I recently got into a fight with a nurse. It wasn’t one of my proudest moments and looking back I wish I had just held my tongue and swallowed my frustrations. But I didn’t. Here’s what happened. My friend recently came over to visit with her new baby boy. The baby was two months old.
I was so excited about seeing her and catching up, especially because we hadn’t seen each other in over three years and probably wouldn’t again for several years. She brought with her a nanny/nurse that was helping her with her baby for a few weeks. My friend had terrible problems with breastfeeding and serious postpartum depression and the nurse was helping her get through this difficult period.
From the minute the nurse walked in, I knew there would be issues. As my friend was about to give me the baby to hold, the nurse said in a terse voice “you don’t do it like that!” My friend explained to me a few minutes after we sat down (in a whisper without the nurse hearing) that even though the nurse seemed bossy, she had helped my friend get through her postpartum issues and she was grateful.
For the sake of my friend, I didn’t respond to the ten other rude statements and interruptions that occurred during our brief meeting. Then towards the end of the afternoon, my friend and I were talking about how her baby started sleeping through the night at 4 weeks. I said something to the effect of, “wow, that’s unusual in such a young baby.” The nurse responded simply, “no, it’s not.”
That’s when I decided that I could not let this go so I raised my tone just slightly and responded, “actually, I think IT IS unusual for a baby to sleep through the night so young. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m just saying that it’s unusual.” She, like me, was not about to let it go and started telling me that I was wrong and that I only knew about my own children’s sleeping habits and that in fact, it was NOT unusual.
At this point, there was a small explosion in my head (I was MAD) and I raised my voice quite a bit as I told the nurse that my statement was not based only on my children’s sleeping habits but on conversations with numerous friends, my pediatrician and also on information I had read in a series of books about the issue of children’s sleeping and eating habits. At this point, my friend was stunned and generally mortified. She was giving me a look that said,” just let it go, please!”
I immediately calmed down. I felt so bad about losing my temper and creating an awkward situation and I quickly said something to smooth out the situation. The rest of the afternoon wasn’t as bad as you might imagine. I “made nice” with the nurse and just tried to enjoy the last few hours with my friend. Even though I regret losing my temper with a total stranger over a silly issue, a small part of me loved fighting back!