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There’s a pharmacist at work I can identify by the arch of her foot. She is ridiculously tall and slender, as if she were made out of gumby and someone had just pulled her from both ends. I sorta feel bad for her, because I’m sure it’s hard to find pants that fit properly (though I have seen her do it), and so she tends to wear skirts and dresses that would be a respectful professional length on a deer but become miniskirts when you put them on a giraffe, if you know what I mean. It just looks awkward as hell and also sort of like she’s trying to get attention- which I don’t believe is the case- but either way the end result is the eye being drawn towards the spectacle of a pair of long, skinny, bare legs in a space where everyone else is wearing oversized pyjamas. It’s not a particularly attractive spectacle, but they may as well have flashing lights attached. She has the sense to wear flats, at least, but her legs won’t fit under the desk (or something) so they’re always casually splayed out to the side with a shoe dangling off the end, which I wouldn’t even notice if not for the twenty feet of exposed skin leading up to it. But she’s really nice and I’d hate for someone to give her a hard time about it. Pharmacists seem to universally be really nice people, at least in my hospital. They’re like doctors if doctors didn’t spend their entire last semester of med school in a capstone program on Arrogance and Condescension. I like pharmacists. Anyway, the moral of the story is I saw a foot from around a corner and knew who it belonged to. Kill me.

One of the more charming aspects of my job is the bit of policy that dictates that, should I, as a male, need to transport a female body to the morgue, then I must be accompanied by a female staff member. Presumably this female escort is required in order to: A: prevent me from molesting a corpse, or B: provide me with a credible witness in case I should be accused of molesting a corpse. Never mind how much fun it is to have a patient die; having to process that particular equation in my mind every time it happens is just such a heartwarming affirmation that I’m doing Good Work, I can’t even imagine why I’d want to quit the entire field. And not to mention the further implication that it needs to be a woman that tags along because TWO MALE HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO REFRAIN FROM VIOLATING A DEAD BODY. Thank you. Go fuck yourself. I’m done.

how to die in a hospital

Too much death today. And it was the good kind, which is so much harder to deal with, really. Even during the most senseless, hopeless codes, performing CPR and running through the ACLS protocol is enough to give you that spike of adrenaline you get from Doing Something Important. And realistically, that is the far worse way to die- some stranger humping your chest and pumping you full of the most ridiculous drugs while twenty other people stand around pretending to help but really just wanting to watch. But at least then you’re worked up enough to not have to process what’s going on, and even if it’s calmed down by the time the family comes in (if they even bother), half the time you see them as the devil for making you go through those unholy motions. 

It’s when people die the right way- gently, quietly, surrounded by family who have come together to make the tremendous decision to let go, to remove the ventilator, to discontinue the life support, that’s when it’s hard to deal with. You can tell they would just as soon set themselves on fire than stay and watch- but oh no, she would be there for any of us, they say. So they stay with her, mostly from a cautious distance, and they tremble and they cry and their sorrow reverberates across the entire unit. You can tell they’re relieved when she finally does expire and they’re able to shuffle away and scatter that dark cloud, and you’re relieved as well, except then one of them comes back to thank everybody and all over a sudden you’re embracing a big strange man who sobs on your shoulder for three minutes straight and thanks you for all your kindness and care when all you ever did for him was show him which door to go through and wave at him on the way to the parking garage the night before. That’s when you’re forced to confront what you’ve done so well to ignore. How meaningful the meaningless, hopeless, senseless can be. 

And then you do it all a few more times, because, well, why not? That’s just the sort of day you’re having. You, the one who’s really suffering here. Yeah.

And then you go home and have a few drinks and go get yourself another one before you try to edit this and end up deleting it.

Oh, it’s a holiday, isn’t it?

Oh, it’s a holiday, isn’t it?