I pulled up my novel and worked on it at the hospital today.
Depending on the rotation and who I’m working with, I occasionally have downtime, which I often spend sitting in front of a computer.
It seems like it would be good time to fit in some writing.
But I have a personal hangup regarding writing at work. It’s hard for me to strike a healthy balance between my two careers, because for me a healthy balance means that I focus mostly on the one that has to do with life and death. The non-fictional kind. I always get really nervous if I take my mind off my patients at the hospital, even if there’s nothing going on.
Plus….let’s face it, even though I’m (purportedly) an adult and have a level of self-confidence I never would have believed possible a few years ago, elementary-school-through-high-school has never really left me completely unscathed. Yes, those were the days when just a glimpse of the title of a book I was reading on the bus could give my bullies a new days- or weeks-long theme around which to make my life miserable. I still can’t comfortably read a book without hiding the covers on my lap….and I can’t write in public without the (now) completely irrational fear of brutal, extended ridicule. Especially among doctors, who Just Don’t Get fiction. Even though they’re my friends. Even though they’re great people. Even though they support my writing, to the point of trading shifts with me occasionally so I can make it to an event.
But today it was a little different. I’m on at the cardiac intensive care unit, which is known as a DVT rotation…..there are so few patients and so many residents that you just sit there and do nothing until the blood clots in your legs.
And one of the CCU computers is tucked back in the corner, with the screen facing away from most casual traffic. (Occasionally the nurses pass behind me to grab supplies, but usually they don’t need anything from the cabinet directly behind me.)
On top of that, somehow over the past two years I’ve managed to befriend most of the ICU/CCU nurses at County. And the residents I’m rotating with happen to be excruciatingly nice people. (One will be one of the Chief Residents from my class, once we graduate.) So I know that even if someone does glance at my screen, they’ll probably just smile and say something encouraging.
On top of that, we only had one patient, and he spent most of the day in the operating room. So I had no real responsibilities. And hours to fill. (Through a scheduling vagary which can be blamed on a checked-out, eleventh-hour chief, I was given all but eight of the 12-hour shifts for this month.)
Plus, most of my time-wasting internet sites are blocked by my hospital’s firewall, and all of the proxy sites I’ve used before have also been found and blocked.
So today, I took a deep breath.
And opened my manuscript.
And fiddled with format a little.
Okay, no new content made it in. I admit.
But it’s a start.
And it didn’t kill me.
I wonder if I’ll be able to actually write some words tomorrow?