Mr. K: “I’m not sure you’re really doing yourself much good. You should try to use one of the programs.”
Me: “You think so? I feel like I’m getting a pretty good workout…but maybe I should try it.”
Mr. K: “Yeah, you should definitely try the weight loss setting.”
Anyone want to guess why that bothered me? Anyone? Yes, you in the back. I can't see you clearly, but I'll bet cash money you're female. The men are all going "What? What's wrong with that? He's helping her, isn't he?"
But I'm not a man basher, and I admit that the communication deficit goes both ways. For instance: He decided to iron some pants last night (don’t get all excited—it’s an annual event at best and occurs largely because I admit to not being able to get the creases right no matter what I do. I think they’re evil.) and, when he’d finished, he said he was going to go upstairs to get on the computer. Leaving the iron and ironing board in the middle of the kitchen and the iron plugged in. And the pants he’d ironed hanging over the back of the chair. If I was sensible (which is a laughable notion, I know) I would have said something like “You forgot to put away the ironing stuff.” Or “Could you put the ironing stuff away before you go up?” Simple, direct. But, no. I said “Are you through ironing?” This is about as effective as a cat flap in an elephant house, and yet, I attempt it again and again. I have absolutely no excuse or explanation for this behavior. (I’m pretty sure it was Einstein who said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting to get a different result. Then again, he was a man.). What he answered, rather than something like “Oh, yes—let me come put all of this away” was something more like “Yeah—you can go ahead and put it away. Oh, and can you bring my pants when you come upstairs?”
Here, a few other near misses (some most definitely my own fault--I'm being fair here)
What I said: “Do you have any more laundry?” What I was thinking: “If you’d just put all the laundry in the hamper, we could skip this conversation.” What he heard: “Don’t bother with the hamper. I’ll come get your clothes.”
What I said: “Are you going to the store today?” What I was thinking: “I have a few things you could pick up if you are.” What he heard: “I need a few things, can I get anything for you?” What he said: “No, but if you are, can you pick me up some diet Pepsi?”
What I said: “I really don’t want to miss any of this show.” What I was thinking: “Please don’t channel surf during the commercials because you rarely get back to the right channel in time and then I miss part of it.” What he heard: “I like this show. I wonder what other good things are on?”
What I said: “I’d like to leave by 2:30.” What I was thinking: “If we do not leave by 2:30 we will be late for the umpteenth time and will burned in effigy by our soon-to-be ex-friends.” What he heard: “We have to go somewhere some time today.”
What I said: “I can’t sleep when you roll over on me.” What he heard (apparently): “Please gouge my eye out with your elbow at 3:00 am.” (Okay, I have no explanation for that one.)
Clearly there is a communication gap here. Have any of you noticed it?
On a more serious note, thank you so much for all of your kind words regarding my last post. One reason that I write essays about why I want to be a nurse is that my will flags a bit in the face of all the bureaucracy and red tape, and my confidence packs a bag and hitchhikes to Memphis on a regular basis when I think about the huge amount of competition I’ll face. I write to remind myself….but your warm support and encouragement do so much more than that. They remind me to come out of myself and I am forever grateful for that. It saddens but does not surprise me that so many of you have had less than wonderful experiences with medical professionals. It shouldn’t be that way….but it is. I still remember a doctor telling me in a very patronizing tone that “people who have had a difficult childhood such as yourself sometimes have aches and pains that have no medical source and we never find a reason. Have you tried counseling?” Which might have been useful advice….were it not for the fact that he was discussing the damage to my neck which started in a car accident, and my low back which actually has a congenital defect. Were it not for the fact that I have arthritis up and down my spine, a number of bulging discs with impingement and an assortment of other little nasties. Otherwise, yeah, that was really helpful. Or the dork who responded to my complaint of 24 upper respiratory infections in 10 months with the comment “Well, you had a hard year.” You think? Gee, you must be some kind of genius. I actually had severe chronic sinus disease that required surgery…but why split hairs? All I want to say is this: Hang tough. Demand good treatment and care. You deserve it. They’re working for you, whether they see it that way or not. I always told my patients that. That goes for all of you, too. I’m thinking a hug to each and every one of you. And a bitchslap to any nurse or doctor that doesn’t treat you with respect, concern, and compassion.