Late post! God, I hate working a huge raft of shifts in a row. Out of the last ten days I’ve worked eight, and tomorrow I go back for two more. You know what’s great? Having more than one day off in a row.
I came back the next morning and discovered that the supply-room coffee was even worse than usual, with a bitter, rancid edge that made it damn near undrinkable even with a carton of milk stirred into it, a petty-theft latte for the desperate. I coughed down a few gulps and rinsed my mouth in the sink, promising myself Starbucks as soon as I could get break coverage.
I don’t usually blow cash on Starbucks. I live a block from an independent coffeeshop that makes lattes to wake the dead, the kind of perfect espresso miracle that makes you sigh with relief every time you take a sip. It’s hard to get excited about the over-roasted stuff you get at the white-people-with-yoga-mats chain. God, I’m such a fucking snotty hipster these days I piss myself off.
(A week or two ago my husband and I dug an old, perfectly functional turntable out of the trash, bought a cheap pre-amp from an audiophile wizard of our acquaintance, and rifled a local yard sale for a few albums—ELO’s ‘Out of the Blue’, Tubular Bells, Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’, and some Fleetwood Mac or other. We have been offending the neighbors ever since. This is probably a huge improvement over our usual evening soundtrack of Star Trek reruns, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Conan the Barbarian. The point is, we are now the worst kind of dad-flavored hipsters and should be euthanized for the good of society.)
But I can be as hipster as I want on my own time. When I’m working, I am 100% down for peppermint disks from the crystal dish in the conference room, PB&J in a paper cup with saltines, and the hospital cafeteria’s Clam Chowder Fridays. I have dumpster tastes and raccoon appetites and I belong out back of the Waffle House instead of in a high-tech facility for healing. Starbucks is outright classy compared to my workin’ self.
So it was quite a blow to realize that I was getting a pt who’d just landed fifteen minutes ago after having been airlifted from a smaller, rural hospital. Landing a critically ill pt—too sick to be managed by the local teams—meant I would be glued to the bedside, monitoring and giving meds and managing drips and performing all the little tasks that are so hard to adequately describe because they’re so boring. No time to go get Starbucks.
But if you can’t get coffee, adrenaline will do. I nabbed my stethoscope from my locker and headed down the hall with my pulse already picking up, seeing the cluster of transport techs and docs and nurses and other beasts swarming around my pt’s room.