On Bedside Manner

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately… go figure.

I started out thinking about the way doctors do (or maybe don’t) learn bedside manner.  I have dealt with more than one doctor in recent years who apparently either clepped out of that class at doctor school, or slept through the class.  Alternatively, they learned how to deal with patients in plumber’s school.  I would think that one or two classes in psyche or something that would tell them that you can’t count on patients being clueless or that teaches them that you really shouldn’t talk down to anyone except MAYBE your dog or your cat… possibly the gold fish or the potted plant on the counter (although…you know… the potted plant may not like it either).  There is a way to say what you think that is not going to inherently piss people off.  There are ways that will… FIGURE IT OUT.

Dr Booth… TOTALLY great bedside manner.  She probably doesn’t tell some people what they want to hear, but you know… all I want to hear is what will help me feel better.  I understand that it took me a while to get here and it will take a while to (hopefully) get better. I try to ask informed and intelligent questions and to follow her directions the best I can.  I figure the mutual respect will go far.

But I’m weird.

The whole bedside manner and treating people like people carried me through all kinds of professions, then.  It got me thinking about the people I work with every day and the people who have to deal with me.

I try really hard, even when I am feeling like I am totally falling apart in my personal life to not let that carry through to my work life.  I’m the disgustingly cheery person of the office.  I am a terminally morning person.  I try to be johnny on the spot.  I care about what I do.  I care about the people who rely on my (the people who need me to do things and the other people on my team).

Does that make me completely weird?

I know it makes me drive myself crazy on days when I really do feel like an epic fail or when I feel like I’m totally letting my family down… when I can’t hold it together in my head because I’m worrying about one person or another in my household… or back ‘home’ in Pennsylvania.  I’m trying to listen to wise women who keep telling me not to worry not to stress and that I do make a difference.  Sometimes I can manage to not worry (Head banging rock and roll has lately taken the form of YouTube versions of the Steelers Fight Song… Raffi… Ever my favorite Disney… and still Erhu music).  Tea helps.

I keep thinking… I can choose to be difficult (you know who I mean… there are just people that you have to deal with that make you cringe when you know you have to deal with them) or I can choose to be helpful and friendly and to get along.  I am pretty sure I know at least one person who (whether or not it is a choice) is difficult to work with and while I know it means that there isn’t as much work that falls on that plate because it is difficult to deal with the personalities in question I also know that it can’t be easy to be them.

They can’t be happy

They have to realize that people’s butt clenches when they know they have to deal with people like that.

The kind of people that, when the receptionist tells you “this person” is the one you get today… they laugh in commiseration at the sound of resignation in your voice.

I work every day to not be that person.

Some days it is harder than others.

But you know… I think being pleasant to people who might be having just as crappy a day as you are matters and it makes their day and even your day a little less crappy all the way around.

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