A queezy feeling. A little unsure of how this is going to go. How am I going to react? What will be different? I REALLY don’t want to break into tears. Please no tears! First night back. 3rd patient in. “Hi, my name is Jenn, I’ll be your nurse tonight”. “Uh-huh. (bah-hum bug’s all around) I want you to bring me this, and that, oh and this. I want them to be brought to me now so that I can have a shower at this specific time. And then I want you to bring me that little blue pill at 11:00”. Yes sir. Back with his precious items (in a timely matter). “What took you so long? You nurses always say you’ll be back soon and then you never come”. The steam which was beginning to make it’s way out of my ears in my first attempt was beginning to make the sound a kettle makes when it’s boiling. Yeah. I was pretty livid. Greeeeat. So this is how my night’s gonna go, is it now. Sorry buddy, but the chest pain in one room and the blood transfusion in the next was a little more important than your pyjamas. Wouldn’t you say? Grrrrrrrr.
Maybe before I would have grilled into this guy. But what I did instead was assertively smile, and didn’t really say much at all. I might have been in a state of somewhat culture shock, because all I did was remain quiet. I thought back to the faces of my patients last week. Their look of despair, but filled with such strength and hope. Their longing for help, and their appreciation for everything. And I mean everything. I brought myself back to these moments. And then I was calm. Me grilling into this guy would not make the situation any better. I’m not going to change the way this guy acts. He has his own reasons to be pissed off, and fair enough. So be it. I’m not going to get into it with him. Not today. And so I didn’t.
My quiet assertiveness somehow worked. He seemed to get it. Later he started making jokes, as if trying to mend what he had done. I knew that he knew. And I didn’t have to get all heated up in trying to help him see it. Don’t get me wrong, if this guy would have continued, I would have spoken up. But for some reason, perhaps with a sense of sadness FOR him, I didn’t.
Why the change in me? This gentle change? I think it’s because I’ve been touched. I’ve softened. I don’t need to prove to anyone what I have seen. I don’t need to lecture anyone on how fortunate they really are. I don’t need to prove others to be more compassionate. Because. Because I have so deeply felt it. I have witnessed it. I have felt the pain and the hope of the Haitian people. Now all I can do is bring this sense of compassion and hope with me. I can share it. I can BE compassionate in order to inspire others. A gentle assertiveness. A gentle knowing. Peaceful. It feels peaceful. Such a better feeling than trying to prove myself. I choose this. Being compassion. Bringing hope. I choose this.
Smile with your heart