Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bed Reservations

I was doing well in my night classes, I hadn't had any major car repairs in several years, my son was doing extremely well in school, I enjoyed my job, I had made a nice group of friends in the single again world, and I was dating a nice man. I should have known! The minute you relax and think 'now this is nice" life takes it's turns and twists and things change. One indisputable thing about life; nothing ever stays the same. Change is inevitable. Or in other words 'Shit Always Happens'.

The school nurse sent my son home with a note that said that he had lost all the hearing in his right ear. The Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist said that he had fluid behind his ear drum, but he also had swollen tonsils. This was the beginning of the era of the new thought on tonsils. They didn't remove tonsils as quickly as they once did, so my son and I had to suffer through months of differing medications, sore throats, loss of hearing, and missed school. His body didn't respond to any of the medications. It was finally decided that he was one of the few children that really did need his tonsils removed and a tube put in his ear. I was given a long lecture, by the surgeon, that because he was an only child being raised by a single mother, my son would probably be an extra wimpy cry baby after the surgery. This he man of a kid that I was raising was going to be a wimp? I didn't really think so, but then again adult men became babies when their bodies ailed them for a bit, so maybe the doctor was on target. My son's surgery was done at the little hospital where I worked so I was able to be with him right up until they put him to sleep.

When my son woke up he wimpered a bit, but he never cried and when the doctor told him that he could stay an extra day, if he desired, my son said, "No", and went back to sleep. The next day as I was driving him home I was trying to explain to him that the next few days he was probably going to be uncomfortable, but he must try to eat because his body needed the nutrition, yak, yak, yak, the normal words that a mother heaps on her ailing child. He turned to me and said, "Mom, would you please stop at McDonald's before we go home. I'm hungry and I want a hamburger," I did. He ate it. So much for the wimpy only child of a single mother. So that change worked out well.

The Psychology class I was taking was being taught by a short, domineering man that held up his finger and pointed to the class and said, "75% of you will fail this class. You people don't want an education badly enough to do the work that I require." The next session 75% of the class had disappeared. Those were the smart ones.

School had been going so well for me, surely I could handle this class too. I stayed. I never had worked so hard in a class. I had to farm my son out to my parents for whole weekends to be able to complete some of his assignments. One class session he designated a chosen few to stand in front of the class and answer any questions the class threw at us. Our grade was hinged on how psychologically well we dealt with unexpected questions. I fooled the whole flippin 25% of the class that had stayed. They picked on the way I walked. I had walked that way my whole life. I had become immune to nasty comments. That was the easiest assignment he had given as far as I was concerned. We had to write reams of reports, do tons of research, and then write two term papers and all the while he was telling us that no one ever got an 'A" in his classes. At the end of the term I was blurry eyed, had permanent writers cramp, and my son was begging me not to take another class for a bit. I was one of the two people that got an 'A' in the class, but it taught me a great lesson. From that time on when a teacher laid out a dare, I joined the 75% that high tailed it to the first place available to transfer or drop. So that change worked out well.

The nice man that I was dating decided that I was too wrapped up in school to be considered as a candidate for a wife. Becoming his wife wasn't exactly what I had in mind. We found that our thoughts were compatible, even though our goals weren't. My nice relationship faded into a goodbye kiss. I hadn't been madly in love. So that change worked out well.

The job that I enjoyed at the quaint little hospital was undergoing a radical change. A very large, very old hospital in another area and our small hospital were merging and building a very large, brand new, latest in technology hospital. The women that worked in the office of the large hospital were older women that had worked in the office since they were young women. They didn't take to change, or the young women in our office, easily. It was a hard transer for them. It took a year for the new hospital to be completed, but during that time those of us in the small hospital were assigned time in the large hospital so that we could get acquainted with their routines and attitudes. The warm, homey, lighthearted atmosphere that we generated was not the atmosphere that they were used to working in. It was deemed that we would all have to wear uniforms, that no employee could use the elevator (for a 5 story structure), that the Office Manager from the large hospital would be the Manager of the new hospital, that we would all have to take classes in patient sensitivy, and that the large hospital's office routines would be the routines that would be instituted in the new hospital. In other words, we were being sucked up and molded to match the heavy, dark, hushed, and fearful atmosphere of the large hospital. That change would not work out well.

I was going to have to start looking for another job. I found one, but it is a very long story that will have to be told in Parts 1 thru 'Who the Hell Knows'.

I will tell you that in the new hospital I was put in charge of the Bed Reservations phone. That was the special phone number that the doctors used to make arrangements for their patients to have their special needs met when a bed was selected for their admission. I answered the phone, "Bed Reservations." I did that for months. It became a real laughable pain when I got my new job and answered the phone for my Engineering Group with the words, "Bed Reservations!" I could write a whole paper on the responses I got to that. Engineers are a randy group!

It was also the beginning of legal abortions. The new hospital was going to be the primary hospital that accepted patients for that particular procedure. The brouhaha that erupted among the older ladies from the large hospital was worthy of ear plugs. I finally volunteered to be the patient representative. Doing that put me square in the middle of the most heart breaking seige of women that I have ever been witness to. That too is a very long story.

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