Morning to myself in my home, up very early, D off to work, cat curled on my robe, on the bed. Much I want to clean, polish, shine today. But not quite yet, no need to rush.
Savoring yesterday, working with the special snowflake and all her baseless self esteem. Nothing ever her fault, or if it is - well it's not serious and "humans make mistakes." Loud, considers herself endlessly entertaining, a flatterer, distractor, flirt of the bad sort.* The most difficult of my demons to dispel, but yesterday, I managed to let it all roll away. I have imagined anger as a monster that feeds on more anger, and learned not to feed it. This is a somewhat different monster, but it also feeds on my irritation, and attention. I'm not sure how to describe how I succeeded in serving the needs in the room while not being stomped on by her neediness, and staying gentle and calm myself. Perhaps all the work finally just clicked into place, the final element was keeping my own thoughts neutral, even happy.
Yesterday was the anniversary of our activation, the main anniversary we always remember after 22 years. Knowing I had the next five days off, loving this holiday most of all, and reveling in our Year of the House. Demon asks me how I can be so calm when I will be on holiday the next day - "I'd be a wreck!" I was genuinely surprized, I told her that was exactly why I was cheerful, put up with anything for a day.
On Monday, she'd given full voice to everyone in earshot how the charge nurse called her lazy (or implied as much) on Friday, and what do nurses know about working 14 hours like she was working that day (normally, she only works eight, while the rest of us work tens) and this nurse was a bitch, and back around and around. She voluntarily is working in sterile supply after her scrub shift, not as if this is required.
Um. At least four of the nurses there also scrub - our job encompasses her job, and have covered 12-16 hour shifts. Granted, we don't do it as often now, and it's been a long time since I've done a 12 hour scrub shift - and it hurts. But we are all at least 20 years older than her, and have put in our time. Yeah, we get a good deal at this place, with actual breaks - which they don't get regularly, but we also do not get when we scrub.
When she is assigned to cover scrub lunches, she starts late, takes breaks for herself inbetween, and often doesn't get to the 4th room (if there is one) until 1300. The rest of us start early, and hurry from room to room to make sure we get everyone out as early as possible. Yesterday, not quite 1300, knowing there would be a problem with lunches anyway, she runs off in tears. Granted, partly this is because the surgeon has been correcting her all day long for all the things she's neglected or forgotten, and I'm no comfort to her. We are switching to a hand surgeon for the next two cases.
So, the charge nurse comes in to tell me Special Snowflake is upset, and I scrub in as CN circs, not five minutes later her lunch relief arrives. I let him circulate (yeah, he is one of the RNs who scrub) and finished covering her lunch, which was fine, I like scrubbing hand cases - mostly because I can still do those well†. And yes, I got lunch - got G to relieve me early & kept it short because I knew we were short. We run lean, and one sick call, one unexpected problem can mean an NFL day. No Fucking Lunch. We whine a bit, but we get over it. Most of us know this job is a piece of piss compared to what we've had to do in trauma hospital ORs.
Remembered one day when I had a full 12 hour day and a call shift to follow. Got lunch at 1100, ran through a lot of cases, find out we are having an impromptu Transplant Festival. I know I'm going to be doing the liver, that's what I'm there for, and start asking for a little time to get food in my face. Had to buttonhole the charge, since I'd gone nearly eight hours without a break, and if I had to go another four, I'd be a puddle. And after everyone went home at seven, there would be no one later who could get me out for food. She very reluctantly relieved me, I found what I could at the crappy cafeteria, back in the room 20 minutes later, ran the transplant until my relief arrived late - about midnight. No, I wouldn't know about 14 hour shifts - but 17 - yeah got that down. Busy, demanding hours, not a cake day.
Moment of insight this week, about how my mother so often cautioned me not to pester people, don't be a pest. Especially my round of elderly neighbors that I visited, who didn't want to let me go, held on to my hand when the time - as given by my mother, was enough. Her words, her judgement, have been pestering me, and I start to tell this motherdemon, Stop pestering me, don't be such a pest. Slowly, she shrinks, and the quiet is precious.
*There is a good kind of flirting, funny, subtle, benign. Can be done with anyone, of any age, any gender‡. When it's loud, unreciprocated or unappreciated, aggressive, that's the bad kind.
†My eyesight is not what it was, and I'm out of practice. I can safely scrub just about anything, but it isn't pretty, fast, nor efficient. As a general rule, I can competently do hands and feet, these days. Which is a bit sad, because I used to be a damn good scrub, but such is life.
‡Last week P had terrible cold sores, she told everyone not to kiss her. I came down with cold sores on my lip this week, and admonished her "I told you not to kiss me!" This got laughs.
More will sometimes be demanded of you than is reasonable. Bear it meekly, and exhaust your time and strength in performing your duties, rather than vindicating your rights.
~ Horace Mann