pattern. First it’s anger at her so-called friends. Anger so blinding that it brings her to tears. Then it’s self-loathing, where she rants about how much her life/job sucks, and how she wishes that her friends would back her up. Then when it comes to be offering my thoughts, since she asks, then it becomes a conversation of her targetting me as if I’m just condecending her. It then loops back to the begining.
What was I doing out there, nodding, etc-ing? Oh right– because if I wasn’t out her putting up with this, everyone else in the room would have to. If there is anything I’ve learned from my time in pubic service in a library, in two hospitals and school, it’s got something to do with not with empathy, but with a bigger picture. I think from the getgo of that conversation I didn’t feel much symapthy or empathy for her– because she’d put herself in that situation. If it were once or twice we’d let it slide, but it was the Nth time, and I’d tried– I’d tried for years to help her get out of that funk while we were together, and even after that, and so had all of us, all of us friends of hers. But at this point, it wasn’t about empathy, it was just sparing the group of having to deal with her.
I managed to talk her into a better mood and eventually we went back in, but when she started going for more beers, everyone in the room was subtly trying to prevent her from drinking any more. I had asked Ti and Ly, who were mixing drinks, that if she asked, she should just get something without actual alcohol in it. Quynh took a few bottles away from her saying that they were the last ones and that he hadn’t even had one yet. At some point though [BM] was going to open up another bottle and I just told her, “I think you’ve had enough.”
And you know, if there’s a situation I think that ever demonstrates that there is no trust left in our relationship, it’s that she doesn’t believe me when I say that. Most others would. Or at least, most others wouldn’t be so intent on smashing themselves to oblivion.
And of course, she did.
I’m tired of all that. I really am. I wish she’d just get her shit together.