Monday, 18 November 2013

It's all part of the job

In my professional capacity,I have been insulted by the best and by the worst members of society.

The most effective " insulters", in my experience are always manic depressives who are entering their " manic " phases, as they can often latch on a weakness or defect in your psychi or personality and exploit it mercilessly.
It's a product of having a thousand thoughts flashing through your mind every second

My very favourite insult came from an incredibly well-to-do elderly lady of some means and standing. She looked me up and down as I was showing her around the psychiatric ward she had just been admitted to and with a click of her fingers referred to me as a
" pious double chinned little turd"
She also introduced me to a fellow patient as " an unfortunate fat wombat of a staff nurse" which tickled me too.....I have always loved a quick witted bitch slap of a put down.
Last night a confused patient called me a " pig ugly twat"
To which I said a calm and measured " please don't say things like that, I am one of the nurses looking after you"
The patient looked at me incredulously and called out a triumphant and somewhat lusty
" you are a pig ugly nurse then"
You can't disagree with logic

88 comments:

  1. You must have developed a thick skin, eh? My nursing sister said that the language that prim, elderly ladies used when coming out of general anaesthetic was shocking.

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    1. You get to let the insults of the confused pass you by...
      Now thomas...bet you have some choice insult stories?

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  2. It must have some 15 years ago when a customer, a very attractive young yuppie man, said something to me that really got under my skin. I didn't react or give him the satisfaction that he had achieved his aim, but he did and I have thought about it many times since. Ugly old effing poofta would be like water off a duck's back. Once can't deny the truth.

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    1. Never cross an old poof!

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  3. Pigs are rather handsome creatures in my humble opinion - with their bristly skin, curly tails, cute dancing trotters and little piggy eyes. What did your name caller look like? Gregory Frigging Peck?

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  4. There are signs up everywhere in the Cairns Base Hospital about not abusing, physically or verbally, the staff. I feel for health workers when faced with abusive patients for whatever reason ~ I am sure drugs and alcohol has a lot to do with it too.

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    1. We have it easy
      The staff IN The ER ( A & E in the uk) have it twice as bad!

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  5. Our daughter is a forensic OT, dealing with offenders, and has suffered terrible abuse from ' clients ', as you can imagine John.She says that they can zoom-in on any fault or weakness that you may have and have an uncanny knack to find anything that you may be unsure about !! It must be very hard not to bite back !! I guess it's something that you have to deal with and get used to. We are very lucky to have people like you John. XXXX

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    1. I no longer work in the psychiatric field
      Thank goodness ( for all the reasons you indicate)

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  6. I agree, pigs are rather lovely.

    It's when the nurses are horrible that upsets me so. After my wonderful grandmother died we were told by a very frail lady in the next bed that a nurse had said of my grandmother,
    " we'll leave that fat old bag to later " She was left post stroke sitting in a chair, nightie round her waist ( no pants ) no blanket til my step father visited & covered her up. I used to visit on my way home from college & was the last to see her alive.
    She died the next day. She was one of the smartest dressed women I've known, served a great afternoon tea & was a wonderful baker. She wasn't really fat just not tiny. I know mean nurses like that one are a minority & most wonderful like yourself John.
    Sorry, but it still hurts thinking about it.

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    1. That's unforgivable.
      Nobody deserves such treatment and it makes me so angry to hear of it. Sadly I've heard similar tales many times about our local hospital.



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    2. Sorry, I shouldn't have ranted.

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    3. No it's stories like these that all student nurses should read..
      There is no excuse, for insulting patients....... That's why nursing training is there....to weedle out the unsuitable characters.......it doesn't always work.....
      So sorry xx

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  7. Charming! I once had a customer throw a Spongebob Squarepants pen directly at my face because she didn't want to fill in a refund form when I worked in New Look.

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    1. Sponge bob in yer face....
      Beat that Hannah x

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  8. To which I said a calm and measured " please don't say things like that, I am one of the nurses looking after you"

    Sometimes, you must want to insert the catheter sideways.

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    1. Or the suppository with a rolling pin

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  9. No wonder when you get home all you want is a big cuddle and a great big slobbery kiss ... off the dogs .... and then to say hello to Chris ;-)

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    1. It's not that bad..I am just fostering sympathy

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  10. I believe anyone who would be able to work at a nursing profession must be heaven sent.

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    1. Don't bet on it linda x

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  11. Insults, when done well by the mentally unstable, can be so entertaining.

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    1. Oh you are so right, you old fart

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  12. people are cruel, aren't they...and the ones making these statements are probably no prizes themselves. a good comeback is "I know YOU are but what am I?"

    that being said, "fat wombat" made me snicker. anyone can see that you are NOT fat!

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    1. Anne.. I think perhaps you missed thedpoint of the blog entry
      People's rudeness ( when they are confused or Ill) always amuses me deed down.....
      Sure rudeness when people are " with it" can hurt.... The above examples are just fabulous

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  13. I was once having an 'insult exchange' with a semi-friend, when she attacked with "I saw you eating a doughnut in the street". I was shattered!

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    1. The shame of eating in the street...I had forgotton

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  14. You are amazing, those that try to hurt, would be lost without you, they just don't know it.

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    1. "They" are not so much trying to hurt, as trying to get a connection, I think.

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    2. Most are just off their heads
      Albeit for a short time

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  15. Did you laugh? Would that have been a good thing to do, or bad?

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    1. Oh yes......a laugh has diffused many a waspish insult

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  16. When dealing with things like that it is good to remember the old advice of 'not taking your work home with you'.

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  17. I've led such a sheltered life!
    Jane x

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  18. You're amazing the way you deal with life, John.

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  19. My best friend is a manic depressive and i call them her honesty phases when she goes into insult mode. Mind, i do crease myself laughing which is a great tonic for her as well. We both sit there cackling like lunes which is heaps of fun on a lock down ward!

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    1. Do you have long access to computers in your rubber room?

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  20. It's no wonder we feel safer with animals.

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  21. I admire you for doing that job. People are ill in may different ways.

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  22. I presume your training prepared you, or at least warned you, for such outbursts, in your line of work. Even so, I expect you have to be thick skinned at times.
    When a patient called me a "fucking nasty bitch" about a year ago, it really upset me for a long time.
    She did me a big favour, because that was the point at which I decided I'd had enough of pussy-footing around people who thought that being nasty to professionals who are trying to help them is a valid sport, and six months later I had retired!

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  23. However you take these insults John, you must be exhausted after a long shift......I am sure it can take its toll on the best of us.

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  24. Don't take it personal because you are NOT any of these things.You are a kind man who is so caring for his fellow man or beast..
    Ask yourself "Who has the sound mind?" not any of these characters.. At least you can go home after a long shift..
    Have a tiggeriffic day~! ta ta for now from Iowa:)

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    1. When I was a psychiatric nurse....I DID look like a wombat

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  25. Hi John,
    It takes a great deal to not take this personally, but words are what you make of them. At least you understand where this is coming from.
    I work in an office that is open to the public. I have been threated with an axe, live ammunition (no gun), robbed at gun point and screamed at by prominent members of the community. Yes I live in the wild west :-). I find it important to remain calm, otherwise it just fans the flames.
    Now I am off to work (where did I put my bullet proof vest?)
    Barb

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    1. Well that sounds like a life and a half.
      .where do you live?
      Dodge city?

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    2. North west Canada :-)

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  26. A manic depressive, although after rethinking his statement, found all of his marbles !
    ~Jo

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  27. It is a shame that you can't come back at them with an insult but they are unwell and probably don't have a way of controlling the thoughts that are on the tip of their tongue. At least last night's patient changed 'twat' for 'nurse'!

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  28. Is that part of the aliment ? those are some quick witted insults. At lest you understanding where they are coming from.
    My x used words to abuse ... the hurt stays.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Yes all part of the ailment
      I was in an abusive relationship too once.....
      Never again

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  29. I worked with seniors. They, and all of us at some time, lose impulse control and the ability to self check. Having said that I once lost it after hearing just one too many times about bowel issues. In the silence that followed a sweet old guy asked, "Corsets too tight, dear?"

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    1. Oh My Goodness I love this story !
      cheers, parsnip

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  30. i think you look bloody fantastic !!! then again I kinda fancy Winifredxx

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  31. Hey John,

    You are one of those amazing nurses, thank you for your service!!!!

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  32. I think you need to get yourself a name badge with a title of "Pig Ugly Nurse." Help you stand out from the crowd and all...

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    1. I do that already my dear x

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  33. "My very favourite insult ..." Now there's a phrase you don't hear much!

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    1. I am sure we all have them......let's hear a few......

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  34. Grandmothers with dementia can also cut you down and swear like sailors when they don't know who you are.

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  35. Sounds to me like you are a nurse with the patience of a saint.

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    1. Just one with a sense of humour old gal

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  36. People seem to be getting ruder and ruder, as if it's now a sign of superior status to hurl the most outrageous insult you can think of. Even at people who're doing you a service, as in your case. Either you have the patience of a saint or you're a thorough professional who refuses to rise to the bait and just gets on with the job.

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  37. I do appreciate a good insult. Try not to react, but store them away to savour (wincing) later.

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  38. You've got me worried now as to what little gems I might come out with as I near my dotage - it's approaching fast

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  39. I agree with you about bi-polar patients, though some of the best insults come from those with borderline personality disorder. As a psychotherapist, I would get occasional insults. One patient -- a borderline -- had this verbal routine with me. He would say, about midway through a session, "You're a terrible therapist! I feel worse after a session than I do coming in!" I would tell him that sometimes that happened when feelings about the past would come up in a session, but that if he felt I wasn't the therapist for him, I could refer him to someone else. At that, he would burst into tears and say "Please don't send me away!"

    Another patient, who came to therapy very angry because her surgeon wanted her to have psychotherapy before she had surgery to improve outcome, answered every one of my initial intake questions with "You're stupid! What a stupid question!" It wasn't until I asked her what mattered most to her in life and she discovered that we were both devoted to our beloved pets that she settled down. We had a very good and warm therapeutic bond for the next few years of therapy. So sometimes early insults just show fear and anger and may not go on forever.

    Hospitalized patients, as you've shown, however, can be a much greater challenge!

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  40. Kath,
    Hospital patients usually have an organic cause to their anger, fear and subsequent insults....
    It's the relatives and the drunks that really can be upsetting
    Thanks for the comment

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  41. There's nothing ugly about you, John. You're more than beautiful. When I worked in the nursing home, I always said, No one is stronger than a little old lady in a wheelchair who wants her way. Those old ladies threw things at me and cursed me (of course their families said, Mama doesn't even know those words!). I caught what they threw at me and laughed. Bi-polar X was incredibly vicious with the insults. He didn't use them on other people, though. They were reserved just for me. They didn't mean anything. They were words falling out of a damaged brain.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I loved your phrase" words falling out of a damaged brain"
      Beautiful

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  42. About 30 years ago I worked in a restaurant kitchen, and we wiled the nights away with word games. One day the dishwasher and I decided to trade insults - she in her native Italian, me in my bad french. Clearly she had the advantage! I was being called all manner of operatic things, so I pulled out the only dirty french name I knew, "putain". WELL! She shrieked, "Putain, that's putana in Italian, did you just call me a whore??" I pointed out she'd called me far worse but that had been a bridge too far and we went back to playing "10 famous..." which was much safer ground!

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  43. One of my favourite insults is
    " you are a dirty whore of an unfit mother!"

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  44. Two of the public service jobs i worked--banking and restaurants--seemed poised to pit me against those who thought it their mission in life to debase anyone they saw in what they thought menial jobs. Not all of those people would be classified as mentally ill, but they did have some kind of sickness insofar as i was concerned.

    I have perversity in spades, and found it served me well in those situations. Most times, they were done in front of other people because people who hurl insults like that crave an audience, and it usually made them look bad.

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  45. I like pigs. Underneath the muck they are pink. They are not bothered about having a waist and will eat anything - Dyson's hoovers have nothing on a pig. Pigs grunt - in a friendly way. And they are patient awaiting their inevitable fate of being turned into bacon - making someone happy at breakfast. What more do you want from life than fulfilling your destiny?

    "words falling out of a damaged brain" - Love Janie's phrasing. Hope I'll drop before someone makes that kind observation on me.

    Do me a favour, John: When the time comes please do point me in the right direction. "Exit" will do. Won't need a map.

    U

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    1. If you are ever an old lady in hospital Ursula my little dominatrix you will be a challenge for any robust nursing sister!
      Xxx

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  46. Well, afraid I can't come up with anything that would stand out after all of these! It helps to have a wide range of humor, I think?

    Have a good week, John!

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  47. Hi John,

    Apologies for my notable absence on your blog. I know you eagerly anticipate my comments. Having vast experience working in the mental health field, I discovered that a lot of the staff had more issues than the patients.

    Then again, I'm crazy and love it that way. Cheerio and have a nice day because you know I really care :)

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  48. Considering the source of those insults, all you can do is laugh.

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    1. Alex..you are just so right x

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  49. Mr k
    Of course you are right
    We are all human
    And all fucked up
    Nice to have u back

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  50. I would ask that elderly lady what on earth is a wrong with unfortunate fat wombats of staff nurses.

    Seriously though, nurses that I know have said the same thing over here. People really can say the cruelest of things to those in the helping proressions. It's sad.

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  51. You must be the world's only living brain donor.

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    1. We end on another insult
      How apt

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  52. Gosh, I don't think I could handle insults like that. I'd probably be bawling my eyes out every shift!

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  53. When my husband was starting chemotherapy, he got so sick he ended up in the ER in the middle of the night.

    The ER doctor on duty came in about 5am to tell him that they had called his oncologist and he would be there shortly.

    Husband: "Did you wake the sonafabitch up?"
    Doctor: "Probably....?"
    Husband: "GOOD."

    Still makes me smile to remember that. :) DH would normally never say such a thing, but chemo is a bitch.

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