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Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 13

, , , , , | Healthy | September 29, 2019

My mother has Alzheimer’s and lives in a care facility. Not long ago, she was taken ill and they sent her to the local emergency room for some tests as a safety precaution because she can’t communicate and so it was unclear exactly what was wrong with her.

Mum’s husband and a carer went with her from the home and I joined them in the hospital. Understandably, my poor mother, who had no idea what was going on — even though we tried our best to explain — was confused, upset, and maybe even a little frightened.

The nurse taking care of Mum wasn’t unkind as such, but she was brisk and abrupt, and she made little to no effort to try and reassure Mum or interact with her. Again, understandably, Mum became ever more flustered and upset despite our best efforts to keep her calm and reassure her ourselves.

Then, the shift changed, and a new nurse was assigned to take care of Mum. She interacted with Mum; she spoke to her, touched her, calmed her, and reassured her far more than Mum’s husband, the carer, or I had managed to achieve. She even had Mum cooperating.

When Mum was finally released, I went and thanked that nurse for helping a frightened and confused woman feel calm and safe. The nurse was totally shocked that I thanked her. Later, my sister, who’s also a nurse, told me that while people are quick to complain, they rarely say thank you. Nurses do a very hard job, working with people who are ill, frightened, confused, and many other things besides. They’re not perfect, but on the whole, most of them do an amazing job. Please don’t forget to say thank you.

Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 12
Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 11
Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 10

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Clueless Is Contagious

, , , , | Friendly | September 27, 2019

(I am selling comics at an outdoor comic festival on a busy street in my city when an older man walks up to my booth.)

Man: “Hey, [My Name]! How are you?!”

Me: “I’m… good?”

(I have no clue who this man is, but he immediately starts talking to me in a way that implies he knows me personally. He also asks how my mother is doing and if her back pain is feeling any better yet, and asks that I tell her he said hi. It’s very common for me not to recognize or remember people, especially at conventions and book fairs. I deal with hundreds of customers in several events per year, but people still expect me to remember that time they bought a book from me three years ago and get offended if I don’t, so I always try to put on a warm smile and pretend like I remember them. I smile and nod, awkwardly sitting at my booth, listening to this guy have a rather one-sided conversation with me and feeling frustrated at all the potential sales I might be missing out on while he blocks my booth. Suddenly, an old woman walks up to him excitedly.)

Old Woman: “Oh, hey!

Man: “Oh! Hi!

(They excitedly greet each other and break into an energetic conversation as the woman tries to catch up with him, asking him how his family is doing and immediately telling him what’s new with hers. Meanwhile, I’m relieved that I don’t have to talk to him anymore, so I just play with my phone and wait for them to finish. After a nice, friendly conversation, they finally wrap it up and the woman leaves, as he waves her goodbye. Then, he leans over to me, covering his mouth and whispering out of the side of his mouth:)

Man: “That was all well and good, but I haven’t got a clue who that was!”

For When The Coffee Just Isn’t Enough

, , , | Right | July 18, 2019

(One evening, a man walks into our cafe, and I recognise him as a customer from earlier that day.)

Me: “Hello! How can I help you?”

Customer: “I think I left a small box here. Did you happen to find it?”

Coworker: “I found it; let me go get it.”

(My coworker fetches the box and gives it to the man.)

Customer: “Thank you so much! My antidepressants are in it.”

Me: “I’m glad we could help.”

(The man starts to walk away and I think this is it, but after two steps he turns around.)

Customer: “Actually, it’s ketamine. Want some?”

(My coworker and I stared at him in shock and somehow managed to mumble, “No, thanks,” and the man left. Who offers horse tranquilisers to strangers?)

You Look Like Living Death

, , , , , , | Working | June 10, 2019

(I am a woman in my 30s, picking up a framed photo of the extended family.)

Store Employee: “Nice picture! Is it for a family party?”

Me: “Yes, actually! It’s the great grandfather’s 90th birthday.”

Store Employee: “Those are some good genes!”

Me: “They sure are! He is actually my husband’s grandfather, though.”

Store Employee: “So, he’ll be the one to bury you, then.”

Me: *confused pause* “I… guess… so?”

Driving Down One Cost Drives Up Another

, , , | Working | May 29, 2019

(My workplace offers, through a third party, transportation to and from work to any of the employees who can’t or don’t want to drive, provided that enough of them live fairly close to one another to justify the expense. Those who come by car get comped for travel expenses, as the law here requires, while those who opt to use the rides provided, naturally, do not. I do own a car, but it’s more convenient for me to use the ride. About once or twice a month, when I need to get somewhere other than home quickly after work, I drive to work, instead. One day, the HR manager catches me for a talk.)

HR: “I’ve noticed that on occasion you come to work in your car.”

Me: “That’s right, about twice a month.”

HR: “We need you to notify us in advance when you’re planning to do so.”

Me: “I always call the driver or one of the coworkers on the same ride to let them know not to wait for me.”

HR: “I mean notify us, so we can take you off the roster for the ride in advance.”

(It then occurs to me that what he’s trying to do is to save the little extra money that the company that provides the rides charges for each additional stop — a trivial amount, as all of us who share the ride live close to one another, so it’s not a detour of any sort.)

Me: “But you make these rosters each Wednesday for the following week; most of the times I drive here, it’s because of some urgent errands I couldn’t know about a week in advance!”

HR: *obviously pleased with himself that he found a way to save the company a few bucks* “Sorry, I cannot allow this to continue. It’s a waste of money.”

Me: “I see. So, I’ll at least be comped for my travel expenses, instead?”

HR: “What? Why? We’re providing you with transportation!”

Me: “Currently, you do. That’s why I never asked to be comped for the days I came by car until now — but isn’t the whole point of this conversation is that you wish to stop providing transportation on those days?”

HR: *blank stare*

Me: “So, on days you are not sending a ride to pick me up, you will be legally required to pay for my expenses.”

(It then dawns on him that it would cost the company much more than what they’ll save.)

HR: “Um… well… I don’t know if we can do that. I’ll get back to you after I check what we can do.”

(He never did, and the issue was dropped indefinitely.)