Tuesday, February 06, 2007

There Ain't No Tellin' Who You Might Meet

Hey, check this out. Mr. Atrocity of Renaissance Monkey reworked my cartoony photo and made it very, as he says, "A Scanner Darkly". It is so much more comic booky than it was before. When it comes to photos of myself, as far as I'm concerned, the more cartooned-up, the better. Mr. Atrocity has also worked on the special effects of some of my favorite movies, so that just makes it even cooler.

Now, for the post:

It's weird how going to the ER last Friday made me a little nostalgic about working in the health care industry. There are parts about it that I really miss. Yes, at my current job, I get paid a lot more money to sit on my ass all day and not expose myself to bloodborne pathogens, but it is also so boring that I can feel a little bit more of my soul disintegrate inside my cubicle everyday.

At least when I worked at the clinic, I felt like I was helping people. I put so many scary patients on birth control that I think you all owe me money. At my job now, the only thing I really do is make it possible for more overly entitled rich kids from the Northshore Chicago Suburbs to come to town in really expensive SUV's and pee right in front of me downtown on football weekends. Okay, now I owe all of you some cash.

At my old job, I got to ask people totally inappropriate questions and not only did they answer them, they also told me way more than I ever wanted to know. It's always fun to be able to ask a complete stranger how many sexual partners they've had or how many times they were pregnant or if they were feeling any itching or burning at that moment. These are things you'd get slapped for asking some schmo on the street.

At the clinic, I had the feeling that I was on the cutting edge of information and technology. We got to play around with colposcopes and cystoscopes and any kind of Tischlers you would want to try. I also got to teach med students all of these technologies and watch them be all cocky at first because I was a lowly nursing assistant, but then kiss my ass after I taught them how not to put their grubby paws all over the sterile field. At my current job, I talk to people on the phone and tell them they need to order supporting documentation. Yawn.

It was also the best freak watching I've ever experienced. Since it was a state hospital, we saw every homeless, crazy or special case from here to Chicago. I felt so at home there. I even assisted with a woman who was there for a liver transplant and was completely yellow - her eyes, her skin, and even her hair. It was so eerie. It's not like there aren't any freaks at my current job, it's just that they're the same crazies I see everyday, and I seem to need a little variety with my nutjobs.

The weird thing is, I didn't realize how much I missed it, until I heard the med student walk into the room of the guy who had been retching violently and ask if she could feel his stomach. See? That's another thing you can't just go ask someone on the street without getting jacked. Sigh.


Remiman said...

I see my job in a whol new light now. ;-)

Margaret said...

first, the cartoon darkly is fantastic! if it were mine it would be framed and hanging prominently in my house.

second, maybe we could arrange a day where you ask totally inappropriate questions of your bloggers or we just all share too much info and let you probe deeper, I don't want you to be bored

Matt said...

Nurse's Aides are the lowest paid, barely respected grunts of the healthcare industry. Ironically they are the first ones there in an emergency and have to clean up and wash stuff that would make a worker at a meat packing plant cringe.

Man I miss those days. Socially valuable work never pays. But it's rewarding. I feel like a sellout sometimes for being a programmer, it's hard to escape the "Catholic Worker" mindset.


booda baby said...

So, I'm guessing that when all the math is done, I still owe you some cash. Can I put it on my credit card (which means, I'm sorry, you won't see profit for a lonnnnnng long time.)?

You look FABULOUS in your cartoon! What a great job he did! Rotoscoping is one of those thing that's kind of easy, but not really. (?) There's a program somewhere, called something :), that lets you create comic strip. Can you imagine anyone better to star in their own COMIC STRIP?!? I'm so excited and can hardly wait for the first installment of the epic series.

fringes said...

I love the cartoon. That was one of the girls on a screaming day, right? Your comparison/contrast of your two jobs was hilarious. I love good blogging.

Churlita said...


You probably don't have to ask quite such invasive questions doing what you do, do you?


I know. That picture is really cool.

Oh my god. Inappropriate question day would be my very favorite day ever.


The NA gig, especially in a clinic should get paid at least twice as much. I did everything the nurses did, except give shots and dispense meds.

Isn't it crazy what we set as a priority here? Teachers make nothing and Paris Hilton gets tons of money just for being a skank.

Booda Baby,

It might be fun for me to write a comic strip post. It would probably be very scary for my readers, though.

Well yeah. Because when you use a credit card, it's not like you ever have to pay it back, right?

Churlita said...


Thanks. That was me responding to the girls on a screaming day. My, but it's fun to pretend to be punk rock at 41.

I love you in the face said...

I agree with booda baby - You should be the star of your own comic strip!! Now all we need is a comic rendering of a completely yellow lady, (ever read sin city comics? there actually is a yellow man who drips yellow bile!) your daughters and some crazed, crunk happenings. It'll be a hit:)

broinlaw said...

Thats not your soul disintegrating...its your IPERS accumulating.
Lighten up bucko. If work was supposed to be fulfilling, they wouldn't call it "work".

Churlita said...


I have read Sin City. They might think we were stealing if we used a yellow lady.


I don't have IPers. I have TIAA-CREFF. Hopefully, that's accumulating.

I'm not all depressed. Most of this is me kidding. I did like working at the clinic much better than at this office in some ways. The bullshit factor is decidedly lower here and sometimes that balances out for how incredibly boring it is to input the same thing hundreds of times into a computer every day.

Killer said...

In nursing school I did a week long rotation through a STD clinic. It was the most disgusting and utterly fascinating moment in my nursing career. I could write quite a few stories from that experience, but it would totally gross everyone out.

egan said...

Now that's a cartoon.

...but you can just feel a pregnant woman's belly any time you want right? Who cares about permission.

Lynnster said...

My favorite job ever was working the graveyard shift in a Nashville ER. It was also the most stressful, but I loved working there.

Love the cartoon!

Churlita said...


When I worked at the ob/gyn clinic, I often wondered how heterosexual men or lesbians could work there and still be attracted to women.


You have so much to learn about pregnant women and hormones. It sounds like you'll be getting a crash course here in the next few months. Wait until your wife is about 8 months pregnant and really tired and try it, then let me know how it went...If you're able.


I know. There's something about the immediacy of it and how much good you can do. I'm sure the burn-out rate is very high, though.

Matt said...

Do you remember when the Dublin was called "Mama's" That was a while back. Back before the Deadwood had air conditioning and a decent vent fan.

Churlita said...


Oh yeah. We used to got to Stonewalls (remember that?) for Margaritas and then to Mama's for double shot drinks on Sunday nights. Ah 18, I don't remember you very well for some reason...