50 year old male dies in the emergency room just 90 minutes before I arrived for my shift… I’m a simple admissions representative, not a doctor or a nurse. All I know is how to read an insurance card, and what information to gather. People come to my desk expecting a vast well of medical knowledge… when I ask, “Accident or illness?” I get life stories. I get medical history dating back to the 50’s and their childhood asthma. I nod and pretend I’m typing it all down, to give the illusion of experience and wisdom… maybe they find that comforting.
In reality though, I’m a college musician with no desire to work in the medical field. This is a part-time job paying the big bucks at 7.50 an hour, over 8 hour shifts of sitting at a desk. (Without internet access, I might add… this is a travesty.) Some times I feel like I deserve to be paid more. Who doesn’t, really, but I get death threats. I see gang members coming in to try and finish the job. I get insults and yelling fits and crying fits and vomit and blood and viscera at my desk.
Take that all in stride with a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer and be sure to replace your pens every half hour.
When I started here, I got shingles. Shingles for Christ’s sake. For those of you who don’t know what Shingles are, it’s Chicken Pox, the sequel. Herpes Zostra is the medical term for it. Big outbreaks of the most awful sores, which, at the peak of the virus, open and bleed and are so damn painful. Makes wearing clothes an arduous task.
Did I mention a man died today, at just 50 years old, not more than 20 yards behind me?
But here I am, focusing on me.
That’s the desensitization I’m talking about. People, relatively young, die here every day. Minors with drug overdoses, gunshot wounds, people that trip and hit their head outside of church, alcohol poisoning. Death, all around me. Death and dying. I guess they are outside of my Monkeysphere, or something, cause I haven’t given any of them a second thought. Other than to shock my friends with my depressing job.
So, stay cold, mocha Frappuccino. I need my caffeine fix this early in the morning. Keeps me awake to observe the beginning of the end.
Note to my supervisor: Give me a raise. I think I earn it.