Thursday, February 24, 2011
It's how you say it!
My youngest daughter's first job was a Pink Lady at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Lotus City. She was 15 years old but talked them into hiring her by simple persistence. It was a summer job. This was 1978 and the nurses still wore white uniforms and there were Pink Ladies and Yellow Ladies and Blue Men. Pink Ladies were the ward cleaning staff and she really felt she belonged because our family were Jubilee people and were connected by both the pianist who worked there as a nurse, and me, on the wards every day since kingdom come. I think the cleaning staff had a very good union agreement at the time since the pianist constantly grumbled how much our 15 year old was being paid in contrast to her, a registered nurse! But that is beside the point. My esteemed partner Jack came onto the cardiac ward with a mild heart attack and was being actively investigated on the ward where our Pink lady worked on days. She chatted with Jack every day as she cleaned around him since she knew him as a senior friend and he appeared to be doing alright according to her nightly report to us. Then a following morning I got a distressed phone call from her to tell me that Jack had died! She had been sent by the Head Nurse to the room where Jack had been, to clean it up, and the bed was stripped and the side tables emptied. She inquired where Jack was and the nurse said, ostensibly in a doleful voice, that Dr. Jack was "gone"! Then the nurse looked down at her feet. Body language! I phoned Jack's wife Eleanor to give solace and to invite myself over to commiserate. She said cheerfully that she would love to see me. Then she said so would Jack! Jack was not a "goner" at that time. Words associated with inappropriate body language have the power to mislead. Body language, even in the presence of a completely foreign tongue will communicate. The face, the hands, the eyes, the tone, the posture, the animation, will usually tell the aware what they need to know. We hear with the eyes as well as the ears. That's real anatomy!