The Raw Vegan: Part CXXII, Travel and Travail

DD and merm had arrived at their destination and were getting established in their new roles as interns. They traveled to and from Connecticut by train and got around New York City by bus and subway. Someone took them on a tour of the area including the still smoldering ruins of Ground Zero. DD told me that the stench was horrible. They were there briefly but the cleanup crews had to stay and cope with it.

Meanwhile, I was doing a bit of traveling, myself. The manager of Patient Access would summon me to the Mother Ship for frequent meetings with the other supervisors. She was a very slim, trim, stylish woman with a penchant for yelling if something wasn’t going her way. It didn’t make for a pleasant atmosphere and the things that made her unhappy weren’t within our power to change. I remember her telling us once that if our departments did something wrong, it all came back on HER. We were supposed to be perfect.

One of the supervisors was assigned to our little hospital to be a guardian angel and, to this day, if there’s something I need to know, she is my “go to” person. Every weekday, she would make the 60 mile round trip. It had to be exhausting.

Many other people came and went. Another of the supervisors brought us two huge binders full of LMRPs (Local Medical Review Policies) that replaced the scrubber that was part of our beloved and grieved former system. When someone came in for a lab test, we were supposed to look through the LMRPs and find the one that pertained and make sure the diagnosis justified the test. It was a tedious process. We became familiar enough with the routine tests that the manuals stayed on the shelf more often than not. Now and then, another person who remained faceless would email me new versions to print off. It reminded me of the long gone days when I would update DH’s flight manuals.

Between working at the hospital and working at the office where the other business was supposed to be winding up, I felt like I was meeting myself coming back. I was getting little to no exercise and my weight started inching up more and more.

I was running on nervous energy and caffeine. I knew the caffeine wasn’t really helping me any. My mother used to remark that drinking coffee was like whipping a tired horse. I tried to rationalize that my tea drinking wasn’t quite the same. The days I was working at the hospital, I would go to the cafeteria and get a couple of cups of tea, then take it back to the office where I would nuke it in the microwave and add honey and milk. When I was working at the “windup” office, I’d have to take my own tea with the rest of the fixins’. Then came the day when I forgot it.

My conscience had been bothering me because I could recall quotes from a prominent writer like, “The money expended for tea and coffee is worse than wasted.” “Tea and coffee do not nourish the system.” “Tired nerves need rest and quiet instead of stimulation and overwork.” When I realized I didn’t have my “fix” with me, I prayed and told the Lord that if He would get me through the day without caffeine, I would quit drinking caffeinated drinks.

The wife of the boss invited me to go to lunch with her. We chose my favorite restaurant—a little Italian eatery that had a nice selection of soft drinks. I was almost ready to stretch out on the chairs and take a nap and the thought of a cola was tempting. I’d made a promise, though, and I was determined to keep it. Rather than something that would “pick me up”, I chose a raspberry spritzer to go along with my calzone.

I made it through the rest of the day without falling asleep and dragged my droopy self home. The light was flashing on my answering machine. Now what? I figured there was something going on at the hospital as I pushed the play button. There was a message from DS2. He said my DIL had gone into labor a month early and, this time, the doctors chose not to stop it but took her straight into surgery. They had tried to page me but the pager didn’t pick up the signal. I was crushed.

Immediately, I called and was put through to the room. Of course, my DIL was in no shape to talk but DS2 told me what had happened. After the C-section, the baby herself was taken into surgery so the omphalocele could be repaired. Mother and baby were doing as well as could be expected. They weren’t together because baby had been taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit—NICU. The little one was on a ventilator because her lungs were being crowded by the intestines and liver that had been put inside her belly for the first time.

It was too late, by then, for me to go to see them so I promised to be there the next day. Thankfully, I wasn’t wired from caffeine and was naturally sleepy because of the lack. “All things” were working together and I went to bed.

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