This past week I have been going through a very painful hospital ordeal. One week ago, last Tuesday, I had my entire right hip replaced.
While I was prepared for the physical pain and suffering, I was not prepared to encounter mean girls in such a professional setting for care in a hospital.
After my surgery I was pretty helpless and relied heavily on the nurses and the techs. Those that attended me were WONDERFUL. They helped me eat, sleep, go to the potty, and deal with the pain.
There was one young girl in particular who took a special interest in my case. At first I thought she was a patient care tech, but she quickly informed me she was NOT and didn’t want to be. She was a Professional something that worked at the desk fielding paient calls and sending out the appropriate person to deal with the request. She also helped out with overflow when it got busy.
There were 9 total joint replacement last week on the floor, and so it was very busy. I noticed that the girl, who I will call NAT (Not A Tech) was taking care of me a lot. She worked a lot at night, and so would stay and chat for awhile. She was very nice and friendly, and I enjoyed our visits. She was married and going to school and working lots of hours, and I could relate to all that back at her age.
But then I noticed a subtle change. She seemed to be getting proprietary about me. I noticed that she was also first to respond to my call button, and if someone else was in my room she would say she would take over. I didn’t really care one way or another, you become very close with your caregivers, because you are reduced to a position of relying upon them heavily.
The night before I transferred out one of the patient care tech’s said I got her into trouble by not pressing my call button to get up to go to the potty. I asked who and she said her supervisor. I wondered who her supervisor was, but didn’t ask at the time.
The next day NAT shooed my family out of the room when I called to go to the potty, which I thought was unneccessary, and she spent a longer time than needed with me. She told me that I had too much family, and phone calls etc. At that moment the phone rang, and I said don’t bother with it, they’ll call back. But she seemed to be really irritated by it. It started ringing again, and she marched over to the phone, picked it up, and said, “She cannot come to the phone right now” and hung up.
Hmmmm, I thought. Now it was getting interesting. It was like she was fighting over me, like I was the prized possession on the floor, and she was going to be my BFF, overnight. I was starting to feel like the protagonist in Single White Female, and she was starting to become a bit stalkerish.
But I was moving to a different building for rehab, and didn’t let it bother me. Until I was “checking out”. NAT and anothe girl packed up my possessions and flowers etc on a cart, and settled me in a wheelchair. We were going to take the tunnel to the new building. The other girl went ahead with my stuff, and NAT took me in the wheelchair.
We had to stop at the front desk first, and she went to sit at the desk and then announced to two other girls there, “this is my Jan!” and I noticed how they were sitting in the background smirking and laughing behind their computer screen. I immediately realized that they laughing at NAT, and me by default, even though they knew absolutely nothing about me. It made me sad, and mad. Mad. Don’t ever start smirking at me, it really riles me up.
So as NAT was coming back around with the paperwork, all flushed with either joy that her “friends” got to see “her Jan”, or with embarrassment at being laughed at, I took the bull by the horn. I would never see these people again, and they would never see me again, but they would indeed remember me, as it occurred to me that NAT was their supervisor,
I spoke up, and said, “Ladies, what are you smirking at back there? Are you surfing porn on the internet? Haha. Boy, no wonder NAT has to chip in and help so much! I hope my health insurance dollars are not being used on unprofessional activites!”
And with that, Nat pushed me around the corner, and I waved to the two mean girls and said “Thank you ladies for all your help, I’ll be sure to mention you specifically in the suvery and letter I intend to send about my hospital experience.”
They weren’t smirking anymore.