silveryscrape (silveryscrape) wrote,
silveryscrape
silveryscrape

OH. I get it. We had to learn about radiation stuff because the best treatment for acute radiation sickness is bone marrow transplant. So if there's ever an "incident"... and how reassuring it is that we are totally on top of that terrorist response thing, 6 yrs later... we are one of the however many, ten or so, treatment centers in the US where the victims of radiation exposure will be sent after being triaged and decontaminated and HLA-typed at the site. Spooky! But very, very interesting.

Did you know that cancer is not, in fact, a long term side affect of acute radiation sickness? I did not know that. Less than 0.2% of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki victims developed cancer after the fact. It's the long term exposure that can cause cancer, your 3 Mile Islands or Chernobyls, or better yet your Love Canals (that sounds bad), or the chronic exposure, like over and over again, like getting a ginormous number of xrays so that your lifetime accumulation is sky high. Then it's the leukemia or bone cancer or thyroid, and all this is making me remember that one movie with JoBeth Williams, on whom I had a huge crush for so long, The Day After, which frightened me so much in its matter of fact depiction of what it felt like to read the papers and listen to the news and know that the horrible cloud was coming, and not know what to do about it. My! We were quite paranoid in the 80's. Between the Cold War and tornado weather in WI (and my own natural fucked-upedness at the time) I had a lot of stress then.

BUT ANYWAY. Ramble much?

Some thoughts on working seven days on, seven days off:

* The cats hate it. I have here before me a chewed up pencil eraser, which indicates Malcolm's deep, deep disapproval, and also his defiance, because getting up on the desk is a spray-bottle offense. Munch doesn't send me messages like that, but when I am home, he has to be physically attached to my body at all times. It is somewhat annoying, although sweet.

* I will not be there when the pear-shaped lady dies. I gave her that nickname when describing her to my niece, who wanted to know about my patients. Pear-shaped because when I had to haul her to her feet assist her to rise to the commode 394809 times a day, it was like clasping a hefty anjou pear to me and pivoting. Unfortunately, we could not convince her new stem cells to fight her disease, and instead they decided to fight her, her GI tract specifically, and also she got many infections, and when I cared for her last she was on comfort care only and slowing down. At one point she woke up and said, "Mary, I feel so out of it." Her husband said, "Baby, that's because you're dying," and she said, "Oh, yeah." After that he had to leave the room for a little while, but by and large this tells me he'll be all right on down the line, and she's pretty much all right now, all things considered. But she will probably go today or tomorrow. I'll miss her. She printed me out a recipe for a Mozzarella Meat Wheel, which looks awesome, and I may make it tomorrow night, although it has 720 calories per serving. How could a MEAT WHEEL not be good?

* After seven days off I no longer wish to return. :P Not because of the work, but because it's, you know. Work.
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