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Pride and Practice

HamsakaHamsaka goosewhispererPolishing the 'just so' Veteran
edited June 2015 in Buddhism Today

Dancing with the devil, I am tonight!

At a patient's home, caring for her; sweet and satisfying. Coping with her mom and grandma?. How do I put this into words . . . I've been a nurse for 24-years, but I fail repeatedly to 'do it right They come in behind me and rebrush her teeth, refasten her diaper, re re position her in bed ( she's fifteen but an infant, more or less).

I know why they do what they do. They've sacrificed their family's privacy and 'normal control' just to have her home with them. They have undoubtedly had useless nurses. What I'm coping with is so much more than appears on the surface. I'm coping with disappointment, grief, exhaustion, the frustration, the losses, the helplessness, the loss of control, the hopelessness, and the need for help or else their little girl couldn't be home with them at all.

Remembering this during being shamed for using the wrong bathroom (and told I'd better clean it twice, after being stared at in angry exasperation) is possible.

And I still had to BREATHE and apologize for the misunderstanding (twice), and then I knocked the clock off her desk with my ass for good measure, as I got out of the way so the mom could redo the diaper and pillows I failed to place properly.

Writing it here almost had me smiling. Almost.

Situations like this are important because it's not that often that I get my nose rubbed in such aversive inner responses. Observing yourself while you experience being ' insulted', while you choose to respond submissively, over and over again (no matter how dutifully careful I am to follow their directions lol) ~ has to be learning me something Buddhisty.

Do you want to see your pride in all its glory?. It is ugly!. And really cool too, especially those fantasies of picking up my bag and walking out the front door, rolling like a dog in visions of telling the nursing agency right where they can stick any 'lip' they might be thinking to dish me while crossing my name off of this case FOREVER.

So there!

Shame is a fire in the neck and head, by the way.

I'm not exactly grateful but I am curious and grateful for the nuts and bolts lessons I wouldn't have signed up for on purpose.

I am not a servant unless it's my idea in the first place. Except, like, now.

Anyone else been both 'humiliated' and aware of your practice all at the same time?



  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    All the time.

    Existence is Dukkha ... think I read that in a fortune cookie. ;)
    Humility is humbling. I feel for you. When I was involved in care work - I was a Care Assistant for a while - having to deal with clients, well meaning or even incompetent staff is Dukkha if anything ...

    At the time I was doing a lot of martial arts. The physicality of it helped. Snapping under such pressure is not a luxury one can indulge.

    Internally hug the monsters, pride demons, clients and patients. They are suffering. Welcome to the hell realms, it is a practice picnic. Bravo. <3 <3 <3 {{{ big hug }}} <3 <3 <3 felt good eh?

    We haz mind and iz not scared to use it! <3

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Hamsaka the contents of your post reminded me of The Eight Verses Of Thought Transformation (Annihilating the demon of the self-cherishing mind)

    Number "two" is a major sticking point for some.... Commentary found "here"

    Remaining mindful under pressure can be quite a daunting task...I can only wish things improve for all parties involved
    ...and not to forget...

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @Shoshin, those were very relevant links, I went over both of them and bookmarked them for future reminders.

    1. When in the company of others, I shall always consider myself the lowest of all, and from the depths of my heart hold others dear and supreme.- See more at:

    This is not an emotional stance, it is pure deliberation and 'common sense' as a caregiver. I put taking care of the girl above whatever else pops up into the environment, be it hostility in the family, hostility in the environment, whatever. The most important thing is not my pride or anything about me, which dissolves on closer inspection anyway :D .

    I haven't yet but plan to, in person, request I not be assigned to that case again. They are moving out of the area at the end of June anyway, but there's the potential for one more shift and I ain't the one. If the girl had no other resources that would be different, but her grandmother is her primary caregiver, who does not work or care for the other two children in the family, her job is the patient and she does a splendid job, as does the mother and father. I am sincerely not needed. She has a 'regular' nurse who I now want to send flowers and an encouraging note to. I saw her get blasted when I made a short visit prior to working for them, and I suspect she experiences no better fare than I did.

    Speaking of doormats, and Buddhisty behavior; I was surprised to find that I felt very little personally, took very little 'personally'. What I did take personally is the pride reaction I wrote about last night (literally while it was happening lol, that was a very 'fresh' post, lemme tell ya). I didn't feel a loss of self confidence, or a diminishing sense of 'value', like a person could when insulted. I stood there like a bullwark and let the waves slap me upside the head, over and over again, and utterly refused to discard my dignity. Who said as Buddhists we have to grovel? I don't see that in the above quote.

    I came that close to gathering up my belongings and walking out, but not due to an emotional storm within me. I just don't choose to deliberately place myself in anyone's line of fire. It was pretty matter of fact. As a person who is very easy going, not aggressive, very flexible and happy to 'follow', this was a surprising find in remaining mindful of what went through my head.

    @Walker: most of us in health care 'expect' things to go sideways and we fluff it off. But when we get direct thanks, it really means a lot. It's the nature of the beast to get a LOT more of the 'what you did wrong' than otherwise. People who are sick or stressed aren't fonts of gratitude until they feel better, anyway. Most of us truly want to make a difference (the good kind), and when that gets recognized in the form of a thank you card, we appreciate it soooo much. In my last hospital job, we had a cork board stuck with several years of 'thank you' notes.

    @Lobster, taking care of sick people is ASKING for dukkha, isn't it? It's a pure, unadulterated kind of dukkha. Staying 'aware' during it is a trip, and I must admit staying aware does knock off a few percentage points of the experienced suffering, which is a fair trade :) . You really can't snap under pressure. I've witnessed other nurses literally lose it, burst into tears or lash back in anger -- both of which SUCK and make a bad situation worse. That's the only reason I just apologized and agreed to clean the toilet, and thanked her for redoing everything to suit herself. I kinda hoped it f**** with her mind a bit, too, far from a boddhisattva am I :D

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2015

    Far from the Force are we. Strong the Dark Side is. Fight we can not.

    May the Force Be With You B)
    Tempted Be Not!

    I iz speaking Yodish!

  • WalkerWalker Veteran Veteran

    @lobster said:

    I iz speaking Yodish!

    Is that like Yiddish?
    Oy Vey...

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Here is the real Yiddisha Yoda for those unfamiliar ...

    I think he belonged to one of the tribes that got lost in the mountains ... ;)

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