Friday, July 2, 2010

A Paper Bag, a Window, and a Tongue Blade

Note: This somewhat silly post is in response to a group writing project on "Bosses" over at the High Calling Blogs.

I worked in a small OB/GYN practice early in my nursing career.  I "managed" a satellite office, where I "bossed" only myself for four days, and worked at the main office on Fridays.

I met my husband, who was a drug salesman at the time, there--but that's another story already told in another post. I remember Dr. J muttering about the cost of a single place setting of the dishes I'd registered for, but he bought us two sets.

I also remember how the doctors provided free care for the wives of interns and residents--until their husbands went on strike. Come to think of it, I don't remember any female interns or residents coming in for care.

We had an hour and a half for lunch, and sometimes the doctors would give us nurses the key card to their "club," and we'd go out and splurge on a big meal. They were generous, although I do remember Dr. J often talked (worried) about funding his retirement, and he must have been in his 30s at the time.

Anyway, I worked there for 2-1/2 years, and a lot of memories are hazy now. But I remember three clearly.

One day I heard frantic pounding on the private entrance to the satellite office. When I opened the door, I met the eyes of the frightened secretary down the hall. I ran with her to discover one of her coworkers twitching on the floor. I freaked and raced back to our office.

"Dr. B! Dr. B! Come quick! Hurry!"

He was in an exam room with a patient at the time, so he told her he'd be right back, left her up in the stirrups, and sauntered--yes, sauntered--down the hall. He seldom got excited about anything. As in nonchalant.

I listened for the ambulance, but he returned in a matter of minutes.

"What was wrong with her? What'd you do?"

"Oh, she just hyperventilated. I gave her a paper bag."

And he strolled back into the exam room leaving me to calm myself down.

Lessons: Don't worry. Stay calm. Breathe. But carry a paper bag.

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." 
Philippians 4:6-7 (Message)

A disheveled lady burst into the waiting room just as we prepared to lock up for lunch. She jabbered about stuff that didn't make much sense to me. I was new, but the others had seen her before. I don't remember much about that "conversation" or what was wrong or even the final outcome. What I do remember is Dr. B hovering outside her range of vision, not wanting to get involved, with his eye on the exit. He had to walk right past her to get out. So he did the next best thing. He climbed out the workroom window, directly into the parking lot, and left us to deal with her.

Lessons: Avoid futile arguments. Have an escape plan. Look for a window of opportunity.

"But refuse (shut your mind against, have nothing to do with) trifling (ill-informed, unedifying, stupid) controversies over ignorant questionings, for you know that they foster strive and breed quarrels."
2 Timothy 2:23 (Amplified)

Dr. J loved cheesecake. I mean loved it! So one morning I brought one in. Lovingly baked in a store-bought graham cracker crust. Topped with cherries. I set it on the counter in the workroom. The same place where we processed fingerstick blood and urine samples. He grabbed for it. The top fell off. And the whole thing landed upside down on the floor. He stared at it for a moment and then reached for a tongue blade, squatted down, and ate.

Lessons: Don't waste anything. Keep your floors clean. Carry a big spoon.

"Jesus answered, "You've come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs--and for free. Don't waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what He does are guaranteed by the Father to last."
John 6:26-27 (Message)

And here's some extra reading for your Friday Enjoyment. The origin of graham crackers.

Do you have any memorable boss or work experiences?

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King


Kathleen Overby said...

This is writing. I pictured every scene. Loved it and needed this mix today. Thank you. :)

caryjo said...

Loved it. However, I didn't automatically think of the "boss" thing, but the "exit" piece. It's a natural response for me... if there's any arguing, any family or public stuff heading for a mess, I always know how to get out. One of my lifetime mottoes is to always know where the exit is.

Dr. B. is a lot like me...

Except for the types of serious First Responders events, of course... but...

S. Etole said...

Valuable lessons all ... altho I'm not quite sure about the cheesecake on the floor in the lab ... :-)

~~Melinda Y.~~ said...

Laughing so hard...I almost well.... I just about cried!
I'd a been right down there on the floor with Dr.B(He would have had serious competition from me too!)
Love it Snady! You have amazing stories:0) Thanks for sharing them with us!:):):)

shrinkthecamel said...

Oh, this Dr. J sounds like a character from a sit-com. Those three scenes you painted are absolutely delightful. (especially the cheescake and the tongue blade. I am laughing even as I am writing this)

This is what is so great about these "boss" stories - everyone has these hilarious sketches that sound like something you'd watch on TV. Real life is just as entertaining, I think.

Karen said...

This was great!! My first visit to your blog (from Jeff Jordan's list). You are an awesome writer! Have a wonderful weekend.

Anonymous said...

I'm Karen's sister and so glad she told me to visit. Thanks for the delightful post today!

Sandra Heska King said...

@Kathleen: You rock my world. Thanks!

@caryjo: I get real uncomfortable with conflict, too.

@Susan: I think he left the cherry topping . . .

@Melinda: Seriously, I need to make a trip to the drug store for you . . .

@Bradley: Mission accomplished then?

@Karen and Mildred: Welcome! And thank you. Hope to see you again. :D

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Ha! I love these stories! Those doctors knew how to survive the craziness of work--and enjoy cheesecake whenever it presents itself!

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