Thursday, February 22, 2007


It's another whirlwind day as I attempt to tie up loose ends and head off on a five-hour trek to be with my Mum for her skin cancer procedure. Yikes. Wet snow falling and many miles to drive....

The calls just keep coming as I try to end the day. No sooner is one progress note or task begun, then the phone rings and another project is born. Overload comes all too soon and all too often. Triage is the name of the game. At times, one feels like a soldier in a foxhole, shouting "Incoming!" as the next salvo shells the office. The walls quake with the impact as waves of unanswered human need and trauma batter the windows.

"Did anyone ever buy life-jackets?" we innocently shout over the din. "Sink or swim, my scurvies!" yells the boss from his perch atop the lookout tower. "There's rough weather ahead! Every nurse for his- or herself!"

At times our practice feels like an unwieldy and hairy beast slaloming with oversized skis over a tundra covered with obstacles, some sticky, some spiny and sharp, others like black holes which suck the life out of the unsuspecting nurse. Rounding a dangerous bend, one occasionally encounters a colleague skewered by his or her own iffy boundaries. "Do I lend a hand or pretend I didn't notice?" is a frequent thought that crosses the mind. Since we're nurses, we generally stop to offer a hand, or at least a pat on the back. Our resident psychologist kneels down alongside the impaled nurse and says, "So how does that make you feel?"

Five o'clock sounds, the boss's bird-clock sings its sweet song, and a "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!" bursts from his lungs. Oftentimes, it seems that no one even notices that 5:00 has come and gone. Some evenings, I leave around five and several colleagues are still at their desks, distractedly saying goodnight as I exit. Next morning, they're all in the same positions when I arrive at 9. Where do they keep those sleeping bags, anyway?
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