A Brief Personal Note Concerning the Boston Marathon Attack

I had intended to write something concerning the passing of a great leader (Hugo Chavez) and a remarkably poor one (Margaret Thatcher), but recent events have taken me in a different direction.  As I am both a Bostonian and a hospital security worker, I’ve decided to offer this brief commentary concerning the recent attack.  I will not go on about heroism or candlelight vigils; that’s what social media and the evening news are for.  I’m not going to offer any thoughts about the political context or implications – other like minded blogs are already on the case and doing just fine.  I instead feel compelled to write about one very specific incident.  Here we go:
As a night and weekend worker, I had only been awake for about an hour when the first device detonated.  Soon after that, the call went out from my department for anyone available to come into work to help out.  I was happy to do so.  I was happy to sit in traffic for almost and hour and a half, as I had to cross the marathon route to make it in to work.  Once there, I was happy to help enforce the elevated level of security required (we did not go to full lockdown, as some of the larger hospitals in Boston did, as we received fewer patients from the attack).  I was happy to question and clear visitors, I was happy to check vulnerable exits and potential targets again and again.  I was happy to help EMS bring patients into the Emergency Department as the ambulance crews grew progressively more tired throughout the day.  I was happy to see that the investigators from the Boston Police and FBI were able to do their jobs and leave in a timely manner.  I was less happy to open the morgue so that our patient transport people could bring a body into it, but at least it wasn’t the body of an attack victim.  I was happy to stay late.  Fine.  All part of the job; no big deal.
In the middle of all of the anxiety and confusion in our filled-to-capacity Emergency Department was the one person I was not happy about.  A mother had brought her son in because, essentially, he drank himself stupid.  I was obliged several times to help him walk while simultaneously ensuring that his pants did not fall down so he could reach the restroom.  I did this to try and save time for his nurse, who had other patients with actual problems.  The kid himself wasn’t so bad, but his mother was absolutely intolerable.  Her constant complaints about waiting and in particular about seeing other patients tended to more closely than her son pissed me off to no end.  She could have let the kid sleep it off at home instead of taking up a bed that could’ve gone to someone actually sick or injured.  She could have at least acknowledged that doctors trying to pull shrapnel out of people’s limbs might not give a shit that she was tired of waiting.  When she started looking at our long suffering charge nurse and TAPPING HER FUCKING WATCH it was all I could do to keep quiet.  What absurd, self-centered world view permits this kind of crap?  It’s doubly revolting when you consider that it’s overwhelmingly likely that this woman voted for either Bush or Obama – meaning she has backed a pro-war candidate of some stripe, offering implicit support for high civilian casualty drone strikes – and compounded that by recommitting to this kind of myopic selfish bullshit on the very same day her city suffers a similar attack!  There was a runner in the room next door being issued crutches while this woman tapped her designer watch because her voluntarily intoxicated but otherwise healthy son wasn’t the center of attention.  It is, of course, very unlikely that she’ll read this, but just in case: Hey, asshole!  PEOPLE ARE DYING.  YOUR FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS MEAN JACK SHIT.  FUCKING GET OVER IT.  Sorry for the rant, all.  I’ll try to get back to the usual stuff next time.  Maybe it’s time for another round of political cartoons or something.

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