...it's after midnight, I'm home sitting at my computer drinking a diet root beer. the wife is asleep on the couch, she sometimes finds it difficult to wait up for me.. and Family Guy is playing low on the TV mainly for background noise and company. but let me say I love that show. it just doesn't get any better than that.
I just got home from work, it was a rough night as far as callers go. I don't mean rude people or anything like that.. I mean there are so many people in the city struggling with either their own illnesses, or that of a family member. Had a call from a gal in tears who was miscarrying, and didn't know what to do..
was her heart really breaking, as it sounded- or did I hear relief in her voice, possibly due to circumstantial difficulties.. I've had two myself, I thought, as I was trying to remain professional, yet supportive. I wondered if she would forever question herself concerning if she had done anything to cause it.. even unjustified guilt, can last a lifetime.
it was time for my dinner break. I visited with a co-worker as I ate my left over cold pizza.. and when I finished I had to go to the restroom. as I sat on the toilet, ok ok I was doing # 2, I took off one of my favorite rings to play with it, twirling it around my finger, as it's very comfy and I usually always have something to read whilst I go... it is solid silver with very finely detailed drawings on it.
and then I dropped it. it went right into the toilet, and as I got up to turn around and grab it, (hey, it was MY poop and I would have washed my hands really really good after) the firkin automatic toilet flushed itself before I could even reach for it.
I was shocked. it was gone and there was nothing I could do about it. in my head, I had a tantrum the likes of which would show up any toddler.. I looked around the whole bath room floor, even knowing it went down the toilet. I think I thought it would magically appear somewhere in a corner, as if it was hiding, playing a trick on me or something. for the rest of the night, when I used the restroom, I searched for my ring.
somewhere else in the city, someone called in who was trying to make sense of his life, trying to figure out yet once again, how he arrived to this point in time. said he felt like no one gives a damn about him or the fact that he was abused growing up, only to fight back and make a life for himself, despite the scars. he got his PHD degree, taught at a college for years, and held a prestigious position as a VP.
no one warned him that his whole family could be wiped out in one freak motor vehicle accident.. leaving him so broken that he turned to alcohol to numb his pain.. just like his father had done.
tonight he felt hopeless, and in his drunken stupor called just to let someone know he couldn't take it any more. it was getting colder out now, and his body was too weak to fight through another winter living on the streets.
I sat in my cubicle and took a few sips of coffee. I work on the 4th floor of a building in midtown. I work the evening shift. I get to watch it get dark outside and then light up with store lights and twinkling Christmas lights, so soothing, so "bringing back memories" of holidays past. I can see many shoppers scurrying below, looking for that "just perfect" gift. good luck, I think to myself...
another call, bringing my thoughts back to reality. a very pleasant voiced dad calls about his baby girl. he has a medication question and seems to be in a very cheerful mood as I put together her clinical profile.. since his call was about a medication, I didn't have to do a full triage on his daughter, which would have included a medical history.
we have a few laughs at "parent stuff" discussing the lengths as a parent, one will go to just to soothe a fussy baby, such as late night car rides until baby falls asleep in the car seat, sleeping in the recliner with baby on your chest, otherwise it would be another sleepless night. dad said, "teething can be painful, you know" and we both chuckled.
I thought to myself, yes I remember those moments clearly, knowing I would do it all again in a heartbeat. they are some of the little intimacies we share with our children that bond us for life..
yeah, we had a few more laughs here and there as I gave him the information he called about, and wished him a merry Christmas. "there's nothing like watching your kid's faces when they wake up on Christmas morning," I said. he agreed, chuckled one last time and thanked me.
then without pause, as if it were just a passing thought, he said it would probably be her last Christmas. she was born with a heart defect, and wouldn't make it much longer on the transplant waiting list. and then he said as if it were an after thought, it's so sad that one child would have to die to help another..
he must of tickled her somehow, because I heard her screeching with joy as he hung up the phone. I sat stunned in silence over what just happened. it totally caught me unprepared for something like this..
I stared out the window, the stores were closing up shop now, people would go on with their night, home to their families, or to an anxiously awaiting pet, leaving the street quiet once more- with only the sound of the twinkling lights. I swear I can hear them echoing holiday wishes up to me from the street below...
only a few more hours on the phone, then I will have 2 days off. my night is filled with both serious calls, and funny ones that leave me smiling. you know the kind you just have to share with co-workers. had a care giver call about the 101 year old lady she watches who is in a frantic state.
seems like "Mildred" (not real name) is a diabetic. she just ate a whole package of Keebler's little Elves' cookies and wanted them out of her body NOW. Mildred had just helped herself to nearly half a bottle of stool softener and would have taken them all if the care giver hadn't caught her.
she was trying not to laugh as she had me on the line and with her other hand she was trying to keep Mildred in her chair as she was trying to get the rest of them. I pictured a little tiny older woman trying to keep a chubby 101 yr. old in a chair, and I burst out laughing. they were actually in a battle for the pills. if I lived to be 101, I would eat whatever my heart desired... without the stool softeners, that is.
my last call tonight was from an older geriatric couple... he was on the phone trying to tell me "his wife of 45 years was off her rocker." I could hear her yelling at him while he tried to politely tell me they had an argument over which program to watch on TV. he said "she always keeps the damn channel changer, and it was his turn, goddammit!"
he said she hid it somewhere and he was stuck watching some "shit" he can't stand. he was actually calling to see if he could say she was ill and get an ambulance to take her to the ER "for just a little while." said he could get some peace and quiet for a change, and watch what HE wanted. he was trying to call an ambulance when he reached me.
then suddenly, from this little soft spoken gentleman with a Jewish accent, I heard a horrible scream "stop that!! stop that bubby.. oye! you know I wasn't really going to have them take you away.."
he said he had to go now because "she is throwing hot tamales candies at me and the cat will get them.. oye, the cat had the shits for a week, last time"..
and hung up. I sat there laughing my ass off, didn't really know what to document on that one. I will have that visual in my mind for a long time...
warning; INCOMING! one tamale, two tamale, three tamale- four!! it was a pleasant way to end my shift, I must say.