KPC prompt is “something overheard”.
As we were eating at a restaurant one Friday night, I could hear the conversation at the booth behind me. I am generally not one to eavesdrop, but the dynamics of the relationship caught my attention.
“She done get on my ever last nerve. That woman she has.” This was a statement of exasperation made by a woman about thirty-five, maybe forty, years old. I am guessing she was a healthcare worker, maybe a nurse’s aid, at a nursing home. I detected this by the colorful scrub top and white pants.
“Why she always so mean?” This was asked by the much older and frail woman sitting with her.
“I don’t know. She just be like that. But today I tell you she got on my ever last nerve!”
I surmised they were daughter and mother. The younger woman was concerned with the older woman’s health and pointing out the older woman’s favorite foods on the menu. It was clear that she knew the woman well and cared for her.
“Well, she always be like that? How about Mrs. (name inaudible)? She hateful like that?”
“No ma’am. She be nice as she can be. She pleased as punch ‘bout everything I do. But that other woman in that room, she done get on my ever last nerve everyday. Today she done did it though. My ever last nerve I tell you!”
“So, what she do?”
“She be complainin” ‘bout everything! She want the blinds open. Then she want ‘em closed. The food ain’t good enough. I can’t do nothin’ right for her. That old lady just be gettin’ on my ever last nerve!”
Most of the conversation continued this way. We were leaving the restaurant at the same time. I watched her help her mother to her feet and hold onto her elbow as they walked to the car. The older woman stopped and took a deep breath.
“Are you ok, Mama? Are you lightheaded? Is your stomach hurting?” Her concern was overwhelming.
“I just need to rest. My stomach feels a little funny.”
“Let me help you in the car. I’ll get you home in no time.”
I listened to this loving exchange between these two women, and I couldn’t help but think that the daughter was a caretaker in every sense of the word. She was caring and attentive. I have every reason to believe she is like that at work as well as home. I couldn’t help but wonder about this “old lady who got on her ever last nerve”. I wondered if this woman was lonely or in pain and took it out on those around her. I also wonder if she was just one of those negative people that tries to bring everyone around her down.
I hoped for the healthcare worker’s sake that the positive sunny patients far surpassed the number of negative ones. This woman had such a good disposition and soft heart, I hoped that the old woman didn’t push it to REALLY get on her “ever last nerve”.
I always say that if you have a negative person in your life, it’s better to keep your distance and not let them rub off on you. I have limited contact with joy suckers. Many of us have family members who suck the life right out of us, and we can’t really cut off family the way we drop friends. But what if our profession requires us to deal with them, what can we do? There is no use changing jobs or career paths because there are joy suckers everywhere in life. We can’t just hold our breath and wait for it to pass. Usually, our attitudes have little bearing on the attitudes of joy suckers. Maybe, we do have the choice of whether or not we will let them affect us negatively. Yeah right, I know that is much easier said than done. My Mama always said to just kill them with kindness.