Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Welcome to the Jungle

Today was better. Did six calls, but had a few periods of down time. Also my partner brought in his satellite radio so we played with that. It had whatever you wanted to listen to. Reggae, The Blues, Latin, Traditional Country. It had news channels and sports channels in Spanish. Whenever we went lights and sirens, it was my job to find a good song. We're racing down the streets with Santana, The Fabulous Thunderbirds "Tough Enough" or Guns and Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" as our soundtrack. It livened up the day.

I spoke Spanish nearly all day long -- either with patients, their families, staff in the hospitals or at the spanish restaurants. We hit all three of my favorite places. I had cerdo asada (roast pork) and yucca, sorullos(cornmeal and cheese), and chivio con morro y habecheros (goat with yellow rice and beans). I also bought a English/Spanish book. En espanol, El Gato Sombrerado, en ingles, The Cat in the Hat. By the end of the day I was just rattling off the Spanish. It is amazing what immersion will do for you, even temporary. One of the funny parts of the day was a insult rap off in Spanish my partner and I had. He got a Spanish speaking nurse to give him some insults because as a joke in front of Spanish kids, I often introduce him as "El mono que vive en el arbul con los animales salvajes(The monkey who lives in the tree with the wild animals)." It makes them laugh. Anyway, he was slamming me, and I was slamming him back. I won't list what we called each other, but there were some good ones in there. What I am finding is one of the best ways to work on my Spanish is when I am driving with a family member, I ask them if it is okay if I speak Spanish with them -- I tell them I am trying to learn the language. They always agree and we have nice conversations.

I am hoping to go to Bolivia in March with some of the same people who went to the Dominican last May. They are having a meeting on Monday about the trip. The only hitch is no one has called me about the meeting. I learned of it through a nurse friend who got called. So I am not certain if I am invited. The head guy invited me last May when he told me about the trip, but I didn't get a phone call. My friend thinks I am worrying about nothing. Of course I am invited, but I am worried since they are taking only a small group this time, since I don't work for the hospital I may be excluded, and since I am not a nurse, maybe I will be excluded. That's ridiculous thinking, my friend says. You are awesome. Just come to the meeting. They probably don't have a way to get in touch with me. We'll see. I just really want to be invited. I want to feel needed.

Here are my calls from today: A teacher with back spasms, a ten year old boy who got really angry and took a golf club to a stop sign and also chased some neighbors with the club, a guy who smoked angel dust and his family wanted him to get clean, a diaylsis patient with abdominal pain, a transfer taking back to the nursing home the woman we took in yesterday with abd pain post gall bladder surgery (the hospital found nothing wrong with her), and a diabetic who was drunk and passed out from too many beers.

As we took the guy who smoked angel dust out of his house, his mother kissed him and said, "I love you, you stupid cabron, you come back here like this again, I'll kill you." She squezzed his hand.

When I got home I found in the mail a bootleg CD I bought at EBay of the Springsteen Hartford Concert. Excellent sound quality. I set it on the CD player and listened to it as I lay in bed after I'd turned out the light.

Jesus was an only son
As he walked up Calvary Hill
His mother Mary walking beside him
In the path where his blood spilled
Jesus was an only son
In the hills of Nazareth
As he lay reading the Psalms of David
At his mother's feet

A mother prays, "Sleep tight, my child, sleep well
For I'll be at your side
That no shadow, no darkness, no tolling bell,
Shall pierce your dreams this night"

In the garden at Gethsemane
He prayed for the life he'd never live,
He beseeched his Heavenly Father to remove
The cup of death from his lips

Now there's a loss that can never be replaced,
A destination that can never be reached
A light you'll never find in another's face,
A sea whose distance cannot be breached

Well Jesus kissed his mother's hands
Whispered, "Mother, still your tears,
For remember the soul of the universe
Willed a world and it appeared."

-Jesus Was an Only Son

Bruce Springsteen