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  • Writer's pictureMichael Apollo Lira

Fantasy Sports (and nursing?) Leagues, COVID College Towns, and Tough Love

I'm terrible with general #sports knowledge. I couldn't tell you what teams are having a strong season, and I might even screw up a team's name with the wrong sport entirely. I even grew up in a college town that had absolute zeal for its home team (#GOCOUGS!), despite no real consistency in its ability to win a game of football (as far as I know). Which was actually kind of cool - because I could be across the country and if I see the good old #WSU Cougar logo on a person, it generally comes with some kind of acknowledgement and friendly greeting. But that's about as far as I can carry that conversation, because again I couldn't tell you just what the heck the #Cougs are even doing this season, decade, lifetime, etc.

Fine town, that #Pullman is! Despite recent #COVID data indicating that college kids are absolute morons when it comes to hygiene, safety, and general common sense (oh COME ON now, are you REALLY at all surprised to learn this??), Pullman Washington (home of WSU / "#Wazzu" and The #Cougars, as well as the renowned Cougar Country Drive-In and delicious Zoe Coffee & Kitchen) has been regularly slated as one of the best towns to raise a family in. And while yes, it's a small town and that can sometimes make people from city backgrounds a little stir crazy, I had a great experience growing up there and I came out...uh, sort of ok I guess!

But getting back to sports - yeah, totally not my strong suit as far as general knowledge goes. Over recent years, however, I've listened with some interest to my coworkers talking about these fantasy sports leagues they've put together based on performance statistics. And that got me thinking - you could put together a fantasy league based on a lot of things. I started paying more attention to my workdays and which coworkers I was working with and I very, very slowly began to realize something.

I have much, MUCH better days when specific coworkers are around.

I've been unwittingly making fantasy nursing leagues in my head and assigning team multipliers based on the badass nurses that I work with. And I'm serious about these nurses - they're some of the smartest, wittiest, most capable nurses in the nation. Let me re-emphasize that - THE NATION!! It's an absolute privilege to get to be around them.

This is what I look like when I'm around them:

Nothing but #BabyYoda awe for my colleagues. That makes me lucky.

And that's why I get so ramped up sometimes about making sure they're treated decently at the very least.

#Nursing is a unique field. We work with people who really aren't at their best. Especially in the #ICU. This particular ICU we work in happens to be at a county hospital, so it's literally come one, come all, we're not too good for you, like, AT ALL. Our doors are so open that other hospitals will intentionally divert some "less desired" patients to us instead (gasp, what??). If #Jesus was a hospital, he'd be a better version of what we do (well we're not perfect, crikey man, what did you expect?!). And I'm not talking about the political raptor-riding shotgun Jesus who hates the poor for not pulling themselves up by the bootstraps - I mean the other guy in the New Testament everyone always forgets about; the ugly dude who hung out with a prostitute and the weirdos.

So when you're not at your best - say you're in pain, nauseated, tired of constantly being poked, prodded, asked questions (question like "how are you feeling?" when the answer hasn't changed), you can't go to the bathroom by yourself, and maybe you're just not in the mood to smile....yeah, you get some leeway. You get to be frustrated and be mad at life or its circumstances. But we're usually first in line on the receiving end of that frustration. It's important to see what the person in the bed is really trying to say if they lash out. Usually it's something like "I'm scared. I'm hurting. I'm tired. I really wish I was somewhere else right now." And they have every right to say that.

But sometimes that isn't the message at all. And it's palpable in the air. Sometimes someone is just plain out of line in a less-than-redeemable way where there isn't a middle ground. And when someone treats a good-natured, hard-working co-worker who happens to be a top player on that #fantasy nursing #league...that gets really hard to turn a blind eye to.

We had a young buck on the floor who was being...well, a young buck, towards my esteemed colleague. I felt that it needed addressing - and when the time came to do so, I explained what was wrong with his behavior in a pretty straight-forward and professional fashion, in the presence of a responsible adult at bedside to sort of serve as a neutral third party advocate figure in this discussion.

A simple quick talk and an apology to the nurse, right?

I need to remember that parenting happens in a lot of different ways for a lot of different people.

What happened next, was that time slowed down a little bit. I heard a low-pitched humming noise and saw that a glowing red light in the form of eye-lasers had come to life in the nearby adult...this person also happened to be the father. All of the background sounds and noises in the room - the beeps, the machines - everything, got really quiet and scared. The person in the bed suddenly looked more like a boy than a teenager and was frozen and staring down and straight ahead. I heard the sound of stone grinding against stone as the father's head slowly turned in the boy's direction. The red glow of his eyes cut a swathe across the room as his gaze shifted to his son. I realized I was also frozen in place, like the boy.

"Oh crap," I thought. "We spent a lot of time saving this kid's life and I just got him killed"

Dad took the reigns from there and um...well, the boy was really, really, REALLY nice from there on out. The man loves his son, clearly. We all expect the best from the people we love the most. And I respect that father very much - and not just because of the eye lasers. He's a good man. The initial intensity of that moment though, that's going to say with me for a while.

Being a teenager isn't easy, and being in a hospital isn't easy - for anyone. As long as we keep working to find that middle ground, and as long as nurses work to see the challenges that patients face while they're stuck in that bed, I think everybody will get to walk away better in the end.

Not sure what else to add to this blog, so I think I'll wrap it up there. Be good to each other and I'll keep trying to be good, too!

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Josh Alexander VO
Josh Alexander VO
Nov 17, 2020

Goodness makes the world go around. Thank you for being good, and not being a Terminator, Baby Yoda! :-)

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