29. Headline News

My room at Therapy Boot Camp (3rd Hosp.)
As you can see I was unamused.

I swallowed two Dayquils on Tuesday morning without incident.  Without major incident, I should say.  This is an improvement especially since a year ago I had a very bad cold and Tanpo had to go to the store to get me some smaller pills since just looking at the Dayquils was enough to convince me that they were a choking hazard.  He called Mommy from the “cold & flu” aisle and she talked him through the purchase.

In other breaking news I woke up on Tuesday morning to the sound of a gentle rain falling, not the loud gusts of the night before.  On Monday night our alarm system and the doorbell were both going crazy.  Whenever there’s a power surge the doorbell sounds and so does the alarm.  Specifically, the carbon monoxide monitor goes off and the Fire Department shows up.  They know our house well, having visited us so many times lately, and they are very good-natured about coming in and checking the alarms in the middle of the night.  It’s their job, they say, and they’re obligated to come inside and use their monitors to check the air even though Mom and Dad assure them everything’s okay.  We owe them some cookies.  Lots of cookies.

Mom was reading me some of the headlines as I sipped some chamomile and she told me how a hospital in NY had to be evacuated.  How scary!  I’m so glad that never happened while I was a patient.  I did try to “evacuate” once, though.  I was the only person who got the memo, which is to say that I was trying to escape.  I didn’t get very far since I met Tanpo in the hallway and I rolled my chair meekly back into my room.  The technical term for this behavior, btw, is to “elope” – PT6 taught me this word when I asked him “Do people try and escape upstairs?”  “Upstairs” is where the inpatients live at The Place.

I saw another story online that showed a lone figure at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Apparently inclement weather is eschewed as an excuse for leaving the Tomb unguarded, so someone is always posted there, hurricane or not.  Everyone doing their duty out there – be it checking some cranky carbon monoxide monitors or evacuating a hospital – I salute you.  There’s something to be said for a job well done.

To be clear, there’s something to be said for a job well done no matter what that job is – it doesn’t have to involve saving lives.  My job sure didn’t.  No one lost a limb if I counted my beans wrong.  Which is not to say that I didn’t feel awful when I did count them wrong, but I digress.  Let the record show, btw, that almost everything I learned about Excel I learned from an International Relations major.  (Liberal Arts majors of the world unite!) 

 It was a huge relief to finally have a trade I could hang my hat on when I got my MBA and became a financial analyst.  (I was an English major as an undergraduate.)  But some of the most valuable skills I had in my last job and my first job were the ones I didn’t learn in school.  They were the qualities that made my bosses comfortable with me interfacing with their clients and extracting information from their technical experts.

In the same way, one of my most comfortable moments in the hospital came not when my nurses were fixing the cushion on my food tube or administering high-octane pain-killers (although I’m not going to lie – the pain-killers were pretty fabulous), but during 5 minutes of quiet TV-watching while my nurse kept me company and did some paperwork.  I used to watch The Food Network to make myself hungrier in the 3rd Hospital, and that was probably what I was doing that night after Mom and Dad left and my lights were out.  (Note:  I would not watch TV in the dark now since I know that this is poor visual hygiene.) My nurse gave me my meds and then sat on a chair next to my bed to do some charting.  It was only a few minutes, and my extremely proficient nurse’s skills were focused on the computer, but I appreciated these fleeting moments of “normal” in the middle of an extremely bizarre experience.

p.s.  Have an abnormally delicious moment with these s’mores.  Ed loves s’mores (he learned these from my sister) and will be making these tonight if it’s dry enough for him to indulge in a celebratory bonfire.  (We’re celebrating Tanpo’s benign biopsy results.)

Spread one graham cracker with Nutella, the other with peanut butter. Place banana slices on each cracker then roast two marshmallows, and assemble accordingly. Or [if you don’t like peanut butter but do like open-face s’mores] stick two ‘mallows on one cracker spread w/ Nutella and bananas.