Today was a good day. I was bumping along, working my usual at the surgery center. No profuse bleeding, no lost items, nothing horrible at all. My relief came to give me my lunch break at exactly 11:00. Not 11:20, or 12:20, or some random time with an excuse, “oh, it’s been so hectic out there, blah, blah…” I was heading to lunch room, dreaming of my “Hungry Man” meal sitting in the freezer and my manager stopped me and “wanted to talk.” I immediately tensed as any manager “wanting to talk” is always bad.
Fortunately, my good luck seemed to continue, as our “managerial talk” to be something that I would have never expected… good news. She said that tomorrow (Thursday) was a little light and would I like to “have the day off.” I snapped back, “hell yeah, I’ll have a day off… do I look stupid?… Well, maybe you shouldn’t answer that. Uh, sure I’ll have the day off” So, I guess I’m on a roll for having a good day!
When I got to the break room, there were nurses, techs, and anesthesia providers, all grumbling. “My kid’s failing math… my surgeon is such an ass today… my patient has mental changes post-op and I had to make a trip to the ICU…” It went on and on. I came in all smiles and announced, “hey, In only five more hours, I’m on vacation! I can hardly contain my joy.” One of the nurses looked up and said, “well, looky here, it’s mister happy pants. Well, where are you going on your vacation?” I thought a second, “uh, I don’t really know.” Then they said, “hey, how long are you going to be gone… and who’s covering your service while you’re gone…Don’t look at me” I smiled, “Oh, I’ll be back on Friday, I’ll be here for the Neuro-surgery guys.” They laughed, “stupid… that’s not a vacation. It’s just a day off.” I replied, “any day away from here and doing something fun, is clearly a vacation.” In the end, they had to agree.
The next question was, “well, what are you going to do… on your vacation?” I thought a bit, “I think I’m going to start off with a trip to the Growlery. It’s a new beer place that has over fifty different beers on tap. They are all really good local microbrew beers too”
“Don’t get in trouble, you know… if you drink too much,” one of the other anesthesia guys said. I replied, “first off, this place is only a few blocks from my house, and I walk there. It takes, literally less than five minutes” Apparently trying to voice her objection to alcohol, the other nurse said, “hey, you know that having more then three drinks in two hours is clinically considered a binge drinker.” I told her, “well, I use to work in a hospital in Libby Montana. It was very near the Canadian line. Most of the employees were, in fact, Canadian. Do you know what they call anyone who drinks three drinks in two hours?” As the other nurse gave me a shrug, I said, “They call me the designated driver.” She was sneering a bit and I said, “Those Canadians say to me… ‘come on, light-weight, get your keys, we have another place to go”‘ I went on to reassure the skeptical nurse, “I’ve been with Canadians and I know my limit. They taught me a hard lesson that no American can keep up with them. I don’t even try. and now that I’m a lot older, I just have a few taster glasses and maybe a full mug of my favorite and call it a night. Believe me, it’s not anything like it was when I was younger. I’m gonna have a few beers and walk back home.” Then tomorrow I’m gonna sleep in and relax. I’m going to have a nice breakfast and some good custom ground coffee. Then I’m going to go out on my porch and enjoy the morning… while you all are here working.