I have now come to the conclusion that life without stress is like asking for jello without gelatin. It is not possible! It is now day one post three 12-hour shifts of work on your not so typical hospital ward. I am not complaining that the work is not satisfying. I am just saying that it is very challenging to be in a caring profession where you are immersed in peoples. You are in a cesspool of human interactions as well as being up to your elbows in human feces sometimes. It is very well to start the day with good intentions and noble goals, but soon those fall with the patients or your first confrontations with your coworkers. I’ve been told that I have high standards and though I try not to hold others to them, I do. But…here I am, intact after three days of headache and gut burning angst.
I felt quite badly about myself during those three days. I’m thinking I am such a terrible person to have all these negative feelings burning and churning inside. But then this 92 year old patient told me that I’m very pleasant and so happy. She enjoyed me very much. She told me that every day of those three days. I did thank her but I will have to learn not to discount myself by telling her that it was a facade.
Then her nephew came to visit her. He recognized me as soon as I walked into the room. He greeted me exuberantly. I was very puzzled as I did not recognize him at all. I told him he must have me mixed up with someone else. No, he knew me. He held up his finger and ask me how many do I see. He was quite enjoying himself. It didn’t work. I still did not know him. So he pointed straight ahead and ask me which is better, this or that. Well, that failed too and I was starting to feel that one of us must be crazy!
He told me his name. I said: No! You don’t look like you. You don’t sound like you! We had such a good laugh and a good visit. It was as if God knew that I needed something to lighten my day and sent him. The nephew was my first ever optometrist when I came to live in the city. I was his patient from age 19 to 42! And I left him because he could not fit me with contact lens anymore. I had to show my appreciation by telling him that he always had good bedside manners. That produced some good laughs from his relatives. Well, he did! He was very patient. When he moved to a new office, I had a hard time finding it. He gave me directions and told me he would wait outside so I could see where he was. Well, I took too long and he had to go inside, but I did eventually find his new office.
I did not remind him of my last appointments when nothing went right! I became frustrated and found tears trickling down my face after many fittings for my contact lenses. I have a high prescription and Asian eyes so my lids are tight making it difficult. He was very kind, saying that we cannot continue our session with tears. He would cancel his other appointments the next day and give me the whole afternoon. How many optometrists would do that?
I did have to part company eventually but I could obviously see that I had left a good impression with him. And I’m thinking that I am not a bad person…..not as bad as I have been thinking and feeling about myself anyways. I am all talked out now. The burning in my stomach is gone. I am rested and at ease. Sometimes you need a little stress so you can appreciate the jello. Raindrops are falling gently on the roof of this special private space. Life is good.