Lose the bad attitude
Her performance was breathtaking. She was the Michael Phelps of negativity, the Gabby Douglas of simmering anger, the Serena Williams of apathy, the Misty May-Treanor of icy aloofness.
The first unfortunate encounter happened when I was checking on an elderly friend at a post-acute rehab facility. She was at the nurses' station flipping through a chart, and I had the audacity to approach and begin speaking.
“Good morning,” I said in my affable Canadian way, and she looked up. Eventually.
“How can I help you?” she asked with the warmth of a bag of frozen peas, not even getting through the question before looking back down.
“Just wondering how ‘Don's' night went,” I said.
“It went fine,” she responded, and began writing herself a note that I can guarantee did not say, “Next time that bald guy tries to talk to me when I'm busy, pretend he's a person who actually matters.” So I thanked her for her help and walked away.
That unpleasant interaction was one of several over the next few days. At one point, while Don's wife and I met with the director of nursing to share this and other concerns, the anger in that nurse's eyes almost ignited my tie from across the room, and she actually slammed a binder down on her desk. Amazingly, she still works there.
True, I don't know the back story. I don't know which inadequate systems were making her life miserable, how much she was paid, whether her kids were sick, or if she'd just had an argument.
But I do know that in a profession where litigation from sue-happy opportunists is common, making positive, caring connections with residents and family members isn't optional.
Except maybe at the Bad Attitude Olympics.