Razorcake Press

One Punk’s Guide to the Emergency Room

$2.00

Razorcake Press

One Punk’s Guide to the Emergency Room

$2.00
  • Description

It sucks to have to go to the emergency room. Last year while walking my dog, I was hit by a car in a crosswalk. It was early morning, and the driver was ironically an ICU nurse getting off her night shift.  It was only supposed to be a quick walk and my outfit, this being early winter in Oregon, was a pair of boots, a hoodie, sweatpants and yup, no underwear. During transport to the hospital, I had the hazy realization that I was going to be a trauma patient at the very same emergency room where I work. My co-workers deftly cut my clothes off as they examined me from head to foot before rushing me to the CT scanner. I was lucky that I only had a wicked scar across my head and a nasty concussion, despite getting thrown twenty feet. The concussion was so bad it took several weeks for my brain to get back to normal. During that rehabilitation time I did a lot of reflecting on the vulnerability and helplessness I felt as a patient and how tenuous our health and bodies really are. What we have, physically or mentally, shouldn’t be taken for granted. Nothing is assured and everything is at risk every day.

I have worked in emergency rooms for the last twenty years and have identified as a punk for even longer. There’s a lot of overlap between the two microcosms. I have no doubt the things that drew me in and anchored me in a creative, DIY punk community are the same reasons I work in the ER. The term “punk” is perpetually polysemantic, but in my personal definition, it is being creative, improvising, and making do with what you have in front of you. It’s reactionary, non-conforming, and doing what is necessary, needed, and right at the time. It’s being open and inclusive to people of all ethnicities, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. All these skills play out in the emergency room and are necessary in navigating through a shift.

Originally appeared in Razorcake 119, Dec. 2020/Jan. 2021

Author: Tim Janchar
Illustrator: Art Fuentes
Publisher: Razorcake Press
Page Count: 28pp
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Notes: saddle-stitched, b/w
Date of Publication: 2023