Throughout my childhood and teenage years growing up in Ohio, my family had a routine every day: we sat down and ate dinner together at the dining room table at 4:30PM, on the dot!
No seriously....EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. At the table. With real dishes. We ate hot, homemade food served in serving dishes (not pots). If someone had an activity like cheerleading practice of music lessons or whatever, it didn't matter...dinner happened anyway. My dad would walk in the door at 4:25PM, wash his hands, and then take off his boots to dry. My mom put the final dish on the table, and yelled for us all to gather around. We said grace together, and then we ate whatever delicious midwest, carb-filled delicacy my mom had whipped up that afternoon (pierogies! lasagna! tuna casserole!). We talked about our days at school, and then at some point, someone would say, "Dad, tell us a work story!" Just when he would be about to start, he'd have to stop because inevitably, my mom would say some variation of, "Kids, your dad is so strong. Look how big his muscles are!" Then to my dad, "Go ahead honey, flex your muscles!" Then my dad would flex his muscles-made-huge-from-chronic-jackhammer-use, and one of my brothers would punch him in the arm just for fun, and then we would continue eating our carb-y dinner, and then dad would launch a good work story, which was really the best part of dinner. I mean, seriously.
Back when he was a meter reader, we got to hear about all the crazy people that would refuse to let him into their basements to do the readings. Or the crazy people that would answer their doors butt naked. Or, on really exciting days, we could hear about some crazy dog that went nuts and tried to attack my dad and then about how my dad had to whip out the mace on said crazy dog's ass. When he later moved into construction, the stories got more interesting. We got to hear about the crazy things that his construction partner would do or say (the guy was a nut job). We got to hear stories about pipes that would explode and men that would get their eyebrows totally burned off (awesome), or about a hole that would collapse on a worker and the subsequent rush to get him dug back out before he would suffocate. Talk about exciting, right?
Turns out that being a doctor isn't that much different. I mean, sure, working in the hospital is a lot different than working outside in the freezing cold but NEWSFLASH! People are crazy everywhere, and crazy, screwball things happen EVERYWHERE. Now that I'm married, Jared and I (ironically) seem to mimic my family's midwest dinner ritual. I mean, it's true that sometimes we have to sit down to dinner at 9:00PM, but we do sit down at the table and we eat a hot dinner on real plates (usually), and I always, ALWAYS!, ask Jared to tell me a good work story. It's seriously the best part of my day. Jared comes home with tales of administering anesthesia to criminals that have Sheriff's Deputies guarding their hospital room entrance. Or people that stick things up their butts that don't belong. Girlfriends that stab boyfriends in the thigh with a turkey carving knife on Thanksgiving Day because of a fight (true story). Or people that try to blow up their mailbox using explosives and a handgun just for fun (that just happened), and in the process, accidentally blow off half of their shoulder. Literally.
We went to New Years Eve party the other night with some of good friends "from the hospital", and as it normally does with this crowd, the conversation turned to the crazy stories.
"Did you guys hear about that guy that got beaten with an ax last week?" one wife asked.
"Yes!" replied another. "I think his son was the one that attacked him!"
"I heard his eyeball was dangling out of his face", I helpfully added.
(Apparently everyone loves a good work story. It's not just me.)
Then one of the guys launched into a story about a man in San Antonio that likes to hunt tigers and elephants (what?) and slowly as the medical stories started coming out of the doctors at the party, people started all trickling into the living room, saying things like, "Oooh...I haven't heard this one yet!"
After a few more stories, it was Jared's turn. He started telling us all about a woman that he was dealing with that day. He starts the story with something along the lines of, "So a 45 year old female comes in yesterday. She has a cranial something-or-other, with a more-medical-words-that-I-don't-understand, and her BP was again-more-medical-crap-I-don't-understand..." Basically he was using big, confusing words. I looked up and around the room. All of the doctors there were nodding their heads, seemingly very interested and understanding all of this medical jargon. At this point, you'd THINK that the wives would have eyes glazed over, not even paying attention anymore, but NO. We were all on the edge of our seats, because as usual, THE BEST WAS YET TO COME. The best is ALWAYS yet to come. After more medical words, finally I blurt out, "So tell them what happened!" and Jared finally comes out with it...
"She came in because her boyfriend ran her head over with his car and now her skull is crushed."
At this point, the doctors don't react at all, but the wives go crazy.
"Were they on DRUGS?!" one demands.
"OMG IS SHE GOING TO LIVE?" someone else wants to know.
"Please tell me he was arrested!" a third wife says.
Then a random person says, "Well how did JUST her head get under the wheel, and nothing else?"
Obviously a valid question, and one that all the wives would like to know the answer to. Because this is really the important part of the story. I don't care what dosage of what medine she's getting, and apparently neither does any other wife. We just want to know the good stuff...the soap opera type details, which are ALWAYS the best part of a hospital story. Like when Jared proceeded to tell us that she threatened to stab him with a syringe. That what REALLY gets us going.
I'm just glad it's not just me that likes the sick details. That's all.