Day 11.

Why is it, when there are 3 people putting the ECG stickers on people, one of whom is, say, a plump matron who could be someone’s beloved grandmother, one a loud woman with really long fingernails, and one a handsome young man with nice arms and a wicked smile, I never get the handsome young man? Is it wrong to want the cute boy to put the stickers on my chest once or twice?

One of the techs last night was saying that they have an easy job. He feels like he gets paid to socialize. It is kind of impressive how they're usually cheerful and relaxed and seem to enjoy each other’s company. But they don’t just socialize; they have to be skilled. They move from task to task, doing blood draws, glucometer readings, ECGs, urine collection, vital signs, and all the various auxiliary tasks involved in those procedures. And because everything is timed so precisely, they have to stay very focused and alert. They don’t ever seem really rushed, but they have to keep a steady, brisk pace. It’s not brain surgery, but it takes some skills.

The skill we as subjects notice most, of course, is the ability to do things like the blood draws and finger sticks painlessly -- well, the finger sticks always hurt, but sometimes they hurt more. I’ve noticed that the techs who are socializing the most, laughing and joking with their co-workers or embroiled in an intense conversation about someone’s obnoxious roommate or new boyfriend while they’re sticking a piece of sharp metal into your body, are the ones who make it hurt.

Spaghetti again last night -- third time. It’s not so bad. The pasta is overcooked, but the sauce isn’t terrible. To be honest, though, it’s all crap and I’m beyond caring which crap it is. They woke us in the middle of the night last night for a procedure and then again before 6 to start the whole song and dance again. I feel like Karen Quinlan today. Somebody pull the plug.