I’m always spouting off about perspective. Why is that? Maybe it was a turning point in my life the day I gained a little perspective, so I enjoy talking about it. Or maybe it’s because I’m obsessive compulsive and I really need to push forward and find a new attribute to exploit. Whatever the case may be, I find that when I’m in the thick of things, perspective proves a very useful tool in diffusing anger and frustration.
For example, today was arguably one of the most trying days of my career. I’ve had many rough days causing me to reflect and give pause regarding my ambitions and the purpose of life. You know, deep stuff. (Daily dose of death can truly cause one to appreciate life.) I generally catalogue those days and store them in the recesses of my mind hoping never to revisit their awful horror. Imagine for a moment unleashing all of those suppressed emotions at once. It happened to me today in an instant.
We were faced with 11 exams, which itself is a daunting task. I helped in an adjacent autopsy room with one doctor. We had just finished up our second exam just before 11AM and were preparing to start on a third. I stepped into the main autopsy suite to find our where the other team was in relation to the caseload and asked about their status and their plans for further examinations. (I was unaware at the time that an inquiry had already been made in regards to their progress.) I then returned to my station and continued helping the doctor.
As I was cleaning up I was approached by the doctor who performed autopsies in the main autopsy suite. Driven by discontent and staff grievances my motives for multiple inquiries were in question. I explained that my intentions as the morgue supervisor were to maintain an effective and productive schedule. My response seemed to suffice for the moment, but morale was still poor.
Needless to say, the fact that my intentions were in question bruised my ego. Now, I know, it sounds anticlimactic when I put it that way, but I really don’t want to go into a lot of detail. Let’s just say that I was as angry as a swarm of fire ants whose meticulously constructed ant hill had just been annihilated. (Can’t you just picture yourself as an eight-year-old quickly inserting your size 6 boot into the side of the mound and kicking it up? I remember doing it and watching the scattered ants scurry around probably wondering how their world just got turned upside down and deciding what to do next. I also remember being bitten by several of them who had somehow crawled up my boot and into my sock.)
My mind was as scattered as those tiny, angry, red ants. Thankfully I had a dear friend and colleague who visited with me soon after and helped me regain composure. She helped me take hold of the big picture.
As I look back on the events of the day I can clearly see the precipitating displeasure that gradually escalated. Emotions were high, caseload was extreme, and misunderstanding or miscommunication got the best of us. The bottom-line is that my problems pale in comparison to those around me. I remind myself that there are families everywhere tonight grieving for the loss of loved ones and my heart goes out to them. Part of what we do at the Office of the Medical Examiner is provide the answers to the difficult questions in order to help families cope with the loss of their loved one.
I sometimes find myself eluding the big picture. It takes a moment like this to put me back on track. These moments are uncomfortable and unnerving, but I feel they are necessary for social and personal development – if experienced properly. A supportive colleague and good friend helped me get through my bad moment. Who gives you support? Don’t forget to thank them.
I’ll keep you posted on how things turn out next week. Please share any experiences you’ve had dealing with difficult situations and how you survived.
Thanks for following.
- Standing Opposite Doctor Death (brandcall.wordpress.com)
- The Other Side of Fifteen Hundred (brandcall.wordpress.com)
- Lawyers Journal-True but funny. (kinyefunyefu.wordpress.com)