05 April 2009

Why we do what we do

My favorite TV show used to be "Trauma: Life in the ER."

I was thinking about it today because Christopher from As Seen From Up Here wrote a poignant, tear-jerking, sweet, somber post (maybe not safe for moms) about his Life In the E.R.:
I've seen more death in 10 years than I've ever needed to see. After a while you build up a shield to protect yourself. You still care, don't get me wrong, but imagine how you'd feel if you didn't have that callous protection. I didn't realize I needed that protection until I saw the death that still haunts me.

My friend Reambo and I had a standing date to watch the show. I would make a big, macabre plate of some pasta with red sauce and we would slurp down our spaghetti while watching people get taken apart and put back together.

I think I loved it because I could never do what those people do and I admired their skill so much.

I move rather slowly and am baffled when I try to multitask. I hate being under time pressure or having people watch me as I work. Jeffrey Daumer would be a better choice for work in the ER than me.

I also loved the crazy situations like the guy who tried to commit suicide with a sword, but who did it wrong and just gave himself a mondo piercing through a fold of fat. He then lost nerve and came in with this big sword lying flat, diagonally across his chest, as if he were his own scabbard. Duh.

One day they asked one of the doctors why he chose the ER as his specialty. He said "It suits my pathology, I guess." I think he meant that his own needs for adrenaline, etc., were met by the job.

Today I was thinking about religion and how we choose ours to fit our pathology. My own form of mental illness is to want everyone to be happy all the time and to avoid conflict. So I chose Unity, a church that is so unchurch like that it calls itself a "School." We don't have a dogma or tell anyone how they should think or act.

Other people have a pathological need for structure, and to be right. So they choose a church that has rigid boundaries for behavior.

What about you? What is YOUR pathology?

14 comments:

Summer said...

Oh that was a bit scary that you will able to see dying people in ER.
My mom had been in ER on a hospital too last year only,but thank god she survive..Great post,it's very interesting.;D

SUEB0B said...

Summer - they will put anything on TV! (and I will watch it, which is why I don't have a TV at home). Glad your moms is ok.

Project Christopher said...

As part of that callous protection, an odd humor arises. Like the humor that made me cackle with laughter reading that you made a "macabre plate of some pasta with red sauce"! That's funny! And that's right up our alley.
Thanks for the shout out to my post. It's a step off my usual path, but ER really brought up a lot of memories. Not all bad though!

SUEB0B said...

Well, Christopher, I admire you for being able to handle the ER for 10 years. It must make event planning seem a bit easier, since there is no actual life and death involved (though I am sure that people try to make it seem that way).

Mandajuice said...

I used to love watching those shows too! And then I had kids and now every child who walks onto the screen is MY child and I can't watch without bawling my eyes. I wonder what happens to the ER doctors when they have kids.

I don't go to church and now that you bring it up, I guess I DO have a pathological need for laziness, so it's a perfect fit. ;)

flurrious said...

I had a comment, but whenever I hear about someone who doesn't have a TV in her home, I become frightened and confused.

But your thesis is interesting. When I was younger and had more pathologies, I also had more ambitions in a variety of directions. The more calm and settled I get, the less I care about being something that defines me. Possibly the angst of my youth just wore me out.

SUEB0B said...

Mandajuice - I can see that. I think, for me, the show was more about the docs and nurses than the patients, though. LOL about your "church."

Flurrious - not having a TV is a matter of survival for me. When I go to hotels, it is all horrible reality shows, all the time. I will be in some great location and think I should go out, but then find myself thinking "But there's an ANTM marathon on!"

Sister Wolf said...

I have a pathological need to understand motivation. I'm always asking people, "But, why?" Nobody likes this about me. And yet, that doesn't stop me.

Working Girl said...

I was raised in Unity by a Unity minister (mother) and I have a pathological need to have people allow me to be sad sometimes because I was never allowed to have a bad day or a negative moment during my entire childhood...

I'm worried this sounds too negative...

SUEB0B said...

Sister Wolf - Why do you have this need?

Working Girl - you have nailed the great flaw of Unity on the head. I feel like we need to have more discussion around this at church.

I firmly believe that, with an overemphasis on the positive, when people have truly tough times and need companionship along the way the most, they just walk away. They get afraid to express their true emotions of fear, rage, unhappiness, sadness. I think this is a big blind spot for Unity.

Major Bedhead said...

I have a pathological need to be left the hell alone sometimes. Completely and utterly alone. It hasn't happened in about 10 years and I'm starting to get a little twitchy.

mothergoosemouse said...

What Manda said. Anything pertaining to children being hurt, I can't watch it or read about it. My need for avoidance only began after I had kids.

So I guess that's my pathology. Avoidance.

Christina said...

I guess my pathology is a need to dive in and help somehow. It's part of why I'm in nursing school, and why I want to work NICU. Preemie babies are often in such critical condition, and I want to do what I can to help them get better. (Or if they won't get better, make sure I gave them the best chance.)

Strangely enough, I've found I'm terrified of working with critically ill older adults. I think it's too much foreshadowing for me to deal with.

Janet said...

I had to go to a wound healing clinic a while back. Not to get into the gory details, but I allowed a minor injury to mutate into bad situation because I kept thinking that I didn't have time to take care of it - I had all this stuff going on at work and a sick elderly mom to take care of. So - I ended up on on crutches for 3 months. Anyhow - on my first visit to the clinic, after chewing me out for doing this to myself and listening to all my excuses, he said he had three words for me: KNOW YOUR PATHOLOGY. Wow - that stuck with me - I may even embroider it on a pillow.

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