There are encounters with patients that can make you laugh and some make you cry. Most of the time patient encounters are polite, brief, and forgettable. But sometimes, you get slimed. Some patients (or staff) will suddenly dump all of their crazy right on top of your head. Their anxiety, anger, manipulation, or stress come pouring out onto your unsuspecting little head. It's gross.
The surprising thing about getting slimed is how it can stay with you, get inside your own psyche, and change your attitude. I got slimed the other night. A lady was angry that I wouldn't prescribe tylenol so she wouldn't have to pay for it. "I have state insurance and that's what it's for so I don't have to pay!" Her daughter sat there with a perfect weave and a NorthFace jacket and this lady was better dressed than I am most days. Then she called me a white, racist bitch and stormed out of the department. Gross!
The interesting thing about encountering somebody's ugliness is it often digs up some of my own. I can be arrogant. I can be judgmental. I can definitely be short tempered and sometimes crazy. So, in a way, I'm thankful for her outburst. It made me recognize that I'm not so far removed. That crazy manipulative anger is inside me too.
But what do you do with somebody else's junk? A wise nurse that I work with advises, "put it in a bubble and blow it away". Thank you, Cathy. After lots of soul searching and processing, I think that pretty much sums it up. Look at it, recognize it, put some boundaries on it so it doesn't infest your whole being. And then, let it go.
Whatever you do, don't let it get "under your skin". That's a great saying. These negative encounters do have a way of soaking into my my pores and contaminating my mind and spirit. I need to take a regular spiritual shower. If you don't shower regularly, you start to stink. If you don't wash these ugly interactions out of your mind and spirit, your heart starts to stink. Sadly, we can become the thing that hurt us so much.
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." - Colossians 3:13 NIV