Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Day to Recuperate

What a week it's been! I'm thinking at this point, I'm just going to have to accept that work just isn't going to get any better. Sadly, what's happening down here is that mental health services in Louisiana are getting cut more and more by our wonderful governor and as that happens we're getting more innundated with patients and unfortunately have a very limited number of beds. We're one of a very few mental health hospitals left in Louisiana. Even outpatient services are now being cut so when people panic, run out of meds, or just aren't getting their normal services and deteriorate mentally because of that, they need to come inpatient. As an admissions counselor, my job is to get these people who need the help into the hospital when we have a bed open and to explain to them that we don't have a bed when we don't. And sadly the latter is the truth most of the time these days and that's just hard to tell people. These weeks have just been draining me emotionally and physically, so today was really just what I needed.

I'm actually off for the next two days as well! Tuesday is Mardi Gras, but I'm actually not a huge fan of Mardi Gras...I like to go to a couple of the parades, but I can pass on Mardi Gras day. And with the last few weeks being hell at work, I'm using these three days off to just relax as much as I can. Today has been WONDERFUL :D Well, except for the splitting migraine that I woke up with that almost made me puke, but I took meds for that and about two hours later it was gone. Once that was gone I got up and went and got myself some coffee to start the day and then cleaned the hell out of the apartment. Call me crazy, but this is actually something I enjoy :p Or I enjoy HAVING a clean apartment afterwards I should say :p

Since then, I've just been reading, playing songpop, baking banana bread, and doing a whole lot of nothing :) And I think after I write this, I shall go sit in the bathtub with Stephen King's The Shining and do some #Shinealong catching up! I've only just started Part 2! I've been reading some good graphic novels lately though!!

I finally read Neil Gaiman's Midnight Days which has been sitting on my shelves literally forever. The funny thing is, I never even knew what Midnight Days was. It just had Gaiman's name on it so I bought it years ago. What it actually is, is a collection of five previously unpublished graphic stories by him! And I really enjoyed it!! Highly recommended for those who like Neil's graphic novel stuff and are looking for something different.

I also picked up Shaun Tan's new book, The Bird King, which is subtitled "An Artist's Notebook." It's SUCH an awesome little book. It's exactly what the subtitle suggests. It's basically sketches and ideas...some that never saw the light of day and some that became published work. It's broken down into sections for short story ideas, film ideas, random notebook doodles, etc. The first section, the short story ideas were just SO amazing. Some of them evoked a really strong emotional response in me and reminded me why I love love Shaun Tan so much. You can just look at one of his drawings and imagine an entire story from it. Love this one.

Then today I finished Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and wow, what an intense graphic memoir this one was. It's quite the powerful story of Bechdel's family life, particularly her relationship with her father. After finishing the book, it's still hard to really discern her relationship with her father. Bechdel draws parallels between herself and her father as she shows herself discovering herself as a lesbian in the book as she discovers her father's affairs with men and in a way there's a really close bond between the two, though at the same time, there's a near hatred there as well at times. But even though I say it's hard to discern their relationship, it's not so hard to understand it. Bechdel communicates her story, her upbringing and her life with her family in a way that's relatable and I think this is a perfect example of how the graphic/comic medium can work so well for a memoir.

Anyone else read anything especially good this weekend??


Ali said...

Glad you're getting a much-needed long weekend! Trying to help out desperate people when there aren't enough resources is incredibly discouraging. Though I'm not sure a heavy dose of The Shining is the antidote I would have

DesLily said...

sure glad the migraine went away!! and I really need to move in with you since you love to "clean" so much LOL j/k lol
I finished the second book on Eleanor Roosevelt she's certainly someone I wish was around to meet NOW! I may start a 3rd book (another 600 pgs) on Franklin and Eleanor "just during the war years". Strange ... if I "had" to read one of these books when I was in school I wouldn't have touched them with a ten foot pole!

Debi said...

Okay, you're really cranking out the graphic novels now, aren't you?!! And with another two days off here, who knows what you'll get read! I didn't realize you hadn't read Fun Home yet...I still haven't. Almost picked it up last night, but went with one of my library books instead. Maybe I'll make it my next one.

Okay sweetie, you be sure to enjoy every second of your long weekend!!! RELAX!!!

Beth F said...

First, glad the migraine disappeared quickly, and Ugh on the work stuff.

BUT, but, but: Shaun Tan's new book, The Bird King! I so need to get myself a copy. I love Tan.

Daphne said...

Glad you have some time off... I work in mental health also (but not direct care) and I hear you... thankfully the situation is better in CA. But it can be very emotionally draining. Glad you are taking care of yourself!!

jennysbooks said...

I hope your Mardi Gras is reasonably quiet and relaxing! I am in New York with no king cake whatsoever feeling deeply pissed off that I have to go to work today and tomorrow even though it is PLAINLY MARDI GRAS. :p

Also, it turns out that lip-curling is a real thing. My lip curled when I read this first paragraph. I thought it was a literary device but apparently it's real. At least I have learned something from rotten Bobby Jindal and his rotten state-ruining policies.

Chris Howard said...

Ali, LOL...very true :p Just intervene if I post a blog post that's nothing but "all work and no play make Jack a dull boy" :p

Mama, I'm the same as you! I find myself these days reading books that I would've HATED reading in high school and loving them now, lol...funny what happens as we age. And my migraines seem to have given me a few days off ;)

Debs, I shall indeed continue to enjoy my days off! And yes, you really should pick up Fun Home when you get a chance!

Beth, Get a copy of it ASAP! I promise you you won't regret it!!

Daph, Isn't it draining sometimes? It's not even the work so much that gets to me it's the politics of the job and the behind the scenes stuff that drives me nuts. Sitting in a room with a patient helping them? I love that! It's everything else that drives me crazy.

Jenny, If it makes you feel any better, I really haven't had much king cake either this year :p And I'm kind of pissed about that, lol. Though I'm sorry you need to work!! Yeah...Jindall...asshole. That's really the only word to describe him. Well there are a few others I can think of. I cannot WAIT until that man is out of office!!!!

anenduringromantic said...

Read Ismail Kadare's The File on H last weekend, a fictional story about two Homer scholars travelng to Albania to discover the origins of the oral epic. Gripping. Much recommended.

Susan said...

Oh Chris, why is the weak that are targeted? It's not much better up here, the gap between the hospitals and the psychiatric ward (we have the hospital for mental health in the eastern part of our province here in Ottawa) is getting larger as services are cut, and the handicapped, the disabled, the mentally ill but not a threat to anyone are the ones left out to struggle.....I am glad that the people in Louisiana have someone like you to help them, and care. It's one person at a time, and it does matter.

Sorry, I didn;t mean to go on a rant when neither you or I are respsonsible, and you give so much already! I'm so proud of you for being able to do your job, and I wish it weren't so draining on you.

I'm glad you enjoyed Fun Home, I've been meaning to buy it since I borrowed it from the library and partially read it last year, and really enjoyed it.

How are you liking The Shining?? I meant to join the read-a-long too, but I don't twitter, and the surgery came up unexpectedly. Maybe I'll read it next week while alone in the house recovering *shiver* lol