Friday, May 05, 2006

I took my mother for a doctor's appointment this morning. She was getting a nerve block and they required her to have someone to drive her. Fine.

So we get there and of course, the waiting room is almost full. My mom gives her name to the receptionist. The receptionist asks if she has a driver. My mom gestures to me like I'm a prize on the Price is Right.

"Yes. This is my daughter."

I smile.

Then she does it. Again.

"She's a NURSE."

Receptionist lady doesn't give a rat's patootie, she's got a ton o' nurses back there with her. But every little old lady and man in the waiting room swivels around to stare at me. One lady even moved her purse off the chair next to her. She did everything but pat the chair seat.

See, my mom doesn't hear it. No, this is the South, people are too polite to interrupt our conversation. No, they wait. They wait until my mom is called back.

When I'm alone.

"Oh, excuse me, did I hear right? You are a nurse?"

I want to shout, "NO, I am not. My mother is crazy. She has Alzheimers. She doesn't know what she is saying. She thinks my brother is Douglas MacArthur."

But of course, I can't do that. That wouldn't be polite. And it'd be a lie.

See, they have questions, these little old ladies and men. They have detailed medical histories. (The first time I met my late next door neighbor, she told me how big her hemorrhoids were. Thanks for sharing.) They are the last of the generation that never question their doctors, so they are a little confused on diagnoses, medications, treatment courses.

But I don't know nothing 'bout no old people. I am lucky, because I have that copout. I'm a neonatal nurse. If you are over two weeks old, I don't know what to do with you.

I know it isn't just nursing. I'm sure doctors get asked for free medical advice, lawyers for free legal advice, accountants for free tax evasion hints.

But I'm supposed to be NICE about it. I'm SUPPOSED to answer all their questions because I'm a nurse. I'm supposed to be all Julia Margolis on ER and hunt you and your answers down on my own time and travel 100 miles into the most dangerous neighborhood on earth just because I'm a NURSE.

If a doctor or lawyer shuts down someone looking for advice, well, that just how they are. What more could you expect from them?

But I'm supposed to just be thrilled to death to discuss your seeping wounds, your diarrhea, your hemorrhoids, your blood sugar levels, your oozing rashes. And look at them too! With a smile.

I have a friend who is a teacher. He gets discouraged when he tells people what he does, they say "Oh, that is horrible. I couldn't do that."

Everytime he says that, I roll my eyes. No one ever expects him to stop grocery shopping to teach them how to solve a quadratic equation, do they?

Don't get me wrong. I like my job. I really do. When I'm at work. That's all.

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