It's been since we have lived with Moby. I have cultivated a studied quiet, to give him reason to trust us, not to be startled or fearful. Where once I would have screamed and thumped around the place because I felt frustrated, especially when alone, I now express this in a more controlled flow of calmer words or rueful laughter. Seeing my dear cat freaked and hiding - echoing my out of control fits, motivated me to change.
I'd already moved toward less rageful expressions, because D retreated at my outbursts, and expressed distress at my screaming at other drivers. As I restrained my fury, the anger itself ebbed. Venting, I came to realize, is feeding the anger monster. Anger is a choice, and a toxic one, in no small part because it spreads and splashes back from others. Frustration and worry, those are feelings. My response is always a choice.
Gentleness and polite responses, laughter, deflect anger, but take conscious effort, practice. Yesterday, I had a lot of practice, turning it into a good day.
We have orderlies that work in surgery, some are trained to be unit assistants, who do a bit more. They open supplies with the scrub, they set up the bed, help me position, run for equipment, hold the leg for me to prep. Experienced ones are a great help with total joint cases. Setting up a total hip replacement is a lot of jobs all at once, especially for a surgeon who may do eight to ten between two rooms in a day (with the assistance of a Physician's Assistant - PA). The turnover has to be fast for this to work. Delays are inevitable. The good UAs usually go on to med school, or to be PAs, which has happened recently. So when new ones train, a lot of work falls back on me. Some UAs are quicker off the mark than others.
I said please, and thank you, and what can I do for you, and that's fine, I can take care of that, many many times yesterday. In a calm and pleasant voice. To keep everyone around me calmly thinking, not add any chaos in. Which keeps my patient safe. Which allows me to laugh as I dismantle and clean the OR table after the last case.
That's when my scrub tech yesterday told me the story of two of the ortho guys, on a ski-lift, one telling the other he hoped to do five hundred joints this year. A snowboarder on the seat beside them goggled, "That's a lot! You have to have a good job to do that much."
D calls our current situation a "Perfect Storm of anxiety." In our first year back, after four yearly moves, an apartment with electrical (it's not grounded) issues necessitating another move, his overwhelming difficulties finding work (I know when he does get hired, they will love him, but getting hired is a high, spiky hurdle), health problems for both of us - his requiring surgery and ongoing therapy, resultant financial stresses (this insurance is barely adequate), my own work hours reduced due to low census - related to the slow economy. We know, if we could, that buying a house now would be a great idea. But we can't, not without having the house take us under.
We hold each other, and laugh, immediately to keep Moby happy. He is our barometer, and he depends on us to be good, trustworthy people, whatever our worries. He purrs back calm.