There’s No Place Like Home Sweet Home

Vol. 19 •Issue 24 • Page 58
Barely Breathing

There’s No Place Like Home Sweet Home

“Two more days,” Danny said gleefully. “I can hardly wait.”

“Two days?” I echoed, “What’s going to happen in two days?”

“I start a week’s vacation,” Danny chortled. “I’m going to catch up on some yard work, tune up my motorcycle and then sit on the porch and read a bunch of library books.”

“Wow,” I said.

Normal people take vacations all the time, but RTs don’t. Danny had been my supervisor for so long he seemed like a permanent fixture at the hospital. Other than a day or two here and there, I hadn’t known him—or any other therapist for that matter—to take off a week.

“Why is that?” I asked another therapist later in the day.

“It’s because of bonds,” she answered. “I’ve bonded with all my patients until they are like friends. I just can’t leave them in anyone else’s care.”

“Not even my care?” I asked with a hurt look. “I’m the best there is.”

“Me too,” she said. “That’s why I can’t take a week off; none of you can give Mrs. Smith the care I do.”

“Mrs. Smith in 410?” I asked, referring to one of our favorites. “Why, she likes me the best. Doesn’t she?”

“She says that to all of us,” Nichole said with a laugh. “But you don’t braid her hair while she does her treatment. I do.”

“What does braiding hair have to do with her doing a treatment?” I asked.

“My point exactly,” Nichole said, snapping her fingers. “It has everything to do with it. But I also can’t take off a week because of the bond I have with everyone in this department. We’re closer than friends; we are family. I would feel like I’m letting down someone.”

“Hey,” she said, “when was the last time you took a vacation?”

“Hmm,” I said thoughtfully. “It was—it was—come to think of it, I haven’t had a vacation, have I?”

“See?” she said.

“How much vacation time do you have saved up?” I asked another therapist at lunch.

“Vacation time?” he said. “Vacation time. Let’s see,” he scratched his head for a moment. “I must have a bunch.”

“Why don’t you take some?” I asked.

“And do what?” he answered.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Hang around your home.”

“To tell you the truth,” he said. “I spend more time here than home. This seems like home to me.”

“What do you do on your days off?” I asked yet another therapist at the close of our shift.

“I get ready to come back here,” he said. “A little laundry, a little TV. I watch the new medical show on Wednesdays”

“You watch medical shows on your day off.” I asked with disbelief.

“Sure,” he said. “Somebody’s got to point out the mistakes, don’t they?”

“Ever think about taking a vacation?” I asked.

“Vacation?” he asked. “Why?”

Three days later, I was in the cafeteria when I saw a familiar profile over in the corner by the windows.

“Danny?” I called out. “Is that you? It’s been just two days.”

“No kidding?” he said, as he poured half a carton of creamer into his coffee. “Seems like longer. Well,” he sighed. “Anything happen while I was gone?”

I gave him a long, sobering look. “No,” I said succinctly. “Nothing.”

“Good,” he said as he stood. “Guess I’ll go enjoy the rest of my vacation.”

“Do that,” I said. “I thought you were going to do yard work.”

“Done it,” he said.

“Motorcycle tuneup?” I prompted.

“That’ll wait,” he said.

“Reading?” I tried again.

“Yep,” he said. “I’m going to sit on the porch and read all day. You working tomorrow?” he added as he started for the door.

I nodded, trying to keep the smile off my face.

“See you tomorrow then,” he said.

Brent Swager is a Florida practitioner.