Christmas

by Jinryu

Haven’t had time to wipe my ass even lately, so here is a mixed bunch…

Time: 18:55 December 24th
Location: @work

Christmas Eve, I’m here at work, manning the FT corridors to a backdrop of Wagner’s “Valkyrie” blasting from my USB stick.  I’m here with Dr. [S] and we’re taking our time: things are, thankfully, quiet tonight.  I’ve been here since 11:30AM and I’ll be here until about 10pm at least for this shift.

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[Supergirl] is out having dinner with my family tonight, since she has no family of her own in Montreal.  I’m glad that she agreed to meet up with them.  It wouldn’t have bothered me if she didn’t want to– it’s not easy to hang out with your boyfriend’s family while your boyfriend is actually at work instead of at that dinner table– but she was game.

I’ve found lately that I’ve more or less wanted to involve myself more and more with my family lately, at least in categorized kinds of ways.  Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I’ve moved out, and that with that new foundation, there isn’t the automatic family presence due to proximity that I always took for granted while I was at home.  Nowadays, I have to work for it– I have to call home every now and then, ask how things are doing, visit, spend time, invite them to dinners, etc.  NOthign happens automatically anymore.  With the unpredictablity of my schedule, it’s especially true that nothing every week is different and I have to fit things in sideways at times.

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I’ve had an eczema problem for a little while now.  It’s a sort of allergic reaction in the skin, a dermatitis.  At least, that’s what I’m told. I’m not sure what it is that I’m allergic to that’s causing it, and that route doesn’t really make sense since I’m not exposing myself to anything new lately compared to a few months ago.  I’m just guessing that it’s seasonal, because of the winter dryness.  I’ve had eczema in the past, so this isn’t entirely new to me.

It is, however, a lot worse than I’ve ever had it.  I’ve had eczema on my neck before, but never of a calibre that it actually was incapacitatingly painful.

If you’ve figured out anything from reading this blog over the years, it should be that I can take a crapload of pain.  So fr me to complain about this…

There’s not much I can do about it.  I’ve gone through three types of  corticosteroids, I’m on my 4th type of lotion– but sometimes, it’s just bad. There is no cure, there is only alleviation of the symptoms.

And if there’s a second thing that you may have figured out about me over the years, it’s that I’m obsessive about solutions.  It annoys me to no end, thus, that I can’t ‘fix’ this eczema and constantly have to play this stupid game of upkeep.  It’s not cheap to constantly be buying lotions or creams for this stuff… and while a corticosteroid does work to make it less painful, the solution is temporary.  It’s not recommended to constantly use it either .

It bothers me on other levels as well.  [Supergirl] has been really sympathetic of it, but truth be told it’s really really a pain.  Last night I was at our Christmas dinner for my mom’s side of the family, and Supergirl came along.  I wasn’t much good for conversation because I didn’t bring the CS with me and thus suffered much of the night with almost nonstop pain.  I’m not talking irritation– I’m takling about downright pain.  It’s like 75% of my brain’s processing power was diverted at all times to preventing me from screaming.

And it’s an intimacy issue.  I like, very much, to sleep while holding Supergirl close– but if your neck hurts so much that the slightest pressure makes it feel like you’re pulling skin past breaking point like on a drum, well, is that comfortable?

I’ve wanted to get back into some sort of physical activity.  [Terminator] is back on track with the idea of judo, but frankly, I can’t do that with my skin in this condition.  I’ve stopped biking to work for the time being because the cold doesn’t help, nor does sweat.  I’m basically puttnig a lot of my life on hold because of this.

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I got a text message from my sister early in the morning yesterday, after the Christmas celebration, by which time I was back in my apartment.  My grandmother was headed to the hospital– she’d had a great deal of difficulty breathing in the middle of the night.

Troponin tests reveal that she didn’t suffer a heart attack or anything like last time, and it’s suspected that she simply had a nightmare which triggered a panic attack.

I wonder, sometimes, if I should be grateful abotu things like this.  I mean, my grandmother isn’t in the best of health– physically, she’s not at all bad off for her age.  But mentally, she’s really not all there, not as sharp as the woman who raised my sister and I.  And that wasn’t easy– we were a handful.

What I mean to say is, at what point do you just stop wishing that someone would continue on, just for the sake of having that farmiliarity present?

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Time: 21:25 Dec 24th
Location: @work

There’s a kid in the crash room who basically slammed into a tree while skiing.  What kind of world do we live in, and what kind of person am I, that this is the only thing that’s happening for me this Christmas Eve?

Time: 6:45 December 27th 2009
Location: @work
Batteries: 10% (Absolutely exhausted)

I haven’t really had much time to sit down and write lately, and true to bad habits, it seems that the last few times that I did find the time to write it was only to bitch and whine.  It’s misleding however– today is the day after boxing day, and although I find myself at the crack of dawn at work, things are actually going pretty well for me.

Lets recap what’s been going on the last little while.

First of all, about a week ago, [Supergirl]’s mom boarded the plane to Toronto.  Final destination is somewhere in Asia.  I’ll never really understand why anyone flies from Montreal to Toronto– it seems like such a hassle to spend time on airport related stuff like checkins and all that when there are busses and trains that can do the job for cheaper– but well.  I guess I myself have never actually tried flying from MTL to TO, so maybe there’s a reason why it even exists.  I guess it might just be a stopover or something that costs nothing extra?

Anyway, bottom line: Supergirl’s mom is out of town.  I never did get around to treating her out to a steak dinner at Marvin’s, but ah well. And on top of that, Supergirl is finally done with all her exams, so that means that we’ve been able to spend a bit more time together.  It’s a tough time of year for me to really find free time because I’ve got so many family obligations, but she’s been really great about things by taking the time to actually come and meet my family.

I’m actually pretty impressed by this because whatever fears she had about meeting my folks for the first time, she went into it head first and my family seems to like her a great deal.  I never really realized how important that is to me, because my up until now, my family has traditionally given my ex-girlfriends the cold shoulder.

A bit over a week ago, Supergirl and I went through something like our first real reality check as a couple.  What led to it was that she was upset with me over the scheduling of my time over the holidays, but really, that’s not the important part.  Moreover, the issue was that she had extended her stay in Montreal by another half year, basically to spend that time with me… but how was this supposed to work out?  What was the point in prolonging what would eventually just end, guaranteed?

The thing was, as you know, I’ve started applying to a university to do my masters.  That’d begin roughly around the time that Supergirl is to leave Montreal.  In her head, and I guess I’m to blame for this, she saw this planning of a life-after-Supergirl as basically signing the death warrant for our relationship.

The truth is, one of the reasons why I applied for a masters via distance education is so that the option would be open to me to follow her to Australia, or Ireland, or wherever it is that she intends to go.

Truth be told, that my grandmother was hospitalized just on Christmas Eve again, that just highlights that there are always going to be things here in Montreal to hold me to this place.  Did I really think anything through? No.  I can’t really commit to either staying or leaving– it’s impossible  for me to really decide that far into the future.

The thing is though, I guess there’s something to really be said about hope.

Without it, there’s no reason for anything.  And I think that perhaps this is what has changed about me in the past few months, since I met Supergirl.  I’m no longer a hopeless romantic, I’m a hopeful one, because if you’re hopeless, you’re just waiting for someone to go out of their way to proove to you how it could never work.  You’re blindfolding yourself and standing in front of that wall.  But here, I took all these chances and I realize that I didn’t do them because I’m hopeless, or a defeatest– it’s actually because I have developped just a opposite, and that is a hope that if I just believe, there’s something at the end of this all for me.

I didn’t really think about mentioning the possibility of travelling to Supergirl because, I suppose, I just figured that it was so far away that we could just enjoy what was going on right now.  But she’s much more of a forward thinker than I am.

I suppose you can say I’m more of a stategic procrastinator than she is.  For me, if there’s no solution to a problem, then I put it on hold.

This isn’t the same thing as avoiding wasting energy fighting losing battles– this is leaving one battle on hold to see if anything in the overal theatre changes the way you could handle that problem somewhere in the future.  It’s like cryogenically freezing a patient until an incurable disease becomes curable at a later time.

Of course, this approach doesn’t always work– I know that I’ve done it a few times and I know that plenty of other have just simply procrastinated because they don’t want to accept responsibility or assume the role of the actualizer, but this isn’t one of those cases.  This is a situation really where only time will tell.

Supergirl on the other hand is a lot more OCD than I am, at least in certain situations.  Whenever she sees my jacket has unbuttoned buttons on the pockets, or if the three ribbons on a Christmas present aren’t aligned, she needs to fix it right then and there.  This situation is another example.

That little difference between our presonalities is probably why I somehow failed or decided not to mention that one of the reasons why I signed up a for a distance education masters is because I’d be able to do it via internet pretty much anywhere.

It’s not so much that I forgot to tell her I guess, but I actually decided not to.   I guess I figured that being able to study abroad (although ironically, to study distance education from my native country) was like an ace I had up my sleeve to magically fix the situation.  I don’t know why I kept that in my sleeve–it makes no sense when you think about it, since Supergirl isn’t my opponent.

On some level maybe it was because I thought that Supergirl had done just what she thought I had done: signed a death warrant on our relationship.

The thing that had, up until then, kept our relationship going, was that “we’ll be happy now.”  I suppose one interpreation was that we were simply going to break up in a half year, but that didn’t mean that we couldn’t have a good time in the meantime.  Sure, that meant that we could be happy, but it meant that there was a doom clock hovering overhead.  We just had to ignore that little detail.

But now, I guess it’s so much easier to not ignore it and instead open up that other option, one where I do move.

It is, in all honesty, a very slim  chance that I move… but what have we got, if not hope?

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Date: December 28th 2009
Time: 4:45AM
Location: @work
mORALE: 🙂
Batteries: 70%

I had a pretty decent day today, all things considered, with a few hiccups.  (Keep in mind that when I say I had a ‘day’ it probably means something in the neighborhood more of ‘the last 24 hours’ since I’m I night shifter.)  The first was that about 2 minutes before finishing my shift AT 7:15AM yesterday morning, a family from France arrived at the hospital.

I’ve never seen a France French passport before, nor have I actually spoken to France French people in person as far as I can remember.  I distinguish between France French and Quebecois French because the two actually sound pretty different, if you’re raised in one or the other.  That was kind of fun, because, from movies, and from literature, I can ‘fake’ France French if I take my time; it mostly involves just speaking french without all that Quebecois slang.

Aside from that though, the French family caused a bit of a problem because simply, they didn’t have any insurance.  Residents of Quebec are covered by “Medicare,” and if you’re a resident of any other Canadian province, you’re covered by that province’s equivalent since it’s all more or less tied under the same federal health plan.

When you don’t have insurance though, a visit to our ER costs you $581 (Canadian dollars).  If you’re unfortunate enough to be admitted onto one of the wards, that’ll set you back $4239 per day at my hospital, assuming that you’re not in Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU will cost you around double that).

The folks from France didn’t have any insurance documentation on them whatsoever– basically, they had their passports with them.  That’s a bit of a complicated situation because, lacking insurance, parents are expected to pay upfront.  And then there’s a long, complicated process of stamping a buncha forms and getting them to sign a bunch of papers: the “Slip for Patients’ Acounts,” wherin is described the reason why they don’t have a Medicare card; “Agreement with non-Canadian residents,” by which the parents’ agree that if for some reason they try to sue us, it will be under the governance of Quebec law (and not France’s Laws); etc etc etc.

Basically, whatevs– Thas me job, as they say. It can be done.

Just not in the 2 minutes before I finish my shift.

So, as predicted, I miss the bus that I need to take to Supergirl’s place after work.  At least there’s a bus shelter to keep me out of the freezing rain for the half an hour it takes for the next bus to arrive, and I’ve got enough batteries on my HTC Dream to watch Youtube videos the whole time.

I eventually got to her place though, showered, and slid myself into bed next to her.  She was still mostly asleep.

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She and I spend a lot of time in bed.  Whether it’s sleeping, talking, or “other,” it’s time that I really appreciate with her.   I don’t really worry about anything when I’m there with her.  My stress is gone, and if I’m tired I always feel better.  It always feels as if I’m more at peace.  And at the same time, I’m alive and awake, acutely aware that I’m not the only person in the world.

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