Friday, April 20, 2012

More Time Travels....and Travails

(I love ths movie.)

Working second shift (3:30 ~ 10:00) at the hospital was kind of peaceful, in reality.

Oh sure, it was pretty busy from the start of my shift until about 5:30'ish.  That was because from a couple of hours before clinic closing time to actual clinic closing time, the doctors made their decisions to admit folks, so everybody showed up around that time.

I was a Communications Clerk (or what some lesser-advanced hospitals called "Ward Clerks").  I like Communications better.  It sounded more important than it really was.

By working second shift, I avoided all the hustle and bustle of the daytime hours, when all the docs were hovering around, and the baths were being given, and people were checking out (is that what they called it?  Maybe not.  Discharged, I guess.  "Checking out" has kind of a negative connotation in hospital lingo).

At 3:30'ish, things were busy.  I had to take the calls from Admissions, and figure out where to place the incoming patients, and believe me, it was a real juggling act, because those nurses could be vicious if you overloaded them, and who could blame them?  I got into a verbal tizzy with an RN once, who felt that I was being unfair to her, by giving her too many new patients, and it took a long while for feelings to cool down.

Nothing was computerized then (what were computers?), so all the physicians' orders had to be filled out on little three-copied slips of paper, and sent by messenger to the various departments.

Likewise, the supper menus that the patients filled out.  Somebody from Nutrition stopped by each evening to pick those up.

My least favorite job duty was trudging along with my water cart, to fill all the pitchers in each patient's room.  I wasn't the most socially adept person then (I'd do way better now), so sometimes I felt awkward making small talk with the patients, but they were invariably cheery, no matter their condition.  I hope I'm like that when my day inevitably arrives.

But, after the supper hour, when all the trays had been collected, and folks had turned on their TV's to enjoy, as best they could, the evening's repose, the nurses and I sat behind the station, and did whatever we could to pass the time unobtrusively.

Counted cross-stitch was my big obsession then.  And not just mine.  A bunch of us always had projects going.  We'd all sit there, and chit chat, and work on our various projects.  The radio was on, too.  It was, well, peaceful.  Quiet.

The back rubs would be given at 9:00, and by 10:00, I was out of there.  I never gave a second thought to meandering out to the parking lot at 10:00.  There wasn't even a security staff on hand.  It took me all of 7 minutes to drive home   Now, I'd be petrified to work second shift.  Funny how times and circumstances have changed.

The big TV show then, at least my big TV show, was St. Elsewhere.  It was set in a hospital, so I guess I felt like I had an insider's knowledge of all the little peccadilloes of the hospital world.   I VCR'd it.  My schedule was unpredictable.  I preferred to be home on Wednesday nights, but often, that was not to be, so I had my trusty VCR.  I think all the nurses, not just me, watched that show.

I wonder, now, if there was a show about people working in the insurance industry, would I be just as enamored?  Maybe.  But I'm sure it would have much more intrigue than the actual insurance world.  People would be setting up fake doctor's accounts and scamming the system (that really happened, by the way), until the wily insurance investigator showed up and used his (or her) CSI techniques to flush out the perpetrator.  Much more exciting than sitting at a computer and hitting F3, F4 all day long.  And the investigator would be played by Matt Damon.

Music, too, obviously played a big role in those days (nights).   We had an FM radio playing behind the nurse's station, and surprisingly, it was mostly tuned to the country station, unless somebody complained enough, and then we'd turn the channel and let them listen to their classic rock for awhile.  But you know, us rubes liked our country.

When the docs came by to make their evening rounds, and subsequently to dictate their progress notes into the telephone system, we shushed the radio.  We dealt with a lot of interns, because the actual doctors were home having their dinner served to them by their butlers, and they let the interns do all the work.  Interns were much nicer than the actual doctors, though.  At least until they became the actual doctors, and then they got all snooty, like they didn't know us.  And they still helped themselves to the candy that an appreciative patient had sent.

1986 was one of the (many) years I worked at St. Alexius.  And on the radio, whether shushed or not shushed, at night, at the nurse's station, we listened to songs such as these:

Bop ~ Dan Seals

Grandpa, Tell Me About the Good Old Days ~ The Judds

Just Another Love ~ Tanya Tucker (sorry, no actual performance video to be found)

On The Other Hand ~ Randy Travis

Rockin' With the Rhythm of the Rain ~ The Judds

Honky Tonk Man ~ Dwight Yoakam

One of the best country songs ever: 

1982 ~ Randy Travis

I Tell It Like It Used To Be ~ T. Graham Brown (again, (sorry, no actual performance video to be found of this one, either)

Another one of the all-time best country songs ever: 

Guitar Town ~ Steve Earl

This song got me back into country music, so it holds a special place in my heart:

Since I Found You ~ Sweethearts of the Rodeo

Ooh, I do like this one:

Stand On It ~ Mel McDaniel

George Strait had three hit singles in 1986.  Here's one:

Something Special

There's No Stoppin' Your Heart ~ Marie Osmond (sorry for the poor video/audio quality ~ this is the only one out there):

Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye ~ Charlie Daniels (isn't this cool?)


Here's an old Ray Price song, made a hit again in 1986 by Ricky Skaggs (and I guess this is the old-er Ricky, who has now decided to grow out his hair ~ hmmm....)

I've Got a New Heartache

Do you remember the O'Kanes?  Yea, probably not.  But they were good.  I really liked them in 1986.

Here's Oh, Darlin':

I truly love this next song, and dang, if it isn't impossible to find a video of it.  I don't understand this, but I do try.  But sometimes I fail.

However, here is a link to the video, which, for some unknown reason is not embeddable.

Walk The Way The Wind Blows ~ Kathy Mattea

1986 was one of the finest years in country music.  Just go back and watch these videos, if you don't believe it.  And we had new, young stars, like George and Dwight and the Judds and Randy.

In fact, two of the top 20 country songs of all time (my list!) were hits in 1986.  That's damn good, considering the long storied history of country music.

I guess it's the sentimentalist in me, but when I think about it now, even with all the aggravations and the travails I went through in 1986, I wouldn't mind being back in those days.  Back behind the nurse's station, working on my crafts and listening to country radio.

But, really, I think it was the music most of all.


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