Print Story Tales from the Hospital
Working life
By sugar spun (Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 02:36:53 PM EST) (all tags)
Mostly bureaucratic.

I've been off work for five months. This has been mostly very lovely, although at times it would have been easier and less tiring to spend my time at the hospital and wrangle the severely reality-challenged instead of being at the whim of a tiny human (who, should you be interested, is heartbreakingly beautiful and smart enough to know exactly how far she can go without crossing the line and getting herself sold for parts).

Something that I often think about but never say at work is that there's a rather fascinating blurriness to the line between patients and staff. I'm working on a paper that looks at the notion that it is the way people feel about the way they feel that is the determining factor in treatment. So someone who is profoundly unhappy, but who recognises that the unhappiness is both transient and to be expected (perhaps he just lost his parents in a fire that also wiped out his home and is in the middle of a normal grief process), requires a different kind of treatment from someone who is unhappy because she is chronically depressed but has no concrete external circumstantial reason for being unhappy. But therapists often find that obsessive or compulsive behaviour is a side-effect of their work - fretting over the smaller details they can control makes it easier to stare into the depths that patients recount in closed sessions. Although I don't do talk therapy, I find myself showing O-C behaviour quite often. I like to pretend it's endearing.

Something that irritates me about my department - and indeed about German hospitals in general - is that so many people simply do not respect boundaries. I know that my husband's medical records were looked at by at least two people in my department while he was in the hospital; they were handed to me by a junior doctor purely because I assumed an imperious tone and held out my hand for them. Where it specifically annoyed me today was when I went to check my mail tray, inwardly quaking at the thought that it might be overflowing after five months.

It wasn't there.

Someone whose surname happens to be between the two people whose surnames bookend mine on the staff list needed a mail tray and so, knowing that I was out on leave, she simply taped a label with her name over my name and appropriated my tray, thereby ensuring that all mail meant for me and not intercepted by our departmental secretary would be returned unceremoniously to sender.

I rolled my eyes, cursed a bit and then went to the stationery cupboard. I liberated a spare tray, then added a nametag and inserted it in the appropriate alphabetical zone in the mail cupboard. (I also pocketed a few boxes of staples, since my research assistant someone of astonishing laziness had used my stapler to depletion rather than walk the 20 metres or so to the stationery cupboard to replenish their own. But I digress.) The only thing marking my new mail tray as not belonging to the previously-existing structure was its colour. All the other mail trays are a demure, sensible deep red. Mine is bright, bright yellow and it stands out like a beacon of don't touch my mail tray, fuckwit. Get your own.

Following a brief meeting with a colleague who's taken a promotion to the other building and a briefer introduction to his replacement, I left for the day. It took me about twenty minutes to get home, all told. By the time I got here I had an email from one of my colleagues, telling me that my yellow mail tray is too bright, and wanted to let me know that she would be replacing it with a red one this afternoon and rearranging the trays because the addition of one makes the current stacking system unbalanced.

Therapy for therapists. Get it where you can.
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Tales from the Hospital | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)
I still say by ReallyEvilCanine (4.00 / 5) #1 Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 03:23:53 PM EST
You should've pulled her name sticker off your mail tray and placed it prominently on the garbage can next to all of the mail boxes.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

To annoy the OC types by Herring (4.00 / 6) #2 Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 03:52:32 PM EST
Make another name sticker with her name spelled slightly wrongly and replace the one on the tray. Every time she changes it back, do the same but with a slightly different misspelling.

Alternatively, take the sticker off and put it back on at a 5 degree angle.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Go further. Much further by marvin (4.00 / 5) #3 Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 03:55:04 PM EST
Replace all of the trays with a veritable rainbow of brightly coloured ones. For bonus points, buy different styles and sizes, and glue them together haphazardly to ensure that the stacking system remains unbalanced for all eternity.

Bonus points if someone's head explodes.

[ Parent ]
Mention to the colleague that by muchagecko (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:35:37 PM EST
thought your yellow mail tray too bright, that there's a tray with a label taped over your name. Maybe she could throw some idiotic grief to the tray stealer.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

or my personal take by bobdole (4.00 / 2) #5 Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:19:50 AM EST
is to not get a mail tray* and make the office staff know that I don't and therefore have all my mail delivered to my desk. At the envy of the conforming peons around me who all have to walk over and check themselves if they get mail.

* Initially for an unknown reason, probably something to do with starting between the current and previous set of office staff and nobody knew they had to get me one. Buggered if I'm gonna do it.

-- The revolution will not be televised.
I wish I could child comment this to every by debacle (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 11:58:46 AM EST
Comment in this thread so far.

Don't you love HuSi?

We're so helpful.

Seriously, though, what you need is passive aggression. If you don't have it, we can start some sort of group therapy. We can start at furious glares and work our way up to broken marriages.


I'm just not a good German. by sugar spun (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 02:06:22 PM EST
There is no convenient nearby waste receptacle to stick the tray thief's name label to - etiquette dictates that we take our mail to our offices and open it there.

If the offender's surname were more than four letters I'd misspell it on a daily basis.

As it is my current plan is to replace a random mail tray with the yellow one whenever someone pisses me off. I may need to place an order for a large collection of mail trays.

[ Parent ]
Tales from the Hospital | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)