Friday, December 18, 2009


My grandma called me that once after watching me call someone out on their total BS. I used fighting words and won. The woman wanted to beat me with a broom but I beat her to the punch without lifting a finger.

Somehow, fighting with your siblings came up at my knitting night this week and I had nothing to relate because my three sisters and I never fought.


In reality, I learned to fight really, really well. They were bigger than me and so if I was going to stand a fighting chance, I needed to win from across the room. I learned to use my words to make them cry before they could knock the air out of me. It is a skill that I have since improved. I can zero in on a person's weakness or insecurity in a matter of minutes and with my words strike a nerve. Like any skill it can be and has been used for good and for not so good purposes. I'm pretty sure I will be working on what comes out my mouth for the rest of my existence.

When nerves are raw and frayed it is easier to hit them without missing a mark. It is easier still when you just tell the truth. Lots of times, complete strangers open up to you because they feel like they can trust you even if they know they won't always like what you're going to say. For example- the many patients who ask me if there will be pain, or what dying looks like, what DNR really means, or confess their actual drug use.

Yes, it's gonna hurt.
Breathing is going to be hard.
If chest compressions are used, there will be broken ribs.
You don't have to tell me, but I'm going to do a physical assessment and the body doesn't lie.

And however unprofessional it may be, I have on occasion simply said, "This sucks. I'm sorry."

Sometimes I think I scare people. And other times I make them cry. Especially when it comes to infertility. Somehow I find myself around these women or they find me. In any case we meet, and even though virtually complete strangers I open my mouth and hit a nerve.

More examples.

I know it hasn't been very long and I try and tell myself that, but to me it feels like I've waited my whole life to be a mom. That sounds dumb, doesn't it?
Me- Hold up. That's not dumb. You have and it sucks that you're not yet.
Enter the tearing up here.

Me- I'm so sorry.
It's okay.
Me- No it's not. It totally sucks.
Enter the tearing up here again.

Me- Honey, I don't say I'm sorry because I feel sorry for you, or I pity you. I'm truly sorry you have to go through this because I remember what it feels like and it totally sucks. And I know that there is nothing I or anyone else can say that will make it go away.
Enter the tearing up for the third time in two months here.

I say sucks, okay!?! And I'm not going to sugar coat it. I am rarely a sugarcoater. I will not be the person that tells you to have faith about it, or that it will get better, or anything else except that it sucks and I'm sorry. I should probably refine my approach, and use a little more discrepancy before letting my trap fly open. Like I said, I'm working on it. But I haven't been fired yet and I've found a new friend. That's got to count for something.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I love your approach and envy that you are able to be that way and not be offensive. Don't change a thing!

Oh and P.S. infertility DOES suck, there's no use pretending otherwise or using "nicer" language. I think suck sums it up perfectly!

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