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.

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