It is all over the internet, the time between Christmas and New Year’s has been declared the liminal time.
But what does that mean?
A liminal space is a transitory space, think about a foyer or a mudroom. These are spaces that exist to be transitory, from outside to inside.
Not unlike the mediastinum, the space between the lungs and the ribs. One of the most distinctly odd cases I’ve been in was a mediastinoscopy. This is where a camera is introduced into this vanishingly small space, most likely for the purpose of a biopsy because something is wrong. It always struck me as a liminal space.
Liminal time is a transitory time, a threshold, if you would, between two distinct eras of time. There is the excitement and the rush of Christmas. We are busy, busy, busy during that time; partying, eating, drinking. And, in the case of the OR, cases, cases, and more cases. And then the big day happens. And everyone, including children, feels a bit hungover after, from candy, from food, from liquor. Until the next big day, only a week hence.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
The time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is short.
There isn’t enough time to start a project.
There isn’t enough willpower not to snack on the Christmas leftovers.
The thought of shopping makes some of us tired.
And it is cold and miserable outside.
And people just want to burrow into the warmth of their family.
Or their pets.
But, most decidedly, they don’t want to go outside.
Some want to do as little as possible before New Year’s.
And that is okay.
But there is a time to recognize that this is NOT the case for the healthcare worker, or the hospital worker.
We are just as tired as everyone else.
But there is no time to sleep.
Someone has to take care of the hospitalized patients, of the surgical patients, of the emergency room patients.
And this is the capper of yet another Pandemic Year.
And we are exhausted.