Saturday, October 13, 2007

the twins











Just like the only child that I am, I also channel somewhat of a split personality. Gemini, you know. Blame astrology if you must, but there really are two of me. The first is the one you all see on a daily basis, with all my faults, sarcasm and big mouthed ruminations. The second is the one that appears after a twelve hour shift at work. It really is almost like they're two different people. They probably are. And you know what? There's not a damned thing I can do about it.


I work with the most amazing people you can imagine. Supportive, teaching, caring and funnier than I could ever convey. There is not a minute I spend at work where I don't feel that my back is absolutely covered by my co-workers. I trust them implicitly. I sincerely hope they trust me too. Hospital lore says that the ER has the wickedest sense of humor in the building. The lore is spot on. If you can't laugh you won't survive. Period. What I'm trying to say is that I'm in a really good place. I don't want to be anywhere else. But...the ER is the ER, and there will always be risks to those who make it their career. Emotional risks. Physical risks. Life risks.


The problem is that when I am kind of battered by work, the logical assumption is that once I get a little rest and decompression time all will be well again. And to some degree that's true. My big question for myself is this - knowing that my job sucks me dry why do I a) keep going back and b) love it so much? Is this some screwy character flaw that I need to address? Or have I become so entrenched as an "adrenaline junkie" that I need it to feel like I'm contributing?


For several years I've had a little theme song for my working self. And, even knowing how dead on accurate it is, I have to wonder...could I do something else with my life and pay a smaller emotional price?

19 comments:

willowtree said...

I have a Gemini ascendant.

That song and Black Bottom Girls are the only two Queen songs I've ever liked.

Thalia's Child said...

While I've never worked in an ER, I think I agree - most of the ER nurses I've known have just been that hair closer to needing admission to the psych ward than the rest of us.

That said, I think all nurses have to be a little sick - the stuff we see every day - if you can't laugh you'll leave nursing pretty dang quick.



Erm. And I don't know if Willowtree will see this, but it's fat bottom girls. We make the rockin' world go 'round, you know ;)

ciara said...

my son's a gemini...he has his two sides, too. his 'grown up n responsible' side and his sarcastic side. he's sarcastic and funny...you wouldn't think that he works hard, doesn't like to spend for the fear of not having something, and basically serious,etc., but he doesn't let others see that side too often. so i can totally see where you are coming from.

Flowerpot said...

One of my best friends is a Gemini, Now you've really mademe think!

auntie barbie said...

I’m sensing some restlessness RC. I have a lot of experience with Gemini’s. My dad is one, my best friend from childhood is one, my husband is one, and I am one. I am drawn like a magnet to them because I am most comfortable with people who can understand my fluctuation in personality and not be totally offended. (Damn, sounds like I’m bi polar)
To answer your question yes, you are an “adrenaline junkie”. Just look at what you do for a living. Gemini’s are usually very high, or very low. There is no happy medium for us. I am guessing that you are in a very low place right now. But never fear something will come along and your mood will change soon.

Willowtree said...

Yeah that's the one thanks, I knew they were dissing someone, I just got the wrong demographic.

Oh well chalk up another Mondegreen.

laurie said...

i know all about black humor. journalists have it, too. i think anyone who works in a profession where you are eyewitness to tragedy has to employ some kind of humor to survive.

(this doesn't compare at all to what you do, but: years ago, when richard nixon was on the verge of death, one of the night copy editors hung up a sign over the night copy desk; NIXON DEATH WATCH. and with every AP bulletin that moved throughout the night, she wrote down their headline and attached it to the sign above. 'STILL CRITICAL' 'POSSIBLY COMATOSE' 'BARELY BREATHING" etc. until the executive editor made her take it down, saying it was in bad taste)

why do you have a job that sucks you dry? for god's sake, why not? who says that's a bad thing? to have a job where you can pour your passion and your soul and feel like you really DID something that mattered during the day is somehow something you think you should stop doing?

given that it's one shift a week and not every single day, it seems like it allows you a good balance in your life--it doesn't take over your whole life. but i happen to love a job that takes over my life while i'm working.

anything else would feel....not just boring, but insignificant.

my two cents said...

Laurie, what a great comment!

RC, I think the fact that you love it so much is why you keep going back. Anything you are passionate about is going to evoke strong emotions, both positive and negative, and I think that is just part of the package. I hope you will keep going back because if I ever end up in an emergency room, I hope there is a nurse there just like you.

Sweet Irene said...

That must be a very appropriate song for you and I would like to steal it from you right here, as that is how I feel when I am having a complete melt down. Under pressure! Except that I do it all on my own and not saving people like you, good soul! Thanks for sharing that, it was really good and the little film was amusing also.

Akelamalu said...

My hat is off to all ER staff - You must be running on adrenaline all the time you're at work.

Mya said...

I'm married to a Gemini - and he rocks! Gemini's are the funniest, quickest, mercurial personalities going. I agree, they're a bit up and down too, but hey, constant perfection would be a bore,no?

I suspect you do your job brilliantly. I also suspect you give 200 per cent every shift - no wonder it drains you. I know I couldn't do it. Chapeau! As they say here in France. Hats off to you!

Mya x

Potty Mummy said...

Was not sure if it was going to be 'under pressure' or 'back on the chain gang'. Either would have done...

Rose said...

Teaching middle school can be like that too. You have to have that gallows humor to deal with it all. When things get too crazy, I have to take some down time or the family definitely suffers and lately that time has been in short supply. Re-reading Simple Abundance and hoping to remind myself of what I need. Thanks for sharing.

PixelPi said...

RC: I agree as previously stated that you are an adrenaline junkie. Most people who work in the ER are. That said, you're only a junkie once a week, and then you're a bloggin' junkie, a readin' junkie, a mom-referee junkie, and a lot more.

The reason I think you keep doing it is not because you're an adrenaline junkie. I think you keep doing it because it matters big time. And you are part of a team that has everybody's back, but the patient's life. It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it. And you ER people do the worst stuff, judging from the 4299 ER reports I transcribed last year.

Yep, there will always be the splinter in the toe, the hangnail from hell, the broomstick from the shower, but there will also be all many more frequent patients who need you, and your team, standing right around them after the head-on collision, the burns, the abused kids.

What you do matters. And sometimes what matters is ugly business. And that gets you down. There are times when I have anxiety attacks after transcribing certain reports. They scare the hell out of me and I'm not even in the ER, just listening.

You're fine. You're okay. You're one of the "good guys" who do the stuff most of us couldn't take. So have some wine and chocolate and remember you're a hero. And not a bad blogger, either.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

My dad was Gemini and he was a total workaholic. Perhaps there's some similarity.

Crystal xx

Kaycie said...

RC, it's so much better to be passionate about what you do, to live it every moment you are there, than to constantly check the clock, find things to pass the time, and just wait until the second you can bolt out the door. I think in many ways you're very lucky.

Jo Beaufoix said...

C I think it's all been said. Sorry I'm so late.
Hope you're feeling better today. I'm being very organised and reading your posts in order, otherwise I get confused. Derrrrr.

Em said...

Sorry I'm late! I'm a Gemini. I'm never satisfied for long - I get bored with routine, bored with doing the same thing every day. I'm deeply unfulfilled at work at the moment but very aware that a lot of that is down to me being me.

Like Auntie Barbie said, something will come along and change your mood! (I'm so late commenting that it probably already has :D )

Jen said...

LOL, first thing I see is come in and see Willow's Mondegreen. I resemble that song.

Just catching up the weekend, RC. I've left jobs that were killing me. But I also wasn't getting much out of them. You know it's a balance. Would you miss the adrenaline rush? Would you be happy working as a school nurse, putting bandaids on boo-boos and doling out ritalin?

I agree with Laurie.