Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It Had Nothing To Do With Me

We've all heard it. The profound statement from some unknown person..."Never judge a book by it's cover."

Boy, did that ring loud and true for me today.

Now, thanks to HIPAA, I'm gonna have to be real sly with this one...try and keep up, okay?

Let's pretend that I'm a nurse. No, not the sexy Halloween costume dress up nurse. A real, live, covered in spray from a feeding tube mishap gone wrong, wrinkly scrub, can't find my pen in my 52 pockets, nurse. Got it?

Now, lets say that this nurse...me...may or may not have a resident who may or may not be labeled..."DIFFICULT". You can picture in your own mind what behaviors would deem a person difficult to a nurse. Add in crabby and demanding...and you got it.

So one could imagine that when this particular call light goes off, I may give a tiny, itty, bitty little sigh under my breath, because, well...I WAS JUST IN THERE 45 SECONDS AGO and when I was in there, all the resident did was fiddle on their phone, dragging out whatever it was that they were trying to tell me.

This may...or may not...have happened seven thousand times today. 

Except one time, as I was trying so hard to leave the room for the fifth time that trip, because I had a million and nine other things to do, this person hands me their phone and says "Wait. Wait. I want you to see this." I may...or may not... have experienced a tiny, itty, bitty, little sigh...in the very bottom of my soul. 

Until I saw, on the screen, this beautiful, laughing, full of life woman. She was young. Not young like me...you know...25...but young compared to the typical adults I spend my day with. Her hair was blowing in the wind and she was talking to a person off camera. 

I didn't understand at first.

Until my resident says in a humble and tired voice that I had never heard come out of them before..."That's my wife. She passed away and it is the only video I have of her." 

What do you do, when you realize that sometimes angry and cranky and short-tempered has nothing to do with you? What do you do when you realize that you forgot that you are treating an entire person and not just dealing with their less than stellar personality?

I can tell you what I did...

"She's absolutely beautiful. Play it for me again."


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