Friday, August 12, 2016
Weight of Words
A nursing assistant appeared in my office. "Can I weigh myself?" she asked.
"You can do whatever you want," I replied.
She left. A few minutes later, she returned. "Can you help me?"
"Help you what?"
"Use the scale," she answered.
"It's the same scale used throughout the hospital," I answered.
"Well, I don't know how to use it," she answered.
"When we worked together on the wards, you used to weigh patients on your own," I said.
She didn't answer. This explains some wild weight losses and gains that exasperated clinicians.
We walked down to the scale. She placed one foot, spilling out of the back of its clog, onto the scale. "Both feet need to be on the scale," I instructed. [And yes, clogs and open-back shoes are prohibited footwear.]
"I can't fit both and still be comfortable," she snarked.
"The weight is not accurate unless you are fully on the scale," I insisted. Both clogs and their overflowing heels made it onto the scale.
She weighs more than two of me.
"Is that overweight?" she asked.
Now, I could have been all cushy and non-confrontational. But I wasn't feeling it. I was simple and direct. "Yes," I answered.
"I am not overweight!" she snapped. "I like the way I look. My man likes the way I look."
"Good for you. I'm going back to work. Bye," I said and started to walk away.
"Why did you say I'm overweight?" she yelled.
"It's a mathematical computation based on your height. The chart is right here." I pointed to the Body Mass Index chart, originally in color, but this was a gray copy.
"Your math does not apply to me, okay? I am SPECIAL. I am UNIQUE. I have my own set of rules for my own life, got it?" She sauntered away, mumbling to herself.
Her perceived uniqueness is not unique to her. The rules of the workplace do not apply to the workers.
I don't know if she wanted to know her actual weight or she just wanted to pick a fight with me.