dal niente

Month: November, 2009

Systematic

It seems that every week or two, I need a hardcore ‘maintenance’ day. I treat myself like a computer, it’s like doing diagnostics on everything. Registry cleaning, defragging, virus scanning, the works. Or maybe it’s more accurate that I treat myself like a character in an RPG, and every now and then I overestimate just how much a human mind, body and spirit can take.

Last Friday was one such day. Maintenance comes in some pretty strange forms though, and I guess from person to person it varies.

Ninja Assasin. That movie turned out to be pretty much everything I expected it to be– outrageous fight scenes, awful scripting. In combination, it was a fun experience. [Supergirl] was talking to her friends about movies a few days before seeing the movie with me, and her friend was commenting along the lines of what about that movie Ninja Assasin! Only stupid people would want to watch that! and yeah, that’s me! It was fun and there were scenes where Supergirl next to me was practically covering her eyes, some of the scenes in that movie were so extreme. And I don’t even always mean the scenes where they were killing things– the ‘romance’ scenes in the movie were pretty ass kicking too. This movie really just reset my brain in a good mood after a week of work, culminating with that 11 hour FT shift from hell.

I suppose it goes without saying, but Supergirl is a part of my maintenance too. I don’t mean ‘maintenance’ in the way we sometimes talk about those little things we have to do for our girlfriends just to keep them happy– I mean, on the contrary, that spending time around her just fixes everything wrong with my day. I think the when I got into this relationship the thing I did right, as well as the thing I did wrong, is that I had no expectations. It was the right thing to do because then when I met Supergirl, I think I did a pretty good job of just taking her as she was. Unlike with previous relationships, I didn’t try to change her or try to fix her life in any way that she didn’t want to (at least not that I know of yet). That was probably the most significant problem with me when I was going out with [BadMedicine] or [Chamchikimbap].

On the other hand, it’s also that Supergirl doesn’t need me to take care of anything in her life really. And that’s very different. I guess it’s just that she’s got her shit together, because she’s got it together, and for everything else, it’s as if our priorities are in sync.

It’s was a mistake to not have any expectations because I think that expectations are what make a relationship grow in a sense, but now that I’ve got a better idea of who she is, I guess the truth is that I’m developing them. Maybe that’s the way it should be done? See the situation first, and then see what can be done with it. Rephrased in terms of relationships, perhaps it is to start a relationship, build the foundations, and then start setting goals together.

Time: 2:00AM November 30th
Location: @work, in the crash room
Batteries: 90% (I’ve been sleeping a crapload during my day and a half off work)

“ECKSRAYS! ECKSRAYS!”

[JoD]: “Clear for x-rays!”

Eveyone shuffles out of the way hurriedly.

“Man, do you think they could give us more warning next time?” I ask.

“It’s okay,” mumbles one of the nurses. “Those were just my ovaries! Who needs kids anyhow.”

Everyone laughs. Well, that is, everyone except the kid on the table.

Sometime early this morning, a 16 year old boy, while driving his girlfriend around, managed to somehow wrap his car around a cement block. The girlfriend wobbles out of the car in the freezing rain, took a few steps, then passed out. The boyfriend is still unconscious when he gets into our crash room, and nobody knows why because, despite the horrific state of his car, he’s not obviously hurt in any way.

But they figure that it might be some combination of the crash and what the police suggest may be drugs they expect to find in his system once the blood tests come back.

An interesting development that [Dr. N] pointed out– such an event is now called an MVC, instead of the old term, the MVA. What’s the difference? The old term stood for “Motor Vehicle Accident,” but has since been recently ammended to “Motor Vehicle Crash.” Its mostly a philosphoical difference, but the gist of it is that nothing that happens when you’re behind the wheel is an accident– there’s always something you could have done to prevent it. There are no accidents.

He’s in the crash room for about an hour and a half, and I’m there thinking, man. They make 16 year olds /big/ nowadays. He’s probably a head taller than me and lean. What do they put in cafeteria meals that they didn’t have when I was in highschool?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Time: 4:22 AM
Batteries: 75%
Location: @work

When I look at the last decade of my life years of my life from about the time that I was that kid’s age, I really changed quite a bit.

I ask what is it that they put in cafeteria meals jokingly that makes that kid that tall– but the fact is that at his age, I was probably just as dumb as this kid on the table.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Time: 5:29 PM
Location: @home
Batteries: 99% (I just woke up)

See, the thing is, when I was his age, I wasn’t driving yet, but within a few years I would be drinking, playing arcades, and fighting on concrete. How many times did I have a few strained ligaments ? How many times did I have a bone broken? A joint dislocated? And how many of those times was it a neck or head injury, just like the kind that the kid now needed a Miami-J collar to stabilize?

When I went to Emergency at the Montreal General Hospital for the first time after the first Dawson/Marianopolis tournament we organized because it looked like I was bleeding from my eye, because I’d gotten punched in the eye one too many times and I’d burst blood vessels all about the inside of it and they were afraid that my retina might detach, could I write on a form that it was an accident?

That the person I was contending against only ‘accidentally’ hit me in the eye that many times?

Or could we say that this situation could have been prevented– I could have done like my mom always said– that is to say, never done martial arts in the first place, and just taken the time to do this or that homework project better and become a better student.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

There’s a bit of a duality to the way I philosophically look at the purpose of a hospital, and it follows, in some sense, a philosophy of gaming. The hospital where I work at, or any of them for that matter, is, within limits, a way of healing you. Sure, that’s obvious. But just as there there are first aid kits, potions and inns in games that can always bring you back from the worst of redline situations, there are some plot-device situations where you become forever crippled, or worse still, you die.

A hospital comes with a cautionary tale. Everytime you go there, medical and non-medical staff will make jokes about you. It’s a given. We’ll goad you or your parents for being so stupid and not preventing this thing that’s happened to you. But on the other hand, that’s just what you have to accept– you will make mistakes, and not only that, you will have to live with them and suffer the ridicule of it. If only you were conscious to hear what we say about you. But deep down, we believe that the work is important because people would like an extra life. Everyone does. Everyone wants extra chances. I don’t believe that there’s anything like karma within the span of a single lifetime– because I think that after a certain amount of time elapsed between two seemingly oppositely charged ‘karmaic’ events, it’s just coincidence, and there’s no real sense of deserving except in the convention of a legal sense upheld by society. But I do believe that we serve this initiative, of giving people extra chances, because deep down we want more continues of our own.

In a sense, the reason why we keep doing this, is, in a sense: to encourage stupidity.

Could you imagine if everyone played things safely? Look at a Mario Bros game. If you had a single life, and you could never be brought back, would you even risk jumping over that hole? What if you slipped? It’d be all over. Nothing would happen if we didn’t have some capacity for risk survival. And, well, if we just stood there and did nothing, the timer would eventually drain to zero and we’d die anyhow.

Because if I’m ever to get anything out of life, it’s giong to be through those ambiguous situations where I’ve got to take a risk and try something different. Because that’s how we learn, that’s how we grow.

I don’t mean this exclusively in terms of physical injuries and physical lessons. I mean this in terms of everything. No matter what decision you make, you can strike gold, you can get something very uninteresting compared to what you thought, or you could get something worse. Maybe you’re just shuffling the cards, and for some things you win some things you lose.

That’s just the way it works I suppose– so we have systems in place to pick up the pieces. People say “why don’t you learn from your mistakes” but what people don’t always realize when judging others is that no situation is always the same, and if someone makes the ‘same mistake’ more than once it might be because they think this is the right thing to do, and they’re just waiting for a lucky break that has nothing to do with them so that it finally works out.

Sometimes it’s not even that dramatic. I mean, it’s all about practice I suppose. You try to isolate variables, figure out how the system works, and then work towards your goals. Some people just seem more like idiots than others, but it’s a continuum really from risk/security, just like in investing. I guess the real importance is to be systematic, and the paradigm by which we do so is who we are.

Advertisements

FastTrack

Time: 15:40 Nov 27, 2009
Location: @ work (yes, during sunlight hours!)
Batteries: 90%
Morale: 😉

I’ve been basically telling everyone at work today that I’m going to Ninja Assassin after work finishes at 22:00.  I mean, it’s a big deal.  This movie has been a long time coming-I haven’t seen a big budgeted Hollywood movie that centered around ninjas for perhaps a decade.  That Chris Farley movie doesn’t count. Ninja Turtle movies get an honorable mention, but I’m looking for something with humans.  Not that I’m a racist or something, but while I love turtles, they’re not human. It’s just not the same.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Time: 15:40 Nov 27, 2009
Location: still @ work
Batteries: 80%
Morale: 😉

Today started off as pretty quiet, but it’s quickly gotten really fubared.  It went from a 1 hour or so wait for category 4s and 5s at around noon, to a 9 hour wait for cat 4s and 5s now (at about 7pm). I’m working as the Fasttracker today, which, I’m sure I’ve mentioned, is my favorite job.  It’s a long 11-hour shift, but it kinda balances out because I don’t that many direct responsibilities.  That’s not to say that there isn’t work to be done– it’s just that the FT coordinator is usually on support duty.  FT is it’s own independent little department that has almost nothing to do with the rest of Medical Emergency (MER) or Surgical Emergency (SER) from an administrative point of view, since we have our own rooms, our own coordinator (me), computers, office and communications systems.  However, oftentimes what happens is that FT slows down because there aren’t enough patients to see, and that’s when I basically help out MER and SER as much as I want, but without having to take responsibility since MER and SER both have their respective coordinators who are calling the shots.

Fasttrack patients as so named because, in theory, they can be handled quicker than the average patient.  These are the sorts of patients who show up with cases that realistically aren’t worthy of emergency medical attention-they need medical attention, just not the emergency sort.  A kid who has a sore throat or a cough are a few common examples.  For that kind of thing, you just need some cough syrup or whatever.  These patients, when seen, are mostly told to do something really simple and the plan of action is mostly reassurance from a doctor.  There are plenty of over the counter meds that you can get at a drugstore that do the trick nicely, so many of them don’t even leave with a prescription.  Unfortunately, because common colds are, well, so common, you’ve got tons of patients who display these symptoms and they really bog down the system.  Yet, you can’t exactly say to a patient “you’ll be fine, go home” because legally, if they come to a hospital and want to be seen by a doctor, they are entitled to.  Yay Canada.

So, FT exists as a special sort of taskforce whose job is to weed these low priority cases out of the system while fulfilling our legal obligation to the public.  Only a doctor can prescribe anti-biotics or whatevs, so we have an FT doctor whose essential job is to just see patients with uncomplicated symptoms quickly.  In and out.  Wheras a typical MER or SER category 4 or 5 patient is usually in the department for about 20 minutes from the time that a doctor first sets foot in a room (not to mention the amount of wait to get into a room), an FT case can typically be seen in under 5 minutes with a good FT doctor, and the wait times for FT cases are usually significantly less than MER or SER.

As a result, there is typically a huge volume of FT patient traffic in a short time, sometimes dwarfing the numbers of MER and SER.  Just because most people who come to a hospital simply don’t need to be here. They become FT patients.

As a direct result of the high patient volume, an FT coordinator is assigned. That’d be me, today.  When I was first hired here, I used to do almost exclusively FT shifts.  That was nice in one way– easy work.  But brutal on the sleep, since each shift was at least 11 hours, and I’d often do 4 or 5 shifts in a row.  Nowadays I do the odd FT once or twice per month, but it’s nice to come back to my roots.

What I mostly like about FT is the independence from all the mess of MER and SER.  Physically, you’re disconnected from them becase we operate in a different wing, so you don’t induce any environmental stress by things that aren’t your problem (which you normally would if you were in the main department).  Also, you’re afforded a lot more administrative and medical maneuverability, since FT basically consists of one doctor and one coordinator. You get to know the doctors personally a lot better like this.

So, though I say that we’re kinda fubared today, by ‘we’ I mean ‘they’ since I’m only as fubared as I want to help them out of their situation.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I’ve got a few more hours of madness left. And then: Ninja Assasin.

For those of you wondering, my expectations for this movie are, contrary to what you may think, very low. Abysmally so.

I expect this movie to be so bad that it’ll be great, actually.

Poolhall Junkies

Later on tonight, I’m going to be going with [Supergirl] and two of her friends to play pool.

I think this is probably noteworthy because  on one of our first dates, the third I think, although my memory is pretty unreliable, we actually went to play pool at Sharks.

Thinking that she was actually pretty good at it, and thinking I was pretty bad at it, I prepared myself to be schooled. I told her in advance via email not to expect much, but I was game if she was, lol, haha, and all that nervous dismissive stuff that one uses to try and make things less awkward but which really makes things more awkward.  I remember playing pool with her and thinking a few things:

  • Oh god, it’s so loud in here!  I can’t hear anything she’s saying! How are we supposed to talk like this?  She’s barely talking to me!
  • I had ordered a pint of beer for each of us but she was barely touching hers.  What does that mean?

The fact that we weren’t talking too much about ourselves was really getting to me.  I sorta tried to dimiss my fears by saying that she was just really concentrated on the game, but that wasn’t a very good guess, considering the way the games were going.  And also, the beer: in my head, a girl who couldn’t drink her share was someone who was probably a bit too conservative or stuck up.  After Korea, I was all about meeting people who knew how to get out of their shells and have some fun. And, it was so loud in there that it was hard to really maintain any sorta casual conversation.

In my head, it was a pretty awkward date.

As to the score? After we played pool, I sent her an email late at night from work, and part of it reads:
“I enjoyed playing pool with you, it’s been a long long time since I won 4 games in a row, thanks for sparing my manly pride and letting me win.”

But who would have thought, that things would still work out in spite of it!  Supergirl is just the initially quiet type, and she doesn’t really like the taste of beer.  And she’s pretty awful at pool.  Two out of four of my wins were because she scratched on the 8-ball.

…In spite of it though, she’s all I need to make my day feel complete.  We’re not the two socially inept nervous strangers we were those many months ago.  I couldn’t ask for any other partner tonight.

Clunk

Location: @work
Time: 1:52 AM
Batteries: 80%
Morale:  😐

Lets start with work.

It’s almost 2am, and I’m here at work.  Big frikking surprise, eh? I’ve been here since 9pm, and I’ll be here until 8am. I’m doing overtime because a scheduling error on the part of the allknowing management gods fucked things up a bit.  Someone from the day shift was actually /forced/ to do stay and do a double shift as a result.  That’s because management didn’t remember to schedule an evening coordinator.  That’s essentially like saying that you want to run an emergency department without having a doorknob on the entrance the hospital.  Without a coordinator, the department basically just stops working.

The second reason is that a masters, especially the sort of distance education one that I’m going for, is going to set me back more than a few pretty pennies, so any extra dollars I can stow away in advance is probably in good advice.

After overnight shifts, I set my phone on a special call screening mode when I get home.  The goal is pretty simple: prevent anyone except really important people from waking me up.  I don’t care if you’ve got an astounding business opportunity, if you think I need life insurance, or if you think my opinion is important enough for a survey: if I’ve worked overnight, daylight means sleeptime.  That list is limited to calls made from the phones of my grandparents, my sister, my parents, [Supergirl] and my roomies.

I do get a text message telling me that I have voicemail or something, which I check when I wake up.  The text message sound will catch my attention if I’m awake, but it’s not loud enough to wake me up if I’m asleep.  When I awoke today, I found several messages from work basically begging me to come in because of the shoft staffed situation.

Time: 3:45 AM
Batteries: between 50% and 75%
Morale: o_O

I am SO tricked out on sugar right now.

[JoD] brought in home baked chocolate chip and double chocolate cookies.
[J] brought down two sizable slices of lemon meringue from upstairs.
And, the fridge is just loaded with applesauce today.

Anyway, to continue what I was writing about before—I received several voicemail messages from one of my coworkers basically begging me to come in, because without an EC, someone was being forced to work a full double shift and nobody was allowed to take breaks.  Another coworker was also being forced to stay a couple of hours extra.  That kind of situation really bites, but I guess technically it happens because as essential services personnel, we don’t have any rights apparently.

When I used to work at the Montreal Chest Institute as a nursing resource manager, I’d be in charge of handling sick calls, among other things.  I would show up at work at 5am (I used to work days back then) and if the nurses were really, /really/ short staffed, then I’d have the unfortunate job of telling a ward’s head nurse that they’d have to force an overnight nurse to stay for the shift starting at 6am.

Nobody ever takes that well, and usually, people demand that they sign a release of all liability, because, simply, they don’t want to be there and they don’t want to be held responsible for any mistakes they make due to exhaustion.

And that’s why you pay taxes.  So the government can abuse some of the last people on this planet who /care/.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I was called up by Human Ressources department a couple of days ago, and apparently they’re interested in my CV and perhaps an interview for a position at the Royal Victoria Hospital.  It’d be a clerical position in the pharmacy.

Just considering the position in my head.
 
Pros:

  • Day shifts! (I’d be able to synthesize vitamind D again!)
  • No more stupid shit from my current stupid boss!
  • Easier, lower stress workload.
  • Equal pay scale to my current position in the MCH Emergency Dept.

Cons:

  • Boring, monotonous work.
  • Maybe stupid shit from an equivalent, stupid new boss.
  • Equal pay scale to my current position in the MCH Emergency Dept.
  • It’s about 1.5 kilometers of extra biking, all up hill, which will be significantly more difficult during the winter months. It’s also rather difficult to access by public transportation from my apartment, if I decide that I don’t want to bike.

Well, no harm in sending in my CV and seeing how it goes.  I’ve only been to the Royal Vic a handful of times in my life, all during the orientation periods of both my work at the MCI and the MCH. Aside from that, I’ve seen a few hallways while wandering around with [Supergirl] who has classes there.  It reminds me a lot of the Montreal General, but even older.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

On a lighter note, I’m applying to do my masters with Athabasca university.  It’s an online “open doors” university, which is their way of saying that regardless of how poor your grades were during your undgergrad days, they’d still take your sorry ass out of the rain, if you’re willing to work.

I’m not interested in going into debt to work on this, which is why I’m going to be working on the masters part time and by distance education while I work.

As to why I’m working on it, I have no particular expectations about it getting me a ‘better’ job, although I suppose it does open up some doors to me.  Mostly I’m going to do it because I’m interested in the program that I’m applying to.  It’s a combination of arts, sociology, humanities and communications.  Basically all that hot winded stuff that we all used to love and enjoy when we weren’t gagging on calculus and chemistry back in the day.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I know there’s always people out there who wonder about where they’re going with their educations, and they often ask me what it’s like to be in the workforce, post-undergrad, pre-grad.  I’m not sure I have any advice for such people, is what I tell them– education isn’t as simple as wondering what’s written on a piece of paper you can slap on the wall and I think that one of the major problems in contemporary society is that it tries to make you believe that education solves all your problems.  This is sorta true, but it’s misleadingly phrased.
/Formal/ education in a higher institute of learning doesn’t necessarily get you anywhere, nor does it necessarily solve any of your problems, nor is it necessarily important.  /Real life/ education– that is to say, all the things that one usually learns about life, death, love/hate, trust/betrayal, integrity, goals, family, friends, the birds and the bees– is what will teach you everything you need to know, assuming that you’re paying attention and diligently doing your homework.  It just so happens that the time spent on real life education and formal education sometimes overlaps.  You know what they say about summer: just because ice cream sales go up doesn’t mean that ice cream sales cause air conditioner sales to spike as well.  However, this is a conveniently spun half truth that universities would like you to believe.

If you asked me to summarize it, I’d say that formal education is just a tool to facilitate your real life education.

In the end, real life education turns out to be heavily based on making yourself and other happy.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Time: 4:20 AM
Batteries: 45%
Morale: 😐
Location: @werk, still

I get kinda annoyed at times with people who don’t keep in touch but still make great efforts to assume that we’re really close friends whenever we meet.  Maybe it’s because despite my instructions otherwise, a lot of people I know still read my blog.

As a result, they feel that they know me because they’re constantly reading about what’s going on in my life and how my brain operates. Thus, they feel they know what’s going on in my life and that makes us close.

The fact is though that this blog is for me.  That’s why it’s got a lot of details that I probably don’t bring up in person.  This blog is usually written at the wee hours of the morning when I’m thinking about stupid things because I’m sleep deprived.  You’ll notice that I don’t often talk about these things in person.

Just in general, I should point out that friendship is a two way street.  You can’t just take details out of my life and then think we’re close if you’re not going to share from your end.  You’ll get as much trust and as much dedication as I think you deserve.  I’m always one to make first steps I feel– I often invite people to do things, and I try to get friends of mine who don’t know eachother to mingle and all that.  I think that I take a lot of initiative to building social circles, and I think that I’m quite open to people.

People get all huffy when all of a sudden I don’t always talk about everything with them, as if I don’t trust them in person. It’s true– I don’t.  The old maxim that trust is earned couldn’t be more true.  As far as I’m concerned, if you’re reading here, you’re spying.  I don’t want to know that you’re reading here.  Reading here, as far as I’m willing to credit, is cheating– you’re diving into my thoughts at some of my most extreme moments, because extemities are often what push me to write.

But this isn’t friendship.  You’re no more my friend than an author is to the audience– you do nothing for me, and so in person, I won’t credit you for knowing things that you didn’t earn.

In large part, I beleive that friendship isn’t just about knowing things about people.  Not even secrets. You can find those things out in any number of ways.  It’s about confidence– having someone trust you enough to tell you in person, to your face, not in just some sorta situation where you overhear or over-‘read’ as the case may be.

And it’s about doing things together, sharing things, in person. Investing, mostly time, in a history together.

Like anything else, take risks and pay your dues!

Otherwise, what’s the point?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Time: 9:33AM
Batteries: 25%
Location: @home, relaxing a bit before going to sleep

I’m going to see Ninja Assasin with [Terminator], [SoCool] and [Supergirl] on friday.  This movie is rated 16+ in Quebec, which is astonishing– usually, things that Ontario rates at R or 18+, we might give it a PG-13.  We’re hardcore like that I guess.  If it’s 16+ in Quebec, this must be one damn violent movie.  So far, reviews say that the movie is absolutely unbelievable, which I think is on par for the course.

Don’t get me wrong– I don’t expect this movie to be good, directly. I expect it to be so bad that it’s good.

I kinda expect Terminator and SoCool to jump on things like this, since we have a long history of watching terrible movies out of Movieland’s extensive collection of B movie horror and action flics, but Im surprised I guess that Supergirl agreed.  I joke, but this is I suppose one of her first acts of true ‘girlfriend duties’ because it’s something that she obviously finds is silly, but is going through with just because ninjas and terrible movies are important to me.

I’m really looking forward to this, not even because of the movie per se, but in large part I guess because Supergirl’s coming.

It’s really recently, within the last year or so, that I’ve begun to really embrace my inner geek, and I’m glad that Supergirl not only tolerates it but understands the lameness of my jokes enough to laugh or groan.  Most people just don’t get it.

Incidentally, you should all see Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

…Continue?

Location: @Work
Time: 00:42 Nov 21, 2009

Batteries: 70%

“You might want to pick up your pay stubs every now and then,” said [D], handing me a stack of no less than 6 of them.  That means that I haven’t picked them up in over two months, considering that I’m paid bi-weekly.

“Oh,” I purse my lips. “Thanks!”

Attached to one of the paystubs is a message in French relating to some changes to the Emergency department.  Roughly translated, it explains about how with the coming of the new head nurse (I think she came into the unit about the same time as I did) there’s been an investigation run by an independent task force of human ressources to see just what the Montreal Childrens’ Hospital is good at, what it’s bad at, and how we can make ourselves better.  Roughly translated, here’s what it reveals.

As far as our strengths go,

  • Good quality and safety of care
  • Great passion for pediatric care and clientele
  • Unpredictablity of work and a variety of challenges
  • Positive relations with physicians
  • Motivation and pride related to work
  • Positive leadership of the head-nurse and her assistant head-nurses in general
  • High feeling of professional autonomy
    Cooperation and teamwork generally good

As to our weaknesses,

  • Cleanliness and order of spaces
  • Public access to certain places in Emergency
  • Violence at work
  • Equipment
  • Work volume compared to the unit’s capacity
  • Shortage of nursing personnel
  • Productivity of some employees
  • Feedback and recognition
  • Communication and attitudes
  • Information circulation and team meetings
  • Flexibility of work schedules
  • Standardized and documented work processes (especially administrative)
  • Management leadership for the patients attendants, clerks and administration technicians.

WELL, to be honest, I could’ve told you all that!

The way that you can read this is essentially the same way that you could’ve read my blog, ever since I started working at the Chidlren’s back in January.

In summary, the people at the front lines are passionate caring people, but we’re far outnumbered and outgunned compared the situatinos that we’re put in.  We get little or no appreciation from our higher ups and we’re left to basically run this department shoulder to shoulder and back to back out of FUBARed situations using POS equipment all the time.

It’s rather misleading, you’ll note, that some of the strengths seem in conflict with some of the weaknesses, but I that discrepency exists because the letter forgets to mention that they’ve not separated the feeedback of nursing aspects from the adminstrative aspects– for example, nursing generally has efficient managment, wheras administration has terrible management.

Case and point– I’ve requested new hospital scrubs since last January 2009.  I wear size small or medium– my current set is XXXL.  I’ve asked for new scrubs forever, but the department seems to think that it’s more of a priority to install electric staplers and these little mounting stands for computers so that they’ve got wheels on them.  Where in God’s name are we going to be moving these computers anyway??

I should point out that my manager’s office is being redone, and it’s costing 1000$ of taxpayers’ healthcare budget to get painted a room that’s essentially the size of my apartment living room.  One. Thousand. Dollars.

I digress.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

If there is nothing else I’ve learned throughout my life thus far, it’s that passion is what keeps the world turning.

Depite it’s shortcomings, this Emergency department ingloriously runs on the fuel of people who care in spite of their own best interests.  And by that, I mean, the conditions are awful, the pay is lousy, the hours suck, you’re always getting sick, and nobody appreciates you.  Of course there are days when it’s better than others and days where it’s worse than usual– but hey, who am I to bitch? That’s life, and that’s goes for everyone.  In any field, any profession, there will be things to gripe about.  And it seldom gets much better.

The only way anyone gets anywhere though is if the terms of victory are found somewhere within the heart.  It may not be efficient, but what kind of passion can you really pump efficiently through a machine anyhow?  The best parts are always the dirty ones that show character– without these struggles, that is to say, the shit that we do gripe about, what really is the point of victory?

I mean, what’s the point of going somewhere if we’re already there?  What’s the point of winning if there’s nothing to lose?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

But wait.

That’s the way that I’ve traditionally thought of things.

Fight. Fight. Fight.

I’m begining to wonder if that paradigm is just… incomplete? Maybe I’m so entrenched in that perspective that I can’t see outside of that box?

 

Why does anyone have to go ‘looking for trouble’?

-=-=-=-=-

 

Time: 3:41 PM Nov 21 2009

Location: @parents home (came here after finishing work in the morning to visit for the weekend)

Batteries: 10% (I’m sooooooooo tired, but I can’t seem to sleep because it’s too noisy at home =_=)

 

Daybreak isn’t always characterized daylight, and this was one of those days. My thumb pushed into the germicide despenser, spitting a light bubbly foam into my palm.  I waved and said goodbye to the guard in French, turning to face him just enough to give the automatic doors the second and a half it needed to notice me. Like curtains, they drew themselves shut behind me as I stepped out into the world outside of the Emergency.

The morning fog smelled and tasted nice.  That these curtains were made out glass is probably a good indication that this wasn’t le fin at all though.  You could still see things going on.  That they open just as automatically to let me as in as out tells you that this is one of those plays that never really comes to an end.  Days come and go, but human sympathy for human stupidity goes further, and thus a hospital like this will stand forever.  And if it is to one day be knocked down like a house of cards, it’s only so we can try and build a bigger one with the same faces and more somewhere else.

It was foggy out that morning and if you followed the roadway down the hill and checked out the greenery by its side, you’d have seen that the blades of grass were lightly frosted, almost like the glassrim of an Ameretto sour.  This is the kind of world that one only sees this early in the morning, before the sane working people get up to go to work, instead of geting up to go home.

Rounding the corner, my bike was one out of three on the rack.  Droplets not big enough to be drops hung from the bike everywhere, so after taking off the lock and stowing it in my bag, I lifted the Warthog up and let it bounce a few times to shake it all off.  I’m not sure why I do that, since it’s pretty much impossible to stay dry on days like those.

Maybe I just like the idea that the Warthog can take a little roughing up.

 

Details

Location: @Work
Time: 2:56AM Nov 20, 2009
Batteries: 85%
Morale: A

Small Things, in No Particular Order:
-Takeout gyro souvlaki at 3AM.
-The feeling of [Supergirl]’s breath on my forearms.
-Reading over an email to faraway friends before hitting ‘send’.
-Being the first person to see morning frost that’ll dissapear before the rest of the city awakens
-My bike with it’s mean ass tungsten-carbide studded winter tire.
-Reverse spin kicks.
-Extra teddy bears to give out.
-My comfy, cheap work Crocs (as stupid as they look)
-Being able to speak French.
-Google products.
-A few episodes of any Josh Weddon series.

Those are some of the things that I randomly enjoy or appreciate throughout a day. Every day might not have the same list, but one gets the idea.

Reactor Core

 

Ever since I caught H1N1 about 3 weeks back, I’ve been totally off of my training schedule.

There’s a number of reasons for this.

First of all, it was the flu.  Duh.  The flu sapped so much of my energy that I couldn’t do jack squat while I had it, and even 10 days after I first got it, I was still drastically weakened.

Before the flu, I did some exercise whenever I can.  It usually totalled 3 or 4 times per week for the running, and I’d do other calisthetics and isometric exercises at home whenever I had the extra energy, so that was between 4 and 7 days per week.

Before the flu,
I ran trips of 5km in under 25 minutes on hills.
I could do 40 pushups.
I could do 20 chinups.
I could do do 30 crunches.

Sometimes if I was feeling particularly energetic I might do less reps but more sets over the course of a day. That might not sound like a lot a lot to a lot to some of you people out there, but [Terminator] checked out my technique for a lot of those things and basically just corrected my form for eacho one of those exercises and it made it helluva harder.

Anyway, my point is that, 14 days after I first caught the flu,
I couldn’t run.
I could do maybe 8 pushups.
I could do 4 chinups.
I usually gave up on crunches because I was so tired from the pushups and chinups.

Now, about 21 days after I first caught the flu,
it took me more than 25 minutes to run 3km, and I’m exhausted afterwards.
Pushups are at 20.
Chinups are at 10.
Crunches are at 20.

The flu really took a lot out of me and though the first few numbers at 14 days may be especially low because I hadn’t fully purged it out of my system, I’m pretty sure that today, about 21 days after T-0, I’m clean.  It’s just that the combination of the weakness and the loss of a lot of muscle mass over the course of a 3 week hiatus from any physical activity have really taken their toll on my body.

My average weight is also 6 pounds less than what it was 21 days ago.

-=-=-=-=-=-

I’ve got a case of eczema/dermatitis that’s really annoying the crap out of me, and it makes me less inclined to try some of my month-old training plans.  Judo, in particular– a month ago, I’d intended on joining a judo dojo somewhat near my apartment, but frankly I don’t want to get up close and personal when I’ve got skin problems.  Although eczema isn’t contagious, it is embarassing, and moreover, it can be very uncomfortable and at times even painful because the skin is so dry and brittle that close contact actions, for example, someone trying to grab you by your jacket and throw you on your back, will really hurt.

I’ve always had eczema, it usually only comes back during this time of year.  I missed out on it last time because I was in Asia, and something about the combination of the humidity and the heat kept the symptoms away completely.  Either that, or pollution trumps dermatitis.

But this year I think it’s particularly bad beause I’m biking. The most affected area is on my neck and ears, and now a bit on my eyelids and forehead– I think it’s because of the windchill that basically dries my skin right out.  It’s also on my arms, body and legs, but that’s not as bothersome. No matter how much lotion I take, it doesn’t cut it.

 [Supergirl] doesn’t seem to mind it but I do; I hate having eczema. It’s one of those things that I was simply born with and don’t really have any control over.  I haven’t been prescribed any sorta cortizone creams or anything like that since I was a kid, but I’m fed up of this. I’ve got a dermatologist appointment for tomorrow morning, which I’m going to go to after I finish work at 8am.  I need to know what my options are, because this will affect my plans to cycle through winter.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Lastly,

one of the reasons why I don’t train as much nowadays is because of [Supergirl].

At the roots, the training was always because I had a surplus of negative energy within me.  Make no mistake– it was not positive energy.  It’s something that I needed to work out of me or it would drive me insane.

I was never much one for academics– but the easiest example I can think of as far as negative energy goes were those days back in college when I was an arcade addict.  It wasn’t that the energy made me play arcades– it was that arcades turned out to be one of the easiest ways of diffusing that energy.  I could channel that agression into some sort of dedication to pixels and joysticks as if everytime I rolled out a quarter-circle, it wasn’t just Ryu throwing the fireball out of his amassed qi– it may as well have been me.  With every opponent I challenged, I could work off more and more of this energy.

Martial arts were no different.  It was a means of self discipline that allowed me to channel the negative energy.  It sounds cliche, but I always struggled with it.  Back then, there was so much to hate.

I suppose that over the years I forgot just what all the rage and anger was all about, and then after that all that was left was the addiction to the actual acts of energy diffusion.  Thus, it came naturally that I could throw myself into things like badminton, kickboxing, taekwondo or grappling. Even playing a guitar, or writing– it was most profound when I had something that I wanted to work out.

It self perpetuates, kinda.  I guess what happens it that even when the original reason is gone, you just get into the habit of being an agressive person.  Your body, or more accurately, your sprit, automatically generates the negative energy even without a trigger, because it’s set in that way. 

I’ve always been like that, even throughout my previous relationships.

It seems that with previous girlfriends or people who I tried dating, I was always fighting for them or fighting with them fighting about them.  It’s the language I knew I guess.

But this time?

With Supergirl…

that’s just it.  With her.  We are together and that’s all there is to it.

That’s not to say that it was effortless to get where we are– it took a good amount of time for us to build our way to where we are now.  But it was never a fight, or a struggle.  It almost just felt as if the next step was just inevitable, and that it would just happen, like growth itself.

And suddenly, I find that I don’t have much energy to diffuse anymore.  It’s been months since I practiced martial arts.  It’s been longer still since I’ve picked up a badminton racket.

At first I was always itching for something else to replace it, which is why I started training independantly at home, or with the running, and the cycling.

But ever since I started going out with Supergirl, I just kind of feel that I don’t need it anymore– it feels as if all that dark, bitter stuff is gone.

I always thought that I exercised to be fit, but it’s recently that I realized that that was just a bonus.  Really, it was always because I needed to work something off.

Nowadays… I dunno. I guess I’m confused about some things, and part of it is how unlike anyone before, [Supergirl] makes my core feel at peace.

Lifestream

Location: @Work
Time: 2:56AM Nov 18,2009
Batteries: 85%
Morale: A

Pre-triage is mostly quiet as the wide automatic door swings shut behind me. [Dr. E], who I consider one of the “super doctors” of the ER, not just because he’s the ER Chief but because he’s actually really good, is on overnight, so for the most part I consider this as a quiet night even though we’re only a few hours into the game.

“It’s good to have you back,” said [Jay] a little earlier, before I relieved him for his break. I’d been off of work for 5 days.  No particular reason, I just wasn’t scheduled to work.

“Who was on while I was gone?”

“[D].”

“Ah,” I sigh knowingly.  I’ve written about [D] before– she’s the kind of person who really knows her shit here at work inside out, so it’s nice to work with her in that respect. But…

“Her attitude has gotten worse ever since she and her boyfriend broke up,” shrugged [Jay], swapping the main Emergency Spectralink portable phone with my N2 phone.  We swap phones because we each take an extra half an hour break and cover eachother– I take over all the main phones, and he keeps the N2 phone just in case of a real problem, so I can ring him in.

“[D]’s never been one of my favorites.  I mean, I like working with her because she knows her shit.  But like…”

“Yeah, it’s her attitude.  She shouldn’t be like that to everyone else though just because she’s not getting any.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

If you scroll back in this blog several months, you’ll find that almost continuously without break, I’ve always engaged in some sort of physical activity.

Whether it was badminton, taekwondo, kickboxing or grappling, there was always something mano-e-mano that I was trying to condition my brain and my body into cranking out.

I always thought it had something to do with my nature, and the way that I handled my energy. I don’t read up on enough Asian literature to know the terminology, but you’ll hear me often loosely refer to the idea of energy.  I define energy as having quantities of two qulaities, which are positivity and negativity.  In som cases, energy can be a combination of the two.

Of positive and negative forms, there’s a difference between ‘expended’ and ‘resultant,’ or more specifically, the ‘induced,’ forms of it.  The simple way of describing this is as energy that ‘you have’ versus energy that ‘other get’ or energy that others ‘see.’

For some people, that is to say, really really ‘pure’ and ‘honest’ people, there is no difference between expended and resultant energy– it’s continuous.  Most other people who are capable of a bit of deceit (and I dont’ mean this in a bad way, this can be a good thing, such as hard work or politeness) put in one kind of energy and the environment actually draws the opposite form out of the action.

For example:
Batman beats the tar our of a supervillain.  Batman is actually employing very negative energies– that is to say, his expended energy is of a qualifyably negative sort.  Can you punch someone’s teeth out and feel warm and fuzzy about it?  Not even Batman can.  He’s just thinking of recpiprocating the pain he felt of the loss of his parents, and all that.  It’s things in the order of rage and revenge. Regardless of the energy type expended though, he makes someone feel safe– perhaps the people he’s rescuing.  They experience an influx of positive energy from his actions, which they may or may not see.

On the flipside, harmless old man in the park strikes up a conversation with somebody.  The old man is being very pleasant, and he’s enjoying his time very much.  The expended energy in this case is of a positive nature– however, the person who he has decided to talk to is simply not in the mood.  Perhaps that person just wants to be left alone and came to the park to do just that.  Out of politeness he listens to the ramblng old man, but on the inside, he grows more and more angry at being trapped in this situation.  Here, the expended energy is positive, but the incuded energy is negative.

It should also be noted that although the man might be polite about all this (the energy induced from him would be neutral or positive) he is still on the inside boiling with negative energy and is making an effor to mask his energy.

-=-=-=-=-

But as far as the source of it all, where does the energy come from?

A portion of the energy in us comes from those around us.  It’s that “induced” type of energy– it’s what’s going on in your environment.  Some people come into an environment of chaos in their workplace and they feel opressed as a result of the weight of the negative energy around them.  Some people are depressed but when they go out and spend some time partying it up with their friends, they feel better.  Sometimes someone’s mood is changed by the mood of a song they hear on the radio.

Another portion of the energy comes from within  ther person. There are mainly two sources, which are your mental state and your physiological state, but there is a third, which I’ll call your ‘instincts’.

The mental state is determined by your realtime thoughts as well as your self-esteem.  Realtime thoughts are more variable– they’re subject oriented and depending on what you have on your plate, you will be likely to think in a certain way.  I don’t mean that this is necessarily you reaction to an outside energy source– it’s, rather, more from the perspective of how you chose to deal with an outside energy source.  Your brain and your way of thinking are the ones who decide whether an outside stimuli should be classified as an obstacle or an opportunity.

The second part of your mental state is generally more consistent, and that’s your self-esteem.  Self esteem is less of a conscious decision making mental process than it is an involuntary filter on things.  Whatever the energy type of an outside stimulus that you’re inducting, before you can even begin to thiank about how to deal with it, it’s energy rating is first modified by your self esteem.  People with higher self esteem tend to have an incoming energy modified in an energy type of their favor, while those with lower self esteem tend to have it modified in their disfavor.

I don’t say that high self esteem means more incoming positive energy, because to some people, positive energy doesn’t necessarily mean an easy to regulate situation.  Some people, for example, don’t allow themselves to be love– they’ll better understand and be able to better react if they’re faced with negative energy emotions, such as jealousy, hate, or pettiness.  Some people can’t work in librararies– they need to be matadors.

The ‘instinct’ element of the mental portion of energy refers to that stuff that can’t really be explained except as some sort of intuition.  Sometimes you just feel something, and it isn’t neccessarily obvious by means of any normal combination of your five senses.  Sometimes, for example, you just get the feeling that someone who’s smiling at you really wishes you harm.  You can thus detect the difference between their expended energy and their intention.  I guess it’s true that a large amount of ‘intuition’ is simply subconscious automation of your normal senses coupled with a mental reflex, but sometimes it does go beyond that and it really is in my opinion an ability to ‘feel’ the energy someone’s giving off.

The physiological source of energy has to do with your body itself.  If you’re in good health your body usually tends to produce either a neutrally colored energy, or a positive one.  If you’re ill, it tends to be a negative base.  This isn’t always the case, mind you– there are plenty of people in great health, for example, who do not cease to produce negative energy.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I’ve found that in meeting and getting to know people throughout the years, finding out how well you’ll work with people in various situations depends largely on three things about that person: their intentions (how they want to use their energy); their actions (the type of energy that they expend, which might be different from the alignment of their intentions); and the result (the difference on the sum energy of a system outside of that person).

More Alliteration

15:36 moi: i’m trying to figure out recipes
  we’re going for pork tonight
 [Supergirl]: how about
 moi: paramount pork!
 [Supergirl]: what is that O_O
 moi: i dunno
  i haven’t invented it yet
  or maybe paragon pork!
 [Supergirl]: you’re going to invent dinner…?
  why alliteration >_<
 moi: yes!
  because i’m an english major!
15:37 [Supergirl]: ok ._.
  i.. look forward to dinner…
 moi: what’s with all those dots
  i sense hesitation at my mad cullinary skillz
 [Supergirl]: of course… not…

Moneyyy for Something

  Character > Equip

I did a lot of experiments with what I did and didn’t need while I was in Korea, and now, my ‘second time around’ living on my own in NDG, I’ve started again from scratch.  This is the permanent move out.  While the move to SK was temporary, or perhaps shall we say, tentative, the move to NDG is something permanent in the sense that it’s the first time I’ll be gone for good from my parents’ house in any permanent residence sort of way.  It’s been a few months since I moved out and I think I’m getting into the groove of things.

So there are items here and there that I’ve scraped together for my life as me.  They’re not always big things, but they are things that I bought with my own money, from scraping by with my government paycheques biweekly while trying to save up money for my future, and still trying to have some fun along the way.

The point of some of these items is that they’re equipment, or they’re enablers, not so much consumables.  Like, they’re not packs of frozen fish– they’re fishing rods, so to speak.  Piece by piece are things meant to make my life feel like they’re on track because in some strange consumer-whore sorta way, I look around me and I do feel like I’m getting somewhere because of all the material goods I have surrounding me.

They include:

An electric razor.  (Not the fancy sort–a Gillete Fusion Mach 5 with the vibrating blades.)
A larger bed.
A non-stick frying pan. (Mostly unburnt eggs now!)
Bicycles.  (A bicycle for normal and wet road conditions, and a bicycle for snowy/icy conditions, and folder bike for car-enabled special missions.)
House plants.  (Just because I like planting things.)
My own pinboard and whiteboard.
A cooking knife.
Couches.
Christmas lights.

… there are of course more things on this list, and maybe some of these things seem similar to you. But I’m buying these things with some sense of permanence in mind. I’m trying to build a home here.  I’m not likely to live in NDG, but I do want to own the things that will make my house a home.  My travels aren’t over, but I want a place to call home that I’ve built for myself,  one item at a time.

I do buy useless things every now and then, but for the most part, I like to think that I’m investing my money in myself whenever I buy myself something.  Thus, I guess I don’t get the little luxuries in life so much like bags of chips of soft drinks.  I’ll spend the extra change on enriched white bread (because sometimes I get tired of the taste of brown) or juice (because Vitamic C keeps the swine flu away!).

I guess it’s a lot a matter of perspective– there’s a huge discrepancy between what we ‘need’ and what we ‘want’ but if you’ve truly covered everything that you ‘need’ it’s just a question of what, out of those things you want, is more useful and has more replay value.

-=-=-=-=-

I’ve never really had bad bad money problems, because since I was in high school, I’ve been working part time jobs.  But I am frugal– I’ve never really been in debt, except for the floating debt of 500$ or so that I always paid off and reincurred while I was still running the RsM Badminton club / store out of my own personal accounts. A large reason why I’ve never really gone into debt is because I don’t buy all that much, and that kind of financial discipline has lead me to financial security nowadays.

I’ve always had this thing where I try to invest as much of my paycheques as possible.  The basic procedure when I get my paycheque every couple of weeks is as follows:

  1. Pay off my Mastercard.  (I almost never use cash because I don’t like change, so almost my expenseses that can, such as bills and groceries, all go on my MC.)
  2. Invest as least half of the remaining money.
  3. Use the rest of the cash for ‘whatever’ situations in which a credit card isn’t convenient (like eating in Chinatown, where you can get an “Asian Discount” for cash!)

-=-=-=-=-

That kind of changed while I was living in Asia, where spending money really made a jump into the foreground. It was a completely different game.  Living alone, and by alone I mean half a world away from home in a country where I didn’t speak the language or have any family to live with, was completely different from living at home with my parents and sister.  If there was no toilet paper, there was nobody to blame except myself.  If I couldn’t eat a bowl of cereal because there was no milk left, it was my own damn fault.  But on top of all that, it was compounded by the language barriers– it’s not exactly easy to read street signs or look up the internet in a foreign language to find a local grocery store, much less understand roadsigns and directions to it.

As with all things, I made a game out of it.  I was a hero in my own adventure but I had nothing but hope to go on, since the beginning of the adventure started off pretty shittily for me.  My stomach couldn’t tolerate Korean food, my Korean accent was terrible and I couldn’t communicate with the locals.  I had lost ten pounds within my first month in Korea.  I was pretty miserable.

I wasn’t equipped to be there, to be frank.  And for that, I paid the premium.  The first places that I found to buy groceries, I always bought there no matter how expensive.  Not knowing how to get around the city I always took taxis to the same landmarks, not knowing how to get places on foot or how to use mass transit.  Things were ineffeceint

My life upgraded piece by piece though.  Within the first week of living in SK, I spent 100 000 won on a bicycle (about a hundred bucks Canadian / USD at the time).  That was what first started opening up doors for me.

And bit by bit, I built myself an independant life. 

In the past decade there’s been this anti-consumerism movement, which I mostly am a part of, except when I’m being a consumer-whore.  The truth is, consumerism is consolation– when you lack human contact or a place in the world, some common items give you a familiar sense to anchor into.  It’s why McDonalds’ around the world have the same feel to them.  Because they’re not just selling terrible burgers– they’re selling comfort.

-=-=-=-=-

Over the years I’ve really come to understand that no, money isn’t everything.  Regardless though, you do need some discipline with it– because while it might not be the answer to happiness, it can certainly be the herald of your unhappiness if you don’t manage things correctly.

I’m basically working my way towards what I used to call the “Big Red Button” plan, at which point I have enough money to retire and hit the big red button and say “Sayonara suckers!” and all my employers would go up in a ball of flame.

[Supergirl’s] mom has a better name for that though– it’s called the FU (“Fuck you!”) Fund and it basically serves the same purpose.  From now on, I’ll start saying that I’m saving up for my Fuck-U-Fund because I like alliteration.