Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What will be one of the best days of my life...

Tomorrow, I'm going to sell back my Calculus book and no amount of money will be enough to compensate for the misery and sleeplessness that terrible book has brought me. No more math classes.


I' happy that I could cry.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sweet dreams

Just dozed off for a bit whilst revising for my finals and had a lovely little dream. It was a Saturday morning and I was lounging around on the couch reading. A small child, my child...a boy, maybe 6 years old, with a mild case of bedhead (obviously does not take after his father) and footed pajamas...came running up to me. "Daddy, daddy! Can we play golf today? Can we!?"

I grinned.

"Yeah! That sounds like fun! Let's get some breakfast and see if mama wants to go, too."

My son ran before me into the kitchen. I was ecstatic and thankful.

I woke up and was disappointed to be faced with reality. No child, no wife...not even any prospects for the latter. Feeling a bit lonely. Longing for the day that my dream is reality.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jag har sagt det förr...

och jag säger det igen... gifta han inte.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dr. Grupy-style encounter

As part of my service as a chairman-of-the-board type, I regularly send updates on proceedings and try to gather info from my members via email. I sent an email last week asking what everyone's summer schedule looks like to judge whether or not we need to change our meeting days and times. 

One of my committee members, Ms. Clueless, rang me up this morning.

Ms. Clueless: Hi, Josiah! I've forgotten when our next meeting is going to take place. Is it next week?

Me: ...I don't know yet. No one has responded to the email I sent last week asking about their availability. (Including you...)

Ms. Clueless: Oh, okay! See you whenever, then! *click*


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Strange days have found us

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

Another really cute nurse was added to the growing list today. She approached me and we had a great series of conversations throughout the day. Her name, however, is not one that I've ever been too terribly keen on. In fact, it draws to mind 1980s hairspray hair, gum-smacking, and loop earrings so large I could put both of my fists through with room to spare. An unattractive mental image. She was cute enough, though, that I didn't think much about it. Besides, she can't help the name her parents pinned on her.

It was a strange day. Quite slow, lots of discharges. When I went round to each room to have a bit of a chat with the patients and fill any requests that they may have, I found that everyone was asleep, with a room full of visitors, or with their door shut. I didn't feel that I should go barging without a good reason besides friendly banter.

Later, one of the patients called and when I answered, he asked if I could hear him. I answered in the affirmative and asked what he sought. No answer. Hello? Hello? Hellllooo? I hung up and went briskly to his room, thankful for the opportunity to do something productive with patient interaction.

He just wanted to know when the doctor would be in to speak with him. I told him that I didn't know, but that I'd ask his nurse and get back to him. As the words were leaving my lips, I noticed his peculiarity...not what put him on this floor, but probably occurring simultaneously with the injury that did. I felt my eyes go wide. Stop it. STOP IT. I resumed eye contact, but I wanted out of there in a hurry. I felt awful that he'd suffered so, especially since every yokel he comes across upon discharge is going to stare mercilessly. I felt awful that I was briefly one of those yokels. I've always prided myself in being highly sensitive to the feelings of others, especially in situations when other folks would just gawk, moths agape. I've seen my fair share of terrible injuries on television and online. I even have been known to eat lunch or dinner while watching surgery videos, so something so tame in comparison shouldn't have been worth a second glance. Sort of disappointing, that was, but I suppose it's only natural. As time goes by, I'm sure I'll be less affected.

During my break, two nurses were sitting across the room in the cafeteria. I smiled at them, but got nothing in return. They looked back to each other and kept talking. Ooh. Par for the course today, I'm afraid.

Not long after resuming position at my desk, the call bell went off. It was the patient who spoke very little English, only some dialect of Chinese, and surprisingly had no family or friends. He said nothing on the phone. I entered his room and spoke slowly without being patronising. He was not understanding that I was asking what he needed. I asked if he wanted a nurse. Blank, frightened look. "Maybe later.", what do you want? I asked if it was his bed or pillow which needed adjusting, or if he wanted the rolling tray pulled closer. I pointed to each item as I asked about them. "No," to each. Silence. Blank, frightened look. I began to feel frustrated, but certainly not at him. I want to help, but don't know how! He was holding the remote with the call button, tv button, etc. and kept looking at it. Finally, it came out that he wanted to watch television. I showed him how to turn it on, change channels, and adjust the volume. That was all he wanted. He looked sheepish and thanked me. It must be very hard for him to be hospitalised and not be able to meaningfully communicate with anybody. I kept thinking about that blank, frightened look. It was like some sort of primal fear that a wild animal might exhibit. No family. No friends.

Not half an hour had passed and a white coat enters the room...and plops down right next to me at the desk. Ohmyohmyohmy. Doctors don't stick around long during my shift. They probably sense that I am pre-med and want to avoid my thirty trillion questions and requests to shadow. Don't blame them...sometimes. He was around for nearly 40 minutes. My hands were shaking, as if it were someone I've long admired. When calls from other departments came in, I bumbled around like a fool...uncertainty and a lack of confidence had set in. I tried to talk myself out of it. These people don't know just how little confidence you have. You're an actor in a film; be what the scene calls for. No one will be the wiser. It worked. Soon, I was joking with the charge nurse and handling calls confidently...but I couldn't muster the courage to say anything to the doctor. Part of that was not wanting to bother him.

The doctor was looking at MRI images. Somebody had something bad going on. Tumor.

Another doctor came in and I got to listen to a bit of the conversation about risks and benefits of surgery. They ultimately decided that the best course of action would be to try to cut the beast out.

They turned to me, asking whether or not I knew if the patient's family were translate.

Oh, my. It was Mr. Blankenfrightened.

Someone actually happened to be around, a nurse on another floor, who spoke the patient's dialect. After a 5-minute discussion, everyone exited and the doctor sat down beside again and began dictating. The patient wanted to proceed with surgery.

Good for him, I thought. I began hoping that the surgery would be a success and there'd be no lasting effects from the invasion (and removal) of that awful mass.

I carried on, having a good time joking with the charge nurse. Very funny, very, very dry and morbid sense of humour. It was brilliant. Everything about him was slow and calculated and he always appeared to be on the verge of a smile. He was a reassuring presence, and I do hope that in the future, my attendings are all like him.

Not going to happen, but it's nice to dream.

As my shift winded down, I couldn't shake the feeling of strangeness that had been cast over the entire day. I was glad to clock out and be on my way home.

After dinner, I was still feeling a bit off and had a fair amount of pent-up energy I wanted to rid myself of before resuming my studies. Ah, let's take it on out to the driving range. I'm happy to report that the funk that I'd been in is getting further and further away in the review mirror. I even had an enourmous drive of nearly 270 yards...that's about 40-50 yards more than usual! That was just a one-time deal, you understand. It was a nice surprise.

Upon returning home, three hours somehow passed without an ounce of studying taking place. I can't, for whatever reason, particularly account for them. I was watching a bit of golf and had some physio slides pulled up, but I guess the distractions of the Internet got the better of me. I dozed off at one point...and woke up about 1 a.m. I stumbled into the bathroom and performed my nightly routine. By the time it was over, I was wide awake.

I crawled into bed, passively wishing that I was joining someone, and didn't feel a bit like sleeping. I've been absolutely devouring a book lately, so I picked that up to read a couple of chapters. The book, Something for the Pain: Compassion & Burnout in the ER by Paul Austin, had me hooked in the first couple of pages. It was nice to read the words of a man who made it through medical school talking about his pre-med experience and to find that there are overwhelming similarities. I found his personality to be a lot like mine, as well, which was all the more engaging. I'm nearly through with the book. I started it Monday and have been reading as much as I can when I can.

Later in the book, he treats the broken leg of a woman with Down Syndrome. As he described her howling in pain, the mental image of the woman became the image of Mr. Blakenfrightened. He wasn't screaming and didn't seem to be in any sort of pain, but the barrier to being particularly helpful seemed similar...obviously it isn't, but let's just go with it.

I started feeling a little guilty for, of all things, not speaking the man's dialect. This is irrational. There is nothing you could've done about that! I began thinking about him, all alone, in a big city hospital with a tumor about the size of a ping pong ball in his head, and it started eating at me. My mind began searching desperately for ways that I could've had a positive impact on his stay, even if it meant walking into his room and just smiling and waving. With each possibility, I asked myself why I didn't think of it then. That poor man doesn't have anyone to console him. No one in which to confide his fears about his future health. I thought about how I'd feel in that situation, and a creeping, chilling panic swept up my spine.

Maybe there are some things I could've done. Maybe not. Maybe my patient presence as we worked out that he wanted to television on was enough. I smiled a lot. He was smiling when I left. Maybe that's all anyone could've done.

I passed out last night while writing this entry. Looking back on it now, it seems a bit melodramatic and I'm almost embarrassed to have written some of it. It was such a weird day, all the way around. I'm happy that it's over, but not happy about the mountain of work before me today. Three exams this week. Three finals next week.

Cabinet full of coffee? Check.

We're cleared for take-off.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Friday, April 16, 2010

A thought, just now

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

I think that I should someday like to have a small, yet diverse, library in my home. To own several old books with relatively drab and unassuming covers, but with a wealth of entertainment and that comforting smell of aged paper contained within, would be delightful.

My children, should I ever marry and produce some, will most certainly be read Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. I would hope that it would inspire some of the same awe and wonder that I experienced, and most importantly, the desire to understand more than superficially many of these phenomena.

At the present moment, I think being a father would suit me just fine.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

An interruption of my regularly scheduled programming

Hahaha, wouldn't you know it that my usual Friday afternoon study spot is as jumpin' as I've ever seen it. There are six individuals, engaged in three different conversations, and they, like my flatmates, are trying to outyell each other.

Oh, here comes a pack of five more...three giggling girls wearing sorority shirts, and two guys (one with his ballcap tilted severely off to the side). These folks are a long way from the business building. Hmm.

I've forgotten my headphones, you see, or else this wouldn't be too big of a problem. Furthermore, I have a quiz for which I'm just now able to begin revising.

It seems as though I can't get away from excessive noise to save my life. I should give this up and be a monk, taking a vow of silence... mash up grapes and make wine all day... hmmmm.

Aha, just as quickly as they all appeared, they've scattered! Now, back to interlobular arteries and proximal convoluted tubules...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Easily amused

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

I just sat here on my bed with one hand over my heart and the other on my dorsalis pedis artery and marveled for a few minutes. First I felt the thump of my heart followed almost immediately after by the pulsation in my artery.

It's groovy to be alive, as some may be wont to say.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Aggravations associated with being a chairman of the board-type... grumble grumble.
I thought that people from this particular population would be free from flakiness and irresponsibility... grumble grumble.

Going to the driving range tonight, that's for sure!

Happy posts to come, especially once finals are over. Feeling the stress. Would like to just be done with my current university, done with med school, done with residency, and just seeing patients full-time.

...although, I KNOW that all of my patients (ALL OF THEM) will be the same type who are aggravating me now.

Knowing this, I still want to put myself through all of the craziness to get there.

Perhaps I'm crazier than once thought.


Monday, April 12, 2010

All bro-ed out

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

On my journey home from campus today, a rather obnoxious frat boy was chattering away on his phone. From this, I learned that he finds it funny to pick fights with bouncers in clubs (and even funnier to get kicked out for it), he can get 10 girls to go to some social with him if he really wanted to, and that he really wants to fornicate with some poor girl in one of his classes...without his girlfriend's knowledge...because she's only giving it up a few times a week, but he's a MAN, BRO, and needs it, like, every day. At least once.

I whipped out my phone and attempted to record the conversation, but I just picked up a lot of road noise and air conditioner noises. Oh well. Anyway, I was happy knowing that I'd not hear "bro" again for the remainder of the day.

That is, until Party Boy I brought his frat boy friend over. Yessssss. Bro this, bro that, and bro the other. Bro, bro, bro.

At least his collar is resting as it should.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Good Life

Another satisfying day in the hospital. Sounds a bit strange, doesn't it?

Things started off slowly. Tall & Gorgeous Nurse was working, but said not one word to me all day...didn't even return a smile. Perhaps she was having a rough time of it. Perhaps she knows I'm interested, finds the prospect appalling, and has shut down to shut me out. It most certainly would not be the first time. heh.

There was, however, another batch of lovely young women with whom I had the pleasure of working and I took a liking to one in particular. She's rather tall, as well. I've never met so many tall women in one place in my life. It's almost as if I've hit the jackpot.

Over the stretch of about 45 minutes, just about every patient decided they'd ring me up...and say nothing. Some of them would yank the cord from the wall, as well, which set off an extraordinarily annoying and persistent bell. This sent me into a right state of panic, especially when none of the nurses were anywhere to be seen. Luck was on my side, however, because each and every time was an accident. Whew. I was, however, on edge for the rest of the day. As I headed back to the work I was doing during the last alarming episode, I got a slight hint of what Maha was thinking when she titled her blog Call Bells Make Me Nervous, and it actually made me smile. A lot. Grinning, even.

I visited each patient a bit later in the afternoon and my first stop was with a lovely elderly couple. We had a lengthy conversation which was enjoyable to the last word. I found it quite difficult to leave, especially as I made observations about the patient's physical appearance and their meaningful participation in our conversation. Something was amiss; there was sort of a "lost at sea" look on the face at times and during those spells, there was a bit of inappropriate excitement in speech. It was actually quite endearing, as if the patient just happened to be a person bursting with passion and lust for life.

Almost everyone else I called upon did not seem too terribly concerned with whether I stayed or went. Some were watching The Masters which provided some light and pleasant conversation, except when it came to Mr. Woods. The husband of one patient, after I expressed my disappointment in the scandal, seemed to become a bit agitated and kept mentioning that he's a brilliant golfer. You can bet that conversation went far from golf just as soon as I could steer it away... and I removed myself almost as quickly. Yikes.

Yet another senile old lady told me I'm cute. Twice. Then she told me her life story. She had no visitors all day long and I felt quite bad about that, so I listened patiently and stayed actively engaged in the conversation. Everything she said was pretty ordinary, until she began to touch on some rather unique life experiences. There was nothing too terribly scandalous, but things got a bit more fantastic as she went on. I couldn't decide if she was just doing her best to talk and talk so that she could keep me there, or if she was having a spell. Still don't know for sure, but being called cute two weeks in a row has done a little for my confidence, even though the women paying the compliment are 50 years my senior. Why don't any women my age tell me these things?!

I got to do some chart assembly, which was a breeze due to a job I had years ago. It brought back some sweet, and some sour, memories of that job...spent a lot of time analysing some of the good and a lot of the bad I had with Old Flame. Wouldn't you know that she rang me up when I was on my way home? We'd not spoken in a while...maybe a week or two, which is really odd for us.

It was off to the driving range with me before I went home, and I'm sad to report that I still am not playing my best. The reasons why escape me. I had a much easier time of relaxing and clearing my mind and I felt good when it was all over, despite some terrible, terrible shots. Something felt funny after one of my last drives. There was good contact, great sound, but I felt my club shake halfway through my follow-through...and then it felt as though I was not holding much of a club at all. I looked and MY CLUBHEAD WAS GONE! Immediate sadness filled up within. That was my favourite club...first I ever owned, first I ever used. Me and that driver are soul mates. I couldn't find the clubhead anywhere. The girl in the shop said it happens all the time and had me describe it so, when it's found, they can hang onto it for me.

I hope it isn't too expensive to have it reattached!

Ah, watching "Good Neighbours" and I find Felicity Kendal highly attractive. mmmhmmmm.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A remote control to change your situation

Wouldn't it be lovely if there existed a remote control capable of muting others (including the noises they cause)? Yes, I suspect it would be quite lovely.

I don't reckon that I'd use it on too many folks, but you can rest assured that my flatmates would be on permanent mute. How can people stand so much noise?

Currently, Party Boy I and The Pompous One are in the living room with some war-time video game on full blast. Explosions, incessant gun fire, yelling...I've been living in a warzone since August. Can't say as though I'm all that happy about it.

A lot of my problems could be solved with such a simple device. Perhaps a few swift punches to the noses of these animals might do the trick...

Now, now, Josiah.

P.S. In search of some sort of high point today, I went to the driving range. Didn't find what I was looking for at all. Every last shot was worthless...most aggravating time of it I've ever had.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The first day

My dearest Nora, wherever thoust may roam,

Today marked my first day working in Big City Hospital and surprisingly, I didn't start freaking out until I got in the elevator to go to my floor. Even then, I wasn't too nervous, but I sure got that way when I rounded the corner at the nurses' station and saw her sitting there.

Who did I see but the tall and lovely nurse I saw during my orientation! My knees were knocking, teeth chattering, and my hands went cold and clammy. Oh, so rare are women like her that I feel a selfish cretin for even thinking that she might one day be mine...and, equally, I hers.

Not once, twice, nor thrice, but four times did I examine her delicate hand for any sign of a ring.


Good news, but perhaps she's involved. I reckon time shall provide that answer.

There weren't any particularly good openings with which I was able to speak to her, save for a brief encounter in a supply closet. My query to her was a bit of a silly one, but I wanted to make sure that I'd grabbed the correct item...after she confirmed it, I made a slightly humourous comment which elicited a bit of laughter.

I made her, and several other nurses, giggle when I had to call them to let them know of a patient's need. Yes, I spent some of the time covering the phones. Not an ideal place to fact, quite intimidating, even with my history of phone operation in previous employment. I didn't say anything particularly amusing, so I couldn't pinpoint what was causing such a reaction. A thought came later when one of the doctors, a very friendly lady in her mid-40s, commented on my "soothing" and (some other attractive and blush-inducing adjective) voice. Hmm! The laughter was probably just a, "Hehe, listen to the new guy," kind of thing but I found myself getting used to the idea that they might find my voice (and perhaps more!) attractive.

...hey, an senile elderly lady thought I was hot stuff, so you never know!

Ahem, but there's no telling what the old lady thought she was seeing. That was probably the 2nd place highlight of the day (the 1st being walking through the front doors, hopping in the elevator, rounding that corner and seeing Ms. Legs). Boy, though, that old lady sure took a liking to me. I played into it a bit and went to visit her once or twice throughout the day. It made her smile, which made me smile, and I felt like I was doing something worthwhile.

I left with that feeling after clocking out, as well. Finally, fulfillment and satisfaction after a day's work.

What could make the day better, besides Ms. Legs whispering lustfully into my ear about all sorts of unmentionable acts, than going to the driving range? Today marked the third day in a row, and the fourth time this week, that I went. I began to get very excited when, on Tuesday, I hit yet another distance record...and it all came so effortlessly. It was just dropped right into my lap, to be honest, and my God have I never felt something so natural. A beautiful arc, each and every time, whether I slice it or not...haha. It's going places.

So now, with Golf Channel in the background showing highlight reels from previous Masters tournaments (Ernie Els should take it this year!), Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" on repeat, and some coffee ice cream just slightly beginning to melt (perfect!), I've got my feet propped up and the family dogs curled up beside. It's good to be home again.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Letters on the run

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

The time allotted to pen this letter is brief. I've been incarcerated.

...only kidding. To tell the truth (or "troof," if you prefer), the demands placed on me by my courses at university have not so much as spared more than an hour or two daily of free time. Ordinarily, I'd be accepting and joyful about the break, but that time is not available to spend on myself, being the head of a committee that is trying to get something accomplished.

This committee I speak of is made up of my peers and I quite like all of them. Most of them are hard-working and excited about what we're doing. One has obviously become completely uninterested and tries to drag everyone down by making comments like, "Wouldn't it be easier if we dropped X and did Y instead?"

Another problem, again mostly by Mr. Disinterested, is agreeing to be places and do things at certain times...and then not showing up. Especially aggravating when that person was in charge of procuring important items. Not answering phone calls until half an hour before the event is over is a nice touch.

Some (most) of the folks, two or three in particular, sort of frighten me with their inability to read and follow directions. You say you want to be a physician but you can't follow through with signing your name here or some other similar, minor task? The worst offender rang me up in a real state of frantic concern the other morning. "Josiah, good morning. X is super cool, but it starts SO EARLY! We'll be wasting our time for at least 2 hours, so I think we should start it later."

I expressed my appreciation for her concern, but informed her that the start time is actually, funnily enough, 2 hours later than when she thought (for whatever reason) it was.

"Ooooooooooh, really? Okay, well, yeah. Much better."


Learn to r e a d !

Overall, though, it's a great time and is very successful so far. Apologies for being skimpy on the details, but we've been sworn to secrecy by the government.

Okay, okay, it's just that the likelihood of some of them crossing paths with this letter is strong enough to make me cautious.

Goodbye for now, my dear, and I hope that all is well. Until we meet again, au revoir, etc.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris