Saturday, April 03, 2004

Decomposition: The Eros Of Office Supplies

The day before I'd thrown a mock hissy about Post-It notes, the square yellow kind. My most excellent nurse, Pam, had recently requested that instead of leaving a Post-It on a chart saying, for example, "please call patient -- how is she doing ?" that I write such a request in the chart itself. The Post-Its, she rightly pointed out, are decidual. And she'd taken to including the post-its in the record. Which I'd never intended her to do. "It's a doctor's order. It needs to be written," she argued.

That day, finding no more room in the progress notes, and too lazy to get a new page, label it, and insert it in the chart, I'd given her a Post-It note request. I felt like a sneaky child trying to get away with something. Nurse Pam, however, would have none of that.

"What's this, Dr. T ?" she intoned ironically.

Guilty as charged, I launched into a mock self-exculpatory diatribe, and, at the dramatic climax, I extracted a large pack of yellow post-its from my desk drawer and brandished them. By now a crowd had gathered. Dr T. was ranting again. How amusing. Nurse Pam -- we share a tiny office -- claims she's going to install a spit shield, especially for when the topic of George Bush come up.

"And look !" I declaimed, "I've even bought at my own expense -- and I'm not even going to deduct them on my taxes ! -- a whole package of Post-Its, unadorned by evil drug company messages !" (Big Pharma showers us with little pads of pseudo post-its emblazoned with their ads. I have banished them from my half of the office.)

I ended up copping to my abject laziness and promising never to do it again.

I love Post-It notes. They might be nature's most perfect office supply. And I love the most clever fluff of a movie in which they feature -- Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. I'm a low woman. So kill me. So low that I also get great pleasure from a well-wrought form. Most forms are ill-wrought. So ill, that I've come to call them, as a class, "Byzantine Forms." Example ? Anything from the registry. All doctors' credentialing and recredentialing forms.

And elegant forms ? Our local MRI provider's order forms. Just topnotch. They please the eye, make ordering simple, provide enough space for clinical details, have a NCR copy for the chart, and a MAP on the verso for patient convenience. Elegant. To match the cheerful clerical staff. Never once have I phoned them up and gotten anything but a warm and helpful person. A perfect congruence of form and function. (Kudos CHEM Center, Stoneham. I love you.)

Our hospital's Communicable Disease Reporting Form's pretty swell, too.

Anyway, the day following my Post-It snit was April 1st.

I arrived to find, unusually enough, our office door closed -- because on the door was a sign:

George Bush Campaign Headquarters, Chief Officer Dr. T.

Laughing, I pushed open the door.

The whole room was plastered in drug rep post-it notes, most of them advertising Zoloft.

And suspended from the ceiling, turning lazily on a piece of 5-0 blue ethilon, was another sign: Dubya's Chimp-like phiz and the slogan --

A Vote For George Bush Is A Vote For America

They got me.

They got me good.

April fool that I am.

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