Edit note: This is long, but please take the time. I wanted to call this post: Nurse from hell, but I realized I’m not that rude. I’m just very depressed.
Writing this, I found that there could be some misunderstandings as things work a little different over here than in America, and other places, so just to avoid misunderstandings, I’ll try to clarify … and you’ll learn about the medical system in Norway, hurrah! Okay, so in Norway we have Akutten and Legevakta which both translates to the ER, but they’re different. The Akutten is for those who come in an ambulance, and need immediate help, but the Legevakta (literally translate: on-call-doctor I think!)is for people who come on their own, that don’t need immediate-immediate help, but still can’t wait until the regular hours, like stitches, or if they suspect concussions, or if someone has a bad case of the flue, stuff like that. You get the drill.
I went to Legevakta yesterday. I was bleeding a lot and I needed some stitches. I left my phone at home, so I wasn’t able to call and make an appointment, or say that I was coming, but I’ve come on the door before, and it has always been okay. You go up to this reception thing and tell them what you need help with, and there’s usually no problem … Not today.
I rang the bell and the woman who opened was grumpy, but I accepted that. It was 3 in the morning, and I was sad, exhausted, tired, and dizzy myself, so I wasn’t about to react to that, I had no energy for that. She asked me what I wanted, and I said I was going to Legevakta She asked me if I had called, and I said no … This nurse though, she didn’t have anything to do with Legevakta, she was on Akutten (I think, at least not Legevakta, they’re almost the same place though, you go in the same way), but still she was kind of hassling me about what I wanted, blah-blah-blah. I said no, I didn’t have my phone, and she was like, you can’t go in there then, you have to call, and she directed me to a phone that was in the middle of the hallway where everyone could listen 20 meters from Legevakta, and told me I had to call first. I was a little dumb-founded, usually you could go to the Legevakta-reception, but I did as she told me anyways.
So I stood there getting connected to the district-Legevakta, instead of the local-Legevakta (which was 20 meters away for God’s sake, the doctor was even awake, and there was no line!), and the woman in the other end was clearly condescending. “You did it yourself?” “Why did you do it?” “How deep is it?” Questions that don’t need to be asked when I know I needed stitches. Couldn’t she just believe me? The doctor would ask these questions afterwards anyways, I didn’t need to be frowned upon, and treated like an itty-bitty-emo-kid that didn’t deserve human decency but the person answering the phone. But I didn’t react to that, I didn’t have the energy for it, I have experienced this so many times before, I wasn’t about to use my last ounce on energy getting pissed for being judged, again.
So I stood there, leaning against a tall shelf, barely holding on to the phone, feeling my face starting to sweat, it was hard standing up, I was so tired, and dizzy. And this is where the trouble began.
I hear someone barking at me. Yelling at me. Just this short phrase, but definitely terrible, all the same. Terrible, horrifying, startling! “Don’t you go stepping in it!” … I’m like, WTF, and I look over to the nurse, the grumpy one. I stand there open-mouthed, shocked. My face reads: What the fuck! But I don’t say a word. Why is this grown-up woman yelling at me for no reason, I think. But I don’t do anything more than to look puzzled and annoyed at her. I feel like I deserve being yelled at. I’m a worthless piece of shit after all. And then I register what she had said. Stepping in it? Stepping in what? I look down, and I see a little pool of blood on the floor next to my shoe. Shit. I still don’t say anything. I’m thinking I’ll clean it up when I’m off the phone, I’m thinking I won’t step in it (though how can you not step in blood that’s coming from your own foot? search me!), I’m thinking, hang in there, don’t you die today.
I’m on hold on the phone. I’m standing perfectly still. And I know this, I know I don’t move an inch. I’m leaning on my hands, almost disappearing, and I stand so still. And then I hear: DON’T STEP IN IT!
I loose it. I loose it. Since when is it all-right to yell at other grown-up human being out of nothing? I didn’t move an inch! And when you see a person clearly unwell, standing in an emergency room needing help, bleeding all over the floor, is really your first reaction to YELL AT THEM?! Lo-behold I had stepped in it, I still don’t think it’s okay for her to yell at me. But what made me react with anger in stead of getting sadder and feeling shame, because I was a stupid idiot for bleeding on the floor, is the fact that I didn’t move an inch, and she still yelled at me, that I shouldn’t go stepping in it. The fuck? So I get filled with this terrible anger, I feel walked on, violated, disrespected. I was having a terrible night already, I needed help, and this is what I get when I ask for it. Did she think I tried to bleed on the floor? Did she think I did it on purpose? Is this really how a professional meets a patient?
“I didn’t fucking move!” I look at her incredulously. I feel myself ready to explode. I say out aloud “I can’t deal with this!” and then I take some steps away. I try to remove myself from the situation, because I get so overwhelmed with anger, and hurt, and pain. I really can’t take it. I can’t handle it. And what do you think she does? She grabs me as I’m taking those steps away. She grabs my arm, and yanks me back, yelling at me. “Don’t walk around here, like that!”, or something, I don’t know. And I don’t know up from down anymore. She touched me. She grabbed me. She yelled even more, when I clearly showed her I was not able to deal with it. She prevents me from leaving the situation, she prevents me from even taking a few steps away. I explode.
“I don’t appreciate being talked to like that! I didn’t fucking move, and still you yell at me! You can talk to people with the same respect you would want others to talk to you! I’m not your child, and you have no right to yell at me like that! I deserve to be treated with respect!” I say, or yell is more like it, something like that. And all the while I’m talking to her, she’s rolling her eyes. I guess rolling your eyes at a patient is the prime example of invalidating someone else’s feelings, and isn’t that what she’s supposedly paid for … I don’t think so.
Afterwards (after I’ve cleaned up after myself, and started to cry hysterically, because I’m not good with handling emotions, particularly not when it’s already waaaaaay toooo muuuuch!), I talk with the doctor, who was free all along, and he’s great, and tells me I deserve help as good as any gal, and that it was sad that that was the way I had to be met. But it’s too late you know. You add the bad situation to the bill, and forget about the good. It’s sadly the way it works when you have low self-esteem. The consequences the actions of this nurse had on me is enormous. And the worst thing about it is … she won’t even know, and she doesn’t even understand what she did. I leave the place, yeah, stitched up, pulled together. But this time asking for help only put another weight on my shoulders. Why does the world have to be like this. What do I do to change this? I don’t want anyone else to be met like this.
What do you think? Am I overreacting? Was this okay? Who was in the wrong?
Sorry, this was a really long blurb. I just .. had to get it out. It’s 2 am, and I feel terrible, wanting to die. I have an appointment in the morning, but this darkness is just so all-consuming. How do we hang in here.
Lots of hugs from me to you. I’m happy there are good people in the world as well.