Saturday, November 28, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year

There is a general fallacy in the medical profession that the holidays are quiet. For those of us who work when most other people are home celebrating with family and friends around stuffed poultry, we tell ourselves these fairytales to make our lonely existence with hospital cafeteria food and deserted, sterile linoleum at two in the morning more palatable. While this may have been true once upon a time, I have noticed an influx of the wayward and unwashed this year. As a society we seem to be growing lonelier. The sheer number of times in the past few days I have been hearing the same story of manufactured psychiatric complaints designed to wiggle their way into the inpatient unit is staggering. I do not blame these people. How terrible it must be to watch the happy throngs shopping,"Jingle Bells" blaring through every speaker while your only solace is an empty room, a warm television and syringe? Everybody needs somebody sometime (no, I am really not a fan of the song, but truisms come in all forms). If the only somebody you can find happens to be a psychiatric nurse and a tablet of Ativan, so be it. The food is lousy, but there is a warm bed and you get to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade with all the other patients. The social aspects of my job, as much as I complain, are what keep me in the medical profession. I can treat illness, but sometimes there is nothing for me to do other than give the person a warm place to sleep and hope tincture of time takes care of the rest. Just do me a favor and don't let it get around I have a soft spot. That and stay the hell away from my Emergency Room while I am on call. Its the holidays and all I want for Christmas is my beauty sleep.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's the end of the world as we know it

I am not one of those flighty people who when they can't think of anything more intelligent to write comment on the weather, but I feel the sheer abnormality of the current atmospheric conditions in my home town warrants some debate. I have lived my entire life in Chicago, Illinois; a city which takes tremendous pride in both complaining about and surviving a winter which would kill most living creatures. I have stepped outside in windchills which were so vicious they make breathing impossible for the first thirty seconds. I have scrapped ice off my windshield in sub-zero temperatures at five in the morning with a library card. I have put burgers on the grill in the middle of a snow storm. And yet, it is less than a week before Thanksgiving and I am heading outdoors in a paper thin windbreaker. It is fifty-three degrees and sunny. I am not bemoaning these blessings of the weather gods, but I am starting to think there may be some validity to all this 2012 apocrypha. I will leave you all with this pleasant thought.

Insanity is a perfectly rational response to an insane world

What must it be to see the world in angels and demons? What happens when we rip those illusions away? There is a tale of a schizophrenic man who thought he was a prophet. He wandered coatless in the winter, raving at the sky. Eventually, the medications worked, but he ultimately went off them preferring his imagination. Fractured as his world was, there he was special and in the end that was what he wanted. As do we all.