Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Block

DAMMIT...I hate the block..I've seemed to have had the block. I mean, don't get me wrong, so many random things and funny things hit me every day. There's a virtual library of things I could write about. BLAHHG about...but in the end, I'm afraid of using names and likenessessss, Geez, that's a long word. Hard to say. I just said it out loud. Ok, so I'm sensitive to my fellow travelers on this big wacky thing we call Earth. I just don't want to share too much, and flat out call someone out that they'd be like : "Hey, Becky? What the hell? Was that me you were writing about? Ya know, about that time I told you I shit my pants?" And I'd be sitting there, probably looking at my shoes, and be all "uh, yes." BECAUSE it WAS funny, and I nearly shit MY pants when you told me YOU shit your pants!!
I'm legally bound to not share anything regarding my job. And lemme tell ya...I have so so so so much.'s a wonder no one has ever made a funny medical show...well, ok, they have, Scrubs. That is a funny show.. but I'm talking about in the Operating Room.
We have even had someone in a suit, holding a clipboard, (and probably a loaded gun) come and talk to us staff about Social Networking, and how we are not ever never never ever allowed to share NOTHING about our jobs on ANYthing. I mean, I often feel guilty having an internal dialogue with myself when I'm thinking about my job. If I were to share anything, I'd be immediately fired. Done. Kaput. And since none of your asses are paying to read my stories, I'll keep the job.
And because I'm sensitive...I don't want to scare anyone from seeking surgery, should they need it. I don't want them to think that we actually do or say the things we....well, actually do and say. They don't need to know....
What they need to know is they are in competent hands. It's true. For all of the...antics, that may occur, none of them compromise the patient. If it did, I'd NEVER have EVER had any type of surgery. And I've had my share..
They don't need to know the dumb ass shit that happens, or the dumb ass shit that is said that gets almost ALL of us on the floor laughing our dumb asses off.
I get to work with some pretty clever, socially challenged, sick in the head people. I'm talking GIFTED people. It's a calling, the field of medicine. It's a whole other can of worms when it comes to those that seek out a job in the O.R.

You must possess the following:

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: If you do not possess OCD, you are not fit for the team. You must be able to commit random, yet determined, acts of ritual. You must do the same thing the same way EVERY time. You must constantly be stacking, rearranging, folding, prepping, draping, cutting, affixing, etc, ALL at the same time, or someone will surely die.

Dark Dark (the blackest) Sense Of Humor : If you can not find humor in the fact that part of your job requires you to pick up corn on the floor after a colonoscopy, or that once you discover the corn on the floor, you leave it there until your room partner comes back so you can show it to them before you clean it up..then someone, will surely die. (side note: No, corn does not absorb in the digestive tract. And yes, we will find it very funny every time corn is found during your colonoscopy)

The Ability To Not Get Offended At Sexually Explicit Comments Directed At You : In essence, get over it, and just lob an even more offensive bomb right back at your opponent. Remember! It's only sexual harassment if the harasser is ugly!

The Ability To Go From Zero to Nine Million Miles Per Hour When Bad Shit Happens : This means, someone may be sharing a joke from Urban Dictionary (which is conveniently pulled up on the computer) and all the sudden some weird shit starts happening to the patient and you all roll into action like comic book heros...make the weird shit stop...and immediately jump right back into using the term "Dirty Sanchez" in perfect usage and context.

The Ability To Simultaneously Perform/Assist In Surgery And Be Able To Use The Term "Dirty Sanchez" In Perfect Usage And Context : I've seen this shit happen all the time. No, no one's life is in danger, their surgery botched, or died because of this talent. And it IS a talent. My theory on this stems from the belief that most of what we do IS indeed really super weird, and we need a little normality like YouTube to help keep us grounded.

Be Really Smart : Now, here, I am not tooting my own horn. I'm not. Sometimes I am smart about shit, other times, I'm resourceful. Many times, I fake it til I make it..and I hold firm to the notion.."Be good, or be good at it". But, the fact remains, that the people I work with, are really scary smart. Being resourceful and creative comes in handy. And there is a lot of practice with those traits. Being quick on your toes, I believe, requires a LOT of brains. Big ol truckloads of brains.

The Ability To Hear And Dispense With Language That Would Make Your Dead Gramma Come BACK From The Dead And Kick You In Your Filthy Mouth : I mean...have you read this shit? There was a surgeon I worked with, where routinely we would make a hash mark on the dry erase board every time he said the Fuck word. I mean...the "F" word!! Sorry!! So, one day, he had 36. And that day ended at noon.

The Ability To Still Get Really Choked Up And Nearly Homicidal At The Same Time When You See Firsthand What Stupid People Do To Their Children: Now, this is a pretty common trait in most, you may have a future in the O.R. Basically, this involves the experience of having your heart almost squeeze itself to death when you see a kid who has shot his little 4 year old self with mama's gun that she left in her purse, yet he's never had any vaccines because the mama with the 9mm thinks vaccines are "dangerous". Apparently she hasn't read the literature on lead poisoning. This experience may lead one to be rather....hmm..uh, incredibly, utterly...mad,sad,angry,pissed off, homicidal,bitter...etc. Which then leads to a natural survival tactic...of honing all the above traits.

The Ability To Not Be Grossed Out By Seeing Maggots Snuggling In An Unchecked Wound, Yet Be Absolutely Horrified By Someone's Unchecked Dirty Bellybutton : All I'm gonna say on this is, you can't help where the maggots land, and we TOTALLY understand that.. but you CAN clean your damn bellybutton. And, please do. Right now. Check it.

So. That covers part of it. The work part. And I mean it when I say "part of it". There's a lot more to a basic understanding of anatomy and knowing the difference between a hammer and a mallet. FYI, we use a "mallet". The people really do care, and if they don't, they are still good at their job. Lots of people have admitted they really aren't people persons, but they like medicine, so they work in the O.R. They like fixing things. We all have our something.
There's so much more I can't talk about. Of course, my friends, family, kids, husband, the dumbass in the grocery store provide all KINDS of material. And sometimes, I'll share those stories..but again, I have concerns with looking insensitive, or seeming like I'm exploiting my loved ones. And I have. I will. But right now, I'm trying to find a happy medium, and find a way to fix this stupid writer's block..

Monday, March 14, 2011

Struggling With My Hands And Feet

"Do you want an apple? Banana? Bread?" ...pass the tray...
"Do you want an apple? Banana? Bread?" (smile) ...pass the tray..
I'm watching boy use 5 foot tongs to place brownies, balanced on top of chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans..apples and bananas, and bread.
I'm watching girl ladle gravy, husband scoop mashed potatoes.
I'm watching that 7 year old kid come back for 2nds. I'm watching that 70 year old man come back for 3rds.
I'm watching people go through the clothes girl brought in to donate.
I'm watching it all, I'm standing on my 2 feet, and using both hands..
Yet, they seem to be struggling. I'm struggling.
I get that all these people do not have the same story as him. I get that not all of them lie, cheat, and steal. I get that not all of them abandoned their children, their mothers, their fathers...their sisters. I get that not all of them missed their grandmother's funeral. I get that not all of them stick needles in their arms..using, selling, stealing, lying, scamming, dying.
Not all of them. But I'm sure some of them might..
I also get that no one asked to be here. I get that he didn't ask to be where he is now..
I go, hoping to just help feed someone, who is hungry for whatever reason. Maybe they just lost their job, and are struggling to make rent. Maybe they had to leave a violent marriage, and they need to feed their kids. Maybe they have an untreated mental illness, and this is the only life they are able to lead. Maybe I can't even begin to fathom what brings them in tonight..
And maybe they just got sucked into the fucking dark, dark world of drugs, and are unable and unwilling to get out. Maybe, the hold on them is so tight, that NO amount of hands that are reaching out are able to pull them out of this sinkhole. No matter how much screaming goes on, encouragement to grab HARD AND PULL, no matter how much money is spent on rescue efforts, they are unable to be rescued. It's simply a recovery effort now. And one that can only be done on their own. Who has ever heard of having to be themselves?
You have cancer? I'll drive you to the errands, clean your your kids, give you money.
You broke your leg? Ok..what do you need from the store? What time is your surgery?
You lost your job? Need to borrow some money? Want me to watch your kids while you job hunt?
You're homeless and addicted to heroin? hmm...well, good fucking luck to you. Let me know when you get over that.
Ooohhhh...Sounds so harsh, don't it? Well, I tried all the above tactics...the help, the store runs, the babysitting, the rehabs, the money, the suggestions, the listening ears. The advice, the, well, the blood sweat and tears that anyone would give when it comes to saving a life. And they did SHIT. Nothing.
I thought..hmm...can't kick a person when they're down. Give them a hand..
If only I "help" one more time, maybe this will be the time they see the LIGHT!
Nope. I'm here to tell you, that, no. None of my rescue efforts worked. Not a one. Drugs are stronger than me. I remain powerless.
Which brings me to tonight. I'm standing here, serving food to the homeless, the poor. I did it just last month. And I told myself, "someone has been feeding him these past 2 years, and I'm thankful for that. So, I can at least serve someone else's son..daughter." Right?
And it made me think of him. And it made me really fucking pissed off, to think of him.
There is NOTHING I can do to help him. To help him is to be handing him a loaded gun and saying "shoot". No matter how much he pleads for help, he has burned those bridges, because he had help from other sources until just last month.. for 3 years, he's had ongoing monetary help, and he did SHIT with it, except waste it. So no matter how much begging he does, or tells me he's going to get beat up, and his fingers are broken, and he needs clothes, and he's been sleeping in ditches...I can not, can not, can not help him. My brother.
I can not help my brother live.
I would only be helping him to die.
But tonight, I'm struggling. And here comes the part that will make me look like a fucking asshole..but, again..I'm struggling.
Some older man took a lot of the clothes daughter brought in...apparently he takes things like this to sell. He even took the roll of trash bags I brought for people to put their stuff in. Shit, someone stole the fucking hot sauce.
And, I can go to a nice restaurant and pay a lot of money for a nice steak..paying THEM, yet I still manage a please and thank you.
The people that managed a please and thank you were more noticeable as it was seemingly rare. Then there were the people who got mad when food ran out. Then there were the people who got real demanding about how they wanted their gravy ladled out. Then there were the ones who just kept pushing to get more and more and more.
And I know. God knows I know...that there are reasons for this. And probably, if I didn't have him in my life, demanding, and stealing, and lying, and scamming, I probably wouldn't be so pissed.
People get desperate. I get that. People lose certain skills, or were never taught them. Or are so tired, they just. Don't. Care. I'm aware of this..and all the other possibilities that bring the ugly out. I can assure you, I wouldn't have minded if it weren't for him. I wouldn't be so judgmental. I'm a lot more forgiving and understanding and empathetic and sympathetic than what I was displaying tonight..however..
I told my kids on the drive to the church, that what they are doing is being God's hands and feet. That while God is "everywhere", He can't physically be everywhere, and that's why He uses our hands and feet to do His work. And while God is with people as earthquakes and tsunami's ravage the earth, and will hold them and try to comfort those that He can reach, He can not physically be there to help rescue, recover and rebuild. His people do the work that He would have done. Little Christian soldiers, are what you are...
And I do believe that. I believe in being God's hands and feet. But tonight, my hands want to hit, and my feet want to kick. And that made me so sad. I'm not strong enough. I'm not like the women that come in here each Sunday to organize these meals. When people started lying and stealing, and scamming, I couldn't see pass my brother. That is all I could see. And I stood there, and someone complimented how great my children are, what helpers!! And I was standing there, shaking. Shaking. How I wished for their open-mindedness. Or innocence..
And I wanted to just find one person in the midst, where I could just see the face of God, and I was blinded. I just couldn't tonight.
And I hate that. Know, that I did not go tonight to be thanked. Or to have someone say "please". Or to be emotionally served. I didn't go in so that I could feel good about "what a good little deed" I did. ALL I wanted to do was feed someone. I just wanted to feed the loved one of someone out there. Just like someone has fed him. That's it. Pay it forward. Return the favor. Maybe I was wrong in that, but it is what it is.
And all I got was anger. And then I got mad at myself. And then frustrated. And then when I get mad AND angry like that, it makes me cry. So, that sucks. And I don't know right now how get beyond that. I'm sure time will help. I'm betting on God to forgive me. I don't like feeling any of this, but that's what's happening. Hopefully not forever
Another little ring on my tree..