He’s Getting Warmer… And Colder

, , , , | Healthy | October 26, 2020

I’m an IT technician in a factory. My female colleague is heavily pregnant at the moment and has been suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, so she’s doing a mixture of remote working and on-site working with significantly reduced hours. She only comes on-site if she feels well enough to do so.

Today is one of her better days, so she’s on-site. I’ve just come back from a job. My female colleague is nowhere to be seen, but all her stuff is sitting on her desk so she can’t be too far away. We have a placement student in our office at the moment, a lad in his early twenties. He’s a very capable IT technician but not yet very world wise.

Me: “Hey, [Student], where’s [Female Colleague]? Is she okay?”

Student: “She’s in the bathroom throwing up again.”

I flinch at his apparent lack of sensitivity and realise that, as the most senior person in our office, I may have to have words with him about this.

Student: “Hey, [My Name], I’m worried.”

Me: “Oh, about what?”

Student: “[Female Colleague] has been vomiting a lot. Every day she’s in, she keeps running to the bathroom to vomit. I’m worried about her; that’s not normal.”

Me: “No, [Student], you’re right. It’s not normal. But she has Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which means she’ll vomit a lot because of her pregnancy.”

Student: “But I don’t get it. When my sister was pregnant with my niece, she had morning sickness and it was nothing like as bad as this!”

Me: “Yeah, but this isn’t morning sickness, mate. It’s worse. A lot worse. Oh, and try and be a little bit more sensitive about it, yeah? It can’t be easy for her.”

Student: “Yeah, but it’s not normal!”

Me: *Sighing* “Of course, it’s not normal! That’s the point. She has… Look, just never mind, okay? Try and show a bit of sensitivity.”

I sat down at my desk, having given up trying to explain it to him. [Student] sat for a few minutes muttering, “It’s not normal…” until [Female Colleague] came back, red-faced, tearful, and feeling sorry for herself. I sat her down and got her a drink of water.

To [Student]’s credit, he DID later leave the room and come back with an ice lolly (popsicle) for [Female Colleague]! Clearly, in spite of his cluelessness, he’d been paying enough attention to realise that ice lollies were one of the few solids she was actually able to keep down. He later told me that he felt sorry for her and wanted to try to make her feel better. She seemed to really appreciate the gesture.

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