Please excuse my negativity today. I have reached a point of maximum capacity and I must purge before I explode in a rush of festering toxic sludge. For those of you who’ve experienced this verbal emesis from me before, my apologies.
The setup: My usual Friday marathon. Awake from 06:00 until 09:00 Saturday morning. I have been sick since Tuesday morning around 02:00. So tired at work Firday night, I fell asleep at the desk. Twice. Not just a cat nap. It was the kind of sleep that leaves you with numb extremities and an arm covered in drool. The Best twenty minutes of my life.
Back to the point. What was my point? Negativity. Yes. So.
After I got home, I fed the two Littlest Heathens breakfast, played with them for a half an hour before taking a shower and falling into a coma at 09:02. This is the sleep absent of dreams and full of restoration, unless of course your husband is studying and doesn’t realize the kids are giggling and fighting about four feet away from your head. Granted, there’s a wall between us and I had my earplugs in. Still loud as hell and it was two hours before I_should_have woken up.
I banged on the wall. Nothing. The giggles continued. I waited ten minutes, and by that time the decrepit old bastard next door had begun obsessive-compulsively mowing the twenty foot patch of grass outside my bedroom window (that he just mowed yesterday), before yelling—with a not-so-effective-voice since I’ve been sick for the last three days— “SHUT UP!”
That worked for the kids. The old man outside my window? Not so much.
So I tossed and turned and I fumed, to the point that I was too angry to fall back to sleep. Plus, I had to pee. I was pissed about that too (yuk-yuk-yuk). Fantasies of slashing the tires on Old Man’s precious lawnmower danced through my head. Or even better, I could go to their house at four o’clock in the morning and blow an air-horn, or ring the door bell incessantly until they were forced from their comfy beds to shuffle to the door in pajamas and then hide in the bushes while they looked for the mysterious prankster. Maybe a skunk could even mosey on by and spray Old Man. Ooh, ooh. Best idea ever: I could wait until he finished mowing and use our blower to move all the leaves from our yard into his yard since he was only mowing to shred up the newly-fallen leaves.
Finally, at 4:15, after fueling the fires of my rage for forty-five minutes, I threw the covers off, stomped to the bathroom, peed, slammed the lid down and marched to the kitchen spewing my verbal curse word salad like an R-rated version of Yosemite Sam.
My husband sat on the couch, studying like a good boy. The Littlest Heathens played quietly in the floor like angels.
“What’s the matter, baby?” My husband looked up at me from his ventilator study guide.
“I’m sick and I’m tired. And that fucking asshole is mowing the goddamn grass AGAIN! I am over this shit.” [Now keep in mind, the Old Man has been told by myself and my husband on more than one occasion that I work every weekend at night.]
No response from my husband. He knows when to ignore me and let me vomit my anger at other people. My kids, well, I don’t know what they were doing because I was in the kitchen taking Mucinex DM.
“He_just_mowed the leaves yesterday.”I picked up the Brita pitcher (still cursing about the selfishness of humans) because the directions say I must take this giant bitter phlegm-buster with a full glass of water. The pitcher was empty. Son of a motherless goat.
"Why does he have to mow the part next to the bedroom? Why not the rest of the sonofabitchin' acre he lives on?" I slammed the Brita lid on the counter and a large chunk of it flew off.
Just fucking spectacular.
I blew out a breath (it was more of a sob, actually) and calmly retrieved the superglue from the junk drawer and glued the lid back together, holding pressure while the water filtered drop by agonizing drop.
I was angry to the point of tears and that is not an exaggeration. In that moment the world felt like a dungeon of wrongness. An inescapable Hell filled with frustration, selfishness and unfairness. I was a five year-old wearing a grown up suit that didn’t fit and itched like a mound of fire ants lived inside the fibers.
Then I got angry all over again. This time it was aimed at myself for being the selfish one.
So what if the old man is senile and compulsively cares for his yard. It’s his right to do that. He’s lived long enough, paid his dues, probably has a wife he can’t stand so yard work is his only freedom. Who am I to deny him the one thing he has left? I am no one.
Except, I am [theoretically] the very person he should be sensitive to. He’s already had one ambulance ride to the hospital this year. I estimated him to be somewhere between eighty to eighty five years old. Not getting any younger or healthier. When he ends up in the ICU, will he want the nightshift nurse who’s single-handedly providing for her family of five on six and a half hours of sleep in the past two and a half days?
No, he would want the nurse who has had a decent night/day of sleep so that they have the patience to wipe his ass when he shits the bed for the tenth time in twelve hours, or help him walk to the bathroom (a trip that can take upwards of half an hour for some ICU folks, those of them that are lucky enough to be conscious), the friendly face instead of the impatient hard-ass, the one that reminds herself to “kill ‘em with kindness” just like they taught in nursing school.
This is the nurse that I strive to be. No matter how bad my mood, my patients don’t suffer for it. Hopefully he has the same kind of nurse when his age catches up to him and finds the hospital visits come more frequently. Maybe they won’t, but if they do, he’ll be lucky to have a nurse like me instead of one that rolls their eyes (yes, this happens, you might even know someone who’s experienced this first hand), or sighs loudly at the request for Yet Another Soda.
My point in all this--besides the fact that I clearly need more sleep, a very long vacation and possibly some anger management--is that you have no idea how much your actions affect others. Think about it the next time you want to mow your lawn two days in a row.
And if someone brings something to your attention on multiple occasions, particularly something that is negatively affecting others around you, listen to them. Don't just blow them off. They might not be making it up just to piss you off. Maybe they’re onto something.
That's pretty much it. I won't rant about cops holding down protesters in order to ensure that the pepper spray makes it directly into their eyes. That's for another day.
Thanks for listening, y’all.