dal niente

From E to O

I begin work at the Montreal Children’s Hospital Operating Room department on February 8th. I find that I’m really looking forward to it! My last possible day at ER will be February 7th, so there’s really no lull in between departments.

My soon to be ex-boss, [Mar], said the other day that she would miss me. She said it straight to my face and it totally caught me off guard, but, being smooth as I am, I managed to pull of a “I will miss this department, as a whole, when I’m upstairs I’m sure!” That’s right, high five for political correctness. I find that it when it comes to the people on “Calvin’s List of People Who Piss Me Off” I still kinda like to make it a habit of being the better person and not biting giving them the satisfaction of fighting back. Especially when I don’t care about you– if I don’t care about you, I’m less likely to fight back because I find that that’s why people use sarcasm and acid in their words, because they want to feel smarter by baiting you into reacting. Well, I can cockfence with the best of them, and my boss [Mar], though she technically doesn’t have a cock and she’s twice my age, doesn’t know jack about my mental toughness when it comes to this kinda stuff. I mean, come on– I’ve fenced wits with 8 year olds to 88 year olds. Even if you call me a traitor ‘jokingly’ in front of my colleagues (as she did, a couple of days ago, on the subject of my transfer), it’ll take more than that to rile me up. I mean, come on– I’ve read the “Dilbert Principle” and “Way of the Weasel” inside out. (If you haven’t read these books, you should).

That said, I will miss the ER. It’s going to change my life significantly in a number of ways. Not least of which will be the people I work with, especially the night crew. The nurses who work nights are my favorites in the industry; they have shown themselves to be resiliant, ressourceful, dedicated and still compassionate. During the lull times in the department, nurses often ask me to look up the status of patients not even in our care anymore, just to follow up.

I will miss all these idiot kids who show up in the ER, drunk out of their wits, choking on their own vomit, only being kept awake by their own involuntary wretching. It’s our friday night tradition– they’re rushed into the crash room, the staff joke about how we’d all rather be at the party that THIS kid was at than here at work.

Mind you, these kids who come into ER with broken, bleeding or not breathing will likely be the same ones who end up on ER, but I will miss the action and excitment of being on the front lines. Despite that I’m by profession a paper pusher, the ER gave me a unique opportunity to do that sort of job while being on the run. I have a Spectralink phone, which is basically a localized in-hospital wireless network that operates on frequencies that don’t interfere with our electronic equipment. Much of the time the things I end up doing are the results of calls I get to fix a situation, so I usually have to physically run around a lot. It’s pretty much why you’re called a coordinator– you do the legwork to make sure that things run smoothly. It’s a very hands-on job. I’ve had to do everything from repair wheelchairs to, more dubiously (from a legal perspective) splinting limbs and changing bloody bandages. I’ve worked days where we’ve been so understaffed that documents were signed to absolve us of the responsibility of accidentally killing someone. In contrast, the OR is, as far as I can tell, a real “sit down, don’t move” sort of job. I’m sure it’ll present it’s own challenges when it comes up though.

Part of the challenge will be readapting to the land of daywalkers. How long has it been now since I started working overnights? A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with [SiB] and [Mr. Oinker] at Kanda (terrible restaurant, mind you; we’re never going back). I commented at some point, “Man, this place is so damn crowded…” and they looked at eachother, before looking back at me.

“Dude, the place is only like… not even half full.”

Working overnights has gotten me into the habit of being awake while the rest of the world sleeps. I do my groceries at 8am after finishing my shift at work, or I go out to eat with people late, usually after 10pm. Every now and then I venture out downtown before noon to do some shopping. The result is, I’m not often around people nowadays– at least, not large concentrations of it.

How I managed to get out there and find the love of my life while being so anti-social is anybody’s guess– but I guess back then, I wasn’t yet as entrenched in nocturnal life as I am now. Switching to a day working schedule is going to make me work during the time when most of the rest of the world works as well– and that means, I’ll be off when they’re off, and that means crowds and lineups wherever I go. It’ll definately take some getting used to.

A lot of things will get easier though. I mean, working overnights meant that my sleep schedule was pretty bad for certain things, like runs to the post office (yes, [Zanshin], the goods are finally on their way!), dentist appointments, banking, optician appointments… etc. Simple things that don’t usually take much effort are a real hassle for overnighters, because business hours for those things are exactly opposite of my awake hours– those sorts of places tend to open late and close early.

I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it again– I’ve lived a very forutnate life. It wasn’t always in my life that I thought I was fortunate– there were many times where I thought that I’d been singled out by God or the Cosmos just as some sorta big joke, but in the end, I think I’ve been and still am pretty damn lucky. I’ve had the opportunity to live several lifetimes worth of experiences. Moving to the OR is still hospital work– but how different the world will be from up there on the tenth floor, I don’t know yet. I’d imagine it will, like many things, change everything.


I don’t know what happened to me, but the last day that I worked was friday. It’s now sunday. I caught some sorta stomach thing I think, and I’ve been sleeping for like… 30 out of the last 48 hours. Ugh.

I will not miss catching illnesses from the ER.


Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to [Supergirl], who today turns 22! May every year of yours
be better than the last!