July 03, 2005

yellow stationery

Greetings from Athens, surely one of the hottest, wettest places around. Temperatures in the 90s and almost daily rain for a month or longer. Lots of folks are complaining about both, but my tomatoes aren't, so I won't either. Walking the dogs in the rain, which some days I've had to do to walk at all, has been fun and refreshing. Usually this means only Poe- Jackson will walk to the door, look out, and refuse to leave. The real downside is when it stops raining. One mostly clear Sunday, I finally got out to stake up my jungle of tomatoes and to plant some peppers, and it was like working in a steamroom. I had to take two extra showers before I was done in the garden that day.

Life in the ER is nothing if not a series of parties. Somehow I got talked into going to a nurse's baby shower, the first and last I hope ever to go to. The food was good, but oooing and ahhing over yet another Target gift card a gets pretty tedious. I don't even like Target. I made the baby a crib quilt. This is what it looks like in greyscale:

Lil' T's quilt (in colour)

You'll just have to use your imagination, since I'm not running this through a colour printer. Each section is striped a different colour: red, blue, green, and yellow; each stripe is patterned, too. The design hit me in a vision. I should have plotted it all out and measured precisely, but it was the last minute and I got lucky the points came together as well as they did. You can't tell all the little offsets in this photo, but it's pretty good considering how hasty I was. The baby was born a few weeks ago and is doing well. Michael and I went to visit, since he met the mother at a party and they became good friends. I held the baby for a while and she's a sweetheart.

The next party I went to was a party for a nurse moving to Arizona. I wasn't planning to stay, just drop off her computer I fixed as a going-away present. (It was running very sluggishly, so I reinstalled Windows.) But when I got to the party, no one was there, including the guest of honour. Her son had borrowed her car and hadn't returned in time, so someone had to go get her. It was very awkward being the only guest, so I couldn't leave. The hostess fed me a tasty rice, chicken, and vegetable dish which I told her back home we would call pilau, but she got the recipe from her mother in Colombia where she came from. I stayed and ate until finally the guest of honour and enough other people showed up for me to leave gracefully.

The last party I went to was for a secretary's birthday. Actually, it was two parties. One was at the hospital, and since it was a few days after Jackson's birthday, I took him and a box of Popeye's chicken up there to celebrate. Jackson went wild seeing everyone and begging for scraps. Then we had a small private party with just a few people from work and Michael, too. He's better friends with them than I am somehow. We went to this restaurant called Chili's, where the food is overpriced for its quality, but they have weird mixed drinks. It was a loud, rowdy Friday night with the rest of the crowd, and we got pretty silly ourselves.

The next big party will be a going-away party for one of our ER doctors and a couple of their assistances, all moving to slower-paced environments. I'm making a quilt for Dr. Gardner, because he's always been one of my favourite doctors and I hate to see him go. Also, he was the one that convinced me to come back to the ER when I hurt my hand and he was so good to me. He got the plastic surgeon in there very fast. He also waived the physician's fee for the visit, which was very kind and not at all necessary.

The biggest news for the ER is our upcoming information system and the new building. For the next 3 years we will be building and tearing down and rebuilding on top of our present location. It will be a real challenge- that's the polite word for it. I'm on the design committee for the new ER, made up of doctors, nurses, and techs to get the broadest advocacy of our needs. We've stopped meeting regularly now that the architect's plans are pretty much set, but it was a lot of bickering little battles and a couple of big skirmishes to get to that point. I also went to the launching committee for the new information system, which is projected to be fully functional by next February. It's going to be a major advance to go paperless- all charting, ordering tests, and looking up results, old records- everything on computer. Of course, there will be huge obstacles in our path, but that's what makes it so exciting.