Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Operating Room Nurse

The nursing bureaucracy at the Lotus City hospital where I toiled in Orthopedic surgery decided in their wisdom to apply the Peter Principal to the operating room charge nurses. Said to be in he interest of  broadening the focus and utility of senior nurses for more Service flexible usage they concluded charge nurses should move from time to time, to different Services within the operating room. Senior nurses have a short learning curve so they get up to speed quickly, but the decision never really took any of the surgeon's opinions into account. By that time of course in the corporate structure it was none of our business despite the long established relationships we had developed with the charge nurses and the sort of seamlessness we had in the provision of patient care. The generals and colonels often hatch new ideas that break a few eggs on the corporal's plates. It is getting harder and harder to decide what rank is the more expendable, as our hands on people think about it. The curious thing is, as far as I know, I was the only one to raise an objection to this lateral move. Maybe it was because we had a treasure in our Orthopedic Service, but it was also fear for myself since I was getting older and as I was distracted when conversing from time to time, she would remind me what I should be doing. It was apparent that the bureaucracy would ignore any plea from me on this basis, particularly since all the other Service Chiefs lusted after my treasure. Like Priam allowing Paris to steal and harbour Helen away from Menalaus, I had no wind left to resist. Since I was old and feeble I had to resort to shock and awe and good humor to succeed. I therefore wrote to the nurse bureaucrats a simple phrase on my letter of protest to say that I would kill myself if they moved Ms SL. They possibly had never  received such a letter before, so were non plussed and relented in my case for a decent period of time. Perhaps they thought me mad and therefore needed a steady hand at the tiller. However, as the ship of state sailed on, she went eventually to the General Surgeons and I had to become a big boy again despite that delayed pillage.

Monday, May 13, 2013


In our weekly book club we are working through Edmund Spenser's, The Faerie Queene. In Book One, the evil arch magician, Archimago, features large in the narrative. As we discussed the Canto in question at the time, I mentioned as an aside the inherent evil of Ariel Castro, a topical current event I thought mildly relevent to our discussion. I was immediately challenged by my friend Dennis, who said, "You think you are superior to Castro!" I was taken aback, but in defense I said quickly, " Well, I don't think I would secrete away three little girls and abuse them for ten years with ropes and chains." "Maybe not, he said, "But you are talking about the law, not nature, because none of us is different. We are all of the same substance and have a dark and universal side! It's just that some of us don't recognize it!" I don't want to put words in Dennis' mouth, but it was a week ago and the words of his are roughly as I have related. I have since thought about it and he is right about me. I was too glib and in the right circumstances I believe, I, and many others I venture and hope to say, are capable of almost anything that would seem evil in retrospect. My defense to Dennis was that there needs to be accountability for one's action. He agreed with that, but clearly separated justice and morality. I guess the question is, is there a moral man? Is there an honest man? Do we have the courage to face our dark side? Do we fall back on the idea that the devil made me do it? I have to assent, we are all made of the same clay. I remember the moment of realization that Lawrence of Arabia broke up in, when he said he had shot a man with his gun, and the horror he suddenly realized, when he admitted, not that he killed a man, but that he enjoyed the killing. The insights we gain in the book club, spun from the magic of Spenser, are far more than the narrative itself. It comes also from the clean and honest exchanges that arise from the seed. It must however, as my friend John says, be read as a group to harvest this fruit!