I just kicked my pager off the coffee table and it exploded into 6 pieces. It took me five minutes to find the little stripped screw that supposedly keeps the thing together. I found it taking refuge under my latest knitting project.
My pager has been a source of angst for the past year and a half. Prior to starting clerkship, I thought having a pager would be cool. Kind of a sign of “growing up” in the medical field. I clearly forgot that I both hate phones and loud noises. My phone fear is kind of ridiculous. Its not that I dislike talking to people. Its that I hate not knowing what is going to be there when I answer or call. Not that I expect a monster (well, really), but I hate the mystery… and the awkwardness of wrong numbers and not knowing what to do with the caller. The loud noise thing is a bit more deep rooted… Definitely an evolutionary protector. I have been afraid of noise as long as I can remember. My mom used to have to find someone to hold me/distract me, so she could vacuum. I still get anxious with vacuum cleaners. My friends say it is based in my autistic tendencies (no offense to people with true autism, they are convinced I am high functioning Asperger’s based on my multiple sensory issues and several other characteristics I don’t need to get into right now…). I gleefully picked up my pager and paid my $100 deposit (I am fairly sure it is worth less than the $100 deposit). My model had no original instructions, but a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of instructions… illegible. So, by trial and error, I set it up. I can’t read the last number in the time or date without squeezing the ends and the backlight never has worked since I received it. The thing beeps a single high-pitched beep in acknowledgement when you finish inserting the time, and then the date… I jumped both times. Jittery, I assured myself it would get better. I then picked my “beep.” My pager has no class, no pleasant beeps, just earthshattering; awaken the comatose kinds of beeps. I selected one that induced the least anxiety. I have since changed it twice; once the sound causes me to have palpitations for an extended period post-page it is time for a new one. Whenever I get a call, I shoot through the roof. A year and a half, tonnes of pages, and still… I glare at it, I sweet talk it… I brace myself when I am expecting a page, but nonetheless, palpitations and occasional pre-syncopal episodes.
Its not just the noise my pager makes that irritates me… It is its general state of disrepair. As I previously stated, my pager explodes into 6 pieces, on average every third impact with the ground. The clip on it doesn’t work well, so I have been forced to tape it closed onto my lanyard (super cool, I know). Every time it takes a tumble, I wait for the crash. The best part… once I reassemble it (thankful I don’t have to pay $100 for a “new” pager) I have to re-set the time and date and such… Hence, more obnoxious beeps and eyestrain.
Apparently new, modern hospitals have started to edge away from pagers. I think it would do my mental health well. Hospital issued blackberry… yes please! Maybe then, I would be able to survive grand rounds without developing a strange twitch. And, it would save the hunt for a phone, the busy lines and possibly even save a few calls, thanks to text messaging.
Here is evidence of someone clearly having too much time on their hands and far too many pagers. It is one of my worst nightmares (after dummiels – long story and not a typo – and my husband dying):
On another, more pleasantly sound-related note. I am a huge music geek. The house is rarely silent when I am in it. My playlists vary from bubble gum pop to hard rock, rap to classical, death metal to worship. I go through some musical phases depending on my mood. Patrick reserves the right to veto music. When we were dating, he vetoed at least half of my music. I think it has cut to maybe a third or less. I like to think I am culturing him. He sometimes says that he can’t believe a “music snob” like me would listen to stuff like that. His pet peeve is “talking songs.” Sung speech or any song without variance in the tone for a period of time drive him batty. The “talking songs” aren’t just talking, but they are also considered anything that has a sound similar to said “talking songs.” Almost the entirety of the “Juno” movie soundtrack, for instance is regularly vetoed for “talking songs”. Songs with screaming in them also kill him slowly. There can be approximately 4 brief yelps or one good going AHHHHHHHH before it gets skipped. I admit, they can get irritating, but it is what makes the genre and often the core of the song is too good to ditch based on the yell, for instance, the band The Wedding has its odd scream, but it is almost point accenting. Artistic liberty.
Recently, I, like billions of others have been listening to the new Coldplay album “Mylo Xyloto”. I love it! I love all of Coldplay’s music. I have also been really into this band called The City Harmonic. They have a newish CD out entitled “I Have a Dream.” I had heard one of their songs this summer on a playlist at the GP’s office I worked at (he had heard it played in a worship set at a church he visited and downloaded it). I didn’t really know anything about them and I guess they are relatively new. I searched them on iTunes recently and discovered the new CD. One of the reviews said they are like Coldplay, but Christian. So true! Similar rich sound, clever lyrics, but with a Christian message.