darkest before dawn

On nights, the phone rings between 25 and 80 times. It’s housekeepers clearing or progressing the beds they’ve been assigned, or saying they’ve delivered soap to the nurses’ station; it’s angry ward clerks wondering if the spilled bodily fluids on 2E are ever going to be wiped up; it’s people from hospitals my employer no longer serves who have to be given the toll free of their new service provider; it’s a fitful stream of people needing clean up after human misery, discomfort, life – in the Labour rooms and death – pretty much everywhere.

The door locks, and I’m happy about that. Twice a shift the security guard rattles the handle to ensure that I have locked it.  I leave it open until about 11:45 because otherwise I’m leaping up to let in housekeepers who are signing in or grabbing a new swipe card/pager/ID/piece of paperwork. After that the only people who want ingress are the lead hands.

Folks are pretty nice. I’ve been living in a rather isolated little world and so it’s good to be hearing people talk about work and their lives again.  There’s the usual backbiting, and the inevitable comments about how one housekeeper or another is the laziest sod who ever lived – or the hardest working.  People’s opinions on these matters (unless you’re the poor sod involved) are consistent. Sometimes I say nothing when they give me a long explanation of why they can’t do a bed, and at the end I say, fine, I’ll page it to the supervisor, and fifteen minutes later they tell me to progress the bed.  Snicker. I have that white lady voice, that scornful voice, and it has its gruelling effect.

The housekeepers are from every quadrant of the earth; East Africa, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, the Dominican, Chile, and of course there are a few women who look like me. Some of them even walk like I used to; I can’t tell you how happy I am that I found the exercise for pubic symphisis pain and actually DO it, standing up and lying down.  My gait is much bouncier, and I’m walking faster without really thinking about it.  I’m a Daily Breader now, I’d be missed if I didn’t go to work. And since I’m not running around my house barefoot all day I’m wearing my orthotics much more and holy crap my back feels better.  In fact, everything feels better now that I’m working. I’m sleeping better, which is not credible, but there you are.  I slept from 8:30 – 11:30, swithered for an hour, got up, stayed up for about four hours, and crashed again until 9:30.

I may get a swipe card for the side door.  It would make getting to work on time, since my connections are so very tight, much easier; I wouldn’t have to run up the stairs to the main entrance and stooge about for five minutes while attempting to get the attention of the security guard so I can get to the HCC elevators.

Sad to relate, the gal whose car accident has given me many more hours than I might have reasonably expected after my training has chosen not to return to work until after Christmas.  I will work what shifts I’m assigned without complaint but ten bucks says I’ll be working at least one and probably two stats. Overtime is calculated in an absolutely insane way but that’s somebody else’s problem.  The timekeeper is somebody who used to work on the food service side of the company and I spent a lot of time buying food from her when I worked up on SFU hill in Discovery Park.

Sad to further relate, I’m going to be doing a lot of day shifts over the next two weeks, and they are exhausting and very very busy and I kinda prefer the sheltered workshop that is nights.

I need time off to write, but I only get one day off this week and only two days off for the weeks after that. I’m writing this at work, but it doesn’t matter if the phone rings.  For the writing, I much prefer my laptop and my little writing nook.