Saturday, January 28, 2006

what goes down must come up

On call, the overnight team usually orders delivery from a local restaurant, and we try to eat together if we can, so that we may actually socialize with other individuals without having to inject medications or move the table into a little more Trendelenberg every two seconds. During my call on Wednesday, we ordered from El Malecon, a local chicken place, with delivery of two pollo a la brasa, an order of arroz y habichuela, and a plate of maduros, which we all know are plantains cooked the mushy sweet way, as opposed to the fried salty way, tostones. What, isn't everyone aware of 25 ways to cook plantains? Oh, sorry, I guess I've been working at the hospital for too long. [University Hospital] is located in one of the biggest Dominican communities outside of...well, the Dominican Republic. (Or, as we like to call it, "the DR".)

So anyway, the food arrived, and we were all hungry and ready to eat, only the delivery guy failed to put any paper plates in with our order. Usually there's a ready stack of paper bowls in our lounge, but that night, nary a piece of disposable china was to be found. We scoped out the PACU, the supply room, but still--nothing. What were we supposed to do? All eat from the communal trough like horses? Just rip off giant chunks of chicken with my hands and cram them into my greasy maw like a diner at Medieval Times? Not without my flagon of ale, I'm not!

I will take full accountability for the fact that improvising with those little pink emesis basins was my idea. It's not like they were used or anything, they're disposable anyway, and once you get over the fact that it was a receptacle designed to HOLD VOMIT, you realize that it's just another plastic container, just the right size for holding your personal serving of pollo con arroz. "Anyway, think how helpful it will be to have these basins nearby in case the chicken is tainted and we all end up with food poisoning," I added, ever helpful.

The medical ethicists wonder why we are willing to sell our eternal souls for a plate of Chinese food when the drug reps come trolling around, and this is why. Residents, when hungry, will eat anything, anytime, anywhere, off virtually any surface. And eating out of a vomit basin may only be one step up from stealing food off a patient's tray...but an important step.

Currently reading: "A Million Little Pieces." Yes, that book. And hence, further evidence of the phenomenon in which I want to do exactly the opposite of what Oprah commands--all the hype just made me want to read the book more. Yes, the truth is important, but this particular truth is less important to me. When I read a book, fiction or non, all I really want in the end is a good story, and this (embellished) one seems like it might be. I don't need it to be sworn on a damn bible or anything.

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