Lifted

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“Doc, something weird just happened.” 

I stopped with my hand on the door handle and turned around, heading back to the rolling stool in the corner by the sink.

Dang. I had almost made it.

“Oh, yeah?” I tried to smile and waited expectantly for him to say he had experienced a run of palpitations as he was sitting there or that he just had a spell of crushing substernal chest pain. If something like that is going to happen it will always be at the very end of the visit when I have already run overtime. 

Still. It must be dealt with.

Always.

“Your hands. They weren’t cold!” He had a funny look on his face as he knit his eyebrows. “Why weren’t they cold, Doc?”

“Oh.” I shrugged, relieved. “Probably because today I am very, very angry at the IT people.”

“Got your blood pressure up?”

“You betcha.” I gave a brief explanation of the printer error which left 3/4 of the staff unable to print documents for patients. It had mysteriously surfaced on a Monday morning and supposedly, no one could fix it. 

I paused in front of the full length mirror in my office before seeing the next patient and realize that I really looked angry, even through the smile plastered on my face. 

If looks could kill those IT people would be dead ten times over.

Bastards.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Exhaled. Again. And then again.

You cannot fix this, either. Getting angry about it won’t make things work faster.

Part of me said, “But I want to be angry! I have every right to be angry!” Another side said, “No, it does NOT feel good! Give it up. Be grateful that you have a job.”

I closed my eyes and made the tension wash away. I willed the arguing voices to shut up.

And then I had an epiphany. This may sound kooky not getting to it until I am almost 42, but here it is:

There will never be a perfect world.

That’s what free will gets ya. Turmoil and drama and instability are the only constant. I keep holding out for when things get better but they won’t ever be better. There simply will never be a day when I don’t have staff errors and patient drama and IT failures and I need to accept that. Humans are by nature unpredictable and unreliable and unstable. The more I try to control the less control I have and the unhappier I become.

I have known this intuitively but it is a far cry from knowing to understanding and an even father leap to acceptance.

So, I squared my shoulders and picked up the computer. I knocked three times on the door of the next exam room. This time, I smiled from the inside as I entered.

We will see how long this lasts…

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99 thoughts on “Lifted

  1. I’m sure I was in my 40s before I had the at epiphany myself. It has helped a lot in the years since then.

    Just a word of support for my IT colleagues (I’m retired from IT). Printer calls were always the ones I dreaded the most. Printers can be infuriating to get set up (especially in Unix, which I supported). It’s just amazing how many new and unique ways printing can fail. Of course, the people in your case might just be incompetent, one never knows. I suppose that’s why realizing that there’s no perfect is important.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know if they are incompetent or not and that is part of the problem. When I have zero understanding of how it works and zero control BUT the whole day is crumbling around me irrevocably…. Finding calm in the storm and not blaming someone is incredibly difficult. The next morning it was magically better and no one in IT could explain it. The day before they were telling me I would have to get all new printers for the whole clinic even though some computers could still print to those printers. At least it is better. For now. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can safely say that it is very unlikely that you’d need new printers if some computers could print to them. Not *totally* impossible if there had been some other change made to the network (like a new batch of computers coming in that did not have drivers available for the printers in question -very, very unlikely even if a bunch of new computers was indeed installed)

        If updates are regularly installed, one likely possibility was that an update broke printing, and then the manufacturer of the computers or printers or a software company involved quickly sent out an update to fix this, and no one made the connection, since software companies often “forget” to inform customers of things like this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t say enough about the benefits of mindfulness, I first learned it in a DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) class, and it has come up in several groups since then. It does wonders, as do the other skills in DBT. When I first took DBT I thought, “Wow, these are skills that should be taught to kids in school, you shouldn’t have to have a mental illness and insurance to get this!” I have since heard that sentiment repeated many times by others.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. When you reach fifty-two, you’ll even be less affected by what you look like in that mirror. Angry or no. When I stopped highlighting my hair and whacked it off short, I decided what other people thought of me was really none of my business. That’s when I really got comfortable. Comfort equals less stress.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Learning to get over it… Something I still struggle with daily.
    I have to constantly remind myself to find the absurdity in every thing… Otherwise, what’s the point. I don’t like feeling angry or angsty all the time. (Just some times)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Until the day I die, I will miss the days when smacking something that wasn’t working made it cooperate. It was so satisfying to have the vertical hold finally stop the TV from going round and round and round with a well-placed smack to the side of the box!

    Until then, I will sometimes get annoyed (because it always does happen during the busiest times) and sometimes just get up and say “fuck it.” I imagine you will too!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think part of being human is being able to get mad and pissed off. It was more than just a printer issue for you. If everyone in the world was so passive and agreeable, we would never have change. So there is a place for anger…. it can create change. The knowing is in what you can change and what you can’t….. you know the rest.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I can really sympathize with your frustration, young Victo. Being no spring chicken, I can tell you that the compulsion to control your life only strengthens as you age, while at the same time you find you are less able to cope with the unexpected. Carrying and climbing ladders for example. Trying to work on high or low problems like smoke detectors or plumbing while wearing trifocals for example. Trying to set up an Xbox game machine with weak Wi-Fi. (Damn thing keeps losing its signal.) Planning a vacation trip to optimize flight delays. (Expedia is good, but tricky.)

    The world never stops, it keeps changing, even as routine becomes more important. Also, the trend toward DIY in the commercial world continues relentlessly. (Some assembly required.) Thank goodness for Google.

    On the other hand, the sense of satisfaction from overcoming problems is as good as ever. You probably already know this, but in the rapid pace of going from one patient to the next, I submit that it’s a good thing to keep in mind with the elderly ones. Even if there’s no easy solution, understanding can mitigate the stress.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Have you watched ‘From The Earth To The Moon’? I loved how often the Apollo pilots had to, ahem, ‘tap lightly’ on some misbehaving piece of equipment to make it work. I figure anything that those guys could do is A-OK for me to try too.
    I’m getting swallowed up by anger at the moment but, sadly, it isn’t a ‘switch it off and switch it back on again’ kind of problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: My Article Read (2-7-2016) – My Daily Musing

  9. I really needed to read this. I read it twice. I am dealing with a situation that I desperately want to control and the more I try the more unhappy I become. The situation remains out of my control and the only thing that has changed is my disposition. I am working really hard to let go of my desire to control. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sometimes we read zen poetry and sometimes watch “office space” 🙂 maybe those warm hands over the printers would do magic. Life is like perpetual parenthood. You think they will grow out of this screaming stage. Yes they do and then they are into a hitting stage. But hey, it is all but a stage.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A lifetime of reflection and I have distilled the practical wisdom I need down to just three tenets/prayers, which I repeat to myself often.
    1. Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.
    2. We are all fallible creatures.
    3. Man (or woman) is neither good not bad. Some of his (or her) actions are good and some of them are bad..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Last week, the garbage truck (on strike for the previous ten days) hit the security gate of our closed street. Idiot security guard, ours, wasn’t watching out. Idiot driver wasn’t either. It’s the third time in a year. Of course, there is no insurance, and the driver couldn’t give a shit. I really really got pissed to the point I thought the driver was going to hit me. Didn’t. Good for him.
    So, yes, you are right, not a perfect world. It is ok to get pissed. But… most times it just is not enough to fix things and it is bad for you. Anger is no more than frustration piling up. use that energy to get things done. You would be surprised how your own controlled voice can surely achieve. (And save anger for special occasions. A treat)
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

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