So I had a completely different idea for my post to link-up with the beautiful Sloane’s genius #FreEDom concept this week. But then life hit …
And here we stand. Ever stronger, ever more free.
It’s no secret that I had an absolutely amazing weekend. And while I woke up a little bleary when my alarm went off
far too early Monday morning, I hopped out of bed ready to conquer the day.
Now, for those of you who don’t know, I was recently promoted from a position within lab receiving to taking blood at our local hospital, a job that I’ve wanted ever since I was an inpatient. I love it a tonne, but it does require a fair amount of skill, both when actually procuring the blood and while dealing with different kinds of patients.
Monday morning, I was working with a buddy on an in-patient floor. The first few patients I visited had very difficult veins, but I managed! Totally didn’t think I was capable, guess I was wrong!!
As the morning wore on, I was becoming more and more confident in my abilities. As a team (there are 6 on the floors in the morning, I’m an extra until my training is over), our assignments were super heavy this morning (we were expecting it, they’re trying to get patients discharged before the holiday, understandably), and I was incredibly proud of how much I was able to contribute. I’m not quite speedy enough to take charge of my own assignment yet, but getting there.
Not once on the floor Monday morning did I require a pinch-hitter (a teammate to come in when I cannot find a proper vein), something that has never, ever happened before.
I also took a few moments to speak with a woman who is very ill, her a husband very much the same, but she still had THE biggest smile on her face. It was a priceless conversation I will never, ever forget.
Well, one assignment done and done well, but I still had a couple of hours in the outpatient clinic waiting for me.
Now, the veins in the outpatient clinic are traditionally much better. As a rule, the patients are healthier, and there are fewer obstacles like IVs, bed rails, watching out for mastectomies and fistulas, pesky bed side tables, doctors hovering over your shoulder, etc. But this doesn’t necessarily dictate an easy day. People get cranky when they have to wait, and even when they don’t, they’re usually much more unruly than patients confined to bed rest (for the most part).
Everything was going amazingly, no double-pokes, no pinch hitters. Particular patients of memory were the man who said it was his job to make at least two people smile bright each day (he got me good!), and the very kind woman who said that I was her second favourite of our team (it’s okay, I’m only second behind my first favourite of the team, so I can deal with runner-up ).
Yes, vulgar, but the man in question told me about this autocorrect when I told him about working Christmas Eve through Boxing Day. Couldn’t stop laughing.
All in all, a pretty great day. Right?
Until I decided to take “one last patient” before cleaning my zone and heading out for the day.
I’m not going to go into details, but let’s just say that this patient was incredibly demanding and verbally abusive. I am trained to deal with patients who have a phobia of needles, and even those who are less than content with our
frustratingly bureaucratic system.
But this patient was beyond compare. She called me names I have never said aloud in sincerity. Titles that I called myself only in the lowest of my depressive days.
And it hurt. A lot. Much more so because I knew she was lucid and understood the severity behind each and every one of her words.
I would like to say that I rose above, I would like to say I held my ground, I would like to say that I completed a successful draw. But I didn’t accomplish any of those. I politely excused myself from the room and asked a co-worker to step in to finish. Another co-worker tipped her head towards the washrooms. And I cried.
I’ve been working since I was 16 in various jobs, and this is the first time I have ever cried at work.
I emerged, by chance, just after she had blustered away, furious at us all. My co-worker asked me to speak with my boss before leaving and encouraged me to fill out an incident report. The whole team was super supportive, assuring me that it was the woman and not me who was the problem. My boss agreed, and went to speak to the patient’s ordering clinic to see what she could do (sidenote: she’s amazing!) to ensure it wouldn’t ever happen again.
To be honest, I didn’t take the angry woman’s words to heart. I know I do my job well. But they hit hard. They hit because she used exact phrases that I used to use on myself that made me feel the lowest of the low. And I couldn’t hear her voice in my mind, I could hear mine. And it’s still echoing a bit.
The first thing that popped into my mind when I was crying? “I just want to go home, binge and purge and then skip dinner. I don’t deserve to eat.”
But then, the voice of reason roared (yes, literally roared) — Get a grip, girl!!
I knew in that moment what I needed to do, and that’s what I had planned to do with my evening all along. I had my LUNA bar and travelled home, texting the whole way. I said hi to my Dad (who took another Monday off work) and hit the elliptical for 45 very sweaty minutes while watching a documentary about the most adorable killer whale ever (coincidentally, named Luna!). I called Mizuno to arrange for them to ship the shoes that I won. I made dinner and texted for goodness knows how long while reading blogs. I tried to write this post while watching The Big Bang Theory (vintage — the original with rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock — epic), and failed miserably, moving upstairs to the office.
There I found two lovely cards from these two lovely ladies. And I watched some Bridget Jones goodness while finishing this out.
In the past, I probably wouldn’t have cried, I would have numbed out of the whole scenario, internalizing her words and letting them echo in my brain for weeks. I would have ended my day with at least a few hours of B&P followed by possibly exercise, but definitely no dinner and probably no breakfast either.
But you know what? I’m free of that. I’m free of all that. My day was 97% amazing and 3% dreadful. You know what? That’s still an A+ freaking day. It was easily my most successful day of phlebotomy in my life. So I’m literally going to pretend that last 20 minutes never happened.
How am I free this week? I’m free because I chose to rise above — above the patient’s petty insults and above my ED’s reaction to the situation.
I had a fabulous dinner, by the way. I think that Crack
er Barrel Havarti is awesome and I will be having much more in my future. Veggie salads, liverwurst, tuna and egg salads, roasted broccoli and brussel sprout combos dipped in ketchup, LUNA bars, and awesome dressings are totally on the Chelsie’s Most Wanted List (and are all currently in the household being enjoyed, but not all together, don’t worry!!).
And finally, I think that a can of whipped cream will also be my friend in the very near future. My fridge, tummy, and soul are currently pining for one.
And you know what? I totally deserve them.
What are you #FreED of this week?
How do you respond to difficult situations at work?