When you’re good…

I’ve been sick all winter. It seems beyond the typical case of having a child in daycare bringing germs home. My doctor sent me for blood tests. I went today.

This time, I was called by a man. He was the only male nurse visible in the department. That little voice in my head started talking, a lot. I wanted a woman to take my blood. Women are gentler, women are just better nurses, it said. And I was listening.

For whatever reason, I did not act on its recommendations. Instead, I went to my standard joke when the nurse came back. As I lay down (because of a past fainting episode I haven’t been able to forget) with a smile, I asked: “please be gentle?”

Like I always do, I looked away. This nurse was all business. He was doing what he needed to do and not wasting any time doing it. I continued: “please don’t feel the need to tell me what’s going on, just do what you need to.” I turned ever so slightly to see him smile, and then stared back at the wall.

Then, I felt the most subtle pinch. Virtually nothing. Whatever I felt was markedly less than I have normally felt, maybe even less than ever. Before I could finish my thought, it was over. He put on the cotton, stuck the tape to my arm hair, and said “ok, you’re done.”

As I lay there, just in case, I was overcome with emotion. I had judged him to be not good enough because he was a man, and I was so, so wrong. I’m glad I didn’t end up saying anything, because had I listened to my gut, to my instinct, I would not have realized how mistaken my thought was. I would not have realized how amazing this man was at his job.

Over the last 10 years, I have often said that everything happens for a reason. With one delicately, gently, and well-placed needle, this man taught the very important lesson I was meant to learn today. When you’re good at what you do, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about you doing it.

Often, we hear women complaining of discrimination in the workplace. Today, I discriminated against a man (albeit silently). I was very, very wrong.

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