Once in a while, I am reminded that I am no longer young.

Most of the time, I'd say I feel about. . .oh, twenty-seven? Mentally, at least. When I'm not being an eight-year-old boy.

Sometimes I am reminded that this is only a lovely fiction, a way that my brain has of denying the inevitable decay and death that attends every one of us.

Like when I tried to get into and then out of Kitty's car.

We had a strategic meeting, Kitty and Marcie and Marcie's husband and their dogs and I. Kitty drove the five minutes to Marcie's house--believe me, this is not a place you want to walk when it's numpty-bumpty degrees outside--so we took her car.

Kitty has a Japanese rocket of some sort. It has letters and numbers after its name. It's low to the ground and feels like an old sports-version Mercedes to ride in: you can feel every bump, and it's very, very tight and heavy. And getting into it is like getting into a bucket.

I folded in half and sort of fell in with a "GNMPH" noise and managed to buckle my seatbelt. Getting out? Well.

Have you ever watched a bullrider in the chute before the bull's released? He'll grab the harness with one hand, put the other up above his head, and then do this back-and-forth rocking three or four times. Then the chute's opened, and a huge mass of fat and muscle, enraged at its captivity, bolts forth with unpredictable and probably disastrous results.

That was me.

ANYway. We got there in one piece and met dog #1, dog #2, and husband, in that order, as well as Marcie's sister, who was there visiting. And we talked.

About Keith. And about us.

See, nothing's been done, as far as anybody knew as of Monday of last week, about Keith. I'd been assured by our mangler that Keith would be retrained in the areas where he showed deficiencies. . .but nothing's happened. And he's still doing totally unnecessary, stupid things, like not giving blood pressure medicine to people who need it. Because they've had brain bleeds. And their systolic pressure is in the 230's. When the top limit for them is 140. But I digress.

Because things are not moving along as we would've liked, and for a number of other reasons, I contacted the person who coordinates the neurocritical care unit. It was just a "hey, how you doin', we've got this moron here, how's the baby" sort of casual thing, bringing her up to speed on what's been and not been happening. Because, you know, I figured that, as the coordinator of the whole fucking unit, somebody might've mentioned this stuff to her.

Well, nobody had. And my calling her led to a number of people suddenly waking up to the fact that a) other people above them in the org. chart had been made aware of this running disaster by the coordinator; b) something had to be done, and; c) everybody's hair was on fire. It escalated, even though I didn't mean it to. Now everyone from the CNO on down's been made privy to every single write-up and suchlike.

And Marcie and I have been disciplined. Marcie for "falsifying" charting that she didn't actually falsify--in fact, the whole reason she got a black mark is because an assistant manager who's had nothing to do with this whole situation can't understand how our machines work*--and me, for going "outside the chain of command." Which means that that same manager is upset that she got called out for not doing more to help us with Keith.

In her defense, she never knew about Keith. Because we never told her. Because she showed a positive, proactive disinclination to learn or understand anything about the NCCU, not being a critical-care nurse herself. Because she's declined to be oriented, she's shoved off responsibility for us on to other people, and she's thrown mini-tantrums about us calling on her for help.

Tomorrow I get to walk back into a forest of people taller than me, all with smouldering hair. I'll probably be pressured to sign the write-up that's on my file, and once again, I'll have to refuse. Hell, I might have to write a rebuttal, or take it to HR.

I might have to quit nursing altogether, change my name, get plastic surgery, and move to Brazil.

That might be okay.

Unless all they have is cars like Kitty's.

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*LSS, our machines time-and-initial-stamp vitals when they're verified by a nurse. Our assistant mangler (Ass Mangler? Mmmmaybe) doesn't understand that, and so thinks that differing initials on one chart mean that somebody's lying. It's stupid, but it's what I've come to expect from Sunnydale.