Script and Narrative

Literally down to days left in Plymouth before my time off starts. I admit to being very excited to just relax. There is a smidgen of anxiety tied to it where I’m hoping I’ve saved enough to cover all my bills and the fun I plan to have, plus insurance and not getting sick while I’m off. But the thing I’m most excited about is rest, and having a full week of no politics.

So, I realize as I’m typing that, the level of difficulty is going to be high.

When I say I plan to have as little political news intake as possible, I’m serious as a mama rolling up on the maternity unit with one cheek on the wheelchair seat. That’s humor only someone from L&D will get so I’ll say serious as a heart attack.

No news on the phone, restricting tv news to local (if that), no reading and fretting over articles I pass on twitter, and the sidebar news articles on Facebook is a no go (if I get on Facebook at all). This is a full scale block, but not for the reasons you’d think.

Frankly, I’m exhausted by the news pouring in. Exhausted by the attacks, the fearmongering, the sadness, and the feeling of being totally beat down. Make no mistake, I don’t subscribe to the “fake news” propaganda because a free media is important to speaking truth to power, but I’m also a little tired of the overwhelming negativity that gets reported, ad nausem. In the past, even when things have been low, there’s been bright spots and positive moments to balance. There’s not been much to make me believe in my fellow human beings lately. Maybe that’s on me, to make the positive or be the positive or find the positive, but I’m so beat right now I just need to unplug it. *burn it to the ground!*

It makes me think of rhetoric, which I wanted to put in the title of this post. Rhetoric can have a negative tone as a person’s attempts at persuasion can come off as insincere and meaningless. I’m not going to argue politics as I don’t have the time or energy to view people I respect in a bad light. I will say that we should all be mindful the rhetoric we’re ingesting and internalizing, and how that’s aiding in rendering us unable to communicate across party/color/socioeconomic lines.

I went with narrative because I feel like it sounds better, even though it’s oft overused (and goes the way of privilege for the feeling it can induce). Narrative makes people consider a story they are telling or being told. What narrative are we working within lately? We need to talk about what we’re hearing. Take the changing language surrounding the DACA program. What started out as kids who were vetted, in school with jobs, longing to find an honest pathway in a situation they had no control over, turned into criminals/vandals/thieves overnight. How does that changing narrative make you feel? Do you find yourself ingesting and internalizing something that you know isn’t necessarily accurate? Furthermore, are you aware how your agreement (or disagreement) makes you come across?

Lets float away from politics, because the Lord knows I’ve cursed way too much over politics lately anyway, back into an area I’m more versed in. Medicine and nursing.

How does the things we think we know shape how we treat patient groups? Take the burgeoning drug epidemic. What narrative do we know about those embroiled in drugs? We have attitudes we develop and sometimes our willingness to treat them with care diminishes. Many studies show we don’t care for women or blacks at the level they deserve. What narrative have we ingested and internalized that makes this so? Think about those things. Do you catch yourself treating these groups differently? Watch your behavior the next time you’re at work. What do you say about them at the desk? Sometimes we don’t realize how our attitudes differ when the person we are dealing with isn’t the norm.

What we consume, we conform to. I’m not different. Things I watch and read shape me and my attitudes. It’s a struggle to be kind when my interactions are tainted by this narrative or rhetoric of badness. Bias creeps in and makes seeing eye to eye harder. I have a choice in what I consume and how I let it shape me, and so do you frankly. If you find your mood sour and your anger quick, unplug. Even if it’s only for a day, what kind of difference will that make in your attitude? I’m not here to change anyone’s mind except my own, but it’s worth asking those questions.

Anyway, countdown to time off! I’m hoping it’s full of relaxing, sightseeing, some visiting, and lots of getting back on track. If you see me out, give a wave. And a shout to my coworkers (both providers and staff) for a lovely 9 months. I hope I make it back to Plymouth to work with you ladies again very soon. You’re definitely cream of the crop.

See you on the other side of unplugged!

Travel on, road warrior


The cost of resentment 

Adios, Plymouth! 

I’ve made my way home which means I’ve completed another assignment. This was one of my best assignments even with the usual crazy staffing situations we ran in to. And after how difficult I found my previous location, I needed somewhere welcoming. 

Quick plug: any licensed Mass travelers, look into Beth Israel Deaconess in Plymouth labor and delivery. In 10 years of nursing, they have the best providers I’ve ever worked with in my career. Nothing but respect and comradery amongst nurses/doctors/midwives. If I wasn’t such a rolling stone (and didn’t possess such an aversion to winter), I’d put down roots. I never felt like “the traveler”. My help was appreciated and that made me feel like an asset. I do plan to return AFTER winter because I think it’s a good place to work. 

There was a little bit of a shake up right as I was leaving. It made me think of things that happen in our lives that breed hard feelings. 

No relationship is perfect. Things irritate us about our loved ones and its hard to not let resentment build up. In a love relationship I can be feeling unappreciated or taken for granted or not listened to. In a working relationship it can be making decisions without regard for staff or a lack of team work or punishing the whole staff for the behavior of one employee. 

But looking broader, resentment can come when someone voices a hurt, concern, trauma and instead of responding with compassion or action you ignore, belittle, or downplay the pain by pointing to something that has little to do with what’s being brought up. Looking at some of the issues facing our country today, it’s evident we have a serious resentment problem that’s exploding into something dangerous. People who aren’t heard tend to react with anger, sadness, violence. Why keep trying when you simply disengage and shout your anger to the world? 

So what’s the answer to resentment? Aside from Jesus and a bat to the back of the head? 

Listening: always the first step. If someone keeps saying they want something or are hurting, don’t add your two cents! Open ears and shut your mouth. 

Checking in: ask how they are and care about their answer.  Don’t let what they say be about how you feel. Let me repeat. DO NOT LET WHAT THEY SAY BE ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL. If they are talking about issues in their life, your response should never be explaining how you feel about it or how it has an effect on you. 

No excuses or apologies, but action helps: we want better relationships. It’s easy to say it’s not your problem and they need to open their mouths or fix their lives or stop complaining. That doesn’t change anything. You’ve added more anger and resentment to an already tense situation. Instead be an advocate, counselor, teacher to others on their behalf. Be a champion. 

That makes change. Listening and hearing and acting make change. 

Where to next? I’m actually headed closer to home. I’ll be in Charleston, WV until the beginning of December. So I’ll be in WV for a while for those in the area. They are going through and medical records conversion which increases their need for staff. 

I’m nervous because I’ve not truly worked in the state in over 3 years. I’m not used to the people or the issues anymore. I’m also not sure how I’ll be received. I want to be liked and seen as someone there to help. How will things be? We’ll see soon enough!

Travel on, road warrior.