Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Give & Take

My boyfriend is a surgical tech at a local hospital. That simple statement carries all kinds of information:
  1. He is educated.
  2. He makes good bank.
  3. His job affects peoples lives in a way mine never will.
  4. He is continually learning as technology advances.
  5. He has to be a team player or the whole team suffers.
  6. He deals with life and death on a daily basis.
  7. He knows when t.v. shows are using totally outdated equipment or have unnecessary stuff in the room where they show the patient laying in a hospital bed surrounded by family and the requisite I.V. pole and heart monitor.
  8. He works his shift plus takes call on a rotating basis.

I'm sure there are more things we can infer from my first sentence, but the one I am thinking about most today is the last one. Call. One week out of the month he's on call for the O.R. I think it's two weeks out of the month that he's on call for Endoscopy. He's always on call for something. It's the O.R. weeks that are the guaranteed gonna be called in the middle of something, middle of dinner, middle of the movie, middle of the night times. He's been on O.R. call just about every day that he's stayed with me while waiting to move into his new place. I've gotten one or two evenings with him but the hospital got the rest.

Where is this post leading? To the startling revelation that I am a selfish, selfish tart. Last night we were almost asleep when his phone rang. The Ring of Impending Doom. No one calls him late at night unless it's the resource nurse at the hospital. I listened to him finding out all the pertinent details and had a flash of selfishness. I wanted him to stay with me. I wanted him to get some badly needed rest. I wanted to fall asleep to the sound of his rhythmic breathing. I wanted. I, I, I, I, I. Me me me me me me me me. It was only a ten second conversation in my head, while he slammed around in the bathroom, also clearly not happy to be called in but accepting, since it is his job. It took an additional ten seconds to realize that if I were the patient, or the patient's family, I wouldn't care if I was dragging the surgery team away from dinner with the Pope at the most exclusive restaurant in town with entertainment by Frank Sinatra (resurrected, of course). I'd just want them there to take care of me or my family member and do whatever needed to be done.

I laid awake for a while, reflecting on my reaction. It isn't my character to be selfish. I can try to justify it away by saying that since he'd been gone for a week it was a natural reaction. I can attempt to gloss it over by reminding myself that almost immediately I had a rational thought that squashed the emotion. Or I can own it and use it to better myself, to remind myself that others exist whose needs are legitimately more important than mine. It's not a huge thing, to have one childish "don't leave me" moment but it can become something greater. A lesson, learned.

And when I called my boyfriend today to say good morning and "congratulations on being awake for 25 hours" I had the advantage of being refreshed and well rested while he was in last night's clothes and sleep deprived. It's a give & take world. And I'll be concentrating, at least for a while, on the "give" portion.

3 comments:

Juliabohemian said...

you should be glad your boyfriend has goals/drive, is educated and marketable, and is willing to work. All good things for a man these days.

good that you are able to call yourself on your selfish behavior and get some perspective. For some people it takes a lot more than that, you know?

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