Tuesday, November 4, 2008

work, work, politics



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.

21 comments:

Altaglow said...

YES. IT DOES COOKIE!!! AND, HOPEFULLY ALL THE WORK WE'VE DONE WILL SHOW RESULTS TOMORROW!! EVERYONE VOTE--PLEASE VOTE--AND WHEN THE VOTES ARE COUNTED CORRECTLY THEN WE CAN BE PROUD TO SAY THAT WE STILL LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY!

Altaglow said...

Oh, I forgot...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3ijYVyhnn0

paste this in and enjoy....

Sandy said...

At least you didn't threaten to move to Canada like most other people I've heard and/or read. Abroad, eh? Should be nice...lol.

The Boisterous Butterfly-by said...

The whole world is holding its breath. It´s as exciting for us as it is for you, but much to our frustration, we can´t vote and as western Europeans, we sure would like to.

Maggie May said...

Well......... we will soon find out!
Was quite touched by the account of the suicidal lady telling you that you had no idea what it was like to hear..... Etc.

Anonymous said...

the whole world is paying attention to this election. i think we all feel almost as strongly about it as you do. we'd love to be in the position to vote in your elections. enjoy voting! and thanks for voting! I hear the queues are really long, so bring some water and a snack.

Potty Mummy said...

Good for you for saying it loud and proud, and having the courage of your convictions.

As for feeling ashamed of what happened in trauma? Don't. You wouldn't be human if you didn't get a buzz from what you do - even when it's not working out for the best. And you never know, you may have saved some poor unfortunate in the future because one of the med students will know what they have to do when they are faced with a similar situation where they CAN make a difference.

BTW - I loved the vid!

lv4921391 said...

Freedom isn't free. Growing up in a small western town, we had 3 options to avoid the draft. Get married, go to college or join the service. Did our mothers and fathers enjoy signing our papers when we were 17? NO, but they did. (WWII and Korean war, being fresh in their minds)

Much as been written about 9/11/01.
Currently, I'm reading Oriana Fallaci's "The Rage and The Pride".
I'd make this required reading to graduate high school.

My son is a member of the "Long Grey Line" (USMA, West Point) and the 4921391 is my U.S. Navy serial number. The servicemen and women allow citizens to enjoy a comfy lifestyle without being inconvienced by "serving".

Faye said...

I appreciate your line about the need you feel to "ration passion", RC. It's certainly possible to care intensely about politics and who will lead our country for the next four years while not wanting to force feed your views to friends and family. My very closest friends hold views that are the exact opposite of mine. Sometimes I wish I saw the world as black and white as they. Unfortunately, my world is more grey. That's why at 9:45 a.m. this morning I'm still reading political writers whose opinions I value and trying to decide how I will vote in an hour or so. . .

Amy said...

I like your "ration passion." I'm stealing that.

I also like that you think about issues and can identify with many sides of an argument. That's good. That's what makes our republic strong. When people get stuck on one side of an issue and refuse to listen or think or debate, even with themselves, we have a problem. And I think that's what's been happening for the past 25, 30 years.

We need more people like you, not more people who make up their minds and don't want to be confused by the facts, who see things as black or white, when we live in a rainbow world.

I sincerely hope to be whispering "President Obama" by the time I go to bed tonight.

Anonymous said...

On this one I just have to disagree with you, I am almost afraid to go to bed tonight to wake up to the worst nightmare this country could have! You have to have faith and confidence in someone to vote them into the highest office in the country. I vote with the people who are out of this country fighting to keep us free and to live like we would like to live.

aims said...

If I could vote - Obama would be my man.

Living across that thin little line from your country makes us very nervous. Especially today.

May the best man win...ya! President Obama!

-Ann said...

I'm also so nervous on this one. I can't believe the polls. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, for whatever horrible thing is going to happen to perpetuate this governmental nightmare we've been living in the last eight years.

My absentee ballot is in (in Ohio, no less) and I'm hoping for the best.

Autumn said...

I am just like you when it comes to my political opinions. I have very passionate views but don't share them with just anyone because debate is not one of my favorite things.
And I agree President Obama sounds wonderful.

Daryl said...

YES! I am so with you on all of this .. but I wonder if it really is a Gemini thing, because, I am an Aquarius and I always always always see the other side .. dont always agree but I do see it .. that is til this campaign .. then I couldnt and cant see the other side at all .. too nasty.. too outright blatent lying...

President Obama! YES we can and we will .. change is here!

:-Daryl stepping off the soapbox and backing quietly away from the comment box

Akelamalu said...

I can understand your fear for your son - what better reason to vote for someone who holds the same views as you. x

Kaycie said...

I cast my vote this morning even though my state will almost certainly not go for my guy. And yours almost certainly won't go for your guy. But it felt great to complete that little arrow next to Obama's name anyway.

Iota said...

Hey, "not wrong, just different". You're like me!

At college, a group of friends had a joke about me, claiming I had a great But. I always saw two sides of any argument. I would saying "I think x... BUT on the other hand, y". I was famous for my great but. (It was great as in big, not great as in.... oh never mind - I don't want to be overly defensive here.)

It still bemuses me how anyone could vote for McCain.

Devon said...

Yea RC! I am nervous that Obama will somehow not win, it is just too good to be true! I am the only person in my family, entire family, to vote for him. However, all my friends are voting for him. So what is that saying, 'your friends are the family that you get to choose.'

I have been thinking a lot about the whole 'shame' situation. I can recall some tragic moments where humor got me through. There is a difference between hoping for and enjoying the suffering of others, or just getting into excitement of trying to save a life. A code going on too long is like someone donating their body to science. This may sound cold, I guess anytime the body is used as a learning tool it can seem cold. But, if the intentions are good....

Sorry to go on and on... long live President Obama!

CrazyCath said...

Fantastic post. Honest as usual.

You don't need to be ashamed! For the umpteenth time aren't you (we - nurses) human? Don't we have to be dehumanised to do what has to be done? Then we have to put the human skin back on to be what we have to be. No - no shame on you at all. You are good at your job. If (God forbid) I had to bring my loved one in to an ER I am telling you - I would want you on duty. Seriously.

As for your voting - we sit across the Pond here with bated breath...

Tiggerlane said...

Reading this post, I am in agreement with you that there really isn't a man worth dying for (unless it is a son, like you said). I never have been able to understand those who choose suicide...I figure there is a mental trauma going on that I can't fathom.

President Obama - I am SO lovin' it!