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!

1 comment:

  1. Years ago when we were first married (to stamp our wisdom of the time) we lived in the upper half of a duplex in Montreal West.
    Our neighbours in the lower half were a professor (30's I guess) at Sir George Williams and a friend who was a student sharing the flat.
    The student (Paul) was blind, an accident with the oxygen in the baby tent in the hospital.
    Onetime he came upstairs to ask the McGill woman (my wife ) to sew some colour labels on his clothes and help organize the canned food in order..
    Said that the professor ( who could see with large lenses) was blind and kept a messy house.
    Another day , he came upstairs and his words to WATCH the Watergate hearings.
    He also trained my husky to walk down open steeple stairs.
    I guess this is the reverse of hearing with no eyes.