My plan all along has been to write something special for Election Day. I'm well aware that I never followed up on my threat to wade into the political fray, and figured that this would certainly be the day for it.
But I've also just come off a twelve hour shift that has kicked my ass from here to Washington, D.C. and am feeling an overwhelming need to write about that, too.
And, in coming home and reading comments from today's post, I guess I didn't really make myself clear, so there's that topic that should be covered as well.
Man. I'm tired and I haven't even started.
Let's work backwards.
My shame from today's post is, I guess, hard to describe. It was the fact that I was bored and looking at a code as a kind of faux entertainment. It was the glee in the student's eyes at getting to be in on it and knowing that every single one of us in that room - doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists - all feel that initial kick start of adrenaline as "oh, my god, I would rather be here than anywhere else in the world". Because, really, isn't that just the tiniest bit sick? It was my impatience with the doctor who I thought should have called it long before he did. It was so many things all rolled into one. Most people who work take pride in what they do. But sometimes I feel that it's a little twisted to take pride in what I do. Because what I do can be awful. How can you be proud of that?
Today I was the trauma room nurse. And I had an attempted suicide come in -a woman who had overdosed because her husband had told her he didn't love her anymore and didn't want to be married to her. She fought and kicked and screamed as we put the tube into her stomach to pour the charcoal into, until suddenly she just stopped and laid limp. My eyes shot to the monitor, fearful that something really bad was going on. She looked at me for a long time, and then sadly said, "It's easy for you. You don't know what it's like to hear someone say those things to you."
And I, who holds it together at work no matter what, walked out to the desk and cried in front of both the day and night charge nurse. (It was shift change, thank god, which meant I was ten minutes away from leaving). Now we all know how I feel about this whole female suicide thing, but it wasn't just that. It was the idea that someone could actually think that suicide is a solution. That someone with children could actually contemplate this as a viable option. Because unless I've been with the wrong men all my life, I just don't see it. At all.
This brings us neatly to election day, this concept of wrong men. Okay, here's my political agenda in a nutshell. I have very strong ideas, and, like most people, I vote the issues that matter to me the most. I'm not particularly bright in a political sense, a trait that I fear drives my very astute mother to distraction. My mom, my eldest, my ex...all very up to date and aware. Me...not so much. It's not that I don't care. I do. I just don't follow it passionately. I find that you have to ration passion, and there are other things in my life lately that suck up a lot of my energy.
I also have a lot of trouble with the whole process. I'm not really big on shoving my ideas down other people's throats, even when I'm sure I'm right. I certainly don't like being the shoveee, when people want to foist their ideas off on me. Then there's that whole Gemini thing, which can really foul things up. Because on virtually any point I can see where the opposing side is coming from . I may not agree, but I can see their logic. Usually. Not always. But on the big things I can. All the loaded "hot topics"? I have very firm opinions, but I understand the other side's perspective, and this can be really tricky.
Then there's the conflict issue. I don't like it. Some people love to argue and debate - I'm not one of them. There are people I genuinely like - and even love - who have political views that are diametrically opposed to mine, but I like - and even love - them anyway. I don't even think of them as being "wrong". I just look at it as "different". A lot of people I deal with on a daily basis are voting against my guy, and seem to be in genuine pain at the thought that their guy might not win. I'm sorry for their pain, I'm certainly not going to get into it with them...but I still think my guy is the better choice.
And as we go into the final day of Election 2008, as my fear and paranoia reach a fever pitch, all we can do now is wait. And vote. I care more about this election than I have any election in my life. I have a sixteen year old son whom I don't want to send to war. A war I don't believe we should be involved in to start with. There is finally a candidate who I can feel fired up and optimistic about. For the last several weeks I've been afraid to even say it out loud, and I still am. I'm so terribly scared that it could all fall through in the blink of an eye, no matter what the damned polls say. It is still very much anyone's game.
But damn. Doesn't President Obama have a great ring to it?
And if not...I'll rename the blog. Confessions of a Rotten Correspondent:Abroad.