Processing

by Jinryu

I joined a gym with [Terminator] a couple of weeks ago and it’s been a good week.  A great week in fact, culminating with a great friday.  Let’s recap.

Monday, I had the day off.  It was a statutory holiday at the hospital, so basically, and departments normally open from Mondays to Fridays were closed.  Back when I was working in Emergency, there was no such thing– after all, when does the emergency department ever close?  I mean, I worked mostly the overnight shift– that’s the system’s way of saying fucking never.

The Operating Room department has me on a strict diet of 6am to 2pm, Monday to Friday, except on statutory holidays.  If there’s some reason to celebrate, you can be sure that we get that day off.

Did I mention that I love working at the OR?

-=-=-=-=-=-

So, I come back to work on Tuesday, and let me tell you what everyone who works a 5 day week already knows– touching base with a 4-day work week, after a 3-day weekend usually, usually blows.  Not only are you not in the mood to work because your DNA has somehow reconfigured itself in an extra day to expect to wake up a noon instead of at 5am, but all the shit that happened during the weekend while the world contintued to turn means an extra big pile of things to do in your inbox on your desk.

I think that there are probably a lot of you out there work office out there, but for some reason, I have a hard time finding a ‘normal’ job.  Not that that’s bad.  Tuesday morning, for example, one of my officemates was going to empty the recycling bin into the confidential master bin (patients documents are confidential and need to be shredded) when she found something interesting.

“Huh.  Someone must’ve dropped this in here by accident.”

“O’rly.”

“I think we need to fill out the incident report form for this one.”

“Yeah.”

She had found a human appendix in the recycle bin.  I mean, sure, it was still in a specimen jar in 10% preservative poisons to keep it fresh, but it was an appendix that should’ve gone down to pathology about a week ago.

-=-=-=-=-=-

The basic way that it works is that the OR requires three primary clerks (of which I am now one) to operate smoothly, or/run effective damage control during really bad days.  This trio consists of the Control Desk Clerk (DC), Booking Clerk (BC) and the “10 to 6” Clerk (10-6).  The 10-6 clerk is so named because his/her shift is the only one that runs from 10am until 6pm (as opposed to the CD who starts at 7am and the BC who starts at 6am).  The 10-6’s main tasks are to replace the CD and the BC stations during their breaks, and to handle post-operative reports.  I was hired to be the 10-6, which, in my opinion, is pretty damned sweet: I’ll get to sleep in a bit every morning, and be done work in time for dinner.

Well, for complicated reasons, the OR has been running on two clerks since late November; basically without a 10-6. That means that they’ve been 33.33% down in (wom)manpower for the past few months.   And there’s only a certain amount of bitching that Captain Kirk can do until Scotty just can’t keep up anymore, if you know what I mean.  Since Novermber, there’s basically nobody who’s been assigned to post-operative reports, which is really, really big problem, because legal and statistics departments get fidgetty when they’re left in the dark about what’s been going on for the past few months.   [Mickey] and [Chere], the DC and BC, have basically been doing post-operative reports on the sides during department lull times, or staying after work.

By the time I started training with Mickey to learn about the Control Desk, they were about two months behind in post-operative reports.  We didn’t even touch that stuff because there was enough that I had to learn about the department that I was pretty busy with other coordinating tasks without even really needed to sit at a keyboard.

Tuesday was my first day training in the Booking office under Chere and man.  This is where I’d be mostly a sit-down office worker in the traditional sense. That was some training.

Basically, Chere sat me down, did maybe a dozen post-op reports with me, and then, half a work day later, told me to basically get to work.

“….that’s all there is to it?”

“Well, no… but frankly, the boss wants us to be up to date by next week, and we’re still almost two months behind in post-ops.  And I’m behind in booking, so you’ll have to survive for now.”

So basically, I was supposed to be trained for 2 weeks at Booking.  Instead, I was trained basically for half a day, and for the rest of the week, I’ve been crunching post-op reports.

Aside from the occasional appendix in our recycle bin, there are so many things about the way a hospital works that I just look at and wonder if the greatest miracle of life is how our insane healthcare backroom happenings don’t kill you.  Seriously: how does this place even run without just spontaneously imploding?

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

Regardless, I like working under this kind of pressure, and Post-Op reports are actually kinda interesting.  I like to phrase the situation such that I’m the reinforcements, who’ve been sent in to make everything right.  It’s surprisingly less far from the truth than you would believe… Mickey and Chere have not taken a day off in about 3 months because they simply can’t.

Working in Booking with Chere is a lot more chill than up front with Mickey, because Booking is in a backroom two-person office space.  I have my own desk, my own comfy chair, my own computer.  First thing I did was hide a copy of Firefox on the HD, rewire the speakers (which previously didn’t work), patch music into the computer through my Android, and then adjust the chair specifically for me.  In that order.  Oh, right. And then I went to mattress with those post-op reports.

-=-=-=-=-=-

I brought in some guava candies from Chinese New Years, and they were a real hit with the ORAs, (“operating room attendants” who are basically orderlies).  We’ve started a candy exchange, whereby I supply them with guava candies, and they supply me with mango candies.  God how I love mangoes.

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

During the weekend, I also joined the gym with Terminator, as I said, and man, it’s nice to do that kinda stuff with him again.

I do enjoy getting in shape to a certain extent, but only indirectly.  If you gave me an easy way to have the body of a Greek god, I would take it (provided it didn’t cost too much) because intrinsically, I’m a lazy person.  My life has always been a bit of an ecliptic dialectic between my laziness and my need to conquer though.  In that way, most things I do make me feel good because I’ve exercised superior willpower to persist, in spite of otherwise superior laziness.

If there are difficult things to do out there, training with Terminator is one of them.  Although physically it’s impossible to look like a god after just a week of solid training with him, mentally, you feel like one because it’s not an easy regimen.  It really is the sort of training where you want to give up most steps of the way.

It was nice also because I get to reconnect with Terminator, which is something that’s been really difficult since I moved in.  When I first moved into the apartment, I was just starting to work night shifts, and he was also still in the first months of dating [SoCool].  Our schedules were difficult to coordinate and there wasn’t much opportunity for us to really sit down and have a good broversation.

The gym though is his sanctuary– his space away from the rest of the responsibilities to the world.  Therein, we can talk.

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

Part of the reason why I ended up going to the gym with him actually was because his usual partners, in my opinion, are a bunch of lazy bastards.  One of them is [Wraith], who you may remember from about a half year ago, who at my worst moment in a long time, I wanted to punch in the face because of the [Kingston] issue.  Well, in if  you can’t remember him, let’s summarize the main aspects that come up when anyone thinks about Wraith: he hasn’t been working for over two years; at some point, he decided that, despite any form of income, he would spend the majority of his inheritance on galavanting around Asia for several months; at this point, he spends most of his time blowing money on alcohol, parties, or at the casino; he also has a gym membership, was supposed to be Terminator’s training partner, but hasn’t made a single one of their appointments in over a week.

I guess if you needed me to be brutally frank, Wraith is a loser.  I’m not even saying that because of the Kingston thing– that’s water under the bridge, as far as I’m concerned– I’m saying this because this man has accumulated so much debt and is such a whiner in person at times that it boggles the mind how he continues to function.  I think that the money quote, when his friends tell him to get a fucking job, is “I’m not opposed to working!  Really! I just… hate… looking for a job.”

As a person, personality-wise, he’s actually pretty fun if you manage to avoid the lifestyle subject completely.  When I came back from SK, I didn’t know that any of this was going on so we even played a fair amount of Left 4 Dead and Gears of War 2 together.  We’ve even done a few rounds of Settlers of Catan.  He’s not in my primary circle of friends, although there was a time when I think I was experimenting with the idea of it– but everything I hear about him from Terminator, SoCool and [Zak] seems to rub me all the wrong way.

Anyway, I think that he’s one of Teminator’s closest friends.  While I related to terminator because of the Martial Arts Club and because we began to train at the YMCA together, Terminator and Wraith used to be in the computer science program together.  I think that it’s a different, although equally important brotherhood that comes out of surviving a program together.

Botherhood is kinda tough though because when those brothers are in trouble, you want to help. I suppose brotherhood is in large part about wanting what’s best for your brothers.  You learn, over the years, that while you are expected and can expect backup, sometimes the real blood is when you volunteer your help, even when it’s not asked for.  That’s what family is about, I think– it’s about annoying eachother with the best of intentions.

Well, I think that Terminator is taking a lot of poison damage in his mind because Wraith, and some of his other friends, are living the easy life.  On one hand, I think he wants what’s best for Wraith, who is really digging himself an abyss that even bankruptcy won’t save him from– on the other hand, he’s jealous of Wraith’s lifestyle of infinite imaginary money to do whatever he wants, just because of a line of credit on the condo he owns thanks to an inheritance.

I see it wearing down on Terminator.  And, I want to help him– but I can’t.  His concern for his downward spiraling friends isn’t his only problem– Terminator himself is depressed with his own life.  He needs a change.  It’s not only that it’s not exactly my place, it’s that I really, really can’t do anything to help him unless he decides to change, in the same way that he’s trying to egg on Wraith.

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

I went out to a late dinner and drinks with [SiB] last night, and that was a nice conclusion to my week thus far.  We went to Tokebi’s.

Every now and then, we end up going somewhere other than Tokebi’s.  Mostly, I think, because [Paladin] gets bored of the place, but I think that we’ll probably end up going there for a long time.  It’s got the right atmosphere… not too crowded, it’s got pitchers of Rickards’ Red for a decent price, as well as Korean grill/pot foods.  It’s also always nice that you can hear yourself think in a barr and grill nowadays.  I find that one of the big problems with too many watering holes is they try to make the place way too themed– either with way too much Irish music, too much rock music, or too much anything… too much noise, to put it simply.  Tokebi’s is nice because it’s never too loud in there.

Anyway, SiB is coming off of a hiatus from the world at large.  For the last couple of months, he basically did nothing but go to work and play videogames.  Not exactly healthy from a physical or mental point of view.  But, at least he came out yesterday, and we had a good long chance to just talk about things.

It’s always nice to catch up with friend.

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

I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s not the only one.  Who was in a funk, I mean.  It’s not just SiB, it’s not just Terminator– me too, in a certain sense.

It has in large part to do with [Supergirl] being out of town– I did basically what I always do when I’m depressed.   Which is, block out the ability for me to have idle processing time.

I refer to my brain like a CPU, and I think it’s a pretty accurate analogy– a CPU is essentially modeled, at least philosophically, after the brain, so it makes sense that they’d be related.   My brain has a certain amount of processing power, and it operates at a particular clock speed.  When I’m at work, there’s a certain amount of passive processing power that’s being used just because I’m at work– background processes like “no swearing,” “no scratching,” and “no kung-fu magic” take a bit of power to maintain.   A sense of humor, balanced with a sense of self preservation, also fall into the passive background processes catagory.  Whatever remaining processing power I have is focused on work.

But during free time?  I’m actually really good at changing moods completely, sorta like jacking in and out, almost like loading an application.  When I’m in work mode, I really, really work.  All systems are focused on it.

When I’m gaming, or watching a movie, it’s the same– it takes up processing power.

Sometimes, I need more processing power.  Complicated problems take processing power for example.  If you want to solve something and need to figure out all the angles, think a few moves ahead… you need to have processing power to spare.

The higher your clock rate (the speed at which you’re processing) the faster the drain on your batteries.  So, when you’re thinking nonstop to do things, it tires you out.

Ever since Supergirl left, I’ve been trying to drain my batteries as quickly as possible.  I know, and she’s pointed it out, draining myself to the point of exhaustion is not a good way of dealing with the long distance of a relationship.  But could I help it? I missed her terribly, and I didn’t know any other way to fill up the sudden gap in my life.  I mean, when you spend practically everyday with someone, and then suddenly, they’re gone, what do you do with all that time? All those extra batteries? All that free processing power?

The thing is, you might have energy to spare to do other things, but the processor is still hung up on the things that are gone.  That’s the difference between a machine and a human– you can configure both man and machine, but the human subconscious is not something easily configured.  And my brain, by default, is set to think about Supergirl.  She’s that important to me.

So important that on some days, she was a background process that made everything feel better.  I see single people complaining about how there’s no such thing as love, and then I’m reminded by that voice in the back of my head that’s hers: “I love you,” it whispers, from that range that you can only hear because she’s right next to my ear.  On other days I can hear her making her best mock annoying anime cat voice saying “gambatte!” when I’m doing something really tough. 

On other days though, when nothing is going on at all… my mind goes back to her, because she is the default thought now.  She’s hardwired into my OS and I cannot change that.

The only way I could deal with missing her, if that’s the perspective I got jammed in, was to overload my processor with more immediate things and kill my batteries as quickly as possible, forcing a shutdown and reset.

But not that any of it matters— she’s coming back to Montreal in less than 12 hours.

And then she’ll take her place where I like her best– in the foreground.
🙂

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