Admitting I Was Wrong

I wanted to punch a Pediatric nurse the other day.  Some of you reading this may find that as ridiculous as I now do because anyone who works in a hospital knows that the Peds nurses are the nicest people.  I mean they’re the people who take care of sick kids.  They blow bubbles and hand out stuffed animals.  They’re the last people you’d think to get violent with, but there I was.

It wasn’t really a work moment.  I was in the hospital dropping off a phone charger for my sister.  My nephew had required emergency surgery that morning and they were still in the hospital trying to decide if he’d be discharged that day or the next when she found out that her father-in-law had suddenly died of a heart attack.  They were still doing CPR when my brother-in-law got the call.  My sister was worried sick about her husband driving up the freeway to his parent’s house, her phone had only 6% power, and her charger wasn’t working.

Now, to be fair, my sister had already warned me there might be an issue.  The nurses had given her a hard time already when she’d left the floor to meet her husband in the lobby so he could hand off their daughter before he drove north.  That action broke Covid protocols.  She didn’t think they’d make it easy for me to get in so I used my badge and came in the back way.  My plan was to slip into the room like a purple-haired ninja, drop off the charger, give everyone a big hug, and slip out. My niece was hungry, though, so I also ran and grabbed her something for dinner.

That was how I exposed myself.  We made it back to the room, and I was about to leave when right behind me is the charge nurse. “You cannot be coming and going from this floor.  I don’t care if your badge will let you in. This is a secure unit and no more visitors are allowed.” You know how sometimes you can tell that someone is especially happy to scold you.  This was one of those times. 

I immediately wanted to strangle her and, in the past, it’s possible I would have made a scene worthy of a Code Grey (that’s the overhead page to call security for a violent patient or family member).  The amazing thing, though, is that’s not at all what happened.  One of the things I’ve worked on a lot with my thought work is how I want to show up in my life.  I don’t want to be an asshole and I knew I had already pushed the limits of the rules.  She was right. I was wrong.

In the past I would have gotten defensive and at least started a good argument or made some zinger of a passive aggressive comment. Instead I took a deep breath, apologized, let her know I was leaving, and, with a knowing look, pointed out that these were pretty exceptional circumstances.  She smiled, agreed, and left the room.  No Code Grey.  No big scene.

Now I carried the tension of that interaction around with me for several hours afterwards.  I replayed it in my brain and I had a lot of thoughts about her motivations for confronting me.  One thing that I didn’t have to second-guess, though, was how I showed up.  I was proud of myself for defusing the situation.  I was proud of myself for apologizing and not getting defensive.  I was proud of myself for recognizing that I was in the wrong and that I could accept responsibility for that.  I didn’t have anything to prove. 

This didn’t happen overnight.  I’ve spent a lot of time managing my mind to be able to do something like this in the moment.  If you’d like to learn how to do this, I’d love to work with you and teach you how.