195) Ruminations a la Bourgeois

December 15, 2007

El Milagro: I had called around noon and talked to Jason the Tech, who found out I could come in at 2 p.m. So I actually got here around 2:20 and got my favorite corner chair. Carrie the Tech sticks me today. She walks right up and starts talking about her allergies and how difficult it was for her to get up this morning. I respond with a comment on the wind kicking up the cedar, even though I am a little annoyed by her prattle. My brain is trying to figure out my annoyance and I came up with this: when staff here at the center talk about their own maladies in response to a patient’s inquiry (How are you doing?) or in response to the patient’s own description, then it is part of a conversation. We want the staff to have casual and friendly conversations because it makes this ongoing loathsome medical procedure somewhat more palatable. It doesn’t seem the same as when the staff walk up to us complaining about their own personal lives, including their allergies and sleeping habits. I am here to have my blood cleaned in order to continue some sort of ‘normal’ life, and the staff is complaining about allergies. That doesn’t seem right, to me.

Now, another part of my brain wonders if I am just being bourgeois? Do the traditional clashes of the conventions of the classes define this complaint too? Let’s see: I am a patient in a medical facility where a continuum of professionals care for me and my insurance pays an exorbitant amount for the care. These folks must have a doctrine that defines the parameters of their decorum in working with patients. And, I would guess that part of that doctrine cautions them from getting too personally involved with the patients. So,
I could argue that my annoyance is perfectly appropriate within the context of the patient / medical staff relationship. As a family counselor, I generally don’t bring up personal information except when asked directly by a client, or sometimes in order to reinforce something they have said, or in order to deliver a metaphor that relates to the goals of the counseling.

On the other hand, I could also argue that Carrie’s mentioning such innocuous information as her allergies and being tired are not even close to the kinds of personal information that would count as inappropriate, and that my reaction does reflect the thoughts and actions of class-to-class discrimination. From that slant we see Jack acting differently with and respecting more the staff with professional degrees and licenses, such as the nurses, social workers, and doctors. The others are the peons that can and should be ordered around without consideration of their humanity. After all, they have chosen their lot in life… or, worse yet, as in the Indian culture, they haven’t chosen their caste and are just placed in one by fate (or, karma). From this perspective, everyone should be judged by how high they have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, and there is no reason what-so-ever that any person can’t raise themselves above their original position. They simply have to work hard. This is
the guts of the American Dream. And, it is a bourgeois philosophy.

Now m
y brain is trying to escape these ruminations… me dost think I think too much. Or, as Pepe le Peu says, “I stink, therefore, I am”. I actually think, in my little brain, that considering these ruminations is important for those of us who are involved with working with people and I offer them up to provoke you, dear reader, in a similar self-dialogue about your relations. And, I do believe that I accept and relate equally to the techs as with the docs. If anything, I think I knock the docs. And, some of my favorite people here are the techs (you know who you are).

So, I can’t listen to my radio (Folkways, of course) because the batteries are dead. I brought Shayna’s radio today and find her batteries are dead too. So, I flip the TV channels from Tiger golf to basketball and finally settle on some movie with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan and the French countryside…

Then I find UT vs. TSU! This is the game daughter Katie is at today! And I get to see the guy she is dating (“He's not my boyfriend!”) play guard for TSU. This is really a neat experience; watching your daughter’s non-boyfriend play college basketball on TV! WOW. This is almost as cool as seeing your own kid playing sports on TV. When I see parents of college kids in the stands going crazy over their kids on the field (court), I can really understand their excitement. So, anyway, Katie’s non-boyfriend played pretty well, although in the second half UT pulled far out ahead of TSU.

Carrie comes over and pulls my needles and tapes me up as I watch the game wind down. The score is 87 to 70 with 4:12 left… and it looks like it’s in the bag for Texas*.

So, I drive home and Lizzie and I are going out on a date to Mike & Kris’ X-mas party, since Shayna is out at a friend’s for the night. But before we go, I must lay down since my BP is crashing. I check it several times over the next hour and it is hovering around 90 / 54. DAMN! As you might figure, we end up staying home and I crash and Liz watches a movie and makes a grocery list. So it goes.

In at 75.3 and out at 73.0 kgs.

*"Atchley leads No. 4 Men's Basketball past Texas State, 96-81" Read about it online at http://www.texassports.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=16&change_well_id=1
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Anonymous said...

Jack -

A longtime friend named Connie Follis suggested that I read your blog.
I have not been disapponted. You write very well, your thoughts intrigue me - especailly this essay about treating the PCTs differently than one would the professional staff.
I sincerely wish you the best of luck with your treatments.
regards, Mel

Jack Nowicki said...

thanks for the feedback Mel! JN