Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Word Contest

I just got back from a week in the desert, you know the place with golf, girls, gaming, and guzzling. Had a great time, until the thought of working the night I got back set in. That's where the contest comes in. I need someone to come up with a word to describe the despair, dysthymia, disenchantment, disdain etc., that I feel driving into work for an ED night shift I know will be horrible. I feel like Peter Gibbons from Office Space. He asked the occupational hypnotherapist for something to help him zone out at work and feel like he had been fishing. After the session he had an epiphany. That is how I would like to feel. The contest is open to almost all, and the prize is a foot massage from 911 ( although it will be done over the Internet, by massaging his own feet on a web cam and you pretending they are yours). Linguists are welcome, except for Chomsky or any of you 20ish year old America-hating Chomskyites taking night classes, blogging on the Daily Kompost and living in your mom's basement. You are not welcome to join. (In fact, if you have kids nearing college age you must arm them with the Anti-Chomsky Reader. This will help shield and arm them as the plaid-jacket-wearing 60's rejects who couldn't get a job in the private sector bombard them with anti-capitalist anti-American anti-Jewish rhetoric.) Sorry about the tangent but the linguist thing got me thinking. So go and make up a word so I can at least put a name to this condition.


  1. How bout 'Weltschmerz' - german word which describes a feeling of a weariness/pain at the state of the world, and the evils within it. Weltschmerz kind of implies that feeling of being ground down with the weight of the world on one's shoulders, with the promise of more burdens to come.

    Sound like night shifts?


  2. Suicidal/homicidal ideation.


    PRE-traumatic stress disorder.

    Liberal amounts of Xanax and/or Ativan should do the trick.

  3. When you're returning from girls, gaming, girls, guzzling, girls, golf and girls in the desert, and you're anticipating work with this degree of scorn, wouldn't you be feeling really...


    Comedy Writer Jerry Perisho

  4. DREAD-ON -- apply directly to forehead

    DREAD-ON -- apply directly to forehead

    DREAD-ON -- apply directly to forehead

  5. Is it really that bad? Doesn't that, like, kinda suck considering how much time, effort, and expense you have poured into the right to claim such a job? I understand work is work, but this perhaps idealistic commenter would like to believe that you've earned something worthwhile, perhaps not deserving of new language to define it's shortcomings.

  6. I suggest "nauseated," although suicidal/homicidal ideation is a good one.

  7. I like the term "crap-tacular" to describe the feeling.

    But, I think the term burnout may apply. I know it intimately.

    They tell me there are 3 cures.
    1. Change your job.
    2. Change your profession.
    3. Change your life.

    Wish I had the huevos to do 2 or 3.

  8. Anon 1102

    A beautiful comment, indeed. But, it is "that bad".

    Doctors have the some of the highest rates of burnout, depression and suicide of all professions. Doctors sometimes see patients rise to the highest levels of bravery and character when confronted by devastating disease.

    But, more often, the ER Docs see the worst of the worst. We are the canaries in the mine of social and societal failure, fed lies and deceit. The 2 year old child beaten to death by the now wailing step father, sticking to the story the child slipped in the bathtub. The single mother that was so tired that she put he 1 month old beside her in bed, and fell so deeply asleep that rolled over and accidentally smothered the baby. The 13 yr old pregnant girl with newly diagnosed HIV who swears she never had sex. The drug seeker with back pain that is so high he can't put 3 words together without falling asleep. Any ER Doctor could go on and on with the stories. And, sadly, we cannot speak about it to anyone, except ourselves because of confidentiality. We cannot speak out against it to the patient because the hospital wants its "clients" to be satisfied, and will fire you. Or worse, if you say or do anything perceived as wrong the lawyers will come after everything you achieved, and sometimes win your savings and your house.

    Now, imagine seeing this day after day, month after month, year after year. You develop a second skin that protects you. You dissociate from your emotions and feelings. You have to, to protect yourself from the absolute insanity and suffering you see. The humor at the desk where your coworkers, chained by the same inane theater playing out around you, becomes dark. You begin to dread your work, fear your patients and feel trapped.

    Sadly, people in general do not see your second skin for what it is. They see you as cold and arrogant. They get angry at the bill because the doctor was uncaring and did not explain things to them in detail. They complain to the hospital administration about the doctor's indifference. They do not realize that the second skin will allow the doctor to function, and not go to pieces when your severely injured baby needs an intraosseous IV and screams. Or your screams when you need a large chest tube without sedation because the sedation will kill you.

    So, you see, we are a product of our environment, and our society. We are subjected to things that nobody should see, and do our jobs. We have stresses that no one understands, not our hospital administrators nor lawyers nor the general public. And still, we do our jobs.

    I ask you to remember, the next time you see an ER Doc (or nurse) that is abrupt, or is cold, or complains about lawyers, or has a bizarre sense of humor that this is his second skin. And in a disaster, he will be there, focused and determined to do his job.

    911Doc -- it pains me about the tone of this post. But it has to be said. And you are not alone when you have that feeling. ER Docs everywhere have the same feeling. Cheers, my friend.

  9. Ok, I love Dread-On, and I will say it over and over because it does make me laugh. Craptacular is in a close second. Scorny is third.

    Igloodoc- you are right on. Sometimes that second skin tears a hole in it and the shit seeps through. I am now on my fourth-skin. Pun intended.

    Wasn't it Neitze who talked about Weltschmerz?


  10. somehow the word schlaaaggg comes to mind...but I don't think that really says it all

  11. perhaps mental necrosis is closer to the mark

  12. IGloo Doc that was very well put. You have explained it very well indeed. We have to have that second skin or inappropriate humor for all the times we see or experience the unthinkable sadness.

    I vote for PTSD or a word that means you know you are going to go into a situation which will make your ptsd worse. Sort of like PRe-ptsdism. OR hospital induced advancement of PTSD state which has already occured on a nightly basis. I am sure there must be something in the DSM 3. But I don't have a copy anymore.

    I could call it PMS = Pre Mental (physical, emotional, spiritual) Stress. You know you have it bad when you wish you would get into a car accident and get hurt but not too bad so you have a good excuse not to go into work again!!!

  13. .
    We could call it mysanthropy (just kidding!), but what about drudgeryphobia?

  14. Sounds like you're pretty angry at having to come to work. I'd call it:


    Comedy Writer Jerry Perisho

  15. SC,

    I thought you had left the ED even before 911 did? Either I misunderstood or you missed it so much you went back. ;-)

  16. I was thinking about this instead of kindergarten, but most of my students were still there at the end of the day.




  17. How about "flint" as in like Flint, Michigan. I mean, what represents that feeling more than a trip through Flint, Michigan? Depending on the neighborhood in which you work, "gary" may be appropriate too.

    Gee, I feel so flinty tonight.

  18. Craptacular is good... but I lean more towards CRAPTASTIC!! I mean, you've gotta get the sarcastic glee in there as well...

  19. Deep down inside you know the ER is your home.

    Therefore, how about nostophobia, from the Greek "nostos," meaning "home" and "phobia," meaning "fear."

    Therefore, it's "fear of going home."

  20. .
    Praetor Hospitalis Odium

  21. I think it's called "Being old and pissy."

  22. analdynophobia









  23. "Skived"

    it means cut into tiny little pieces. Layer by layer. I just found it because I orginally wanted to say "skint," but that doesn't really work.

    Plus, it looks like "skeeved" as in "this layer of questionable mucus/blood/pus/brain matter really skeeves me."

  24. "SchwanzimArsch"

  25. All great, and this is how our language grows. Contest ends today:
    Right now its-
    Firkenschnit- sounds nasty
    Melantedium - science is fun
    Dread on


    They are just now building the urgent treatment center I am starting. It won't be open till Feb, so my family still wants to eat. I have cut back on my shifts and it feels great!


  26. I like dread-on - but I don't think you apply it to the forehead. Probably apply it somewhere only the JC and hosp administrators know.

    How about a case of the dreadclocks?

  27. I see some others were thinking along the same lines that I am...



  28. Because I have a test on Monday and need to practice making acronyms...

    SEISS (N) pronounced "S-EYE-CE"

    Shitty-Emtala -Induced-Shift Syndrome




  29. Thanks to all who played. I didn't hear from Chomsky, but I guess he's too busy trying to convince a new batch of 18 year olds that he is a superior intellect. The winners are:

    1. Firkenschnit
    2. Analdynophobia
    3. Craptastic
    4. Shiftoschmerz
    5. Drudgeryphobia

    You can collect the foot rub from 911 just as soon as he belt sands those corns and thick fungus from the nail area.


  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. The Green Mile.

    Or, I greenmiled into work today after my vacation.

  32. C'mon 8 Blog Contributors and this is the best you can do? Its like waiting for Guns N'Roses next Album.

  33. I am a long time reader, first time poster, or at least I think I am......

    I feel your pain. I do work in a total different area of nursing right now but have worked in the ED/ER in the past.

    I do get that total regret and horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I drive into work for the 45 minutes it takes me, I feel like I am going to vomit.....

    I think it is the feeling of the unknown! What will tonight be like? Some nights the word of the day will be dispair and some nights the word of the day maybe be hope, but most nights I feel the dispair. Could the night get or be an worse, I wish I had a word for you, but my heart goes out to you and all others like us. We need a word, for what we are! And it is not the Keepers of the Light!

    Have A Good One!

  34. Yeah! I made #4!

    Ahem... I think I'll pass on the video of 911's feet, especially after that description, but thanks of the offer.

  35. oops... sorry, I made #5 :-(