It’s hard to grab anything concrete.

My life is split into such evenly divided sections that I have a hard time remembering which part is the real me. I mean, I’m real in whatever situation I’m in, but if I had to define my life, the concreteness is elusive.

The other day, my band played a show in a pretty popular spot. Normally I would’ve been extremely excited, and I was, but for some reason it didn’t quite hit me like our first show at a major venue. As I played the songs with the band, I found myself a little surprised that playing music can very surely turn into work, like any other profession. I felt a little exasperated as my band-mate goaded me on to speak to the crowd, and I had to muster up energy and vigor I didn’t feel like mustering to get the somewhat inebriated crowd excited. I mean, it’s all fun, but it is kind of like work.

Several times, I found myself zoning out when I was on my third hour at Potbelly’s, a sandwich shop I play in for far too little pay. Occasionally, my mind would resurface as I had human interaction in the form of people coming up to me to thank me for making their little lunch break pleasant. I would smile, replying, “That’s why I do it.”

Today, I worked at the hospital. It felt kind of nice, to have a little routine, and to do something so completely selflessly as to serve the needs and oversee the care of 5 different, sick, vulnerable human beings.

“We’re like.. angels, guys,” I wondered out loud to my co-workers. They kind of ignored me as they continued on their work.

I didn’t care. I just kind of sat in fascination.

Now, most days aren’t like the kind of day I had today. But regardless, I decided I would only care about my patients and not get annoyed by them or just feel lazy and think about my own needs. I would serve them like as if they were my loved ones. I would care for them in a way that no one else had before.

This one guy, an extremely non-compliant, diagnosed bi-polar schizophrenic who was hospitalized for cellulitis, had an Incision & Debridement procedure. The surgeon told him not to bear weight on the foot, but he didn’t listen, and yesterday, he took off the dressing and essentially lost a pint of blood. Freaked, the nurses made him stay in bed, called the podiatrist (foot doc), and even this morning, one of my co-workers who witnessed what happened the other day was yelling at him to stay put.

He was a handful. Cursing, walking around, looked a little unkempt, defiance in his eyes. I decided that raising my voice would probably aggravate him, so I resorted to just listening or responding calmly. I picked my battles carefully, and got him all the juice, crackers, and fruit that he wanted, even though he was a diabetic with MRSA in his wound. Through the soft-spokenness, I was able to convince him to let the IV nurse put an IV in him to get his antibiotics and to leave the port in. I convinced him to stay in his room and not go outside.

Several times he still tried to get up and sneak out but I’d catch him and keep iterating what would happen. In my heart I was a little annoyed, but only because I wanted him to realize how much I was doing this because I cared. This homeless man hospitalized before me probably lived a very difficult life without anyone caring for him. I think the feeling was unfamiliar to him.

I finally thought to get him a wheelchair to get around in if he needed to.

And at the end of the day, he had a different light in his eyes when we talked. He thanked me (after a whole day of cursing at me and telling me I’m a Chinese racist) and I entrusted his care onto the nightshift.

My heart feels glad. I think joyful moments in life are best enjoyed in small portions. The joy of playing a song from my heart, and moving others with it. The joy of honestly working hard to help someone to recover from their sickness in the hospital and having them realize it and appreciate you.

Those little joys are short and pass fairly quickly. I guess I like to write about them to savor it like a little nightcap before bedtime.

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