You are currently browsing the daily archive for February 20, 2010.
I was browsing a bookstore in the Tokyo airport to help me pass time during a layover when I spotted this little paper back. I remembered Anhelo’s positive review on Pajiba. I’ve never read any of Mirakami’s other novels, so I can’t compare his works.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a collection of Haruki Mirakami’s thoughts on running and its relationship to him and his work. Don’t read this expecting to learn Mirakami’s life story or even to learn about his writing process. It is about running. Only running as it pertains to his life. For that reason, if you have no passion or even a passing interest in running – this is not the book for you. This man has run a marathon each year for over twenty years. He has also delved into triathlons. Interestingly enough, he never posts his times for races. Instead he details races and his feelings and his physical reactions to each mile.
I ran cross country in high school. I continued running solo during college. I was training for my first marathon when a foot injury left me sidelined for months. During that time I was beginning nursing school. I never regained my momentum, and I still struggle to reach that same discipline. I try because I like who I am as a runner. Long-distance running suits me. I don’t really understand why someone would only run a mile or two, for it takes me that long (sometimes longer) to get settled into my running groove. I enjoy the solitude. I enjoy the feeling of my muscles working, my blood pumping, and the wiping clean of my mind. Running is a form of therapy. I believe that it saves me from my depressive tendencies. It has helped me with my sleeping problems. I’m not sure what exactly I think about when running. The beginning of the run may include thoughts of the day and any current problems, but as the run progresses it all just disappears. I simply concentrate on every step and breath – a kind of meditation.
Mirakami describes his own mental state when running:
“I’m often asked what I think about as I run. Usually people who ask this have never run long distances themselves. I always ponder the question. What exactly do I think about when I’m running? I don’t have a clue… I just run. I run in a void. Or maybe I should put it another way: I run in order to acquire a void.”
The perfect response. I run in order to acquire a void. I’m taking that as my own. I also adore his chosen epitaph:
Writer and Runner
At Least He Never Walked
Doctors are people. Like every other place on earth, you will find some you like and some you can’t stand.
There is this little turd of a man that we’ll call Dr. Asshole. Even on his best days he is nothing but a walking condescension to the nurses.
The other morning I received report on one of his patients. The night nurse let me know there had been an order yesterday to remove a PICC line, but that the patient had refused to let the day nurse do so. When rounding, I found the patient getting in the shower. I told her that I’d be back later to remove the line. If she was still refusing, she’d need to discuss this with Dr. Asshole when he rounded this morning.
I came back to the station after finishing my rounds to find said asshole fuming. Why is that line still in? What? It could be infected! The patient refused? Is she the doctor? Here. Give her a pen and the order sheets. I need to write up that nurse. Where are the forms? Where is Nurse Manager? Of course she’s not here. She’s never here when I need her….
I didn’t respond at all the way he wanted. I found the form he wanted, and then I just calmly told him that I’d be taking that line out now. I passed Nurse Manager in the hall and filled her in.
He’s the doctor. There was an order to remove the line. If there’s a question of infection, then that line needs to go. Now he obviously said nothing to the nurse or patient or even wrote in his progress notes his concern for infection. There have been no labs for days. Not even a CBC to check the WBC. No fevers. No other symptoms suggesting infection. The site looks fine. No labs ordered for this morning or the next. Where are the labs if you’re thinking infection? Where are the antibiotics? I know the nurse yesterday. She’s a bit of a pushover. I’m sure the patient wasn’t firmly refusing – just questioning if she couldn’t just leave it until discharge as she expected to go home the next day. Who wants another unnecessary stick?
I walked into the patient’s room to find her sitting on the side of the bed with a worried look on her face. “That doctor was mad. I hope I didn’t get you in trouble.”
“It’s fine. He was just worried about infection. That’s why he wanted your line out yesterday. I’ll take it out now.”
“I don’t think the nurses like him. There’s a new group every time I go to his office. Try to avoid him when you go back.”
I made it back to the station in time to hear him yelling as he walked out. “I’m not in a bad mood!” Again, not the response he wanted as the station erupted in unsuccessfully suppressed laughter.
The next day the doctor handed me a chart with discharge orders for the lady. “Now, I want her to get a shot of Rocephin before she goes – for that arm. Because of the extra day. Do you know what I’m talking about?”
I stared back for a moment before nodding. Did he really not remember ranting to me yesterday?
He turned to walk out of the station, then looked over his shoulder at me and grinned as he made his way out. I could hear him chuckling down the hall.