Those Marriage Blues

I’m feeling a little sour this morning.

Came to work after six blessedly restful days off only to find a clot of nurses talking in low excitement at the Charge Desk. Clots of nurses taking in low excitement can only mean trouble, and so it was: not one, not two, but three Emergency Department marriages officially Crashed and Burned on my days off, wreckage and debris everywhere, including one so spectacularly awful and humiliating that it takes my breath away a little to think about it. Some stories you need to be this tall to hear. I’m afraid that I will never be that big, though I am an encrusted old emergency nurse who’s heard a fair allotment of human stupidity and grief, and also am (practically) old enough to have grandchildren.

I’m friendly towards, yet not friends with, this last particular nurse, if you understand the distinction. I am a bit unsure of what I can do to offer support. Well-meaning and unsolicited but intrusive (and dare I say it, insensitive and unhelpful) advice is already being offered from all quarters, and of course, the departmental feeding frenzy has just started on the carcase of the marriage. My inclination is to write a short note, offering a standing invitation to dinner, and leave it at that — sometimes the offer of support is enough, I think.

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  1. #1 by Random Internet Person on Thursday 28 January 2010 - 0951

    We’re so different. I would have just noted the changes of social status to my mental staff roster, added the bunches of gossiping workers and the whole office breakups issue to my mental spam filter, gone about my thing and never thought about it again. Probably has something to do with why you fix people and I fix machines.

  2. #2 by skdadl on Thursday 28 January 2010 - 1007

    It sounds as though your colleague is facing some real pain. I agree — quiet support is best, just a few words that signal “You tell me what I could do that you would like, and I’ll follow.”

  3. #3 by deBeauxOs on Thursday 28 January 2010 - 1554

    Upfront would be my approach – perhaps an invitation along the lines of “an opportunity to escape the emergmaddening crowd, a quiet dinner at a new or different restaurant, no “shop” talk allowed unless agreed upon.

    Big ears & padlocked mouth provided if required, kind heart in attendance.

    Anyhow, you get the idea. Pitch it in accordance to your respective personalities – you’re the best judge of what’s appropriate.

  4. #4 by Dr.Dean on Friday 29 January 2010 - 1919

    I think the note is best. With email the common communication method, (besides just ignoring people), a hand written note has real meaning.

    I keep a box of simple note cards handy, doesn’t take a minute to do.

    Means so much, that you took the time.

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