Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Like The Sand In An Hourglass, So Are The Days In Which I Flip Out....

All the days became so long,

Did you really think I'd do you wrong?

* ("Baby Blue", Badfinger)

* *

Did you ever have one of those weeks when you felt like you couldn't please anybody no matter how hard you tried?

That's how my week has gone......and I lost my cool today. I hate to admit this to you----but I threw a flat-out hissy fit, bawling my eyes out and my two best friends in the world, Bonnie and Belinda.

And what's worse, I did it at the end of the work-day----and now I'm at home, cowering in the aftermath of this ugly episode by not answering my cell phone, which is ringing off the wall with both calls and text-messages.

I know that sounds immature and childish of me---- but hear me out. Because I feel that I'm entitled to this little interlude. Tell me if you think I'm wrong, but I think I deserve this evening of peace and quiet from the day's events, which hurt my feelings pretty badly.

And what really hurts me is that I think that Bonnie and Belinda forgot something very important. Which is, okay, yes, I'm the "boss"---but it's not like I'm some omnipotent and cruel "ruler" who gets to have everything my way while living a carefree life of bossing people around at a whim without any regard for their feelings. I, too, have bosses to answer to----the owners of the company. And so I try to please those company owners.

But I also desperately try to please my friends----Bonnie, Belinda, and my secretary.....

Because only too well do I remember how it was when Bonnie, Belinda and I all used to work at that slave-driving competitor company up the road----and how very miserable it was. And so I've always tried very hard to make things better for us at this current company.

And usually I succeed.

But this week went to hell in a handbasket from Day One. It started when a patient burst through the office's front door and threw (literally threw!) a piece of paper down on my desk and hollered at me to "fix it".

It was a problem with his diabetic supply company, which was late in delivering his diabetic supplies. And it was a simple "red-tape" problem which I had already told him repeatedly that I would take care of. I had also repeatedly told him that if his supplies were delayed that I'd simply GIVE HIM all the necessary supplies he'd need until his order arrived. But he came barrelling into the office to rant and rave to me, and I innocently sat there listening to him vent steam about the whole thing all over again for a solid hour. So I phoned the company and got for him the exact shipping date of his supplies. And then, to my astonishment....he admitted that he DID have enough supplies to last him for the next three months--- but that it was the "point of the whole dadblasted thing" that had made him so angry. And then, as I sat there in speechless shock after his tirade, he stomped out of our office, still grumbling to himself.

Next, our company owner phoned me up to tell me that Jane-Anne is most likely not going to return to our company after her maternity leave. Jane-Anne is considering working two sixteen-hour shifts on the weekends (at a nursing home or somewhere) so that she can stay home with her baby the rest of the week.

And the owner also declared that she feels that our office can operate perfectly well without Jane-Anne----and so she has decided NOT to hire another LVN in Jane-Anne's place.

Immediately upon my informing everybody of that news, Belinda and Bonnie began bitching their heads off at me because, as they stated loudly, they don't want to have to endure being "on-call" every three weeks like we've been doing ever since my absence in July and then both Belinda's and Jane-Anne's maternity leave absences later on. They both stated quite emphatically and resentfully that they each have children and husbands to take care of, and that being on-call that often is causing a strain on their family lives, which I believe is a very valid concern.

And so I told them both the same thing that I've been telling them over and over in case just such a situation occurred----that I'll simply tell the owners that I'll take over Jane-Anne's week of on-call, as well as my own, so that Bonnie and Belinda can go back to only having to be on-call once every four weeks, which was what I had promised when I hired them. I don't mind taking the extra week of on-call because I live by the hospital and don't have a husband or children to consider.

But then, as the two of them began calculating the implications of the disappointing prospect of our office losing a full-time LVN, they started their bitching again---this time more angrily than before. Because, they had quickly figured out, by our office losing that extra "buffer" nurse, it means that we will no longer have any "leeway" in case anybody needs to take time off for "personal days" or sick time.

So, again, I repeated to them the exact same thing which I've been telling them over and over again about just what I would do if such a situation as this arose----that I would then have a serious talk with the owners about allowing me to hire a part-time nurse, an "as-needed" nurse who could work periodically on a "per visit" pay-rate on those days when a full-time nurse needed a day off or called in sick. I even suggested a few of the experienced road nurses I knew around town whom I stated that I'd try to contact to ask if they would be interested in such an arrangement. (Many road nurses in Podunk don't want to work full-time but frequently can be persuaded to consider earning extra money by doing a few visits on a part-time basis---if the price is right.)

But then Bonnie and Belinda immediately poo-pooed my suggestions of certain nurses, stating: "I don't like her---she's lazy" or "I don't like her---she's crazy and undependable" or else: "I don't like her because [fill in the blank]...."

And things continued to go downhill....and futher downhill....and even further downhill.....

Because I next got a call from a retirement community manager asking me if I'd like to take on a new patient with multiple wounds. And since I've been kissing that manager's ass for weeks, begging her to give us new patients like the company's owners are constantly on my back to do, I jumped at her offer and told her that we'd be only too happy to take this new patient. And not only that, but instead of putting that extra visit onto Belinda like I should have (since she's the main Field RN), I had mercy on her and went to do the visit myself--- which took several hours because the first "admitting visit" is always time-consuming in order for the nurse to gather all the information necessary to open the case. And this particular admitting visit took even longer because I also had to take extra time to thoroughly examine the patient's multiple wounds in order to figure out the proper wound care and wound care products we'd need for this man.

And then, when I returned to the office, Belinda and Bonnie began a NEW round of re-harping and bitching about me taking on a "wound care patient"! ----because wound care patients can be a hassle. It means that the patient might need daily visits----which unfortunately means that the on-call nurse will have to see that person on the weekends. (Is there such a word as "re-harping"????) (If not, I just made it one.)

As Belinda bitched, I realized that she had conveniently forgotten that I had not only saved her from having to perform that lengthy visit, but that I'd also taken on one of her other visits today in order that she would be able to have ample time enough to do her breast-milk-pumping, since she's regularly pumping her own milk for her new baby.

Later in the day, I braved a request to Belinda and asked if she could make her visit to a certain patient at around or after 2:30 pm due to the patient having a doctor's appointment in the earlier part of the day. Belinda then proceeded to snap rudely to me: "I'M SORRY---BUT I HAVE TO PUMP MY BREASTS AT 2:30!"

It hurt me that she made that statement in such an ugly tone because I most certainly hadn't meant for her to NOT pump her breasts at the right time. I mean, what was she thinking? That I expected her to NOT pump? But, trying to calm the atmosphere down, I apologized to her for the misunderstanding and said that I had only meant "as near after 2:30 pm as possible" and that of course she could do the visit around her breast-pumping schedule---or else I could always do the visit myself if she couldn't. Sheesh--by now I was beginning to think that I was in the Twilight Zone of Grouchy Road Nurses....

The horrible day wore on. Sometime in the afternoon, I finished up a telephone report to Adult Protective Services about a helpless, weak, and confused 95 year old patient with Alzheimer's Disease and multiple bed sores. I had reported this case to APS because the patient's son leaves the poor woman locked in an apartment alone most of the time--- where she lies soaked in her own poop and pee for so long that inflammed blisters are forming on her buttocks and all the way up to her waistline. And, to my further horror and sadness, neither I nor any of the other nurses have ever witnessed anyone feeding her, offering her fluids, or changing her poop and pee-soaked clothing and bed-sheets on any of our visits. And, in my efforts to keep tabs on her son's "care" of this poor lady, I ruefully began to realize that my suspicions were probably true in that neither the patient's son nor his "helpers" (who are employed by a local State agency) have ever visited the woman often enough to adequately feed her, change her pee-soaked clothing and bed-sheets, offer her adequate fluids, or take any kind of safety measures to prevent the bruises and sores she frequently gets when, in her confusion and fear, she attempts to climb out over the bed's siderails--- and gets herself dangerously tangled up in those side-rails, causing bruising on her feet and legs in the process. And on many of our scheduled days to visit her, we are unable to reach anyone by phone or else get into the patient's apartment, since the door is kept locked.

When I got off the phone with the Adult Protective Services social worker (who plans to take a second worker with her to photograph the patient's squalid conditions and wounds, in an effort to force the son to make arrangements for his mother to be placed in a nursing home or other safe environment), Bonnie did something she's never done to me in all the time I've known her.

She yelled at me.


I was shocked. First of all, because it is not our company's policy to document whether or not a patient's bed-sheets or diaper is wet or soiled when it is perfectly obvious that the pateint has caregivers performing those functions in an adequate fashion. And, at the time Bonnie was talking about, we were mistakenly under the impression that the patient's caregivers WERE taking appropriate care of that task. At that time, we were completely unaware that the caregivers from the State agency are NOT performing those tasks adequately and are, in fact, cheating on their time sheets. I checked with the agency they are employed with and found that they are writing down that they are present for so many hours a day when, in fact, they are NOT---and they are ACTUALLY only there for about 30 minutes, if that! And when I confronted the patient's son about this problem, he denied it all and said that the helpers WERE there at the appointed times.

(I know the above information about the helpers lying on their time sheets and how often they're present at the patient's apartment because..... I had gotten suspicious and began calling the residence every 30 minutes, round the clock, for a few days in a row in order to definitely prove just WHEN these so-called helpers are actually THERE or NOT THERE.)

Thus, Bonnie would not have gotten "in trouble" for failing to document a wet diaper or bed-sheets that day because, at that time, we truly believed the caregivers were performing these tasks adequately and that the patient just happened to be wet during our nursing visit that day.

I was shocked....and deeply hurt by Bonnie's outburst.

And, during all of the above incidents, one of the owners of the company kept phoning me to harp at me that the monthly census report was due, that I needed to make sure and document the report to the APS correctly, and that other things were due....blah blah blah.....

And then, Bonnie suddenly began griping at me again, this time about the fact that she only makes 50 cents an hour more than Jane-Anne, who is a rookie--- when Bonnie is an 8-year veteran and feels that she deserves much more than 50 cents an hour more than a rookie. I personally believe that Bonnie is entirely correct in this matter and I've told her repeatedly that when her "eval" comes due in November that I will aggressively lobby the owners to compensate her for this fact by giving her a substantial raise. But Bonnie exclaimed again, rather sarcastically and nastily, almost threateningly: "I had just BETTER get a DECENT RAISE in November!" And then, with those words ringing in my ears, she left the office for the day, earlier than quitting time as she was going to see a distant patient on her way home.

And then, with a somewhat substantial amount of trepidation (seeing as how the day was steadily going to the dogs) , I quietly asked Belinda if she minded doing an extra visit tomorrow on our new patient, the one I'd admitted today----since he would need wound care with the new products I had just then ordered by phone from our supplier. But Belinda immediately snapped that she "didn't have time". And then she threw in a sassy comment about how she was in a "bad mood" because she is the on-call this week.

This remark about how she hates being "on-call" irked me. Because Belinda knows fully well that I have to take the "RN-call" for the weekends that she is not the on-call. Because in road nursing, some visits can only be done by an RN. Which basically means that if any such visits are required on those weekends on which Bonnie, an LVN, is the "on call"--- then it will fall to me to perform such visits myself--- which is basically two out of every three weekends.

And about her refusing to do the visit tomorrow on the new patient..... Although I really don't have to go out on patient visits during the week if I don't want to, because I'm the Manager and can choose to stay in the office and make the other two perform all the necessary visits, I am not that type of Manager. Thus, I consistently take on a lot of their patient visits in order to lighten their loads and make their lives easier. And, in doing this, I consistently take flak from the owner of the company about it. She's worried that I'm "too easy"on Bonnie and Belinda. And she's also worried that, by my taking those visits, that I'll neglect my office paperwork. And she's also of the belief that I shouldn't have to do two jobs----that of the Manager and also that as a Field Nurse.

But my owner's nagging aside, Belinda's flippant and grouchy remarks were the last straws......and that was when I lost my cool.

And I really lost it.

To my utter mortification, I actually, started bawling my eyes out and screamed: WHY DOES EVERYBODY HATE ME? WHY ARE MY BEST FRIENDS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD HARPING AND YELLING AT ME?


I mean, I couldn't believe it. All day long they had been giving me "attitude" about every little thing. They were acting as if they were the "slave martyrs" and I was the mean old "boss lady"!

I mean, GOLLY GEE! How in the hell can they think like that? HOW??????? Don't they know how much I care about them? I mean, all I've ever done since hiring them is to try and create an atmosphere whereby we three friends can work in peace and harmony----with nobody overworked and everybody having an equal say in how things are done----on a FRIENDSHIP basis!!! Because I have absolutely NEVER acted like I'm the "boss". I LOVE THESE GIRLS! They are my BEST FRIENDS!

I mean, their attitudes were like those we used to hold about our former slave-driving bosses at the old company, a place where we were treated like simple laborers. I mean, at that horrible company, we all fully believed that if we had ever dropped over dead in the field, the bosses would have simply stepped over our lifeless carcasses and gone on about their business without a care in the world.

So anyway, I ranted to a startled Belinda for awhile---- and I ranted at my bewildered secretary for awhile----all the time while bawling and boo-hooing my stupid eyes out. Belinda gave me a half-hearted apology about how she had simply been "in a bad mood" and was "under stress"----and that she'd call Bonnie to tell her that my feelings had been hurt when Bonnie yelled at me.....

But I just told her to forget it---- because I didn't want to talk about it anymore or cry about it anymore. And then I went home.

And here I sit, miserable, while not answering my ringing cell phone, even though both of them have been calling one after the other and text-messaging me to "please call".

And I'm not doing this to be an asshole. It's because I'm the type that needs to back off and "hide" for awhile to get over an outburst of crying. It's the only way I can lick my wounds and cope after such a display of embarassing and stupid behavior. Because if I talked while I'm still this hurt and upset, I'd be very fearful that I might say something ugly which I would greatly regret later. (And also, the crying would most definitely cause me a bad migraine headache.)

So now I'm home petting yarn skeins. Yarn skeins will never hurt me. They let me pet them and pet them......and they never complain or bitch at me.

God, I hope tomorrow is better.....




Knitting Rose said...

Aw Bo - poor thing - it is tough - you seem to be doing a lot for others though - remember to take care of yourself too - or you will keep bursting out and maybe burst too hard.

Devorah said...

Delurking for the moment ...

Please take care of yourself and keep petting those yarn skeins. Pretty yarn! Soft Yarn! Just waiting to be knit. Can't you feel the pull of it ... knit me, knit me ... the soothing call of the yarn!

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Working with people is very hard, and harder when they're friends and you're supervising. A good yarn break sounds just right.

Anonymous said...

You know what, gal? You have a "right" to be human, too, and it's time to TELL those "best friends" that ... they took advantage of you, knowing you love them and won't "punish" them for their bad moods and outbursts, but they also went too far ... thus, YOUR outburst ...

Maybe, while you're petting that yarn for a while (wonderful therapy, isn't it?), you can think about what boundaries you need to set ... and MAYBE one can be to tell the owners that IF they want you to focus on managing and paperwork in a timely fashion, they WILL replace Jane-Ann with at least a part-time nurse ... then you can tell the other two that unless they want to pick up the extra load themselves, they'll DEAL with whoever it is!

Poor Bo ... it's hard to be friend and boss ... pet the yarn ...

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. It's not enough, I know, but you have friends here.

Anonymous said...

I heard it thru the grapevine....3d hand or something...from 2 people who dont believe in astrology but listened enough to remember what the first person said enough to pass it on...and there is something about the planetary alignments that is causing upheaval and turblulence. SOunds like you are smack dab in the midst of those planets!

Take a deep week is a new week...tomorrow is a new day...blah blah blah...but you got enough people here to pat your shoulders and hand you kleenex and let you sop up your soiled pride!

And after you have patted your yarn long enough...get started knitting something! Did you get the yarn ordered for the pony socks???

Bo... said...

THANKS YOU GUYS!!! And I did as you suggested and petted all the yarnies till they purred. (And yes, I did order me some yarn--and it felt good!)

(I've got a credit card and I ain't afraid to use it....)

Warrior Knitter said...

Yes, yarn is good and new yarn is Even. Better.

Unfortunately, yelling and crying is sometimes necessary to get some people to Pay Attention.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry road nurse. I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Duckie said...

How are things going now? I think they just wanted to de-stress also, and mistakingly took it out on you. Prayin' fer ya!

poody said...

Bo, as a supervisor mnyself I know the feeling but infortunatley once you became the boss of these ladies your relationship changed and maybe not on your part but on theirs for sure. It is difficult to be friends with someone you are now the boss of. They will hold back things that before they would share with you and things will be strained until you develop a more professional relationship. I have found that while some of my friends have taken advantage of our friendship the otherts have adapted and hopefully so can you! Or you could come work by me!

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry that you had to deal with all this. It's hard to go from being friends to being a supervisor, and trying to do all the new duties while keeping the friendship.

One technique that I used was to ask them (individually) if they would prefer that I go back to the old title (road nurse for you) and let the company hire someone else for the supervisor. When they say no (which they all did, resoundingly), I gently asked if I was entitled to some respect, giving examples. I would also ask if they had a better solution to a particular problem, because I had already given as much extra as I was going to (working every Sunday for three months) and did not have any other ideas myself.

Hope some of this might help, and trust in your yarn. E-hugs from Milwaukee, aj