I am not nice.
I am short and fat, and as a rule I have a vaguely pleasant look on my face. This can lead the people I meet to think I’m nice…or sweet…or biddable. A classic case of mistaken identity.
I used to be, though.
I was raised to speak politely and use my manners. By example, I learned that women who were quiet and accommodating were “good,” and women who were loud and demanding were “bad.”
I was a good girl…for the first half of my life.
Then I had kids.
It’s not really fair to blame it on the kids, though. The evil lurked deep in me long before hormones worked their mental magic. Rather, I’d say the kids simply provided situational conduits that guided my more natural inclinations to the surface.
When my youngest son was gravely ill, being nice got us nowhere with the doctors. They ignored our concerns while we watched him get skinnier and weaker.
Sleep deprivation and desperation created the first conduit for my inner bitch to surface. I blew like Mount Vesuvius…and they admitted our son to the hospital and finally tracked down the infection that nearly killed him.
Years later, I found myself at the emergency room with our oldest son. He’d had a catheter inserted through his abdomen to drain his bladder while we waited on surgery, and it had stopped draining.
The surgeon told us to go to the local ER. “Don’t worry,” he said, “it’s probably blocked. Any ER can handle this.”
Except ours. Two nurses discussed the problem, and decided they were going to reverse the flow of the catheter and let an entire bag of saline empty into his bladder.
“How are you getting it out if the catheter still doesn’t work?” I asked.
“Oh, well then he can just pee…”
“If he could PEE,” I said, in the eerily calm tone of voice I’ve developed for these situations, “then he wouldn’t NEED the catheter.”
I paused before I spoke again, “I have a rule. You don’t get to put anything in my kid unless you have a plan for getting it out. A WORKABLE plan. And by workable, I mean, that I, personally, think it will work.”
They found a new plan. A workable plan.
Nice doesn’t work sometimes. Cast-iron bitch? That works.
Welcome! This post was a response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club - we were supposed to write a memoir piece that either started or ended with "Lesson learned." Most of my lessons have been learned through or because of my kids. As always, thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment or critique!