Some well-meaning person told me yesterday, after I excoriated him for using a toothbrush on an incision, that I must have a real passion for my work.
No. I do not have a passion for my work. I have a commitment to it, and a love for it, and I felt like a fish finally in water for the first time in my finny life when I got to nursing school, but I do not. Have. A passion. For nursing. I have a deep, consuming dislike of people who scrub incision lines with toothbrushes, though.*
I certainly do not have a passion for people who use the word "passion" as a positive term.
"Passion" is like "artistic". People who are artistic tend not to show up for work on time. They tend to be a little ADD. They tend to freak out and need a certain level of excitement in their lives that normal people can't tolerate. In short, they're drama queens. "Passionate" people are the same way: try to live a normal life with one of 'em and you'll find yourself on the receiving end of invented crises and tearful midnight phone calls as they attempt to keep things off-balance enough to make themselves happy.
A patient's wife told me the other day, as I was tranferring him to the ICU with a raging case of bacterial meningitis, that he had ignored two cerebrospinal fluid leaks following surgery because, you know, he's an artist. He has a mind above such things, don't'cha know. He had apparently ignored the clear, yellowish fluid running out of his nose in favor of demolishing old car parts, or whatever the hell it is he does for art, until the headache and nuchal rigidity got to be so bad that he couldn't stand up. The pus leaking from his incision should've been the first clue, but oh, you know these artistic, passionate people--he felt he simply had to finish chopsawing that radiator to get his Vision out into the world.
My ex-husband told me, after he and my best friend had started screwing like rabbits, that he'd done it because he missed the Passion in our Relationship. Uh...dude. Passion, with a few exceptions, does not last for fifteen damn years. If you're lucky, you can build a good, strong, solid, deep-rooted something that outlasts passion and over-reaches it. You were not lucky. You were, in fact, a drama queen asshole, which is pretty much what I told him after I finished laughing.
See? Passion bad. Workhorse good. Boredom positive. Excitement debatable. Butterflies early, good; butterflies late, a sign of needing to up your Xanax.
I am sick and tired of artists and passionate people. Give me a good, strong, not-too-brilliant workhorse of a surgeon any day rather than the passionate, artistic guy with a gift who tells patients to shut up when he's talking and is prone to fits of the sulks. Give me the uninspired, hardworking nurse who shows up on time, doesn't miss details, and gives a decent report rather than the one who feels drawn by some Higher Shiny Cosmic Power to the field. The ones who are so very drawn to this marvelous, wonderful, fulfilling thing are the same ones who either end up in management, fucking things up for the rest of us, or who go back to accounting or truck-driving or whatever it was that they could actually pay attention to and be good at.
Give me a nice, good, workhorse of a boyfriend, while you're at it. I don't care if he bradys down into the 50's when he's relaxed; it'd be a nice change from constant tachycardia. If he spends days silent, punctuated by the occasional grunt, so much the better. Keep your Jack Russell terriers and your people in search of something all-consuming; I want somebody dull and reliable and not prone to causing crises for the sake of excitement.
Which is why I love my dog. Max is passionate about one thing only: bully sticks. Even then, he won't bite my fingers taking one from me, or stay out in the yard with one when it's raining. He's my new benchmark for sensible behavior.
*And while I'm bitching, what is it with you people scrubbing your incision lines with a damn toothbrush? Doesn't common sense tell you that that is a bad idea of the first order? Don't you think about things before you do them? What posessed you to...oh, wait. I'm getting back into excoriation mode. Sorry.