Journal Excerpt: Telepathy

Today would be exactly three years since I quit my hospital job. Definitely over it, no regrets, I don’t even think about it much anymore… But I’m at my parents’ house right now, and it’s where I lived when I worked, and it’s where I keep all my old journals, so the aroma of old memories is strong here. It’s a little eerie to be thinking about my old job now, actually, because I’ll be starting on-the-job training in the coming days. And this training/position has a completely (almost hilariously) unrelated job description to my old one. Life is crazy.

I wanted to browse through my 2015 journal, because early 2015 was The Darkest Timeline and it would be amusing to read what I was thinking on the days leading to April 4, 2015. But it just so happens that my 2015 journal is the only missing journal in the box, meaning I put it somewhere I don’t remember, which is just great. Incredible timing on my part.

Let’s settle for late 2014, then. This one entry is a good showcase of how dramatic I am as a person. And how my temperament was really not meant for a hospital setting. There should really be disclaimers for career paths before you embark on them: WARNING! NOT RECOMMENDED FOR SENSITIVE PEOPLE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HATE YOURSELF ON A DAILY BASIS.

September 24, 2014

Earlier today I held the tiny hand of a little boy, who firmly clasped my hand back in full trust. A few seconds later, I pricked him with a lancet. So of course he cried and cried and looked at me with an expression of utter fear and betrayal, and I felt myself die a little. Those expressions don’t belong on a little boy’s face, and it kills me to know that I put them there.

Every child’s scream and every sick person’s moan each time I poke them with stuff—all of that gets to me. I haven’t yet learned how to keep my heart out of it. I once talked to my mom about this, how I think if karma comes back to haunt me, then I’m gonna be a receiver of so much pain, as I have inflicted so much pain on strangers on a daily basis (especially tiny newborns! who just entered the world! and there i go make them cry on their first day of life!). Her response was simple: “Someone’s gotta do it.” I know. But. Does it have to be ME? I wonder if I will ever come into terms with it. That this is my job. That I am a harbinger of necessary evil. That it’s me doing it. Will I ever feel okay being evil because it’s necessary? Is this really what I signed up for?

I don’t even get to check on the patients when all is said and done. My only interaction with them is when I pierce their skins with sharp objects. More meetings with me only means more needles, nothing else.

For now, I do this thing that stayed with me after reading Ask The Passengers by A.S. King. In the book, Astrid sends her love to strangers on airplanes she sees pass by overhead, regardless of how bad she’s feeling, and the strangers on the airplane kind of catch that anonymously-sent love, and good stuff start happening to them. I know it’s only fiction, but I sure like to believe that love, or at least good vibes, can be sent out telepathically like that. Every time I make a baby cry, or prick a grandma or a grandpa, I think, “I love you, I love you, I’m sorry, I love you.” I actually think it furiously, if that makes sense, like my heart really squeezes extra hard to get the love out to the person I’m hurting. To babies, I even go so far as thinking, “You’re beautiful, little baby, and you’re gonna be okay, and you’re gonna grow up strong and healthy and brave, and you will forget you ever got hurt like this. I promise.” If only there weren’t watchers around who’d be weirded out by my nuttiness, I’d even willingly say that out loud.

But I don’t. (No surprise there…) I’m a super quiet phlebotomist. I know I am supposed to be chatty, and make patients feel at ease (WHILE I INEVITABLY HURT THEM. Is that not evil?), but by nature I am incapable of engaging in small talk, much less to patients I don’t know. So apart from the necessary introductions and identification, I’m always silent. But even so, I’m always thinking, “Please let this be fast and not hurt so much. I’m sorry. I love you.”

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