Thursday, August 19, 2004

The night before the morning of

Goin' in to work tomorrow, yes I am.

I've spent a very productive couple of days cleaning out and rearranging cabinets, buying groceries and making brisket and coleslaw and mashed potatoes, and spending Quality Time with David.

A note to the culinarily intrepid: do not eat at Big Time Bob's Burgers without a supply of diuretics on hand. The burgers are magnificent but have so much salt in them that you'll swell up like a pufferfish. I swear.

Did you know that some people go to the hospital for a hobby? We have three frequent fliers, two of whom are the equivalent of He Who Must Not Be Named for nurses. The third is rapidly approaching that status.

People who hospital for a hobby are uniformly crazy. There's no other explanation. They're not sick, exactly--they might have weird orphan diseases, yes, but other people with the same disease putter along fine for years without constant visits to El Schwanko Hospital Du Jour. Mostly they're addicted to painkillers that are expensive and difficult to get outside of official channels. I'm sure that Dilaudid is easy to obtain if you're, say, a roofer or a diner waitress, but most of our patients don't fall into the easily-connected-with-roofers category.

I mention this for two reasons: one is that I'll have to deal with, again, a patient who's on rotation through the nursing staff. She's that bad--nobody wants to assign her to the same person two days in a row lest the nurse's head explode. It's either that or I'll get floated to the cardiac floor; either way I'm not looking forward to my assignment.

The other reason is that Arlene is scheduled for yet another knee surgery tomorrow. You'd think that somebody who'd been literally run over by a motherfucking TRUCK and who'd had to have her knee replaced, oh, six times as a result would be grumpy. Or martyred, or at the very least addicted to heavy painkillers. Arlene is not. Instead, she sends me funny political cartoons and reminded me tonight that she was coming in. I have to remember to take her Jon Stewart tape back in to her.

I really hope that when my lifestyle catches up with me and I end a drooling idiot in the chronic-care section of the hospital, I can at least be a *funny* drooling idiot. The charming sort of drooling idiot who looks at the clock and says (as a patient of mine with dementia once did) "Somewhere, there's an opera going on." I want to be the sort of drooling idiot that people enjoy seeing come in, rather than one of these understimulated and overfed whackjobs who want *this* dosage of *that* pain medication.

Off to bed. Saving the world takes a lot of sleep.

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