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Bad things and good people - The Rancho Commons — LiveJournal
Note to self: no whining, no slacking
Bad things and good people
This is about bad things that happen to good people. It isn't here to titillate or entertain, but to help me deal with life. If you read it, you may understand me better. But, you may also be upset by it or be sorry you read it.

I used to read Stephen King a lot. I thought he was a really good writer of the horror genre. I also thought he was too profane, too graphic, and a bit too vulgar at times, but I took it in stride as being a necessary part of his horror writing. I realized something one day that changed my perspective and I haven't read any of his books since.

On June 21,2001, I remember reading about Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children ranging from 6 months to 7 years of age on the previous day. Now the oldest, a boy, was only a little older than my oldest son at the time. I read that he slipped away from her when he got wet, and she had to chase him around the house before she was able to successfully kill him in the tub, as she had already done with the other four. It is unimaginable, the horror he must have felt. The horror of knowing the person who he should most be able to trust was the one holding him under the water. I cried every time I thought of him for a couple of weeks. The horrors that occurred in that house that day are unspeakable.

What I realized that day was things happen in real life that are a lot more horrible than anything Stephen King can come up with.

My supervisor was talking to me last night. "Were you here for the peds patient?" [pediatrics] "No, why did we get it?" "PICU [Pediatric Intensive Care Unit] didn't have the nurses. It was a little Hispanic boy. He was only 7 and he was bolted." [This means he had a severe head injury and had a hole drilled in his skull with a hollow bolt threaded into it that has a transducer which reads the intracranial pressure (ICP)] "He was already dead when he got up here really. His ICP was 92." [Normal ICP is less than 20] "But anyway, we were okay. And he had a lot of family, and they just kept coming in, and they were all crying. It was awful, but we were still okay. They were going to withdraw care, but there was a bunch of family on the way so we had to wait forever. So they all came and said goodbye. And we were okay, and then his little brother climbed up on the bed to kiss him goodbye..."

This isn't a story, this is real life.

As a horror writer, Stephen King sucks.
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mygyzmom From: mygyzmom Date: May 5th, 2004 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

I cannot imagine...

Sometimes real life sucks! At least you can close a book if you don't like how the story is progressing. I am sorry you even had to hear about that, but oh so thankful you didn't have to be there for it.
From: recycling Date: May 5th, 2004 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd say that working where you do takes an almost superhuman amount of empathy..but at the same time..how much of that do you have to turn off in order to not go crazy? It's a very interesting paradox, and one that I've wondered about for quite some time.

A girl I used to date's father was a pediatric cardiologist..he opened up children's hearts for a living. And although they said at work, he was a wonderful man, we never really saw it from him on the home front. It wasn't until later on in life, upon thinking about it, I finally realized that he spent so much of the day caring, that he couldn't care any longer. Still, it's sad. And I hope you're not like that when you get home..I don't think so.

By the way, did you know I was in your state last week, and I liked it very much?

I never liked Stephen King..
aspiring2live From: aspiring2live Date: May 5th, 2004 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
It takes a lot of subconscious psychological juggling to do the work I do. People who are unable to detach themselves emotionally don't do this for very long. On the home versus work thing, I joke at work that I have plenty of compassion, but I keep it in a lead box in my basement. I don't waste it on drunks at work. Which, to some extent, is the truth.

"Caring" is a term that can be used to mean more than one thing. One can "give care" without "caring" about what one is doing, for example. Hence, your doctor example. I doubt he spent himself emotionally at work and not at home. I shield myself emotionally at work which sometimes probably makes me even more vulnerable at home. I joke with my wife that I'm more like a chick when it comes to loving my family (and talking to her, etc.)

I knew you were at least close but I didn't know you were here in NC. It's a great time of year to visit with everything sprouting and blooming! Beautiful weather most days, because it isn't hot yet and it isn't really cold anymore. Glad you liked it!

It was a difficult admission to say I liked King. In retrospect, though I really enjoyed The Stand and The Tommyknockers, most of it was crap.
From: recycling Date: May 6th, 2004 09:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, you're in Winston-Salem, right? I was west, by Asheville. Pretty gorgeous, I must say..and if that part of the state is typical of the good nature of folks in North Carolina as a whole, then I'd say y'all have a lot going for you.

And the grilled pimento cheese sandwich I had was excellent. :)
aspiring2live From: aspiring2live Date: May 10th, 2004 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry it took me so long to reply to this.

It is definitely prettier out West than it is here in central NC. The coast is beautiful as well.

You should try grilled peanut butter prepared the same way. Lifechanging.
From: recycling Date: May 10th, 2004 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
We're semi-big on peanut butter on hamburgers around here..I know it sounds disgusting, but when cooked, the peanut butter meshes in with the hamburger grease and it just has to be experienced in order to be believed.

Of course, I can't have these things anymore..but boy does a grilled peanut butter sandwich sound awesome right about now..
6 aspirations -{}- aspire with me