Thursday, February 02, 2006
Into Every Rain, A Little Rain Must Fall
Let’s start with the bad. I tend not to talk about politics, religion, or addictions too much in this blog. Not because I don’t have an opinion. For fucks sake, I was a poli sci grad student at Berkeley. I have an opinion on everything. It’s just that I have a hard time putting this stuff into print. I can argue my ass off in person – I just feel I don’t do it justice in the written word. I always feel the need to couch it in humor. But today, I had on of the worst professional interactions ever. And here is my question? Why do women in positions of power have to behave like such bitches sometime? And why do other women have to treat women in positions of power as if they are social pariahs?
It’s hard enough to be a woman in most professional fields. When I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, I got a job as an intern at a big L.A. (Los Angeles, not Lower Alabama) law firm. The junior female attorneys would get along just great with the legal secretaries. Everyone would go out and party together, gossip on Monday mornings, and talk general smack in the office. Once the attorneys were on the partner track, the attorneys stopped chatting so comfortably with the other women, and the legal secretaries would snipe about how the lawyers were acting as if they were so far above everyone else. Once I was a medical student, female nurses would take sexually explicit jokes and bullshit requests from my male colleagues, but when I would ask for help, I’d get, “I’m busy. You can do it yourself.”
Now before the hate mail starts, this is not a lawyer/secretary, nurse/doctor thing. My favorite aunt was a nurse for years. She went through several years of grueling training to become an ER nurse practitioner. When she was finished, she began working in an ER where she had worked for years as a nurse. She asked for some help with a patient one day, and a former colleague said to her, “What, you think you’re to good to do the work yourself anymore?”
Blah, blah, blah. So today, we did two pretty complicated operative cases. During the first case, one of our anesthesia providers (who never identified herself as the attending anesthesiologist and spent less than 10 minutes in the room) began questioning my junior resident’s orders. The accusations were pretty serious and got the trauma attending pretty spun up. At the end of the case, I checked his orders and found them to be both medically safe and appropriate. I discussed it with the trauma attending and we agreed everything was o.k. I spoke with the anesthesia resident, explained the misunderstanding, and she even apologized to be for the other provider’s behavior. At the beginning of the next case, said senior provider was bitching loudly and defaming our resident. I simply stated (and not in a bitchy manner, trust me internet – I admit it when I’m being bitchy) that I was the chief resident on the service, the junior resident had worked 30 hours straight and was home sleeping, and that I had reviewed his orders with the attending and we were satisfied. She snottily responed, “And your name is?”
My response was “Dr. G*******”. This was not meant to be condescending. I always introduce myself as Dr. G and then say, “But call me Stampy”. Her response? “I hope you’re a doctor. After all you’re operating. What’s your first name?” So I told her. Then we went about putting the patient to sleep and positioning him. When we were getting ready to scrub, she dragged the trauma attending out into the hallway and screams, “You’re resident is being LIPPY and you need to get her under control!” We both replied, “What?” She said, “I am an attending anesthesiologist and I deserve the appropriate respect!” I pointed out that I didn’t know she was the attending MD. She had never introduced herself. “What the hell else could I be?” “A CRNA (certified resident nurse anesthetist)”. We work with CRNA’s all the time. Regardless, I introduced myself as Doctor because we hadn’t met and I wanted to make it clear that I would take care of the situation. I stated that I regretted any misunderstanding – I did not intend to be LIPPY. Without even waiting to discuss, she looked at my trauma attending, said, “get her under control or else”, and stormed off.
We spent the rest of the case in stunned silence. The resident told me she was a real bitch, the room nurse told me she demanded that everyone refer to her as “Doctor” to show the appropriate respect, and the other OR staff told me this was not the first snit she’d thrown. Oh, there’s so much else to this story…too long already. My attending tried to calm her down and asked if I might consider apologizing (even though she and everyone else agreed I’d done nothing wrong). How ‘bout an emphatic “NO!” This was supported by everyone. Later, the attending told me said “Doctor” said I’d been LIPPY with another staff anesthesiologist that weekend. Hey, I was drunk with Ruby and Tammi Faye all weekend – unless I tried to pick said staff up at a wine tasting, it wasn’t me. The bitch said, “Well, he assures me he had a problem with a female chief ortho resident.” There are four of us women chiefs at this hospital alone – all blonde. Fuck them. Can't we all just get along?
So, good stuff?
One: I bought new snowboard boots and bindings yesterday and I’m going to Mammoth on my way home. Shreddy Betty…
Second: I found this awesome magnet this weekend…
More bitching to follow.