My friends (and I) are going insane, for different reasons and at varying degrees. Some are weeping from fatigue, others from the overwhelming sense of injustice, while others are just getting bored out of their wits. No sense being dismissive of one feeling being more catastrophic, more realistic, more privileged than the other, at this point in the pandemic we are all in a cloud of collective anxiety. It is not a competition of the legitimacy of one’s feelings–we are all a couple of ECQ extensions away from the proverbial strings of our sanity getting completely frayed.
My personal means of assuaging my fears are starting to fail. Earlier I was content with avoiding any TV show that involves real-life tragedy or murder (which is difficult to do in the first place because every time I turn on Netflix the home page prominently displays…Ted Bundy! The Holocaust Files! Creepy black and white picture of a murdered nun! PANDEMIC!), but now I actively seek happy entertainment such as a formulaic rom-com, which in itself has an unexpected adverse event–nausea. Re-arranging action figures used to be a lot of fun, but now these… toys seem to be taking up too much space! I’ve recently discovered that Legolas’… SKIRT is now getting all oily. I’ve just cleaned it last December, and now with the increased humidity he’s being quite demanding again. My Batman The Animated Series set, which I love, is now in complete disarray. It was just a few weeks ago that I’ve sticky tacked each action figure on the glass floor, but I guess it only took one wobbly Poison Ivy on heels to topple everything down again!
In isolation I get re-assaulted by all the ancient anxieties, real or otherwise, of the past. It’s like they’ve found the perfect opportunity to recur, with the most prominent being situations involving guilt, regret, and feelings of inadequacy. The last time this Melodramatic Syndrome of Melancholia (MSM) happened was during the long stretches of review for all my board exams–after 4 weeks of studying alone in my room I would be wracked with guilt for stealing two pieces of Grape Jelly Ace from Marcelita back in grade 2.
Recently Slurpketh has seen our former mentor Bludgeonella, and this brought back in me all sorts of feelings of inadequacy. As an apprehensive, naked little trembling first year resident I was quite unprepared for the bludgeonings of Bludgeonella during ICU rounds. When my senior Kate sensed that I was about to desperately Nanette Inventor my way through Bludgeonella’s Bludgeonings, Kate pushed me aside and answered for me. “I think this patient could not be extubated just yet, because frankly, I am not yet comfortable given the clinical parameters,” Kate nanetted with conviction. Bludgeonella leaned back, crossed her arms, and smiled, very much content. It was quite an umbrella statement, but with her conviction, diction, and intonation Kate saved the day magnificently. (Crash course: Nanette Inventor- To quickly fabricate a response during rounds to save face.)
Fast forward to two years later, when it was my turn to be the senior resident, and Bludgeonella was Bludgeonating my junior Jukelya Mae. Bludgeonella was on a roll–earlier she has caused two frantic junior residents to run out of the ICU in tears, and Jukelya Mae was destined to be the third if I, her senior, wouldn’t save her. In a full circle moment, I pushed the petrified Jukelya Mae to the side and winked at her with an “I’ll take care of this” wink.
“I don’t think this patient could be extubated just yet, because right now I am not yet comfortable given the clinical parameters,” I uttered with conviction. In my head, Kate would be proud of me. And I was quite proud of myself–first for actually remembering that line, and second, for finding this perfect, exact opportunity to save someone with something that has saved me before. I waited for Bludgeonella to happily lean back and heap me praises the way she did Kate two years ago, but instead she growled, “I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR COMFORT LEVEL!”
Moral lesson: there’s no such thing as symmetry, full circle, or comfort levels. Also, nanette with better conviction.