Sunday, January 09, 2005

welcome to the crap months

The ER treated me decently Friday night. I mean, don't get me wrong, it still sucked because it was an overnight shift in the ER on a weekend, but it could have been much, much worse. It still amazes me the different thresholds people have for bringing their kids to the ER, though. I don't know about you, but as a kid, I never went to the ER. (Or, as I'm finding that our Canadian colleagues call it, "The Emerg.") Hell, I hardly ever even went to the doctor, except for required things like shots and check-ups and the like. But then, for example, I get this one year-old patient last night at 3am with the chief complaint of "vomitting since 1am." So, for all of two hours. The kid is smiling, happy, cramming food down her toothy craw, looks like a rose. What's the problem here? Captain Kirk, this Earth "logic," I do not understand.

I think people don't really understand that we don't really do all that much for kids with garden variety viral syndromes unless they're bone-dry or dying or something. I've given the whole "Clears, Tylenol, watch her urine output" talk so many times that I wish I could just print it out on a card and just hand it out in the waiting room to save people time. Parents always ask me, "Yeah, but isn't there a MEDICINE you can give me to stop her vomitting? Can't you write me a PRESCRIPTION for something that will cause all of his nasal congestion to melt away instantly?" Well, not so much. And then the parents get all pissy because what the hell are we, USELESS? Well, most of the time...yes. Which is why you should avoid coming to the ER at all costs, because believe me, this news isn't going to sit well after a six hour wait at 2am.

* * *

The supermarket in my neighborhood finally put away it's little Christmas soundtrack. Thank god. It's strange wandering around the Dairy aisle on January 7th still hearing Nat King Cole singing about tiny tots with their eyes all aglow, and folks dressed up like eskimos. (Though I still prefer that to that "Feeeeed thuuuuh WOOOOOO-oooorld" song, which makes me want to take all the little cocktail toothpicks at the olive bar and stab them into my ears.) Not moving on after Christmas is over is just a little creepy, like that episode of "King of the Hill" where Bill keeps on dressing up like Santa Claus straight through to St. Patrick's Day. Everyone seems to have been a little slow letting go of Christmas this year, though I'm not really sure why. My building didn't take down the decorations in the lobby until fairly recently, with the twinkly lights and fake tree and such--though in a move of supremely bad judgement, they decided to leave up the fake plastic mantle and hearth, with plastic embers flickering mellowly inside. Who even knew they made such things?

Now that the holidays are over, we're looking ahead at a long corridor of several very dark, very cold months to get through with absolutely nothing very exciting awaiting us on the other side. You just trudge through the crap months (January, February, March, hell, even the beginning of April, depending on where you live) like a joyless drone, or perhaps one of those faceless models in those M.C. Escher drawings, until one day, you notice that the sun is still out, even though it's 5:30pm. And then it gets a tiny little bit warmer. Not a whole lot, but just a little. But then, just when you start getting your hopes up, thinking that Spring is finally here, it gets super-cold again. Maybe it even snows. And then there are those few freaky days where everything is frozen and icebound while all the store windows have displays of models frolicking on the beach wearing pastels and flip-flops, exhorting you to get your NEW SPRING LOOK. Damn you, tanned models! But then everything thaws out for real. And the trees come back to life and all the flowers come out and you sneak out during your lunch break (if you have a lunch break) to go eat out in the courtyard, under the sun. And you're very, very happy that it's finally Spring.

But until then, maybe I should get one of those lightboxes.

Currently reading: Finished "Louis Riel: A Comic Book Biography." It was OK...I guess. Now I'm not really sure what I want to read next. Maybe I should actually do some medical reading for school--I mean, work. Whatever.

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