Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Next time, on "Speech"...

The pastor of my church has said for years that she could make it big with a scripted TV show taken from the real things she's seen as a small church pastor in a metropolitan area, including Bibles being hurled at people's heads, bizarre staffing decisions, and the random assortment of people that come through the door. It would be called, of course, "Church", and be steamier than the Sopranos.

I'm thinking about my own version of this in the world of a large speech-language pathology department at a small, quirky hospital. Episodes might include these true nuggets:
  • A girl who gets dressed in the dark shows up to work thinking she had put on leggings under a long shirt (back when this was the thing to do). She had in fact put on stockings, thereby showing up to work not wearing pants.

  • The doctors' band, Feels So Good, plays on while the hospital readies for a rare DC hurricane, prompting one person to say to her friends at lunch "It's like we're on the Titanic".

  • A newly hired therapist frequently comes in late, claiming that she needed to take her boyfriend across town. All of the female co-workers agreed that "driving Dick" seemed like a perfectly good reason to be late.

  • A man with a lifetime of drugs in him is wheeled over the bridge from the acute care hospital sitting straight up on the stretcher warning people to get out of his way by singing "No Parking On the Dance Floor" at the top of his lungs (beep beep, ahhhhh, beep beep).

  • A therapist compares how things are at work over the 4th of July with a friend who helps keep an eye on foreign threats against the US. His week: "I was on CNN to discuss nuclear blah blah blah". Her week: "We had a hot dog eating contest."

  • Another man with a lifetime of drugs in him is standing up from his wheelchair with one foot in a basin of water with a plastic bag tied like a do-rag on his head, a Mars bar in one hand and bag of Crab Chips in the other, and a beardful of both. The response of the therapist who walks in on him: "You're a disaster."

  • A case manager injures her hand in a fall when she trips over the giant foam shoes she is wearing as part of the organization's mascot costume during a new team member orientation session, comically landing with one shoe twisted about like Joe Theismann.

  • A housekeeper is overheard calling an Archbishop of a far away country "Chuck" as they pass in the hallway.

  • A therapist falls and breaks both of her front teeth at the hospital Christmas party during a tipsy dance move gone wrong, prompting the case managers to post "the speechies" on the list for restraints at the next Monday's team conference, and a friend to make the comment some time later "I put that on the list with September 11th as things that I just can't believe really happened".

And new, on this week's episode:

  • A close family of therapists rally around a teammate when she learns her husband has pancreatic cancer and only a few months to live.

  • A newly hired therapist (seriously -- she worked for 2 weeks) drops a resignation letter in her boss's mailbox at 5:00 on Friday saying not only is she quitting, she's leaving the country. The new catch phrase becomes "I'm so stressed I could move to Canada".

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