Are You One of “Those” People?

. . . who’s never on a diet, so you innocently bring in donuts for all your coworkers?

. . .  who told everyone at work how much money you make? And then made sure no one was mad about it?

. . . who saunters into work at the very last second, misses all the announcements, then wonders what’s going on?

. . . who never checks their work email because of log-in issues, then wonders what’s going on?

. . . who’s always the first one at work, perky and organized all damn day?

. . . who’s always the last one at work, still at the computer, making everyone else feel guilty for leaving before you?

. . . who gets coworkers to finish discussing work-related issues over beers or cigarettes?

. . . who never comes to staff meetings but still has a job?

. . . who always signs up to bring a veggie tray at potlucks because it’s easy and safe and doesn’t require talent?

. . . who is on the clock when you do personal things, like Facebook?

. . . who is quick with an excuse every time someone calls you with a request?

. . . who takes a long lunch, plus maybe a breakfast break, or dinner break, or two or three snack breaks?

. . . who answers your work phone with complete exasperation, “YE-ES?”

. . . who forgets to sign up for mandatory training? Or forgets to attend?

. . . who always eats the same, predictable packed lunch every single day?

. . . who parks in visitor parking instead of employee parking because it saves you an extra two-hundred yards of walking?

. . . who seemingly asks questions at staff meetings, but really only wants to voice a complaint?

I’m actually not ranting, if you can believe that; I am honestly amused (insert laughter here). Furthermore, I am two of those people. My husband is at least two of those people.

How many of those people are you? How many other work annoyances can you think of?

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Service with a Smile (and a twitching eye)

Yesterday, a patient of mine stayed in my mind for much longer than she ever intended, I’m sure. She lingered in my brain hours after the shift ended, straight through the next morning, was the number one reason I praised God that I was put on-call, and then she later inspired this blog while my head still pounded with an ache the size of Alaska. So, what could make someone so genuinely memorable? The sheer volume of requests.

I am a pretty happy nurse when I clock in for the day. I’m even known for my smile, and I enjoy offering comfort in the shape of a warm blanket, a fresh cup of coffee, a witty joke, a trip to the bathroom or pain meds before a patient has to hit their call light. I always tell my patients, well, if you gotta be here, you might as well have a positive experience! And when I can be a part of that, I find satisfaction in my work.

But every so often there is an individual who can take my full bucket of patience, poke a hole in the bottom of it, and drain it for twelve hours until only frothy bubbles remain.

The gown is too big. Milk needs to be warmed up. Not warm enough. They didn’t bring me Splenda. Need a straw. Walk to bathroom. Pull-up is too small. Wipes are too cold. Need warm blanket. Can’t find toothpick (we looked everywhere). Need another blanket. Trip to bathroom. Wipes are too cold. Gown is too big. Four blankets is too much, just three. Trip to bathroom. Gown is too big. Four blankets instead of three. Lift blanket to scratch leg. Blankets are wet (they weren’t). Need warm blanket. This isn’t what I ordered for lunch. This needs more salt. Can’t find toothpick. Blankets are wet (nope). Lift blankets to scratch leg. Table is touching knee. Trip to bathroom. Gown is too big. Need warm blanket under the other blankets.

She was in isolation, too. Gown and gloves every time you enter room.

I would try, almost plead, (with a smile!) is there anything else (before I leave the room)? Nothing? Okay. Take off gloves, take off gown, wash hands. Four minutes later . . .

Call light.

Anyone who has worked in a line of service will probably relate, or perhaps even if you have had to live with or eat with or room with or sit next to a needy individual, you know what I’m talking about. The extremely needy people in our lives probably have no idea that they fall into that category. They probably have no idea how exhausting they are to be around. And in some circumstances, their requests may be just as much about securing human interaction as it is about managing their comfort. But, phew, it’s a lot for us to handle.

I tend to think of myself as low on the maintenance scale. I have a very hard time asking people for anything, other than my kids who are learning discipline and chores and not to take Mommy for granted. Does this make it harder for me to serve those on the other end of the spectrum? Or easier? I don’t know. All I know is that I need a whole lotta Holy Spirit to stay at peace around them, and by the next day my head hurts.

How do you deal with needy needy? How do you refill after a complete draining of patience?

And do headaches manifest as new gray hairs? I better go check.

If You Were Given A Free Gift (of Time)

If you were given an (all expenses paid) extra week sometime this year, what would you do with it?

Take the kids back to Disney World the week of the Disney Princess Half Marathon and be sure to include one full day of writing at the resort where I will create the next Disney Princess—Willa Baker, the only chubby princess who wears chucks and has a smart mouth and a dream to be a cake decorator who’s pretentious mother proved through a DNA test that they are descendants of royalty. Cool, huh?

If you were given an extra day what would you do?

After running the “Extra Day 10K,” I’d have a pancake brunch at IHOP with the family, of course. Then take the kids hiking on some nature trail that includes ruins of some sort (gotta love ruins), and afterward sit on a picnic table with a notebook and pen and write a short story that incorporates the ruins in some mysterious or creepy sort of way, then out to eat again—anywhere that features ridiculously large cocktails that basically taste like fruit juice, but make me feel warm inside.  And, knowing me, I’d still like to go to bed on time because I know I won’t get any extra time the next day—that’s just unreasonable.

If you were given an extra hour?

On work days, that would give me 12 extra minutes with each patient—wow, how I love that idea. I know for sure I’d be walking the ones who could walk and have a meaningful conversation about something other than medication side effects and recent lab work.

On a non-work day, I’d tune into a (FREE!) writing lecture, like the ones hosted by Michigan State (http://cls.matrix.msu.edu/celebrity-lectures/). I’d start with John Irving, then Margaret Atwood, then Maya Angelou, then Kurt Vonnegut, then Terry McMillan; oh my, there are 31 writers to choose from, I need more than an hour!

An extra 10 minutes?

I’d stretch after running. I normally skip it to save precious time which is probably why my hamstrings and calves like to throw hissy fits.

One free minute?

Breathe and meditate. I almost typed medicate—huh, that’s weird.

One free second?

Wink at my husband. Of course then I have to explain for 600 seconds why that spontaneous gesture occurred.

C’mon readers, what about you? What if you were given a free gift of time? BTW, you are not allowed to say sleep, let’s assume that you are either well-rested or buzzing on caffeine.