7.02.2005

Maybe smoking isn't such a bad idea after all

As of yesterday, July 1, 2005, every bar in Edmonton is smoke-free. On the one hand, this is great because a) now I don't reek like smoke when I come home, and b) now I'm not quite so prone to collapsing on a filthy, beer-stained dance floor in an asthmatic fit.

You can make the argument about 'personal liberty,' as regards one's right to smoke in a private establishment, but really, your liberty runs out when you harm me. And second hand smoke is pretty noxious to those of us with sensitive lungs, regardless of the semi-proven cancer risk. There are, of course, other risks, as evidenced by bitch if you burn me with that butt ONE more time it's going UP YOUR FUCKING NOSTRIL.

So, in general, I highly support the bar smoking ban, and I know it'll lead to me patronizing more bars that I would've avoided before.

Except.

See, one of the side effects of smoke is that it deadens scent. Your nose becomes less responsive to smells when it's in a smoky room, overpowered by the miasma of tobacco. And yeah, it can smell pretty bad, but it's an odour that you can deal with. Last night, because we left heading out to the bar until late, the only place we could reliably get into was the Commercial Hotel, one of Edmonton's finer dives. At first, it was fantastic, because hey! No smoke! Nothing to blur your vision of the 40-year-old cougar beckoning with her wizened hand!

However, we quickly became aware of an... odour... permeating the area in front of the bar. A straw poll indicated three in favour of 'vomit,' one in favour of 'spilled beer,' but he's an idiot so we went with 'vomit.' And chances are that smell's always been there, but it's been masked by decades of smoke that never got fully cleared out. So maybe, just maybe, as a nausea prevention tool, smoke ain't so damn bad.

Of course, the truly wise man will simply not go to bars that smell like the inside of a stomach. So we left.

***

Pediatrics is fun, but it's hard work. I mean, these are seriously the longest hours I've ever had. My last week on the unit I spent 90 hours in the hospital, not counting at home study time. Or, at least, I would've if I hadn't had my immune system collapse one day under the weight of all the viruses these snot-nosed little bastards drag in. Pediatricians must be invulnerable to disease after their residencies.

Peds is also kind of depressing. Most kids are healthy, healthy enough to come in, get checked out, and go home. But the ones in hospital are the ones that are truly fucked - cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, seizure disorders, mental retardation, the works. We call those the 'Dr. X specials' because one particular local doctor takes care of so many of them. And it's absolutely terrifying when you think that THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOUR FUTURE KIDS. Seriously, it's enough to make you live in fear for an entire nine-month pregnancy.

What's even more soul-deadening, however, are the kids who have degenerative disorders, like Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I had a thirteen-year old who was wheelchair bound; he'll be dead by eighteen. How do you keep on a bright face for that? It's so horribly cosmically unfair, but you've got a responsibility to make the kid feel as though nothing is wrong. And that's goddamn tough to do.

Wow, that was depressing. I promise the next post will actually have some more upbeat content. If nothing else, the sun is shining and I'm about to go for a run. Use your legs, kids; you never know when you might lose them.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

miasma is a cool word.

Dave C.

9:01 PM  

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